M’s Hire Tom Tango

Dave · January 5, 2009 at 7:16 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Derek noted it in passing in his thread on Blengino’s BP interview, but it deserves its own post. The Mariners have hired Tom Tango as a consultant to assist them in pushing forward their advancement into the 21st century of statistical analysis. If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you know who Tango is – we’ve learned/borrowed heavily from his work over the years, and he’s stopped by to comment once in a while as well.

I think it’s fair to say that, right now, Tom is the leading analyst of the day in public advancement of statistical analysis. If you wanted to know what the best practice for current analysis is, you wouldn’t go to Bill James or Nate Silver, you’d go to Tom Tango. He’s the gold standard of analysts publishing their work, and he’s made significant strides in pushing forward the understanding of baseball through his writings.

Seriously, if you had given me a magic lamp before the new GM search began and said “you get three wishes”, one of them would have been “Let the new GM hire Tango”.

Really, we all wanted the M’s to hire someone like Chris Antonetti because we believed the organization needed a GM who understood the value of both scouting and statistical analysis, would place emphasis on technology, and create an organization that actively recruited intelligent people to develop a front-office talent pipeline that would push us forward for the next 10-15 years.

That’s all being done, and it’s being done without having to endure all the crap that comes along with hiring a “stathead GM”. Seriously, we’re getting everything we could have possibly hoped for, and our new GM even comes in a media-friendly package that keeps them from yelling “nerds!” every 30 seconds.

If you weren’t already completely convinced, this should do it – the M’s are now one of the best run teams in baseball. They’ve implemented processes based on logic, reason, and evidence that will lead to positive results. They understand good analysis from bad analysis, and are pushing forward the organization’s ability to create new information and exploit their resources.

Seriously, there’s never been a better time to root for the Mariners. After years of pounding our heads against a wall, we’ve got a front office in place that knows what they’re doing. We’ve got the organization we’ve always wanted.


64 Responses to “M’s Hire Tom Tango”

  1. Typical Idiot Fan on January 5th, 2009 2:52 pm

    You could just ask Blengino on Saturday.

    Sadly, I wont be there.

    I can’t really discuss any moves or potential moves that I was asked about.

    So anything you weren’t asked about is open season? I guess my real question is how critical can you be of the Mariners going forward? Can you be negative at all or does your NDA prevent you from saying anything bad in public about the franchise?

  2. MKT on January 5th, 2009 3:17 pm

    Agreed, this is a tremendous hire for the M’s (or, technically, consulting contract I guess). There may be some smart analysts out there that I don’t know about, but of the ones that I do know about, Tangotiger has my highest respect and admiration. As Dave says, as wonderful as people such as Bill James and Nate Silver are, Tango’s probably doing more cutting edge stuff (of course, most of the best stuff that Bill James is doing these days is probably kept in-house by the Red Sox).

    Aside from that, I was most struck by this:

    “he turned down a full-time offer from the Pirates last year and is about to similarly turn down another full-time offer from another club”

    The Pirates have finished below .500 for 16 seasons in a row (and counting; I believe that the previous Major League record was 14 losing seasons in a row was held by yep you guessed it your Seattle Mariners, from 1977 to 1990). Have they finally seen the light, perhaps to finally emerge, Bay Ray-like, from their Dark Ages? Even the Royals managed to finish above .500 (once, in 2003) in the past 14 years.

    And, though we’ll likely never know, I wonder who the “other club” is? Living in So Calif, I think the Dodgers could use a big dose of sabrmetric common sense to stop them from making additional expensive Nomar/Andruw/Pierre/etc. mistakes. Colletti rescued their season last year with some late-season moves, but the prime one, acquiring Manny, was akin the the Celtics’ acquisition of Kevin Garnett, a once-in-a-generation gift opportunity. Colletti still had to exhibit the energy and initiative to get him, but let’s face it, recognizing the value of Manny Ramirez doesn’t exactly take a PhD in sabrmetrics. With their big revenue and big payroll, the Dodgers should do better than they have in most recent years. In this respect they’re similar to the Ms’: big bucks, little result, with the exception of 2008 of course (end even in 2008, with the Free Manny, the Dodgers finished 8th worst in cost per marginal win, according to Maury Brown.

  3. Patrick517 on January 5th, 2009 4:24 pm

    Today I wear my Mariner gear with no shame. This is the best Mariner news in a long, long time.

  4. Breadbaker on January 5th, 2009 4:42 pm


  5. SonOfZavaras on January 5th, 2009 4:45 pm


  6. SonOfZavaras on January 5th, 2009 4:50 pm

    And welcome, Tom Tango….a thousand welcomes. I’m just now getting acquainted with your work (as well as SABR in general)….from what I’ve seen of it, I’m now doubly proud to wear my own M’s gear…that light at the end of the tunnel gets bigger and bigger…

  7. NickBob on January 5th, 2009 5:36 pm

    Dental plan? Dang, I’m talking about not sitting young talent for veteran experience, instituting a sensible bottom-to-top philosophy of play (as so often called for here), dealing with the players with respect and not like a piece of meat- stuff like that. Yes, so far all signs are doubleplusgood, but those chickens haven’t hatched yet.

  8. Graham on January 5th, 2009 6:14 pm

    That’s silly.

  9. skipj on January 5th, 2009 6:33 pm


    One would think that if Mr. Tango’s NDA doesn’t prevent him from publicly discussing a long list of Mariner’s negatives, his native intelligence certainly would.

  10. IMFinksPa on January 5th, 2009 7:03 pm

    Let me add my warmest congratulations to Mr. Tango. Though he probably doesn’t recall, he has been kind enough to respond to an e-mail or two from me throughout the years and, in my humble opinion, this hiring, inclusive of an expanded role for Mr. Tango and Mr. Olkin is as positive a development as I could hope to see for my second favorite team.

  11. pinball1973 on January 6th, 2009 5:21 am

    Um, I’m thrilled but very, very confused. The top management is the same.
    Lincoln still rules, right? What happened? Did he visit OZ and receive all three of Dorothy’s companions’ gifts????

  12. tangotiger on January 6th, 2009 7:03 am

    I guess my real question is how critical can you be of the Mariners going forward? Can you be negative at all or does your NDA prevent you from saying anything bad in public about the franchise?

    Two years ago, the readers of my site labelled Willie Bloomquist the worst player in MLB, and I’ve then called him the ideal example of the replacement-level player. If a new Willie happens to emerge from the Mariners this year, I won’t be making such a bold pronouncement. I’m going to comment on M’s moves as much as Chief Justice Roberts comments on Roe v Wade.

    I can comment on what’s already publicly available, like the Fans Scouting Report. While Carlos Beltran took home the honors for best-fielding outfielder in MLB, the #2, #3, and #4 are listed at the top right here.

  13. tangotiger on January 6th, 2009 7:28 am

    As for the Pirates, Dan Fox is now there, and I told their GM that he was a better candidate than I was, and if he applied to hire him on the spot.

    The only question is how much influence any of the saberists have, and since I don’t even know how much influence I have, then I can’t answer for anyone else.

  14. behappy on January 6th, 2009 1:37 pm

    Did I read that right??!! The Mariner’s have the BEST OUTFILD DEFENSE IN BASEBALL!! I know the two new guys are good just didn’t realize they are the #2 and #4 best in all of baseball. This offseason gets better and better. Even if the M’s have a losing season this is going to be a GREAT year and many years to come.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.