While Lee Judge warns against us "playing GM", it is natural for any sports fan to think they might be able to do better than the people in charge, much like it is natural for any constituent to to think they can do better than their elected leaders. However there is much about the job of general manager that the average fan is not really privy to, that has nothing to do with whether or not Johnny Giavotella plays second base.
General managers are managers in the truest sense of the word, presiding over the entire baseball operations-side of the organization. They must sooth egos of long-time scouts, former ballplayers, up-and-coming MBAs, and nerdy stat guys, all while keeping all of these actors with their own self-interests steering in the same direction towards winning more baseball games. To paraphrase Keith Law, if the average fan was made GM of his favorite team, he'd be whimpering in the corner in the fetal position by lunch-time of his first day.
However, in the pure decision-making of rosters management, it might be fun to think whether a consensus of Royals Review posters might steer this franchise in a better direction than our fearless General Manager. Would we? Let's take a look at some past roster decisions.
A plurality approved of the deal. Ultimately, it didn't matter much in terms of this year's team.
Remember the Colby Lewis era in KC? Neither do I. But Scott actually believed in Lewis a bit, while the rest of us mocked Dayton for protecting Lewis in the Rule 5 draft over Chris Lubanski. So we were wrong about Lewis, but at least Scott was right.
He got a surprisingly positive reception here. Maybe lukewarm is the best way to describe it. There were some concerns Dayton slightly overpaid, but no one seems alarmed that Jose Guillen was about to fall off the cliff.
Safe to say we would have nixed this deal.
Royals Review continues to bang its collective head against the wall.
Re-signing Bruce Chen
Most Royals Reviewers saw the deal as not that bad, but a bit perplexing. The $9 million price tag and two-year commitment I think was enough to scare away most of us.
The Jonathan Broxton deal got a lot of confused looks from us, then a conversation about barbecue. I don't think we would have reached out to large Jon.
The Jose Mijares acquisition got some decent approval. If we didn't have Tim Collins (which we wouldn't, since we'd never have acquired Kyle Farnsworth or Rick Ankiel in the first place), I can see us going after a cheapish LOOGY.
Among the players rumored to be in play for Dotel were IF Chin Lung Hu, IF Delwyn Young, OF Ben Francisco, P Manny Acosta, IF Brent Lillibridge, OF Wlad Balentien and of course P Kyle Davies. The Royals were rumored to have three deals on the table, one of which was Balentien. Royals Reviewers heartily endorsed that deal, but ultimately Balentien would prove to be just as worthless as Davies.
We were pretty excited about trading him to the Angels. We really liked Will Smith. Those were heady times. And we got to make a lot of "getting jiggy wit' it" jokes.
It's still not clear if this trade proposal of Soria for Yankees prospect Jesus Montero reported by Jayson Stark and Jon Heyman was ever really offered, but if it was, I think its safe to say most of Royals Review would have pulled the trigger on such a deal. Oh, and would we have acquired Soria in the first place? We approved the selection of Soria in the Rule 5, but would our keen scouting eye have found this diamond in the rough?
Most fans here seemed to prefer a trade for Ryan Kalish and other parts. The Royals may have pulled off such a trade, but DeJesus got hurt just before the deadline. Hard to say if we would have pulled the trade in time. If DJ doesn't get traded that deadline, the consensus seemed to be that trading him that winter for Vin Mazzarro and Justin Marks was a poor decision. DeJesus had a fairly crummy year in 2010 (although it was in Oakland), so its unlikely he would have netted anything at the deadline. It also makes it less likely we bring in Melky Cabrera.
Royals Reviewers endorsed the Jamey Newberg trade idea, with no reservations of sending Greinke to a fellow American League club (a sticking point that some felt kept Dayton from considering such an idea). We don't know if Texas would have ever offered such a deal (some reports said Texas balked at including Profar AND Perez), but Derek Holland has turned into a decentish 2 WAR pitcher, Craig Gentry is a useful fourth outfielder who can play centerfield, Martin Perez is the Baseball America-ranked 31st best prospect (although he continues to struggle), and Jurickson Profar is the 7th best prospect.
Royals Reviewers were a bit more bullish on a rumored deal with the Jays for Travis Snider and Kyle Drabek. Many would have pounced had it included Brett Lawrie.
I'm kind of surprised Royals Review for the most part endorsed this trade. Scott McKinney was pretty prescient, pointing out Aviles was having a down year, and was pretty decent defensively and would fare well in Fenway. But the consensus seemed to approve of this move. However a lot of that I think stemmed from frustration that the Royals just didn't seem to want to find a place for him, since Aviles was for quite awhile, a fan favorite here. Perhaps Royals Review would have given Aviles more regular playing time? I'm going to keep Aviles for now, but I can concede that we may not have hung onto him and its easier to say we liked him now that he's hitting well.
