Organizational Rankings: #12

One quick note – for those of you wondering why these are so different from the “organizational rankings” I did on USS Mariner in 2007, it’s clearly a different criteria, which is explicitly stated in the explanation of that post. And, if you’re one of the 0.1% actually leaving intelligent responses in the comments section, I’m sorry, but for obvious reasons, they’re getting lost in the noise of the masses.

Today, we keep looking at some teams that have legitimate hope, so it gets harder from here on out. And, for those of you who haven’t seen the previous parts (which are linked below), keep in mind that this is a forward looking exercise – we are evaluating clubs on their overall ability to contend for a World Series title in the future. We are not evaluating how they have performed historically. This is about the health of each organization going forward.

Rankings So Far

#30: Washington Nationals
#29: Florida Marlins
#28: Houston Astros
#27: Kansas City Royals
#26: Pittsburgh Pirates
#25: San Diego Padres
#24: Cincinnati Reds
#23: Colorado Rockies
#22: Detroit Tigers
#21: St. Louis Cardinals
#20: Toronto Blue Jays
#19: San Francisco Giants
#18: Minnesota Twins
#17: Chicago White Sox
#16: Baltimore Orioles
#15: Seattle Mariners
#14: Philadelphia Phillies
#13: Los Angeles Dodgers

#12: Texas Rangers

Ownership: B-

Since Tom Hicks bought the Rangers, he’s poured a mountain of money into the franchise. The “buy a ton of free agents” plan didn’t work out, so now, he’s allowed the front office to develop talent internally, but the capital will still be there when they need it. Budget problems won’t be an issue as long as Hicks owns the team. He’s been too involved in some personnel decisions (the Michael Young contract, for instance) and the hiring of Nolan Ryan to serve as a check on GM Jon Daniels just added an extra chef to the kitchen, but Hicks isn’t overly meddlesome, mostly allowing the front office to do its job.

Front Office: B

Let’s just get this out of the way – Daniels has made some really bad trades, no question. The Adrian Gonzalez deal and the John Danks deal were bad moves that blew up in his face. But focusing on just those two moves hides a track record of identifying young talent and building a solid foundation for the future – he turned Ricardo Rodriguez into Vicente Padilla, Kenny Lofton into Max Ramirez, Mark Teixeira into Neftali Feliz, Elvis Andrus, and Jarrod Saltlamacchia (seriously, holy crap), and Eric Gagne into David Murphy and Engel Beltre. He identified Josh Hamilton as a franchise cornerstone, and though he paid a steep price in Edinson Volquez, building around an outfielder is smarter than building around a pitcher. The Rangers front office has done a good job of accumulating talent, and there are some smart people working in Arlington. If you just judge them on their recent win loss record, you’re missing the bigger picture – the Rangers are an organization on the upswing, and they’ll be reaping the rewards of their hard work shortly.

Major League Talent: C

From the perspective of a young core, the Rangers have a top notch group. Hamilton, Kinsler, Davis, Cruz, and the Saltalamacchia/Teagardan/Ramirez catching trio give the team impressive young talent at five positions, plus enviable catching depth that they should be able to convert into useful pieces that fit in elsewhere. David Murphy, Marlon Byrd, and Michael Young are solid role players that round out an offense that will be among the league’s best. The problem, as always, is the pitching. Kevin Millwood is the only decent starting pitcher the Rangers have, and he’s not exactly a building block for the future. However, with the team focusing on improving their defense by shifting Young to third and getting a real shortstop into the line-up, the team’s run prevention should be somewhat improved while they wait to develop a couple of arms. They probably won’t win in 2009, but they’re poised to be very dangerous in 2010.

Minor League Talent: A+

It doesn’t getting any better than this. Neftali Feliz, Justin Smoak, and Elvis Andrus might be the best prospects in the game at their respective positions. Derek Holland, Michael Main, and Martin Perez give the organization talented pitching depth. Engel Beltre and Julio Borbon have to fight to fit into the team’s top 10 prospects, while they’d be the best prospect in other systems. It’s just a ridiculous collection of talent knocking on the door in Arlington. Even with the attrition rate of prospects, they should get two or three franchise cornerstones out of this group, and that might be conservative. This kind of talent depth is similar to what the Rays accumulated a couple of years ago. That worked out okay, I think.

Overall: B

The Rangers have been a punch line for several years, but that’s not going to continue for much longer. With a remarkable group of young talent, an underrated front office, and an owner who isn’t afraid to invest in the product, Texas has the ability to get good in a hurry. By acknowledging their defensive shortcomings, they’ve already made steps in the right direction, re-aligning their talent to give their pitchers a fighting chance. Give them another year of development, and the Rangers are going to be a force in the AL West.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.


126 Responses to “Organizational Rankings: #12”

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  1. GhettoBear04 says:

    Who knows what to make of the budget situation. Ever since the “Spend lots of money” plan didn’t work, the Rangers have been reducing their payroll. Despite being in a large market, Tom Hicks has decided to keep a major league budget more in line with the Oakland A’s than the Angels and Mariners.

    That being said, where Tom Hicks has not been a scrooge is in signing Latin American players and giving the go ahead to draft players that may be difficult to sign. While they passed on Porcello twice, they don’t show many qualms about going over ‘slot’ in rounds 2-5 or so of the draft.

    The new emphasis on defense (at the cost of PR goodwill) and the minor leagues give me hope, which is good, because the past few years have been terrible.

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  2. ThundaPC says:

    I was wondering how much longer the Rangers are going to go along with this “all hitting, no pitching” motif, especially since I keep hearing rave reviews about their farm system. It’ll actually be good to see them finally turn a corner.

    Man, the AL West is gonna be TOUGH in a few years.

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  3. Baltfan says:

    922 responses on this series of articles so far, and 0.1% are “intelligent”. By that math, that’s less than one comment.

    You really know how to charm your readers.

    I’ve enjoyed this series, but I think you need to be more open to criticism and dissent because the hubris is really turning me off.

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    • Steven K says:

      Go to Victoria Secrets if you want turned on.

      Go to college if you escaped high school without learning the meaning of hyperbole….

      Get a lawyer if you made it through college without learning the meaning of hyperbole.

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      • mattymatty says:

        Well, honestly, what do you expect? If you post a series that ranks the teams, some people are going to agree with the rankings (and the specifics cited) and some people are going to disagree. Because there is so much room for variance here, you are going to get lots of disagreement. I kinda thought that was the point of enabling comments; i.e. to get comments, not compliments.

        I think this is a very interesting exercise, and a well done series and I’ve very much enjoyed reading it, so I want to thank Dave for his hard work and complement him on what so far has been an excellent and informative read. But at the same time, I do think there could be more openness to criticism, or at least acknowledgment of it without insult.

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      • Double06 says:

        matty:

        “Disagreement” is putting it lightly. Dave has always been open to disagreement but each comment section in this series has had at least one subthread full of stupid. Those who put up a coherent rebuttal get to keep their comments; those who take full advantage of the anonymity of the Internet and post their comment with the screen name “Dead Wrong” have their comments deleted or ignored.

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      • mattymatty says:

        Double06: That policy seems quite fair to me.

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      • CaR says:

        double06- that is stated policy, not practiced. If he doesn’t give the ultra-snark, one of his “super-fans” will. Dave is quite capable of taking care of himself even though his defensiveness is a on display a bit too often. A lot of the negative reaction comes from people reacting to guys like Jeff Nye who ride Dave’s cack around the net trying to slay all those who would offend the master by disagreeing. In short, when you try to be confrontational, edgy, etc. in order to get some more exposure, you have to be able to accept some coming back at you.

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  4. steve-o says:

    I find it curious how everyone lauds the Hamilton/Volquez trade yet still talks about the Rangers lack of pitching. Even more curious is the assertion that “building around an outfielder is smarter than building around a pitcher.”

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    • Terry says:

      I think the premise behind the position is that arms flame out at a greater rate than position players do (i.e. pitching is less of a sure thing given developmental and injury issues).

      Also, defense+offense is more efficacious than pitching from the standpoint of impact upon RS/RA.

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      • Teej says:

        That and the fact that a stud outfielder plays every day.

        Volquez is a good pitcher, but I’d rather have Hamilton. They both put up a WAR of 4.1 last season, but I’d say Hamilton has a better shot at repeating that a few times.

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  5. thrylos98 says:

    if you’re one of the 0.1% actually leaving intelligent responses in the comments section, I’m sorry, but for obvious reasons, they’re getting lost in the noise of the masses.

    If you are using subjective criteria to create a subjective list like this, you will get subjective comments back, by people who view things differently. And apparently disagreement = lack of intelligence, as far you are concerned.

    “For obvious reasons”, if you used objective criteria (and measurements) to create such a list, the level of the discussion would have a higher likelihood to be “intelligent”.

    Frankly, you made your own bed…

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    • Dave Cameron says:

      There’s a huge gray area between reasonable disagreement and ridiculous fanboy “my team is teh awesome and you suck!”. Way too many of the comments in this series have been much more like the latter.

