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America’s Complicated Pastime

Monday, December 18, 2006 by Slaughter Development

If a baseball team in the United States wants to hire an impressive player from Japan, they are not allowed to make an offer directly. Instead, the league organizes a silent auction and any interested party can place a bid.  Some commentators believe this secrecy is inflating the market, making foreign players unreasonably expensive.

Sports writer Tim Kurkjian at ESPN magazine explains how Daisuke Matsuzaka successfully warranted a whopping $51.1 million dollars from the Boston Red Sox. Because the auction was conducted in secret, the winning team ended up bidding 20% more than the second place offer to ensure their lead. Even this number still went to negotiation, and Matsuzaka’s team scored a final price just over $100 million dollars.

Many believe the posting process will be changed, but the fundamental challenge for Major League Baseball is the question of secrecy. Any organization which attempts to create a positive economic climate without total openness is always in danger of such imbalances. Companies and non-profit entities should always attempt to ensure that incentives, rewards, and opportunities are made public to affected stakeholders. If your company is facing difficult internal outcomes due to variations in trust, consider Slaughter Development to assist in evaluating your workflow and information management.

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