Craig Calcaterra

Dan Duquette

The 17th greatest GM of all time was unemployed for a decade

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Mark Armour and Dan Levitt have written a book: In Pursuit of Pennants, which examines how front offices have historically found innovative ways to build winning teams. In support of that, they are counting down the top-25 GMs of all time over at their blog. Since it’s slow season, I’m going to continue linking to the countdown as it’s great stuff we rarely read about in the normal course.

Dan Duquette had a ton of success in Montreal and Boston. Then he was out of the game for a decade. Then he was hired by the Orioles and everyone made fun of his selection. And, since then, he’s had a ton of success. It’s almost like someone doesn’t forget how to build a winner overnight. And that our reactions to most hires are pretty worthless.

Duquette’s next stop may very well be Toronto. Today, however, Mark and Dan look at his previous three stops and remind us that he made some pretty incredible deals over the years and developed an awful lot of talent.

 

Sox, Braves and Astros caps for Pedro, Smoltz and Biggio’s Hall of Fame plaques

Pedro Martinez
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Not a surprise, of course:

Sorry, Expos dead-enders.

You’ll recall that Randy Johnson picked the Dbacks for his cap last week. Which makes sense. For my rationale on this year’s cap choices, go here.

The Padres are sniffing around James Shields

James Shields
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James Shields still roams the earth as free agent. It’s unclear who, if anyone, is a frontrunner for his services, but Ken Rosenthal reports the Padres are on the “periphery” of the James Shields sweepstakes, though he adds that they are ultimately “unlikely to land him.”

USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported last week that Shields wants a five-year contract worth around $125 million. He’s likely not going to get that. Below that figure a lot of teams could sneak into the discussion, be it San Diego, Miami or your not-so-usual big free agent suspects.

And now the perfect gift for your favorite dead New York Mets fan

mets logo
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All Mets fans, on some level, are dead inside. But, eventually, all Mets fans will be literally dead. In that case, they clearly need this:

source:

 

That does seem an awful lot of money for a jar. Maybe it’d be better to channel your inner Fred Wilpon and go cheap?

source:

 

Yeah, I think I’d go with the latter.

(thanks to reader Pete Mitchell for the heads up)

Ryne Sandberg says the Phillies clubhouse was dysfunctional last year

Ryne Sandberg
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Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News quotes Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg who spoke at an offseason banquet about the Phillies’ 2014 troubles. The skipper:

“I didn’t think we had a good clubhouse last year . . . I don’t think it was conducive to winning,” Sandberg said. “I don’t think it was about winning a baseball game that day, in some regards. I think there were some distractions there.”

When pressed, Sandberg wouldn’t give tons of specifics, but the upshot seems to be that the veterans were more of the problem and that they didn’t let the younger players relax. He didn’t name names, but he’s more optimistic about this year, so may one deduce that players who have departed were the issue?

Or does the more pertinent question involve why Sandberg is talking about the clubhouse atmosphere as if the team’s manager is merely a passive observer?