Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Mets and the Success Cycle

When you run a baseball team, the first thing that you should do (and I doubt the Mets have done this in a while) is to take a look at where you are on the success cycle. I haven't been able to find much reference online to this concept as it relates to baseball, but it's an enormously important concept in business. In business, however, it is referred to as the life cycle.

In business, products and even companies as a whole participate in some general permutation of this cycle. A business or product will debut, will grow, and will hit their initial peak. From that point, they can adapt and make changes which will bring them to a new, higher plateau, or they can be allowed to decline until they no longer exist. Where you are on that cycle determines what kinds of decisions you will make - whether to invest in R&D, whether to make capital improvements, etc.

In baseball, however, all 30 teams exist and will continue to exist regardless of their success or failure. One look at the Pirates or Royals will assure you that no matter how bad you are and for how long, you won't go out of business (contraction talk aside). What does remain true, however, is the fact that teams are better or worse equipped to "make a run" at the playoffs or to "rebuild" depending on factors as plentiful as the ages of their star players, the condition of their facilities, changes in ownership, changes in the economy of their surrounding area, and the relative strength or weakness of their farm system.

As far as the success cycle and baseball goes, it appears the most prominent article on it was written years ago by Jonah Keri over at Baseball Prospectus. Although he never explicitly defines the success cycle, he takes an in-depth look at the 2002 Pittsburgh Pirates and discusses the importance of determining your place on it:
The cycle is a baseball continuum on which every team resides. To measure a team's place in the cycle, assess its talent in the majors and minors. Can the players in the organization, mixed with a few trade acquisitions and free agents the team could reasonably sign, yield a competitive team? More precisely, can the team expect to compete while its current core of major-league players remain productive and under contract?

Wally Backman Continues to Prove Mets Management Correct

Over the last thousand posts here at Fonzie, you could probably count on one hand the number of entries devoted to discussing managerial issues. Why? It's not that I don't think managers are important -- but rather, we as outsiders really have no way of knowing which human being will do the best job managing our baseball club. We can dislike moves in isolation, or we can have broader complaints (bullpen management is a good example) but in general, we just do not have much information on which to base our opinions.

With managerial *candidates*, we know even less. In most cases, we haven't actually seen them manage. Most of what we know will come from published media, a few games a couple of years ago when they were a generic opposing manager, and perhaps some quotes from former players. And for candidates like Wally Backman who have never managed in the major leagues? We - and when I say we, I mean fans - know basically nothing.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What Would YOU Pay Jeter to Join the Mets?

Over on Amazin Avenue, the epicenter of rational thought in the Mets blogosphere, they had a poll this morning [1]asking readers the following:

Would you sign Derek Jeter to play for the Mets? To my surprise, the responses were overwhelmingly negative. By a margin of 76% to 23%, respondents voted no.[2]

I would most certainly sign Jeter if he was willing to play second base rather than shortstop. The real question, as far as I'm concerned, is "how much would you be willing to pay him?" I imagine that most of the people that voted "no" in the above poll did so because they took ancillary factors into account, such as price.

As far as I can tell, the question breaks down into two parts. One, what is Jeter's on-field value likely to be? And two, what is his off-the-field value to the Mets?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Toby Hyde is Keepin' It Real

I've always enjoyed reading Toby Hyde. Despite being affiliated with the SNY Network of blogs, Toby, the writer over at Mets Minor League Blog, seems to have pretty free reign on his content and does a good job with it.

Yesterday, Toby did a good job calling out Fangraphs on a couple of silly comparisons they made between Mets prospects and current or former major leaguers.

I think Marc Hulet, the author over at fangraphs, does a very good job usually. This is not his best work. The list itself seems pretty poor and disordered, but it's really the comments on the players that make you shake your head.

I don't have the time nor the experience with the Mets minors to take Hulet to task, but Toby does, so if you are interested in Mets prospects, I'd encourage you to click through and take a look at what he has to say. And while you're at it, read the original article as well. Hulet is off the mark a few times, but overall, fangraphs is a great resource and it'll serve as a useful primer on some of our more promising minor leaguers.