So, after hearing about Theo Epstein's five-year deal to join the Chicago Cubs, I was thinking about the consequences for the rest of the NL Central. We know he's competent and that he has been able to consistently develop talent for Boston. That more than anything will be the biggest boost for the Cubbies and the biggest reason for Astros fans to fear his ascension.
The other thing to come out Wednesday is that the move to the AL West will happen and that will mean Jim Crane will be confirmed next month. I have no idea whether this story and rumor will be the one that sticks (I'm so tired of writing about every one of these rumors), but there is a chance it's going to happen.
My question to you then becomes...who has more talent in the front office, the NL Central or the AL West? Let's break things down after the jump...
First things first, let's deal with the devil we know:
Good GMs: Epstein, Doug Melvin, John Mozeliak
Competent GMs: Walt Jocketty
The Jury is Out GMs: Ed Wade, Neal Huntington
You could easily move things around between those two categories, but it's clear Wade is in the last group. I'd take arguments to move Huntington up a level with what he's done with Pittsburgh's farm system and Jocketty has had some high-profile failures lately, but has done a good job overall.
You can also argue with the big boys, but Melvin has his team fighting for a World Series berth after trading for Shaun Marcum and Zach Greinke and Mozeliak continually brings in parts to make that team hum. Both have questions about their drafting and player development, but they have created good teams and are maintaining that success. Epstein fits that mold well.
Good GMs: Jon Daniels
Competent GMs: Billy Beane,
Open GM jobs: Anaheim
The Jury is Out GMs: Jack Zduriencik
Daniels gets credit for building a World Series roster for a team that may win a second straight pennant. He's been working well with Nolan Ryan and given the Rangers young talent on top of that. I have the utmost respect for Billy Beane, but his reputation may mean more now than his performance (much like Jocketty).
Jack Z has had a roller-coaster ride with the sabermetric community, becoming a darling and then falling to the depths of mockery. The Mariners make some questionable decisions but also have seen promise from Michael Pineda and Dustin Ackley. So, you know, he's like Neil Huntington.
Then there's Anaheim, who was in so much disarray that the entire front office got fired (exaggeration) and no one knows when it will get filled. The Angels have a big payroll, so they'll be attractive to many candidates, but will the ownership go for a more forward-thinking GM or someone who claims Vernon Wells?
For a smaller division, the West seems to have less talent right now in the front office and would make Ed Wade feel right at home. However, I don't want to just jump leagues to get away from Theo Epstein.
Look at that list, though. Doesn't Andrew Friedman immediately jump to the top of it? Can I still hold out hope for Friedman joining the Astros front office or is that just getting awkward now?