Metal industry scheme misses 40,000 pension payments after IT glitch

first_imgDutch metal industry scheme PME failed to pay pensions on time to 40,000 of its 167,000 pensioners last Monday.It blamed the mishap on an IT glitch, and said the mistake was rectified by the next day.According to the €47bn pension fund for metalworking and electro-technical engineering, something went wrong when its provider MN sent a batch of payment orders to ING Bank.“The batch had become stuck somewhere in the system,” said Ellen van Amersfoort, the scheme’s spokeswoman. As a consequence, the payments weren’t transferred on PME’s fixed payment day, the 24th of the month. This led to phone calls from worried pensioners.The pension fund said it didn’t know exactly yet what had gone wrong, but emphasised that it would launch a thorough investigation to find the cause, “as this is not allowed to happen again”.Van Amersfoort, who joined PME five years ago, said she couldn’t remember any similar incident. “We are always very conscientious when it is about payments,” she said.Michel Cleij, spokesman for MN, which also serves the €72bn metal sector scheme PMT, also said he wasn’t aware of any such payment incidents during the past five years.“The payment process consists of several checks, ahead of as well as after the payments, with a statement showing whether payments have been successful,” he said.“Therefore, on Tuesday morning we already knew about the mistake. But around the same time, pensioners started to get in touch with us.”Problems with benefits payments are rare in the Dutch pensions sector.Administrative problems are usually about mistakes in granting pension rights, sending mandatory letters for new and leaving participants too late, or mistakes in invoices.Last year, MN abandoned an innovation project aimed at reducing costs and decreasing the number of administrative errors.last_img read more

Spin Master Corp Q1 income falls nearly 14 due to Toys R

first_imgTORONTO – Spin Master Corp. says its net income fell nearly 14 per cent in the first quarter due in part to the impact of a multi-million dollar Toys “R” Us bad debt expense.The company, which keeps its books in U.S. dollars, says its net income was $8.7 million or nine cents per share for the first quarter of its 2018 financial year, compared to $10.1 million or 10 cents per share for the same quarter the previous year.The toy company says it incurred a $15.2 million bad debt expense, including administration costs, after Toys “R” Us Inc. sought approval to wind down its American business and liquidate inventory, and Toys “R” Us International closed and liquidated most of its U.K. business in the quarter.Adjusted net income was $22 million or 22 cents a share for the quarter, compared to $13.6 million or 13 cents a share for the same quarter the previous year.Co-CEO Ronnen Harary says in a statement the company’s results are a testament to the team’s effort in effectively managing the company through the industry-wide disruption caused by the Toys “R” Us U.S. liquidation.Spin Master says revenue for the quarter ended March 31, 2018 increased 25.5 per cent to $285.7 million from $227.7 million.The company also updated its outlook for the 2018 financial year, saying it now expects organic gross product sales to grow in the mid-single digit range from the previous year rather than the mid- to high-single digit range.Companies in this story (TSX: TOY)last_img read more

MEG Energy to waive rights plan in takeover fight with Husky Energy

first_imgCompanies in this story: (TSX:HSE, TSX:MEG)The Canadian Press CALGARY — MEG Energy Corp. says it will waive its shareholder rights plan in its fight against a hostile takeover offer by Husky Energy Inc.However, the company says it continues to unanimously recommend shareholders reject Husky’s cash-and-share offer .MEG noted that since Husky announced its intention to make its offer on Sept. 30, Husky’s share price has fallen more than 30 per cent, eroding the value of the offer.The takeover was worth about $3.3 billion when proposed in September but has fallen to less than $2.5 billion because of deterioration in Husky’s share price.Earlier this week, a CIBC oil and gas analyst said the recent deterioration in crude oil prices makes it unlikely that a better offer will emerge to force Husky to sweeten its hostile bid.Husky has said that it has received all necessary regulatory approvals for the takeover of MEG and is now waiting for shareholders’ response to its offer which expires in mid-January.last_img read more

