Everyone Should Play General Manager

So, sometimes things happen that cause us to lose focus on the things that we’re trying to get done. For the past couple of weeks I’ve been working on part-2 to the Talking About Pitching post, editing and re-editing and reaching out to some old colleagues to provide their opinions, so that I can be sure to bring the readers of KoK the best possible content. For me, it’s a labor of love, and the first real opportunity I’ve had to speak (write) openly about my experience as a coach and trainer.

But alas, during the midst of offseason rumors, came some breaking, but not all that surprising news: Chris Getz is still under contract with the Royals. On Monday of last week it was announced that the only player not offered a contract for the upcoming 2012 season was Aaron Laffey, who was just claimed off waivers a short time ago. There were 31 unsigned players offered a contract including, the immortal, Chris Getz.

Now to some, Getz represents all things great about baseball and baseball playing. These people judge his abilities as something other than the (very) apparent lack of power, hitting, range, and arm strength, and seem to lie more in his ability to make consistently weak contact to a player positioned somewhere in dirt.

To others, or better put to those that understand the value of outs, Getz represents those things which are bad and annoying about the Dayton Moore era. But, I wouldn’t want to go all “playing GM” or anything.

Getz no longer provides value at the major league level. His offensive abilities are less than even those of Alcides Escobar, but instead of being offset by elite defense, they’re offset by average-at-best defense at second base. Getz also provides little value of depth to a base 25-man roster because he lacks the range or arm to backup at short, and will not hit nearly enough to spell Mike Moustakas at third, if even for a single game. But, what would I know? I’m not a GM.

Judging Getz objectively leaves the observer with a giant thought bubble that has a question mark in it, and another with an exclamation point for the organization that continues down this path.

I was all excited to write this post giving Dayton Moore at least some benefit of the doubt that even though Getz was tendered a contract, there’s really no way he can be on the 25-man roster to start the season. There is just no way, at this point in The Process, that Getz still warrants major league service team, barring an injury or two. And I figured there was just no way Moore didn’t already know this.

All of that was until I read this.

Lee Judge gets criticized and picked on a lot throughout the Royals’ blogosphere, and most of the time, it’s deserved. Heck, if you look at his website now, he has Melky Cabrera (4.2 fWAR) as having a better year in 2011 than Alex Gordon (6.9 fWAR). Even if you don’t trust the raw numbers and limited subjectivity involved with WAR created by the defensive measurements, there’s really no way you could come away from watching a limited-range center fielder and hack-a-mole style hitter, and think that he was better last year than Alex Gordon. But that’s beside the point.

Judge in his latest post writes in a way (that I can only assume) pokes a little bit at the very bloggers that do their fair share of poking at him. If so, hey, good on ‘ya old chap.

But the subject he chooses to address this time, the “they’re running baseball teams, therefore they know more about baseball than you do” gambit, is just the same tired rhetoric that you should come to expect from an older writer that refuses to open his mind to new ideas. It’s the same kind of thing that you should expect from a guy that writes about an outfielder taking naked batting practice, and thinking that it makes any tangible difference in the performance of his teammates.

The people that run baseball aren’t inherently smarter about the game than anyone else. That’s just the job they chose. There is no secret roster construction elixir that gives them more abilities than anyone else. They should all be criticized when warranted, and we should all play GM because it’s our way as fans and writers that follow teams to hold them accountable. (Plus, it’s fun dammit.)

There’s too much information out there now about players and contracts and processes and video, to think that somewhere along the line the Gods of Genetics reached down and put a little something extra in front office types baseball genome. This isn’t rocket science. It’s baseball. And the only reason these people have the jobs they do is because they chose the jobs they did. A top CEO or GM in the marketing or financial world would be a top CEO or GM in baseball, because smart people figure out a way to succeed.

That isn’t to say that GMs and front office types around baseball aren’t smart, no. I’m sure a great number of them are very smart.

But to imply that just because they are in the positions that they are in means that none of we little people, we petty bloggers and Internet types, should “play GM” because we just don’t have the ability to fully grasp the inner-workings of a baseball roster, is just irresponsible journalism.

It’s those types, those that follow the word of Baseball Men without ever questioning their methods, their reasoning, or their process, that allow those same men to think that they are somehow more (unjustifiably) enlightened.

It’s those types that would rank Chris Getz as the Royals 7th best player last year.

 

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Topics: Alex Gordon, Chris Getz, Playing General Manager

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  • henrywiggen

    “…hack-a-mole style hitter…”

    Thanks, I needed a good laugh on a dreary, dreary Kansas City morning.

    You’re right on, here though I resent (resemble) the age-ist remark. First, it is tiresome to listen to the scrapy player rap incesiantly during the season. If baseball reveals one thing, it reveals — as you point out — DNA.

