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Maddon vs. Gardy: How much of an improvement would Maddon be?

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#21 markos

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Posted 27 October 2014 - 10:36 AM

I don't follow the Rays day in and day out so I might be missing things, but I've never gotten the impression that Madden is some kind of extraordinary manager. He has received a lot of support from sabermetrically inclined writers and analysts, but I have yet to read a convincing, detailed statistical account as to what exactly he does that separates him from the rest of the managers in baseball. I feel like he gets the benefit of the doubt since he had worked with THE sabermetric front-office for so many years, and if they stick with him then he must be good.

 

Undoubtedly, there are things he does well. I think he has been very good at maximizing his roster by using platoons and positioning to put his players in the best position to succeed. Additionally, he seems to be able to foster a great clubhouse culture. However, in other ways he is still fairly standard. His intentional walk numbers are league average, as are his sacrifice bunt numbers. Also, I haven't notice that his bullpen usage is particularly unconventional. 

 

I am definitely open to having my mind changed if others have strong arguments in Madden's favor. But considering that it sounds like he wants to be one of the top-paid managers in the game, I'm not sure he is worth it.

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#22 nicksaviking

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Posted 27 October 2014 - 11:10 AM

 

But Tony LaRussa was not going to bring the Astros or Twins to the playoffs this year

 

I don't know.The WS games in KC cost a fortune, but LaRussa is still rich enough to splurge for 25 of them even if they couldn't get a group discount.

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#23 jay

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Posted 27 October 2014 - 11:47 AM

I don't think managers can be considered free agents in the same way players can. For starters, how many wins is a replacement level manager worth? How would you even measure? Pyth. W-L doesn't seem to be very enlightening. Does anyone really think Maddon is worth -4 wins compared to a replacement manager over his tenure? Other issues are that managers don't face the same age-related decline - they can manage into their 70s. This leads to an overabundance of candidates for only 30 jobs, certainly that skews the economics a long way from $7m/WAR.

 

Maddon might be the first instance of a highly desireable, free-agent like manager.I agree with you on the complications of measurement, but the number of organizations that have reportedly reached out to him would seem to indicate that he's viewed as significantly better than replacement level -- which should translate to wins in some way or another.There is an overabundance of candidates, but very few managers garner the reputation of being worth additional wins. 

 

If some team thinks he is worth 2 more wins than the other candidates available, why shouldn't he be worth $14M if the alternative is to go after those 2 wins on the free agent player market for the same price?

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#24 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 27 October 2014 - 11:53 AM

I think it's safe to say that Maddon is worth anywhere between -162 and 162 games* a season.

 

*not including postseason play

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#25 dxpavelka

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Posted 27 October 2014 - 11:56 AM

I applaud the effort that went into this and don't dispute the statistical analysis.  However, it seems to me that the charts may not reflect intangibles, such as getting the most out of each player and attracting better free agents.  

 

I would also enjoy seeing a chart of how many wins Maddon would have had relative to Gardy if the Rays payroll had been as high as the Twins payroll.  Such chart would require a lot of subjective assumptions, but the process could be illuminating.

Funny how we mention that the charts above don't reflect intangibles and yet one of the biggest arguments people make for Maddon being and improvement over Gardy is that he "embraces advanced analytics" which, interestingly enough, don't reflect intangibles.

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#26 tobi0040

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Posted 27 October 2014 - 12:17 PM

Maddon might be the first instance of a highly desireable, free-agent like manager.I agree with you on the complications of measurement, but the number of organizations that have reportedly reached out to him would seem to indicate that he's viewed as significantly better than replacement level -- which should translate to wins in some way or another.There is an overabundance of candidates, but very few managers garner the reputation of being worth additional wins. 

 

If some team thinks he is worth 2 more wins than the other candidates available, why shouldn't he be worth $14M if the alternative is to go after those 2 wins on the free agent player market for the same price?

 

$7M per WAR seems a tad high with several nuances.Such as age, overpaying for career years, potential, injuries, etc.All impact the players contract.

 

I looked up the four largest contracts (I think, it was quick look).I excluded Tanaka because he did not have an MLB track record.  

