Organizational Rankings

Dave · October 12, 2007 at 8:08 am · Filed Under General baseball 

As we talked about in the Seeds of Success post the other day, there are a lot of organizations that are moving forward with efficient, highly successful philosophies and are putting their teams in a great position to win a lot of the games in the future. Which teams are doing this better than others?

Here is my take. This is based on management personnel and organizational cohesion, not on field talent or recent success. Essentially, this is my opinion of which organizations have laid the strongest foundation between their ownership, baseball operations department, and coaching staffs to insert a winning DNA into their baseball teams. I included a grade with the numerical ranking because, in a lot of cases, there’s no real difference between a few spots on the list.

Rank	Organization	Grade
1	Cleveland	A+
2	Boston	        A
3	Tampa Bay	A
4	Milwaukee	B+
5	Oakland         B+
6	NY Yankees	B
7	Detroit	        B
8	San Diego	B
9	Arizona	        B-
10	Atlanta 	B-
11	NY Mets	        B-
12	Anaheim 	C+
13	Colorado 	C+
14	Minnesota	C+
15	Florida 	C
16	Chi. Sox	C
17	Washington	C
18	Toronto 	C-
19	Chi. Cubs	C-
20	Los Angeles	C-
21	Texas   	C-
22	Pittsburgh	D
23	Seattle 	D
24	Philadelphia	D
25	Kansas City	D
26	St. Louis	D
27	San Francisco	F
28	Cincinnati	F
29	Houston 	F
30	Baltimore	F

No surprise here – I’ve been calling the Indians the best run organization in baseball for about four years, and that hasn’t changed. Boston is perfecting the big market, high salaried bully approach in contrast to Tampa’s load-up-on-cheap-talent philosophy, but both are the correct direction for their organizations to go in, considering their relative financial positions. The Brewers are quietly putting the pieces together to dominate the NL Central for the next decade, Billy Beane keeps doing his thing in Oakland while waiting for a new stadium, and the Yankees have transformed themselves into an organization with foresight, planning, and rationalization to go with their $200 million payroll. Scary.

On the other side of the coin, there’s a couple organizations that are going head first off the cliff at full speed. The Baltimore Orioles have a meddlesome owner, a front office that lacks necessary power, outdated analytical techniques, and, oh yea, they play in the A.L. East. Barring a one season fluke where everything just breaks right, I’m not sure Baltimore makes the playoffs in the next 10-15 years. If you’re raising a child near the nation’s capital, make them a Nationals fan.

Houston’s not a whole lot better, honestly. Meddlesome owner? Check. Retread failure of a GM? Check. Completely ignoring the farm system? Double Check. The Astros spent a mind-boggling $600,000 in signing bonuses in the first 11 rounds of this summer’s draft – combined. Houston spent about as much on the draft as the Mariners did on Matt Mangini. With some aging, overrated players tied up to long term contracts and no help on the way from the farm system, Houston’s poised to be terrible for a long, long time.

The Mariners come in 23rd, buoyed by their strength in amateur scouting and ownership’s commitment to giving the front office a payroll advantage over most of baseball. The front office? Well, we’ve covered their flaws in detail. Under Bill Bavasi, the Mariners have done a good job of resurrecting what was a horrible farm system, but their major league transactions have been brutal, and there isn’t a winning organizational philosophy in place.

So, if you’re a fan of the Indians, Devil Rays, Red Sox, or Brewers, you should be pretty happy with your club. If you’re allegiances lie with Baltimore, Houston, San Francisco, or Cincinnati, well, you might want to find something else to do with your summers for the next ten years or so.

Comments

142 Responses to “Organizational Rankings”

  1. msb on October 12th, 2007 8:22 am

    “Chris Antonetti, Indians assistant general manager, is said to be on the short list of candidates to replace Walt Jocketty as general manager in St. Louis. Jocketty recently resigned the position. Neal Huntington, Tribe scout, was recently hired as Pittsburgh’s general manager. GM Mark Shapiro has said several times that Antonetti is “ready to be a general manager whenever he wants to.”"–Paul Hoynes, Plain Dealer.

    funny how everyone but the FO seems to be aware of this.

  2. bermanator on October 12th, 2007 8:42 am

    Dave-

    I take it that you’re unconvinced that Andy McPhail will be able to put his own stamp on the Orioles organization. Would you consider upgrading that to an F+ if Mike Flanagan follows Jim Duquette out the door there? To me, that would indicate that McPhail was getting some room to manuever and that Angelos was willing to boot one of his favorites in order to progress as an organization.

  3. JMHawkins on October 12th, 2007 8:49 am

    Ranked in the same bucket as Pittsburgh and KC? Ouch. And last in our division, double-ouch. Seattle and SF really stand out for being so far down the chart. Both organizations have tremendous potential advantages, with lucrative markets and top-notch new stadiums.

  4. vj on October 12th, 2007 9:10 am

    The ranking of Minnesota and St. Louis seem low to me.

  5. Andy Stallings on October 12th, 2007 9:12 am

    Great post, Dave — a fine example of why this is my favorite time of year to be reading the site.

    I’m curious about the Reds — it’s seemed to me like they’ve made some interesting low-risk pickups in the past twelve months (Phillips and Hamilton stand out, but guys like Keppinger and Burton are interesting as well, while Arroyo and Harang predate the time-frame but are of a similar bent), and there are certainly a few top talents near big-league ready (though admittedly little else coming soon). I’m no Wayne Krivsky fan, but I’m surprised to see them rank at the bottom, nonetheless.

    What puts them there, in your opinion?

  6. Andy Stallings on October 12th, 2007 9:15 am

    What I mean to suggest is that the moves I mentioned in my previous comment indicate to me that there is some kind of organizational thought at work that allows these sorts of moves to happen with some regularity. Is that not the case?

  7. Mike Snow on October 12th, 2007 9:15 am

    I assume St. Louis is up in the air anyway, depending on what direction they go in replacing Jocketty and perhaps LaRussa. Their farm system needs work, though, and the current organization’s commitment to collecting bad ex-Mariners (Pineiro, Franklin, Spiezio) is not a good sign.

    Kansas City did seem low to me. Is that a reflection of Dayton Moore not having enough time to turn things around yet, or an expectation that the resources won’t be made available for him to do so at all?

  8. Evan on October 12th, 2007 9:22 am

    Seattle ranked with Pittsburgh? That hurts.

    The real question facing the Baltimore Orioles is whether they will break the Tampa Bay record for most consecutive seasons finishing last in the AL East.

  9. dw on October 12th, 2007 9:25 am

    I know this would be a lot of work, Dave, but could you break out the elements that led you to the grades you gave? For instance, you gave the Nats a C, but what’s good or bad about that organization?

    And also, is this about having a plan, executing a plan, or how effective the plan has been? I look at the (D-)Rays and think they’ve done a good job of loading up on young talent, but after years of this they’ve shown little success with that model. Is the question here whether a team will be in a better position in five years than it is now?

  10. terry on October 12th, 2007 9:26 am

    I’m wondering if Cincinnati doesn’t at least deserve a D-. In the last two years the new regime has done a lot of positive things:

    1. they’ve traded a fourth outfielder for 400+ above average innings in their rotation, 2. they’ve economically extended the top of their rotation (which is very good as #1 and #2′s go in the NL),
    3. they’ve leveraged platoons at first base to be above average in ’06 and average in ’07 at a cost of less than $2.5M per,
    4. they’ve mitigated a past sin by forcing Jr to right field (while trying to trade him several times if rumors can be trusted),
    5. they worked out an extension with Dunn in ’06 that lets them jettison him as early as this year but allows them to keep him by simply paying him market value next season (even considering his defense-this year, if you believe UZR, his bat carried his glove at market value (UZR will at least be lower than -18),
    6. they traded a non-prospect arm (that is still in A ball) for 200 slightly above average innings in their rotation from Lohse before flipping him for a kid that has a good chance of eating innings from the back end of their rotation for the next few years,
    7. they’ve witnessed their farm system take a nice step forward such that they have the best outfield prospects in the game in Bruce (even better than AJ) coupled with two of the best pitching prospects in the game (Bailey, Cueto)and an intriguing option at first base (Votto),
    8. acquired Hamilton for $50K (enough said),
    9. acquired Brandon Phillips for some stale ballpark franks (enough said),
    10. they’ve been retooling their future pen with a youth movement that has good krates and GB tendencies.
    11. they traded Felipe Lopez
    12. they’ve made a very smart marketing decision when teaming the Brennamans (father and son) together in the both…
    13. They are negotiating to take back advertising rights from their radio broadcasts,
    12. Next season roughly 5 of their starting positions players, 3/5 of their rotation and practically their whole bullpen won’t even be arb eligible and these guys are legit major leaguers not replacement level talents.

    I’d argue for a mark higher than D- but the rumor is that they are about to make Dusty Baker…..

  11. feingarden on October 12th, 2007 9:26 am

    Dave – question for you. What sources do you use to judge things like a team’s organizational cohesion, owner meddlesome-ness, or analytical techniques? I’m not questioning any of your ratings, mind you, because I wouldn’t have the foggiest idea of what to base them on and I’m fascinated with how a person would go about finding the information necessary to make these judgements. The analytical techniques at the very least would seem very difficult to gather.

  12. Dave on October 12th, 2007 9:30 am

    I take it that you’re unconvinced that Andy McPhail will be able to put his own stamp on the Orioles organization. Would you consider upgrading that to an F+ if Mike Flanagan follows Jim Duquette out the door there?

    Angelos is about 80% of that F, and he’s not going anywhere. And Andy McPhail doesn’t exactly have a stellar track record.

    The ranking of Minnesota and St. Louis seem low to me.

    Minnesota just had one of the better GMs in baseball walk away. Their owner is a notorious tightwad with no commitment to winning. They have a tenuous-at-best relationship with their star players. They cling to some ridiculous philosophies and ignore reality on some basic fundamental truths. I think the ranking was too generous, if anything.

    As for St. Louis, they get docked for having a meddlesome owner and a power structure that can create a lot of conflicts. If Antonetti takes that job, that will help, but that’s not a great situation to be walking into right now.

