Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Generally Managing to screw up

Something that a couple of other bloggers have touched on was the recent firing of Dodgers' GM Paul DePodesta. I made no comment because...well, they beat me to the punch. By a week.

But I did not know about Red Sox GM Theo Epstein resigning.

I'll touch on the former first. Firing a GM nowadays can't be seen as that big of a deal, especially after losing 90 or so games in a season. But this is the epitome of not only impatience, but has a hint of betrayal, too. What owner hires a guy, watches the guy build a division winner, then fires him after the very next season, disappointing as it may have been?

Sure, DePo made a lot of acquisitions that may have been head scratchers. But the Dodgers poor play this past season was not simply a function of having the wrong team -- rather, it was a function of not having the team DePodesta put together on the field together for long enough. Consider:
  • J.D. Drew playing all of 72 games. Now, Drew's durability is something many of us (including myself) wondered about, but as far as the player himself goes, Drew put up the numbers he was supposed to. But it's hard to overcome the team's best overall hitter missing 80 games, right? Giants fans know a skoche about missing their best hitter for a while.
  • Milton Bradley missing most of the season. Another player that was hitting well, but could do it for enough games to help the ballclub. Behind Drew and Jeff Kent, Bradley was the next best hitter -- and he missed about as many games as Drew did.
  • Cezar Izturis missing time. While I'm not about to say this was a season-changing occurence in any way, Izturis too missed a large chunk of the season, and I'm sure that wasn't in DePodesta's plan.
  • Eric Gagne making 14 appearances. I mean, are you starting to get the picture? While I'm not one of those who says a closer can make or break an entire season, Gagne is one of the best relievers around, period, and is one of the few who actually makes a significant contribution in terms of wins out of the bullpen. Well, at least he could've, if he was healthy.
  • Odalis Perez both being injured and regressing. He missed 10+ starts, and wasn't the same pitcher as last season.

I could go on, but isn't that enough? While nary a tear has ever been shed by yours truly on behalf of the Dodgers, I'll give the DePodesta situation a confused headshake. One year removed from a division title, and with all of those huge injuries from their top players to contend with, there simply is no way he should've been fired. Couple this move with the firing of manager Jim Tracy only a couple weeks earlier, and there isn't any doubt that man at the helm of the Dodgers, owner Frank McCourt, has decided that he'd rather have the winds of fate guide his team than anyone with a plan. For any of us who've ever thought Giants ownership was poor in this or that situation, heh, complain no longer. At least we don't have that guy.

Epstein's situation is baffling as well. He walked away himself one year removed from putting together the team that won the World Series, and after a season that saw them reach the postseason to defend their title. Why?

Epstein and the Red Sox were in the middle of negotiations for a contract extension, apparently, but due to negotiation problems and other issues between the Red Sox front office and Epstein, couldn't come to an agreement.

I can't help but think that this is not only bad news for the Red Sox, but very bad timing, as well. They've got some flaws on their team to fix, a new trade-me-now rumour going around about Manny Ramirez, and now they're without a man to spearhead the efforts to solve those problems right as the offseason is starting to kick into gear.

The former Red Sox GM won't have the slightest of problems finding a new gig, I'm sure. Even if he doesn't take a job this season, I think it likely there will be another two or three vacant GM spots after the 2006 season.

Let's all hope the Dodgers don't pick up Epstein. That'd be...ewwww. Not good.

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