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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Seattle Mariners

Signed P Eddie Guardado to a 3-year, $13 million contract.

Anyone want to make an over/under on how long it is until Sasaki starts getting anonymous “fan mail” from Mariners officials that suggest he’d be happier back in Japan?  If that doesn’t work, Guardado will take over Arthurly’s alpha-lefty job with the Mariners.  Speaking of Rhodes, I think he’s going to bounce back well.

Guardado, Eddie - 2004 ZiPS Projection
———————————————————————-
W   L   G GS   IP   H   ER HR BB SO   ERA
———————————————————————-
5   2 67   0   63   52   24   7 18 60 3.43

Dan Szymborski Posted: December 10, 2003 at 12:44 AM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Greg Franklin Posted: December 16, 2001 at 04:06 AM (#552216)
A reminder that Colorado is going to turn Paniagua into Shane Halter (from DET) in a contingent trade.

Do you think the Rockies are getting a good deal? Safeco is a pitcher's park, but so is the AAA team in Tacoma. There will be lots of pressure put on the two remaining pitchers not to put up ERAs in the sixes.

Of course here in Seattle fans are happy about giving up basically none of their stud pitchers on the farm to get Cirillo....
   2. Greg Franklin Posted: December 16, 2001 at 04:20 AM (#552217)
Source for the Paniagua-Halter trade is a FreeP article.

http://www.freep.com/sports/tigers/tigers15_20011215.htm

With the luscious quote: "The free-agent market for shortstops is thin; defensive ace Rey Sanchez might be the Tigers' best hope."
   3. Dan Szymborski Posted: December 16, 2001 at 12:35 PM (#552219)
I only saw Stark a few times this year and while he got rocked, he certainly didn't seem like he was really throwing that hard. Comparing him to John Stephens was to put him in the group of "strikeout guy that doesn't look like a strikeout guy" not to suggest that Stark throws as s-l-o-w as Stephens does. Stark really didn't look like a hard thrower to me, but that's not intended to be
   4. Dan Szymborski Posted: December 16, 2001 at 12:43 PM (#552220)
Greg, I read the link you provided and if Paniagua/Halter goes through, my respect for Dan O'Dowd will be greatly diminished. I wonder if Mike Hampton's decline during the year provided O'Dowd with a nervous breakdown.
   5. Chris Dial Posted: December 16, 2001 at 04:36 PM (#552221)
I think the Braves have a crafty righty without a plus fastball that strikes a ton of guys out...
   6. Greg Franklin Posted: December 17, 2001 at 02:53 AM (#552224)
Dan, that's why I was asking whether it was a good "now for future" trade from the Rockies perspective. Assuming Halter reverts to his established level in Coors Field, Stark and Fuentes have to produce now, not in the future.

I asssume Stark will be given a trial as a starter. If Fuentes is pigeonholed as a strictly lefties-only pitcher, I think it would be a waste - he'd be as replaceable as Myers was. The Rockies could try him as part of a closer-by-committee, but if he's truly a sidearm thrower, I can't see the manager giving him the opportunities.

Checking out Jose Jimenez, he is listed as the "big C" closer for Colorado, putting up 24 and 17 saves the last two seasons with good peripheral stats, but he spent two stints on the DL in 2001 with shoulder inflammation. Time for O'Dowd to trade him, perhaps?

I like your description of Cirillo's defense as "swanky." That might help if he were in Arizona, where there are pool parties in the outfield every game... :)
   7. VegasRobb Posted: December 20, 2001 at 07:58 AM (#552311)
Anyone read that David Bell also accepted arbitration?
   8. Dan Szymborski Posted: December 28, 2001 at 02:52 AM (#552378)
I'd put the first tier as Cashman, Beane, Dombrowski, Towers, Ricciardi and Hunsicker.

Neither Ricciardi or Towers have a laundry list of accomplishments (especially the former), but they both have qualities that I find enviable in a GM. Ricciardi has great vision and appears to have a long-term strategic plan for the future of the Blue Jays. Towers also seems to have a strong long-term plan and while he makes mistakes with individual players (paging Kevin Jarvis), Towers has shown the ability to learn from his mistakes and actually to improve his philosophy as a GM.

Most of the second-tier (the list above is pretty good) are GMs with one or two very weak points to them.

O'Dowd is well-versed in modern analysis but has had trouble tying his tactics into long-term strategy and seems to have a new plan for the franchise every few months.

Gillick is a fine GM to have to get an older core of talent fighting for the playoffs every year but he seems to lack the creativity to address weaknesses as in the Ruben Sierra signing. Take Jeff Cirillo for instance; winning or not, 3rd base was a weakness for the 2001 Mariners, a weakness that was never addressed during the season.

Hunsicker has had a bad winter with the pointless re-signings of Vizcaino and Merced and the signing of Brian Hunter, but he definitely has done better in the past. A lot of GMs would throw everything into inking Castilla and Hunsicker took Castilla's adequate 2001 performance and quit while he was ahead in the game. Even if he faulted in offering Billy Wagner that much money, he doesn't seem all that worried about the prospect of trading Wagner.

There are other guys there, too much to get into for now. Duquette goes into the second-tier for falling in love with some of his cheap pickups and keeping them for too long (O'Leary for one). There's also, of course, the issue of losing control of your organization and there were a lot of bad moves in the last 2 years, some or all of which may have actually had the fingerprints of Lee Thomas.
   9. Cris E Posted: December 28, 2001 at 04:10 PM (#552387)
As noted above, Hart needs to drop down. Phillips only belongs in Two if you believe that the potential Juan G signing can offset Rey O's deal. O'Dowd says all the right stuff, but he needs to succeed this year to hold onto his Two. Duq is a Three. Jocketty might be a Two. I believe Bowden is a Three as well, but I'm a hard grader and I don't share his fetish for athletic outfielders.
   10. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: December 28, 2001 at 05:51 PM (#552388)
Steve Phillips had a good winter this season, taking a rookie GM to the cleaners in the Alomar deal, but otherwise he's still the same guy that stockpiled old relievers and signed Rey Ordonez and Todd Zeile to their current contracts.
   11. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 28, 2001 at 06:53 PM (#552392)
I'm not sure how you can credit Andy MacPhail with being the "best ripoff artist around". The examples you provide seem to fall into the class of "marginal everyday player for something with an arm". It's hard to argue that Scott Downs is more valuable in a game situation than Rondell White, but it's also worth asking whether fleecing your colleagues of below-average regulars is a worthwhile pursuit for a team supposedly moving toward a championship. Players like A. Gonzalez (the elder) and Stairs won't kill you, but they won't add much to the push for the brass ring, either.
   12. Mike Posted: December 28, 2001 at 09:26 PM (#552393)
IMHO, as a GM, MacPhail ranks somewhere in between Dan's and Vlad's assessments. Yes, he could have handled SS better this offseason -- when his main holdup was whether to agree with Gutierrez to extend his deal for 3 years instead of 2, his decision not to offer arbitration (where even if Gutierrez wins, he gets a 1 year deal) makes no sense. His pursuit of good field/no hit replacements (Gonzalez, Reese, etc.) is also perplexing and the Todd Hundley deal was bad even going into last year. I also don't understand his fascination with Ron Coomer.

Having said that, however, I agree with Dan that many of the skepticism heaped on the Cubs can be placed at the feet of Ed Lynch, and that even though guys like Rondell White, Bill Mueller, and Fred McGriff aren't the top of their positions, each of them are bona fide contributors for whom the Cubs gave up very little.

More importantly, MacPhail (and Jim Hendry) seem to understand that none of these guys are long-term solutions -- or at least they say they do (which for the Cubs is progress in and of itself) -- and that minor league prospects will hopefully be ready to fill their roles down the road. To that end, assembling a system with pitching prospects like Cruz, Prior, Zambrano, Chiasson, and Christensen, and hitting prospects like Patterson, Choi, Hill, Jackson, Kelton, and Montanez (I'm sure I'm missing others) deserves credit.

Considering that we are so quick to elevate Ricciardi to the top tier simply because of his pedigree, IMHO, MacPhail/Hendry deserves a 2nd tier ranking along with GMs like Gillick, Bowden, Phillips, and O'Dowd.
   13. Geoff Young Posted: December 28, 2001 at 10:20 PM (#552394)
Agree that Kevin Towers is absolutely first tier. Andy Sheets for Phil Nevin is one of the most lopsided trades in a long time, and Donne Wall for Bubba Trammell wasn't bad, either. Towers has also presided over some very nice drafts the past few years. Even the Kevin Jarvis signing, questioned by some, makes a heckuva lot of sense in context. At worst, it buys time for some of the kids.

Off the top of my head, the only moves I really question during his tenure are the acquisition of Randy Myers from Toronto (seriously boneheaded move which, among other things, kept the Padres from hanging onto Bret Boone) and the long-term deal for Bobby Jones, which I can at least understand.

Towers has shown the ability to think "outside the box" so to speak and to learn from folks like his friend Billy Beane. Hiring Dave Magadan as the minor-league hitting instructor with the explicit intention of teaching plate discipline was a great move. Acquisitions like Jose Nunez from the Dodgers last year, and now Rob Ramsay from the Mariners and Alan Embree from the ChiSox, aren't noteworthy in comparison to guys like Mo Vaughn or Aaron Sele, but they're still shrewd pickups.

