American League General Manager Movements

Checking on some of the recent changes in the American League front offices.

Last time, we looked at some of the recent changes in National League front offices. In all honesty, that was a little bland. However, we now get to the interesting stuff – the Junior Circuit.

 

During the recent General Managers' Meetings at Indian Wells, CA, only one of the American League seats was still empty, that which had been occupied by wunderkind Theo Epstein, previously of the Boston Red Sox. In addition, new faces were in abundance, with recently-named GMs representing Texas and Tampa Bay (sort of) and changes (sort of) in Baltimore.

 

Boston Red Sox – Theo Bails Out

 

General Manager and folk hero Theo Epstein is now unemployed, at least temporarily. Epstein was reportedly offered about $4.5 million for a three-year extension in Boston. That would have quadrupled his previous salary as he was coming off his initial three-year contract as GM. But that apparently wasn't enough.

 

Rumors about chain of command issues between Epstein and Sox President and CEO Larry Lucchino were bandied about, and as a result, Lucchino was vilified by many in the Red Sox Nation when Theo walked.  

 

Washington general manager Jim Bowden, Minnesota assistant GM Wayne Krivsky and Atlanta assistant GM Dayton Moore each interviewed with Red Sox chairman Tom Werner and Lucchino at the recent general managers' meetings, hoping to replace Epstein.

 

Krivsky was later informed by the Red Sox that he was out of the running. Moore then decided to remove himself from consideration, raising speculation as to whether or not the Braves' John Schuerholz is working on succession planning.

 

Even more telling about the Beantown mess was that both Indians' assistant GM Chris Antonetti and Blue Jays director of player personnel Tony LaCava informed the Red Sox that they weren't interested in even interviewing for the position. Wow!

                       

Former Montreal general manager and Baltimore co-GM (sort of) Jim Beattie and Bowden were each invited back for a second round of discussions with the Sox.

 

Bowden took a bold move to enhance his chances to get the job when he signed Marlon Anderson to a two-year, $1.85 million deal with the Nats last week. As if we couldn't forget the Vinny Castilla and Cristian Guzman signings already. Way to go for it, Jim!

 

Tampa Bay Devil Rays – A Weird Arrangement Begets a Weird Arrangement

 

When Stuart Sternberg took over as the Managing General Partner of the Devil Rays earlier in the month, general manager Chuck LaMar and most of the front office were fired. Then the weirdness began.

 

Matt Silverman was named team president and Andrew Friedman became Vice President of Baseball Operations. The latter is an especially interesting title, since neither Silverman nor Friedman have any experience running a baseball team. As a result, they hired a "baseball mind" in Gerry Hunsicker, knighted Senior VP of Baseball Operations.

 

Sternberg had decided not to have a general manager, calling the position "outdated", and while Friedman and Hunsicker will apparently share that role, Friedman is in charge, I guess.

 

Confused? Me, too. What's new in Tampa?

 

Baltimore Orioles – Beattie and Flanagan Break Up

 

The Orioles dismissed Jim Beattie, their executive vice president of baseball operations. Beattie had been effectively serving as co-general manager with vice-president of baseball operations Mike Flanagan. After what appeared to be cursory talk about looking around for a successor, Flanagan was soon promoted to executive vice president, Beattie's old title.  

 

The Orioles hired former Mets GM, and assistant Mets GM at the time, Jim Duquette as VP of Baseball Operations. Duquette was formerly the Mets general manager, but was demoted when Omar Minaya was brought in from the Expos. Duquette's job is a second-fiddle role to Flanagan, despite him having the same title as Flanagan had as co-GM.

 

Understand? Well, do you ever understand anything Peter Angelos does?

 

Toronto Blue Jays – J.P. Linked to Sunny San Diego

 

San Diego GM Kevin Towers was given permission to become a candidate for the GM job in Arizona that eventually went to former Boston assistant Josh Byrnes. As a result of Towers' candidacy, Toronto's J.P. Ricciardi was named as a possible replacement for Towers in San Diego. However, Ricciardi is under contract through the 2007 season.

 

Still, there were other moves in Toronto. Assistant general manager Tim McCleary was informed by Jays president Paul Godfrey that his contract, which expires in December, would not be renewed. Alex Anthopoulos and Bart Given are expected to assume McCleary's duties. Anthopoulos has been one of the team's scouting directors while Given is an assistant in the baseball operations department.

 

Texas Rangers – Daniels to Get Lotsa Help

 

Jon Daniels was promoted from assistant general manager to GM of the Texas Rangers on October 4. At age 28 years and 41 days, he became the youngest GM in major league history. Daniels is a 1999 graduate of Cornell with degrees in economics and management.

 

John Hart, who was forced out as GM, remains as an advisor, despite having expressed interest in several GM jobs, including Tampa Bay and the Dodgers. Interestingly, former heir apparent Grady Fuson left the Rangers when Hart changed his retirement plans a couple of years back.

 

After hoping to be anything with the Los Angeles Dodgers from general manager to field manager to Tommy Lasorda's lackey, Orel Hershiser resigned as Rangers pitching coach and was named executive director, still with Texas. The new position was reportedly created because the Rangers didn't think they had enough people with lofty titles already.

 

New York Yankees – Cashman Cashes In

 

After the usual New York melodrama of "Will he or won't he?", Yankees general manager Brian Cashman answered the siren's song of George's wallet when he accepted a three-year deal worth more than $5 million. Cashman, who made $1.15 million in the final season of his earlier three-year contract, has worked for the team since he was 19.

 

Cashman was given assurances that he will have greater decision-making control in an organization that has regular turf wars between regional factions and seemingly more bosses around than Tony Soprano ever had to deal with. Undoubtedly, whatever Cashman was promised was probably ignored before the ink from his signature on that new contract was dry.

 

Such is life in the Big Apple, and Tampa and Cleveland, and…

 

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brwalton@earthlink.net.

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