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Economist: The Cult Of The Genius GM


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If you believe in the "Moneyball"-inspired Great GM Theory of Baseball, Mr Friedman?s move should foreshadow the apocalypse for competitive balance in the sport. Statistically-minded observers have long encouraged teams to invest in their front offices: earlier this year Benjamin Morris of FiveThirtyEight calculated that Mr Beane had been worth an astonishing $1.4 billion to the Oakland Athletics. Once the news broke of Mr Friedman?s move, Rob Neyer claimed that ?it?s long been obvious that good general managers were massively underpaid? (emphasis in original), and Ken Rosenthal wrote that ?whatever the price, Friedman will be a bargain.? If rich clubs are at last beginning to wield their financial advantage on their brain trusts as well as their players, this argument goes, their poorer rivals will be consigned to the league?s basement for all eternity.
Replacement level can also be extended to assess the relative worth of athletes to GMs. And contrary to Mr Neyer?s and Mr Rosenthal?s assertions, this approach would probably indicate that Mr Friedman, whose salary has not yet been announced, is likely to be over- rather than underpaid.
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