Thursday, May 11, 2006

Break up the Royals... seriously

The Royals have actually managed to win four games in a row, on the heels of their just-completed sweep of the coulda-shoulda-woulda- Indians yesterday. For Royals fans, this is great news, except that it's not.

Sure, they're finally into double-digits in wins, and they no longer sport the worst record in baseball after passing the AAAA Marlins (who have a payroll about a third of the size of KC) in the overall standings, but this little streak makes it virtually impossible for their thieving owner to fire Allard Baird any time soon.

And he needs to go. Everyone knows it. Yes, the ownership of this team is beyond pathetic, so you can't lay 100% of the blame for the barren farm system, the lousy scouting and development, and the putrid on-field product at the feet of the GM. But you can at least lay, what, 75%? 80%? That's more than enough.

This guy has been on the job since 2001, and his teams' winning percentage over that time is .397. This guy traded Jermaine Dye for Neifi Perez. This guy hired Tony Muser, Tony Pena, and Buddy Bell to manage his team. This guy signed Doug Meinkzqzqzqz and Mark Grudzwxwxwxw to suck up at bats for an already assuredly last-place team. This guy just called up one of his best prospects to platoon at DH.

It's all indefensible. The Royals aren't even my team, and I want him fired. Now that Chuck LaMar is gone, he's the undisputed worst GM in baseball, and as much suck as there is out there, nobody else is even close.

Of course, how are they ever going to find someone qualified to run this show? Who wants to work for David Glass? If they want to start moving in some semblance of the right direction, they'll have to take a chance. They'll have to hire someone with tremendous upside who may not get another shot. I can only think of two people:

Kim Ng - currently working in the Dodger front office, she's also worked for the White Sox and Yankees. Her name has been floated in the past when the Dodgers and Red Sox were searching, but she's never been seriously considered. This would be a pressure-free organization (unlike LA and Boston) that has nowhere to go but up, a great step for women and Asian-Americans in baseball. And it would buy the Royals all kinds of praise from around the country, since they probably care about that sort of thing. (EDIT: And by the way, she's more than qualified. She's been an assistant GM for years, so she knows how this works. She's paid her dues.)

Paul DePodesta - After working for Frank McCourt, he's used to dysfunctional ownership situations, and nobody would mind if he got to town and took a wrecking ball to the whole organization, because everyone agrees that it needs to be blown up. He'd get at least a three-year free pass from Royals fans to build something, to show any signs of progress. Plus, then people like Joe Morgan could bitch about MoneyBall more often, and that's always fun. Extra credit for doing the MoneyBall thing without money. Because, you know, that joke hasn't been beaten to death or anything.

Of course, knowing the Royals, they'll probably hire LaMar.


Ross said...

Ng also knows the all the ins and outs of Major League Baseball rules and loopholes as she used to work for the league. That was the original reason the Yankees hired her, for that knowledge and contract knowledge.

I'm not actually sure that Kansas City would be easier for her though than Los Angeles or Boston. Only 1.6% of the Kansas City population is Asian American. Only 0.2% is of Korean or Japanese heritage, the baseball playing/following population.

Over 9% of the Los Angeles (and New York) population is Asian, 7% in Boston. Also, while I have no statistical data to back this up, I would assume women hold higher up positions in other businesses in Los Angeles and Boston than they do in Kansas City.

Many people, due to prejudice, may be much quicker to criticize in Kansas City than they would be in a North East state, Chicago, Florida, or California.

Sully said...

I think the sportswriters in the markets that you list are more likely to go easy on her, but not the fans, especially not in Boston or Chicago. In KC, I guess it could go either way. They shouldn't be hiring a GM to sell tickets or drum up interest in the team - they should be hiring a GM to build a good baseball team. I suppose that goes without saying, but we are talking about the Royals.

I think we both agree that she could do the job, and my greater point was that they'll probably have to hire someone to whom other teams are afraid to give a shot, but who could turn out to be very good. I think that's her, and I don't see how else they could get a talented executive to come to KC.

Warren said...

On the subject of GMs, I'd be real interested to see an analysis of where good GMs come from. Most are assistant GMs first, but there are different ones.

Theo started in PR and then was Director of Baseball Operations. Cashman was Assistant GM of Baseball Administration. Schuerholz was the scouting director. Do scouting guys do better at generating wins, but not at actually making a profit? I think I forsee hours of my life spent looking into this :)

By the way, Baseball America's Executive Database is cool.

Sully said...


"The Royals denied a broadcast report Wednesday night that general manager Allard Baird had been fired with the intent to hire former Mets GM Steve Phillips as his replacement."