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Sunday, October 02, 2011

Neyer: Rumor: Theo Epstein Leaving Red Sox For Cubs

Why would Epstein leave?

Remember, he’s almost left before. Six years ago, Epstein exited the Red Sox for roughly a month before returning to the fold. Perhaps that was merely a negotiating ploy—he presumably did well, financially—but the relationship between Epstein and his bosses has not always been 100-percent highly functional.

I don’t know Theo Epstein anything like well enough to read his mind, but it’s certainly possible that he’s simply ready for a change. I’ve had two great jobs in my life—before this one, I mean—but at some point it’s just time to try something different. And what else, really, is there left for Theo Epstein in Boston?

Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: October 02, 2011 at 12:01 AM | 99 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: baseball geeks, business, cubs, obituaries, red sox, rumors, sabermetrics

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   1. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 02, 2011 at 03:08 AM (#3948192)
And what else, really, is there left for Theo Epstein in Boston?

I've always thought the Eruzione, "quit on top" thing was kind of dumb, but unless things have soured substantially between Epstein and ownership, this seems like the worst possible timing for Epstein to leave Boston. I thought this week's events would have reduced the Theo-to-Cubs rumors to zero; I'm very surprised the opposite is happening.
   2. Depressoteric Posted: October 02, 2011 at 03:15 AM (#3948198)
It would be fantastic if it happened, though. For the Cubs, I mean. It would be apocalyptically bad news for the Red Sox.
   3. Lassus Posted: October 02, 2011 at 03:17 AM (#3948199)
Did Neyer get that rumor here?
   4. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 02, 2011 at 03:24 AM (#3948205)
It would be apocalyptically bad news for the Red Sox.
No way. Theo's a very good GM, but part of being a good GM is building a good organization. That organization would still be there, with one of his lieutenants running it instead. The whole stat focus of the Sox goes all the way up to ownership, so they wouldn't be replacing him with Tony Reagins or something.
Did Neyer get that rumor here?
Joel Sherman tweeted it this afternoon and off went the internets.
   5. Brian C Posted: October 02, 2011 at 03:27 AM (#3948208)
Geez. Wake me up when he's doing his introductory press conference in Chicago. Until then, just a little credulity might be in order.

Of course, I said that about Dusty Baker, too, and look how that turned out. ####.

I actually think it's more likely that the Cubs end up hiring Francona than Epstein.
   6. Kiko Sakata Posted: October 02, 2011 at 03:32 AM (#3948217)
I actually think it's more likely that the Cubs end up hiring Francona than Epstein.


What are the odds that they do both?
   7. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: October 02, 2011 at 03:33 AM (#3948219)
If I'm the Cubs, I'm going really hard after Theo. Is there a better match in baseball to the pre-2004 Red Sox than the Cubs? They've got resources, they've got a LONG history of not winning anything. If Epstein took over for the Cubs and won one or two, his legacy would be completely set.
   8. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 02, 2011 at 03:43 AM (#3948222)
It would be fantastic if it happened, though. For the Cubs, I mean. It would be apocalyptically bad news for the Red Sox.

Epstein's obviously a very smart guy and a very successful baseball exec, but it seems incredibly difficult to quantify the actual value (VORGM?) of NYY and BOS execs. Whether it's 5 percent less or 75 percent less, no matter where NYY or BOS execs go, they have a lot less money to spend. The Cubs obviously would be on the former end of that range of reduced spending, but it's still an interesting thought exercise. It's always odd to assume people can do the same (or better) with less.
   9. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: October 02, 2011 at 03:47 AM (#3948224)
Epstein's obviously a very smart guy and a very successful baseball exec, but it seems incredibly difficult to quantify the actual value (VORGM?) of NYY and BOS execs. Whether it's 5 percent or 75 percent, no matter where NYY or BOS execs go, they have a lot less money to spend.

Maybe Theo would be better off with less money to spend. The Red Sox's record on big-money FA signings is abysmal.
   10. Dale Sams Posted: October 02, 2011 at 03:47 AM (#3948225)
Theo goes to Chicago, trades Zambrano and Soriano for Crawford...Boston doesn't see the playoffs for 5 years.
   11. Kiko Sakata Posted: October 02, 2011 at 03:48 AM (#3948227)
Whether it's 5 percent or 75 percent, no matter where NYY or BOS execs go, they have a lot less money to spend. The Cubs obviously would be on the former end of that range of reduced spending, but it's still an interesting thought exercise. It's always odd to assume people can do the same (or better) with less.


But there's no excuse for the Cubs to spend any less (even 5%) than the Red Sox - and I'm not sure that they actually have spent much, if at all, less over Epstein's reign.
   12. The District Attorney Posted: October 02, 2011 at 03:55 AM (#3948229)
Joel Sherman (NY Post) tweet that started all this:
I am shocked, but in last 36 hrs every exec talk to says believe #Redsox will give permssion and Theo will go to #Cubs to be GM
ESPN Chicago "contributor":
Been hearing all along that Theo will use #Cubs as leverage w/ #RedSox, this may just be the first step #notgettingmyhopesup
WBZ:
as of Sat, Theo had not asked #RedSox for or been granted permission to speak to #Cubs about GM position. Down road, who knows?
(Credit for those last two to SoSH.)

For his part, Gammons tweets in something resembling English:
Is Epstein interested in Cubs? Sure. What Henry does to keep him @ co-CEO, makes Cherington GM and go forward remains to be seen.
   13. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: October 02, 2011 at 03:57 AM (#3948235)
Where would people rank Theo among baseball's GMs? I'm not sure offhand...
   14. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 02, 2011 at 04:02 AM (#3948236)
But there's no excuse for the Cubs to spend any less (even 5%) than the Red Sox - and I'm not sure that they actually have spent much, if at all, less over Epstein's reign.

From the numbers in that ESPN article posted a couple days ago, the Cubs have spent $40 million less than the Red Sox since 2009 (ML payroll), and I'd guess the Red Sox have substantially outspent the Cubs in scouting, development, Latin market, etc.

I agree with your general point, but based on what I've read about the Ricketts' finances and debt, and the situation with Wrigley, etc., it seems unlikely the Cubs will catch up to the Red Sox anytime soon when it comes to spending.

