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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ken Davidoff: The best general managers, 2011

I’m assuming Dayton Moore just missed the cut.

3. Brian Cashman, Yankees (5 in ‘10, 6 in ‘09, NR in ‘08, 8 in ‘07) . It was a banner year for the Yankees’ baseball operations department, even if it didn’t end with a new banner to fly over Yankee Stadium.

(Sorry.)

After seeing their top target Lee bolt to Philadelphia, Cashman put his faith in the likes of Ivan Nova (whom he had refused to trade to Seattle for Lee in July of ‘10) and low-rent free agents Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia. No one could’ve anticipated how well those would work out, most of all Colon, but look: It’s not like the Yankees pulled his name from the sky. Cashman listened to a recommendation from Yankees bench coach Tony Pena, who was managing Colon in Dominican winter ball.

Cashman also hit on veteran additions Eric Chavez and Andruw Jones, and in all, luck dictates that the Yankees won’t do as well in the bargain bin this upcoming winter. But CC Sabathia is back, the lineup is largely intact and the Yankees have a farm system that appears poised to contribute even more in 2012 than it did this past season.

It also should be pointed out that the Yankees GM job, because it is the Yankees GM job, offers unique challenges both internally (the late George Steinbrenner’s “World Series title or bust!” philosophy lurks) and externally (the media and fan pressure is greater than ever). Cashman, who just re-upped with a three-year deal, handles those demands quite well.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 15, 2011 at 04:26 PM | 67 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: arizona, athletics, business, cubs, miami, phillies, rangers, rays, tigers, twins, yankees

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   1. Vance W Posted: November 15, 2011 at 06:41 PM (#3994104)
Breaking my usual habits, I actually read TFA. Wish I had stuck to my usual habits. First part does an Ok job of mentioning GMs whose offseason moves happened to have worked out. After a while, it's not even that useful.

I do agree that Friedman, Daniels and Cashman did excellent jobs. Of course, so does pretty much everybody else.
   2. Bob Evans Posted: November 15, 2011 at 06:49 PM (#3994116)
Man, that is a terrible font.

As for the list, he pretty much shook names of GMs with good teams out of a hat, and threw Billy Beane in there for nostalgia's sake.
   3. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: November 15, 2011 at 07:00 PM (#3994132)
No mention of Frank Wren in the entire piece, so I will vigorously co-sign for these rankings. Whatever they were.
   4. SoSH U at work Posted: November 15, 2011 at 07:07 PM (#3994140)
Two observations:

What did Towers contribute to this year's Diamondbacks success (other than retaining Gibson)?

And how is Melvin excluded?
   5. ...and Toronto selects: Troy Tulowitzki Posted: November 15, 2011 at 07:23 PM (#3994161)
And how is Melvin excluded?

Or Alex Anthopoulos?
   6. SoSH U at work Posted: November 15, 2011 at 07:30 PM (#3994167)
Or Alex Anthopoulos?


He watched Colby Rasmus play in Blue Jay blue?

Obviously this is well-trod ground, but I don't really AA's exclusion in 2011 as a major issue (though if you want to slide him into Theo's undeserved slot, that's fine). He gave himself an opportunity to do really good things in the future by getting himself out from the Wells deal, but other than Lawrie I don't see him having added a lot to the on-field product as of yet (as evidenced by the team's dip from 2010 in their W-L record).
   7. musial6 Posted: November 15, 2011 at 07:34 PM (#3994172)
Interesting how the guy who...

_signed Lance Berkman (5.2 WAR in 2011) to a 1yr $8M deal
_traded a talented problem child 4th outfielder for pitching help that directly led to a WS title
_has the pieces in place to move on without Pujols should Albert price himself out of STL

can't crack the top 10...
   8. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 15, 2011 at 07:45 PM (#3994182)
I can think of about 15 GMs that should have cracked this top ten list.
   9. TerpNats Posted: November 15, 2011 at 07:45 PM (#3994184)
With the Nats' improvement, I'm a bit surprised Rizzo didn't make the list. Maybe next year.
   10. ...and Toronto selects: Troy Tulowitzki Posted: November 15, 2011 at 07:49 PM (#3994194)
No? Brandon Morrow? Yunel Escobar? Lawrie who you've mentioned. I guess even acquiring Rasmus is considered failure now due to his '11 season. (W-L record might have ended up weaker due to trading away half his bullpen to acquire Rasmus, I don't know) If we're using only MLB players, then the good return on having to trade Halladay doesn't count, nor does all crafty hoarding of supplemental draft picks that AA has done. Minor league system has gone from bottom rankings to top 5 ranking. Signing Bautista to the excellent 5 yr contract extension doesn't factor I guess.
   11. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: November 15, 2011 at 07:55 PM (#3994206)
_has the pieces in place to move on without Pujols should Albert price himself out of STL

can't crack the top 10...


I picked up Allen Craig cheaply in my roto keeper league 2 years ago, 2012 is the last year I have him (I also had Rasmus, but it being an NL only league I lost him)- all I can say is that anything that gives PT to Allen I approve of. (.290/.339/.503 in 343 MLB PAs, .320/.379/.545 in 910 AAA PAs, .300/.368/.500 in 601 AA PAs

1b/3b/OF type, has even been used to fake 2B...