Elementary facts complex picture

first_imgI am not in the business of predicting who will win and who will lose before the elections are even held. The psephologists pore over detailed past data of wins and losses, constituency by constituency, then make sample surveys and probability calculations. Then, in the end, the actual results mysteriously beat all the predictions. How come? The answer comes from the myriad complexity of the Indian socio-economic scene. But let me tell you the story of meeting people in the course of their everyday life and what they are thinking about the elections in Uttar Pradesh in Bagpet-Muzaffarnagar belt. Also Read – A special kind of bondThe small sweetmeats shop alongside the dusty road to Bagpet town in western Uttar Pradesh was doing brisk business right in the morning. Inside, boxes of sweets were being dispatched, while teas and milk were being served to those who are dropping by. One of these was Dr. Sandeep, a young man who asked for his glass of milk and sweets before he goes to town for his dental clinic. Despite prodding, he refused to reveal his family name. He is a dentist and has his own chamber. Joining a conversation on the forthcoming elections, he was rather guarded how the “chamars” would vote. He insisted that they would go by their own conscience, while proclaiming that he was a “chamar” himself, to authenticate his views about his community’s voting. Also Read – Insider threat managementThe owner of the shop, at the other end, insisted that his “samaj” i.e., the Jats would all go for BJP. For him, BJP has become equated with “Modi” and Jats, despite having two rival candidates from their community, would still go for the latter. The Jat shipowner maintained that all the OBCs and other backward classes would also vote for “Modi”. Three shops away in the village iron smithy, where farm equipment to shovels and scythes were prominently displayed, a couple of people were whiling away their time, awaiting their morning business. They greeted us strangers with a blend of suspicion and curiosity, giving rather bland replies to our questions on possible voting patterns in the area. People would vote according to their own calculations about who would be winning, said Mohammad Ghafoor. The shop-owner was obviously a cautious man. But as a motley crowd gathered fast, some ventured out with their stronger views. What really is the state of the ordinary people, questioned Alam, a man with strong hands and contorted fingers from years of hard physical labour. There are hardly any good doctors, and if you go to Delhi they would ask for Aadhaar number and they shoo you out suggesting you go to district hospitals, said Mohammad Iqbal. Quota rice and wheat given out at a concessional price are hardly worth human consumption. The litany of woes was getting longer, by when others joined in including Sharmaji, who was a brahmin and another Singh, being a Jat, to voice their views on inadequacies. The conviviality of the village iron smithy was no distant thing. It was for us to feel sitting on the rough benches and “charpoys” laid out in front of the inadequate shop. Sharmaji or Sigh felt they would all go for their Jat candidate of the gathbandhan. There was a consensus that the Muslims would do the same and go for the rainbow coalition candidate. As we hit the road again, we were waylaid by a few strapping young men waving us to stop. Obviously, our — some outsiders – movements were closely monitored. They led us through an iron gate into a courtyard where a group of men were sitting around a hookah with a long upright stem and a longer smoking pipe, taking a drag in turn. There were sturdy young men as well as older senior members whose general behaviour and conversing stance was conveying a sense of overbearing confidence. They were the Jats. They welcomed us into their charmed circle and offered “cold machine water,” that is, from the water purifying units. Obviously not the down and out variety, the assembled Jats were occupying the top echelon of the local society and economy. For them, the turning point of politics was the Muzzafarnagar riots some five years back when the then Akhilesh Yadav rulers had arrested many prominent Jats and created other difficulties in their way. But then, there were other issues. They are now getting good prices for their cane harvests and the money is coming directly into their bank accounts. They are also getting electricity most of the time and farmers do not have to keep awake to turn on their pumps at 2 O’clock in the night when power would suddenly come for a little while. Now they are getting electricity most of the day and night. And then, law and order have improved. You do not have to worry about the safety of your family members when they go out. Women could also venture out and go round for their work. Some money had flown into their bank accounts from the government as well. Here was a complex scenario where castes and creed would influence their thinking on who to vote, superimposed on that the economic benefits that were coming and the expectations of what should come in the immediate future. Given the layers of segregation into their little social boxes, their variety of vested interests, the social and religious fault lines and within that caste-based sense of identity, one has to be really audacious to anticipate the results of the forthcoming elections. But yet in the dusty haze, it is possible to delineate some broad trends. This election is showing a split between those who are gaining from the rising prosperity in the countryside and those who are not. But at least in the eight constituencies of western UP, the number of those who are gaining from the system are not inconsequential. There is a huge block of people who are rising and have developed a stake in systemic stability. The omnipresent cane growers of the region are a case in point: the annual inflow from cane is not something to be scoffed at. In Bagpet alone, cane purchases run up to Rs 350 crore a year. In addition, there are other avenues for work. Secondly, Modi has emerged as a leader with his image head, neck and shoulder above the rest of the pack of political leaders. A sequence of this is the diminution of BJP as a political party. If the election is won it is the credit of Modi if it is lost it goes personally to his discredit. One is almost goaded to recall India’s past political history not many years back. Over forty years ago, a Congress president of the day, Deb Kanta Barooah, had coined a slogan “India is Indira” and “Indira is India”. Indira Gandhi did not have a particularly endearing political record after those heady days of fulsome flattery. No one has gone to that extent just now. However, Modi appears to be inching towards this larger-than-life image and not surprisingly evoking extreme feelings. There are those who are intensely antipathetic, just as those who are swearing by him. Thirdly, “economism” is a major underlying current in determining the results of this election. The cooking gas connections in the kitchens of those who could not have imagined of this facility or the toilets have done their bit of public relations, however much denigrated. In the end, the Indian elections have become a story of aspirations of the people and the aspirational demands are trickling down the social ladder. To the extent these are fulfilled, it will bring dividends. If these aspirations are unmet it will come back with a bang. If UP is a microcosm of northern India —rather north of the Vindhyas— then the short visit reveals the complex fabric of society which is exercising its franchise rights: Here you witness diversity, unity, antipathy and sectarian loyalty all of which are running parallel in the polity. The election results will be the sum total of these contradictory forces and that is our India. (The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more

