A blog dedicated to the New York Mets with some other baseball thrown in.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Evaluating the Manager

The Great Manager Debate burns on...

Ben (NYC): Rob, Max Kellerman, whom I know you respect, recently said that a great tactical manager like Billy Martin could be worth 10 wins to a team. If the perfect manager came along, a guy who chose the most productive lineup, used his best relievers in high leverage situations, only called for sacrifices when it made sense percentage-wise, etc, how valuable would he truly be?

SportsNation Rob Neyer: (12:51 PM ET ) Well, 10 wins relative to what? An average manager? A bad manager? And I'm not even so sure if tactics was Martin's strength; I think the attitude he brought to his teams was probably even more important. But getting back to the root of your question, I would guess a perfect tactical manager probably is worth 6-8 extra wins, relative to an average manager. With the caveat that there's never been a perfect manager.

I think another appropriate question is just how many average managers there are. One would assume the majority are below average, but the same problem crops up of having no way to calculate these things. You would have to have an impartial judge watch every game and somehow evaluate and score the moves and choices made. How does that happen?

I do think people would tend to agree that in a close race or series with two evenly matched teams, the manager could tip the scales. Also, it is absolutely conceivable that an excellent manager can help a lesser team overcome a bad manager with a better team. I do wonder if anyone has come up with some sort of crude way to actually evaluate managers outside of wins and losses. Can you take a look at the aggregate VORP of the team and try and see who did the most with what? Would the previous three years of VORP be helpful to see if they maybe had a profound effect on a player or team? Could you keep track his bullpen moves made after the inning started and other moves during the inning to see what type of success he had and compare that to the league average of similar situations?

I would tend to think this would be one of the most difficult thing to quantify, but I would love to see someone develop some sort of way to evaluate the effectiveness of managers.

* * *

  • Michael Salfino still believes in Delgado as does Benny. I'm still looking for positive signs that he is breaking out, but there just doesn't seem to be much to take away from his game in a positive light at this point.

  • Mr. Billy Wagner is singing Pedro Dos' praise.

    "If we don't have him in that spot we probably don't win that game," said Billy Wagner, who went two innings, striking out three and moving into third place on the all-time strikeout list for lefthanded relievers with 977. "He has pitched above and beyond. He is the best pitcher in that bullpen by far. He goes out there nightly and comes through. He's fun to watch right now."

    Feliciano and Wagner have been the two bright spots out of the bullpen out of an up and down season for the pen.

  • Bob Raissman is grasping for straws here.

  • There is better news in the case of Pedro Martinez. The righthander, recovering from rotator cuff surgery, is scheduled for a bullpen session in Port St. Lucie today. "He could be throwing live batting practice by the end of this week or next week," Minaya said.

    Swellicious. I'm all for looking at Buehrle or another pitcher, but the Mets do not need another pitcher necessarily. It is a luxury and will certainly help bolster the pen by knocking a current starter or two into the pen, but the Mets have leverage in that they are not desperate. Besides, it is tough enough deciding which one pitcher gets moved to the pen much less two.

    More on the Buehrle front:

    The Mets are tracking Mark Buehrle, according to a person familiar with the situation, but they will only trade for the White Sox lefty if they have a 72-hour window to sign the free agent-to-be.

    It certainly looks like Kenny could get a handsome bounty if the Mets can strike a long term deal. However, that would seem to be the problem. While Mark might consider resigning before he hits the market with his current team, it would be a curious move to do it with another team unless they really pay up. The Mets might have to drop 5/$75,000,000 right away and who knows if that will even be enough?

  • Carlos Gomez is getting some love in the papers.

    Minaya said he expected Gomez, the youngest player in the NL at 21, to come this far this fast. When Gomez hit his first homer, on June 10, he was batting just .220. Since then, he is hitting .361 with seven RBI, raising his average from .220 to .279.

    "The ability is there," Minaya said. "He's still developing. For a kid that young to go out and perform, compete, play in a pressure situation like New York, a first-place team, is very impressive."

    Just what the Mets will do with Carlos when Endy and Alou come back is the question. Of course Moises probably has at least a month more to go, but Endy should not factor into the decision. Endy is a fourth outfielder and best used that way while Gomez should be starting everyday. Of course if Willie has anything to say he will probably stick with Ledee since he values grizzled veterans over fresh faced kids that can....you know...actually play.

  • Fun with Joe Morgan:

    Will (Lexington, KY): the reds have young talent for sure, but can they become contenders with the management they have right now?

