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Link Roundup: Latin American Scouting, Pitching, Sanchez, and More

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There are a number of great articles floating around today. You've probably seen some of these, but you probably haven't seen others.

-P- WTM has a terrific essay on the Pirates' failure to ante up in Latin America. I blanched a little at Wilbur's statement that

When you buy the cheapest commodity available on the open market, you're almost always going to get the lowest quality. That's how markets work.
...because so many of us rightly complain that the Pirates' payroll isn't even their biggest problem. It's certainly possible to spend a lot less than other teams and still come out ahead. However, I think Wilbur's point is that you can only go so far in being thrifty, and regardless, Latin American scouting isn't an area where that's necessary or advisable.

Pirates Latin scouting director Rene Gayo was recently quoted in the Post-Gazette as saying,

"If someone wants to pay $3 million to a kid, let 'em. We'll find a comparable kid for $50,000. I've done it my whole career."
With all due respect to Mr. Gayo, though, after three years with the Pirates he still hasn't signed a real prospect.

The largest bonus the Pirates paid out this year is $75,000. Other teams paid well over $1 million for individual bonuses. I just don't see how Gayo can be expected to compete with other teams when his top bonus is more than ten times less than another team's. I'm all for the Pirates trying to find market inefficiencies, and there are many areas of the game in which they can exploit those inefficiencies and yet they fail to do so, but you can only take that so far. If a team enters the free agent market, for example, with only a few hundred thousand dollars to pay a player the minimum salary, well, that team isn't going to go far in exploiting inefficiencies in the free agent market; it really doesn't matter how smart the team is. Gayo may be a talented guy, but if he can only hand out $75,000 bonuses, his talents aren't being put to much use. And as Wilbur points out, it wouldn't cost much money to remedy this situation - in fact, it would cost far less than the $6.7 million Jeromy Burnitz signing all of us complained so much about last offseason. Latin America is a place where otherwise poor teams can make up for talent they can't get in other ways.

Anyway, great article, Wilbur.

-P- Van Slyke has a good post on the possibility of acquiring Nick Johnson.

-P- Here's a really good article by the Stats Geek. The gist is something Azibuck and I have thought about before. The Stats Geek quotes a fan named Ron McClure who looked at pitchers who had won at least 100 games in the last thirty years or so. McClure finds that most of those pitchers were pretty effective in a reasonably short time after arriving in the big leagues. I might quibble a little bit with McClure's criteria, but still, this should give us pause when we dream about how our young starters will be pitching in a few years. The Stats Geek suggests that 2007 will say a lot about them, and I agree.

-P- I mentioned this a few days ago, but apparently it's official: KDKA won't be broadcasting the Bucs anymore.

-P- Here's a profile of Freddy Sanchez in the New York Times. This, I thought, was the weirdest part:

From the beginning, Sanchez has followed a classic script. He was born in Hollywood and went to Burbank High School, where players on his baseball team raised money by attending "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and agreeing to laugh as loud as they could.

They pay people to do that?! I know Leno isn't funny, but wow.

There's also a really strange part about the Pirates recently playing football in the clubhouse, "as if they, too, had turned their attention to the Steelers." I'm not sure how to take that.