Power Ranking the GMs of MLB
Power Ranking the GMs of the MLB
There are three distinct times of each MLB year where every team’s General Manager becomes the subject of conversation. The first is just before the start to the season when the various free agent signings and trades that they made to improve their team come into focus. Next comes the trade deadline at midseason where we get to see how each GM reacts to their situation at that time and how well they do at filling whatever holes they have.
Lastly and most important is the beginning of the offseason where each GM has to choose what direction to move his team into and how best to build next season’s team. Since this is being published around the end of the World Series, this is the power rankings of the MLB GMs going into the offseason. I do believe this is the most important time of each of their jobs.
There is a little bit of looking back to see what each one has done during the season that comes into play. This move may have turned out great or that non-move could have been the best thing to have never happened. Without a doubt as we get closer to the MLB Winter Meetings, there is about to be more action for each GM in the next few months than there will be for the rest of the season until it happens again this time next year. So here we go. The comments section below begs you to let us know your opinion or you can tweet with the RML Hash-tag
30 – Jack Zduriencik – Seattle Mariners
With the pressure on him to make his team better or get the boot himself after the 2014 season, ZDuriencik chose to fire Eric Wedge as the manager. That was about as bad of a choice as making none of his free agent players available at the trade deadline. He could have gotten some return for some of the guys if he moved at the right time. Instead he now has to spend resources looking for a lame duck manager who is just about guaranteed to leave after Zduriencik himself gets the boot in favor of a new GM. He is 30th because there is no 31st.
29 – Ruben Amaro Jr. – Philadelphia Phillies
Amaro chose to move no free agents this season just as he has done in years past. Now what he has are eight players that make $112.5M by themselves with absolutely no funds available to improve the team. At least they still have their aging veterans though. Honestly they and new manager Ryne Sandberg are the only chance this team has. Any success they have will be in spite of Amaro, not because of him.
28 – Doug Melvin – Milwaukee Brewers
Melvin really dropped the ball by holding on to a few players for too long. Mainly he should have traded Yovani Gallardo during the season. Now the price is sure to be lower because he had another less than ace-caliber season for the Brewers. Melvin appears to be stuck in a lot of other areas so that while improvement is possible, it would be extremely difficult to say the least.
27 – Brian Cashman – New York Yankees
Cashman is somewhat a victim of his own situation right now. It certainly isn’t his fault that Derek Jeter appears to finally be on the final legs of his great career nor was it he that pumped PEDs into Alex Rodriguez. Still, it is his job to ensure that the team doesn’t get into the situation where they have no good options to play third base. Every move he has made has really backfired on him. The signing of Joe Girardi to a new contract is a good thing that he can build on. He certainly has more potential for improvement before the start of the 2014 season than most of the guys at the bottom of this list, but still it won’t be easy.
26 – Alex Anthopoulos – Toronto Blue Jays
This is simple. Every move that Anthopoulos made turned to dust and his team wound up with only one winning streak to brag about for the entire season. His minor league prospect list is depleted and he now really only has one good trade chip that he might get tarred and feathered if he loses. Still, moves need to be made. He isn’t without trade options but last season’s bad moves have painted him into a corner that he might have to take years to get out of.
25 – Josh Byrnes – San Diego Padres
Byrnes has a few good things going for him but the inability to pull the trigger on a trade with Chase Headley might haunt him. The down season that Headley had really could be looked at as normal since he really only had one MVP caliber year. I don’t mean to suggest it was an easy choice as I probably would have been against a trade of Headley as well. Hindsight matters for these guys unfortunately though and it could backfire on Byrnes. Then again he could climb if Headley rebounds next season to MVP status and look like a genius.
24 – Terry Ryan – Minnesota Twins
Ryan seems to always be right on the edge of being able to make something good happen. Right now it appears that it could be a couple of seasons away though as the best prospect in MLB is still a little bit away from his splash at the big league level. Most of his funds are tied into Mauer who might or might not be a good option at catcher. If he makes magic happen with the funds he has, it could be the best offseason anyone has had in years. Don’t count on it though.
23 – Dan Jennings – Miami Marlins
Because he recently took over the GM spot for the Marlins, Jennings has a bit of hope that comes along with him. Unfortunately he inherits a situation where he will need to do a lot of Billy Beane type things over the next several seasons to get something good going. What he has in his plans so far at least sounds good in rumor form. We’ll see how it develops in the offseason.
