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Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Mitch Williams: Front office shakeup in Texas

WARNING: YOU MAY NOT WALK AWAY FROM THIS ONE!...As Twitcher of the Death Nerve Strikes Again!

This is the problem plaguing our game. I have all the respect in the world for these young front office people that come out of Harvard or Yale — or in Daniels’ case, Cornell. I respect them when they know what they are good at: business, finance, or organizational skills — those sorts of things.

Where I tend to lose respect for them is when they decide they know how to evaluate baseball talent better than people like Nolan Ryan! When they so that, they do their players a disservice, as well as their fan base and the entire organization.

...I don’t know Daniels, but the way that Michael Young was treated there was just wrong. Young changed positions four times for the good of the team. He became an All-Star at three different positions, then demanded a trade after the signing of Adrian Beltre.

I spoke to Michael about this, and that conversation will remain between us. One thing I can say for sure is that as soon as a GM starts to think he can evaluate talent better than someone like Ryan without anywhere near the baseball background, he is giving himself too much credit.

...In my opinion, you are only ignorant if you try and tell someone how to do their job if you aren’t qualified to do that job. I don’t think I’m going to get to many people calling me to do their taxes or represent them in court. Just as I am not going to argue with someone who does a job that I have no clue about.

If the Rangers lose Ryan, they will be headed back to where they were before he got there.

Repoz Posted: March 06, 2013 at 06:23 AM | 59 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: rangers

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   1. Bob Tufts Posted: March 06, 2013 at 07:24 AM (#4381740)
In my opinion, you are only ignorant if you try and tell someone how to do their job if you aren’t qualified to do that job.


So, how does being told what to do in player personnel decisions by Mitch Williams fit into the equation?
   2. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: March 06, 2013 at 08:06 AM (#4381743)
I don’t know Daniels, but the way that Michael Young was treated there was just wrong. Young changed positions four times for the good of the team. He became an All-Star at three different positions, then demanded a trade after the signing of Adrian Beltre.

Wasn't Ryan there too when this was happening?
   3. boteman digs the circuit clout Posted: March 06, 2013 at 08:12 AM (#4381745)
In my opinion, you are only ignorant if you...

...wag your head on national television to try to get the gears turning while you come up with something really i'norant to say.
   4. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 06, 2013 at 09:19 AM (#4381770)
Why should we assume that Nolan Ryan knows how to evaluate baseball talent? What is it about his record that tells us he must be good at it?

I mean, this is obviously too easy, but isn't Williams telling us we can't criticize a President of the US unless we're qualified to hold the office?
   5. The elusive Robert Denby Posted: March 06, 2013 at 09:32 AM (#4381773)
I don’t think I’m going to get to many people calling me to do their taxes or represent them in court.

Frankly Mitch, I wouldn't call you to mow my lawn.
   6. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: March 06, 2013 at 09:37 AM (#4381776)
This is dumb even by Williams' standards.
   7. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: March 06, 2013 at 09:38 AM (#4381778)
The Rangers had put together a really good team before Nolan Ryan showed up.
   8. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 06, 2013 at 10:17 AM (#4381791)
Is it confirmed Ryan was pushed out? I just saw a blurb on the ESPN crawl and I assumed Ryan was retiring.
   9. JJ1986 Posted: March 06, 2013 at 10:22 AM (#4381793)
Where I tend to lose respect for them is when they decide they know how to evaluate baseball talent better than people like Nolan Ryan


Because Hall of Fame players generally make the best talent evaluators in baseball. Why, front offices are full of them.
   10. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 06, 2013 at 10:29 AM (#4381796)
Jon Daniels made some peculiar moves early in his career - he traded away Adrian Gonzalez (after Gonzalez' breakout 2005 in Oklahoma City) for Akinori Otsuka and Adam Eaton, and he included Chris Young in the deal as well.