Someone doesn't like him, but other than a .257/.325/.400 line in the NYPenn league he's literally never had a bad year
   12. Guapo Posted: November 15, 2011 at 07:57 PM (#3994213)
Billy Beane at #6? Sorry, not buying it. (Mom's probably gonna kick me out of her basement for saying this, but whatever.)
   13. SoSH U at work Posted: November 15, 2011 at 08:01 PM (#3994221)
No? Brandon Morrow? Yunel Escobar? Lawrie who you've mentioned. I guess even acquiring Rasmus is considered failure now due to his '11 season. (W-L record might have ended up weaker due to trading away half his bullpen to acquire Rasmus, I don't know) If we're using only MLB players, then the good return on having to trade Halladay doesn't count, nor does all crafty hoarding of supplemental draft picks that AA has done. Minor league system has gone from bottom rankings to top 5 ranking. Signing Bautista to the excellent 5 yr contract extension doesn't factor I guess.


A lot of those thigns were not from 2011, and I was interpreting this as who was the best in 2011.

I think you have every reason as a Jays fan to be excited about AA. But it hasn't translated into on-field results as of yet. I think the Rasmus acquisition is a pretty good microcosm of his year in general - potentially a windfall, though the short-term results aren't inspiring.

(W-L record might have ended up weaker due to trading away half his bullpen to acquire Rasmus, I don't know)


I don't know. They were about the .500est team I can ever remember seeing (and BBREf confirms this - four games above was their best, five games below their worst).
   14. Swedish Chef Posted: November 15, 2011 at 08:02 PM (#3994223)
Billy Beane at #6? Sorry, not buying it.

#6 is code for "worthless" these days.
   15. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 15, 2011 at 08:03 PM (#3994224)
No? Brandon Morrow? Yunel Escobar? Lawrie who you've mentioned. I guess even acquiring Rasmus is considered failure now due to his '11 season. (W-L record might have ended up weaker due to trading away half his bullpen to acquire Rasmus, I don't know) If we're using only MLB players, then the good return on having to trade Halladay doesn't count, nor does all crafty hoarding of supplemental draft picks that AA has done. Minor league system has gone from bottom rankings to top 5 ranking. Signing Bautista to the excellent 5 yr contract extension doesn't factor I guess.


They're nice moves, but he seems to still be behind other GMs who have made good moves and had those moves translate to more on-field success. Its debatable, but I don't think AA is there quite yet.
   16. Barnaby Jones Posted: November 15, 2011 at 09:04 PM (#3994279)
9. Larry Beinfest, Florida


But... Michael Hill... since 2007...
   17. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 15, 2011 at 10:08 PM (#3994330)
I understand I am looking through blue-tinted glasses, but Doug Melvin pushed every last chip he had on the table and it WORKED.

Unless the standard is a World Series flag. I think getting to Game 6 of the NLCS counts for something.

The trades for pitching. Picking up Nyjer for a bag of jellybeans. The bullpen signings. Pickup of Kotsay who was a great bench guy the last 3.5 months.

He drafted Rickie Weeks

He drafted Yovani Gallardo

He drafted Ryan Braun

He drafted Jonathan Lucroy

What more, precisely, is required?

Look, Doug drives me a bit nuts sometimes but you gotta give the guy his due.
   18. base ball chick Posted: November 15, 2011 at 10:27 PM (#3994350)
of course billy beane is on there and doug melvin is not

i don't see doug melvin writing any bestselling book now thoroughly debunked by baseball writers

and davidoff is afraid to put ed wade on any list now WHY????
   19. phredbird Posted: November 15, 2011 at 11:57 PM (#3994415)
i'm confused. mozeliak is not in the top 10? look, if there is any list you make where winning the WS should put you at the top, it's GMs. isn't it? these guys are all doing the same thing: they are trying to manage payroll and still field a competitive team. the cardinals didn't do this?
   20. The District Attorney Posted: November 16, 2011 at 12:10 AM (#3994425)
But... Michael Hill... since 2007...
94% of Baseball Nation readers, presumably a pretty avid group of fans, did not know this.
   21. LionoftheSenate Posted: November 16, 2011 at 01:03 AM (#3994460)

And how is Melvin excluded?


Melvin would have been ripped pretty badly, perhaps fired had his moves not worked out so well this year. In fact, the minority of analysts expected it to work out for him.
   22. Joe Kehoskie Posted: November 16, 2011 at 01:06 AM (#3994463)
Melvin would have been ripped pretty badly, perhaps fired had his moves not worked out so well this year. In fact, the minority of analysts expected it to work out for him.

Perhaps, but that actually bolsters his case, doesn't it?
   23. Meramec Posted: November 16, 2011 at 01:57 AM (#3994494)
Interesting how the guy who...

Because that guy also had Ryan Theriot on his team...
   24. Spahn Insane Posted: November 16, 2011 at 02:18 AM (#3994504)
94% of Baseball Nation readers, presumably a pretty avid group of fans, did not know this.

Doesn't surprise me. I did not, until very recently, when the Marlins' arrangement came up in one of the Epstein discussions.
   25. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: November 16, 2011 at 02:31 AM (#3994512)
A lot of those thigns were not from 2011, and I was interpreting this as who was the best in 2011.

I think you have every reason as a Jays fan to be excited about AA. But it hasn't translated into on-field results as of yet. I think the Rasmus acquisition is a pretty good microcosm of his year in general - potentially a windfall, though the short-term results aren't inspiring.


This sounds like typical having your cake and wanting to eat it too. If the Blue Jays are any good in 2012 or '13, you can point out that the foundation was getting out from the Wells deal, which happened in '11...

Getting out from the Wells deal outways all the positives all the other GM's have contributed in 2011. Combined.
Add the Bautista extension, and it's not even close.