Is Epstein interested in Cubs? Sure. What Henry does to keep him @ co-CEO, makes Cherington GM and go forward remains to be seen.

I saw this Gammons tweet earlier and I'm not sure I understood it. Isn't Epstein under contract (or option) for 2012? I suppose it might be counterproductive for Henry & Co. to force Epstein to stay (and/or block a move elsewhere), but I also don't see how the "co-CEO" thing would make anyone happier.
   15. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: October 02, 2011 at 04:09 AM (#3948243)
But there's no excuse for the Cubs to spend any less (even 5%) than the Red Sox - and I'm not sure that they actually have spent much, if at all, less over Epstein's reign.

!!

From July 2002 to August 2011, the Red Sox spent 23% more on payroll that the Cubs.

EDITED to add: I haven't checked when Epstein began (the numbers are based on Jim Hendry's reign, but over the last several years the Red Sox routinely spend a large chunk more per year than the Cubs.
   16. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: October 02, 2011 at 04:13 AM (#3948249)
Looking it up, since 1990 the Red Sox have spent more on payroll than the Cubs every year except once - though to be fair that was recently, in 2009. Cubs led $134 million to $121 million that year.

When you go back to 1990, it's the era when neither team averaged $1 million/player, so that's quite a ways ago.
   17. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 02, 2011 at 05:04 AM (#3948260)
Is there a better match in baseball to the pre-2004 Red Sox than the Cubs?

The Red Sox were already pretty good when Theo & the current ownersgip took over. The Cubs, somewhat less so now. But the overall histories and fan cultures are similar. Winning in Chicago would make him "Curse Killer" Epstein, and even more in demand.
   18. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: October 02, 2011 at 05:09 AM (#3948262)
He'd be GMing the Bills before the end of the decade.
   19. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: October 02, 2011 at 05:23 AM (#3948265)
The Bills don't need a new GM, they're the best team in the AFC East right now.

Also, I will be ####### ill if Theo leaves. And for the people talking about his misses on free agents, stab yourself up the ass with a goddamned lightsaber.
   20. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: October 02, 2011 at 05:26 AM (#3948266)
I think you're ready for bedtime. :-)
   21. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: October 02, 2011 at 05:29 AM (#3948267)
Almost. But man I'm going to be pissed with the 82-80 Red Sox that the Sox Therapy people are going to be hyping after helping to run Tito and Theo out of town.
   22. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: October 02, 2011 at 05:30 AM (#3948268)
At this point I'm with karlmagnus- bring back ####### Duquette!
   23. Dan Posted: October 02, 2011 at 05:34 AM (#3948270)
This sounds like a sure thing, just like all those Cubs rumors. I wonder where he's going to trade Brian Roberts?
   24. catomi01 Posted: October 02, 2011 at 10:43 AM (#3948292)
At this point I'm with karlmagnus- bring back ####### Duquette!


As a Yankee fan, I support this fully...between freidman and AA, the AL East looks to have 1 too many competent GM's right now (and history suggests that any team hiring showalter is going be a pain in the ass over the next decade)...so if the Red Sox want to take the next 4-6 years off, I would certainly appreciate it...
   25. ray james Posted: October 02, 2011 at 11:13 AM (#3948293)
Been hearing all along that Theo will use #Cubs as leverage w/ #RedSox, this may just be the first step #notgettingmyhopesup

WBZ:


Leverage for what? A raise? It would be kind of bad timing to ask for that, especially since he's already admitted his performance in the recent past hasn't been all that great.

Promotion to team president? Ditto.

Unless he's tired of Boston, and I doubt that since it's his hometown and the owner likes him a lot, I'm not seeing it.
   26. AJMcCringleberry Posted: October 02, 2011 at 11:16 AM (#3948294)
Then Beane goes to the Red Sox?

The Bills don't need a new GM, they're the best team in the AFC East right now.

Funny stuff.
   27. zachtoma Posted: October 02, 2011 at 12:35 PM (#3948307)
Where would people rank Theo among baseball's GMs? I'm not sure offhand...


I'd say he peaked as the best GM in baseball early in his run and has maintained a top 5 standing since. Like players, GMs have good years and not so good years; it would be fun to make a list of the top GMs of each year, 2011 probably goes to Alex Anthopopolopolous, but I can't go back much farther off the top of my head right now.... 2008: Andrew Friedman.
   28. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: October 02, 2011 at 12:41 PM (#3948309)
Like players, GMs have good years and not so good years; it would be fun to make a list of the top GMs of each year, 2011 probably goes to Alex Anthopopolopolous,


I don't know. He made some clever deals, but he also traded Napoli for Frank Francisco. I'd say Cashman and Dombrowski are all in the running.
   29. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: October 02, 2011 at 12:48 PM (#3948311)
Like players, GMs have good years and not so good years; it would be fun to make a list of the top GMs of each year, 2011 probably goes to Alex Anthopopolopolous,


The biggest problem with this is that players are paid to do well year-to-year, but a GM might have an organizational plan that doesn't bear fruit for a few years.
   30. Banta Posted: October 02, 2011 at 01:15 PM (#3948319)
Funny stuff.

There's nothing funny about having your wagons circled, AJM. You just remember that come week 9!

And yes, Bills fans can go from zero to cocky in a matter of seconds. We have to, if we wait, the other shoe will have already dropped.
   31. Hack Wilson Posted: October 02, 2011 at 01:16 PM (#3948320)
Got it: Theo on the North Side, Tito on the South Side.
   32. ...and Toronto selects: Troy Tulowitzki Posted: October 02, 2011 at 01:24 PM (#3948327)
I don't know. He made some clever deals, but he also traded Napoli for Frank Francisco.

