Getting started at the GM meetings

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Good morning from the GM Meetings.

Great note from colleague Nick Cafardo already today. Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik told him: “I think I’ll carry around a recording saying, ‘I am not trading Felix Hernandez.’ ”

So there’s that. Not that it will stop Red Sox fans from speculating.

There’s also an interesting election note that is tied to baseball. Nate Silver came to prominence writing for Baseball Prospectus, coming up with the PECOTA system to forecast player performance. His ability to comprehend and explain statistics was ahead of its time and very accurate.


He switched over to politics and developed a model to evaluate polls. Silver nailed the 2008 presidential election and started a blog that was eventually licensed by the New York Times.

He did it again this season, correctly predicting all 50 states, the popular vote (nearly to the percentage point) and the electoral college spread. Silver’s work at fivethirtyeight is fascinating.

The amusing part was seeing political pundits attack him in the weeks leading up to the election because he forecast President Obama winning handily and they believed it was too close to call. The same thing happened in baseball, traditionalists mocking statistical evaluation.

In baseball, the statistical evolution changed the game and now nearly every team embraces it. It’s only a matter of time before politics does the same and uses smart guys like Silver to enhance how campaigns are run.

A lot of people in baseball nodded their heads when Silver was right last night because they had seen it before. Only this time he was projecting the presidency, not how a utility infielder would hit.

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