Signed,
A Red Sox fan
   26. Joe Kehoskie Posted: November 16, 2011 at 02:40 AM (#3994517)
Getting out from the Wells deal outways all the positives all the other GM's have contributed in 2011. Combined.

I can't tell if this is serious, sarcasm, intentional hyperbole, etc.
   27. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: November 16, 2011 at 02:42 AM (#3994519)
This sounds like typical having your cake and wanting to eat it too. If the Blue Jays are any good in 2012 or '13, you can point out that the foundation was getting out from the Wells deal, which happened in '11...


I think it's better than crediting him for some success he might have down the road. Moreover, if ranking GMs on yearly results amounted to anything other than internet time-killing, then the fact that AA's dumping of Wells contract this year set up future successes but didn't count in the future rankings would be patently unfair. Alas, it doesn't, so I'm not worried about it.
   28. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: November 16, 2011 at 02:52 AM (#3994522)
Sure you can. And if ranking GMs on yearly results amounted to anything other than internet time-killing, then the fact that AA's dumping of Wells contract this year set up future successes would be patently unfair. Alas, it isn't.


Sure, this is just "internet time killing". Everything we do here is. But if you only care about team success, just rank them all by W% and be done with it. I just don't see what the point of that is though. It pretty much faills at everything, including "internet time killing", since it's just not interesting or insightful.

So, if you want to realistically evaluate how well individual GM's did in a given year, you have to consider their mission statement. The blue jays were not going to be competitive in the ALE this year anyway. Unless you subscribe to some wonky theory, by which they gain 12 wins by signing a proven closer™. So, realistically, their goal was to put the team in a position where they are able to contend in the near- and long-term future. And for that AA gets a roaring mission accomplished.
   29. Joe Kehoskie Posted: November 16, 2011 at 03:06 AM (#3994532)
So, realistically, their goal was to put the team in a position where they are able to contend in the near- and long-term future. And for that AA gets a roaring mission accomplished.

Based on what? The Jays regressed in the win-loss column in 2011 and head into 2012 looking like a fourth-place team again. Recouping some of the Wells money was great, but it wasn't some silver bullet that added wins. People seem to be massively overvaluing the potential of that Wells money, especially since it will be spent by the same bb ops dept. that spent $10 million on Hechavarria and traded two years of Napoli for one year of a reliever.
   30. cardsfanboy Posted: November 16, 2011 at 03:23 AM (#3994540)
i'm confused. mozeliak is not in the top 10? look, if there is any list you make where winning the WS should put you at the top, it's GMs. isn't it? these guys are all doing the same thing: they are trying to manage payroll and still field a competitive team. the cardinals didn't do this?


That is what I was thinking, and considering that his mid season trade is directly responsible for his teams performance in the second half, (you know one of two incredible come backs in the season) it's really tough to see anything that is going on in Boston, Florida(the team, not the state---) Oakland as being better than what Mo did...and I'm not a Mozeliak fan at all. (not a hater either)
   31. Joe Kehoskie Posted: November 16, 2011 at 03:41 AM (#3994552)
30 — I wonder if Mozeliak's honesty has cost him in these discussions. He's been quoted as saying that he didn't really see the Cardinals as a playoff team as late as July or August, and that it was the team that sort of changed his mind. (He's talked of some dinner at which players got up and gave speeches about not giving up on 2011.) The moves should count in his favor either way, but I wonder if people (and writers like Davidoff) see a disconnect between his quotes/honesty and the results.
   32. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: November 16, 2011 at 03:43 AM (#3994553)
So, if you want to realistically evaluate how well individual GM's did in a given year, you have to consider their mission statement. The blue jays were not going to be competitive in the ALE this year anyway. Unless you subscribe to some wonky theory, by which they gain 12 wins by signing a proven closer™. So, realistically, their goal was to put the team in a position where they are able to contend in the near- and long-term future. And for that AA gets a roaring mission accomplished.


I'm not knocking AA. I just don't think that placing himself in position to do something good down the road is what we typically look at when we're evaluating a GM's performance. It's nice that he was able to dump the Wells contract. It would have been nicer if he hadn't turned around and traded Napoli for a relief pitcher, but it's still a damn nice opportunity. But I want to see that opportunity turn into something baseball-related before I extol his greatness. (Now, if you want to put him and Moz and Melvin ahead of Beane or Theo or Towers based on 2011, go right ahead, as I don't see how any of the latter three did anything praiseworthy last year either.)
   33. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: November 16, 2011 at 03:49 AM (#3994554)
Based on what? The Jays regressed in the win-loss column in 2011 and head into 2012 looking like a fourth-place team again. Recouping some of the Wells money was great, but it wasn't some silver bullet that added wins. People seem to be massively overvaluing the potential of that Wells money


And I think you are massively underestimating how much dumping 20-25% of your payroll into a black hole of suck can hamstring a club.
On top of that, here are the ages from their starting IX from BR: 25, 27, 29, 28, 21, 24, 30, 30, 28. That doesn't include 24 year old Colby Rasmus (who sucked in 140 PA's but could be a legitimate contributor). They'll have a full season of Brett Lawrie, which means not dumping PA's on guys like Jayson Nix. D'Arnaud is a legitimate catching prospect, and should contribute next season.

Oh, and here are the ages of their starting rotation: 26, 26, 24, 24, 23. Yes clearly not a club primed for progression.

