You're the GM! (baseball)

Since the World Series is ongoing and baseball is at least somewhat nearest the front of our attentions, and since most of us don’t have a team in the World Series, I thought it might be fun to discuss what you personally might do if you were the general manager of your favorite team.

The regular season hasn’t been over for very long, so the failings of our teams are still pretty fresh in our minds.

What would you do to improve your team for 2003?

My team is the Phillies, who entered 2002 with pretty high expectations, even for Philly. They did very well in 2001. But they were mediocre (at best) in 2002. So what would I do to improve them?

Let’s look at the starting lineup.

I’d try to get a new 1B and/or 2B, because I don’t think Lee and Anderson are the long-term solution. Anderson did well in '01, but he overachieved; he was just okay in '02. And Lee has never hit like everyone wanted him to - or, more accurately, like a first baseman perhaps oughta.

Possibilities are free agency, as Jim Thome will file after the World Series.

I’d keep Rollins at shortstop and Polanco at 3B, although I’d want to replace Polanco after '03. Mike Lowell of the Marlins will be a free agent then, IIRC.

In the outfield, I’d keep Abreu and Burrell, although I wish we could get a good CF. Glanville just ain’t it. Marlon Byrd might be able to step in.

Lieberthal can stay at C, but I want to find a good young catcher to take over someday. I worry Lieberthal will break down. Failing the young-catcher route, I’d like to see Pratt return as the backup.

The starting pitching isn’t bad, but I still wish we had a veteran to stabilize the starters. Person can leave. Give me Padilla, Wolf, Duckworth, Myers.

In the pen, Mesa’s fine, as is Timlin and perhaps Carlos Silva. But the rest need to be tinkered with - a lot of bums there now who had trouble getting players out.

And for the bench, I’ll keep Perez, Giambi, Mabry. Need more! Ledee had a bad year. Michaels might be okay.

Every year I hope we can become a “player” in the free agent market. Of course, it’s not just about signing big name players, but about signing the right guys.
So what about your team?

Dan, you already have a 1Bman…Giambi is a stud, just fire Bowa so he can play.

Giambi’s not a stud. He’s more of a part-time player. He’s the kind of player who’s good in streaks, but he’s not a great 1B by any means.

In 156 AB since joining the Phllies, he hit .244 with 12 HR and 28 RBI. The HR ratio isn’t bad - 1 per 13 AB. The OPA wasn’t bad - .435, and he has a good batting eye. The average is terrible, and he can’t hit lefties at all (.167).

My team is the Oakland A’s

All I really think needs to be done is the addition of a strong defensive centerfielder and a leadoff hitter. Randy Winn of Tampa Bay could fill both those slots and has said that he would like to play in the Bay Area, as he grew up here.

Other than that, the A’s have a very solid team. The next major free agent they will have is Tejada, but that isn’t until after next season.

The only position player that is a little bit weak is Terrence Long, but if they picked up a strong centerfielder, he could go back to left, where he was much better last season.

All other positions look solid:

First - Unless a big time slugger falls into their lap, Hatteberg will do just fine.

Second - Durham may not be back, but Ellis is better defensivley and much younger.

Short - Tejada could use some work in the field, but his marked improvment at the plate makes up for it.

Third - Chavez could be looked on as the best third baseman ever as more time goes by. The A’s already have the first third base/shortstop combo to each have 30 home runs, they could go 40-40 in the next few years.

Right - Jermaine Dye could put up MVP numbers if he keeps pace from after he recovered. And one hell of an arm.

Center/Left - As I said before, Long would be better in left, but he got more and more comfortable as time went on, and his numbers this year don’t show how good a hitter he is.

Catcher - Hernandez doesn’t and likley won’t do much with the bat, but he handles the rotation fine.

Pitching - Duh. Best rotation in the leage. Some great relief and a great closer.

After writing this, it makes me wonder what the hell the Angels are doing in the World Series. The main reason I can think of is the refusal to play one run at a time. This is not really Art Howe’s problem, as the organization has been this way for a while.

As a Rockies fan I started to think about this question, and came to the conclusion I have no idea.

The team is an on going 10 year+ experiment to see what works in coors field, and the last couple years were a step back. The big problem is Hampton and the money he is owed. His breakdown is so complete that nobody will really want him unless the Rockies pay like 70% of his salary, which doesn’t help a whole lot, but might be a better option than just keeping him around and hoping he gets back to old form. Neagle much the same way. Jennings and Starks success makes me wonder if getting a new group of young cheap pitchers every year might work well. It seems that the longer guys pitch there the worse they get. And that would allow more money to spend on hitters. Coors field makes average power hitters, good power hitters, I would like to see what a true power hitter would do at the field. Walker and Helton are good batting average hitters and only decent power hitters whose power numbers are inflated.

