Lottery or Hedge Fund?

The moves by Boston prompted a rival executive to say, “It’s like the Red Sox are collecting lottery tickets — figuring that one of them is bound to pay off.’ ” – Buster Olney

The Red Sox have to spend some money this winter … but on what, exactly? If you think Jed Lowrie is good enough to play every day, the Sox entered the offseason set at every position. Sure, they could have wedged Tex in somehow. But they didn’t need him. They just needed to spend some money. With Teixeira gone, Theo Epstein was left to spend John Henry’s money on something else the Red Sox don’t need, and a future Hall of Famer and the next Joe DiMaggio fit the bill nicely.” – Rob Neyer

I’m not quite sure I agree with either assessment. While it’s true that we had roster holes to fill and thus were inevitably going to spend money, I’m not sure that the Teixeira signing is related. Theo and the gang have done an excellent job of not trying to answer that move by spending big dollars on a player that doesn’t deserve the contract.

Instead, we’ve purchased a number complementary parts whose risk and upside both range from minimal to substantial.

Are they all “lottery tickets?” Perhaps. But I think it might be more accurate to view them as small investments that are intended to serve as a hedge against injuries and fatigue. Penny and Smoltz in particular, I believe, are intended in part to keep Lester’s innings manageable considering that he jumped from 72.1 major league innings (postseason included) in ’07 to 236.2 in ’08.

And back to the subject of the money: how small are these investments, collectively? The base contractual commitments ($15.7M) – and I’m including Bard’s value though it’s reportedly non-guaranteed – amount to less than the Yankees will pay A.J. Burnett next year ($16.5).

Which is not to argue that Burnett is not a good signing; for a club with their resources, he’s a very high upside play. But for a club with greater financial limitations, such as ours, our spending indicates a diversification of risk on multiple assets with reasonable upside.

In other words, I like what our guys are doing.

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4 thoughts on “Lottery or Hedge Fund?

  1. Hi,
    I am Ramesh from Zoho. Thanks for writing about Zoho. Regarding your specific points:
    1) iframes: Yes iframes is the best option currently as it will always have the data currently available in your Zoho spreadsheet. Probably in the embed code that we give out, we can put a text element (outside of the iframe) linking to the public spreadsheet. This way, while reading in feed readers, they will atleast get a link to the spreadsheet if not an iframe.
    2) No updating: The content in the iframe does not live update in real time, but whenever the iframe / page reloads, it brings the current up-to-date content available in your Zoho Spreadsheet.
    3) Reliability: We are working hard to make our services as reliable as possible.
    Regarding the third decimal place, you can increase the decimal place of the numbers in your cells as described in this forum post.
    Regards
    Ramesh
    This comment was originally posted on tecosystems

  2. On this question of upside – don't get me wrong, I wish that we had a roster of players whose health was as little in question as is possible. However, for me, having the many injury-plagued/-prone players with huge upside that we do just adds to the intrigue and to my anticipation for this coming season. As I was saying to a buddy last night, there seems to be a particularly wide upside-downside swing to our club this season. If we can keep most or all of our "injury-upside" players healthy — man we are going to be a team to be reckoned with for 162. If, however, there is a revolving door to the DL — it could be a long season.

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