Monday, December 01, 2014

Oh Henry! Does The CHB Need a Reading Comprehension Course?

The CHB says John Henry's assertion that his comments on giving contracts to players over 30 were "overblown" is, in The CHB's typically elegant style, "baloney." Is his representation honest?

Here's what Henry told Bloomberg last summer: “We had a certain discipline for the first five or six years that really paid big dividends, and we got away from that,” he says. “We learned a lesson in ever-growing, long-term contracts with free agents.”

Here's what Ben Cherington added: [It] was a recommitment to a long-term strategy built on data, performance analysis, and finding hidden value. “In my conversations with John, he has always stressed that it’s really hard to predict the future. He sees the game objectively. He was able to really look down deep into the engine and be impervious to all the pressure coming from outside.”

Says Henry: “We went back to what had made us great for a very long time.” That, reads the article, meant the Red Sox "got on base more often than any other team in baseball, saw a ton of pitches, rarely swung, and crushed the balls they did swing at, especially fastballs.

Referencing a study “Can’t Buy Much Love: Why Money Is Not Baseball’s Most Valuable Currency,” in which author Martin Kleinbard found a weak correlation between payroll disparity and winning, Henry said, "To me, the most important thing this study shows is that virtually all of the underpaid players are under 30 and virtually all the overpaid players are over 30. Yet teams continue to extravagantly overpay for players above the age of 30.”

So is The CHB correct? Of course not. Henry at no time said the Red Sox will or will not sign expensive free agents. All he said was that he agreed with the study.

Moreover, Henry correctly pointed out that the Red Sox are best when they grind out at bats. In 2013, Boston led the AL in OBP at .349. In 2014, they were eighth, at .316. In 2013, they were fifth in the league in homers at 178. In 2014, they were 12th, with 123. The two weakest spots for the Sox were outfield and 3B, and in signing Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez they have managed to get the two best available free agents to play those positions in 2015. That sounds consistent with Henry's statements. They now have exactly five players under contract after the 2015 season: the two aforementioned plus Dustin Pedroia, Clay Buchholz (who has a cheap team buyout clause) and Allen Craig (who almost certainly will be traded before then).

So yes, The CHB is being completely disingenuous in his criticism. What else is new?

Oh and then there's this: "Maybe this is what happens when radio studios are populated by fan-boy 'comedians' and 'professional' announcers suck up to local team ownerships in a quest for employment." Fan boy watch! It's always a pleasure knowing how much this site gets under his pale skin.

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