Rosenthal On Moneyball

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports spoke to a slew of top executives about Moneyball, with the movie coming out Friday.  Here are a few highlights.

  • Executives Dave Dombrowski (Tigers) and Mark Shapiro (Indians) agree that the stark line drawn by the 2003 book between scouting and statistics is not present today.  I've yet to find a baseball executive who doesn't prefer a blend.
  • Yankees GM Brian Cashman admits that the Red Sox "were having a great deal of success with players of lesser ability," adding, "I studied what they were doing to some degree, adjusted accordingly, brought the Yankees up to speed, brought us into the 21st century."
  • Shapiro, president of the Indians, expects further dominance of big-market teams in the next five to seven years.  He added, "That doesn’t preclude small-market teams from winning. But they’re going to go in and out, go through cycles of winning, then violently remaking their rosters." 
  • Paul DePodesta told Rosenthal he thinks the explosion of information in baseball would have happened without Moneyball, but Cashman and Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. noted that they were pleased to see Oakland's methods revealed in the book.
  • Braves president John Schuerholz doesn't think so-called Moneyball teams have been successful, saying, "I think everyone looked and I don’t think many considered it a better mousetrap. You look at the won-loss records of the teams that adopted and the teams that didn’t, I don’t think you’ll find much of a difference in the impact."
  • Brewers GM Doug Melvin is losing some faith, based on "some bad experiences with possible deals that I might have made based off numbers."
  • Athletics GM Billy Beane believes injuries represent a current opportunity, if a team can create an advantage in prevention and treatment.  DePodesta noted that inefficiencies arise every five or six years, when a new collective bargaining agreement is reached.

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