What Is Theo Epstein Worth?

Ever since the Chicago Cubs decided to replace Jim Hendry as their GM, speculation about Theo Epstein has been rampant. Since Boston finished off their September collapse last week, the talk has gotten even louder. Today, Gordon Edes reports that the odds of him leaving may be as high as 50-50, even though he’s under contract to the Red Sox for another year. Bob Nightengale chipped in with a note that, if John Henry were to allow Epstein to head to Chicago, they would ask for significant compensation in return.

That brings up a pretty interesting question – what is a Major League General Manager worth? As Buster Olney wrote over the weekend, GMs draw salaries in the range of $800,000 to $2.5 million per season, and their supporting staff make significantly less than that. Olney quoted a “high ranking executive” as saying that “you could fund an unbelievable front office for what it takes to pay a couple of utility infielders.” And he’s right – the cost of acquiring talent to fill your baseball operations department is a fraction of the cost of acquiring talent that actually puts on a uniform.

As is theorized in Olney’s piece, maybe the current market inefficiency is the pay scales of those in charge of building the rosters of the Major League teams, and Tom Ricketts could save himself a lot of cash by building a “dream” front office rather than investing in marginal upgrades on the field. If Theo Epstein could initiate an organizational overhaul that would save the Cubs significant amounts of money in free agency and streamline their player development, maybe they should just pay whatever price is necessary to get him out of his contract in Boston?

I’m not completely convinced this is true, however.

To a large degree, the price of a thing is set by how hard it is to get a similar thing somewhere else. While water may be the single most important resource on earth, in that we all need it to survive, it’s also remarkably cheap for most people in developed countries because we have access to an awful lot of it. In order to justify spending a lot of money luring Epstein to Boston – and compensating the Red Sox for letting him out of his contract – the bar wouldn’t just be initiating cost savings for the Cubs and improving the organizational efficiency of their baseball operations department, but it would be doing so at a level significantly beyond what the Cubs could have gotten by hiring any one of a number of whip-smart folks across the game.

Let’s just use Rick Hahn as a working example, for instance. Hahn is perhaps the best regarded Assistant GM in the game right now, having served as the quantitative part of Kenny Williams’ team in Chicago, and is widely expected to be a top candidate for nearly every open GM position this winter. He’s also from Chicago and grew up as a Cubs fan, so it’s not much of a stretch to assume that he’d be interested in the position.

For the Cubs, Hahn is essentially the baseline – they could offer him the position at a salary commensurate with what other first time GMs are making and not have to give the White Sox any kind of compensation in order to steal him away. Hahn and Epstein share a lot of the same views about the sport and would likely approach roster building from a similar analytical perspectives. The efficiency initiatives that Epstein would begin would probably be similar to the things that Hahn would begin – at this point, the “secret sauce” of high revenue teams run by a saber-leaning GM aren’t so secret any more. Theo Epstein isn’t the only guy in baseball who is going to suggest that the Cubs pour a lot of money into player development.

In fact, at this point, I’d argue that the individual ideas that any GM candidate can offer are now probably so similar that they aren’t worth paying that much for. Smart, analytical baseball executives have essentially become commoditized – there are a few thousand Ivy-league graduates willing to work for peanuts and cracker jacks pounding on these team’s doors every year, and there is a seemingly never-ending supply of wiz kids attempting to climb the ladders of Major League front offices.

Instead, the differentiators for GMs are the management skills they bring – how well they’ll be able to build a cohesive organization, how many other talented people will want to come work for them, and how well they’ll be able to handle the media and the fans when things aren’t going as well as hoped. This is essentially what Tom Ricketts would be paying for – the belief that Epstein could command a level of respect beyond what a guy like Hahn could because of his prior success as the lead dog in a similar situation.

Is that worth a salary many times over what a guy like Hahn would command, plus the compensation that would have to go to Boston in order to get Epstein out of his contract? I don’t know. Maybe in the specific situation that the Cubs have fostered, the best fit really is a guy who already has experience in that role and would come in with a resume he could point to when times get tough.

