Resume: Chris Antonetti

Dave · June 16, 2008 at 11:32 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

For those of you tuning in, wondering who that button over there is for and why you should care, I was going to write a long post laying out the resume of Chris Antonetti for the Mariners GM job. Then, I looked over the post I wrote a year and a half ago and realized that it’s all still true, so I’m copying and pasting, with minor edits and additions. If you missed it the first time around, here you go.

You may have noticed over on the left sidebar that there’s an image that looks an awful lot like a political button. In a sense, it is a political button, though for an election that isn’t run by democracy. Due to the way the offseason is unfolding, it is becoming apparent to us that, barring an unforseen miracle, the Mariners aren’t going to be weren’t contenders in 2007. Even in a best case scenario, where the young core takes a step forward and the aging veterans stave off decline, this is still an inferior team to that of the Angels, Rangers, and Athletics.

Given a public ultimatum to win or lose their jobs, the Mariners current baseball operations department will begin the year as underdogs, and it’s a distinction they’ve earned with moves like the Horacio Ramirez acquisition. Simpy put, this regime couldn’t afford to have a bad offseason following the Jarrod Washburn and Carl Everett debacles of last year, and while we have yet to see a disaster along the lines of those two signings, it’s fairly evident that the Mariners are not going to be able to sufficiently upgrade the team this winter in order to expect to challenge for the division crown next year.

So, we believe that a change in management is inevitable. While we will be the first to say that Bill Bavasi is a good person, and he’s been kind enough to spend time talking with us the past couple of years, we’re endorsing Chris Antonetti as his replacement. Like any good grass roots campaign, you can never start too soon, and this is a cause worthy of your support.

So, without further ado, an introduction to the man we hope is the next General Manager of the Seattle Mariners.

Who is Chris Antonetti?

He is currently the Vice President of Baseball Operations for the Cleveland Indians and the annointed successor to Mark Shapiro as the next Cleveland GM. He was Shapiro’s go to guy on contract negotiations and evaluative analysis before being promoted and given a large raise (now, he’s just Shapiro’s go to guy for everything), as well as spear-heading most of the initiatives to create new programs that give the Indians a competitive edge on their opponents. The Indians have been the leader in using technology to their advantage for years, and they’ve leveraged their intellectual knowledge of systems into a sustained advantage on the field. Antonetti has been the man responsible for overseeing these areas and pushing for their use throughout the organization. A lot of the things that make the Cleveland Indians the best run organization in baseball are in place due to the work of Chris Antonetti.

Why is he qualified to be a major league GM?

Antonetti is going to be labeled as a “Moneyball” executive by the media, as he did not play professional baseball and has advanced degrees from elite universities. He got a bachelors in business administration from Georgetown and a masters in sports management from Massachusets, learning the academic side of how to be a successful manager. From there, he took a low level job with the Montreal Expos in their minor league operations department before joining the Indians organization in 1999 as, essentially, an intern. From 1999 until now, he has worked his way from the title of Assistant, Baseball Operations to Assistant GM (a position he earned in 2002) to his current VP of Baseball Ops and has held numerous roles during that time. The Indians have had him work in both administrative and player development positions, and he’s spent thousands of hours working with both scouts and statistical analysts.

No one understands how to use both subjective scouting information and quantifiable statistical data together as well as the Indians (Okay, maybe the Rays have caught up), and Antonetti has been successful in both sides of the baseball operations department. Under the leadership of John Hart and now Mark Shapiro, the Indians have become baseball’s most well-oiled machine. Antonetti has been a vital cog in that machine for the past nine years.

What are his unique strengths?

Antonetti has many things going for him, but a few notable traits set him apart. He’s brilliant, without a doubt, but there a lot of people in baseball who are extremely smart, and most of them would make terrible general managers. The most important responsibility a General Manager holds is to gain the respect of those who work for him and motivate them to do good work. In this respect, Antonetti is set apart from other executives with an academic background. He commands the respect of his employees, but also exudes humility with his soft-spoken manner. While he has his own set of convictions about truths as they apply to baseball, he seeks input from a variety of sources and seeks to find knowledge wherever it may lie, whether with new statistical research or old scouting truisms.

