You may not have noticed since it's not broadcast in prime time or on ESPN, but the MLB draft took place this week, replenishing baseball's minor leagues with an influx of new prospects.
For some teams, the draft is a chance to improve for improvement's sake. They don't need to develop more talent, but if given the chance, who would turn down that opportunity?
But for other teams, the draft is a do-or-die endeavor, affecting the immediate fate of a ballclub and the natty suits who run it.
Here are three general managers who skew toward the latter, needing their top picks from 2013 to pan out in a big way:
Dan O'Dowd, Colorado Rockies
Dan O'Dowd is part of an elite club amongst MLB personnel men, one of only four major league GMs who was hired in the 90s.
Of that exclusive group, one has four World Series rings (Brian Cashman), one has two World Series rings (Brian Sabean), one had Brad Pitt play him in a movie (Billy Beane) and one, Dan O'Dowd, has lost over 100 games more than he's won.
Which one of those things is not like the others?
The Colorado Rockies are having a mini-Renaissance this year, and to be fair, injuries have derailed a once-promising roster that O'Dowd worked hard to build.
But O'Dowd's track record speaks for itself, and it screams that he doesn't deserve to be this long-tenured.
Jonathan Gray seems like a pretty safe bet at No. 3 overall, but the fact that Colorado was selecting that high says everything you need to know about O'Dowd's job security. He was retained during a front office shakeup last year, but with a few more sub-.500 seasons, that will not be the case.
Pitching prospects rarely pan out in the Rockies' system, and though a lot of that has to do with where they play, it doesn't make O'Dowd's resume look any better. If Gray can't rise the ranks and break the mold, Colorado could soon be in need of a new GM.
Doug Melvin, Milwaukee Brewers
It was not too long ago that Milwaukee was considered one of baseball's rising franchises. It had two of the game's top young stars, a blossoming fanbase and an impressive future ahead of it.
Since then, though, things have taken a drastic turn for the worse. Finances insured that they couldn't keep Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun, so the team let the former go and invested heavily in the lighter batsman. But now Braun finds himself immersed in his second PED scandal, and his stock in league circles might be irreparably tarnished. Can we even still call him a franchise guy?
In the midst of that, the team has fallen off the map, placing last in the NL Central at time of publication. The Houston Astros are gone from the division, but that still takes a significant amount of suckitude to achieve. The Chicago Cubs play there, for God's sake!
Things are spiraling out of control for Doug Melvin in Milwaukee, and unless he can develop some talent in the farm system quick, he could (and would) become an easy scapegoat on a sinking ship.
Without a first-round pick, and without a college ballplayer selected until No. 90 overall, that might be easier said than done.
Michael Hill, Miami Marlins
Because how could he not be?
Michael Hill has had ample time to revive this once-proud franchise—all right, once-proud roster—and so far, the results have been ugly.
Playing in what's still the weaker league, Miami owns baseball's worst record, by far, at 17-44. Even the Houston Astros, whose lineup is more anonymous than this quote, look down on them in the standings and scoff.
The Florida Marlins always went through years of struggle, but they mitigated those losses with a bountiful minor league system. They would binge and purge MLB seasons, but the well never ran dry because the organization was competent.
Since making the move to Miami, though, and even right before that, that philosophy has changed. Hill has tried to build through splashy free-agent moves rather than solid draft picks. And boy has it been ugly.
If the Marlins want to get back to their winning ways, they need Hill to get back to the team's roots. And that starts with developing talent through the farm.
If he didn't achieve that with this draft, he might be a goner soon.
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