    When you sign on to be GM, you sign on to be second guessed. The argument that no one knows enough to second guess is like the argument that no one knows what the president of the United States knows — really knows… all the little secrets — so no one can really second guess the president. I’ve noticed it is mostly presidents and their supporters who say this.

  • henrywiggen

    “…hack-a-mole style hitter…”

    Thanks, I needed a good laugh on a dreary, dreary Kansas City morning.

    You’re right on, here though I resent (resemble) the age-ist remark. First, it is tiresome to listen to the scrappy player rap incessantly during the season. If baseball reveals one thing, it reveals — as you point out — DNA.

    When you sign on to be GM, you sign on to be second guessed. The argument that no one knows enough to second guess is like the argument that no one knows what the president of the United States knows — really knows… all the little secrets — so no one can really second guess the president. I’ve noticed it is mostly presidents and their supporters who say this.

  • henrywiggen

    “…hack-a-mole style hitter…”

    Thanks, I needed a good laugh on a dreary, dreary Kansas City morning.

    You’re right on, here though I resent (resemble) the age-ist remark. First, it is tiresome to listen to the scrapy player rap incesiantly during the season. If baseball reveals one thing, it reveals — as you point out — DNA.

    When you sign on to be GM, you sign on to be second guessed. The argument that no one knows enough to second guess is like the argument that no one knows what the president of the United States knows — really knows… all the little secrets — so no one can really second guess the president. I’ve noticed it is mostly presidents and their supporters who say this.

  • henrywiggen

    “…hack-a-mole style hitter…”

    Thanks, I needed a good laugh on a dreary, dreary Kansas City morning.

    You’re right on, here though I resent (resemble) the age-ist remark. First, it is tiresome to listen to the scrappy player rap incessantly during the season. If baseball reveals one thing, it reveals — as you point out — DNA.

    When you sign on to be GM, you sign on to be second guessed. The argument that no one knows enough to second guess is like the argument that no one knows what the president of the United States knows — really knows… all the little secrets — so no one can really second guess the president. I’ve noticed it is mostly presidents and their supporters who say this.

  • eric.akers

    Good news, we just re-signed Yuniesky Betancourt! So much for Orlando Cabrera.

  • eric.akers

    Good news, we just re-signed Yuniesky Betancourt! So much for Orlando Cabrera.

  • Kevin Scobee

    @eric.akers Yeah, don’t think I haven’t already taken a few shots of whiskey today because of this. If I write many more things about why I can’t stand DM as a general manager, I think the masses may have at me with pitch forks.

  • Kevin Scobee

    @henrywiggen Anything I can do to get you to laugh on those dreary days while I enjoy sunshine and 65, wiggen.

    You’re right about the age-ist comment. I should know better than to generalize like that when it’s the very thing that I hate about baseball writers and people.

    I find it funny though that someone charged with a place at a newspaper would take so easily to the team they write abouts position lock-stock and sound-bite, and never have cause for even the slightest second guessing. (Even though, in his post like week, Judge does just that, play general manager.) It’s amusing to me that baseball front office types peddle their abilities of player evaluation as somehow greater than (when there’s no justifiable reason they are) and other people just fall in line with that thinking.

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  • Kevin Scobee

    @eric.akers Yeah, don’t think I haven’t already taken a few shots of whiskey today because of this. If I write many more things about why I can’t stand DM as a general manager, I think the masses may have at me with pitch forks.

  • Kevin Scobee

    @henrywiggen Anything I can do to get you to laugh on those dreary days while I enjoy sunshine and 65, wiggen.

    You’re right about the age-ist comment. I should know better than to generalize like that when it’s the very thing that I hate about baseball writers and people.

    I find it funny though that someone charged with a place at a newspaper would take so easily to the team they write abouts position lock-stock and sound-bite, and never have cause for even the slightest second guessing. (Even though, in his post like week, Judge does just that, play general manager.) It’s amusing to me that baseball front office types peddle their abilities of player evaluation as somehow greater than (when there’s no justifiable reason they are) and other people just fall in line with that thinking.

