Get rid of annual reviews

I’m not in HR but I have always been intrigued by performance reviews, about their communication aspects — how they’re written (often, poorly), what they aim to evaluate, how even in attempts to make them more objective they remain largely subjective and therefore revert to impressions, recollections and biases, and what they say about the organization and its communication processes.

And there is so little value in an evaluation that tries to cover a whole year.  “Oh, here are some things you could have done differently on that project 10 months ago….”  Not timely, not helpful.  Ineffective and unsatisfactory for everyone involved.  A much better system would provide employees with timely feedback on an ongoing basis throughout the year, following each particular assignment.  This won’t save time and effort, but will provide a much better value on that investment.

Here’s an article reporting on Accenture and other major companies that have dropped annual employee reviews.  These businesses feel they have to change from trying to measure things after the fact to instead regularly support and position employees to perform better in the future.

I like this closing quote from Accenture CEO Pierre Nanterme.  “The art of leadership is not to spend your time measuring, evaluating,” Nanterme said. “It’s all about selecting the person. And if you believe you selected the right person, then you give that person the freedom, the authority, the delegation to innovate and to lead with some very simple measure.”

Accenture will get rid of annual performance reviews

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Cubs Signings & Trades, Pre-2014

This was originally the last section of the previous post but it’s going to get too long.  So here it is separately.  In addition to free agents signings, this now includes trades.

Cubs Trades  (after the 2013 season concluded)

C George Kottaras from KC for cash

CF Justin Ruggiano from Mia for LF Brian Bogusevic

Cubs Free Agent Signings  (after the 2013 season concluded)

LHP  Jeffry Antigua  (minor league contract)

RHP  Paolo Espino  (minor league contract)

RHP  Liam Hendriks  (waiver claim, then lost via waivers to Bal)

LHP  Tommy Hottovy  (minor league contract)

RHP  Chang-Yong Lim  (re-sign, minor league contract)

RHP  Carlos Pimentel  (minor league contract)

LHP  Jonathan Sanchez  (minor league contract)

RHP  Jose Veras  (1/$4 million)

LHP  Tsuyoshi Wada  (minor league contract)

RHP Brett Marshall  (waiver claim)

LHP  Wesley Wright  (1/$1.425 million)

C  John Baker  (minor league contract)

C  Daniel Canela  (minor league contract)

C  Eli Whiteside  (minor league contract)

1B  Lars Anderson  (minor league contract)

SS  Walter Ibarra  (minor league contract)

2B  Ryan Roberts  (minor league contract)

2B  Chris Valaika  (minor league contract)

2B  Jeudy Valdez  (minor league contract)

2B/OF  Chris Coghlan  (minor league contract)

CF  Ryan Kalish  (minor league contract)

OF  Mitch Maier  (minor league contract)

LF  Casper Wells  (minor league contract)

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Players the Cubs Should Consider Signing

What an active, interesting off-season it’s already been for player activity — free agents, contract non-tenderings and a bunch of trades.  And we haven’t yet even hit the Winter Meetings (Dec. 8-12, with the Rule 5 draft on the final day).

Here’s a list of some players I think the Cubs should consider signing.  I’m trying to think as I think the Cubs are, looking for (a) reasonable contracts with bounce-back players who can either be signed to extensions or used as mid-season trade chips and (b) players in or nearing their prime who can be an important part of the team in two-three years when the top system prospects should be coming into their own.

The players below are free agents and non-tenders; the list does not include trade targets.  I will update the list as those listed sign contracts, noting them in Years/Millions.  Players listed as DL will spend at least the start of the season (and some of them half the season or longer) on the Disabled List.

Scott Baker pitched 15 innings in three starts for the Cubs in 2013, after missing all of 2012 and most of 2013 following elbow surgery.

Scott Baker pitched 15 innings in three starts for the Cubs in 2013, after missing all of 2012 and most of 2013 following elbow surgery.

Starting Pitchers

Scott Baker  [re-sign]  (Sea minor lg contract)

Dan Haren  (LAD 1/$10)

Daniel Hudson [DL, elbow]  (Ari re-sign, minor lg contract)

Josh Johnson  (SD 1/$8)

Brett Marshall  (CUBS waiver claim)

Kyle McPherson [DL, elbow]  (Pit re-sign, minor lg contract)

Jeff Niemann

Felipe Paulino  (CWS 1/$1.75)

Mark Rogers  (Sea minor lg contract)

Eric Surkamp  (CWS waiver claim)

Masahiro Tanaka  (NYY 7/$155)

Relief Pitchers

Jairo Asencio  (KIA Tigers, Korea)

John Axford  (Cle 1/$4.5)

Andrew Bailey [DL, shoulder]

Daniel Bard  [reclamation re-sign]  (Tex minor lg contract)

Jose Flores  (Oak minor lg contract)

Cristhian Martinez  [DL, shoulder]

Ryan Madson

Yunesky Maya  (Atl minor lg contract)

Edward Mujica  (Bos 2/$9.5)

Eric O’Flaherty  [DL, elbow]  (Oak 2/$7)

Tomo Ohka  [now a knuckleballer!]  (Tor minor lg contract)

Juan Carlos Oviedo  (TB 1/$1.5)

Sandy Rosario  [he was a Cub for 9 days in December a year ago, getting claimed on waivers by the As from the Red Sox, then back by the Red Sox, then by the Cubs and then by the Giants, all between Nov. 28 and Dec. 21, 2012]  (SF re-sign, minor lg contract)

Jesus Sanchez  (Mia minor lg contract)

Joe Smith  (LAA 3/$15.75)

Wesley Wright  (CUBS 1/$1.425)

Position Players

Kurt Suzuki  (Min 1/$2.75)

Scott Sizemore  (NYY minor lg contract)

Shin-Soo Choo (Tex 7/$130)/Jacoby Ellsbury (NYY 7/$153)/Curtis Granderson (NYM 4/$60)  [one of them would be nice but only at reasonable Yrs/$$]

Grady Sizemore  (Bos 1/$750,000)

Chris Young  (NYM 1/$7.25)

Posted in Baseball, Fantasy Baseball, Prospects | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Has Ollie got his groove back?

