Sunday, July 17, 2011
Breaking down all 30 general managers
By Jim Bowden
The trade deadline is just two weeks away. After July 31, no trades can be made without securing trade waivers. General managers have the most leverage during this time period to make deals, whether a team is a buyer or a seller. It's the time of year when GMs feel the most pressure because of pennant races, or opportunities to build for the future and the fact that after July 31, there is a strong possibility that their team will only be able to make a deal with the one club that gets awarded the player on a trade waiver claim.
Recent history has taught us how GMs react to the deadline, the one's that pull the trigger to make a difference or walk away from a potential trade because they believe it's the best decision for the long-term benefit of the franchise.
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro has dominated the deadline the past two years with the acquisitions of Roy Oswalt and Cliff Lee in back-to-back seasons. Those moves made the Phillies serious World Series contenders the past two years and into the future. Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski has been active in each of the past two seasons. Though the acquisition of left-handed pitcher Jarrod Washburn in 2009 not working out, Dombrowski acquired an All-Star in shortstop Jhonny Peralta at last year’s deadline. Mike Rizzo, GM of the Nationals, picked up his long-term solution at catcher last year by acquiring Wilson Ramos, while at the other end of the deal Twins GM Bill Smith acquired back-end reliever Matt Capps, who was an important part of the 2010 team that won the AL Central title. White Sox general manager Ken Williams tried to hit "home runs" in each of the past two years by picking up starting pitchers Jake Peavy and Edwin Jackson in back-to-back deadline deals. Giving up young starters Daniel Hudson and Clayton Richard in those deals, however, could haunt the White Sox in the long term.
Every GM has a different style and track record at the trade deadline. Let's take a look at all 30 teams (clubs are listed according to their current place in their respective divisions):
Style: Historically, not a big trade deadline GM. Likes to make deals in the offseason. Extremely intellectual, knows how to balance scouting and statistical analysis as well as future and present goals in one of the most difficult financial environments in all of baseball.
Rays' past two years at the trade deadline
7/31/10: Acquired Chad Qualls from Arizona for Matt Gorgen.
Style: First-year GM. Prepared. Phenomenal people skills. Highly intellectual and will rely heavily on his scouting and front office staff. He works well with the team’s president, Mark Shapiro who has won multiple Executive of the Year Awards.
Indian' past two years at the trade deadline
7/31/10: Shapiro was the GM. Traded Jake Westbrook to St. Louis in three-way deal with Indians acquiring Corey Kluber from Padres. Padres received Ryan Ludwick while Cardinals also received Nick Greenwood from Padres. Traded Kerry Wood to the Yankees for Andrew Shive and Matt Cusick.
7/30/10: Shapiro was the GM. Traded Austin Kearns to the New York Yankees for Zach McAllister.
7/28/10: Shapiro was the GM. Traded Jhonny Peralta and cash to the Tigers for Giovanni Soto.
7/31/09: Shapiro was the GM. Traded Victor Martinez to the Red Sox for Justin Masterson, Nick Hagadone and Bryan Price.
Style: History of adding one key piece at each deadline and usually doesn’t get involved in complicated major multi-player or three-way deals. Relies heavily on one of the best scouting departments in baseball. Always looking for fundamentally sound players with exceptional makeup.
Style: Authoritative, brilliant baseball mind who works well in the trifecta with owner Arte Moreno and manager Mike Scioscia. Builds teams on pitching and defense up the middle. Active at trade deadlines, will trade prospects and has the resources to acquire All-Stars.
Style: Scouting and player development background that is also a strong component of sabermetrics and new-wave statistical analysis. Has experience in buying and selling and could do either by July 31. Has great reputation as an evaluator of hitters, but building Mariners mostly on pitching and defense.
Mariners' past two years at the trade deadline
7/9/10: Traded Cliff Lee, Mark Lowe and cash to Texas for Justin Smoak, Blake Beavan, Matt Lawson and Josh Lueke.
7/31/09: Traded Jarrod Washburn to Detroit for Mauricio Robles and Luke French.
Style: Money Ball. Brad Pitt stars as Billy Beane in movie that will be released this fall. Has had tremendous success in building starting rotations over the years. Always stockpiling pitching with success. Strong believer in OBP and OPS but teams usually don’t follow philosophical views. Give him a big market payroll and you’d see the results of one of the best GM’s in baseball.
