How much power does Marlins GM Michael Hill really have?
There are some Major League Baseball organizations that have highly involved owners. Because of this, they often limit the power of their general manager.
Other MLB clubs have owners that restrict their GM's reign. Whether it be a tight payroll or a conflict in opinions, they don't allow the general manager to make the important decisions.
Here's a list, pointing out five of the least-empowered GMs in baseball.
Ben Cherington was handled by the front office last season.
When Ben Cherington took over as Red Sox general manager last season, he should have had a say in who would be the team's new manager—but that didn't happen.
Cherington wanted Dale Sveum, but instead, John Henry and company handed him Bobby Valentine. Christopher L. Gasper of The Boston Globe described the situation perfectly in his article, writing, "Last season Genteel Ben was neutered from the get-go by the decision to bring in the self-aggrandizing Valentine."
Obviously Cherington was limited with his decision-making as a GM last season. After being in charge of putting together player personnel, you would figure he'd have a say over who the new manager would be.
This season the situation appears to have changed because Cherington got the guy he wanted for the job: John Farrell. Perhaps Cherington is gaining more power, but what happens the rest of the season will show that.
It seems like Jerry DiPoto is being left out of the loop.
Before the Winter Meetings, Angels GM Jerry DiPoto told MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez that he wasn't interested in a position player (via Twitter).
Also, on Gonzalez's MLB Newtork Blog, DiPoto is quoted as saying:
"I don't feel like anything else is imminent, I don't feel like anything else is pressing and I don't think anything else is required."
A day later, the Angels signed Josh Hamilton to a five-year, $125 million contract.
Seems a little strange doesn't it? Maybe he was playing the move down, but maybe owner Arte Moreno decided to go behind DiPoto's back.
Last year, the Angels stunned the baseball world when they signed Albert Pujols. Now again, out of nowhere, they sign another huge name.
For many years, Brian Cashman was overshadowed by Steinbrenner.
It was clear that GM Brian Cashman wasn't happy about some of the recent Yankees signings, especially the Rafael Soriano signing two years ago.
Bryan Hoch, of MLB.com, wrote about Cashman's disgust in his January 19 article. Cashman was quoted as saying:
"I didn't recommend it, just because I didn't think it was an efficient way to allocate the remaining resources we have. We had a lot of debate about that."
So instead of the general manager working out the details of the contract, Hal Steinbrenner and Randy Levine did.
Furthermore, it has been reported that Cashman isn't happy with management's lack of flexibility during the offseason.
Joel Sherman of The New York Post wrote in a recent article that Cashman is "frustrated" with the team's inability to go after key free agents.
Michael Hill has dealt with a bunch of fire sales.
Much like we've seen before, the Miami Marlins decided to hold a fire sale during the offseason. A year after splurging on players like Jose Reyes, Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle, the Marlins went in the opposite direction this year.
With acts like this becoming redundant, you have to question how much power general manager Michael Hill possesses.
Marlins owner Jeff Loria has dismantled the ballclub twice in the last decade, leaving Hill without a lot of authority. You cannot blame Hill because he simply isn't given the resources.
And it's especially hard because a lot of the top players won't sign with Miami.
In a USA Today article, agent Scott Boras is quoted as saying:
"I've never had a franchise player there because it was just not something my client wanted to risk. (Marlins executives) were always upfront about it. They told me, 'We don't do no-trade clauses.' But it's very difficult to sell an expectancy to a player knowing that it might last for only one year.
Because of Loria's lack of spending (the Marlins' payroll went from $130 million to $30 million), Hill is put in an impossible situation.
Neal Huntington isn't given much to work with.
Neal Huntington has done a nice job making the Pittsburgh Pirates respectable lately. With the fifth-lowest payroll in the MLB, the Pirates won 79 games and were in contention for the majority of the season.
Everybody realizes the Pirates are a small-market team, but not many people know the man who owns the team.
His name is Robert Nutting, and he's a billionaire.
That's not a typo. According to CNBC writer Bob Smizik, Nutting's net worth is $1.1 billion, and he's the 10th-richest owner in baseball.
Nutting is a successful businessman who owns Ogden Newspapers (which is published in 13 states) and Pennsylvania's Seven Springs Mountain resort.
It's pretty asinine to think that Nutting has that much money, but he won't allow Huntington to spend it. It just seems like he's hoarding money and hindering the Pirates organization.