Okay, this isn't really going to be about Manny Delcarmen per se. So why did I title it that way? Because I just read the Delcarmen post by rays_rev (and all the comments! My eyes! OMG, my eyes!!!). So it seemed like a nice tie in. Really, this is about why we shouldn't sign a bazillion guys who have little chance of making the club.
Well, that and I've always wanted to be banned from someplace.
The argument for bringing in everybody who has ever thrown a pitch in the last four years is that, hey, it doesn't cost us anything. But is that truly the case?
I thought of a story I read a few months ago about racial profiling in airport screening. You can find the whole story Here. There's even math for you stat heads, something called square root sampling! But the money quote for me is here (emphasis mine):
Racial profiling, in other words, doesn’t work because it devotes heightened resources to innocent people — and then devotes those resources to them repeatedly even after they’ve been cleared as innocent the first time. The actual terrorists, meanwhile, may sneak through while Transportation Security Administration agents are focusing their limited attention on the wrong passengers.
So we "profile" everyone who has thrown a pitch the last four years. What happens? "Innocent people" (guys who are just no longer MLB material, or who don't fit our organization) occupy too much of our time. And "terrorists" who might actually make the club slip through our fingers (and end up with the Red Sox).
So is there a better method? According to the study, there is.
Randomly sample everyone.
Not just guys who have shown they pitch at MLB level. Anybody. Maybe Manny. Maybe some guy who has never been above AA. Maybe a truck driver who impressed you when you saw him pitch in high school. Just randomly select however many folks you can evaluate properly with the resources at hand.
I know, it sounds ridiculous. But, hey, don't blame me; blame square root sampling.