Monday, November 8, 2010

The Smartest Guy in the Room

At no point should it be a bad thing to be considered the smartest guy in the room. Being smart (I assume) is awesome. Alex Anthopoulos is clearly a smart guy, with many other smart guys around him to ensure smart, savvy, decisions get made.

Occasionally "the smartest guy in the room" is a pejorative volleyed at those who believe they can outsmart the system and conventional schools of thought. I don't think Alex Anthopoulos and team are to this level yet, but a couple errant arbitration hearings might take the shine off his recent tidy bit of business.

One concern I can't shake, however unfounded, is the powerful players union turning his angry eye towards these manipulations of the system. Exploiting the avarice of professionals with a 12 year earnings window is the exact thing union simultaneously promotes and attempts to protect its members against.

It is a shame that AA can't wryly brag during a conference call about swiping a draft pick from the Rockies, he has to play the game and say All the Right Things, as compiled by the fine Jordan Bastian:
No, and I've been reading a lot of that today. There's a lot of components with that. We didn't talk about the players that we pursued last offseason. When we signed John Buck, we were really agonizing over -- at the time -- Miguel Olivo and John Buck. ... Collectively, we elected to go with John Buck
I wonder if that has to do with John Buck being relatively awesome and Miguel Olivo being, uh, less so. The PA won't stand by and have players market value submarined by the draft pick compensation to the point that they players are worth less than the potential pick. When club options built into deals are sold as an incentive to players, savvy teams are going to decline the options almost every time; independent of that player's performance.

Anthopoulos and crew know this and they plan to make the most of it. The opportunity to bring back Kevin Gregg and Jason Frasor on the cheap is a good one for the team (for now), a less than ideal one for the players. Hopefully the clever machinations of the Jays exceedingly-competent front office doesn't attract the wrong kind of attention. Or give the Orioles any ideas. The AL East doesn't need any more well-run teams, thank you very much. Perhaps they should consider the Sabean Approach. I heard it works wonders!

Image courtesy of Padre Steve


  1. I hope AA continues to work around the CBA and exploit every weakness he can without violating the terms of the agreement. And if one of his moves forces a negotiation point next go-around? Well, that would be just about the best thing ever.

    "No trading for picks, ie: The Anthopoulos Clause"

  2. I agree completely. But the PA brings its big guns to war, every time.

    I'd hate for them to urge against another option-heavy deal like Lind, Hill, and friends.

  3. It might work to a positive end though. When the new CBA is worked out, we may see a system where draft picks are traded.

  4. Neyer said the Red Sox did the same thing by picking up Felipe Lopez in late September. And the Rays were the first to do those option-heavy deals for home-grown players, so it's not like the PA is just waking up to it. After these kinds of tricks are pulled off, I'm always left in wonder at how obvious they are. Why don't other teams with very smart lawyers pick up on this stuff?

    By the way, somewhat related reading -

  5. I don't think team options are looked at as any kind of a positive by any player or agent with half a brain.


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