Cardinals Assistant GM Michael Girsch (center). Mandatory Credit: stltoday.com
In case the name Michael Girsch isn’t familiar to you, let me give you a little background. He has earned both a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and an MBA as well. Girsch joined the St. Louis Cardinals’ organization in 2006 as the Coordinator of Amateur Scouting, and took him only two years to have a job created for him. In 2008 Girsch was promoted to the head of the Baseball Development Department, where he helped lead the way for the organization to create advanced analytical models and projections, to put together the best team possible. His work had him move all the way up to Assistant GM to the exceptional John Mozeliak, a position Girsch will most likely stay stuck at until Mozeliak earns himself a promotion higher within the organization.
The Padres, as we all know, are a smaller budget team and need to be able to draft and develop their own talent in order to be a successful team. They are also in the market for a GM who can bring that to San Diego, and Girsch is the best man for the job.
Not only did he help make “The Cardinal Way” the legend that it is today, but he understands the business side of baseball as well, something former GM Josh Byrnes was lacking in. Girsch’s abilities to help create a contender from organic resources will be explained below, but the opening up a more successful business has huge advantages as well. By being able to market the team more, the Padres could get more fans in the seats, and more flat-screens set to listen to Dick Enberg. This leads to more revenue for the team, which gives them more options in free agency, and more chances to keep home grown talent.
Aside from the extra money Girsch could help rake in, something John Moores must be drooling over, Girsch has shown a knack for putting together a really darn good ballclub. He’s helped bring in prospects such as Oscar Taveras and Stephen Piscotty, as well as major leaguers Michael Wacha and Shelby Miller. He’s helped load up the organization at every level, which is why so many refer to St. Louis as one of the best run teams in the sport.
What he brings here is a great chance to help the Padres cash in on some of their veterans, like Ian Kennedy and Chase Headley. Since they also will be drafting highly for the next few seasons from the looks of it, he again has more chances to fill up the farm system as high as it can go. We will have chances to grab future stars with these moves, and Girsch is one of the most trustworthy people to take advantage of them. Byrnes left the farm in good shape, but with the help of an advanced GM, San Diego could have an elite one in just a couple years.
There’s no question that the Friars have been without a good GM behind the wheel for way too long. But their fortunes seem to be turning, and Girsch is about as great a candidate as they will find. In case you don’t buy into all the magical things he could do for our team, read his interview with David Laurila. He explains how he’s helped develop advanced analytical processes, new and improved ways to grade prospects, hitting techniques and even biomechanical assessments. Everything about Girsch is above and beyond what the San Diego Padres need to become a serious threat again in the NL West. Acquiring him is the first big step back towards October baseball.