Potential GM Candidates, a gigantic post

DMZ · June 17, 2008 at 6:26 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

I’m trying not to focus too much on who might get hired and who won’t, or what criteria the M’s will look at. I’ll write about that separately. At the same time, I tried to write up a brief explanation of why the team might particularly go for them or not.

So if you think they’re not going to hire someone who understands VORP, there’s a whole class of candidates that rules out, but it’s not noted in each one, and if you think they value a person’s long history in baseball, that’s also not listed in the pros for those candidates.

Again — as much as I agree that the hiring process is important, and people are right to be concerned about having Armstrong/Lincoln making the decisions, the intent here is to talk about potential candidates. Process and who they might or will hire will follow. We promise.

AGM = assistant GM
AtGM = assistant to the general manager (“Assistant Regional Manager” “Assistant *to* the Regional Manager”)
SVP = Senior Vice President
DPD = Director Player Development
DPP = Director Player Personnel

Internal Candidates

Lee Pelekoudas
Current job: Interim GM, VP and Associate GM

In 1988, Pelekoudas was Director of Baseball Administration. Then in 1996-7, Senior Director. Then VP of Baseball Admin until 2006.

Why they might be hired: he’s familiar, the M’s organization is comfortable with him, by all accounts he’s done a good job within his area.
Why they might be turned down: if they’re serious about going in a new direction, and Lee was as involved in personnel decisions as they’ve said, then his involvement with these disastrous teams will keep him from ascending.

Retreads: former and current GMs

Jim Beattie
Current job: ?
GM experience: Expos, Orioles (sort-of)

Why they might be hired: his time in Baltimore for Angelos proved he was willing to stay in a humiliating job sharing arrangement where a powerful and sometimes irrational owner frequently made things even worse, so he might be viewed as reliable and pliable
Why they might be turned down: uggghhh

Billy Beane
Current job: Athletics GM
Not going anywhere, he’s a part-owner of the A’s.

Brian Cashman
Current job: Yankees GM

Stone-mentioned. I don’t think he’ll go anywhere. It’s hard to separate Cashman’s performance from the Yankee organization as a whole, the owners, and all that fun stuff.

Paul DePodesta
Current job: Padres AtGM
GM experience: Dodgers, 04-05

I want to preface this by saying that I really like DePodesta. You can check out his blog for some good, direct DePodesta knowledge.

The problem is that his time in LA didn’t go well, and was dominated by attacks from the local media and an inability to get along with people within the organization. I’ve heard that he’s a great front-office guy who may never be well-suited for the top role, and I think that’s too dismissive: it assumes that he didn’t learn anything from his time in LA, and that he’s incapable of growth. I don’t think either of those things are true, and at some point, he’ll get his shot if he wants it.

Why they might be hired: he’s smart, he gets it, he’s exactly the kind of GM candidate who would be able to sift through the organization and start figuring out what’s working and what isn’t.

Why they might be turned down: as publicity-conscious and conservative about decision-making as the M’s are, it’s easy to see them passing just out of fear over the media reception and those relationships, and that the M’s org as a whole, which includes a lot of old-school long-timers, might reject him in the same way the Dodgers did.

Dan Duquette
Current job: ?
GM experience: Expos, Red Sox

I mention this because I feel like Gammons will float the idea at some point. Rested! Ready!

Jim Duquette
Current job: ?
GM experience: Mets, briefly

Why they might be hired: As Stone points out, if they want to hire Valentine to manage, Duquette might help.
Why they might be turned down: what’s the compelling reason to hire him?

Dan Evans
Current job: agent
GM experience: Dodgers GM

Why they might be hired: The M’s almost hired him once before
Why they might be turned down: If they’re making a clean break with Bavasi, that may well preclude Evans from consideration, since Evans spent 2005-2007 with Seattle as an AtGM.

