Well, that’s part of the problem — Ichiro doesn’t really have any good comps in MLB currently, because he’s a throw-back to the way the game used to be played. I do think Juan Pierre is his most similar active player, though.
Now, Jason, let’s not get carried away. Sure, Ichiro may be overrated, and I’m not looking forward to seeing what kind of contract Tony Attanasio thinks is “fair”, but Juan Pierre? Might be a bit of hyperbole there.
Oh, and since Derek apparently wants me to fill in all the juicy details, here’s my take on Benny Looper. His strengths are his ability to communicate and delegate. He is well organized and ran the farm system professionally. He has a pretty good eye for talent. However, his biggest weakness is similar to Gillick’s; he is set in his beliefs. Looper is old school and will stay that way. When a player is tagged with a label, whether it be non-prospect, fringe prospect, or superstar in the making, it has been nearly permanent. He believes in tools over performance, and as guys like Greg Jacobs, Justin Leone, and Ryan Ketchner found, no amount of improvement is going to remove the label that has already been applied.
One of the frustrations I had with the Gillick regime was an unwillingness to admit mistakes and learn from them. This would likely be a problem with Looper as well. He has some positive traits, but is too similar to the past management style for my likings. He might deserve a shot, but I hope it comes with another organization.
I don’t think we’ve talked about Ichiro yet. I’m sure we’ll cover this at length at a later date, but if you’re one of the people advocating offering him a lucrative long-term contract, I’ll ask you this: Do you think any teams will be lining up to pay Juan Pierre $10 or $15M per season when he’s a free agent? Think about it, and then get back to me.
Hey everyone, Jason here. Sorry for my lack of posting activity this week; it’s been a busy week. In any event, I’m back — and just in time, too, with Derek down in Vegas — and ready to roll.
If KJR is any indication, there seems to be a feeling that Seattle’s baseball fans aren’t all that interested in the playoffs this year because the M’s are taking part. Boy, I hope that’s not true. Last night’s Oakland-Boston tilt was a great game, quite entertaining and with a dramatic finish. It was worth staying up until nearly midnight just to see the game-saving play Eric Chavez made in the top of the 11th. In conclusion: Baseball good. Watch baseball.
I feel like there’s much to talk about on the GM front, but I don’t know what to say that Dave and Derek haven’t already covered. The top four candidates as of this moment would appear to be Benny Looper, Lee Pelekoudas, Omar Minaya and Jim Beattie. This is all subject to change, of course, and as far as I know there hasn’t even been any official contact between the M’s and any of these potential candidates. In the next week or so we’ll be posting, as Derek mentioned, some sort of GM scorecard with the top 10 or so candidates ranked in order, who they are, where they’re coming from, some comments about each and perhaps a momentum meter showing which candidates are on the way up, and which are on the way down. My endorsement (look left) of Paul DePodesta is extremely preliminary — I’d love to see him get the job and he’s not even going to get a call, but I haven’t done enough looking to pick someone else quite yet. Ng, Antonetti and Tim Purpura (Asst. GM, Astros) all sound intriguing to me right now.
I ran across an interesting Pat Gillick quote today. When asked what it takes to be a successful GM, he said, “A willingness to work hard, a lot of creativity and imagination. It’s a changing field, and you can’t stay on just one course for long.” I hope that, in coming up with potential candidates, the M’s take this quote to heart. They’ve been on one course for quite awhile now, and hiring an in-house candidate would do nothing to change that. It is indeed a changing field, where those at the top are young, well-educated, hard-working and creative. I think you know where I’m going with this. It’s time to look outside the organization, outside the “old guard,” and hire a bright young GM with new ideas.
So we’ve been remiss in not mentioning that Benny Looper, M’s VP of Player Development, is the leading internal candidate now, to the point where he’s starting to get a lot of publicity and people in the know continue to bug us that he’s got the ‘in’. At some point (unless the hire occurs this week) we’re going to put up a GM Scorecard or something so everyone can keep track of this stuff, and who’s got the what on who.
Looper’s spent 17 years with the M’s, joining as a scout and working his way straight up the scouting path. Played minor league ball for St. Louis, and holds a B of S in math and a Master’s in Counseling (!). Now folks, here’s Dave to talk about the life, times, and pro reputation of Looper, as I’m off to Vegas, returning in a while.