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For me, this is a lot of fun, but as a refresher, here’s how these rankings are calculated. First, we find each team’s expected revenue, based on their third-order winning percentage, and how big their market is. Then, you divide that by what each team’s marginal revenue should have been, had they won exactly as many games as their payroll would have predicted. (Draft pick value is also factored in, so the worst teams get slightly more credit than the vanilla mediocre teams.) The end result is PER-Payroll Efficiency Rating-which tells us how well each team spent their payroll dollars.

To run through a quick example, the Rockies spent $75 million on payroll last year, a bit below average. That should have led to around 79 wins, which, given their local market, would have created around $41 million in marginal revenue. But the Rockies actually had 90 third-order wins, which likely created somewhere around $58 million. Divide the two, and you get a 1.43 PER. Since 1.00 is average, we can say the Rockies’ front office performed 43 percent better than average in 2009.

On to the lists. Starting with the bottom ten, among all general managers with at least three years on the job this past decade:

GM Years PER
10. Randy Smith 2000-02 .976
9. Dave Littlefield 2002-07 .970
8. Wayne Krivsky 2006-08 .966
7. Doug Melvin 2000-01, 2003-09 .954
6. Mike Flanagan/Jim Beattie 2003-07 .954

Smith gets credit for 2002-he was fired a week in-which keeps John Hart out of the bottom ten by the skin of his teeth. Hart had the misfortune of leading the Rangers through the last two years of the A-Rod era, which, along with Melvin’s last year in Texas, were three of the worst years in the entire database. Melvin has been better since moving to Milwaukee, but Branch Rickey couldn’t have made up for those last couple of years with the Rangers.

Unlike Hart and Melvin, the other three didn’t have any years that were overly terrible-they just didn’t have any really good ones either. Flanagan/Beattie, Krivsky, and Littlefield averaged 71, 73, and 78 third-order wins, right in that dead zone where it’s impossible to make the playoffs, and extremely hard to get the first overall pick.

GM Years PER
5. Chuck LaMar 2000-05 0.935
4. Brian Cashman 2000-09 0.869
3. Syd Thrift 2000-02 0.807
2. Bill Bavasi 2004-08 0.786
1. Steve Phillips 2000-03 0.670

The only name that doesn’t fit here is Cashman. The Yankees made a lot of mistakes this past decade, and it’s not totally clear which of those were his and which were George Steinbrenner’s. But it’s pretty easy to look at that list and pick the one that doesn’t go with all the others. We’ll probably have to wait another five years to really judge him on his merits, but there’s already been significant progress — the Yankees are spending much less now than they did earlier in the decade (after you adjust for baseball inflation), and they just fielded their best team since 1998.

As for the rest, I’m not sure the system could have done any better. Phillips, Bavasi, Thrift, and LaMar were all pretty abysmal, and would have made just about anybody’s bottom ten list (objective, subjective, or otherwise). If there’s a surprise, it’s how badly Phillips lapped the field, despite having a World Series team in 2000, but his 2001-03 stretch is even worse than the A-Rod-era Rangers.

Now, for the best:

GM Years PER
10. Terry Ryan 2000-07 1.154
9. Brian Sabean 2000-09 1.162
8. Ned Colletti 2006-09 1.195
7. J.P. Ricciardi 2002-09 1.216
6. Mark Shapiro 2002-09 1.228

Let’s get the obvious ones out of the way first. Shapiro has had some really tough breaks, particularly in 2006 and 2008, but the third-order standings see through that and reward him for building some very good teams on limited budgets. Ryan led four division winners on miniscule payrolls, and was generally considered one of the best at drafting and developing young talent right up until his retirement in 2007.

