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Monday, February 09, 2009

How much are intangibles worth?

Neat post by Tango:

...Cliff Floyd is all about heart, determination, and grit.

[He] is forecast to be a league average hitter. And a league average hitter who cannot (or is not expected to) play the field is the very definition of a replacement-level player. Indeed, the GM of the Padres agrees with this assessment, as his stated role is also the very definition of replacement-level player. That replacement-level player, with ordinary heart and determination, will cost you 400,000$. Cliff Floyd however is going to cost 750,000$.

When people say that you can’t measure the intangibles, remind them that those intangibles are being paid for with tangible dollars. And the value of those intangibles, as determined by MLB, is $350,000. If it was worth more, then some team would have paid more. They didn’t.
So, veteran leadership and a strong clubhouse presence are worth just less than 1/10th of a win per season. I believe that. I also believe that it matters. Overrated by the media and overhyped? Sure. But I have no problem with giving someone a $350k bonus for this sort of value.


  1. "I also believe that it matters."

    Thanks for saying that. One of the reasons some people are hostile to the saber way of life is because some numbers folks are militant in saying things like these don't matter and shoot everyone down who says otherwise.

  2. To be clear, I'm saying that I believe it matters on the order of about +1 run per season per veteran presence player. Fill a team with gritty, veteran presence players and you might get an extra win or two a year over a similar team of normal people with otherwise equal skills.

    That's not insignificant by any means. I've been in terrible work environments and fabulous work environments, and I know I was at least a little more productive (and a helluva lot happier) in the fabulous work environment. A team culture where hard work, determination, and passion for the game are ubiquitous would absolutely be an asset for an organization.

    But I also don't think it's effect is limited and the amount of lip service it gets in some sectors of the media is excessive.