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Friday, August 22, 2014

Reddit AMA: Thad Levine (Rangers assistant GM)

Look at your team. Now back at me. Your players are now injured.

How difficult has social media made it to keep trade or signing negotiations private? Has this impacted your approach to these things?

You identified one of our biggest challenges. This has impacted us unfortunately quite negatively. Used to be that we could tell all the players involved in trades before it became public. Now, that is extremely difficult to do. Last year, Ian Kinsler found out through the media that he had been traded. We felt awful, but someone called the media literally before we were able to complete a call to Ian.

That being said, at the trade deadline, we are all on twitter, because you may be surprised how many trade discussions are inspired or refined by tweets

How much information do teams have access to beyond what we have as fans through sites like B-Ref, Fangraphs, and so on?

Those sites, and others, have done such a phenomenal job. I believe that is why you see so many clubs hiring their employees. Really the only thing that we have access to that they do not is an extensive database from our scouts. We use those sites extensively in our analysis.

What do you think will be the biggest changes/points of discussion with the next CBA?...

...I believe that the next CBA will be centered around discussions about a World Wide Draft and further means to keep payrolls in check on the high end and competitive on the low end.

...How do the Rangers feel about the way Michael Young and Ian Kinsler were handled in the public eye? Those two were incredibly passionate for the Rangers and it looked like they loved this city and team, but it felt very unceremonious when both of them were traded away. Some people observe loyalty as quality in a franchise over winning. How do you balance the wins and keeping the leaders of the clubhouse around?...

I think that you have identified one of our biggest challenges. We have always aspired to have as many impact players year to year, but never aspired to have the same players. That being said, we have learned from every move that we have made and especially those two.

Do you like the “blocking the home plate” rule?

I do not, More importantly, none of our catchers do either. I would expect that it will be modified this off season.

Seems as if the Rangers have always favored the high ceiling flawed player over the lower floor lower ceiling types. Any truth to that?

That is a very accurate assessment

The District Attorney Posted: August 22, 2014 at 05:54 PM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: rangers, thad levine

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   1. PreservedFish Posted: August 22, 2014 at 09:17 PM (#4777529)
That being said, at the trade deadline, we are all on twitter, because you may be surprised how many trade discussions are inspired or refined by tweets


I remember reading about an NBA deal that was inspired by a blog post. It was like, "the Hawks should sign this guy," and the GM admitted that he hadn't really thought of it until he read the blog.
   2. BDC Posted: August 22, 2014 at 09:26 PM (#4777534)
Kinsler could be the first baseman for the Rangers today - heck, probably still the second baseman - if he was so passionate about DFW.

Young could have stayed too if he'd defied aging and stayed good :)
   3. JE (Jason) Posted: August 22, 2014 at 10:31 PM (#4777560)
Do you like the “blocking the home plate” rule?

I do not, More importantly, none of our catchers do either. I would expect that it will be modified this off season.

The prediction from Levine surprises me a little. If several other teams agree with this view, why did MLB choose to push through the rule change without seeking a consensus first?
   4. ReggieThomasLives Posted: August 24, 2014 at 02:53 PM (#4778148)
The prediction from Levine surprises me a little. If several other teams agree with this view, why did MLB choose to push through the rule change without seeking a consensus first?


This is not good news IMHO. I was hoping they'd fix the rule by fully adopting standard amateur rules which seemed more commonsensical(?). Now it seems like they'll go backwards to maintain a "tradition" of plate collisions that somehow only started in the last 40 years or so, instead of doing their best to keep their best players healthy.

This reminds me of what I believe the UFC's biggest problem is. Their championship fights are so tough and brutal that it seems like their biggest gate attractions only end up fighting 1-2 times per year, with the long recovery periods and all the fights delayed due to training injuries.

And "We have always aspired to have as many impact players year to year, but never aspired to have the same players" seems like a very blunt thing to say publicly, even if it makes sense.
   5. Win Big Stein's Money Posted: August 24, 2014 at 03:12 PM (#4778159)
our jobs also require us to scout each GM. So depending on which GM you are negotiating with, the discussion will go differently. In the case that you mentioned, Dave Dombrowski is extremely well respected and typically for clear at what he is prepared to do and what he is prepared not to do, so negotiations with Detroit are always very smooth.


"Ruben Amaro, on the other hand, needs to hit the objective pipe."
   6. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: August 24, 2014 at 04:45 PM (#4778205)
This reminds me of what I believe the UFC's biggest problem is.


The UFCs biggest problem is they're a pro-wrestling promotion built on shoots.
   7. A Fatty Cow That Need Two Seats Posted: August 24, 2014 at 04:48 PM (#4778209)
Great excerpts, TDA. Thanks for posting.
   8. The District Attorney Posted: August 24, 2014 at 06:33 PM (#4778251)
#7: No prob!

Bill James in his mailbag today surprised me by going even further than Levine above.
I would say generally that ALMOST everything significant in our field has been discovered first by public analysts, and that (so far) internal analysts have yet to contribute anything meaningful.
   9. bread and rice Posted: August 25, 2014 at 01:16 PM (#4778643)
(so far) internal analysts have yet to contribute anything meaningful.


And yet, he continues to draw pay from the Red Sox?

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