May 1, 2010

Manager Job Description: Part 4 of 5

On the same pageThe Reds lost to the Cardinals today, ending a winning streak that extended so long that people didn’t immediately start thinking about Dusty Baker getting fired as soon as the L was marked on the schedule. This sort of performance makes my discussion of manager job description elements seem a little irrelevant, but I guess if that’s the kind of Murphy’s Law I’m going to get for trying to get ahead of this process, I could do a whole helluva lot worse than the Reds being good for a change.

With that being said, I don’t see any reason to stop now, so let’s continue onto part 4, which is about the manager’s philosophy fitting in with the general manager’s approach to stocking the team.

These requirements are generic and are not intended to endorse or condemn any particular candidate. Any resemblance to the opposite of any past incongruities of approach are purely coincidental.

Requirement #4: Buying-In on the GM’s Approach
Besides the fact that the manager actually has to report to the general manager, their work actually has to fit together. If the GM is filling up the team with excellent pitching and plus defense but the manager is looking to depend on home run power to win games, you’re probably not going to have a very successful team.

Along the same lines, it’s best if the manager’s strengths play into the approach. For example, if the GM is looking to spend the big bucks to buy all the veteran talent in the league, then they ought to hire a manager with a track record of dealing with big egos. Alternately, if the team is depending on developing their internal talent, the manager probably better be psyched about the idea of inspiring a bunch of kids.

Interview question to check for Buying-In on the GM’s Approach:
Question: We have a few million to bring in key leadership role players, but the majority of the team will be coming up through the system. Where would you recommend we apply our investments?

Good answer: Let’s focus on just a couple proven vets so we can apply as much money as we need to land really quality leaders to help develop the younger guys.

Bad answer: Let’s bring as many has-been ex-Cubs as we can find at a price two-to-three times higher than anyone else in the sport would consider paying them, even while drunk. Then, let’s play them 100% of the time to justify the investment. After all, it’s much better to prevent a rookie from screwing up a game, even if the only way we can do it is to let Corey Patterson do it instead.

It’s finals week for me, so the last installment of this series will probably come at you on Friday. Hopefully it still seems as irrelevant by then.

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