Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Hillenbrand Trade

I'm sure that by now, everyone has heard about Shea Hillenbrand's speedy departure from Toronto. Of course, this isn't Hillenbrand's first run in with his team's front office, as he was able to talk himself into an expedited exit from Boston as well.

What jumps out at me is the way that everyone talks about Hillenbrand, as an ultra-competitive player. His general reputation seems to be that of a guy that doesn't have the greatest stats, but gives an entire effort every night, playing with hustle and grit.

Looking at the two teams that he has now had run-ins with, the Red Sox and the Blue Jays, is there a common thread? (Besides Hillenbrand himself of course.) Both are run by GMs who subscribe to the moneyball theory (Theo Epstein in Boston and JP Ricciardi in Toronto). I think that this raises an interesting question of how more traditional ballplayers like Hillenbrand interface with sabermatic GMs like Epstein and Ricciardi. Does the sabermatic approach, in seeking to quantify the performance of baseball players and then commoditize them, also run the risk of alienating the players? It will be interesting, with "moneyball" regimes in place in several major league cities, to see if this scenario plays itself out again with other old school players.


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