The development of the Rangers into annual contenders tracks much better to Ryan's tenure with the club than Daniels'.
   11. BDC Posted: March 06, 2013 at 10:39 AM (#4381808)
As I said in some other thread, I have no idea how to apportion credit for the Rangers' 2009-12 success. As Shooty points out, they were assembling a good team all along, and Daniels was there two years before Ryan arrived, so he has actually more experience evaluating baseball talent than Ryan does, and he got things in place for the pennant years. On the other hand, the team got sharply better as soon as Ryan got there [Edit: Coke to MCoA], particularly their pitching: but for that, Mike Maddux deserves credit, and I doubt that Ron Washington has been irrelevant either, or bunches of other people I've scarcely heard of, I'm sure. I would be greatly dismayed to see Ryan go, because I think he's a terrific public figure, and his departure would be a PR disaster. But I would imagine Daniels knows every bit as much about running a baseball club.

Meanwhile, except for the graf about how hard it is to control pitches, on which topic I would certainly trust Mitch Williams, everything in TFA is pretty much wrong. Michael Young was treated perfectly, and with exactly the right unsentimental approach, over the past few years in Arlington: displacing him from short to third to DH/UT improved the team defense, and when he started to hurt the team offense, they sent him to Philadelphia. Young's feelings may have been hurt, but he busted his ### on the field and the team won, no matter where he was playing. Whoever masterminded that transition was brilliant.

And "take away fans from the Dallas Cowboys"? The Cowboys have averaged 700,000 a year since they moved into the Stadium, by far the best attendance in the NFL and by far the best per-game draw in any American pro sport, except maybe NASCAR. Give me a break.
   12. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 06, 2013 at 10:41 AM (#4381811)

Jon Daniels made some peculiar moves early in his career - he traded away Adrian Gonzalez (after Gonzalez' breakout 2005 in Oklahoma City) for Akinori Otsuka and Adam Eaton, and he included Chris Young in the deal as well.


Travis Hafner too (for Einar Diaz), Jon Danks (for broke-down Brandon McCarthy) and Alfonso Soriano for pennies on the dollar (Brad Wilkerson and others).
   13. The Tarp That Ate Vince Coleman Posted: March 06, 2013 at 10:43 AM (#4381814)
Yes, that was a move that didn't work out, but why mention only that deal?

When did he swap Teixeira for a huge bag of goodies from Atlanta? Oh, yeah, it was July 31, 2007...or six months before Ryan joined the Rangers.

Some might chalk up the Gonzalez deal as a poor move by a pup and then look at subsequent deals to see whether they rode a learning curve.
   14. GregD Posted: March 06, 2013 at 10:53 AM (#4381819)
What great players have been really good in front office management? Al Kaline?

I don't doubt the idea that experience playing is one among several useful ways to develop your abilities at management but I doubt that excellence is a useful tracker. Certainly sports are full of journeymen/scrub types who became excellent either in front office or on-field management.
   15. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 06, 2013 at 10:53 AM (#4381820)
Some might chalk up the Gonzalez deal as a poor move by a pup and then look at subsequent deals to see whether they rode a learning curve.
One might, but as AG#1F points out, it was part of a significant pattern.
   16. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 06, 2013 at 10:54 AM (#4381821)
What great players have been really good in front office management? Al Kaline?
John McGraw? I know, sort of cheating. But he really was the primary talent scout and effective GM for his clubs.
   17. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: March 06, 2013 at 11:00 AM (#4381825)
What great players have been really good in front office management? Al Kaline?

Al Rosen was a pretty good front office guy with the Giants.
   18. Tripon Posted: March 06, 2013 at 11:05 AM (#4381828)
It is hilarious that Williams is arguing that the head of baseball operations shouldn't be allowed to make baseball decisions. Andrew Friedman of the Rays should get his hand holed as well, apparently. So should Jack Zduriencik, who was a scouting director but never played in the majors, only lasting two years in a brief minor league career. Only men of Ryan's nature should be allowed to make the big boy decisions.
   19. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: March 06, 2013 at 11:05 AM (#4381829)
Who have been the Rangers' key players?