Style: Wins. Has traded or signed the best starting rotation in baseball while keeping the offensive nucleus together. Cares about the future as much as the present. A deal-maker who is honest and up front. Pat Gillick gets inducted into the Hall of Fame this week, and his successor in Philadelphia has picked up where he left off.
Phillies' past two years at the trade deadline
7/29/10: Acquired Roy Oswalt from Houston in exchange for Anthony Gose, Jonathan Villar and J.A. Happ.
7/29/09: Acquired Cliff Lee and Ben Francisco from Cleveland in exchange for Carlos Carrasco, Jason Knapp, Jason Donald and Lou Marson.
Style: First-class individual who continues the legacy of team president John Schuerholz. Starting pitching and bullpen the key to the Braves' success. The deal for Dan Uggla was huge this offseason and should pay dividends in the second half. Has not made a “Fred McGriff” type deal at a deadline yet, but knows how to build benches and bullpens already at championship levels. Trades for bats at every deadline, this year shouldn’t be any different.
Braves' past two years at the trade deadline
7/31/10: Acquired Rick Ankiel and Kyle Farnsworth from Kansas City in exchange for Gregor Blanco, Jesse Chavez and Tim Collins.
7/14/10: Acquired Alex Gonzalez, Tim Collins and Tyler Pastornicky from Toronto in exchange for Yunel Escobar and Jo-Jo Reyes.
7/31/09: Acquired Adam LaRoche from Boston in exchange for Casey Kotchman.
Style: Deal-maker who made the best deal among "sellers" last year at the deadline in the acquisition of Wilson Ramos from Minnesota. Good evaluator of talent and yet still relies heavily on his top cabinet staff in particular, scouting director, Kris Kline. Will persistently work deals and has a knack of knowing when to close.
Nationals' past two years at the trade deadline
7/30/10: Traded Cristian Guzman to Texas for Ryan Tatusko and Tanner Roark.
7/29/10: Traded Matt Capps and cash to Minnesota in exchange for Wilson Ramos and Joe Testa.
Style: Team work with owner Jeff Loria, president David Samson and assistant GM Dan Jennings. The group of five are aggressive, intelligent and scouting oriented. Highly respected for their drafts and their financial bottom-line accomplishments despite embarrassing attendance figures. Not huge players at the trade deadline.
Marlins' past two years at the trade deadline
7/31/10: Traded Rick Vanden Hurk to Baltimore for Will Ohman.
7/29/10: Traded Jorge Cantu to Texas for Evan Reed and Omar Poveda.
7/31/09: Traded Aaron Thompson to Washington for Nick Johnson.
Style: Executive of the Year so far in 2011 by making deals for Francisco Rodriguez, Shaun Marcum and Zack Greinke. Going for it all this year. Player development and scouting background and when you combine that with great people skills, honesty and the ability to understand both sides you get success.
Brewers' past two years at the trade deadline
7/12/11: Acquired Francisco Rodriguez and cash from the New York Mets in exchange for two players to be named later.
Style: He has always had the backing of ownership. Highly intelligent and utilizes all aspects of evaluations and analysis in making deals. Aggressive in a laid-back style. Knows what he wants to do and can be creative in getting it done. Cardinals are always a threat in the trade market with him calling the shots.
Cardinals' past two years at the trade deadline
7/31/10: Traded Ryan Ludwick to San Diego in a three-way deal with Cleveland, acquiring Jake Westbrook from the Indians and Nick Greenwood from the Padres. Corey Kluber also went from the Padres to the Indians in the transaction.
7/24/09: Acquired Matt Holliday from Oakland in exchange for Brett Wallace, Shane Peterson and Clayton Mortensen.
Style: Success and failure, he's seen both. Never deterred by failure, keeps going with his scouts and has done it long enough to finally be rewarded by success. He should soon receive a well deserved long-term contract for himself. He hired the right manager in Clint Hurdle and now just needs to get him some offensive help so they can keep this dream season alive and hopefully end the 18-year streak of finishing under .500.
Style: Trade deadline deals for Larry Walker and Mark McGwire have been a part of his legacy. Old-school philosophy, and knows how to hire the right evaluators in scouting and player development. Has helped build one of the strongest farm systems in baseball. Delegates authority and works well with his managers. Well respected in the industry. Class individual. Treats people well. This will be his most important trade deadline since joining the Reds with four teams in a neck to neck race.
