Bob Nightengale of USA Today has a story about how, increasingly, front offices are no longer led by a GM and his employees. There are presidents of baseball operations and vice presidents and two and three-headed monsters like we’re seeing in Chicago and Los Angeles and Miami. And whatever weirdness is going on in Atlanta where there is a president and a vice president of baseball ops, but no GM.
Nightengale talks of the potential confusion this all may cause — Dave Stewart has a good quote about how, if he wanted to make a trade with the Dodgers, he’s not sure who he’d call — but this just seems more like evolution to me.
We didn’t have bench coaches before, now we do. Most teams now have assistant hitting coaches. Entire new departments devoted to analytics exist. It just makes sense that as everything in operations becomes more complicated and granular, management will be require more resources and people as well. A mom and pop store — which some baseball teams still vaguely resembled as late as the 1980s — can be run by one person. A complex corporation really can’t.
In December we’ll hear older guys talking about the days when GMs met in the bar at the Winter Meetings and did deals on the back of napkins. Part of the reason that can’t happen anymore is that GMs, by themselves, don’t make deals nearly as often as they used to. It’s a team effort, and if members of your team become more important, they will become recognized and earn recognition in the form of titles, higher salary and a media profile. That’s all that’s going on here, really.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman spoke about Alex Rodriguez yesterday and he laid out the situation pretty clearly: A-Rod is likely not going to be the starting third baseman and, wherever he ends up, he’s going to have to earn his at bats:
“If I signed or traded for a third baseman, then that would be my third baseman,” Cashman said Tuesday at the general managers’ meetings. “If we made a move for someone who is a third baseman, then he’s our third baseman . . . Alex is going to come in and compete, compete for at-bats, compete for a position,” Cashman said. “Simple as that.”
Read this in conjunction with the reports that the Yankees are going to try to sign Chase Headley to be their third baseman. Or, perhaps, look at other options.
This is smart for a lot of reasons. The primary reason: there is no way to know what the Yankees are going to get out of Rodriguez. He’s turning 40 next year, has had a year off and wasn’t totally healthy when he last played in 2013. If you pencil A-Rod in as your third baseman, you’re gambling and it’s not a great gamble that you’re going to get either durability or effectiveness and getting both is a long shot.
It’s also smart from a media management perspective. It’s going to be crazy in Tampa next February as it is, so if Cashman can make it slightly less crazy by nipping “WHERE WILL A-ROD PLAY?!!!” stories now, more power to him. Of course, thinking that the New York press is NOT going to write the dumb obvious stories whether they are previously debunked or not is probably a longer shot than A-Rod getting 500 plate appearances.
If you figure A-Rod can share time at DH and first base and maybe — maybe — spell Chase Headley or someone at third once in a great while, you’re probably figuring wisely. And, if even that is too much, you haven’t had your 2015 plans blow up on you if Rodriguez can’t make a go of it next spring.
Korean team SK Wyverns posted pitcher Kwang-Hyun Kim and the Padres bid $2 million for the rights to negotiate with him. Multiple reports have come in saying that the club has accepted the bid, and now the Padres have 30 days to sign him.
The 26-year-old posted a 3.33 ERA and 139/81 K/BB ratio over 167 and two-thirds innings in the KBO in 2014. Ken Rosenthal says that the Padres are viewing him as a middle reliever, though some think he could be a back-end starter in the U.S.
Signing Ubaldo Jimenez to a $50 million deal last winter did not impede the Orioles march to the AL East title. But it wasn’t a good move either, and now the O’s are trying to do some damage control:
It’s hard to imagine someone actually wanting Jimenez in and of himself. Rather, it’d probably be a good “bad contract for bad contract” sort of deal, preferably from a team that has a bum bat in a pitchers park that would do well to move to Camden Yards while providing Jimenez with a more Jimenez-friendly situation.
Like, I dunno, a park that is 500 feet below sea level with 500 foot power alleys and a marine layer that rolls in at about noon each day.
Say what you want about Nelson Cruz, but he’s certainly confident:
Once again he has qualifying offer compensation attached. He’s coming off a great season, yes, but he’s a year older and in this day and age players in their mid 30s tend not to set new plateaus of performance. They may peak a bit, but doesn’t 2014 look like a peak year for him?
Still, the Orioles want him and are willing to go multiple years. Good luck to him if he think he can do better.