  • jim fetterolf

    It’s those types, the baseball folks, who add on the spot experience to the numbers and when they screw up they go somewhere else. Fantasy ballers don’t care for Lee’s blog and are probably quite resentful of his press pass and ability to actually talk to the players and coaches, I know I am. (paragraph)Chris Getz is just the pinata for the stat crowd to whack to try to cover the fact that stats can’t quantify everything between the lines, which is why Master Chen is lucky rather than has an unquantifiable skill set that eludes the actuaries. Getz probably never should have been the starting 2B this year, but he got it by default when Aviles collapsed and there wasn’t anyone else available. Should Gio look like he can improve next year, Getz probably gets assigned to Omaha or released. That’s why they signed Yuni, thinking him more versatile with a bigger stick and, perhaps, the ability to play an average 2nd. (paragraph) As for Lee not playing GM, he does have a couple of full-time jobs as cartoonist and blogger/columnist for the Star. His view is that his job is to get to know the players and try to show the inner workings of the game to the readers. I think he does it extremely well. What he tries to avoid doing is getting involved in trades, contracts, signings and such, for one reason that it interferes with his job of relating to the players and coaches, for another that there are hundreds of us arm-chair GMs to micro-analyze every possibility. (paragraph) As for Getzie being the 7th ranked player by the Polk system, Gio ranked higher on per game average than Getz did. It’s the nature of the position. Most statheads are incensed because weak hitting infielders rank higher than Billy, but that is what happens when fielding and base running are taken into consideration. If you don’t like the values assigned for some plays you can make suggestions, as I’ve done. I consider sac bunts over rated, but also recognize that players like Escobar and Getz have a decent shot at getting a hit on a sac, so it gets a little more difficult to quantify.(paragraph) As for considering people who have spent a lifetime learning the game to be smart or not, Lee isn’t contending that there is a baseball gene that makes some people better GMs, he is, I think, contending that there is a great deal more to putting together a competitive organization from the ground up under small market constraints than an outsider sees. We had a couple of examples last year as the blogosphere melted at the signings of Melky and Frenchy and predicted a great year from Aviles and Kila.

  • jim fetterolf

    Didn’t know we had a character limit, had to delete the last half of the post and it wouldn’t let me copy it. Too bad, I spent about an hour on the thing. Just as condensation, Lee’s job is different from yours and comes from a completely different perspective. I kind of try to bridge the two camps, learning and using some stats while realizing that there is much more going on in the game than the official scorer writes down, there are mental errors and outstanding plays and hunches and brain farts that don’t show up in historical tables. Put the two views together and they can be complimentary. Good piece.

  • jim fetterolf

    It’s those types, the baseball folks, who add on the spot experience to the numbers and when they screw up they go somewhere else. Fantasy ballers don’t care for Lee’s blog and are probably quite resentful of his press pass and ability to actually talk to the players and coaches, I know I am. (paragraph)Chris Getz is just the pinata for the stat crowd to whack to try to cover the fact that stats can’t quantify everything between the lines, which is why Master Chen is lucky rather than has an unquantifiable skill set that eludes the actuaries. Getz probably never should have been the starting 2B this year, but he got it by default when Aviles collapsed and there wasn’t anyone else available. Should Gio look like he can improve next year, Getz probably gets assigned to Omaha or released. That’s why they signed Yuni, thinking him more versatile with a bigger stick and, perhaps, the ability to play an average 2nd. (paragraph) As for Lee not playing GM, he does have a couple of full-time jobs as cartoonist and blogger/columnist for the Star. His view is that his job is to get to know the players and try to show the inner workings of the game to the readers. I think he does it extremely well. What he tries to avoid doing is getting involved in trades, contracts, signings and such, for one reason that it interferes with his job of relating to the players and coaches, for another that there are hundreds of us arm-chair GMs to micro-analyze every possibility. (paragraph) As for Getzie being the 7th ranked player by the Polk system, Gio ranked higher on per game average than Getz did. It’s the nature of the position. Most statheads are incensed because weak hitting infielders rank higher than Billy, but that is what happens when fielding and base running are taken into consideration. If you don’t like the values assigned for some plays you can make suggestions, as I’ve done. I consider sac bunts over rated, but also recognize that players like Escobar and Getz have a decent shot at getting a hit on a sac, so it gets a little more difficult to quantify.(paragraph) As for considering people who have spent a lifetime learning the game to be smart or not, Lee isn’t contending that there is a baseball gene that makes some people better GMs, he is, I think, contending that there is a great deal more to putting together a competitive organization from the ground up under small market constraints than an outsider sees. We had a couple of examples last year as the blogosphere melted at the signings of Melky and Frenchy and predicted a great year from Aviles and Kila.

  • jim fetterolf

    Didn’t know we had a character limit, had to delete the last half of the post and it wouldn’t let me copy it. Too bad, I spent about an hour on the thing. Just as condensation, Lee’s job is different from yours and comes from a completely different perspective. I kind of try to bridge the two camps, learning and using some stats while realizing that there is much more going on in the game than the official scorer writes down, there are mental errors and outstanding plays and hunches and brain farts that don’t show up in historical tables. Put the two views together and they can be complimentary. Good piece.

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