As the General Manager of a professional sports franchise (or any business) what properties do you value? Should the Red Sox be any different?

Putting together a list, I'd certainly include the following.

  • A history of 'winning', that is, the capability of contributing to an organizational culture of winning. How important is winning to the player? The Jose Canseco 'what's the big deal about winning all the time' attitude simply disqualifies the player.
  • The ability to make the players around you better. Baseball being the consummate team sport marked by individual achievement, that's less of a factor than for example, basketball. Nobody would ask that about a Bill Russell or a Magic Johnson.
  • The capability to dominate the game via your presence, preferably on a regular basis.
  • Versatility. Is the player a 'one-trick pony' or an all-around achiever?
  • How is the player's performance trending?
  • Consistency
  • Durability (will also incorporate age and health status and performance enhancement overhang)
  • What is the player's locker room presence? The Good Guy metric.
  • Is the player a good person, reflecting organizational values? Peter Gammons wrote a piece recently including a player's comments, "the greater the player, the greater the insecurities."
  • What are the player's compensation demands? The Manny Ramirez professionalism when I feel like it approach fits in here as well.
  • Applying a multifactorial decision-analysis approach, what is the relative value to price?

The mantle of greatness gets thrown around pretty easily these days. Back in the day, a mentor said it differently, "you fellas fish those waters pretty hard." Not much has changed.

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