Mirwaizs appearance before NIA paves ways for thorough probe into JK terror

first_imgNew Delhi: Appearance of separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq before the NIA has paved the way for a thorough probe into charges of terror funding and conspiracy against the Hurriyat leader, officials said Tuesday.Mirwaiz appeared before the National Investigation Agency for the second consecutive day on Tuesday for questioning in connection with a case related to funding of terror groups and separatist organisations in Jammu and Kashmir. “Appearance of Mirwaiz before the NIA proves the government’s determination to establish that Kashmiri separatist leaders will have to be held accountable to the law of the land. It has paved the way for thorough investigation into charges of terror funding and conspiracy against the Hurriyat leader,” a home ministry official said. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’The questioning of Mirwaiz by the NIA has been considered a significant development as he had been trying to evade the questioning by the probe agency by resorting to various stratagems. These include by not responding initially to the NIA summons at all, and later saying he was ready to be examined by NIA in Srinagar. “However, eventually he had to follow the summons and travel to New Delhi to answer questions from the NIA. This is in line with the government’s firm stance that separatist leaders cannot claim immunity and that they will be held accountable for laws of the land,” the official said. The NIA had conducted raids in February 2019 on allegations of terror funding and money laundering on the premises of Mirwaiz and other Hurriyat leaders like Yasin Malik and son of SAS Geelani, Naseem Geelani. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KThey are part of Joint Resistance Leadership who frequently organise protests, stone pelting and shutdowns in the valley, disrupting normal life, impacting students and daily wage earners, businesses and tourism. The investigation against Naseem Geelani and others is proceeding as per law. Recently, legal hurdles had been cleared for resumption of trial in Jammu against Yasin Malik in the case of terrorist attack by JKLF militants in 1990 on IAF personnel which led to the death of four persons. “Yasin Malik had exploited the provisions in law to inordinately delay the trial. But relentless efforts by the home ministry have finally resulted in Malik’s arrest and transfer to Jammu jail. His plea for transfer of trial from Jammu to Srinagar has also been quashed,” another official said.last_img read more

