With spring training under way, it might be a little earlier than usual on a column like this, but I do not remember seeing so many organizations in MLB that are in desperate need of a change at the top. Here is the list of MLB GM's who should be given the Dan Duquette treatment (not the Steve Phillips treatment, because then they would be shoved down our throats like processed peas were when we were children).
1. JP Ricciardi, Toronto
Playoff appearances? 0
Good trades made? None. Rack your brain for a second. He had a chance to trade Vernon Wells at the height of his effectiveness, instead signed him to a long term deal that no one in their right mind would take on now. His managerial selections were awful.
Farm system? Brutal. Alex Rios was the last homegrown talent to come up and do something, and even he is inconsistent at best.
Ricciardi has proven one thing in his tenure as the Jays GM, he is good enough to put together a team that is not going to do anything. Really couldn't anyone do that?
2. Jim Bowden, Washington
Who would have thought the Montreal Expos would have been a better run franchise then the Nationals thus far? Central American scouting issues, round pegs for square holes (Dmitri Young and Ronnie Belliard), and an outfield fetish (Austin Kearns, Elijah Dukes just to name a couple) have completely tarnished a beautiful new stadium and a chance to rekindle the love of baseball in the Nation's capital. Jim Bowden has done absolutely nothing to draw fans to a park that people should be falling all over themselves to get to. It is time that Jim Bowden, and perhaps even Stan Kasten, who has seen much of this occur under his watch, step aside for someone different before this franchise becomes the MLB's version of the Detroit Lions.
3. Dan O'Dowd, Colorado
Yes, the Mike Hampton and Denny Neagle contracts come to mind here. Is there any doubt that the Rockies improbable run as the National League's sacrificial lamb in 2007 might have prolonged O'Dowd's time in Colorado? Is it possible that the season that was so magical may have set this franchise back another 5 or 10 years? Many have complained of the difficulties in making trades with O'Dowd (remember the Red Sox trying to trade for Todd Helton or the Julian Tavarez attempted trade?), and it is similar to the same complaints you hear about Jim Bowden. Is this the type of person needed to run a franchise in this day and age? With respect to Dick Van Patten, in this case 10 is enough, 10 being the number of years O'Dowd has been on the job.
4. Brian Cashman, New York Yankees
Has any GM ever been as overrated as Cashman? Has there been one with as many misses in recent history? Kyle Farnsworth, Jason Giambi, Kevin Brown, Javier Vazquez, Carl Pavano, Jose Contreras, Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, and the latest Jorge Posada deal are a part of an era in which Cashman has done nothing short of underwhelming the baseball world. Is he a product of the Yankees money? Did he get players like Sabathia and Teixeira into town, or were they blinded by the seemingly green colored pin stripes? Could anyone legitimately be the GM of the Yankees? The appropriately named Cashman is expendable, and perhaps one could argue that Cashman should have left before Joe Torre. Oh and it's been 8 years since a Yankee parade down Broadway, which is an eternity for many Yankee fans, especially since the hated Red Sox have won two World Series Titles since then, have paid much less under the luxury tax while they have developed more good players out of their farm system. Quick, name the last Yankee homegrown talent to win an MVP, Cy Young award, or Rookie of the Year.
Wait for it...
Wait for it...
The answers are...
MVP-Don Mattingly 1985
Cy Young- Ron Guidry 1978
Rookie Of the Year- Derek Jeter 1996
For a team with "unlimited resources", shouldn't they have a dominant farm system? It may be unfair to give Cashman all the blame here, but if this season fails to bring the ticker tape, I would be willing to bet he might be the one who takes the fall.