The other three took less obvious paths. J.P. Ricciardi has been torn apart on this site and others, but had the Blue Jays been in any other division, his record could look very different-the 2006-2008 Blue Jays were very good teams, but were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Colletti has also taken his lumps, but he had an outstanding year in 2009-the Dodgers had 99 third-order wins-which pushed him up to number eight despite three middling seasons from ’06-’08. As for Sabean, if that doesn’t get Barry Bonds into the Hall of Fame…

GM Years PER
5. Walt Jocketty 2000-07, 2009 1.232
4. Gerry Hunsicker 2000-04 1.292
3. Pat Gillick 2000-03, 2006-08 1.386
2. Andrew Friedman 2006-09 1.428
1. Billy Beane 2000-09 1.518

If we had taken a poll on BP, there’s a pretty good shot Beane and Friedman would have been the top two. Beane dominated the first half of the decade, Friedman the second half. Together, they accounted for six of the top ten individual seasons of the decade (see below), with the Moneyball-era A’s taking the first, third, and fifth spots.

The other three aren’t exactly sabermetric favorites, but they were all very successful nonetheless. Jocketty’s Cardinals tallied 90 or more third-order wins five times, and won the World Series in one of the years that they didn’t. Gillick led one of the best teams of all-time-the 2001 Mariners-as well as the world champion 2008 Phillies. Hunsicker just missed the Astros‘ World Series run in 2005, but put together several teams that were actually better, before leaving in 2004.

How about the best and worst single season performances:

GM Year PER
1. Billy Beane 2001 2.10
2. Mark Shapiro 2005 2.06
3. Billy BeaneĀ 

2002

2.06
4. Bill Stoneman 2002 2.01
5. Billy BeaneĀ 

2003 1.97

6. Andrew Friedman

2008 1.90
7. Andrew Friedman 2009 1.88
8. Billy Beane 2000 1.88
9. Brian Sabean 2000 1.85
10. Ned Colletti 2009 1.84
296. Syd Thrift 2000 0.61
297. Dan Duquette 2001 0.59
298. John Hart 2002 0.59
299. Dave Dombrowski 2008 0.58
300. Steve Phillips 2003 0.53

It’s a bit surprising that Gillick’s ’01 Mariners just missed (they were twelfth), but the marginal gain for each win over 100 is minuscule, and several of these teams were within a few games of the Mariners’ 109 third-order wins. The 2001 A’s, for one, had 105 third-order wins, despite spending less than half what the Mariners did.

Finally, the best- and worst-run teams of the decade:

Team

GMs

PER
1. Oakland Athletics Billy Beane (2000-09) 1.52
2. St. Louis Cardinals Walt Jocketty (2000-07), John Mozeliak (2008-09) 1.25
3. Cleveland Indians John Hart (2000-01), Mark Shapiro (2002-09) 1.18
4. San Francisco Giants Brian Sabean (2000-09) 1.16
5. Toronto Blue Jays Gord Ash (2000-01), J.P. Ricciardi (2002-09) 1.16
26. Pittsburgh Pirates Cam Bonifay (2000-01), Dave Littlefield (2002-07), Neal Huntington (2008-09) .97
27. Los Angeles Dodgers Kevin Malone (2000-01), Dan Evans (2002-03), Paul DePodesta (2004-05), Ned Colletti (2006-09) .95
28. Baltimore Orioles Syd Thrift (2000-02), Mike Flanagan/Jim Beattie (2003-07), Andy MacPhail (2008-09) .92
29. New York Yankees Brian Cashman (2000-09) .87
30. New York Mets Steve Phillips (2000-03), Jim Duquette (2004), Omar Minaya (2005-09) .81

With that, on to the debate on the results.

