Mordecai Brown can count on one hand the number of times I have suggested you spend money on a service about baseball on this blog. Listen, I’m a tightwad like most of you out there and I spend money on services in a manner that would make Ebeneezer Scrooge proud so if I recommend you purchase something, know that I say it because I am doing it myself. My recommendation to you – check out Joe Sheehan’s new newsletter. While Joe’s skills at finding a diner open at 3am in New York City on a Friday night can be questioned, his writing rarely can be. Long before Joe and I became competitors in AL Tout Wars, I was an avid reader of his work and one of the great things about being in Tout Wars is that I now get to be friends with people I have spent years reading. Below is an excerpt from the first newsletter which had a very heavy Rays focus:
Talking with Todd Wright on his Sporting News Radio show Friday night, I offered an impassioned case for releasing Burrell rather than Willy Aybar. Aybar, a fraction as famous as Burrell, is six years younger, had outhit Burrell for two years and could do more than just DH. He’s a switch-hitter with a track record of hitting lefties well, making him a better tactical weapon than Burrell. Other than service time and Q rating, Aybar had Burrell beat. In some organizations, Burrell would have stayed on the roster due to the lack of understanding of sunk costs. I am certain that Burrell would not have been released 15 years ago. Now, though, the industry understands this critical concept, and the best organizations are willing to act on it.
It’s just the latest indication that the Rays, who spent their first decade lost at sea, are rapidly becoming a model for the industry. They’ve drafted well—admittedly helped by a decade of high picks—they win their trades, they get their players to the majors, they lock up their top guys where possible and they avoid the big mistakes. Even Burrell cost them just $16 million over two years, a fairly small amount in the big picture, albeit more than 10% of their player payroll over the two-year period. Even the Rays can afford to make mistakes, contrary to the position taken by many people who feel that payroll caps are essential to baseball’s future.
If you like that and want to see more, I encourage you to check out Joe’s site and subscribe to the newsletter.