The newest Hall of Fame manager also found success in the front office.
In his 44-year career in professional baseball, Hall of Famer Whitey Herzog held a wide variety of job titles: player, scout, coach, director of player development, manager and general manager. He earned his place in Cooperstown for his 18 years as a manager, which included 1,281 victories, three pennants, and a World Series title. But Herzog also boasts an impressive resume as a general manager, though the job was one he never particularly wanted or enjoyed.
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A look at 10 men who should be considered to run a baseball operations department.
Welcome to Top 10 Week. All week long, various BP authors will be revealing their Top 10s in various categories. Today we start off with Will Carroll ranking the 10 best general manager candidates.
A couple years back, I did a list of the "next GM" crop. It's one of those innocuous exercises that nonetheless tells us a lot about what's going on inside of the front offices. We hear about GMs, about trades, about drafts, but even in Moneyball and earlier in Dollar Sign on the Muscle, we seldom hear about the day-to-day operations carried out by a group of people that is overworked, underpaid, and most importantly, vastly overqualified. This is a group that years ago would be more likely to be putting together a hedge fund, working for the State Department, or something a bit more "important" than the game of baseball. With the money of the modern era, teams got smarter, fast.
Breaking down the basics of estimating runs and why it is so important.
We spend a lot of time analyzing baseball, studying it, trying to learn about it, and simply enjoying it. But what if I were to tell you that there was a secret to understanding baseball, a shortcut to knowing (almost) everything you would ever need to know?
Well, there is. And it’s hiding in plain sight–it’s the second line of the official rules of baseball: “The objective of each team is to win by scoring more runs than the opponent.”
Most teams don't use their final roster spot on guys who are just good in the clubhouse.
The myriad components that make up a baseball team, perhaps the most slippery to isolate and quantify is "team chemistry." Pitching, batting, fielding, speed, power, leadership, strategy, clutch performance, fundamentals, lineup balance, health, luck—each of these, when assembled properly, can make up the DNA of a championship ballclub, and sabermetricians are constantly engaged in a sort of Baseball Genome Project, trying as best they can to tease out and quantify each individual factor. Most of these relate solely to the performance of players between the lines, and it’s here that baseball’s gene sequencers have made the most progress, making their way (as Colin Wyers recently described) toward accurately identifying the relationship between the components of each player’s on-field performance and a team’s wins and losses.
Here is how we're now figuring the monetary value of individual players.
This article will follow up on the new version of MORP that I introduced yesterday with a more thorough description of my methodology and my reasoning for it. Firstly, I will restate that the definition of MORP (Market value Over Replacement Player) is the marginal cost of acquiring a player’s contribution on the free-agent market. The basic structure that I am using includes adjusting for draft-pick compensation, which adds to the value of free agents by 10-20 percent. It also looks at all players with six years or more of major-league service time, all years of their free-agent contracts, and makes valuations of their performance based on actual performance rather than the projections, which are biased. I am also adjusting MORP so it is linear with respect to WARP. The discussion of linearity and of the decision to use actual rather than projected performance to evaluate contracts has been detailed in earlier articles, and I won’t reiterate them here in the interest of space. The basic reason why linearity is a fair assumption is that teams frequently have enough vacancies that they can add the number of wins they choose without filling them all. There are exceptions like the 2009 Yankees, who added three front-of-the-rotation starters and an elite first baseman in one offseason. However, even the Yankees do this infrequently enough that it does not regularly impact the market, and without two teams bidding for several superstars every offseason, this is not a large issue. The reason that using projection is so problematic was detailed last week, when I showed how free agents who reach the open market are a biased sample and regularly underperform their projections. For more details of these results, please see my previous work. Here are links to my threepartseries as well as my article on free agents underperforming their PECOTA projections. I will introduce some of the newer concepts in this article.
A native Michigander gets transported back to his childhood while watching Tigers' fans become major-leaguers for a week.
For a few minutes, I felt like I was 12 years old again. Not in a "you better do your chores" way, but a "hey Dad, thanks for the game of catch" way. It happened in Lakeland, Florida, where I was observing the Detroit Tigers' Fantasy Camp. All I had to do was look around, because there they were: players who wore the Olde English D when I was growing up in Michigan, throwing a ball against the side of the barn and listening to Ernie Harwell on an AM radio.