Towers is not perfect, but he seems to have a good understanding of the game, knowledge of his own strengths and weaknesses (and an idea of how to address the latter), and surrounds himself with smart baseball people. I'm not sure what more anyone could ask for in a General Manger. Well, maybe Steinbrenner's pocketbook, but that ain't gonna happen anytime soon....
   14. RJ in TO Posted: December 29, 2001 at 09:07 PM (#552398)
Geoff,

As a Toronto fan (Someone who was happy to see Myers go), I don't think that it's fair to blame Towers for the Randy Myers incident. If I remember correctly (and that's a big if) at the time the Padres were going for the pennant and were concerned about who they would face in the playoffs. Atlanta was ahead of them in the standings and badly needed a closer. All Towers did was put in the traditional waiver claim to block Atlanta.

How could he know that the Amazing Gord would say "Here, take him. He's yours". Towers did exactly what anyone else in his situation would have done.
   15. Robert Dudek Posted: December 29, 2001 at 10:44 PM (#552399)
Dan Contilli wrote: "Oakland, and it should be noted that MacPhail is the best ripoff artist around(Scott Downs for Rondell White, Eric Ireland for Matt Stairs, Tim Worrell for Bill Mueller, Jason Smith and Manny Aybar for Fred McGriff, Felix Heredia for Alex Gonzalez). Baylor is the problem there, not MacPhail."

1) What exactly did Matt Stairs do last year that was good?
   16. Robert Dudek Posted: December 29, 2001 at 11:04 PM (#552400)
Vlad...

That was an excellent post - and a very insightful analysis of the Gonzalez-Heredia deal. Particularly striking was the similarity between Deivi Cruz, Pokey Reese (a natural shortstop) and Alex and the cost in terms of $$$ and players is quite low for Pokey and Deivi at the moment.

I do think that Rondell White is the kind of player a team wants to acquire (as opposed to Alex Gonzalez), though it didn't work out due to his inability to stay healthy.

One thing...

The PTBNL was named a few weeks ago, a guy named James Deschaine - who is a minor prospect at 3B/SS because of his advanced age and the fact that he's only played a couple of games above A ball. He just had a season a A+ ball (Daytona) which was very similar to Hinske's 1999 on the same team but Hinske was several years younger at the time. Deschaine could be a good utility infielder in a few years but is more likely destined to be the proverbial AAAA player.
   17. Robert Dudek Posted: December 30, 2001 at 12:54 AM (#552401)
Ryan Jones wrote:"How could he know that the Amazing Gord would say "Here, take him. He's yours". Towers did exactly what anyone else in his situation would have done."

Considering that Myers was signed to a multi-year deal for a ton of money, was pitching like crap, and the Jays were going nowhere - it would have been stupid of Gord to pull him back off the wire.

Now granted, calculating that Gordo would do something stupid is a reasonable bet, but still a good deal less likely than even odds. I wouldn't want to be the team stuck with that contract (3 year - 18 million, so 2 years left and we are talking about 3 years ago so that's a lot of money) attached to a suddenly mediocre/bad relief pitcher. I'd be hoping that Myers ended up with the Braves so we (the Padres) could tong on him during the playoffs.

It was a serious mistake - but not of epic proportions.
   18. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 30, 2001 at 08:36 AM (#552402)
Re: Mike
   19. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 30, 2001 at 08:55 AM (#552403)
Re: Robert Dudek

Thanks for the encouragement. I was only going to write a couple of lines, but it sort of took on a life of its own.

I agree that White is the sort of player a team should try to acquire. He plays very well when he is able, but for whatever reason, Chicago wasn't able to take full advantage of his talents. They were partially handcuffed in this by the fact that they're an NL team, and White should really be in the AL holding down a DH spot like Ellis Burks or David Justice. If he had stayed healthy enough this season to bust out with a Cliff Floyd year, he would have been a very valuable trade chip. Failing that, he should have been on a strictly regulate use pattern, like Burks had when he was with the Giants.

Any way I look at the situation, though, it seems to come back to MacPhail. If acquiring White was a bad idea, it's MacPhail's fault for getting him. If acquiring White was a good idea sabotaged by bad backups, then it's MacPhail's fault for bringing in those backups. If bringing in those backups was a good idea (and I'm not convinced that someone like Roosevelt Brown couldn't smack the hell out of the ball in 70 games as White's shadow), then it's MacPhail's fault for keeping a manager who couldn't figure out the optimal usage for the talent he had. That's the problem with being the big cheese... sooner or later, the buck always stops on your desk.
   20. Robert Dudek Posted: January 01, 2002 at 05:48 PM (#552408)
tejada...

I think you have to rank GMs based on what their teams have done given their resources.

This is the real reason why Beane should be given a lot of credit and not because his philosophy happens to correspond to what most of us at this site espouse.

As such, Towers has so far done well, and I expect that the Padres will do very well in the next 2 years if they can get some decent pitching together. But it's too early to call him a first tier.

I think Gillick has to rank in the first tier, there isn't a GM around who has had as many successful teams as he has (with the possible exception of Schuerholtz). He has always worked in jobs where he has plenty of resources and generally uses them to acquire QUALITY veteran players to fill in the big holes and marginal veterans to play lesser roles.

He is a GM that understands that signing quality free-agents (Olerud, Ichiro, Robbie Alomar, Paul Molitor, Dave Winfield etc) is a good strategy. He also understands that if you have a strong farm system (like he had in Toronto for many years) you can cobble together a package of promising youngsters for a really good player. He acquired David Cone and Rickey Henderson in Toronto this way - giving up vey good but not great prospects like Steve Karsay and Jeff Kent (no one thought back then he would become the monster he is now).

Generally, he doesn't give away the really great prospects, e.g. he hasn't parted with Ryan Anderson or Joel Pineiro. In Toronto, even when he was acquiring every quality veteran he could find to make the final push in 1992 and 1993, he didn't trade away the Jays two best prospects, Carlos Delgado and Shawn Green.

The approach is very successful for 3-4 years (I count the 90/91 off-season as the emergence of the "modern" Pat Gillick) and after all I'd rather have a championship level club for 3 or 4 years than one which is perpetually building with youth.

The pre-1990/91 Gillick was also a pretty good GM, acquiring young players from other organisations by trade or through the Rule 5 draft, players who became key contributors like Tom Henke, Duane Ward, Fred McGriff, George Bell and Willie Upshaw, or others like Kelly Gruber and Damaso Garcia who were decent players.

He almost never traded away a good prospect and built a very strong farm system, signing and producing players like John Olerud (straight out of college to the bigs) Jesse Barfield, Lloyd Moseby, Tony Fernandez, Jimmy Key, Luis Leal and Dave Steib.

The result of that was 11 straight winning seasons, 5 division titles and 2 world titles.

Give the guy his due - he is a very successful short-term GM.
   21. Mike Posted: January 02, 2002 at 07:43 PM (#552410)
I can't believe I'm defending MacPhail (I have more faith in Jim Hendry anyway), but nevertheless:

tejada -- Thanks for expressing your criterion. For the most part, it looks like a fair basis for ranking the GMs.

Frankly, though, even considering your comments (as well as those of Vlad and Robert Dudek), it seems to me that MacPhail still fits your description of a 2nd tier GM -- "GMs who have a good plan and a seemingly solid understanding of baseball, but for some reason or another aren't entirely competant enough to pull it off.....like guys who sound like saberheads one minute and then go after a 'toolsy veteran clutch chemistry leader'(Bowden, Gillick, Jocketty)."

Taking this description at face value and also weighing what MacPhail has done is his limited tenure as GM compared to the others you list (particularly Jocketty but I'll also compare to the 2nd tier Phillips), I'll just discuss a few of tejada's, Robert Dudek's, and Vlad's otherwise valid comments in reverse chronological order --

tejada's conclusion is "I think the general consensus is that MacPhail . . . has not demonstrated an advanced understanding of the game in the way that Beane, Cashman and the rest of the 1st tier guys have. He seems to live in the world of defense and veterans, like so many other hapless GMs. . . . [H]is dealings with Beane & Co. haven't been good either....Stairs was meaningless to the A's, and they got a great pitching prospect for him.....Ricciardi outclassed him in their trade, as well." I'll be among the first to say that MacPhail doesn't have the understanding that Beane, Cashman, Towers, and [apparently] Ricciardi do and I'm certainly not touting him as a top tier GM. Nevertheless, I don't believe that Bowden and Jocketty fit this description either, so to say that MacPhail isn't at their level because he lacks sabermetric, Beane-type philosophy is a bit unfair. Furthermore, as a Cub fan, while I greatly disdain his affection for rentascrubs (Coomer, Tucker, and DeShields quickly come to mind), it isn't like Jocketty (in particular) and Phillips haven't fallen prey to similar flaws -- witness Tino, Cairo, Paquette, Matheny, et al. for Jocketty and Zeile, Ordonez, Shinjo, and Harris for Phillips. My point is that none of these guys are perfect.

Having said that, while I agree with your comment regarding the Quevedo/Weathers deal, I'm a bit lost as to your observation regarding Stairs. In that deal, in addition to Stairs (and Miguel Cairo), it was the Cubs who got the pitching prospect -- Steve Chiasson. For this, they did give up Eric Hinske, who looks to be starting at 3B for Toronto. At the time, the Cubs figured that although he was a good hitting prospect Hinske didn't have the glove for 3B and they had other prospects in the pipeline (Ryan Gripp and, at that time, David Kelton). Essentially, they were filling an immediate need (lefty slugging 1B) and keeping a top pitching prospect for a decent hitting prospect who was clogging their system. Frankly, I don't see this as getting "fleeced," and although I don't like losing Deschaine, the Heredia/Deschaine deal with the Blue Jays for Gonzalez (and his bloated contract) doesn't fall in that category either.