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    • Wally says:

      Christ Dave, why not just disable the comments section? Why do you act so insecure and like you have so much to prove?

      “922 responses on this series of articles so far, and 0.1% are “intelligent”. By that math, that’s less than one comment.”

      It wasn’t even the number of comments he was referring to with that percentage, but the number of commenters. So even if each commenter posts just 10 comments on average, that gives about .1 commenters leaving “intelligent” responses.

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      • John says:

        Um, I’d be acting the same way, if I had to deal with the same frequency of filth aimed at me. If I remember correctly Wally, you were one of the contributors in some of the previous pieces.

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  6. tom s. says:

    the different criteria was stated? how can there be different criteria, when the criteria for these posts hasn’t been stated with any clarity? and if your major response to criticism is “trust me, i know front offices better than most people” then you shouldn’t be surprised when people try to assess whether in fact you know front offices better than most people.

    your stated criteria previously was: “This is my opinion of which organizations have laid the strongest foundation between their ownership, baseball operations department, and coaching staffs to insert a winning DNA into their baseball teams.” you did exclude actual playing talent in the major and minor leagues, yes.

    and i’m very curious to hear in what sense WASHINGTON had better “winning DNA” in October of 2007 than the Cubs, Texas, St. Louis, etc.

    Today, you say the Rangers have “an underrated front office, and an owner who isn’t afraid to invest in the product.” You like tom hicks today, and he’s been in charge since 1998. 15 months ago he and his front office were worse than the circus in Washington.

    This is a website dedicated to objective analysis. Don’t be shocked if people don’t just buy “trust me” as an argument.

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  7. Brandon says:

    Dave, since you are reading these posts, can you please elaborate on the time frame you are trying to project for and why the immediate future is not carrying more weight than the long term projections.

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    • Dave Cameron says:

      Five-ish years.

      The immediate future is carrying more weight – that’s why a badly run team like the Dodgers is still ranked above average, because they have enough talent to win right now. If the long term projections were weighted more heavily, then the Rangers would be top five. That the team with the best farm system in baseball isn’t in the top ten should tell you something about the relative weight of current versus future.

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      • Wally says:

        Holy time frame Batman! It only took you 19 out of the 30 teams to clearly answer such a simple, relevant, and often asked question…..

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      • Dave Cameron says:

        With tremendous commentary like this, it’s amazing that I have no desire to have any interaction with people like you, isn’t it Wally?

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      • Wally says:

        Dave, just to totally clear, I was being critical. I was asking simple questions, and was disappointed in lazy answer to another poster with a similar question. To answer a posters disire for clarification of your criteria (I believe it was “is this for dynasty building or just making a run at one WS?), you’re answer was something like “Whatever, you’re making this something its not.” Sigh….. He asked you what it was, as many people have. So what was your response to my criticism? Make more “interesting or insightful” comments? Now you basically call 99.9% of your readers/commenters idiots? And I’m that can’t hold an intelligent conversation, or make interesting or insightful comments….. Sorry Dave…. Maybe you should stick to things that are completely objective so that differing subjective opinions don’t cause you to become an insecure douchebag throwing insults at anyone that doesn’t agree with you.

        You asked for this in your first paragraph up there Dave.

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      • ThundaPC says:

        “I was being critical.”

        You were being sarcastic, actually.

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      • Dave Cameron says:

        You’re a walking example of the Greater Internet F-Wad theory, Wally. I’m sure you’re a nice enough guy in person, but when you want someone to engage you in a discussion, you can’t approach them with insults and attacks and then wonder why they have no interest in responding to you.

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      • Wally says:

        “I was being critical.”

        >You were being sarcastic, actually.<

        I should have clarified I was not referring to my post above (where I was being sarcastic), but to the prior posts I’ve had with Dave. Which I’m guessing is where much of Dave’s desire to make that .1% comment above came from. Apparently being dissatisfied with Dave’s explanation of his criteria and his answers to people wanting that same thing is not “interesting or insightful” nor “intelligent.”

        “I’m sure you’re a nice enough guy in person, but when you want someone to engage you in a discussion, you can’t approach them with insults and attacks and then wonder why they have no interest in responding to you.”

        Pure comedy Dave. Not only could we obviously say the same thing about you after that .1% thing above, but it was not I that threw the first insult remember…. Unless being dissatisfied with an explanation is what you consider an insult? And if you want to engage in an “intelligent” discussion, it would help answer some of the most basic questions about your methods/criteria.

        So, if you want this high level discussion, as the author of list being discussed, its largely up to you make sure that happens. Your .1% comment above, did not encourage high level discussion, nor did keeping your methods and criteria vague. Fix those problems, and ignore the insults or fanboy responses. If that’s me from time to time, so be it. But the burden is on you more than commenters to make sure the discussion is a productive or “intelligent” one.

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      • Russell says:

        Sarcastic, yes — but also relevant. I’m shocked that the answer to this question is “5ish”, I would have bet it was more in the 5-10 year range, and while that’s not a huge difference it does make me wonder why squads that project to flounder this year and probably next (as young plays develop) are ranked ahead of teams that will almost certainty contend now and may still be competitive in 4-5 years. There have been a lot of comments asking for details on the ranking process, and such an illuminating response would have helped limit some of the uniformed conjecture. And it’s been long time coming.

        As to ad hominem attacks, first let me say that many of us have defended parts of — if not most of — you analysis in this series, myself and I believe Wally included; If you’re going to start calling us idiots, and then F-wads, when we take issue with you assessments or you methodology you’re not going to have any reader left who agree with you. Or readers left period.

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  8. t ball says:

    I really don’t get all the vitriol. If you have a disagreement, state it politely and BACK IT UP with a cogent argument. I don’t blame Dave for being a bit hyperbolic with the intelligent comment remark.

    Dave, most Ranger fans will think your grade of Hicks is a bit too nice. Hicks’ knee-jerking from strategy to strategy cost this team years and wins by the bucketload. Hopefully Ryan acts as a buffer between him and the team, and the best thing about the Ryan act so far is that he appears to have bought into the long-term development plan 100%. I can agree with that B- if it means you’re assuming Hicks stays out of the way over the next few years.

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    • Teej says:

      You obviously are new to the Internet. Here’s how it works:

      1. Writer takes time out of his day to research and write something that is available for free.
      2. Readers — anonymous and feeling that they are entitled to disparage anything and anyone that goes against their train of thought — flood the comments to criticize writer and the contents, using a tone that they would never think to use when talking to a person face-to-face.
      3. Readers come back every day to read more of the series that they vehemently disagree with and think is worthless, then repeat the same arguments over and over.
      4. Writer begins to ignore them, because it’s not worth the time.

      Give it a shot!

      Comments on the Web have the potential to be great, but sometimes I regret the day that we decided everyone’s voice should be given equal weight.

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  9. Gina says:

    I’m a mets fan and I’m a little surprised at how high it looks like we’ll end up ranking.

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    • Sammy says:

      My best guess as to how the rest of this list goes:

      Diamondbacks
      Angels
      A’s
      Braves
      Brewers
      Mets
      Indians
      Cubs
      Yankees
      Rays
      Red Sox

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      • Gina says:

        I would expect the Cubs to be much lower than that. They’re headed for financial hell, a lot of heavily backloaded contracts to old/overpaid players, and their front office seems to be… lacking? But I guess a lot of it will depend on the direction the new owner takes them in.

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      • vivaelpujols says:

        Why would the Brewers be so high up?

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  10. Eric says:

    Matt Sounders does not agree with anything you just said.

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  11. ThundaPC says:

    You know, with all this complaining, I wonder how many people realize that only 6 of 30 organizations have an overall grade of less than C+?

    And after that, 8 organizations have an overall grade of C+.

    It’s too bad more time is spent on where teams are ranked and less time talking about said teams. I’ve only seen a few comments scattered across these threads that actually address the actual commentary of the post for a particular team.

    If anything, we should realize that most organizations are at least in decent shape. Some have more upside than others and some have downside, but all this quibbling over certain teams being ranked over others is pretty silly.

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  12. Terry says:

    Commenters who show up and want to talk more about the author than the argument are nothing more than trolls. They are asking to be excluded from the .1% and frankly, their behavior isn’t shedding light upon anything other than their own poor behavior.

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    • tom s. says:

      perhaps if the author didn’t inject himself personally into the debate by replying to criticism by saying “i know more about baseball operations than you” the criticism wouldn’t be directed at the author.

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      • Teej says:

        If only that’s what he said.

        And, I’ll humbly suggest that I probably know more about how most teams operate than you might think.

        (Emphasis mine.)

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      • tom s. says:

        I was talking more about this quote, in reply to a poster who said that the front office in seattle was so new that it needed to be given an incomplete grade:

        “The grade might be incomplete for people who don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes, but that description doesn’t include me.”

        but actually your quote goes along with what i’m saying. when challenged, dave just asserts that he has special knowledge about the operation of front offices. i think looking at his prior rankings — which directly addressed the interaction of front office, management, and ownership — suggest that’s unlikely.