Amitabh Bachchan Emraan Hashmi to share screen in mystery thriller

first_imgMumbai: Amitabh Bachchan and Emraan Hashmi are teaming up for a mystery thriller, which is set to be released on February 21, 2020. It is the first collaboration between Bachchan and Hashmi. The currently-untitled film will be helmed by writer-director Rumi Jaffrey. “A film is a collaborative effort and when you have one of the best actors in front of the camera and a veteran producer behind the lens supporting you and leading all creative efforts, then making the film is a fantastic experience,” Jaffery said in a statement. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: Priyanka The movie is produced by Anand Pandit Motion Pictures and Saraswati Entertainment Private Limited. Producer Anand Pandit said he is looking forward to the project with the two stars. “My friendship with Mr Bachchan goes back a long way. I have not met any other actor who matches his skill and commitment. It is an honour to be a part of creating a film with him, and I have always admired Emraan’s body of work, so am looking forward to seeing him onscreen with the legend for the first time,” Pandit said. The film, set to go on floors from May 10, also stars Annu Kapoor.last_img read more

Body found in train

first_imgKolkata: The body of an elderly person was found inside a train compartment at Sealdah railway station on Monday afternoon.Till night, his identity could not be established. According to Eastern Railway (ER) spokesperson, on Monday, the Down Naihati-Sealdah local entered the platform number 1 at Sealdah railway station around 3:55 pm. During checking of the compartments, a Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel spotted a half-naked body of an elderly person on the floor of a compartment of the local train. After taking a close look at the body, the RPF personnel suspected that the man could be dead. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaHe immediately informed the Sealdah railway station authorities. A doctor from ER’s B R Singh Hospital was called for a quick check up. While the doctor was on his way, RPF personnel removed the body from train and placed it on a bench at the platform. After examination, the doctor declared the person dead on arrival. Later, Government Railway Police (GRP) at the Sealdah railway station was informed. Sleuths took charge of the body and sent it for autopsy examination. Police sources said the elderly person could have died due to some illness as there were no injury marks on the body.last_img read more

