Obviously most people are very down on DM right now...however I would venture to guess that everybody (even d_f and will) could reach a point where their opinion of him would change. This post is NOT meant to cheerlead for DM or lay out why he is a good or bad GM...I have been fairly consistent in stating my position on him.
So, what I wanted to throw out there is what in my mind DM MUST do in order to redeem himself this offseason. In turn, I'd like to hear from others, especially those who are most down on him, on what DM can/must do in your eyes to turn things around. No snark please, give me your honest assessment of what it would take for him to redeem himself in your eyes. They may be specific moves or more of a noticable philosophical shift that you can point to, but I'd like to hear them.
Here are mine:
1. Fire Trey Hillman and/or Dave Owen. Despite what he has said, I still hold out some hope that DM will evaluate Trey's two seasons here and determine that he is not the man for the job. Maybe it doesn't happen until early next season, but I think it needs to happen soon. Ironically, one could argue that by not firing Hillman, he is at least indirectly admitting that he hasn't given Trey the bullets he needs to be successful. Canning Owen would be an acknowledgement that he's been a horrible 3rd base coach and has contributed mightily to our historically bad baserunning.
2. Put his money where his mouth is when it comes to OBP. This could take a number of forms, from non-tendering Jacobs/bringing up Kaaihue, making Betancourt a backup, installing Pena as the primary catcher, making more trades to bring in OBP guys, whatever.
3. Show a real commitment to upgrading the defense. Some of this is going to be hard to do given the coexisting need to upgrade OBP, but this needs to happen as well. The biggest and most obvious places to do this are in RF, SS and C. However, given current roster restraints, improving OBP and defense is going to be tough. If you put B. Pena at C, he presumably solves a big part of the offense/OBP side of the equation but I sense that his defense is really suspect. Move Guillen to DH? That presumably improves the defense but I don't know if it improves our on-base problem. My preference for DH would be a platoon of Guillen and Kaaihue.
4. Upgrade the bullpen. I think this could actually be accomplished fairly easily and cheaply with some internal options such as Rosa and others. If it doesn't work, at least you're not paying them a ton of money. Guys like Jamey Wright, John Bale, and Roman Colon for the most part need to be gone.
5. A farm system AT LEAST in the top 10 per BA. We were 11th per BA going into 2009. I need to see continued improvement. This is really out of DM's hands at this point, but signing Aaron Crow and some savvy trades could help. Really, with the spending like a drunken sailor, I would expect a top-5 farm system very very soon.
6. Release Jose Guillen. I have really shied away from naming specific moves/players because there's no way for me to know the entire universe of players and what could be had in trade. But admitting a mistake by releasing the $12 million man I think would send a huge positive message. Maybe the fact that DM has gotten a contract extension would make it easier to do this, I don't know. I do know if it happened it would be a positive sign that DM is re-evaluating the way he does things.
So, there's a lot here, and although I didn't really specifically list it out, the implication from the above is that DM is going to have to change the way he looks at things. I don't know that all of these things need to happen, but most of them do. If not, then you'll be able to add me to the list of those ready to move on.