I would love to see them get the money together to go for a real power hitter, but that won’t happen with the money situation for hampton.

The bullpen looks good with Speier, Todd Jones, and Jiminez anchoring it.

The outfield is a question mark. Payton had a good year after he joined the Rockies, and is worth starting as CF. Walker is still damn good, and if can stay healthy there is no reason to replace him. I’d start Jack Cust in left, and hope he will develop into the major power hitter he has the potential for.

As far as the infield(except Helton), It’s hard to say, Nobody is great, nobody is too sucky. I would like to see them add maybe 20-30 more home run potential to the group, however the best way to get that done is.

The big conclusion is that they are willing to take chances to get better, but they are going to suffer through the consequences of one of those chances for a while, before they can really improve, beyond average.

(I’m trying to get this input before the nightly shutdown, so all spelling and grammer is approximate. :slight_smile:

I dunno if I’m so sold on Billy Koch (and unfortunately I don’t have his numbers with me right now) - is he better than Isringhausen was?

At any rate, it sure is hard to find fault with the A’s. They did a bang up job this year, and they’re bringing back perhaps their best asset - Howe.

The Rockies are a very tough problem. They had thought that if they just picked up quality, high-paid pitching, they’d be okay. Didn’t work out. I guess storing the balls at Coors field in a humidor or whatever they did wasn’t helpful. Seems like maybe they should forgo the pitching angle again and concentrate on finding big strong players who can just jack it every time. Sure, you’d have a team with an ERA over 6.00, but the team BA might be over .310. :wink:

And you want Cust to be in the outfield, wolfman? Has he played there before? Wasn’t he one of the ballyhooed stud thirdbaseman this year, along with Sean Burroughs and Hank Blalock? I think the transition from 3B to the OF is easier than the other way around…

Another A’s fan checking in.

There has been talk of moving Durham to center (if he signs) and Long to left. Great move as it lets Ellis be the everyday 2nd baseman. Ellis reminds me of Tejada when he first came up - decent bat, decent glove. Now? We all know how Tejada has gone, and I think that Ellis will follow.

Other moves? Picking up Hatteberg’s option (I think they already have) and sign a consistent set-up guy. All season, the A’s bullpen provided thrills and chills. You never knew who was going to show up. I like Koch. He’s got great fire and enthusiasm. He really, really, really wants the ball with two on and nobody out and ahead by a run. His ERA is a bit high for a closer but I think he’ll be better next year.

Priorities? First and foremost, sign Tejada this year before the Yankees pick him up as a $150 million utility player. Second, if they can’t sign Durham, they need another guy like him. Defense and high OBP.

A’s-Twins showed you what baseball is all about - pitching and defense. Twins had it three times and the A’s only had it twice.

Well actually I don’t know all that much about him. I heard of him as a top prospect before. When he got to Colorado they played him in LF and I assumed that was his natural position. If he is good at third, I’d throw him there, and hope he can pick up some of the 20-30 more infielder homeruns I wanted.

The Cubbies are my team. If I were GM, I’d quit.

Well, another Cub’s fan checking in, and I’ll at least pretend like there’s a solution here.

Here’s move #1, get rid of Hundley. No matter what it takes, cut him if need be. He’s pathetic, won’t turn things around, and has got to be cancer in the clubhouse if for no other reason than the fact the fans rabidly hate him, and he makes more than most everyone else on the team while hitting .200 if he’s lucky and sucking on defense. I’d make this trade offer: Todd Hundley for Mike Hampton. Both are horribly overpaid, Hampton makes more but is worth a little more at this point. The Rockies get a catcher who could very possibly turn things around with a fresh start, and as a left handed fly-ball hitter could actually put up numbers in Coors. The Cubs get another solid starter who at the very least will eat up innings, and very likely could rebound as well with a change of scenery in a somewhat pitcher friendly park in Wrigley. And hey, the Tribune Company can afford it if it doesn’t pan out.

Move #2, get a new manager who’s primary skill is talent recognition and can stress fundamentals. There were rumors that the A’s Howe could be available, and if he is the Cubs should offer him anything he asks for, though he’s recently claimed he’s staying in Oakland. I wouldn’t want Pinella or Baker for this kind of team. A secondary option if Howe stays in Oakland would be Alou, but for all his magic in Montreal I’m wondering why he’s currently out of work. Perhaps there’s something I don’t know.

