FanPost

The Randy Smith All-Stars

Bob Levey

The other day I read this article by Steven Goldman detailing the best players' seasons under the direction of Kansas City Royals' General Manager Dayton Moore. Rather than explaining the whole concept, I'll just suggest that you read the article above and I'll give this quick overview: the idea is to assemble a team of the most productive individual seasons under the leadership of a certain GM.

I found the concept very interesting and, naturally, my first reaction was to wish that someone had done one for the Tigers. Perfect opportunity for Fanpost glory, right? But something didn't feel right about focusing on Dave Dombrowski. For one, he's still active. There are a lot of amazing seasons left for him to oversee. And secondly, off the top of my head it seems like the roster would look a lot like this year's roster, with a healthy dose of 2006. So what about his predecessor?

I didn't know much about Randy Smith other than that most Tigers fans think he is the worst thing since smallpox. But maybe if I look deep, I'd be able to uncover the diamonds in the rough, so to speak. Maybe there were signs that Smith really could have been a successful GM under the right circumstances. Or maybe I would confirm that he was just as incompetent as everyone says. Thus, I ventured forth.

The only issue I had with how Mr. Goldman chose GMDM's team, as mentioned in the comment section of his article, was that several of the players were actually inherited by Moore from his predecessor. I wanted to focus only on players that the GM directly acquired for his team, so I made sure to eliminate any of the players featured on Smith teams, but who were not acquired by Smith. This is why you won't see Bobby Higginson on the list.

For those who don't know, Randy Smith was hired as the GM of the San Diego Padres early in the 1993 season. He led the Padres to a 166-229 record through the 1995 season when he left for Detroit. He was at the helm of the Tigers until 2002, when he was fired along with manager Phil Garner after an 0-6 start. His overall record with the Tigers was 398-554 while they trudged through the darkest days of the franchises history. Smith is currently back with the Padres, serving as the Vice President of Player Development and International Scouting.

But that's enough babbling. Most of you just skipped straight to the roster anyway, so here's what you all came here for. As a disclaimer, I am not trying to analyze how good or bad Randy Smith was as a GM, or to compare him to anyone else. I'm just looking for the good moments in a decade of despair. So enough with the ado - presenting The Randy Smith All-Star Team:

Pos

Player

Year

G

R

HR

RBI

BB

AVG/OBP/SLG

WAR

C

Brad Ausmus

1999

127

62

9

54

51

.275/.365/.415

3.4

1B

Brandon Inge

2006

159

83

27

83

43

.253/.313/.463

4.9

2B

Damion Easley

1998

153

84

27

100

39

.271/.332/.478

5.6

3B

Ken Caminiti

1996

146

109

40

130

78

.326/.408/.621

7.5

SS

Shane Halter

2001

136

53

12

65

37

.284/.344/.467

3.3

LF

Luis Gonzalez

1998

154

84

23

71

57

.267/.340/.475

2.3

CF

Jose Macias

2001

137

62

8

51

32

.268/.316/.391

3.0

RF

Craig Monroe

2004

128

65

18

72

29

.293/.337/.488

2.5

DH

Dmitri Young

2003

155

78

29

85

58

.297/.372/.537

3.4

That's right, Brandon Inge made the team and he's playing first base. Brandon's career year in 2006 was actually one of the most productive seasons by a Randy Smith player, but he was clearly blocked at third base by Ken Caminiti's amazing 1996. Mainly though, there was no good choice for a true first basemen that Smith acquired, probably because Smith inherited Tony Clark and had no need for a new first baseman throughout his tenure.

Something else to notice here is how awful Smith's outfielders were. Don Kelly and Ryan Raburn both narrowly missed the cut to be on Smith's All-Star Team. In nine seasons as a general manager Smith made over 300 player acquisitions (though about 100 of them were Brad Ausmus or Willie Blair), yet he never managed to get more than 3 WAR out of any of his outfielders. To put that in perspective, Jhonny Peralta has already racked up 2.6 WAR this season.

Pitcher

Year

W-L

SV

IP

H

BB

SO

ERA

WAR

SP Andy Ashby

1995

12-10

0

192.2

180

62

150

2.94

4.9

SP Steve Sparks

2001

14-9

0

232.0

244

64

116

3.65

4.4

SP Jeff Weaver

2001

13-16

0

229.1

235

68

152

4.08

3.3

SP Willie Blair

1997

16-8

0

175.0

186

46

90

4.17

3.8

SP Fernando Valenzuela

1996

13-8

0

171.2

177

67

95

3.62

2.9

RP Trevor Hoffman

1998

4-2

53

73.0

41

21

86

1.48

4.1

Of the 15 individual seasons listed here, six of them occurred after Smith left the team. Caminiti, Valenzuela and Hoffman all put up their best seasons for the Padres after Smith skedaddled to Detroit, and Inge, Monroe, and Dmitri each produced for the Tigers after Smith was ran out of town. It would be tough to come up with replacements for these six if I had changed the criteria to exclude seasons in which Smith was not the active GM.

So there you have it. In nine seasons Randy Smith only acquired one player who put up more WAR for his team than Miguel Cabrera has already achieved in 104 games. Maybe he truly was a scourge to Detroit baseball, but it can't be easy to find superstars when working under a budget that's tighter than Justin Bieber's skinny jeans either. Either way this was a fun exercise. Maybe I'll do Jim Campbell next.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of the <em>Bless You Boys</em> writing staff.