The Prominent Team President Thing Just Ain’t Gonna Work

All Star Game, Ballparks, CBA, Cy Young Award, Draft, Fantasy/Roto, Free Agents, Games, Hall Of Fame, History, Hot Stove, Management, Media, MiLB, MLB Trade Deadline, MLB Waiver Trades, MVP, Paul Lebowitz's 2012 Baseball Guide, PEDs, Players, Playoffs, Politics, Prospects, Spring Training, Stats, Trade Rumors, World Series

Of all people, Theo Epstein should know the difficulty in having a team president openly interfering with the actual running of a club. Given that he escaped a similar situation with the Red Sox after last season and came to see his former mentor Larry Lucchino as his nemesis, he has to know that the statement he made concerning Ryan Dempster is going to undermine the actual GM of the club, Jed Hoyer. The story implied that before Dempster was traded to the Rangers, he was able to hear exactly what was going on in the negotiations with the Dodgers because he was allowed to listen in on the conversations between the clubs. If true, this would be highly inappropriate. If true, why is Epstein saying it to the media?

That I believe Dempster and Hoyer when they say that it’s not true is irrelevant. Epstein’s damage control is expected and understandable, but it’s not going to alter the fundamental fact that the GM of the club—supposedly in charge of the baseball side—has a team president who’s approached for all the answers and more than willing to talk to the press when he should recede into the background to let Hoyer do the job he was hired to do.

It’s widely believed that Hoyer is Epstein’s puppet and their close personal relationship has the GM following orders and acting as the front man, handling with the media and players while Epstein runs the entire baseball ops. Hoyer was allowed to leave the Padres under curious circumstances, first without any compensation, then with almost a grudging, “let’s give them something to keep up appearances” as Padres’ CEO Jeff Moorad clearly preferred his former GM with the Diamondbacks Josh Byrnes to Hoyer. Hoyer hadn’t done much of anything as the Padres’ GM to build the club that won 90 games in 2010; a roster almost entirely comprised of players acquired by the prior GM, Kevin Towers; then he traded away the remaining Padres’ star Adrian Gonzalez as the club stumbled to 71-91. Hoyer left for the Cubs to rejoin Epstein and now he’s dealing with a story that he shouldn’t have to and only is dealing with because the team president is so heavily involved in the personnel. That Epstein was able win the power struggle with Lucchino only makes what he did to Hoyer worse. I question whether Hoyer has the stomach to challenge his mentor as Epstein did, and forget about winning the power struggle. It’s a form of castration and is a role reversal for Epstein. It’s not a good one considering he knows what it’s like to be thought of as the puppet and to have to claw his strings away to venture out on his own.

//

Advertisements

The Padres Generosity Of The Absurd

All Star Game, Books, Cy Young Award, Draft, Fantasy/Roto, Free Agents, Games, Hall Of Fame, History, Hot Stove, Management, Media, MiLB, MLB Trade Deadline, MLB Waiver Trades, MVP, Paul Lebowitz's 2011 Baseball Guide, Players, Playoffs, Politics, Prospects, Spring Training, Stats, Trade Rumors, Umpires, World Series

With the near end to the negotiations freeing Theo Epstein to join the Cubs as team president and the simultaneously anticipated and apparently agreed to deal for Jed Hoyer to the Padres to take over as Cubs GM, the differences in the machinations are stark.

The Red Sox are getting something for the right to poach their contracted employee and the Padres aren’t.

Epstein is under contract for one more season with the Red Sox and the club was being outrageous in its initial demands for compensation as they asked for Matt Garza; Hoyer is under contract to the Padres until 2014, but owner Jeff Moorad isn’t asking for anything in return.

It’s strange bordering on irrational.

And it’s making me wonder exactly what’s going on in San Diego.

Josh Byrnes is reportedly going to step right in and take over for Hoyer; he’s a qualified GM and was hired by Moorad when he ran the Diamondbacks.

Hoyer did a good job with the Padres considering the mandate he was under to trade Adrian Gonzalez and payroll constraints. The team made a shocking leap into contention in 2010, he acquired veterans Ryan Ludwick and Miguel Tejada (without giving up anything for them) to try and win; he got the jewels of the Red Sox farm system for Gonzalez; acquired top prospects for Mike Adams; and acquired Cameron Maybin for replaceable bullpen pieces.

Other deals, like the one for Jason Bartlett, haven’t worked out; and he should’ve traded Heath Bell before Bell’s yapping mouth and declining performance put the Padres in an unwinnable situation.

But he’s done the best he could with the hand he was dealt.

And he’s bailing.

There’s been an odd aura around the Padres for years.

