If you have read Jonah Keri’s new book on the Rays, The Extra 2%, you know the Rays business model is centered around exploiting “market inefficiencies.” That is, finding value where other teams don’t. And if Manny Ramirez thrives with the Rays, “clubhouse cancers” may be the Rays’ next “2%.”
Ultimately, it starts with Joe Maddon. If you want one article to sum up Maddon the manager, read this one by Jayson Stark.
“I used to have a T-shirt,” Maddon says. “And it said, ‘Tell me what you think, not what you’ve heard.’ So I’m not going to rely on what I’ve heard [about Manny]. Ever. Ever. … I’ve got to make up my own opinion. I’ve got to make up my own mind at the end of the day.”
When it comes to Manny, Maddon is the consummate player’s coach. He is Rex Ryan without the stupid comments. And this will allow the Rays to exploit another market inefficiency in baseball: The cantankerous player.
Players that are deemed “clubhouse cancers” can be had below market value. And those players may see how Manny is thriving
under with Maddon and think Tampa Bay might be a nice place to revive their career.
And this really shouldn’t come as a surprise. This is the same as taking a chance on a relief pitcher coming off an injury. Only this time, the injury is to the player’s reputation. And most of the time, a player’s reputation is built only on what we hear.
And Maddon doesn’t have any time for that.