22 – Jed Hoyer – Chicago Cubs
Hoyer at least has a plan working. His interim manager, which is basically what it turns out Dale Sveum was, has moved on and now Hoyer has to ensure that his next manager can take the Cubs over the next hurdle in their path. Because he has a plan and seems to be sticking to it, we’ll give him credit enough for the 22 spot. Unfortunately the fact that this is the Cubs means that skepticism comes with the territory.
21 – Rick Hahn – Chicago White Sox
The way the White Sox finished the season made Hahn’s fire-sale seem a little more like a good idea than it did at the time he pulled the trade trigger. Besides it was kind of a minor sale anyway so a little good will is heading in his direction. Then he went and paid $68M for someone who basically is unproven at the MLB level. Jose Dariel Abreu could be awesome and he could be a bust. When a GM puts a lot of eggs in one basket it can turn out extremely bad. Hahn’s future power ranking will definitely depend on how that deal works out.
20 – Kevin Towers – Arizona Diamondbacks
Towers is one of the good ones, or at least I once thought he was. Recent actions have dropped him down this list however. Actions like saying he really wants to sign some outfield power when it was just a calendar year ago when he sold off three such power outfielders. Now he finds himself in a potential pitching crunch after selling low on Ian Kennedy and basically looking for bats in the outfield that are very unlikely to match those he got rid of. He could pull a rabbit out of his hat but the general feeling is not that good here. Luckily for him, the guys he has play pretty good ball or the situation would look even worse for him.
19 – Brian Sabean – San Francisco Giants
Sabean is only one year removed from the World Series championship and that most certainly means something. It is hardly his fault that the team that won the Series bombed the following season. What is his fault is that he way overpaid for Hunter Pence and then signed a questionable deal to retain Tim Lincecum for only two years. It seems to set up a possible trade of Lincecum if you ask me. Either way the situation starting the offseason isn’t looking great for Sabean.
18 – Jerry Dipoto – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
I give Dipoto a lot of credit for not being overly dramatic about his teams dreadful performance in 2013. Instead of doing the easy thing and firing his manager, Dipoto kept everyone intact and chose to add legendary hitting coach Don Baylor to help the situation. Baylor has never entered a situation and not helped the hitting of the team. It is a more brilliant move that it appears to be right now. Basically this one move could make some of the last couple of year’s big moves work much better and possibly save his and his manager’s job.
17 – Dan Duquette – Baltimore Orioles
The Orioles didn’t do that badly during the 2013 season and just barely missed a shot at the wildcard playoff berth as a matter of fact. Duquette certainly gets credit for some of that because of the offense he has put together including Chris Davis sitting solidly at first base. What dropped him down the list is the fact that he seems to be on the search for more hitting when it seems clear that his offense is fine and all he really needs is more pitching.
16 – Sandy Alderson – New York Mets
This might seem a little high to place Alderson considering his team’s performance over the last few seasons but a lot of bad things are coming off the books. He has only a little bit of cash committed which means he has a lot of money available to make this team into the image of what he wants it to be. There is so much hope created by this amount of available payroll that it alone raises him up this list. We’ll see what he does with all of his freedom.
15 – Billy Beane – Oakland Athletics
There is nothing new for Beane in this situation. He is still able to compete with literally every high-rolling team in MLB. He would be higher but his situation is a little doubtful even for him this time around. Most everyone should be back but he will likely have to figure out what to do about a closer and how best to fill a Bartolo Colon sized hole in the starting rotation. It could be challenging even for him.
14 – Dayton Moore – Kansas City Royals
Moore accomplished a lot of what he set out to accomplish with his drastic moves to improve the pitching staff. He didn’t get a World Series but he did get a winning team and a playoff berth race. Now he has to choose what his next move will be as some of his high-dollar pitchers are making him make tough decisions this offseason. How he handles his team this time around could make or break the franchise for the next season or more.
13 – Frank Wren – Atlanta Braves
Wren is usually a pretty solid GM in my opinion. I realize a lot of people do not agree with that but most of those are Braves fans that would find someone to dislike of the team swept their way through the playoffs and World Series. Wren does have strikes against him though. He has a lot of money going towards two of his least effective players. B.J. Upton is going to either make him look okay with a rebound season or even worse with another bad year while Wren has to do something to get Dan Uggla out of town. It isn’t going to be easy for him this offseason.
