• Verducci: Decades Most Efficient Teams

    Posted by on January 19th, 2010 · Comments (20)

    Today, Tom Verducci wrote/asked:

    The Yankees left little doubt that they were the team of the last decade, but what team was the most efficient from 2000 through 2009? Did the Yankees get the most bang for their 1.6 billion bucks or did someone else win more efficiently? And which team wasted enough money to claim the title of the least efficient team of the decade?

    And, then Verducci did the math on this one. It’s a very interesting read. Click here to check it out.

    In summary, Tom found that the Marlins, Cards, Twins, A’s and Rays were the most efficient from 2000 through 2009. And, the M’s, Dodgers, Cubs, O’s and Mets were the least efficient team of the decade. Both groups seem to make sense, no?

    How about the Yankees? According to Verducci’s Efficiency Rating, the Yankees were the 23rd most efficient team in the majors from 2000 through 2009. Or, flipping it, the Yankees were the 8th worst team in the big leagues, over the last decade, in terms of getting a bang for their buck. And, this includes the fact that New York won so many games and made the post-season so often.

    What’s really amazing is this tack on from Tom:

    The Yankees spent 31 percent more than the next biggest spender, Boston. By laying out $1.6 billion dollars, it would have been difficult for them to be among the most efficient teams in baseball — but not impossible. All they needed to do to crack the top five in efficiency was to win the 2003, 2004 and 2008 World Series in addition to their 2000 and 2009 titles.

    I wonder what they would have needed to win to just reach the middle of the pack?

    In any event, being the 8th worst team in the big leagues, over the last decade, in terms winning efficiently is probably not going to be the calling card for Yankees G.M. Brian Cashman’s induction into the Hall of Fame, is it?

    Comments on Verducci: Decades Most Efficient Teams

    1. Raf
      January 19th, 2010 | 5:04 pm

      Now that salaries aren’t going to be as crazy as they were in the 00′s, the Yankees may be closer in line to everyone else.

      Then again, as many times that they made the playoffs, and leading “achievement points” by a healthy margin they probably will continue in their ways.

    2. January 19th, 2010 | 5:27 pm

      @ Raf: Even with the $’s going down on the non- and fading-stars on the FA market, with all the $20 million players the Yankees have, their payroll will never be below $170 mill, or so, for years and years to come…

    3. MJ
      January 19th, 2010 | 5:31 pm

      I’ve never understood why this stuff mattered. If you look at the results, the Marlins and Cardinals finished 1-2 on this list based on fluke World Series wins in 2003 and 2006, respectively. The A’s stopped contending, for all intents and purposes, back in 2003. The Rays made the World Series once and skewed their own results.

      Using Verducci’s own definition:

      “Cost Per Win is good, but it’s only a start. CPW doesn’t consider what a team achieved, and because the gap in payrolls is far greater than the gap in wins, CPW skews toward small-market teams who don’t spend and don’t contend often.”

      we see that the the “most efficient” team were still teams that generally resided in so-called small markets and who didn’t spend greatly. On the basis of skewed “Achievement” results, we got an arbitrary list.

      It would’ve been much easier if Verducci just said that the Yanks were profligate spenders but that their spending yielded two World Series titles, eight division titles, four pennants and nine playoff appearances. After all, the point is to win. They don’t have parades for the team that does it the most efficiently. Nobody really cares.

      Also, for the record, I don’t think Cashman does his job with the Hall of Fame in mind. Will the most efficient GM’s on this list make the Hall of Fame? I doubt it.

    4. jay
      January 19th, 2010 | 6:13 pm

      This isn’t very good analysis.

      Efficiency, in this case is calculated by dividing payroll by wins.

      Payroll / Wins = CPW (or efficiency, as TV is calling it.)

      This assumes a linear relationship between payroll and wins across the entire spectrum of wins, which isn’t valid. For that function, there’s obviously got to be some asymptote term, and more than likely it should be piecewise.

      If any team spent the league minimum on salary every single year for the entire decade, their win total wouldn’t fall on the same line as the middle of the pack teams.

      If any team spent an insane amount (say they bought every free agent every off season for the entire decade), their win total also wouldn’t fall on the same line as the middle of the pack teams.

      I like picking apart analysis and finding it’s fault – I think it makes for great conversation and mental exercise. But there seems to be a theme developing here (meaning this site):

      1) Find an article that discusses how the Yankees do ____ badly (spend, scout, develop players)
      2) Don’t do the required (or any) critical analysis of the article and assume the Yankees are bad at _____.
      3) Try to take the faulty conclusion to some illogical next step.

      It’s not even worth talking about ‘the most efficient’ team or GM because this analysis is so faulty.

    5. 77yankees
      January 19th, 2010 | 10:50 pm

      Believe me, I’m not someone who’s out to defend Cashman here, but isn’t Verducci the guy who co-wrote Joe Torre’s 2009 best-selling bridge burner?

