When 2020 began, Galen Carr was living in Burlington, Vermont, and preparing for a 162-game season as a member of the front office of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the baseball team many saw as the favorite to win the World Series.
Things changed in a hurry. The COVID-19 pandemic led to the cancelation of more than 100 of those 162 games, with the season finally resuming in late July. The 60-game season preceded expanded playoffs teams had to fight through to work their way to the World Series. In August, Carr, a New England native who lived in Burlington since 2006, moved with his family to Los Angeles, where he is the Dodgers’ vice president of player personnel.
One thing did happen as expected. The Dodgers, after years of knocking on the door of a championship, won the World Series on Tuesday, defeating the Tampa Bay Rays.
“It’s been a privilege to be able to go to the World Series three out of four years,” Carr said Thursday in a phone conversation from Los Angeles, where he returned one day earlier from the World Series site in Arlington, Texas. “To be able to get over the hump this year was awesome.”
Overcoming losses to Astros, Red Sox
Carr, 45, said he felt more joy than relief at finally winning the Series. The Dodgers lost in 2017 to the Houston Astros – a team since disgraced because of a cheating scandal in 2017 and 2018 – and Carr’s former employer, the Boston Red Sox, in 2018.
“What we feel pretty strongly about is that we go through as thorough a process as a team building a game plan and building a culture as we can, and we feel good about that process, and whatever happens happens,” Carr said. “The results of the postseason, to some extent, are as they are.”
Still, he’s happy the team prevailed, even in a shortened 60-game season. He doesn’t feel the truncated schedule puts an asterisk on the win of a team that’s been a World Series favorite for years, especially considering the COVID-19-related hoops they had to jump through to get there.
“Most people seem to be looking at it from the standpoint of it being a more difficult season to get through,” Carr said, noting that the Dodgers backed up their preseason World Series-favorite tag with the best record in baseball during the regular season, 43-17. “The fact that we won the championship I think validated the season we had, even if it was short.”
Duties as VP of player personnel
Carr said he is one of 10 to 12 people who make decisions on player acquisition and roster construction for the Dodgers. He’s listed sixth among dozens on the team’s depth chart on its website under the category “baseball operations.”
As vice president of player personnel, Carr said he manages the department that scouts talent across the country. His crew is responsible for scouting other teams’ major- and minor-league players the Dodgers might want to acquire by trade or other means.
He doesn’t acknowledge any deals he may have been particularly involved in to help assemble the Dodgers’ championship roster.
“Everyone that ends up on the major-league roster is really the biproduct of a collaborative decision-making process,” Carr said, adding that scouts who signed pitchers such as Dustin May or Tony Gonsolin would be reticent to say they were responsible for those signings. “This organization is really so collaborative in nature it’s hard to go out of the way to say, ‘I feel largely responsible for this player being on our roster.’”
Carr spends a fair amount of time in the U.S. visiting the Dodgers’ minor-league affiliates to evaluate players and is planning a visit next week to Arizona to see an instructional fall league. He has traveled to the Pacific Rim to evaluate Asian players making the jump to the U.S. He has been to Latin America, where international free agents are allowed to sign with major-league teams at age 16.
Carr will spend the offseason as he usually does, looking at available players to upgrade the Dodgers’ roster and possibly bringing back some key unsigned free agents, a list that includes Justin Turner, Kike Hernandez and Joc Pederson. This offseason, though, will be unique because of the financial hit teams took by not allowing fans to attend games during the pandemic.
“The results of this offseason are likely to be quite different than in years past just because of how hard our industry was hit from a revenue standpoint. I think it will play out in a really interesting way,” Carr said. “It’s inevitable that it will somehow play a factor in how teams will construct their rosters.”
The Dodgers, Carr suggested, could be more protected from those factors than other teams. “We are fortunate to have the kind of depth that helped us win a World Series,” he said.
Missing fall in New England
Because he travels for his job, Carr was away from home a great deal during the 14 years his family was in Burlington. He and his wife, Jennifer Allaire, still have significant ties to Vermont. His mother and stepfather live in Williston, as do his brother and sister-in-law. The couple and their two children – Miles, 15, and Zoe, 7 – have many friends from their time in the state.
Carr is a native of Walpole, New Hampshire, just across the Connecticut River from Vermont. He attended Northfield Mount Hermon School in Massachusetts, Colby College in Maine and met his wife in Boston during his 15-year tenure working for the Red Sox.
Carr said he already misses fall in the region, two months after moving with his family to southern California.
“It’s the first time in my entire life that I will have been a permanent resident of a state outside of New England,” he said.
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