In Major League baseball (and most other pro sports) we have seen a trend developing with athletes production, and more specifically their increased production in “contract” years. I would like to think that professional athletes don’t “try” harder when they know the end of their contract is up, but the Adrian Beltre’s of the world have been making it hard for me to now think somethings up. Rather then going on and on with examples of this happening, I will link you to Beltre’s stats HERE, and move on to the real point of this article.
What I have been wondering lately is does the same thing apply to major league general managers? If you think about it they are on the hot seat as much, and if not more then the athletes themselves. They not only have make all the right moves in a contract year but also have to reply on the manager of the team to get the best out of the players they provide. Keeping this in mind I came up with my own top 5 list if “DO NOT’s” if you are a G.M and in a contract year. In an effort to keep it funny we will count it back Letterman style from 5 to 1. There is a theme to this list (besides the obvious sarcasm)… see if you can guess before you get to #1 who it is.
#5. Do not sign players that are over 35 yrs old: This is a kiss of death since there have been like 6 players.. EVER that have done well after that age. Yes it happens, but NO the odds are not in your favor.
#4. Address you team’s needs in the off season: I feel silly putting this on the list since this is common sense to most adults, in almost any situation in life! When you run out of tomatoes and you go the grocery store, you pick up tomatoes. It’s the same everywhere else, if you are lacking a 3rd baseman and a defensive outfielder.. please dont come back with a middle reliever and a minor league outfielder that is also horrible on defense.
#3. Do Not Overspend: When your contract is on the line, the last thing you need is to give the fans, press and the owner a reason to think you are not doing you job. With the recent decline in economy we don’t have the time or patience to hear why you may… or may not have spent $6.5M on a set up man that had no good track record, often injured and has a 4.00 ERA and 3 wins!
#2. Try and make a splash at trade deadline: This applies more when you are in the hunt for a division title. This is your last time to make a good impression on the owner and it isn’t a time to hold back. There are many examples to be given here.. but for argument’s sake I would say someone like Wilson Betemit would not count as a good signing…. (SEE #1 reason as to why)
#1. Wait for free agency to begin: This is by far the absolute worst thing any G.M can do. It’s called the Kiss of Death in the biz. This is often overlooked by most since we all know that it’s silly start looking for the best deal on something before the store even opens.
Somehow Detroit Tigers G.M Dave Dombrowski has managed to break all these rules this year by signing Inge (#1) before free agency began, Overpaying for him, Mags, and Benoit (#2, 3, 4 and 5). Getting Betemit was good.. but it was only needed to fix his mistake of signing Inge in the first place. These mistakes.. coupled with his past 16 (if you are keeping count) we surely enough to get handed the infamous “pink slip” from Tigers owner Mike Ilitch.
On top of Dobrowski’s awful track record, the Tigers haven’t won a division title since 1987 and haven’t made the playoffs since 2006. So when Dombrowski and Leyland were resigned 5 days ago to a 4 year extension, before the season was even over…I guess I can kinda see where Dumbrowski gets it from!