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Thread: Reading between the lines

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  1. #1
    Hey Cubs Fans RFS62's Avatar
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    Reading between the lines

    For all those who are hoping for a Theo-Depo type GM, I believe you're going to be disappointed.

    Castellini noted in his first few comments to the press that he's aware of sabermetrics, and he's giving consideration to Kullman for the job. But I would be very surprised if the balance doesn't tip heavily towards scouting and player development in his choice as GM.

    Hopefully, Kullman will stay on and play a big part in voicing the sabermetric point of view, similar to DePo in Oakland. But I just don't see it as the central focus of the new organizational philosophy, based on the guys being interviewed for the job.

    My money is on Wren right now, with Krivsky running second.
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
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    Re: Reading between the lines

    Castellini noted that they "budgeted for" sabermetrics. This tells me that they will have/hire people who crank numbers on players. To my way of thinking, that's appropriate. The skill set and knowledge base for a GM requires a genuine appreciation for, and layman's understanding of, advanced statistical tools, but that's only one piece of what a GM needs. I think it's a mistake to think a good GM must also be a guy who could crank those numbers himself.
    "Baseball is a very, very complex business. It's more of a people business than most businesses." - Bob Castellini

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    Hey Cubs Fans RFS62's Avatar
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    Re: Reading between the lines

    Quote Originally Posted by lollipopcurve
    Castellini noted that they "budgeted for" sabermetrics. This tells me that they will have/hire people who crank numbers on players. To my way of thinking, that's appropriate. The skill set and knowledge base for a GM requires a genuine appreciation for, and layman's understanding of, advanced statistical tools, but that's only one piece of what a GM needs. I think it's a mistake to think a good GM must also be a guy who could crank those numbers himself.


    Yeah, this is how I feel too. The GM has to understand the conclusions, but not necessarily be able to do a regression analysis.
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
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    Re: Reading between the lines

    The GM has to understand the conclusions, but not necessarily be able to do a regression analysis.
    Exactly.
    "Baseball is a very, very complex business. It's more of a people business than most businesses." - Bob Castellini

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    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
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    Re: Reading between the lines

    IMO, what you're really looking for in a GM is good philosophy and analytical skills. Numbers can be part of that, but I agree that they're not the whole shebang.

    You want a GM who can lay out a strategic vision and then tick off the tactical steps that get you there. You want a GM who can quickly assess not only his own organization, but other organizations as well. Quick assessment is a big part of what croaked DanO. He couldn't figure what he had and he seemed oblivious to what anyone else might need.

    The media tries to make a lot of hay out of the A's approach vs. the Braves approach, but, IMO, Billy Beane and John Schuerholz are two peas in a pod. What they share is the uncanny ability to know what their teams need and then get it in a competitive marketplace. Attempts at pigeon-holing them only sell them short. Beane pays a lot of attention to tools. Schuerholz puts a ton of stock in performance. That's what the Reds need -- someone ready to use every club in the bag.
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    Hey Cubs Fans RFS62's Avatar
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    Re: Reading between the lines

    Quote Originally Posted by M2
    IMO, what you're really looking for in a GM is good philosophy and analytical skills. Numbers can be part of that, but I agree that they're not the whole shebang.

    You want a GM who can lay out a strategic vision and then tick off the tactical steps that get you there. You want a GM who can quickly assess not only his own organization, but other organizations as well. Quick assessment is a big part of what croaked DanO. He couldn't figure what he had and he seemed oblivious to what anyone else might need.

    The media tries to make a lot of hay out of the A's approach vs. the Braves approach, but, IMO, Billy Beane and John Schuerholz are two peas in a pod. What they share is the uncanny ability to know what their teams need and then get it in a competitive marketplace. Attempts at pigeon-holing them only sell them short. Beane pays a lot of attention to tools. Schuerholz puts a ton of stock in performance. That's what the Reds need -- someone ready to use every club in the bag.


