Trade Deadline Market and Who Will WinPosted: July 27, 2010
What’s My Point?
Teams that understand the market and the value of a player can cherry pick players from those teams who misjudge what they have.
Why Does it Matter?
Trades can make a team a playoff and World Series contender or they can set a team back years from having any hope of post season.
To fully understand any business we must first understand what is valued. The old way was that “Big Market” teams would just buy players and the small market teams would acquire club controlled players. Those are players who have more than 1 year away from free agency. Everything was going great until smaller market teams started to compete and take down larger market. Think of the A’s and Billy Beane as an example. But then the Red Sox changed everything with John Henry.
John Henry was a futures trader and with that seemed to come a new disciplined philosophy. Insert Theo Epstein. The Yale grad became GM at age 28 and that must have shocked other MLB owners. One would think that he would feel tremendous pressure to “make things happen.” Instead, Epstein said this in the USATody on November 30, 2002:
“”There’s going to be a lot of pressure to go for the quick fix,” he said. “If that means sacrificing more of the future than we’re willing to do, we have to remain disciplined and pass on a potential quick fix.”
In my opinion, it is this discipline and clear vision that will determine if a team is going to win or loose in the short and long term.
In baseball, the players are the assets in this market. Teams are free to trade players or cash as long as the player doesn’t have a no-trade clause. A no-trade clause can be controlled by the player, or it can be a partial no-trade where the player can block the team from trading him to certain teams.
The value of the player has to do with performance on and off the field. Off the field in terms of marketing the player with merchandise or publicity. On the field, the player’s value is determined by how much he contributes to a team win. A player may have value that we as fans cannot see in the form of leadership or special skills.
In simplest terms, value in baseball is found when a team pays less than the output for a comparable player. This has 2 factors. The first is salary. The second is the teams control of the player’s rights before free agency. This is where we hear the term “Club controlled.” Each player’s true value is at the intersection between salary, controllable years, and performance. Of course that is not easily defined by each team.
Teams use different systems to evaluate these factors. The team that clearly defines to their scouts what they are looking for in a player is the one who will spend money more efficiently. Efficient spending and accurate evaluations are what get teams to the post season.
Today’s Trade Market
I have noticed a change in the way teams are assessing value. In the past a team may pay for a “big name” they could market. Now it seems like they are understanding that comparable players may provide more value. The player may not produce as much, but they provide the team with more flexibility in controllable years (which will cost less than that same player in free agency) and salary. By being more efficient with capital, the team is able to agile in a market allowing them to consistently adjust and compete.
What do you think?
It is important to me to get your opinions and ideas. Do you feel like certain teams are better at the trade deadline? What do you think the Astros are going to do with Oswalt? How about the Brewers with Hart? Now is your time to teach me! What do you think?