Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Valuing a GM

From Rob Neyer today:

"The blog Fire Jim Bowden has done a fantastic job of rounding up information about LaCava, including this choice comment from Keith Law: "Going from Jim Bowden to Tony LaCava would be like going from Austin Kearns to Albert Pujols." I know Keith was doing an apples-and-oranges thing on purpose, but it's worth noting that the actual difference between a lousy general manager and a great general manager is significantly larger than the difference between Kearns and Pujols. In terms of wins and losses, I mean."

This is just not an accurate statement. It's easy to look back and say that Mr. X is a great GM because he ripped off Mr. Y in a trade four years ago, but it's a lot harder to predict that your team will add three wins next year because they hired Mr. A as GM instead of Mr. B. Identifying the GMs who have performed the best is easy; identifying those who will perform the best in the future is not.

Front office execs may be underpaid as a whole, but if the difference between a lousy GM and a great GM was 'significantly larger' than the seven-win gap between Pujols and Kearns, some team out there would be exploiting that by offering the top GM in the game--whoever it is--a big salary to lure him away from his current job. $5 million ought to be way more than enough, and if that's really worth more than seven wins, that would be an absolute steal in today's MLB. It says a lot that no GM is making anywhere close to that much.

For Rob Neyer's sake, I hope this was just a typo.


jb said...

Billy Beane might be worth 7 wins, but if there are a hundred dweebs working in various front offices who can do basically as good a job, then nobody is going to get paid.

They can be worth 7 wins as long as some owners are making horrendous enough GM hirings. Which I don't think they are anymore.

xlssports said...

This post refers to NBA GM's, but MLB GM's can probably be substituted without losing much accuracy.

There is a standard bias to view similar people in a favorable light. Statheads like other statheads. Neyer just let some of that love spill onto his page.

jjvoit said...

any ideas why the books are taking so long to put out there season win totals? I see last year Cris had them out on Feb 15.

j holz said...

the WBC? the manny situation?

also games are starting two weeks later this year than last, so the feb 15 comparison isn't the most meaningful.

Garrett W. said...

My vote is due to WBC. Lots of MLBers risking injury etc etc