Is Brad Pitt (and a killer screenplay) the new market inefficiency?

Ezra Shaw

First a really good Japanese shortstop signs with the Oakland Athletics, for relative peanuts. Then, said Japanese shortstop describes the Oakland Athletics' general manager as "fun and super-sexy and, you know, just sorta the cat's pajamas."*

* LOOSE TRANSLATION ALERT

And then I saw this ...


... and it really got me wondering if the commercial success of MONEYBALL: The Movie! might actually help the A's sign some baseball players. If you were living on the other side of an ocean, wouldn't working for Brad Pitt Baseball's 2nd Sexiest GM seem like a pretty interesting possibility?

Then again, there don't seem to have been a number of serious bidders for Hiroyushi Nakajima. I mean, considering how little the A's are actually paying him.

I'm even more optimistic about Nakajima today than I was yesterday, now that I've read Dan Moore's comparison of Nakajima to Tsuyoshi Nishioka. They do share some similarities, but Nakajima was fundamentally a better player in Japan than Nishioka. Moore thinks that if you're looking for a guide to Nakajima's performance, you should instead look toward Tadahito Iguchi and Akinori Iwamura. Coincidentally, both posted 98 OPS+'s over their first three seasons in our major leagues.

Granted, a 98 OPS+ would be a huge drop from what Nakajima's done in Japan. But if he's really a good-fielding shortstop, even with a 98 OPS+ -- that is, roughly league-average -- he'll be a huge bargain for the A's, and a massive upgrade over what they got from their shortstops last season.

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