Joe Sheehan writes a great newsletter on baseball that always involves some uncommon thinking, fact-based analysis and a simple and easy to follow perspective. You don’t need to be a big baseball fan to enjoy his writing and learn the value of a different approach.
One of his most recent posts included this paragraph on Johnny Gomes and chemistry. He often writes on the value of chemistry and other “soft factors” and they effect they have on a team. Joe will always make you think.
While I’m here…when the trade was made, there was noise in the background about how the A’s would really benefit from getting Jonny Gomes in the deal. I saw Gomes as a cheap Cespedes replacement — the two have similar offensive profiles — which is one reason I liked it for the A’s. Others pointed to Gomes’s reputation as a great clubhouse guy as key for the A’s. Now, maybe Gomes’s clubhouse reputation is deserved, but this is another case when the “chemistry” guy gets credit for success and no blame for anything else. Gomes was on the Boston team that was so disappointing that it dumped at the trade deadline ten months after winning the World Series; he arrived in Oakland and the A’s went 16-25 and blew the division. I don’t like chemistry narratives, good or bad, but I like cherry-picking narratives even less. If we’re going to laud the Gomeses of the world when the guys around them play well, then it seems to me that they have to be blamed for losing as well.
How much do you value chemistry as a coach? How much does it really matter? How do you define it? A lot of great stuff to think about.
If you are interested in Joe’s newsletter the link is here – it is a great value for the price, whether you are a baseball fan or not.