Small quibble. He got rid of Vernon Wells. Whatever happens next meant nothing really. That alone will maybe be a trade of the decade. He wanted Arencibia to play everyday. He did alright hitting 23 hr's this year. At the time, I wished he'd kept Napoli too, and just shoehorned him somewhere, but. He was trying to assemble a bullpen. Getting rid of Wells contract. Got Escobar to sign an excellent team friendly extension. Traded for Lawrie. Traded some relievers for Rasmus. Looks like a pretty good year to me.
   33. Darren Posted: October 02, 2011 at 02:13 PM (#3948355)
I'm wondering what Theo would have to do to make certain people believe he might be less than perfect. If I were the sox ownership, I'd give him permission to talk to the cubs but I'd say, "its not fair that you have to leave behind your prize acquisitions, Crawford and Lackey. You can take them with you.
   34. Darren Posted: October 02, 2011 at 02:17 PM (#3948358)
He got rid of Wells's contract. Full stop.
   35. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: October 02, 2011 at 02:27 PM (#3948361)
It really seems like he was calling around and saying "We will trade you Vernon Wells, please identify the one player in your organization you want the least, and you can have Vernon Wells for him provided you pay 95% of his contract". And the Angels' response was "The one player we have the least use for, that we want to get rid of the most, is Mike Napoli".
   36. Toolsy McClutch Posted: October 02, 2011 at 03:00 PM (#3948383)
As a unabashed Jay fan, I've been more than happy with double-A, but you have to admit looking solely at the Napoli trade as a standalone transaction (which I think you have to), it ended up being a bad deal. I remember the talk being "solid player, but making too much for what he's going to produce". I know I head dreams of Lind in LF, and Napoli at 1B or DH, but I expected Napoli to be a 20HRish, 260ish type of guy, veteran clubhouse type of guy.
   37. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 02, 2011 at 03:17 PM (#3948391)
And the Angels' response was "The one player we have the least use for, that we want to get rid of the most, is Mike Napoli".

Reagins must be an absolute moron. Even if his scouts loved Wells for some ungodly reason, he could have gotten Tor to chip in $25M+ of Wells contract just by asking.

His performance is like if you went into a job offer and they ask you how much you're making at your current job, and you say "Well, $75,000, but I'm hoping to do a little better" and they immediately respond, "OK, how about $200,000".
   38. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 02, 2011 at 03:18 PM (#3948393)
As a unabashed Jay fan, I've been more than happy with double-A, but you have to admit looking solely at the Napoli trade as a standalone transaction (which I think you have to), it ended up being a bad deal.

Sure, but that's like ######## at the surgeon who successfully removed a cancerous tumor from your brain for leaving a scar.

- Rios, - Wells (and their full contracts) + Baustista (and extend him at a reasonable salary) = GM of the decade
   39. Boileryard Posted: October 02, 2011 at 03:52 PM (#3948415)
- Rios, - Wells (and their full contracts) + Baustista (and extend him at a reasonable salary) = GM of the decade

J.P. Ricciardi was the one who waived Rios and acquired Bautista for Robinzon Diaz. Alex Anthopoulos probably played a role in those moves when he was the Assistant GM, but we need to give Ricciardi credit when it's due.
   40. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: October 02, 2011 at 03:57 PM (#3948424)
they ask you how much you're making at your current job, and you say "Well, $75,000, but I'm hoping to do a little better" and they immediately respond, "OK, how about $200,000".


I'll think about it.
   41. Darren Posted: October 02, 2011 at 04:30 PM (#3948440)
Since we have Theo and Napoli in the same thread, here's a question: How is it possible that the Red Sox claimed Napoli at the deadline in 2010 and were not able to work out a deal for him? A few months later, the Angels (and then the Jays) made it obvious that they felt he had next to zero value. You'd think they would have dumped him just to be rid of his salary, or perhaps for a C+ prospect?
   42. Darren Posted: October 02, 2011 at 04:32 PM (#3948443)

they ask you how much you're making at your current job, and you say "Well, $75,000, but I'm hoping to do a little better" and they immediately respond, "OK, how about $200,000".


But what kind of a chair would I have at my desk? Do you have a Keurig coffeemaker? I also have to factor in that my commute would be 10 minutes longer... We'll see.
   43. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 02, 2011 at 04:44 PM (#3948454)
Since we have Theo and Napoli in the same thread, here's a question: How is it possible that the Red Sox claimed Napoli at the deadline in 2010 and were not able to work out a deal for him? A few months later, the Angels (and then the Jays) made it obvious that they felt he had next to zero value. You'd think they would have dumped him just to be rid of his salary, or perhaps for a C+ prospect?


I think it comes down to how Reagins valued the players involved. While I agree that a mediocre prospect was as valuable as Wells given contract issues I suspect in Reagins mind he traded Napoli for a near-star outfielder coming off an .850 OPS season. That abstract player is worth more than Will Middlebrooks.
   44. pkb33 Posted: October 02, 2011 at 04:45 PM (#3948455)
Presumably the problem involved an attempt to execute a three or four way trade and no top Sox prospects.

I doubt Angels were worried about Sox as wild card competition at that point in 2010 season, but it's another theoretical barrier
   45. Darren Posted: October 02, 2011 at 05:06 PM (#3948476)

I think it comes down to how Reagins valued the players involved. While I agree that a mediocre prospect was as valuable as Wells given contract issues I suspect in Reagins mind he traded Napoli for a near-star outfielder coming off an .850 OPS season. That abstract player is worth more than Will Middlebrooks.


But didn't quotes from the time of the trade indicate that they didn't think Napoli was worth his contract? And didn't the immediately dealing of him for a decent reliever reinforce this?
   46. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 02, 2011 at 05:18 PM (#3948482)
But didn't quotes from the time of the trade indicate that they didn't think Napoli was worth his contract? And didn't the immediately dealing of him for a decent reliever reinforce this?


Which "they" are you referring to? I was talking solely about the 2010 non-trade by the Angels to Boston.

My guess is that given how quickly it occurred (as I remember it) that AA had the Napoli/Francisco deal in place before he even completed the Napoli/Wells deal and that the Sox never had a chance to jump in.

But there is a similar issue at play. Francisco is a "Closer" and the Sox didn't have someone like that to deal? They really didn't have an MLB reliever to trade (neither Jenks nor Wheeler would have been eligible to trade and obviously Bard/Papelbon weren't going anywhere. Off the cuff I can't think of anyone the Sox would have had that the Blue Jays would have valued similarly to Francisco.

I'm not saying it was impossible to work out a deal but like I said, I think AA executed this as fundamentally a three team deal (Napoli to TX, Wells to LA, Franccisco to TOR) even if that was not quite how it played out.
   47. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: October 02, 2011 at 05:19 PM (#3948484)
No - it suggests that they valued the reliever highly.
   48. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 02, 2011 at 05:19 PM (#3948486)
One additional thought; given their retention of Varitek over the years I think it's clear that the Sox value a guy who can "handle a pitching staff" in their mind. Whether Varitek really can do that or if it even matters is secondary to the fact that the Sox probably share the Scioscia viewpoint making them less likely to aggressively seek out Napoli.
   49. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 03, 2011 at 01:20 AM (#3949056)
I don't know. He made some clever deals, but he also traded Napoli for Frank Francisco.

