UPDATE: This poll is now closed.
Our first match is over: Jon Daniels of the Rangers has handily defeated Bill Smith of the Twins, 166 to 63. Daniels advances to the quarterfinals, where he'll face Mariners GM Bill Bavasi in what should be a hard-fought contest. In the meantime, J.P. Ricciardi and Dan O'Dowd are still battling it out, so you can weigh in there.
In this thread, Omar Minaya (10) of the Mets faces Jim Hendry (7) of the Cubs. This should be a tight game that will probably anger fans of both the Mets and the Cubs. One thing to keep in mind, if you happen to fall into one of those categories, is that it's possible to be in this contest and yet not be all that bad of a GM. Still, both of these guys have done enough dumb things to be included.
The job with the Mets is, in a way, perfect for Minaya, whose tenure has been characterized by big spending as a way of papering over a lack of attention to detail. He's acquired one expensive, declining player after another - Carlos Delgado, Paul Lo Duca, Luis Castillo, Shawn Green, and so on. He also spent the last off-season weirdly fixating on catchers, and he ended up trading top prospect Lastings Milledge for Brian Schneider and Ryan Church. It's not hard to hide a lack of inspiration when you inherit a couple of very bright young stars (David Wright and Jose Reyes) and you've got untold millions to drop on superstars like Carlos Beltran, Pedro Martinez and Johan Santana. Minaya also gets no points for his previous job in Montreal, in which he turned an absurd situation into a full-blown Ionesco script by, for example, infamously trading two future stars (Grady Sizemore and Brandon Phillips) and a useful starter (Cliff Lee) for Bartolo Colon, then flipping Colon for Orlando Hernandez and Rocky Biddle. Also, no extra credit for annoying Delgado into signing with the Marlins and then trading for him, or for posing for the cover of Sports Illustrated in the same year his team underwent an historic collapse.
In his defense, he pilfered Oliver Perez from the Bucs (but then, who hasn't taken advantage of Dave Littlefield?) and grabbed John Maine from the O's. Also, he deserves credit for getting Santana from the Twins for a bargain-basement price.
As for Hendry, his worst offense was allowing former manager Dusty Baker to play chicken with the careers of two potential franchise cornerstones in Mark Prior and Kerry Wood. He also traded real prospects for mediocrities like Juan Pierre and Steve Trachsel. He let Neifi Perez rack up over 900 at bats for the Cubs. Chicago won 66 games with a $94 million payroll on Hendry's watch in 2006. Hendry was also one of the GMs most responsible for the recent escalation in free agent salaries, handing an absurd eight-year deal to Alfonso Soriano and giving out multiyear contracts to anyone around to take them.
In his defense - and this is big - he absolutely stole Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee from desperate small-market teams. His teams have also made the playoffs twice.