Some huge news came out today regarding Bill Neukom. The gist of it (as posted earlier):
According to multiple baseball sources, Giants’ managing general partner and chief executive officer Bill Neukom will not return in that role for the 2012 season. The sources say that Neukom has been asked to step aside by the Executive Committee of the Giants’ ownership group. The action is believed to be the fallout from a series of disagreements with the committee during Neukom’s three-year stewardship of the team.
When Neukom became the Giants’ managing partner, he brought with him a clear-cut plan for the organization:
– A focus on home-grown talent as a means of building a contending team.
– Increased emphasis on statistical analysis, as well as scouting.
– Payroll flexibility, and an understanding of the business aspects of baseball.
After winning a World Series in 2010, the Giants increased payroll by roughly $20MM, and it’s looking like they’ll need to raise payroll a whole lot more in the near future if they want to retain the core that made them a contending team. And that’s one of the main problems I have with this:
Neukom, it is said, believed that this was his money to spend as he saw fit — and he did so, to increase payroll and buy new technology for the baseball department, among other expenditures. Instead, the executive committee allegedly wanted the money to be put in a “rainy day fund” for use in leaner times. The committee also believed that Neukom needed the committee’s authorization before making such major financial decisions.
Granted, it’s mostly inferred. But the sense I get is that — with Bill Neukom out of the picture — Giants management will be more hesitant to raise payroll. The Giants’ situation for 2012 looks slightly problematic: they have ten players up for arbitration, half of whom will be going through their third time around. In addition, guys like Cody Ross and Javier Lopez are leaving for free agency. And I’d hate to see the Giants let Matt Cain walk away (he’s a free agent in 2012) purely based on financial reasons.
Aside from payroll, it just seemed like Neukom knew what he was doing (the aforementioned clear-cut plan), which is of utmost importance. To get a sense of this, all you have to do is read his comments from his first meeting back in October of 2008, wherein he articulated the “Giants Way.”
I’m not going to go out on a limb and say that this move makes the Giants’ future look completely bleak, or anything that drastic — frankly, I have no idea how the team will be run in the wake of this move. But I don’t like it. Neukom did an excellent job as managing partner of this team, and played what I believe to be an integral role in bringing the Giants their championship in 2010.