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Theo Epstein on the Philosophy of Trades

The Boston Globe baseball blog has a Q&A up with Theo Epstein, and I thought this was a really fascinating explanation of what the team's philosophy in regards to trades is:

On whether it's gratifying that his in-season acquisitions -- Victor Martinez, Alex Gonzalez, and Billy Wagner -- have all panned out:

Epstein: "I think it's more gratifying for the organization because of the process that's in place. Virtually any trade you make is a crapshoot. When things don't work out, people like to give us a hard time. That's their right, and I would do the same thing as a fan. But reality is that we're not shooting for perfection. In baseball, we're shooting to shift the odds of being right from maybe 50-50 to 55-45. Because we're in the business of predicting future human performance. You simply can't do that. What we try to do is put thorough processes in place with really good people and stick to our organizational ideals and try to shift the odds from 50-50 to 55-45. To me, I believe in our process. I believe in our people. We're looking to be right 55 percent of the time, especially on a midseason deal in which you're getting two months' worth of a player, and the fact that these deals have worked out make you feel really good, I think it was an important part of getting to the postseason this year. But I don't sit there and pat myself on the back and say, 'Oh, wow, we went 3 for 3, great.' Instead, I think we try to take a step back or 10,000 feet and say, 'OK, the processes we used were sound, is there any way we can improve the processes going forward and maybe shift the odds to 56 percent instead of 55 percent, and how do we learn from it and go forward? But the exact same processes we used in these deals were the same we used in the Eric Gagne deal. I think that was a good deal. It didn't work out, because he went from a really good pitcher to a really bad pitcher the second he showed up here. But . . . I'm proud of the organization, I'm proud of the people, I'm proud of the way we approached these deals. But the fact that they all worked out this year doesn't mean that I'm puffing my chest because I know how fickle it is."

Hat tip to David Pinto at Baseball Musings.