And also, shouldn't we at least wait for their offseason to actually, you know, happen, before we declare where they are headed in 2012?
   34. Dylan B Posted: November 16, 2011 at 03:59 AM (#3994566)
especially since it will be spent by the same bb ops dept. that spent $10 million on Hechavarria


I'm confused, was this considered a bad allocation of resources at the time of this signing? I can't really see how, 10 mil for a 21 year old free agent SS, who will be effectively be under contract with the team for 8-9 years, is a bad idea. Yes, the 10 mil only covers the first 4 years of their control, but he will still be subject to the same rules as other young MLB players when he makes the big leagues.
   35. Joe Kehoskie Posted: November 16, 2011 at 04:01 AM (#3994571)
And I think you are massively underestimating how much dumping 20-25% of your payroll into a black hole of suck can hamstring a club.

Wasting money is always bad, but there's absolutely no evidence — none — that the Wells contract had "hamstrung" the Jays. Toronto has been spending money like drunken sailors in the draft and internationally for several years, they have the largest bb ops dept. in baseball, and they're owned by the $14 billion Rogers Communications. This isn't Oakland or Tampa, which face severe budgetary constraints.

And also, shouldn't we at least wait for their offseason to actually, you know, happen, before we declare where they are headed in 2012?

Sure, and let's wait until Toronto is something other than a fourth-place team before awarding Anthopoulos Exec of the Year (or Exec of the Decade, as others did in another thread). Deal?

I'm confused, was this considered a bad allocation of resources at the time of this signing?

Hechavarria was a .240 hitter in Cuba but the Jays were making noise about him being in the big leagues in 2010. It was a big overpay relative to his likely ETA.

I can't really see how, 10 mil for a 21 year old free agent SS, who will be effectively be under contract with the team for 8-9 years, is a bad idea.

This seems like an odd standard.
   36. ...and Toronto selects: Troy Tulowitzki Posted: November 16, 2011 at 04:02 AM (#3994572)
Recouping some of the Wells money was great, but it wasn't some silver bullet that added wins. People seem to be massively overvaluing the potential of that Wells money, especially since it will be spent by the same bb ops dept. that spent $10 million on Hechavarria and traded two years of Napoli for one year of a reliever.

It's funny, but you're really the only baseball commentor I ever notice out of mainstream media, bloggers, or blogs commentors (in this case) that I ever read slagging Alex Anthopoulos routinely. I don't seem to see much of it. You're very on record for not seeing why TO did the Hechavarria signing, nor his reasons for the Napoli flip. Outside of you, he is roundly applauded for his Bautista contract and Escobar extension. He has to this point, given out zero bonehead contracts to anyone. He has an excellent reputation and performance reports from seemingly all MSM outlets, but not with you. Fun.
   37. Joe Kehoskie Posted: November 16, 2011 at 04:11 AM (#3994579)
It's funny, but you're really the only baseball commentor I ever notice out of mainstream media, bloggers, or blogs commentors (in this case) that I ever read slagging Alex Anthopoulos routinely. I don't seem to see much of it. ...

And you seem to take this very personally, for reasons I don't understand. As I've said about 20 times, I'm not anti-Jays or anti-Anthopoulos in the slightest. I just see a whole lot of selective accounting when it comes to people's analysis of recent Jays moves. The hits seem to be wildly praised, while the whiffs don't even make it into the discussion. As saber-friendly sites go, it's funny how people here at BBTF often aren't nearly as dispassionate as one might expect.
   38. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: November 16, 2011 at 04:18 AM (#3994583)
Wasting money is always bad, but there's absolutely no evidence — none — that the Wells contract had "hamstrung" the Jays. Toronto has been spending money lie drunken sailors in the draft and internationally for several years, they have the largest bb ops dept. in baseball, and they're owned by the $14 billion Rogers Communications. This isn't Oakland or Tampa, which face severe budgetary constraints.


... and has never once had a payroll over 100m. Rogers may be worth 14b, but they are also a corporation, and as such, their primary objective will always be concerned around the bottom line. There is no reason to assume they are willing to run the team at a loss, regardless of how much money they have, and past spending overall clearly reenforces that view. They very clearly have a budget.

Now within those budget constraints, I don't think it was a bad idea to shift more resources towards draft & development over the last few years. There was no reason to think they could spend their way to contention over that period, wothout going to 120m+ in payroll, especially while the Wells deal was on the books. And until they show that they are willing to spend like a big market team, I am going to assume that won't.
   39. ...and Toronto selects: Troy Tulowitzki Posted: November 16, 2011 at 04:28 AM (#3994591)
I'm not though Joe. But you do lay in pretty quick to predict based on nothing, that he/they will do nothing with the money not wasted on the Wells contract. Not having to pay Wells is great. But not having to have his injuries and his declining bat great too. As was making way for Bautista, Romero, whomever to step into leadership roles and assume being the face of the Org, etc yada etc.

Where are people using selective accounting of his moves? I don't really see fanboyism going on in here towards him. Most do find him pretty impressive thus far though. He's only GM'd for what? Two years. Personally, the only move that I can think of since he came in that I didn't/don't like, was the Napoli trade, and i'm on recorded all over saying just that. That, and like many I am surprised/puzzled with what they did with Snider all this past season.

Hechavarria was a .240 hitter in Cuba but the Jays were making noise about him being in the big leagues in 2010. It was a big overpay relative to his likely ETA.

I don't recall that ever being said. Perhaps i'm not recalling properly.
   40. Joe Kehoskie Posted: November 16, 2011 at 04:28 AM (#3994593)
38 — You might be right about all of that, but it doesn't really refute any of my comments above. The net effect of dumping Wells is that the Jays now ostensibly have more money to spend in 2012 and beyond. Until that money is spent, the money is just potential.

