Well holy hell, this came out of nowhere. From the press release…
The Los Angeles Dodgers today hired Gerry Hunsicker as Senior Advisor, Baseball Operations. Dodger General Manager Ned Colletti made the announcement.
“Gerry brings a wealth of senior level experience and knowledge that will assist baseball operations at all levels,” said Colletti.
Hunsicker will assist Colletti and President and CEO Stan Kasten with the Dodgers’ big league club while also lending his expertise to international scouting and development, pro scouting and minor league development. The 2013 season will be the Houston resident’s 35th in Major League Baseball.
Hunsicker previously served as the Tampa Bay Ray’s Senior Vice President, Baseball Operations, a position he held since November 2005. Hunsicker was part of principal owner Stuart Sternberg’s new management group and was a key figure in reshaping their baseball operations into the successful department it is today. With the Rays, Hunsicker was instrumental in helping to create significant presence in Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Colombia and Brazil. In 2009, he also oversaw the Rays expanded efforts in Asia and Europe.
Hunsicker began his career in baseball in 1978 and his experience spans four decades, including nine seasons as Astros General Manager from 1996-2004. Under Hunsicker, Houston posted the sixth-best winning percentage in the Majors during that period (.544, 793-665), set a franchise record with 102 wins in 1998 and reached the postseason five times in nine seasons. Hunsicker was named Sporting News Executive of the Year in 1998 and the core he assembled of Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Lance Berkman, Brad Ausmus, Roy Oswalt, Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens won a National League title before falling to the White Sox in the 2005 Fall Classic. He also spent seven seasons in the New York Mets organization as Director of Minor League Operations (1989-90), Director of Baseball Operations (1991) and Assistant Vice President of Baseball Operations (1992-95).
Now that’s a resume. I have to say, I really, really like this. Hunsicker is beyond well-respected in the industry, and as you can see in the release, he put together the quality Houston teams that had a nice run of success. In Tampa, he was hired to help Andrew Friedman learn the baseball ropes when the inexperienced 28-year-old was put in charge in 2005. (As you can guess, that’s worked out pretty well.)
Why Hunsicker has chosen to leave the Rays to join the Dodgers, I cannot say, and I hope that’s something we learn more about soon. It’s important to note that despite his GM experience, he should not be seen as someone coming in to threaten Ned Colletti. After all, if Colletti’s job were in danger, we wouldn’t be hearing about the extension he’s supposed to sign this offseason.
No, what really stands out to me is this line: “With the Rays, Hunsicker was instrumental in helping to create significant presence in Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Colombia and Brazil. In 2009, he also oversaw the Rays expanded efforts in Asia and Europe.”
Kasten said from nearly the day he arrived that rebuilding the Dodger international scouting efforts was among his highest priorities, especially considering how awful that part of the business had become under Frank McCourt. With the new CBA limiting international spending, it’s going to take more than just money to win that battle. It’s going to take knowledge and experience, and Hunsicker certainly brings that.
Basically, it comes down to this: more respected, intelligent baseball minds in the front office is almost never a bad thing, and Hunsicker comes with a great record of work. Can’t wait to see the details, but upon initial review, really happy with this.