Chuck Armstrong Interview
Maury Brown, the head of the northwest chapter of SABR, conducted an interview with Chuck Armstrong on his Business of Baseball website.Ã‚Â It’s an interesting read for the most part.Ã‚Â A few of the chunks that jumped out at me:
BizBall: Forbes wrote an article in April this year entitled, “Best-Kept Secret“, which went on to mention that the Mariners have been the most profitable of all the clubs the last five years, with an average revenue of $163 million. The operating income of the Mariners for 2004 was $10.8 million. By comparison, the Yankees had an operating loss of $37.8 million for the same period.
Running the club is a business, and even when there are profits in hand, at what point do the Mariners say, Ã¢â‚¬Å“WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re not going any higher,Ã¢â‚¬Â in relation to player payroll when weighed against the need to be competitive in a free-agent market?
Armstrong: We do that all the time. We set a budget and we donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t exceed that budget. We donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t necessarily have to spend up to it if we donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t find values. Right now, with the signing of Washburn and what we anticipate weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re going to be paying our other guys in arbitration and putting together our roster, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re right up against our 2006 player payroll budget.
Generally, when a question like this is asked, the M’s get all defensive and take shots at Forbes numbers.Ã‚Â Interesting that Armstrong did not do that here.Ã‚Â
BizBall: The last question I have. You know, SABR is planning on having their National Convention just up the street at the Madison Renaissance HotelÃ¢â‚¬â€œjust a short walk from Safeco. Do you plan on being there at all this year?
Armstrong: I would like to be there. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m keenly interested in all the work that SABR does. You know, Tal [Smith]Ã¢â‚¬â€œwhen I first got into this gameÃ¢â‚¬â€œput me onto the work SABR does.
He taught me that in games, teams shouldn’t sacrifice as much. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m one of these guys, if I had a criticism of most major league managers, I think they sacrifice too often and too early in the game. The out is the most precious thing in baseball. You only get 27 of them, and if you give one up, even when you try to sacrifice, over time at best, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re only successful somewhere between 65% and 70% of the time. The work that SABR has done also shows that you have a greater chance of scoring if you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t sacrifice with a runner on first and nobody out than if you do, but you can also avoid the double play, which counters that. It depends on the situation. So, to answer your question, yes, I would like to come up [to the Convention].
Maybe we can get Chuck and Hargrove together for lunch?Ã‚Â Not a great signÃ‚Â that the president of the M’s understands a fairly basic concept ofÃ‚Â on field strategyÃ‚Â that the manager of the M’s does not.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â