09 August 2011

Life After Andy MacPhail: Experienced Hands Outside of the Organization

Gerry Hunsicker
In the previous two posts, we considered potential General Manager candidates within the organization and those without GM experience, outside of the organization.  Our feeling is that Buck will have a great deal of say in who the next GM is as well as MacPhail having some infuence as well.  Ultimately, the final choice will need to be someone willing to let Buck dictate the organizational direction while being able to hand the day to day duties of a General Manager that Buck would be unable to do if he remained in the dugout.  There are several candidates that have GM experience and who might be interested in such an arrangement.

John Hart
Senior Adviser, Texas Rangers

Hart has accomplished a great deal in his time in Major League Baseball.  He moved up through the ranks with the Orioles in the 1980s as a minor league manager and a season as a third base coach.  He then flipped over to the Indians where he served as a scout and, for 19 games, the interim manager before being promoted to Director of Baseball Operations.  In the 1990s, he oversaw the Cleveland powerhouse teams that won 6 division titles and appeared twice in the World Series.  He was known at that time for the unusual approach of signing young players long term in order to keep their costs down while buying out free agent years at an assumed lower cost to the franchise.  In 2001, he flipped over to the Rangers and had an uneven record of success with them.  Him and Buck seem to get along together quite well and they may have a decent enough partnership to lead the team together.  I do think though that Hart would not want to be Buck's fixer and adhering to Buck's plan.  Hart's experience would also make him a good Angelos candidate as well.  My only hesitation comes from when he said during the 2010 draft that he would not think twice about drafting Machado ahead of Harper.  I thought that Harper at C, 3B, or RF was clearly a better prospect than Machadon and his ability to stick at shortstop.


Jerry DiPoto
Senior Vice President, Scouting and Player Personnel, Arizona Diamondbacks

You may remember Jerry DiPoto as a relief pitcher for the Indians, Mets, and Rockies back in the 90s.  In the past ten years he has made a quick charge from reliever to a scout in the Boston system to the Director of Scouting and Player Personnel with a short foray as an interim GM for the Diamondbacks.  He is known as a true baseball man and even though his GM tenure was quite short . . . it is anticipated he will returned to that level of management.  His biggest deal as an interim GM was getting Daniel Hudson along with a few other in exchange for Edwin Jackson.  That is pretty good.  With Buck remaining, DiPoto might be a good mix of being willing to listen to someone else's direction due to be being hungry to be a GM.

Wayne Krivsky
Special Assistant to the GM, New York Mets

I assume Krivsky is Sandy Alderson's details man...a sort of GM by function, but not by name.  Orioles fans may remember him best as Andy MacPhail's Special Assistant for the 2009 season.  They may also remember him for his love of Justin Turner.  Wherever Krivsky goes, Turner winds up there via trades or waiver acquisitions.  If MacPhail is part of the process, Krivsky makes the most sense as the two of them share a good relationship with each other.  Krivsky is also known for making smart trades such as acquiring Brandon Phillips for nothing and Bronson Arroyo for Wily Mo Pena.  He is also known for trading somewhat valuable commodities in Austin Kearns and Felipe Lopez to the Nationals* for a few overworked bullpen arms in a misguided attempt to make the playoffs.  Hopefully, he learned from that mistake.  All things said, he is a very smart guy and is probably itching to get back to being a GM.  I think he would be willing to take on a role similar to MacPhail and would not bristle too much with Buck giving him organizational direction.

Gerry Hunsicker
Senior Vice President, Baseball Operations, Tampa Bay Rays

To be honest, I think Hunsicker is the next General Manager of the Rays.  I think the incredibly talented Andrew Friedman is going to be offered a great deal to take over the Houston Astros.  Friedman will then proceed to win there.  In the resulting void, the Rays will likely try to keep the current framework in place to remain successful.  I could also see them going after someone like A.J. Preller.  However, if Hunsicker is not valued as a GM, I think he would be excited to find opportunities elsewhere.  The reason I think highly of Hunsicker is that he truly appreciates the value of international talent acquisition.  As a GM of the Astros, he helped bring along their Venezuelan program which provided the team with a steady stream of talent (that they would then ship off for valuable veterans).  After being fired and joining the Rays, he scrabbled together some of his old hands in the Astros system and built the Rays Venezuelan effort as well as worked on starting up a Brazilian academy with Andres Reiner.  I think Hunsicker would make do with paying service to Buck while broadening out the Orioles acquisition of talent.  He would be a solid hire.

Allard Baird
Vice President, Player Personnel and Professional Scouting, Boston Red Sox

Some people think Baird was given a raw deal with the Kansas City Royals.  The David Glass ownership was incredibly tight fisted and certainly inhibited the way a team could be run.  However, Drayton "The Process" Moore has been able to develop the Royals farm system into the best in baseball.  Moore's MLB moves are just as confounding as Baird's was, but Moore's group does seem to value scouting appropriately.  That said, Baird is a smart guy and he interviews well.  He is highly experienced, can operate the team in a day-to-day fashion and is likely to put up with Buck calling the shots.  He is in the Red Sox system, so he must know something.  As an organizational type, he might be pleasing to Angelos.

How Would I Rank Them?

Gerry Hunsicker
John Hart
Jerry DiPoto
Wayne Krivsky
Allard Baird

The Orioles' weakness is development and getting enough talent into the system.  Hunsicker's experience will devoting resources to international talent pools is a known commodity.  It is also an area that Buck would have little insight in, giving Hunsicker a free hand.  The Orioles are also known to have issues with organizational personnel in the Dominican, but Hunsicker would likely have free reign in other countries that suit his strength.  Hart is appealing because a unified organization tends to be more successfully then several groups acting separately from one another.  DiPoto is at the break even point for me.  He has been a hard charger and hopefully the Peter Principle would not be in play for him.  Krivsky is interesting, but that reliever trade is the typical misevaluation.  Baird has shown me nothing from his tenure in Kansas City to suggest he is capable of building a winner under restrictions.

I think Hart and Krivsky are the two likely ones from this group to have consideration to replace MacPhail.  The one selected would be based on whoever had more power: Buck or MacPhail.  In future articles, I will go over the choice we see most likely one by one.


* In the original article, I accidentally named the Indians as opposed to the Nationals as the other team in the deal mentioned.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would go hard after Friedman with a huge offer. We're at the bottom too but with more resources than Houston could deam about. It would be the ultimate challenge for a young stud GM like Friedman.

Anonymous said...

"Him and Buck seem to get along together..." Puleeze

Anonymous said...

John Hart likes Buck a lot as a manager. Speaks incredibly fondly of him. Not sire what Buck thinks

Oriole85 said...

I think that Felipe Lopez/Austin Kearns trade you are talking about for bullpen arms was actually to the Nats, NOT the Indians. Austin Kearns went to the Indians but through a Krivsky trade but after getting released from the Nats.

Anonymous said...

Had Cleveland on the brain, which is a sad affliction. Am surprised I wrote that.

- Jon Shepherd

Tom Fowler said...

If Houston is making a big push for Friedman, the Orioles should be in on that, too. He's shown he can win in this division with limited resources. Let's give him a few more resources and turn him loose. Tampa has improved at the major and minor-league levels under Friedman, something the Orioles badly need to do.