 

Cano  - roughly $3M per WAR at 24M a year.

Choo - roughly 6.3M per WAR at 18M a year

Ellsbury -roughly $4M per WAR at $21M a year

Mccan  - roughly $6.5M per WAR at 17M a year

 

Mid-tier guys

 

Arroyo - 6.7M per WAR

Byrd  -5.3M per WAR

Feldman -16M per WAR

Edited by tobi0040, 27 October 2014 - 12:25 PM.

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#27 Willihammer

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Posted 27 October 2014 - 12:53 PM

The exact value of a Win in free agency isn't at issue. Its in the 6-7m range, according to fangraphs last study. The question remains how do you determine what is a baseline replacement manager worth and how many more is Maddon above (or below) that level? We have no idea of what Win-value Maddon presents to teams looking for a new manager outside of the rumors that about 28/30 teams are interested in him right now.
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Well, there's that.

-Dark Star, RIP


#28 spycake

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Posted 27 October 2014 - 01:58 PM

Interesting post, thanks.

 

What about playoffs?I don't mean to rehash bad memories for Twins fans, but Maddon equaled Gardy's career playoff victory total by his 8th career playoff game.13-17 overall isn't great, but it's way better than 6-21.

 

Obviously we aren't terribly close to returning to the playoffs, but it might be nice to know our manager isn't just a good "long haul" manager but can also hang in the October elimination tournaments, should the opportunity (hopefully) arise.

 

Here is another way to compare them: if my math is right, Gardy's teams are 25-38 against Maddon's head-to-head.Obviously the last 4 years have been terrible for the Twins, so that skews things toward the Rays (who only had 2 similarly bad years under Maddon), but even in 2006-2010 the Twins barely edged the Rays 18-16, despite the Rays having two 96+ loss seasons in that time.Gardy's success against Maddon is almost entirely based on Maddon's first year in Tampa (2006, when the Twins won the series 6-1) -- the Twins never won a season series with the Rays after that.

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#29 Mike Sixel

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Posted 27 October 2014 - 03:05 PM

If we assume teams are not stupid...........managers must have a greater effect than we think, if the cheap ones get $2MM per year (meaning they are worth quite a bit), and the great ones will be getting $5MM per year (meaning teams think great managers are worth quite a bit more, more than the average player makes, I believe). Around 25% of players made $5MM last year......

 

http://www.usatoday....014/player/all/

 

or, our first assumption is wrong......

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It's been a fun year so far, GO Twins. 


#30 gunnarthor

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Posted 27 October 2014 - 03:07 PM

Interesting post, thanks.

 

What about playoffs?I don't mean to rehash bad memories for Twins fans, but Maddon equaled Gardy's career playoff victory total by his 8th career playoff game.13-17 overall isn't great, but it's way better than 6-21.

 

 

Well, if you want to go there, the Twins opponents in the post season haven't been just good teams - they've generally been monsters.  Gardy's opponents averaged 101 wins each year, to the Twins 92.  That's a huge difference.  The only series Gardy lost where the Twins were the better/favored team was the 06 A's.  In contrast, Maddon had a 96 win team knocked out in the first round to a 90 win team and his playoff teams avg 94 wins while their opponents avg 93.  

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#31 spycake

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Posted 27 October 2014 - 03:49 PM

Well, if you want to go there, the Twins opponents in the post season haven't been just good teams - they've generally been monsters.  Gardy's opponents averaged 101 wins each year, to the Twins 92.  That's a huge difference.  The only series Gardy lost where the Twins were the better/favored team was the 06 A's.  In contrast, Maddon had a 96 win team knocked out in the first round to a 90 win team and his playoff teams avg 94 wins while their opponents avg 93.  

I know some excuses can be made for some of our playoff failures, but the sample size got pretty large there -- it's really hard to excuse that.Especially all the sweeps (or win one, then get swept like 2002-2004) -- even a 92 win team shouldn't be expected to lost 12 straight games to a 101 win team.

