GM Trade Histories: AL East

Brendan Bianowicz has more updates to the GM Trade History series.  Today he covers the AL East.  Check out the Excel spreadsheets below to see trades, free agent signings, and notable draft picks for each GM.


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35 Comments on "GM Trade Histories: AL East"


5 years 6 months ago

Brian Cashman seems to like to trade guys he has traded for in recent years:
Hideki Irabu = Jake Westbrook, Ted Lilly and Christian Parker
Ricky Ledee, Jake Westbrook and Zach Day = David Justice
David Justice = Robin Ventura
Robin Ventura = Scott Proctor and Bubba Crosby
Scott Proctor = Wilson Betemit
Wilson Betemit, Jhonny Nunez, and Jeff Marquez = Nick Swisher

gurumystic
5 years 6 months ago

Like it or not-BC is the best GM in baseball.
Makes mistakes, (we ALL do), but overall slickest saviest guy out there.

Guest
5 years 6 months ago

uhh i’m sure many many people would disagree with that…having a 200MM+ payroll tends to help?

04Forever
5 years 6 months ago

Agreed. I would say the Marlins GM Beinfest is the real genius. Better then Theo and Cashman because me makes good trades and make a competitive club with almost no payroll

johnsilver
5 years 6 months ago

Never gets any credit for it either. People here always expect Beinfest to give his players away for a wad of tobacco, but he never, ever does that and has a playoff caliber team year after year, firesales and all.

Put him in charge of a team with payroll and this guy would rock.

gurumystic33
5 years 6 months ago

True 200 mil helps.
Good point indeed.
Just IMOP he is the razor blade operator of GMs.
Low key but runs through baseball like a 2 ton bull.
16 years in playoffs, (or so), several WS wins, and one year out of playoffs due to injuries-(probably). He has been the engine behind much of that, (and Gene Michael, [and CO], who I think should be given more power as I think he is a BB genious-though old now) and probably lost a step or three).

Vmmercan
5 years 6 months ago

It’s remarkable how much more successful his trades have been since he assumed full control (Cashman)

5 years 6 months ago

The Abreu deal was a very good one aside from the tragic death of Cory Lidle. The deal for Swisher looks like a real steal. The Nady and Marte trade would have worked out even better if they both hadn’t gotten hurt.

tfeuerst
5 years 6 months ago

Saying he’s the best gm is quite a stretch, more like top 10. That said, for a guy who has a reputation of emptying the farm, he’s gotten quality players for a whole bunch of crap. The most notable names hes shipped away (aside from recent trades) are Juan Rivera and Alfonso Soriano, so given the caliber of players hes gotten back, not bad.

04Forever
5 years 6 months ago

It depends on what you wanna look at for who is the best GM. If you think its wooing big free agents, go for Cashman. If you like guys with good scouting techniques and building prospects, go with Theo. The Marlins made a decent club out of nothing, id say they are the all around best.

CosaOne
5 years 6 months ago

I think the Red Sox scouting director should get more credit for those things then Theo, or most GMs to be honest. Fans like to give the GMs credit but ive read that aside from the high bonus 1st/2nd round guys the GMs have very little hands on involvement in the draft picking.If anything the GM should be credited with picking excellent personnel to run the draft and scouting rather then most of the actual picks

5 years 6 months ago

Bang on! But then again, find me an industry that doesn’t have Senior Exec’s getting the lions share of the credit when the grunts do the work!

And like you said, he did the hiring and built the department!

BirdmanRob
5 years 6 months ago

The Bedard trade was the biggest raping in the last 20 years, and the Tejada trade worked out ok too! Gotta give the nod to Macphail, even though the Orioles still stink.

5 years 6 months ago

A seriously lopsided deal forsure!

But………

I think Bartolo Colon for Sizemore, Brandan Phillips and Cliff Lee, might have the edge here……….might…..