BillionDollar Billy Beane

The film version of “Moneyball” depicts many establishment baseball types as ignorant of where wins in baseball come from and clueless about how to properly value talent.Take, for example, the scene when John Henry — the billionaire owner of the Boston Red Sox — tries to recruit the Oakland Athletics’ general manager Billy Beane. Henry tells Beane that any managers not rebuilding their teams with Beane’s system in mind are “dinosaurs,” and then hands him a slip of paper. On it, there’s an offer for Beane to become the new Red Sox general manager for the insane amount of $12.5 million over five years. His fictional colleague tells us that the offer would make Beane “the highest-paid GM in the history of sports.” Despite appearing tempted, Beane ultimately declines the deal, claiming, “I made one decision in my life based on money and I swore I’d never do it again.”1In real life, Beane briefly accepted the Red Sox’s offer before changing his mind (citing community and family reasons). He even began negotiating with the A’s over what compensation the Red Sox would have to give his old team for stealing him away. At the press conference announcing that he’d changed his mind, Beane was asked about that negotiation (from a contemporary news report):“Asked from a baseball talent-evaluator perspective what he was worth, Beane laughed and said, ‘I had one opinion before [accepting Boston’s job] and once I got there, I had a different opinion.’”Beane may not be the highest-paid GM in the history of sports, but he may be the most famous. An outfielder originally drafted 23rd overall by the New York Mets in 1980, Beane made his MLB debut in 1984, but was never successful against top competition. After getting washed out of the league, he became a scout for the A’s and eventually worked his way up to GM in 1997. As GM, he has used Bill James-style advanced statistics to inform his decisions, and taken a strictly economic approach to valuing and acquiring players. Under his leadership, the A’s have been a very successful franchise despite routinely carrying one of baseball’s smallest payrolls. Beane’s story caught the attention of author Michael Lewis, who made him the central character in his 2003 bestseller “Moneyball” and something of a cultural icon for sports analytics.Beane’s methods continue to be analyzed and celebrated by sabermetricians, and the A’s continue to massively exceed expectations given the amount they spend. They own the best record in baseball so far this season, and have the fifth-lowest payroll.2While also being rated as the “unluckiest” team this year. They currently lead MLB in Pythagorean wins by an even wider margin. It’s the best 100-game start of Beane’s career, and the best for the organization since its 1990 pennant-winning squad. Over the last 15 seasons,3The period covered by Baseball Prospectus’s payroll data. the A’s under Beane have had the fifth-best winning percentage in baseball, with the fourth-lowest total payroll. (The data used here is current through Monday, July 21.)Beane has been a godsend to the frugal A’s, enabling them to achieve top-tier performance at bottom-tier prices. For this, the A’s have paid him fairly modestly4In general, good GMs are probably way underpaid, but Beane is even more so. — but since we don’t know how much winning is worth to the A’s organization, it’s hard to say exactly how much Beane has been worth to them.For a team like the Red Sox, however, the picture is much more clear. Over the last 15 years, they’ve happily spent over $2 billion in the pursuit of wins — and because they’re one of baseball’s most successful franchises, no one in Beantown is complaining.From a strictly economic perspective, not offering Beane however much money it took to get him may have been one of the Red Sox’s poorest decisions since letting Babe Ruth go to the Yankees for next to nothing. And I mean that literally: Over the past 15 years, Billy Beane has been nothing less than the Babe Ruth of baseball GMs. The Red Sox offered Beane $2.5 million per year,5The 2002 Boston Red Sox paid Dustin Hermanson — a relief pitcher with a 4.21 ERA — $5.5 million, or more than twice as much in annual salary as they offered Beane. but even $25 million would have been a bargain.Finding Beane’s potential dollar value to the Red Sox is relatively simple: It’s the amount the team spent under general managers Theo Epstein and Ben Cherington, minus the amount it would have had to spend for the same performance with Beane as GM.6Hat tip to Jeremy Kahan — a hedge fund analyst and good friend of mine — for zeroing in on the Red Sox angle to this question.To show this, we first we need to figure out just how many A’s wins Beane has been responsible for, and how much those wins would cost on the open market.Let’s start by comparing the A’s performance under Beane’s leadership to the performance we would expect from a typical GM with the same payroll.7Prior to their change in ownership in 1995, the A’s maintained a healthy payroll, including the largest in the league in 1991, following their World Series appearance the year before. By the time they started downsizing, Beane was already with the team. This means there’s no way to compare Beane’s performance to that of a different A’s GM with a similar payroll. I created a logistic regression model8A type of model used to predict things like win percentages. that predicts a team’s win percentage by season based on the team’s relative payroll (excluding Oakland from the data), as measured by how many standard deviations it was above or below the average MLB payroll for each season. Below, I’ve plotted the non-Oakland team-seasons from 2000 to 2013 (on which the model is based) in groups of 15 