3. AL West GM rankings: David Forst, Oakland A’s
Like DiPoto, Forst’s A’s came close to reaching post-season play. They finished six games short in the wild card race, nine out of the division, and Forst’s unproductive efforts to help his club had a lot to do with both shortcomings.
Forst – and his better-known senior partner, team president Billy Beane – made 42 personnel moves that impacted the major league roster in 2021. But 24 of those moves – that’s 57 percent – hurt the A’s.
None hurt worse than the free agency loss of Marcus Semien, whose +4.9 WAA for the Toronto Blue Jays amply demonstrates his star status. Forst replaced Semien at shortstop with Elvis Andrus, a trade pickup from Texas. Andrus’ WAA was -1.2, a difference of 6.1 games at that one position alone.
As the operator of a budget-oriented club, Forst tried to make hay on the free agent bargain basement table. It didn’t work. He signed or extended a dozen available players, none of whom produced a value to the A’s in excess of +0.2 WAA. Their collective impact was -3.3 games.
Oakland’s farm system was basically a non-factor. Forst used only three first-year players all season, none of the three getting significant playing time.