Antonetti isn’t the most outgoing person on earth, and he’s not the charasmatic figure that Billy Beane or even Bill Bavasi is, but he combines respect, humility, and intelligence in a package that makes him one of the best leaders of people in baseball.

Why do you want him to be the next GM of the Mariners?

The Mariners are an organization in transition and are looking for an identity. During the Pat Gillick era, the team focused heavily on the present success of the major league club at the expense of the farm system, and while they experienced short term gains on the field, the price was paid during the Bill Bavasi era, where the major league club was sacrficed in an effort to replenish the organization with young talent, both through trades and amateur acquisitions, and then built up again in a terrible manner that resulted in disaster.

Chris Antonetti understands player valuation at the major league level extremely well, and has had a hand in many of the Indians numerous good acquisitions over the years. While the Indians have shared the Mariners strong desire to build through the farm system, they’ve also been able to acquire quality players in trades and on the free agent market to put around their home grown talent, allowing them to contend in a competitive division despite restraints on their payroll.

The Mariners need a better philosophy of major leauge player acquisition. They need to do a better job of selecting pitchers, getting away from ideas of value based on not-useful statistics such as W-L record and ERA and moving towards a more realistic understanding of how to project pitching ability. They need to stop collecting athletes with impressive skills and start collecting ballplayers who contribute runs on the field.

Most importantly, however, they need a philosophy that permeates the organization, from the parent club through the minor leagues. They need cohesiveness in what is being taught to their players as well as what is valued in terms of abilities. They need to establish a foundation to work from and a strong identity in what being a Seattle Mariner is all about.

The Indians have refined organizational cohesiveness, and while no one is perfect, they do it better than anyone.

Well, if he’s so great, then why does he need a grassroots campaign to get the job?

Chris Antonetti is 33-years-old, is unheard of by almost everyone who doesn’t cover baseball for a living, and has no experience as a professional ballplayer. In the eyes of most of the media, this will make him just another laptop-toting seamhead who focuses on what their computer tells them and has no respect for the establishment. For every Theo Epstein, who gained a modicum of respect after building a World Series champion, we see scathing rebukes written by local scribes when teams have hired guys with similar backgrounds, such as Paul DePodesta, Josh Byrnes, Jon Daniels, Andrew Friedman, or J.P. Ricciardi. In a city where Pat Gillick and his traditional ways are honored with the highest esteem, it’s going to be a very tough sell to get the Mariners to change directions and hire someone too young to be elected president.

He’s also strongly committed to the Indians organization. In the past several years, he has turned down the chance to run the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates, as well as declining to be interviewed for numerous other GM positions because of his satisfaction with his role in Cleveland. In order to keep him away from St. Louis, the Indians gave him a defined role of succession where he was essentially guaranteed the role of GM of the Indians when Mark Shapiro steps down. However, that timetable is still up in the air, and it is possible that if presented with an offer that is simply too good to walk away from, Antonetti would relinquish his role as GM-In-Waiting for a chance to run his own club. It is, at the minimum, worth having that conversation.

In a division where Arte Moreno is willing to spend lavish amounts of money to leverage the Los Angeles market, Oakland is taking their highly efficient development strategy to a new ballpark, and Tom Hicks’ huge dollars in Texas are now being managed by a team of executives led by Jon Daniels, the Mariners cannot afford to be behind the eight ball in terms of player evaluation.

The Mariners have the revenue streams and talent in place to build a contending baseball club. Chris Antonetti has the skills it takes to transform this club from a rebuilding process into perennial contender.

Antonetti in ’09. Spread the word.

Comments

38 Responses to “Resume: Chris Antonetti”

  1. DMZ on June 17th, 2008 12:03 am

    Uh, I screwed up closing comments in another thread and deleted a couple here. Apologies, all.