However, while I agree that a lot of Major League front office executives are underpaid relative to the benefits that they bring their organizations, I don’t know that spending a lot of money to buy big name guys to fill out a baseball operations department would actually be exploiting a market inefficiency. As the hires in Texas, Toronto, Tampa Bay, and other places have shown, there are plenty of terrific GMs just waiting for an opportunity to shine. The supply of qualified candidates is so high that I’m not sure that throwing a lot of money at an established guy is actually going to bring you a significant upgrade.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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Matt
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Matt
4 years 11 months ago

Nice article. Totally agree that on the analytical and philosophical side, we’re moving towards having all GMs be essentially equal. Not there yet, obviously, but it’s going that direction. But I really think you can’t underestimate the value of having a guy with great interpersonal and management skills, and, respect around the game. Not only for building a smoothly running front office and inspiring smart people to come on, but also for interacting with other GMs. Alex Anthopoulos, for example. The guy must have tongue made of silver.

D4P
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D4P
4 years 11 months ago

No one will be truly free until the MLB is free of neanderthals like Ned Colletti and Brian Sabean.

juan pierre's mustache
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juan pierre's mustache
4 years 11 months ago

I was thinking about these guys too–given that so many new GMs are following newer schools of thought, are the teams that don’t have an intelligent FO going to start to have more and more trouble competing?

CMC_Stags
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CMC_Stags
4 years 11 months ago

In some ways having a dark ages GM may be of value going forward. If the market all moves to value the current “undervalued” aspect, eventually the things that used to be highly valued may be undervalued again.

Then again, probably not.

channelclemente
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4 years 11 months ago

And to think an article in the SF Chronicle this AM is bragging about Sabeans devotion to sabermetrics.

Aaron (UK)
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Aaron (UK)
4 years 11 months ago

Aren’t Sabermetrics named after Brian Sabean?

Bill
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Bill
4 years 11 months ago

I think the days where some GM’s clearly have no business being where they are are behind us, but all GM’s will never be equal. Somebody’s going to be a better negotiator or better able to jump on a market inefficiency. There will always be some GM’s that are better than others. Ed Wade will be gone this year, Colletti will follow shortly. Sabean will probably be around for as long as he can find ways to turn the likes of Burrel and Ross into Babe Ruth for a month in October.

RB
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RB
4 years 11 months ago

So hiring Epstein would be the ‘Cub’ move then, like overpaying for Soriano, Zambrano, et al.

SC2GG
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4 years 11 months ago

No, hiring Epstein is sort of like signing Joey Votto’s extension. Overpaying for Soriano, Zambrano and Crawford would be like hiring Tony Reagins and giving him a raise.

By the way, the best part of that article on ESPN was the little snippet that the Angels and Reagins have “parted ways”, hahahaha.

Mr Punch
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Mr Punch
4 years 11 months ago

No, there’s something else you get with Theo – a proven willingness to make very tough decisions, and to use available resources in ways that appear to be extraordinarily inefficient to the point of being embarrassing, to get what the team needs. Prime example: a deal giving up the popular star (Garciaparra), the prospect (Murphy) and the cash for a two- (three- as it turned out) month rental (Cabrera). You can’t know that anyone who hasn’t done that would do it. Of course, it doesn’t always work, and when it doesn’t you look terrible — but that’s the point.

Steve
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Steve
4 years 11 months ago

Wait, Theo is smart because he is willing to overpay and make bad trades?

I think Theo WAS really smart….in 2003. He’s still smart, but the rest of the league has caught up and Theo is essentially an average GM at this point.

jesse
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jesse
4 years 11 months ago

Will they take lackey with epstein?

Dann M
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Dann M
4 years 11 months ago

Maybe that’s the compensation: Sure, you can have Theo. But you have to pay Lackey all his money and run him out there every fifth day.

matt
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matt
4 years 11 months ago

haha

Irv
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Irv
4 years 11 months ago

I support this 100%

Yirmiyahu
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Yirmiyahu
4 years 11 months ago

As a Red Sox fan, I’d be glad to see this. Would hate to see Epstein go. But even if his successor is a replacement level GM, it’d be worth dumping Lackey’s contract.

