4. The Return of the Two-Headed GM?
Anderson may have been around the game long enough, but he’s also still learning the baseball operations aspect of it which is why I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Baltimore Orioles sign a former GM with more experience like John Hart, who recently resigned from the Braves.
Leaving under a cloud of scandal for the bonuses the club gave out to international amateurs, Hart may look for a nice, cushy spot to land, and as a former GM for Buck Showalter with the Rangers.
Not to mention, Hart has ties to the Orioles as a former manager and coach in the system, it would seem likely he could end up in Baltimore after the season to continue to mentor Anderson. After all, international signings aren’t much of a concern with the Orioles.
If this scenario sounds familiar, it’s because the Orioles had this front office makeup from 2003 to 2007 when Mike Flanagan also once an Orioles player then coach, served as vice president and then later as Orioles EVP of baseball operations. First came Jim Beattie and then Jim Duquette as EVP and VP of baseball operations respectively, both to help Flanagan.
Fans should remember the communication issues with ownership and the front office and how two heads were not necessarily better than one and the wasted dollars in free agency, poor drafting and the results in the standings.
For more on John Hart’s particular history when he was paired with Buck Showalter in Texas, a 2014 article in the New York Post by Joel Sherman about the infamous Alex Rodriguez trade stated not only that Hart was instrumental in trading A-Rod and $67 million from the Rangers because Showalter thought he was allocated too much of the team’s resources, but that Hart could have come away with a much better deal than he did:
"Yet, Showalter contends, “Getting rid of the money was the biggest deal. We couldn’t put a competitive team on the field with Alex eating up one-third of the payroll, no matter how good he was — and he was real good.” … Hart convinced Hicks to give the Yanks $67 million to complete the deal, which meant the Rangers paid A-Rod $140 million for three years of employment. Still, Hart felt it essential to save what they could, move on. Plus, the Rangers would get back Alfonso Soriano and a prospect from a list of five — pitcher Ramon Ramirez, outfielders Rudy Guillen and Bronson Sardinha, shortstop Joaquin Arias and a second baseman named Robinson Cano. They took Arias. “I look back on it, but I don’t’ second-guess it,” Hart said. “The reports I had on Cano were that he was talented, but moody, and we were not sure what he was going to be. The young shortstop had reports off the chart. He was gifted, could run, had a cannon arm, could hit. Cash didn’t blink putting Cano in and told me we picked the right guy with Arias.”"
So the Rangers under Hart and Showalter could have had not only Alfonso Soriano for A-Rod, but also Robinson Cano and didn’t because they thought Cano was “moody.”
Let that sink in for a minute.
The Alex Rodriguez trade will probably go down as the worst trade in Rangers history, and that’s saying something. Other trades during Showalter’s tenure were Adrian Gonzalez and Chris Young for Adam Eaton as the headliner, or the trade of Soriano again for Brad Wilkerson coming back as the central piece. Jon Daniels was GM for those latter two but didn’t have much experience at the time, and Buck Showalter was well, Buck Showalter.
Is that really who Orioles fans want to be an assistant Orioles GM – a GM that seemed to act as a rubber stamp for Buck Showalter who like Anderson, has let his personal feelings trump the actual statistics and value of the player on the field? How did that work out for the Rangers?
Now it’s theoretical of course, but is that scenario with Anderson and Hart better than Dan Duquette and his current advisors? That group includes trusted colleagues from Duquette’s days with the Montreal Expos and Boston Red Sox, and most importantly scouting director Gary Rajsich who is likely the best scouting director of the Angelos era given the results.
Rajsich has drafted significant league talents like Kevin Gausman and Trey Mancini and looked to have the best crop of Orioles position players in the minors since the 1980s with Austin Hays, Chance Sisco, Ryan Mountcastle and possibly DJ Stewart and Cedric Mullins. Can the Orioles do better than that?