A couple of months ago, Eric did a fabulous job reviewing the case of Pat Gillick. Since that time, we’ve investigated plenty of additional general managers, and we’ve determined that Gillick is indeed worthy of enshrinement into the Hall of Miller and Eric.
First, let’s give him credit for the two World Series victories with the Blue Jays in 1992 and 1993. He built these teams through every means available to a GM.
Of the key offensive contributors in 1992, Joe Carter and Roberto Alomar were acquired via trade. Same with Devon White and Candy Maldonado. John Olerud and Pat Borders were acquired in the draft. Kelly Gruber and Manny Lee were Rule 5 guys. And Dave Winfield was a free agent. That 1992 rotation consisted of draftees Jimmy Key and Todd Stottlemyre, Juan Guzman who was acquired in a trade, and free agent Jack Morris. And he used Jeff Kent to acquire David Cone to shore up the rotation in August. As for the key members of the pen, Tom Henke was a free agent compensation pick, and Duane Ward was acquired in a trade.
You’d think the 1993 team would be the same. And it was, generally, but Gillick knew that he had to retool at least a bit.
Draftee Ed Sprague replaced Kelly Gruber. Free agent Paul Molitor replaced Dave Winfield. Tony Fernandez was acquired in a June trade to take back his shortstop job. Rickey Henderson was acquired a month later to take over left field. On the mound, draftee Pat Hentgen stepped up his game to become a minor star. Free agent Dave Stewart stepped in for Jimmy Key. And free agent Mark Eichhorn helped to shore up the pen that lost Tom Henke.
I wouldn’t normally recommend Cito Gaston as a manager, but he was quite competent with this group. When you have the veteran stars he had, writing their names on the lineup and letting them play can work just fine.
Gillick also won with the 2008 Phillies after taking over there in the 2005 off-season. Yes, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, and Cole Hamels were already in place. Still, the team needed support. To build the winner, he traded nothing for Jaime Moyer in 2006. He signed Jayson Werth as a free agent that same year. The next year he traded for closer Brad Lidge and signed effective reliever J.C. Romero and serviceable 3B Pedro Feliz as free agents. During the season, he shored things up with trades for Joe Blanton and Matt Stairs.
He also put together the 116-win Mariners and two playoff teams in Baltimore. Great signings include Carlos Delgado, Felix Hernandez, and Ichiro Suzuki. George Bell was another Rule 5 guy, and his 1982 trade for Fred McGriff is stuff of legend.
We’re very proud of the process that went into this election, and we congratulate Pat Gillick on becoming the 17th entrant into the Pioneer/Executive wing of the HoME. Two weeks from today, we’ll reveal #18. Will it be another GM? A pioneer? Maybe a coach or an executive? Check back to find out.