In a column in the new issue of ESPN The Magazine, Buster Olney talks about the continuing effect of Moneyball and the statistics-based way of thinking that many Major League clubs follow. High in the column, he cites the Mariners’ signing of Chone Figgins who, by their evaluation, was the Angels’ best defender in 2009 and Seattle’s acquisition of Franklin Gutierrez, who is one of the best defensive center fielders in the game, in one of GM Jack Zduriencik’s first moves last winter.
After Moneyball’s release, some MLB teams — inspired by the early-decade success of trailblazers like the A’s and Red Sox — began to add statistical analysts to their payrolls, even if they weren’t quite ready to acknowledge those moves publicly. To do so would have been akin to being among the first to announce the earth was round. But now the teams that don’t rely heavily on stats are the exception. (Rival GMs say the Giants and Mets are the two slowest adapters.)