Similarly, while Vlad's observations are well-noted, I also find his conclusions a bit unfair. Take, for example, his essential conclusion regarding Rondell White -- "White is the sort of player a team should try to acquire, . . . but for whatever reason, Chicago wasn't able to take full advantage of his talents," primarily, as Vlad noted, because White's backups (Tucker, DeShields, Brown, Dunwoody, and Patterson) sucked. I can't argue with this (I obviously agree), but have two questions -- (a) what should the Cubs have done, and (b) whose fault is it they didn't do this?

The reason I ask the first question is that at the time, they didn't have a top corner OF prospect ready. Given the choices they had, in my mind, it would have been much better for the Cubs to have put Rosie Brown out there to see what he could do, leave Patterson in Iowa, Tucker in CF, use DeShields to spell Eric Young, and not bother with Dunwoody. The problem with this, though, is Baylor's unwillingness to play "unproven" talent more than a game or two at a time. Baylor's reluctance to give any meaningful chance to Brown (in particular) tied his (and MacPhail's) hands by having to rely primarily on proven scrubs playing out of their position (Tucker, DeShields, Dunwoody). In short, MacPhail isn't blameless in all this, but I lay most of this on the feet of Baylor.

Finally, that leads to Robert Dudek's valid observation -- "If Baylor is the problem, doesn't MacPhail earn demerit points for keeping him on as the manager?" or as Vlad also observed, "If bringing in those backups was a good idea (and I'm not convinced that someone like Roosevelt Brown couldn't smack the hell out of the ball in 70 games as White's shadow), then it's MacPhail's fault for keeping a manager who couldn't figure out the optimal usage for the talent he had."

Absolutely. What puts MacPhail (as a GM) above the 3rd tier and lower GMs, in my mind, is that while he has made a few questionable decisions, (a) he has also had some successes, though perhaps not on the level that Dan Contilli first put them and (b) he (or perhaps Jim Hendry) has assembled one of the top minor league organizations in the game. The problem, however, is that Lynch signed Baylor to a contract through 2003 (I believe) and MacPhail is understandably reluctant to eat the rest of this deal. Vlad was absolutely correct in saying "talk is cheap," which is why ultimately, the proof will be in the pudding -- will MacPhail continue to put up with (or God forbid, extend) Baylor if he stifles the progress of the Cubs emerging prospects for the sake of the usual Cub rentascrubs? If so, I'll agree that his words are lip service and my assessment should be significantly lowered. We'll see.
   22. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 03, 2002 at 06:04 PM (#552412)
Re: Patrick McGrath

If you're using raw OPS, then part of the change can be explained by park effects, though probably not in the way you're expecting. Contrary to popular perception, Wrigley Field has been a nearly neutral park the last couple of seasons. This is, in part, due to "park inflation", where the new parks in the NL have been almost uniformly better for hitters than the parks they were replacing. Rather, Gutierrez's OPS jump is partially due to the fact that the five years of his career immediately preceding his time in Chicago were spent in the Astrodome, at that point the most extreme pitcher's park in the NL. The Skydome, on the other hand, is a slight hitter's park, and as a result, I wouldn't expect any significant environmental changes in Gonzalez's production this season.

The remainder could be due to random variation (bonus nachos to you for using "stochastic" in a sentence), although the at-bat total seems high enough that I'd doubt it. It could also be due to some kind of coaching Gutierrez received while in Chicago, though assuming that Gonzalez has the same flaw and the same ability to correct it could be dangerous. My money for the remaining difference would be on a combination of a player reaching his peak a little bit later in life than normal and that player enjoying the healthiest back-to-back seasons of his career (2000-2001: 272 GP; runner-up 1997-8: 243 GP), though playing-time opportunities could also enter the discussion.

As for "extending sabermetric tools too far", my grandfather the shop teacher used to tell me that there's a tool for every job and a job for every tool. I used the tool that I needed to get the job done.

Re: Mike

I agree with your general comparison of MacPhail to Jocketty and Bowden. That said, I would argue that the 2nd tier, as constructed, is more of a layer cake than a smooth level. It seems to me that there is a small but clear distinction between the O'Dowd/Hunsicker/Gillick end of the tier and the MacPhail/Jocketty/Bowden end. I think it's too early to say about Littlefield, though I like him so far, and it's tough to compare a huge-budget GM like Phillips or Duquette to the others because the focus of the job is so different (On some level, a market like Boston or NY feels that a high budget is a mark of status, and a GM who went in pinching pennies with a three-year plan would get lynched halfway through his second season.) MacPhail is clearly superior to 3rd-tier GMs like Dean Taylor and Brian Sabean, and better than John Schuerholz, but by a smaller margin. At some point, it becomes a matter of noise from subjective judgement overwhelming the actual differences.

This year should go a long way toward clearing up the priorities and abilities of MacPhail. If he's willing to dump or otherwise exert influence upon Baylor, promote from within, and continue to incrementally upgrade from without when no prospects exist, he could be very solid. Time will tell.
   23. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 03, 2002 at 06:06 PM (#552413)
"...would get lynched halfway through his second season..."

And no, I wasn't talking about Ed.
   24. Mike Posted: January 03, 2002 at 06:17 PM (#552414)
Vlad --

Fair enough; I can buy your distiction between O'Dowd/Hunsicker/Gillick (though I have the occasional doubts of all three, each tends to stick with a philosophy that others more frequently give lip service to) and MacPhail/Jocketty/Bowden (who have given lip service more often). Furthermore, now that you mention Ed Lynch, let me also say that as a GM, Lynch belonged considerably lower -- maybe somewhere between the 3rd tier and the Clueless group.

In the end, as a Cub fan, I'm hoping (a) that the rumors of MacPhail grooming Jim Hendry are true and (b) as a GM, Hendry will show the same sound philosophy as he had in constructing the farm system. As you say, though, time will tell.
   25. Robert Dudek Posted: January 04, 2002 at 03:05 AM (#552415)
Vlad (and others)...

I think it is tempting for sabermetric types (and I include myself) to think that the GMs who come closest to our way of thinking are the good GMs.

This is very dangerous. As Don Malcolm has wisely pointed out in several different contexts, it is tempting to evaluate GM decision-making assuming that the things we believe in are in fact true and so decisions that don't correspond to those beliefs are deemed bad/incorrect.

There are numerous examples: sabermetric types believe that building a team through youth is the way to go and they dismiss as nonsense ideas such as "experienced players perform better under pressure" and think that a team of veterans will inevitably collapse in the short term.

Young unproven players may have a lot of upside but there is also a decent chance that they will amount to nothing. Years ago, Gregg Jeffries and Wil Cordero were crowned uber-prospects, but they had defensive weakness that statheads were unaware of or purposely ignored and personality problems that statheads couldn't have been aware of.

Saber-heads cry out: "why are they playing veteran X when they're got this (insert hot phenom of the moment) guy in AA/AAA?", in the process proclaiming that GM X is a moron. But then if the phenom is a washout they don't remember that because there is a new hot phenom to tout as the next superstar.

Let's examine the case of Kevin Towers as a tier 1 GM. He's a guy who has some decent young players along with other players with good on-base skills. They didn't win last year because they gave up too many runs. Staheads will say that they need to improve their pitching to go with the high-octane offense and they'll be all set.

Well, maybe it's not all the pitchers' fault. Maybe it's the defense. Maybe all those guys with the high OBPs are costing the team runs defensively. Saber-heads tend to ignore defense and so brush those concerns aside.

I think putting Towers in a "first tier" is kind of a silly idea - he is a good GM "prospect" but his teams haven't had any real success yet.

He's got 3 guys right now (Nevin, Lankford and Klesko) who are defensive liabilities and aren't young anymore. Burroughs is supposed to be the 3B, so what do you eventually do with Nady and Nevin?

Towers has a lot of work to do to SHAPE the talent that he's got into a contending ballclub.

At the same time, a GM like Pat Gillick who has built winning teams for over 15 years wherever he's gone is pushed to the second tier because he likes veteran players like Cirillo and Ruben Sierra (for all we know he could simply be used as a 4th outfielder).

And yet he also acquired a potentially very good young catcher and two other players for a pitcher he wasn't using and a shortsop prospect who could be good but isn't likely to be any better than the one he already has.

My caution is to not be blinded by saber-head ideology. The litmus test of a good GM is not whether he follows certain precepts, but whether he builds successful teams.

Look at Arizona - one of the oldest teams in baseball and yet by any measure you care to employ, the most successful expansion team in history. I'm not saying that they don't make mistakes, but the signing of Mark Grace was universally reviled last year in saber-circles and yet the guy is still a good player - he gets on base and plays good defense. I don't think Durazo would be as good defensively and he might not have outhit Grace last year had he been given the job.

I'm rambling here, but the general idea is that we should always examine our assumptions and be especially respectful of their limits.
   26. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 06, 2002 at 07:05 PM (#552418)
Re: Patrick McGrath

Park factors are determined on a yearly basis, but are meaningless unless examined in blocks of 3 or more. To determine a park factor, you USED to be able to simply look at the ratio of runs scored by a team in its home games to runs scored on the road, but interleague play and the unbalanced schedule hosed that completely. A one-year change in a park factor is probably not significant, but a trend of several years is potentially significant. Wrigley was, for a long time, a moderate hitters' park, but it seems to have shifted to a neutral/slight pitchers' park in recent years. I don't have time to write too much about it, but if you want to read some more, the following articles by Joe Sheehan discuss park factors in general and the Wrigley shift in particular.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/news/20010813daily.html
   27. bob mong Posted: January 08, 2002 at 01:20 AM (#552419)
you say that "The grace period for them seems to be about three seasons, and if the GM hasn't proven himself in that time, he's out on his ass"

well, then it seems a fairly objective analysis of a GM would be to compare the record of the team the year before a GM was hired to the third year of his reign. If he has managed to improve the team in three years (in terms of W/L or in terms of making the playoffs), then he is doing well. If he only managed to keep the team at its former level (assuming not a world championship level) or worsened the team, then he is not a good GM.

only AFTER that first analysis should subjective analyses of individual moves be applied - if a GM can WIN ballgames using unorthodox methods, should he be condemned? or should the "orthodox" methods be condemned?
   28. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 10, 2002 at 05:44 PM (#552420)
Re: Bob Mong

You misunderstand me. Three years is not enough time to actually turn a bad a team around, and it's mostly bad teams that replace their upper management. Three years IS, however, enough time to evaluate whether a team has its turn signals on or not. There are lots of different types of progress a doormat can make that do not translate into an improved record. The three most obvious are:

1) Payroll - or "we can finish last without you"

A losing team with a $30 million payroll is in better position than a team with a $60 million payroll and the same record. The former team has more resources to allocate, and can improve itself with an impact free agent or a Dominican training academy or something. Replacing a bad, expensive player with a bad, cheap one is a lateral move, immediate win-wise, but an improvement in the longer view in that it will translate into additional wins after the three-year cutoff.