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      • Teej says:

        And how do you know he doesn’t? Is he supposed to publish the name and phone number of every person in an MLB organization with whom he has spoken? Does changing his mind on an organization’s health two years later make him a liar?

        He’s being accused of all sorts of ignorance, and he responds by assuring people that he has access to at least some form of inside information. I can’t blame him for defending himself and trying to justify his positions.

        Unless Dave is lying — and that’s a dangerous claim to make about someone you don’t know — he knows some people in several front offices, and he obviously uses what he learns from them to at least somewhat shape his analysis. I don’t see anything wrong with pointing that out.

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      • tom s. says:

        and that was why i cited to his 2007 post which had some rankings that were very difficult to defend and at odds with these rankings. i certainly have no knowledge of who he does or does not speak to, but i can try to evaluate the reliability of his asserted inside information.

        and the 2007 rankings did not impress me as being chock full of good inside info.

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      • Wally says:

        Teej, its rather irrelevant if Dave actually knows someone “behind the scenes” or not. Simply making the claim that he does and we should basically trust him because of that, doesn’t mean we should trust him. Its basically an appeal to authority argument. I could talk to Billy Beane every day, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to fairly and accurately evaluate the franchise. The very fact that Dave has to stoop to this level to defend himself shows the weakness of his position. If he has the knowledge that the claims that we just don’t know enough about the M’s front office to rank them highly are false, why doesn’t he just share that with us instead of claiming some superiority? Its a very suspect behavior that calls into question everything he said.

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      • Teej says:

        Its basically an appeal to authority argument.

        And some people consider Dave to be an authority, particularly on the Mariners. And they rather enjoy reading his stuff, because he’s frequently correct. You don’t have to “trust” him; he’s not a fortune-teller. This is one man’s analysis, and reading it is voluntary. Of course he’s not going to tell us everything his sources are saying. But If you’re accusing him of making stuff up or using faulty information, I’d like to see some evidence. Until then, because of his track record, I’m going to continue to value Dave’s stuff more than the average Fangraphs commenter. All opinions are not equal, and they needn’t be treated as such.

        The very fact that Dave has to stoop to this level to defend himself shows the weakness of his position

        So says the guy who just referred to the author as “an insecure douchebag.” Forgive me if I look elsewhere for my civility lesson.

        If he has the knowledge that the claims that we just don’t know enough about the M’s front office to rank them highly are false, why doesn’t he just share that with us instead of claiming some superiority?

        It’s not a claim of superiority. It’s him explaining, after someone questioned whether he was biased, why he ranked the Mariners that high. Quibble all you want with the listed rankings, but claiming that Dave is just a biased Mariner fan is quite refutable. As someone who has read his stuff for years, I can assure you that he is anything but a Mariners booster.

        Sorry for dragging this on. I’m done. For this thread at least. ;)

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      • Sammy says:

        1. [In response to criticism that no one can offer a decent assessment of the M's FO since it's so new/unproven] Dave says that he knows quite a bit about the operations of the M’s front office, enough to make a confident assessment of their aptitude.

        2. [In response to criticism that Dave's intimate knowledge of the M's FO clouds his judgment since he's ignorant of the unspecified, but possibly wonderful work being done at other FOs] Dave “humbly suggests” that he knows “more about how teams operate than you might think”. He did not suggest he has inside connects with other orgs (though he might, who knows); he simply asserted that, contrary to what the commenter might believe, he has done his due dilligence and research for this series.

        I fail to see where the beef is.

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      • Wally says:

        Teej,

        “And some people consider Dave to be an authority”

        Irrelevant. If we want to have an “intelligent” discussion about these rankings, and the organisations inparticularly, saying “The grade might be incomplete for people who don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes, but that description doesn’t include me.” is completely counter productive. Yet it is the very guy that said that, that criticizes us for not being “intelligent?”

        “So says the guy who just referred to the author as “an insecure douchebag.” Forgive me if I look elsewhere for my civility lesson.”

        Hey, I’m not claiming some intellectual or knowledge based high ground (*cough* dave *cough*). I’m criticizing a guy that now has a pretty well established history of hurling insults when someone disagrees with him or is even the least bit critical (I could go back through just this series and post a number of gems if you’d like). I would call that acting like an insecure douchebag, you call it what you want. And it isn’t a civility lesson, its a logic lesson. He’s using his “authority” to defend his position. I’m not using his insecure douchebag behavior to defend anything, that’s just the way he is acting by hurling insults at those who criticize him.

        “It’s not a claim of superiority. It’s him explaining, after someone questioned whether he was biased, why he ranked the Mariners that high.”

        You call saying, “The grade might be incomplete for people who don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes, but that description doesn’t include me.” an explanation? That is exactly a claim of superiority. One with which he can’t/won’t back up with a single shred of evidence.

        “Quibble all you want with the listed rankings, but claiming that Dave is just a biased Mariner fan is quite refutable. ”

        I never said that.

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      • q says:

        “He’s using his “authority” to defend his position. ”
        No, he used his authority to defend the claim he has no authority. He has not used his authority to defend any substantive criticisms, only the claim that he didn’t know enough about the M’s FO or other teams to grade them comprehensively. This is a legitimate defense and not a logical fallacy.

        If someone argued Dave is wrong about the grade of, for example, the Washington FO, for reasons A, B, and C actually related to the Washington FO (and not just Dave’s lack of insight), it would be a logical fallacy for Dave to respond by saying he’s an authority. He has not done so.

        If you’re going to appeal to logic, please try to have a firmer grasp of its concepts.

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    • Wally says:

      If you’re going to defend Dave’s responce you should probably have a firmer grasp of the post to which he was responding. Money quote:

      “Seems pretty clear that he’s over-valuing the team. First, no demerits for an ownership team that prodded Bavasi to make a big deal to compete (Bedard) and then abandoned him when it predictably fell apart?

      And he’s clearly placing more value on an untried FO than a very mediocre MiL system: it’s great that they’ve got bells-and-whistles galore (oooooh, a statistical research department?) but let’s see them actually accomplish a bit more before we anoint them anything.

      I mean, they’re losing a lot after this year. And they have little-to-no MiL talent ready to step into the void.

      I don’t think he’s biased in a “I play favorites” way. I just think there’s a pretty drastic availability bias at work, whereby Cameron knows so much about the M’s organization that he’s able to spot all kinds of “positive” value that he can’t assign to teams he knows less well.”

      I see little more in there than just claiming he’s no authority, don’t you? In fact, I don’t see anything that even hints at the claim that “he’s no authority.” I see reasons why Dave’s take is wrong and a dubious question of his knowledge based bias. This also complete ignores the remaining 2/3s of Oscar’s post.

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      • ThundaPC says:

        Yea, about that “money quote”:

        –“Seems pretty clear that he’s over-valuing the team. First, no demerits for an ownership team that prodded Bavasi to make a big deal to compete (Bedard) and then abandoned him when it predictably fell apart?”–

        There are no demerits for this because is factually incorrect.

        You know what is factually correct though? Baltimore owner, Peter Angelos, caused the Bedard trade to stall for over an ENTIRE MONTH before it eventually went through. All because Adam Jones (one of the trade pieces) broke the news before it was made official. That’s beside the point though.

        Bavasi’s deal-making caused ownership to rethink their approach citing that they felt that they gave Bavasi TOO much leeway in free-agent signings. Before that, though, they were mainly on the same page.

        Mind you, the team was coming off an 88-win season so the organization went into the off-season with the incorrect assumption that the performance was as a result of true-talent level.

        This goes back to the idea that the ownership’s meddlesome ways are vastly overblown.

        –”And he’s clearly placing more value on an untried FO…”–

        Hold it.

        The “untried” Tampa Bay Rays front office behind Andrew Friedman turned a team that could never get out of the cellar despite getting high draft picks in to a team that will contend for years to come. The product they currently have on the field is no accident. It’s been their plan the entire time.

        The “untried” Arizona Diamondbacks front office behind Josh Byrnes turned a team that, despite proper funding, was heading in a freefall after initial success into a team that is not only cheaper to field but more sustainable competitive in the process.

        The “untried” Pittsburg Pirates front office behind Neal Huntington is basically working to turn a gigantic disaster into a competitive team on a limited budget. He’s still has a long way to go but the Pirates organization is improving.

        These “untried” front offices contain a new generation of General Managers and so far, the track record of this phenomenon speaks for itself. This doesn’t even include one of the front-runners of the new wave movement Theo Epstein who, since becoming the youngest GM in MLB history in 2002 (hey, another “untried FO”), has delivered two World Series championship and runs arguably the number one franchise in baseball (Boston Red Sox) with a team that is the team to beat in ALL of baseball.

        So yea, people who’ve done actual research will tend to place more weight behind an “untried FO”, especially if we have enough information to determind how good they will be.

        –”than a very mediocre MiL system: it’s great that they’ve got bells-and-whistles galore (oooooh, a statistical research department?) but let’s see them actually accomplish a bit more before we anoint them anything.”–

        This is the type of comment I would find in the comment section of our local newspaper articles from people that believe everyone who visit sites like these are “stat-geeks”.

