It’s readily forgotten that when dollar figures for sports/entertainment people are discussed, it’s not the difference between 80 cents and a dollar; it’s the difference between $80 million and $100 million.
The “oh, just give it to him” attitude is ludicrous when broken down and explained in the way that it should be explained.
It’s a lot of money.
So when you see media people and bloggers saying that Astros new owner Jim Crane should just give Andrew Friedman whatever he wants to take over as their GM, it’s necessary to step back and realize exactly what that might entail.
Ken Rosenthal suggests the following package in this piece:
Offer Friedman autonomy, the title of his choosing, a five-year, $20 million contract, maybe even equity in the club.
Autonomy? No GM/club president has full autonomy. None. They work for someone and have to have their decisions approved; many times there’s a rubber stamp, but it’s not guaranteed. Nor should it be. Everyone needs a check and balance.
Title of his choosing? How about Emperor?
$4 million a year?
EQUITY IN THE CLUB?!?
Just stop it.
Friedman’s a good executive and a very bright man, but to think that he or anyone else is worth that type of compensation is ignoring the history of recent years in which “geniuses” were hired to fix floundering organizations and didn’t; couldn’t.
The idea that Friedman is going to walk into Houston and wave his hand to suddenly turn the Astros into a carbon copy of the Rays is idiotic.
Considering the number of “star” GMs who were hired with much fanfare or had lusty tales written about them and have been proven to be mediocre, unlucky or both, it makes zero sense to overpay Friedman regardless of the perception that he’s a miracle worker.
The Rays had some pieces in place when Friedman arrived; they took advantage of their status as a perennial last place team to accumulate high draft picks; they made some brilliant trades and free agent signings; and they were lucky.
Everyone is working from the same manual now; it’s not as if Friedman scaled the mountains of Tibet and discovered a cave and where lay hidden the “great secret in book form” to building a baseball team without any money. The numbers are there for all to see—everyone’s using stats and similar techniques as the Rays have—and it’s not going to be a journey from Tampa to Houston with that magical book in tow to access and implement at will.
I would never, ever give a piece of the team to any executive.
That’s simply too valuable to give away for an unknown.
And even Friedman is an unknown.
Rosenthal’s right when he says that the Astros have so many issues that it’s going to take at least 3 years before they’re respectable again. They accumulated a few pieces in trades fired GM Ed Wade made in getting rid of Roy Oswalt, Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn; they have other veterans to trade in Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers. But they have to wait out the contract of Carlos Lee; the farm system is barren and suffering from years of neglect; they must try to look respectable on the field hoping that Brett Wallace and J.A. Happ grow into their abilities.
There are many qualified GM candidates who have statistical know-how, scouting skills or both.
Giving the keys to the store to Friedman is a way to placate the media and it would be a grand overkill that Crane should ignore in favor of hiring someone who’ll work under a reasonable salary without deranged benefits.
There are many of them out there who can do the job.