2) The Draft

The MLB draft is different than the draft in the NBA or the NFL. Baseball players require time in the minor leagues to hone their skills before they are capable of a major league caliber performance. There are rare exceptions like Dave Winfield, but the vast majority of major league draftees require at least three years of development time before they will have any impact whatsoever on the big league club. By your standard, a general manager could preside over the selection of the next Willie Mays, Babe Ruth, and Honus Wagner in three consecutive years, but receive a poor rating. He would have improved the value and future performance of his franchise immensely, but in a way that is not reflected in the won-lost record of his club.

3) Demographics

This one is a bit more of a stretch, but still worth mentioning. Take a hypothetical case where a general manager inherits a roster composed entirely of 33-year-old-players. Over the course of three years, he systematically trades all of those players for ones who are exact duplicates in all respects (same OPS, same defense, same handedness, same salary) save one: age. The new players are just as productive as the old ones, but every one of the new players is 25 years old. According to Bill James's research, most players are at their productive peak between the ages of 27 and 30. The new roster is, at the end of the three years, no more successful than the old one, but has significantly greater potential for future improvement.

General managers should not be punished for succeeding by using unconventional means, but that question is really a side issue. Three years' time isn't enough of a sample size to determine whether the success is due to the unconvential means or to something else (luck, for example). If Joe Blow took over the Orioles, established a new "we only employ ambidextrous players" approach, and reeled off ten consecutive World Series championships, I would A) be the first to congratulate him AND B) spend a not inconsiderable amount of time revising my analysis methods to better understand Mr. Blow's success. The things we hold up as conventional means of success are conventional because they are reinforced by years and years of supporting data. If that data were absent, the conclusions would lose much of their weight.

My personal rating of Kevin Towers is higher than that of Pat Gillick, but it's also less concrete. Gillick has more history of success, and Gillick would have to engineer a substantially greater screw-up than Towers would to negate the benefits of his prior job performance and slide in my rankings. He has earned a measure of trust.

To get a better handle on it, think of GM analysis the way you think about player analysis. A veteran GM is like a veteran player. You have a good idea of his skills, his weaknesses, and his established level of production. Scott Rolen is an established player, and the Phillies know what to expect from a season of Scott Rolen at third base. If Scott Rolen started the season in a slump they would (hopefully) stand back and let him ride it out. In contrast, Sean Burroughs has no big-league experience. Our perceptions of him are based on things like minor-league performance and scouting reports, things that have proven in the past to be good predictors of major league success. If Burroughs started the year in a slump, the Padres could either trust their indicators of success and leave him in the lineup or trust his first hundred at-bats of failure and yank him. Nothing is certain, but they are more likely to be rewarded by the former approach (Look at Mike Schmidt's rookie year if you don't believe me). Similarly, Shea Hillenbrand started last season with no big-league record. He hadn't done particularly well in the minors and was not universally praised by the scouts, but he started the year swinging a hot bat. The Red Sox chose to trust his initial performance rather than the indicators, and his performance degraded to the expected levels as the year progressed. Sometimes a player can have sustained success with methods sabermetricians disdain. Ichiro Suzuki swings at everything, but his contact skills, speed, and defense make him a valuable player despite his lack of power and plate discipline. A team that went out and acquired eight players with Ichiro Suzuki's skill set would probably enjoy some measure of success; at a bare minimum, they'd be a hell of a lot of fun to watch. The difference is that Suzuki has had a sufficient amount of time (I'm including his professional seasons in Japan as part of the consideration) to demonstrate that his alternative model is consistently successful. Three years simply isn't enough time to make a solely win-based determination on a general manager's value, regardless of his record.

Re: Anti-Bud

I'm still working on that rebuttal, but it's slowed a bit by my inability to find a good multi-year raw major league transaction record. Any suggestions, anyone?
   29. bob mong Posted: January 18, 2002 at 07:22 PM (#552843)
lol...i have never read anything anywhere where someone said it was "too bad" that someone might continue to be good. nice to wear your biases on your sleeve, i suppose...
   30. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: January 18, 2002 at 08:24 PM (#552845)
To me, Boone is not as big a surprise as everyone seems to think. He's hit 24 HR before, has had a .320 average, and he's had 38 doubles twice before his 37 this year. It was only a matter of time before he could pull it all together, and in a good environment, where they're winning anyway and the pressure's off, the time was right.

By the way, the suggestions of steroids are ridiculous. Besides home runs (and we already know he can hit for a lot of power), Boone's biggest improvement was in hitting singles, and he also did a lot better in not striking out. Besides, if someone gets a lot more hits, and can hit for power, you'd expect some of those hits to be home runs. In fact, Boone's home runs per hit is pretty well in line with the totals from the three previous years. With his best strikeout average since 1995 and his best singles average since 1994, Boone's real improvement was in contact hitting. His homers simply increased in line with his hitting the ball more.

Do I think the Mariners did right to give him that deal? Were I Pat Gillick I would have given him the four-year deal he wanted. If he gets his walk totals back to where history shows he can, and if he keeps up his good contact hitting, he'll be worth every penny, even if he goes back to being a 20-25 home run hitter. His defense is too often overlooked: in 1997, he had the best single-season fielding pct. ever for a second baseman, and coming into 2001, he had the 6th best career fielding percentage of all time at second base.
   31. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 18, 2002 at 09:37 PM (#552847)
My dislike for Boone isn't due to any alleged steroid use, but originally started with some of his bush-league behavior with the Reds in the mid-90s. It's one thing to be difficult to coach when you're getting results, but when you refuse to accept any coaching, kill your team for 2 years, and wail about being mercifully demoted, that's another thing altogether.

His defense this year was quite good. It was probably the first time his defense actually matched his reputation since '96 or '97. Just because I don't like the guy doesn't mean I'm going to change my objective assessment of him; I didn't think he was any good coming into this season for what I believe are legitimate reasons and I think he was arguably the AL MVP this season and a better 2001 player than Alomar overall.
   32. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: January 19, 2002 at 12:04 AM (#552851)
ARGH:

Most of the statistics you provide are representations of the same phenomenon, which seems to me to be about a 25% across the board increase in hits. In other words, had he had 80% of the totals he put up in singles, doubles, triples, and home runs (all rounded off), here's how his numbers would look, alongside his real career numbers:
   33. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: January 19, 2002 at 03:15 AM (#552855)
ARGH:

Since you asked... there's a player who had these career numbers through age 30:

Avg: .268 (Boone's career: .265)
   34. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: January 19, 2002 at 09:13 AM (#552859)
Above, I accidentally misrepresented Luis Gonzalez's career high average before he broke out as .276. It was actually .300, which actually makes him a little more similar to Boone.
   35. Robert Dudek Posted: January 19, 2002 at 04:18 PM (#552860)
It is very very difficult for a second baseman to be more productive with the bat in his 30s than in his 20s. Outfielders are much more likely to be successful hitters in their 30s.
   36. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: January 19, 2002 at 09:29 PM (#552861)
I'm not sure why it should be so much more difficult for a second baseman to improve in his thirties. But maybe it is. In any case, it can and does happen. Here are a couple cases:

Craig Biggio, in his 20s:
   37. Robert Dudek Posted: January 20, 2002 at 07:16 AM (#552862)
Dan...

You haven't adjusted those for league, have you?
   38. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: January 20, 2002 at 07:48 PM (#552864)
Robert:

I haven't adjusted for league, but I don't expect it to reverse those trends. If anyone wants to, I wouldn't mind seeing...

Derek:

Boone has never had an OBP that close to his AVG in a full season before; and he did his worst job walking since 1996. I don't think it's unreasonable to expect some improvement. Also, I don't expect a backslide all the way to .280. I don't think this kind of season would be out of line:

.300 AVG, 25 HR, .356 OBP, .490 SLG

And if he does that, with his defense, he'll be worth it. Personally, I think he'll do a little better.
   39. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: January 26, 2002 at 02:19 AM (#553249)
I like this deal for Seattle, with Vazquez gone. Now, as soon as the Mariners get Baldwin, they can start printing the "2002 AL West Champions" shirts. They should have great depth this year.

Speaking of hot streaks, does anyone remember in 1999 when David Bell led the AL in homers after a month and a half?
   40. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 26, 2002 at 02:21 AM (#553250)
In the last months, I've had two teams trading players they don't have. I think the Mets getting Todd Zeile from the Angels was the worst.
   41. Steve Treder Posted: January 26, 2002 at 03:04 AM (#553253)
Um, Steve Rohde, what was the Giants' actual third base production last year?
   42. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 26, 2002 at 03:38 AM (#553255)
Dear Pat,

I remember Doug Drabek and Joe Carter.