    SportsNation Joe Morgan: That's a very good question. I don't think I'm equipped to answer that question. But it's a very good question, because I've been asking myself the same question. I'm not as close to the situation as I have been or should be, but I've talked to the owner and he wants to win. I am disappointed in what I've seen so far.

    The Reds stink. When Bruce is up and contributing, Dunn and Griffey will be gone. I don't think they will be good for a while and you can blame them for holding onto Dunn for too long while his stock was highest and trading Kearns for relievers as two large contributing factors. Some teams have just been buried beyond belief by past GMs.

    Bob (Brooklyn): What's more important to evaluate a pitcher: Wins or ERA?

    SportsNation Joe Morgan: I've always believed that an ERA is like a batting average. It's a personal thing. For instance, a guy could hit .300, but not be as valuable as a guy that hits .270. A guy that makes 7 outs out of 10 with guys on base, he's not that valuable. But if you're clutch, but hit .275, you're more valuable. That's why I think wins are better. It's just as tough to win a game 7-6 as it is 1-0. The only thing that matters at the end of the year is how many games did we win.

    Wins Joe? WINS? And they pay this guy...

    Kyle (Kansas): What is the most overrated stat in baseball?

    SportsNation Joe Morgan: Batting average and earned run average and this OPS stuff they do. OPS doesn't tell you anything except about the individual. The same as the other stats. It doesn't tell you anything about the team. A .300 average doesn't help you win games, run production does.

    SportsNation Joe Morgan: I'm not saying those numbers don't mean anything, I'm saying they're overglorified.

    Aren't we trying to evaluate the individual?

    Chad (Austin, TX): Joe, How come you never got into coaching or managing?

    SportsNation Joe Morgan: Well, it's a situation that's never been right for me. There have always been other things going on. It's never been the right situation to pull me in.

    The real reason? Just reread the above quotes from the brilliant Joe Morgan.

    Billy (Michigan): Hey Joe, Who is your MVP for the AL and NL?

    SportsNation Joe Morgan: I think in the NL it's open, but Prince Fielder and JJ Hardy come to mind. Jose Reyes. I think several guys have a chance.

    Did he and Brennaman have a quick call before the chat? Hardy is probably not even a top five at this point.

    Reyes, Peavy, Holliday, Fielder, and Brad Penny would be my top five choices in no particular order. Then the next tier would be Utley and Cabrera with Wright playing his way into the picture.

  • Antony...I never read the comments, but I was at the game. FYI...I'm at every Sunday game (unless a wedding or funeral comes up or in September when I'll be hunting Hippopotamus on the Serengeti) and I will be tailgating. I am always in the last spot on the water side of the parking lot. I may or may not have a shirt on and will most likely be drunk. Feel free to stop by! No purchasing me beers will be necessary.

    Oh, and my seats are always Loge, Section 20, Row A, seats 9 and 10. I'm the good looking guy in 10 and the goofy kid in 9 will be my 'friend'.
  • Labels:


    Blogger AE said...

    1. someone needs to let joe morgan know that this "OPS stuff" is the 1 stat that closest correlates to run production. math get into it...

    2. just say no to mark buehrle. the contract he's likely to get is gonna make barry zito's contract look sort of sane. buehrle's pecota projected morp over the next 4 years is $33.3M. If he gets $60M over those 4 years (equivalent to $75M/5), he'll possibly be overpaid by $26.7M - or twice what he should be paid). That's brutal and a terrible allocation of resources...and this doesn't even consider the prospect(s) that the Mets would have to give up...no thanks.

    12:13 PM

    Blogger michael o. said...

    1) Don't mess with Joe. If someone tells him, what else is there for us to laugh at?

    2) Well, isn't EVERYONE overpaid? I think he would be extremely good for this team and while I don't ever want to give up prospects, it certainly saves a draft pick next year (unless the Mets sign a top flight reliever and deals from a relative position of strength. I have a hard time thinking his contract will look worse than Zito's.

    1:11 PM

    Blogger AE said...

    "isn't EVERYONE overpaid?"

    Yes and no. Roy Oswalt is not. Carlos Zambrano after this offseason will probably get a contract closer to his true value than Buehrle will. I have no doubt that Buehrle would be an upgrade to the rotation, however, I don't think the Mets need to waste money they could use plugging up other holes. If I was Minaya, I would wait this one out and hope that Pedro comes back healthy. Even if he doesn't the Mets have enough depth to handle the starting pitching duties.

    Getting back to Zambrano vs. Buehrle, their projected 4 year MORPs are $46.275M and $33.3M respectively. Based on the rumors that Buehrle would be seeking $15M/year, that would make Zambrano worth $18.244M/year in comparision to Buehrle. Do you think Zambrano is gonna get $18.244M/Year? I don't think so.

