Sarris: What’s in a title? Title inflation, innovation and importance in the modern front office

From SABR member Eno Sarris at The Athletic on December 12, 2019:

In 2011, Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti reported directly to owner Frank McCourt. Once Kim Ng left that offseason, there wasn’t a single vice president in baseball operations. This year, the Dodgers will trot out five vice presidents in baseball operations alone. The Yankees will field a roster of 21 vice presidents this coming season.

To some extent, it has to be title inflation. And there’s good reason for it — in order to get the best executives and coaches, teams have to hire away from one another, and in order to lure that talent away, teams have to offer better titles. Multiple sources confirmed that the Astros have a policy that requires at least a two-level jump in the offered title before another team is allowed to talk to a coach of theirs.

Although baseball’s general policy of requiring a team’s approval before a coach can interview has been ruled illegal in other industries, it’s a fact of life in baseball and a gentle source of helium in front office titles. But that’s not the only thing going on here. There’s the fact that there’s more work to do in today’s front offices.

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Originally published: December 12, 2019. Last Updated: December 12, 2019.