The most important off-season decision
WoTYC, 4, tgf, by email:
What is the most important single decision/plan the next GM can make/implement to build a better team (long term)? Can be player personnel related, coaching, anything. Kind of general, but I’m sure you’ve thought about this as well.
Generally speaking and more in short-term, they’re going to have to come in and figure out how they can remake the team now, who’s going to be part of the core they rebuild around and who needs to be moved if at all possible. There’s going to be four big groups:
– Value outweighs what anyone will offer (Ichiro, Felix)
– Keep barring overwhelming offer (Beltre)
– Move if at all possible (Washburn)
– No one’s going to bite (Silva, Batista)
If a non-Lee GM comes in, the rumors are going to run amazingly fast as they try and figure out who’ll give them what for who (“Hey, remember when we you called about that AA prospect last season? Sure, and now I’m with the M’s– and do I have a seasoned major-league veteran for you.”)
My prediction is that the single biggest challenge will be what they do to rebuild the middle infield. It’s complicated, thorny, not regarded as a huge problem by many people who follow the team making selling dramatic action tough.
To return to the question, though — long term, the team will need to make some huge philosophical changes in how they do business. They need to change how the organization scouts and values pitchers, so they stop thinking Washburn/Silva types are good buys, they need to do a better job building a team defense. They need to get really smart sabermetric types to offer additional views the team can listen to, and then make sure they’re listened to. My area of expertise — and I’ll be volunteering for this if they hire certain GMs* — is that they absolutely have to build better technological tools to help the team. Other franchises have done amazing jobs putting together useful data stores that help them make scouting decisions, build great scouting reports, and support the work of all the other departments. The M’s need to catch up as fast as they can.
Overall it amounts to having to steer the entire organization into a new, more enlightened present. That’s the most important work facing the new GM, because as long as the M’s are organizationally dim, success will be much harder and come a ever more infrequently.
* I will not be taken up on this
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