February 12, 2004

Theo Epstein Talks To Baseball Prospectus. Here is Part I; Part II is part of BP's subscription.

BP: Your father, on the "Cowboy Up" year-end DVD ... said that you are self-described as "risk-averse." What's that mean? It surprises me.

Epstein: Well, risk is a funny thing. We talk about it a lot at the Red Sox. You could say our approach is a bit of a paradox, because at the same time we are risk takers and risk-averse. I think we're risk takers in the sense that we'll try anything within reason, within moral boundaries, to get a competitive advantage. So if someone has an idea--no matter how crazy, no matter how off-the-wall, no matter how illogical it seems--as long as we don't have to expend a tremendous amount of resources to try it, we'll try it. ... Where we're risk-averse is in situations where there are a lot of resources involved. And when I say resources, I really mean a percentage of our payroll. By design, we're risk averse with our payroll. We feel that we have tremendous resources, and the quickest thing that we can do to sacrifice that competitive advantage is to take an ill-advised risk with our payroll and have it backfire on us, eliminating that edge. So we are risk averse, because we want to make every single unit of resource count for us; every single dollar on the payroll really counts for us and translates into wins. So I think it is accurate to say that we're risk-averse and risk takers at the same time."

Some have wondered if Epstein's comment -- "to take an ill-advised risk with our payroll and have it backfire on us" -- has any relevance to a possible contract extension for Pedro Martinez. ... Sarah at RallyCuff notes a Pedro interview (in Santo Domingo's Listín Diario) and attempts a translation. ... Keith Woolner always told people that the Red Sox lost the first game he saw at Fenway. Turns out he was wrong. I, however, can say with certainty that Boston lost the first game I saw at Fenway.

Jim Cassandro at Baseball Primer: "In the following piece I will argue that in baseball these measures [Avg, OBP, SLG, ERA, K:BB, etc.] are inappropriately applied and statistically flawed, and I will introduce rather simple residualized measures that are more valid, flexible, and statistically meaningful alternatives. Residualized measures have already been adopted successfully in other research fields where ratio statistics have been misapplied (e.g., social and behavioral sciences). Perhaps this introduction will help residuals find their place on the landscape of baseball research as well."

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