Do managers matter?

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There has been a lot of heated talk about whether Wally Backman will be the bestest choice for Mets manager ever or whether he’ll sink the entire Mets franchise.  I mean, I imagine it’s possible some people have taken the middle ground on this, but this is the Internet, so that’s practically impossible.

Enter J.C. Bradbury, who used all of that fancy book-learnin’ he picked up while becoming an economics professor to study the impact of major league managers. He has a new paper on it.  Here’s a link to the whole thing.  Here’s the abstract:

Sports teams frequently fire and hire managers when they experience losing. However, determining managerial responsibility for player performance is difficult to measure. This study examines how major-league baseball players perform under different managers and estimates that managers have little effect on performance. The study further investigates whether or not replacing managers serves as a signal to fans that the team is improving, which boosts attendance. The results indicate that new managers were associated with increased attendance in the 2000s; however, such effects were not present in the 1980s and 1990s.

Upshot: Wally Backman could put some extra butts in the seats at Citi Field. As for winning, however, Backman — if chosen — will do so if he’s given good players who stay healthy. He won’t if he’s given a bad or injury-riddled team.

And when it happens, either the Disciples of Wally or the foul mouthed Backman Bashers will claim that their view of the matter was vindicated.

Red Sox place Rafael Devers back on the disabled list with a bum hamstring

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The Red Sox just got third baseman Rafael Devers back from the disabled list last week. Now he’s going back on, retroactive to yesterday, with a left hamstring strain.

It’s the same injury that put him on the shelf before, and he apparently aggravated it. In fact, it’s his third trip to the disabled list over the last five weeks. How much time he’ll miss this time around isn’t known. In the meantime, Eduardo Nunez should see the bulk of the starts at the hot corner.

Devers is hitting .242/.298/.422 with 16 homers and 55 RBI on the year.