The Marlon Byrd signing did not sit well with many Phillies fans in the Philadelphia area over the past few days. It's not so much that people think Marlon Byrd can't be a good player for the Phillies in 2013, it's more the fact that the Phillies gave a guy getting up their in age with a checkered past a 2-year deal worth $8 million per. Was that really the best use of those funds?
The Daily News' David Murphy uses this week's move as a jump off into a more philosophical look at the Phillies organization being too dependent on scouting alone, instead of using those scouting resources in a larger decision-making process.
As is typical of a Murphy piece, it's quite long, but it's worth your time to get a reasoned look at some of the issues that could be plaguing Citizens Bank Park Way now and for year's to come. Here is one pull quote I thought illustrated part of his point quite well:
Baseball decision making in the era of big data is as much about interpreting and utilizing probabilities as it is about individual judgments about a player's abilities. The vast array of tools that are at the disposal of every personnel evaluator, professional or armchair, has leveled the playing field when it comes to grading out physical talent. Everyone sees the same numbers, the same games, the same video. Anybody who had watched a healthy amount of Padres and Rangers baseball over the previous five seasons could have told you that Mike Adams had the talent of a premiere setup man. The decision on what kind of contract a team should have been involved a host of variables that had nothing to do with the scouting report on him. What did the the historical data say about the likelihood of a reliever fitting his profile sustaining his production through two years? What did the market say about the other relievers who were commanding less money? What was the likelihood that spending that money on two $3 million relievers or three $2 million relievers would have yielded as good or better results?
It's nothing against Marlon Byrd or Mike Adams per se. It's more about the seeming lack of thought and analysis behind such moves outside of what the scouts have to say.