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fieldofdreams
1/21
Why not provide the whole list??? you aren't wasting paper, just list it
Oleoay
1/21
Agreed, I'd like the complete list. Also, if this was written about before as hinted at in the line "but as a refresher, here's how these rankings are calculated", can we get a link to it?
marioreturns66
1/21
Here's the original explanation: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=9573 I'll put the lists in a google doc and post them here in a bit.
philly604
1/21
I completely agree. One of the advantages of writing on the web is that you don't have the same kind of space constraints. Take advantage of that! That doesn't mean just include every data scrap in an endless series of tables. We don't need to see the full 300 single season list for example. But all 30 teams and a deeper list of GMs to include big names like Epstein would seem obvious to include.
marioreturns66
1/21
Here are the full lists (cumulative, single season, and team-by-team): http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=t8gbaBxUTK-iV_FuKzJGFyQ&output=html
Oleoay
1/21
No Theo Epstein? Also, where did Jim Hendry add up?
jackalltogether
1/21
The system isn't exactly kind to the GM's who did a lot with a lot. I'd say that's unfair given that wins are constrained within a scale that's a lot narrower than the variance in payroll, but by definition their marginal products are going to be worse so it is what it is.
marioreturns66
1/21
Theo is 1.08, sixteenth overall. Take out 2006 and he's in the top 10. Hendry is 1.01, right around average. The GMs with "a lot" have higher expectations -- the system ranked the Yankees, Sox, and Dodgers extremely high this year, b/c they were all very good teams. But any slip up can really hurt -- i.e. the Yankees in '08, the Red Sox in '06, etc.
davejsch
1/21
It seems as though luck in the way of injuries could be a major factor and it doesn't seem fair to pin it that on the GM. Taking your example of the Yanks in 08 and BoSox in 06, both of those teams were absolutely decimated by injuries but went on to win the World series the next year.
3n2sports
1/21
It's up to the GM to provide effective contingency plans in the event of injury. It's also up to the GM to hire an effective training staff. Every aspect of the injury umbrella ultimately falls on the GM.
NathanJM
1/21
Keep in mind, you're measuring effectiveness by revenue vs spend here. Teams like the Yankees are interested in big names and wins more-so than marginal revenue., so I'm not surprised they rank so low... they don't have to economize dollars as much given the deep pockets of the ownership. This list just means that if you're a small budget team, you probably don't want Cashman.
belewfripp
1/25
Expanding on this somewhat, it isn't that overspending isn't bad - obviously I'm sure the Steinbrenners would like their money spent well. But while for most teams, whose payroll possibilities are much more limited than those of the Yankees, overspending for talent can be deadly. You have limited room for error. But for the Yankees being able to pay extra is almost an extra weapon in their arsenal. I think we would have to see Cashman running a more fiancially-limited team to see where his true abilities lie. Were he to take control of the Cardinals or the Pirates and continue to overpay, then that would be something else. Until then, for all we know Cashman is simply taking advantage of a resource he knows he has access to. It still doesn't mean it's smart to overpay, because it isn't and Cashman should get dinged somewhat for that, but it's definitely a different situation in NY than it is elsewhere.
rrvwmr
1/23
Hendry belongs in the bottom 10. He has been competing in a pathetic division esp the last half of the decade, with far superior resources. I feel like his predicament is the opposite of riccardi. He also signed aaron miles for more than the major league minimun, a move which on its own should banish him to the bottom 10.
beeker99
1/21
Shawn, if you re-ran Cashman's numbers just accounting for what's happened since he was given "total control" (i.e., 2006-2009), how does that change things?
marioreturns66
1/21
Better, but '08 really hurts him. When you have a $200m+ payroll and you're the third or fourth best team in your division, the system rightfully hammers you. This year was very good though. And like I said, the Yankees are spending less relative to the rest of the league than they used to, so I would expect Cashman to do well going forward as long as the team is still winning.
WaldoInSC
1/22
The problem with this system is that it measures "most cost-effective" GM not necessarily "best" GM. Brian Cashman isn't paid to be cost-effective; he's paid to win the most games. If the Yankees need to double everyone else's payroll to win the East by one game, that's success to them.
benharris
2/05
