A Radical Idea: Trade for Mike Scioscia by Derek Johannsen
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The Royals have officially hit the slide.Â The offense isnâ€™t hitting, the pitching isnâ€™t quite what it had been and since â€œthe pullâ€ of James Shields against Chicago on May 6 the Royals are 4-12 and have dropped to 21-22 on the year.Â I was at the game on May 6.Â Then and there we were discussing the asinine decision to pull Shields.Â Lo and behold, two weeks later the slide is in full swing.Â This team has numerous problems.Â One move isnâ€™t going to fix everything.Â However, there is one move that can be made which I believe would be a step in the right direction to actually putting this team in a position to compete now and in the future.
The Royals would be a better team without Ned Yost at the helm.Â I firmly place 3-4 losses at his feet throughout the first 43 games this year.Â Iâ€™ve searched for an analysis of the value of managers.Â There is some, but not much, quantitative valuing of managers and what they mean to their respective teams.Â However, one specific analysis is particularly relevant to the Royals and brings me to a trade proposal that is outside the box, but I believe would be in the best interest of the team if the Royals are truly trying to win this year and beyond.
In May 2012 Adam Darowski wrote an article at www.beyondtheboxscore.com that tried, in part, to quantify the value of a manager. (http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2012/3/28/2908044/manager-wins-above-expectancy)
In Darowskiâ€™s article he tried to quantify the relative value of managers using Wins Above Expectancy when analyzing it against the Pythagorean record and WAR from Baseball Reference.Â Highly simplified, he looked at what a teamâ€™s record was projected to be under the Pythagorean record and WAR and then looked at what it actually was and then made a plus/minus calculation.Â As he noted in his article:
â€œWins and championships simply tell us that a manager had a lot of talent on his team. If he has a lot of talent, he is supposed to win. But how about when a talented team doesn’t win? What about when a team wins more than it should, based on its runs scored and runs allowed? How much is actually luck? If it is all luck, wouldn’t it even out over thousands of games? Is there more than luck involved? Is the manager responsible for some of this over- or under-performance?â€
His findings are of particular interest to the Royals considering the landscape of MLB at this time.
According to multiple media reports, Don Mattingly is on his way out in Los Angeles.Â The Dodgers are under-performing and the vultures are circling.Â As an aside, the Dodgers bench coach is Trey Hillman, so you can insert your own joke here about them naming Hillman as the interim manager.Â The fact that Mattingly is on the hot seat directly affects the Royals in a way that will become clearer in a moment.
Just a little further south of Los Angeles, in Anaheim, the Angels are struggling.Â In reality the Angels are brutal, but what can you expect with that rotation.Â Multiple reports indicate that Arte Moreno isnâ€™t happy with the direction things are headed and that a parting of the ways with Mike Scioscia could be on the horizon.
As you probably know, Scioscia was a long time Dodgers catcher and the rumors are already flying that if the Angels part ways with Scioscia that Magic Johnson and the Dodgers will be backing up the Brinks truck (again) into Chavez Ravine.Â With that as a distinct possibility, here is my idea.
Trade for Mike Scioscia.Â And donâ€™t offer some low level D prospect.Â If it takes it, trade Yordano Ventura or another prospect whom the Angels want.Â The Angels need pitching.Â Ventura is a stud prospect.Â But he is just that, a young flame throwing prospect who could turn out to be Pedro Martinez, Pedro Strop, Pedro Cerrano or Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite.Â Until Ventura makes an impact at the major league level he isnâ€™t helping the major league club win any games.
According to an AP article from January 2009, Sciosciaâ€™s contract with the Angels runs through 2018 but has a manager opt-out clause after 2015.Â Estimates put the contract at roughly $2 million per year. (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3828616)
I know that trading a great pitching prospect sounds insane.Â The point isnâ€™t to have the best prospects, it is to win games.Â And, even though they are having a terrible year, Sciosciaâ€™s teams win games at a better rate compared to the expected win totals than any other managerâ€™s teamsâ€¦ ever.
On the cumulative list prepared by Darowski Sciosciaâ€™s numbers are as follows (http://darowski.com/hall-of-wwar/expectancy/) :
Simply put, over the course of 1944 games managed (through May 2012) Sciosciaâ€™s clubs out-performed their expected wins according to WAR by 80.7 games.Â 1944 games is the equivalent of 12 seasons.Â Thus, when looking at wins expected according to WAR vs. actual wins, Sciosciaâ€™s teams averaged 6.725 more wins per year than expected.
Letâ€™s compare that to the numbers of Ned Yost.
Through 971 games managed (one game short of 6 seasons) Yostâ€™s teams were 9.2 games worse than they were expected to perform according to WAR.Â Over 6 seasons that averages out to about 1.5 more losses per year than expected.
When you put the two numbers together the averages indicate that swapping out Yost for Scioscia would produce an average differential of 8.225 wins per season.Â Think about that. Â 8.225 wins sounds astronomic, and it is.
The highest WAR totals in MLB for the 2012 season were the following:
- Trout 10.9
- Cano 8.5
- Verlander 7.7
- Posey 7.4
- Cabrera 7.3
- McCutchen 7.2
- Beltre 7.0
- Braun 7.0
- Price 6.9
- Molina 6.9
Thus, if the numbers are correct, and swapping out Yost for Scioscia would provide an average of 8.225 more wins per season, it is the equivalent of picking up Robinson Cano and his 8.5 WAR everyâ€¦ singleâ€¦ year.Â There is no a single move the Royals can make, outside of shelling out $25 million a year, to add a legitimate 8.0 WAR player to the everyday lineup.Â By possibly trading Ventura or another prospect for Scioscia (and obviously agreeing to an extension past the 2015 opt out date) the Royals could make a move that, according to the numbers, would drastically increase their win totals and playoff chances at 1/10th the cost of signing someone like Cano.Â With that in mind, isnâ€™t the question simply whether or not Ventura or whatever prospect you trade away is the equivalent of an 8 WAR player?
Is it outside the box, yes.Â Likely to get panned, yes.Â Something to consider, I think so.
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