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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Olney: Why nobody might want to be Boston’s GM ($)

Two World Series titles in six years, and two executives—with two very different personalities, operating very differently—both dismissed. These decisions loosely frame the industry perception of the Red Sox as a chaotic company, a miserable place to work. Boston owner John Henry needs to understand this, because it is why some of the people he’d probably love to consider as possible replacements for Dombrowski privately dismiss the idea out of hand.

They saw what happened to Cherington. They saw what happened to Dombrowski.

In fact, a wide-held view in other front offices is that the highly respected and well-liked Red Sox president Sam Kennedy stands as a thin buffer between the team devolving to the level of the Mets, the team generally regarded by rival executives as baseball’s model for dysfunction. “If Sam ever walked away,” said one official, “the whole thing would be a complete mess.”

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 22, 2019 at 05:58 PM | 38 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: red sox

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: September 22, 2019 at 09:01 PM (#5882005)
Sure, I wouldn't want to be Boston's GM ... but a few million dollars would go a long way to allaying my concerns.
   2. Dr. Vaux Posted: September 22, 2019 at 09:05 PM (#5882007)
John Henry is both much richer and much smarter than Fred Wilpon, so even if he took the level of control over the Red Sox that Wilpon takes over the Mets, the team wouldn't be anywhere nearly as dysfunctional.
   3. Ziggy is done with Dominican discotheques Posted: September 22, 2019 at 09:54 PM (#5882020)
I confidently predict that someone will accept this job.
   4. JJ1986 Posted: September 22, 2019 at 10:18 PM (#5882027)
I'm sure Chris Sale's agent is available.
   5. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: September 22, 2019 at 10:25 PM (#5882028)
There are billions of people who would accept the job.
   6. QLE Posted: September 22, 2019 at 11:35 PM (#5882043)
Where do I submit my CV, cover letter, and letters of recommendation?
   7. Howie Menckel Posted: September 23, 2019 at 12:02 AM (#5882046)
dupe
   8. Darren Posted: September 23, 2019 at 12:04 AM (#5882047)
I'm sure it's a tough job, but does anyone think it was unreasonable to put someone in over Cherington?
   9. Howie Menckel Posted: September 23, 2019 at 12:04 AM (#5882048)
The Mets are so pathetic that they won the NL pennant in 2015, competed in an epic wild-card game vs eventual champ SF in 2016, and will be eliminated from the 2019 playoffs with multiple days to go.

is there an MLB franchise with worse results?

the crosstown rival Yankees are only 10 years removed from winning a pennant, for example.
   10. Walt Davis Posted: September 23, 2019 at 12:04 AM (#5882049)
There are billions of people who would accept the job.

And we and all the rest are "nobodies" so the headline is correct.
   11. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: September 23, 2019 at 12:14 AM (#5882053)
This just proves that the Red Sox are so far ahead of the curve that no one else can see it.

Instead of trading overvalued players and drafting young, cheap good players, the Sox have decided to keep the players and tear down the management!

It's worked twice now; why not go for a third FO teardown and rebuild??? The results speak for themselves.....
   12. jmurph Posted: September 23, 2019 at 09:17 AM (#5882108)
Greatest upset in BBTF history that Clapper hasn't commented yet. I'm shocked.

And yes, I'm sure that front office types are terrified of working for an ownership group that consistently spends, has delivered 4 WS titles in the past 16 seasons, in a market that has no trouble attracting talent, for fans who consistently turn out, etc.
   13. Nasty Nate Posted: September 23, 2019 at 09:24 AM (#5882110)
Greatest upset in BBTF history that Clapper hasn't commented yet. I'm shocked.
Don't be so naive. He quoted this article in a different thread before this one was posted.

-------------

And give that all negative anonymous quotes involving the Sox are plants from the ownership ... clearly, Buster Olney is acting here as a media mouthpiece for the Red Sox front office. Take this as a sign that the Red Sox are trying to unload its owners, and are looking to tear down public opinion of the owners so they'll look good when they drop him.
   14. jmurph Posted: September 23, 2019 at 11:55 AM (#5882173)
clearly, Buster Olney is acting here as a media mouthpiece for the Red Sox front office. Take this as a sign that the Red Sox are trying to unload its owners, and are looking to tear down public opinion of the owners so they'll look good when they drop him.

