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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Moving Forward

There have been very few TO updates since I started contributing to ESPN this past winter.  I’ve been pondering what approach to take as there are going to be some transactions that will be written for ESPN and not here (like the Howard signing) as a result of the exclusivity clause in my contract.  Rather than update things without a clear plan of what to do in those instances, I just left everything in limbo.

At this point, I’m still unsure what approach to take is best, so I thought I’d open the conversation up to the readership to see what you guys would like to see.  I’m referring to blog entries that I can’t write here, not all of them.

- Don’t write entries for those certain signings at all - link to ESPN article and aggregate links to analysis of the signing in question.
- Bring in a regular person or two as backups for those particular signings.
- Bring in a variety of people to write single entries, depending on the teams in question.

I’m leaning towards a hybrid of 1 and 3, linking the ESPN article on the subject and bringing in independent writers based on the teams involved in the transaction.  And if the community is in favor of this idea, would people prefer to see entries written by better-known writers that you’re already comfortable with or use those entries as opportunities to showcase writers of less prominent blogs that would benefit from exposure.

Any and all feedback is welcome, assuming it’s not simply telling me that I’m a sell-out.  I’ve already gotten enough e-mails in that vein, so I personally feel that argument has been fully presented and exhausted.

Dan Szymborski Posted: May 18, 2010 at 02:50 PM | 33 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Barnaby Jones Posted: May 18, 2010 at 04:03 PM (#3535587)
SELLOUT
   2. flournoy Posted: May 18, 2010 at 04:03 PM (#3535590)
This may sound more negative than I mean it to, but I just wouldn't bother with anything. The Transaction Oracle has grown redundant. In the case of the Howard signing, there were several articles posted about the very topic, in which everyone could voice their opinions. Just write for ESPN and submit your own articles to be posted here.
   3. Barnaby Jones Posted: May 18, 2010 at 04:05 PM (#3535591)
Ahem, I meant to say, the amalgam of 1 and 3 would be workable, methinks. This is your space after all; no reason not to link to your ESPN work. Having pinch hitters write up entries could also be good, assuming they aren't terrible people with terrible souls.
   4. Swedish Chef Posted: May 18, 2010 at 04:06 PM (#3535595)
In the case of the Howard signing, there were several articles posted about the very topic, in which everyone could voice their opinions.

But none had ZiPS... or Billy!
   5. Guapo Posted: May 18, 2010 at 04:09 PM (#3535598)
Are you allowed to post ZIPS projections for players here, or does that fall under the exclusivity clause? I like the ZIPS projections.

I vote for less prominent authors.
   6. Paul D(uda) Posted: May 18, 2010 at 04:13 PM (#3535601)
I love the TO and would like to see it continue in some form. I think a rotating cast of TO writers could work. Perhaps even some back and forth between fans of the two teams.
   7. Russ Posted: May 18, 2010 at 04:13 PM (#3535603)
I agree that 1 and 3 are better. And people who think you are a sellout are just economically illiterate ####### anyways.
   8. zenbitz Posted: May 18, 2010 at 04:14 PM (#3535605)
It's quite a quandary. I am very comfortable with Dan Symborinski of BBTF telling me what to think about a given transaction... ESPN, not so much.
   9. Randy Jones Posted: May 18, 2010 at 04:14 PM (#3535607)
Will ESPN let you post stuff like this? If not, you need to keep posting to the TO.

Also, you're a sellout.
   10. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: May 18, 2010 at 04:16 PM (#3535609)
How come when a baseball game Sells Out it's a good thing, but when Dan Sells Out it's a bad thing?

Seriously, 1 and 3.
   11. SoSH U at work Posted: May 18, 2010 at 04:21 PM (#3535616)
Is your TO stuff at ESPN behind the pay wall?
   12. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: May 18, 2010 at 05:58 PM (#3535787)
1 and 3 (ESPN links would be to non-Insider stuff, right?) Guapo's ZiPS question (@5) is a good one, of course.

As for which writers, I dunno. Team specific writers tend not to give the best analyses (as a general rule / from my experience), but are more likely to bring forth some evidence/reasoning that's less obvious. (After all, 90% of the time, 90% of us will agree on the merits of a given move, with groupthink and all that.)
   13. Dan Szymborski Posted: May 18, 2010 at 06:42 PM (#3535830)
Again, I need to stress that this isn't something that would come up all the time. I've written far more generally than I normally do on TO - only a single article so far has been about a particular transaction. It's not a situation like, for example, Dodger Thoughts, in which the content of the blog was completely moved over to ESPN.

I do want to formulate a plan, however, for the scattered times that they come up.

My ESPN stuff is behind the pay wall, so it is not linked regularly on BTF. I'm told that I'm a doofus by a lot of people for my extreme caution in this matter (including Jim) and that after a decade, I've certainly earned the right to publicize my work on a website I partly own, but I'm still skittish about it.

The general projections aren't something that are affected by my contract at all. Now, for example, I recently projected the likelihood of various hitters making HR #763, but that's not part of the usual ZiPS package you guys get (and I can repost even that data in 45 days).

I really appreciate all the feedback guys. I'd love for you guys to read my stuff at ESPN (there are occasionally sales at various places that allow you got get a year of Insider and Mag for as little as $4) and Perpetual Post, but I understand that not everyone is going to want to!

I have no plans to simply discontinue the blog unless things changed to a degree that my paid writing *is* seriously disruptive, which it isn't yet.
   14. Walt Davis Posted: May 18, 2010 at 06:48 PM (#3535835)
I’m leaning towards a hybrid of 1 and 3

Option J Dan, always Option J.