    I’m no Wayne Krivsky fan, but I’m surprised to see them rank at the bottom, nonetheless.

    Krivsky is basically bringing the Twins model to Cincy. On one hand, that has some positives, as they place an extreme value on finding good young talent and emphasize the scouting department. On the other hand, there’s a complete breakdown in the understanding of how to value major league players. Cincy is actually a lot like the Mariners, just with a smaller payroll.

    Is that a reflection of Dayton Moore not having enough time to turn things around yet, or an expectation that the resources won’t be made available for him to do so at all?

    Kansas City takes a big hit for having bad ownership. I like Dayton Moore and think he was a good hire, but they’re not going to win with the ownership group they have in place.

    I know this would be a lot of work, Dave, but could you break out the elements that led you to the grades you gave? For instance, you gave the Nats a C, but what’s good or bad about that organization?

    I don’t have time to do that for every time, unfortunately. Washington has some strengths – good ownership and executive leadership, a strong manager in Manny Acta, and Jim Bowden’s got some positive qualities, but in the end, they’re still a Jim Bowden team, and he’s never going to win anything with his ridiculous management style.

    Dave – question for you. What sources do you use to judge things like a team’s organizational cohesion, owner meddlesome-ness, or analytical techniques?

    Mostly conversations with friends who work in baseball.

  13. S-Mac on October 12th, 2007 10:04 am

    Dave,

    I’m an M’s fan living in San Francisco, and I figure I should know more about my new local (but far from favorite) team. I know their GM is pretty awful, but how much of it is their farm system and ownership? I know a team has to be pretty atrocious to warrant a straight F.

  14. Blastings Thrilledge on October 12th, 2007 10:13 am

    As a Mets fan, I think the B- ranking is a little generous. The organization is so extremely prone to reacting to a vitriolic press that it will trade away its farm system and hire expensive, over-the-hill free agents in order to appease them. In the 2006 Baseball Prospectus the Mets were called “tools-happy.” They really don’t seem to value advanced statistical analysis.

    They may get a boost because Omar Minaya is perceived as a shrewd identifier of talent, but really he has just run hot in his minor acquisitions. The 2006/07 off-season showed that it was just luck, really.

    Atlanta and Arizona aren’t exactly statistical mavens either (the latter more so than the former, I suppose), but those organizations make up for it with a commitment to internal development that the Mets just don’t have. I would at least move them down to a C+.

  15. thefin190 on October 12th, 2007 10:17 am

    As said before, ouch that the Mariners are pretty low on that list.

    At the same time, its a painful truth, because I know Dave knows what he’s talking about and you can tell by their roster. The Mariners do deserve credit for completely rebuilding their farm system, but with their win now philosphy, dumping big sums of money on mediorce veterans and hope they play above average, they aren’t doing a very good job. They are completely ignorent to how to bring up and play talent when they have it. (like Jones and etc.) But Jones is just about guranteed to be a starter next year so the point is moot, but I am scared management will make the same mistakes again with other promising players. I can remember the D-Rays doing the same thing few years ago (except the players were older and washed up, making them cheaper.), and that got them no where. I can see them succeeding in the future now that they know how to use their up and coming talent.

    But Dave, do you see the Rays eventually competing with the Sox and Yankees for A.L. East? As you ranked the Sox and Yankees, and with their budgets, it looks like they aren’t going into the cellar anytime soon.

  16. azruavatar on October 12th, 2007 10:27 am

    “As for St. Louis, they get docked for having a meddlesome owner and a power structure that can create a lot of conflicts.”

    As someone who follows the Cardinals assiduously, I don’t think DeWitt is as meddlesome as he’s been portrayed in the last few days. There was a serious schism in the front office and DeWitt stepped in to resolve what was becoming a real problem for the organization. Two camps had developed within the scouting department (Luhnow’s and Jocketty’s) and there wasn’t any united direction between upper management. I suspect (and hope) that DeWitt will return to being an unobtrusive owner that provides his GM with a very reasonable payroll limit once Jocketty’s replacement is named.

    That said, the way they’ve been scouting and running things the past few years hasn’t worked as well as it could.

  17. Jeff Nye on October 12th, 2007 10:31 am

    Excellent list. And it’s telling that a lot of the teams higher up on the list are smaller-revenue teams, with the notable exceptions of the Red Sox and the Yankees.

    The smaller market organizations realize they aren’t going to be able to compete dollar for dollar, so they look for every competitive advantage they can get.

    What’s great news for baseball as a whole, but bad news for the Mariners, is that the people shaping those organizations will eventually move to larger and better funded organizations.

    If the less progressive organizations like the Mariners haven’t caught up by the time that happens, they’ll be in even more trouble than they are now.

  18. JH on October 12th, 2007 10:39 am

    Dave,

    You’re not concerned about Milwaukee’s seeming disregard for defensive value at the major league level? Overdrafting LaPorta for his bat and throwing him in at LF when he’s at best an adequate 1B seems indicative of a pretty huge flaw in Doug Melvin’s organizational blueprint. The Brewers sacrifice defense to get plus bats into the lineup at 3B, 1B, 2B, and soon, LF (didn’t see Bill Hall in CF much this year, so I don’t know if he’s a liability there as well). That’s a lot of extra baserunners allowed for years to come, and it’s a huge flaw. They were 25th overall in balls in play turned into outs this year, and I don’t see it getting any better anytime soon.

  19. Trev on October 12th, 2007 11:12 am

    How much of Tampa Bay’s A rating comes from having such high draft picks? I’ll grant that avoiding mistakes (like signing mediocre veterans to block prospects) is 50% of a good organization, but aren’t you giving Tampa too much credit?

    When you draft in the top 5 every year, you acquire talent no one else can get. Getting that talent doesn’t take a lot of scouting skill either — there’s lots of consensus at the top.

    Tampa’s built a strong core of young talent by sucking and the only thing they should get credit for is not signing some war veteran to “tutor” them all.

  20. Jeff Nye on October 12th, 2007 11:29 am

    I’m not super familiar with Tampa Bay’s players, but a quick glance at their draft history shows that they got some decent players in later rounds, as well as through trades.

    Your argument really only holds up in regards to first round draft picks.

  21. Dave on October 12th, 2007 11:35 am

    I know their GM is pretty awful, but how much of it is their farm system and ownership?

    Brian Sabean is like a less talented Pat Gillick. He only really knows how to do one thing – acquire major league veterans at high prices, attempting to win every year while burning the franchise to the ground in the process. Only, he’s not good at it, so his teams don’t win and they have just ashes remaining.

    They really don’t seem to value advanced statistical analysis.

    Actually, the Mets have a lot of smart people working for them. Omar might not listen to them all the time, but they’re definitely having some influence.

    But Dave, do you see the Rays eventually competing with the Sox and Yankees for A.L. East?

    I think Tampa’s an 80-85 win team next year, and if they increase payroll by any real measure going forward, they’ll be contending for the division title in two years.

    There was a serious schism in the front office and DeWitt stepped in to resolve what was becoming a real problem for the organization.

    This schism was essentially created by Bill DeWitt. He doesn’t get much credit for fixing a problem of his own making, especially when his fix involves setting up an organizational structure where the GM has to cede significant responsibility to someone who doesn’t report to him directly.

    You’re not concerned about Milwaukee’s seeming disregard for defensive value at the major league level?

    I am somewhat concerned, yes, but I think they recognize the issue and will adjust going forward.

    How much of Tampa Bay’s A rating comes from having such high draft picks?

    None. As I said in the intro, this is about management teams, not about player talent.

    Tampa’s built a strong core of young talent by sucking and the only thing they should get credit for is not signing some war veteran to “tutor” them all.

    This just isn’t true. They’re doing a hell of a job down there.

  22. Grizz on October 12th, 2007 11:35 am

    How much of Tampa Bay’s A rating comes from having such high draft picks?

    Teams like Kansas City and Pittsburgh have drafted as high as the Rays, but their farm systems do not compare. The Rays have consistently hit with their picks in the second, third, and lower rounds. The Rays also are one of the best teams in taking players off the scrap heap and getting value out of them (Pena, Harris, Wigginton, Reyes, etc.).

  23. Mat on October 12th, 2007 11:35 am

    Their [Minnesota's] owner is a notorious tightwad with no commitment to winning.

    I don’t necessarily disagree with your overall ranking of the Twins, but I think Carl Pohlad’s reputation greatly outstrips his penny-pinching at this point.

    From 2001 to 2007, the Twins’ payroll increased from $24M to $71M, and they’ve outspent the Indians each year from 2003 to 2007. For comparison, the Devil Rays’ payroll hasn’t passed $35M over the same time period. I think you’d be really hard-pressed to prove that the Twins are raking in revenue that Pohlad has been unwilling to spend.

    Pohlad is still a Grade A jerk for his hand in the threat of contraction, but I think if you look at the numbers it’s really tough to say that he’s done anything differently than any other owner would in his position. He’s a non-factor, just like so many other owners.

  24. Tuomas on October 12th, 2007 11:37 am

    Trev: If the Rays had picked pitchers with their first pick in each of the last seven years, signed all of those pitchers, developed them all and brought them to the majors, they would have as many quality pitchers as they have right now. Plus, they have a ton of young talent in the field and one of the better GMs in baseball, who has done a pretty good job of bringing in guys who have been pretty unnoticed (Jackson and Iwamura).

  25. joser on October 12th, 2007 11:37 am

    There was a serious schism in the front office and DeWitt stepped in to resolve what was becoming a real problem for the organization. Two camps had developed within the scouting department (Luhnow’s and Jocketty’s) and there wasn’t any united direction between upper management.

    Two camps didn’t “develop” — they were created. By DeWitt. The GM job in St. Louis is uniquely fragmented, meaning the GM has less power than in other organizations. Antonetti already has a part-time GM job, and in a better organization; why would he want more scrutiny and responsibility with no added authority?

  26. Dave in Palo Alto on October 12th, 2007 11:42 am

    The M’s trail the Rangers? Man, that hurts.