Small quibble. He got rid of Vernon Wells. Whatever happens next meant nothing really. That alone will maybe be a trade of the decade. He wanted Arencibia to play everyday.

This strikes me as a bizarre standard. Dumping Wells might have made Anthopoulos popular with his owners and it scored a lot of points with the wannabe GMs on the internet, but from a pure baseball standpoint, Anthopoulos clearly was too clever by half. Aside from immediately trading 5.5-WAR Napoli for 1.1-WAR Francisco, there's no evidence Toronto needed the Wells money for some other use, so, at best, the deal saved his owner some money without making the team any better. This idea that the simple act of dumping Wells makes Anthopoulos the "GM of the year" or "GM of the decade" (as #38 said) while posting back-to-back 4th-place finishes is strange. (I'm not saying this to bash Anthopoulos, because it seems like Toronto is on the right track. I just see an odd disconnect sometimes when the internet intelligentsia starts grading moves like these.)
   50. Danny Posted: October 03, 2011 at 02:04 AM (#3949100)
there's no evidence Toronto needed the Wells money for some other use, so, at best, the deal saved his owner some money without making the team any better

By this logic, there was nothing at all wrong with signing Wells to that huge contract, even in retrospect. It only cost the owner money he didn't need anyway, and Wells is Wells regardless of what he's paid.

If the Yankees sign Pujols to a 10 year deal for $30M this offseason, that would be just as good GMing as if they signed him to a 10 year deal for $300M. After all, there's no evidence the Yankees needed that $270M for some other use. Only wannabe GMs on the internet would be impressed by that deal, which is ultimately worthless from a pure baseball standpoint.

If acquiring Wells and his contract was a bad move (and it quite obviously was), then getting out from under that salary obligation was a good move (and it quite obviously was).
   51. Darren Posted: October 03, 2011 at 02:06 AM (#3949103)
We'll never really know how getting rid of Wells's contract affected the Jays' spending. However, I think the safest bet is that it will give them more money to spend on good players than they would have had otherwise (maybe not the whole $20 mil, but most likely a fair bit). Additionally, if we're evaluating a GM, I'd be inclined to judge him by how well he does his job. His job is do things that are good from a "pure baseball standpoint," but to do things that please his owners.

Aside from immediately trading 5.5-WAR Napoli for 1.1-WAR Francisco, there's no evidence Toronto needed the Wells money for some other use, so, at best, the deal saved his owner some money without making the team any better.


Even if you assume the Wells money went straight into the owners pockets (and didn't, for example, help pay for the Jose Bautista extension that was signed a month after the trade or the Yunel Escobar extension that came 5 months later or ), you still left something out of this equation: Vernon Wells had a -0.3 WAR this year. So even ignoring money, this trade netted the Jays 1.5 WAR for 2011.

It seems like it would take willful ignorance of the economics of baseball (and reality) not to see how this reflects extremely well on AA.
   52. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 03, 2011 at 03:00 AM (#3949169)
If acquiring Wells and his contract was a bad move (and it quite obviously was), then getting out from under that salary obligation was a good move (and it quite obviously was).

It's hardly a news flash that two things can be true at once. Obviously, acquiring the expensive Wells was a horrible move by Reagins and the Angels, and acquiring Wells at the cost of the better and cheaper Mike Napoli made it worse. But dumping Wells did not make the Blue Jays noticeably better, at least not in 2011. All it did was save the owner some money. There's no easy accounting here, but as of today, there's no evidence whatsoever that the money saved with Wells actually led to a direct improvement in the 2011 (or 2012, or beyond) Toronto Blue Jays. It led to a better bottom line for the Blue Jays, but not a better baseball team.

Even if you assume the Wells money went straight into the owners pockets (and didn't, for example, help pay for the Jose Bautista extension that was signed a month after the trade or the Yunel Escobar extension that came 5 months later or ), you still left something out of this equation: Vernon Wells had a -0.3 WAR this year. So even ignoring money, this trade netted the Jays 1.5 WAR for 2011.

The Blue Jays have been spending money like crazy in recent years -- tens of millions in the draft, tens of millions in the Latin market, $10 million for Adeiny Hechavarria. Anthopoulos is also on record as regretting not spending $30-plus million on Chapman. There's simply no evidence that the Wells deal had hamstrung the Jays financially or that the money saved has thus far led to improvements or acquisitions the Jays didn't already have the budgetary capacity to make.

It seems like it would take willful ignorance of the economics of baseball (and reality) not to see how this reflects extremely well on AA.

And it takes willfully misrepresentative accounting to suggest the move improved the Jays' team rather than its bottom line. I understand teams can't be in the business of wasting tens of millions of dollars per year. I don't need that explained to me. I simply object to the idea that someone can be seen as "GM of the year," let alone "GM of the decade," specifically as the result of dumping a player. I also find it laughable that the same people who bash Reagins for "giving away" Napoli don't seem to care that the same thing happened in Toronto -- for a reliever.
   53. Danny Posted: October 03, 2011 at 03:46 AM (#3949218)
Obviously, acquiring the expensive Wells was a horrible move by Reagins and the Angels

This strikes me as a bizarre standard. Acquiring Wells' bloated contract (as opposed to having the Blue Jays pick up nearly all of it) might have made Reagins unpopular with his owners and it cost him a lot of points with the wannabe GMs on the internet, but from a pure baseball standpoint...there's no evidence the Angels needed the Wells money for some other use, so, at worst, taking on the full contract only cost his owner some money without making the team any worse. There's no easy accounting here, but as of today, there's no evidence whatsoever that the money lost with Wells actually led to a direct decline in the 2011 (or 2012, or beyond) LA Angels.

