An assortment of seemingly random baseball thoughts
Everyone is going to be wrong about the Cubs managerial hire
There are a few things we can look at when we evaluate managers. We can look at bullpen usage, we can look at lineup construction and we can even look at second and third order winning percentage. What we can't look at is how a manager deals with the day to day operations of managing a baseball team. I hear it's pretty tough. So while we'd like to assume that we know what a good hire would be and what a bad hire would be I think we all have to admit that we all just have varying levels of comfort when it comes to the candidates. Ultimately there's so much that goes into being a manager that we'll never know and any analysis from the outside will be problematic and likely just wrong.
Cardinals and Red Sox are not the antithesis of Moneyball
There have been a few stories going around about how this World Series match up flies right in the face of everything Moneyball sought to accomplish. I think there are a few issues with this notion. The Cardinals and Red Sox both implement heavy analysis which is seamlessly interwoven with their scouting departments. The end result in both cases are elegant baseball machines. The Red Sox spent money, sure, but a lot of that money was spent on players they identified with the use of analytics and scouting. Both worlds go hand in hand with these front offices.
On a related note, there's still a lot of confusion about Moneyball the book
It was a book. I think first and foremost that's the thing most people forget. What the Oakland Athletics have done after its release is an impressive case study in front office evolution. Billy Beane moved on from old market inefficiencies to new ones and succeeded to an extent. The trophy eludes him still but he's still making the playoffs.
Edwin Jackson's contract isn't as bad as you think it is
Edwin Jackson's four yr, 52MM contract looks like an albatross after year one. Sure, a 4.98 ERA is never pretty and even he admitted that he had a pretty shitty year. However, if we value a free agent win at seven million dollars per WAR we can then assume that in order for Jackson to be worth the dollars he has to be a 6 win player over 3 years. That's fairly reasonable, I think. If we dig into the numbers we find that his 2013 FIP was a cool 3.79. Jackson's K rate fell in 2013 but it's looking more and more like 2012 was the outlier. I don't expect Jackson to become a Cy Young candidate but I think he can still be a useful piece of the Cubs rotation.
I would be shocked if the Cubs spent a ton of money this offseason
There's a lot of well documented reasons for this. I think this front office has been very upfront and honest about what they're doing and how much they are willing to spend this year. I have dreams of Shin-Soo Choo but those seem irresponsible. I doubt they're serious players for Robinson Cano as well. I'm of the opinion that spending money in free agency isn't necessarily a sign of trying to win anymore. It's a different era of team building we're in the middle of here. I wonder if some signings are done for show more than they are for baseball reasons.