5 years 6 months ago

Based purely on success, Cashman has to be considered near the top. Question though: Does waiting for a players highest $$ offer to come in and then simply beating it make you a great GM? Theo re-built the Sox farm and has positioned them well with the ability to trade from a strength (prospects) and acquire what is needed. One thing on Theo, from an outsiders point of view, Theo seems to fall in love with certain guys (Kelly) and seems to become blinded where his special guys are concerned. Ask the Angels what years of refusing to trade super prospect Wood has got them………AA (the Jays Anthopolous): Young guy seems to be starting with a plan. Has already beefed up scouting by more than 50%, with some saying it is with not only quantity, but also quality. Has ownership committed to spend 16-20 million at the draft. Has 8-9 picks in 1st 3 rounds. Apparently willing to invest in AChap…..Dont know a lot about the Rays, but man have the stockpiled an abundance of talent through the draft. Yes I know finishing near the bottom of MLB helped with high picks, but they seem to get it right more often then not.Same thing for the O’s…they seem to be stockpiling youngsters that have the ability to play and contribute at the MLB level….I suppose if every GM had the luxury of spending 45% more than the next closest team on average over the last 10 years, things may look a little different for Cashman being considered the best, but who knows.

5 years 6 months ago

Here is how I rank the GM’s of the AL East:

Epstien
Friedman
Cashman
MacPhail
Anthopoulos

Yes, that’s right the Rays GM has done a better job fielding a contender with the least resources. Epstien is just a flat out genius, I rarely disagree with the moves he makes, even the ones that don’t work out. Tough for Cashman to be a bad GM with ultimate buying and selling power. That said, he’s been very average all things considered. MacPhail is moving up the list but he needs more time. Toronto is just a complete front office mess right now.

basemonkey
5 years 6 months ago

For me it’s between Macphail and Friedman.

Epstein and Cashman don’t count. When you have a payroll that can absorb every mistake you can make, you’re just evaluating shopping lists. Also Epstein didn’t inherit a bad farm either. Macphail did, or at least there was plenty of improvement needed. Most casual fans who don’t follow minors will judge this based on standings and name value, which misses the point here. Every trade macphail has pulled off for the Os has been a net gain, with a consistent strategy, to get younger and legit ML talent. He’s conducted a player development revolution in collecting talent evaluator and coaches from around baseball. Instituted a draft strategy of pouring all saved money into signing dropped draftees for above-slot money. Started year-round 24/7 draft scouting program and expanded international scouting.

With the BoSox and Yankees (due to their annual contention) the draft is a footnote that most fans ignore, every now and then fans will hear about an international signing but they’re all about the same, and the farm system is mainly good for a warm body or depth (moreso with the Yankees). This isn’t to diminish what they’ve been able to accomplish at all, it takes smarts to stay on top, but, it has to be kept in perspective. With any other franchise, a single bad signing like a Dice-K or Pavano is enough to sink the franchise into a spiral. The Yankees and Bosox can absorb 4-5 contracts like that and still have some left in the tank. Teams like the Rays have been managing and emerging into contention with less margin for error and still fields a strong team without depleting one of the best farms in baseball. The Os are right behind them.

johnsilver
5 years 6 months ago

Basemonkey,The Rays had the #1-4 pick for over a dozen years, odds were they almost HAD to get a decent team out of it was it not? They had some excellent picks, even Hamilton was a #1 in Texas they let go at one time for off field adventures. You get enough #1-2 picks (about a #1 as well) and odds are you are bound to get a playoff team eventually, unless the team is ran as inept as say Pittsburgh is.

basemonkey
5 years 6 months ago

Gross oversimplification of player development. Granted your top picks are a better bet, but it’s still a bigger gamble than any other sport that that player will be of any value for a 6-10 yr career, thru arb yrs.

#1 picks will have struggles too in spite of great talent. In the last decade you have Adrian and Hamilton who both didn’t find success until they wasted away all trade value and eventually found themselves on teams who didn’t draft them. Since 1990 I think the only #1 overall picks who you could say have had or having the kind of careers you expected for that kind of pick was Chipper Jones and ARod. Maybe Mauer can eventually be included if he stays healthy for the next decade or so.

But the bigger question here to me is why are people handicapping the Rays for having top picks? This is a thread about quality of baseball management, right? It would be a good point if the top picking teams were always the worst MLB teams but best farm systems, but that’s not the case at all. Under this rationale you’d expect the Pirates, Nationals, and Royals to be among the best player devlopment and farms in baseball. Not even close.

