5 MLB GMs on the Hot Seat This Winter
The offseason just kicked off. And while there hasn’t been a monumental free-agent signing or a blockbuster trade, it’s inevitable that the first domino will fall soon.
And as soon as players are on the move, fans and owners naturally begin to critique general managers.
Going into the 2014 season, a lot is on the line for several general managers. For instance, Los Angeles Angels GM Jerry Dipoto signed Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton to a combined $365 million over the past two offseasons. Despite the sizable investment, both players have been complete duds, which also puts Dipoto’s job security into question.
Read on to see all the MLB general managers on the hot seat this winter.
Sandy Alderson joined the New York Mets in October 2010. Taking over for Omar Minaya, who became notorious for handing out regrettable contracts, Alderson instead preached building from within.
The former Billy Beane mentor has been true to his word, acquiring the likes of Zack Wheeler, Noah Syndergaard and Travis d'Arnaud via trade. But now entering 2014, Mets fans are eager to see if the product has been worth the wait.
Given the apparent $30 million freed to spend this offseason, fans are also hoping Alderson will sign a big outfield bat like Shin-Soo Choo to solve the Mets' offensive woes. But if Alderson fails to improve the team in 2014 (and if Wheeler or d’Arnaud struggle in a full season), it’s possible he will be forced to step down.
In 2012, the Washington Nationals won the division for the first time since 1994. And back then, they were called the Montreal Expos.
But while winning 98 games was a huge achievement, the Nationals underachieved mightily in 2013. Despite general manager Mike Rizzo spending 27.8 percent more payroll in 2013, the team slumped to an 86-76 record.
Few critics doubt the talent Rizzo has brought into the Nationals organization. But with raised expectations, the team will need to build on its 2012 glory for Rizzo’s job to stay safe.
Being the general manager for the New York Yankees is more difficult than people give credit for. Sure, the Bombers spend more money than any other organization, but when it comes to decision-making, general manager Brian Cashman doesn’t have full autonomy.
For instance, despite being against extending Alex Rodriguez to the 10-year, $275 million contract he signed in December 2007, the Steinbrenners overruled Cashman and forced him to ink the predictable albatross.
But even though Cashman’s lacking power is public knowledge, that hardly makes his job secure. If the Yankees miss the playoffs for a second straight season in 2014, Cashman will undoubtedly be the fall man.
Alex Anthopoulos was one of the most active general managers in baseball last offseason. Anthopoulos acquired R.A. Dickey, Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Emilio Bonifacio, Melky Cabrera and others—moves that most thought going into the 2013 season would bolster the Toronto Blue Jays roster and position them for a playoff run.
But each of Anthopoulos’ moves didn’t pan out. The revamped Blue Jays rotation posted a combined 4.81 ERA, which was second worst in the major leagues. And free-agent signee Cabrera witnessed his park-adjusted OPS+ drop by 69 points.
The result was a last-place finish for a team that critics felt could be an exciting contender in October. Looking ahead to 2014, if the Blue Jays fall flat again, Anthopoulos could be out of a job.
A little less than two months after becoming the Los Angeles Angels’ general manager, Jerry Dipoto made a tremendous mistake. Dipoto decided to ink first baseman Albert Pujols to an obscene 10-year, $240 million contract.
Even though Pujols enjoyed a Hall of Fame career with the St. Louis Cardinals from 2001 to 2011, Dipoto felt confident handing the then 32-year-old a commitment through age 42. At just Season 2 into Pujols’ deal, the predictable became reality: Pujols got injured and his production suffered.
In addition to his Pujols blunder, Dipoto also signed Josh Hamilton to a five-year, $125 million contract last offseason. The general manager hoped the combination of Pujols and Hamilton would emerge as a dynamic offensive duo. But like Pujols, Hamilton struggled in 2013. The outfielder posted a .250 batting average, park-adjusted 108 OPS+ and just 21 home runs over 636 plate appearances.
Having committed $365 million to two aging and potentially ineffective hitters should be grounds for losing a job. So for Jerry Dipoto, his seat is about as hot as one can get.