The new GM, (apropos of this thread apparently) Hendry, came from Oakland, and even though he’s claiming he’s not necessarily looking for a veteran manager, he might just have a little sway in getting Howe if he does go back on his words and move.

The rest of the team is in reasonable shape as long as a few players show up to play at the beginning of the season.

McGriff is gone and at 1B the rookie Hee Sop Choi should fill in nicely. He’s a player who could really benefit from a manager who’s had successful rookies and can get him soild in all aspects of the game since hitting will probably take care of itself.

Bobby Hill at 2B, another rookie with lots of promise, see above.

Alex Gonzalez at SS, was clutch all last season even though the overall numbers don’t bear it out. He’s well rounded, and isn’t a liability in any phase of the game. Lets focus on the real problems and give this guy another year or two. Anyways, he’s under contract so why rock the boat.

Mark Bellhorn at 3B, he was a huge suprise this season and managed to cement himself at 2B when everyone was expecting Hill to be starting there last season around the All-Star break. The real plus is that he’s a natural 3rd basemen, and his defense will likely improve, not that it was all that bad to begin with. I’ll miss the fan-fave Bill Mueller, but he never really got back on track after that knee injury.

In the outfield there’s no need for changes, just improvement. In right you’ve got Sammy. Not sure why it is, but the guy seems to alternate years or good and bad defense. And the Cubs fate hinges on that it seems. This coming year he’s due for a good one, but a manager who can motivate that aspect of his game would be a huge plus. Then you’ve got Alou on the other side, who’d better get his old lazy ass in the gym all off-season. If his personal assessment is correct, he could be back to full stride next year. In the middle Patterson will be fine, good range and has been streaky at the plate. He needs to become the propect he was hyped to be, and theres no reason to think he can’t. In any case it’d be rash to move any of these guys in the offseason.

The starting pitching staff is excellent, and with some consistency on defense and some run support could be dominating. Sadly I think the losing and frustration has affected them in the late season. Presuming Lieber returns at full strength, the starting 4 spots should be rock solid. They do need to wrangle some deal to secure Lieber with that club option for this coming year in which he’ll miss the first half, but both sides have talked positively. Shouldn’t be any reason this won’t happen. Then if my above deal goes through, Hampton could make an excellent 4-5 starter, and if he regains old form could even be higher. No matter how he performs, the number of innings he always east up could save the bullpen.

The bullpen is the most pathetic part of this team. If they are successful in getting Hampton, or another solid free agent starter, it’ll really help their bullpen. They’ll either be able to trade one the of the younger starters who’ve shown signs of strength, or move them to the pen as long relievers and set up men. Then another free agent move or two to acquire a reliable arm or two, and it should at least be better than last year. If we manage to shore up that starting staff and they don’t get bounced early too often, we could be in good shape. Its unrealistic to think you can go out into the free agent market and just buy great bullpen talent, it doesn’t happen.

At closer, I’d probably end up keeping Alfonseca. I don’t know the details of his contract, but the guy seems to be a problem. The odds of a good trade are unlikely, but it might be possible depending on other teams needs. I’d have to basically say “I don’t know” on that question mark.

Then it brings us to catcher. If we dump Hundley on some unsuspecting team, we’ll need to sign one as a free agent. We don’t have anyone solid in the minors that I’m aware of and we can’t count on the likes of Girardi as a full time catcher. If I had my drothers I’d spend a fat chunk of the Tribune companies money and make this my big free agent move and go out and grab Pudge Rodrigez. With the losses of McGriff, Meuller and some of Lieber’s obligations we should be able to put together a pretty solid compensation package without breaking the bank.

Its alot of ifs…

If 2 out of 3 of those rookies/youngsters pan out (Patterson included in that list).

If Sosa and Alou play up to potential.

If we can dump Hundley.

If we sign a solid defensive catcher at the very least.

If we get the right manager for this team.

…then I think we can compete in this division that doesn’t have a consistant powerhouse.
If only I were GM…

In a word, yup. Last season, he had 44 saves and 11 wins. First pitcher to go 40-10 and I believe he won whatever award it is for best relief pitcher.

In comparison to Isringhausen, Koch is much more durable. Koch can pitch two innings on back to back games. That doesn’t mean that he should though.

Ol’gaffer, that does sound pretty good moving Durham to center. My only worry would be that his arm may be too weak. You don’t really need a great arm at second base.

I would still rather see them get Randy Winn, but that might work too.

Congratulations. Your first post made me laugh out loud. Welcome to the boards.

As for me, I’m a Giants fan. I’d quit f’ing around and re-sign Dusty. Of course, that’s more the owner’s problem. That and re-signing the GM.