Yes, and by that notion '08 was unsuccessful. Cashman should be reprimanded accordingly for it, and the system did just that. If the Yankees had won the division by 1 game in '08 then Cashman would rank much higher.
patrickclark
1/21
awesome work.
mhnickerson
1/21
I think that the problem with this system of evaluation as per Theo Epstein (and Cashman making the 'worst' list) is that it doesn't do a good job of taking into account the non-linear value of adding the marginal wins for teams that are already contending and just need to add a few wins to be great. This site above all others stresses the difference in player value relative to the team signing them, so there is a bias in this measurement against teams with high payrolls that can afford to overpay for a few extra wins, even if they aren't maximizing value. Is it better to win 80 games with a $50 million payroll or 100 games + a title with a $200 million dollar payroll? As mentioned in a recent article, Theo managed to get a lot of value out of his non auction-market players, which suggests that he would be one of the better GMs, but he was also able to get away with overpaying the corpse of Mike Lowell and paying Julio Lugo to play for another team, which kills him in this valuation but not in real life. Is there some way to adjust the metric to take this into account?
mattymatty2000
1/21
This is an excellent point.
jjaffe
1/21
I agree here. What Shawn has already done is very interesting in and of itself, but the next step would be to apply the well-known curve showing the increased value of a marginal win and applying it to the team's expected level of wins.
marioreturns66
1/21
Jay -- this is factored into the revenue expectations. That's why the worst teams are usually between 72-80. But with large market teams, they're usually expected to win 90+, so their bar is very high. If they end up with even 84, that's a huge drop b/c it's on the other end of that big curve from 88-92.
Oleoay
1/21
Something doesn't quite add up though. I can't quite wrap my head around the idea that Cashman's been a worse GM than Minaya. On your expanded list, Cashman comes in at 0.87 and Minaya comes in at 0.99. The Mets have spent a ton on payroll, been in a weaker divison, and have still been to the playoffs less than the Yankees.
lmajersik
1/21
I still think there's an issue with the high end of the scale. Sure higher spending teams should be expected to win more, but the results make it look like the expectations get too high as the payrolls skyrocket. If I were a GM with an infinite budget, I would be willing to spend $10M for a 0.25 win upgrade (why not?), but I'm guessing that would look like a terrible move in the rankings. This is a vey interesting article as it is and I'm not sure how you find the formula to handle higher payrolls with more accuracy. For the time being I'll just take the Yankees, Mets, and Red Sox rankings with a grain of salt.
FalcoT
1/21
Can you add team names for the GM lists over the first two thirds? I know current GMs but not the ones from the start of the decade.
mattymatty2000
1/21
I think there should be some way to account for the fact that three of the top five (I'll be generous) organizations play in the same division. The Yankees and Red Sox and to a lesser extent the Rays are penalized for facing each other 19 times a year.
marioreturns66
1/21
Third order wins do adjust for quality of competition. I'm not sure they give the current AL East teams enough credit, but they do get more credit than if we were just going by regular wins or even regular run differential.
mattymatty2000
1/21
Thanks for the quick reply, Shawn.
jalee121
1/21
Does this account for say, a city with two teams? For example, in Chicago, you would be out of your mind to think the White Sox would generate the same amount of revenue as the Cubs if both teams win 100 games.
marioreturns66
1/21
The market factors are team specific -- they're based on each team's historical earning power, so the White Sox and Cubs are judged somewhat differently.
bobbygrace
1/22
As a quick follow-up: I take it that historical earning power accounts both for raw market size and different stadia's differing profitability? As a Twins fan, you can imagine why I'm asking....
marioreturns66
1/22
New stadiums are certainly weighted in. One thing to remember though, a new stadium obviously impacts a team's earning capacity, but relative to the rest of the league, the changes are usually pretty small.
hjw099
1/21
Steve Phillips just can't catch a break this offseason, can he?
ElAngelo
1/21
I don't know how you would work it into the metrics, but it seems like a flaw that postseason success (or even appearances) gets zero consideration here. Also, while Phillips, Thrift and Bavasi were horrible, I have to think that any objective measure would say that Lamar and Littlefield are 1-2 in some order. They were disasters.
rowenbell
1/21
