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Jed Hoyer gets my nonexistent vote for Padres GM

October 22nd, 2009 by

Jed Hoyer for Padres GMAs 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.

Jed Hoyer

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.

Posted in hot stove | Comments Off

To Brian Giles, Thanks for everything! -The Sac Bunt

October 3rd, 2009 by

Over the past twelve months, we Padres fans have had to say many goodbyes. We watched as John Moores, through a bitter divorce, tore down the team he helped build. We watched as Sandy Alderson, the savior-to-be, departed before seeing things through. We watched as Jake Peavy and Trevor Hoffman, the two best Padres ever to do their respective jobs, left for the midwest. And just this weekend we watched Kevin Towers, a mainstay in San Diego for fifteen years, receive his walking papers.

Tomorrow, in all likelihood will be Brian Giles last day as a San Diego Padre, a milestone sure to be overshadowed by Towers’ removal. It was Towers who brought Giles home just over six years ago, a move made to build excitement moving into Petco Park. For the years before, Giles was one of the best hitters in all of baseball, showing a Bondsian combination of patience and power while in Pittsburgh. He came at a high price, with the Pirates receiving Jason Bay and Oliver Perez in return. But he hit the ground running, hitting four home runs in his short time at the end of the 2003 season in Qualcomm. With returning stars Nevin, Klesko, and Loretta, Giles gave the team a formidable lineup in the team’s new digs.

It would be fair to say that things didn’t turn out as planned. As everyone quickly found out, Petco didn’t play evenly between pitchers and hitters, and power become less and less a part of Giles’ game. While other players looked to the front office for answers, Giles responded by changing his approach, tailoring his swing for the park and drawing a league-leading 119 walks in 2005.

Giles’ stay in Petco Park was up and down, but he was always a reliable part of the lineup, there everyday and getting on-base. And on top of everything, played a solid right field. Though his arm was lacking, as evidenced by a wak throw from the outfield in Game 163, he showed tremendous range that made solid Padres pitching even more solid. And now he leaves, with nary a whimper, missing the second half of the season following a lackluster first half. Not to mention the gossip-filled offseason before.

Hopefully, he leaves with more than a few “Thank yous.”

(Feel free to leave yours in our comments section)

Posted in players | 4 Comments »

Dear Jeff Moorad (10/02)

October 2nd, 2009 by

With Kevin Towers’ departure looking all but inevitable, we at The Sacrifice Bunt are registering our support for the decision.

It’s not that we don’t like Kevin Towers, because we do. Any Padre fan should. But as the team should be entering into an age of change, now is the time for the team and the general manager to go their separate ways.

Despite how things have gone at the end of the season, the truth is the Padres are not close. Of the youngsters brought in this year, only Kyle Blanks has shown real star potential (though Everth Cabrera has the talent). This team has decisions still to be made, hard decisions that will shape their path over the next couple of seasons. And Towers, in his almost fifteen year career, has never shown himself to be that type. On a team with a strong core, Towers is your guy, as he is the best general manager in baseball at filling in the holes. But the Padres are beyond filling in holes.

For the team to build itself into a legitimate contender, management needs to take some risks. They might even need to go in a different direction, and the best way to do that is to bring in someone going the same way.

Posted in dear jeff moorad | 7 Comments »

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