Q: how is it that you came up with the franchise's name?
A: I'm a Mets fan, and when they were first trying to come up with a name for the new NL franchise in New York, they considered several names before settling on Mets. Among them were Continentals, Skyliners, Jets, Meadowlarks, Rebels, Skyscrapers, NYBs, Avengers and Burros.
Q: The Burros have enjoyed quite a bit of success under your stewardship, winning the division title nine out of the last eleven seasons. What is the secret to your success and do you think that this can continue for seasons to come?
A: The biggest key has been having a consistent plan, a certain system for valuing players and sticking to both of them absolutely. I do it with low-cost players and high turnover, but we've seen that you can win consistently over the long-term with any number of other strategies. The only way you can get yourself into trouble is either mis-evaluating players or frequently swinging from "I'm going for it" to "I'm rebuilding."
Q: The key to playing Moneyball like the Burros do is having little player loyalty and being able to flip talent that have high value/high cost for younger high value/low cost players. Is it ever hard to tell the fans that their favorite Burro has been traded for a hot new prospect because he's asking for to much money? Is the true motivation that the Burro management is making a killing on new player jersey sales every 4 seasons?
A: Our concession stands sell jerseys with velcro on the back, so that when this year's crop of disposable heroes hits the road, they can tear off their numbers and nameplates and replace them with the new ones. You're right about the lack of loyalty -- this is a model that would be very tough to sell to fans in real life. Just about the time people get to know a guy, he's on a plane headed somewhere else in exchange for guys who won't hit the majors for 3+ seasons.
Q: Which Burros player, past or present, have the fans in New York been most fond of, and why?
A: Trenidad Beltran, was probably the first great hero of the franchise. He was a huge stud during the first championship run. I still think Neil Fletcher; is the single best position player I've ever had. The guy had on OBP over 500 three times. That's just totally absurd. And in true Burros style, I traded him away in his prime and got the guy who might have been the best pitcher in team history, Ryan Perry.
Q: Which Burros player, past or present, the fans have the highest hopes for, only to have them dashed by poor performance?
A: Bucky Anderson was my top prospect when Ryan World started. I thought he was going to be an ace, and he never really panned out. Looking back at his ratings now, I can see why it didn't happen, but back then everyone was sort of learning the game as he went, and Anderson had a lot of great projections in a lot of categories. It's hard to call a guy with 149 career ML starts a total bust, but he didn't turn out to be the kind of front-line starter I had him pegged for early on. Diego Mieses is pretty similar as well. I thought long and hard before trading him away in season 1. Looking back now, I see why he wasn't ever great, but I thought for sure he was going to be a super stud. It was worth it, because the guy I got for him (Hades Atchley) helped me win the World Series that season, but I was sure I was going to end up regretting that deal.
Q: Which NL team do you consider to be your biggest rival?
A: I guess it would have to be Colorado Springs, since I've faced them in the NLCS each of the last four seasons.
Q: What prospect in your system do you have the highest hopes for?
A: On the pitching side, Dick Lewis. He's got great projections across the board. I've got some other really good arms, but Lewis is the only one who doesn't have one split that's a good bit lower than the other, or just above-average control. Sven Kinkade is definitely the guy I'm looking forward to seeing in the lineup on the position side. If he hits his projections, he has a chance to be a 30 HR, 430 OBP guy with a pretty good glove.
Q. What trade have you made that you have the most regrets over?
A: I guessed right on some key ratings early (figuring out which ones were the most important to success) so I can't remember ever just totally given away a future star. If I had it to do over again, I would probably hang on to Ryan Perry. I got a nice haul for him, but he's still got seven or eight great seasons in him.
Q: What trade have you made that you feel has helped your team the most?
A: The one that I think most directly lead to a championship was the one in the first season where I got Hades Atchley, Diego Mieses, Joe Pryce. Mieses ended up pitching for a long time, and I only had Atchley for a total of 34 starts over 3 seasons, but he was awesome that first year. He went 7-1 down the stretch for me and helped me win the division on the last couple days. Then he made five postseason starts for me. That might have been the best three-team race we've ever had in the NL East. During season 5, I got Matthew Berry and he was just insanely good as well. He had an 0.36 ERA in seven games and helped win a title that year as well.
Q: What players on your team (past/present) have had the best nicknames?
A: "Hot As" Hades Atchley, Pedro Osuna "Bin Laden", Dude Reed; whose nickname was "Frederick" for some reason.
Q: What player on your team has the best theme music?
A: When he was with us, Antonio Lo came out of the bullpen with "Get Low"
Q: In closing, please list the players who have played on your team that you feel are Hall of Fame worthy?
A: Position players who should be absolute locks are Bill Darwin; (436 career OBP), Trenidad Beltran ; (close to 400 HR, a 421 career OBP and close to a 1000 career OPS), Neil Fletcher; (464 career OBP and 1000+ OPS as a catcher). Of the pitchers, Timothy Garcia; is the best Ryan has ever seen and Ryan Perry; has a chance to get there too. With his makeup, he has a chance to be a 200+ IP guy until he's 37 or 38 if he doesn't get hurt. He could easily top 3000 Ks before he's done. I could probably make a case for a couple others, but those five should be in on the first ballot when it's their time.