January 21, 2018

WHEN BIG TEAMS PRACTICE MONEYBALL:

Efficiency is the goal for Cashman, Epstein and Friedman (Buster Olney, 1/21/18, ESPN)

When Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has an idea for a trade, one of his staffers related the other day, he will wait days before raising the concept with the other team. In the interim, he and his staff will deliberate over all sides of the would-be proposal, assessing and reassessing, like geologists turning and studying each millimeter of a rock.

Only after he is wholly educated on value involved will he make the call, fully armed to discuss what he wants out of the deal, and prepared to anticipate what the other guy might want. After two decades of running the Yankees, Cashman tends to not be reflexive or reactive, if he ever was. His many years of experience -- the failures and the successes -- have made him better. The same is said of two of his big-market peers, the Cubs' Theo Epstein and the Dodgers' Andrew Friedman.

Many factors have contributed to the stagnant winter market, from the impact of the luxury-tax threshold to the growing trend of teams opting to be really bad rather than merely mediocre (i.e., tanking). Another is that three of the teams with greatest resources -- the Dodgers, Cubs and Yankees -- are run by baseball operations executives devoted to efficiency. [...]

With Greinke unsigned and hanging in the market, the Diamondbacks swooped in and quickly worked out a six-year, $206.5 million deal -- another classic example of an impetuous contract negotiated at the ownership level. In the days after the move went down, the Dodgers and Friedman absorbed a lot of negative reviews for allowing a great pitcher to get away (including from this writer), in spite of the franchise's spending power. Greinke is about to enter Year 3 of the contract and, the evaluator said, it's apparent that Friedman absolutely made the right call not to compete with the D-backs' offer.

Long-term contracts on veteran free agents, the evaluator said, "are -- at best -- a 50-50 outcome for the teams. They can be really harmful, and having the [financial] flexibility is really important as you're trying to put together a roster."

By the time a player, especially a pitcher, reaches his initial free agency, you probably shouldn't be signing them through later than their age 32/33 season, unless to one-year deals.

Posted by at January 21, 2018 9:38 AM

  

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