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"This contract will be impossible to measure based on the $6 million and whatever Rodriguez does statistically. It might only me measurable on human factor levels that even the smartest statistical minds haven’t quite figured out."
Perhaps I'm missing something. Is this really your defense of Washington's investment in Rodriguez? That his contribution is unquantifiable -- or perhaps "not yet quantifiable," which is really the same thing -- therefore a "6 million investment for the next two years is actually a reasonable one."
Is that really your position?
And: If this deal makes sense, based on the reasoning you offer, then what deal doesn't make sense? What are examples of bad decisions made by MLB teams that don't have a justification? If you're willing to accept that a deal is 1) "reasonable," but at the same time, 2) the success of he deal is not measurable in terms of dollars or wins, then how can anyone know if this deal doesn't work out? Doesn't this line of logic guarantee that, at the end of the contract, you (or the Nationals) can claim the deal was a "success"?
And also: How does this perspective on player investments differ from the P.O.V. offered by pundits who are frequently critical of Baseball Prospectus, but who (and please, let's be honest here) clearly demonstrate an inability to evaluate both on-field performance and the economics of the game with any acumen whatsoever?
But Carpenter's lost time to injury can be -- and is -- accounted for in "the stats." It's just a matter of picking the correct stats -- ones that measure value in terms of, say, runs saved beyond replacement level. These measures exist. Some of them are even hosted on this web site. I don't see this as a problem in "the stats" that needs to be rectified unless you're defining "the stats" like this is 1990, and better ways of evaluating pitching performance haven't been conceived of yet.
"Saying which pitcher is the best is a lot like picking your favorite pie."
I had no idea that evaluating a basically objective question -- "Who was the best pitcher in the league?" -- was so thoroughly nebulous.
Does the same go for answering the question "Who is the best player in the league?" When some braindead writer from Philadelphia is shown to have voted for Ryan Howard next week, is the proper reaction just to shrug and say, "Well, there's no way to really know who was better, Howard or Pujols. Picking between those players is like choosing between apple and cherry pie. Any answer is basically right."
Is the proper reaction really just to say, "Sure, Pujols leads Howard in all the major objective measures, but there are infinite numbers, stats, and data sets out there with different ways to argue them, so who's really to say which ones are right -- the modern statistics that attempt to adjust for context and integrate a relatively sensible understanding of the game, or the statistics created 100 years ago, that mainly rely on countin' stuff up and seeing who has more?"
I know Baseball Prospectus has gone through some major changes in the last nine years, but this wink-and-a-shrug approach to evaluating a pretty basic, and essentially objective, problem -- "Who was the best?" -- strikes me as just a little odd.
I know the popular P.O.V. to emerge in the baseball analysis world over the last five years has been "Neither stats NOR scouts! Use all the available information! Don't put too much trust in any one number!" And that's a basically admirable perspective. Skepticism is almost always a good thing. But I'd be lying if this "apple pie" approach to voting on the NL Cy Young didn't strike me as an attempt to SEEM non-partisan, but in reality is just, frankly, a little intellectually soft.
Tim Lincecum lead both Carpenter and Wainwright in all metrics that demonstrate an understanding of what pitchers can and can't control. BP's own QERA reflects this (Lincecum: 2.83; Wainwright: 3.51; Carpenter: 3.68), as do the major metrics hosted at FanGraphs. Personally, I don't really see how watching every start from these pitchers on MLB.tv supports or refutes what that data pretty strongly suggests, and I don't really see a compelling argument for why anyone should pay attention to statistical information that doesn't even attempt to separate pitching from defense, even if there are "infinite ways" to argue about those -- outdated and unadjusted -- numbers.
I sincerely love Baseball Prospectus. I'm just baffled by this perspective on what "value" means, what's the best way to measure it, and the general validity of modern baseball analysis versus a more "traditional" approach.