Hamilton: Acquired in 2007 shortly before Ryan joined.
Kinsler: Drafted in 2003 by Hart
Beltre: Signed as a FA in 2011
Cruz: Acquired in 2006
Andrus: Acquired in 2007
Harrison: Acquired in 2007
Feliz: Acquired in 2007
Holland: Drafted in 2006
Darvish: Signed in 2012
Young: Acquired in 2000 (was that Hart?)
Wilson: Drafted in 2001
Napoli: Acquired in 2011

Daniels deserves a lot of credit, although he also inherited a team with a lot of talent (and threw some of it away). Ryan deserves credit too, but it's hard to say how much.
   20. Moeball Posted: March 06, 2013 at 11:06 AM (#4381832)
Why should we assume that Nolan Ryan knows how to evaluate baseball talent? What is it about his record that tells us he must be good at it?


About the only thing I can think of in Nolan's favor on this one is that Randy Johnson gives a lot of credit to Ryan to helping Randy have his breakthrough season in 1993. According to Johnson, he spent some time talking pitching and mechanics with Ryan (and pitching coach Tom House)at the end of the '92 season which Johnson credits for vastly improved control in '93 and beyond. Yes, you heard that right - Randy Johnson credits the all time leader in most batters walked for helping Johnson improve his control. As seen here.

Speaking of Tom House - as an aside, if you ever get a chance to read "Diamond Appraised", I'd recommend it. House goes nose to nose with analyst Craig Wright on a variety of baseball topics - Wright from the SABR-analytical side and House from the "inside baseball" viewpoint - but I think it's pretty intelligently discussed on both sides. Better than your average read IMHO.
   21. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: March 06, 2013 at 11:10 AM (#4381836)
Wasn't Hank Greenberg a good executive?
   22. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 06, 2013 at 11:11 AM (#4381837)

What great players have been really good in front office management? Al Kaline?


Michael Jord....errr.

In the NFL, Ozzie Newsome.

Al Rosen was the only name that came to mind in baseball. Was Joe Cronin good in Boston? Seems like they were good when he took over, but go mediocre pretty fast.
   23. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 06, 2013 at 11:11 AM (#4381838)
Daniels deserves a lot of credit, although he also inherited a team with a lot of talent (and threw some of it away). Ryan deserves credit too, but it's hard to say how much.
There was a lot of discussion of how Ryan overhauled the development program for Rangers pitchers (mostly people talking about pitch counts, but that was only part of a larger reform). So it may be that the development of pitchers acquired by Daniels should probably be partly attributed to Ryan.

I'll admit that the transformation of Jon Daniels into a saber-darling GM is sort of weird to me. Back in 2006, dude was a punch line. Clearly that was wrong, and he's done well since then, but I still tend to look for other explanations for the Rangers' success.
   24. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: March 06, 2013 at 11:31 AM (#4381855)
I don't think Daniels is a saber darling. It's more that people in the saber community are a little skeptical of the CW in the media that Ryan turned the team around. They both deserve credit.

And while Daniels made some bad trades, he also made some very good ones.
   25. OsunaSakata Posted: March 06, 2013 at 11:31 AM (#4381856)
What great players have been really good in front office management?


Jerry West.
   26. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: March 06, 2013 at 11:33 AM (#4381859)
Jerry West.

Joe Dumars was and then wasn't. Not sure what the CW is about him now.
   27. lonestarball Posted: March 06, 2013 at 11:35 AM (#4381861)
Travis Hafner too (for Einar Diaz), Jon Danks (for broke-down Brandon McCarthy) and Alfonso Soriano for pennies on the dollar (Brad Wilkerson and others).


The Hafner deal was well before Jon Daniels took over as g.m.

Danks for McCarthy didn't work out, although at the time, McCarthy wasn't "broke down" -- he was considered one of the top young starting pitching prospects in the game.

Soriano was coming off a pair of two year seasons and was in his walk year when he left, and the Rangers dealt him to make room for Ian Kinsler. Wilkerson ended up being toast, but the reality is that there was not much of a market for Soriano, as the Nationals discovered when they tried (unsuccessfully) to move him at the trade deadline.

That said, Daniels made two really bad moves in his first year or so on the job -- the Gonzalez trade and the Danks/McCarthy trade. He learned from those and has headed up one of the best front offices in the game since then.
   28. Ron J2 Posted: March 06, 2013 at 11:37 AM (#4381865)
#9 I used to post the all-time teams of some of the best players of all time, just to underline the point being made.