Don’t forget Kent…snicker

My team is the Dodgers.

I hire a team of doctors to work on Kevin Brown and and a team of shrinks to work on Kaz Ishii.

I convince Eric Karros to retire, I convince another team to give me prospect for Mark Grudzelanek. I convine Brian Jordan to demand a trade. (I send Jordan and cash to Texas for Tom Catalanato).

I have Darren Drieffort killed.

I bring up Chen from the minors to play 1st base. I start Cora at 2nd. Izturis plays SS everyday, and I fine him $2000 for every time he tries to bat left-handed.

I sign Eric Gagne to a long term deal. I find a couple of decent middle relievers and a left fielder with home-run power that somebody else gave up on.

I tell Grissom thanks but we no longer need his services. Roberts plays CF everyday.

The rest of the team stays like it is.

I swear I posted after IMDWalrus’s post.

Anyway, re: the Rockies - I guess that storing-the-balls-in-the-humidor scheme didn’t work. That air is a real problem. The best pitchers get smoked, and the worst pitchers get barbequed. Which means you gotta concentrate on offense, both hitting and running. I know they’ve tried this before, but it’s probably the only thing that’ll help. Oh, and don’t hire back Don Baylor. :wink:

Now, I remember when Alfonseca was picked up, and I thought it was a bad move at the time - Alfonseca is not a good closer. He gives up way too many hits, and his ERA is well over four. (I may be talking out of my ass, though.) Still, a closer might be a luxury now, not a necessity. Where’s Rod Beck when you need him? :wink:
Omniscient, great call with the Hampton-Hundley trade. Neither team is cash-poor (I think), so they could probably swing it financially. And Hundley’s really sucked, injuries or not. He was acquired for his bat, and that’s died. This is the kinda thing that happens when you’re a one-dimensional player. Hampton, on the other hand, doesn’t suck. He’s a pretty good pitcher in a winless environment. In Wrigley, he might do better, and he’d complement the youngsters they have.

Are McGriff and Meuller leaving for sure? I like the idea of running after Pudge, and he might like playing at Wrigley, too. I’d do it.

Oh, and I’m not sure who would be a good candidate for the Cubs as manager. Maybe Ken Macha will wind up there.

Re: Billy Koch - only problem with him tossing two innings in back to back games is that he’s a very hard thrower. This could cause some arm problems down the road. But Howe is a pretty good handler of pitchers, so he should be okay.

jjtm:With the Giants, I bet Baker returns, as does Brian Sabean at GM, even if the team loses the World Series. Baker’s one of the best managers in the past 15 years; you won’t do better by firing him. Note to Giants owner: Don’t be a Jerry Krause.

Meanwhile, I don’t think Kent will return. Philly, anyone? :wink:

[Man, could you imagine - and this is a favorite pastime of Philly fans - Thome at first and Kent at second? hehe…]

spooje, take heart - Karros will NOT be the number-one 1B for LA next season. They’re either gonna platoon him or replace him - their GM said so.

I don’t think I’d sign Gagne to a long-term deal, though. Closers are a dime a dozen. You don’t want to get locked into a huge contract with a closer; save that for your overrated starters. :wink: Sign him to a two- or three-year deal.

Oh, and Grudzielanek is on the trading block.

My team is the Blue Jays.

To be honest, the team is (finally) doing exactly what it should be doing, so if I became GM I’d stay the course. I’d probably trade Jose Cruz and Chris Woodward if I could get a reasonable pitcher in return - the team seems to like Woodward but I think he’s a bum - but that would be the only major move I’d make at this point. By the middle of next year I’d have Kevin Cash and Jayson Werth in the majors, assuming they continue to progress, and I’d just keep sorting through the pitchers to figure out who’ll stick.

Toronto has a LOT of young hitters - Phelps, Hinske, Gross, Cash, Hudson. Delgado can still swing a mean stick. Wells looks wonderful. But I’m concerned about my D; Woodward isn’t a great shortstop, Hudson is sloppy at second, Hinske is average at best at third. Wells is great in center but the corners are lousy - Stewart can’t throw and Cruz can’t run in a straight line (really - watch him track a fly ball) and Werth used to be a catcher. There is no easy solution, but the team may have to sign a sharp defensive infielder to back up the regulars. Dave Berg just isn’t that guy.

The team will drop $20 million in salary next year so there’s no pressing need for more salary dumps, but at the same time the team is not yet good enough that I’d be willing to ink a big money pitcher. So I’d

  1. Trade Cruz and Woodward, and replace them with Werth/Gabe Gross and Felipe Lopez,
  2. Promote Kevin Cash to fulltime catcher the instant he even might be ready,
  3. Look for a skilled defensive middle infielder as a utility man,
  4. Work on figuring out where we stand in 2003 with the pitching, and then
  5. Maybe sign a big name pitcher to round out the staff in 2004.