Doug
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Doug
4 years 11 months ago

Theo Epstein may be a marginal upgrade in terms of expected value over many other candidates such as Hahn and others, but he does represent a “safe” investment compared to other options. How many hirings both in front offices and elsewhere don’t work out as well as would have been expected. You see this all the time with GMs, NFL and College Football coaches, and plenty of other positions both in and outside of sports. There aren’t too many jobs in the world comparable to being a GM and for an organization like the Cubs looking to reestablish it’s value, it could prove well worth the investment to avoid risk at the most important position in the organization.

Kernel
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Kernel
4 years 11 months ago

I think the Angels are a good example of this. You’ve got a manager who knows how he wants to do things, and he might have to give an established GM some more respect than a wiz kid instead of running roughshod over the newbie.

PR
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PR
4 years 11 months ago

Think i disagree. Just because these GMs are all stat-minded, we assume they will do the same job? Just because you have the same data, doesn’t mean everyone interprets that data equally.

Billy Beane and Andrew Friedman are both sabermetric-GMs but the difference between the two is about the difference between the rosters of the A’s and the Rays .

Welp
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Welp
4 years 11 months ago

Not sure even friedman himself would agree with that kind of shortsighted results-first analysis.

PR
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PR
4 years 11 months ago

well you can use any metric you want over pretty much any time period, you want and Friedman has better performance. Over enough sample size, results are the product of decision-making and judgment. I’m not taking about one year or one trade.

Welp
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Welp
4 years 11 months ago

“well you can use any metric you want over pretty much any time period,”

K. I choose wins per dollar.

http://www.insidethebook.com/ee/index.php/site/article/payroll_v_wins_in_the_moneyball_era_2002_2011/

Also, you didn’t merely claim that Friedman is better than Beane, you attempted to quantify how much better he is: “the difference between the two is about the difference between the rosters of the A’s and the Rays”.

I doubt that’s true, doubt you could prove it, and doubt either GM would agree.

SeaWolf
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SeaWolf
4 years 11 months ago

Welp – you misquoted PR’s statement and your wins per dollar comparison is false.

He said “well you can use any metric you want over pretty much any time period, you want and Friedman has better performance” Your reference to wins per dollar relates to seasons BEFORE friedman was hired.

Welp’s comparison was Freidman vs. Beane, not Rays v. A’s.

The Real Neal
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4 years 11 months ago

Remember when Friedman had to succeed without the benefit of having his roster filled with top 5 draft picks? Me neither. It’s not apples to apples. Compare them each at the beginning of their careers.

mike wants wins
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mike wants wins
4 years 11 months ago

I’m not sure I agree at all. If the role of GM is such a commodity in sports, why are the so many obviously bad ones out there? Why are some teams perennial winners, and others losers? I just don’t agree that there is any evidence, statistically, that a GM is a GM is a GM.

Steve
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Steve
4 years 11 months ago

You’re making similar assumptions as to the abilities of people to perform GM jobs based on their performance in an assistant GM position. The skill sets needed to perform well in both jobs may have some overlap, but there’s more to being a GM than the ability to run a statistics program.

We all may think we’d be better GMs than 75% of those in MLB, but let’s face it. 99.9% of us would fail miserably if handed the job.

Basil Ganglia
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Basil Ganglia
4 years 11 months ago

I think you need to read the article more carefully, because that’s not what Dave is saying at all. The point of the article is that there is a basic skill set that is largely held in common, but there are additional differentiators come into play at the higher level – differentiators that involve organizational skills that aren’t as significant at the assistant level.

The question is how much extra a team should be willing to pay to acquire demonstrated ability with those added skills versus selecting a cheaper candidate for whom those added components are more “unknown”.

