MLB: The century’s worst GMs

Jun 16, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Neal Huntington (left) introduces the Pirates 2017 first round draft pick Shane Baz (right) before the game against the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park. Baz was the 12th overall pick in the 2017 MLB first-year player draft. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 16, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Neal Huntington (left) introduces the Pirates 2017 first round draft pick Shane Baz (right) before the game against the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park. Baz was the 12th overall pick in the 2017 MLB first-year player draft. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
3 of 5
Next
Royals GM Dayton Moore has struggled to  rebuild the 2015 World Series winners. Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Royals GM Dayton Moore has struggled to  rebuild the 2015 World Series winners. Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

2016-20 (5 through 1)

5. Neil Huntington, Pittsburgh Pirates, 2016-19, -29.1, 304-342. For much of his tenure, which began in 2008, Huntington was inarguably the most successful Pirates GM since Joe L. Brown 40 years earlier. The Pirates made their first three post-season appearances in more than two decades.

By 2016, however, his team’s development stalled and the Pirates began to shed MLB talent. In 2019, Huntington’s moves – notably his trade of Gerrit Cole — cost the Pirates more than 10 games in the standings. Huntington was released at season’s end.

4. Al Avila, Detroit Tigers, 2016-2020, -32.8 games, 284-420. Avila inherited a roster burdened with high-priced, low-production, long-term contracts. We’re looking at you, Miguel Cabrera, whose deal will tie up another $154 million through 2025.

Still, the facts are that Avila’s actions have produced an annual negative impact on the Tigers averaging about nine games for the past four seasons.

3. Dayton Moore, Kansas City Royals, 2016-2020, -37.8 games, 304-404. Give Moore credit for leading the Royals to the 2015 World Series. It was a momentous accomplishment. But considering only the most recent five seasons, Moore’s reputation has taken a hit.

The rebuilding process prompted by the departure of the team’s championship core of Hosmer, Cain, Moustakas, and Davis has not gone well. Moore’s moves made a negative impact in excess of 10 games in 2016 and again in 2018, and have not yet turned positive.

2. Rick Hahn, Chicago White Sox, 2016-20, -38.2, 314-393. Like Preller in San Diego, the prevailing assumption is that Hahn is not long for this list. He has spent the past several seasons amassing prospects whose time may be now. The tradeoff was severe damage to the team’s immediate standing.

In 2017 alone, the trades of players such as Chris Sale and reliance on fill-ins such as Dylan Covey and has-beens such as Derek Holland hamstrung the Sox by 20 games. The issue now is whether all those prospects—Michael Kopech, Luis Robert, Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito, and Eloy Jimenez – are ready to become stars.

1. Mike Hill,  Miami Marlins, 2016-20, -44.8, 307-399. Hill, who left the Marlins at season’s end, has gotten a lot of credit for the team’s emergence in post-season contention this year. The truth is they were average, producing a 31-29 record, beating a deficient Cubs team, and looking inert against the Atlanta Braves.

Hill’s impact on the club was actually negative, although at -0.7 games only modestly so. Between 2017 and 2019, his teardown of the Marlins for the new ownership annually damaged the club by double digit amounts. His legacy ought to be the trades of the game’s best outfield, Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, and Christian Yelich, for 11 players, a few of whom still might prove useful.