As I recall, Rogers bumped up the payroll under Ricciardi, but then much of the money was misspent. Was Ricciardi the Exec of the Year because he helped convince Rogers to spend more money? Of course not. It's ludicrous. But that's really the net effect of dumping Wells: The Jays have more money to spend, which thus far hasn't been spent and hasn't resulted in more wins in the win column. This is the totality of my argument here, whether the Jays' GM is Alex Anthopoulos or Alex Trebek. I'm not anti-Anthopoulos in the slightest; just calling the baseball moves as I see them.

I'm not though Joe. But you do lay in pretty quick to predict based on nothing, that he/they will do nothing with the money not wasted on the Wells contract.

I've made no such prediction, in this thread or anywhere else. I'm simply not assuming that the money saved by dumping Wells will lead to a large number of additional wins for the Jays, as most others seem to be assuming.
   41. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: November 16, 2011 at 04:37 AM (#3994601)
38 — You might be right about all of that, but it doesn't really refute any of my comments above. The net effect of dumping Wells is that the Jays now ostensibly have more money to spend in 2012 and beyond. Until that money is spent, the money is just potential.


And the totality of my argument is, that given the state of the organization pre-2011, generating potential for 2012 and beyond was the single most important organizational objective.
   42. TerpNats Posted: November 16, 2011 at 04:46 AM (#3994608)
Additional wins for the Jays may come merely because the Yankees are getting old, the Red Sox are currently confused, the Rays remain underfunded, and the Orioles are retooling (again). That doesn't necessarily mean playoff baseball is coming to Toronto in the next few years, but it does mean if Anthopoulos plays his cards right, the Jays could well be in the thick of things, if only because the rest of the division (aside from Baltimore, which really isn't in the equation) is sliding closer to Toronto's level.
   43. tshipman Posted: November 16, 2011 at 04:53 AM (#3994615)
As I recall, Rogers bumped up the payroll under Ricciardi, but then much of the money was misspent. Was Ricciardi the Exec of the Year because he helped convince Rogers to spend more money? Of course not. It's ludicrous. But that's really the net effect of dumping Wells: The Jays have more money to spend, which thus far hasn't been spent and hasn't resulted in more wins in the win column. This is the totality of my argument here, whether the Jays' GM is Alex Anthopoulos or Alex Trebek.


I agree with this. I think you can rate AA as being better than someone who traded for Vernon Wells, but I don't think you can rate him as being better than the guy who stole Napoli out of that deal and made it to the WS.

(IOW, I would rate AA as being top 20, but not top 10)
   44. LionoftheSenate Posted: November 16, 2011 at 05:02 AM (#3994620)
Perhaps, but that actually bolsters his case, doesn't it?


Exactly. Melvin should be rewarded for his work. Seems he was correctly named co-executive of the year.
   45. ...and Toronto selects: Troy Tulowitzki Posted: November 16, 2011 at 05:11 AM (#3994625)
Haha, fun. Did he 'steal' Napoli or did AA 'give him away'? It's more fun/gossipy if it has to be one way or the other. Today's reports of draft compensation being taken away has been a hot topic in TO baseball-land cuz if Franscico can't bring back a B-type pick, it takes away a big part of why AA dealt away Napoli for Franscico. Whoops. When asked about it this afternoon AA said:

AA on report Type B comp may be eliminated in new CBA: “I think ... the league is going to consider impact on clubs. I'm not conerned."
- via Twitter
   46. Joe Kehoskie Posted: November 16, 2011 at 05:15 AM (#3994630)
Melvin should be rewarded for his work. Seems he was correctly named co-executive of the year.

I mentioned Melvin and Daniels as my Execs of the Year in a thread about a month ago, but Dombrowski has a legit claim.

When I look at Exec of the Year, I weight it ~65 percent on the current season and ~35 percent on the GM's moves over the last couple seasons. To me, the idea that the GM of a fourth-place team could be 2011 Exec of the Year because his team might be good in 2012 (or '13, or '14) is bizarre. I just don't see the point of issuing awards on the basis of speculation rather than results + retrospection.
   47. ...and Toronto selects: Troy Tulowitzki Posted: November 16, 2011 at 05:23 AM (#3994636)
@ Joe. Sure, but can good/great baseball moves not be made that have good benifit now, and point towards maybe great value later? Not everything has to be instantaneous WIN! WIN! move right now (W/L record). Clubs build.
   48. Joe Kehoskie Posted: November 16, 2011 at 05:33 AM (#3994637)
@ Joe. Sure, but can good/great baseball moves not be made that have good benifit now, and point towards maybe great value later? Not everything has to be instantaneous WIN! WIN! move right now (W/L record). Clubs build.

Agreed. As I said in #46, such moves are an important part of the assessment. If the Jays win in 2012 or '13, Anthopoulos' moves in 2010 and '11 will help bolster his Exec of the Year case. I just don't see any sense in taking the opposite approach — i.e., valuing process so much more than results that fourth place can trump first place (or even a WS championship) when it comes time to pass out the hardware.
   49. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: November 16, 2011 at 06:07 AM (#3994650)
They finished behind 3 of the best 5 teams in baseball; .500 in the toughest division in baseball. In any other div they probably finish first or second. Why are you harping on fourth place so much... oh that's right, you have some bizzare axe to grind.
   50. Good cripple hitter Posted: November 16, 2011 at 06:11 AM (#3994655)
Hechavarria was a .240 hitter in Cuba but the Jays were making noise about him being in the big leagues in 2010. It was a big overpay relative to his likely ETA.


