17 July 2011

Life After Andy MacPhail: Options Within the Organization

Andy MacPhail is in the last year of his contract.  Peter Angelos has mentioned that there will be no negotiations until the season is over.  This has led many to believe that one or the other is looking for more flexibility when it comes time to determine how Andy relates to this team in the future.  The two scenarios I have heard mentioned most often would have Andy MacPhail graduating to more of a directional presence at the top of the organization.  This would be similar to his capacity with the Cubs and somewhat similar to Nolan Ryan's role with the Rangers.  MacPhail would be involved in major issues and with the direction of the club, but would leave day to day operations to someone else.  Eventually, MacPhail would move over to a role with Major League Baseball and have Cal Ripken Jr. take over.  The second scenario is for MacPhail to immediately take a role with Major League Baseball and a new presence takes over in the same capacity MacPhail currently serves.

There are several candidates to take the reins of the day to day operations.  There are internal options, experienced external options, and inexperienced external options.  In a series of three posts, I will review some of those potential options.  This first post will consider internal options.

Matt Klentak
30 years old
Director of Baseball Operations

Matt graduated from Dartmouth in 2002.  While in school he managed an internship with Major League Baseball.  That spun into another internship with the Rockies focused on organizing scouting materials and financial issues.  That became a full time position with Major League Baseball.  In his four years with Major League Baseball's Labor Relations Department he advised on all teams on the Collective Bargaining Agreement.  Klentak was also part of the Salary Arbitration Support Program and the Rule 4 Draft Support Program, providing economic and baseball analyses.  In his current capacity, Klentak is the director of baseball operations for the Orioles and is heavily involved in contract negotiations and how to work the 40 man and active rosters.  He certainly is a rising star in baseball and appears well regarded within the Organization.

I'm not sure if he will be a good or bad selection as a GM.  He seems to be a favorite of Andy MacPhail and that might mean something to Angelos.  The only time I have heard him speak extensively about baseball was on the organization pulling in a consultant to evaluate the cost of International talent.  The study is proprietary information, so I cannot say anything about it as he did not discuss it other than the outcome.  As such, I doubt the methodology.  That said, he might be good.

Joe Jordan
48 years old
Director of Amateur Scouting

Jordan started out with the Giants in the minors as a catcher in 1985.  When an injury ended his career, he returned to college to finish his degree and to serve as an assistant coach, a position he held for three years.  He then entered into the financial world before returning back to baseball in 1997 as a scout for the Montreal Expos.  He climbed up to the role of National Crosschecker with the Florida Marlins before he joined the Orioles in 2004 as their Scouting Director in the Flanagan GM era.  His time with the Orioles has been bittersweet.  He has managed to receive decent value for his draft picks and is highly regarded in the industry.  There may be some rivalry between his group and the developmental staff, so he may not be an easy choice.  Additionally, his selections have largely not been slam dunk talent grabs.  The 2009 draft might be a black eye from which Jordan will be remembered within the organization.  I doubt he will be considered for a promotion and think he will remain with the club only if a MacPhail disciple, like Klentak, takes over.

John Stockstill
Upper 40s (cannot find his birth date)
Director of Player Development

I have had difficulty researching Stockstill's early baseball background.  His main responsibilities began with MacPhail's Cubs orginally as a scouting coordinator for Minor League Operations within their organization.  After two years, he became the Cubs' scouting director.  He served in this capacity from 1999 to 2005.  These drafts were not particularly good ones for Stockstill.
1999 - Nothing
2000 - Dontrelle Willis
2001 - Mark Prior, Ryan Theriot, Ricky Nolasco, and Geovany Soto
2002 - Rich Hill, Taylor Teagarden, and Randy Wells
2003 - Sean Marshall and Casey McGehee
2004 - Sam Fuld
2005 - Nothing
He then joined the Orioles as an Assistant GM with a focus on evaluation.  This grew into an International Scouting Director position.  Before 2010, he switched places with his brother David Stockstill and is not the Director of Player Development.  Stockstill certainly is experienced, but I am not exactly sold on his performance.  As a scouting director, he often would target safe college players early and then go for hard to sign players in later rounds.  He did not target the right safe college players and was to able to sign the right overslots.  As the international scouting director for the Orioles, it is difficult to judge him as few resources were used.  Now as the director of player development, he has not had enough time to show any proficiency.

Cal Ripken Jr.
50 years old
President and CEO of Ripken Baseball

Cal is the obvious fan favorite and he has certainly shown an interest in being involved to a great degree at the top of the organization.  There has been some discussion over what responsibilities he would ultimately have and apparently him and Peter Angelos discuss baseball and business often.  He is likely the easiest and riskiest signing of everyone the Orioles could consider.  Cal has never been involved in player development and acquisition.  He was a great player, but playing the game requires a different skill set than evaluating and acting on evaluations as well as working within current and future monetary limits.  There is certainly a possibility that Cal could become the Joe Morgan of General Managers.  Making matters worse, Cal carries such weight around Baltimore he just might be almost unfireable.  The short of it for me is that there are far too many risks for me to hire him on the slim chance he actually can do this job.

Buck Showalter
55 years old

Showalter is known primarily for taking uneven, young teams and crafting winners out of them.  He is also known for directly and indirectly forcing player acquisition.  He teamed up with the Arizona Diamondbacks two years before their first game to help shape their roster.  In Texas, Showalter was known for pushing Alex Rodriguez out of Arlington and for trading Adrian Gonzalez and Chris Young for Adam Easton and Akinori Otsuka.  After Texas, Showalter acted to some capacity as a Senior Adviser to the Cleveland Indians before being snatched up by ESPN to be an analyst (a position he had prior to his Texas job).  To be kind, his efforts at moving players has been incredibly uneven if not horrible.  He does seem to have sway in the organization and is said to dine with Peter Angelos every week or two alone.  At the very least, I expect Showalter to be highly involved in the selection of the next General Manager.  It also would not surprise me if he pulls a Dick Cheney and recommends himself.

My Ranking of these Five?
1. Matt Klentak
2. Joe Jordan
3. Cal Ripken Jr.
4. Buck Showalter
5. John Stockstill

Of these five, I think Klentak might be the only one who might be good for the organization.  However, there is just a major lack of information on him.  Jordan has a good eye for talent and is fond of prospects, which might be good.  Cal is a wild card.  Buck has shown he makes poor decisions.  Stockstill has never been involved with any group that wound up being incredibly valuable  With all of his previous chances, I do not see the point of giving him further opportunities.

Next Up?
Five potential general managers outside of the organization who have experience.


TheJbLounge said...

I think they need to look outside the organization where there is objectivity. I'm not sure if hiring people part of the losing effort is the right move. Granted we tried this with MacPhail but I think they need to go after a young blue chip GM as opposed to someone applying the same tired "good ole boy" course of action MacPhail opted to follow.

Unknown said...

Internally, Matt Klentak looks like the best choice of those five. I think the O's need to get someone in the Andrew Friedman mold -- young, college-educated, and stat-savvy. They need a New Baseball guy for the New Baseball world we live in. Of those internal candidates, I think Klentak is the only reasonable choice. Considering the Orioles' dubious record of player development, I would not allow Stockstill close to the GM's office, other than to receive his pink slip.

Steve said...

"It also would not surprise me if he pulls a Dick Cheney and recommends himself."

I think that's a given.