Alex Cora Fascination

Maybe people are sick of reading about the intangibles topic but it is one that continues to fascinate. Adam Rubin's late season report that Alex Cora will likely be re-signed and subsequent fan support for bringing back Cora is the latest source of this fascination. 

Cora is now 34 years old, coming off a replacement level season in which he earned $2 million. Smart organizations would bid such a player a fond farewell -- thank you for the grit and leadership Alex, but we are moving in another direction. The most common argument in favor of a Cora return is his impact in the clubhouse. His off-the-field guidance for younger players is allegedly valuable enough to justify a spot on the roster. My question is, why can't good players bring these intangibles? Better yet, how about the members of the Mets' coaching staff provide guidance to younger players who need it? The coaching staff is filled with former players, many with playoff experience and even World Series rings. Presumably, they encountered similar on and off the field issues during their playing careers as players do today. Surely they can give advice on family life, conditioning, playing through pain or whatever other questions the players have.

Wise organizations don't pay for intangibles, they pay for on-field production. Cora's intangible qualities are almost universally praised so I feel confident in saying he has some positive value in the clubhouse, even if it is very small. That's terrific and I'd love it if all players had Cora's personality. However, if he had some value on the field that would be significantly more important. I'll close with some words I enjoyed from Matt Meyers, an ESPN The Magazine editor, who e-mailed the following to Matt Cerrone at Metsblog yesterday:

You’ll notice the Royals and Pirates have been two of the biggest spenders in the last couple of years, giving seven-figure bonuses to kids in rounds three through 10.  Instead, the Mets will stick to slot in those rounds and spend $2 million on Alex Cora.  It’s a joke, and shows a complete lack of understanding of value on the part of the Mets.

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