Worth noting that both Walter Johnson and Babe Ruth picked Hal Chase as the greatest first-baseman of all time. I could understand Sisler over Gehrig or Foxx, but Chase? His justification:

[some people] "will feel that I should pick Lou Gehrig over Chase, (but Chase) was so much better than anybody else that I ever saw on first base that - to me - it was no contest."

Ruth also had Herb Pennock on his all-time team. Ty Cobb picked Buck Weaver as his greatest 3B (actually Cobb picked two different teams, decade apart and Weaver was only on one). Ruth also picked Ray Schalk as his catcher. (Walter Johnson picked 2. Bill Dickey and Johnny Kling. Kling wasn't a terrible player but if you're picking Dickey, Cochrane is in the mix and anybody who'd rather have Kling than Cochrane ... is on the short list for greatest pitcher of all time)

On a related note, Roger Clemens absolute flipped out when the Jays moved Ed ####### Sprague.
   29. The Good Face Posted: March 06, 2013 at 11:41 AM (#4381868)
I'll admit that the transformation of Jon Daniels into a saber-darling GM is sort of weird to me. Back in 2006, dude was a punch line. Clearly that was wrong, and he's done well since then, but I still tend to look for other explanations for the Rangers' success.


The only real catastrophes under his tenure were the Gonzales-Eaton debacle (utterly indefensible) and the Danks trade, and they both took place 6+ years ago. I'd argue that they're balanced out by the Teixeira haul, the Josh Hamilton challenge trade, and maybe even the Napoli steal. Otherwise, he's done well on the things that we'd expect a general manager to do. The farm system has consistently been strong with a steady pipeline of prospects. The organization has done a good job of turning those prospects into successful MLB players. And his FA signings have generally been very good; he milked great short term production from Milton Bradley and Vlad Guerrero, Adrian Beltre has been a huge success, Colby Lewis was a steal, and Yu Darvish is looking very promising. His FA failures have generally been small potatoes that haven't really impacted the bottom line (Roy Oswalt). No Carl Crawfords or John Lackeys on his watch so far.

I think the narrative of "shaky at first but good once he got his legs under him" is supported by a fair amount of evidence.
   30. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 06, 2013 at 11:43 AM (#4381870)
There was a minor kerfuffle at the end of Johnny Damon's tenure in KC when he was "playing GM" and advocating the Royals pick up Paul Sorrento. I don't think Sorrento ever played in a big league game after that point.


I think the narrative of "shaky at first but good once he got his legs under him" is supported by a fair amount of evidence.


So, there's still hope Dayton Moore can be a genius, right?
   31. lonestarball Posted: March 06, 2013 at 11:45 AM (#4381871)
I'll admit that the transformation of Jon Daniels into a saber-darling GM is sort of weird to me. Back in 2006, dude was a punch line. Clearly that was wrong, and he's done well since then, but I still tend to look for other explanations for the Rangers' success.


He was a punchline at the time in large part because he was under 30 and viewed by some as Buck Showalter's puppet. There are those who think the Gonzalez/Young trade was championed by Buck, although Daniels has taken responsibility publicly for that move.

The bottom line is that he was probably promoted to the g.m. job before he was really ready, made a couple of bad moves while learning on the job, and has grown into the job and become one of the really good g.m.s in the game. The fact that he wasn't a good g.m. the first year or two while he was learning the ropes shouldn't, I don't think, suggest that we need to find an explanation other than Daniels and his team for the success now.
   32. The Good Face Posted: March 06, 2013 at 11:50 AM (#4381874)
So, there's still hope Dayton Moore can be a genius, right?


There is infinite hope. But not for the Royals.
   33. Honkie Kong Posted: March 06, 2013 at 12:03 PM (#4381888)
Texas had a decent farm, and a decent major league team when Daniels got there. Soriano was a clunker for him, though not as costly as Eaton.
He most probably did a lot of hard work, but 2 absolute miracles happened for him to stay a GM, and become a successful one.

a) He got a star starting SS, closer / potential top of the rotation arm, another rotation arm and a starting catcher for Teixeira. They should be sending bottles of champagne over to Schuerholz every year. That has to be the baseball version of the Herschel Walker trade.

b) Absolutely super lucked into getting Hamilton, and having Hamilton perform at an obscene level. The Reds got lucky first, but they threw away their chance at it. Daniels should be given lot of credit for trading for Hamilton, but even he could not have imagined Hamilton's sustained renaissance.

