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Monday, August 13, 2018

Best all-time general manager: Introducing the GM rating system

This looks interesting.

Edit:
Bill Felber’s page looks like the best way to find the individual GM write-ups.
Link fixed. Sorry!

Jim Furtado Posted: August 13, 2018 at 09:43 AM | 23 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: general managers

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   1. Rally Posted: August 13, 2018 at 09:50 AM (#5725604)
Link goes to "all time NL all star team"
   2. Batman Posted: August 13, 2018 at 12:02 PM (#5725716)
The winner? Kevin McHale again
   3. Tom Ryan Posted: August 14, 2018 at 08:30 AM (#5726222)
If Cashman, whose only skill is working close to the Steinbrenner Checkbook, is on this list at all, then it's just a joke.
   4. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 14, 2018 at 09:40 AM (#5726249)
If Cashman, whose only skill is working close to the Steinbrenner Checkbook,

That's not fair. Agree he shouldn't be on a top-GM list, but he's an above average GM, with huge resources.
   5. Rally Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:00 AM (#5726311)
Yankees have made some nice moves to build the current team that are things any team could have done regardless of payroll size.

Specifically, trades for high upside players who developed in NY like Didi and Hicks. The trade for prospect Torres. Drafting or international signings of Judge, Sanchez, Severino, Andujar, and a whole bunch of strikeout artists in the bullpen. That's 20+ WAR before looking at the bullpen. Another 5.3 from cheap pitchers who came from their system.

The big spending has brought them Stanton, Chapman, and Tanaka. Combined WAR of 6.6. The whole team has 39 WAR this year.
   6. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:12 AM (#5726320)
The big spending has brought them Stanton, Chapman, and Tanaka.


And Sabathia.
   7. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:15 AM (#5726321)
And Ellsbury. Remember him?
   8. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:49 AM (#5726388)
And David Robertson, who was obtained in a salary-dump trade.
   9. Rally Posted: August 14, 2018 at 01:56 PM (#5726551)
Big spending brought Sabathia to Yankee teams of the past. This year he's a veteran SP signed for 1 year and 10 million. Brett Gardner is a veteran contributor to the 2018 Yankees, but his contract is nothing excessive, nothing any other team couldn't have afforded.

The big spending to bring in Ellsbury has nothing to do with the quality of the team on the field. If the only thing the Yankees had going for them was spending money, they would be terrible right now. They would be depending on Ellsbury to be a big part of the offense and suffering replacement level play since Ellsbury has been unable to go. Instead his injury has been kind of convenient since they have better players to give playing time to instead.

It's fair to ding the Yankees for spending so much money on an unproductive asset, but that has been far outweighed by their smart acquisitions and development of young talent.
   10. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 14, 2018 at 02:06 PM (#5726568)
It's fair to ding the Yankees for spending so much money on an unproductive asset, but that has been far outweighed by their smart acquisitions and development of young talent.

Mostly agree, but I think you have to ding Cashman for the 10 years where they couldn't develop anything from the farm. Either he was terrible at a major portion of his job, and then improved. Or, he was simply unlucky back then, and is getting lucky right now.

Either way, you can't rate him like the last 3 years is indicative of his career, in terms of developing young talent.

He's always been a good trader.
   11. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: August 14, 2018 at 02:15 PM (#5726575)
The big spending to bring in Ellsbury has nothing to do with the quality of the team on the field. If the only thing the Yankees had going for them was spending money, they would be terrible right now. They would be depending on Ellsbury to be a big part of the offense and suffering replacement level play since Ellsbury has been unable to go.


Cashman has done a great job lately, but this doesn't follow at all. Exactly because they have a lot of money to spend, they are not depending on Ellsbury to be a big part of the offense. They can afford to write off his salary and sign someone else. Whereas with a team with a small budget, if they give someone a big contract and he doesn't contribute, they have to do everything right to make up for it.

Remember when the Indians had Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner making up half their payroll while being on the DL for five years? (slight exaggeration)
   12. villageidiom Posted: August 14, 2018 at 05:59 PM (#5726826)
Link goes to "all time NL all star team"
First link in TFA goes to their list, which is in mid-countdown right now.