Yes, if we pretend the Blue Jays aren't working under any budget contraints, whatsoever, then the amount of money they spend on players is irrelevant. But that's a silly thing to pretend.
   54. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 03, 2011 at 03:58 AM (#3949236)
This strikes me as a bizarre standard. Acquiring Wells' bloated contract (as opposed to having the Blue Jays pick up nearly all of it) might have made Reagins unpopular with his owners and it cost him a lot of points with the wannabe GMs on the internet, but from a pure baseball standpoint...

As attempts to be cute go, this was unimpressive. I thought it went without saying that it's dumb to trade better, cheaper, and short-term (Napoli) for worse, expensive, and long-term (Wells).

As I thought I made clear above, if I owned the Jays, Anthopoulos would be the Employee of the Year for saving me the $23 million Wells made in 2011. But within the context of MLB, I need to see more than 4th place before I start tossing around titles like "GM of the year" or "GM of the decade."

Jon Daniels acquired roughly $20M in excess value by trading a reliever for Mike Napoli and the Rangers are in the playoffs, and yet we're supposed to buy into the idea of Anthopoulos being "GM of the year" on the basis of dumping Vernon Wells? Sorry, but that's crazy talk.
   55. DA Baracus Posted: October 03, 2011 at 04:08 AM (#3949248)
It would be apocalyptically bad news for the Red Sox.

No way. Theo's a very good GM, but part of being a good GM is building a good organization. That organization would still be there, with one of his lieutenants running it instead. The whole stat focus of the Sox goes all the way up to ownership, so they wouldn't be replacing him with Tony Reagins or something.


I'm surprised no one picked this one up. You're assuming that he would be replaced by someone competent and willing and able to continue the keep the ship going in the same direction. That's a pretty bold assumption.
   56. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 03, 2011 at 04:12 AM (#3949253)
That organization would still be there, with one of his lieutenants running it instead.


Please be Allard Baird.
Please be Allard Baird.
Please be Allard Baird.
   57. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 03, 2011 at 04:20 AM (#3949259)
I'm surprised no one picked this one up. You're assuming that he would be replaced by someone competent and willing and able to continue the keep the ship going in the same direction. That's a pretty bold assumption.

If Epstein leaves, I can't see the odds as being more than 5 percent that anyone other than Ben Cherington is the next GM (unless there's a repeat of 2005 — when presumptive "next Boston GM" Josh Byrnes left for Arizona only days before Epstein shocked everyone and walked away, albeit temporarily — and Cherington leaves first).
   58. Dr. Vaux Posted: October 03, 2011 at 04:35 AM (#3949272)
John Henry isn't going to hire a non-SABR GM, and it seems like it would, indeed, almost certainly be Cherington. Epstein leaving would be no danger to the Red Sox saberness.
   59. Harold can be a fun sponge Posted: October 03, 2011 at 04:41 AM (#3949275)
Jon Daniels acquired roughly $20M in excess value by trading a reliever for Mike Napoli and the Rangers are in the playoffs, and yet we're supposed to buy into the idea of Anthopoulos being "GM of the year" on the basis of dumping Vernon Wells? Sorry, but that's crazy talk.

I agree with your point that one move alone does not make AA GM of the year/decade/whatever, especially when it was coupled with the Napoli/Francisco trade. Daniels deserves a ton of credit for acquiring Napoli, as you say. Really, it's that the whole body of work should be evaluated, rather than any single move in isolation.

AA squandered some of the gains of the Wells/Napoli trade by dealing Napoli for Francisco. But he did (presumably) use that money to extend Bautista and Betancourt. We'll need to see how these deals play out (both of them are very hard to project, so I don't know how any of *us* can evaluate those extensions yet); but a few years from now, AA's 2011 work might look fantastic (if not optimal, since he could've kept Napoli as well).
   60. Harold can be a fun sponge Posted: October 03, 2011 at 04:44 AM (#3949278)
'm surprised no one picked this one up. You're assuming that he would be replaced by someone competent and willing and able to continue the keep the ship going in the same direction. That's a pretty bold assumption.

It's not an assumption -- it's his whole point. That Theo would leave behind a solid organization, and that ownership would be able to promote Cherington and still rely on him and the rest of the org to stay on their plans without major disruption.
   61. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 03, 2011 at 05:05 AM (#3949287)
I agree with your point that one move alone does not make AA GM of the year/decade/whatever, especially when it was coupled with the Napoli/Francisco trade.

All of this is academic. It's just funny how certain MLB execs have periods in which they're bulletproof, and also funny how some people are quick to toss principles out the window when they become inconvenient.

Depending on how much stock one puts in WAR, and given what happened in the A.L. East over the last 4-5 weeks of the season, it's more than plausible that trading Napoli cost the Jays a run at the playoffs in 2011 (i.e., a chance to make things interesting). But not only is it essentially verboten to mention this, but people keep spinning the whole transaction as a stroke of genius, up to and including the "GM of the decade" hype.
   62. Harold can be a fun sponge Posted: October 03, 2011 at 05:56 AM (#3949297)
But not only is it essentially verboten to mention this, but people keep spinning the whole transaction as a stroke of genius, up to and including the "GM of the decade" hype.

I understand the latter point, but I don't see how it's verboten to say *anything* on Primer.

The reason people disagreed with you is not that it's verboten to say anything negative about AA, but because you said that the money saved only helped ownership's bottom line, and not the baseball team. That's definitely a disputable point.
   63. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 03, 2011 at 06:07 AM (#3949300)
I understand the latter point, but I don't see how it's verboten to say *anything* on Primer.

Ha ha. No, I didn't mean at BBTF specifically. I was making a general point that right now, Toronto seems to be the "it" team around MLB, and saying anything negative can make you the MLB equivalent of a birther. There are some Jays sites on which Jim Jones could have done some serious recruiting.
   64. Chicago Joe Posted: October 03, 2011 at 07:44 AM (#3949308)
Toronto seems to be the "it" team around MLB, and saying anything negative can make you the MLB equivalent of a birther.


Where do you get this idea? On Jays sites? One would hope the Jays would be popular on sites which support them.
   65. Greg K Posted: October 03, 2011 at 08:28 AM (#3949311)
I don't think anyone denies Napoli/Francisco was a bad trade. There might be some defences of the logic behind it (ie. Jays had their catcher plan already, really needed relievers), but even the biggest AA fanboy has to admit it was a poor trade. Full disclosure, I'm a pretty big fan of AA and I was a bit disappointed with the Napoli aspect of the deal at the time.

