We recently caught up with the GM of the World Series champion Ottawa O-jays, dmpark, to chat about his first World Series title, his plans for the upcoming season and the Philadelphia Phillies. Here's what dmpark had to say:
You managed to take what was a mediocre franchise under the previous owner and turn it into a World Series champion in just two seasons, an impressive feat. What were the keys to the turnaround?
I can't take a whole lot of credit for the turnaround. I took over a team that was poised to have some great years, regardless of who managed it.
That said, during my first year, I added 4 free agents that were solid role players and traded for a very good set-up reliever and an all star caliber left fielder. Those moves helped give me a very effective top to bottom lineup and a well rounded pitching staff.
What sort of changes, if any, can we expect with the O-jays this season?
I'm not sure yet. I've got a few spots to fill through free agency, and I'm waiting to see how it plays out. I may go after several mid-range type players or try to get one or two high priced guys.
They split last season between the minors and the major league team so what are the franchise’s plans for former first round picks Curtis Sierra and Harvey Simmons?
Both will be on the ML squad by September again. Whether they are there before then is still to be determined.
You’re a big Hoops Dynasty guy and have had great success with your Pitt team especially. What kind of advice can you give a guy like me, who’s still learning that game?
I'd describe my success in HD as more "moderate" than "great" but I do really like HD. In my opinion 90% of the game is recruiting. At the DI level, you need to avoid battles where you can, especially ones you're not likely to win. This requires you to give up sometimes on guys you really want, even ones you put decent money into.
So you’re a Phillies fan. That’s got to be pretty nice these days. What are you expecting from the team this season? 100+ wins and at least a World Series appearance, if not, championship?
Yeah, they were pretty lousy for about 10 or 12 years there, so its fun to see them good again. With the pitching staff they have, anything short of a World Series appearance has to be considered a disappointment.
What was your reaction to the Cliff Lee signing when it was announced? It seemed to come out of nowhere and then all of a sudden the Phillies have a starting rotation that could go down as one of the best ever.
I was in a Las Vegas sports book at the time it was announced. I read it about it on one of those tickers that scrolled game scores, and I couldn't believe it. It was especially nice because I didn't think they needed to trade him in the first place. Just looking at that rotation-- Halladay, Oswalt, Lee and Hammels-- wow.
If we did a fantasy draft for The Bigs for this upcoming season, who would be your number one overall pick and why?
It seems like great pitchers are tougher to find than great hitters, so I'd probably go with a really good young pitcher, like Ronn Lincoln (AL Cy Young winner in his second full year)
If you could change one thing about HBD, what would it be and why?
I'd like to see the season go by a little faster- maybe two months instead of three. I like putting teams together much more than the day to day managing of the rosters, so speeding up the regular season would be a big plus for me.