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Sickels thread: Be the GM

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Thanks to Robert Poe to alerting us to this.

This is regarding the Be the GM thread that John Sickels made at his Minor League Ball site, same one David mentioned below.

Looking over the comments so far it's evident that the anti-Piniella faction isn't limited to just some of us in the online Rays community, there are a number of non-Rays fans that think Piniella needs to go (or be given the choice to either open up to using more young players or leave). It's not the best cross-section of baseball fandom to get a range of results from really since being a prospect site the readers are generally going to be in favor of playing young guys with potential but it's interesting to see that the notion that Piniella isn't doing a particularly good job here is spreading.

A good point by a reader was that the Rays would be best served concentrating on more college talent soon in the draft (which could easily happen if Sternberg takes over pretty soon). I'm not arguing against the Rays picking a lot of high school guys with upside in the past. In Moneyball Michael Lewis basically said the Rays were stupid for picking BJ Upton instead of a college guy, something that is completely incorrect (and for what it's worth Baseball Prospectus said in their 2005 book that the Rays have been right to pursue high-risk, high-reward players in the draft). Lewis obviously thought that the Rays would have been smarter to draft, say, Nick Swisher, the guy that Beane loved and Oakland took. If the Rays had drafted Swisher then this season they would probably have a solid right-fielder who would improve to become an above-average one. That's nice to have, but while it's great for Oakland which has a good team and is maintaining contention, it wouldn't have done crap for the Rays. Instead they took the guy that they thought had the potential to be a superstar shortstop because a rebuilding team without a lot of money needs to get those guys, just like Oakland did with Eric Chavez before they became perennial contenders. Even if Upton had flopped it would have been better for the Rays to take the risk for the superstar since the above average right-fielder wouldn't have done a lot to improve their chances of future contention. Soon though the Rays need to start thinking about getting more guys that are safer bets and more likely to move quickly through the minors so they can have the depth necessary to build a contender.

Someone mentioned this as a possibility in the future for the Rays outfield: Gomes/Crawford Young. That's pretty much my dream outfield for 2006. In 2007 or later it may change to Dukes/Crawford/Young with Gomes as the DH if Dukes can continue his success and stay out of trouble.