by payroll (so, the dot farthest to the right represents the 15 team-seasons with the highest relative payrolls), and plotted the model’s prediction as a red line. I then plotted Oakland’s 15 seasons through 2014 as a single green point:The point on the upper right represents the 15 team-seasons with the highest relative payrolls. These teams were 2.68 standard deviations above the mean payroll on average and won 58.5 percent of their regular-season games on average.9Note there’s not much difference from a linear regression, which would have an underlying (season-by-season) R-squared value of .183 (though this can be increased by using less noisy metrics such as run differential). Oakland, on the other hand, averaged .81 standard deviations below the mean payroll and won 54.8 percent of its games on average.From this we can take each team’s expected wins per season based on payroll,10The logistic regression formula in Excel is: =1/(1+EXP(-(-0.009677+0.127212*[SD Payroll]))). and then see how many games above or below average it ran. Here’s Oakland, broken down by year (Note: 2014 is through the season’s first 98 games only):This comes out to 180.2 wins above expectation given the A’s payroll (165.5 prior to this year). That’s 12.0 wins above expectation per season (and there’s a good chance of that per-season average rising).“Wins above expectation” may sound familiar to you. It’s conceptually very similar to wins above replacement (WAR), the stat we use to evaluate how many wins a player earns a team versus how many games that team would expect to win without him.11There are two main differences between wins above expectation and wins above replacement:WAR is based on direct player performance metrics like hitting, fielding, etc., while a general manager’s wins earned are imputed indirectly from his team’s performance (both of these methods have their pluses and minuses).WAR is above “replacement,” meaning it’s the number of wins a player earns not over an average player, but over a borderline player — someone you would pay the minimum. A GM’s wins here are measured above what we would expect from the average non-Beane GM.But the difference between a “replacement” GM and an average GM is unclear to me: They all cost a pretty similar amount, and how much value they add is a mystery, so I thought an average GM was the appropriate baseline. Regardless, this means that this comparison could be understating Beane’s value. For example, Babe Ruth earned only 126 wins above average as a batter, compared to his 163 wins above replacement.Beane’s 12 wins per season above what we would expect of an average general manager is slightly more wins than Barry Bonds earned when he hit 73 home runs in 2001 (11.9 WAR). The most WAR earned by any batter over his entire career was 163 by Babe Ruth.12At least for now, Ruth does maintain a slight edge over Beane in total WAR (with 183.6) on account of his 20.6 WAR as a pitcher. In fact, if you assemble the top 15 position player seasons of all time, they still trail Beane’s 15 seasons as GM, with 180.1 WAR combined versus Beane’s 180.2 wins above expectation.No one can get that lucky. If you’re expected to win 1,116 out of 2,364 games, winning 1,296 games instead may not look impossible, but that’s because our intuitions about these things are terrible. Excel’s binomial distribution function makes calculating such odds pretty easy:13The Excel formula to calculate odds of winning a certain amount given an expected win rate is: =BINOM.DIST([Games]-[Wins],[Games],1-[Expected Win Percent], TRUE). In this case they’re somewhere around one in 13 trillion — effectively zero.14Granted, though odds that they’ve just gotten lucky overall are nil, it’s likely that the A’s have been “running well” to some extent — meaning, their performance has probably exceeded their true expectation. But this is true of any top team. Of course, we can’t know to what degree Beane alone is responsible for the A’s success. But as GM, Beane is formally responsible for the A’s performance, and there aren’t any other obvious causes that would suggest he isn’t responsible (there have been several different managers and 100 percent turnover of players during Beane’s tenure).Imagine the A’s wanted to have exactly this level of success and were willing to pay whatever it cost. With Billy Beane, the A’s have paid $839,902,108 to their players from 2000 up to and including the start of the 2014 season (but prior to recent acquisitions). How much do other teams normally have to pay for this level of success?There are a lot of estimates for the price of wins out there, ranging from ESPN’s Dan Szymborski’s $5.5 million per marginal win and FanGraphs $6 million on the lower end to Lewie Pollis’s $7 million and up to Hardball Times’ $7.6 million on the high end. To make things a little more complicated, the price of wins has also risen substantially with the growth of payrolls in the last decade15I’ll stick with FanGraphs and Hardball Times, because their historical estimates are readily accessible.:If we use these values to price wins above or below expectation on a year-by-year basis for every team as we did for Oakland above, and then sum up by team, it would look like this:FanGraphs’ value for Oakland’s performance adds up to $812 million since 2000, while the Hardball Times’ value adds up to $891 million. Over three-quarters of a billion dollars — that’s huge! We can smell-check these numbers by looking at the overall picture. Leaving aside standard deviations and year-by-year breakdowns for a moment, we can see how each team’s total payroll over the last 15 years has compared to its performance:That trend line shows us how well teams have performed relative to how much they’ve paid, but