Major League Baseball wants to move fast. "They hope to have the new owner in place before the end of the year," Mark Tuohey, chairman of the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission, told reporters yesterday. "I think Major League Baseball is pretty well organized on this one and they'll do it."Can they get through the bidding process and approval in three months? That might depend on whether Bud Selig has already decided who's going to win, which he's been known to do. Well, I don't mind a little chicanery if it means this team will have its act together by April. In other hasty accomplishments news, Angelos is almost taken care of, and Anthony Williams sent the finance plan to the City Council last week. It's amazing to see everything happening so quickly after the months and years of inertia.
There's still the matter of who's going to run this operation, and I'm actually pleased at some of the names that have been mentioned. It started slow, with Cal Ripken and Steve Phillips being bandied about, but it's picked up with Brian Cashman and Pat Gillick as candidates.
Buster Olney on had a column on ESPN about Cashman, who attended Georgetown Prep and Catholic University. He has a reputation as a sharp guy, and he hates George Steinbrenner. There is little evidence, though, that the guy is a great GM. This article at NewYorkMetro.com tries to make the case but trips over the facts (it does make a good case that Steinbrenner is a complete jackass). For one thing, Cashman has nothing to do with the draft. That's a pretty big part of a GM's job, as readers of Moneyball are well aware, and Cashman apparently has no experience. His trades? Well, he picked up Javier Vasquez, Esteban Loiaza, and Kevin Brown this year, and look how well they turned out. Cashman took over in 1998, and Yankees have never been as good as they were then. Cashman apologists want to point to Steinbrenner as the man behind the bad moves, but he's also the one spending the $190 million to keep them in first.
There's also this:
Brian Cashman, the Yankees' GM, has a contract that expires at the end of next season . . . Whether Cashman becomes a candidate will depend on how quickly the ownership of the D.C. franchise is identified and whether the team would be willing to wait for Cashman. If ownership was selected in the middle of next season, for example, it would be only a few months before Cashman became available.That might be too long to wait.
Pat Gillick is apparently interested in the job, according to this story in the Times. He's willing to start immediately, too:
But Gillick said he is still interested in the Expos' position, even as it exists now.Gillick has one hell of a track record. He built Toronto up from scratch, and they won two straight titles under his guidance. He moved on to the Orioles in 1996, which just happened to be when they got good. Most recently, he ran the Mariners from 2000 to 2003, the best time in the history of that franchise.
"I love the game," he said. "Any way I could help, I probably would. I've been around this game for a long time. If somebody asked me to do it and put things together and get things on an even keel for a while, I probably would. I'm still working for Seattle, but I am always interested in a challenge."
Pat Gillick has won with three different teams, and he's willing to start immediately. He's cautious ("Stand Pat"), but I like caution, and the rehabilitation of the Expos is going to be a long process; patience will definitely be a virtue. Cashman, in his favor, has won championships, has a real understanding of what makes offenses go (the A's haven't been the only team focusing on on-base percentage), and isn't even 40 yet. But Gillick has a better track record and seems ideally suited for this unique situation. Sign him up.