  27. joser on October 12th, 2007 11:43 am

    Oops, I see Dave already said what I just did — missed that in his earlier response. must refresh and read before posting, must refresh…

  28. bermanator on October 12th, 2007 11:47 am

    Yeah, I had one nit to pick with the Tampa Bay grade as well. If this is your standard:

    Essentially, this is my opinion of which organizations have laid the strongest foundation between their ownership, baseball operations department, and coaching staffs to insert a winning DNA into their baseball teams.

    I would dock them at least half a letter grade by virtue of the fact that they have such a culture of losing still to overcome. For all the young talent the organization has, it still can’t seem to translate that into wins, and if the team members have winning DNA it has not come from anything on the Major League level.

    Also, I’m skeptical that Tampa will make the offseason moves to maximize their ROI on some of the young talent. The D-Rays don’t trade their young guys easily, which in general is a good thing, but as a consequence they tend to hang onto guys who aren’t really in their plans until they are no longer prospects. I would like to see them make an effort to deal from their organizational strength to bolster organizational weaknesses this offseason, but we’ll see if that happens.

    To put that another way, if I were Tampa I would be at least seeing what I could get for one of my young, non-elite pitchers, and I would be calling Seattle to see what they’d give me in trade. And if I were Seattle, I’d come back with a fair offer. But I’m not optimistic that this will happen on either end of the telephone.

  29. joser on October 12th, 2007 11:50 am

    The M’s trail the Rangers? Man, that hurts.

    Yeah, and that’s a big problem. The M’s advantages have been that they have more money than the teams that are smarter than them and they’re smarter than the teams that don’t. Both of those are going away. The A’s are going to have more income once their stadium is built, and the Rangers aren’t as dumb as they used to be (and will have more money once ARod is off their books — next year if he opts out, 2009 if he re-signs with the Yankees).

    If all the teams in the AL West are smarter, and some are richer and better stocked, where does that leave the M’s? It’s not just a question of getting better, you have to get better faster than your rivals do.

    I don’t mind being poor, but I really hate being dumb.

  30. tgf on October 12th, 2007 11:50 am

    I hate hate hate the freaking Angels, but I’m surprised they’re not a top 6-7 team. They do well in player development, dole out for the stars and don’t throw away their young talent. And it seems to work pretty well.

  31. joser on October 12th, 2007 11:53 am

    I would dock them at least half a letter grade by virtue of the fact that they have such a culture of losing still to overcome. For all the young talent the organization has, it still can’t seem to translate that into wins, and if the team members have winning DNA it has not come from anything on the Major League level.

    Really? Are we now breeding racehorses? Where did the Rockies’ “winning DNA” come from?

  32. jlc on October 12th, 2007 12:05 pm

    I’m surprised by the Angels as well. They have an organizational philosophy that they instill throughout their system. They spend money. They develop young talent. They’ve got a history of winning.

  33. bermanator on October 12th, 2007 12:14 pm

    Really? Are we now breeding racehorses? Where did the Rockies’ “winning DNA” come from?

    It’s Dave’s phrase, not mine.

  34. Jeff Nye on October 12th, 2007 12:18 pm

    Even if your DNA indicates you’re going to grow an enormous bushy beard, you don’t have one when you’re born.

    This list is about organizations that are building the right foundation for long-term success. Particularly in Tampa’s case where they can’t spend heavily on external talent, it takes a while for things to come together.

  35. Dave on October 12th, 2007 12:25 pm

    I would dock them at least half a letter grade by virtue of the fact that they have such a culture of losing still to overcome. For all the young talent the organization has, it still can’t seem to translate that into wins, and if the team members have winning DNA it has not come from anything on the Major League level.

    You do realize that this is about how these respective organizations will do going forward, and not how they’ve done in the past, right?

    I hate hate hate the freaking Angels, but I’m surprised they’re not a top 6-7 team. They do well in player development, dole out for the stars and don’t throw away their young talent. And it seems to work pretty well.

    Like the Twins under Terry Ryan, they did a lot of things well and enough things poorly to keep them from the elite tier of clubs. This isn’t going to change – they still emphasize things at the major league level that aren’t related to winning baseball games, and until they overcome some institutional biases, they’re going to keep doing things like signing Shea Hillenbrand to play DH.

  36. bermanator on October 12th, 2007 12:26 pm

    Even if your DNA indicates you’re going to grow an enormous bushy beard, you don’t have one when you’re born.

    Sure, but at what point in your teenage years do you expect to start seeing a whisker or two?

    Don’t get me wrong — I think Tampa is building a very good organization. I just think that to rank them right alongside the Red Sox is a stretch. Part of that also is that I’m not as gung-ho about their Major League manager and coaching staff. I give the organization full credit for the ability to acquire young talent under its financial limitations, but I would like to see them do more with it before I put them in the class of the two teams still playing in the American League.

  37. Dave on October 12th, 2007 12:31 pm

    Sure, but at what point in your teenage years do you expect to start seeing a whisker or two?

    Andrew Friedman has been the GM for all of two years. They’re not in the teenage years yet.

  38. bermanator on October 12th, 2007 12:31 pm

    You do realize that this is about how these respective organizations will do going forward, and not how they’ve done in the past, right?

    Yes, Dave, and as always the patronizing tone is appreciated.

    I just disagree with the high marks because the organization has never shown me anything to indicate that it will succeed going forward. What it has done is acquire a lot of young, cheap, and exciting talent, so it deserves a high grade. But shouldn’t it have to show that it can maximize the talent it has before giving the team the third-highest mark in the majors?

    Hasn’t Tampa had the reputation of being a good, young team on the verge of making the leap for the past couple of offseasons? At what point do you want to see them make that leap before the tiniest twinge of skepticism sets in?

  39. Dave on October 12th, 2007 12:34 pm

    Hasn’t Tampa had the reputation of being a good, young team on the verge of making the leap for the past couple of offseasons?

    Nope.

  40. Colm on October 12th, 2007 12:41 pm

    Gotta say, I ain’t heard that either. They seem to be picked for the cellar every year.

  41. Blastings Thrilledge on October 12th, 2007 12:45 pm

    I think that Tampa Bays is in the very best position it can be at this point in the tenure of its management team, and for that it deserves an A just as much as Boston.

    This list is fascinating. I hate what’s happening with the Dodgers, but it’s hard to deny that their organization is still teeming with talent, despite what Ned Coletti and Grady Little do on the major league level.

  42. Jurgen on October 12th, 2007 12:49 pm

    Is Detroit’s B a tad low?

  43. Colm on October 12th, 2007 1:00 pm

    The grades seem high for the Cubs and Dodgers. What is it about their “ownership, baseball operations department[s], and coaching staffs” that makes them worthy of a C rather than a D or an E?

    I’m looking at both teams from the outside an thinking that the only solution either can think of to any problem is to throw money at it. Rumors have LA ditching some of their hot prospects for some ‘proven veterans’. Is it just that they have sufficient money to throw that they can stay somewhat competitive despite their organizational failings?

  44. Blastings Thrilledge on October 12th, 2007 1:14 pm

    Re: 43, Cubs/Dodgers

    Maybe the scoring seems like too much of an even gradient for what is actually going on in baseball, with certain organizations far-and-away in a better position than others.

    There are 8 B’s and 10 C’s, only 5 D’s and 4 F’s. Maybe there should be more D’s and F’s and less B’s and Cs?

  45. Tom on October 12th, 2007 1:18 pm

    Oh, but why dwell on these rankings when we are supposed to be blissfully happy with 88 wins and increased gate at the front office, veteran entitlement, err, I mean “grit” in the clubhouse, and a newfound “buzz” in the fan base as Todd Turner over at the UW would call it. (sarcasm)

    Boy, I much as I hate to say it, I hope that statement Howie made about continuity working and this team “building up” in the front office comes back to bite him in the ass based on these fairly accurate grades for all 30 teams.

    Because based on what I’ve seen the last few years with most of the transactions Bavasi has made at the MLB level, I don’t see 88 wins, I see incompetence. And it’s going to continue until they fire him or all his terrible contracts expire.

    At the very least that whole “we will not do a Cleveland style rebuilding” sure is working for him this week with the Mariners sitting home and the Indians playing for a shot to be in the World Series.

    Paging Mr. Cuban, Paging Mr. Cuban. . .

    Or heck, paging any potential buyer that will hire BASEBALL SAVVY PEOPLE!

  46. Grizz on October 12th, 2007 1:20 pm

    The amazing thing about the Rays is that all of their core players are under team control through at least 2010. Even the one arguably bad contract, Rocco Baldelli, becomes a series of team options after next year, so it is virtually risk free from the team’s standpoint.

  47. gwangung on October 12th, 2007 1:24 pm

    At the very least that whole “we will not do a Cleveland style rebuilding” sure is working for him this week with the Mariners sitting home and the Indians playing for a shot to be in the World Series.

    And, as pointed out, done more cheaply and more profitably.

  48. jsor on October 12th, 2007 1:29 pm

    [ot]

  49. Colm on October 12th, 2007 1:32 pm

    [ot]

  50. Tom on October 12th, 2007 1:36 pm

    Could someone explain to me Anaheim getting a C+?

    Because I did these rankings myself and they were in my top 3 to be honest.

  51. S-Mac on October 12th, 2007 1:38 pm

    Tom: See Dave in #35

  52. dw on October 12th, 2007 1:41 pm

    [ot]

  53. Tom on October 12th, 2007 1:41 pm

    Hmmmmmmmmm, I wonder if those 2 first round sweeps to Boston and the signing of one Gary Matthews may have also influenced that ranking?

    You still have to think though that they are getting closer and closer to being up there with Boston and Cleveland. And that they really may be just 1 or 2 big bats not named Barry Bonds away from winning a lot more games and possibly winning a lot more playoff games.

