Friday, August 14, 2009

Jed Hoyer: A clarification

Joe Posnanski wrote a blog post explaining why, no matter how hard Toronto's owner pushed for it, JP Ricciardi retains ultimate responsibility for Vernon Wells' bad contract. Joe wrote:
If you are a baseball general manager, you have to deal with quirks and vagaries of ownership and the direction other power brokers want to take the team. That’s not part of the job. That IS the job. It’s not like trading baseball cards. Owners (and presidents and scouts and the field manager and everyone else) want certain things, and they insist upon certain things, and they refuse certain things. Usually, owners want to spend LESS money, not MORE money — which is part of the reason I find the “They wanted to re-sign Wells at any price and over the objections of Ricciardi” line strained — but the point remains the same. No general manager – NO general manager — lives in a vacuum.

So how you deal with the often strange and contradictory decisions and leanings of ownership defines your tenure as a GM. I happen to know that Allard Baird had to deal with all sorts of lunacy and insanity when he was GM of the Royals — stuff that would make your head spin. But at the end of the day — and Allard would agree with this 100 percent — it was his job to overcome those things. And he could not. And he was let go.

Reading that, I realized I may not have been clear in my post on why I think Jed Hoyer should be the next GM of the Nats. I'm optimistic that Hoyer will be able to overcome the limitations placed upon him by Kasten and the Lerners. I'm not as optimistic about Dipoto's chances of being able to do so. What separates the two in my mind is Hoyer's stated and demonstrated affinity for combining observational scouting with quantitative analysis to produce the best results, which I believe will produce better results on the Lerners' assumed budget. Even though Byrnes' Diamondbacks also operate on a budget, and even though plenty of clubs use a mix of scouting and statistical analysis to inform their decisionmaking, I have more confidence that a guy who I know has his feet on both sides of the aisle will be able to use his resources with the greatest efficiency. And if the Lerners do decide to start spending, I have more confidence in Hoyer's ability to make the best use of a windfall.

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