Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Baseball is learning what value really is

Matthew Leach at has a story up today that explains how baseball’s middle class -- average veterans, mostly -- is feeling the pinch in the free agent market. It’s a brains thing just as much as it is a money thing:

As teams -- and outside analysts -- devise ever-cleverer means of evaluating talent, the wheels of player acquisition spin differently. Members of MLB front offices have ever-better tools for assessing the players they’re signing. That makes it less likely for mediocre players to get big deals.

“It’s a combination of things,” said Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash. “Of course there are the general economic concerns, but there is also more data going around, like FIP [fielding-independent pitching statistics], and others that give you a better feel for a pitcher rather than the traditional wins and losses and ERA.”

This is not news to the sabermetrically-inclined among us, as we have been beating the drum against spending big money on anything other than guys who are clearly superstars for a long time. Indeed, a roster filled with a handful of legitimate top-dollar talents and rounded out with rookies, near-rookies and low-dollar veterans on single year deals is probably best suited to compete, both on the field and economically. It’s clearly not news to most front offices too, as the days when guys like Pat Mears got multi-year deals are a distant memory for almost any team.

But check out that quote from Gord Ash. Then compare it to the aggressive dismissal of advanced metrics by the majority of your mainstream baseball writers and ask yourself if the statheads are really as out-of-touch as they’re made out to be. If anything, the geeks and the game’s movers and shakers are speaking the same language.