we can also use it for the reverse:16By solving for Win Percentage. In Excel: =([WPct]-0.4130893)/(0.0000669). The Oakland Athletics have won 54.8 percent of their games, so the corresponding 15-year payroll (the amount we would expect a team to have paid for that win rate) is about $2.02 billion — about $1.18 billion higher than the Athletics actually paid.So the smell-check turned out a higher number than the estimates based on the normal price of wins, when that normal price already seemed absurd.This isn’t broken down year by year, so it could just be that the A’s won a lot more in years when wins were cheaper. To correct for this, we need a more empirical method for pricing wins. On a year-by-year basis, how big would each team’s payroll have to have been to buy its performance? Using the regression above (and some fancywork in R17This is done using the inverse of the logistic regression built above, which leads to very complicated math, but can be done fairly easily in R using the boot package (where “mod” is the logistic model):require(boot)invPred <- function (W,G,mod) {(logit(W/G) – coef(mod)[[“(Intercept)”]]) / coef(mod)[[“payroll.sd”]]}I should note this leads to some very valuable-looking seasons (like Seattle’s 116-win season in 2001), because that kind of success is virtually impossible to “buy.” But it sums up across seasons very accurately.), we can model this and see that wins may be harder to buy than standard win-valuation models (FanGraphs, Hardball Times, etc.) would suggest. Valuing each team’s relative season-by-season performance this way leads to a very different accounting from above:Over the past 15 years, the A’s have exceeded expectations by close to $1.38 billion — even better than our smell-check estimate of $1.18 billion. This suggests that they’ve performed slightly better in years when they were at a bigger payroll disadvantage (at 2013 market value, those A’s wins would cost closer to $1.78 billion).18Note: though I use a logistic regression so the price of wins isn’t perfectly linear, this approach corresponds roughly to a price per win of around 4.7 wins per standard deviation of payroll. So the table of win prices over the years corresponding to those of Hardball Times and FanGraphs above would look like this: Yes, that’s “billion” with a B. (Or two.)* * * * *Now that we have a sense of Beane’s performance and how much it would cost to replicate it, let’s turn back to the Boston Red Sox and their failure to sign him (or even to offer him anywhere near his worth).The situations in Oakland and Boston aren’t directly comparable. Exploiting market inefficiencies is probably easier for Beane than it is for a successful big-money team, because he has never had to face the winner’s curse or the diminishing returns of spending. On the other hand, the A’s have been way above average, not just a little above average. Aside from the Red Sox’s post-season successes,19I should also note that, while not having any championships to show for it, the A’s have made the playoffs the same number of times the Red Sox have (seven), and they’ve been remarkably unlucky, losing all six series-deciding Game 5s they’ve played. the team has only performed 0.6 percent better than the A’s over the 15-year period — for which they’ve paid an extra $1.2 billion in salaries.But some of that money was spent and some of those wins came before the Red Sox attempted to hire Beane. To be conservative, let’s just look at the period since Henry made Beane his offer: In the last 12 years, the Red Sox spent $1.714 billion on payroll, while the A’s spent $736 million. We can then break down what it could have looked like if Beane had worked for the Red Sox like so:Let’s say it would have cost Boston the same $736 million that it cost Oakland to get the A’s performance with Beane.At the hypothetical $25 million-per-year salary I suggested earlier, Beane would have cost the Red Sox another $300 million. (It’s possible that Beane would have wanted more, but it’s even more possible that they could have gotten him for less.)The difference in performance between the A’s and the Red Sox over that period (where the Sox were as successful as at any point in the franchise’s history, and the A’s were supposedly stagnating after Beane’s early success) has been about 50 games for Boston. Since we don’t know exactly how good Beane would be at procuring additional wins above his Oakland performance, let’s assume that the Red Sox would have had to pay the typical amount teams have paid for wins in the period to make up the difference. According to the year-by-year price of wins from my calculations above, those 50 wins (taking when they happened into account) would have a market value of about $370 million (though this might have been lower with Beane in charge).If we combine these — the price of the A’s performance ($736 million) plus Super-Expensive-Billy-Beane’s salary ($300 million) plus the additional 50 Red Sox wins at high market estimates ($370 million) — merely duplicating their previous level of success still would have saved the Red Sox more than $300 million relative to what they actually spent, and that’s with reasonably conservative assumptions. That’s money they could have pocketed, or spent making themselves even better.In other words, failing to understand Beane’s true value may have cost the Red Sox hundreds of millions of dollars or more. “Moneyball” isn’t just some nerdy obsession that helps a few teams save a bit of money. It’s about more than nickels and dimes; it’s about millions and billions.CORRECTION (July 24, 7:10 p.m.): A footnote in an earlier version of this story misstated the most recent year the Oakland A’s played in the World Series; it was 1990, not 1991. read more

