Tagged: rebuild

The Worst General Manager in Baseball

Often I ask myself “Who is the worst GM in baseball”  Well, in my mind, it is a pretty easy answer.  The worst GM in baseball currently is Brian Sabean.   The Giants are just in a horrible situation with a bunch of veterans making big money, and a drained out farm system.  Basically, the only youth on the Giants is Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez, Manny Burriss, Brian Wilson, and Fred Lewis.  There’s a lot of talent in there, but as a whole, the Giants franchise is a mess.  It all is Sabean’s fault becasue he signed so many old veterans to huge contracts like Omar Vizquel, Edgar Alfonzo, Ryan Klesko, Aaron Rowand and so on and so on.  The Giants at one point had an all 40+ outfield.  Steve Finley, Barry Bonds, and Moises Alou.  So after Finley and Alou left, guess who replaces them?  More veterans: Dave Roberts and Randy Winn.  Then once Roberts left, Sabean signs Rowand to an outrageous contract spanning five years.  Rowand will be 36 years old at the end of the contract.
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Sabean continuously lost top draft picks for signing signing free agents.  Because of Sabean, the Giants didn’t even have a pick in the first round in 2004 or 2005.  Here are the Giants top draft picks since Sabean was named GM along with the overall number they were drafted at.  Yes, that 132 next to Ben Copeland’s name is not a typo.  The first player drafted by Giants was the 132nd overall in the fourth round.  Was signing Michael Tucker as a free agent worth giving up a first round draft pick?
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1997: Jason Grilli – 4

1998: Tony Torcato – 19

1999: Kurt Ainsworth – 24

2000: Boof Bonser – 21

2001: Brad Hennessey – 21

2002: Matt Cain – 25

2003: David Aardsma – 22

2004: Eddy Martinez-Esteve – 70

2005: Ben Copeland – 132

2006: Tim Lincecum – 10

2007: Madison Bumgarner – 10

2008: Buster Posey – 5

Most people know about how Sabean traded away Francisco Liriano, Boof Bonser, and Joe Nathan to acquire A.J. Pierzynski.  No other trade could be as bad as that, but here are some more awful trades made by Sabean.  Click on their names to see their stats, but more importantly, to see how little of Sabean’s acquisitions made an impact in San Francisco.

  • July 31st 1997 – Sent Livan Hernandez and Edwards Guzman to the Expos for Jim Brower and Matt Blank – Brower was a valuable piece of the Giants bullpen in 03 and 04, but you don’t trade a middle reliever for a top of the rotation starter in his prime.
  • July 29th 2001Sent Alan Embree to White Sox for Derek Hasselhoff– You can understand the Giants wanting to get rid of Embree in 2001, but boy did it turn out horribly for the Giants.  
  • December 17th 2002 – Sent Russ Ortiz to the Braves for Damian Moss and Merkin Valdez – Ortiz won 36 games in his two years with Braves, while Moss did nothing for the Giants.  Valdez could be a good reliever for the Giants but I doubt he will ever win 21 games.
  • November 14th 2003 –  Sent Francisco Liriano, Boof Bonser, and Joe Nathan to the Twins for A.J. Pierzynski – Oh boy, Oh Boy.  Sabean will never get over this, and another bad part about this move is, not only did the Giants get ripped off in talent but they also got ripped off in money.  Pierzynski enjoyed the worst year in his career in his only year in SF.  He made 3 and a half million that year too.
  • July 22nd 2006 – Sent Jeremy Accardo to the Blue Jays for Shea Hillenbrand and Vinnie Chulk – Chulk was an OK middle man for the Giants but Jeremy Accardo is a future closer, and destined to be better then Brian Wilson.

Although Sabean is the worst general manager currently in baseball, I have to say the worst general manager that I have lived through is Jim Duquette.  Duquette always said the right things: “We need to get younger”, “we take advantage of the newest statistical breakthroughs like VORP, and RCPG”.  Duquette seems like he’s smart, but he never makes any good decisions, and also signs a whole lot of veterans as free agents.  Duquette was the Mets general manager in 2004, and the Orioles’s GM in 2005 and 2006.   Well, most of the Mets nowadays is comprised of players that Omar Minaya acquired or signed.  Duquette made a large impact on the Orioles, and well, look at the Orioles now.  MacPhail has done a pretty good job since replacing Duquette, but it will take a *long* time to get the Orioles to the Red Sox or Rays level.
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He was the assistant GM for Steve Phillips from 1998 to when Phillips was fired.  Shortly after Phillips left, Duquette criticized Phillips for the job he did.  Frankly, I’ll agree with anybody who criticizes Steve Phillips, but Jim, YOU were his assistant so you can’t be talking.  Duquette made many bad deals when he was with the Mets and Orioles. Here are some …..

