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Manny bidding Manny July 16, 2009

Posted by tomflesher in Academia, Baseball.
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There’s been some debate as to whether Manny Ramirez should have been allowed to make his rehab starts in AAA Albuquerque before returning to his Major League club, the Los Angeles Dodgers, after a 50-game suspension for drug use. Behind the cut, I’d like to think about some of the reasons behind the punishment and propose a solution.

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K-Rod, Castillo, and Externalities June 17, 2009

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
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On Friday, Luis Castillo committed an error in the bottom of the 9th inning with a one-run lead, two men on base, and two men out. The error was such that had Castillo made the play cleanly, the game would have ended with Francisco Rodriguez notching a save; however, Castillo’s error was directly responsible for two unearned runs scoring, giving Frankie a loss instead of a save.

The question: How much money does Castillo owe Rodriguez? I have a pretty good estimate.

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So why doesn't Nick Swisher pitch every night? April 15, 2009

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Nick Swisher pitched for the first time in the major leagues on Monday night during the Yankees’ 15-5 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. As you can see from the box score, Swish pitched pretty well. In fact, in 22 pitches, he gave up only one hit and one walk, threw 12 strikes, and struck out a major-league batter (left-fielder Gabe Kapler). So, will Yankees manager Joe Girardi tap him in relief again soon?

No, of course not. Find out why behind the cut.

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The Misery Index April 2, 2009

Posted by tomflesher in Academia, Economics, US Politics.
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The Misery Index is a measure of national economic health derived by adding the unemployment rate to the rate of inflation. It was famously used by Jimmy Carter to declare that Gerald Ford, under whom the rate had risen to 12.5%, had no right to run the country, and then by Ronald Reagan to declare that Carter was unfit for the presidency after it rose to over 20%. (It’s available in real time at MiseryIndex.us.) (more…)

Barry Bonds (with bonus Collusion discussion) March 25, 2009

Posted by tomflesher in Academia, Baseball, Economics.
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Sorry about the infrequent updates. It’s a busy time in the semester.

Barry Bonds is, without a doubt, one of the most controversial figures in baseball. He’s currently trying, again, what he tried last year – shopping himself around for the league’s minimum salary. (Thanks to the Sports Law Blog for the link.) Inside, I’d like to briefly discuss collusion and look at the incentives involved with this situation.

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Measurability and Derek Jeter February 26, 2009

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball, Economics.
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Skip Sauer at The Sports Economist had an interesting post about Houston Rockets forward Shane Battier’s lack of traditional stats and Rockets GM Daryl Morey’s belief in him regardless. Morey’s use of an adjusted plus-minus stat to justify hiring Battier is reminiscent of Billy Beane’s attention to on-base percentage in building the Oakland As as detailed in Moneyball.

What I take from Sauer’s post is that plus-minus is a surrogate variable for ability to be a team player. That opens the broader question of what can be measured and whether nonmeasurable statistics are ever useful in building a team.

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Signalling and For-Profit Colleges February 2, 2009

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Signalling in economics is the idea that, given imperfect information and a cost to disseminate that information, there are ways for high-quality agents to show (signal) others of their high quality.

This fellow doesn’t know it, but he’s trying to break signalling theory. Can he succeed? I don’t think so. My reasoning (second-order signalling) and a haiku behind the cut.

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Arbitration in MLB – "File and Go" and Market Inefficiency January 27, 2009

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Ed Edmonds at the Sports Law Blog wrote up a piece on Tampa Bay’s “File-and-Go” strategy for arbitration. The blog references an MLB.com article; more information is available at USA Today, but I’ve preserved the text of the article here. Some thoughts on arbitration as market inefficiency, plus a haiku, behind the cut.

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The Market for Kidneys in Singapore January 25, 2009

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Singapore is lifting its ban on compensating kidney donors. Behind the cut, I’ll analyze some of the effects, examine the welfare generated by such a policy, and include a summary in the form of an economics haiku.

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