Mike Rizzo vs. Dave Dombrowski vs. Alex Anthopoulos: Who’s the best GM in the NL East?

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Matt Weyrich
·6 min read
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Rizzo vs. Dombrowski vs. Anthopoulos: Who’s the best GM in the NL East? originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

With the NL East shaping up to be one of baseball’s most competitive division races, NBC Sports Washington’s Matt Weyrich is previewing the 2021 season by ranking each team at every position on and off the diamond. Points will be awarded to teams based on their spot in each ranking with a final tally released just before Opening Day.*

Up next in the series: general manager.

1. Dave Dombrowski (PHI) – 5 points

Dombrowski is the Phillies’ president of baseball operations. Their GM is Sam Fuld.

Dombrowski builds winners. There’s no arguing with his track record: two World Series titles, another pair of AL pennants and some level of success at every stop. It’s what comes after that can be scary. After each of his teams — in particular the Marlins, Tigers and Red Sox — reached their respective peaks, they each fell into rebuilds and dismissed Dombrowski to pick up the pieces on their own.

The Phillies brought Dombrowski on this offseason because they don’t have the luxury of being able to worry about what comes next. They’re worried about right now, where the Phillies have an NL-high streak of nine straight seasons without a playoff berth and their biggest stars are in the middle of their primes. If even Dombrowski can’t get a team led by Bryce Harper and Aaron Nola into the playoffs, there are much larger questions the organization will have to answer.

2. Mike Rizzo (WSH) – 4 points

Rizzo is the Nationals’ president of baseball operations and GM.

The Nationals have been under the guide of Rizzo since 2009. He’s led them to eight winning seasons with five 90-win campaigns, four NL East titles and the 2019 World Series championship. A renowned former scout, Rizzo has overseen the draft selections of Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon and Lucas Giolito while rebuilding the team’s Latin American player development system — a system that has since produced Juan Soto and Victor Robles.

Rizzo also has a reputation for often coming out on the winning side of trades. He swooped in and got away with a steal by acquiring then-prospect Trea Turner in a three-way deal with the Rays and Padres that was supposed to be highlighted by Wil Myers and Steven Souza Jr. Other players he’s made impressive trades for include Gio Gonzalez, Wilson Ramos, Tanner Roark and Denard Span.

3. Alex Anthopoulos (ATL) – 3 points

Anthopoulos is the Braves’ president of baseball operations and GM.

Anthopoulos is set to enter his fourth season in the Braves front office. He was hired in November 2017 after his predecessor John Coppolella was banned from MLB for violating international bonus pool rules by paying prospects with money under the table. Anthopoulos has since helped the Braves to three-straight division titles, the most recent of which resulted in an NLCS appearance.

While he inherited many of the players that make up the Braves’ core, Anthopoulos also spent six years as the GM of the Blue Jays. He helped them snap their 22-year playoff drought in 2015 and brought them back to the postseason again the following year. Anthopoulos has yet to reach the World Series with any of the ballclubs he’s built, but his current squad certainly has a good chance in 2021.

4. Sandy Alderson (NYM) – 2 points

Alderson is the Mets’ team president. Their acting GM is Zack Scott.

The Mets have endured some front office turmoil this offseason, firing GM Jared Porter only a month removed from hiring him after it was revealed he sent unsolicited explicit photos to a reporter in 2016. He was immediately replaced by Zack Scott, but the main architect for the Mets since new owner Steve Cohen took over has been Alderson.

Alderson is a Vietnam War veteran, cancer survivor and 1989 World Series champion. He was the Athletics’ GM from 1983 to 1997 and held the same role with the Mets from 2011 to 2018. The most recent of his four pennants came with New York in 2015, when the Mets lost the World Series to the Royals in five games. Cohen asked Alderson to return to the club to help revamp the franchise following its sale by the Wilpon family.

5. Kim Ng (MIA) – 1 point

Ng is the Marlins’ GM. Their CEO is Derek Jeter.

Not only is Ng the first female GM in MLB history, but she’s also the first female GM in the history of North American sports. The Marlins hired her this offseason after she spent nine years as a senior vice president of baseball operations for MLB and another 10 years as an assistant GM for the Dodgers. She lands at the No. 5 spot on these rankings solely due to never holding a GM job before.

Ng takes over a Marlins organization starting to show the fruits of its rebuild. After reaching the playoffs for just the third time in franchise history, Ng and CEO Derek Jeter have Miami trending upward. In her first offseason, the Marlins’ biggest moves were signing outfielder Adam Duvall and reliever Anthony Bass.

*Scoring will be determined as follows:

Max total = 100 points

  • 5 points awarded for each of the best position players, 4 for second-best, etc.

  • 1 bonus point awarded for each of the five best position players in the division

  • 6 points awards for each of the top three starters, 5 for the next three, etc.

  • 1 bonus point awarded for each of the two best starting pitchers in the division

  • 5 points awarded for each of the top three bullpen arms, 4 for the next three, etc.

  • 5 points awarded for the best manager, 4 for second-best, etc.

  • 5 points awarded for the best GM, 4 for second-best, etc.

Scoring breakdown = 45 max points for hitting, 45 max points for pitching, 10 max points for coaches/GMs

Other NL East position rankings:

Right field: Soto, Acuña, Harper, Conforto, Duvall

Left field: Ozuna, Smith, Schwarber, Dickerson, McCutchen

Center field: Nimmo, Marté, Robles, Pache, Kingery

First base: Freeman, Alonso, Hoskins, Bell, Aguilar

Second base: McNeil, Albies, Segura, Castro, Chisholm/Díaz

Shortstop: Turner, Lindor, Swanson, Gregorius, Rojas

Third base: Anderson, Davis, Bohm, Riley, Kieboom

Catcher: Realmuto, McCann, Gomes, d'Arnaud, Alfaro

Starting pitcher: deGrom, Scherzer, Nola highlight top 18 starters

Relief pitcher: Hand, Smith, Díaz highlight top 15 relievers

Manager: Girardi, Martinez, Snitker, Mattingly, Rojas

Teams: Mets, Nationals, Braves, Phillies, Marlins