Steve
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Steve
4 years 11 months ago

Dave wrote

“I’d argue that the individual ideas that any GM candidate can offer are now probably so similar that they aren’t worth paying that much for. Smart, analytical baseball executives have essentially become commoditized – there are a few thousand Ivy-league graduates willing to work for peanuts and cracker jacks pounding on these team’s doors every year, and there is a seemingly never-ending supply of wiz kids attempting to climb the ladders of Major League front offices.”

and the closing statement

“The supply of qualified candidates is so high that I’m not sure that throwing a lot of money at an established guy is actually going to bring you a significant upgrade.”

Dave mentions that there might be an additional value to the added skill differentiators, but only as an aside.

What’s the upside for the Cubs if Epstein turns Chicago into a postseason team? In 2008, Tampa Bay made $17.7 million in additional revenue due to making the World Series. The Angels made $4.4 million for hosting two playoff games in 2008.

Cubs ticket sales also have dropped by about 500 per game. At an average price of $53, this is worth over $2 million per year, not including concessions.

The upside is significant and probably worth the cost for the Cubs. Maybe there’s someone who’s young, cheap, and almost as good as Epstein. However, fans and Fangraphs fall in love with the new hot young thing too easily.

We’re not talking about 750 positions; there are 30 GM slots. It’s like Hollywood, with lots of people wanting to be stars and starlets. Only the select few end up being and getting paid like Julia Roberts, Tom Hanks, or Brad Pitt.

Joe
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Joe
4 years 11 months ago

You’re forgetting supply and demand. Yes they may produces wins worth more than their salary when compared to players, but like you said a thousand ivy league graduates would love the job but they can’t play. There is a very limited pool of applicants for players.

Tom
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Tom
4 years 11 months ago

What do we know really know about Epstein other than the fact that he interviews well? The same thing can be said about Francona. I’m not sure how you can separate his ability from the fact that he can have a huge payroll. Of course going to the Cubs isn’t really any different (in fact easier because the division is so much easier) so maybe he’s a perfect fit there.

Earl Sweatshirt
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Earl Sweatshirt
4 years 11 months ago

Crap argument. Do you punish other GMs for not playing in the AL East? No one is going to argue that money doesn’t help, but the majority of Epstein’s biggest fails have been his big ticket FA signings, while his strong points have been his drafting and development and finding undervalued players. He has also done a great job of letting his own FA’s go at the right time, with Johnny Damon being one of the only guys to earn his contract after leaving. It would be one thing if the Red Sox thrived off guys like Crawford, Lackey, Dice-K, etc…their whole core is home grown guys, or guys dealt for home grown guys.

Welp
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Welp
4 years 11 months ago

“I’m not sure how you can separate his ability from the fact that he can have a huge payroll. ”

You could probably look at their drafting and development, among other things. Epstein’s regime falls on its face with free agents, but is near the top in that department.

The more difficult question — and I think every GM would acknowledge this — is distinguishing between the GM’s work and the work of the staff he surrounds himself with. Ultimately a large component of a GM’s talent, I’d wager – how well he identifies and acquires other front office personnel.

Sultan of Shhhhwwwing
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Sultan of Shhhhwwwing
4 years 11 months ago

What is known about him:
1) Shares (or follows) James’ ideas
2) Has difficulty drafting talent once key personnel leave.
3) Will blow through a team’s payroll acquiring bad “name” players if given the chance.

In other words, we know he’s pretty much like every other GM.

Michael Scarn
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Michael Scarn
4 years 11 months ago

What the hell are you talking about with 2?

schlomsd
Member
schlomsd
4 years 11 months ago

The last few years the Red Sox haven’t been as good at drafting players as they were earlier in Epstein’s tenure (of course it’s still early to judge those drafts). I’m not sure someone from their scouting department left a few years ago but I’m sure that’s what he’s referring to.

Like most teams the Red Sox seem to be hit and miss with the draft. However the Red Sox are able to use financial strength to draft higher regarded players in later rounds (which a lot of teams don’t do).

