Another GM walks away

October 15, 2007 · Filed Under Mariners · 69 Comments 

Following in the heels of Terry Ryan and John Schuerholz, Angels GM Bill Stoneman has decided to give up his post. Three successful, respected men voluntarily walk away from jobs running winning organizations in the same winter – I can’t recall this ever happening before.

Schuerholz stepping down in Atlanta

October 11, 2007 · Filed Under General baseball · 27 Comments 

(links everywhere)

He’s going to become team president (which here, is Chuck Armstrong). While the Braves don’t have a huge number of World Series rings, I wanted to take a second to talk about the scope of his achievement.

I too often gloss over how amazingly hard it is to be a GM. Everyone in every front office works crazy hours for pretty bad pay considering what they do. Being competitive requires many factors out of a GM’s control to come together, and as much as I rag on teams for not exploiting every advantage, there aren’t enough hours to do it, and not enough people to help.

It doesn’t matter if you’re one of the smartest baseball minds in the world, you’ve got to better than the other 29 guys, trade after trade, season after season, even if you’ve got money to work with. Getting to .500 consistently is hard, and that gets lost in transaction analysis of why they picked up one guy on the waivers instead of my favorite guy, or they didn’t ask after someone who later got traded. If .500 was easy, the incompetent clubs would do better and we’d see team records much closer together. Teams like the Royals haven’t struggled for so long because they’re not working at it, or even because they don’t have talented people working for them. We look at teams who experience success with an eye towards whether they’re peaking, and search for signs that they’ll soon be brought to earth, and with good reason: fielding a competitive team, especially one that can get into the playoffs, can cost so much in building it that it can’t be kept up for long.

With that in mind, I look at the long record of success in Atlanta with all kinds of teams, rebuilding constantly, overcoming injuries and issues, always making progress, and I’m a little awed. Few baseball people have been had such success for so long. I don’t know who the Braves might replace him with, but really, there’s no replacing him. Even from the other league, I’m sorry to hear that the game’s going to be a little less competitive