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SI ranks MacPhail the 12th best GM in MLB (but 4th in AL East)


Frobby

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The job of a GM is to win games, make playoffs, and win rings using the resources you have available. Efficiency is a non-factor. Use what you have to accomplish your goals. Cashman does a great job of getting the Yankees to the playoffs and getting them rings. Epstein does an even better job, since he has more rings more recently.

It depends on how you look at things. Sure, Cashman has an easier job due to his resources, but that doesn't mean his success is any less tangible. Those rings count the same as a ring a $80M payroll would get. I don't know if he could do it with less resources like Beane and Friedman have to do, but he doesn't have to try and do it with less resources.

I don't think this is necessarily true, at least when evaluating a GM.

Part of what makes any boss good is his or her versatility, the ability to modify his or her plans/tendencies based on certain constraints - necessity of efficiency being one of them.

Ideally, to make this judgment, we'd like to see how Cashman's strategy would change if he were handling a ~$60 MM payroll and how MacPhail's strategy would change if he were handling a ~150 MM payroll.

I think both GMs are very good guys for their respective teams in their respective conditions. For this reason I think it's clear that both are among the better GMs in baseball. I have reservations about the versatility and adaptability of both. I don't think either would make my top 5, but I think it's unfair to exclude Cashman from the top 10 because he's had a lot of money and a storied franchise.

Epstein is obviously a top 3 GM in my opinion.

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Shouldn't any top notch GM be able to win consistently with a budget of <$100 million? If he's such a baseball genius he should have no problems winning in any environment. How can we definitively say that a GM is worthy of a top 3 ranking when we can't even say for sure if he'd be successful with way less money?

One way of ranking GM's could be by dollars spent per win. I don't know where that would place Cashman but it wouldn't be at the top.

But at what point does efficiency compared to the rest of the league stop mattering? I'd have to say when you win nearly 100 games a year and stay within your budget.

This is starting to sound like the criticism of Casey Stengel in the 1950s. Writers would sometimes say his Yankees should win 120 or 130 games a year, but Casey wouldn't stop all this silly platooning and rotations and stuff. I guess if Cashman was a good GM the Yanks would win the AL East by 20 games and make a $300M operating profit every year.

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Some folks are making it seem too easy, but you're making it seem too hard IMO. The average MLB fan couldn't make it work, but there are at least 10 folks on this board who could do what Cashman has done and probably better.

There might be 10 guys here who could do that, if they have the people skills and management skills and responsibility and financial chops and other stuff required to do the job. But the top 10 posters at OH aren't an average fan. An average fan couldn't pick Robert Andino or Brandon Erbe out of a lineup.

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I am a bit in the middle on Cashman.

Cashman has worked within his margin for error to get the Yankees to the post-season every season but one. There is something to be said for that - as well as working within the NYY organization which has multiple authority figures and talent evaluators.

If one believes most any person in Cashman's position could have traded for ARod, signed Burnett, Sabathia and Tex, while inheriting/re-signing Bernie Williams, Jeter, Rivera and Posada, exactly WHAT should Cashman be judged for? Let's not forget, besides Pavano, the NYY have failed in numerous efforts with SPs like Vasquez the first time around, Randy Johnson, Jeff Weaver and several others. Also remember the revolving bullpen where the NYY have struggled for YEARS and wasted tens of $M to find appropriate support for Mariano Rivera.

It's not like the NYY are "out-scouting" anyone. The minor league system is relatively average to perhaps slightly above average, but that's largely on the back of massive over-slot signings in the US draft and massive signing bonuses to international prospects.

At the end of the day, I can give credit to Cashman for guiding the unwieldy NYY empire in a relatively competent manner. I do not know how well or not he would do with another organization, but I do not believe the NYY are run in an efficient manner relative to most organizations. Perhaps Cashman could manage an organization with an $80M major league payroll and appropriate spending elsewhere, but if I had to hire someone to do that and I could hire ANYONE in baseball, I do not believe Cashman would be among my first 30 or so choices.

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Now, could be be a successful GM of a team with a < $100 mm budget? I don't know because he hasn't been faced with those circumstances.
We have no idea how he'd run the Royals. But we also don't know that the guys in charge of the A's or Twins or Rays wouldn't end up being Omar Minaya II if they were given $150M a year to work with.

I think Cashman knows what he is doing and this is why a list like this is not very useful.

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There might be 10 guys here who could do that, if they have the people skills and management skills and responsibility and financial chops and other stuff required to do the job. But the top 10 posters at OH aren't an average fan. An average fan couldn't pick Robert Andino or Brandon Erbe out of a lineup.

I think you're right about the multi-faceted skill set required. I serious doubt if 10 people here have it. Maybe one or two parts, maybe, but all them? I don't think so. Being excellent in the real world is harder than it looks...