Larry Smith Jr.
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4 years 11 months ago

David Chadd left his scouting department for the Tigers. Suddenly players like Alex Avila and Brennan Boesch and Al Alburquerque (signed as a minor league FA, not drafted) appeared.

Hurtlocker
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Hurtlocker
4 years 11 months ago

GM’s play with someone else’s money in the game of baseball. If you are a good “gambler”, then your successes exceed your failures with many of the factors that control those outcomes out of your control. (injury makes a good decision a bad one) I’m thinking that many contributors to this web site have the ability to be on the success side of being a GM, using stats as a partial predictor. My conclusion is GM’s are not underpayed.

Welp
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Welp
4 years 11 months ago

“I have no idea what the job entails other than signing free agents. Listen to my conclusions.”

Pierre
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Pierre
4 years 11 months ago

Assumes that Theo is the guy you’d throw money at if you thought the market for GMs was inefficient. I don’t see why anyone would think that. The Sox keep missing the playoffs, his big FAs keep going bust, and it’s been several years since the farm system coughed up anybody useful. Just ‘cuz he’s SABR doesn’t mean he’s good.

cpebbles
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cpebbles
4 years 11 months ago

Yeah, have the awful free agent contracts he’s given out the last few years done nothing to dent Epstein’s reputation?

ICEYhawtSTUNNAZ
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ICEYhawtSTUNNAZ
4 years 11 months ago

Really interesting. This is why I read Fangraphs.

Brian S.
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Brian S.
4 years 11 months ago

I really hope Theo doesn’t leave for the Cubs. He would probably do something stupid like trade for one of Boston’s bad contracts to try to prove that he was right about him (Crawford).

CircleChange11
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CircleChange11
4 years 11 months ago

If drafting is a key component than PHL and LAA have really good GMs.

This is why I don’t like to over credit GM’s in smaller markets. One of the few, huge mistakes GMs make is large long-term contracts. Small market GMs don’t avoid these contracts because they’re a bad idea. They do so because they don’t have a choice.

The death of the A’s could have been long-term contracts to Giambi, Mulder, Zito, and Chavez.

What’s killed the Als is not being able to reproduce the drafting skills that turned out 7 star in 4 years?

That’s why I wonder how much of OAK’s success was drafting luck. Philly also has a lot of homegrown talent as it’s nucleus.

Jason
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Jason
4 years 11 months ago

I think the common financial disclaimer is apt: “Past results are not an indicator of future success.”

If Theo is uniquely excellent at building a front-office organization, delegating responsibility, making good investment decisions, promoting the franchise, etc. (and maybe he is), then by all means pay him a market premium.

I’m with Dave — I think there are lots of people out there who could do the job well. “Credibility” is only worth so much.

vivalajeter
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vivalajeter
4 years 11 months ago

I don’t think it’s just about paying for credibility. I think it’s about paying for a known quantity.

As Dave says, there are thousands of ivy-leaguers who would love the chance to be a GM. Many of them are probably good enough to do the job well (and maybe than Theo). But how do you know which of them will be as good as (or better than) Theo, and which ones will be in way over their heads? You can interview as many people as you want, but you don’t know how they’ll handle the job until they’re actually in the role. Theo has shown that he can handle it capably.

yeahhh
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yeahhh
4 years 11 months ago

Minus the Gorilla suit.

Ted Williams Head
Member
Ted Williams Head
4 years 11 months ago

A Cubs-Royals World Series, Epstein Francona, Pujols and Reyes square off against Hosmer, Moustakas, and Montgomery! Apocalypse scenario anyone?

RDobbs
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RDobbs
4 years 11 months ago

It’s well time to move past the idea that the new and successful GMs are achieving their results because of sabermetrics. They are not. The use of advanced metrics is but one element that needs to be incorporated into the running of a baseball organization.

We’ve seen some spotty results among GMs associated with sabermetrics, such as Peter Brand, err, I mean Paul DePodesta with the Dodgers, and J.P. Ricciardi with the Blue Jays. In both cases it was believed to be for other elements of management where they did not show enough skill. And that’s the point. Having a degree from a nice school, and understanding the concepts of the Bill James crowd is hardly a ticket to success. It’s a baseline for entry in most cases, but nothing more.

