MLB: General Managers Power Rankings
Brian Sabean Enjoys the spoils of victory
There are 30 General Managers in Major League Baseball. Each has his own idea of how to run a team. Some are given the resources that they need to be successful while others are not. The best are successful with whatever they are given to work with. The worst can be given the keys to the kingdom and fail.
For years those who have opposed MLB expansion have said that there are not enough good players to stock 30 teams. This is not true. The talent pool has expanded to include players from all over the world. Let's not forget that for the first half of the twentieth century talent was drawn from only one segment of the American population.
The truth is that there are plenty of talented players, but not enough capable GM's and owners. Not everyone can run a major league team. Not everyone knows how to scout and evaluate talent. This will always be the case.
In ranking an MLB General Manger the main criteria should be whether or not he gets the most out of what he has to work with. Any GM can win with an open checkbook. All he has to do is buy the best players. The men who succeed by building a competitive big league club and solid farm system are the ones who earn their pay.
Here is a look at the best and worst General Manager's in the game. They will be ranked from worst to first. While 2012 success or failure plays a big part in ranking each man it is the overall state of their organizations which ultimately earns them their ranking.
30. Ben Cherington Boston Red Sox
First the Red Sox blew a nine game lead with less than a month to play in 2011 which cost them a wildcard birth. Then they fired a man who had won two World Series in manager Terry Francona. Then they hired a man who has won nothing in Bobby Valentine.
The end result was a 69-93 record in 2012 and last place in the AL East. Cherington must take the blame for the sinking of the S.S. Red Sox.
29. Jeff Luhnow (far right) Houston Astros
Is there any team more irrelevant than the Astros? The team is so bad that no one knew they existed until Roger Clemens made a comeback and talked about pitching for them.
The Astros move to the American League in 2013. Everyone in the National League will miss beating them.
However, Luhnow is not the cause of this. He only took over in 2011. Still the Astros have a long way to go and it is up to him to make them relevant again.
28. Chris Antonetti Cleveland Indians
Antonetti took over in 2010 and hired Manny Acta as his manager. This was a mistake as Acta was fired this past season after three losing seasons.
The Acta signing may have set Cleveland back three years. We will see. This is not a good start for any GM.
27. Jack Zduriencik (far left) Seattle Mariners
Four fourth place finishes and only one winning season in five years. The Mariners have tread water under Zduriencik. The team did improve by eight games in 2012 so there may be hope for the future.
Zduriencik has a good eye for talent. While with the Brewers, he helped in drafting Prince Fielder, Ricky Weeks and Ryan Braun. In order to be successful with Seattle, Zduriencik will have to find similar talent. So far he has not.
26. Alex Anthopoulos Toronto Blue Jays (foreground)
Anthopoulus' biggest job is to keep baseball relevant in Canada. The Blue Jays are all that is left after the Montreal Expos moved to Washington in 2005. For a while it looked like Anthopoulus was about to put a Toronto team on the field which could challenge for a playoff spot.
Unfortunately 2012 was not a good year for the Blue Jays and Anthopoulos took much of the criticism. There are those in Toronto who want him gone.
If things do not improve in 2013 they may get their wish.
25. Terry Ryan Minnesota Twins
What has happened to the Twins the last two seasons? Did Ryan's predecessor Bill Smith leave the cupboard bare? Minnesota has gone from winning back to back division titles in 2009 and 2010 to the cellar.
Ryan is under fire and should be. Any GM who goes from first to worst has to answer for his team's failures even if his best player, Joe Mauer, has not been as productive as he was before signing a large contract.
By simply going from first to worst gets Ryan a place at the back end of these rankings.
24. Michael Hill Miami Marlins
Hill did not have a good year. The Marlins changed their name from Florida to Miami, moved into a new stadium, signed some high priced free agents and hired Ozzie Guillen to manage the team. All of this was supposed to bring fans and create success. It did not.
The stadium was a hit, but the team performed below expectations. Guillen was fired after starting the season with a suspension and getting off to a bad start with the fan base.
2012 was a disaster and Hill must take the hit for it.
23. Jed Hoyer Chicago Cubs
In Hoyer's first season as GM the Cubs lost 101 games. Before taking the Chicago job he spent two years as the San Diego Padres GM. In 2011, the padres lost 91 games.
Hoyer worked under Theo Epstein with the Red Sox. Now Epstein is his boss in Chicago. The Cubs have a lot of work to do. They have had three consecutive losing seasons. We never got the chance to find out if Hoyer could build a team in San Diego, because he left. Under, Epstein we will find out if those 101 losses were rock bottom or not.
22. Ned Colletti Los Angeles Dodgers
Colletti has presided over a Dodgers team that has brought up some good, young talent, but it has not produced victories. Unbelievably, Los Angeles has not won an NL pennant since 1988.
Colletti is now working under a new regime with Earvin 'Magic' Johnson as the front man. The new owners spent $2 billion to buy the team and won’t stand pat. If the Dodgers don't start winning soon Colletti will be gone.