  • October 3rd 2003 – Announced Marcos Scutaro had been claimed off waivers by the A’s – I’m not saying Marco Scutaro can make a wild card card team a pennant team, but with all the second base questions for the Mets the past couple years it would have been nice to have Marcos.  What did Jim and the Mets get?  Nothing.
  • June 17th 2004 – Sent Jeremy Griffiths and Dave Weathers to the Astros for Richard Hidalgo – Hidalgo did nothing but make money, while Weathers became the reliever the Mets needed so badly the past three years.
  • July 30th 2004 – Sent Scott Kazmir and Joselo Diaz to the Devil Rays for Victor Zambrano and Bartolome FortunatoYou can’t call yourself a baseball fan if you need me to tell you how bad this trade was.  Imagine the top of the Mets rotation being Johan, Kazmir, and Maine.  Heck, the Devil Rays even got the better of the two extra players.  To make Duquette even stupider this is a direct quote from Jim after he had made the trade and signed Kris Benson as a free agent:

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    “We’re getting younger and transforming our
    roster that a year ago or two years ago was one of the oldest in
    baseball.  Both of these
    pitchers are 29 years old, they still have a lot of mileage ahead of them,
    pitching-wise.”  So to make a team younger, you trade away prospects?

  • August 27th 2004 – Sent Dan Wheeler to the Astros for Adam SeussWheeler and Weathers would be huge in a shaky Mets bullpen, but at least we got Adam Seuss.  Yay.

Now it’s time for the deals Duquette made after Peter Angelos hired him to run the Orioles.  That Angelos is a smart one.  That must be why Orioles fan are staging protests outside Camden Yards.

  • December 13th 2005 – Orioles Sign Ramon Hernandez to a $27.5 million contract over four years – Hernandez’s contract is probably already labeled a failure no matter how good he does in the last year of his contract.  Hernandez is impossible to trade at this point and never really helped the O’s
  • January 9th 2006 – Sent Nate Spears and Carlos Perez to the Cubs for Corey PattersonI wouldn’t blame you if you don’t recognize the names of the players the Cubs got for Patterson, but you may soon.  Patterson has been atrocious for the Orioles and now the Reds, and has still not been able to shake the habit of trying to hit a home run every time.
  • January 22nd 2006 – Sent John Maine and Jorge Julio to the Mets for Kris BensonFor some reason, Duquette loves Benson, and is taken him everywhere he goes.  Although I don’t like Maine as a person, he’s pretty good when it comes to throwing a baseball.
  • June 25th 2006 – Signed Russ Ortiz to a one year deal – The numbers don’t lie, the numbers don’t lie.
  • November 27th 2006 – Signed Danys Baez to 3-Year Contract worth over $18 million – This deal was doomed from the start, Baez was never that great, and was injury prone.  The worst part is that the Orioles are still forced to pay him for another year.

Duquette has also been extremely unsuccessful in drafts.  He has only had the opportunity to pick in 2004, 2005, and 2006, but he screwed up on every first pick in those years. Here are his drafts picks:

2004: Phil Humber3rd Overall 2008 Stats
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Level        G        GS        ERA        W        L        IP        H        BB        SO
AAA          22       15         5.92         4         7        79        95       37         54
Other Players Duquette Could Have Drafted:
Homer Bailey
Philip Hughes
Stephen Drew
Josh Fields
Glen Perkins
Huston Street
Yovani Gallardo
Hunter Pence
Dustin Pedroia

2005: Brandon Snyder – 13th Overall – 2008 Stats
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Level     G     AB     H     .OBP     HR     RBI     SB     BB     SO     .SLG
A+         74    274    83     .334        7      46        2       12      49      .478
Other Players Duquette Could Have Drafted:
Chris Volstad
Jacoby Ellsbury
Clay Buccholz
Matt Garza
Colby Rasmus
Micahel Bowden
Yunel Escobar
Micah Owings
Steven Pearce

2006: Billy Rowell – 9th Overall – 2008 Stats
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Level     G     AB     H     .OBP     HR     RBI     SB     BB     SO     .SLG
A+         70    236    53     .292       3       33        0       22      65      .347
Other Players Duquette Could Have Drafted:
Tim Lincecum
Max Scherzer
Travis Snider
Ian Kennedy
Joba Chamberlain
Joe Smith
Justin Masterson
Colton Willems
Chris Perez

A sign of a bad GM is a guy that is unwilling to rebuild.  A GM’s goal shouldn’t be to get to .500 and spend money and prospects to do it.  A GM’s goal should be to win the World Series and create a dynasty to last for years.  To create a dynasty, a GM must build from within and end up having a great and large group of talented core players.  If you look at any dynasty in baseball history, 70’s Pirates, late 90’s Yankees, 70’s Reds, early millennium M’s, they all had a large group of players just entering their primes.  Those teams had those players throughout the whole prime of their careers. 

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All teams that have had streaks of losing
seasons have had GM’s that were unwilling to rebuild.  I’m not talking about bad teams like the Astros or Padres right now.  I’m talking about teams like the Orioles, Pirates, and Reds.  Somewhere along the way, these teams have had bad GM’s that chose not to rebuild and that is the reason why not any of these teams have made the playoffs in 14 seasons.
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Well, mlb.com, you should not let people think Jim Duquette is a good guy to inform you on key information.  Assuming that mlb.com is filmed in New York City though, Duquette should be careful walking around Queens or Brooklyn.  I sense St. Petersburg would be a good place for Duquette to retire.

I found this awesome video on YouTube.  Check it out.