Andrew Friedman is now regarded as one of the top GMs in the game. It has little to do with sabermetrics. It has a lot to do with his management skills, developing the right front-office talent, and/or recruiting the best talent that fits within the Rays organizational style, and in his ability to listen to that talent, incorporate their input, and to make the right decisions.

Where I disagree with Dave (or at least where I think I disagree if I understand what he’s writing) is on paying for that front-office talent. Not all talent is created equal. We see that in the business world. Steve Jobs was better at running a consumer technology company than other people who hold similar positions. Maybe he’s not the best example, because to use a sabermetric term for players who do extraordinary things, Jobs is an outlier. Yet there are many examples of CEOs who are very good at what they do, and others who are not. The same in MLB. The best talent should be identified and paid, not on an industry standard, but on a success standard. MLB has yet to realize this.

If I’m the owner of the Rays, I don’t hesitate to take more money and give it to Friedland. He’s shown he’s worth it and it can’t simply be assumed he can be replaced by another guy with an Ivy league degree.

Epstein? I think he’s probably okay, but was also in the Red Sox organization at the right time. There’s a very good chance he’s overrated, which means the Cubs should be careful. And on that, I agree with Dave.

Welp
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Welp
4 years 11 months ago

“Andrew Friedman is now regarded as one of the top GMs in the game. It has little to do with sabermetrics.”

Show your work.

“It has a lot to do with his management skills, developing the right front-office talent, and/or recruiting the best talent that fits within the Rays organizational style, and in his ability to listen to that talent, incorporate their input, and to make the right decisions. ”

None of which has to do with sabermetrics, I’m sure.

RDobbs
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RDobbs
4 years 11 months ago

As I stated clearly right at the top, “the use of advanced metrics is but one element that needs to be incorporated into the running of a baseball organization.”

Friedman’s strength goes beyond sabermetrics. If you think that’s all it’s about, I doubt I’ll convince you otherwise.

Sultan of Schwwingg
Guest
4 years 11 months ago

Spot on.

There’s very little evidence that sabermetrics had anything whatsoever to do with TB success. For the proof Welp desires, look no further than TB’s OBP: Middle of the road and what SABR is precisely about.

Except

Friedman is just a manager of people. There has to be many similar guys out there who would hire/retain the right scouts and do the same job. It’s just a matter of finding and hiring them.

Same with Epstein. He didn’t scout Pedroia, Ellsbury, Lester, et el. He hired the right others instead.

kash
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kash
4 years 11 months ago

we all know that theo doesnt even stay up past 11:45PM EST to watch the west coast games end when his team is on the east coast, hence the awful signings of cameron and lackey.

The Real Neal
Guest
4 years 11 months ago

I must not be staying up late enough either, because I totally missed the earthquake that sent Milwaukee to Oregon.

Dave G.
Guest
4 years 11 months ago

The premise here seems faulty, mainly because if most GMs are commoditized (nice word, btw) or “equal” (for the layman out there), then finding someone who is better than the average would be a wise thing worth paying for. I’m not talking about “market inefficiences” necessarily. I mean if a GM can consistenly hit on a few players every year in the draft, plus hit on a free agent acquisition, or a trade, there’s tremendous value in that. As an example, take a guy like Juan Cruz…he was great for Arizona, then KC overpaid for him, then Tampa swooped in knowing he was better than that, and he has been. How did a bunch of other teams miss on that? They didn’t necessarily miss, Tampa was just smarter, and they do that a lot.

Boss
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Boss
4 years 11 months ago

Theo and Lackey for Zambrano.

Boom.

Done.

get it done Boston.

