Alex Rodriguez tops the Pat Gillick All-Stars

The Star-Ledger-US PRESSWIRE

You may not like it, but A-Rod's 2000 is the best season ever received by the Hall of Fame general manager.

Last week I took Bill James' old idea of doing All-Star teams for managers -- essentially a position by position greatest hits -- and applied it to Royals general manager Dayton Moore. The results were predictably depressing. This time out, we head to the other end of the spectrum with the Hall of Fame general manager Pat Gillick. A winner of World Series rings with the Blue Jays and Phillies, he also had notable stops with the Orioles and Mariners. Gillick was notable for building deep offensive teams that didn't take a lot for granted -- if a hitter was weak against same-side pitching, he found him a platoon partner rather than live with it.

Gillick's World Series-winning Blue Jays were that organization's last postseason teams; his 2001 Mariners won 116 games and were that organization's most recent postseason team; his 1996 and 1997 Orioles were the last postseason teams before a 15-year hiatus.

Gillick had a few bad teams, but rarely tolerated bad players. His teams were so good that his All-Star team is hardly representative; we could do second- and third-string teams that would stand a fair chance of reaching the postseason.

Want more on the Blue Jays Orioles Mariners andPhillies? We've got that!

A note on the selections: One criticism of the Moore team was that I credited him for players he inherited from previous general managers. It seems to me that, while acknowledging certain restrictions such as long-term deals and no-trade clauses, a general manager should get credit for a player being on his team. Perhaps a previous general manager drafted and developed a player, or acquired him in trade, but the succeeding general manager should get credit for not acting. Choosing to do nothing and keep a player is a choice, even if doing so is blindingly obvious. There are players whose contracts are so onerous, out of line with the player's actual value, or restrictive, that trading them is virtually impossible, but such contracts are more the exception than the rule. As such, it seems to me that the right thing to do is to say that in almost all cases if a player is on a team it's because the GM wanted him there and didn't package him in a deal for Ken Phelps.

The only thing we can't control for is mad owners -- were I to do a Brian Cashman All-Star team (and I might) -- it could be legitimately argued that this authority is so muddled by overly intrusive ownership and upper management that it is very hard to know which deals really reflect his input and which do not. To some extent this is a problem with all general managers in the same sense that the auteur theory of film directing fails to account for the factory style of filmmaking in the first half of the 20th century. As with the directors, the hope is that as we do more of these All-Star teams a distinctive style emerges for each GM.

Pos

Player

Year

G

R

HR

RBI

BB

SB

AVG/OBP/SLG

WAR

C

Ernie Whitt

1983

123

53

17

56

50

1

.256/.346/.459

3.4

1B

John Olerud

1993

158

109

24

107

114

0

.363/.473/.599

7.8

2B

Chase Utley

2008

159

113

33

104

64

14

.292/.380/.535

9.0

3B

Kelly Gruber

1988

158

75

16

81

38

23

.278/.328/.438

5.2

SS

Alex Rodriguez

2000

148

134

41

132

100

15

.316/.420/.606

10.3

LF

George Bell

1987

156

111

47

134

39

5

.308/.352/.605

5.0

CF

Lloyd Moseby

1984

158

97

18

92

78

39

.280/.368/.470

7.3

RF

Ichiro Suzuki

2001

157

127

8

69

30

56

.350/.381/.457

7.7

DH

Paul Molitor

1993

160

121

22

111

77

22

.332/.402/.509

5.7

Still popular in Toronto, Ernie Whitt was a late-bloomer who was an excellent platoon player from age 31 through 37. Olerud was never as good again as he was in 1993, but he was a tremendous hitter who came closer to being a Hall of Fame-level talent than was generally acknowledged at the time. Gruber was a flash-in-the-pan who had about three good years, and I'm disappointed I can't list longtime Toronto platoon third baseman Rance Mulliniks here. Moseby, another Toronto player, was one of the best all-around outfielders in the game for a brief period before injuries wore away his skills.

If you want to make a completely different team that is nearly as good as this one, you can swap out Olerud for Fred McGriff, Utley for Brett Boone or Roberto Alomar, A-Rod for Jimmy Rollins, Moseby for Devon White, Suzuki for Jesse Barfield, and Molitor for Edgar Martinez.

Pitcher

Year

W-L

SV

IP

H

BB

SO

ERA

WAR

SP Dave Stieb

1984

16-8

0

267.0

215

88

198

2.83

7.9

SP Jimmy Key

1987

17-8

0

261.0

210

66

161

2.76

7.4

SP Doyle Alexander

1984

17-6

0

261.2

238

59

139

3.13

6.1

SP Jamie Moyer

2002

13-8

0

230.2

198

50

147

3.32

5.6

SP Mike Mussina

1997

15-8

0

224.2

197

54

218

3.20

5.5

RP Mark Eichorn

1986

14-6

10

157.0

105

45

166

1.72

7.4

Gillick had more traditional closers, such as Tom Henke, but Eichorn had one of the great single-season relief performances of all time in 1986. On a similar note, the season by Dave Stieb listed here is one of four seasons he had that vastly exceeded anything Jack Morris accomplished in one year.

Since Gillick has retired, this team is more of a retrospective exercise than the Moore team was, but I thought it would be instructive to see what the best a contemporary GM could offer would look like. Gillick had a great deal of speed and power without making a fetish of either. If there is a Gillick style, it might be the flexibility to accept excellence regardless of the form in which it came.

Next time: The Brian Sabean All-Stars.

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