  54. SpikeF on October 12th, 2007 1:42 pm

    I’m just curious about the Rockies C+… I know that you can’t just look at what’s going on right now, but it seems that they have done an admirable job of amassing quality young players at low prices. I’m curious what is keeping them out of the B range… methodology? [edit]

  55. Tom on October 12th, 2007 1:43 pm

    [ot]

  56. arbeck on October 12th, 2007 1:46 pm

    [ot]

  57. Gregor on October 12th, 2007 2:06 pm

    And that they really may be just 1 or 2 big bats not named Barry Bonds away from winning a lot more games and possibly winning a lot more playoff games.

    Then again, you could say the same about most of the other 29 teams.

  58. fetish on October 12th, 2007 2:07 pm

    I can’t agree with giving Tampa Bay this good a rating. The “quality” of a team’s management is only as important as it translates into on-field success. Seeing as how Tampa Bay has finished at 70 wins just once (that was their best season).

    Their ranking seems to be based solely on the fact that their GM is younger than some of his player and that most of the players are younger than Dave. I know Dave firmly, firmly believes in inexpensive, young talent, but until it translates into even one iota of competitiveness, it’s worthless. Does anyone really believe the Devil Rays will crack 90 wins before 2010? 2015? Me neither.

    Upton and Young are great prospects/players, sure, but we’re not handing out awards to Woody Woodward for getting Griffey Jr and A-Rod on the same team and turning Mark Langston into Randy Johnson. The Rays haven’t even approached that level yet.

    So… until TB cracks .500, the best-case grade one could give to them is “incomplete”.

  59. Tom on October 12th, 2007 2:17 pm

    #57: Except the difference between the Angels and other teams is that the Angels consistently make the playoffs, so they are already pretty good to begin with.

  60. msb on October 12th, 2007 2:20 pm

    what does losing Mazzone do to the Orioles organization?

  61. Tom on October 12th, 2007 2:25 pm

    #58: I’d say B-, because really the only think Tampa Bay doesn’t do right for a small market team is win really.

    I agree though, I wouldn’t give them a higher grade until they win.

    Just understand though the talent they are up against in the AL East each year in Boston and New York.

  62. Dave on October 12th, 2007 2:28 pm

    With all due respect to the Tampa Bay detractors, I don’t think you guys realize just how dramatic a transformation their front office has undergone.

    And, really, if you read through this thread, almost every argument is the same: “Team X is rated too low because they’ve won in the past.” This really has nothing to do with past tense wins.

  63. Tom on October 12th, 2007 2:28 pm

    #60: It means that their credibility just sunk down to a lower level if it hasn’t already, and that these rankings are right about at least 1 team. Once again this proves that the Orioles management is dumber than a post. And quite honestly, everybody and everything that goes into that organization turns to dust.

  64. Tom on October 12th, 2007 2:29 pm

    #63: Or I should say, their credibility has sunk down to a lower level if that’s even possible. . .

  65. Teej on October 12th, 2007 2:30 pm

    The “quality” of a team’s management is only as important as it translates into on-field success.

    Against the entire point of the post, you’re almost entirely judging the on-field success of a previous Tampa Bay management team. Chuck LaMar didn’t put good teams on the field, but he’s not in charge anymore. Friedman replaced him just two years ago, and things are obviously improving. The grades are about going forward, not what they’ve done in the past. I don’t know how you can look at the Rays’ core players and not thing they’re going to be a force.

  66. gwangung on October 12th, 2007 2:46 pm

    “quality” of a team’s management is only as important as it translates into on-field success.

    And, so…..you’re judging the CURRENT management by the fruits of the PAST management?

    Hm. Doesn’t quite make sense to me….but perhaps you can explain yourself better.

  67. zugzwang on October 12th, 2007 2:47 pm

    Dave,

    Re: your comment that Bavasi deserves some credit for re-stocking the farm system. What’s your assessment of where the M’s farm system is in relation to the league, and is Bavasi better than league average in this area, or merely better than previous management?

  68. gwangung on October 12th, 2007 2:48 pm

    By the way….would hiring a Mazzone by the Mariners improve their grade, at least incrementally?

  69. Jurgen on October 12th, 2007 2:54 pm

    I concede Dave knows a lot more about this stuff than all of us put together, but I’m joining the chorus that thinks TB is too high. Would an “A” club spend so much time jerking around a cheap power source like Gomes? Or put up with two serious attitude problems in Young and Dukes? And let’s see how Friedman handles the trade market.

    I’m comfortable with TB at B or even B+ for now.

    Honestly, I’m not sure any club other than Cleveland deserves an A. (Do they have ANY bad contracts on that roster?)

  70. joser on October 12th, 2007 3:26 pm

    Keep in mind that Dave was on record saying the Indians were the team with the best organization way back when the Twins were considered the class of the AL Central, and he didn’t waver as first the White Sox and then the Tigers made their trips through the postseason. By now I think even the people who thought he was nuts, or at least prematurely- and overly-infatuated, have to concede he was onto something. I think that’s probably the case here too. Five years from now (assuming things continue on their present course) everybody will be talking about how Tampa “obviously” has been a good organization for a long time.

    I look at Tampa now and see a team going places; I don’t really care where they’ve been. (That stadium though, ugh). And we’ve seen enough of the A’s and the Indians to believe that a team who knows how to acquire and employ cheap talent can compete even against teams with considerably higher payrolls. The big problem the Rays have is that they have not one but two savvy and rich teams in their division. That makes it hard to hope to sneak in when the big guy stumbles, because there’s another big guy to push past. Of course, that’s bad news for the entire AL because it makes the wild card that much harder to grab too. Of course, it won’t be long before the M’s have two, or possibly even three, savvy and rich teams in their division. But hey, the M’s at least will have veteran presence and other intangibles. And family friendly marketing.

    And that they really may be just 1 or 2 big bats not named Barry Bonds away from winning a lot more games

    Or A-Rod. I can’t decide which is worse: ARod sticking with the Yankees so the Red Sox grab Santana, or A-Rod going to the Angels so the Yankees get Santana. Actually, considering how often the M’s play these teams, the latter is obviously worse (not least because it means we hear from the whiny “payrod” types 18 times a year instead of just 6).

  71. scraps on October 12th, 2007 3:26 pm

    I think that people are misled by the assignment of grades. Grades are generally assigned for what you’ve done. Dave, as he has pointed out repeatedly, is talking about what organizations are in a position to do moving forward. Maybe if he’d given scores from 1 to 100 or something you wouldn’t have so much objection.

  72. James T on October 12th, 2007 3:31 pm

    I’m a Red Sox fan and I agree with the high assessment of the Tampa organization. I think Joe Maddon was a good hire. I’m extremely impressed by him. He understands where they are. Take B.J. Upton. Before this season he said they’d try him at a bunch of different positions to see what fit best. To me, that was an amazing show of open mindedness. Most managers would make their best call, SS, 2B or CF and try and force that to work. He realized they weren’t going to lose a game that kept them from the playoffs or anything so he just decided to see what worked at the ML level. And I was very impressed at how, in late season games, they would pull Kazmir after 90-95 pitches. Some fellow Sox fans derided him for that. It helped the Sox win a game or two. So what? That told me the organization realizes that a win or two more this year is irrelevant, especially compared to having Kazmir healthy two or three years from now.

    Tampa did a nice job spinning Mark Hendrickson away as soon as he had a good half season. They did a nice job trading Lugo in his walk year.

    The only time in the last couple years I thought they missed was with Baldelli. There was a moment to trade him before the never walking, injury prone guy hurt himself again but it passed with no deal and then he got hurt again.

    They’ve got to improve their defense and pitching, but, intelligent Sox fans are scared of that organization. The Orioles are a joke. The Blue Jays? Ehh. They had years of drafting moderate ceiling guys when they need to get stars cheap to compete with the Sox and yankees. And J.P. Ricciardi has a, uh, unusual management style. I just don’t see the Blue Jays putting it all together unless they get real lucky. Tampa’s scary. That team will compete in 2009.

  73. Jeremy on October 12th, 2007 3:43 pm

    Tom and others,

    The key takeaway from this article is learning how to perform process based analysis rather than results based analysis. Results based analysis is useful if you want to look at the past and see how things have been. For the scope of this article, that type of analysis is not in play as it is a forward looking article.

    The argument isn’t what have you done. It is which teams have the best overall infrastructure to make the highest percentage of correct decisions on a go forward basis. I’m sure Dave has looked beyond just the GM and considered who the player personnel team is, how the scouting team is regarded, what approach is the organization taking, etc. when writing this article.

  74. bermanator on October 12th, 2007 3:43 pm

    With all due respect to the Tampa Bay detractors, I don’t think you guys realize just how dramatic a transformation their front office has undergone.

    And with all due respect, Dave, I think you’re very dismissive of the fact that Tampa Bay has never shown the ability to win at the Major League level. I don’t understand how you can project so much optimism on the future on an organization that not only isn’t a winner now, but has never in its history been a winner.

    If there is any evidence that the current manager and coaching staff can taken the Devil Rays where you think they can go, I have yet to see it, and I’d need that kind of evidence to put Tampa ahead of some of these teams.

    Tampa Bay has stockpiled young talent. No doubt about that. But there is doubt about whether the organization can make the best use of it, and to argue otherwise is wishcasting, not forecasting.

  75. joser on October 12th, 2007 3:45 pm

    Honestly, I’m not sure any club other than Cleveland deserves an A. (Do they have ANY bad contracts on that roster?)

    Considering they got Hafner and Westbrook to sign below-market extensions, I doubt it. Westbrook’s contract is going to be expensive ($10M) from their perspective, but it’s still cheap by MLB standards. They’ve got Sabathia for less than the M’s are paying Washburn, and Byrd for less than the M’s paid Weaver. Carmona’s on a one year deal for peanuts. Of course Sabathia’s done after ’08, and he’s not going to be cheap even if they can get a below-market extension.

  76. jlc on October 12th, 2007 3:47 pm

    I concede it’s entirely possible I’m entranced with the Angels because they actually have an organizational philosophy, and it isn’t swing whenever you feel like it or let the vets play until they can’t hobble around any more (then give ‘em another week).