 

If you want more context, Maddon's teams lost to the eventual AL pennant winner every year (in addition to their own pennant year, of course).Three times Gardy's Twins were eliminated (and 2 of the 3 times, swept) by a team that immediately lost its next series.

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#32 TheLeviathan

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Posted 27 October 2014 - 06:36 PM

The only series Gardy lost where the Twins were the better/favored team was the 06 A's.  

 

I don't want to break it down for every year, but immediately when I read this I thought about the 2010 Twins who were a better offensive and better pitching team than the Yankees they faced and we had homefield advantage in our brand new park.

 

I'd argue after a certain point we started becoming the underdog regardless because of the perception of our team folding in the playoffs and little to do with an actual talent disparity.

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#33 markos

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Posted 27 October 2014 - 07:34 PM

The exact value of a Win in free agency isn't at issue. Its in the 6-7m range, according to fangraphs last study. The question remains how do you determine what is a baseline replacement manager worth and how many more is Maddon above (or below) that level? We have no idea of what Win-value Maddon presents to teams looking for a new manager outside of the rumors that about 28/30 teams are interested in him right now.

 

I agree with this 100%. The other big question about Maddon is how much of his value is due to the backing of the Rays front office? Will he be as effective without the stats/data that he is accustomed to?


#34 tobi0040

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Posted 27 October 2014 - 07:39 PM

I agree with this 100%. The other big question about Maddon is how much of his value is due to the backing of the Rays front office? Will he be as effective without the stats/data that he is accustomed to?

 

It is still his job to play the guys though.To shift the defense, construct the lineup, etc.I agree he is not a 10 win guy....but nobody, absolutely nobody is debating he is a better candidate than anyone we have interviewed.


#35 brvama

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Posted 27 October 2014 - 07:45 PM

It is really interesting how a couple of days change things Friday and Saturday Maddon was viewed as the manager of all managers who must lead the Twins. Today there is some question as to if he is really that much better to be worth the extra cost. Is the TD base doing their 'due diligence?

It is certainly very difficult to quantify the value of managers. It really boils down the talent that they manage. I will not be disappointed if Maddon becomes the Twins manager, nor will I be disappointed if he isn't. I guess I am as interested in the coaching staff as the manager.

#36 alexlegge

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Posted 27 October 2014 - 08:46 PM

I didn't try to say it doesn't, though it probably reads that way.My point is that it might not, and there are reasons to think that they might not be perfectly correlated.For example, if they are really good at executing/moving players ahead a base because of coaching, but I don't call it at the right time quite so often, we might get more runs but somewhat fewer wins than the Pythag projection.Or maybe I'm really good at platooning, which isn't situational on a day-to-day basis.

 

The Pythag projection doesn't usually show huge variations anyway, so I'm inclined to think that more runs (based on expected runs absent the manager) is important as its own measure.I have no belief that could be estimated with any degree of accuracy, though.

 

 

 

This was something I struggled with, and probably could be solved with more advanced metrics. There are several components of in-game managerial moves that aren't captured in Pythag projections. Defensive shifting is a big one, which Maddon is of course well known for. That wouldn't be captured (at least not much) in a manager's ability to win close games.

 

Ultimately, I wonder if it's feasible to put together a measure of all managerial decisions that are directly game-related - namely lineups, defensive shifts, replays, substitutions, and steals/bunts/pitchouts/etc.... Team performance after ejections could be also be interesting. 

 

Obviously, total runs scored would be related to how the game is managed on all these levels - but I'd argue that it lurks much farther into player performance and front office influence, instead of isolating managerial moves.

 

In any case, thanks for your comments! Very much appreciated :)

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#37 alexlegge

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Posted 27 October 2014 - 08:54 PM

I don't want to break it down for every year, but immediately when I read this I thought about the 2010 Twins who were a better offensive and better pitching team than the Yankees they faced and we had homefield advantage in our brand new park.

 

I'd argue after a certain point we started becoming the underdog regardless because of the perception of our team folding in the playoffs and little to do with an actual talent disparity.