I just looked for stories about Hechavarria when he was signed. The only references to a timeframe that I can find are references to him choosing the Jays over the Yankees because he thought he make the majors faster as a shortstop if he didn't have to drive a stake through Derek Jeter's heart. There's also an article from an April 2010 article claiming that the Jays thought he'd make the majors "before too long" but that's both vague and coming from the paper that recently spilled far too much ink on JP Arencibia's rookie of the year credentials.

As for the whether or not it was an overpay, there was a quote from an NL scout who told his GM not to spend more than a million dollars on Hechavarria but scouting reports varied about his glove,and his bat. I remember hearing the phrase "Cuban John McDonald" thrown around, but there's also reports that said he was better than Jose Iglesias.

I did, however, find a post on a Jays blog that said that the signing meant that the Jays had five championship level players: Hechavarria, Brett Wallace, Travis Snider, Adam Lind, and Aaron Hill.
   51. Joe Kehoskie Posted: November 16, 2011 at 06:57 AM (#3994656)
They finished behind 3 of the best 5 teams in baseball; .500 in the toughest division in baseball. In any other div they probably finish first or second. Why are you harping on fourth place so much... oh that's right, you have some bizzare axe to grind.

Nonsense. If you want to whine about the Yankees and Red Sox, that's one thing, but the Jays have far more resources than the Rays. The idea that finishing .500 in the A.L. East, 10 games out of the wild card, was some Herculean task worthy of ignoring all other GMs for purposes of Exec of the Year is beyond silly.

If the Jays win in 2012 or '13, I'll be the first to credit Anthopoulos for formulating a plan and seeing it to fruition. Until then, I like my winners to, you know, win.
   52. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: November 16, 2011 at 07:50 AM (#3994661)
Nonsense. If you want to whine about the Yankees and Red Sox, that's one thing, but the Jays have far more resources than the Rays. The idea that finishing .500 in the A.L. East, 10 games out of the wild card, was some Herculean task worthy of ignoring all other GMs for purposes of Exec of the Year is beyond silly.

If the Jays win in 2012 or '13, I'll be the first to credit Anthopoulos for formulating a plan and seeing it to fruition. Until then, I like my winners to, you know, win.


So, what? You support the pitcher with the most W's for the Cy, and only think the MVP should go to players from playoff teams? GM's are just as much dependant on external factors as players are for those awards. The contracts they inherit, the farm system, budget constraints, desireablility of their location, strength other teams in their division etc.
It doesn't matter how the Rays got there, they are a legitimately great team right now, and the Jays have to deal with that reality. The fact that they didn't get there by 150m+ payrolls is irrelevant. The notion that AA could have hoped to compete this year against those three teams, considering the team he had, and the budget constraints, is just a pipe dream. And measuring the job he did against a pipe dream, is simply not a reasonable standard. It's the equivalent of complaining about Felix's W/L record, while ignoring the fact that he plays for the worst offenive team in the league.

Anyways, this is pointless. I'm out, have a good one.
   53. Joe Kehoskie Posted: November 16, 2011 at 09:14 AM (#3994662)
So, what? You support the pitcher with the most W's for the Cy, and only think the MVP should go to players from playoff teams? GM's are just as much dependant on external factors as players are for those awards.

Ludicrous comparisons. No one votes for Cy Young or MVP based on potential, which is how you seem to want to award Exec of the Year. The Jays finished in 4th place in Ricciardi's last two seasons and in Anthopoulos' first two seasons. And yet I'm the bad guy with an "axe to grind" because I'd like the needle to move a little before bestowing Exec of the Year awards. Absurd.

The notion that AA could have hoped to compete this year against those three teams, considering the team he had, and the budget constraints, is just a pipe dream.

Perfect example of the selective accounting I've mentioned. You talk like the Jays were some cash-strapped 68-win basket case heading into 2011, when in fact they were coming off an 85-win season and, per media accounts, didn't spend all of the money they had available in 2011.

The Jays finished 2011 with an 81-81 win-loss record. Since we're supposed to believe in advanced metrics around here, let's have some fun with WAR:

Had Mike Napoli (5.5 bWAR) not been traded for a reliever, he would have been a net 4- or 5-win improvement over any of the Jays' C/1B/DH trio. That gets the Jays to 85 or 86 wins. With Napoli, the Jays are likely a better team in May or June, so maybe Lawrie comes up a little sooner and gets the Jays to 87 or 88 wins. Now, with Napoli and/or Lawrie, instead of having 55 wins at the deadline, maybe the Jays have 58 or 60 wins and make a stretch-run addition(s) rather than emptying their 'pen to get Rasmus (a double whammy in '11, given his -1 WAR in TOR and the +1 WAR of the RPs TOR traded). Add all of that up, and the Jays are sniffing 90 wins, if not north of 90, without mortgaging their future to the tune of one player (and only spending an additional $2-3M in cash).

Obviously, that's a whole lot of maybes, WAR is just theory, and no one foresaw the events of Sept. 2011. But the idea that 2011 was utterly hopeless for the Jays, or that the Jays had no path to contention in 2011, is ludicrous. Every player mentioned was right on their roster or in their system, and the Wells money was in the bank.
   54. Greg K Posted: November 16, 2011 at 09:25 AM (#3994663)
I think a reasonable compromise might be to say it's too early to rank AA.

