Brief clarification on the M’s statheads, our wrongness
Okay, so, the wrongness first then the rest. We thought and have been telling people that Mat Olkin now worked for the Royals and not the M’s, which is not true, and we apologize for the error.
So I reached out, and here’s the scoop: Olkin’s an outside consultant for the M’s. As discussed earlier, they call him up, give him a problem, he offers an opinion. His contract has a limited exclusivity clause, and when he went to the pitching conference for the Royals, he hadn’t changed jobs or stopped doing work for the M’s.
I was under the impression that he was working only for the M’s, for a variety of wrong reasons including but not limited to assumptions about his role on the team (which as you can tell from my BP essay back in the day I really wanted to believe was influential). So when Olkin was at the pitching conference (and appeared in the Wall Street Journal as a Royals consultant) I thought he’d hopped jobs.
Now, to the other issue that’s caused some confusion, the difference between staff/consultants, and this is going to get even more boring. If you look at the Indians front office page you’ll see Keith Woolner, stathead extraordinaire, listed as “Manager, Baseball Research & Analytics”. On the Rays roster, a couple spots below Don Zimmer is James Click, “Coordinator, Baseball Operations”.
In my mind, that’s “staff”. I’d even consider formalized arrangements like the Cardinals’ committee. I wouldn’t count people who get sent research questions. And in the M’s directory, there isn’t anyone on staff doing this stuff. So when Lincoln says he has two people on staff, skilled in all aspects of sabermetrics, I don’t know if they’re counting Olkin’s consulting as a staff member and there’s also another, unknown person, or what. But you can go through the directory and there’s no one there, and so far as I know, they’re certainly not present at research meetings like the one the Royals hired Olkin to attend. So my questions about their assertion that they’ve got a staff of statheads remain unanswered.
Is this at all helpful? Too boring? Minutiae-fixated?