Sam Fuld announced his retirement from baseball in November of 2017. He hadn’t played at the MLB level since 2015, and an injury following a strong 2016 spring training camp ended his season, and ultimately his baseball career.
During his eight major league seasons he posted largely unimpressive numbers for four different teams — which is not meant as a slight to Fuld, but a career wRC+ of 79 is not sending anyone to the Hall of Fame. Evidently, though, Sam made quite an impression on those around him, because immediately following his retirement, the Phillies hired him on a “player information coordinator” which basically meant his role was to help players and coaches with the integration of analytics into their play.
There’s no doubt Fuld is a smart man who has made a mark. He was considered for Blue Jays manager in 2018, and was on a very short list of contenders for the Boston Red Sox GM position before they brought back Alex Cora. Under Dave Dombrowski it’s clear the Phillies are shifting their approach to winning, and with Fuld on that indicates an eye towards advanced stats.
It is, however, interesting to see that someone who retired from play only three years ago, who had only one previous interview for a GM position, and very little front office experience, has achieved this position at such a relatively young age (Fuld is only 39). It sits in stark contrast to the recent hiring of new Marlins GM Kim Ng, who applied for at least 5 open GM positions with a stacked baseball resume to her name, and it took her years to find a job.
I don’t point this out to detract from Fuld, who is obviously smart and capable, but it’s an interesting contrast to make ourselves aware of nevertheless.
Now, onto links!
- Tyler Kepner looks at how the Baseball Hall of Fame is hoping to contextualize the racist history of some of its most problematic inductees.
- How did Ryan Thibodaux become one of the most important parts of Hall of Fame voting season? Daniel Brown looks at the Twitter-famous ballot tracker. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- Mookie Betts has been an enormous part of the Dodgers success, and Stephanie Apstein looks at how he’s helping the team achieve greatness.
- Howie Kendrick announced his retirement this week, and Brendan Gawlowski reflects on his unique presence in MLB history.
- Has the recent change in Negro Leagues status helped elevate Minnie Minoso’s Hall of Fame case? James Fegan explores the topic. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- Ben Clemens looks at what happens to pitchers the year AFTER a velocity spike.
- Andrew Simon brings us a list of offseason acquisitions who helped lead their new teams to titles.
- Why wait? The time to change the remaining racist sports team names in the country isn’t a year from now or later, it’s now, writes Dr. Natalie Welch AND Christopher Buccafusco.
- MLB brings us a cool breakdown of home run leaders based on their country of birth.
- The best of the Players Alliance in 2020.
- With the hot stove still awfully cold, Jesse Rogers takes a stab at guessing who will spend big in the coming weeks.
- Matt Snyder wonders why pitchers are so woefully under-represented in the Hall of Fame.
- Jay Jaffe takes the JAWS approach to Barry Bonds. (Very curious, dear readers, how you feel about Bonds being in the HoF. I’m pro, but I know a lot of folks are very against.)
- R.J. Anderson has five major questions for the 2021 MLB season.
- Jim Bowden takes a much too early look at the 2021 free agency class, when the 2020 one has barely started to move. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- Managers, by and large, are all for the new rule changes, reports Tim Brown.
- One of the most interesting stories of the offseason has been Steve Cohen’s purchase of the Mets, and Tim Britton takes a deeper look at the new (and already fan-loved) owner. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- SI’s Game of the Year award went to the absolutely bonkers Game 4 of the World Series, largely in part to Brett Phillips.
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster. Make it so.