See how well it worked for Steve Phillips.
   15. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: May 18, 2010 at 07:24 PM (#3535869)
#2

What made TO so enjoyable was the occasional continuity between related (even if tangentially) transactions. If a single person can't write them, then perhaps there might be some continuity if it was just one or two regular guests (ideally a long-established Primer regular, like Walt Davis).
   16. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: May 18, 2010 at 07:33 PM (#3535885)
I'd also like you to publicize the heck of what you're doing, Dan. It took you awhile to earn my trust as a projector, but now you've got it and I'd like to keep abreast of your doings.
   17. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: May 18, 2010 at 08:42 PM (#3535960)
My ESPN stuff is behind the pay wall, so it is not linked regularly on BTF.

Oh, I wasn't even aware you were writing for TWWL. In that case, SELLOUT!!!!! ;)
   18. Nineto Lezcano needs to get his shit together (CW) Posted: May 18, 2010 at 08:48 PM (#3535966)
In defense of selling out - you get paid for it!
   19. Dan Szymborski Posted: May 18, 2010 at 08:50 PM (#3535969)
As Colin notes, that's the best part of selling out!
   20. asinwreck Posted: May 18, 2010 at 09:03 PM (#3535987)
Will ESPN let you post stuff like this? If not, you need to keep posting to the TO.


I knew that would be the Alomar entry before I even clicked on it. And I agree. Link when necessary, write new entries here when appropriate.
   21. Swedish Chef Posted: May 18, 2010 at 09:08 PM (#3535996)
As Colin notes, that's the best part of selling out!
*** Processing inappropriate message with Publitek PR filter v2.98
Dan Szymborski: "The money isn't important, the important thing that I'm really excited about is to spread awareness of advanced stats to and entertain the readers of ESPN's multiple award winning premium site and associated properties."
*** Finished processing
   22. Freeballin' (Tales of Met Power) Posted: May 18, 2010 at 09:12 PM (#3536003)
Maybe you could just do fake transactions like the Mets signing Bengie Molina?
   23. fra paolo Posted: May 18, 2010 at 09:15 PM (#3536009)
Honestly, it comes down to the ZiPS. If your deal with ESPN involves embargoing the ZiPS, it's not even worth posting T.O. any more. Just implement Operation Shutdown and get on with Selling Out properly.

However, if you can give us updated ZiPS, post them without comment, and leave it for the rest of us to hold a discussion here if we want. You can put a link to your ESPN article, and those of us who pay can go look.

Frankly, I know it's great to sell out, but the reality is you can't adopt some goofy halfway house which probably won't work very well and lead to your core audience drifting away gradually.

'We must grasp the nettle even though it makes our hands bleed. Only through pain can tomorrow be assured.'
   24. Dan Szymborski Posted: May 18, 2010 at 09:48 PM (#3536045)
If your deal with ESPN involves embargoing the ZiPS, it's not even worth posting T.O. any more.

Heck, you don't even need me now to get the ZiPS - Fangraphs has updated ZiPS projections every morning!


Frankly, I know it's great to sell out, but the reality is you can't adopt some goofy halfway house which probably won't work very well and lead to your core audience drifting away gradually.


Well, if it came to that extreme, I definitely agree, but as of right now, we're just talking about a very occasional post. I feel it's workable and want to go that way as long as there's general agreement in the community.

Maybe you could just do fake transactions like the Mets signing Bengie Molina?

No fair! I thought that was a done deal!
   25. CraigK Posted: May 18, 2010 at 11:51 PM (#3536171)
I'd prefer getting some knowledgeable people to do the smaller stuff, perhaps one person per team, and have you chime in on the big blockbusters.
   26. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: May 19, 2010 at 12:03 AM (#3536186)
How about this...

Run an OOTP League and then post analysis of the transactions. We'll just pretend that they're from the Lost Flash Sideways dimension.
   27. Dan The Mediocre Posted: May 19, 2010 at 12:07 AM (#3536192)
I'll do some Transaction Oracles. And since my first name is also Dan, maybe people won't notice!

And I can always steal Rest of Season ZiPS projections from Fangraphs.
   28. Walt Davis Posted: May 19, 2010 at 12:52 AM (#3536275)
(ideally a long-established Primer regular, like Walt Davis).

Only under 5 conditions:

1. Everybody agrees with whatever I write;
2. I don't have to defend the (so far perfectly accurate if not overly optimistic) Zobrist projection;
3. It pays a lot more than I think it does;
4. The Mets continue to start Francoeur, Dayton Moore remains the Royals' GM and somebody employs Sir Sidney so I can have some cheap targets for jokes;
5. Billy stays on as artistic director.
   29. I Am Not a Number Posted: May 19, 2010 at 11:01 PM (#3537312)
It used to be all about the music, man.
   30. karkface killah Posted: May 20, 2010 at 04:24 PM (#3537911)
Maybe the final TO should be an entry about your signing with ESPN?

Also, congrats on the move, Dan. Let all those hippies calling you a sell-out keep banging on the bongos.
   31. John M. Perkins Posted: May 20, 2010 at 07:00 PM (#3538070)
ZiPS from Fangraphs posted by Mediocre.
Primate comments including comments by Dan Szymborski whenever he wishes.
   32. RedRobot8 Posted: May 22, 2010 at 07:15 PM (#3539817)
Dan, just stick with Option #1. Transaction Oracle is your thing, and bringing in other writers just dilutes your brand. Other good writers will get their analysis out there whether or not it falls under the TO banner, and we are all skilled enough at the internets to find what we are looking for.
   33. Tuque Posted: May 22, 2010 at 07:54 PM (#3539836)
It used to be all about the music, man.

nice

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