  77. joser on October 12th, 2007 3:48 pm

    don’t understand how you can project so much optimism on the future on an organization that not only isn’t a winner now, but has never in its history been a winner.

    And the same logic explains why the Yankees have won every world series since 2000. Oh, wait.

    What do the commercials say? “Past performance is not an indicator of future success”? Why are you so certain a rearview mirror is the right tool for this analysis?

  78. scraps on October 12th, 2007 3:58 pm

    Bermanator, if Rutgers, to take a crazy example, were to hire an excellent new coach and have a couple of great recrutiting classes, would you criticize someone who said they had a great organization and were about to be successful, since after all they hadn’t won anything in thirty years?

  79. Jeff Nye on October 12th, 2007 3:58 pm

    Hahaha, I like that line, Mr. Joser.

    But yes. Judging the Devil Rays, or any other team for that matter, based on previous won-loss records, entirely misses the point of the exercise.

  80. gwangung on October 12th, 2007 4:00 pm

    And with all due respect, Dave, I think you’re very dismissive of the fact that Tampa Bay has never shown the ability to win at the Major League level

    I don’t see a lot of respect here, I’m afraid.

    Because it’s clear that you’re judging the CURRENT Tampa Bay management by the results of the PAST Tampa Bay management.

    And that don’t make no sense, no how.

    Particularly given the emphasis given on process vs. results based analysis.

  81. Teej on October 12th, 2007 4:01 pm

    I don’t understand how you can project so much optimism on the future on an organization that not only isn’t a winner now, but has never in its history been a winner.

    In summary:

    Because a franchise that is a whopping 10 years old hasn’t made the playoffs yet in the richest, toughest division in baseball, you cannot be confident that they ever will be good.

    Also, we’ll ignore the fact that eight of those 10 years did not involve the current organizational team.

  82. scraps on October 12th, 2007 4:02 pm

    In 1994 the Mariners were not a winner (49-63) and had in their eighteen years never been a winner (unless you think barely clearing .500 twice qualifies). Obviously you’d have to have been crazy to predict years of great success for them.

  83. gwangung on October 12th, 2007 4:04 pm

    But yes. Judging the Devil Rays, or any other team for that matter, based on previous won-loss records, entirely misses the point of the exercise.

    Sounds like traditional baseball minds. Might feel right at home near Safeco Field offices….

    (Sorry to be snarky here, but I thought it was clear what the point of the article was. And some comments have completely missed the point….)

  84. eponymous coward on October 12th, 2007 4:25 pm

    In 1994 the Mariners were not a winner (49-63) and had in their eighteen years never been a winner (unless you think barely clearing .500 twice qualifies). Obviously you’d have to have been crazy to predict years of great success for them.

    Oh, and while you’re at it, that team stockpiled talent: 3 sure-fire HOFer’s (RJ, Jr., A-Rod), one marginal HOFer (Edgar), two guys a couple rungs BELOW the HOF, but very good players (Tino, Buhner).

    I think we should have been pretty dismissive of them, though. After all, the Mariners had never won at the major league level…

  85. Doc Baseball on October 12th, 2007 5:11 pm

    I understand the point of this post is forecasting. And I understand that the bulk of the questioning centers around one specific team, Tampa Bay. And that Dave probably didn’t look at recent results to help form his opinion of best-run clubs. And that I’m preaching to the choir.

    But if you grant that the result (winning) is the purpose of having an “efficient successful philosophy”, and if you look beyond just one specific team, Dave’s rankings lead to some interesting comparisons.

    I looked at all his ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams, and compared them to all his ‘D’ and ‘F’ teams — looking at their winning percentages for the last 2 years. Of course there are all kinds of noise in this, and a dozen major ways these data could be parsed, but at the crudest level, if you assume that Dave’s teams have to have been at their work in their current philosophical approach for at least a couple years for him to have ranked them the way he did, then it’s fair to think there’d be some results to see, even if, like TB, they inherited bad situations.

    Here are those results:

    Dave’s ‘A’ & ‘B’ Teams: Winning % 2007 : .530
    Dave’s ‘A’ & ‘B’ Teams: Cum.Win.% 2006-07: .520
    Total of 8 Playoff Teams

    Dave’s ‘D’ & ‘F’ Teams: Winning % 2007 : .464
    Dave’s ‘D’ & ‘F’ Teams: Cum.Win.% 2006-07: .466
    Total of 2 Playoff Teams

    And player payroll has essentially nothing to do with this. BOTH groups are split basically 50-50 between clubs in the top half and bottom half of total payroll. Actual total payroll averaged across both groups and across both years is $86 Mil vs. $78 Mil.

    These results are a pretty big difference I believe. To get a sense of how big, if you look at total cumulative Winning % just comparing Hi Payroll Teams vs Low Payroll Teams for the last 2 years combined (just salary, nothing to do with philosophy):

    Hi Payroll Teams, 2006-07: .512 (Total of 10 playoff teams)
    Lo Payroll Teams, 2006-07: .483 (Total of 6 playoff teams)

    So while there may or may not be debate about a given team’s exact letter grade, and future results may certainly bear out Dave’s analysis even further (or not), at least in terms of recent past results, this ranking of teams in the aggregate clearly differentiates between winning organizations and losers.

    Sing on….

  86. gwangung on October 12th, 2007 5:20 pm

    re 85

    Oh. Now that IS interesting. It’s, as you say, crude work and has all sorts of slop in it, but it’s a first approximation, after all…

  87. fetish on October 12th, 2007 8:01 pm

    Well, Friedman has been at the helm in Tampa Bay for two full seasons. How’ve they done in that term? The underlying hypothesis is that competent management can improve a teams fortunes even without megabucks free agents or cant-miss prospects.

    Wins
    ’98-’05: 64.75
    ’06: 61
    ’07: 66

    Now, you’d think an “A” grade front office could put together a marginally competitive based on low-cost veterans, freely available talent, and so on, until their young prospects were ready to be the core of the team. This is what Oakland does every year. You’d think the FO could be held accountable for, so, an improvement to 75 wins, maybe, in two years… but like I said, I think “incomplete” was the appropriate grade here. Until the tree bears fruit, it’s a fools guess to say how sweet it is. Will Friedman and company be able to retain Young, Upton, et al, or will the they become a de facto minor league club?

  88. Dave on October 12th, 2007 8:45 pm

    You may want to consider that Tampa Bay’s primary goal the last two seasons was not to win baseball games.

  89. gwangung on October 12th, 2007 9:03 pm

    Now, you’d think an “A” grade front office could put together a marginally competitive based on low-cost veterans, freely available talent, and so on, until their young prospects were ready to be the core of the team.

    Why?

    And that’s a serious question you SHOULD be answering before rushing to judgement.

  90. Typical Idiot Fan on October 12th, 2007 10:22 pm

    Mets? Seriously?

    Goods: Money, decent scouts, some smart people

    Bads: Omar Minaya loves his Pedro.

    Yeah, success has nothing to do with this, it has to do with Minaya’s lack of understanding on free agent starting pitching, over paying for bullpen help, and getting a lot of veterans.

    I could be out on a limb here, but the “Amazin’s” probably shouldn’t have been in contention as long as they were this season and I don’t see their current practices of snagging veterans for veterans sake has a recipe for long term success.

  91. patnmic on October 13th, 2007 12:11 am

    Have the Pirates moved up with the new FO?

  92. _David_ on October 13th, 2007 12:17 am

    90: Signing Pedro Martinez, with their payroll, wasn’t that bad an idea. He’s the kind of pitcher you take a risk on. He’s been dominant when healthy.

  93. JMHawkins on October 13th, 2007 12:20 am

    The key takeaway from this article is learning how to perform process based analysis rather than results based analysis. Results based analysis is useful if you want to look at the past and see how things have been. For the scope of this article, that type of analysis is not in play as it is a forward looking article.

    Agreed 100%. We’re apparently having the equivalent of the ERA argument here, only it’s about evaluating GMs instead of starting pitchers. All those arguing that Tampa Bay’s W-L record means Dave ranked them too high, I would suggest you please go read the ERA post and then explain how evaluating Andrew Friedman on last year’s W-L record is any different than evaluating Jarrod Washburn on last year’s ERA. If you can explain that, you might get more traction on your arguments.

  94. fetish on October 13th, 2007 12:38 am

    Sorry,
    I forgot to mention that TB -still- ranks last in attendance, at somewhere around 17k a game, with no meaningful improvement in the last two years.

    Again – this is supposedly an A organization – one of the top three in baseball – and an A organization does nearly everything right and doesn’t miss out on opportunities. It seems the organization has nothing going for it other than a collection of top 5 draft picks (amassed thanks to the failure of the last management regime).

    Dave said:You may want to consider that Tampa Bay’s primary goal the last two seasons was not to win baseball games.

    Presumable, winning games is somewhere on the priority sheet. Maybe this needs saying, but the priority is always winning games and putting fans in seats (or, nowadays, eyes on the TV screen). When given the opportunity to develop their farm system and attempt to be competitive; they are “choosing” to develop their farm system and attempting to lose games. Like I said earlier, “A” organizations don’t miss opportunities like these. “A” organizations doesn’t decide as an organizational philosophy that winning games and developing the farm system are mutually exclusive goals.

    I suppose we’ll have to wait 10 years to determine who’s right. But i’m putting $10 down right now on the Devil Rays winning a world series some time in the next 10 years. The odds have got to be astronomical. If they do win one, that’ll net me enough to pay for a full page add in the New York Times (or P-I, if you’d prefer) stating how right Dave was and how ignorant I am. Remember, per many, many USSM posts, merely being competitive (ala the Mariners) is not enough – winning World Series is the hallmark of actual success.

  95. bookbook on October 13th, 2007 3:04 am

    Yes. Because the USSM always talks about how bad a manager Billy Beane is because the A’s haven’t won a WS…

  96. bookbook on October 13th, 2007 3:08 am

    The Rays big test will be their ability to trade away surplus talent to fill other needs. The Twins failed in this regard a few years ago. Gillick’s Ms fell somewhat short with its surplus of pitching prospects, as well. Or did the other GMs see that none of these future stars would pan out? Certainly possible.

