As Madfriars’ John Conniff notes in his excellent article on the dismissal of Kevin Towers, the Padres search for GM isn’t just for Towers’ replacement. The team will look for the replacement of former CEO Sandy Alderson as well.
While future owner Jeff Moorad has taken over the title of CEO from Alderson, Moorad has said he will wisely leave most of the player personal decisions to those executives with more experience in player evaluation.
This means the Padres next general manager will serve at least two major functions. The first will be to build teams for the near term through roster management and trades. One might recognize this as the gunslinger role. The GM’s second responsibility will be in designing and executing a long term, strategic plan.
Some example aspects of such a plan might include a focus on OBP, the expansion of foreign player development, or the creation and maintenance of a statistical database.
If Sandy Alderson were still around, my first choice to lead the front office would be the continued Towers / Alderson / Paul DePodesta multiple-headed approach. With Alderson unable to experience first hand the culmination of his long term vision, Towers alone does not possess the tools necessary to what is needed.
The man most apt to succeed in both major roles is Red Sox assistant general manager Jed Hoyer. But don’t this goofy named blogger’s word for it. Listen for yourself:
As boring as it sounds, I believe that the most important thing is to have a well-constructed, well-thought out process to player acquisitions. As long as you have a plan, which the Red Sox certainly have, and you try to turn over every rock to find answers, you give yourself the best possible chance to be right more than you’re wrong.
What is the process, you ask? You don’t think my name is goofy, but rather a clever take on Padres history? Well thank you. Also, there’s this:
As we see it, we want every piece of information possible before making a decision. We have spent a lot of time and energy in developing our quantitative methods and we certainly use them in making player personnel decisions. But we also have a lot of great scouts and we read their reports and have lengthy conversations with all of them before making decisions. The idea that teams are either “Moneyball” teams or “scouting” teams is an incredible over-simplification. You need to have both of those components – as well as medical and contractual – to make an educated decision on a player.
Hoyer comes from the vain of guys like Paul DePodesta, Theo Epstein, and Josh Byrnes. They spent their college years learning the ropes of analysis, the use of evidence in decision making, and so on. They got to where they are through demonstration of proficiency in running a major league ball club.
The extra emphasis on the idea that no team should be just stats or scouts sounds a lot like Paul DePodesta. Tom Krasovic notes that Paul has some clout over the final decision, and my hunch says Hoyer is DePo’s pick. Which is great, since Paul was my original choice to succeed Towers. I had the graphic made and everything.
Boston.com reports as far back as 2005, Hoyer is the “prime confidant” of Red Sox GM Theo Epstein after now Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes. Speaking of Byrnes, he was hired as GM by a group including Moorad in Arizona, a strong signal of the type of leader the Padres CEO values.
It’s not a blog post without something negative
Right? Lets look for some.
Two knocks on Jed derive from the environment of his current employer. In many ways, most importantly market size, running a team in San Diego couldn’t be more different than doing so in Boston. Would Hoyer even be willing to leave a romantic, big market, ring winning, accent-talking-with place like Boston for the unknown small market that is San Diego? And could he survive on a budget with a few fewer Fantas stocked in the General Manger’s fridge?
His experience in analysis and player development will play anywhere, and are probably more valuable in a smaller market than a larger one. With a smaller budget, a small market GM’s margin for error drops off fast. Hoyer did interview for GM gigs in Pittsburgh and Washington, and though he wasn’t hired bu those teams he also didn’t withdraw. He seems like he would be interested. I think we’re good. Besides, San Diego is Beer Capital, USA! Maybe our next (and first) TSB meetup will include a drink-off. Nothing bad has ever come from competitive drinking, right?
Who else is there?
The other candidates, including Kim Ng, don’t have the balance the Padres need, most of them too far on the scouting side. Again if Alderson was still around for balance, Ng would be a fine choice by my estimation. But at that point, the team might just as well have stuck with Towers.
Since I started writing this article two weeks ago, Hoyer has became the clear front runner for the job. So if it sucks, it’s because I need to get the post out before I lose any more street cred being late to the party. Ok, so, conclusion: vote Jed, because he’s like Paul DePodesta with fewer people who irrationally hate him.