At some point, Texas started getting some pitching and defence, which drove their success. But Daniels doesn't get to enjoy any of that without the above two happening.
   34. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 06, 2013 at 12:09 PM (#4381897)

The bottom line is that he was probably promoted to the g.m. job before he was really ready, made a couple of bad moves while learning on the job, and has grown into the job and become one of the really good g.m.s in the game. The fact that he wasn't a good g.m. the first year or two while he was learning the ropes shouldn't, I don't think, suggest that we need to find an explanation other than Daniels and his team for the success now.


It should also be noted that Gonzalez wasn't some sure thing. The Rangers were already his second organization, as the team that made him the overall #1 pick had already given up on him at age 20 for a relief pitcher. Gonzalez was coming off an umimpressive .719 OPS year in the hitter-friendly Texas League, and hadn't impressed at all in about 150 MLB plate appearances. He was blocked at 1B by Teixeira and the '05 Rangers were 12th in the league in ERA, so the team was pitching starved.

It was a bad trade, but its not as stupid as it looks now that Gonzo has become an All-Star.

The Reds got lucky first, but they threw away their chance at it.


You could also say the Rays and Cubs threw away their chance too.
   35. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: March 06, 2013 at 12:10 PM (#4381899)
There is infinite hope. But not for the Royals.

(pokes head up)

I kind of like their chances this year.

(runs away)
   36. The Good Face Posted: March 06, 2013 at 12:25 PM (#4381917)
It should also be noted that Gonzalez wasn't some sure thing. The Rangers were already his second organization, as the team that made him the overall #1 pick had already given up on him at age 20 for a relief pitcher. Gonzalez was coming off an umimpressive .719 OPS year in the hitter-friendly Texas League, and hadn't impressed at all in about 150 MLB plate appearances. He was blocked at 1B by Teixeira and the '05 Rangers were 12th in the league in ERA, so the team was pitching starved.

It was a bad trade, but its not as stupid as it looks now that Gonzo has become an All-Star.


This is a good point. At the time of the trade, most Texas fans were more upset about trading Chris Young, who'd at least demonstrated some success pitching in Texas and was, in fact, better than Adam Eaton had ever been or ever would be. Watching Adrian Gonzales turn into an All-Star was just salt for the wound.
   37. Mom makes botox doctors furious Posted: March 06, 2013 at 12:34 PM (#4381924)
Branch Rickey did pretty well ..
   38. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 06, 2013 at 12:35 PM (#4381926)
I don't think it was obvious that Gonzalez was going to become an All-Star at the time of the trade, but in retrospect the big qualitative leap in Gonzalez's production and probably underlying skill came in 2005, when he was still in the Rangers org. His 2006 is right in line with his 2005, just adding some normal development for a young power hitter. I don't know what changed for Gonzalez between 2004 and 2005, but that's the sort of thing you do expect a team's GM not to miss.
   39. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: March 06, 2013 at 01:01 PM (#4381957)
It boils down to the fact that people like Nolan Ryan, and they don't want to see him forced out. People like celebrities; that's how they get famous in the first place. It's cooler to root for a baseball team run by a celebrity than it is to root for a team run by the usual group of faceless nobodies.

This is how celebrities get elected to public office, too. "Let's see...I can vote for the celebrity, or I can vote for the tub of tapioca pudding. Dude, having a movie star governor will be so awesome...!"
   40. dlf Posted: March 06, 2013 at 01:20 PM (#4381982)
Branch Rickey did pretty well ..


