As the free agent signing period is a few weeks away from launching, a few behind-the-scenes moves are making headlines. On the Yankee front, CNNSI’s Fan Nation links to an article about Bill Livesey in the Paper That Must Not Be Named.
Livesey is a baseball lifer and is making his return to the Yanks. He had last been with the team for 18 years prior to 1995, and many credit him with helping to build the farm system that led to the 1990s dynasties. He was instrumental in scouting Derek Jeter, but considering the word on Jeter in 1992, all we know is that Livesey can rate baseball players.
Now, this isn’t to say that Livesey isn’t a great baseball mind. But since leaving the Yanks, he’s been on the Blue Jays, Tampa and the Mets. While on the Mets, he helped orchestrate a Victor Zambrano-for-Scott Kazmir deal. After departing New York, he has worked in Japan for Mike Pagliarulo’s scouting company.
I don’t mean to cast doubt on Livesey’s abilities, and if Gene Michael vouches for him, he must have some talent. But I know that some Yankee watchers are expecting Livesey’s return to represent some sort of angel arriving on a Golden Chariot. Maybe he will be; maybe he won’t. It’s never a bad idea to have another well-qualified scouting brain on the team.
Another personnel move to watch comes out of Philadelphia where Ruben Amaro has been named GM. At the same time, the other candidate for Pat Gillick’s old job was Mike Arbuckle, and he has left the organization. PeteAbe thinks that Pat Gillick could consult for the Yanks. He is after all a good friend of Cashman’s.
But our own Mike A. offered up an interesting take on the Gillick-Amaro-Arbuckle triangle:
Gillick retired, and two candidates were considered to replace him: Assistant GM/Scouting Director Mike Arbuckle (been the SD since ’93), and Assistant GM Ruben Amaro (been with the team since 2000 or so). Amaro gets the job, Arbuckle’s pissed off about being passed over and quits. They [screwed] this one up good, Arbuckle’s a far better GM candidate. I’m sure the Mariners wish they waited to hire a new GM, because Arbuckle > Zduriencik.
Arbuckle won’t be bound for New York; he’s ready for a GM job, and the spot in the Bronx is taken. But whichever team lands Arbuckle will earn another very good baseball mind.
This news isn’t the most exciting; it doesn’t involve millions of dollars and high-impact free agents. But sometimes, the behind-the-scenes moves are just as important.