  2. Bodhizefa on June 17th, 2008 12:04 am

    I guess my slightly negative comment got deleted for a good reason? Anyone care to give me a list of the impact major leaguers the Indians have managed to produce from their farm system via the draft since 2001? Ryan Garko in the 3rd round of 2003? Jeremy Guthrie in 2002 (oops, they gave up on him)? If Antonetti has helped in any way, shape or form in this atrocity of drafting, then I’d have to hope we could find a better person to help us build anew. Please help me find reason to dispute the Tribes’ awful drafts in this decade if at all possible, because I’d love to get behind Antonetti if I can. It’s just that I find it difficult to believe that the Travis Hafner, Cliff Lee and Grady Sizemore trades grow on trees these days.

  3. Bwilliam on June 17th, 2008 12:05 am

    I like Antonetti or David Frost from Oakland. Please Mariners hire a young GM and not another retread.

  4. DMZ on June 17th, 2008 12:07 am

    If it was in this thread, I messed up, and just apologized.

  5. Bodhizefa on June 17th, 2008 12:09 am

    Uh, I screwed up closing comments in another thread and deleted a couple here. Apologies, all.

    Right on. I thought I had offended the USSM deities by saying something slightly negative about Antonetti. Trust me when I say I want to get behind him bigtime, but I need a lot of reassurances after looking over the Cleveland draft picks in the 2000′s. I know there are other venues in which to acquire talent, but man oh man that’s a brutal run for a team that looks to be well-run in most other facets of the game.

  6. enazario on June 17th, 2008 12:12 am

    Antonetti was mentioned today prominently as a candidate on ESPN Baseball Tonight. Of course maybe they are just quoting USSMariner :-)

  7. OppositeField on June 17th, 2008 12:14 am

    It was Buster, and I’m almost positive he uses USSM as an unnamed source frequently.

  8. Dave on June 17th, 2008 12:16 am

    Individuals are not best evaluated on the successes and failures of all parts of an organization. Chris Antonetti is not and has not been the Indians scouting director, and we are not suggesting that the Mariners should hire the Indians scouting director.

    The things that Antonetti has been directly responsible for, he has done exceedingly well. As GM, pretty much his entire job as it relates to the draft would be to hire a good scouting staff (or to keep the one we already have). The performance of the Indians draft picks of late is basically irrelevant.

  9. PaulMolitorCocktail on June 17th, 2008 12:17 am

    If Chris is reading this thread – I’ll treat you to some of the best salami in the country, and it’s within walking distance from Safeco.

  10. lailaihei on June 17th, 2008 12:54 am

    Antonetti is a great candidate for GM, but not the only good one. There are a ton of very good candidates who I’d be happy with.
    Anyway, I fully support supporting Chris Antonetti, and if I decide to go to the game tomorrow, I’ll be there in my Adam Jones Orioles alternate jersey, my M’s hat, and holding a “ANTONETTI FOR GM” sign.
    Well, hopefully the Antonetti sign, depending on if I can find the resources to make a decent one, but the other garb for sure.

  11. Ninja Jordan on June 17th, 2008 12:57 am

    I like the full court press for Antonetti. Maybe SeattlePI could pick up a story about it.

  12. wlad on June 17th, 2008 12:57 am

    any chance we get a resume or at least some background information on this new guy, pelidiculous or whatever? not that i want him to be our GM for the seasons to come, but just to get a sense of who is going to be running the M’s for the next couple of months.

  13. Hooligan on June 17th, 2008 1:02 am

    If Chris is reading this thread – I’ll treat you to some of the best salami in the country, and it’s within walking distance from Safeco.

    Paul, I’m not sure that sounds like a treat.

  14. OppositeField on June 17th, 2008 1:13 am

    Not that I didn’t like that terrible joke, and I did, but we should probably keep these Antonetti threads relatively professional considering the stakes.