Oliver Perez.  He’s been a great love/hate pitcher over most of his career. He has enticed and entertained with great strike out potential and scared and scarred with awful walk rates.  His career began in San Diego in 2002 and took him to Pittsburgh then the Mets and most recently to Seattle.  In 2004, with the Pirates, he had his best season:  12 wins, a 2.99 ERA and 1.15 WHIP.  And 239 strikeouts in 196 innings (11 K/9); the 81 walks were tolerable (3.7 per 9 IP).  2007, with the Mets, was also pretty good: 15 wins, 3.56 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and 174 Ks and 79 BBs in 177 innings (8.8 K/9, 4.0 BB/9).

But oh those other years…. He followed up the excellent 2004 year by giving up 6.1 BB/9 in 2005 and 5.4 in ’06.  After the decent 2007 season came 4.9 BB/9 in ’08, 7.9 in ’09 and then 8.2 BB/9 in 2010!  His WHIP in both 2009 and ’10 was right around a horrific 2.00.

Last year in the Mariners bullpen (no starts for the first time in his pro career) things settled down.  His K rate remained decent (7.3) and the walk rate was pretty acceptable (3.0) through 29.7 innings.  Perhaps the bullpen is the place to be for OP.

So far in 2013 Oliver Perez has thrown 16.7 innings, giving up 9 hits, 9 walks and 2 runs while striking out 23.  That’s good for a 1.08 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 12.4 K/9, but also a 4.9 BB/9.

With a “small sample size” warning, over his last four appearances (4.3 IP) he has given up 1 run, 2 hits and 2 walks.  That’s a pretty nice 2.08 ERA and 0.92 WHIP.  The crazy thing is the Ks.  Of those 13 outs he’s most recently pitched, 11 have been by strikeout!  That’s the equivalent of striking out 23 batters in a 9 inning game (22.9 K/9 rate).  Walks, of course, remain a concern (8 in his last 10 IP), but keep an eye on Ollie.  For now, he’s in a groove.

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The Grass is Greener…

The grass is always greener through tinted glass.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Ecology from Mars

Earlier today I read on a bag of Peanut M&Ms that “Mars is turning used candy wrappers into eco-friendly products.”  

Why can’t we do that here on Earth?

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The Draft Dichotomy

In the fantasy baseball world, it’s draft preparation time.  It’s time to rank players, put them in tiers, assign them dollar values and get ready to put together your roster.  If it’s a keeper league you’ve probably already chosen the players whom you’re protecting.

Fantasy baseball experts promote a variety of player valuation “truths,” and those don’t always agree.  Part of the reason this occurs is that there’s an element of truth on both sides.  What’s a poor soul to do in preparation for the arrival of draft or auction day?  You need to go with the adage that best suits you.  Choose your side in the Draft Day Dichotomy.

Protect batting over pitching and never keep closers.

Your keepers should be your best players, period.

You must have a plan.  “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”  Your leaguemates will be prepared, and if you’re not, you don’t have a chance.

Be flexible.  Every draft and auction is different; don’t be hard-line or you’ll lose out on opportunities of which you can take advantage.  You need to go with the flow.

Don’t draft pitching early/Don’t overpay for pitching.  There’s always pitching available.

Don’t get stuck without strong starting pitching!  You can never make up the gap in the ratio categories once you get way behind.

It’s all about playing time.  You can’t get stats if the players aren’t playing.

It’s all about skills.  A great bench player is more helpful than a bad positional starter; strong relievers help more than poor starting pitchers.

Don’t take rookies.  Their developing skills and lack of experience will result in inconsistent performance.

Assure your success with young players’ breakout seasons.  That player “out of nowhere” can make a championship season. 

Don’t get expensive catchers.  The risks of injury and poor performance are too great.

Make sure to get one of the top catchers.  The drop-off from the top tier is substantial.

Don’t get expensive closers.  The turnover is too high.  Injuries and struggles will hurt your team.

Make sure to get one of the top closers.  The rest of the field is too unstable.

Don’t take closers from bad teams.  Bad starters, poor middle relief and weak offenses limit the opportunities for saves.

Don’t discriminate among closers because of their team.  Every team has someone finishing off their games.  It’s not about how many total games a team wins, it’s about how many close games they play.

He tired at the end of the season, so he took a break during the off-season.  He took time off to heal from the injuries/nicks and bruises/wear and tear.  He took time off for a mental break. 

He’s in the best shape of his life.  He’s lost weight and added muscle.  He’s retooled his swing.  He’s tweaked his delivery.  He’s work with the new coach.  He used a new off-season training regimen.  Lasik surgery!

He's in the best shape of his life!

Okay, ready now?  Do you have your fixed-flexible flow/plan set in place, and ready to toss aside?  On to the draft!

Posted in Baseball, Fantasy Baseball, Prospects, Scoresheet, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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