The 2010 sweep stuck with me because I still hold a grudge against the Yankees. The Yanks were still favorites because they had essentially backed out of the AL East title in hopes of facing the Twins instead of the Rangers (sacrificing homefield advantage in the process).

 

I feel like those 2010 Yanks were a big part of instigating the second wild card - to prevent teams from backing out of a division title. That would make three straight years of the Twins getting shafted on rules that would later change (2009 playoffs was a prime example of the need for instant replay, and the Twins should've had homefield advantage in the 2008 tiebreaker were it not for the stupid coin flip rule).

 

And then of course there was the Vikings losing in overtime after one possession in the 2010 NFC Championship, ugh...


#38 gunnarthor

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Posted 27 October 2014 - 09:12 PM

I don't want to break it down for every year, but immediately when I read this I thought about the 2010 Twins who were a better offensive and better pitching team than the Yankees they faced and we had homefield advantage in our brand new park.

 

I'd argue after a certain point we started becoming the underdog regardless because of the perception of our team folding in the playoffs and little to do with an actual talent disparity.

The Twins weren't better and the Yankees had a better record despite under performing their pyth w/l while the Twins out performed theirs.The Yankees easily had the better pitching (esp with Nathan on the DL).If Morneau was healthy you might be able to argue that the Twins offense was better but he wasn't and they weren't.And the Yankees match up was about the worse one we couldhave gotten since our main offensive threats at that point were all lefties who were shut down by CC and Pettitte.Span, Mauer, Kubel and Thome went 8 for 43 in that series.


#39 TheLeviathan

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Posted 27 October 2014 - 09:55 PM

The Twins weren't better and the Yankees had a better record despite under performing their pyth w/l while the Twins out performed theirs.The Yankees easily had the better pitching (esp with Nathan on the DL).If Morneau was healthy you might be able to argue that the Twins offense was better but he wasn't and they weren't.And the Yankees match up was about the worse one we couldhave gotten since our main offensive threats at that point were all lefties who were shut down by CC and Pettitte.Span, Mauer, Kubel and Thome went 8 for 43 in that series.

 

All of these things are quite subjective.  And even if they were true - since when does the best team win in the playoffs as some sort of rule?

 

We went to the playoffs a lot and couldn't manage to win games much less series.  Meanwhile upsets are common in the playoffs in baseball and if your version of events is true, it's still a weak excuse for being that impotent in the playoffs.

 

I don't, for the record, put that on Gardy.  (Not much at all really)  But can we please stop the "woe is the little engine that could" meme?  We have consistently played soft in the playoffs and blaming it on less talent is a really lame excuse.

Edited by TheLeviathan, 27 October 2014 - 09:56 PM.

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#40 one_eyed_jack

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Posted 27 October 2014 - 11:51 PM

All of these things are quite subjective.  And even if they were true - since when does the best team win in the playoffs as some sort of rule?

 

We went to the playoffs a lot and couldn't manage to win games much less series.  Meanwhile upsets are common in the playoffs in baseball and if your version of events is true, it's still a weak excuse for being that impotent in the playoffs.

 

I don't, for the record, put that on Gardy.  (Not much at all really)  But can we please stop the "woe is the little engine that could" meme?  We have consistently played soft in the playoffs and blaming it on less talent is a really lame excuse.

 

Not sure I buy into the "playing soft" thing either.Who played soft?There were quite a few games where we had late leads, only to have our normally reliable bullpen (including our all-star closer) cough them up.Was Nathan playing soft? 

 

And on not using talent disparity as an excuse, I get where you are coming from, but I think it depends on what year you are talking about.

 

Take 2009.I understand not liking the whole "little engine" thing, but I also think it's a little silly to throw out starters like Duensing and Blackburn against guys like Sabathia and Pettite, counter an infield of A-Rod, Jeter, Cano and Teixera with Tolbert, Cabrera, Punto and Cuddyer and expect to win because "upsets happen".

 

2010 was a different story.It was a deeper, more experienced Twins team.The Yankees were starting to look older and weaker.We had home field advantage in the new ballpark. We clinched early and were able to set up our rotation.It felt like it was our time to finally break through.That was a winnable series.

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