Thursday, May 1, 2014

The New Roadmap To The Red Sox Future

(Photo By Bloomberg Businessweek)
Truth be told, I thought the recent Bloomberg BusinessWeek article on Red Sox owner John Henry would be a major puff piece. After all, the guy writing it (Joshua Green) is a Boston Globe contributor. To my surprise, it turned out to be the most revealing look yet into the Ichabod Crane-like character who has molded our baseball team into a three-time champion. Those of you who follow this site know that we have often been critical of the NOG (the New Ownership Group). They are outsiders, can be annoyingly politically-correct and dabble in too many non-baseball ventures. On the other hand, they win. Just when you think you know everything about a guy like Henry, Green reveals that he once played bass for a progressive rock band called Elysian Fields. And they did a rock opera about aliens. Our John Henry? But most impressive is the tale of how Henry morphed from a soybean farmer in Arkansas to a commodities trading wizard—all by blazing new trails in calculating risk. When he applied his formulations to baseball, they worked—but the changing landscape of the sport now demands a change in algorithms. As Green points out, the new mantra is: "’s not expensive players, but inexpensive ones, who are becoming baseball’s prized commodity. Henry’s Red Sox have been shedding the former while betting heavily on the latter." This means building from within and signing young talent before they reach free-agency. It means banking on players in their 20s, not their 30s. How this will impact the Jon Lester proceedings will be interesting to see.