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Mailbag: Changing the Subject

June 25, 2015

CL,

How are you doing it with the pitching. No speeches, just tell us.

Annoyed

Dear Annoyed,

I’m not off to a great start this week and I would point out I did have one week with an ERA of 6.95. But to answer your question, I won’t answer your question, in writing, anyway.

I am using a new set of stats and I’m not just using it in this league (with my other fantasy teams managed regularly as “controls”). I’m betting my pitchers’ starts and making money. Bet along at your own risk if you like. You can see who I’m starting.

I’m also trying to sell my metrics to a MLB club. I interviewed with them last summer, and we couldn’t agree on terms.

It’s not the Cardinals, but there’s a minor element of the Cardinals–Astros hacking thing I’d like to write about here:

The IP address used to access the ‘Stros computer was tracked to a house shared by “several Cardinals employees”. Why several? I’m guessing that the Cardinals, like most MLB teams including the one I’m pitching, don’t pay their sabrmetricians shit. Way too many people apply for these jobs, so they can pay very little, which forces a bunch of the staff to share a house.

I was offered a senior position, and effectively $22/hr. No moving expenses, minimal visa help. Worse, so many non-disclosure and non-compete clauses that I couldn’t even really use my time at the club to get another job after I quit or got sacked beyond saying that “I worked there from this-date to that-date in baseball operations. A quick look at my physique suggests I wasn’t on the 40-man roster.”

Part of me gets where that’s coming from: if you’re getting 50+ applications for each spot, 10 are qualified, and somebody will take less money than they should to get in the door. Happens all over baseball. It’s why minor leaguers play for as little as $800/mo. It’s why retired multi-millionaire players take pennies to be roving hitting coaches to those $800/month guys.

But part of me also understands that if you’re going to compete year after year, you need to pay for the best. Don’t tell me that the Giants and Cardinals are small-market teams playing it smart… they’re smart, but they have top-10 payrolls too.

Want to make a room go quiet? Before you find out they’re going to offer you $22/hr, answer their question of “How are you going to build your team?” with “I’m going to spend $1M a year on 6-8 of the best actuaries I can find who no longer want to work on Wall Street”.

Depending on who’s doing the scale, a 1.0 WAR baseball player is worth $6M-$7M/year as a free agent. If your anbalytoics department gets you a win a season, an overall budget (staff, technology, travel) of $1M-$2M feels like a bargain.

Rant over. If you want to talk pitching, call me.

CL

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