I saw Mark Prior at the Winter Meetings in Orlando. Indeed, he and I were staying on the same floor, so I saw him a lot. Walking up and down the hallway pretty frequently, always with a cell phone to his ear and a notebook in his hand. At various points I saw him in the little coffee shop down the hall, again, always on the phone, always writing or flipping through the notebook.
Some folks, especially folks who may be recognized and don’t want to be, do that in order to avoid people. If it’s not that, it’s because you’re working. Pretty hard, and pretty constantly. Mark Prior, it seems falls into the latter camp. He had just started his job in the Padres front office that week and, as Corey Brock of MLB.com reports, he was then and continues now to immerse himself in the job.
It’s a great read in that it tells you the difference between someone who is actually looking at the front office as a career vs. a former player who is just looking for a soft landing while he tries to figure out the second act of his life. It’s fascinating to see someone of Prior’s former stature making a real go of it like this.
It used to be that the top dog in a team’s baseball operations department was the general manager. That has changed over the past several years with some combination of title inflation, a genuine addition of supervisory layers and, on some level, employe poaching insurance leading to the top dog now being called, usually, a “president of baseball operations.”
Brewers’ general manager David Stearns is the latest to assume that tile, as the club just announced that he has been promoted to Milwaukee’s president of baseball operations. He has also received a contract extension of unknown length.
Not a big shock given how well the Brewers did in 2018, winning the NL Central title and playing in the NLCS. It’s also worth noting — with a nod to that “employee poaching insurance” item above — that Stearns has drawn some interest from other organizations. It’s thus not unfair to see the promotion is both a thanks for a job well done and a means of keeping other teams’ hands off of him, as employees are generally not given permission to interview for lateral moves, but are given permission to interview for promotions.
The Mudville Nine may have wanted to steal him from Milwaukee, but for Stearns to get a promotion from where he is now would require the creation of some other lofty title.