        Jack Zduriencik reinforced the average (not “very mediocre”) farm system with trades, signings, Rule 5, and waver claims. And that’s without going into the fact that the Mariners have a lot of top picks this year. While the system isn’t loaded with top prospects they have quite a bit of depth with players that can step in and contribute when necessary.

        –”I mean, they’re losing a lot after this year. And they have little-to-no MiL talent ready to step into the void.”–

        Mariners have a roughly $100 Million payroll. And after this year, nearly $40 Million worth of contracts is coming off the books. Even if ownership say….reduces payroll by 10%, that’s still leaves $30 Million to work with. That’s still about 3 times more than Zduriencik had to work with this off season.

        The Mariners have the resources so that they DON’T exclusively rely on everything coming from the farm system. The core of the team in the future will but there is enough money available to plug in stopgaps wherever necessary.

        –”I don’t think he’s biased in a “I play favorites” way. I just think there’s a pretty drastic availability bias at work, whereby Cameron knows so much about the M’s organization that he’s able to spot all kinds of “positive” value that he can’t assign to teams he knows less well.”–

        This is an annoying conspiracy-theorist type of acusation. Change “Dave Cameron” to “Eric Seidman” and “Mariners” to “Phillies” and you can make the exact same accusation if he did a feature like this. It’s a lame and unnecessary cheap shot that addresses nothing.

        “I see little more in there than just claiming he’s no authority, don’t you? In fact, I don’t see anything that even hints at the claim that “he’s no authority.” I see reasons why Dave’s take is wrong and a dubious question of his knowledge based bias. This also complete ignores the remaining 2/3s of Oscar’s post.”

        2/3s of Oscar’s post (in the Mariners thread) have been addressed multiple times by those who actually get it while the “money quote” is worth about as much as a penny lying in the streets of London, England.

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      • Wally says:

        Thats great thunda. If Dave could have responded at least something along those lines instead of something similar to “I know what I’m talking about trust me” and “whatever” or even just said nothing, much of this would have been avoided. Thats the point. Its a logical fallacy to respond to an argument (factually correct or not) with an appeal to authority. Many of us reading are going to spot that, and be less than impressed with Dave….

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      • q says:

        “In fact, I don’t see anything that even hints at the claim that “he’s no authority.””
        That was an exaggeration to keep my point simple. The claim could be more accurately stated as alleging Dave doesn’t have enough information to grade other Mariners’ teams. That can be summarized simply as a lack of authority.

        Yes, he ignores the remaining 2/3s of Oscar’s post, but so what? Dave has basically “ignored” all other substantive counterarguments, but why should we expect any response? I see nothing wrong with how Dave weighs his inputs, nor do I see anything wrong with how Oscar weighs his inputs. It would be useless to the readers for them to duke it out on that point, as it’s highly subjective.

        Dave has provided his opinion on the health of various organizations, giving his reasons. Comments are only useful insofar they either give someone else’s opinion on how to weigh the information, or provide new information. This allows the reader to form their own opinions. There is no need for Dave to respond; what would you have him do, repeat his arguments or even change his entire grade? That’d be a useless exercise.

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      • Wally says:

        “The claim could be more accurately stated as alleging Dave doesn’t have enough information to grade other Mariners’ teams. That can be summarized simply as a lack of authority.”

        Its not an attack on his authority, its an attack on the data, or lack there of, to make a strong conclusion.

        “There is no need for Dave to respond; what would you have him do, repeat his arguments or even change his entire grade?”

        No, if he’s going to bother to respond, I’d like to see a logical argument presented intead of basically, “I’m in the know, trust me.”

        “Dave has basically “ignored” all other substantive counterarguments,”

        I agree he has, and that’s fine, but if you going to respond to a well thought out post, at least respond with something similarly thought out. His response to the remainder of the post, which was basically asking for an explanation of his criteria was “whatever, you’re making this something its not.” No dave, he was asking you a question and you gave him a non-response any congressman would be jealous of.

        I’d also like to point out your observation there makes his .1% comment all the funnier.

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  13. Basil Ganglia says:

    And we’ve now reached a point at which 0.1% of the commenters to a post actually address the subject of the post.

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  14. B says:

    I do want to say it seems the timeframe is fairly inconsistent across the teams – though that’s somewhat inevitable when doing a subjective ranking. A team like the Orioles gets a high ranking when it really doesn’t have a shot in the next 5 years (if only because of the Red Sox, Rays and Yankees), but a team like the Marlins gets penalized so much for a cheap owner, despite the fact that any of their big time prospects that come up to the majors in the next couple of years will still be under team control for fairly cheap 5ish years out into the future, though obviously by that time Hanley will be gone…the teams left do fit that timeframe pretty well, though – obviously the best teams now and in the next few years, though I would think the Brewers would have been penalized for being cheap more than it seems they have. Oh, and Mariners? HOMER!

    “Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level, then beat you with experience.”

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    • JI says:

      Two years ago you would have said the Rays have no prayer of reaching the World Series.

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      • JH says:

        In fact, Dave got blasted last year when he called the Rays one of the best front offices in the game.

        Dave’s good at this, and while nobody should blindly agree with everything he says, he deserves much more respect than the handful of commenters making this section awful are giving him.

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      • tom s. says:

        and if you’re going to cite his prescience on tampa bay, then you should accept someone blasting him for saying the washington front office was middle of the road 15 months ago.

        or are we only allowed to praise dave?

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      • Gdawg says:

        Those that paid attention saw all the young talent the Rays were building up. I don’t think anyone expected a WS appearance this early, but they were building a team that looked like it could contend with the Red Sox and Yankees. Do you think that the Orioles are in that same position? Personally, I don’t see it and with the emergence of the Rays, the Orioles are now going to have to do even more than the Rays have done if they expect to compete.

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      • JH says:

        Or, we could stop looking at silly results-based analysis and look at the actual process behind his reasoning. Clearly Dave values certain things and has a general way of weighting them, and this analysis is a result of that process.

        If you think there’s something inherently flawed about the process, then you shouldn’t care enough about Dave’s analysis to care anyway. Feel free to start your own blog and begin making a name for yourself. Don’t be mad that Dave did it 6 years ago and has a following of a fair number of people who love baseball care about what he has to say (even when we disagree).

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      • Teej says:

        Tom,

        As I’m sure you’re aware, a few things have changed in the Washington Nationals front office in the past 15 months.

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      • tom s. says:

        yes, as dave mentioned in his post

        “Front Office: D-

        This was an F before Jim Bowden left. With him out of the picture, there’s a door open for the franchise to start making moves to send the team in the right direction.”

        The question remains — why was bowden middle of the road 15 months ago and an F now?

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      • Teej says:

        Dave never said Bowden was middle of the road in the 2007 list. He said:

        Jim Bowden’s got some positive qualities, but in the end, they’re still a Jim Bowden team, and he’s never going to win anything with his ridiculous management style.

        The 17th ranking was based to good ownership, good executives and a strong manager, according to Dave (in the comments)

        Again, we’re comparing two different things. The 2007 list wasn’t just a ranking of GMs.

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      • tom s. says:

        Oct. 2007

        “Barring a one season fluke where everything just breaks right, I’m not sure Baltimore makes the playoffs in the next 10-15 years. If you’re raising a child near the nation’s capital, make them a Nationals fan.”

        Mar 2009

        “Yes, this is kind of kicking a group of men when he’s down, but it’s impossible to find an organization in worse shape than the Nats.”

        “Good teams win baseball games, and the Orioles are going to be a good team in the not too distant future.”

        Right. I know things have changed, etc., etc. But if your opinion is shifting so dramatically, why should I trust your opinion of front offices? MacPhail has been in there for several years. Even Trembley had been with Baltimore for several months when Dave wrote that eval.

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      • Wally says:

        JH:

        “Or, we could stop looking at silly results-based analysis and look at the actual process behind his reasoning. Clearly Dave values certain things and has a general way of weighting them, and this analysis is a result of that process.”

        That reveals one of the significant complaints mentioned many times through this series, Dave hasn’t made his process very transparent. He’s also basically ignored questions to clarify certain parts of it until recently, and continues to ignore other parts still.

        Look this exercise has been very entertaining, but as the conversations have evolved we’ve had a hard time understanding Dave’s placements without more explanation. Which leads to the so called homer claims of “team X should be higher because of A, B and C” being repeated.

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      • tom s. says:

        Andy MacPhail was hired in Baltimore in June 2007.

        Oct 2007

        ” ‘I take it that you’re unconvinced that Andy McPhail will be able to put his own stamp on the Orioles organization. Would you consider upgrading that to an F+ if Mike Flanagan follows Jim Duquette out the door there?’

        Angelos is about 80% of that F, and he’s not going anywhere. And Andy McPhail doesn’t exactly have a stellar track record.”

