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Mike’s Hardball Talk: My preferences for GM from the list of candidates

As the Diamondbacks prepare to make their general manager hire, this comes from my preferred list of candidates from top to bottom.

With the Nationals eliminated, we’ll know quickly if there is any validity behind the recent Mike Rizzo rumors. I’m going to assume that he’s not interested in leaving Washington D.C. to take on a tougher job in Arizona, even with his previous ties to the organization. The Diamondbacks have 7 other candidates lined up for a potential interview for the job. Those candidates are Diamondbacks current assistant GM Bryan Minniti, former assistant GM Peter Woodfork, former Yankees /Dodgers assistant GM Kim Ng, former scouting director Ray Montgomery, current farm director Mike Bell, Royals assistant GM JJ Picollo, and former Giants/Dodgers GM Ned Colletti. Even though what I post on this site has zero implication on the actual move for the baseball team, this is my preference from top to bottom.

  1. Kim Ng (Baseball Operations)
  2. Ray Montgomery (Scouting)
  3. Bryan Minniti (Baseball Operations)
  4. JJ Picollo (Scouting and Player Development)
  5. Peter Woodfork (Baseball Operations)
  6. Mike Bell (Scouting and Player Development)
  7. Ned Colletti (Previous GM experience)

Ng and Montgomery are 1a and 1b for me and I would be ecstatic if either hops on. I don’t have much to say about Ng, but James has you covered on that subject. Montgomery has success as a scouting director and is responsible for drafting Archie Bradley, Jake Lamb, Jake Barrett, Evan Marshall, Zac Curtis, Braden Shipley, Andrew Chafin. Other players such as Trevor Bauer and Aaron Blair were also Montgomery draft picks and have appeared in the majors for other teams. It’s pretty clear he has an eye for finding talent. I’m not 100% sure, but I also believe Montgomery had a lot of input in the team’s moves at the trade deadline 2014, including the deal that sent Gerardo Parra for Mitch Haniger and Anthony Banda. That trade is looking like a huge win.

Minniti is a guy whose experience in a front office despite his young age. In terms of in-house candidates, he is the best option. His background focuses mostly on baseball operations. Minniti was the Nationals assistant GM 2010-2014 before taking the job in Arizona. Minniti has been at the center of baseball operations for three different organizations in the 2007 season and is a GM candidate across the league. Even though he has the stain of the previous regime on him, I honestly think the incompetence stemmed from Dave Stewart and Tony La Russa, both of whom have no business running a baseball team any more.

Picollo’s background comes from scouting and player development. Like Minniti, he’s a rising star and linked to the Twins GM job as well. He’s had success in that department with Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Salvador Perez, Kelvin Herrera, and Alex Gordon coming out of the Royals farm system in the last decade. The Diamondbacks have struggled with player development of late, especially in the upper levels of the minor leagues and turning prospects into players. With a young team, a GM with a background in that facet could be what the team needs to get better.

Peter Woodfork was the assistant GM behind the sabremetrically-inclined Josh Byrnes, focusing a lot of contracts and roster construction. He currently works with replay and umpiring in baseball, which is a bit why I’m hesitant to consider him a serious candidate. Mike Bell is the Dbacks current farm director, but the team has struggled to develop prospects to get close to their ceiling as they approach the upper level of the minor leagues. While Bell won the power struggle between him and De Jon Watson, the inability for the Diamondbacks to turn top prospects into consistent contributors looms large on him. I already published my thoughts on Ned Colletti and why they shouldn’t hire him.