Sunday Morning Quarterback Evaluating Ohio States 1716 win against Michigan State

Ohio State outlasted Michigan State on Saturday for a 17-16 victory and its first conference win of the season. Here’s what we learned about the Buckeyes in their slugfest with the Spartans. The MSU measuring stick Want a barometer for how far this offense has come in a year? Look no further than the Buckeyes’ loss to the Spartans last season. To say that OSU’s offense was ineffective in their 2011 conference opener, a 10-7 loss to MSU, would be a gross understatement. It was embarrassingly inadequate. Those Buckeyes limped to 178 yards of total offense, and only found the end zone in the waning seconds when a Spartan victory was inevitable. Braxton Miller threw for 56 yards while having the worst game of his career as a runner. Things got so bad for the then-freshman quarterback that he was benched in favor of former Buckeyes quarterback Joe Bauserman. Earlier in the week, coach Urban Meyer said that his sophomore quarterback had come a long way since last year’s match with MSU. Miller backed up Meyer’s words with a statement performance on Saturday. The Buckeyes’ signal-caller threw for 179 yards and rushed for 136, accounting for more than 82 percent of the team’s total offense. But it wasn’t just the Buckeye’s biggest star that shined against the Spartans. Junior receiver Corey “Philly” Brown nearly matched his production from all of last season, hauling in a career-best 12 receptions. Sophomore receiver Devin Smith once again showed his big-play ability with a 63-yard touchdown catch that put the Buckeyes ahead for good. It wasn’t a perfect game for OSU’s offense, though. There are several areas where they need to improve, starting with ball security – Miller threw an interception and fumbled twice. But as a group, they are certainly heading in the right direction. The defense is flawed, but in the right places Entering Saturday’s game, the “Silver Bullets” ranked last in the Big Ten conference in total defense. Does OSU really have the league’s worst defense? Probably not. Does the defense have flaws? Absolutely.  In MSU’s first two games against ranked opponents, Spartans quarterback Andrew Maxwell threw three interceptions and averaged 217 yards per game. The junior played turnover-free football against OSU while throwing for 269 yards. Perhaps the first-year starter is just becoming more comfortable in the pocket as the season progresses, but it’s fairly clear that the Buckeyes don’t have an elite secondary. Fortunately, they really don’t need one. With all due respect to the likes of Indiana and Purdue, only three teams on the Buckeyes remaining schedule really pose a threat to OSU’s chance at a perfect season – Nebraska, Wisconsin and Michigan. What else do those three teams have in common? They all employ a run-first mentality. Just ask MSU how that type of game plan works against the Buckeye’s frontline. Spartans running back Le’Veon Bell entered the contest averaging 152 yards per game on the ground. The junior saw his impressive average, and perhaps his Heisman chances, plummet at the hands of OSU’s defense, which held Bell to just 45 yards on 17 carries. Give an extra helmet sticker to… The Buckeyes’ entire offensive line, which is perhaps the most improved unit on this year’s team. The big boys surrendered just one sack, and dominated the line of scrimmage while Miller and company ran for 204 yards.  Granted, some credit should go to Miller, who eludes would-be sacks better than just about any other quarterback in the country. But while facing a quality Spartan pass rush, the offensive line proved its merit. It’s important (and when they’re winning, fairly easy) to enjoy the Buckeyes in Meyer’s debut season. But whether it’s because of this year’s bowl ban, or the fact that Meyer doesn’t yet have the ideal personnel to run his system, it’s also hard not to look ahead. Of the five starters on OSU’s improved unit, only one is a senior. The future looks bright in Columbus, and as with almost anything in football, it all starts with the offensive line. read more

Football Keandre Jones to transfer from Ohio State

Ohio State junior linebacker Keandre Jones (16) tackles Tulane’s offense during the first half of the game against Tulane on Sept. 22. Ohio State won 49-6. Credit: Amal Saeed | Assistant Photo EditorFormer four-star linebacker Keandre Jones is transferring from Ohio State, the program confirmed Tuesday. Ohio State has not confirmed Jones’ destination, but reports say that the linebacker will transfer to Maryland. An Olney, Maryland native, Jones played in 32 games with Ohio State primarily on special teams and never started a game at linebacker. He recorded 29 total tackles with a tackle for loss: a sack against Tulane on Sept. 22. Ohio State will have sophomore Baron Browning, sophomore Pete Werner, junior Malik Harrison and redshirt sophomore Tuf Borland returning at linebacker. Freshmen linebackers K’Vaughan Pope, Dallas Gant and Teradja Mitchell will fight for playing time in the middle of the defense as well. read more