    6. Evan3457
      January 19th, 2010 | 11:25 pm

      Completely irrelevant analysis by Verducci.

      Yanks are not efficient because:

      1) They don’t have to be, and
      2) Their organization philosophy of “winning it all every year” prevents it.

      The teams on the “most efficient” list are low payroll because they don’t try to win it all every year, which allows them to cut payroll to the bone. All the teams on that list, except arguably the Cards have accepted down years to rebuild. The Yanks will not do this, which must create “inefficiency”, over the long haul.

    7. clintfsu813
      January 20th, 2010 | 8:14 am

      Let the “Efficient” Teams make the playoffs every 5 years (Or Less). I’m thankful for a team that competes year in and year out. I get enough grief from the Dolphins and Seminoles thank you. :(

    8. MJ
      January 20th, 2010 | 8:29 am

      clintfsu813 wrote:

      I get enough grief from the Dolphins and Seminoles thank you.

      The Yanks and Lakers balance out your Dolphins and Seminoles…

      I, on the other hand, have the stupid Knicks ruining my winters…

    9. clintfsu813
      January 20th, 2010 | 8:43 am

      @ MJ:
      Touche’, lol. With the Yanks and Lakers its like 2000 all over again. At least you got the most amazing Super Bowl EVER with the Giants a few year back. Fins arent even close. Hey, I have a buddy who is a big Knicks fan…also likes The Mets too. Sux to be him :)

    10. jrk
      January 20th, 2010 | 9:27 am

      In a sense, Verducci’s article can almost be an argument against a salary cap. It shows (even though most of us already know) that wins and payroll are not a perfectly linear relationship, and that “more efficient” teams with lesser payrolls CAN win the world series – even though they might not be able to compete year in and year out. And shows conversely, that high payrolls don’t even guarantee competing each year (See Mets).

      Steve, you seem to always question why Cashman isn’t “more efficient” with his payroll, which is a legit question when looking at an article like this that shows how teams like the Marlins have succeeded. But at the same time, the Marlins are not competing EVERY year, and the Yanks are expected to compete EVERY year for a WS. What if Cash tried to be “more efficient” and took the payroll down to $150 million, and the Yankees missed the playoffs? Fans would be off with his head, questioning why he didn’t spend an extra $50-70 million (even if, in reality, that extra money doesn’t GUARENTEE more wins). It’s simply the culture of the Yankees to spend, and not care about “efficiency” as much as other teams due to the leverage they have to spend that money because of their higher revenue.

    11. MJ
      January 20th, 2010 | 9:38 am

      @ clintfsu813:
      True, SB XLII was incredible and I’ll never forget it. Even better was that it was against a team from Boston. :-)

      HAHA, yeah, your buddy is doubly-screwed with the Mets and Knicks.

    12. clintfsu813
      January 20th, 2010 | 9:53 am

      @ MJ:
      He’s a Giants fan too…not a happy camper

    13. YankCrank
      January 20th, 2010 | 10:41 am

      I’m a Yankees, Steelers and Penguins fan. 2009 was, well, very good for me :)

    14. clintfsu813
      January 20th, 2010 | 11:11 am

      Do you follow the Pirates a little too?

    15. YankCrank
      January 20th, 2010 | 11:15 am

      clintfsu813 wrote:

      Do you follow the Pirates a little too?

      A little. I used to work for them when I was in college out there, but it was sad to walk into such a beautiful stadium each day and see only a couple thousand people there.

      Despite the success of the Steelers and Pens, that’s still a big baseball city and they’re so ready to back their baseball team again. Can you imagine the Yankees having 17 straight losing seasons like the Pirates have? That can’t be easy to handle.

    16. clintfsu813
      January 20th, 2010 | 11:21 am

      @ YankCrank:
      I’ve heard its a nice park, I definitely wanna see it sometime. I hear ya about the 17 years. At least they’ve had a pretty steady NFL team to back.

    17. Raf
      January 20th, 2010 | 1:02 pm

      It is a nice park, and they have some decent guys running the organization and they play in a fairly weak division, so things are looking up for the Pirates. They’re not ready to win the Central, but they’re sorta heading in the right direction.

    18. YankCrank
      January 20th, 2010 | 1:16 pm

      Raf wrote:

      It is a nice park, and they have some decent guys running the organization and they play in a fairly weak division, so things are looking up for the Pirates. They’re not ready to win the Central, but they’re sorta heading in the right direction.

      For their sake, I sure hope so.

    19. clintfsu813
      January 20th, 2010 | 1:21 pm

      @ YankCrank:
      They should have slipped into the postseason at least once by now

    20. January 22nd, 2010 | 1:37 pm

      How does Verducci continue to get away with writing this stuff? Given his book’s financial interests with Joe Torre, it’s a clear conflict of interest.

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