UPDATE: This poll is now closed.
Our second poll has now closed: J.P. Ricciardi of the Blue Jays has handily defeated the Rockies' Dan O'Dowd, 157 to 56. Ricciardi advances to Round 2, where he'll face a formidable opponent in Dodgers GM Ned Colletti. The contest between Omar Minaya and Jim Hendry is still going strong.
This match pits the White Sox' Kenny Williams (9) against Cincinnati's Wayne Krivsky (8).
Sometimes I feel like, as a blogger, I have to choose between being spontaneous and humorous or being serious and thoughtful. These categories aren't mutually exclusive, of course, but sometimes it feels like they are. Most readers probably prefer the former, but all things considered, I'd rather be the latter. And so doing stuff like this Who's-the-Worst-GM stuff can sometimes feel like it should be beneath me, in that it requires me to treat reasonably intelligent people like they're idiots and treat complex issues as yay-nay binaries.
Take this contest, for example. Neither of these guys are unambiguously terrible GMs. Krivsky took chances on Josh Hamilton and Brandon Phillips when no one else would. He also traded living puzzle Wily Mo Pena for Bronson Arroyo. What can you say about that? If I were a GM, I certainly wouldn't have bothered with Hamilton, and I probably wouldn't have messed with Phillips, either. Williams, for his part, won a World Series for Chicago in 2005. To me that World Series win looks, more than anything else, like a lucky confluence of great pitching, but maybe Williams saw some things that I didn't, and he made what turned out to be some very good trades for Jose Contreras and Freddy Garcia along the way.
These guys both do so many silly things, though, that you have to wonder about them. Krivsky dealt Austin Kearns for nothing in one of the weirdest trades in recent memory, hired the pitcher-destroying Dusty Baker at just the point where he had several top pitching prospects about to make an impact, and has repeatedly shown bizarre fixations no-hit utility guys and aging relievers. Williams, for his part, publicly jawed with Frank Thomas, has a human lightning rod for a manager, and never seems to have any idea how good his team actually is. He spent this offseason sending his farm system to the A's even though the White Sox have an aging roster, play in perhaps the best division in baseball, and won 72 games last year.
And so I think it's ultimately good to do these sadistic eviscerations of some of these guys, because this stuff actually matters. The fewer Chad Moellers there are out on the field, the better the baseball is. And every time a GM flushes the future of his team down the toilet in pursuit of the fantasy that he can contend in the present, it makes baseball worse. Williams seems to be turning his team into one that's only slightly better and more interesting than the Orioles have been in the last decade. Who wants to watch the Orioles? The more teams like that there are, the less fun baseball is. We as Pirate fans know that as well as anyone.