Earlier this month, at the General
Managers' Meetings at Indian Wells, CA, all the spots at the table were filled
for the National League except that of the Los Angeles Dodgers. But, there were
new faces sitting in two of the seats, with new GMs representing
Los Angeles Dodgers – DePodesta loses battle of numbers, Colletti up next
After only being given the first two years of his five-year contract to lead the Dodgers to the promised land, sabermetric darling general manager Paul DePodesta was fired by owner Frank McCourt late last month.
While it was crazy to sack the
32-year-old DePo so quickly, it's not as if former manager Jim Tracy deserved to
take the fall alone. After all, DePo let many good players depart, such as Paul
Lo Duca, Adrian Beltre, Steve Finley, Alex Cora and Shawn Green.
Still, DePo's departure was a blow
to saber-friendly fans everywhere, as was Epstein's departure from
Those who were interviewed include Dodgers Assistant GM Kim Ng, who would have been the first female general manager in the history of the game. Pat Gillick, before signing with the Phillies, had permission to interview, as did former Cleveland and Texas GM John Hart. Orel Hershiser expressed interest in the manager's job, as well as the GM role. He's apparently not particular.
But the winner of the sweepstakes
Now that DePo and Theo Epstein are at least temporarily unemployed, the newest GM whose name will always be preceded by his age has set up shop in the desert. "35-year-old Josh Byrnes" was given the Diamondbacks job previously held by Joe Garagiola, Jr. Garagiola resigned to become senior vice president of baseball operations in the commissioner's office.
Byrnes was this year's "hot" candidate and previously was Theo's assistant in Beantown. Prior to that, Byrnes was scouting director of the Cleveland Indians before serving as assistant general manager of the Colorado Rockies for three years.
Among the other candidates were former Colorado general manager, former Cardinal assistant GM and current D'backs assistant Bob Gebhard, two other sitting GMs, San Diego's Kevin Towers and Washington's Jim Bowden plus White Sox director of player development Dave Wilder.
While some believed that Byrnes
missed out on replacing Epstein by taking the
68-year-old Pat Gillick assumes his
fourth general manager role, this time replacing the fired Ed Wade at the helm
of the Philadelphia Phillies. Gillick, given the derisive moniker "Stand Pat"
for his perceived lack of personnel moves in his previous
Gillick has been an executive consultant with the Mariners after "retiring" as their GM and had previously been given permission to interview for the Dodgers opening this off-season.
In eight years at the helm, Wade's
Phils had a losing record and missed the playoffs every year, so it's not as if
he wasn't given a fair chance. Seven other general managers have been in charge
of their current team since Wade was hired in 1998 and each of them has made
multiple postseason appearances. They are Brian Cashman - Yankees, with eight
postseason appearances since ‘98, John Schuerholz - Braves (eight), Walt
Jocketty - Cardinals (five), Billy Beane - Athletics (4), Brian Sabean - Giants
(3), Terry Ryan - Twins (3) and
Phils president Dave Montgomery made it clear he was looking for experience and someone who could handle the tough Philly environment. Other candidates included former Houston GM Gerry Hunsicker, a local product, along with former Wade lieutenants Ruben Amaro, Jr, and Mike Arbuckle.
Before ending up in a weird
However, with both Towers and
Ricciardi under contract through the 2007 season, someone would get stuck buying
out a couple of hefty contracts to pull this off, likely current Padres and
former MLB and Oakland executive Sandy Alderson. More likely none of this will
happen, though, and Towers will return for his 11th season as head
General Manager Doug Melvin negotiated a three-year contract extension with the Milwaukee Brewers to cover the years 2007-2009. Melvin has done a nice job presiding over the development of one of the better minor league pipelines around.
New owner Mark Attansio inherited Melvin from his predecessor, Commissioner Bud Selig. Or was it the silly blind trust that he put his daughter in charge of? Yeah, right… Oh, well…
Washington Nationals – Bowden not confused with Alston
While Selig, Bob DePuy and the rest
of the MLB buffoons, …er owners, drag out the ownership transfer process in
Wow, a six-month extension! We're not exactly talking about a Walter Alston-kind of situation here… (For reference, Alston managed the Dodgers for 23 years, signing a one-year deal every season. His teams also won four World Series titles and seven NL pennants in the process.)
Earlier in the off-season, the former Reds GM Bowden had also been given permission to interview for the Diamondbacks opening and has had two interviews with the Boston Red Sox for Epstein's old job.
before Epstein bolted
had been little speculation on who might replace Sabean if a new GM were to be
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com
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