If the team is badly out of contention by June 2003, I’d also be willing to trade Shannon Stewart for the right package of prospects.

I have the Angels.

Let’s start with pitching:

Starting rotation - keep Washburn, Lackey, Ortiz, and Calloway. Trade Appier and Sele for a good, solid starter. Texas is dumb, maybe for Rogers?

Relievers - Obviously keep Percival and Rodriguez. I’m borderline on Weber and Donnely. I’m not sure they just didn’t luck out this season, but we’ll keep them until the All-Star break, just to be sure. Schoewenweis is traded for prospects or a good lefty. In fact, maybe package Sele, Appier, Schoenwenwies for a solid starter and a solid reliever.

1B - Spiezio is the best defensive first baseman in the American League. And I’m not convinced he’s not going to tail off next year. Wait and see.

2B - Kennedy had a career year. But he won’t hurt the Angels. Above average defensively, so again…wait and see.

SS - I love Eckstein. He’s a good leadoff guy, decent defensively. We’ll keep him, unless someone offers Tejada, A-Rod, or Garciaparra.

3B - Duh.

C - Ah, the Molina brothers. What to do with them? They can’t hit worth a lick, but they are among the best defensive catchers (well, Benji is) in the League. And I’m not convinced many other catchers could handle Ortiz as well. So we’ll stick with them. Maybe trade the younger Molina for a better backup.

LF - Anderson’s a keeper.

CF - Erstad gets traded for a center fielder who can hit for a bit of power. Or sign a solid free agent and trade for prospects.

RF - Timmy! TIMMY! We’ll keep him for a while.

Bench - Solid bench. Maybe pick up another bat, but I’m not worried about it.

Coaches/Manager - Best manager in the majors, IMHO. Does some silly things with his relievers, but I’m sure he’ll learn. Bud Black is among the top five pitching coaches. Mickey Hatcher is wonderful with the hitters. Good stuff.

And since I’ve replaced Stoneman, I don’t have to kill him. Works out.

OK, my team is the Royals. Don’t pity me, I was there for the 80’s.

Now, the untouchables are Sweeney and Beltran. As GM, my first priority would be to sign Beltran to a mega-deal.

The starting pitching is young, but I wouldn’t give up on it so soon. I’d make a point of re-signing Paul Byrd, and hope that of Miguel Asencio, Shawn Sedlacek, Runelvys Hernandez can make this a breakout year. One more proven starter would be nice…

…but the real problem is the relief pitching. Roberto Hernandez was a miserable failure - gone. I’d trade Raul Ibanez - who had a fantastic year but is probably a fluke - and Jeff Austin or Mike MacDougal for a reliable closer. I’d dump Jason Grimsley (preferably off a pier, wearing cement shoes), whose entry into any game makes me cringe, keep Cory Bailey, Ryan Bukvich and Scott Mullen as my primary setup men. I’d try to use Dee Brown or Ken Harvey - both good hitters ready for the majors, but no place to move up in KC, behind an outfield glut and Mike Sweeney - as trade bait for a good setup man. I’d also try to move Joe Randa. I don’t think he’s got too much more in him. Unfortunately, other teams probably know that, so he’ll probably end up on my bench.

If the relievers can hold the leads, not only will the Royals win at least 10-15 more games than last year, the new young pitchers will develop better, confidence-wise. Also, Tony Pena won’t have to stretch Byrd too far in his starts and he’ll hopefully have enough zip to stay fresh in the second half of the season.

So next year’s lineup looks like Sweeney - 1B, Febles - 2B (no hit, great field - Royals can spare the batting order spot to keep him in the field), Angel Berroa - SS, Kit Pellow - 3B, Brandon Berger - LF, Beltran - CF, Tucker - RF, Mayne - C, Quinn - DH. Rotation - Byrd, someone new, Hernandez, Asencio, Sedlacek. Setup - Mullen, Bukvich, Bailey. Closer - someone new.

Not a formula for the playoffs in 2003, but maybe get within spitting distance of .500, and test the young pitchers to see who can (hopefully) be relied on going forward.

That’s a Royals fan’s hope. Pathetic, but at least I’m not a Brewers or, heaven help them, Devil Rays fan (are there any?).

Well, in the AL Central spitting distance of .500 may get you in, depending on how badly the Twins screw things up. Wanna bet Pohlad slashes payroll?