He's given himself all kinds of flexibility and has shown he can pull off an imaginative trade or two, which inspires hope that he will use that flexibility well.

But for all his party-pooping and annoyance at seeing Jays fans happy and hopeful for the first time in ages, Mr. Kehoskie has a point. AA is still in the midst of creating "his team". I would argue early indications are positive and I'd be surprised if AA squanders the "big move" we're all expecting over the next couple years. But the fact is we're very much in the midst of it and any evaluation at this point is going to depend on future events and decisions.

I also think there may be a pro-AA bias because he's such an INTERESTING GM. He makes moves that you just WANT to be good because they're so damned exciting and seem to come out of nowhere.

I think maybe the correct debate to have isn't "is AA a good GM?", but "will AA be a good GM?" which at this point is somewhat unknowable, but my answer would be yes.
   55. Joe Kehoskie Posted: November 16, 2011 at 10:01 AM (#3994664)
But for all his party-pooping and annoyance at seeing Jays fans happy and hopeful for the first time in ages, Mr. Kehoskie has a point.

Ha ha. I'm really not trying to be a party pooper. I lived in central New York for my first 31 years, during which Syracuse was the Jays' 3A affiliate for 25-plus years. The Jays seem to be doing a lot of interesting things and I'm glad Jays fans have newfound hope. Some of us here just seem to have a good-faith difference of opinion when it comes to awarding Exec of the Year.

I also think there may be a pro-AA bias because he's such an INTERESTING GM. He makes moves that you just WANT to be good because they're so damned exciting and seem to come out of nowhere.

I agree with his. A corollary is that Anthopoulos gets discussed much more than the average GM, which is probably why some people seem to think I have an "axe to grind" when discussing his moves. The only reason I talk about Anthopoulos so much is because 90 percent of these GM threads tend to get steered to Anthopoulos (as happened in this thread long before I arrived). I'd prefer to talk about Wade or Hoyer; much easier names to type.
   56. Greg K Posted: November 16, 2011 at 11:59 AM (#3994675)
Ha ha. I'm really not trying to be a party pooper.

It was a bit tongue in cheek (or perhaps just plain cheeky), so I'm glad you didn't take it too seriously. You never can tell sometimes on the internet.
   57. TerpNats Posted: November 16, 2011 at 01:34 PM (#3994702)
The only reason I talk about Anthopoulos so much is because 90 percent of these GM threads tend to get steered to Anthopoulos (as happened in this thread long before I arrived). I'd prefer to talk about Wade or Hoyer; much easier names to type.
You can always talk about Rizzo -- five letters, including one you repeat.
   58. Something Other Posted: November 17, 2011 at 12:39 AM (#3995308)
What are non-Met fans' impressions of Sandy Alderson?

Imo Alderson had a respectable year but it was nothing special. In the 2010-11 offseason the FO brought in literally no one who played well but did for the most part avoid catastrophes like actually wanting Mike Jacobs and Gary Matthews Jr. on the team; Beltran was dealt for real value (that was expected, particularly given the Mets paid most of his salary and Beltran was having a HOF season with great durability, though Wheeler was a nice pickup, a little better than I expected). Dumping Rodriguez (as who would not have) showed minimum competence, with the Mets picking up his 2011 salary. The draft is by far the most important thing this FO will do in its first year+ so we won't have that to evaluate for a while. It's clear the Mets never intended to go after Reyes this offseason and would have done better trading him during a brilliant-looking, seemingly healthy season. The Wilpons may have given Alderson little choice, but Alderson has real leverage and part of a GMs job is to persuade ownership to do smart baseball things, and not simply for the sake of mere appearance hang onto a guy with several HOF seasons under his belt having yet one more of those HOF seasons. One small demerit.

Overall that looks like a "C" to me for Alderson, even with the couple of sensible, in-season moves. Nothing special, nothing grotesque. No Bartolo Colons or Freddy Garcias, or Mike Napoli for couch change, but also not mumbling to the faeries while the season expires leaving the Mets paying 17.5m for a reliever's 2012 season. Even Dayton Moore could have figured that one out. Mets fans seem to me to be so shell-shocked that mere competence gets ferocious applause, but if Alderson did something remarkable, or even significantly out of the ordinary, I'm not seeing it.
   59. tshipman Posted: November 17, 2011 at 12:50 AM (#3995312)
I also think there may be a pro-AA bias because he's such an INTERESTING GM.


This is a good point. Moezeliak had a good year but wasn't very interesting. A theoretical GM who drafted excellently and never ever traded would be pretty boring as well (Think Terry Ryan).

Andrew Friedman is interesting in how he'll trade guys like Garza at their peak. Epstein is interesting. Even bad GMs like Wade are interesting because of their mania for odd things, like Wade for RPs.
   60. Joe Kehoskie Posted: November 17, 2011 at 01:01 AM (#3995315)
58 — I don't disagree with any of your assessment, but it seems a little unfair to slap a "C" on Alderson's first year given that he had very limited resources. The "C" seems to imply that Alderson should have been expected to make something out of nothing, which might be the mark of a great GM but isn't the baseline expectation for the job, especially given a mess like the one Alderson inherited. (I'm not saying he should get an "A" or "B" for holding serve. More like a "no grade" for not being able to make enough moves that can be graded fairly.)
   61. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: November 17, 2011 at 04:12 AM (#3995421)
I don't disagree with any of your assessment, but it seems a little unfair to slap a "C" on Alderson's first year given that he had very limited resources. The "C" seems to imply that Alderson should have been expected to make something out of nothing, which might be the mark of a great GM but isn't the baseline expectation for the job, especially given a mess like the one Alderson inherited.


