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Who's the boss of bosses? (cont.)

Posted: Monday February 18, 2008 12:13PM; Updated: Tuesday February 19, 2008 9:33AM
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Here are the best of the rest ...

Billy Beane
Billy Beane has guided the small-market A's from irrelevance to five playoff appearances this decade.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images Sport
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2. Billy Beane, A's. He was offered the Red Sox job before John Henry and Lucchino "settled'' for Epstein. He's nearly as smart as they say in Moneyball -- smart enough to realize it's now time to rebuild. Beane is never afraid to make a deal, and he makes mostly good ones. One weakness was hiring his best man, Bob Geren, to manage.

3. Dave Dombrowski, Tigers. He's willing to take big gambles, and they usually pay off. It doesn't hurt to have the $140-million payroll of owner Mike Ilitch, whose own good instincts were more responsible for signing Magglio Ordonez and Pudge Rodriguez.

4. Mark Shapiro, Indians. His 2002 trade of Bartolo Colon to the Expos for then prospect Grady Sizemore and others is as good as it gets. He does more with less and should have made the playoffs two out of three years, despite decided dollar disadvantage in the increasingly tough AL Central.

5. Brian Cashman, Yankees. Three rings in his first four years are something of a memory, though 10 straight postseason appearances and the ability to last in that pressure cooker aren't bad accomplishments, either. The negative is one bad free-agent pitching pickup after another, leading to the new strategy to spend on youth and to go with youth. So far he's spent on the right young guys, and that's a big plus.

6. Pat Gillick, Phillies. The last man to win for Peter Angelos in Baltimore and the guy who built the Mariners' 116-win team didn't do too badly getting the Phillies to the postseason last year. The question is how many years before young hotshot Ruben Amaro Jr. takes over?

7. Josh Byrnes, Diamondbacks. He came with a plan, emphasizing youth and pitching and got his upstart team into the NLCS a year before almost anyone figured it would. His deal with Oakland for starter Dan Haren looks like a good one from here.

8. Omar Minaya, Mets. His brilliant 2006 season in which he pilfered Oliver Perez from the Pirates and John Maine from the Orioles, two teams that could have used their services, was followed by a 2007 that featured some costly mistakes -- trading Heath Bell, Brian Bannister and Matt Lindstrom and getting practically nothing for them in the offseason, and then doing little to help prevent a late-season collapse that left the Mets one game short.

9. Dan O'Dowd, Rockies. O'Dowd has figured out the impossible: how to win in the thin air of Coors Field. The humidor was maybe the greatest acquisition of the past decade. After the free-agent route failed, he built a young team that features a dynamic lineup and superstars in the making such as Matt Holliday and Troy Tulowitzki.

10T. Ken Williams, White Sox. No one can say he's afraid to take a chance or make deals. Williams brought the first championship to the South Side in decades, but his constant trading and tinkering left the Sox with a placid roster (thus the acquisitions of SS Orlando Cabrera and OF Nick Swisher) and hard-throwing but erratic bullpen (thus the deal for Scott Linebrink). They look no better than a third-place team in their tough division, but Williams' teams are full of surprises.

10T. Kevin Towers, Padres. Another very good trader and master of the bargain-basement pickup, he and his scouts have been especially good at acquiring pitching help (see this offseason's addition of ex-phenom Mark Prior). Towers is unafraid to use soft-tossers, and not just closer Trevor Hoffman, who have become a San Diego staple. But much like past Padre teams, you wonder where the offense is coming from. Gets bonus points as Epstein's mentor.

Up and Comers: Andrew Friedman, Rays; Jon Daniels, Rangers; Dayton Moore, Royals. All three teams appear to be in good hands, provided their owners allow them to do their jobs.

Too Soon to Judge: Tony Reagins, Angels; John Mozeliak, Cardinals; Neal Huntington, Pirates; Michael Hill, Marlins.

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