        Mar 2009

        “After years of lousy decisions, no direction, and a total lack of leadership in the front office, MacPhail has been a breath of fresh air for Baltimore fans. Since taking over, he’s put the team on a path towards building for the future, has made several astute trades to acquire quality young talent, drafted well, and locked up the team’s two best players to long term contracts. Turning around the Orioles franchise was a monumental task, but MacPhail and his team have done yeomen’s work in that regard, and the Orioles are certainly on the upswing.”

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      • JH says:

        Who cares if it’s transparent, Wally? Why not be content that it’s interesting? He’s providing you with free content to keep you occupied until baseball season starts. Get over yourself.

        Tom, your post should end with “things have changed.” Since 2007, the Orioles pulled off one of the most lopsided trades this decade to bring in two future stars, their best young player became one of the 15 or so most valuable position players alive, and their top draft pick from the previous year, who had yet to play in the minors at that point, has turned into the best prospect of the decade.

        Further, Dave didn’t have any context to rate MacPhail in October of 2007. At this point, MacPhail has proen himself to be very solid, and Angelos seems less intent on meddling in every decision.

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      • Wally says:

        Tom, you’d think that Dave’s snap judgment on MacPhail in Oct of 2007 after 3-4 months on the job, and its eventual reversal just 18 month later, would be a bit of a lesson in how to evaluate the M’s new FO?

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      • tom s. says:

        if his ranking of the orioles lacked a track record in oct. 2007, what was his ranking of the mariners in mar. 2009?

        and if there is this tremendous gyration from year to year what is the point of trying to predict where teams will be in five years? at the very least, these rankings are very, very arbitrary, if the response to every inconsistency i point out is “well, things have changed in 15 months.”

        okay. if things are radically changing for the mariners, the tigers, the marlins, the nationals, the orioles, texas, etc. all in the last 15 months, at the very least we know absolutely nothing about what any team will look like in five years.

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      • Wally says:

        JH, one moment you say “stop looking at silly results-based analysis and look at the actual process behind his reasoning.” Now you say, disregard that, “Who cares if it’s transparent, Wally? Why not be content that it’s interesting? He’s providing you with free content to keep you occupied until baseball season starts. Get over yourself.”

        That makes absolutely no sense. I thought we were supposed to look at the process? No, now that we can show Dave hasn’t given us a clear definition of his process, we’re just supposed be happy that its entertaining? That leaves me wondering, for the second time in just this one thread, why do we even have the comments section? And I should “get over myself?” I guess I’m not worthy to question Dave’s process, or want a little more explanation of the process, huh?

        Also its pretty pointless to claim we are mad about Dave’s fame inside the analytical baseball world. Most of us are here because we are fans of Dave’s work and are in part the reason for Dave’s fame. However, I’m quickly figuring out that I am not a fan of Dave himself.

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      • Hector says:

        Tom S and Wally have mancrushes!

        Narcissistic with mancrushes! Maybe a hook up is in order? It could turn into something deeper than just physical if you guys embrace it and give love a chance.

        Love is beautiful but now that it’s out in the open, could ya guys get a room and take it private?

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      • Wally says:

        I wanna take you privately Hector.

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      • JH says:

        Dave is posting free content that you seem to be interested enough in to devote hours of your life to, yet you’ve been nipping at his ankles the entire time. He’s providing interesting snapshots that examine the health of all 30 franchises, and you’re asking that he put in several more hours to make every single post as comprehensive as possible and that he lay out every single factor that went into his thought process. Dave Cameron doesn’t work for you, Wally. You’re being a whiny little twerp. Stop.

        Re: MacPhail v. Zduriencik, MacPhail’s first offseason had yet to start when Dave made the comment you’ve been dragging through the mud. Zduriencik has a full offseason under his belt, and he’s made a sea change in the way the Ms collect and evaluate data by bringing in excellent people like Tango. This reveals a very promising process, and every indication suggests that Zduriencik will be a fantastic GM.

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      • tom s. says:

        then, like i said before, the take home is that he didn’t yet know how mcphail was going to do.

        maybe the right thing to say was “let’s see how mcphail does” not “they won’t make the playoffs until 2024.”

        if that’s trolling, then I guess I’m a troll.

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      • q says:

        You’re a troll tom. Really, what exactly is the point in all this meta-commentary? If you disagree with Dave’s rankings, then explain your substantive disagreements. It’s pointless to try to engage in “gotcha” moments by comparing his grades here to ones he posted in 2007. Maybe he was wrong then and right now; maybe his criteria changed; maybe new information came in. Really, though, it’s all pointless unless you’re Dave’s psychiatrist. This is a baseball site, let’s discuss baseball, not Dave’s inner psyche. Ridiculous.

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      • Wally says:

        “Dave is posting free content that you seem to be interested enough in to devote hours of your life to, yet you’ve been nipping at his ankles the entire time.”

        That’s demonstratively false.

        “He’s providing interesting snapshots that examine the health of all 30 franchises, and you’re asking that he put in several more hours to make every single post as comprehensive as possible and that he lay out every single factor that went into his thought process.”

        Geezzz, you like the hyperbole don’t you. Myself and others have asked only a few simple questions. I’m not expected a player by player account or some BS. Myself and others have asked repeatedly two questions. How long is the time frame? And how to do weigh each factor relatively? Dave could not answer these questions without resorting to insults.

        “Dave Cameron doesn’t work for you, Wally. You’re being a whiny little twerp. Stop. ”

        Oh right. Why shouldn’t I ask questions of clarification and expect a reasonable response, if I get any? Because I’d be a twerp, right, got it.

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      • John says:

        Sorry Wally, reading through these comments and some on previous rankings…you really are a twerp.

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  15. subterranean says:

    I’m astounded at the hostility. Frankly, this whole thing is spoiling my Spring Training fever. Metrics serve a purpose but they are not the be-all end-all. At some point we have to step back, take a deep breath and just enjoy this for what it is – the best damn game on the planet. I for one have thoroughly enjoyed the articles. While I may disagree with some of the rankings, I can honestly say I have learned a great deal about other organizations and teams. Dave – you’ve enhanced my enjoyment of the upcoming season by 6.3%. And don’t anyone ask me what equation I used to arrive at that determination. It’s subjective. Though I’m sure we could have a great discussion about “the greatest happiness principle.”

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  16. rickpo says:

    Comments on the content are interesting. Meta-comments are not. All this whining on process and perceived bias is unbelievably dull. And those defending Dave are even duller. And this post, being a response to the meta-meta-posts, is duller still.

    Please, everyone, quit it. And by ‘everyone,’ I mean me.

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  17. JRB says:

    I’ve never read any of Dave’s work on this until now, so let me make some comments randomly on this article and the comments that followed…

    - I suggest giving a clear link to the “criteria” behind the rankings. I don’t have time to find it on my own, and since most of your readers will likely read only about “their” team, it would make sense to provide such a link…which might then inspire your readers to read more than only one article in your series.

    - You (Dave) might know more about the way front office management works, but there’s no way you can know more about, for example, how effective the Rangers management is. We have more, well-connected bloggers than any other team (i.e. Jamey Newberg and Mike Hindman), all of whom articulate Ranger Baseball VERY well. I would maintain some modesty in that regard.

    - As another commenter mentioned, you give Hicks far too high a grade. His indecisiveness, inconsistency, and unwise spending has indeed set this thing back many years…and people around DFW know this very well. Heck, we’re still paying for the A-Rods and Chan Hos, which alone, in my book, can make Hicks no better than a “C”.

    - Actually, when you consider his hire of John Hart, Hicks maxs out to a “D”. Those were truly the dark-years of Ranger baseball.

    - Not enough mention about Nolan Ryan’s impact. He’s completely changed the culture and expectations within the entire organization here in Arlington.

    - I got a kick out of you calling Michael Young a “role player.”

    - The Danks deal cannot be classified as a bad one…not yet. I’ll give you the A. Gonzalez and Chris Young deal…that was indeed a disaster.

    - All GMs make bad deals, Daniels included. But you must credit Jon Daniels for making so many good deals as well…his development of the league’s best scouting system and rapid accumulation of young talent, all on the heels of the Hart era, gives Daniels very high marks.

    - Impact players from this farm system are imminent, and they will then come in waves over many years. You highlight this very well. The Rangers have a plethora of guys like 18 yr. old Wilmer Font and 16 yr. old Richard Alvarez that nobody outside of Texas knows about…and any of them would make other teams drool.

    - Yeah, you can’t make comments like the “0.1% intelligent” remark. As a first time reader to your work, I have no desire to check in again. That is a crying shame…you seem to have a more accurate grasp on things than other national writers.

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    • Sammy says:

      I really like it when the hometown fans come in and argue the analysis with reasonable comments. I’m pretty sure Dave never asserted that he knows more about Rangers management than your own bloggers (or any other teams).

      WRT “criteria” –– I’m not sure what people want here. This isn’t a scientific enterprise. It’s a subjective ranking determined by subjective grades, albeit backed by baseball knowledge, research, and analytical chops. If you think this or that grade is off-base because of x, y and z, that kind of critique is welcomed here. If you think it’s off base because Dave is a homer, an idiot, arrogant, too “opaque”, blah blah blah, that crap is annoying and Dave has every right to be dismissive of those people.