Pat Gillick
Current job: Phillies GM
Larry Stone mentioned this in his article, but I don’t see it happening. Gillick’s become something of a specialist GM, in that he takes jobs where a team’s close to contention, puts them in the playoffs a couple times, and then scampers off before the collapse. The 2009 Mariners aren’t the kind of team he’s chosen to pick up before. If Gillick wanted a challenge he’d have stayed on as Mariner GM.

Gerry Hunsicker
Current job: Rays SVP Baseball Operations
GM experience: Astros GM
Unlikely to be a candidate: he’s content in a nice job in an up-and-coming successful franchise.

Wayne Krivsky
Current job: ?
GM experience: Reds

Why they might be hired: he’s an old-school guy with a ton of experience, been around Griffey lately
Why they might be turned down: not a new approach, or particularly successful

Steve Phillips
Current job: well-compensated oxygen-to-carbon-dioxide converter for ESPN
GM experience: Mets

I’m sure this’ll be brought up eventually.

Why they might be hired: he almost signed Alex but then didn’t
Why they might be turned down: bad record

Kevin Towers
Current job: Padres GM

I hadn’t considered that he might be a possibility until Stone mentioned him. If he’s moving, he may be the best combination of “suitable for Lincoln and Howard” and “new school”. Towers is the only current GM who really bridges the perceived gap between old and new, and can live in both. He’s an experienced hand who just kept learning, he’s well-respected by both sides even as he’ll try and apply new tools and strategies.

I also really like Towers. If you’ve been to an event with him, you understand why.

Why they might be hired: he’s enough of an old-school trooper to ace the interviews
Why they might be turned down: may not be available, the Padres record is not great, so that might be an awkward conversation

Bob Watson
Current job: works for MLB
GM experience: Astros, Yankees

A Stone mention. I’m not sure why Larry threw his name out, but he has to have a good reason. Doesn’t he?

Why they might be hired: I don’t know.
Why they might be turned down: No special reason.

Current front office types

Ruben Amaro Jr.
Current job: Phillies AGM
Nope, he’s getting Gillick’s job when Gillick leaves.

Al Avila
Current job: Tigers AGM.

Why they might be hired: Did well the last time the M’s interviewed him. I don’t care about the Tigers fortunes this year, if there’s any way that Dombrowski’s magic rubbed off on Avila over the years, it’d be great.
Why they might be turned down: ?

Chris Antonetti
See here.

David Forst
Current job: A’s AGM

Why they might be hired: awesome
Why they might be turned down: Hiring someone from the A’s, who have year after year handed the M’s their ass on a fraction of the budget, might be too embarrassing for the higher-ups, an admission that all the scorn they’ve tried to heap on the A’s was misplaced.

Tony LaCava
Current job: Jays DPP

Regarded as a “rising star” and often mentioned in these conversations

Why they might be hired: he’s got the personal skills, he’s enough of a traditionalist to appeal to the M’s
Why they might be turned down:

Bonus link 1, Bonus link 2

Kim Ng
Current job: Dodgers AGM

Why they might be hired: she’s sharp, she’s got a great resume, she’s respected, she’s been USSM-endorsed
Why they might be turned down: if they’re looking to really move forward and get one of the new uberGMs, the Antonetti/DePodesta/Forst candidates are more sabermetrically-inclined.
Bonus link: 2003 interview with friend-of-USSM Jonah Keri

Logan White
Current job: Dodgers AGM

Why they might be hired: comes from the scouting side
Why they might be turned down: not the huge break to new approach offered by other candidates

Bonus link 1, bonus link 2

Peter Woodfork

Current job: Diamondbacks AGM

There’s a whole Red Sox-Diamondbacks group that could go in here. Jerry DiPoto, AJ Hinch, Jed Hoyer, among others. I’m writing up Woodfork because he seems to be the most discussed among them.

Why they might be hired: personable, offers the Antonetti/Forst sales pitch without the baggage
Why they might be turned down:

Not really that much of a bonus bonus link

Jack Zduriencik
Current job: Brewers AtGM, Director of Amateur Scouting

Why they might be hired: long scouting experience, awesome last name
Why they might be turned down: again, if they’re looking to break with the scouting/old school player dev approach, it’s a tough sell


59 Responses to “Potential GM Candidates, a gigantic post”

  1. edgar for mayor on June 18th, 2008 12:24 am

    Was it meant to be Lincoln and Armstrong?