But they finished fourth in their division!
   62. Something Other Posted: November 17, 2011 at 05:32 AM (#3995453)
@60: well, not expecting something out of nothing so much as a bit more than we got out of what he had to work with.

It might be grade inflation suggesting it, but I don't mean a "C" as an insult. It means to me that you showed up, you did the work, the essential work of the course. To me that's getting value for a valuable player (Beltran), or doing the research and behind-the-scenes work necessary to not saddling the team with FRoddy's crazy 2012 option, or picking up enough slightly above replacement level players with the few dollars Alderson had to work with to put a floor of 'not completely awful' under nearly all the positions. As unispired as the deal for Capuano turned out to be, it was one of a number of what I expected would be Alderson's signature move in the offseason: basic competence. Instead of actively seeking out players like Mike Jacobs and Gary Matthews, Jr., as Minaya did, Alderson picked up Scott Hairston for around what Minaya paid (AAV) for Matthews. Admittedly Hairston was worth all of 0.2 bWAR in 145 PAs, but that's one win over a season where Minaya was getting a negative win, or worse, in a similar situation.

Capuano turned out to be the rotation equivalent of Hairston. His 82 ERA+ in 2011 was nothing remotely to write home about, but he gave the Mets 30 starts out of the fifth slot and, more important, kept the Mets from running 2011's equivalent of Ollie Perez and John Maine to the mound for the bulk of a season. My longwinded point is that Alderson did just fine at avoiding complete dogs and wasting the little the Mets had on truly bad ballplayers. That's a skill, but not a particulary sophisticated skill and at the same time it seems a basic component of the job description: identifying cheap ballplayers who won't hurt the club and who have a shot at being better than replacement level.

It might be, too, that I give credit to the manager and coaching staff someone else would give to the FO. I see the modest and encouraging successes of Duda, Thole, Turner, and Tejada as belonging to Collins and friends. The Mets turned to Turner only after the FOs first choice, Emaus, quickly soured, and their second choice, Murphy, quickly and predictably vanished in a puff of infield dust. That Turner is acceptable at 2B for a rebuilding team not going anywhere and as long as he's cheap isn't a success for the FO. They lucked out after their preferences crapped out.

If someone prizes competence I can see them valuing Alderson's work more highly than I do. I just think that getting real value for Beltran, dumping FRod in return for not much while picking up his salary, and signing the Mets best pitcher in 2010 to the 2+/8 deal everybody was hoping for is no more than that: basic competence. To NOT get a solid prospect for an inexpensive HOFer in the middle of a HOF season, to not dump a ludicrous vesting option, and to not sign the team's best pitcher to a truly modest deal when the rotation was thin as Kate Moss on a binge, well, to fail to do any of those things would have demonstrated genuine incompetence.

I agree, though, that to date the FO has not been truly tested.
   63. Dr. Vaux Posted: November 17, 2011 at 09:12 AM (#3995476)
I just noticed poking around B-R that 5 of the 26 first round picks in the 1980 draft eventually played for the Blue Jays, and a sixth would later manage the Blue Jays, but none of them were actually drafted by the Blue Jays. That would make a good trivia question.
   64. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: November 17, 2011 at 10:57 AM (#3995486)
What are non-Met fans' impressions of Sandy Alderson?


He's a Selig stooge assigned to make sure the free money train stays on-course for the enrichment of Bud's cronies.
   65. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: November 17, 2011 at 10:59 AM (#3995487)
3. Brian Cashman, Yankees (5 in ‘10, 6 in ‘09, NR in ‘08, 8 in ‘07) . It was a banner year for the Yankees’ baseball operations department, even if it didn’t end with a new banner to fly over Yankee Stadium.


I think Mr. Cashman is excellent at his job, and I'm glad he's in the position he's in. Having said that, the Igawa contract is the worst baseball signing of my lifetime and with a millstone of that size around his neck I don't see how he could possibly rank so highly.
   66. Greg K Posted: November 17, 2011 at 01:12 PM (#3995507)
He's a Selig stooge assigned to make sure the free money train stays on-course for the enrichment of Bud's cronies.

Sure, but doesn't that describe everyone in baseball (or the world) not associated with the Yankees?
   67. J. Lowenstein Apathy Club Posted: November 17, 2011 at 03:41 PM (#3995608)
I can't really see how, 10 mil for a 21 year old free agent SS, who will be effectively be under contract with the team for 8-9 years, is a bad idea.


Primarily because the track record of Cuban position players is so awful, especially with a guy who was only a marginal hitter to begin with. (Jury is still out, though... Hech had a little cameo in Vegas that, despite it being a cameo and despite it being Vegas, was high quality. It'll take him time regardless.)

But $10 million, at the end of the day, so what? AA's earned that scratch himself, by managing a shrinking payroll quite well.

I think AA's performance as GM is really good - maybe not top 5, but arguably. But to get there, you have to separate out what he's done from what ownership has done to him, which is to constrain him at almost every turn. He's made some unforced errors, but he hits lots of winners, which is exactly the kind of guy a team like Toronto needs.

I think player development looms as a big problem, though. The last regime were weaker on signings, weaker on trades, but stronger on player development. AA's method will probably work better if he gets some bullets for his gun.

That's up to Rogers.

I hated the idea of making AA the GM at the beginning. Now, I'm glad he's there.

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