But taken as a whole I don't see how AA's tenure hasn't been great so far. Bautista extension, Escobar (thankfully NOT Betancourt) trade and extension, Rasmus trade (which doesn't look great so far, but potential to be great), Wells dumping. The Kelly Johnson trade may end up not meaning anything, but if it helps the Jays sign him at all I like it.

You are certainly right that the Jays have been spending a lot of money on the draft and international signings lately, but they've also cut MLB payroll for three years running. I think it's pretty obvious that Toronto has a limited budget and what we're seeing is a shifting of resources from one aspect of the team to another, not just the owners (who since Rogers passed away have seemed to prioritize making money more than that old softy) throwing money around without a care in the world. As pointed out above the extensions to Bautista and Escobar right after the Wells trade should be seen in this context. I just don't see how Vernon Wells' contract can be treated independently from these other costs.
   66. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: October 03, 2011 at 09:18 AM (#3949314)
Am I the only one who remembers Jim Bowden's name tossed around as a candidate when Theo left for a month? I think Lucchino was supposedly high on him. It could have been a big joke. Anyway, I do think that Epstein's departure has the potential to hurt the team for the simple reason he might take some very valuable scouts and other personnel with him.
   67. Juan V Posted: October 03, 2011 at 09:58 AM (#3949318)
Well, you don't see a Red Sox thread hijacked by Blue Jays talk everyday...
   68. Danny Posted: October 03, 2011 at 03:30 PM (#3949498)
As I thought I made clear above, if I owned the Jays, Anthopoulos would be the Employee of the Year for saving me the $23 million Wells made in 2011. But within the context of MLB, I need to see more than 4th place before I start tossing around titles like "GM of the year" or "GM of the decade."

If you want to argue against Snapper of whoever proclaiming AA the GM of the year or decade, that's great. I won't disagree with you. If you want to argue that flipping Napoli for the chair tosser should get more attention as a bad move, I'm there with you.

But when you argue that dumping $80M of dead weight from the payroll is unrelated to putting a good team on the field, you're arguing that 1) the Jays owners are just going to pocket that money instead of reinvesting in the team, or 2) the Jays owners have given AA an infinite budget. You've argued directly against (1), and you can't possibly believe (2). You're basically saying that money means nothing to the Jays--that signing Wells-clone to an $80M contract last winter wouldn't have any impact on their ability to put a good team on the field going forward.
   69. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 03, 2011 at 07:41 PM (#3949740)
But when you argue that dumping $80M of dead weight from the payroll is unrelated to putting a good team on the field, you're arguing that 1) the Jays owners are just going to pocket that money instead of reinvesting in the team, or 2) the Jays owners have given AA an infinite budget. You've argued directly against (1), and you can't possibly believe (2). You're basically saying that money means nothing to the Jays--that signing Wells-clone to an $80M contract last winter wouldn't have any impact on their ability to put a good team on the field going forward.

I never said "money means nothing"; I simply said dumping Wells did not lead to a noticeably better Jays team in 2011. It might somehow lead to a better team in 2012 or 2013 or sometime beyond that, but simply assuming that dumping Wells leads to a better team is bad logic.

Again, I understand full well that teams can't waste tens of millions of dollars per year and expect to sustain success, but it always amazes me that so many people care more about spending efficiency than they do about wins and losses. When everything is said and done, it's possible that trading Napoli will be a bigger negative than dumping Wells was a positive, at least where 2011 and 2012 are concerned. My point about the Jays in 2011 is borderline irrefutable — not only did the Jays not improve, but they regressed in the win column — while others' assumptions about a "better" Jays team moving forward are, at this point, entirely hypothetical.
   70. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: October 03, 2011 at 07:49 PM (#3949748)
I'd summarize Joe's position: Athpolous gave himself a great chance to remake the Jays into a better team by dumping the Wells contract, though AA has yet to turn that opportunity into actions that will make that happen. That seems fairly reasonable (though it ignores the Bautista extension, which could well be a fantastically good start toward that).
   71. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 03, 2011 at 08:19 PM (#3949787)
John Henry isn't going to hire a non-SABR GM, and it seems like it would, indeed, almost certainly be Cherington. Epstein leaving would be no danger to the Red Sox saberness.

OK, but there are some non-SABR aspects of the GM job, no? If Epstein leaves, I suspect things become more difficult for 2012, and perhaps longer. Changing Manager & GM in an offseason is a pretty big organizational shock. If Epstein goes to Chicago, he probably brings in some new people to help him. Many are likely to be from the Red Sox, one would think, since that is the organization Epstein knows best. Could be a lot of ripple effects.

Just because Theo is succeeded by one of his aides, doesn't mean they get the same results.
   72. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 03, 2011 at 08:26 PM (#3949794)
I appreciate your deep concern for the Red Sox organization, YC. Your viewpoint, though entirely monotonous, is nonetheless always appreciated.
   73. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 03, 2011 at 08:27 PM (#3949796)
If you want to argue against Snapper of whoever proclaiming AA the GM of the year or decade, that's great.

If he had eaten $30M on Wells contract and gotten Jeff Mathis back, we'd have hailed AA as a genius.

He created soemthing like $120M of surplus value in a single trade.

Yeah, he pissed away $20-30M of it with the Napoli trade. That sucked. Loved and love Napoli. Dumb ass trade.

Still, he bought himself $25M of payroll room for each of the next 3 years. That's simply huge.
   74. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 03, 2011 at 08:40 PM (#3949803)
I appreciate your deep concern for the Red Sox organization, YC. Your viewpoint, though entirely monotonous, is nonetheless always appreciated.

OK, hiring Cherington will solve all problems. Nothing to worry about at all. Don't give it a second thought.
   75. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 03, 2011 at 08:49 PM (#3949813)
My fear with a Theo for Cherington exchange is that Cherington won't be able to say "no" to Henry, Lucchino and Werner. Not that the Sox have gone the pauper route in recent years but it is possible that some truly terrible moves (e.g. punting on guys like Lester, Buchholz and Pedroia after early career struggles) because Theo said "no, be patient" have been avoided.

Purely conjecture on my part but I'm fearful that Theo leaving creates a bolder and more hands on Luchhino to the detriment of the club.