Love,
   43. J. Lowenstein Apathy Club Posted: January 26, 2002 at 05:25 AM (#553257)
Maybe Chris Truby isn't the only player making pacts with the evil one...
   44. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: January 26, 2002 at 09:47 PM (#553266)
Neal:

Gipson's role last year was primarily to be a pinch runner. Unless Arias has better speed (which I don't know, but judging by his stats, he doesn't), I think Gipson will stay on. 2000 was an unusually bad year for McLemore, and I expect him to be closer to at least his 99 numbers, so I think he'll continue to see a lot of ABs (possibly even platooning with Sierra).

McLemore played 35 times at SS last year (I'm not sure how many of those were full games), but I expect Relaford to be on the roster.

Still, I'm not sure they won't all be on the roster:

C - Wilson, Davis
   45. Voros McCracken Posted: January 26, 2002 at 10:15 PM (#553267)
Is it just me, or does the rotation of Garcia, Moyer, Abbott, Baldwin and Pineiro look a bit suspect. Very nice bullpen, but there's a little too much pressure on Pinerio and/or the Mariners defense to keep that baby afloat.

Gillick's teams (as Dan can attest to) have tended to be very good for a few years and then as they are about to descend into hell, Gillick amscrays and leaves the mess for somebody else to clean up. Hell of a trick if you can turn it, and Gillick's done it twice now (though he lasted a little longer with the O's than was probably prudent).

As far as this deal goes, it looks like pretty much a wash to me. I suppose Bell may be a touch better hitter than Relaford which helps the Giants and Relaford can play shortstop which helps the Mariners, but I'm willing to bet a 1,000 of these types of deals wouldn't get either team much closer to a World Championship.
   46. RJ in TO Posted: January 26, 2002 at 10:43 PM (#553268)
Voros,

Gillick's teams tend to be very good for a few years? Didn't the Jays have an 11 year run at 0.500 or above with Gillick as a GM? I realise that he did bail on the Jays just before everything fell apart, but the Jays collapse was also a function of trading for the extra players to win 2 WS, 3 other division titles and 3 more second place finishes. I'm not saying he's perfect, but the Jays had an 11 year run as serious contenders, and to dismiss it as "a few years" is a ridiculous understatement.

The Baltimore thing was also partially the result of Angelos believing that he knew more than anyone else in his organization, and only listening to people who were telling him exactly what he (Angelos) wanted to hear. It doesn't matter how good a GM is if the owner doesn't listen to anything he says. Just look at the Yankees in the 80s and early 90s under George's iron fist. Or the butcher job that Snyder has done on the Redskins over the last couple of seasons.
   47. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: January 26, 2002 at 11:16 PM (#553269)
I kind of think that having Franklin, Halama, and even Meche available should take a little of the pressure of the Mariner rotation. I think losing Sele was very unfortunate and if the reason is really (as I've heard) the fact that he's 0-6 in the postseason (despite a 4.46 ERA) that would be incredibly asinine. His 2 losses in the ALCS came off 4 ER in 10 IP. Could it have something to do with the fact that the Mariner offense scored one run in the entire time Sele was on the mound in the ALCS, and poor defense led to 4 unearned runs? In any case, I think that starting pitching is the only area where the Mariners are worse in 2002 than in 2001.

I think any Mariner descent into hell is still a long way off, and a descent into second place is still at least a season away.
   48. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 27, 2002 at 02:58 AM (#553273)
Going back to Gillick in Toronto, Seattle is the first team where Gillick's really had the amount of power you'd think of for a GM. Until the last stretch of Gillick's reign, they had a group that would go over every personnel decision, usually including Gillick, Peter Bavasi and Paul Beeston.

In Baltimore, of course, Gillick didn't have all the power either but while Angelos would have his meddling hands in the Big Decisions, I doubt he was scouting 4th-round draft picks and Gillick's drafts both in Baltimore and when he had almost sole authority in Toronto were pretty bad.

That's why I have Gillick as a 2nd-tier GM. He's fine at taking a solid core of player and adding the missing pieces, but I've seen no reason to think that, when given the power to build a team, he can do so on his own. Despite being the best team in MLB in 2001, the Mariners aren't built for the long-term and don't have a tremendous amount of offensive depth. Gillick loves drafting and acquiring useless toolsy outfielders like Sil Campusano and Eugene Kingsale. I still believe that Gillick thought Ichiro was of that type but he accidentally ended up with a really good player.

Even the Orioles didn't implode overnight into the comic mess they're in. Gillick's teams don't self-destruct; they erode silently and steadily and in both his previous jobs, Gillick got out of Dodge and left his successors to clean up the mess.
   49. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: January 27, 2002 at 04:51 AM (#553277)
A couple points:

I think that given the amount of money that Seattle spent on Ichiro, they were betting on him being a pretty good player. Gillick probably could have done better than Sierra, and I'm still bothered by Sele, unless the $8 million a year was too much and the playoff record wasn't really the issue.

I think Seattle actually does have a good long-term outlook, especially in pitching, but they also have quite a few good hitters who should stay productive for a number of years (I figure Edgar to drop below a .900 OPS at about 46). Olerud, Suzuki, Cameron, Cirillo, and Boone all figure to have quite a few good years still, and Guillen and Davis both have good potential.

Am I alone in thinking there's a good starting pitcher in Halama just waiting to break out?
   50. Robert Dudek Posted: January 27, 2002 at 08:39 AM (#553280)
Dan...

Your assessment of Pat Gillick is way off, IMO. Coming up with throwaway lines like Gillick loves drafting toolsy outfiedlers like Sil Campusano and Eugene Kingsale isn't saying much - all teams do this to a greater or lesser extent. The Yankees and Braves have signed their fair share too and they haven't done too badly on the field recently. By the way, has this been conclusively shown to be a bad strategem (e.g. compare it to other kind of strategies and compare the success rates), or is this a piece of stat-head gospel that you've absorbed.

Gillick builds winning teams - which is a lot more than you can say for most GMs. Any guesses as to how long competetive baseball reigns in Seattle? My guess is more than a few years. They have a great core of players and a good farm system and Gillick has shown the ability to make astute trades.

And Gillick did have a lot to do with success in Toronto - long-term success. Until the off-season of 90-91 the Jays were built almost exclusively with youth. At that point he decided that shaking up the team and making the final push for a World Series was the thing to do. It worked out fantastically well.

What standards do you use to judge GMs? I've seen nothing from you that indicates an attempt to comprehensively evaluate all of Gillick's decisions in comparison to his peers.
   51. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: January 27, 2002 at 09:16 AM (#553281)
Here's what everyone's favorite columnist Rob Neyer says about Gillick, and I should note that I agree:

See Link for quote

That dates from October 8, 2001, incidentally, so it doesn't include any of Seattle's offseason activity (which I think has been by and large pretty commendable).

By the way, not that I derive any meaning from this, but Halama struck out 4.89 per 9 as a starter last year and just 1.84 per 9 as a reliever (6 K in 29.3 IP).
   52. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: January 27, 2002 at 08:18 PM (#553282)
By the way, to get to the part on Gillick in the article, scroll down to the "How Were They Made?" section.
   53. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 28, 2002 at 12:38 AM (#553284)
Going back to Gillick, you can't give him credit for Toronto if you're not going to take away a big chunk of credit for Baltimore. And if you're going to give Gillick credit for Toronto, you have to take into account that the team's long-term outlook changed for the worse when he gained full power.

I didn't say he was a bad GM, just a second-tier one. Lots of GMs draft tons of toolsy outfielders but lots of of GMs aren't among the best 5 or 6 in baseball.

How long will Seattle be competitive? Nowhere near as long as the early 90s Braves or mid 90s Indians ended up being. The Mariners won 116 games last year, but you don't do that without being more than a little fortunate and the Mariners have *zero* offensive depth. Gillick's "plan" on offense is to hope nobody gets injured and Bret Boone continues to be the equal of Alex Rodriguez.

What's the Mariners bench going to be this year? Arias, Relaford, McLemore, Davis, Gipson? Maybe Eugene Kingsale and Ryan Minor if there's an injury?

I remain unconvinced that Gillick is one of the top few GMs in the game. Gillick worked out wonderfully the first few years in Baltimore, too. How is signing Ruben Sierra any different than signing Joe Carter?
   54. Robert Dudek Posted: January 28, 2002 at 08:28 AM (#553286)
Most of the Orioles few years of contention over that last 18 years came with Gillick there, so I can't see why you would charge him demerit points for his time there.

And Sil Campusano's A ball stats looked a lot like Bobby Abreau's. Why is one a toolsie outfielder and the other isn't? It's simply because the former didn't develop into a major leaguer and the other has. Toolsie is just a way of saying failed outfield prospect - every teams has them.

BTW, the Oakland A's haven't developed a decent outfielder since Jose Canseco, so I guess they are infatuated with toolsie prospects.

You still haven't explained the standards by which you judge GMs. I guess sustained success isn't enough, if it doesn't conform to some sort of team-building ideology.

Ben Davis, Mark McLemore and Desi Relaford are pretty darn good bench players. How many teams have 3 players on the bench better than that?
   55. Robert Dudek Posted: January 28, 2002 at 08:49 AM (#553287)
Positions held by Pat Gillick in the Toronto front office:

August 16th, 1976: Vice-President of Player Personel (responsible for all baseball related activities including scouting, the farm system and the majorleague team)

November 24th, 1977: Vice-President, Baseball Operations

September 24th, 1984: Executive Vice-President, Baseball

Gillick was the main force on the baseball side almost from the beginning, with Beeston running the administration. It's absurd not to give Gillick a large share of the credit for 11 consecutive winning seasons.
   56. Voros McCracken Posted: January 28, 2002 at 09:34 AM (#553289)
"BTW, the Oakland A's haven't developed a decent outfielder since Jose Canseco, so I guess they are infatuated with toolsie prospects"

Ben Grieve?
   57. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: January 28, 2002 at 10:46 AM (#553290)
I honestly don't know enough about Gillick's terms in Toronto and Baltimore to comment on them, but I honestly think he's done an outstanding job in Seattle. In 1999, before Gillick, the Mariners won 79 games; after he became the GM, they won 91 and of course 116.