    It’s important to remember that the Yankees and Red Sox have made some substantial gaffes along the way. (Didn’t the Indians give Phillips away for nothing among their many moves?) The Rays A doesn’t mean they’re perfect in Dave’s eyes, after all. Just better than almost everyone else.

  97. terry on October 13th, 2007 4:27 am

    Presumable, winning games is somewhere on the priority sheet. Maybe this needs saying, but the priority is always winning games and putting fans in seats (or, nowadays, eyes on the TV screen). When given the opportunity to develop their farm system and attempt to be competitive; they are “choosing” to develop their farm system and attempting to lose games. Like I said earlier, “A” organizations don’t miss opportunities like these. “A” organizations doesn’t decide as an organizational philosophy that winning games and developing the farm system are mutually exclusive goals.

    This sounds perfectly intuitive and I’m sure those wmds will be found somewhere in this thread….

    Here’s a question though. If the annual target is roughly 94 wins to make the playoffs and you’ve just inherited a team that upon accurate evaluation is most likely to win 65, how is that ultimate goal best served? Blindly going for instant gratification annually-which in the Rays case the last two seasons would have meant dramatically increasing payroll with forays into the FA market (to essentially overpay for skill sets they already have under control) and trading away 6 years of legit high ceiling prospects- really would have been a recipe for chronic suck.

    No one is debating that the ultimate goal is to be competitive for the playoffs every year. Rather it’s the definition of success that apparently needs to be redefined in order to include context. Shouldn’t the process of getting to the ultimate goal be considered in the evaluation or do wise decisions only become wise after the goal is reached?

    Instant gratification is most often a marker of a poorly run team and really only should be a strategy of teams on the cusp of leveraging the overpay into increased revenue streams that accompany the playoffs (i.e. the Yanks where $20M for 1 year of Roger translates into 10% growth of the YES network).

  98. John in L.A. on October 13th, 2007 4:53 am

    94 – “Again – this is supposedly an A organization – one of the top three in baseball – and an A organization does nearly everything right and doesn’t miss out on opportunities. It seems the organization has nothing going for it other than a collection of top 5 draft picks (amassed thanks to the failure of the last management regime).”

    So now you have grown tired of disagreeing with the parameters of the discussion and have moved on to define Dave’s terms for him.

    Frankly, man, you haven’t offered even an ounce of compelling argument against the essay. You’ve argued what Dave should have used as his criteria and now you’ve defined Dave’s criteria for him.

    Do you get the feeling that what should really be happening is you making your own list?… then you can set the parameters however you like. And, define terms however you like.

    “Presumable, winning games is somewhere on the priority sheet. Maybe this needs saying, but the priority is always winning games and putting fans in seats (or, nowadays, eyes on the TV screen). When given the opportunity to develop their farm system and attempt to be competitive; they are “choosing” to develop their farm system and attempting to lose games. Like I said earlier, “A” organizations don’t miss opportunities like these. “A” organizations doesn’t decide as an organizational philosophy that winning games and developing the farm system are mutually exclusive goals.”

    What? Surely you understand that sometimes these things ARE mutually exclusive? And that they didn’t throw every game?

    That paragraph was terrible. It assumes all kinds of things that shouldn’t be assumed, it bolds something that is both a strawman and assumes that everybody agrees with your definition of A – which is a weird one, that’s for sure.

    If you think TB’s priority this year should have been ekeing out extra wins…. well, then if you were their GM I’m guessing the point of them having too high a grade would be moot.

    Frankly it is what Seattle should have done and our games were much closer to mattering than theirs.

    “I suppose we’ll have to wait 10 years to determine who’s right. ”

    I don’t think I have to wait 10 minutes to determine who’s right.

    “Remember, per many, many USSM posts, merely being competitive (ala the Mariners) is not enough – winning World Series is the hallmark of actual success.”

    I think you have misunderstood many, many USSM posts, then.

  99. bermanator on October 13th, 2007 5:44 am

    Bermanator, if Rutgers, to take a crazy example, were to hire an excellent new coach and have a couple of great recrutiting classes, would you criticize someone who said they had a great organization and were about to be successful, since after all they hadn’t won anything in thirty years?

    Of course not, but I also wouldn’t rank the program alongside USC and LSU strictly based on that potential. As this year’s Rutgers squad proves, sometimes learning how to win against good teams isn’t something that can be guaranteed just by winning the “Most Improved” award.

  100. bermanator on October 13th, 2007 5:47 am

    I don’t see a lot of respect here, I’m afraid.

    Because it’s clear that you’re judging the CURRENT Tampa Bay management by the results of the PAST Tampa Bay management.

    And that don’t make no sense, no how.

    Particularly given the emphasis given on process vs. results based analysis.

    OK, that is seriously annoying.

    I can disagree with Dave and still respect the post. It’s not that I don’t understand him. I just don’t agree with the valuation he comes up with.

    Dave is a smart guy and knows his stuff, but he is not the Pope.

  101. bermanator on October 13th, 2007 7:45 am

    Here’s a better sense of how I’m looking at it…

    Let’s compare Oakland and Tampa Bay. Tampa is more exciting; Oakland is farther along in its lifecycle with a management team that has a better long-term track record. Tampa Bay has the edge in pure, raw, young talent, and if that is the only variable under consideration I would definitely rank them higher. But if the metric is:

    …which organizations have laid the strongest foundation between their ownership, baseball operations department, and coaching staffs to insert a winning DNA into their baseball teams.

    …then I can’t give an “A” grade to an organization that has yet to show me it can win.

    If I have the opportunity to pick one organization’s management team and structure to transplant onto a team that I own, I go with Oakland over Tampa Bay because not only do I generally buy Billy Beane’s approach, he’s also shown me that he can take a team through every step of the process short of a World Series. He can acquire cheap talent via draft and trade, he can spot organizational weaknesses and fill them efficiently, and he can make midseason deals to shore up his team for a postseason push. All Tampa Bay has shown me now is the first of those points, and we have no idea if the management team is capable of taking Tampa Bay from where they are now to where they hope to go.

    I know the Oakland management approach works, because I’ve seen it. I don’t have the requisite sample size of this Tampa Bay management team, so I can’t rank them ahead of an organization that I know can not only acquire talent cheaply and efficiently, but also turn that talent into a contending team.

  102. terry on October 13th, 2007 8:12 am

    This is based on management personnel and organizational cohesion, not on field talent or recent success.

    Even though you’re ignoring parts of Dave’s criteria to argue his rankings, I’m not really sure how making Oakland #3 and Tampa #5 on your list effects the ultimate conclusion…..

  103. gwangung on October 13th, 2007 9:27 am

    OK, that is seriously annoying.

    Well, yes, your post is….

    I can disagree with Dave and still respect the post. It’s not that I don’t understand him. I just don’t agree with the valuation he comes up with.

    Well, when you’re grading the current Tampa Bay admin on the results of the past Tampa Bay admin, it really DOES imply that you don’t understand him. There’s a conceptual discconect there that simply hasn’t been explained.

    How about this…take what THIS Tampa Bay management has DONE, and show how THAT isn’t worthy of getting an “A” grade. That means you don’t refer to the past 8 years of team performance—you have to grade on what this particular management has done, and not their predecessors have done.

    And while referring to their life cycle certainly has some meaning, it really is irrelevant to the grade. Time on the job has nothing to do with their competence in getting their team ready for the future–that would mean Bavasi’s time gives him more fitness than the Tampa Bay people (which doesn’t make sense).

  104. Tuomas on October 13th, 2007 10:10 am

    I can see what Bermanator is talking about, and it’s a point that could also apply to Atlanta, Kansas City, Pittsburgh and St. Louis. Given that all of these hires are relatively new, we don’t quite know enough about them. There’s a big difference between “we need more information” and “they’re not as good as you make them out to be.”

  105. Jeremy on October 13th, 2007 10:23 am

    101:

    And I think that’s the difference. Dave, through his network, has tons of access to additional information that the average USSM reader (including you) don’t have. That information allows him to grade them out higher faster than you will be able to because you are still using a result based method to evaluate the process, which is incorrect.

  106. Jeff Nye on October 13th, 2007 10:49 am

    Here is how this conversation is going:

    Dave: (some stuff)

    Bermanator: But Tampa Bay hasn’t ever won anything.

    Dave (and others): This list isn’t about past won-loss records.

    Bermanator: But Tampa Bay hasn’t ever won anything.

    Dave (and others): This list isn’t about past won-loss records.

    Bermanator: But Tampa Bay hasn’t ever…

    If you don’t think this is a valid way to evaluate teams, that’s cool, but by the criteria of the post, Tampa Bay is an excellent organization that has done a good job of building for future success.

    You also have to take into account, when trying to evaluate the organization based on won-loss records, that it shares a division with teams that can spend four times their payroll, if not more.

  107. bermanator on October 13th, 2007 12:02 pm

    Well, yes, your post is….

    Dude, seriously. Should I respond with “I know you are but what am I?” or “Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me”? Sheesh.

    How about this…take what THIS Tampa Bay management has DONE, and show how THAT isn’t worthy of getting an “A” grade.

    What THIS Tampa Bay management has DONE is take the Devil Rays very well through step one of a multi-step process. They’ve done a fantastic job. Worthy of a high grade.

    But the same grade as Boston, an organization much further along in the process? A lower grade than Oakland, an organization that’s much further along in the process?

    I don’t agree. Tampa Bay, as an organization, is not far enough along in the process for me to rank them that high.

    And I will stipulate that the management has only been in place for two years, if you stipulate that a good chunk of the talent was acquired before it took over, including its best player (Crawford) and best pitcher (Kazmir).

    but by the criteria of the post, Tampa Bay is an excellent organization that has done a good job of building for future success.

    Great. Just show me where Tampa Bay’s current management structure has shown the ability to achieve that kind of success on the Major League level, and I’ll go ahead and rank them ahead of Oakland.

    Look, guys, if you had the ability to take Seattle’s management and replace it with any one, intact organizational structure, do you take Oakland’s or Tampa Bay’s? That’s all I’m asking.

