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View Full Version : Article: Gleeman and the Geek, Ep 83: Gardenhire's Fate, WBC Watching, and Full of Beans



John Bonnes
03-03-2013, 08:05 PM
You can view the page at http://twinsdaily.com/content.php?r=1423-Gleeman-and-the-Geek-Ep-83-Gardenhire-s-Fate-WBC-Watching-and-Full-of-Beans

Wookiee of the Year
03-04-2013, 07:39 PM
You never see a GM get fired and a manager keep his job. I mean, that's very rare.
Except, of course, when Bill Smith was fired a little over a year ago. That's one piece I felt was missing--how does Bill Smith's firing change the conversation? It might make Gardy more likely to lose his job, because it shows the Pohlads are pushing for personnel changes in response to losses. Or it might make Gardy more likely to keep his job, because the Pohlads and/or front office can point to Smith's dismissal and say, "See, we've made the change we needed to. It just might take a few years for the effects to be felt." Either way, I was hoping it would be a part of the discussion.

Regarding how much value a manager adds, I think you're right that it's tough to read from the outside. But I'd say the best way to tell how much a front office values managers generally is to look where they make their valuation most clear: in the manager's salary. I fully admit looking at any one manager's salary likely isn't a perfect indicator of that manager's value (which probably takes us away from what you were actually talking about--although you would think a manager's value-added would be more predictable and consistent than a player's when signing a multi-year contract), but a league-wide average is likely a general indicator of what the position adds. The median managerial salary appears to be around $1 million per season--which, if I'm not mistaken, is a little below the leauge average Cost per Win.

Like I said, I don't believe any individual manager's contract tells you his managerial value--but the fact that managers aren't signing Joe Mauer-sized contracts means something. And the idea that an average manager adds a little under a win per season (over a replacement-level manager, of course) feels about right. Managerial changes really are a matter of small increments.

John Bonnes
03-04-2013, 07:50 PM
And the idea that an average manager adds a little under a win per season (over a replacement-level manager, of course) feels about right. Managerial changes really are a matter of small increments.

I don't know how many wins or losses a manager can really impact and nobody (as far as I know) has really been able to quantify that. Also, the concept of a "replacement level manager" is interesting. Is it the "best manager not in the majors" which puts the onus on the team to identify that guy? Or is it the average guy who got fired from the year before, which would a lower level, I would think.

Here's what I do know: managers can make a tremendous difference in every other field, and I don't know why it wouldn't in baseball. I suppose one could say that statement isn't true, because a replacement level manager is just about the same as most managers. But a good manager can lead a team to do remarkable things that a replacement manager can't do. And it also isn't a science, it's an art, with different managers doing things in different ways, so you end up needing to judge them by their results.

So I guess I agree about the norm, but I think we're understating the extremes, if that makes sense.

Wookiee of the Year
03-04-2013, 10:37 PM
Thanks for the reply. Re-reading my post, I sound a bit too certain that managerial changes have only incremental impacts. But I do struggle to imagine it can make that much difference--2 or 3 wins feels like the upper bound to me. Otherwise, you really would expect to see managers signing Greinke-like contracts instead of Chad Durbin-sized ones.

You're right, managers matter a lot in every other field, but here's my theory: There aren't Albert Pujols-level baseball managers out there who are singularly head-and-shoulders above the competition, though there are elites. Let's not forget every other field has a lot more than 30 managerial positions available. My hunch is that there are, say, 150 elite-level managerial talents out there in the baseball world, so when only 30 jobs are available, you're near certain to get a manager who can maximize his team's performance. If you compared MLB managers, minor league managers, college managers, and high school managers across the country, you'd have drastic differences in ability. It's the difference between managers and replacement-level managers--which I'd define as those not managing MLB teams who'd be interested in the job--where I imagine the difference can't be more than a couple games. Unlike baseball player talent, at the very top, I imagine there's something of a diminishing returns curve without much variation in ability--or we'd see it in the contracts.

SDTwinkie
03-05-2013, 10:59 AM
I love this podcast, guys, I really do. Wonderful Twins discussion for hard-core fans and a great contribution to Twins Territory. Hope you don't mind a little constructive observation: Almost all, if not all, podcast listeners begin as listeners to GaG for one reason: Smart Twins Talk. While I wish you both the best in your personal lives, I don't listen to know more about two guys in Minneapolis and their non-baseball life opinions. I get plenty of that in my own world. You are both excellent writers, and know that conciseness and focus is valued in written publication. Others may disagree, but personally I fast forward the non-Twins stuff, and would welcome a more Twins-focused podcast (even if it is shorter) consistent with your earlier episodes. I guess I am saying stick with what makes the podcast unique (Smart Twins Talk) and include less of the ordinary (small talk and social conversation).

As I said, love the podcast and will continue to listen, just a suggestion.

John Bonnes
03-05-2013, 12:23 PM
Almost all, if not all, podcast listeners begin as listeners to GaG for one reason: Smart Twins Talk. While I wish you both the best in your personal lives, I don't listen to know more about two guys in Minneapolis and their non-baseball life opinions.

Thanks for the feedback. We struggle with this nearly every week as we get feedback both ways. On the one hand, we get all kinds of feedback from people who say the opposite and then we get those who want us to play it straight. But I value the feedback, just like I value the other side. I think we're looking for a balance ourselves.

SDTwinkie
03-05-2013, 04:44 PM
Thanks, John. I am sure it is a difficult balance---obviously, you can't please everyone and I admire the both of you for taking on this endeavor.