For me the bottomline of good baseball management is looking at where they started, where they end up, and evaluating the obstacles they’ve had to navigate. I am not diminishing the Boston or NYY GMs at all, but if you never have to suffer the consequences of your mistakes, and you’re always assured of a new toy one way or the other, that’s the kind of GMing you find in video games. With GMs like Friedman, MacPhail, Beinfest, Shuerholz (when he was still a GM), maybe Beane, maybe Colletti, maybe Stoneman, etc..those GMs have had to find creative uses of waiver rules, roster management, Rule V, trades, drafts, real bonafide scouting PROGRAMS (not just a random outpost ever now and then) to build up the internal system of their franchises. For all of the MLB successes of the Red Sox and Yankees, they aren’t that focussed on the internal side of things (tho Theo it is much much less the case. He’s a pretty strong GM)…

politicalman
5 years 6 months ago

Flag,

Picking 1-4 in the draft is not as a for sure bet as picking proven players in free agency and scribbling out a check. It’s not even close.

politicalman
5 years 6 months ago

Flag,

Picking 1-4 in the draft is not as a for sure bet as picking proven players in free agency and scribbling out a check. It’s not even close.

Wek
5 years 6 months ago

Some say the Yankees and Red Sox GMs can’t be called one of the top GMs due to their organization’s payroll, which is true, but if that’s the case, GM’s like Friedman and McPhail can’t be either. It’s easy to get talent when you place last every year and get a few of the top draft picks. Do that for 4-5 years and you got yourself 9-10 guys who can then be traded for more prospects when contender teams are in need of above average players.

GMs shouldn’t just be evaluated based on the farm system or their organization’s payroll. Trades are more accurate of a GM’s ability to build up a competitive team based on what’s available to them (players). For example, Halladay trade, Bedard trade, Bay trade, Swisher trade, Teixeira trade, etc.

basemonkey
5 years 6 months ago

“..Some say the Yankees and Red Sox GMs can’t be called one of the top GMs due to their organization’s payroll, which is true, but if that’s the case, GM’s like Friedman and McPhail can’t be either. It’s easy to get talent when you place last every year and get a few of the top draft picks. Do that for 4-5 years and you got yourself 9-10 guys who can then be traded for more prospects when contender teams are in need of above average players. ..”

That sounds like someone who doesn’t follow baseball drafts and development to me. First of all baseball drafts are a crap shoot. A top pick isn’t a garuantee of anything. In any given year, you have maybe 1 or 2 guys out of the top 15 picks, who turns out to be a legit MLB player of at least average value. So many guys flame out due to injury or ineffectiveness or whatever. And at the fastest, it takes a season or two for them to be considered for the ML team. Assuming that the top picks get packaged up together in trades is a gross oversimplification of it. Name me one recent trade of any of those cellar-dwelling teams who package up multiple top draft picks? You’re lucky if even just one exhibits success, in which case, that team won’t be trading him.

Wek
5 years 6 months ago

I think you are the one who doesn’t understand the meaning of having the first couple of draft picks. While it’s true that not every single player drafted will develop into superstars, you DO have the ability to choose before anyone else chooses. This means that you can get the best player with the highest percentage of developing into a great player. Whether you made the right decision or not that’s a different story and it’s based on your scouts’ reports, not the GM. Doesn’t matter if you have the best scouts if you have the last pick every year, very talented players are very scarce and they are pretty much gone by the fiftieth pick.

basemonkey
5 years 6 months ago

Well, the baseball draft, unlike other sports, is not the “science” it is in those other sports. It is the only major US sport where teams regularly select High School prep athletes as a “high promise” strategy. They base such selections on projectable bodies (i.e. if they already are at or close to ideal ML body types for a given position) and what kind of abilities they already feature at such a young age (e.g. recent Braves HS draftee selection Zack Wheeler already touted a low to mid 90s fastball at a lanky 6’4″ frame). That being said, few of those young prospects are at the level of being a majorleaguer at the time of the draft yet, so scouts base their opinion on likelihood of being a majorleaguer in the future based on how little said prospect needs to improve from where they are at the time of the draft to where they need to be. During the course of a HS pick’s minorleague career they need to do some basic things like adjust to a pro ball lifestyle, accept coaching, learn strikezone, and build up their bodies to take a full pounding of a 162 game long season. The GM of an organization has much to say about these decisions because they are usually the ones who institutes the drafting philosophies and does the hirings of the scouts and player personnel managers, so suggesting that they have nothing to do with it is disingenuous.