It had to be done.
   15. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: September 23, 2019 at 12:20 PM (#5882187)
Serious question? How long do GMs last? I don’t have a real good sense of it. “Come in, be GM for 3-5 years and win a World Series” seems like a pretty appealing thing if I’m a GM candidate.

I suspect the Sox will go one of two routes. Either they will get a Jason MacLeod or someone else who has been in the organization before or they will elevate Raquel Ferreira. I won’t be at all shocked if the Sox view promoting the first female GM in baseball (four major sports?) as appealing. She’s got a good reputation, there’s always been a lot of good press around her.
   16. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 23, 2019 at 02:43 PM (#5882260)
Seems like anyone new will still be playing Dombrowski’s hand for a while. If Price, Sale & Eovaldi return to top form in 2020, the next Red Sox GM might be quite successful. If not, I’m not seeing any real alternatives given what has been said about Boston’s aversion to the higher levels of the luxury tax.
   17. base ball chick Posted: September 23, 2019 at 02:46 PM (#5882262)
they can hire me - get Black, female and no collidge degree all wrapped up in one. and i'll hire colin wyers and mike fast and mike emeigh and a bunch of bbtf buddies and will afford to buy expensive suits and makeup and pose sweetly for Da Media and say absolutely nothing but bull durham scripted stuff and look all Innocent and Earnest and will hire mah twins to write all mah twitter/instagram stuff so as they'll get good jobs too

i'll even agree to pretend to move to bahstin and pretend i don't DESPISE the DH

a Real Winning Stragety
   18. Zach Posted: September 23, 2019 at 04:47 PM (#5882322)
“Come in, be GM for 3-5 years and win a World Series” seems like a pretty appealing thing if I’m a GM candidate.

3-5 years is way too short.

If you took the job under those conditions, you'd be leaving before your first free agent contract played out, and maybe before your very first draft pick debuted. Lots of bad incentives there.
   19. jmurph Posted: September 23, 2019 at 04:54 PM (#5882325)
This list suffers from only having actual GMs, and leaving out PBO-types (so the Dodgers are listed as vacant, for instance). But if it's roughly accurate, assuming that many orgs with PBOs also brought in their GMs at roughly the same time, then 18 have only been in place since 2015.

EDIT: Again it's really not perfect- Oakland is one of the 2015 entries, which obviously doesn't make sense given Beane's continuing employment there. But I think it's fair to say there's a decent number who have only been in place for a handful of seasons or less.
   20. Walt Davis Posted: September 23, 2019 at 07:00 PM (#5882360)
I'm pretty sure that most GM contracts when joining a team are in the 3-5 year range ... generally you need to be a Theo or Friedman to get 5 years I think. It's hard to track -- even Cot's doesn't always have GM contract details -- especially with PBOs and GMs and Exec VPs all floating around. But ... I looked up Mark Shapiro. Now with Tor (no contract info at Cot's), he originally got 4 years at Cleveland. That was extended for 2 years at the end of year 3, then extended for another 5 years at the start of year 6.

Friedman reported got 5/$35 in LA. Klentak in Philly seems to have gotten 4 years then signed a 3-year extension this spring (oops?) DiPoto seems to have gotten 3 guaranteed years plus two options from the Angels ... it's not clear with Seattle other than hired for the 2016 season and signed a "multi-year" extension in mid-2018.

As to this job ... if the rumors were correct that the clash is over getting payroll down, then it isn't a perfect job for a hot-shot candidate. But high-revenue, famous team -- there's no better position available and it's not like waiting a year hoping the Yanks, Dodgers, Cubs, Astros, etc. positions come open is a good bet. There are only 30 GM jobs, this is one of the top 5-6 GM jobs, of course you go for it.
   21. Zach Posted: September 23, 2019 at 08:01 PM (#5882381)
There's a difference between a three year contract and knowing you're out after 3 years, though.