Now, of course you don't win 116 games without getting some breaks. However, we're talking about 37 wins in 2 seasons. That can't be done with just luck. There are a few explanations going around: a bunch of career years, Boone's "fluke" season, etc. However, there weren't that many career years; Moyer didn't have one, though everyone seems to think he did. Boone, for all his offense, actually was less of an offensive asset than Rodriguez was in 2000. So that at best made up for the loss of A-Rod. The difference, as I see it, was Ichiro, the bullpen, and what I think was a good bench, all provided by Gillick. I should also note that the 2000 Mariners suffered from unusually bad seasons by Sele, Moyer, McLemore, Wilson, Olerud, and Mesa. And, they were under their Pyth WPCT by two wins. So in 2000, the Mariners should have been a lot better.

It's very possible Gillick is getting better at his job. How long their success continues depends on what he does in the future; however, I think the pitching should be solid for a long time.

By the way, as far as building a team on his own: the only people in the regular lineup in both pre-Gillick 1999 and 2001 were Edgar Martinez, David Bell, and Dan Wilson (and now Bell is gone). The bullpen has been almost completely reworked, and the starting rotation is substantially different. The only core players still around are Edgar, Garcia, and Moyer.

I don't mind if anyone calls Gillick second-tier, but in my opinion, he's first-tier all the way.
   58. Robert Dudek Posted: January 28, 2002 at 11:23 AM (#553291)
Voros..

Sorry, I forgot about Ben Grieve, though his development seems to have been stunted. He's slow for an outfielder and grounds into a lot of double plays.
   59. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 28, 2002 at 04:35 PM (#553292)
Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that Toronto's run is due to Pat Gillick. And yes, Peter Bavasi was at least as involved in baseball decisions during the first 10 years of the Blue Jays existence as Gillick was.

How now, can his stint with the Orioles be completely ignored? In this forum, so far, I have yet to see a single person address the Baltimore situation and Gillick.

If you give Gillick credit for Toronto, then you have to take away credit for Baltimore.

If you excuse the dreadful long-term state of the franchise in Baltimore as Gillick only being part of a group making decisions, then you have to take away a lot of his credit for the good he did in Toronto because he was only part of a group making decisions.

And, as also has been ignored, if you give Gillick credit for Toronto, you absolutely have to take away credit for the miserable state the franchise was in when he left it.

Again, I never said Gillick was a terrible GM or a bad GM or even an average GM. I just don't think he's one of the top 4 or 5 in baseball. My comment on Sil Campusano may have been gratuitious, but from my worthy adversaries in this argument, I've yet to see a case presented for him being one of the top few GMs other than one developed by singling out Gillick's successes while completely ignoring all his failures.
   60. RJ in TO Posted: January 28, 2002 at 06:02 PM (#553293)
Dan,

We (Or at least me) aren't trying to say that Gillick shouldn't be blamed for Baltimore because he was part of a group of decision makers. What is being said is that Gillick shouldn't be blamed for the Baltimore situation because any decision he made could (and if you believe some reports, often was) be immediately blocked by Angelos. Hell, just look at the O's now, where Thryft can't even use the washroom without asking Angelos if he thinks it's a good move.
   61. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 28, 2002 at 06:12 PM (#553294)
I've seen a lot of reports from Baltimore and I have no doubt that Angelos interfered a lot. However, I'm pretty confident that while Angelos was involved in the major decisions, he wasn't the one making draft choices, hiring minor league coaches, or making some of the lesser signings like Shawn Boskie.

In fact, when people bring up Angelos interfering, the big thing brought up is Gillick wanting to acquire Chris Widger or Kirt Manwaring and mean old Angelos refusing. If that's the big vision Gillick had for the future of the Orioles, I don't see that being a point in his favor.
   62. bob mong Posted: January 28, 2002 at 06:28 PM (#553295)
regarding aaron sele:
   63. bob mong Posted: January 28, 2002 at 06:33 PM (#553296)
and what the heck is wrong with ruben sierra?
   64. bob mong Posted: January 28, 2002 at 06:35 PM (#553297)
could someone tell me where to find GM records for various teams? i.e., who were GMs for (for example) Angels for the last 30 years?
   65. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: January 28, 2002 at 08:43 PM (#553300)
The Mariners, incidentally, have now signed James Baldwin to a one year deal (pending phyiscal).

The difference as I see it between Sierra and Carter is age (Sierra is a year and a half younger than Carter was), salary (Sierra is about 1.35 million cheaper), and OPS the prior year (Sierra's .883 to Carter's .683).

I hadn't heard such a thing about Aaron Sele. In any case, it's unfortunate, but not exactly tragic.
   66. bob mong Posted: January 28, 2002 at 08:56 PM (#553301)
Gipson is a good CF, I suppose. but the Ms have a GG-er out there in Cameron, so they don't need to replace Cam for defensive reasons.
   67. bob mong Posted: January 28, 2002 at 09:17 PM (#553302)
even if (ok, when) ruben sierra puts up numbers that aren't as good as last year's it will most likely still be better than what the Ms got last year in LF, and cheaper.
   68. bob mong Posted: January 28, 2002 at 09:22 PM (#553303)
and really, who knows what sierra is gonna do next year. it might be good, it might be awful, it might (probably) will be somewhere in between.
   69. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: January 28, 2002 at 09:49 PM (#553305)
Don't blame me; I voted for Roosevelt.

The other thing about Sierra is that that payroll will be free again in 2003. And I imagine that either McLemore or Sierra (or a platoon) will be productive enough to be an everyday left fielder for a championship caliber team. It's almost like hedging your bets. Yes, he could have done better. But considering all the good acquisitions (Cirillo, Davis, Relaford, Baldwin), and the important losses (just Sele), I think the Mariners are actually a better team on paper in 2002 than 2001 (for about the same payroll), even if Boone slides substantially. They won't win 116 games, but I don't think the AL West will be quite the race some people make it out to be.
   70. bob mong Posted: January 28, 2002 at 09:59 PM (#553306)
kinda interesting side note:
   71. bob mong Posted: January 28, 2002 at 10:35 PM (#553308)
lol, Rob.
   72. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 28, 2002 at 11:27 PM (#553310)
The problem with the signing of Sierra is that I don't believe that an OPS near .900 is his real current level of ability.

Sierra's previous 3000 or so at-bats, covering the entire offensive era, were very poor. I'm not sure just more than half a season's at-bats is enough to invalidate that. I believe that Sierra's much more likely to hit 270/290/430 in 2002 than repeat a decent 2001. He certainly didn't look like his approach to the plate had changed at all; to me, he looked like the same old hacker that got lucky more often than he usually does.

Sierra is better than some of the players the Mariners have trotted out to leftfield, but being better than Shane Monahan doesn't exactly make you a scarce commodity.
   73. bob mong Posted: January 28, 2002 at 11:57 PM (#553311)
regarding sierra:
   74. bob mong Posted: January 29, 2002 at 02:21 AM (#553314)
guillen DID have tuberculosis...
   75. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: January 29, 2002 at 03:23 AM (#553452)
I think Baldwin is a good acquisition; the Mariners can take risks like that because they have the depth of pitchers to absorb at least a couple failures/injuries. Plus, though I haven't seen the deal, I understand Baldwin was willing to take less money to pitch for Seattle.
   76. Mike Posted: January 29, 2002 at 03:23 AM (#553453)
Baldwin dropping into Safeco with that defense has to feel like Todd Zeile being traded to Colorado. His raw stats will be respectable and he'll get some team to give him Sele money next offseason. Don't see what it does for Seattle though. Of course, he has shown flashes of brilliance.
   77. Alan Posted: January 29, 2002 at 03:42 AM (#553455)
Speaking of Al Martin, did he ever go conservative and settle down with just one wife?
   78. Mike Emeigh Posted: January 29, 2002 at 04:23 AM (#553456)
Baldwin's rate of Ks per nine innings, 2001: 4.89
   79. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: January 29, 2002 at 05:51 AM (#553458)
Andy:

Where did you get your information about the Mariner rotation? My understanding was that it would be something to the effect of Garcia, Moyer, Abbott, Baldwin and Pineiro. If Pineiro's not in there, who is? Halama? I can't imagine the Mariners not giving Pineiro a shot in the rotation.
   80. Robert Dudek Posted: January 29, 2002 at 09:36 AM (#553316)
Dan...

You can't count things like Ruben Sierra against Gillick until you see how he performs and if he isn't good then you have to see what Gillick does in response.

Thinking of isolated moves is not any way to assess a GM. Why don't you take EVERYTHING he's done and evaluate it systematically (i.e. in comparison to his peer GMs).

Gillick had a three-year deal in Baltimore and presumably he was there to get the team to the playoffs - he did exactly that. Of course he left the cupboard bare, but perhaps that was because Angelos wanted the team to win in the present, the future be damned. I don't see how you can lay the blame on Gillick for his 3 year stint there (unless you are privy to the internal workings of the organization at the time).

I'd say that, objectively, Gillick's time in Baltimore has to be viewed as a wash: he achieved what he was brought in to do but didn't leave much behind him.

