Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Is Orlando Hudson Right?

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported on statements made by Orlando Hudson that hinted strongly that Jermaine Dye does not have a job because he is an African American. This writer's first sentiment is to dismiss the statement out of hand. But that's just not a good idea. Hudson went on to say that he had a lot of things to say about the issue but can't while he is still playing. He indicated that he will have a lot to say after he retires.

Dye's predicament seems more based on performance than race. He's been one of the worst fielding outfielders for a couple of years now. He did have an offer from the Nationals for $3.5 million but turned it down. But that is about what he is worth. He didn't hit at all last year after the All Star break. So his homer and RBI production are misleading. If he can't play the outfield anymore, that limits him to first base and/or DH. But those positions are stacked all over baseball. There are simply too many of those types of players and too few places where they are needed.

The difficulty in this new age of financial discretion isn't about collusion as some (including the players' union) have indicated. It stems from teams now employee valuation strategies based on numbers that have become prevalent in the game. Dye ran headlong into those strategies and refused to understand the new marketplace.

Hudson goes on to try to prove his point by stating that Sheffield and Lofton don't have jobs either. But isn't it more likely that those guys have reached their expiration points on value? Plus, these are all former starters that excelled at their primes. It's very difficult for those in that situation to accept limited roles for less money. Garret Anderson seems to understand the market and has taken two straight market contracts.

The Fan just looked up Jermaine Dye's valuation on Baseball Prospectus and they have him valued for 2010 at $6.8 million, so according to them, he is worth more than the $3.3 million he was offered. Point taken. But how many teams really want to throw that kind of money in this economy to a player that doesn't have a good position to play? Garret Anderson, according to Baseball Prospectus is valued at about $6.1 million or just under Dye. But Anderson played for $2.5 million last year.

The Fan could also point out that for every Dye that doesn't have a job, there is a Gary Matthews, Jr. who does. It just happens that way sometimes. There is one weakness in this analysis and that is this writer isn't African-American. So the Fan doesn't understand the world in which Orlando Hudson and Jermaine Dye live. There is no way to know what they have had to put up with during their careers. So really, it seems pointless to dispute what Hudson is saying because there is no context that this writer can understand.

The only thing that seems obvious is that teams in this day and age seem more savvy on valuation and according to their data, Jermaine Dye isn't worth what he was asking for. Teams want value and that doesn't seem on the surface to have a color context.

1 comment:

Josh Borenstein said...

Dye got the same offer that went out to Xavier Nady from the Cubs. Dye rejected it, Nady took it. Like you said, the offer was $3.3 mill. Which is actually pretty fair, given that he is no spring chicken, how bad he was in the second half last year, and how much his defense has declined. Dye rejected offers from a few other teams too, because he didnt want to uproot his family.

If there are less black players in baseball today (and I'm not sure there are), it's not because of racism. It's because black athletes nowadays seem to prefer basketball and football.

Hudson also talked about Sheffield. First of all, Sheffield isn't a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Secondly, he's implicated in steroid use. Third, he's old and injury prone. I can completely understand why teams wouldn't want Sheffield on their team.