25: Andrew Friedman

24: Gerry Hunsicker (built the late '90s / early '00s Astros)

23: Bob Howsam (helped to build the late '60s Cardinals, and then the Big Red Machine)

22: Larry MacPhail (built the foundations for pennant-winners in Cincinnati, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, on either side of WW2)

21: Brian Sabean

20: John Mozeliak

I have to say, I'm a bit dismayed by the number of active GMs in the top 25 of "best ever".

I'm also a bit concerned that "long-term impact" of personnel moves is assessed over a five-year span - and on a sliding scale, at that. Trading away a prospect might always look good, if the bulk of the value of the prospect isn't delivered until later. Boston got Chris Sale, which is great; but if Michael Kopech doesn't debut until next year this method would count some scaled-back portion of his first 3 years in MLB as the value lost by Boston, not the full value of all 6 years of MLB service time before free agency. That said, the GMs listed so far already have a decent history of adding real value in trade.

The evaluations don't contemplate cost, either. Jacoby Ellsbury is a fine example of this. Cashman has him under contract for 2018, with an impact of 0 wins. All other GMs didn't sign Jacoby Ellsbury for 2018, and they also get an impact of 0 wins for not signing him - the same as Cashman does for signing him. (Just talking about 2018 alone.) So are all GMs to be considered the same regarding Ellsbury? Uh, no, one GM is paying him 50 gajillion dollars to get the same result from him as any other team is getting.
   13. Rally Posted: August 15, 2018 at 08:24 AM (#5727028)
I have to say, I'm a bit dismayed by the number of active GMs in the top 25 of "best ever".


The bar for GM performance certainly has been raised. Here's an example of a free agent signing made 25 years ago: 38 year old Andre Dawson was signed by the Red Sox to be their DH. He was coming off a 277/316/456 year with the Cubs, a 114 OPS+.

Given age you might expect him to be a league average hitter, which is barely above replacement level for a DH. How much was he paid? 9.3 million over 2 years. That put him in the top 20 of 1993 salaries, where only 1 player made more than 6 million (the still under contract Bobby Bonilla).

He was paid for seniority and past accomplishments, not for any reasonable estimate of what he would produce going forward. I don't think we'll see any late 30's DH take home 75% of the AAV of the Harper/Machado contracts this winter.
   14. Lassus Posted: August 15, 2018 at 08:30 AM (#5727029)
First link in TFA goes to their list, which is in mid-countdown right now.

I would love this if they get to #1 and it's Omar Minaya. BTF would probably collapse into a black hole and never return.
   15. McCoy Posted: August 15, 2018 at 08:36 AM (#5727031)
And yet less than 10 years ago the red Sox have Carl Crawford a humongous contract and the GM who did that is probably going to be in the top ten. Then you have Jacoby ellsbury signing less than 5 years ago to a humongous contract by another GM who is probably in the top ten.
   16. villageidiom Posted: August 15, 2018 at 09:00 AM (#5727038)
The bar for GM performance certainly has been raised. Here's an example of a free agent signing made 25 years ago: 38 year old Andre Dawson was signed by the Red Sox to be their DH. He was coming off a 277/316/456 year with the Cubs, a 114 OPS+.

Given age you might expect him to be a league average hitter, which is barely above replacement level for a DH. How much was he paid? 9.3 million over 2 years. That put him in the top 20 of 1993 salaries, where only 1 player made more than 6 million (the still under contract Bobby Bonilla).

He was paid for seniority and past accomplishments, not for any reasonable estimate of what he would produce going forward.
The metric devised to do this ranking does not take into account the money spent. So, using your example, Dawson's 89 OPS+ at DH for Boston in 1993-94 replaced Jack Clark's 83 OPS+ at DH for Boston in 1992, which is a net positive, and potentially contributing to a positive rating of Lou Gorman as GM (depending on how much of an outlier he was for the time).
   17. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 15, 2018 at 09:09 AM (#5727045)
If Branch Rickey isn't #1, the list is a joke.
   18. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: August 15, 2018 at 09:10 AM (#5727047)
I'm never sure when doing a ranking like this (and forgetting about this particular set of results as I'm not feeling the methodology) where the line between GM and organization should start and end. Sticking with Cashman for a sec... obviously, Steinbrenner money is a huge factor. (As was having to deal with the whims of ownership.) They've recently been incredible on the international front - how much credit does he get there? How much of their success is scouting versus trading (which uses scouting!) versus development/coaching versus... (and I turn into an ouroboros)
--