    Well said.
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
    ~ Mark Twain

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    First Time Caller SunDeck's Avatar
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    Re: Reading between the lines

    Quote Originally Posted by M2
    Beane pays a lot of attention to tools. Schuerholz puts a ton of stock in performance. That's what the Reds need -- someone ready to use every club in the bag.
    Just as long as the guy isn't using the putter from a fairway bunker.
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    Re: Reading between the lines

    Quote Originally Posted by M2
    IMO, what you're really looking for in a GM is good philosophy and analytical skills. Numbers can be part of that, but I agree that they're not the whole shebang.

    You want a GM who can lay out a strategic vision and then tick off the tactical steps that get you there. You want a GM who can quickly assess not only his own organization, but other organizations as well. Quick assessment is a big part of what croaked DanO. He couldn't figure what he had and he seemed oblivious to what anyone else might need.

    The media tries to make a lot of hay out of the A's approach vs. the Braves approach, but, IMO, Billy Beane and John Schuerholz are two peas in a pod. What they share is the uncanny ability to know what their teams need and then get it in a competitive marketplace. Attempts at pigeon-holing them only sell them short. Beane pays a lot of attention to tools. Schuerholz puts a ton of stock in performance. That's what the Reds need -- someone ready to use every club in the bag.
    excellent layout of the baseball knowledge and analytical skills needed to be a successful GM. Add in some organizational and management skills and you have a solid hire. There are a number of people that would fit the profile and also a bunch that don't.

    It's as simple as find the right person, give them the resources and then let them do their job. It what the Uncle Carl regime could never do. He hired a bean counter(John Allen) to run a baseball operation and then couldn't help but meddle(Larkin contract, hiring DanO when Allen recomended Krivsky). The former Reds regime was dysfunctional from to bottom.

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    Re: Reading between the lines

    Quote Originally Posted by M2
    IMO, what you're really looking for in a GM is good philosophy and analytical skills. Numbers can be part of that, but I agree that they're not the whole shebang. . . .

    The media tries to make a lot of hay out of the A's approach vs. the Braves approach, but, IMO, Billy Beane and John Schuerholz are two peas in a pod.
    I think a highly underrated GM skill, one that you indirectly cite above, is the ability to negotiate with your peers and relentlessly pursue those assets that are needed to make your team successful. Both Beane and Schuerholtz have that in spades, and I think that may be the key downside to a guy like DePodesta. He may be a genius, but unless he can consistenly acquire *the guy he wants* for what he is willing to give up, Paul will never be a Beane.

    Moreover, I think it is interesting that neither Beane nor Schulerholtz developed a Bowden-like reputation in GM circles as a rip-off artist (e.g., the negative pub Bowden got after the Jeff Shaw deal with Lasorda). From my experiences in negotiating, these short-term wins have a negative long-term consequence: nobody wants to deal with you because they don't trust you or they fear you will be ripping them off.

    My ideal GM would be what Jim Collins calls a Level 5 Leader:
    *one who understands and uses the numbers to "confront the brutal facts."
    *one who does one thing exceptionally well. This is called the "hedgehog concept": Beane's is quantifying value, Schuerholtz's is scouting and developing HS arms.
    *one who has a "stoic, resolve toward life." This creates a culture of discipline among his colleagues.

    M2 is right in that both Schuerholtz and Beane have all three of these qualities (in differing quantities, of course).
    Last edited by D-Man; 02-02-2006 at 07:28 PM.

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    Re: Reading between the lines

    An ideal general manager should be well versed in both traditional and numerical scouting. By relying too heavily on one or the other, too much opportunity is left on the table.

    For international and American high school scouting, for example, numbers based scouting is largely useless due to the inconsistent level of competition and the rawness of the players. Basically, you want someone who can sift through the sand and find some shiny nuggets.

    Once you get to the college and professional levels, performance based scouting is very valuable in helping determine the gold from pyrite.

