Sometimes “Conflict in Front Office” Is Good.

The other day, we wrote about how the Cleveland Browns get no credit for trying something different, when the Cleveland Indians are a stand pat organization, and they get criticized for not making any changes.

There is another way the two organizations are different as well, and it has to do with the relationship between the front office and the head coach/manager.

On the corner of Carnegie and Ontario, it’s a Kumbaya fest.  Everyone seems to be on the same page and have the same opinion.  In fact, it is difficult to tell who is doing the talking sometimes, be it president Mark Shapiro, GM Chris Antonetti, or Terry Francona.

They always seem to be in lock step, at least publicly.

On the other hand, the media loves to report about the discord between Browns’ GM Ray Farmer and head coach Mike Pettine.  It is further proof of the team’s “dysfunction”.

The reality is behind the scenes, there should be some disagreement between the coach and the person who picks the talent, because they should be coming at it from two different perspectives.

The coach or manager is trying to win, and win right now.  That’s the way he gets to keep his job, and also, he is ultimately the person who the wins and losses are assigned to.

When the Browns have a 4-12 record, no one is saying that Ray Farmer’s squad has that record.  It goes on Pettine’s record.

The general manager has to look at not only this year’s team, but also the future of the franchise, and if football’s case, salary cap implications.

Many coaches fall into the trap of favoring veterans with little upside because they are dependable, instead of going with a young player, who may have a bigger upside.

Think about the Indians in this situation.  Terry Francona likes to have his bench filled with veterans like Ryan Raburn, Mike Aviles, etc., instead of keeping younger players like Tyler Holt or Jesus Aguilar.

In baseball, the GM has to weigh the positives of major league experience against not playing.  For young players, they need to play.  No one gets better by watching extensively.  If that occurred, there would be a lot of fans who would be suddenly able to play professional sports.

When a team is in a situation like the Cavaliers are, it is easy for the coach and GM to be on the same page, because there, the goal is clearly stated.  The Cavs are trying to win a title now, and everybody is “All In”.

However, in other situations, there is a different point of view for both the front office and the coaching staff, and that is healthy.  It’s why you also don’t want to have a coach/GM in charge.

We remember Butch Davis proudly saying that all of his draft picks made the team.  Of course, they did, because he was in charge of keeping them or letting them go.

Now, you don’t want the two people is total disagreement to the point where they cannot work together either.  But, they should not be in lock step with each other.

To be sure, there have to be players that Farmer likes, that Pettine doesn’t, and vice-versa.  It’s healthy and necessary in a winning organization.

The Indians seem to have a “group think” approach, and that’s not working well for them.

So, don’t be concerned that Ray Farmer and Mike Pettine don’t see eye to eye on everything.  They have two different points of view.

JD

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