21. Daniel O'Dowd Colorado Rockies
There is no joy in Rockiesville. After a World Series appearance in 2007 the Rockies have gone backwards.
O'Dowd took over as GM in 1999. In 2006 he made a conscious decision to sign players with character and who were Christians. This has not gone over well with everyone and there are those who want O'Dowd gone. It seems as morals may take a back seat to winning when it comes to Rockies baseball.
20. Doug Melvin Milwaukee Brewers
The man who runs the commissioner's former team, Melvin has advantages that he needs to take advantage of. To some extent, he has, but Milwaukee could do better. They have a nice stadium and loyal fan base. The team plays in a division with three ready made rivals in the St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds.
Melvin could do much better on and off of the field with the Brewers. They have a talented star in Ryan Braun. Milwaukee seems like a team that is just one brick shy of a load. Let's see if Melvin can finish building the house.
19. Rick Hahn Chicago White Sox
Hahn was elevated from assistant GM to the top spot when Ken Williams became Executive Vice President in October. Before becoming GM Hahn helped sign much of the talent which brought a world's championship to the White Sox in 2007.
Hahn is known to have a sharp eye for talent. He is familiar with the White Sox organization and manager Robin Ventura. Chicago finished second in the AL Central in 2012.
After years of Williams putting up with controversial, but successful manager Ozzie Guillen, Hahn and Ventura will try to keep the focus on the field.
18. Dayton Moore Kansas City Royals
The Royals used to be a model franchise before free agency. Then they became a small market team unable to compete.
In 2012, Kansas City had its best season with Moore as their GM. They won 72 games and finished third in the AL Central. Kansas City has not had a winning record since 2003.
The Royals are a team that would maybe disappear if the league decided to contract. Instead they languish while a GM like Moore does the best he can with one hand tied behind his back.
17. Josh Byrnes San Diego Padres
Burns has only had two years to run the Padres. Before taking over the GM role he was Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations. When Jed Hoyer left for the GM job in Chicago, Burns took over.
With the Arizona Diamondbacks, Byrnes helped build a team that won the NL West after he left in 2011. This is his goal in San Diego. It took him five years to do it in Arizona. There is no reason to believe that he can not do the same in San Diego.
16. Kevin Towers Arizona Diamondbacks
Towers took over in 2011. Before that he spent 15 years as GM of the San Diego Padres and built a team which won the NL pennant in 1998.
With Arizona, Towers inherited manager Kirk Gibson. The Diamondbacks won the West in their first season together. Arizona leveled off to 81-81 in 2012. The Diamondbacks will be expected to bounce back in 2013, despite having to beat out the world champion San Francisco Giants.
Towers and Arizona went backwards in 2012. They will have to turn it around next season.
15. Neal Huntington Pittsburgh Pirates
How can anyone win a title with this organization? The Pirates can not afford to compete. If baseball ever decided to contract Pittsburgh could very well be one of the teams to go.
Under these circumstances Huntington has done a good job. He has built a team that is actually competitive. The Pirates did not finish .500, but won more games than they had in 15 years with 79. One hopes that they can take the next step and field a winning team in 2013.
14. Sandy Alderson New York Mets
It is Alderson's job to clean up the wreckage that former GM Omar Minaya left behind. Alderson had a similar task with the Oakland A's in the 1980's. He only built a team which won three AL pennants and one World Series.
With pitcher R.A. Dickey and third baseman David Wright as building blocks, Alderson has something to work with. He did more with less in Oakland. It will be no surprise if Alderson has a competitive ball club and solid organization by 2014.
13. Jerry Dipoto Los Angeles Angels
DiPoto is the man who signed Albert Pujols to a 5 year $77.5 million contract. This was supposed to propel the Angels to an AL West title in 2012. It did not work as Los Angeles finished third behind the Oakland Athletics and Texas Rangers.
DiPoto will be going into his third season as GM in 2013. If the Pujols signing is to be deemed a success Los Angeles has to make the playoffs starting next season.
The Pujols signing is DiPoto's early legacy and its success or failure is what he should be judged on.
12. Ruben Amaro, Jr. Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies have had a nice run under Amaro, but now it may be time to rebuild. The team which won a title under GM Pat Gillick and assistant GM Amaro in 2008 fell victim to age and injury in 2012. The Phillies finished third in the NL East behind the Nationals and Braves. They were never really in the race.
Now it is time for Amaro to build a team on his own. Let's see if he can.
11. Dan Duquette Baltimore Orioles
Duquette took over as GM in 2011. He was proceeded by a pretty good one in Andy McPhail. McPhail did not leave Duquette with an empty cupboard. The Orioles had some good young talent in catcher Matt Weiters and center fielder Adam Jones when Duquette arrived.
After taking the job Duquette decided to hire Buck Showalter to manage this group. This season that talent flourished under him as Baltimore won 93 games and a wildcard birth.
McPhail may have gotten the talent, but Duquette hired the man to win with it. For the first time this century Baltimore finally has a stable organization.
10. Frank Wren Atlanta Braves
If there is one thing that everyone in baseball can count on it is the consistency of the Atlanta Braves. They may have only won one World Series in the last 21 years, but seem to challenge for it every year.
