Now, I want to make a case here that, currently, the San Francisco 49ers are the best-run sports organization in North America. The thing that separates them from the others was pinpointed by Matt Barrows in a recent column for the Sacbee:
While the Raps took 7 seasons to get rid of the obviously awful Bargnani, and at one point signed him to a massive extension, the 49ers have gotten rid of all but 2 players from the 2012 draft. Their highest pick in that draft class, AJ Jenkins, was recently traded. Never got on the field in a meaningful way because he wasn't good enough. No one said 'I drafted this guy and therefore he must be good'. Baalke just shrugged and got rid of him.Then again, there isn't even one atom of sentimentality at 49ers headquarters. (Just ask Parys Haralson. Or Alex Smith. Or Tarell Brown. Or Josh Johnson. Or ...).
Now let's look at the case of Josh Johnson. He was Harbaugh's quarterback at the University of San Diego. Their time there together is called, in this article, "legendary". At one point, Harbaugh referred to Johnson as "The Beloved Son" during a radio interview in 2011. When Johnson was cut by the Bucs, the 49ers signed him to a 2-year contract. That was in March 2012. He was cut by the 49ers in August 2012. Why? He wasn't good enough. It was a pure meritocracy.
The 49ers have not always been the best-run team. Under John York, they were a disaster. That's why they had the #1 overall pick, which was erroneously used on Alex Smith (Aaron Rodgers asked too many questions of the high and mighty coaching staff for their liking). The change happened when Jed York took over running the team from his father. Then Harbaugh and Baalke came in. Things could change any minute if they start making stupid decisions again. Harbaugh refers to this as allowing "Frederick P. Soft" to enter the building. The Raptors, and the other GTA teams, not only have allowed Mr. Soft to enter the building, they take their orders from him. I mean think of the Jays' absolutely ruinous experiment with JP Arencibia at catcher (AA offered another feeble defense of him the other day). Ugh.
Finally, I want to say that things like talent evaluation are fungible between organizations. In other words, I don't think you need your team's scouts to be better than everyone else's. Miami has a great organization, and they still screwed up by drafting the Beezer, a stoner with no work ethic. Had they had Chicago's pick, they would have drafted D-Rose. But Miami did have the good sense to toss the Beezer overboard before he could do any real damage. This is what's missing in the GTA -- the vision and guts to make the tough choices and ignore the political consequences.
PS: The 49ers had another chance to sign Johnson, who lives in the Bay area, this offseason, and they passed it up. He signed with the Bungles. Freddie Soft defeated again.