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Summary[]

Ben and Sam banter about troublesome software (for some reason), then answer emails about constructing sensible trades, solving moral hazard, subbing for Andrelton Simmons, and what makes free agents happy.

Topics[]

  • Making realistic trade proposals
  • Subbing for Andrelton Simmons at-bats
  • Moral hazard and GM long-term interests
  • Front office staff mobility
  • Best players at each age
  • Finding an ideal fit for free agents

Banter[]

  • Software issues caused Ben and Sam to have to re-record the episode. Ben later found out that the software that they used had an update he had not downloaded yet.
  • Sam is currently eating leftover fried rice.
  • Ben talks about the enjoyment he gets from updating software, and how restarting your computer is not the lengthy process it once was.

Email Questions[]

  • David: "As you were talking about the Andrelton Simmons trade I started thinking about how to fix the Angels and who they could trade to fix the team. I went full hog and thought Trout, then I thought who has the talent to trade for Trout and I thought, Cubs. So, the Angels trade Trout for Kyle Schwarber who will play left field, Javier Baez to play second base and Dexter Fowler to play center field and then the Cubs use Vogelbach or Almora to trade for a young pitcher and throw that into the mix. As soon as I throw out a trade like that, what is the first sign to an industry expert that this is a fan generated trade idea versus an industry insider hypothetical trade scenario? How can I make my potential fake fan trades sound more legit?"
  • Eric (Milbrae, CA): "Based on your Andrelton Simmons Play Index segment in Episode 769, what if the Angels batted someone else for Simmons in the first inning in road games and then subbed Simmons in for the bottom half of the inning and the remainder of the game? This would essentially replace 81 first inning at-bats from Simmons over the course of the year with a presumably better hitter and there would be no lost defensive opportunity. There are obvious drawbacks: losing a bench player in the first inning, carrying a good hitter for only one at-bat per game, batting Simmons at the top of the order for the rest of the game, the effect on Simmons' confidence. But do you think the potential benefit of those 81 at-bats might ever be worthwhile, and if you were to pursue this strategy would you bat the Simmons caddy first on the off chance that the caddy gets two first inning at-bats in a big inning, or third?"
  • Jamie: "One topic which has come up repeatedly into your first forays into hot stove analysis this offseason has been moral hazard. In discussions of the Simmons and Kimbrel trades we've been thinking repeatedly about how the incentives of the GM or other central decision maker do not align with the long term incentives of the club. It seems like this topic comes up extensively every offseason and at every trade deadline. You guys discussed that the Braves or Angels from office is probably not going to be eager to engage in a teardown if it means they'll get fired halfway through compared to if they'd been freshly hired. People try to keep their jobs, not to maximize utility or dollars for their employers. It seems like fundamentally this is a problem of bad management by ownership. By applying arbitrary standards to GMs they encourage short term thinking. Can this be solved, at least partially? Could GMs be given contracts with bonuses for long term wins? Would GMs make substantially different decisions if they would get money for each game their team wins 10 years after their contract ends? This is a problem not unique to sports, it's without a doubt worse in politics but I'm interested to see what you guys think and if you know of any more extensive research or writing applying the concept of moral hazard to baseball."
  • Doug (Berkeley, CA): "Building off your discussion of Vernon Wells and his contract, you'd think that agents would be highly motivated to create a good contract outcome beyond the dollar amount simply because their players and the narratives they create are the most powerful tools for recruiting new clients. Assuming agents want to get the most money possible, I would offer that money is merely the base of the pyramid in Maslow's hierarchy of player needs and that as you move up you'd find things like happiness, comfort, winning, etc. Building upward you'd think that they'd try to assess some aspects of a player's fit in the various clubhouses and rosters, American vs. National league, clubhouse culture, number of good guys on a team's roster, reputation of the manager and coaching staff, fan base, etc. There are only 30 teams and probably a much smaller subset relevant to any given player. So I am not sure if they'd need to create scores, models, or tools for this but it seems to me that there are enough indicators of fit that agents would try to be somewhat methodical in matching player needs with franchise situations."

Play Index[]

  • From 1945 to the present the greatest seasons by a 19, 20, 21, and 22 year old are held by Mike Trout (age 20 and 21) and Bryce Harper (age 19 and 22).
  • Sam uses the Play Index to look up the best WAR seasons for every player age.
  • Willy Mays has 6 seasons where he had the highest WAR for the age he was that year.

Notes[]

  • Episode 235, 470, and 722 were previous episodes that had to be re-recorded because of software issues.
  • When Ben opines at length about how he loves software updates, Sam mocks him by talking about the leftover fried rice he's eating. Ben either doesn't realize that Sam is mocking him or decides to troll Sam by continuing to talk about software updates.
  • Sam wonders, "Was the first time we recorded this episode this bad? Wow, because this is bad Ben."
  • MLB shortstops in 2015 had a .253 TAv. Andrelton Simmons' was .248.
  • Ben thinks five years after a GM is fired or leaves a team they should no longer get credit for the team's success.
  • Sam notes that things like food, culture, traffic, etc. would factor into the cities he is interested in playing in. In particular, he rules out Texas and Minnesota due to their climate, and says that he would instruct his agent to talk to New York, northern California, and Seattle, and take the best reasonable offer.
  • Sam became concerned about local produce. "Five years ago you couldn’t get an avocado in most of the country, and now you can."
  • Ben comments that some of these things are not as big a concern for players because of the money they have and that they only spend part of the year there. Sam is adamant that money cannot buy certain types of food, or good versions of it, in many MLB cities. "You're not getting good Vietnamese in Milwaukee. It's not happening."
  • Sam, on Ben's palette, "The Market Diner wasn't good, Ben. That food wasn't good. Like, you've got a problem. You don't have taste buds."
  • Ben notes with sadness that they are not recording on Friday, so the week will not end on a multiple of five.

Links[]

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