Wren took over for long time GM John Schuerholtz in October 2007. He has tried to rebuild a ball club that was starting to age when Wren took over. The Braves have made it to post season play two of the last three years and should have in 2011.
They may not be the most exciting team to watch, but Atlanta is definitely consistent.
So far, Wren has kept the winning tradition going.
9. John Mozeliak St. Louis Cardinals
Mozeliak took over for Walt Jocketty in 2008. He is expected to win in St. Louis and has. The Cardinals won a World Series in 2011.
It did not help Mozeliak to lose first baseman Albert Pujols after the 2011 season. Mozeliak brought in outfielder Carlos Beltran to replace the bat of Pujols and St. Louis fell one game short of returning to the series.
It seems that Mozeliak learned well from his predecessor and the Cardinals will continue to compete for titles.
8. Brian Cashman New York Yankees
Cashman is always the lightening rod for any Yankees success or failure. He has been since taking over as GM in 1998. If any other GM had as much success as Cashman he would have a statue built in his honor. However, Cashman is expected to win, because he is the GM of the richest team in baseball.
The Yankees have not won a World Series since 2009. They are an aging ball club with little or no talent in the minor leagues. Cashman has never built a team through draft picks it has always been free agency. This is the Yankees way.
It may finally be catching up with them.
7. Walt Jocketty Cincinnati Reds
The first thing that Jocketty got right was hiring Dusty Baker as his manager. Jocketty has directed a franchise that has won two NL Central division titles in the last three years. Before Jocketty, Cincinnati had not been to the post season since 1995.
The Reds have done it by building a solid organization. Young talented players like Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce have come into their own under Jocketty and Baker.
In a city that is not one of the major markets, Jocketty has proven that you can win if you build a team the right way.
6. Andrew Friedman Tampa Bay Rays
Friedman's official title is Executive Vice President of Baseball operations. The Rays have not had a GM since 2005. No matter what Friedman's title is he has been successful in running the Tampa organization.
The Rays have made three trips to the post season in the last five years. In 2008 they won the AL pennant. Tampa has won 90 or more games three straight years and four out of the last five.
Too bad the city of Tampa doesn't support Friedman's team like they should. He has definitely given them a reason to attend games.
5. Dave Dombrowski Detroit Tigers
Dombrowski is a good example of giving a GM the chance to build a team. The Tigers were terrible and irrelevant before he took over in 2002. Since then they have gone from a team which won only 43 games in 2003 to appearances in three AL Championship Series and two World Series. The only thing missing from the resume is a world's championship.
Dombrowksi's best move was hiring manager Jim Leyland in 2006. Leyland took Detroit to the World Series in 2006 and 2012.
Dombrowski has benefited from having an owner who is hell bent on winning a championship in Mike Ilitch. Ilitch spares no cost in getting Dombrowski who he wants. To his credit Dombrowski gets the talent that Leyland needs to win.
4. Jon Daniels Texas Rangers
The man who was hired at age 28 has proven to be one of the best in the game. During his eight year tenure in Texas, the Rangers have won the first two pennants in their history and were one out away from winning it all in 2011.
Working under Nolan Ryan, Daniels has built a team that has gone to the playoffs three consecutive seasons. His best move was hiring Ron Washington to manage the ball club in 2007. Until this season, Washington's teams improved in the win column every year. They still won 93 games in 2012.
The Rangers could be in good hands for a while with Daniels as their GM.
3. Bill Beane Oakland Athletics
One of the most respected GM's in the game. Beane has a keen sense as to what Oakland needs to do in order to succeed. Beane is not afraid to pull the trigger on a trade or free agent signing if he thinks it will help the team. If it does not than he sets out to immediately find a way to fix the problem.
Beane knows that running a small market franchise like the A's takes more effort than presiding over the Yankees. Using sabertmetrics has helped him to stay competitive with the big boys.
In his 16 years as GM, Beane has been a pioneer and changed the way that we view baseball and how it is played and managed.
2. Mike Rizzo Washington Nationals
This is the man who made Washington a legitimate major league franchise. Before Rizzo the Nationals were an expansion team. Since his hiring in 2009 they have become first rate.
In the past four seasons Rizzo has brought in talented players such as pitcher Stephen Strasburg and center fielder Bryce Harper. Washington has drafted so well that they have stockpiled talent at the minor league level. All of this helped the Nationals to their first post season appearance in 2012.
Washington is in very good hands with Rizzo at the helm.
1. Brian Sabean San Francisco Giants
The GM of a team that wins two World Series in three seasons deserves to be ranked number one. Since coming to San Francisco in 1996 Sabean has taken them to three World Series and won two. He built a winning team with all-time great Barry Bonds and without him.
The Giants will be around for a while. Manager Bruce Bochy is one of the best in the game. With stability from top to bottom San Francisco will be in the post season hunt for years to come.
In professional sports it is about winning. If you do it once than you have to do it again. Sabean has done it twice in the last three years which puts him at the top of the list.