This is really interesting stuff. Can you comment more about why this system is so kind to Sabean, who many Giants fans appear to believe is the worst GM on the planet?
ItShouldBeEasy
1/21
Along these lines, how does Sabean do in the post-Bonds era?
marioreturns66
1/21
There's a pretty clear divide after 2004. Barry got hurt going into 2005, and was never really the same again -- he was a very very good most-of-the-time player, as opposed to the greatest hitter we'll ever see playing everyday. Last five years pre-injury: 1.85, 1.28, 1.63, 1.38, 1.06 Since: .75, .84, .87, .94, 1.02
TLivingston
1/21
Sabean has his strengths and weaknesses like other GMs, in my eyes. Guy had a reputation for pulling off shrewd deals (Jason Schmidt), but then he'd turn around and make a bad deal and people would hate him (A.J. Pierzynski). There's also the perception that he got "lucky" with his finds (such as Jeff Kent and Rich Aurilia), but then again, he was the guy who took the flier on Tim Lincecum. I think he's just a Jekyll and Hyde-type GM: Someone who will have some good moves that do make the team better, but then at the same time undercut his good work by not filling out the roster with the right parts.
marioreturns66
1/21
Pretty simple actually: he inherited the greatest player in the history of the planet. The Giants were first or second in the NL in runs and EqA in 2004 with one of the worst lineups you'll ever see, outside of Bonds. To his credit, he did trade for Jeff Kent and Jason Schmidt, and drafted Tim Lincecum, all of which helped make up for a lot of mistakes. But without Barry, he's a lot lower on this list.
Oleoay
1/21
Barry Bonds made Dusty Baker look like a great manager. Not quite surprised it has a similar bump affect for Sabean.
mpirani
1/21
As a long-time Mariners fan, I have to disagree with you a bit ElAngelo. Bavasi's suckitude goes well beyond any objective, quantifiable amount, and into metaphysical realms that mortals are not meant to understand, and seek to do so at their own peril.
ElAngelo
1/21
Touche.
Michael
1/21
Interesting stuff. I'm not sure it's right to base how well the GM did using entirely third order wins with no weight on actual wins. For example, if Mark Shapiro insists on keeping Eric Wedge as his manager despite the fact that Wedge has knack for delivering fewer actual wins than expected, doesn't that eventually reflect on Shapiro too? It does seem like the model was not work well with the Yankees, who are an extreme case. Given that they made the playoffs 9 out of 10 years in the decade, I'd be hesitant to call them the second least efficient team of the decade.
louisma
1/21
The Yankees have been extremely good at winnings games this decade. They have also been the best (by a long margin) at spending money. They are, as you say, an extreme case, but clearly they were not spending money efficiently. Feel free to argue that spending money efficiently isn't important, but the Yankees have clearly been inefficient with their money, they just were able to outspend their inefficiency.
crperry13
1/21
I can't figure out how this system ranks GMs at all. It's purely based on revenue vs production of the TEAM. There's no way that former Astros GM Tim Purpura would not be on a bottom-10 list of worst GM's of the decade. He was responsible for fun things like: --trading for Jason Jennings --signing Woody Williams --having an opening day lineup featuring stalwarts Willy Taveras, Adam Everett, and Jason Lane, --giving a full-time gig to Mike Lamb, --paying Carlos Lee a contract that was probably 130% of what he was worth to the rest of the market, --letting Carlos Beltran get away, and --presiding over the complete collapse of the farm system that was third in 2002 to dead last by the time he was ousted. But because the Astros made the World Series in 2005 riding on the arms of no-brainer-signees Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte, along with a host of Gerry Hunsicker assembled pieces (Roy Oswalt, Lance Berkman, Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Brad Lidge), and remained competitive for the next couple of years with the same predecessor-built club, Purpura gets a pass. For shame!
thevarmitcong
1/21
Why, for cumulative team rankings, are only 9 teams at 1.00 or below. Is this logical? Does this mean that most GMs are actually somewhat good at their jobs? Am I completely missing some part of the methodology?
irablum
1/21
