Ben Cherington is out of a job after stepping down as Red Sox general manager earlier this week, but he still has his sense of humor.
Cherington was on hand as a guest speaker today for the fifth annual Saberseminar in Boston, which benefits the Jimmy Fund. The event is centered around sabermetrics, scouting, and the science of baseball. His job status was obviously the big elephant in the room and he decided to go the self-deprecating route.
Cherington also held himself accountable for some of his decision-making, most notably with the decision to sign Hanley Ramirez and put him in left field. He said the front office “made a bet on the history of what players look like going from middle infield to outfield,” but admitted that it hasn’t gone well. According to Tim Britton of the Providence Journal, Cherington said that he believes some of his failings in the job came as a result of making decisions “in a rush.”
While he didn’t exactly go out on a high note in Boston, kudos to Cherington for being humorous and thoughtful in what has to be a pretty rough week for him. He likely won’t have to wait long for his next opportunity.
We’ve heard the back and forth between players and owners on money, on safety, on the size and the shape of the season. But not until now have we heard just how little baseball Major League Baseball and its owners actually want: 48 games.
That’s all they want, at least if they have to, as agreed, pay players their prorated salaries on a per-game basis. That’s the report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan, who writes this morning on the state of the current negotiations.
Passan’s article has a lot more than that. It contains a number of financial calculations about how much teams say they stand to lose per game played under any given scenario. That said, given the near total opacity when it comes to owner finances, we have no real way to evaluate the claims. The players have a bit more access to league financials, but even they are reported to be unsatisfied with what the owners have shared in that regard. So, while interesting, nothing Passan presents there is really convincing. It stakes out the positions of the parties but doesn’t really tell us much about the merits.
Which is to say that a 48-game schedule sounds like either (a) a bluff aimed at getting the players to offer financial concessions; or (b) a declaration from the owners that they’d prefer almost no baseball if it means that they have to lose any money. The whole “we’ll happily take the benefits of a good market but won’t bother if there’s a chance we might lose money” approach I’ve lambasted in this space before.
We’ll see soon which it is.