Assignment to reporters in Arizona: find the source of this anonymous quote in MLB.com’s Lyle Spencer’s story.
The story: asking various executives which player they would choose to build a team around. Most execs chose Mike Trout or Clayton Kershaw, which makes sense. Some chose Andrew McCutchen, which, sure, why not? Others went with young prospects or decided that it was most important to build around certain positions like shortstop or catcher. Which also makes sense. Indeed, it’s hard to truly criticize almost any of the choices here given the hypothetical nature of this exercise and the various ways there are to build a railroad.
But there is one exec — a general manager no less! — who made a choice and a justification therefor which is impossible to get one’s head around:
“Adam Jones is a five-tool guy who comes to beat you every day and is a great leader,” an NL GM said of the Orioles’ center fielder. “I love Trout, but I just love Jones a little more.”
Like I said: picking a pitcher or a catcher or a shortstop or a young prospect over Mike Trout in this exercise is totally defensible. But to decide that you want an MLB center fielder and then not only go with Jones over Trout but to do so on the basis of a head-to-head comparison between the two and a justification of Jones being a “five-tool guy” with, more or less, the will-to-win is a pretty special thing. Especially for a general manager.
Spencer said he did this out in Arizona. The NL GMs in Arizona are, as follows: Dave Stewart of the Dbacks, Jed Hoyer of the Cubs, Walt Jocketty of the Reds, Jeff Bridich of the Rockies, Farhan Zaidi of the Dodgers, Doug Melvin of the Brewers, A.J. Preller of the Padres and Brian Sabean of the Giants. Fans of one of those teams: I am sorry.