I had to read your article twice to understand it, and, unfortunately, I think it paints an innacurate (or at best, incomplete) picture of rating General Managers. For 1, it is not always the job of a General Manager to win the most games he can for the price paid. Some GM's are told to win at any cost. Sometimes that means going out and spending money and assembling a relatively expensive roster. Unless that team wins a huge number of games, he's not going to do well in the evaluation you listed. If that team does poorly, well, that means that he chose poorly as to where the money went. On the other hand, some GM's are told to strip cost and attempt to rebuild the organization. Eschewing current wins for future promise. These teams will often have low payrolls, but also poor results. If the team gets lucky with their prospects (or they are just very good at it), their team might become successfull before those players get expensive. Also, your formula says nothing about trades, or farm systems, or the like. GM's are responsible for all of that.
crperry13
1/21
Be careful, I got "minused" for saying something similar. I'm sure I will for this reply also.
goldenyeti
1/21
Statistics, by their very nature, paint incomplete pictures. If you know that a particular GM was told to cut costs and never mind the wins, then please mention that so that those of us not in the know about that GM can mentally adjust these numbers ourselves. But I spend a lot of time on sites dedicated to statistical analysis of sports, and frankly I'm sick of people pointing out the INHERENT LIMITATIONS OF STATISTICS in a completely general way. Either accept those limitations or don't, but pointing them out does not do anyone sophisticated enough to read the articles on this site any good.
jjaffe
1/21
I guess one thing that's bothering me about this, as interesting and entertaining as it is, is the use of third-order wins. I understand the desire to correct for bad luck and stiff competition, but GMs aren't paid to build teams that finish first in the third-order standings, they're paid to win. Furthermore, it's quite interesting, at least to me as I chew on Cashman's spot here, that over the past decade the Yankees ranked third in the majors in third-order delta (D3), the amount by which they exceeded their third-order record. They led the majors in both third-order wins (932.5) and actual wins (965), but the margin of their lead over the #2 team, the Red Sox, increases from 10 (W3) to 45 (W0). Data is here in a Google Doc. Granted that the margin between 93 and 96 wins in a given isn't huge, but looking back on Nate Silver's BBTN graph of the marginal win curve (see here, that appears to be the backside of the peak portion; beyond 96 things level off considerably. So I guess what I want to know is how the team rankings at the end look if you use real wins instead of theoretical ones.
thevarmitcong
1/21
In the AL east, wouldn't the margin between 93 and 96 be higher than in any other division? Yanks, Sawx, Rays, Jays over the past few years, and the Orioles in the coming years, that's a strong division. 93 wins there might mean nothing, but 96 could get you the wild card. Contrast this with the NL central, where winning 85 games will get you the division in a lot of years.
philly604
1/21
I agree that 3rd order wins creates problems. I believe Shawn is using a financial multiplier that is largely based on making the playoffs. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but as I recall the biggest piece of the financial boost that Silver found in BBTN comes from making the playoffs. Giving that financial boost to teams that don't make the playoffs doesn't seem quite right to me. I understand that using 3rd order wins has some advantages too. I don't mind continuing to use them, but I'd like to see some other simple variable included based on actually making the playoffs. That's where the revenue really comes from so there has to be some kind of distinction made between good 3rd order win teams that don't make the playoffs (their revenue multiplier is docked some) and teams that make the playoffs regardless of their 3rd order wins (their multiplier is boosted some).
metsRok
1/21
Yeah this type of thing is fun to read but very simplistic in it's measurement. Also, I think this piece should be entitled best and worse GM in terms of efficiency- or something of the like. To just use this as the criteria for best GM seems silly.
mhmosher
1/21
As a Mets fan, I completely agree with their #30 ranking. ANY Mets fan will tell you they have the most incompentent ownership as well as front office. Like I said before, they are run by idiots and chickenshits.
mhmosher
1/21
And one of the biggest lessons here is, if you spend big, you'd damn well better win big.
onegameref
1/21
Lou Piniella is even more justified in asking where Steve Phillips got off criticizing his handling of Fukudome. Phillips has proven to be quite a rascal and a poor GM.
Lyford
1/21
It saddens me to see Duquette's 2001 team there, but I understand it. That was a great team that never took the field together for a single-game. Nomar went down with a non-baseball injury before the season started, Pedro went down, Jason Varitek broke his elbow in a fluke play, Frank Castillo went down, Rich Garces went down, Manny Ramirez went down, Carl Everett went down - it was a disaster. And you can talk about training staffs and contingency plans all you want - if the 27 year-old defending batting champ and three-time All Star goes down at the beginning of Spring Training with an injury suffered off-site and unrelated to baseball, there aren't many contingency plans that deal with that effectively.
