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Friday, February 13, 2004

Dodgers and DePodesta

Nice article on Aaron's Baseball Blog about Paul DePodesta possibly taking the Dodgers GM job. As I had done previously Aaron lists the teams with sabermetric interest and/or connections. My updated list:

1. Red Sox
2. A's
3. Blue Jays
4. Cardinals
5. Mets
6. Dodgers
7. Rangers

Although Aaron has the Royals on his list I'm not sure where that information comes from. As far as I can see Alan Baird is still more in the scouting mindset and appears uninterested in sabermetrics. I could be wrong however. Aaron also notes that the Rangers will likely be run by Grady Fuson, a former assistant to Beane when John Hart steps down, which adds them to my list.

Aaron then asks the question "What does this mean for baseball?" Although I agree with him that what it doesn't mean is that defense will be abandoned in favor of high OBP players, it does mean that teams will finally start valuing the skills that lead to winning baseball games through objective analysis rather than subjective guesses. This includes valuing the ability to control the strike zone and get on base over the generally smaller cost of giving up a few extra hits over the course of the season on defense. In other words the difference between good and bad defensive players is generally not as large as the difference between good and bad offensive players. With objective analysis you may well conclude that Jeremy Giambi's downside as a defensive player is not compensated for by his ability to get on base. The point is, this is measurable and so an educated decision can be made.

The most revolutionary aspect of the move to sabermetrics will be I predict (as noted previously), "that 90% of the player population in major league baseball is replaceable by someone who makes less". This is the single revelation which will allow small market teams to compete by not spending money on 31 year old mediocre free agents, which will in turn drive down salaries and allow these teams to compete. It may create a system where superstars make 20 times what other players do but in the end it would be because of the actual contributions they make rather than an arbitrary pay scale of some sort.

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