Returning to the HS question, unlike, say, football, baseball doesn’t have the same infrastructure that the college football conferences provide. True, it does insure some garuantees as to what kind of player a team will draft if they get a shot at drafting college studs like Matt Wieters or Pedro Alvarez, but those types of college picks are uncommon. The HS factor makes the whole draft an inexact science. There’s plenty of examples of teams consistently drafting studs out of the late 1st to later rounds (e.g. Rich Harden (16th), Jon Lester (3rd), Erik Bedard (6th), Chase Utley (2nd), Adam Lind(3rd), etc..).

Wek
5 years 6 months ago

I think you are the one who doesn’t understand the meaning of having the first couple of draft picks. While it’s true that not every single player drafted will develop into superstars, you DO have the ability to choose before anyone else chooses. This means that you can get the best player with the highest percentage of developing into a great player. Whether you made the right decision or not that’s a different story and it’s based on your scouts’ reports, not the GM. Doesn’t matter if you have the best scouts if you have the last pick every year, very talented players are very scarce and they are pretty much gone by the fiftieth pick.

Gibson17
5 years 6 months ago

Yeah, Theo really built the RS this off-season with their minor league call-ups Scutaro, Beltre and Cameron and then trading their drafted player Kotchman.

RS fans should probably realize that the Yankees farm is pretty good. Cashman has made mistakes, like all GM’s, but he has been very, very good since gaining full control.

Also, teams like the Marlins and Rays had top 5 draft picks for years, so you are bound to get some pretty good players that way. Cashman and Theo have done very good jobs.

Finally, I think it is impossible to say one GM is the best, but certainly Cashman and Theo belong in the top 8-10 and that is pretty good company.

johnsilver
5 years 6 months ago

Basemonkey,

In order to give Friedman credit for making excellent use for drafting skill, you have to really have serious problems with teams like Pittsburgh, Kansas City and Dayton Moore and Neal Huntington that continue to hold onto a job, drafting?? These people oversea teams that maybe in Pittsburgh’s case that *finally* have seen the light, but KC continues as a backwater.

Imagine a team that had with $$$ that could get the #1-4 overall pick (like Tampa, KC, Pittsburgh) did for 10-12 consecutive years and has a actual working farm system in place, with people that teach skills that develop MLB players? Pittsburgh seems to have forgotten that almost entirely, KC developed few, Washington fairly new to the game to yet judge and the Rays, while did get some of it’s players to the big time, wasted some of it’s top picks on players with off field problems in Dukes, Hamilton, Young, Upton. Each of those had serious character issues that should have been addressed.

Drafting good/drafting smart are 2 different things. Friedman and Lamarr both made mistakes with having high picks.

Rays finally getting the point that you can’t just draft a player with best skills available and that mental plays a part as well. That is my knock on Lamarr earlier, Friedman finally got ride of his earlier picks, with the sole exception of Upton.

basemonkey
5 years 6 months ago

Well, as I stated before, I do have a problem with bottom-dwelling teams who squander their “opportunities.” And, conversely, when a team like that, under the same small market conditions is able to improve and excel one must give them credit too. I am not going to go on the rec’d and say Friedman is batting 1.00 either. I am just saying that, this kind of best management debate should be taken in context. It isn’t an award invented to give praise to already successful teams. The “Manager of the Year” award, for example, usually goes to the manager who excels in spite of the toughest circumstances, not to the manager of a team already on top who wins even more. If this may give you an idea, another team in another league who I might consider one of the best GMed teams is the Twins (and I am not a Twins fan). Year in, year out, they might not necessarily win it all but they have consistently drafted strong, maintained a solid farm philosohpy, fielded a quality ML team, while managing small market obstacles. Who knows? Maybe Cashman or Theo are a genius GMs, and, if they held the reigns for a team like the Twins, they’d take them even farther? The point is, they don’t have to bridge the kind of gaps those teams do, therefore I can’t say their runs are as much an managerial accomplishment as other such GMs.

We can have our different opinions on who the best AL EAST GM is. You’re entitled to your opinion. Some fans will give a GM extra points because of the pennants, titles, and All-Stars they acquire. I am just stating my take. I don’t want to take away to what I see as great management by Theo (and, sure, Cashman too maybe) but, to use an analogy, if this were a golf game, those two are good golfers but they’re spotted an extra stroke every green. I’m not being a hater, because those two deserve credit too. I’m a baseball fan of several decades and I remember those 80s Yankees teams and pre-00s Boston teams, so I know for a fact that it’s not a gimme to stay on top, even for the BoSox and Yankees.

johnsilver
5 years 6 months ago

Basemonkey,

Not trying to take everything away from the Rays either. I live here in Florida and it seems like everything they do here is magnified. Do understand that all teams make mistakes, but that team just continued to make the exact same mental mistake, compounded one after the other, after the other with top picks. Like they never learned. How many mentally unstable players (with juvy criminal records) do you pick before you finally learn?