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      • Alaskan says:

        Well, I think the 5 year time-frame was what people wanted. And a lot of them seem pretty annoyed it took so long to get that answer. While it is subjective, it’s also clear that Mr. Cameron had some guidelines in mind. It’s hard to have any substantive comment on the rankings if you can’t understand those guidelines.

        While I don’t think it’s as big a deal as Dave’s detractors, I can certainly see where they’re coming from in there criticism.

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      • Sammy says:

        Yeah, I guess that would be annoying. I guess I had just assumed 4-5 years and it never bothered me.

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    • Terry says:

      Is Young more or less than a role player? ..

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      • vivaelpujols says:

        He is probably a 2-3 win player going forward. I’m not sure if you can classify him as a role player as he will be above league average, but he certainly isn’t a star anymore.

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      • JH says:

        He was never a star. His best season was +3.7 WAR, and he’s been only slightly above average ever since.

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  18. Jeff Nye says:

    The horrifying comments on this series of posts has already ensured that Dave won’t do this again.

    So, Wally, tom c, and all the other trolls, I hope you’re proud of yourselves, because you’ve managed to ruin a really cool thing for the rest of us.

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    • Alaskan says:

      Horrifying? Trolls? I would give you ‘less-than-stellar’, but I think you’re being a little harsh.

      Also, I think I missed the part where all the criticism of Dave’s comments (or lack thereof) suddenly turned into ruining this for all of us.

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      • Alaskan says:

        Actually, let me say I was just reading through the Dodgers post, and that one was a good step closer to both ‘horrifying’ and ‘trolls’, though the comments I noticed were Tom’s, not Wally or tom c’s. So maybe your word choice wasn’t far off.

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      • vivaelpujols says:

        I actually know tom s. from Viva El Birdos (unless it is a different one). He usually makes good (albeit somewhat abrasive) comments. I haven’t read a lot of these comments, so I don’t know how he is acting, but I doubt that he is simply being a troll.

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    • Chip says:

      This is a pretty inappropriate reaction. Most of the negativity shouldn’t really be called trolling. Nit-picking would probably be better. There has been some legitimate criticism, especially of Dave’s reactions in comments. To just simply refer to it as trolling or calling just 0.1% of the comments intelligent and blame not doing it again on that is a bit of an overreaction. There’s good information gained from this, and there’s good information gained from the criticism, even if it could come across better.

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      • Jeff Nye says:

        Riiiight. Throwing around words like “douchebag” is just nit-picking.

        I’ll admit I’m biased because Dave is a friend of mine and I know how long he’s spent researching for and writing this series of posts, but I don’t blame him for not wanting to spend that much time casting pearls before swine in the future.

        The comments that bring up reasoned criticism, I have no problem with; but there’s been precious little of that. But it’s been mostly people taking potshots at Dave because he picked on their favorite team, or people who keep bringing up “but when I average a C, a C, and a C, I don’t get a B-!” ad nauseam.

        I don’t agree with 100% of what Dave’s posted here myself (I personally would’ve been less conservative with the Mariners rank, since a good front office is really the #1 component of this in my mind, since no other factor can turn around a team’s future as quickly), but he’s still spent a lot of time on this that HE DIDN’T HAVE TO, and people could do him the courtesy of at least being civil.

        I have yet to see anyone bring up anything remotely resembling a major flaw in Dave’s methodology here, and yet people are tossing around phrases like “douchebag” and “worst content ever on Fangraphs”.

        I think saying “yeah, I’m never going to make this mistake again” is pretty damn reasonable on Dave’s part, at this point.

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      • Wally says:

        Riiiight. Throwing around insults to all readers like “0.1% actually leaving intelligent responses in the comments section” is what passes for analysis in a site supposedly as advanced as fangraphs.

        He reaps what he sows….

        “I think saying “yeah, I’m never going to make this mistake again” is pretty damn reasonable on Dave’s part, at this point.”

        Well if he can’t do this without insulting his entire fan base, so be it….

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      • John says:

        You really need to stop, Wally. This is getting almost sad.

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      • Wally says:

        Just “almost sad?” What do I have to do to make it just plain old “sad?”

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      • John says:

        “Almost sad” is reserved for those one feels sorry for.

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      • Chip says:

        Jeff – there are some ‘douchebag’ comments. There aren’t as many as you want to believe. And I don’t understand how he comes to terms with the final grade, and Dave didn’t do a real great job explaining. And this isn’t a site that should be filled with people who accept the ‘this is how i like it, deal with it’ type analysis. We may not be getting that here, but we really don’t know that. And I don’t really care that he didn’t have to, he did, he’s open to some criticism. I have seen some fair points critical of Dave, not major flaws, but much more legitimate criticism than ‘douchebag’ comments. To throw the baby out with the bathwater like that is just as bad as the ‘douchebag’ guys.

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    • Omar says:

      I’m impartial so far (I’m fortunate enough to root for one of the best ran teams in baseball), but Dave comes off as awfully arrogant and uses quite a bit of logos appeals and if he’s not doing that he sounds whiny. There’s clearly room to call some of his picks biased, and disagree with the rankings, especially if one of the teams you disagree about is the run you root for. There’s going to be disagreements, it’s the fucking internet, deal with it. If having e-strangers disagree with you and making fun of your work ruins something like this for you, you probably shouldn’t be in the business of publishing your opinions.

      Doing things like calling disagreements “nitpicking” or attacking the one disagreeing by calling out the level of which he disagreed is weak, and I thought you were better than that. Here’s an idea: if you’re still publishing work in two years (you really shouldn’t do one next season anyway, as much shouldn’t change…unless you were dead wrong on something) instead of doing them all one at a time, take a month (or three) to look at each team and publish your rankings all at once and host a two or three hour long chat. Where you can address all of this at once, and ignore the comments that hurt your feelings. You could also provide a disclaimer like “it gets kinda sketchy after the five best and five worst” if you are unprepared to meet the disagreement.

      I would suggest that you read Keith Law’s chats, and try to develop a similar level of wit (though given some of your retorts this may be a somewhat daunting task). You could also go just straight by projections, and look at how each player projects based on a combination of the projection systems then apply proper weights to ownership (using payroll to keep it as objective as possible), look at the GM’s past trades through a completly objective lens (by using the differences in WAR)…it’s kind of hard to disagree with that, unless you disagree with the particular methodology that the projection system uses, finally you could go the NoMaas.org route, and just abuse those who disagree with you…though you will have to bring the funny.

      OR, you could just realize that disagreement is what makes it fun. There is no way that Dave is insuffurable to the point to where he likes to publish his own opinions and not talk about them…I mean, isn’t the debating the fun part? Furthermore, I’d like to think that the readers of this site aren’t so febble minded to where they just take Dave, or anyone’s, word for granted and cease to disagree.

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      • Jay says:

        Shut up.

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      • vivaelpujols says:

        Are you being serious Jay?

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      • Jay says:

        What good would sarcasm do me?

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      • ThundaPC says:

        That’s right, Omar. Disagreements can be fun.

        The problem is, that’s not what this turned into.

        1) First it turned into an argument about the grading system itself. Quite a few people had trouble dealing with the fact that the overall grade was not an average and that all things weren’t being weighted equally. Well, okay, that’s understandable. Wasn’t made clear until several rankings in so I can see where that confusion came from. Of course the issue was people wanting to know some specific scientific method for determining the weight of each factor when it’s pretty clear that there isn’t one. This is one case where some folks tried to make things more complicated than it should be.

        2) The Marlins ranking is a great example of an organization that has all the tools and knowledge to build and maintain a championship caliber team but they simply don’t have the funds to do so. Ironically, this same ranking started derailing the series because despite the fact that it was obvious that ownership was dragging the entire thing down some people still wanted it to be some kind of “average”. Others think they should be higher up because their method actually “works” as it gave them two World Series championships. Maybe that should have been addressed in the post but that’s clearly an example of Bad Process/Good Outcome as one can’t possibly think building a team that contends one every five years is a quality formula especially given the ever changing nature of baseball.

        But we’re still in decent shape. There have been disagreements about where teams have ranked so it’s still all good so we kept pressing on.

        At this point, things were going pretty well. Sure, every ranking saw disagreements but it was actually on the subject of the team itself.

        3) Right around #21 ranked Cardinals is where some folks (including one poster who has been complaining and attacking in every thread ever since) began wondering where the stereotypically badly run organizations are at. You know, Baltimore, Seattle, Texas, Toronto (I guess).

        4) Once the #20 Blue Jays were listed people started missing the point and began talking about the “likelihood” of making the playoffs instead of the organization’s ability to build and maintain a championship team. Yea, this is probably another thing that could’ve been explained better. This wasn’t bad by itself but combined with some other things people were complaining about the wheels were getting wobbly.

        5) Then we approach a no win situation where in every thread up until #15 people where asking “OMG, where are the Mariners!?” It’s a no win situation because the Mariners’ front office went through a makeover of epic proportions and that just happened to be the team that Dave covers when he’s not doing Fangraphs.

