Top GM Prospects

White Sox' Hahn comes in at No. 1





To accompany our feature on the evolution of the general manager role (see story here), we thought it was a good time to update our list of the top GM candidates—people whom we could see getting GM jobs in the next four or five years. The list is based on conversations with current general managers and other front-office officials, agents and baseball writers.

For this list we did not include anyone who had been a GM before. That eliminates obvious people like Wayne Krivsky—who many people thought deserved a second shot at the job—as well as Red Sox assistant GM Ben Cherington, who served as co-GM of the Red Sox (with Jed Hoyer) during Theo Epstein's walkabout after the 2005 season. Had Cherington been eligible, he certainly would have been in the top 10. We also did not include Chris Antonetti, who has already been tapped to succeed Mark Shapiro as GM of the Indians after the 2010 season.  

1. Rick Hahn, Assistant GM, White Sox: Hahn, 38, is happy in his role with the White Sox so he has not been the most aggressive in seeking other jobs, but his qualifications are impeccable and he's respected by agents, executives and evaluators alike. He has degrees from Michigan, Harvard and Northwestern and worked for two years as an agent before joining the White Sox in 2000. His main responsibilities deal with contract and payroll matters, but he also has become more respected in player evaluation over the years and assists GM Kenny Williams in just about every aspect of the baseball operation. The White Sox denied the Mariners permission to interview him for the job that eventually went to Jack Zduriencik, so they probably view him as Williams' eventual successor.

2. Jerry Dipoto, Vice President, Player Personnel, Diamondbacks: DiPoto, 41, has enjoyed a fast rise in front-office prominence since retiring as a player in 2000. While some think his stock is a little overheated, most people give him high marks for both his work ethic and his interpersonal skills, which can be an underrated GM trait. DiPoto worked in the Red Sox scouting department for two years before becoming director of player personnel with the Rockies in 2005, and the Diamondbacks hired him to oversee their pro scouting in 2006. With his personality and pedigree as a former big leaguer, he would definitely win the press conference when he gets his first GM job.

3. Dan Jennings, Assistant GM/Vice President, Player Personnel, Marlins: When you get right down to it, there simply is not a more respected talent evaluator in the game. Jennings is a leader with great people skills and amazing contacts within the game, so he would be able to build a formidable staff. The complicating factor for him is that he has found a great role in Florida, and his current contract there might limit his GM opportunities. But Jennings has all the skills to build an organization from the ground up, and his personality would play well with fans and media alike.

4. David Forst, Assistant GM, Athletics: Just as Antonetti took over from Shapiro when he decided to move upstairs, many people expect Forst, 33, to do the same when Billy Beane decides to hand over the GM reins. His resume reads like that of a typical "Moneyball" GM candidate at first glance, as a cum laude graduate of Harvard in 1998, but his baseball background is deeper than that. He played at Harvard for four seasons, then played two seasons in the independent Frontier League before joining the A's. He assists Beane in all player evaluations and acquisitions, and has also handled contract negotiations and arbitration cases.

5.  Tony Lacava, Vice President, Baseball Operations/Assistant GM, blue Jays: LaCava, 48, has already been a candidate for several GM jobs, including a second interview for the Mariners job, and his wide range of experience has given him connections that rival those of anyone in the game. He played college and minor league baseball, then joined the Angels as a scout in 1989. He also worked for the Braves, Expos and Indians before joining the Blue Jays, and has handled a variety of jobs including national crosschecker and farm director. He's one of the most well-connected people in the game, with both a tenacious work ethic and the personality to handle the ups and downs of the job.

6. Bill Geivett, Assistant GM, Rockies: Geivett, 46, is another executive with a broad range of experience, which has allowed him to build a lot of connections in the game. He played college and minor league ball, then worked as a college coach for a couple of years before breaking into pro ball as a scout with the Yankees in 1991. He became a farm director with the Expos in 1994, then worked as an assistant GM with the Rays and Dodgers before coming to the Rockies in 2000. He helped rebuild the organization from the ground up, with his main responsibilities being player personnel and the minor leagues.

7. Thad Levine, Assistant GM, rangers: Levine, 38, has the resume of a number-cruncher, with an MBA from UCLA and a background as an analyst with the Rockies and Rangers, but he gets the highest marks for his personality and people skills. He spent six seasons with the Rockies before joining the Rangers in 2005, and he has helped the organization build a strong core of young talent. He's intelligent and aggressive, but also patient and impresses people in other organizations with his temperament and willingness to listen.

8. Kim Ng, Assistant GM, Dodgers: A premium candidate for years now, Ng, 41, has a resume that stacks up against anyone's, with significant roles with the Dodgers, White Sox and Yankees, not to mention a stint with Major League Baseball. She's the first woman to interview for a GM job (with the Dodgers in 2005) and was a finalist for the Mariners job. There's a dichotomy of feeling on her qualifications, however, with many people praising her administrative and organizational skills but others knocking her for talent evaluation. Supporters note that she's smart enough to know what she doesn't know, and would hire people who complement her skills. The bottom line is that it will take a bold owner to hire baseball's first female GM, and it's not clear who that will be.

9. Logan White, Assistant GM/Scouting, Dodgers: White, 47, has earned a reputation as one of the best talent evaluators in the game over the last decade, not only surviving under three different GMs but rising from scouting director to assistant GM. White was a pitcher in the Mariners system from 1984-87 before joining the organization as a scout, and he worked his way up through the scouting ranks with the Mariners, Padres and Orioles before becoming the Dodgers' scouting director in 2002. He's more than just a good scout, though, with good people skills and leadership qualities and a willingness to think unconventionally.

10. Damon Oppenheimer, Scouting Director, Yankees: If you're looking for the next scouting director to ascend to the GM chair, Oppenheimer, 47, would be a good choice. He joined the Yankees as a scout in 1993 and has served in a variety of roles, including farm director, before becoming scouting director in 2005. He works hard and has a knack for being one of the guys and working the room but never giving up any information in the process. He also has a great background in the game, having played at Southern California and in the Brewers system. His mother Priscilla also worked in the Padres front office for years.

10 more names to watch (listed alphabetically)

• John Abbamondi, Assistant GM, Cardinals

• Al Avila, Assistant GM, Tigers

• Randy Bush, assistant GM, Cubs

• Jeff Kingston, Assistant GM, Mariners

• Jason McLeod, VP, 
Scouting/Player Development, Padres

• Mike Radcliff, VP/Player Personnel, Twins

• John Ricco, Assistant GM, Mets

• A.J. Preller, Senior Director, Player Personnel, Rangers

• DeJon Watson, Assistant GM, Dodgers

• Peter Woodfork, Assistant GM, 
Diamondbacks