    Chuck and Armstrong

  2. Steve T on June 18th, 2008 12:57 am

    I just really, really want to see the drive-by USSM posters trying and failing to spell Zduriencik for the next decade or so. You’d probably have to add it as one of the wordpress buttons or something.

  3. pgreyy on June 18th, 2008 12:57 am

    Even if the next GM is going to be “the guy (or gal) who traded Ichiro” that is probably more an issue with their relationship with ownership than the fans (who do not cheer Ichiro the way they cheered Griffey or Edgar).

    Has our self-hatred really come to this?

    I don’t think the fans have soured on Ichiro…and it’s still quite clear that Ichiro is still the favorite player of the majority of the fans who come to the game.

    If there’s any truth to what you’re suggesting, it might be because Ichiro’s game does not lend itself to the types of cheers that perhaps Edgar and Jr. may have generated–as Ichiro is rarely the guy about to hit the walk-off home run to win the game…and there’s a difference between a diving catch (more likely in Jr.’s salad days) and a strong throw (which is Ichiro’s trademark).

    But to think that this fan base would be any less shell-shocked if M’s management chose to unload Ichiro than it would have had Edgar been traded, or if the M’s had traded Jr. without the implied promise of keeping A-Rod (which was a sold to us, at the time, as the sugar to wash down the bitter medicine of losing Jr.)…I just think that’s a bitterness unreflected in reality.

    This year has been difficult for anyone who bought into the idea that our expectations for this season should have been as high as they are…and perhaps, in that desperation, you think that anything can happen…but I truly think any GM coming in to this situation is likely to regard Ichiro, Felix and possibly Morrow as the untouchables on the roster.

    …and the ONLY untouchables on the roster.

    And I think the fans, other than those on the Times blogs who champion WFB, would agree.

  4. terry on June 18th, 2008 6:24 am

    Basically I hunger for the Ms to move in the direction of “new school”. In other words, I want to see them embrace sabermetrics fully (and competently) while emphasizing the need to blend stats and scouts in order to create an organisation that forms a cohesive, consistent whole from rookie ball to Safeco. Scouts aren’t marginalized but rather their efforts are made more efficacious. I want to be proud of this organization and I long to be able to brag about the way they lead/innovate their industry.

    That said, here’s my initial knee jerk short list:

    I’d want Antonetti (radical change in the right direction). I’d be perfectly happy to get Towers (he’s probably the best fit for the Ms “culture”). I’d “settle” for Depodesta (I think his hiring might be more analogous to drafting tools that project-in other words, philosophical he fits the mold for what I think the Ms FO needs but I’m not sure if it will translate).

  5. Reed4GG on June 18th, 2008 7:46 am

    I know that Terry Ryan is a special assistant, but is there a possibility that he could be interviewed for this job? Looking at what he has done with a smaller payroll I would like to see what he could do with a big payroll. DMZ or Dave do you think he would be a good fit for us?

  6. Evan on June 18th, 2008 10:26 am

    ‘they’ as a third person singular is the wave of the future. Those who resist will drown under the tides of history!

    If you want to live in the world described in Idiocracy, go right ahead.

  7. gwangung on June 18th, 2008 10:41 am

    If you want to live in the world described in Idiocracy, go right ahead.

    What? You mean the one Shakespeare lives in?

  8. VictorB on June 18th, 2008 11:38 am

    Where is the White Sox Assistant? I recall him being considered along side Antonetti for both Pittsburgh (who passed on LaCava, Bernazard, and Zdjurnchek) and St. Louis last year.

  9. isismajor on September 30th, 2008 10:56 am

    Hasn’t it been rumored that Beane will possibly go off to GM/rebuild a soccer team (while still helping out with the A’s) with Forst taking over as the primary head honcho?

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