Fine ran team that drafts well/smart and continues to be ran among the best? Try Beinfest and the Fish, that is a 1st Class organization, always ran on a shoestring and can always be counted on to be at/above .500.

Not looking to start some kind of argument and always respect your opinion here. These smaller market teams need to go about drafting and building teams in an entirely different manner and the Fish have been doing the best job of it since John Henry owned them. Shame the rest of baseball ridicules them for being successful at it.

basemonkey
5 years 6 months ago

I’ll agree with that. I mentioned Beinfast in an earlier post here as one of the better GMs in baseball. The Marlins seem to be tops in many ways in spite of their obstacles. You have to wonder what that franchise would be like if they finally got the opportunity to run the club with a normal revenue stream with a fanbase willing to support it financially.

Anyways, my posts illustrate the kind of GMing that I personally value, so in the AL EAST, the closest things to that might be MacPhail and Friedman. J.P. was way too conservative with his emphasis on “surer bet” college guys. Theo benefits from managing a team with a heavy revenue stream, but he deserves credit for expanding International signing efforts, and, emphasis on player development. You don’t find that done so successfully much in big market teams. With Cashman, every trade the Yankees make, it seems like they’ll throw in cash considerations (which fans tend to ignore) or take on an albatross contract to sweeten the deal, so in retrospect, such deals look better than they are in terms of pure player values. For instance fans will look at the Arod trade and compare the players the Yankees gave up vs. the Rangers and think Cashman made out big, but casual fans rarely consider that the Yankees added 300+% of the salary they gave up in Soriano and Arias to acquire the highest paid player in baseball. And, to that point, it hardly takes a genius talent evaluator to comprehend that Arod was a great player at that point in his career. Getting more bang for your buck, and, guaging, say, Garza for Young before they establish their MLB careers is the kind of thing you see in strong GMs.

jimbeem
5 years 6 months ago

In general, If you want to look at freidman you have to look at what he’s done while he’s been there. 3years? Those high picks were not his to make because he wasn’t running the team. Friedman is one of the best if you consider the trades he’s made while being on the job for only a few years, working with what he had, and working with a tight budget. they got to the world series 2years ago. Not bad..not bad and all and on a budget.

jimbeem
5 years 6 months ago

to expand a little: the delmon young trade for garza AND bartlett which has already been mentioned. the longoria and david price top picks. the carlos pena signing to a minor league deal from the scrap heap. Trading aubrey huff for zobrist and talbot, trading mark hendrickson, toby hall and julio lugo to the dodgers for jackson and navarro. pretty good moves. his bad moves are the burrell signing but I think that is more of a NL transition to the AL east issue. Troy percival signing, ouch! I think maddon had something to do with that.

Wek
5 years 6 months ago

basemonkey,

I’m not sure where you are going with the difference between HS and college players in the draft. But the bottomline is that having the top draft picks for 5+ years will always make help a GM look great based on the farm system. You are bound to get at least 3-4 great players with high ceiling out of 10 if you are constantly getting the top picks. These players can then be traded to contenders (a.k.a raping another’s team’s farm system) such as what the Marlins have done. This doesn’t mean that there won’t be any talent in the later pick. There will always be hidden talent in the draft, but with a higher pick you have more availabity and assurance. And as I said before, development of a player cannot be factored in because there are many outside factors that can affect it at any time.

I’m not trying to start a fight or anything. I think McPhail and Friedman have done a pretty good job so far but to say that they are great GMs based on just the farm system that came from top draft picks is not accurate. Same thing can be said about Cashman and Epstaien about being great GMs because of all the superstars they sign.

johnsilver
5 years 6 months ago

“Garza for Young before they establish their MLB careers is the kind of thing you see in strong GMs.”

Excellent point there and meant to mention this in earlier post. Young was getting very lazy the tail end of 2007, not running out ground balls, pouting, griping. Things a rookie just does not do. Why the Twins gave up Matt Garza for a young already chronic griper like this, much less Bartlett to boot has got to be one of the coups of the last decade.