        And now I begin to wonder if it would’ve been better if the audience were better educated before rolling out this series? The last time Dave did an overview-based Organizational Rankings list it was preceded by a “Seeds of Success” post that talked about a new breed of front office talent making their teams successful very quickly, specifically pointing out that at least half of the playoff teams in 2007 featured teams run by a new generation of Ivy League GMs.

        Of course by this time we have at least two more posters in which the more this list differed from their own the more they complained about how the author’s list was assembled.

        6) At this point, the posts consists over all the complaints that we’ve seen put together in addition to the vocal minority making the same complaints and even attacks (“This feature is worthless”, “Dave is clearly dodging my questions”) in every single thread…..then came the “0.1% intelligence comments” comment by Dave himself which was probably the tipping point. That is, of course, the thread we’re in now.

        So it’s not simply a matter of disagreements. Ultimately, this feature, as great as the posts have been, was delivered to a largely unprepared audience. maybe a few introductory posts would’ve helped the situation. I’ve, so far, gotten exactly what I needed to get out of this, a basic view of the health of each organization. I’ve learned quite a bit from this.

        Hopefully, the vocal minority can simmer down enough to finish this series off on a decent note. I still expect disagreements and even nitpicks of the teams grading themselves but we don’t need to rehash the exact same complaints that have been going on since the 29th rank. We get it already, lets move on.

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      • Omar says:

        To ThundaPC:

        1.) That is completely on Dave, he should have made clear that not all parts are weighted equally and given a rough explanation on the process he uses to come up for the final grade. It’s not at all unreasonable for the readers of this site in particular to expect some sort of a formula for the rankings, this is a stat heavy site with a stat heavy and stat savvy reader base, I’m surprised more people weren’t looking for a formula, again on Dave for not explaining or having the foresight to know his reader base.

        2.) As far as the Marlins go, I disagree with your characterization of the team:

        A.) They have the funds to spend more, Loria’s had years where he’s gotten more in revenue sharing than he has spent on payroll…and it’s not like he can’t afford to put a good team on the field, he’s just cheap and fans don’t show up to the games.

        B.) I would argue that trading veteran talent for high ceiling young talent is a fairly good strategy

        But hey, that’s just a quibble…I’m not a Marlins fan, if one exists I’ll let him disagree with you.

        3.) The Cards I completely and totally get, they have the best player in the game (occasionally A-Rod has years where he’s better), good owners, good fans who allow the owners to spend money…and I think they have a better shot at the playoffs than the “stereotypically poorly ran teams” And really, as of late Baltimore has at least done enough to not get lumped into that group. However, good luck getting past the Yankees, Boston, and the Rays.

        4.) I really can’t blame the readers for missing the point, I mean…the point was poorly explained and really until then it didn’t need to get explained. No one needs to be explained why the Nationals and Astros have a worse chance at a WS than you do with Scarlett Johansen, it’s quite obvious. This is again on Dave, but he gets a mulligan here.

        5.) The Mariners explanation is a COMPLETE overstatement. I’m with the “trolls” 1000 percent on this one. There’s a good chance that Bedard and Beltre are going to be gone at the end of this season then what are they left with? Clement, Ichiro!, Wlad (who might be good), Morrow, and Felix? There’s lower ranked teams who have much much better cores than that. Furthermore, down the farm, I really don’t see that true top shelf prospect. Yeah, they have what looks like to be a good FO (Dave’s ranking, and the Mariners circle jerk that ensued was entirely premature…if you’re “one of the best” in the business for 25 years and don’t get hired to run a team on your own there’s probably a reason) Take a team like the Giants for example, for everything that Felix Hernandez might be, Tim Lincecum is and more. Oh yeah, they also have another top shelf starter in Matt Cain and another arm in Sanchez. Furthermore, they have four top tier prospects in Bumgarner (who has a tremendous ceiling and is a very special arm), Alderson, Posey, and Vilanolla. Yet the Mariners were ranked ahead of the Giants mainly based on how good Dave thinks the GM will be. I can totally see the out rage here.

        Furthermore, lets cut the “maybe the audience needs to be more educated” like it’s their fault for disagreeing. If you read this site you probably know enough about baseball to participate in the conversation, we don’t need any condescension here.

        6.) Attacks are normal, it’s the internet, it’s baseball, and there’s a good chance that Dave said something unsavory about your favorite team. Deal with it. The comment at the beginning of this thread was dismissive, unfunny, and made Dave look like a total whiner. If it were only two of those things, maybe things would be different, but you don’t do something like that you deserve every bit of tongue lashing (or in this case keyboard lashing) you get, sorry, that’s just how things go. The feature wasn’t delivered to a poorly prepared audience, it was poorly explained. It’s served it’s purpose for me (kept me entertained, and helped me slack off). I’m really hoping all hell breaks loose for the top three. There’s a good argument (especially by the standards which Dave has listed) that either the Yankees, Rays, or Boston should be number one, anything less than a full out battle in the comments section will leave this reader disappointed.

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      • Wally says:

        As someone that deals with trying to quantify qualitative data regularly, I think I might have a little insight on how the grading system might be improved.

        In each category we currently see Dave taking in a fairly large range of observations and giving it a pretty subjective grade. What would improve the system is to divide each category into subsets and give the team a Good, average, poor or A, B, C, D, F ranking. For example ownership: Brake it down into allowed payroll, meddling, stability, hiring practices, and anything else you deem important.

        So it might look something like this (I’ll use the A’s as an example):
        A’s ownership
        Payroll: C-
        Meddling: A
        Stability: B
        Hiring: A

        Then come up with a weighting system. Say you think payroll is the most important part, meddling second, and the other two are pretty weak so lets say its a 5-3-1-1 weighting factor respectively. Giving the A’s a C+/B-.

        Do this for each category, then give each category a weighting factor. Given the time frame is 5 years, and we assume a good FO can rework a team inside that time frame lets say that’s the most important component. Give that a 3.5. Then sense the MLB roster means so much in the near term competing give them the next best 2.5. Lets then say ownership and minor league rosters are tied at 2.

        So I’ll stick with the A’s sense that was the most recent even though we’re in the Rangers thread.

        Ownership was a C+ (I’ll round down), FO an A, MLB roster a C, Minor leagues an A. Plug that in and we get pretty much exactly a B (3.15 GPA). Now come rank the teams according to grades. Then allow for some error. Maybe all teams don’t conform to the weighting factors exactly, but they are mostly right. Lets look at the Marlin’s example. The were F for ownership, B- for FO, B- for major league, B+ minor league. That gives them a solid C. So, let allow the creator to push them up or down inside the C range. Say a +/- .25 GPA window. You might say a C would land them around 25th, and they need to be lower. Well if you go back you’d probably find every one’s scores would go up because so few D’s and F’s were handed out in the individual categories. Much like our school system, you have to be really, really bad to get a D or F here.

        What this kind of system allows for is transparency and consistency. When dealing with many subjective factors going into a creating a ranked and qualitative list how are we to know any consistent method is being applied? Without any system Dave could look down at his notes about the A’s ownership one day and give them a D, but if he went back two months later and looked at the same notes, he could give them a B. Then, of course, it allows the readers to know exactly how you are doing this. They might argue with the method, but that’s fine, at least they won’t be constantly asking you how you weight this and that with the other thing. Nor will they be looking at your list pointing at various inconsistencies. I’d rather just have the discussion about the method once, then get on with the list…..

        Anyway, apparently my “axe grinding” has shot my credibility, but this exactly the kind of system an analytically/statistically inclined audience is going to be looking for when trying to get a quantitative result from large amounts of qualitative data.

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      • Wally says:

        Whoops, the second sentence in the second to last paragraph should read: “When dealing with many subjective factors going into a creating a ranked and QUANTITIVE list how are we to know any consistent method is being applied?”

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      • ThundaPC says:

        Omar

        Fair enough on mostly everything you said. As a Mariner fan, I do have this issue:

        “5.) The Mariners explanation is a COMPLETE overstatement. I’m with the “trolls” 1000 percent on this one.”

        Most of the arguments for the “COMPLETE overstatement” of the Mariners franchise COMPLETELY ignores the fact that they’re being backed by a large payroll and now have a quality front office in place. This is a lot more important than some folks seem to realize.

        “There’s a good chance that Bedard and Beltre are going to be gone at the end of this season then what are they left with? Clement, Ichiro!, Wlad (who might be good), Morrow, and Felix? There’s lower ranked teams who have much much better cores than that. Furthermore, down the farm, I really don’t see that true top shelf prospect.”

        It’s almost guaranteed that Bedard and Beltre won’t be here after this year. If all the organization did was rely on the rest of the talent they have from here on out the team wouldn’t go very far for quite some time.

        Luckily, teams with $100 Million payroll don’t just sit around and rely on the farm system, as-is, to build the team of the future. They work to maintain BOTH Major and Minor league systems.

        And despite Zduriencik not having much to work with in terms of available finances, he’s already improved the farm system a bit while retooling the team to be far stronger at defense than they have been given the pitchers they’re going to run out there.