If you tell a GM that he will never see one of his draft picks play in the majors and never see the out years of a free agent contract, I think you're asking for trouble.
   22. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 23, 2019 at 11:23 PM (#5882449)
An interesting development - Red Sox Announce Baseball Operations Promotions:
In the latest move involving the Red Sox baseball operations department — which currently lacks a single top leader — the organization announced several promotions involving key scouting personnel. In particular, Mike Rikard was promoted to VP of scouting while Paul Toboni was named his successor.
. . .
This is the second committing move the organization has made since dropping Dave Dombrowski in surprising fashion. Previously, the team made clear that it will retain manager Alex Cora. It also has been working with Tony La Russa on a continued role.

As Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe explores in a Twitter thread, this run of activity could hint that the team has its eyes on an internal executive to take over the helm of the baseball operations department. Assistant GM Eddie Romero is perhaps the top candidate; he has been running things along with fellow AGMs Zack Scott and Brian O’Halloran as well as senior VP of Major League and minor league operations Raquel Ferreira.
Dombrowski's successor may not initially pick his/her own team, but this avoids a potential talent exodus during the transition phase if these folks aren’t under contract.
   23. villageidiom Posted: September 24, 2019 at 09:26 AM (#5882499)
It had to be done.
It's one of maybe two things I've done on this site (the other being this article intro) that I'm proud of.
   24. jmurph Posted: September 24, 2019 at 09:42 AM (#5882509)
(the other being this article intro)

Oh that's well done. I don't think I was around for that one.
   25. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 24, 2019 at 10:24 AM (#5882518)
If you tell a GM that he will never see one of his draft picks play in the majors and never see the out years of a free agent contract, I think you're asking for trouble.

Yup. Sign back-loaded, too long, FA deals, and trade away the farm. Make sure sure get a few playoff seasons to help you get your next job.
   26. PreservedFish Posted: September 24, 2019 at 10:32 AM (#5882524)
Yup. Sign back-loaded, too long, FA deals, and trade away the farm. Make sure sure get a few playoff seasons to help you get your next job.


Don't you think that any halfway competent owner would be aware of this? You could easily sign a GM for 3 years and say "your performance will be based on prospect development, farm system growth, financial outlook, etc etc etc"
   27. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 24, 2019 at 10:59 AM (#5882544)
Don't you think that any halfway competent owner would be aware of this? You could easily sign a GM for 3 years and say "your performance will be based on prospect development, farm system growth, financial outlook, etc etc etc"

The the owner is going to have to be reviewing every transaction the GM makes. If you're only giving him three years, the GM cares far more about the industry's evaluation of him than yours. If he can win a pennant, he's got another job, and doesn't give a crap what you think.

In any business, if you're not committed to a chief executive for long time (~10 years), you should not hire him. Of course he can make mistakes that cause you to change your mind, but if you can't say at the time of hiring "I want X to run this organization for the next 10 years) pick someone else.

The principal/agent problem is just too large.
   28. Blastin Posted: September 24, 2019 at 11:14 AM (#5882552)
The Mets are so pathetic that they won the NL pennant in 2015, competed in an epic wild-card game vs eventual champ SF in 2016, and will be eliminated from the 2019 playoffs with multiple days to go.

is there an MLB franchise with worse results?

the crosstown rival Yankees are only 10 years removed from winning a pennant, for example.


Yes, the Mets are definitely a better franchise based on these data points in a not-at-all selective timeframe.
   29. PreservedFish Posted: September 24, 2019 at 11:22 AM (#5882557)
The the owner is going to have to be reviewing every transaction the GM makes.

I mean, I review every major transaction in the league. It's not a lot of work.

If you're only giving him three years, the GM cares far more about the industry's evaluation of him than yours. If he can win a pennant, he's got another job, and doesn't give a crap what you think.