    With that said, I would go after both these guys in the offseason - at the right price. I would offer Buehrle $10-13M/year and I would offer Zambrano $15-17M...obviously the money I'd offer Buehrle wouldn't get the job done, however, in Zambrano's case, I think there's a good chance that type of money gets the job done...

    This of course all hinges on what type of 2nd half Zambrano has. He's given up a lot of HR's this year and his MORP could actually be lower than what it is. Bottom line, the Mets should not be in panic mode and mortgage the future for starting pitching...

    2:21 PM

    Blogger michael o. said...

    obviously the money I'd offer Buehrle wouldn't get the job done, however, in Zambrano's case, I think there's a good chance that type of money gets the job done...

    And here is the greater issue.

    For Zambrano, your yearly figure would be correct, but the years is where you get burned.

    Are you going to nitpick over Buehrle for $2 to $4 million per year on a five year contract rather than go the seven on Zambrano?

    All things equal and we are talking about four or five year contracts, then great. Zambrano is worth it. But I think in his case, we are talking seven or eight vs. Buehrle's five who has been as durable as Zito and arguably could be more effective over the next five years.

    2:40 PM

    Blogger AE said...

    i'm not sure someone is gonna offer zambrano 7 years, but who knows - with the insanity coming from the front offices - you are probably right. if soriano and zito got 7, and rick dipietro got 15 (yes, i know different sport) then who anything can happen.

    3:13 PM

    Blogger michael o. said...

    Didn't Zito get 8?

    3:22 PM

    Blogger AE said...

    soriano got 8. zito 7. me 0.

    i'm still bitter about that. ok, not really....

    3:43 PM

    Blogger michael o. said...

    Ha...well I think Big Z. is a lock for seven if he hits free agency. Legit ace and the bidding will be fierce amongst a few teams with Minaya leading the charge breaking their own 5 year max rule for pitchers. Me? I think you do it if need be. Like with Martinez, sometimes you take a loss for what you get on the front end.

    3:53 PM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    If the groundball to Wright last night was scored E5, then Glavine would have had a 6 inning no hitter. With it being an official game would that have been recorded as the first Mets no hitter or would they have had to play the last 9 outs?

    10:57 AM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Mike, thanks for the info on your Sunday locations. I've got it down. I will definitely stop by for a beer next time I'm out there! That was quite the enjoyable game this past Sunday. Good to see the boys getting back. 5 out of 6 now, I'll take it.

    I hear Buerhle and Kenny Williams are working on a deal and that he wants to stay. From what I understand he's a midwest guy and wants to stay around Chicago. He's from St Louis. So that makes me nervous about bringing him to NY. He's definitely a reliable pitcher that should be good for the next 4-5 years I would think. I hate giving up guys for him though. I can't help but feel we wait for Pedro to return and see how it goes. The Mets have good starting pitching right now. I like Glavine, Maine, Perez, Duque, that's pretty solid. If Pedro can just be decent it would be pretty off the hook. The problem I keep on seeing is our offense is shaky. Which is extremely obnoxious. I don't understand why we're not seeing more of Gotay out there and 2nd? I'm over Easley platooning. He's good off the bench.


    1:06 PM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    No no-no for Tommy G under the new rules. You'd have to play the last 9 outs in a monsoon to get it done.

    The no hitter rules stink now. Only nine inning no-hitters are recognized, and if a pitcher loses the no-hitter in extra innings, it doesn't count either. So the Harvey Haddix 12-inning perfect game doesn't count as a no-hitter anymore.

    Plus, the stinkiest of all, if the PITCHERS doesn't go 9 no-hit innings in a 9-inning game, it doesn't count either. An example of this is a 9-inning game where the home team wins 1-0 having gotten no hits, and they don't get last ups, cuz they already won the game. Matt Young lost a game 2-1 and allowed no hits, and that doesn't count either, because he didn't pitch 9. I can see it now, you have a no-hitter and lose, and you have to pitch the bottom of the ninth to get credit. What do you do, ask the team who won to take their last ups, even though they've already won? Stupid.

    'isn't everyone overpaid?'

    Well, I'm not.....

    4:21 PM

    Blogger AE said...

    the rumor now is buehrle is close to re-signing with the chi sox for $50M/4 Years...

    there might be some sanity left in the world.

    4:44 PM

    Blogger michael o. said...

    Yup. Sanity. Good deal for both sides. Mark can feed his family and the White Sox get a good pitcher for reasonable dollars.

    6:00 PM


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