Bavasi was a semi-idiot - and the Jays performance on the field was horrible during his tenure. I'm afraid you've got your facts wrong: Bavasi resigned after the horrid 1981 season. At that point Gillick became the prime mover on the baseball side. 13 years later the Jays had 11 consecutive winning seasons and 2 World Championships. That is the big difference between the Angelos Orioles and the Labatts Jays - the latter group had a hands off approach and allowed Gillick to run the baseball operations as he saw fit.

It was 10 years of building with youth that created the Jays' success and Gillick oversaw that. The city became frustrated with near-misses and I think Gillick sensed that and changed tack. He made a series of moves in 90/91 that completely reshaped the team and started to fill in holes by adding quality veterans (Winfield, Morris, Cone, Molitor, Rickey). It worked out fantastically - 2 World Titles - for which every Blue Jays fan who witnessed them should give thanks to Gillick for making it possible.

Looking simply at his Toronto years, I think it is one of the greatest stretches of general managing of the free-agent era.

The work he's done in Seattle has been extremely impressive. 2 great seasons and a good deal of talent in the organisation (he hasn't traded away any major talent, has he?).

I repeat once again, what are your criteria for judging a GM? Gillick and Schuerholz have had more long-term success than any other GM in the business and that has to put them in the top tier. If it doesn't then it's a fairly non-sensical top tier.

Putting Kevin Towers ahead of Gillick in the top tier is misguided, to say the least. Towers has done some good things, but until his team actually proves their worth by WINNING he does not belong in the top tier.
   81. Robert Dudek Posted: January 29, 2002 at 10:00 AM (#553462)
Among Primer posters, I am one of Gillick's biggest fans, but I don't especially like the Baldwin signing. I think Valdes is a better pitcher, and I've gotta say that except for the Pena trade (which was defensible, given the number of 1B-type players the Rangers have in the organisation) I'm very impressed with Hart's work in Texas.

Sure it's easy to sign free-agents when you have a boatload of cash to spend, but the Rangers have completely revamped their rotation (though their defense is still weak and it will make the pitchers look worse).

Getting back to Seattle, everything depends on how Baldwin is used, but at the very least it provides pitching depth. One might now consider trading someone like Paul Abbott for a decent outfield prospect at some point.

Wow, what a powerful 4-team divison this is (last year the AL West had the highest winning percentage of any division in history, I believe).
   82. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 29, 2002 at 02:00 PM (#553463)
Some James Baldwin numbers, in case you're interested, or don't want to work them out yourselves:
   83. Robert Dudek Posted: January 29, 2002 at 04:09 PM (#553319)
Apologies Dan...

It seems that it's possible there was much more of a committee at work. Bavasi left after 1981 so it is certainly not true that the core of the team was put in place during his tenure. It is precisely when Bavasi left and Beeston and Gillick took over that the club introduced most of the core of the 1985 championship team, and the players that were there pre-1982 (like Upshaw, Whitt, Clancy and Stieb) took huge steps forward. The 1981, while having a boatload of youngsters was one of the worst the Jays had had in the 5 year history of the team.

Cox was gone after the '85 season so that leaves 8 winning seasons without his influence. Beeston I'll grant you - he was there throughout, but Gillick was the VP in charge of Baseball Operations so one would expect him to be the guy ultimately responsible for the play on the field despite a lot of help and advice.

I don't see the Jays' organizational structure as much different than the Billy Beane Athletics - Beane has had a lot of smart guys (DePodesta, Fuson, Ricciardi) giving him advice and yet you put Beane in the first tier.

I don't have access to Brunt's book, but here is an excerpt from a review of the book:

"And in the background, there would be Gillick, scouting and drafting and trading for undiscovered gems under the noses of his competitors. Damaso Garcia, George Bell, Fred McGriff, Duane Ward and Roberto Alomar are just a smattering of the players Gillick obtained from teams who felt they were expendable."

Beeston was a brilliant negotiator, no doubt about that. It's not surprising that he would deal with the high-priced hired help. I wouldn't necessarily put the decision to hire Cito Gaston in the "great move" column, either.

Gillick deserves a lot of the credit for building up the talent base that then allowed the Jays to make the final pushes in 1992 and 1993. He was the prime mover on the baseball side, notwithstanding the isolated examples of Paul Molitor and Dave Winfield that you brought up. I honestly don't see how the example you brought up put any sort of dent in my claim taht Gillick was the prime mover on the baseball side.

It seems that you just don't like Gillick and so you must try to justify that his fabulously successful record as a General Manager is somehow not his doing.
   84. Bull Pain Posted: January 29, 2002 at 04:13 PM (#553464)
Also, until the mighty Darren Oliver (now 5.04) reached the 1000 inning plateau, Baldwin (or Baldloss as I, a Sox fan, called him) had the worst ERA (now 4.98) in major league history for a pitcher with over 1000 innings pitched. Doing it entirely in a relatively neutral hitter's park such as Comiskey doesn't make it much better.
   85. Cris E Posted: January 29, 2002 at 04:38 PM (#553320)
You can't count things like Ruben Sierra against Gillick until you see how he performs and if he isn't good then you have to see what Gillick does in response.

Robert -
   86. Shredder Posted: January 29, 2002 at 09:38 PM (#553466)
<<Wow, what a powerful 4-team divison this is (last year the AL West had the highest winning percentage of any division in history, I believe). >>

While I don't dispute that, the '91 AL west may have been the deepest division ever. The Angels finished dead last, 15 games out, with a record of 81 up and 81 down. Pretty impressive when the division's last place team is .500. I believe they were in first right around the all star break as well, although I may be thinking of another season. That could happen this year if not for the unbalanced shcedule.
   87. bob mong Posted: January 30, 2002 at 01:02 AM (#553322)
Seems like reasonable login on Gillick's part to me:

He sees an effect, and looks for a cause. If there is no observable cause, then he could conclude that it is (A) random variation (a fluke) or (B) impossible to predict whether it will continue or not. If there is a cause, then he can look to that cause to predict whether the effect will continue or not.

To apply this to Ruben Sierra:
   88. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 30, 2002 at 01:13 AM (#553323)
There's nothing wrong with trashing Gillick for signing Sierra as long as you're willing to admit to making a mistake if he turns out to be an acceptable regular. For example, I was wrong about Boone last year, and if he's equally productive this year, I'm perfectly willing to be just as wrong again.

As a separate point, it's dangerous to give a GM too much credit for accomplishments in the distant past. It's not just the skills of players that decay with time, and I remember a GM who could do no wrong assembling the early '90s Pittsburgh juggernaut. He traded for Bobby Bonilla, Doug Drabek, Andy VanSlyke, and Jay Bell. His name was Syd Thrift. A GM's past record is worth considering, but his recent performance has to come first in the evaluation. I'm not saying that Gillick has dropped off as badly as Thrift, or has dropped off at all, but I do think that it's dangerous to put that much weight on things that were happening while I still had my milk teeth.
   89. bob mong Posted: January 30, 2002 at 01:23 AM (#553324)
excellent point regarding past performance of GMs, Vlad.
   90. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: January 30, 2002 at 01:30 AM (#553325)
Vlad:

I agree that recent events should be considered more, and I think Gillick has improved.

When evaluating a move, such as the Sierra signing, I think it's more useful to look at the move at the time and make the judgement of whether it's good or bad. GMs make their moves without knowing what will happen. Assuming Gillick doesn't know any more about Sierra than we do, we can evaluate it now. Sierra could win MVP next year, or he could fail to get an extra-base hit. That won't make Gillick's move good or bad, because the other was possible too.

In any case, I think that, like Baldwin, Gillick deemed Sierra to be an affordable risk with good potential upside and little downside (in the case of Sierra, the downside is likely something like a repeat of 2001; in the case of Baldwin, Seattle has the pitching to cover the loss).

I think there could have been better moves with more likely benefits and improved downside, but I can't say that the moves will hurt the team at all, and they stand a good chance of helping.
   91. David Jones Posted: January 30, 2002 at 05:03 AM (#553469)
Beware Pat Gillick. He was the guy who took a 1997 Orioles team that was in first place every day of the season, but still getting a lot older, and added Doug Drabek, Joe Carter, and Norm Charlton.

Disaster ensued.
   92. Robert Dudek Posted: January 30, 2002 at 11:33 AM (#553329)
Dan Werr...

"Assuming Gillick doesn't know any more about Sierra than we do, we can evaluate it now."

In my mind this is an extremely wrong-headed assumption. It is overwhelmingly likely that Gillick possesses far MORE information than we do. Scouting reports are in his hands and they tell you things that relate to future production that OPS and projections based on age simply can't. It's just hubris on the part of "so-called" analyists to think that they can determine whether a move is good or bad in advance.

I disagree with Vlad entirely... good moves are moves that work out well, bad moves are the ones that don't. How else are you going to judge? I challenge anyone to lay out, in detail, their criteria for judging a move in advance. I suspect I will be able to find holes in their logic and point to unwarranted assumptions.

I think there are moves that one can criticize: I speak here of moves that don't help a team reach their goals even if they work out better than one could reasonably expect.

Is the Sierra signing one of them? Clearly not, since if Sierra plays as well as last year he will clearly help the Mariners make the playoffs (a realistic goal). Many successful teams have used the technique of acquiring veteran players to plug holes, including the Gillick Mariners. I've never seen any evidence that this strategy doesn't work.

When you look at a GMs performance you have to look at every decision they make. Gillick's track record as a baseball executive, taking into account recent performance and a record of success stretching back 25 years, is without peer.

