Tuesday, October 26, 2004

By Jove, Our Dear Watson

The Washington Post is reporting the former Astros and Yankees General Manager and Current MLB Punishment Czar Bob Watson will be named GM of the Ex-Expos after the World Series. Given his track record in the front office, this seems like a decent choice.

He served five years in the Houston front office and in October 1993 became the first black general manager in major league history. He helped build the Astros into a contender in the National League Central, finishing second in his two seasons, strike-shortened 1994 and '95...

Watson last served as a general manager with the New York Yankees for the 1996 and '97 seasons. He helped bring manager Joe Torre to New York for the 1996 season, when the Yankees won their 23rd World Series championship. After a tumultuous reign in which he was subjected to the constant pressure of working for owner George Steinbrenner, Watson resigned in February 1998, turning over the reins to current Yankees GM Brian Cashman.

Watson's job is only temporary. The new owners would have the right to select their own GM. Although given Watson's track record and minority status, it'd be hard to see them dumping him immediately.

In NY, Watson took over for Gene Michael after the 1995 debacle in Seattle (when the Yankees lost the final 3 games of their first round series). Watson brought in Joe Torre to replace Buck Showalter. He and Torre guided the Yankees to their first World Series of the current stretch. Watson's trading-deadline acquisition of Graeme Lloyd proved key in the World Series (despite a miserable regular season) when he shut down the Braves in his 4 appearances.

Watson was fired/resigned in February 1998, after the Yankees lost Cleveland in the Division Series when Mariano Rivera blew the save in Game 4 and Jaret Wright shut the Yankees down in Game 5. Brian Cashman took over for Watson and the team won a then-record 114 games and another World Series.

Is Watson a good choice? I'm not sure. The teams he's been around have done pretty well, both in NY and Houston. He was also responsible for assembling the gold-medal-winning 2000 Olympic Baseball team.

The key will be payroll, I think. I don't think there's much of a correlation between payroll and winning, but this team has really pared back over the last few years. If they can throw an extra $20 million in and get player development moving, they can compete pretty quickly on the short-term, while not neglecting the long-term.


  • I think that Watson's just about perfect for this peculiar job. In both Houston and NY, he inherited the cores of successful teams and didn't mess with them (except, I suppose, for trading Caminiti). He'll fill in the glaring holes without rocking the boat too much, and hand the team intact over to the new owners.

    By Blogger Ryan, at 10/26/2004 9:17 AM  

  • Oh, and welcome to the wonderful world of DC baseball blogging, by the way.

    By Blogger Ryan, at 10/26/2004 9:21 AM  

  • Thanks for the welcome. I really don't know what I'm doing on the technical side, but I'll get there eventually :)

    It's not an inspired choice, but it's not a horrible choice either. He's a good caretaker for the time being. He doesn't seem to have a problem with young players (ie, non-proven veterans) so I'm optimistic. (I guess that sums it up... I'm guardedly optimistic!)

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 10/26/2004 10:05 AM  

  • Welcome to the world of D.C. baseball blogging! The more the merrier!

    By Blogger WFY, at 10/27/2004 6:22 AM  

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