  15. Mothy on June 17th, 2008 1:37 am

    Although I think Antonetti would be a great GM (of course a dead poodle would seem like a great GM after what we just went through), to me he just seems like a very unrealistic wish. He doesn’t seem to want out of Cleveland, as puzzling as that may be to Ichiro, and I think the likelihood of luring him away is almost nil. And if we do it would have to be such a lucrative package that I’m not sure it wouldn’t be more worthwhile to get ourselves another one of the qualified applicants out there. I’m not saying I don’t want him, I’m just saying that targeting a more realistic potential GM would be more appealing to me.

  16. OppositeField on June 17th, 2008 2:04 am

    Uh. This position opened up like 12 hours ago. Even if he didn’t want out of Cleveland before, what’s to say he won’t now? Even the morons on ESPN are saying that this GM opening is perhaps the most attractive position for potential suitors in years. Antonetti in Seattle is very realistic, and the more we roll out the red carpet for him the better the chances we have of landing him.

  17. mln on June 17th, 2008 2:56 am

    Antonetti appears to have an impressive resume.

    I guess this means that a “Bring Back Woody Woodward for Mariners’ GM” campaign is a non-starter.

  18. Typical Idiot Fan on June 17th, 2008 3:02 am

    If Chris is reading this thread – I’ll treat you to some of the best salami in the country

    Ah… gay! But if it gets the job done, then take one for the team, sir.

    Okay, enough inappropriate humor. We’ve been ripping on Howard The Chuck for years, but I swear to God, I could see the Bill Bavasi tenure as being the “it” that catapults the Seattle Mariners into he new era. I mean, they’ve done the successful world series GM with Pat Gillick, they’ve done the “good old boys” GM with Bill Bavasi… they know what doesn’t work. I refuse to believe that Howard Lincoln is an idiot (Chuck Armstrong maybe) and can’t see the writing on the wall.

    If there’s one thing a good business minded person does, it’s recognize the trends and the winds of change. Baseball is changing to embrace the modern baseball analytical methods. He has to see this.

  19. MattThompson on June 17th, 2008 3:31 am

    If Chris is reading this thread – Ill treat you to some of the best salami in the country, and its within walking distance from Safeco

    Paul, IÂ’m not sure that sounds like a treat.

  20. MattThompson on June 17th, 2008 3:54 am

    If Chris is reading this thread – Ill treat you to some of the best salami in the country, and its within walking distance from Safeco
    Paul, IÂ’m not sure that sounds like a treat.

    Since I managed to screw up my latest attempt at quoting (damn you, chiclet keyboard!), I’ll just say that the last poster who scoffed at the possibility of finding good salami in Seattle is an idiot.

    Chris, do you know Mario Batalli? Did you realise that his family runs a salami shop about two blocks from where you’d work as M’s GM?

    Do you realize that this means you could have the most delicious lunch-breaks of any GM in baseball?

  21. Jake N. on June 17th, 2008 6:07 am

    My OOHHH My! I am euphoric with optomisim. When it comes to business I only require one thing, that you are successful at plying your trade. How nice or shrewd you are never comes into my realm of thought, both personalities have there own unique handles to grasp.

    Do not go away mad Bill, Just go away! May your further endeavers bare more fruit.

  22. pygmalion on June 17th, 2008 6:21 am

    I guess this means that a “Bring Back Woody Woodward for Mariners’ GM” campaign is a non-starter.

    When compared with the last five years, even the Woody era sounds attractive. Not that a I recommend a return to it.

  23. TheEmrys on June 17th, 2008 6:47 am

    When compared with the last five years, even the Woody era sounds attractive. Not that a I recommend a return to it.

    Uhhh… no. Just no. We want Antonetti. Accept no substitute!

  24. Zobmie on June 17th, 2008 7:29 am

    When it comes to getting Antonetti from Cleveland, what do you think the Mariners would have to give? I really have no knowledge of the going rate for prospective GM’s.

