One of the bigger challenges with baseball analysis today is trying to evaluate individual general managers, or, if you prefer, individual front offices. It's hard to pull off because we're given such a limited number of data points. A front office only makes so many trades, and a front office only makes so many signings. It would be much easier - not easy, but easier - if we had more of the picture. I was reminded of this when I read the following tweet this afternoon:
Brian Sabean and the Giants' front office reportedly offered Willie Bloomquist more than $3.8 million over two years. Bloomquist didn't accept that offer, instead returning to the for less, but this still tells us something about Sabean. Something many of us already figured, I guess, but this is more about the idea than the specific example.
I wish we had more information about the moves that don't get made. Trade proposals that aren't accepted, and contract offers that get turned down. We get some, but we don't get as much as I'd like. This reminds me of another thing Matthew and I were discussing over the weekend. You know how the Giants have been suffering through the whole Barry Zito experience? Well, in case you'd forgotten, or in case you didn't know, that was very nearly our experience:
Barry Zito. Seattle offered him six years and $99 million in 2006 and lost him to the Giants, who were willing to give him a seventh year.
Bill Bavasi didn't succeed in signing Barry Zito, but the extent to which he went to try is still a mark against him. Bavasi gets penalized for offering Zito a six-year deal that would've looked bad at the time.
Theoffered Zito a six-year, $84 million contract. They also added a vesting option for $15 million for a seventh year with a $4 million buyout.
Those were the Jon Daniels Rangers. I think it's safe to say that Daniels and the Texas front office have gotten a bit sharper over time. Obviously things are colored by how the Zito contract has turned out, but the idea of Barry Zito pitching in Texas is an absolute nightmare. He was a flyball pitcher! He was a flyball pitcher with decreasing strikeouts and increasing walks! What were you thinking!
It's fun to hear about the almosts. It's fun, illuminating, and occasionally terrifying. There is so much more to baseball than what we actually get to see happen, so it's informative when we get a peek behind the scenes.