How to Become a Baseball General Manager

For some, becoming a baseball general manager is the next step after not becoming a professional player. For others, the goal has always been to become a GM in the MLB. While no single path leads to being a baseball general manager, most managers have either reached their status by starting somewhere in the organization or coaching at the collegiate level. 

This article will look at some of the key responsibilities and steps needed to help you become a general manager.

What Does a Baseball Manager Do?

A baseball manager is a primary connection between the front office and the team. 

Some of the essential job responsibilities include:

  • Hiring players and coaches for the team
  • Hiring front office personnel, such as analysts, scouts, financial and public relations experts
  • Being the principal spokesperson for the club and organization as a whole

What is a Baseball Manager’s General Salary?

MLB teams aren’t required to release the GM’s salary. However, the top managers in the MLB can make much more than a million dollars a year. Moreover, minor league team GMs can still make a healthy six-figure salary. 

In 2016 the highest-paid general manager was Brian Cashman of the New York Yankees, making upwards of $3 million a year. He was followed closely by Mike Rizzo of the Washington Nationals, earning $2.5 million a year.

It’s safe to say that the time and effort it takes to become a general manager pays off if you get there. 

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How to Become an MLB Manager

Being an MLB manager involves an interesting combination of skill sets. Not only do you need to know a lot about baseball, but you also need to have a good understanding of financial literacy. Therefore, the path to becoming a GM involves having experience in both of these areas.

Get into the MLB Anyway You Can

It’s tough to get an entry-level MLB team job, let alone one of the coveted 32 GM spots. The first step on your path to becoming a GM needs to be finding a job in Major League Baseball.

Finding a low-level marketing or sales position is one of the best ways to break in. They aren’t quite as competitive as scouting jobs, but it’s a way to get your foot in the door. 

If you are transferring over from college coaching, you may have more jumping into a more prominent role in the organizations.

The key here is to get hired by an MLB organization in any way you can. Even people who have started as interns have risen to become GMs. However, because the competition for these positions is so high, you’ll need to be persistent and may need to shrug off quite a few no’s to get hired.

Diversify Within Your Field

If you are going to get hired as an MLB GM, you’ll need to show both baseball and financial savvy. If you were employed in the marketing department, look to break into the scouting department as your next move. Likewise, if you’ve been a scout your entire career, you’ll need to demonstrate prowess with marketing and finances later on in your career.

Network Like Crazy

The phrase, “it’s not about what you know, but who you know,” is especially important. You need to gain favor with people within your own organization and other organizations. You should also definitely mention your aspirations while networking. 

You shouldn’t make it seem like you’re coming after the current GM’s job but rather that it’s a life goal of yours to become a GM. That’s how you pick up mentors along the way who can help you get to where you want to be.

Getting hired as a GM can be all about timing. Therefore, if you’ve made yourself known across the league, owners might come calling if you’ve impressed the right people.

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What are the Qualifications of an MLB Manager?

There are no specific qualifications for an MLB manager. However, each organization may value different characteristics based on the current status of the team and their projected future. 

However, some general qualifications include the following:

  • Having previously worked in an MLB organization
  • Demonstrating a deep love of baseball
  • Prior experience managing financial and marketing aspects of an MLB club

As a note, only 2 of the current 32 MLB managers have a college degree in sports management. However, this is becoming an increasingly popular field of study, so it’ll be interesting to see if more organizations start to look for a college degree in a related field as a qualification.

Top MLB General Managers

Everyone has their own opinion, but some of the most notable current MLB General managers include:

  • Mike Rizzo (Washington Nationals) – Rizzo took a relocated franchise and made them World Series Champions in under a decade. Additionally, they’ve had the third-best record in baseball since 2012.
  • Brian Cashman (New York Yankees) – Although the Yankees haven’t earned any titles in the past decade, they have remained one of baseball’s best teams through Cashman’s tenure, which started in 1998. While they’ve had the payroll to sign some of the best names in baseball, they’ve also developed stars like Aaron Judge and Luis Severino.
  • Andrew Friedman (Los Angeles Dodgers) – The LA Dodgers have been the team to beat in the National League for the past several years. Having one of the best current rosters in baseball and one of the most promising farm systems is no easy feat.

While GMs get criticized for their team’s performance year in and year out, consistency over an extended period is what truly makes a great GM.

Starting Your Path to Becoming a Baseball General Manager

The best GMs in baseball all started where they are today—thinking about the path that will lead them to eventually become GM and developing the skills to help them succeed at that goal.
To get started on your journey, join the Network today and gain access to several job postings in the field of baseball as well as invitations to apply for any newly posted jobs by organizations.