When in Rome: How to Be a NY General Manager

Todd Morse@@TheRiddleClassAnalyst IAugust 7, 2008

Mike Tannenbaum was having a nice offseason.  He had a draft that should yield him some good youg players to plug some holes and add depth.  He made a solid play in free agency by adding a pass rushing OLB in Calvin Pace, and bolstered the offensive line by adding in Damien Woody and Alen Faneca.  He locked up budding superstar Strong Safety Kerry Rhodes, and unloaded players who couldn't play in the 3-4 such as the undersized DT Dewayne Robertson and MLB Jonathan Vilma and brought in a true 3-4 nose tackle the Jets desperately needed in Kris Jenkins.  Things were looking up in the meadowlands, and not because cross-league rivals just won the Super Bowl.

But that was the problem, wasn't it?  In New York, if you're not loud, you're not important.  At 11pm, August 7, 2008.  The Jets got loud, and Mike Tannenbaum officially became a New York General Manager.  What is the difference between a NY GM and a GM from another city?    

In the fastest paced city with the shortest attention span, New York General Managers are forced to choose headlines before doing what is best for their team.

Its about:

  • trading Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano, Nolan Ryan for Jim Fregosi, Tom Seaver for scrubs, Jason Isringhausen for Billy Taylor or Lenny Dykstra for Juan Samuel, Jeff Kent for Alvaro Espinoza, Rusty Staub for Mickey Lolich, Amos Otis for Joe Foy,
  • Trading Jay Buhner for Ken Phelps, Bob Tweksbury for Steve Trout, Willie McGee for Bob sykes, Fred McGriff for Dale Murray, Jose Contreras for Esteban Loaiza, adding to the pitching staff Javier Vazquez, Kevin Brown, Randy Johnson, Carl Pavano, Jaret Wright, Shawn Chacon, Aaron Small, Cory Lidle, Andy Pettite (part II) & Roger Clemens (part II), and getting a whole bunch of nothing out of it.  Also bringing in guys like Ivan Rodriguez and Richie Sexson this season. 
  • trading Brad Park and Jean Ratelle for Phil Esposito, trading Rick Middleton for Ken Hodge, trading Ville Niemenen for Sandis Ozolinsh, trading Mike Ridley and Kelly Miller for Bob Carpenter, or thinking Joe Sakic could replace Mark Messier 
  • trading four expiring contracts for Jamal Crawford, the rights to Leandro Barbosa for a future pick (David Lee), Camby & Nene for McDyess, flipping Penny for Marbury, bringing in Stevie Franchise, Glen Rice, Tim Thomas, Eddy Curry, Zach Randolph, Jerome James, Vin Baker, Jalen Rose, Allan Houston, Jared Jeffries, Larry Brown,
  • Trading for Ryan Smyth then seeing him walk two months later, Chara and a #1 pick (Spezza) for Yashin, Bryan McCabe and Todd Bertuzzi for Trevor Linden, Olli Jokinen and Roberto Luongo for Mark Parrish and Oleg Kvasha

Does Chad Pennington have the arm of a high school QB?  Maybe.  But the Brett Favre trade isn't about Pennington. 

Its about the splash.  Fans were bored.  Its the dog days of summer, baseball season is heating up, the Yankees can't be stealing all the thunder. 

Having the player be on SportsCenter, having the press conference, making the back page, making the front page, bumping the competitor off the talk shows.  NY GM's need to make the splash, and to make the splash, their players need to make the kind of money and have the name recognition New Yorkers will care about.

Pennington would probably have led the Jets to a similar record that they will get under Favre this season.  Pennington and Favre are two very different QBs - Favre the risk taking maverick and Pennington the dump and cut bait scientist.  Pennington is not a bad quarterback, he just doesn't have splash.  His arm is a towel, not a bazooka.  5 yard completions don't make highlight shows, fireworks do.  

Just check the stats:

Pennington, 32, a career 88.9 QB rating, 82 TDs to 52 INT (1.57:1), 65.6 completion %, and in his past two seasons since returning from injury:

Pennington, 32 years old:

25 games, 492 completions, 745 attempts, 66% completion percentage, 5117 yards, 27 TDs and 25 INT

Or broken down:

10.04 yards/completion, 6.86 yards per attempt, 1.11TD/game, 1 INT/Game

Favre, 39, a career 85.7 QB rating with 442 TD and 288 INT (1.53:1 ratio), 61.4 completion %, and his past two seasons:

32 games, 699 completions, 1148 attempts, 60.8% completion percentage, 8040 yards, 48 TD, 33 INT

11.5 yards/completion, 7.00 yards per attempt, 1.5 TD/game, 1.03 INT/game

What are the Jets really gaining?

Like the Yankees got with Ken Phelps, Kevin Brown and Randy Johnson, the Mets with Jim Fregosi and Victor Zambrano, the Rangers got with Phil Esposito and Sandis Ozolinsh, the Islanders with Alexi Yashin and Trevor Linden, and the Knicks with Stephon Marbury and Eddy Curry, the team gains a popular player with name and brand recognition, who probably won't be terrible, but in the end will cause more regret than fond memories.

As a side note, I love Pennington's chances if he winds up in Minnesota or Chicago.  I know there is a weather thing in Chicago, but they have the players, the TEs, the receiving RBs, short yardage WRs, to make it work for him there.

To the other NY GM's, Donnie Walsh, Garth Snow, Jerry Reese, Omar Minaya, Lou Lamoriello, Brian Cashman and Glen Sather - Tannenbaum just took his turn, whether it will help the Jets win or not, seems who blinks next?