Much has been written about Gavin Wilkinson as general manager--some positive, much negative. After the Timbers' loss at Seattle I wrote that his coaching in that game had finally and definitely driven me into the GW out camp, that the soccer mind that could coach that game is not competent to be an MLS GM. But, GW is apparently pretty shrewd at contract negotiation and playing with the MLS rules (see Kesjare's recent comments). If so, I may be OK with him staying on in that role, provided Caleb Porter is calling the shots about player acquisition.
(I don't really know if Paulson or Wilkinson has the final say in player acquisitions, but I assume that GW, as the General Manager, does. But some of these points may relate to MP also.)
Positives. Taken individually, many of his player acquisition decisions look pretty good: Nagbe, Jean-Baptiste, Songo'o, Chara, Brunner, Alexander for Hall. Maybe Horst.
Neutral. I rate several moves as a wash: Dropping Cooper and adding Boyd; Mwanga for Perlaza; Jewsbury; Ricketts for Perkins.
(1) While I am trying to focus on him as GM and not his coaching, his line-ups and substitutions as a head coach indicate that he is a poor judge of talent (see Seattle away, for example).
(2) His ad hoc approach to player acquisition. He is not good at picking pieces that fit well together, and he has not created a team that is a coherent whole. Several times, he has made a move just because it was available and seemed like a good value, but without looking at the bigger picture or overall needs (The Perkins trade might be an example of this). Other times he has jumped to fill an emergency need with the first available solution, instead of waiting for a good solution. In my mind, getting Kimura is the prime example. He does not take the time and make the right decisions. This piecemeal approach has showed up in several ways, such as:
(3) A mania for acquiring forwards at the expense of more pressing needs, such as (3) and (4).
(4) A year after everyone was clamoring for some good fullbacks, we are still lacking in that area.
(5) Ditto for a CAM or midfield general-type player.
(6) The biggest mistake was the hiring of John Spencer. It is still a mystery to me how major "philosophical differences" could have been missed in the hiring process. (I do give MP and GW kudos for firing Spencer quickly once the problem became obvious, not that Spencer was the only problem).
(7) Many of his player acquisitions, in hindsight, have proven to be poor decisions. Examples: Wallace for McCarthy; Chabala/Palmer for Moffatt; Kimura. A lot of people are coming around to liking Smith, but I still consider him a liability on defense.
Maybe I like the Timbers too much to be objectively critical, or maybe I am a helpless optimist. I can't help but think that we are maybe three moves away from having a top-notch team. I would have to say that, overall, Wilkinson has done....OK. And I really hope he can step out of the way and let Caleb Porter take over. If he can do that and focus on contracts, etc., fine. If not, I want him gone.