The Value of Low-Probability Upside and Other Bullets

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The Value of Low-Probability Upside and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs News, MLB News and Rumors

royals logoThe movie The Wife and I saw yesterday on our morning date was ‘Gone Girl,’ which was excellent. It was both an interesting story and very well crafted as a film. Thematically, it felt like the message about marriage, in general, was pretty damn dark, though. If you see it with your spouse, you’ll leave either feeling great about your partnership, or wondering whether you shouldn’t have just upped the other’s life insurance policy. Separately: that could have made for a hell of a great TV show. Three seasons, about eight episodes apiece – and if you’ve seen in, you know exactly which story segments each season would follow. Would have worked very well, and could have plumbed a bit more of the characters.

That all said, it was the first movie I’ve seen in the theater in about a year, and it was just great. Highly recommended.

  • The Royals are in the World Series this year, which serves as something of a comeuppance for folks who ripped them for the Wil Myers/Jake Odorizzi/James Shields/Wade Davis trade, and ripped them for doing very little this offseason, and ripped them for not selling off at the deadline this year. I fall very much into the first two groups, and, for that, I have to do a little reflection on whether I was wrong, or whether it was a fluke. Dave Cameron helps me out, because he has a long write-up on this very issue. This is a must read if you’ve got a chance today.
  • A really interesting and provocative angle that Cameron takes: maybe we’re underestimating the value of low-probability upside (in this instance, a deep playoff run by a fairly mediocre team), and focusing too much on the probabilities. That is to say, even is something is very unlikely (the Royals making and going deep in the playoffs after acquiring Shields), that always has to be stacked against the gravity of the upside (making a deep run in the playoffs is HUGELY valuable to the Royals).
  • One overarching point to take from the Royals is that no-seriously-every-season-is-sacred. We offer it sometimes in a glib way, talking about the Cubs’ 2012/13/14 seasons, but it’s also true. For a rebuilding club, there’s a balance to strike, if you can: don’t wreck the future to go all out in an individual season while you’re rebuilding, but also set yourself up with a roster that has a chance of surprising early, and then you can go from there. I think the Cubs did a great job of walking that line in 2013 and 2014, but not so much in 2012. They were trying to turn over that roster quickly, though, so I can cut them a break for 2012. As an object lesson for the Cubs looking backwards, then, I don’t see much here. I think they did it the best way possible these past three years. But as we head into 2015, the lesson is: don’t rule yourself out too early. Is there a team in baseball that would stand to benefit more from a deep postseason run than the Cubs?
  • Carrie Muskat with a personal take on the 25th anniversary of the San Francisco quake that interrupted the 1989 World Series.
  • The Mesa Solar Sox won again yesterday, bringing them to within a game of .500. The game was light on Cubs prospect action, with Dan Vogelbach walking once in four plate appearances (no strikeouts, though), and Jacob Hannemann going 0-4 with 2 Ks. Gerardo Concepcion pitched a scoreless inning with 1 BB.
  • At a Chicago sports owner panel this week, Tom Ricketts said that his family wouldn’t sell the Cubs for $3 billion (per David Haugh). That’s nearly four times what they paid for the team in 2009, so I’d say they’re fairly committed to this thing (which, indeed, Ricketts did say – and has always said – this was a long, long-term family thing).
  • Tony Andracki looks at the Cubs’ outfield situation going forward, and, in the process, mentions one outside name as a possibility: Nick Markakis. Given what Markakis projects to get, and given certain limitations in his game, I’m not sure he’s the right fit for the Cubs. But it’s interesting that that’s the name Andracki mentioned.
  • Andrew Friedman is reportedly considering former Padres and Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes as his GM in Los Angeles. Byrnes has a bad rep with some folks, but there’s a reason he keeps getting these gigs. He’s obviously talented.
  • If you missed it, THE HOLE!


Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.