I would imagine that by now someone has pointed out that the great saviour Andy MacPhail has not put together a championship team in 16 years, right? I mean you can call me Dr. Doomsayer if you want to but before we get all tingly inside over this guy and his storied lineage let’s examine some facts.
He was the Twins G.M from 1985-1994 where he helped them to two world championships. In 1987, with a miniscule payroll, the Twins won it all as guys like Kent Hrbek, Kirby Puckett (the only All-Star on the squad) and Gary Gaetti led the offense while Frank Viola and Bert Blyleven gave the team some of the most dependable starting pitching in the league.
In 1991 the Twins won it all again, this time against the Atlanta Braves in a World Series many consider to be the greatest of all time.
Way to go Andy!
THE MOSTLY BAD
Three years later, MacPhail moved onto the Chicago Cubs…
I lived in Chicago during the early part of his tenure and, believe me, things were bleaker in Wrigley Field than they were at the slaughter house in Upton Sinclair’s "The Jungle".
From 1994-1997 they did NOTHING. Zip. Zilch. The highlight of those four years was someone named Tuffy (Rhodes) hitting three home runs on Opening Day in ’94 against the Mets, a game the Cubs still lost.
Sosa was hitting home runs and Mark Grace did his job at first base but Luis Gonzalez was there too doing absolutely nothing- he made 1.4 million in 1996 to hit 15 home runs- until he moved on to greener pastures in Detroit for a year and then Arizona where he found success and probably steroids. Guys like Steve Buechele, Derrick May, Scott Servais, and someone named Bullett offered hope but little else.
You wanna talk pitching?
The Cubs starting rotation included Jim Bullinger, Frank Castillo, Amaury Telemaco, a soon to be washed up Jaime Navarro and, yes folks, their newest saviour, rookie Steve Trachsel.
Kerry Woods arrived in 1998 and with him came the first of TWO, yep, TWO post season appearances during MacPhail’s tenure.
HERE’S THE UGLY…
Luis Gonzalez (see above), Nomar Garciaparra (bust until he moved to Los Angeles), Greg Maddux (his return), Brian McRae, Mickey Morandini (MacPhail paid him 2 million to stink for two years), Terry Mullholland, Kevin Tapani, Benito Santiago (7 homeruns and nearly a career low .249 batting average in 1 year with the Cubs), Gary Gaetti (made 2 million to play in 113 games, hit 7 homeruns and bat .204 in 1999. What is it with the Cubs and career lows?)
Shall I continue because there’s plenty more?
And guess who was at the helm for ALL of these transactions?
In fact, MacPhail did SO well in Chicago I thought you might want to read about his departure.
Okay, so what does all this mean? It might mean nothing. It might just mean that MacPhail, when he has solid ownership behind him such as he had in Minnesota, can work wonders but when he has poor ownership, as he did in Chicago, things fall apart.
Um… and which do we have in Baltimore exactly?
Be afraid Orioles fans… Be very afraid.
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