Yes, I write about baseball for a living. That means I spend a lot of time in clubhouses, and for that reason there is nothing special about talking to a Justin Verlander or a Brandon Inge. I admire their skills, but they're just people who happen to play baseball for a living. But Willie Horton and Mickey Lolich? They're different. When I was 12 years old, Horton and Lolich weren't people who happened to play baseball; they were MAJOR-LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYERS. They were photos on baseball cards. They weren't people you actually talked to.
Saddling up a new ownership team in Texas, expenditures that seem Fishy or fishy, plus notes from around the majors.
Chuck Greenberg has been swamped by well-wishers the past few days, noting, "A lot of people have said the same thing, that they've known for 20 years that I was going to own a Major League Baseball team some day. I wish I would have known that because then I would have known what I wanted to be when I grow up."
The former general sits down to talk about guiding a cash-strapped team, trading Pedro Martinez, and how much front offices have changed.
Jim Beattie won't be in Indianapolis for this year's Winter Meetings, but the erstwhile Expos and Orioles General Manager knows what goes on behind closed doors when his former brethren convene to talk trade. It was at the meetings 12 years ago that Beattie, then in charge of a financially-strapped Expos franchise, reluctantly laid the groundwork for trading Pedro Martinez to the Red Sox.
A conversation with the Cubs' GM about his home park, baseball history and PEDs, and his relationship with his managers.
Jim Hendry doesn't shy away from the old-school label, but the straight-shooting Cubs GM is by no means narrow-minded in his approach. In his current position since July 2002, Hendry has seen the game through a wide array of lenses, having served in multiple capacities at both the college and professional levels. Named the National Coach of the Year after leading Creighton University to the College World Series in 1991, he subsequently spent three years working with the Florida Marlins before coming to Chicago in 1995. Since joining the Cubs organization, the native of Dunedin, Florida has worn multiple hats, including those of Director of Player Development, being in charge of scouting, and Assistant GM/Director of Player Personnel.
Bio: My name is Matt Swartz, and I am a Ph.D. candidate in Economics at the University of Pennsylvania, and I will be completing my degree this Spring. In my dissertation, I have applied economic theory to study dating and marriage, as a metaphor for how learning and matching work together. Meanwhile, I have gotten married myself as I worked on this, which I use as a justification that I must know what I am doing. Using this success as a blue print, I recently turned to writing my most recent paper on interviewing for jobs with graduation coming soon. In the past few years, I have come across sabermetrics, and I have spent a significant amount of time since then learning about baseball. Last year, I was invited to join the Phillies' blog "The Good Phight", and this year I was also invited to join the sabermetrics blog "Statistically Speaking." My baseball analysis ranges from economic modeling of baseball decision making to more hardcore statistical analysis. The piece that I am submitting is clearly not a hardcore statistical analysis, but I am well trained in looking at non-experimental data, and I have the baseball fan background that many academics lack when they dabble in performance analysis. It is this combination of being a sabermetrician, sabermetrics consumer, economist, writer, and baseball fan that I believe makes me uniquely qualified to work at Baseball Prospectus.
The Blue Jays make some early noise at the plate while finding a way on the mound, plus news from around the leagues.
Cito Gaston was certain he was never going to manage again. He was so sure that he politely declined a chance to interview for one of baseball's plum managerial jobs. That was after the 2005 season, when the Dodgers were searching for a replacement for Jim Tracy. When the Dodgers called, Gaston said he wasn't interested. "I had been interviewing for jobs, and gotten the impression that teams were interviewing me just for the sake of interviewing me," he observed, certainly aware of Major League Baseball's policy that a minority must be interviewed for each manager's opening. "I figured there was no sense in going through the whole process again just to get turned down. What was the point? I was happy with my life just the way it was." Gaston was doing a lot of traveling with his wife, fishing, and keeping his hand in the game as a special assistant to the president with the Blue Jays, the franchise that he managed to back-to-back World Series titles in 1992 and 1993 before being fired in 1997.
Atlanta again looks to its pitching staff, Pedro and other free agents are trawling for contracts at the WBC, plus other news from around the major leagues.
It would be understandable if the Braves had reported to spring training with an inferiority complex. They'd suffered more rejection over the winter than the ugliest guy in the senior class looking for a prom date.