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No, he is a good GM because he wins and understands what it takes to win and is an intelligent baseball mind.

Blame the system, not the GM..it doesn't take away from his abilities and knowledge.

His abilities come armed with a 250 million dollar payroll.

I'm not going to bash him and I'm not going to try and proclaim that he's not a great GM or anything.

But much has been made of the Mets and Minaya. Could they cover up their mistakes with an additional 100 million? Maybe.

I'm not impressed with him. I'm sorry, I'm not. He's never made an in season trade like Theo did with Nomar that helped shape a team and take them to a title. On a few levels that deal showed that Theo has pretty big balls...and it wasn't a superstar for superstar trade...it wasn't a superstar for prospects trade...it was a superstar for role players trade. I don't think Cashman could do that. Off the top of my head, he hasn't done that.

I'm just not impressed and I don't think it takes a particular genius to spend 250 million when you can pick good to great players practically every year. His mistakes have been discussed here -almost ad nauseum-and no one can deny that they weren't covered up by spending more money to fix them.

I'm not bashing him, I don't think he's awful...I just don't see what the big deal is.

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Please point out where anyone said it wasn't an advantage. Of course it is.

But the Mets have most of the Yanks' advantages and they've finished with <85 wins six times in the years since Cashman has been Yanks' GM. Same city. Many of the same city percs like a new $billion stadium. One of the highest revenue totals in baseball for many years. Playing in a lesser league. Yet on average they're 10-15 games a year behind Cashman's Yanks.

And you're deluding yourself if you think you could pick someone out of the stands at OPACY, make them Yanks GM, and think it's likely they could win 90+ games a year for a decade. Even if assembling a team Rotisserie-style was a GM's only job that's pure fantasy.

No chance. Compare the payrolls.

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So tell me, how would you have done things differently? Would you have looked Big George in the face and told him there'd be a few lean years because you're spending all of his cash on international free agents and overslot draft picks, since signing MLB free agents might be unseemly?

If you have $millions and need a new car, you don't get extra brownie points by buying a Suzuki. You go buy a twin turbo Porsche or a Bugatti.

No I would have done exactly what Cashman did -- went out and spent the money on no-brainer FAs.

I guess that makes me as good a GM as he is....

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Without seeing how Cashman would do on a team with limits in payroll, I can't be sure how to rate him. Maybe he's great at his job, but that greatness is masked by infinite payroll.

Or maybe he's average or below getting by due to resources.

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Without seeing how Cashman would do on a team with limits in payroll, I can't be sure how to rate him. Maybe he's great at his job, but that greatness is masked by infinite payroll.

Or maybe he's average or below getting by due to resources.

I think some people are confusing "bashing cashman" with objecting to him being top 3 in the game. You can do the second without doing the first.

Let's see, he inherited Jorge, Mo, Jeter and Petite.....he bought Soriano and turned him into ARod...he bought CC...Teix.....AJ.... Everyone wants to play for them and they have the most money. They can absorb big contracts so they make a nice trade partner.

I'm not really seeing where he's performing top 3 type miracles. For most of the last decade, the disparity between their pitching and their lineup was what really cost them in the postseason. They brought Clemens in as a May saviour for a reason: because they needed him. He's not the worst GM, but is he really top 3?

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Cashman is a good GM. He has 5 WS titles under his belt. Now if he had all those resources and was struggling to make the playoffs each year he'd be a bad GM. But he does his job. It's probably easier to do than all the other GM's but he gets it done.

I also think ranking AM ahead of Cashman would have been a joke. And I do believe AM is a good GM.

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I agree that it's hard to rate Cashman against a guy like AM. They're operating in different universes. In this sense, I'm not hating on Cashman, but I'm also not particularly impressed just because he fields winning teams.

On the other hand, I have a lot of respect for GMs that end up with Matt Garza, Scott Kazmir and Carlos Pena without spending $100m or giving up Hanley Ramirez type prospects. I also have a lot of respect for GMs that produce impact players from their minor leagues.

The Yankees have done very little of those things, while the Rays, Sox and O's have (or are beginning to have) more success in those areas.

I don't disagree with AM's ranking at this point though. I still think it's too early to annoint him as great just based on players with potential. He needs to seal the deal by fielding a competitive team and perhaps acquiring those 1-2 guys we need to put us over the top.

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What a joke. I have no respect for any rankings that put Cashman in the Top 15. He has the easiest job in sports, with a basically unlimited payroll. The Yankees have more bad signings than almost any other team.

THANK you. Could not agree more. The Yankees are a friggin' store-bought team of all-stars. And it's not like they're paying bargain prices for these guys. They're simply outbidding everyone else by miles, in most cases.

There's nothing particularly intelligent about the way they do business. I consider Cashman among the country's best roto managers, however.

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