  25. firova2 on June 17th, 2008 7:58 am

    After watching Bavasi’s going-away news conference (in which he said that Bedard would likely provide a “dumbass” answer to anyone wondering why he couldn’t last longer in games) I would want to know of Antonetti or any other candidate whether they subscribe to the concept of “white line fever.” This particular superstition appears to be Bavasi’s explanation for why a good group of guys can’t play winning baseball. It sounds like something out of the seventeenth century or earlier. Incredible.

    Armstrong: “Chris, what are your thoughts on white line fever?”
    Antonetti: “Superstitious hocus-pocus. A good example of substituting unverifiable guesswork for knowledge.”

    Armstrong: “Thanks for playing. Next candidate.”
    or
    Armstrong: “That’s the answer we’ve been looking for. You’re hired.”

    Which would it be, I wonder.

  26. Adam S on June 17th, 2008 7:58 am

    Uh, I screwed up closing comments in another thread and deleted a couple here. Apologies, all.
    Ah, that explains it. I wondered why Dave was being moderated.

    In my now deleted post, I asked two questions. Is it possible that the Mariners receive permission to talk to Antonetti before October? Given that Marc Shapiro is 40 or 41, 20 years younger than Gillick, isn’t there a good chance that he stays in his position for another 10-15 years?

    Bodhizefa already reposted his comment and Dave his response (2 and 8).

  27. Dobbs on June 17th, 2008 8:28 am

    Does anyone know Antonetti’s VORGM?

  28. JerBear on June 17th, 2008 8:48 am

    FWIW, your original “Antonetti in 08″ post is the #1 return on google for “Chris Antonetti”.

  29. pygmalion on June 17th, 2008 10:06 am

    Does anyone know Antonetti’s VORGM?

    That sounds vaguely prurient, like something related to Reich’s Orgone machine.

  30. fdeezle on June 17th, 2008 10:13 am

    [long link, use the link button]

  31. Mike Snow on June 17th, 2008 10:38 am

    When it comes to getting Antonetti from Cleveland, what do you think the Mariners would have to give? I really have no knowledge of the going rate for prospective GM’s.

    People in management are normally not prevented from leaving when their new position is a promotion, and compensation is not required. Often they would not leave their current team in the middle of a season, but Antonetti shouldn’t cost us anything other than his salary. It’s not a lateral move by someone under contract, like Piniella to the Rays was.

  32. fdeezle on June 17th, 2008 11:37 am

    30fdeezle said:

    [long link, use the link button]

    Tried…for some reason the antiquated computer I’m forced to use wouldn’t allow it. Thanks for cleaning up my garbage posts btw.

  33. joser on June 17th, 2008 12:33 pm

    Here’s a thought: if Antonetti is locked into succeeding Shapiro… what about Shapiro? (And, for the record, I’m not as convinced as the Tribesters are that this is even true: there are plenty of other reasons for him not to have moved before this, and as DMZ has detailed elsewhere, there are a lot of reasons the Seattle job would be desirable in ways that some of the previous openings were not)

  34. wlad on June 17th, 2008 1:15 pm

    [too many As, not enough Os]

  35. big hawna on June 20th, 2008 11:32 am

    So,

    What you are saying is that the guy has never had a single position of leadership?

    Never lead so much as a conga line?

    The USSM stance is “hire this guy, we like the same books”…

    No thanks.

  36. dingdangdo on June 25th, 2008 9:23 pm

    Say they hire Antonetti.
    How long does he get to make this team a contender? 3, 5 years?
    Does he get the time he deserves (& needs) to fix this team?

  37. TLee on June 28th, 2008 6:16 pm

    [Doyle's name in vain]

  38. gottago on August 20th, 2008 4:04 pm

    The only thing that is going to wake up management is a drop off in season ticket sales. After 8 years I am going to pass on the 2009 season. I hope many more season ticket holders give the m’s management a vote of no confidence. A dip in revenue should wake them up.

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