12 – Mike Rizzo – Washington Nationals
Honestly, Rizzo is high up on this list for only two reasons. First of all his team made it look like it was all their fault that they didn’t factor in more in the division race by nearly winning out in the last month of the season. Secondly he made Matt Williams a priority early on in his managerial search which is going to be a very good move for the Nationals when everything unfolds. There is a lot I do not like about Rizzo’s choices but for now he gets the benefit of the doubt.
11 – Dan O’Dowd – Colorado Rockies
O’Dowd is probably higher on this list that some think he should be but for me the right manager makes a lot of difference and O’Dowd has that in Walt Weiss. Also he has reached a good balance between bringing in new players and using talented veterans to create a winning formula that worked until injuries and the Dodgers took their toll. Look for this team to be better in 2014 and possibly even threaten a playoff berth. O’Dowd has them moving in the right direction.
10 – Ned Colletti – Los Angeles Dodgers
Colletti went from being laughable for stocking himself with too many starting pitchers to looking more like a genius for it when all was said and done. No question this team wouldn’t have been where they were without key moves made by Colletti. He deserves credit but he does have sticky decisions following his successes so we’ll see if he handles himself just as well this time around.
9 – Dave Dombrowski – Detroit Tigers
Dombrowski’s biggest obstacle this offseason was spelled out clearly when legendary manager Jim Leyland stepped down. There are a few issues with the roster that could affect his standing on this list but for the most part he has a good group of players coming back. Some have suggested he would think of trading Max Scherzer and while I have seen to proof of that rumor, doing that would drop him way down this list.
8 – Jeff Luhnow – Houston Astros
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Luhnow is doing things the right way for the Astros. If you don’t believe me just look at the St. Louis Cardinals organization because he is partly responsible for helping to build that awesome farm system. He knows what he is doing and he knows how to get it done. They have good team of people and a great plan in place that they are sticking to every step of the way. This offseason they are going to probably go after at least one surprisingly big free agent. The Astros will be heard from in 2014 and Luhnow is a huge reason why.
7 – Neal Huntington – Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pirates are in a very good situation. Huntington has good young players and several good veterans in place as well. Several of his moves this past season and offseason turned into gold like signing Russell Martin and picking up Marlon Byrd. He has some good young pitching that could soon be great and a solid core of players that should keep him high on this list for a few years to come.
6 – Walt Jocketty – Cincinnati Reds
Jocketty made a lot of people scratch their heads when he let Dusty Baker go and I am one of them. I do not understand that and I’m not sure what he has in mind to do about Brandon Phillips. Other than those two situations however, he has a pretty good situation going in Cincinnati. The upcoming rookie season of Billy Hamilton should prove to be a very exciting shift for the Reds and Jocketty seems to have them ready to turn the page to help keep them competitive.
5 – Jon Daniels – Texas Rangers
Daniels looked like the best GM in the game at the midway point for his moves to bring in Matt Garza and Alex Rios. Things didn’t quite pan out the way that they hoped however and while they were almost a playoff team, the Rangers ended up a little disappointing in the end. They should be in pretty good shape next year but the closer situation and the fall-out towards the end of the year are troubling enough to drop him several spots.
4 – Chris Antonetti – Cleveland Indians
I love a good plan. Antonetti is clearly someone who knows how to work with his guys like manager Terry Francona to help build a winning team. If the owners know what is good for them they will keep these two guys together for a long time. If they do that then this franchise is going to see some World Series chances within the next few seasons.
3 – Andrew Friedman – Tampa Bay Rays
Friedman is becoming someone who can pull off Billy Beane type magic every single season. He clearly has a plan going into each offseason and knows how to rotate talented players in and out as well as how to develop and spot good prospects. Year in and year out they are competing with the Red Sox and the Yankees and that type of success cannot be ignored.
2 – Ben Cherington – Boston Red Sox
Cherington wouldn’t have his team in the World Series if he hadn’t done nearly everything right this season. Almost every move he made has panned out as the right one. The only reason he is in second place on this list is the simple fact that he has a lot of decision making to do this offseason including what to do with the likes of Jake Peavy, Mike Napoli, Jacoby Ellsbury and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. That won’t be an easy list of decisions to make but he has shown the ability to do such things well.
1 – John Mozeliak – St. Louis Cardinals
Mozeliak is in the best situation of anyone in baseball. He has every solid player either under contract for at least another year or two or they are young enough that he still has contract control over them other than arbitration of course. Still the lack of tough free agent choices to make, coupled with a terribly strong farm system and a World Series team means he is on top of the power rankings.