Rickey played in the majors for the Browns and Highlanders.
   41. ...and Toronto selects: Troy Tulowitzki Posted: March 06, 2013 at 03:48 PM (#4382148)

Jamey Newberg today chronicled scads of different columnists speaking on the Daniels/Ryan issue. Sample:

"Are the Rangers trying to freeze out Nolan Ryan? The short answer is no, that’s not the intent, even if the eventual outcome is essentially the same should Ryan perceive that the promotions of Jon Daniels and Rick George have effectively cut him out of the loop, and he becomes nothing more than an iconic figurehead. The majority of the heavy lifting has been done by Daniels. He made the trades, the drafts and the signings that built the Rangers into the envy of baseball. Ryan’s contribution hasn’t been as great as most fans like to believe, but it’s not insignificant, either. Just as he did as a player, Ryan gave the Rangers credibility as team president, a title he no longer owns."

— Kevin Sherrington, Dallas Morning News

"Ryan’s shadow is so large than Daniels hasn’t gotten the credit he deserves. I’m not sure whether Andrew Friedman or Billy Beane or Brian Sabean or someone else is baseball’s best general manager, but there’s no way to have that discussion without including Jon Daniels... Daniels built a great baseball organization. He’d done a lot of the heavy lifting before Ryan arrived, and that’s the point a lot of people miss."

- Richard Justice, MLB.com

"To put it simply: The reason the Texas Rangers gave Jon Daniels a new title the other day had more to do with assistant GM Thad Levine than it did with Nolan Ryan."

— Buster Olney, ESPN


   42. zack Posted: March 06, 2013 at 04:01 PM (#4382160)
Off the top of my head, the people that come to mind when I try and think of a legendary GM:

Branch Rickey - 120G in the majors, 120 in the minors over
Pat Gillick - 164 GP in the minors, done at 25
Lee MacPhail - never played organized ball, nepotism
Ed Barrow - never played, managed first
Sam Pollock - never played
Bill Torrey - never played
Lou Lamoriello - played in college

All the NFL GM's that I can think of are more famous as coaches.

I'm sure there are some who played more than that, and obviously you need to be very familiar with the game, but it's not like this is a new thing.
   43. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: March 06, 2013 at 04:24 PM (#4382186)
He probably doesn't rise to the level of "legendary" GM, but near as I can tell John Schuerholz didn't play a single game of minor league ball.
   44. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 06, 2013 at 04:52 PM (#4382214)

He probably doesn't rise to the level of "legendary" GM, but near as I can tell John Schuerholz didn't play a single game of minor league ball.


He made sure his kid did though.
   45. smileyy Posted: March 06, 2013 at 04:55 PM (#4382222)
[some people] "will feel that I should pick Lou Gehrig over Chase, (but Chase) was so much better than anybody else that I ever saw on first base that - to me - it was no contest."


Is this one of those "He looked like he should be better than he actually was" kinds of things?
   46. Elvis Posted: March 06, 2013 at 05:03 PM (#4382234)
Frank Cashen wasn't too shabby as a GM and according to B-R he never played a game in the majors or minors.
   47. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 06, 2013 at 05:26 PM (#4382268)
Bob Howsam never played pro ball. Sandy Alderson never played pro ball.

Stan Musial won a Championship as GM of the Cardinals, although I don't know how much he had to do with that as that was his only season as GM.
   48. Moeball Posted: March 06, 2013 at 05:37 PM (#4382284)
Serious question - when the Rangers started becoming real contenders - it seemed to me the biggest difference was a dramatic improvement in the pitching - when you've got pitchers getting their ERAs down into the 3s when you're playing in that hitter's paradise of a stadium, you're doing something right.

So who is really responsible for the improvement? Is it Ryan's influence, the pitching coach, or some combination of improved luck/BABIP or something like that?
   49. Der-K, the bloodied charmer Posted: March 06, 2013 at 05:43 PM (#4382293)
cw on dumars isn't great. drafting drummond might help him keep his job, though.

i honestly don't remember daniels as laughingstock - and i think i generally pay attention to that sort of thing.
   50. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: March 06, 2013 at 06:01 PM (#4382308)
So should Jack Zduriencik


Yeah, but Z really should have someone else making his moves for him. Because he's terrible at it. He might have been a great scouting director, but he's not much better than Buzzy Bavasi's idiot kid in the big chair.
   51. The Good Face Posted: March 06, 2013 at 06:01 PM (#4382309)
Serious question - when the Rangers started becoming real contenders - it seemed to me the biggest difference was a dramatic improvement in the pitching - when you've got pitchers getting their ERAs down into the 3s when you're playing in that hitter's paradise of a stadium, you're doing something right.

