Time may be running out on some veteran general managers who are reaching a critical point in what could end up as their last season on the job.
These situations could create a conflict of interest with the general managers, understandably, wanting to go all out to win now while the organization might not be willing to mortgage the future.
In any case, here are two general managers who'll likely need their team to turn things around in the second half or risk being out of work by October. And they probably won't wait around and do nothing. Expect a very active trade deadline as they try to save their jobs.
Los Angeles Dodgers
GM since 2006 season
Playoff Appearances: Three
The overall win-loss record indicates a successful tenure by Colletti, who took over for Paul DePodesta after he was fired by then-owner Frank McCourt just 20 months after hiring him. McCourt also fired Dan Evans shortly after purchasing the team in 2004, despite the 263-223 the team had under Evans' watch over the previous three seasons.
So it wouldn't be a big surprise if the new ownership group let Colletti go, despite the contract extension he reportedly signed last September. If the team falters during a season that started with rather large expectations, they'd have a pretty good excuse to make their own hire after the season.
Getting the go-ahead to increase payroll to an estimated $216,000—more than double the 2012 payroll of an estimated $105,000—was both a blessing and a curse for Colletti.
He was able to add several players with sizable salaries, starting with Hanley Ramirez last July, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Adrian Gonzalez in August and Zack Greinke in December. With those additions, however, came some rather lofty expectations.
Attendance had dipped to 36,236 per game in 2011, but it jumped back to 41,040 in 2012 and a league-leading 43,074 this season. Why? Much of it has to do with new ownership showing dedication and a willingness to do whatever it takes to put the best team on the field. After all the Yasiel Puig hype dies down, fan interest could also dwindle if the team falls out of playoff contention.
Dayn Perry of CBSSports.com thinks the re-signing of Brandon League, who recently lost his closer's job, to a three-year deal worth at least $22.5 million is Colletti's worst decision. There's plenty of competition, though. Here are a few other of the Dodgers' signings or trades that have been disastrous, to put it mildly.
1. Jason Schmidt signed to three-year, $47 million deal. This one made my list of "Worst Free-Agent Signings Over the Last 10 Years." Schmidt had a 6.02 ERA in 10 starts over an injury-plagued stint in Los Angeles.
2. Juan Pierre signed to five-year, $44 million deal. Pierre lasted only three years before being traded to the White Sox. He posted a .696 OPS as a Dodger.
3. Juan Uribe signed to three-year, $21 million deal. The Dodgers needed a third baseman and Uribe was coming off of a championship season with the Giants in which he had 24 homers and 85 runs batted in. As a Dodger, he's posted a .601 OPS with nine homers in 191 games.
4. Carlos Santana traded to Indians for Casey Blake. At the time, Santana was a minor league prospect who had put up big numbers in the low minors. Blake was a veteran third baseman who stabilized the hot corner for the Dodgers, posting a .767 OPS until his career ended after the 2011 season. But there's no mistaking who got the better end of this deal. Santana has posted an .816 OPS since entering the league in 2011.
At the moment, the Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp extensions aren't looking so good either, and the trades made during the last year have not worked out because Beckett, Crawford and Ramirez have not been able to stay healthy. Chris Capuano and Ted Lilly, both acquired by Colletti, have also had multiple stints on the disabled list.
Injuries have played a major factor in the struggles of the 2013 team, but it's also Colletti's job to make sure there is enough depth in the upper minors to alleviate that problem. That hasn't been the case.
GM since 2009 season
Playoff Appearances: Zero
Having a really good farm system can only take you so far. Eventually, it has to translate to players who produce at the big league level, and Zduriencik and the Mariners were counting on that happening by now. It hasn't happened.
The team is 30-38 and 8.5 games back of a playoff spot. Dustin Ackley and Jesus Montero were sent to the minors. Justin Smoak probably deserved to join them, but he's been on the disabled list. If not for Zduriencik's offseason acquisitions of Jason Bay, Raul Ibañez, Kendrys Morales and Michael Morse, and the re-signing of Hisashi Iwakuma, it actually could've been much worse.
Not all his acquisitions have been good, though.
During his tenure, he's traded Cliff Lee, Doug Fister and Michael Morse, and none of the players acquired in those deals have made an impact in the majors. If Michael Pineda, who was traded for Montero before the 2012 season, comes back from a shoulder injury to help the Yankees in the second half, that trade could appear lopsided, as well.
His signing of Chone Figgins (pictured) also cracked my list of the "The Worst Free-Agent Signings Over the Last 10 Years."
A new crop of prospects—Nick Franklin, Mike Zunino—has arrived and others—Brad Miller, Danny Hultzen, Taijuan Walker—will be in the majors shortly. Unfortunately, Zduriencik might not be around when they're all on the major league roster at the same time.
For that to be avoided, he'll need the current group to make a run and at least stay within reach of a playoff spot late into the season. In order to do so, he'll probably need ownership to approve a deal to acquire an impact player for some minor league talent.
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