Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Can We Hire Andy’s Dad Instead?

New team president is no stranger to losing

By Christopher Heun

Peter Angelos thinks the answer to the Orioles problems can be fixed by a guy who in 12 seasons steering the Cubs had a losing record of 915-1,011.

The Orioles formally introduced Andy MacPhail as the new president of baseball operations today. From 1994 to 2006, he was the president and CEO of the Cubs; during that time the team made the playoffs only twice, including 1998, when they managed to eke into the postseason by beating the Giants in a wild-card playoff.

In other words, nobody in The Warehouse will have to worry any time soon about the hassle of taking orders for playoff tickets.

To be fair, MacPhail was also GM of the Twins from 1985 to 1994, when the team won two World Series. But their overall record was just 787-784 during his tenure.

The 1987 Twins set a record for fewest regular season victories by a World Series champion with 85 (subsequently broken last year by the 83-79 Cardinals). In 1991, they won it all after having finished in last place the previous year.

For Orioles fans, the most depressing mark on the MacPhail resume is his own admission that the Cubs failed to produce young talent. When MacPhail resigned from the Cubs last October, he “admitted they have done a poor job of developing position players in the farm system.”

Despite all this, Ken Rosenthal at FoxSports thinks MacPhail is a good move:

“The hiring of former Cubs executive Andy MacPhail as chief operating officer is a step in the right direction, but only if Angelos recognizes the need for a greater overhaul.”

Maybe MacPhail can dig up an old copy of the Oriole Way handbook in his family’s attic. His father and grandfather are both in the Hall of Fame: Dad Lee MacPhail was the Orioles general manger from 1958-65 and later became the president of the American League; Between 1933 and 1947 Larry MacPhail was the chief executive of the Cincinnati Reds, the Brooklyn Dodgers, and the New York Yankees.

When the season started, I thought about writing a sarcastic post comparing the Orioles chances this year with those of the Nationals, who looked like a lock to lose 100 games. But now, after sweeping a series at Camden Yards, the Nats actually have the better record.

And who is the president of the Nationals? Stan Kasten, the man who held the same position with the Atlanta Braves for 17 years, during which it won 12 consecutive division titles.

Makes you wonder which team, the Nats or the O’s, will turn it around first.

2 comments:

hrb said...

But the Cubs did manage 4 winning seasons over the last 9 while the O's had none.

McPhail rarely had a lot of money to work with either. They had to develop players to be successful. And they did, just not enough to make it past the NLCS.

If Angelos will allow 42 million spen on a bullpen, he'll signoff on big free agent money for McPhail.

Christopher Heun said...

Free agents aren't the answer to the Orioles problems. They need to develop their own talent. That's how you build a sustainable winner. And that's not something the Cubs under MacPhail managed to do.

For the record, the Cubs payroll was $94 million last year, 7th in MLB and $10 million more than the O's. True, the Orioles payroll was higher in 2001. those were the two easiest years I could dig up with just a few minutes of searching.