That said, I'm not ecstatic about the signing of Sierra or Baldwin - but I wouldn't dream of calling these moves bad because that statement presupposes that I have thorough information about how these players will perform relative to others that were/are available. I possess no such knowledge - if you do please send it my way because I'd be extremely interested in seeing it.
   93. David Jones Posted: January 30, 2002 at 03:50 PM (#553471)
If Syd Thrift made those deals, you'd never hear the end of it. But Gillick is a "good GM," so all is forgiven.

Except that in a span of 12 months he did as much as anybody else to point the Baltimore Orioles in the direction they are now heading.

Thanks, Pat.
   94. Robert Dudek Posted: January 30, 2002 at 06:10 PM (#553472)
David Jones...

Apart from the fact that Gillick's 3 years in Baltimore brought you your only playoff appearances since Weaver/ Altobelli, his work in Seattle has been impressive.

The rule is simple: if the teams you take over improve and average over 100 wins in 2 seasons you deserve credit. If your teams lose 90 games on a consistent basis you deserve the opposite.

Building winning ballclubs is not good enough for the Gillick nay-sayers - it has to be done their way.

Acquiring a bunch of proven veterans is fairly stupid if you expect to lose 90+ games. It is smart if you expect to be fighting for the World Series.
   95. David Jones Posted: January 30, 2002 at 06:39 PM (#553473)
Robert,

He acquired a bunch of proven veterans to a team that was stuffed, top to bottom, with proven veterans. In my view, Gillick did little to improve the team that Peter Angelos' deep pockets and willingness to spend couldn't have done. Throwing a bunch of money at Roberto Alomar is a no brainer, if you've got the cash.

The best moves the Orioles made in building their 96-97 winners was to sign Palmeiro in '94 and give up nothing for Scott Erickson. Gillick was responsible for neither.

From there, it was just a combination of using talent that was already in the system (Anderson, Mussina, Ripken, Benitez, Hoiles, Hammonds) and building on it with Alomar and Randy Myers. Syd Thrift could have made those moves, and still have been dumb enough to deal Hammonds for Willie Greene, and sign Drabek and Carter.
   96. Robert Dudek Posted: January 30, 2002 at 07:12 PM (#553474)
David Jones...

Perhaps you'd let me in on the inner workings of the Orioles organisation, since you seem to be acutely aware of who was responsible for what. Let me know when you can send me the minutes of Orioles front office meetings. And you must be in close contact with Thrift's psychologist since you "know" what Syd would have done in Gillick's position.

Oh sure it's a no brainer to bring in Roberto Alomar, of course. You might as well say that acquiring quality players is a no-brainer because they are, after all, quality players.

Of course - it's all so easy. Just use the talent in your organisation, and add some quality players to it. That's it. So simple the average 12 year-old could do it.

And the money that Angelos has spent since Gillick left has brought results in Baltimore, hasn't it.

Add it up: 18 years in the Blue Jays' organisation, 3 years in Baltimore and 2 plus in Seattle. Winning teams by the bushelful.

If you win you get the glory. After 25 years I think Gillick deserves a heck of a lot of credit.



Gillick joins an organisation, they start to win. I'm sure it's just a coincidence.

The way I see it it's pretty simple: Angelos said build me a winning team, now and Gillick did just that. Thrift hasn't been able to do that.
   97. David Jones Posted: January 30, 2002 at 07:31 PM (#553475)
I never said Gillick didn't deserve credit for his accomplishments in Toronto and Seattle. But the success of the Orioles was based on the addition of Alomar to an already quality team and the hiring of Davey Johnson. Johnson was hired before Gillick was, so Pat gets no credit for that. And Alomar wanted to play in Baltimore in '96. Angelos wanted him to play in Baltimore. Everybody wanted Alomar to play in Baltimore. Yes, a 12-year-old could have made that deal.
   98. Robert Dudek Posted: January 30, 2002 at 07:43 PM (#553478)
David Jones...

I admit that Gillick's time in Baltimore wasn't the highlight of his career, but neither was it a disaster.

If what Carlos writes is true then Gillick certainly shouldn't be blamed for the Orioles' subsequent decline. If you want to convince me that Gillick's tenure in Baltimore was a failure you're going to have to list and analyze EVERY player personel decision the Orioles made during Gillick's time there, not just a select few that you've picked out.

I can also add that good decisions very often look obvious in hindsight.
   99. David Jones Posted: January 30, 2002 at 09:03 PM (#553481)
Robert,

I never used the word "failure" in describing Gillick's tenure in Baltimore. Let's just say it was not a highlight of his career. My original comments were directed toward the additions he made to the club following the 1997 season.

The great strength of the 1997 team (which won 98 games) was its pitching. The club's starting rotation was headlined by Mussina, Erickson, Key, Kamieniecki, and a series of unfortunate attempts at a 5th starter. (Rick Krivda, anyone?) Anyway, Gillick was not with Baltimore when Mussina and Erickson were acquired. (I think the Erickson deal in '95 was probably the best trade the Orioles made in the 1990s. Scott Erickson for Scott Klingenbeck, if I recall.) To his credit, Gillick was responsible for acquiring Key, who pitched well but was clearly worn down by season's end, and Kamieniecki, who pitched much better than could have been expected. Then there was the bullpen. The Orioles had the best bullpen in baseball (maybe the Yankees were better, it's close) with Myers, who had his best season, Benitez in a setup role, Arthur Rhodes and Alan Mills. Of that quartet, Gillick was responsible for signing Myers. On the offensive side the Orioles were not quite as strong, and getting older fast. Hoiles and Lenny Webster at catcher, Palmeiro at first base, Alomar at second, Ripken at third, Bordick at short, Surhoff in left field, Anderson in center field, Hammonds in right field and Baines DHing. (Baines was brought in at the trade deadline.) Of all those guys, Gillick brought in Webster (who almost single-handedly blew the ALCS that fall), Alomar, Surhoff, Bordick and Baines. In July he traded Jimmy Haynes for Geronimo Berroa to try to get more pop into the lineup. (It didn't work. Berroa was garbage in Baltimore.) I still contend that, from memory, the Alomar signing was no surprise: Everyone knew Angelos wanted him and everyone knew Alomar wanted to form a double play combo with Ripken (in 1996.) The Surhoff signing, actually, may have been Gillick's best free agent acquisition, in that it was not quite so obvious and Surhoff became an important part of the team's success. The Bordick deal was neither here nor there. It was essentially a choice between keeping Bonilla in right, playing Surhoff at third and Ripken at short, or upgrading defensively by moving Ripken to third and bringing in Bordick at short. Opinions differ on whether this helped or hurt the team.

Anyway, Gillick had a number of challenges in the offseason following 1997. The rotation, while solid, clearly needed more help, as Kamieniecki could not be expected to perform as well in '98, and Key's arm had crapped out the previous fall. Gillick's solution was to sign Doug Drabek, which only burdened the team with another aging, broken-down pitcher past his prime. When Drabek proved horrible, Gillick dealt for Juan Guzman midway through the '98 season.

Offensively, Gillick had more challenges. He had potential gaps at catcher, second base (by the end of the '97 season, everyone and their dog knew Alomar was headed for Cleveland after '98), and a generally aging offense. The club's top stars, Palmeiro, Ripken, Surhoff, and Anderson, were all on the wrong side of 30. So what does Gillick do? He signs Joe Carter and trades away Jeffrey Hammonds for a turkey sandwich.

Angelos should be blamed for nixing the '96 trades. (Though, in all fairness, the club did reach the postseason for the first time in 13 years and made it all the way to the ALCS. At the time, that seemed pretty good.) And Angelos should be blamed for failing to resign Palmeiro and Mussina. But Gillick did not help matters with his offseason moves prior to 1998. Astute maneuvers could have made the Orioles a contender in '98, and thus altered the outlook for the future.
   100. Robert Dudek Posted: January 30, 2002 at 10:37 PM (#553483)
David...

We are in basic agreement regarding Gillick's tenure in Baltimore. On balance the only really bad percentage moves Gillick made was bringing in Joe Carter and possibly Doug Drabek . Those were one-year deals and not for a lot of money by Angelos' standards.

At no point during Gillick's tenure was Angelos the slightest bit interested in building for the future, nixing the Bonilla deal is indicative of that. Gillick had to keep bringing in veterans - that was pretty much mandated by Angelos. The strategy worked well in '96 and '97 but not well at all in 98.

I'll also give a lot of credit to Davey Johnson, who has proven his worth as a successful short-term manager. Unfortunately, the Angelos-Johnson coctail was too unstable to survive.

Olperfessor...

The Oracle is not right in placing Gillick in the 2nd tier. All GMs work within an organisational framework. The Oracle is right in pointing out that Gillick was far from a one-man show in Toronto: success was built mainly on the efforts of 3 very intelligent men: financial wizard Paul Beeston, baseball operations "genius" (I use this in a semi-ironic sense because that is what many writers have called him) Pat Gillick and his right-hand man, super-scout Bobby Mattick.

Mattick and Gillick were the driving forces behind the Jays' phenomenal accumulation of young talent in the 80s, a lot of which was acquired from other organizations (McGriff, Bell, Upshaw, Gruber, Henke, Ward etc etc).

By all the accounts I've read, Gillick is an amiable and extremely hard-working man, who seems to easily form productive relationships with others. If you combine that with astute judgement you've got yourself a great GM. I'd rather have someone who is able to take input from others and give it careful consideration to someone who is dictatorial and has to have things done his way.

I think that Gillick's relative lack of success in Baltimore is a direct result of having to work under an egomaniac like Angelos.

You are making a vast understatement when you say that Gillick's teams win more frequently than not. They have been winning for a long time. Year in and year out. No one has a track record of success as long and of such consistent quality as does Pat Gillick.

No way can you keep him out of the first tier.
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