Sunday, February 10, 2008

Who Is The "Chatter From the Bleachers"

Baseball Digest Daily is running a new series titled "Chatter From the Bleachers". The idea, is the writers for BDD are asked to answer two questions on a bi-weekly basis. In the first installment, we were asked the following questions:

1. Who is the best GM in the game right now? Why?
2. Which team will surprise everyone in 2008? Why?

I will leave it to you to check out the answers of my colleagues and I, however I will give you the rationale I used leading up to my answers and explanation.

Question #1:

To me, this question has me wondering, what is it that makes the best GM in baseball? Is it longevity? Not that holding a job for a long period of time means that the manager is succeeding, but has to say something. What about success? And what would one measure success to? That is, could one conclude that Mark Shapiro was more successful building his 2007 Indians then Epstein was in building his 2007 Red Sox?

With all of that in mind, I have several factors that go into making the leagues best GM.

The first is cost per victory (CPV). This is not a be-all, end-all factor; however it is one to consider. That is, the GM who puts together a 100-win roster at $64M is more successful then the GM who put together a 100-win roster at $100M. However each instance must be looked at individually, as there is no way that I could, for example, punish Cardinals GM Mozeliak for giving Albert Pujols a huge contract thus inflating the teams overall payroll. With that in mind, CPV takes into account money wasted (i.e. signing Trot Nixon).

The second is the club’s future. This takes into account a team’s farm system-both in terms of depth and talent-and average age of players.

The third is the GMs trading and signing ‘abilities’. I write a column called Under the Radar where I evaluate bargain deals that were made. GMs who show up here gain bonus points.

I began this by writing about Dan O’Dowd. However, I couldn’t go on. While the man has made an impressive run recently, finally understanding what to do with his players in Colorado, his previous errors are too many and too great to be forgiven.

Question #2:

I am uncertain how much of a limb I am going out on here, after switching back and forth on which team I believe will be the BIGGER surprise. I will begin with my ‘surprise’ team. The Minnesota Twins. Keep in mind, I am not suggesting the Twins will win the Central outright, rather, I am suggesting that the Twins are capable of shocking everyone after losing their #1 Win Share producing hitter and pitcher. With that in mind, I anticipate many experts to predict the Twins to finish in 4th or possibly even 5th in their division. However, I have a feeling that with Liriano, a healthy season from Mauer, the addition of Young and a rebound season from Morneau this is a team whom I have as a dark horse to win 85 games.

However, I don't believe the Twins will win the division nor do they have much of a shot at winning the wild card, so no matter how big of a surprise they are; they will fall short of missing the October headlines.

Thus, I can "base my logic on proof".

Also, if you enjoy checking out this feature, why not Hype it Up at Ball Hype?

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