Or maybe not.
   76. Textbook Editor Posted: October 03, 2011 at 08:53 PM (#3949817)
I agree with the position that Cherington seems likely to get the nod if Theo leaves. I have no idea if this will be a bad/good thing, but it's not like they got a retread the last time, and things worked out OK.

For manager, though... awfully strange names being through about. Bochy? Wedge? (Both per Extra Bases blog)--bleh... Especially Wedge--double bleh.

Maddon would be an interesting choice but he's signed through 2012 and I'm dead certain compensation would be involved--perhaps more than we'd want to lose.
   77. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 03, 2011 at 08:56 PM (#3949821)
If Epstein goes to Chicago, he probably brings in some new people to help him.


I've seen this in a couple of places and I don't know that it's as big a concern as it would appear. Again, just my own assumption but my sense is that the Sox failings (to the extent a 90 win team 'failed') are based on a less than impressive infrastructure. Looking at the systematic problems;

- big ticket free agents
- medical problems
- defensive positioning

I wonder how much of that is guys none of us have ever heard of. There is a part of me that thinks that everyone below Theo in the organization needs to be cleaned out. Maybe I'm wrong but I see an organization with what appears to be a very smart guy running the show making a lot of bad decisions. That makes me feel like there is a large GIGO issue in play here.
   78. Textbook Editor Posted: October 03, 2011 at 08:58 PM (#3949823)
Purely conjecture on my part but I'm fearful that Theo leaving creates a bolder and more hands on Luchhino to the detriment of the club.


Do we think Crawford was a Theo signing, or a Luchhino-influenced one? If I had to guess, I'd say the latter... If you look at position players they've signed as FA's, he doesn't at all fit even the rudimentary OBP profile you normally expect of guys that are signed. (I mean, I think Drew was signed almost solely for his defense and OBP, not because Theo expected his power to explode or anything else.)

Could Theo have been calling out Luchhino with his "We have to reevaluate our process for signing big free agents." (I'm paraphrasing) quote last week? It's possible... though that could also mean there's 1 foot out the door and it's sort of a bit of advice to Cherington...
   79. Starlin of the Slipstream (TRHN) Posted: October 03, 2011 at 09:03 PM (#3949827)
Napoli's WAR bounced around between 1.7 and 2.6 from 2007 to 2010. Sure, he was part time--and injured, if I'm remembering correctly--but it seemed as if the more he played (2009-2010) the worse his numbers got.

It was a bad deal because AA got a reliever and the odds were tilted towards receiving less expected value than he gave up at the time. Also, Napoli's pretty cool even as a 120 OPS+ 1B/Dh/C. But how the heck was AA supposed to know that Napoli's batting average would jump 82 points from 2010 (or 69 points over his career average through 2010)? I mean it looks quite a bit worse now than it did at the time.
   80. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 04, 2011 at 03:23 AM (#3950302)
It was a bad deal because AA got a reliever and the odds were tilted towards receiving less expected value than he gave up at the time. Also, Napoli's pretty cool even as a 120 OPS+ 1B/Dh/C. But how the heck was AA supposed to know that Napoli's batting average would jump 82 points from 2010 (or 69 points over his career average through 2010)? I mean it looks quite a bit worse now than it did at the time.

In an offense-starved era, trading two years of a cheap 25-homer guy for one year of a reliever was a bad move, regardless of any unforeseen spike in Napoli's 2011 numbers.

My main point in all of this is simply that it's far too early to slap the "genius" label on the Wells/Napoli transactions. All we know, right now, is that Toronto saved $23 million in cash in 2011 by dumping (-0.3-WAR) Wells, and then it flushed a potential ~ $21 million in excess production down the sewer by dumping Napoli, for a net gain of ~ $2M in 2011. Until we see what Wells and Napoli do over the next couple of years, coupled with whatever Toronto does with the Wells savings, all of the big gains are hypothetical at best.

It's fun to debate moves like this within the context of payroll efficiency, but the bottom line thus far is that the 2011 Jays regressed by 4 wins from 2010 (and even more in Pythag). Again, I'm not trying to bash Anthopoulos here; I'm simply objecting to the notion of him being "GM of the year" on the basis of the Wells deal (or even on the totality of the Jays' 2011, given their final W-L).
   81. robinred Posted: October 04, 2011 at 05:31 AM (#3950411)
Do we think Crawford was a Theo signing, or a Luchhino-influenced one? If I had to guess, I'd say the latter...


Perhaps, but I doubt it. I think one reason Lucchino has been so successful is that he seldom goes beyond his purview. in SD he was known for that.
   82. mex4173 Posted: October 04, 2011 at 03:13 PM (#3950591)
IIRC the Jays did take on Teahan's salary as part of the Rasmus trade.
   83. Lassus Posted: October 04, 2011 at 03:37 PM (#3950613)
Maybe Theo would be better off with less money to spend. The Red Sox's record on big-money FA signings is abysmal.

I'm late to this, but TWO FREAKING WORLD SERIES. Jeebus.
   84. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: October 04, 2011 at 04:17 PM (#3950671)
I'm late to this, but TWO FREAKING WORLD SERIES. Jeebus.

I, for one, encourage all Red Sox fans to get behind a groundswell to see Theo leave.
   85. Ebessan Posted: October 04, 2011 at 11:27 PM (#3951252)
For manager, though... awfully strange names being through about. Bochy? Wedge? (Both per Extra Bases blog)--bleh... Especially Wedge--double bleh.

Eww. Do three teams really need to board the Eric Wedge bullet train to zeroville?
   86. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: October 04, 2011 at 11:40 PM (#3951263)
Bochy got good press in Boston, IINM (before Francona joined the team).
   87. ray james Posted: October 04, 2011 at 11:52 PM (#3951280)
Just because Theo is succeeded by one of his aides, doesn't mean they get the same results.


If Epstein is fired, do you think the Red Sox will want to hire a GM that will yield the same results? If so, then what's the point of firing him in the first place?
   88. Biscuit_pants Posted: October 05, 2011 at 12:16 AM (#3951355)
and I'd guess the Red Sox have substantially outspent the Cubs in scouting, development, Latin market, etc.
I don't know the numbers but I would be surprised if they spent a whole lot more in the Latin market, and possibly the scouting department.
   89. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 05, 2011 at 12:36 AM (#3951391)
Cubs have asked for permission to talk to Epstein, according to MLB Network.
   90. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 05, 2011 at 12:47 AM (#3951408)
Still, he bought himself $25M of payroll room for each of the next 3 years. That's simply huge.


