The title might differ from franchise to franchise, but whether it’s the general manager, the president of baseball operations or the chief baseball officer, every MLB team has one person who’s ultimately responsible for the on-field product, and there’s not a lot of job security in such a high-stakes business.
Brian Cashman, however, has managed to stand the test of time. On Feb. 3, 1998, Cashman succeeded Bob Watson as general manager of the Yankees, and he’s still running the show more than two decades later.
Cashman, unsurprisingly, is one of the longest-tenured GMs in the Majors. Here’s a breakdown of the current top 10, starting with the longest-tenured.
(Note: Many teams have both a president of baseball operations and a general manager. This list only includes each team’s head baseball operations executive, regardless of their current job title. Their place on the list is based on the date they assumed that mantle.)
1) Billy Beane, Athletics — Oct. 17, 1997
Thanks in part to Michael Lewis’ book “Moneyball” and the subsequent movie starring Brad Pitt, Beane became the face of the sabermetrics revolution that reshaped baseball front offices after the onset of the 21st century. Beane hasn’t delivered a World Series title to Oakland, but the club has been consistently competitive under his stewardship despite its payroll constraints. In 2015, Beane was promoted to executive vice president of baseball operations.
2) Brian Cashman, Yankees — Feb. 3, 1998
With Cashman at the helm, the Yanks have made 20 postseason appearances in 24 seasons, winning four World Series titles and six American League pennants in that span. New York’s sizable budget certainly gives Cashman an advantage when building a roster, but it’s nonetheless remarkable that the club hasn’t had a losing season during his tenure.
3) Ken Williams, White Sox — Oct. 24, 2000
General manager Rick Hahn is now largely running the day-to-day baseball operations for the White Sox, but Williams remains in the fold as the team’s executive vice president, a role he’s held since 2012. Williams became the third Black general manager in AL/NL history in 2000, following Bill Lucas and Watson, and won a World Series championship in 2005.
4) Jon Daniels, Rangers — Oct. 4, 2005
At 28 years and 41 days, Daniels became the youngest GM in AL/NL history when he took the reins from John Hart in 2005. With the acquisitions of Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, Elvis Andrus, Cliff Lee and Neftali Feliz and the hiring of manager Ron Washington, Daniels built the Rangers into a contender that made back-to-back World Series appearances in 2010-11. He was named president of baseball operations in 2013.
5) Dayton Moore, Royals — June 8, 2006
When Moore became the Royals’ general manager in 2006, the club hadn’t reached the postseason in more than 20 years. It took some time, but Moore eventually assembled a team — the foundation of which was made up of homegrown stars such as Alex Gordon, Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez — that won consecutive AL pennants in 2014-15 and a World Series title in the second of those seasons. The Royals made Moore their president of baseball operations in 2021.
6) John Mozeliak, Cardinals — Oct. 30, 2007
Now the team’s president of baseball operations, Mozeliak joined the Cardinals organization after the 1995 season and eventually became the team’s scouting director, overseeing the Drafts that brought Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina into the organization, before serving as the assistant general manager under Walt Jocketty for six seasons. The Cardinals parted ways with Jocketty in 2007 and made Mozeliak their new GM. St. Louis won a World Series championship in 2011, and Mozeliak’s moves helped the club remain a consistent contender in the wake of the departure of Pujols as a free agent and the retirement of longtime manager Tony La Russa following that 2011 title. In the past 10 years, the Cardinals have made seven postseason appearances and won four division crowns and one NL pennant.
7) Mike Rizzo, Nationals — March 4, 2009
The Nationals organization was a mess when Rizzo succeeded Jim Bowden as the team’s GM in 2009, but he helped right the ship with a slew of top Draft picks (Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon), free-agent signings (Max Scherzer, Jayson Werth) and shrewd trade acquisitions (Trea Turner, Gio González). Harper departed as a free agent after the 2018 season, but the emergence of homegrown star Juan Soto made it easier for the club to withstand the loss, and Washington went on a magical run to the 2019 World Series title after starting out 19-31.
8) A.J. Preller, Padres — Aug. 6, 2014
Preller hasn’t turned the Padres into a perennial contender (yet), but his tenure has been anything but boring. The New York native has earned his reputation as one of baseball’s most aggressive decision-makers, starting with the ill-fated 2014-15 offseason in which San Diego acquired Justin Upton, Matt Kemp, Craig Kimbrel and James Shields. After a disappointing 2015 season, Preller quickly pulled the plug on that experiment and oversaw a rebuild that notably led to the acquisition of Fernando Tatis Jr., who had yet to play his first professional game when San Diego picked him up from the White Sox in a trade for Shields. Tatis has gone on to become one of the brightest stars in the game, teaming with free-agent addition Manny Machado to form an elite one-two punch on the left side of the infield.
9) Andrew Friedman, Dodgers — Oct. 14, 2014
Friedman proved his mettle as a GM when he helped take the Rays from perennial cellar dweller to contender within his first three years at the helm. After posting a losing record in each of their first 10 years of existence, the Rays made the postseason four times in six years from 2008-13 and reached the World Series once. Friedman moved on to become the Dodgers’ president of baseball operations in 2014, and during his tenure, Los Angeles has become the standard of excellence, winning six division titles, three NL pennants and a World Series championship.
10) Al Avila, Tigers — Aug. 4, 2015
With Dave Dombrowski in charge, the Tigers made five postseason appearances and reached the World Series twice from 2006-14, but things started to go south and Detroit parted ways with its longtime GM in 2015. Avila took over and ushered in a rebuilding period with the trades of Justin Verlander, J.D. Martinez, Nick Castellanos and Justin Upton. The Tigers landed the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 and 2020 MLB Drafts, but the club began to show signs of improvement in 2021, finishing with its best record (77-85) since 2016.
Next 10: Mark Shapiro, Blue Jays (Aug. 31, 2015); David Stearns, Brewers (Sept. 21, 2015); Jerry Dipoto, Mariners (Sept. 28, 2015); Chris Antonetti, Guardians (Oct. 6, 2015); Derek Falvey, Twins (Oct. 3, 2016); Mike Hazen, D-backs (Oct. 16, 2016); Alex Anthopoulos, Braves (Nov. 13, 2017); Farhan Zaidi, Giants (Nov. 6, 2018); Mike Elias, Orioles (Nov. 16, 2018); Chaim Bloom, Red Sox (Oct. 28, 2019)