How the Nationals use analytics

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Setting aside how old it makes me feel to hear that a team employee read Tom Tango’s “The Book” “while growing up,” these two stories — here and here — from Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post is a fascinating peek into how the Washington Nationals — a team always characterized as “scouting-first” use advanced metrics and analytics in their baseball operations department.

Shock of shocks: they use scouting and sabermetrics. It’s almost as if those two things can work together rather than be the zero-sum game some old school columnists would have you believe.

Sad part, though: the analyst intern Kilgore talks with says that, while they like to see third party predictive analysis and thus look at a lot of websites like FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus, there is no mention whatsoever of the Nationals reading HardballTalk’s Best Shape of His Life reporting. I mean, what else do you need to know about how a guy is gonna do? Call me, dudes. I’ll totally hip you to that area of analysis.

Report: Christian Yelich’s relationship with Marlins ‘irretrievably broken’

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Joe Longo, the agent of Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich, said his client’s relationship with the Marlins is “irretrievably broken,” ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports. He believes in the best interest of both Yelich and the Marlins to work out a trade before the start of spring training.

Longo said,

They have a plan. I respect that plan, but that plan shouldn’t include Christian at this point in his career. He’s in the middle of the best years of his career, and having him be part of a 100-loss season is not really where [we] want to see him going.

The relationship between player and team is irretrievably broken. It’s soured. He’s part of the old ownership regime. The new ownership regime needs to get new parts into this plan and move forward, and he needs to get on with his career where he’s got a chance to win. The big issue is him winning and winning now.

He loves the city of Miami. He loves the fans. He’s had nothing but a good experience in South Florida, and he feels sorry where they ended up. But I think having him report [to spring training] and attempting to include him moving forward is going to be uncomfortable for both sides. I don’t see how it’s going to work.

This certainly comes as no surprise considering the offseason the Marlins have had after installing new ownership, going from Jeffrey Loria to Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter. The club traded All-Star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, who hit 59 home runs last season, as well as Dee Gordon and Marcell Ozuna. As Crasnick notes, Yelich isn’t the only player to express disappointment with the Marlins’ current direction — J.T. Realmuto and Starlin Castro have as well.

Yelich, 26, signed a seven-year, $49.57 million contract extension with the Marlins in March of 2015. Given his career performance, that’s a bargain of a contract, which is why more than a handful of teams have inquired with the Marlins about him this offseason. Yelich finished the past season with a .282/.369/.439 triple-slash line along with 18 home runs, 81 RBI, 100 runs scored, and 16 stolen bases in 695 plate appearances.