  108. MrIncognito on October 13th, 2007 12:05 pm

    Funny we should bring up Beane as an example of someone who you trust. Beane took control of the A’s in 1997. They lost 97 games in 1997, and 88 in 1998. They didn’t break .500 until ’99, and won the division in 2000, but that took 4 years of Beane’s management. You also have to consider that Beane took over for Sandy Alderson, who was a pretty good GM, while Tampa Bay had a really terrible organization.

    If we’re going by wins, the 1998 A’s were a C- team, but that’s not how you should go about evaluating an organization.

  109. bermanator on October 13th, 2007 12:30 pm

    If we’re going by wins…

    I’m not going by wins! Good Lord, if I were going by wins, wouldn’t I be citing the Yankees or Angels instead of Oakland?

    I’m going by a demonstrated track record. Oakland’s management team has shown the ability to stockpile young and undervalued talent, and then turn that talent into a winning team at the Major League level. Tampa Bay hasn’t. In a case where two organizations are close in strength, I’d give the nod to the organization that’s further along the developmental path, which Oakland is right now. Wouldn’t you?

    Oakland has an excellent process in place and has used that to great effect on the Major League level. Tampa Bay looks like it also has an excellent process in place, but it hasn’t had the time to produce that track record.

    I can’t rank them ahead of Oakland based on the premise that they can take that next step, because I don’t know that they can. Tampa Bay hasn’t yet faced those kind of tests, and I have no idea whether they will pass them or fail them.

  110. terry on October 13th, 2007 2:21 pm

    Krivsky is basically bringing the Twins model to Cincy. On one hand, that has some positives, as they place an extreme value on finding good young talent and emphasize the scouting department. On the other hand, there’s a complete breakdown in the understanding of how to value major league players. Cincy is actually a lot like the Mariners, just with a smaller payroll.

    Dave:

    I’ve been thinking about this comment and it seems at odds that one could be adept at judging good young talent but unable to judge “established” talent effectively. One might think major leaguers would be easier to judge if for no other reason than sample size considerations. Obviously a scout’s eyes focus on the same things in a player irregardless of age. In your opinion, what are some of the underlying reasons for such an apparent dichotomy?

  111. JMHawkins on October 13th, 2007 2:41 pm

    I’ve been thinking about this comment and it seems at odds that one could be adept at judging good young talent but unable to judge “established” talent effectively. One might think major leaguers would be easier to judge if for no other reason than sample size considerations. Obviously a scout’s eyes focus on the same things in a player irregardless of age. In your opinion, what are some of the underlying reasons for such an apparent dichotomy?

    I’m not Dave, but I’ll venture a guess: Major League statistics. Young guys have scouting reports and minor league stats, while established veterans have scouting reports and Major League stats. There is a cadre of baseball folks who don’t think minor league numbers mean very much. Those folks tend to put a lot of stock in numbers at the big league level though (you may have some names in mind). Let’s call them the “track-record” guys.

    For track-record guys, young kids are evaluated based on their scouting reports, and established veterans are evaluated based on the last two or three years of stats, likely AVG, RBIs and ERA. If they have good scouts, they’ll do a good job evaluating the kids because they’ll have good scouting reports. But they’ll do a terrible job evaluating veterans, because they’re ignoring the lost bat speed, the aging legs, the gradual decline, and putting way too much stock in that career year they had a couple years ago.

  112. david h on October 13th, 2007 2:59 pm



    99 Bermanator F-

  113. Jeff Nye on October 13th, 2007 4:40 pm

    First line of Bermanator’s most recent post:
    I’m not going by wins!

    Two lines below that:
    I’m going by a demonstrated track record. Oakland’s management team has shown the ability to stockpile young and undervalued talent, and then turn that talent into a winning team at the Major League level. Tampa Bay hasn’t.

    How are people misrepresenting your position by saying you’re judging by prior wins, again?

  114. bermanator on October 13th, 2007 4:57 pm

    How are people misrepresenting your position by saying you’re judging by prior wins, again?

    Because I’m not going by won-loss total so much as I am any history at all of achievement at the Major League level. I’m as process-oriented as the next guy, but eventually that process has to produce results.

    At this stage in the game, Tampa Bay has not gotten to that point — and ergo, though I think they are on the right track, I would rank them behind organizations who are also on the right track but are farther along. It is promising. But that promise has not been realized as it has in Oakland, and to an extent Milwaukee.

    Jeff, give me your rationale as to why Tampa Bay should rank ahead of Oakland, and perhaps we can move on from there. I’m genuinely curious as to what metrics would make that possible.

  115. Jeff Nye on October 13th, 2007 5:26 pm

    Okay so how, other than wins, do you define “any history at all of achievement at the Major League level”?

  116. bermanator on October 13th, 2007 5:32 pm

    Not being terrible every year?

    Seriously, make the case for me that Tampa Bay should be ranked ahead of Oakland, and maybe I’ll be convinced. But I can’t come up with the metrics to make that happen.

  117. induced entropy on October 13th, 2007 5:34 pm

    This is quite a thread. Me thinks, Bermenator, that you are taking things much too far here. So a team was ranked by Dave 2 or 8 positions off what you would rank.

    And his somewhat nebulous metrics are different from your nebulous metrics. So be it. I found the dialogue interesting, but holding fast on this point… isn’t it a tad extreme?

    Let it go…

  118. Jeff Nye on October 13th, 2007 6:08 pm

    Okay, so what, other than won-loss total, is your criteria for “not being terrible”?

    Do you see where this is going?

    If you want to say that wins are important at evaluating major league organizations, then just say so. It’s not the point of THIS list, though.

  119. bermanator on October 13th, 2007 6:25 pm

    Jeff Nye-

    I respond with the naive optimism that if I do so, at some point you will deign to answer my question.

    Is it so unreasonable, when ranking organizations based on “which organizations have laid the strongest foundation between their ownership, baseball operations department, and coaching staffs to insert a winning DNA into their baseball teams,” to consider — not as the lead variable, mind you, but as a factor — whether the management team has demonstrated the ability to carry out the process in the past?

    I understand that wins and losses are not the point of this list. It is a very process-oriented, methodology-oriented, metrics-oriented list. That’s why I enjoy it.

    But I don’t think it’s unreasonable — or until now, even controversial — to consider how far along a given organization is on the path when ranking organizations.

    And while past performance is no guarantee of future results, it is an indication that a team has been able to implement these processes successfully, which Oakland has done.

    Tampa Bay at the Major League level has perenially been among the worst teams in the American League. You want to say that winning hasn’t been the organizational goal under the new regime, and I’ll buy that. You want to say that most of the failures are because of the old regime, and I’ll buy that too. I don’t penalize them for it. But they don’t get extra credit for it either, which is why I would rank them not 29th or 30th, but certainly behind Oakland.

    And to repeat myself:

    Seriously, make the case for me that Tampa Bay should be ranked ahead of Oakland, and maybe I’ll be convinced. But I can’t come up with the metrics to make that happen.

  120. Dave on October 13th, 2007 8:39 pm

    Tampa Bay is, right now, where Cleveland was after the 2003 season.

    Shapiro had been the GM for two years, in which the team had won 74 and then 68 games. Wedge was the manager for the second of those two seasons, guiding the team to a record six wins worse than the previous season. They had played the year with a bunch of young kids, some who had been good and others who had not. They had one of the lowest payrolls in the game and an ownership that was tightening the budget.

    It didn’t matter. They had already laid the groundwork for the ’04-’07 Indians. They had picked up Travis Hafner for nothing. They made the Bartolo Colon deal that brought them Sizemore, Phillips, and Lee. They had developed Victor Martinez, C.C. Sabathia, Jake Westbrook, Jhonny Peralta, Rafael Betancourt and Casey Blake.

    The heavy lifting had already been done. It was around that time that I started calling them the best run organization in baseball. They had instituted a philosophy, demonstrated by many of the moves they had made to insure that the foundation for the next great Indians team was in place, that had proven successful many times before – acquire a lot of terrific young players and watch them turn into a good team.

    Tampa Bay has done the exact same thing already. They’ve already put the foundation in place for a tremendous team. It’s already there – the work is mostly done.

    A belief that something isn’t knowable until after its been demonstrated is an analytical flaw, and it’s the exact reasoning that kept Adam Jones from helping the Mariners this year. A desire to believe only in what your eyes have seen is a problem.

  121. Jurgen on October 13th, 2007 11:21 pm

    Dave:

    You mention (again) the main reason why I think TB doesn’t (necessarily) deserve a high grade (yet)–especially compared to Shapiro’s Indians: we haven’t seen Friedman deal with the trade market.

  122. fetish on October 13th, 2007 11:35 pm

    Well, there is one grade I can agree with – Cincinnati getting a big, fat F.

    They’ve just hired Dusty Baker. A better argument for a relegation system could not be made.

    Just as an aside, which major US sport tends to hire retreads the most? NBA? MLB? NFL?

  123. bermanator on October 14th, 2007 4:31 am

    A belief that something isn’t knowable until after its been demonstrated is an analytical flaw

    The comparison to Seattle and Adam Jones is not a valid one, because there we had minor league numbers that we could use to project Major League performance.

    We don’t have that with Tampa Bay. Because they excel at one aspect of organization building is not enough for me to project that they will handle everything else equally adeptly, as opposed (again) to an Oakland team that has already done so.

    Ranking Tampa Bay so highly right now is like ranking a college football team No. 3 in the country because it signed a couple of great recruiting classes. You also need to prove you can use that talent wisely.

  124. terry on October 14th, 2007 7:28 am

    The comparison to Seattle and Adam Jones is not a valid one, because there we had minor league numbers that we could use to project Major League performance. We don’t have that with Tampa Bay. Because they excel at one aspect of organization building is not enough for me to project that they will handle everything else equally adeptly, as opposed (again) to an Oakland team that has already done so.

    I don’t understand where you’re coming from with this argument. We have the last several years to gain insight into Tampa’s organizational philosophy.