Reds' past two years at the trade deadline
7/31/09: Traded Jerry Hairston to the New York Yankees for Chase Weems. Traded Zach Stewart, Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Roenicke to Toronto for Scott Rolen.
Style: Fraternity brother type approach. Everyone in the game loves him. He has a scouting background that will always be priority in decision making. Straight shooter. Does his deals by phone or in person. Does his own homework on make-up and character. Hires some of the best evaluators in the game. Has strong opinion on what he thinks is a fair deal for both sides. Definitely a deal-maker. Always wants to be a buyer.
Style: Ripping it apart and building long term takes patience and understanding a fan base will never understand. His style, however, says he’ll continue on the same path and could deal more of the Astros' best players before August when their trade value is at its highest. Hard worker, well prepared, authoritative and communicates well with his scouts.
Astros' past two years at the trade deadline
7/31/10: Traded Lance Berkman to the New York Yankees for Mark Melancon and Jimmy Paredes.
7/29/10: Traded Roy Oswalt to Philadelphia for Anthony Gose, Jonathan Villar and J.A. Happ. Traded Anthony Gose to Toronto for Brett Wallace.
Style: Often times will delegate trade negotiations to assistant so he can stay non-biased. Old school that relies heavily on Dick Tidrow and top evaluators. Loyal, hard-working, knows players and has as much character as the players he acquires. Tremendous ability to hire veteran baseball people with special baseball skills.
Giants' past two years at the trade deadline
7/31/10: Acquired Javier Lopez from Pittsburgh for John Bowker and Joe Martinez. Acquired Ramon Ramirez from Boston for Daniel Turpen.
7/1/10: Traded Bengie Molina to Texas for Michael Main and Chris Ray. This deal opened up the every day catching job for Buster Posey.
7/29/09: Acquired Freddy Sanchez from Pittsburgh for Tim Alderson.
7/27/09: Acquired Ryan Garko from Cleveland for Scott Barnes.
Style: High-character family man who emphasizes that type of makeup and character in the clubhouse. Has history of success in small-to-mid markets in both Cleveland and Colorado. Not afraid to explore out-of-the-box deals and is always thinking long-term benefits while balancing the importance of winning now. Has been quiet at the trade deadline the last couple of seasons.
Style: Honest, upfront deal-maker. Old school, loves the game and has good relationships with all of the game's general managers. Can wheel and deal with the best of them. In the past 15 years of his career, he’s been under .500 only twice and as a GM he's never been a "seller." This year could be different because of the Dodgers' won-lost record and unfortunate ownership situation.
Dodgers' past two years at the trade deadline
7/31/10: Acquired Ted Lilly, Ryan Theriot and cash from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for Blake DeWitt, Kyle Smit and Brett Wallach.
7/28/10: Acquired Scott Podsednik from Kansas City for Elisaul Pimental and Luke May.
7/31/09: Traded Claudio Vargas to Milwaukee for Vinny Rottino.
7/30/09: Acquired Georgey Sherrill from Baltimore for Josh Bell and Steve Johnson.
Style: His style is similar to his mentor, the Red Sox's Theo Epstein. He's quickly learned, however, that it's a very different job in San Diego than it is in the big market of Boston. Has done well in his short tenure as a buyer and as a seller, and most importantly has revamped the scouting department, which should lead to long-term success. Has hired an All-Star front office staff. He is one of the most important "sellers" in this market, with a bullpen that every contender wants from Heath Bell to Mike Adams to Luke Gregerson. The future of the Padres could be a lot brighter come August when he’s done making his deals.
Padres' past two years at the trade deadline
7/31/10: Acquired Ryan Ludwick from St. Louis in a three-way deal that sent Corey Kluber to Cleveland and Nick Greenwood to St. Louis. The Cardinals received Jake Westbrook from Cleveland.
7/31/09: Kevin Towers was the GM. Traded Jake Peavy to the Chicago White Sox for Clayton Richard, Aaron Poreda, Dexter Carter and Adam Russell.
7/19/09 – Towers was the GM. Traded Cla Meredith to Baltimore for Oscar Salazar.
As I mentioned earlier, the trade deadline is just two weeks away and these 30 GMs are prepared to rock the baseball world. Stay tuned.