Gabe Kapler wrote a fascinating piece for WEEI today, in which he discusses the problems that will arise from the different ways players evaluate themselves versus how they’re evaluated by front offices. An excerpt:
Times have changed, but substantially less among players. While progressive front offices have altered the way they evaluate us, we have lagged far behind in the way we grade ourselves. It’s akin to unhealthy communication in a relationship.
Imagine a husband taking out the trash everyday and feeling pretty good about handling his obligation. Meanwhile, his wife thinks, “I wish that lazy bum would wash the dishes once in a while!” If expectations aren’t discussed regularly, they become mismatched. And we are in that place now in baseball.
The player still thinks he’s going to make a boatload of money because he’s hitting .300, and he might … but not because he’s excelling in that statistic. He may be shocked to find that he’s not in as high demand as a guy dominating a peripheral measurable.
The timing of this piece is interesting, given Brandon Phillips recent comments about how he felt deceived by the Reds front office after they gave Joey Votto a $200+ million contract extension. Because of the pervasive use of batting average and runs batted in, Phillips might see himself as Votto’s equal, or at least think that the gap isn’t particularly large, when in reality he’s not even in the same realm of value, which their contracts ended up reflecting.
My feeling is that the responsibility to educate the player about how he’s actually being evaluated probably falls to their agent, however. They’re the ones communicating with the teams in contract negotiations, and they’re the ones with credibility on these issues. Agents are aware of the changing tools that teams are using to evaluate players, and more and more, they’re using similar tools themselves. If that information isn’t filtering down to the player themselves, the player’s representative is likely in the best position to change that.
Anyway, check out the entire article. It’s worth a read.