NL Gold Glove voters fail to embarrass selves

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Time to pat yourselves on the back, NL managers and coaches: you weren’t nearly as dim as your AL counterparts in your Gold Glove selections:
C Yadier Molina
1B Adrian Gonzalez
2B Orlando Hudson
3B Ryan Zimmerman
SS Jimmy Rollins
OF Michael Bourn
OF Matt Kemp
OF Shane Victorino
P Adam Wainwright
I think pretty much everyone will agree that those nine players are all above average fielders. The most encouraging development was that the voters finally rewarded Zimmerman at third base after choosing the mediocre David Wright the previous couple of years. Wright’s chances of a third straight Gold Glove were damaged by his injury, but I thought Kevin Kouzmanoff might get it, especially with the Padres doing everything they could to boost his candidacy. Fortunately, Zimmerman, the far rangier player, got it despite committing 17 errors to Kouz’s three.
Catcher was a no-brainer. My pick at first base would have been Derrek Lee. Albert Pujols was just too sloppy this year, and Lee gets to more balls than Gonzalez. Gonzalez, though, is rock solid. Chase Utley and Clint Barmes were both better than the declining Hudson at second base. The NL’s best shortstop, Jack Wilson, was traded out of the league, though Rollins surely would have topped him anyway. My choice would have been Troy Tulowitzki.
I’d have voted for Bourn, Nyjer Morgan and Mike Cameron in the outfield. Kemp is much, much improved, but he’s still a notch below the elite guys. Victorino is simply overrated. With Morgan, Andrew McCutchen and Colby Rasmus likely to spend full seasons in center next year, Victorino shouldn’t be looking at a long run as a Gold Glover.

Scott Boras says it would be a conflict of interest for an agent to become a GM

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Earlier, Craig wrote about the latest in the Mets’ search for a new general manager. Their list has been pared down to three candidates: Chaim Bloom (Rays senior VP of baseball operations), Doug Melvin (Brewers senior advisor), and agent Brodie Van Wagenen (of Creative Artists Agency).

It’s a diverse list, for sure, which makes one wonder what process allowed them to arrive at these final three candidates. Bloom is new school, Melvin is older-school, and Van Wagenen is… just inexperienced. Van Wagenen in particular is an interesting candidate as he has spent years advocating on his clients’ behalf. As a GM, he would do the exact opposite: he would try to take advantage of his players whenever possible, like every other GM in baseball does (e.g. manipulating service time).

Per Mike Puma of the New York Post, agent Scott Boras thinks there would be a conflict of interest if an agent were to become a GM. Boras, in fact, says he has turned down opportunities to lead front offices. But there is no verbiage saying that an agent must divest himself of his business interests before taking a job in a front office. Dave Stewart and Jeff Moorad are two examples of agents who later went onto the ownership side of the business. Stewart, in fact, moved into the front office after retiring and held various roles in with various organizations until he started Sports Management Partners (renamed Stewart Management Partners). He transferred control of the agency to Dave Henderson before he joined the Diamondbacks’ front office near the end of the 2014 season.

Ownership and labor are in constant conflict, even when things seem peaceful. Ownership wants to extract as much labor as possible as cheaply as possible. Labor wants to be paid for their work as much as possible. Their goals contradict each other and yet they need each other. While not required, usually being deeply on one side or the other — as agents and GM’s are — speaks to one’s personal ethos about the eternal tug-of-war. That Van Wagenen is so eager to switch sides speaks, perhaps, to opportunism. I would be, at minimum, unsettled if I were a client of Wan Wagenen’s at CAA. How might he use the sensitive information he was privy to as an agent to his advantage as a GM?

We have seen the analytics wave take over front offices around baseball. As ownership looks for ever more ways to pocket more cash, Van Wagenen’s candidacy may signal an upcoming wave of agents transitioning into front office roles. Hopefully that doesn’t become the case. There may be no one better equipped to take advantage of labor than someone experienced on that side of the battlefield.