What They Were Saying: NL East GMs

Three of the National League East general managers got their start in the Expos/Nationals organization. Two of the GMs began their careers with the unenviable task of following up Pat Gillick. Here's how the five NL East GMs were perceived when they landed their first permanent general manager jobs.

Note that Beinfest was interim GM of the Expos before landing a permanent job with the Marlins and that I looked back at Omar Minaya since the Mets don’t have a GM.

Mike Rizzo

“When he was a kid, Mike Rizzo wanted a job in the majors. As a player, not an executive. When it was clear that wasn't going to happen, when he was released after a four-year stint as an infielder in the minors with the California Angels organization in the early 1980s, the question was: What now?

Rizzo sat down for a talk with his father, a baseball scout whose advice was to stick with the sport, but to switch his focus.

‘He said, 'Mike, you could be a minor league bum your whole life. You're not going to play in the big leagues. You're not talented enough for that,'’ Rizzo recalled Thursday.

Instead, Dad suggested, be a scout, coach, manager or general manager.” – Howard Fendrich, The Associated Press, August 21st, 2009

Ruben Amaro Jr.

“Amaro seemingly was groomed for the GM's job since he joined the front office. Son of Ruben Amaro Sr., a former shortstop and coach for the Phillies, the younger Amaro was involved in contract negotiations with players on the 40-man roster, as well as with free agents.” – The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 3rd, 2008. Amaro replaced Gillick as Phillies GM.

Larry Beinfest

“The man the Marlins introduced as their new general manager Thursday at Pro Player Stadium was wearing a crisp navy suit. It might as well have been a slick cellophane wrapper. Larry Beinfest looks Wonder bread fresh. He's wholesome enough to be chewed up and spit out by baseball's ravenous carnivores.

It's hard to imagine Beinfest – so prim, trim and brimming with enthusiasm – doing lunch with baseball's uber agents. Being lunch, maybe. Yes, it's easy to picture Scott Boras or Jeff Moorad picking pieces of Beinfest out of their teeth.

The 37-year-old could pass for the Marlins' new senior staff accountant. Listening to Beinfest talk, you'd never guess that he's Dave Dombrowski's successor.

A friend of Beinfest who lives in L.A. called him the other day and asked what kind of general manager he plans to be. A typhoon, blowing in and making wholesale changes? A tinkerer?

‘I don't know," came Beinfest's honest reply. "I haven't done it before.’

You sigh. You're sure the truth shall set the Marlins reeling.” – Karen Crouse, The Palm Beach Post, February 15th, 2002

Omar Minaya

“Omar Minaya always has made it a practice to see hidden possibilities. Once, when he was a scout, he saw something in a small, inexperienced, 16-year-old who had an awkwardly long swing and a cut-off milk carton for a glove. Yes, Minaya was the one who signed Sammy Sosa.

By the same token, Minaya has decided to leave the security of his comfortable job with his hometown Mets to be general manager of the Montreal Expos, who might not exist this time next year. He officially accepted his new post yesterday, confident of the possibilities for his own career and for other people.

The 43-year-old became the first Hispanic general manager in baseball history.” – Mark Herrmann and Steve Zipay, Newsday, February 13th, 2002.

Frank Wren

“A former minor-league outfielder, coach and assistant scouting director in the Montreal Expos' organization, Wren served under Marlins GM Dave Dombrowski for seven years. According to Foss, Wren had the most impressive resume of scouting, which includes a specialty in Latin America, as well as computer expertise, to win a competition that also included Chicago White Sox assistant Dan Evans, Cleveland Indians assistant Dan O'Dowd and Atlanta Braves assistant Dean Taylor.” – Kevin Seifert, The Washington Times, October 24th, 1998. Wren replaced Gillick as Orioles GM.

 



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