I think you're making too big a deal of this. If the custom were not to give out guaranteed contracts, this wouldn't be a known issue. You hire a guy, give him a vote of confidence that you hope you'll work together for many many years, but continue to evaluate his job performance along the way, and make a change if necessary. You don't actually give him a 10-year contract.
   30. Nasty Nate Posted: September 24, 2019 at 11:26 AM (#5882559)
The Mets are so pathetic that they won the NL pennant in 2015, competed in an epic wild-card game vs eventual champ SF in 2016, and will be eliminated from the 2019 playoffs with multiple days to go.

is there an MLB franchise with worse results?

the crosstown rival Yankees are only 10 years removed from winning a pennant, for example.

Yes, the Mets are definitely a better franchise based on these data points in a not-at-all selective timeframe.
How many times competing in epic wild-card games does it take to count as a dynasty? And there's going to be some upset people in Chicago when they find out about those 2016 Giants.

#9 must have been a parody of something.
   31. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 24, 2019 at 11:33 AM (#5882562)
I think you're making too big a deal of this. If the custom were not to give out guaranteed contracts, this wouldn't be a known issue.

It is a known issue, across industries. CEO often act against the best interest of shareholders to enrich themselves through short-term results.

You hire a guy, give him a vote of confidence that you hope you'll work together for many many years, but continue to evaluate his job performance along the way, and make a change if necessary. You don't actually give him a 10-year contract.

You give him a 5-year contract for less money per year than a 3-year deal would require, and after 3 years you evaluate. If it's positive, you extend.
   32. PreservedFish Posted: September 24, 2019 at 11:50 AM (#5882579)
CEO often act against the best interest of shareholders to enrich themselves through short-term results.


Yeah, but CEOs are terrible people, whereas baseball dorks are the best types of people.
   33. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 24, 2019 at 11:56 AM (#5882581)
Yeah, but CEOs are terrible people, whereas baseball dorks are the best types of people.

Oh, I'm pretty sure the one political enough to make GM and President are terrible people. We know Brian Cashman is.
   34. PreservedFish Posted: September 24, 2019 at 11:56 AM (#5882583)
More seriously, shareholders don't get to just veto decisions easily and quickly. And some shareholders are also short-term minded.

And it's about a thousand times easier to evaluate near-term prospects for success of a GM than of a major corporation.

Lots of reasons it's a poor comparison.
   35. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 24, 2019 at 12:02 PM (#5882587)
More seriously, shareholders don't get to just veto decisions easily and quickly. And some shareholders are also short-term minded.

True. That's why closely held companies do better with this.

And it's about a thousand times easier to evaluate near-term prospects for success of a GM than of a major corporation.

I don't know about this. It's very hard to predict baseball, especially prospects. Everyone though Brian Sabean was a bad GM, and then he runs off three WS.
   36. PreservedFish Posted: September 24, 2019 at 12:06 PM (#5882588)
Well, that's true. In baseball there's a limited number of wins, but in business the human pie of GDP just keeps growing. It's also a bad comparison. I'd bet on PepsiCo to grow over the next decade, and I'll probably be right about that. Can't make any bet like that in baseball.
   37. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 24, 2019 at 12:12 PM (#5882594)
Well, that's true. In baseball there's a limited number of wins, but in business the human pie of GDP just keeps growing. It's also a bad comparison. I'd bet on PepsiCo to grow over the next decade, and I'll probably be right about that. Can't make any bet like that in baseball.

The only comparison I'm making is the principal-agent problem, which exists everywhere ownership and management are separated. Given the opacity of player value, and the time-shifting of wins that routinely happens in baseball, it's always going to be a problem.

The most famous baseball example is Branch Rickey signing Joe Garagiola for the Cards instead of Yogi Berra, because he knew he was leaving to join the Dodgers, and wanted to sign Yogi for them. Of course the Yankees got there first, and ruined his unethical plan.
   38. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 24, 2019 at 01:40 PM (#5882627)
the crosstown rival Yankees are only 10 years removed from winning a pennant World Series, for example.
FTFY. There’s a difference, you know.

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