Building An Advantage

Plympton91

bubble burster
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Oct 19, 2008
11,800
LahoudOrBillyC said:
 
What Epstein and Henry have said, and evidence backs this up, is that they screwed up terribly in 2009-2010 by caving in to the Monster (Theo's word choice) rather than keeping their eye on the long-term health of the organization.  Henry has said that he has learned from this, and the person running baseball ops is a player development guy.  Let me spell this out.  2009-2011 = cave-in to dumb fans.  2012-future = run our business properly and stop listening to ignorami.
 
Of course, this has nothing to do with payroll, which remains one of the highest in the game and will always be.  They know that there are still going to dumb fans who equate "not signing 32-year-old ex-All-Stars" with "going cheap."  The 2013 team had a huge payroll.
Part of the business is making money and that includes loyalty to more than just laundry. We have never seen in Boston a winning team that wasn't supported, probably in part because of the long drought. But the Braves and Rays represent teams that have long histories of fielding winning teams and yet fan interest stays well below capacity. I just can't embrace "root for the laundry". The Red Sox probably would have been a better team from 1980 to 1983 if they'd let Yaz finish his career somewhere else, but they'd be a lesser franchise.
 

koufax37

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Jul 20, 2005
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WenZink said:
 I don't see how getting into a bidding war with the Yankees and Mariners over Ellsbury (who averaged only 113 games a season in his prime) should be considered "a fairly easy way to insulate themselves," ( from injury to CF).  Committing $154 mil seems kind of hard to me.  And they did offer Drew $14.1/1yr, which was "fairly easy,"  but committing to a multi-year deal was much harder, particularly since it would have made it impossible to gauge the MLB-worthiness of Middlebrooks (assuming Bogaerts went to third.)  So it would have cost not only the added money to Drew, it also would have been losing any potential value in Middlebrooks.  If WMB can be a 2.5 - 3.0 WAR player, at minimum salary, then that's another $15 million lost in opportunity cost.
 
No team can afford to have the depth you want at every position.  Not even the Yankees.  They're spending over $220 mil on payroll this year, and their backup first baseman is their starting 3rd baseman.  And their starting 1st baseman is recovering from wrist surgery and has a history of hamstring problems.  If the Yankees can't afford multiple contingencies at every position, then how can any other franchise do it.  Sizemore (either at CF or in RF with Victorino in CF) may not be the ideal solution to depth, but it's hardly a train-wreck.  And if the train does go off the rails, they have trade bait to address it.
 
In spring training discussion of the QO situation in general I didn't get a lot of support for this idea, but I still maintain that while the QO would have paid Drew that amount had he accepted, they did not really ever offer Drew $14.1m.  What they did is make a smart $14.1m gamble on getting a free draft pick on a high expectation the QO would be declined, with limited downside in overpaying a solid player for one year if they lost their gamble.  I'm not sure how it would have played out had he called their bluff, but at no point after he declined did they even extend him a $14.1m offer thinking he was worth that figure, and I still think if they got a fax from Boras that he accepted they would of said "Aw crap...oh well...".
 
I'm in agreement on your general argument and especially the opportunity cost of not determining/getting WMB's cost controlled value in full.  I don't think any team can have amazing MLB ready depth everywhere, and if one did it would probably be a misallocation of resources.
 

WenZink

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Apr 23, 2010
1,064
koufax37 said:
 
In spring training discussion of the QO situation in general I didn't get a lot of support for this idea, but I still maintain that while the QO would have paid Drew that amount had he accepted, they did not really ever offer Drew $14.1m.  What they did is make a smart $14.1m gamble on getting a free draft pick on a high expectation the QO would be declined, with limited downside in overpaying a solid player for one year if they lost their gamble.  I'm not sure how it would have played out had he called their bluff, but at no point after he declined did they even extend him a $14.1m offer thinking he was worth that figure, and I still think if they got a fax from Boras that he accepted they would of said "Aw crap...oh well...".
.....
 
Once all of the FAs had turned down the qualifying offers for the second year, we realized it was a good gamble for the Red Sox to make the offer, but at the time I thought there was at least a 1 in 4 chance Drew would accept it.  $14.1 mil represented over a 50% pay increase over his 2013 salary, and he's only made $30 mil in his career, so he would have increased his career earnings by 50% in one year.  So I think the Sox offer was made with at least some expectations that it might be accepted.  (I remember, under the old system, in 2005/06, when Tony Graffanino was classified as a Type B FA, and the Sox offered arbitration, even though they had already traded for Loretta at 2nd base, and they also had committed to Alex Cora as their UI.  Graffanino accepted, was awared $2.1 mil and the Sox had to eat a little when they cut him at the end of ST.)
 
In any event, I'm disappointed in Scott Boras.  All he had to do was send an email to the Sox, BEFORE they offered a QO, telling them that Drew was really hoping that they Sox would make him the QO.  I wonder if the Sox would have still offered him, and if they did Boras could have told the Sox that Drew had changed his mind.  I thought Boras was some kind of genius when it came to Game Theory.  Guess not.
 

m0ckduck

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Jul 20, 2005
834
LahoudOrBillyC said:
 
What Epstein and Henry have said, and evidence backs this up, is that they screwed up terribly in 2009-2010 by caving in to the Monster (Theo's word choice) rather than keeping their eye on the long-term health of the organization.  Henry has said that he has learned from this, and the person running baseball ops is a player development guy.  Let me spell this out.  2009-2011 = cave-in to dumb fans.  2012-future = run our business properly and stop listening to ignorami.
 
