Trading Intangibles

You just gotta love the trade rumors.

The Braves are close to acquiring Peavy.

Oh wait, no they’re not.

The Cubs are now the favorite.

Ok maybe they’re just talking.

The Padres are going to keep Peavy.

But that would be tough to do considering he would take up more than a quarter of their 2009 payroll.

Makes you wonder if we just can’t completely trust the media anymore. Weird.

With all that in mind, I’d like to piggyback on one of the other Nate’s posts a few days ago.  He and Jen had a great discussion about the importance of character and if or why it should be considered when a team makes a personnel decision.  By the way, appreciated the great feedback on that post, Jen, so thanks for the input.  Hope you all will feel free to do that anytime you have some thoughts on a post.

Now that’s not the first time we’ve discussed the character issue and so I don’t want to beat a dead horse but…..I’m going to anyways. That’s completely a figure of speech. Don’t want PETA banging on my door for horse abuse. Or maybe it would be hate speech towards horses. Anyways…

I’m going to try and approach the issue from another angle, though.  The one we’ve already talked about is how an athlete’s character effects the fan.  If they’re perceived as role models, whether they want to be or not, then shouldn’t that be considered when they’re given a public platform?

But the question I want to cover is one that was raised to me today by someone who’s very much in the know about such things: does character it effect the team?  The answer I got was a resounding “yes.” And it’s something that needs to be thought through very carefully.

Look, I don’t think there’s any denying that what happens in the clubhouse has a huge impact on how the team performs on the field.  I’ve heard players from various sports at various levels say the same thing.  Time after time we hear individuals from a successful team say that one of the huge keys to success is the clubhouse chemistry.  That’s why the Sox unloaded Manny.  He was becoming such a distraction that it was disrupting the clubhouse and having a negative effect on the team.

No, good chemistry doesn’t guarantee a winning season,  just like bad chemistry doesn’t guarantee a losing one.  But most players and management will admit it’s a huge factor.

So with the trade winds blowing stronger every day, I got to thinking: is this something that GM’s should be taking into consideration?  Gaining a star player can help your team immensely on paper.  But giving up a popular clubhouse presence can take away from the statistical advantage.

That’s why as a fan, I’d like to see the Braves tread carefully with the Peavy deal. in terms of who they give up in return.  Most will say I’m crazy because Peavy is one of the best in the game. And I’m not saying he’s not a good clubhouse presence at all.  I don’t know anything of the guy but I have no reason to think he’s not a great teammate.  The question comes in what they give up in return.  The latest rumors have the Braves possibly giving up Blaine Boyer in the 4-5 player package they would need to get Peavy.  And from what I know and what I’ve observed, Boyer would be a huge loss to that team.  He’s a solid guy and a great teammate.

Another disclaimer – I’m not saying that’s not true of any of the other players involved.  You can have a team full of great guys, but that doesn’t mean that they all have an equal impact on the clubhouse.  Some personalities just play that role more than others.  So I’m just highlighting Boyer’s place with the team, and and I believe losing him would be a big loss for the team.

Yeah, you have to give up a lot to get a lot.  But I do believe that character counts when you’re building a team of guys who will spend most of their time together.  So all I’m saying is it’s an intangible detail that GM’s need to keep in mind.  When you have the camaraderie, guys are more likely to play as a team.  They’re less likely to go up there and think of how they can pad their own stats.  They’re going to go up there and do whatever it takes to make the team AND the teammate a success.

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