Friday, January 30, 2009

Dugout Central on JimBo

It's been around the Natmosphere, but I figure I'd be remiss if I of all people didn't link to this post arguing that JimBo is the worst GM in baseball.

I obviously agree with the overall thrust of the piece and basically all the particulars, although I'm not sure I could say for sure that one GM or another is definitely the worst. It's obviously a barstool conversation, and there's a solid case to be made.

The only thing I would say about it is that like most of my posts along these lines, there's a tendency for the argument to become less persuasive as it becomes more detailed. To me, the most obvious case against Jim's performance is to simply step back and review the overall results. He hasn't won enough to justify continued employment. You can make excuses or debate whether he deserves most or just some of the blame, but after 15 years the excuses run out. If he was a good GM, he'd win more. Same goes for players. You can excuse a bad month or two on sample size fluctuation or nagging injuries or whatever, but at some point if a guy never hits, you have to just decide he's a bad hitter.
Where I was initially willing to be generous and see Bowden as an aggressive mover and shaker perched atop a player development program that had done pretty well at keeping the system stocked, his long-term investments in players like Austin Kearns and Cristian Guzman (or Dmitri Young) and more speaks ill of his judgment as far as big-league talent, and the farm system's track record for generating talent is getting worse on his watch instead of better. When you get bad at the big and little things, and you're left with trying to hang your hat on minor success stories like getting some good work out of a guy like Harris, you really need to ask whether the real problem was the decision to retread Bowden when no other team was likely to ever make the attempt after his long track record of decline and failure in Cincinnati.

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