Once upon a time, the Marlins were big sellers, not big buyers. Their reputation took years to recover from their last big sell-off, but are firesales sometimes justified?
While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.
Nate tackled the question of when it makes sense to be a seller in the article reproduced below, which originally ran as a "Lies, Damned Lies" column on November 22, 2005.
The playoff races have been de-zombified, and Team Entropy was on the prowl, looking for meaningful baseball going into the final game.
Welcome to Team Entropy! Grab a seat on the couch, and here, have a beer. You've been invited to this party because after almost exactly six months and 160 games of regular-season baseball, you've suspended the need to root for a specific team and are working for the greater good, more interested in maximizing the amount of end-of-season chaos the remaining schedule can produce. The amount of season, even, if it comes to a 163rd game—or two.
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Reviewing the best and worst first-half position players on each team.
In the numerical sense, the halfway point of the season arrived about a week ago. However, the All-Star break marks the arbitrary end point of the first half, bringing a few days of festivities and vacations to the forefront. That period of inactivity in games that matter offers a window into the frozen stats for each team, allowing us to see who is leading the charge and who is failing the team so far.
In order to determine who’s been naughty and who’s been nice, I’ll enlist the aid of the Wins Above Replacement metric. Next time, we’ll cover the pitchers, but for today, it’s all about the position players.
Toronto fans wish the Blue Jay Way wouldn't be long, but can the team be blamed for bowing out of the ultra-competitive AL East?
How do GMs of 85-win teams usually go about their offseasons? Most folks, not just major-league front-office executives, smell blood in the water and position themselves for the kill. The natural—and here I mean to evoke the ruthlessness of the Serengeti—reaction to the just-missed-it is the try-try-again. I take this phenomenon to be the primary explanation of, among other things: the Buffalo Bills of the 1990s; William Jennings Bryan; and the modern popularity of golf.
Updating BP's metric measuring the monetary value of a player's production.
When the Marlins traded Miguel Cabrera to the Tigers after the 2007 season along with Dontrelle Willis for a handful of prospects, the familiar voices echoed with the following summary: "Baseball is a business." They talked about how the Marlins "could not afford" to keep those players as their salaries escalated, and would only be able to watch them walk away when they became free agents. That’s what they said, at least. Now, the same "they" are outraged that Forbes reported that the Marlins reported the highest profit of any team last season. Clearly, they infer, the Marlins can afford the talent, but choose not to.
A preview of the Dominican Winter League, taking a look at the teams, stadiums, managers, and players to watch for.
The "National Religion" came back on October 16th, as the Dominican League launched its 56th edition. Reliably praised as having the highest level of talent among the winter leagues, one should expect to watch another mix of highly ranked prospects, mid-level major leaguers, a few recognizable American players, veterans looking for another shot, and some major league stars between now and the end of the Caribbean Series in February. The league format has six teams playing a 50-game regular-season schedule, with the four best records advancing to a long 18-game round-robin playoff, and the two remaining best clubs play a best-of-nine final series to decide the league's champion. Without further ado, here's what this season will bring us:
Tigres del Licey (Licey Tigers)
Home: Santo Domingo
2008-09 record: 26-24, fourth place (tied) regular season; 12-6, first place round-robin; beat the Gigantes in the final series 5-0.
Ballpark: Estadio Quisqueya; strong pitcher's park, with a Park Factor of 92.
The great Doug Pappas' signature calculation gets an upgrade that integrates Nate Silver's research.
So it is, to some degree, for Doug Pappas. Of all the many and varied things that
Doug did in his too-short life, probably his best-known creation is
Marginal Payroll/Marginal Wins, a measure designed, as he explained
when he introduced it in the 2004 edition of the Baseball Prospectus
annual, to "evaluate the efficiency of a club's front office by
comparing its payroll and record to the performance it could expect to
attain by fielding a roster of replacement-level players."
The idea was both simple and brilliant: Take the amount of money a team
spent on payroll, subtract the minimum that it would take to field
a 25-man team, then divide this by the team's wins, less the number of
wins an all-minimum-wage team would be expected to rack up (calculated
by Pappas as a .300 winning percentage.) It was a metric that would go
on to inspire Michael Lewis' best-seller Moneyball (Lewis was impressed
with how the Oakland A's under Billy Beane continually ranked at the
top of the MP/MW charts), and become an annual feature of this Web site;
since Doug's death, the annual MP/MW tabulations have been carried on
by BP's Ben Murphy and Maury Brown.