It’s five o’ clock in the evening
and Heyman, Rosenthal, Morosi be tweeting.
They’ve got some big breaking news
about that big name pitcher he signed to…
A big contract with the Blue Jays
the crowd yells, “what a great move by A.A.”
Then we hear about a move with Sabean
And fans were sayin’ he crazy
Ey. How do we think about the moves made by General Managers and their front offices when they sign players, or trade players, find a journeyman veteran on the waiver wire — are we subjective because we have a set opinion on a GM, or are we objective about the individual moves that they make? Certainly, every GM is not a perfect one — they do make mistakes, but they also make some good moves in the process (and moves that just happen to work out) — and they don’t need to be broad-brushed by everyone just because there’s a narrative attached to them. Sometimes tendencies and philosophies of these folks do help us predict what a GM should do, but if they got hired to be a general manager, shouldn’t those tendencies and philosophies be given a chance to work before they’re pooped on by the general public? I mean, unless they’re something like “sacrifice bunting anytime a man on first to get that runner in scoring position is the way we live,” and “grit will carry us to the promised land,” I think we should give them the respect to analyze every move in a fair manner. Consider the song above. Which General Managers do people say things about whenever a transaction goes down? I have some examples, and I want to hear some for the other clubs I know less about, or maybe you can do a better summary for a general manager:
Brian Sabean (San Francisco Giants) — narrative of mostly signs veterans attached to him, with history of some long-term contracts being busts (Barry Zito and Aaron Rowand come to mind the quickest), many moves are scrutinized, and most recent Zack Wheeler-Carlos Beltran transaction doesn’t help anybody.
Andrew Friedman (Tampa Bay Rays) — has to deal with a low payroll, and the moves he makes to save money and pick up cost-effective players are a hit with people that like to save money. Often a reasonable sense of sympathy I feel is placed on him for the situation he is in and his success has yielded the positive feedback to most of what he does. The Extra 2% book giving an inside look gave fans more reason to give their hearts to him and the Rays.
Ned Coletti (Los Angeles Dodgers) — never considered that great of a general manager overall, and maybe he isn’t, after that Juan Uribe, Andre Ethier, Adam Kennedy, and Juan Uribe set of contracts (yes, I know, it’s viewed that bad down here in Southern California). Being an assistant to Brian Sabean for many years didn’t help his perception see Sabes doesn’t have a great rep amongst the common fan.
Dayton Moore (Kansas City Royals) — developed a farm system, the prospects haven’t translated, and his reported being on the hot seat isn’t going to improve his perception by many. Trades of Melky Cabrera and Wil Myers didn’t help his image amongst most, but thank goodness people got to see at least one trade in 2012 work out with Jonathan Sanchez for Jeremy Guthrie. If he gets fired at the end of the year, will he be seen as not being able to do good for the Royals?
Alex Anthopoulos (Toronto Blue Jays) — not one to sign players to long-term contracts, he just recently was given the green light to push in the chips by getting Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Emilio Bonafacio, R.A. Dickey, Melky Cabrera, and even sent Ricky Romero down to Dunedin giving people flashbacks of Roy Halladay. Through it all, A.A. has a great reputation, and moves like the J.A. Happ two-year deal, even if they don’t work out, might be seen more as the exception than the rule for him. Also, getting rid of Vernon Wells despite a horrible contract earned him instant street cred.
I could go on with other GM’s, but often other people will be able to describe the GMs they know better than I can, so how do people react to whatever your team’s GM does, or what narrative is attached to the man making the moves of a team you know well?