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    Hey Cubs Fans RFS62's Avatar
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    Re: Reading between the lines

    The issue, it seems to me, is the amount of time it takes to learn one or the other method.

    Traditional scouting and player analysis takes years of experience. Sure there are exceptions, but most great scouts spent years hanging around batting cages all over the country.

    Once you make the decision to buy in to sabermetrics, you can learn what you need to know much faster. And what you don't know, you can get from a trusted source.

    I prefer a guy who has been around the block and seen first hand how successful organizations operate, and has an open mind to sabermetrics.
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
    ~ Mark Twain

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    Re: Reading between the lines

    Quote Originally Posted by RFS62
    The issue, it seems to me, is the amount of time it takes to learn one or the other method.

    Traditional scouting and player analysis takes years of experience. Sure there are exceptions, but most great scouts spent years hanging around batting cages all over the country.

    Once you make the decision to buy in to sabermetrics, you can learn what you need to know much faster. And what you don't know, you can get from a trusted source.

    I prefer a guy who has been around the block and seen first hand how successful organizations operate, and has an open mind to sabermetrics.
    But why is it neccessary for the gm to be from the traditional scouting school? The GM doesn't have to know everything. He has to know how to manage, make good hires, and institute his philosophy on the organization. A good GM may know little about the details of scouting and player development, but knows who to hire that does. It just seems that you are saying that the GM must know one thing, but just have a general idea of another.

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    Hey Cubs Fans RFS62's Avatar
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    Re: Reading between the lines

    Quote Originally Posted by rdiersin
    It just seem that you are saying that the GM must know one thing, but just have a general idea of another.

    No, I want the new GM to understand sabermetrics and give statistical analysis a healthy weight in his decision making process. I'm talking about how long it takes to learn one or the other.
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
    ~ Mark Twain

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    Re: Reading between the lines

    Quote Originally Posted by RFS62
    No, I want the new GM to understand sabermetrics and give statistical analysis a healthy weight in his decision making process. I'm talking about how long it takes to learn one or the other.
    No offense, but I guess I just don't buy that. Yes, it would take a long time to become an expert in player development and scouting, I agree with that. But, it also takes quite a bit of time to become an expert in statistical and probabilistic methods as well. But I guess my point is, that a GM doesn't have to be an expert. A GM has to know what he needs to know of these areas and hire good experts to help develop and implement his philosophies. Just MO.

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    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
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    Re: Reading between the lines

    Quote Originally Posted by rdiersin
    No offense, but I guess I just don't buy that. Yes, it would take a long time to become an expert in player development and scouting, I agree with that. But, it also takes quite a bit of time to become an expert in statistical and probabilistic methods as well. But I guess my point is, that a GM doesn't have to be an expert. A GM has to know what he needs to know of these areas and hire good experts to help develop and implement his philosophies. Just MO.
    I think it goes beyond that. A GM has to be well-versed in a number of areas in order to hire good people. It's easy to get BSed when you don't know any better.

    A GM also needs to do more than solicit opinions. First off, the answers you get will depend in no small part on the quality of the questions you ask. So a GM needs to ask good questions. The GM also needs to bring some acumen into the decision-making process. I remember when JimBo sometimes held votes on potential moves and tended to go with the majority decision. That's sweet, but say your advisors are 7-2 in favor if doing the wrong thing? The GM should be someone capable of forming an independent opinion.

    Also, a GM needs to lead. Truly great out-of-the-box ideas aren't going to strike someone for whom the box is a cavernous mystery. Initiative is a product of knowledge, or at least the quest for it. Expertise is a tricky commodity in baseball. Not a lot of people can claim it for a lifetime That said, a GM should have definitive strengths in stats-based and eyeball scouting. Without that communication and leadership will prove difficult tasks.
    Baseball isn't a magic trick ... it doesn't get spoiled if you figure out how it works. - gonelong

    I'm witchcrafting everybody.


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