Carroll: Oppenheimer a top GM prospect

The RAB Radio Show: July 15, 2011
Rockies have been scouting Yankees' farm system

Yankees’ scouting director Damon Oppenheimer has been mentioned as a GM candidate for the last few years now, and even moreso these days as we approach the end of Brian Cashman‘s latest contract. Will Carroll recently put together a list of the ten best GM prospects in the game, and Oppenheimer made the cut. Allow me to excerpt…

… several think pushing 50 might work against Oppenheimer. He’s hardly “too old,” but Oppenheimer will have it work against him in what is quickly becoming a young man’s job. The hours required, the time away from home and family, and the pay all conspire against the more established people.


Oppenheimer, like [White Sox assistant GM Rick Hahn], is often thought to be “in waiting” — not pushing Brian Cashman out the door, but in position to have the biggest chair in all of baseball …  “The thing you wonder,” said one AL exec, “is whether he really wants the job or is willing to keep doing the job he’s doing forever. He’s great and he’d be a great GM, but someone’s going to have to want him specifically.”

The Diamondbacks wanted to speak to Oppenheimer about their GM opening during the winter, but the Yankees denied them permission to do so. That’s a pretty good indication that, at the very least, they’re pleased with his work as scouting director and don’t want to lose him to another club. There’s also a pretty good chance that it means they have some kind of long-term plan for him. Speculate at your own risk.

I’ve already written about the front office and how I hope there is some kind of change this offseason, but it’s not like I want Cashman to go or anything like that. Quite the opposite, actually. I think promoting Oppenheimer to assistant GM would be a fine first step towards restructuring the front office somewhat, hopefully creating some kind of continuity between executives. Think Mark Shapiro and Chris Antonetti with the Indians. When the former was promoted to team president, the latter stepped right in with no growing pains. It was basically a lateral move and a change of job title, that’s it. Anyway, I could ramble about this stuff for hours, but it’s good to see that Oppenheimer is respected around the league and considered one of best future GM candidates.

The RAB Radio Show: July 15, 2011
Rockies have been scouting Yankees' farm system
  •!/TheRealJeromeS Jerome S.

    I’m all for Opp to AGM, but then who replaces him in scouting? It’s not easy, and he’s done a pretty good job.

  • ADam

    In a Perfect world IMO – Randy Levine quits/gets fired (Will Never Happen Extreme sad face), Cashman becomes president – Oppenheimer Becomes GM and Newman AGM… The first will never happen as I think we’re doomed….. Literally I had a nightmare that Levine became president/GM….

    • Rick in Boston

      If Hank was still the Steinbrenner-in-charge, I would not be shocked if Cashman left and Levine took more control. However, I see Cashman coming back and the grooming of his successor becoming a priority. I doubt it’s Opp, though, largely because of the age issue.

      • ADam

        Not at all opposed to that, I just think Randy Levine could very easily turn into James Dolan if given more control… We’ve already seen what he has done and convince the Steinbrenners to do… If he gets more baseball operations control…. this is going to be a dark decade….

        • Ted Nelson

          Why is Levine going to get more control than team President? He has no baseball personnel experience that I’m aware of. He’s a lawyer.

          James Dolan, on the other hand, owns the Knicks. He can do as he pleases.

          • Ted Nelson

            Don’t get me wrong… I can’t stand Dolan, I just think one of the Steinbrenners would be more comparable to Dolan than Levine if things were to start going to shit.

          • John

            and the Rangers and liberty. Pretty much the network, the building and all 3 major tenants

  • Ross in CT

    I am continually astonished at how predilection to resist change has worked in Cashman’s favor.

    He’s made some absolutely shocking gaffes over the years (why detail them here when we all know them anyway), but nothing ever sticks to this Teflon GM. Let him walk (and puh-lease take Sterling and Waldman with him to Chicago), beg Stick to come back, promote DamOpp to AGM (as suggested) and let him hire and train his replacement.

    • Ted Nelson

      Every single GM is going to make mistakes… it’s a matter of whether or not those mistakes are out-weighed by the good decisions, and also whether those mistakes were due to bad luck or poor decisions.

      It is definitely necessarily to go into detail if you truly believe that Cashman’s mistakes out-weigh his good decisions.

    •!/TheRealJeromeS Jerome S.

      The reason that nothing sticks to Cashman is because his good outweighs the bad.

      • Mike Axisa

        And what does that even mean anyway? Not a day goes by that we don’t hear about the Javy trade or Ian Kennedy or Mark Melancon or Mike Lowell.

    • The Fallen Phoenix

      Show me a GM who hasn’t made absolutely shocking gaffes and I’ll show you a bridge you can buy.

  • Ted Nelson

    You keep implying that you need “Assistant GM” as your job title to be qualified to become a GM. Are you simply suggesting a change in title, or a drastic change in roles?

    If you are suggesting a title switch and Oppenheimer continuing on with his job, what difference does the title make?

    If you are suggesting that Oppenheimer change roles drastically, who does the drafting? I think Oppenheimer has done a strong job drafting, and think putting someone else in charge of the draft would be more likely to be a downgrade than an upgrade. I think that downgrade would exceed any intangible upgrade you see from Assistant GMs being the only ones who can become GMs (which I think is hocus pocus anyway).

  • crawdaddie

    You guys know that Oppenheimer is five years older than Cashman?

    • Eric

      Yeah, but ARL doesn’t matter for GM prospects.

  • infernoscurse

    i wish the yanks went after rays and mariners scouts and move another direction than what oppenheimer has done

    • Ted Nelson

      Based on what? His draft record is very strong.