If he uses it to best advantage. If it simply goes back to Rogers and isn't reinvested in the team, then it's not huge.

-- MWE
   91. Famous Original Joe C Posted: October 05, 2011 at 01:01 AM (#3951459)
Red Sox fan here; while Theo has whiffed on a few free agents, and this year ended poorly, I want him to stay 100%.
   92. Darren Posted: October 07, 2011 at 11:44 PM (#3955746)

If he uses it to best advantage. If it simply goes back to Rogers and isn't reinvested in the team, then it's not huge.


It's still pretty huge. It's just not what Jays fans want it to be used for. As a GM, your job is to give your bosses the best team you can for the budget they provide. If the Jays cut their budget by $25 mil, this move will allow AA to give them a similar or better tean than they had at a higher price.

And don't forget, dropping Wells means there is room to play Thames and Rasmus next year.
   93. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 08, 2011 at 01:23 AM (#3956179)
It's still pretty huge. It's just not what Jays fans want it to be used for. As a GM, your job is to give your bosses the best team you can for the budget they provide. If the Jays cut their budget by $25 mil, this move will allow AA to give them a similar or better tean than they had at a higher price.

There's no evidence that Anthopoulos was under the gun to dump Wells and/or create payroll flexibility. As discussed above, dumping Wells was an Employee of the Year-type move within the Jays organization, not an Executive of the Year-type move within MLB. Now, if Anthopoulos had dumped Wells and then used the $20M to add players for 2011 who then added wins to the win column, that would be different.
   94. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: October 08, 2011 at 01:45 AM (#3956215)
joe, who's your exec of the year? i haven't made a list (yet), if i did aa would be on the short list for a top spot.
   95. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 08, 2011 at 01:48 AM (#3956224)
As a GM, your job is to give your bosses the best team you can for the budget they provide.


Horsehockey; your job is to build a winner regardless of your budget. It's about maximizing wins, not dollars per win. If you convert Vernon Wells into an equivalent number of wins for $25 million less, that's a good thing - but you haven't made your team any better. And if you take that money out of your ballclub entirely, you're still not any better.

-- MWE
   96. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 08, 2011 at 02:06 AM (#3956258)
Trading Vernon Wells for Mike Napoli is a great trade. That AA traded Napoli for Francisco afterwards doesn't make the Wells trade any less of a greet trade.

I look at Toronto and I see a club that extended Bautisa, added Rasmus and unloaded a terrible contract in the past year. The Toronto Blue Jays are better today than they were twelve months ago.
   97. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 08, 2011 at 02:27 AM (#3956292)
Trading Vernon Wells for Mike Napoli is a great trade. That AA traded Napoli for Francisco afterwards doesn't make the Wells trade any less of a greet trade.

Right, but you also can't pretend the Napoli/Francisco deal didn't happen, especially when it comes time to pass out Exec of the Year awards. If I sell an old clunker for $50,000 and then toss the cash down a sewer grate three hours later, that takes some of the shine off the earlier brilliance.

Again, I'm not trying to bash Anthopoulos here. I'm simply pointing out that the accounting on these deals can't be closed out for several more years. Gaining payroll flexibility is great, but it doesn't, in and of itself, make a team better. (And looking at the 2011 AL East standings tells us as much.)

joe, who's your exec of the year? i haven't made a list (yet), if i did aa would be on the short list for a top spot.

I didn't have a specific Exec of the Year in mind during this thread; I mostly just compared Anthopoulos' 2011 to that of the various other GMs whose names were mentioned, and I had Anthopoulos losing most of the ensuing head-to-head match-ups.

After thinking about your question, with a bias toward success in 2011 but with consideration given to possible future impact, I'd award Exec of the Year trophies to Jon Daniels (AL) and Doug Melvin (NL).

In rough order, the Honorable Mentions would be Friedman, Amaro, Dombrowski, Towers, and Anthopoulos. I'd entertain some debate about the order of the latter three, but I just can't put a 4th-place GM higher than No. 5 on the (overall) list, at least not this year. (And guys like Wren might deserve more consideration than I gave them in this quick reply.)
   98. Darren Posted: October 08, 2011 at 02:46 AM (#3956374)
Right, but you also can't pretend the Napoli/Francisco deal didn't happen, especially when it comes time to pass out Exec of the Year awards. If I sell an old clunker for $50,000 and then toss the cash down a sewer grate three hours later, that takes some of the shine off the earlier brilliance.


Right, but it's been demonstrated to you over and over again that he didn't "toss the cash down the sewer gate"--he threw a small portion of it down the grate. In your analogy, you've decided that the rest of the $50,000 doesn't matter because you might not spend it on another car.
   99. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 08, 2011 at 03:06 AM (#3956484)
Right, but it's been demonstrated to you over and over again that he didn't "toss the cash down the sewer gate"--he threw a small portion of it down the grate. In your analogy, you've decided that the rest of the $50,000 doesn't matter because you might not spend it on another car.

No, it's been claimed, not demonstrated. (And, in fact, the "rest of the $50,000" doesn't matter if it's never spent in a way that adds wins to TOR's win column.)

Anyway, all I've done in this thread is analyze the facts at hand rather than make wild assumptions about possible future returns on money that hasn't even been spent yet.

In 2011, Toronto saved $18 million in cash by trading Wells (i.e., Wells' $23M 2011 salary minus $5M cash sent to LAA), and then the Jays turned around and sent ~ $21 million in excess production to Texas in the Napoli-for-Francisco trade. At best, the two deals were a wash in 2011, and an argument can be made that TOR is slightly underwater at the moment. (And on the whole for 2011, the Jays were definitely underwater, as they regressed in both the win column and Pythag.)

Beyond 2011, it's all speculation. We need to see what Napoli and Wells do in 2012 and beyond, and we need to see how the money the Jays recouped by dumping Wells is spent, before the accounting can be closed and winners declared. As I said above or in another thread here, overvaluing hypothetical future impact is a major inefficiency at the moment among the baseball punditry. Payroll flexibility gives the Jays the chance to get better; it does not make them better.

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