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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