Jeff Zimmerman proposed putting in a claim for Wandy Rodriguez when he was placed on waivers last summer and many in the the thread agreed. The Astros had him on revocable trade waivers and were rumored to be looking for salary relief. Had the Royals offered to take on all or nearly all of the remaining $36 million owed him, it likely would have only taken a few marginal prospects to acquire the left-hander. And by failing to sign guys like Jeff Francoeur and Bruce Chen, the Royals could have likely afforded it. Other starting pitching targets Jeff proposed arehere and include Jair Jurrjens, Chad Billingsley, Gio Gonzalez, James Shields, and Chris Capuano.
Jeff also suggested we take a look at a few youngish outfielders in the wake of us acquiring Melky Cabrera and Jeff Francoeur (two deals not taken too well here). Ben Francisco and Casper Wells seemed to get a tepid endorsement from him with some nodding by fellow Royals Reviewers. Francisco was soon thereafter traded for nothing and has declined since then. Wells was also traded as part of the Doug Fister deal and has been a solid fourth outfielder.
Royals Review seemed pretty torn between high school pitcher Rick Porcello and Georgia Tech catcher Matt Wieters. High school third baseman Josh Vitters seemed to be a consensus third choice, as many reports had the Royals linked to him. Porcello had some signability issues that led him to fall (he signed for $7 million, Wieters signed for $6 million, Mike Moustakas signed for $4 million). Perhaps as GM, we wouldn't have been authorized to make that kind of expenditure, but assuming we could have I don't know, earmarked some of the money we didn't spend by not signing Jose Guillen, Royals Reviewers would have likely drafted Rick Porcello instead of Mike Moustakas.
Royals Review was this time torn between college first baseman Justin Smoak and college catcher Buster Posey. Most seemed bullish on high school first baseman Eric Hosmer with notable exceptions from billybeingbilly and ZeppelinDZ.
I note this only because he specifically wanted it mentioned:
So there is that.
I don't get a real sense on a clear consensus, but maybe a slight edge towards Posey (who I was quite dismissive of and wanted Smoak instead).
The choice was pretty much Aaron Crow vs. Grant Green, with the majority wanting Green. Interesting that so many of us were down on the possibility of the Royals selecting Wil Myers in the first round - he's easily more valuable than either of those guys right now. My shadow draft sucks balls and has no Wil Myers. Most of you really liked the Myers pick in the third round, so hopefully you guys would have overruled me.
A few weeks before the draft, Royals Reviewers preferred Manny Machado (who was off the board when we selected) and Yasmani Grandal after that (what is our fetish for catchers in the draft?) Before the draft most seemed to prefer Colon over Grandal and others, and most were okay with Colon once he was drafted (Scott McKinney and Matt Klaassen being notable exceptions). So, for once, Dayton was in synch with Royals Reviews.
So imagine this roster:
SS Mike Aviles
LF Alex Gordon
1B Billy Butler
DH Jesus Montero
RF Ben Francisco
2B Chris Getz
CF Craig Gentry/Mitch Maier
Bench: C Brayan Pena, IF Irving Falu, OF Jarrod Dyson
I know we'd probably look to upgrade from Getz, but since the Yuniesky Betancourt signing was greeted here with less than open arms Getz is the only other option. Perhaps we would have gone for some low cost option like Ronny Cedeno or Jeff Keppinger, or maybe even gone after someone like Kelly Johnson or Aaron Hill. We'd probably also look to upgrade from Kouzmanoff and Francisco, who is really a fourth outfielder.
SP Wandy Rodriguez
SP Felipe Paulino
SP Derek Holland
SP Rick Porcello
SP Luke Hochevar
Bullpen: Kelvin Herrera, Jose Mijares. Probably some other random dudes.
Remember we wouldn't have Danny Duffy, as he was a Dayton pick (or Mike Montgomery for that matter). Dayton drafted Louis Coleman and Greg Holland, so its less than certain we could have pulled a few decent relievers out of our own posterior like he did.
That pitching staff still isn't great, but its a marked improvement over what we currently have.
IF Jurickson Profar, IF Christian Colon, OF Grant Green, RHP Martin Perez
DL - OF Ryan Kalish
And of course this team would be managed by Torey Lovullo, not Ned Yost.
I don't think this exercise should be taken all that seriously. We don't know if these moves were even feasible. We don't know what other options were available. We don't know how we would have been able to get Scott McKinney into the office every day without wearing a shirt. But I just know that once I make my first billion dollars with my internet startup (its a website that turns lolcats into renewable energy!) and take out David Glass in a hostile takeover, I am going to bring Jeff Zimmerman, Scott McKinney, and Jack Marsh in for an interview as GM.