I have to say, I'm a bit dismayed by the number of active GMs in the top 25 of "best ever".
I was as well. Does that imply that many of the bottom 25 have also been of recent vintage? - I presume this is a zero-sum game. (Insert Dayton Moore joke here.)
   19. PreservedFish Posted: August 15, 2018 at 09:12 AM (#5727051)
It would seem to be an impossible thing to rank mathematically.
   20. McCoy Posted: August 15, 2018 at 09:15 AM (#5727052)
And yet less than 10 years ago the red Sox have Carl Crawford a humongous contract and the GM who did that is probably going to be in the top ten. Then you have Jacoby ellsbury signing less than 5 years ago to a humongous contract by another GM who is probably in the top ten.
   21. PreservedFish Posted: August 15, 2018 at 09:16 AM (#5727054)
The criteria is mostly several items like this:

The standard deviation of the average annual short-term impact of a GM’s personnel decisions compared to the average for all GMs included in the study.


Isn't this just going to be a really fancy and complicated way of tracking wins?
   22. villageidiom Posted: August 15, 2018 at 10:25 AM (#5727097)
I would love this if they get to #1 and it's Omar Minaya. BTF would probably collapse into a black hole and never return.


Around a decade ago Esquire published a list of the "most decadent burgers" in the US. The cheeseburger at Shady Glen, in Manchester, CT, made the top 5. It's a cheeseburger with 4 slices of cheddar that crisp up as they spill off the burger and onto the grill. It looks like this. And it is fantastic. Those of us in the City of Village Charm love that burger and were proud that it received some national recognition. But, I mean, Red Robin probably has at least 5 burgers that are more decadent than this. Red Robin. Later on I learned that the guy responsible for the Esquire list grew up around Manchester, and decided to make the list in order to ensure that the Shady Glen cheeseburger would be included on such a list. In short, he had an opinion, and he crafted a list with the specific intent of giving his opinion an air of authority.

I'm concerned that this GM ranking is a similar exercise, and that the metric devised for it was created as a tool to make it seem less subjective. I hope it isn't, but the blind eye toward money seems to suggest the list will be very forgiving to GMs who made bad financial decisions. Allen Craig and Rusney Castillo have made a lot of money in the past couple of years without being on a 40-man roster, and their absence from the 40-man roster makes those decisions the same as having never signed them, per the metrics being used here.
Isn't this just going to be a really fancy and complicated way of tracking wins?
Yes, but to the author's credit he's allocating the wins back to the personnel decisions. For example, Gene Michael and Bob Watson will get tons of credit for the 1998 Yankees, even though Brian Cashman was the GM. OTOH, the bonus points for playoff berths earned will probably be credited entirely to Cashman for 1998. Why that would make sense is an exercise left to the reader.
   23. McCoy Posted: August 15, 2018 at 10:53 AM (#5727110)
Later on I learned that the guy responsible for the Esquire list grew up around Manchester, and decided to make the list in order to ensure that the Shady Glen cheeseburger would be included on such a list. In short, he had an opinion, and he crafted a list with the specific intent of giving his opinion an air of authority.

You see a lot of that in the food industry and all of the blogs and books out there that cover it. Something similar happened many decades ago for a local pizzeria in Racine, WI. A guy writes a book about the best pizza in the country and this little pizza place Wells Bros pizza from Racine gets in the book. It's a good pizza though suffers some flaws and Mike & Angelo's pizza in the same town does the same pizza though fixes some of the flaws so it is objectively better gets omitted. It basically came down to familiarity. The author knew someone from the area and this is what they picked.

Hell, don't get me started on my ranted about Eater.com where basically it looks like whoever is a friend of the editor gets their place listed in all of their various lists over and over and over.

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