    Doesn’t what Tampa has refused to do via trade and free agency inform their performance evaluation too?

    Ranking Tampa Bay so highly right now is like ranking a college football team No. 3 in the country because it signed a couple of great recruiting classes. You also need to prove you can use that talent wisely.

    Where has Tampa failed in that regard?

    They’ve got a rotation that looks to be 7 deep by next year, legit high ceiling positional prospects that look to solve their defensive deficiencies possibly as early as next season, and an awful pen that can probably be fixed in house coupled with some minor outside tweaking.

    Really, ranking Tampa #3 isn’t like making them #3 in the country based upon a great recruiting class. It’s ranking teams based upon how well they’ve shown the attributes that should allow them to consistently win in the future.

    To use your college football analogy, it’s looking at their recruiting classes to see how they evaluate talent, watching their player development to see how they can coach up that talent, and watching how they build a roster in essence using their priorities to indicate their philosophy. Then all of these aspects are considered to evaluate whether they have a cohesive, systematic organizational approach to winning.

  125. Avery on October 14th, 2007 9:23 am

    How did Tampa Bay’s front office handle making trade deadline deals to fill holes for a playoff run? Oh wait, we don’t know how yet. For all we know they could pull a Gillick and stand pat.

  126. Doc Baseball on October 14th, 2007 9:55 am

    My issue with Tampa Bay is their payroll. Cleveland’s payroll is twice as big, Oakland’s nearly two and a half. Their immediate direct competitors (Bos, NYY) are 5 and 6 times bigger. How can an ownership group — however well-intentioned, however smart, however cohesive, however capable of discovering and developing low-cost talent — insert winning DNA when their payroll is so off-the-charts low? Do you Dave (or anyone) know if TB has any plan or process underway to add significantly to payroll? Without that, I fear they will continue to be nothing more than brilliant pretenders.

  127. fetish on October 14th, 2007 10:15 am

    Terry, if by saying their rotation is “7-deep” is like saying the Mariners rotation is “7-deep” (if you include Feierabend and Baek). At least three of their starters are demonstrably worthless (Seo, Howell, Hamell)

    Let’s remember…Horacio Ramirez was once young – in fact, his first season (at age 23 he posted a 104 ERA+, he followed it up with 180 ERA+ the next season) – that’s a better debut than any of the TB starters outside of Kazmir and Shields.

    Just remember, in order to become a crappy, overpaid veteran (Remember, our boy Horacio is only 27!), you need to show some success as a youngster.

  128. Graham on October 14th, 2007 10:56 am

    At least three of their starters are demonstrably worthless (Seo, Howell, Hamell)

    You are aware that Tampa Bay’s defense cost their team something on the order of a run per ballgame, right?

  129. DMZ on October 14th, 2007 11:15 am

    At least three of their starters are demonstrably worthless (Seo, Howell, Hamell)

    I can’t even begin to see why you’d say that, much less why I should take anything you’re going to say in the future seriously.

    And I don’t really care any more if you’re ignorant or just trying to get someone’s goat – that’s a remarkably dumb thing to say.

  130. Paul B on October 14th, 2007 2:21 pm

    #10: I’d argue for a mark higher than D- but the rumor is that they are about to make Dusty Baker…..

    Cincy hires Baker to a 3 year deal.

    Is there such a thing as an F- rating?

  131. fetish on October 14th, 2007 4:47 pm

    Seo, Age 30; ERA+ 57;
    Howell, Age 24: ERA+ 61 (91 and 70 in his previous two years, respectively)
    Hamell, Abge 24: ERA+ 75 (69 in his rookie season)

    For comparison, HoRam was at 60; Weaver was at 69; Baek was at 73.

    I feel like I’m looking at the Mariners of the 1980′s. Small Market; Crappy Stadium; Mountains of Losses; No improvement, ever; A pile of high draft picks; An unwillingness to be a player in the FA Market; putting stock in guys with shaky or non-existant track records; not finding “free talent” when available; and a perpetual ‘wait till our young guys improve’ excuse.

    But enough on that… Dave has seen fit to state that the Devil Rays are one of the top 3 managed clubs in baseball. This would imply that at some point in the near future (10 years ought to be enough. GM’s usually dont’ stick that long and that gets their young guys through their prime) he feels that Tampa Bay will be one of the top 3 clubs in baseball.

  132. terry on October 14th, 2007 5:13 pm

    Well you’re definitely going for the jugular by using ERA-based metrics…. :-P

  133. eponymous coward on October 14th, 2007 5:48 pm

    If only someone had written a blog post saying “Why ERA and WHIP don’t cut it these days.”

    One might also note that the Mariners of the 1980′s turned into the Mariners of the 1990′s… which is sort of our point.

  134. Grizz on October 14th, 2007 10:21 pm

    not finding “free talent” when available

    Um, no. The Rays won this year’s “free talent” award with Carlos Pena, Brendan Harris, and Al Reyes.

    putting stock in guys with shaky or non-existant track records

    You mean guys like Carlos Pena and Brendan Harris?

  135. fetish on October 14th, 2007 11:58 pm

    If only someone had written a blog post saying ‘Why ERA and WHIP don’t cut it these days.’

    Sorry for using a simple, reliable metric that accurately represents a pitchers -actual- (rather than theoretical) performance.

    One might also note that the Mariners of the 1980′s turned into the Mariners of the 1990’s… which is sort of our point.

    Well, if not resigning three sure-fire Hall of Famers and one absolute miracle playoff-series victory (after a miracle run to the playoffs that occurred when both Griffey and Johnson missed substantial time and Rodriguez was yet to establish himself) is the measure of an ‘A’ franchise, then yes, it is possible that Tampa Bay might duplicate that success. But even that’s being generous.

  136. fetish on October 15th, 2007 12:07 am

    Um, no. The Rays won this year’s “free talent” award with Carlos Pena, Brendan Harris, and Al Reyes.

    Uh, I whiffed on Pena. Reyes would have been a win had they been able to get rid of him at the trade deadline (why a win-later team wants to keep a middle reliever on the wrong side of 35 is beyond me; i’ll assume they didn’t get any realistic offers).

  137. eponymous coward on October 15th, 2007 12:07 am

    Sorry for using a simple, reliable metric that accurately represents a pitchers -actual- (rather than theoretical) performance.

    Well, actually, not so much, since it’s pretty clear ERA has huge dependencies on things like team defense… which, again, is the point concerning Tampa Bay and Dave’s post.

    But you go on ignoring the point. Tampa sux LOL.

    Also, you could note the 60′s A’s, 80′s Pirates or other examples. Franchises don’t stay downtrodden very long when they accumulate talent, and Tampa’s accumulated a lot of it.

  138. GB on October 15th, 2007 12:40 am

    I have to disagree with the Giants as an “F”, which is to suggest that they’ve failed at everything at which an organization can fail. Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Noah Lowry are in the rotation. Kevin Correia, Pat Misch, or Jonathan Sanchez might join them soon. Brad Hennessey is a league-average reliever. They’ve littered baseball with pitchers with high ceilings (Francisco Liriano, Jeremy Accardo) and lower, but still valuable ceilings (Brian Burres, Jon Coutlangus, Carlos Villanueva, Clay Hensley, and David Aardsma)

    They’ve used their first-rounders wisely (Cain, Lowry, Lincecum), and they’ve found diamonds in the rough (Coutlangus was an outfielder; Accardo was undrafted; Sanchez was a 43rd-rounder). The current braintrust might be as good at scouting and developing pitching as any in the game.

    Every other aspect of the organization is so wretched that it wholly compromises their success in drafting pitchers, true. But four “F”s and an “A” still equals a “D-”. There has to be some credit given to their success with finding arms.

  139. terry on October 15th, 2007 4:48 am

    Sorry for using a simple, reliable metric that accurately represents a pitchers -actual- (rather than theoretical) performance.

    That screams for a haiku:

    trolls are the result
    when penis size frustrates id
    don’t let id rule you

  140. Grizz on October 15th, 2007 9:31 am

    Uh, I whiffed on Pena.

    You forgot Brendan Harris. You whiffed pretty big on Harris too. Tampa Bay found its starting 1B (who will get MVP votes), starting SS, and closer off the scrap heap, so clearly the Rays organization does not understand the concept of freely available talent.

    Reyes would have been a win had they been able to get rid of him at the trade deadline

    Um, no again. The team had a cheap $1 million option on Reyes, so he was not an impending free agent. In a market where middle relievers get 3+ years at $4+ million (hello Danyz Baez, Justin Speier, Jamie Walker, etc.), Reyes at 1/$1 million is a steal. And they can always trade him at the next deadline.

    The funny thing is you complain that Tampa Bay has not brought in free agents or tried to win in the present, but then when they bring back a contributing veteran like Reyes on the cheap, you complain that they are stupid for doing so.

  141. Bomberboy on October 16th, 2007 4:11 pm

    you ignore one vital criteria that will always drag Oakland down and if things don’t get better will drag the Indains down: No matter how “well run” these organizations are the overall value / revenue of the team and organization is very low, and Oakland is at the bottom. Neither team draws even average attendance dispite winning. That is why Oakland gets to trade 75% of all of its best players as they reach prime years. And Billie has made some headscratchers when he does spend money: Paying Kendall all that money??? and the Hernandez signing has never really paid off. The Indians, one of the best two or so teams in the AL this year couldn’t give away tickets. 2-3 more years and half their guys start showing up in Boston and NY.
    Tampa Bay is even worse. No ability to hang on to anyone, just another farm club for the rest, like Montreal was all those years.

    And I REALLY don’t understand the Yankees being up there, more bad expensive moves than all the rest put together, her they are with NO future pen and onlyu a couple of promising young starters. How anyone could spend what they do and still trail LAA, the SOX and Cleveland….glad it is not my money.

  142. DMZ on October 16th, 2007 5:26 pm

    You don’t know what you’re talking about.

    Cleveland’s drawn quite well when they’re winning. In 2001 they were 4th in attendance. They drew over two million this year following an off season.

    The A’s have new owners and are set to move into a swanky new stadium.

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