A matter of scouting

Jennings' Offseason Evaluations
Early winter projections

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.

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Jennings' Offseason Evaluations
Early winter projections
  • Accent Shallow

    Riddle me this: with their significant financial advantage, why don’t the Yankees have a significantly larger scouting department than other clubs?

    Or is that the sort of problem that you can’t throw money at?

    • pat

      I think the simple answer is that prior to cash taking full reigns scouting and the draft has not been a very high priority on the steinbrenner radar. Now that it has changed I think you will see a greater increase in the budget pie chart devoted to scouting and player development. We have in some ways used our financial might to our advantage with the founding of the baseball academies in the dominican and other places.
      And yes i went back in time to answer this.

      • pat

        nevermind the time travel part rab doesn’t recognize daylight savings, freakin commies.

      • kenthadley

        Pat, hope you are correct, but the reduction in spending for the last draft sort of goes against this……..maybe it was circumstances, but we got outspent (and it appears outdrafted, although time really tells on this) in both the June and International signings……hope we do better with the choices we have this year……note in NYP says Marte’s option not being picked up, so there is another possible high pick if we dont resign him….we really need to have a banner year with the draft, and your theory above will be tested…

        • steve (different one)

          the Yankees got outspent in the draft because they didn’t sign their first round pick and their second round pick.

          no one anticipated this happening.

          it wasn’t because they weren’t WILLING to spend the money.

          on the international front, they walked away from Inoa b/c they thought they had a deal with him and he backed out of it. not because they weren’t willing to spend the money.

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

      FWIW, growing up in Nebraska, I went to a ton of College World Series games back in the day, and still do every once in a while if I’m back in the Omaha area in June. Most recent games I went to was ’05.

      Sat next to a Yankee scout in my seats behind the plate. Dude had his own radar gun and everything. He was the only scout I saw in attendance.

  • http://yankeesfuture.wordpress.com Pablo Zevallos

    Arbuckle’s stupid if he thought he would get the job–the Phillies have been exposing Amaro and simply using Amaro more than Arbuckle that it was clear to me since the spring that Amaro would get the job.

  • DonnieBaseballHallofFame

    Amaro Jr is another one in a long line of stooges for Bill Giles and Co in Philly. No way in the world should they have let Stand Pat go. If he would not take the GM job they should have paid him THE SAME MONEY TO JUST BE AN ADVISOR. But the Phillies are cheap and pathetic, even after the guy got them their first WS title in 28 years.

    It is also the first time this ownership in Philly won and they have owned the team since like 84.

  • Shamus

    UGH!

    Just read this in the Boston Globe, via Cafardo:

    “Wheeling and dealing…
    The Yankees have been very aggressive in calling teams to see who might be available. They called the Astros about Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman and were told they were not going to be dealt . . . The Mets are still eyeing Mariners free agent Raul Ibanez. They need a consistent hitter in the outfield, and Ibanez seems to fit what GM Omar Minaya is looking for. . . The Angels have made signing Mark Teixeira their No. 1 priority and Teixeira himself would love to stay there. But here’s the problem: The Angels’ management style is to go in hard and get it done quickly, while agent Scott Boras would rather allow the market to develop and get other teams involved. For that reason, the Red Sox have a chance.”

    How does trading for Oswalt and Berkman help this team get younge???!!!

    I think this offseason will go one of two ways:

    A) Sign CC, sign Tex, few minor trades/FA signings to fill out key bench roles, SP depth, etc.

    B) Swing and Miss on CC and Tex. Throw mad money at D-Lowe and AJ. Make a stupid trade (like one mentioned above) to try and appease fans with a ‘big name’ acquisition.

    Sorry, but unless HOU is giving those two up for pennies on the dollar, I want NO part of that trade.

    • Mike Pop

      If we make a “big” trade I hope it is for a guy like Dejesus

    • kenthadley

      if we swing and miss, you might see Manny in the Bronx….then they’ll look to trade for pitching, using Damon/Matsui/Nady as ammo……dont know what that brings, but probably with some younger talent would bring a starter….

    • steve (different one)

      yeah, i can’t believe the Yankees were thinking about trading for one of the very best hitters in baseball.

      that would really suck to have Berkman at 1B next year.

      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

        BUT BERKMAN IS 32!!!!!!!1!!!!!!!!!1!!

        TEH YOUTH MOVEMENT!!!!!!!1!!!!!!!!!1!!

  • T-Dizzle

    What paper is the one that can’t be named?

  • r.w.g.

    lance berkman is a beast. i’d trade anybody but montero for him. but houston would never trade him anyway, so it’s a moot point.

  • this is the david

    Can’t Livesey sign with another team and give us an insideman esp job like he did for tampa bay in that kazmir deal?