dcoonce
1/22
Yeah, I can't imagine how much better that team might have been with Frank Castillo in the fold...
jseely
1/21
It seems to me that your theoretical link between wins and revenue fails to account for what we might call "enthusiasm stickiness." The Rays had lousy attendance and revenues in 2007 when they massively overachieved relative to budget. The Red Sox in 2006 and the Yankees in 2008 had excellent attendance (both teams having collapsed in September after being in the race all year) and therefore, high revenues, in spite of finishing out of the playoffs. It seems to me that the marketplace cuts these GM's a bit more of a break in terms of the primary goal of any team- turning a profit- than does this metric.
nosybrian
1/22
If you want to predict attendance in a given year, you should indeed take into account both this year's and last year's wins, and this year's and last year's championships (division, league, world). That is you get lagged effects of the previous years owing in part to the fact that season ticket sales in a given year are affected a lot by the previous year's performance.
cjones06
1/22
Given all the negative feedback here, i'd like to respond with some gratitude: i thought this article was really sweet. This comes up with some pretty counter-intuitive results which people don't dig that much, but once you remember to interpret the results as a metric instead of GM grade, these counter-intuitive results are fun to see. I'm a big fan of seeing an objective take on the efficiency of certain teams, and it really does help you take a second look at the Sabeans and Epsteins. And re: Cashman-- we all hear so much about the Yankee's financial hegemony, but articles like this do a great job of putting it into perspective. Understanding that Big George had a lot to do with this can then help clarify our mental impression of Cashman's work. No this system doesn't present a perfect measure for GMs (actually, i think the biggest problem has rarely been touched on with all these complaints -- the fact that one of the GMs biggest jobs is to ensure future success by strengthening the farm system, which can be completely unrelated to big-league efficiency, especially for teams with high GM-turnover), but pray tell me this wasn't an engaging, enlightening article. Kudos Shawn.
glennb
1/22
It seems in these results that payroll (as a proxy for market size) is negatively correlated to ranking. This kind of makes sense - a team with a large payroll has a bigger downside than upside and vice-versa. In finance its referred to as convexity. Simply put, a team which spends less has less to lose!
sbnirish77
1/22
What is included in a team's revenue?
mbodell
1/23
If you look at the past decade, the Jays have been the class of the AL East but got so little out of it, partially because being efficient is only good if you can spend on the same rough scale as your opponents. If your opponents spend twice as much as you, then being 40% more efficient isn't enough to close the gap. Jays decade PER 1.16 Rays decade PER 1.13 Red Sox decade PER 1.01 Orioles decade PER 0.92 Yankees decade PER 0.87 If you look at the teams who averaged at least 10% better than average you get 11 teams. 2 in the AL East and 9 elsewhere. The 2 in the AL East made the playoffs just 1 time (Rays in 2008). The other 9 teams made the playoffs 33 times and each team made it at least 2 times. So that is 3.5 playoff trips per decade of 10%+ baseball if you play outside the AL East and 0.5 playoff trips per decade of 10%+ baseball if you play in the AL East. In terms of fairness, something is wrong with the current model and the Rays, Jays, and Orioles are suffering!
skuddler
1/23
As a Blue Jays fan this is something that most of us have realized over the past ten seasons, but it doesn't even take into account the absurd number of injuries (particularly to the pitching staff) that the team has suffered in that time. What if A.J. Burnett had not missed significant time due to injuries in 2006? What if McGowan and Marcum had been able to pitch the full season in 2008? It just seems as if the team first gets knocked around by being the wrong division at the wrong time and then gets kicked while their down by having more injuries to key players than most other teams.
spencerlipp
1/24
The Indians get third best for the decade yet they have 5 seasons (half the decade) at below 0.500 including two years with 65 and 68 wins. Yes they had four 90 win seasons but only 2 playoff appearances. I'm not sure this analysis really tells us much of anything about the reality of the quality of the job the GM does.