        “Yeah, they have what looks like to be a good FO (Dave’s ranking, and the Mariners circle jerk that ensued was entirely premature…if you’re “one of the best” in the business for 25 years and don’t get hired to run a team on your own there’s probably a reason)”

        I really don’t get this comment. The Brewers hired Zduriencik in 1998 and as a scouting director has completely build up the farm system to the point where he’s been given significant credit for the Brewers core group. In contrast, prior to that the Pirates organization hired Zduriencik and fired him after several higher-up changes and they’re STILL stuck in a rut.

        Not sure what point you’re making with this one.

        “Take a team like the Giants for example, for everything that Felix Hernandez might be, Tim Lincecum is and more. Oh yeah, they also have another top shelf starter in Matt Cain and another arm in Sanchez. Furthermore, they have four top tier prospects in Bumgarner (who has a tremendous ceiling and is a very special arm), Alderson, Posey, and Vilanolla. Yet the Mariners were ranked ahead of the Giants mainly based on how good Dave thinks the GM will be. I can totally see the out rage here.”

        With the information we have Jack Zduriencik’s front office is significantly better than Brian Sabean’s. Honestly, Brian Sabean isn’t really all that much better than Bill Bavasi. Where Bavasi was able to repair the farm system and build a good bullpen, Sabean managed to find stopgap veterans who can still contribute and assemble a quality pitching staff. Neither seem to be able to put together a quality major league team with the resources they have/had available, however.

        ——————

        Wally,

        The subset idea seems pretty hefty. Did you use that to come up with your list?

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      • Wally says:

        No I didn’t, but that doesn’t mean I won’t. But Dave has obviously put a lot of time into this, which I appreciate BTW, so I don’t see why my sugestion would be such a problem for him if he ever wanted to give that method a shot. In some ways it might actually be faster. Sure the data accumulation part might be more time consuming, but placing the teams would no doubt be quicker, sense it would basically just be an output of a simple function. Heck, you could do the whole thing in excel, just enter the individual grades (or number value of the grade anyway), and have it spit out the result in a cell with the waighting function…. you could then build in an operater adjustment if we allow them to mess around on the fringes.

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  19. Terry says:

    This thread has been poisoned by thread roaches. Why is it appropriate argue this? Because a good deal of the comments are directed at the author rather than the argument and a good deal more are motivated by axegrinding rather than an honest desire to engage an intellectual discussion.

    Another way to put it….people are trying to instigate a pissing contest and as a result the room smells like pee.

    Basically fumigate and don’t enter for a few days.

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  20. Mike says:

    Interesting comments. Anyway.

    I’m not so sure how well the Red Sox go on the ownership scale. Henry is too vocal for my liking, although he doesn’t appear to meddle in ways that actually affect the player personnel. The Manny trade might be an exception there. Still, it’ll be interesting to see how Dave evaluates it.

    I have a query about the mixture of old-school scouting types and new sabermetric types, Dave. I realise they’re not mutuall exclusive, but I can conceive front office turmoil surrounding disagreements between the different departments. I have no idea if this has been an issue in a MLB club, but it’s the only problem I can think of for teams like Seattle.

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    • Jim says:

      Boy, see what I missed when I spent the evening wathing the BSG finale and reading(and I’m kind of glad I did!)

      Anyway, I know you were asking Dave, but to answer your question at least partially, I know that, yeah, there has been some turmoil, at least from what little I know, due to the kind of split you mentioned. I think it was that kind of split that drove Walt Jocketty to quit as the Cardinals’ GM last offseason(end of 2007 season) because Bill DeWitt brought in Jeff Luhnow as the stats’ guy and made him vice president of amateur scouting. Jocketty and Luhnow did not work well together and, well, we know the rest of the story.

      Not sure of any other stories–that’s the one I’ve heard of.

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  21. claremont says:

    I have really enjoyed this series so far, it is the best and most interesting season preview I’ve seen and I look forward to each one. I hadn’t read the comments before a few days ago and I was shocked at how many people were complaining. Sure there are things to debate and pros and cons, but so many commenters repeatedly say ignorant things and are obviously not worth wasting time on.

    I would say the silent majority of people who read but don’t comment all love the series, without question, personally I can’t believe that a site this good is available for free, thanks a lot.

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    • vivaelpujols says:

      I think I am understanding what is going on with the comments on these threads. The Mariners fans and guys who are associated with USSMariner are actively defending Dave and his rankings. The Cardinals fans are pissed off about them being ranked 21st, so they are actively criticizing Dave’s rankings. Wally is pissed because Dave dissed him after he had been sticking up for him and his rankings. The Royals fan’s are just pissed because there team sucks.

      Meanwhile, Dave has had some valid (and often controversial) points. However because everyone is wrapped up in bias and agenda, it is hard to separate the legitimate comments from the crap.

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  22. John C. says:

    So…how about them Rangers?

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  23. Omar says:

    As to the Rangers, after this season they’ll likely have the two best players in the division (Hamilton and Kinsler) and if they’re able to trade some of the catching depth (not Teagarden) for a high ceiling starter (e.g. Buchholz from Boston) they’ll have a pretty sick team. I love Daniels, mainly because every interview I’ve heard of his he’s willing to admit a mistake, on Kellerman he admitted he was dead wrong on Adrian Gonzalez (though in fairness to him Chris Young would get slapped around like trailer park wife in that park with the DH), and I found that pretty cool. So yeah, I’d say they’re in pretty good shape.

    Question though: Was the Teixeira trade haul holy crap as in good, or as in he should have gotten more? When I look at an awesome haul I look at what Shapiro got for half a year of Casey Blake and CC Sabathia:

    Matt LaPorta who has dominated every level he’s played at, aside from Akron, but likely major league ready by the ASB of 2009; and Carlos Santana who had a down year in 2007 but other than that has a better minor’s OPS than Joe Mauer and had similar minor stats to Victor Martinez…not to mention he’ll be ready by the start of next season at the latest. That’s an awesome haul, though I’m sure you’ll mention that soon enough.

    Whereas, for a year and a half of the second best first basemen in baseball Daniels got a high ceiling arm (who really could go either way, but damn he looks like he’ll be something special) An ultra toolsy SS who yes is a sick defender and yes is only 20, but only had one year of acceptable hitting. Finally, a player who might not be able to catch…but also might not be able to produce at an all star level (not to mention will likely lose the 1B job to Smoak) I don’t consider that a lights out haul.

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  24. Geoff says:

    It is nice to read what people outside of Texas think of the Rangers. I would agree with the ownership grade if Hicks had bought the team in 95 or 96. I think since the tex trade he has been a great owner, but as a fan it is hard not to think about 2000 to 2006 where every year we had some type of change in direction.

    As for Daniels, I “hope” he has learned, but just last year he DFA’d Galleraga to make room for Jennings. And this was after the build from within philosophy was in place. He has done a nice job with the farm according to the experts, but translating that farm system into a winning major league team will be his true test of overcoming such a dubious start.

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    • Omar says:

      Daniels is a smart guy who seems to have the right method when it comes to running a team, I’m pretty confident that he’ll succeed. Now he just needs to bring in some good FAs when some become available. I can’t believe that The Rangers weren’t at all buyers on the market this season. They should have been buyers on Dunn, and possibly even Abreu. Since they seem to be benching Marlon Byrd (and Hamilton is blocking him in center) they should explore a trade…I’m sure the Yankees would be interested in that trade. Overall, I like the direction they’re going in. The only problem is that everyone in that city (probably state too) will stop paying attention to other sports as soon as Cowboys camp starts.

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  25. Tom says:

    ” And, if you’re one of the 0.1% actually leaving intelligent responses in the comments section, I’m sorry, but for obvious reasons, they’re getting lost in the noise of the masses. ”

    So since people disagree they are unintelligent?

    The reason there is so many comments on this series of articles is because they are so flawed.

    With SO MANY people commenting about them, Dont you think that maybe there is a problem?

    I think the main reason they are flawed is because these rankings are just your opinion!

    Almost all the articles on this site are backed up by statistical evidience and are about FACTS.

    This is just your opinion, and it is obvious to alot of people you are very biased towards teams with analytical GM’s, teams with top prospects, and teams that did good last year.

    Alot of us think payroll, money spent of the draft, and a GM’s actual HISTORY are ALOT more important than you are letting on.

    For you to rank Seattle so high inculing thier front office is a complete joke!!! What histroy does thier GM have at actualy being a GM? Sure he made some great picks with the Brewers, but he hasnt done a THING in Seatlle, YET you rank him ahead of PROVEN GM’s like Dombrowski.

    I WOULD THINK THAT WITH SO MANY PEOPLE COMMENTING NEGATIVLY ON THIS SERIES, YOU WOULD BE SMART ENOUGH TO REALIZE MAYBE IT IS ACTUALLY FLAWED!!!!

    BUT INSTEAD YOU BRUSH OFF 90% OF THE PEOPLE LEAVING COMMENTS AS UNINTELLIGENT!

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  26. Oh Skittles… you’re adorable.

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