Thursday, February 11, 2010

More on Weisman/McCourt

More reaction to Jon Weisman's excellent interview of Frank McCourt (available here).

On premium free agents: 
First of all, I'm never going to be thrilled about overpaying for a free agent. I think it's not a smart thing to do organizationally, and we haven't made 100% great decisions on some of those signings. It wasn't like we didn't have good intentions, and it wasn't like we didn't think when we signed the player [that] they were going to help the team.  
But the one thing about signing a free agent that is beneficial is, it's just money. It's just money. And if you've signed the right player, that can help you then and there, and you can keep your prospects intact, it can be a very, very smart thing to do. 
This makes my head hurt. Very few things in life irritate me more than evaluating decisions by outcomes. 'Free agent signings are smart if the players end up being good' is little more than a sorry excuse for not having adequate processes in place. 'Free agent signings are not smart if the players don't perform as we expected' is admitting that you're so scarred by the past that you're incapable of carrying out the proper process going forward.

In the end, it's just not that difficult. Are the risks of an acquisition (money, prospects, roster flexibility, what have you) outweighed by the potential benefits, when the probabilities of the various outcomes are factored in? We must not be concerned with the outcome of a decision, but rather whether it was correct at the time of the decision, given the information available at that time. And the failure to avail oneself of key information is every bit as damning as a bad decision itself.

Point is, vis a vis free agents, "all's well that ends well" is a crock. And I worry about an owner who believes that a good result validates a bad decision.

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