Sandy has made the case against that: that, Atlanta-style, the M's should wait for their blue-chippers to actually show the goods, and then push all in the season following. That is a perfectly valid way to look at it, and I would even agree that the 2009 M's shouldn't push ALL in.
But can they move towards the chance to win, if it doesn't capsize future years? Sure.
The claim has been that you couldn't acquire hitters even if you wanted to. That assertion is what I question. Here are just a couple of examples. This list can definitely be improved, since I offered the list in August. The point is merely that there are always options.
1. Farrrrrrrrr more impact MLB players are available, at any one time, than fans think there are. What holds up their movement is the price associated.
2. Leaving the trade market out of it for a second*:
a. Mark Teixeira was the guy we put first on the list. A one-man Safeco offense in Jason Giambi style. 28 years old. You give him Manny, even ARod money, and build around him. You give him 10% more than the 2nd best offer, and 1 more year, and you can lock up Mark Teixeira for the next 7-10 years. What, want to tip over your 2012 king this offseason too? :- )
Boston took on a Manny contract with the approximate mass of Europa. In 2004 and 2007 — at the middle and end! — that contract was a blessing. In the big picture, we sez, Mr. Blogger. It's about parades, not about being clever with your pennies.
Tex is gone now -- and with him, the Yankees and! Red Sox. That's two teams out of our way.
a2. Milton Bradley. LL viewed him as the first choice, because of his $$/VORP efficiency; I viewed him as risky-but-worth-it, because of his volatility and age. Anyway, he went to the Cubs, and that's relevant to the M's: the Cubs were Adam Dunn's dream destination. Kewl!
Those two bowling balls took out three of the M's main split-pins.
b. Orlando Hudson. JLo moves back to SS. An instant OPS+ upgrade of 30 points in the middle infield. Yes, I have a bat-first SS. So sue me. I also have a GrrrrEAT second baseman. The defense itself is probably a push in the middle IF, never mind offense.
c. Manny. You wouldn't believe how well this guy hits, and will hit, in Safeco (see HBT's article plotting his actual fly balls the last three years, vs. Safeco). Amazingly, the Seattle park favors Manny.
d. Blockbuster for one of TB's extra OF's, such as Crawford coming off a down season.
e. Junior, lefty in Safeco with the mojo from the crowd.
f. Adam Dunn.
g. Rocco Baldelli, who just got the best news he could possibly get. Let's not be slow to adjust.
There are a lot of big-name guys available I'll pass on … Burrell, Abreu, others … for declining K/BB or bad park fit or whatever.
I don't like every young Mariner player — just the ones with special talent. No WAY do I have Bryan Lahair or Jeremy Reed starting, going into 2009.
=== You'll Eat It and Like It, Mister ===
Question one before the court is this: so do Ichiro's "eyes really light up" that much about playing RF. Glahhhkkkk. :shudders:
In principle, if a ballplayer can help the team by playing his best position, that's a fair expectation. When Whitey Herzog asked Ted Simmons to move off catcher, and he said he'd think about, Whitey told him he could think about it in Milwaukee.
That's my default attitude about players and their defensive positions. I ask Ichiro to play CF, because it makes the team better. Ichiro's splits are NOT notably different at RF vs CF, either this year or for his career. And it's not like he's in a walk year.
If Ichiro gives me a glare and then trots out to CF, my technical term for that is "dream scenario." If he tells me he won't play CF, fine. But if he doesn't refuse, but simply gets angry at me for it, what do I care? He lives in his own world anyway. When he takes verbal swipes at me, I'll just pretend not to understand English, see how he reacts. No speakee Ingles, tomodachi.
(Yes, he's still my favorite player.)
Anyway, the problem position, 1B, is the position with Junior, Dunn, Tex, and 85 other guys available.
I haven't been ear to the ground. Maybe the Angels have a back-room deal with Tex that all y'all know about and I don't. (If so, I quit too, until about 2015.) But the broad point is, options always exist. You don't like these, point out your own.
=== Qwibbles & Bits, Dept. ===
"You think this will be difficult?"
"Well, this is mission impossible, Mr. Hunt. Difficult should be a walk in the park." ::winning smile::
Let us remind you that in a true Stars & Scrubs scenario, you have saved money all around the diamond with young players. This is a R.I.C.H. team. It can easily throw $20M or even $25M per season at the right player, the Teixeria type Perfect Fit. And/or it can easily throw an extra 20% at an impact player like Dunn.
It is precisely this kind of situation that the Chuck Knoxes, the Bill Parcellses and the Pat Gillicks of the world love. A team with tons of money, a team with several young 2nd- and 3rd-year impact players (Felix, Morrow, Clement, Wlad, Lopez*, etc), a team with a truly sickening case of loseritis.
This is precisely the kind of team that a smart and decisive leader can turn around quickly. He throws Morrow in there, who "surprisingly" fans 200 men and wins 17; he adds a couple of bats; he sprays Terminix spray all over the Loseritis Cockroaches, the young guys go out and play hard and boom — he looks like some kind of incredible genius.
You can make a case for quitting. I think it resonates better in KC than in Seattle, but you can make it. The person making it will not be me.