Of course, this has nothing to do with payroll, which remains one of the highest in the game and will always be.  They know that there are still going to dumb fans who equate "not signing 32-year-old ex-All-Stars" with "going cheap."  The 2013 team had a huge payroll.
 
My perspective is that we're continually living in a Red Sox alternate universe spawned by all the injuries of 2010. I remember reading a creditable analysis on this site that claimed the 2010 team lost 11 wins to injury that year. Eleven! Had Theo guided THAT team to the postseason-- in what was then perceived as the second large-scale rebuilding year of his tenure-- I think his position would have become bulletproof within the organization and he would have consolidated control over baseball ops to the point where a consistent Theo Philosophy (whatever that actually looks like) would have begun to emerge over subsequent seasons. Instead, the team won under 90 games and— as is well documented— the marketing people freaked out and a bunch of contradictory, countervailing goals and philosophies seemed to take turns guiding the team from one move to the next. Of course, the alternate reality worked out pretty well, thanks to a miraculous cleaning-of-the-slate (Punto trade) and lowering of fan expectations (2012 Valentine Sox) to the point where an intelligent approach was again allowed to take hold. But this still feels to me like an alternate version to me of some main, primary reality where Epstein and Francona are still running the show...
 

seantoo

toots his own horn award winner
Jul 16, 2005
1,308
Southern NH, from Watertown, MA
Plympton91 said:
 
I think that's a selective narrative.  Did the offseason of 2009-2010 really represent an attempt at a "Bridge," or was it just a complete misallocation of resources?  They signed Lackey, Cameron, and Jenks that offseason.  Those aren't exactly low profile signings, and none of them were the one-year contracts given to Drew.  Lackey's elbow was already so shredded that he agreed to a punitive penalty of one year at minimum wage if he had to have urgery.  Was it a smart allocation of payroll given the likelihood that he'd pitch hurt and not be as good as he was with LAAA and miss a full year or more?  It worked out for a championship in 2013, but from 2010 to 2013 they paid $50 million for probably a net negative value and shouldn't have been suprised by that outcome.   Was signing a 38 year old outfielder for 2 years and then allowing him to displace your young and talented CF a "bridge move" or was it a "bad move"?   Was it a surprise that Jenks' physical conditioning caused him to miss most of the 2 seasons they signed him for, at a premium price for a set up man?   They could have signed Matt Holliday to play LF, left Ellsbury in CF, and signed Scott Downs to bolster the bullpen that offseason for the same total investment.  Wouldn't that have been smarter?
But your not really refuting the previous premise. Ownership and the business ops side pushed for more more more to sell tickets not necc. win games, so they altered the course of events. Even if you don't believe that, the failure to execute a plan does not mean the plan is flawed, it only proves the execution was flawed.
 

LahoudOrBillyC

Indian name is Massages Ellsbury
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Plympton91 said:
Part of the business is making money and that includes loyalty to more than just laundry. We have never seen in Boston a winning team that wasn't supported, probably in part because of the long drought. But the Braves and Rays represent teams that have long histories of fielding winning teams and yet fan interest stays well below capacity. I just can't embrace "root for the laundry". The Red Sox probably would have been a better team from 1980 to 1983 if they'd let Yaz finish his career somewhere else, but they'd be a lesser franchise.
 
I am sure Henry and co. are hoping that the skeptical fans would think, "Well, this is not how I would have done things, but by God they have won three times so perhaps I should reconsider my heretofore solid beliefs on how to run a baseball team."  In fact, I think many of them have been turned around. 
 
However, Henry and co. are likely not naive enough to think that there are not still going to be people who think the Red Sox dunderheads have just lucked into it, people who can list specific cherry-picked things they did wrong, people who long for Lou Gorman signing Frank Viola ("they care!!") etc.  My advice to these fans is that there might be more frustration ahead -- this team's management is not going anywhere, and will likely continue to do things you hate and, god willing, might just luck their way into another title or two along the way.
 

snowmanny

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Dec 8, 2005
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LahoudOrBillyC said:
 
I am sure Henry and co. are hoping that the skeptical fans would think, "Well, this is not how I would have done things, but by God they have won three times so perhaps I should reconsider my heretofore solid beliefs on how to run a baseball team."  In fact, I think many of them have been turned around. 
 
However, Henry and co. are likely not naive enough to think that there are not still going to be people who think the Red Sox dunderheads have just lucked into it, people who can list specific cherry-picked things they did wrong, people who long for Lou Gorman signing Frank Viola ("they care!!") etc.  My advice to these fans is that there might be more frustration ahead -- this team's management is not going anywhere, and will likely continue to do things you hate and, god willing, might just luck their way into another title or two along the way.
 
Again, what you are saying only makes sense if they had been following a specific blue print all the way through.  I think generally they have had a high respect for the idea that maintaining a very strong farm system and high financial resources  and very comprehensive statistical analysis and good training will yield great opportunity and they have done really well with this.  Beyond that, however, I have no idea what to expect from them going forward since there seem to be a lot of evolving factors in their decision making.  For example, they determined that it made sense to pay $120 Million dollars for Matsuzaka, but as far as we know did not bid on Darvish and Tanaka and none of us understand exactly why.
 

Darnell's Son

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I really don't understand why there needs to be some type of blue print. I don't want any franchise I root for constructing rosters by a blue print. I want my favorite teams to learn from mistakes and course correct accordingly. Criticizing management because they're not doing what they said they were going to do three years ago is beyond odd to me, especially juxtaposed against a team that just won a world series(yeah, I'm giving them wiggle room for this) and has one of the top rated farm systems in the league. I say we wait and see what they do with their financial flexibility and prospect gold mine before we get the pitch forks, but YMMV.