From Sandy Alderson’s management style of cultivating factions; pushing Bruce Bochy out the door because Bochy rebelled against front office interference and he was making too much money for Alderson’s tastes; hoping that former GM Kevin Towers would get the Diamondbacks GM job in 2005 (that went to Byrnes), then putting Towers in a position where he was either going to get on Alderson’s train of dysfunction or get dragged behind it; to having Paul DePodesta operating what amounted to a spy agency independent of Towers; to the way things have developed under Moorad, it’s as if they like to have dysfunction over cohesion.

The tree of bizarreness for this is striking.

Clearly Moorad thinks a lot of the Red Sox because he hired both Byrnes and Hoyer from their positions as assistants to Epstein; what’s also clear is that Moorad prefers Byrnes as his GM. Why else would he simply let Hoyer go to another club in the same league and not ask for anything—anything at all—for him? Something?

What makes it worse is that Moorad made his name in sports as an agent.

One would assume that he knows the sanctity of a contract and why its terms shouldn’t be violated; or at least the team interested in an employee under said contract should provide something of value in exchange.

Perhaps he isn’t all that impressed with Hoyer to begin with and wanted Byrnes all along.

It’s bad business to have another club raiding his front office and for him to say, “okay, go” as if he doesn’t care one way or the other; Moorad being fine with it shouldn’t matter. No one wants to be perceived as the guy who can be stolen from without consequences; it’s a bad precedent to set.

//

MLB Rumors And Strangeness

All Star Game, Books, Cy Young Award, Draft, Fantasy/Roto, Free Agents, Games, Hall Of Fame, History, Hot Stove, Management, Media, MiLB, MLB Trade Deadline, MLB Waiver Trades, MVP, Paul Lebowitz's 2011 Baseball Guide, Players, Playoffs, Prospects, Spring Training, Stats, Trade Rumors, Umpires

If this is what we have to look forward to as the off-season beckons, you’d better get yourself a raincoat and a gas mask because it’s getting worse before it gets better.

Jed Hoyer to the Cubs?

Jon Heyman suggested this on Twitter, so it’s in the Joel Sherman-realm of the idiotically speculative; but if Hoyer, who’s been with the Padres for two years, is already considering leaving to join Theo Epstein as (one would presume) the GM of the Cubs to run them on a day-to-day basis, I have to ask what goes on in San Diego that Hoyer would want to bail so quickly? Are he and Epstein that close that they have to be near one another? Is there something wrong with his current job that he needs to leave? The Padres have a lot of young talent and good starting pitching, so if he’s bailing, I have to wonder if Jeff Moorad is interfering and making it an untenable, unattractive situation in which to stay.

The funniest thing in all of this maneuvering is that Epstein would presumably inhabit the role of his nemesis, Larry Lucchino, and hover over his former protege while he tries to do the GM grunt work.

A rift is inevitable.

Here’s some really weird logic.

In this posting on MLB Trade Rumors, the Blue Jays off-season outlook is explored.

The author doesn’t think as highly of the 2012 Blue Jays as I do with the “maybe” tone of their potential to contend as soon as next season; I’m saying right now that the Blue Jays will make a serious run at the playoffs in 2012.

What I don’t understand is the following statement regarding the closer situation and GM Alex Anthopoulos:

Anthopoulos said after the season that he expects the Blue Jays to go outside of the organization for bullpen help, either through trades or free agency. This makes sense, though the Jays have some internal options. B.J. Ryan‘s contract is off the books, but the memory of his contract lives on. I don’t expect the Jays to bid aggressively on the top free agent closers, especially those who cost draft picks.

The logic of this is what? That because a closer like Ryan—who was Cy Young Award-contending brilliant in his first season with the Blue Jays—got hurt and turned out to be a costly mistake, the Blue Jays should ignore any and all free agent closers?

Ryan also had one of the worst sets of mechanics I’ve ever seen in my entire life, so it shouldn’t have come as a shock when he needed Tommy John surgery.

This argument is akin to saying because the Blue Jays drafted infielder Russ Adams in 2002 and he didn’t work out and since they bypassed the chance to draft Cole Hamels and Matt Cain, that they should shun any infielder that comes up in the draft and take a pitcher instead.

It’s stupid.

The Blue Jays are thisclose to having a superior starting rotation with Ricky Romero, Brandon Morrow, Henderson Alvarez and Kyle Drabek; the two things they need more than anything else are a legitimate closer and a veteran, 200-inning starting pitcher.

Jonathan Papelbon is out there and available; the Red Sox are in absolute disarray and have always been in question as to whether they were going all out to keep Papelbon; there’s an opportunity for the Blue Jays to make a rapid strike and get themselves an All Star closer with a history of dealing with pressure and getting the big outs in the post-season and simultaneously hurt one of their division rivals.

Barring a pursuit of Papelbon or Heath Bell, they could make a trade for a Joakim Soria or see if Epstein would be willing to move Carlos Marmol.

B.J. Ryan has nothing to do with anything unless they’re looking for reasons to avoid paying a closer. And that would make zero sense.

//