Reload again after Z and DiceK’s awful deals get off the books.

kash
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kash
4 years 11 months ago

might be good for both teams

Dave G.
Guest
4 years 11 months ago

One other note: are there really that many Ivy league grads trying to get front office baseball jobs? I’d like to see the numbers on that one.

tdotsports1
Guest
4 years 11 months ago

no, they are busy trying to pay down their unbelievable debt load they racked up, so they are on wall st. coming up with new formulas to ripoff investors!

Brett
Guest
4 years 11 months ago

Great article, though I was kind of hoping you’d lay out explicitly what you think Epstein’s marginal value over a Hahn type is worth. I think it’s clear that there is some additional value there, but how much? One decent prospect? Two very good prospects? $5 million? $10 million? A hamburger?

Matthew Kory
Member
4 years 11 months ago

I think that’s what the Cubs and Red Sox are negotiating right now, so we’re about to find out.

DarraghK
Guest
DarraghK
4 years 11 months ago

Interesting article.

As a yankee fan I debated with others a while ago the value of Kevin Long to the organisation. Most yankee fans (and writers) attach huge value to Long as they believe (I have no opinion whether or not this is true or not) that his methods have resulted in hugh improvements for Granderson, Cano, Gardner and others.

Given his salary is less than 1m you would think (using WAR value) that his overall impact on batted runs would be less than 2.5 runs created across the whole organisation!

That would account for 1 or 2% improvement to all hitters (unmeasureable).

So a similar argument to the GM one above. Does Kevin Long have a huge impact (but one lots of others could have?) so his salary is still low. Or is his impact grossly overstated?

Or is he way underpaid?

Matthew Kory
Member
4 years 11 months ago

As a Red Sox fan, I say he’s way underpaid. Give him a 10 year, $250 million contract immediately.

DonM
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DonM
4 years 11 months ago

Epstein has one thing in his favour : he GM’d a team with decades of failure that won the World Series. Twice. He has a record of success with a team that has considerable resources. Does that sound like any other team we might be discussing? (the Cubs, dummy, the Cubs!). Thus he could be packaged and sold based on what his teams have accomplished. How could the Cubs resist him?

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
4 years 11 months ago

IMHO, this sentiment is being underplayed.

There is a LONG list of guys that were successful GMs, managers, and players elsewhere who thought they were the ONE to come to Chicago and bring them their long awaited title. After their soul was painstakingly wretched from their body, heartbreaking loss after heartbreaking loss, they left zombified and realizing they underestimated the job.

Only Lee Elia got to tell it like it is. Best. Rant. Ever.

That’s where Epstein has some insight that Hahn doesn’t. He’s already been “in the fire” for a hopeless organization with rabid fan base and hatred of an organization that’s multiple times more successful than they are (StLouis : Chicago; New York : Boston).

The Cubs are always selling “hope”, though fewer and fewer are actually buying it. However, what could more promising that bringing in the guy that built a two-time world champ out of the most cursed franchise in history? (I’m not viewing Hahn’s role with the 2005 ChiSox as being as prominent as Epstein’s with the Red Sox).

Epstein can sit in the room and look everyone in the eye and say “You want to listen to me. I’ve been where you are, and I’ve been where you want to be.” There’s some value in that.

Knowing the right path isn’t enough. You have to be able to get everyone to follow you on that path, even though some are not going to be comfortable doing so.

Even if the Cubs drastically overpay on Esptein, it’s still minimal compared to what they’ve overpayed in the past.

I don’t think the Cubs job is like the Mets or the Indians or any of these other teams. I do, however, think it is very much like the Red Sox (or how they used to be).

Trotter76
Guest
Trotter76
4 years 11 months ago

Where oh where will Epstein get the new crop of ‘roided up castoffs?

Antonio Bananas
Guest
Antonio Bananas
4 years 11 months ago

How much is a GM worth who can’t make the playoffs despite one of the highest payrolls and most supportive fanbases in the Majors? About as much as me I guess, I could have done the same thing.

Mikhel
Member
Mikhel
4 years 11 months ago

Uhm… your first point has no validity: there’s less water in developed countries than in non-developed countries, and by a wide margin (total, per capita and by square foot).

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