From Rob Neyer today:
"The blog Fire Jim Bowden has done a fantastic job of rounding up information about LaCava, including this choice comment from Keith Law: "Going from Jim Bowden to Tony LaCava would be like going from Austin Kearns to Albert Pujols." I know Keith was doing an apples-and-oranges thing on purpose, but it's worth noting that the actual difference between a lousy general manager and a great general manager is significantly larger than the difference between Kearns and Pujols. In terms of wins and losses, I mean."
This is just not an accurate statement. It's easy to look back and say that Mr. X is a great GM because he ripped off Mr. Y in a trade four years ago, but it's a lot harder to predict that your team will add three wins next year because they hired Mr. A as GM instead of Mr. B. Identifying the GMs who have performed the best is easy; identifying those who will perform the best in the future is not.
Front office execs may be underpaid as a whole, but if the difference between a lousy GM and a great GM was 'significantly larger' than the seven-win gap between Pujols and Kearns, some team out there would be exploiting that by offering the top GM in the game--whoever it is--a big salary to lure him away from his current job. $5 million ought to be way more than enough, and if that's really worth more than seven wins, that would be an absolute steal in today's MLB. It says a lot that no GM is making anywhere close to that much.
For Rob Neyer's sake, I hope this was just a typo.