Years from now we'll know a lot more about this Padres front office. For example, can the Strategic Thinkers hit on a first-round draft pick? In years past, the club couldn't have done worse by leaving the choice to the San Diego Chicken. Or Franken Friar*.
* I've been to a lot of ballparks. Franken Friar is the strangest mascot I've seen. That's not a criticism, but I wish I could've been there when the Padres batted the idea around. Padres official No. 1: 'I like the monk, but we need to diversify his persona.' Padres official No. 2: 'Hey, I've got an idea. Let's make him into a Gothic monster.' Padres official No. 1: 'Great! Why not Frankenstein?'
Which brings to mind the blog of Padres executive Paul DePodesta, titled "It Might Be Dangerous...You Go First." It's from the movie Young Frankenstein. People assumed it was from Raiders of the Lost Ark and would tell DePodesta he got the line wrong.
Back to the new front office of your favorite baseball team. Evaluating the talent evaluators can be tricky, even for people within the industry. You might be surprised to know how many scouts/evaluators/GMs aren't as good at assessing ballplayer talent as their media-driven reputations would indicate. Obviously I don't see the scouting reports that these people have filed over the years. Heck, within a few franchises -- including, at times, the Padres -- some upper-level scouts and decisionmakers are exempted from writing grades and projections into their player reports. You can imagine how that goes over with the rank-and-file scouts who must give a specific grade and projection on a player. My suggestion would be to make everyone fully accountable.
Nor do I have a strong sense of how well this Padres front office and the staffs below will work together. When the team's fortunes crumbled in 2008 and new ownership loomed, the knives came out.
My early sense, though, is that the Doogster is off to a good start. He's hired and promoted people who have strong reputations for having good instincts and excellent people skills. They're well-connected throughout baseball. Whatever decisions the Padres make shouldn't lack for information. On the empirical side, the Padres were already well-staffed. Most of the newcomers or newly empowered will work in either scouting or player development. We'll find out whether CEO Jeff Moorad gives them ample spending money. At the end of the day, as Moorad likes to say, the results on the field will tell us the most about this front office. Take it for what it's worth, but I regard it a promising group. In 15 years on the baseball beat, one hears a few things. I've heard many good things about the Doogster's new staffers. And the former major leaguers that he hired -- Dave Roberts and Mark Loretta -- were among the smarter, more observant ballplayers to come through San Diego.