So who is really responsible for the improvement? Is it Ryan's influence, the pitching coach, or some combination of improved luck/BABIP or something like that?


A big factor is they improved their defense. Moving Michael Young off SS and replacing him with Elvis Andrus was probably worth 3 wins, even taking into account the offensive differences between them. Putting Adrian Beltre at 3rd sure didn't hurt. Kinsler has generally been an above average defender for most of his career. The beefed up IF defense has probably done a lot of good for their pitchers; historically Texas coupled their hitter's park with atrocious defenders.
   52. BDC Posted: March 06, 2013 at 06:38 PM (#4382354)
The beefed up IF defense

Indeed, and outfield too, though it's started to regress of late. There were a lot of strange characters roaming the Ranger outfield in the mid-00s: Jerry Hairston, Frank Catalanotto, Mark DeRosa, basically infielders who seemed to have no speed or range or frankly, any idea what they were doing. I mean, they didn't even throw well, they were all second basemen.

By 2010 there were quite a few days when their outfield was Hamilton, Borbon, and Murphy, and at that point in their lives they were all fast centerfielders. Even Nelson Cruz could move around a little a few years ago. Murphy-Hamilton-Cruz inspired no confidence in 2012, but for awhile there that was an excellent outfield.
   53. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: March 06, 2013 at 06:48 PM (#4382371)
Young moved from SS to 3B to make way for Andrus in 2009. That might have been worth 20-30 runs. And then he moved from 3B to DH in 2011 to make way for Beltre, another 15-20 runs. So, contrary to Williams' claim, their handling of Young probably played a key role in the teams' success. (Not to mention the fact that Williams seems to be saying that Daniels should be blamed for anything he thinks was bad (the treatment of Young), and that Ryan should get credit for everything that was good.)
   54. 'Spos lost the handle trying to make the transfer Posted: March 06, 2013 at 08:00 PM (#4382421)
I don’t think I’m going to get to many people calling me to do their taxes or represent them in court.


I might call you up to serve taters in Toronto...
   55. The District Attorney Posted: March 06, 2013 at 08:42 PM (#4382439)
What's taters, precious? What's taters?
   56. Mess with the Meat, you get the Wad! Posted: March 06, 2013 at 10:22 PM (#4382491)
If mitch is using the fact the ryan was a great player and thatade them great then they are just fine sonce greg maddux (much better pitcher they ryan) is working with the team. Credit his brother for that one
   57. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 06, 2013 at 10:48 PM (#4382502)
Sandy Alderson never played pro ball.


Does defecating on his credibility as the sellout I mean GM for the Mets hurt his case the way Andre Dawson's last four seasons hurt his?
   58. Walt Davis Posted: March 06, 2013 at 11:48 PM (#4382540)
As noted, we don't have clear evidence that Ryan can evaluate talent. Just as relevantly, it's not generally the team president's job to evaluate or even acquire talent -- that's the job of the GM and his underlings. Now, I'll be honest, I'm not real clear on who the president of baseball operations is president of other than the GM (one direct report?) but, in general, if the president was involving himself heavily in talent decisions then there's always going to be a power struggle ... and it's also not clear why this would be considered the GM's fault. Now some teams, maybe the Cubs, might be set up such that the president is the de facto GM ... and presumably the president is the first one with a yes/no say over a GM's recommendations.

I wonder if we're shifting to where the president of baseball ops will have several direct reports with maybe an ML "GM" and a mL "GM" and a draft "GM" -- i.e. some split into product, development and acquisition. O'Dowd sharing power could be a move in this direction (or it's O'Dowd being pushed aside).
   59. tfbg9 Posted: March 07, 2013 at 12:47 AM (#4382586)
John Wooden? UCLA? Basketball HOF as a player as well?

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