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The Best General Manager in Baseball Is...

When examining a team's long-term success, there may be no greater indicator than if the GM of that team is a consistently solid decision maker. The GM is the most important person to any team, and while a great one can keep a team in contention for a championship year in and year out, an unsuccessful one can bury that team in years of losing seasons.

A few days ago, we asked everyone on Facebook to tell us who their favorite GM is. We got a lot of different answers. To follow-up, here is my list of the top-5 GMs in baseball. They are in no particular order, because I want this blog to inspire some debate. Let me know what you think of my picks.

Dan O'Dowd, Colorado Rockies

This pick is due in large part to the fact that, in the Age of Free Agency, O'Dowd has accomplished something truly remarkable. Of his eight position players, six of them were drafted by the team, and a seventh (Carlos Gonzalez) was traded for while he was still a minor league player. O'Dowd's philosophy of allowing a team to grow together and stay a unit throughout their development is sort of unique. That mindset has allowed O'Dowd to extend the contracts of guys like Troy Tulowitzki for less money than they would make on the open market simply because they want to win in Colorado. That just doesn't happen anymore. Throw in a World Series appearance a couple of years ago and a winning record year in and year out, and O'Dowd definitely belongs on this list.

Brian Sabean, San Francisco Giants

You have to give it up to the World Champs. Sabean has constructed a fantastic pitching staff in San Francisco, with Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez, and Bumgarner leading a staff that won the Giants to their first World Series in a half century. Brian Wilson provided the entertainment during the championship run, but was also a lights out closer for San Fran. Recent draft picks Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey are the real deal, and the Giants look like contenders for the next decade.

Brian Cashman, New York Yankees

I know the argument about Cashman is that, when you have seemingly unlimited funds, it's easy to be a good GM. Looking a little closer, however, you begin to notice that his moves are also very shrewd. After Cliff Lee burned the Yanks this off-season, Cashman went out and picked up Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon from the bargain basement. While they're not world-beaters, both guys have gone out every fifth day and given the Yanks a chance to win. Cashman has also overseen some very successful drafts that have always ensured that the Yankees' farm system was well stocked. Robinson Cano, Phil Hughes, Eduardo Nunez, and up and comers Austin Bromine, Andrew Brackman, and Manny Banuelos are all additions made during Cashman's tenure. Like it or not, the guy knows what he's doing.

Theo Epstein, Boston Red Sox

A similar argument can be made for Epstein, who also rules with an open checkbook. However, as easy as it is to say that going and getting Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez was a no-brainer, Epstein was able to pull it off, and do it on the Red Sox terms. The Red Sox are one of the premier franchises in baseball, and are a threat to win a championship every season. It's not easy to stick around as GM of a team that faces as much scrutiny as the Red Sox do, but Epstein has proved that winning answers any questions.

Walt Jocketty, Cincinnati Reds

Along with owner Bob Castellini, Jocketty has managed to rebuild a once-proud franchise after 15 years of futility. The Reds are fresh off of their first division championship in a decade, and appear to be set for the long haul. Draft picks Jay Bruce and Joey Votto are among the best in baseball at their positions, and the Reds' pitching staff is one of the deepest and most talented in all of baseball. As an Orioles fan, I'm definitely giving a few bonus points on this one, simply because the guy laid out a plan, followed it, and turned the Reds into a winner again. There might be a little jealousy here, but you can't deny what Jocketty has accomplished. I'm excited to see just how far this franchise can go.

Who do you think the best GM in baseball is? Tweet me @rwags614.

When examining a team's long-term success, there may be no greater indicator than if the GM of that team is a consistently solid decision maker. The GM is the most important person to any team, and while a great one can keep a team in contention for a championship year in and year out, an unsuccessful one can bury that team in years of losing seasons.

A few days ago, we asked everyone on Facebook to tell us who their favorite GM is. We got a lot of different answers. To follow-up, here is my list of the top-5 GMs in baseball. They are in no particular order, because I want this blog to inspire some debate. Let me know what you think of my picks.

Dan O'Dowd, Colorado Rockies

This pick is due in large part to the fact that, in the Age of Free Agency, O'Dowd has accomplished something truly remarkable. Of his eight position players, six of them were drafted by the team, and a seventh (Carlos Gonzalez) was traded for while he was still a minor league player. O'Dowd's philosophy of allowing a team to grow together and stay a unit throughout their development is sort of unique. That mindset has allowed O'Dowd to extend the contracts of guys like Troy Tulowitzki for less money than they would make on the open market simply because they want to win in Colorado. That just doesn't happen anymore. Throw in a World Series appearance a couple of years ago and a winning record year in and year out, and O'Dowd definitely belongs on this list.

Brian Sabean, San Francisco Giants

You have to give it up to the World Champs. Sabean has constructed a fantastic pitching staff in San Francisco, with Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez, and Bumgarner leading a staff that won the Giants to their first World Series in a half century. Brian Wilson provided the entertainment during the championship run, but was also a lights out closer for San Fran. Recent draft picks Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey are the real deal, and the Giants look like contenders for the next decade.

Brian Cashman, New York Yankees

I know the argument about Cashman is that, when you have seemingly unlimited funds, it's easy to be a good GM. Looking a little closer, however, you begin to notice that his moves are also very shrewd. After Cliff Lee burned the Yanks this off-season, Cashman went out and picked up Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon from the bargain basement. While they're not world-beaters, both guys have gone out every fifth day and given the Yanks a chance to win. Cashman has also overseen some very successful drafts that have always ensured that the Yankees' farm system was well stocked. Robinson Cano, Phil Hughes, Eduardo Nunez, and up and comers Austin Bromine, Andrew Brackman, and Manny Banuelos are all additions made during Cashman's tenure. Like it or not, the guy knows what he's doing.

Theo Epstein, Boston Red Sox

A similar argument can be made for Epstein, who also rules with an open checkbook. However, as easy as it is to say that going and getting Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez was a no-brainer, Epstein was able to pull it off, and do it on the Red Sox terms. The Red Sox are one of the premier franchises in baseball, and are a threat to win a championship every season. It's not easy to stick around as GM of a team that faces as much scrutiny as the Red Sox do, but Epstein has proved that winning answers any questions.

Walt Jocketty, Cincinnati Reds

Along with owner Bob Castellini, Jocketty has managed to rebuild a once-proud franchise after 15 years of futility. The Reds are fresh off of their first division championship in a decade, and appear to be set for the long haul. Draft picks Jay Bruce and Joey Votto are among the best in baseball at their positions, and the Reds' pitching staff is one of the deepest and most talented in all of baseball. As an Orioles fan, I'm definitely giving a few bonus points on this one, simply because the guy laid out a plan, followed it, and turned the Reds into a winner again. There might be a little jealousy here, but you can't deny what Jocketty has accomplished. I'm excited to see just how far this franchise can go.

Who do you think the best GM in baseball is? Tweet me @rwags614.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cincinnati Reds