2012 is now over. Time to start looking forward to 2027 when Seattle finally grows some cajones.
Top 10 Things About Prince Fielder Going To Detroit:
12. Won't have to listen to MLB Network dudes talking about Texas' "Best Lineup Of Alllll (echo) Tiiiiime (echo)" (yes, really)
11. Series of fun blog posts vs. Scott Boras as "Ben Stein Without Charisma" (seriously, nice job, Scott)
10. Mariners no longer appearing in 20,000-vote MLBTR polls as "Other"
9. Will not have to watch 2020 Prince Fielder as penance for watching 2012 Prince Fielder
8. Mariners now have $3-4M, plus a Prince Fielder contract, burning a hole in their pockets
7. Boring Fielder watch now replaced by Votto / Stanton / Upton / whoever watch
6. Fielder, going to an innocuous already-division-winner, failed to create a 3rd Wild Card behemoth in Toronto, Cleveland or Chicago
5. Get to watch Miguel Cabrera play third base, or something
4. M's suits announcing "We kept our powder dry ... you know, same shtick as last year"
3. Full month analyzing potential Felix swap for (insert 6-way deal here). Don't think Jay-Z won't do it
2. Will not have to watch 2018 Prince Fielder as penance for watching 2013 Prince Fielder
1. SSI audience can drive home safely. Oh, like you've never confidently predicted the M's would sign an MVP before
Let's get somebody better than Prince,
Fielder makes their offense solid, but their problem is pitching IMHO. Behind Verlander their rotation is no better than anyone else's and their bullpen is shaky. And their offense isn't going to be 120 OPS+ good...they have notable holes around their line-up. Their outfield is Boesch, dung and dung, their infield is Fielder, dung, dung and Cabrera playing out fo position, and their catcher way overperformed last year.
Two questions Matty:
1. Would you have offered 10 / $250M?
2. Do you think Fielder would have come here, if you did?
Much as it pains to concede it.
Boras knew that he had a "sexy," difference-making free agent, and that teams wouldn't get another shot at such any time soon. He took it right down to ST minus a few weeks and his judgment turned out to be right.
One of his finest accomplishments. As he says, "You never know what a high school player is worth until the day before classes start."
Man, I'm glad this whole PF situation is over with. The man drove baseball fans all over the world up a wall for more than four months. He made my day job suffer a little bit. It is good that he signed at a price that the pro-Princers and the anti-Princers are united in thinking is too steep. Still, I would pay almost $10 know what Prince's offer from the Mariners was.
The Mariners/ Yankees present roster paradigm of using the DH at bat as a revolving door to freshen up tired or injured players may be better for the team than signing a dedicated DH who clogs the position. It would be interesting to know how much this effect is worth. How much better is Prince than Olivo/Liddi/Ichiro/Montero/Wells/Carp all fresh as a daisy?
On that note, what of this rumor that Prince doesn't move off of first base for anybody? Doesn't that strike y'all as ridiculous? If the M's paid Prince $25 million per year, or $154,000 per game, it seems that he should be pleased to play wherever he was penciled in.
Plus, What do the M's do with $30 million dollars of payroll flexability next year? Pay down Chris Larsen's lines of credit that his Mariner's stock is pledged against? Hire Josh Hamilton? Put a Pyramid Alehouse in the upper decks with beer piping down to the fans?
Now what Cat? Now what?
Bad News: he's in the AL
Good News: It isn't our division.
Bad news: The Ms can now pocket the Fielder funds and buy more BMWs.
Good news: We're still a really good, really young team under club control, and might now find some funds in the couch cushions rather than having Fielder eat all our cookies.
Bad news: No Fielder :(
Good news: Yes Montero :D
In the end, since Fielder didn't want to come here and Detroit was willing to pay Scott's Ransom, I'm not upset at all with Ackley/Montero/Carp/Smoak as our MOTO. We have half-a-dozen prospects to try to fix 3B, a couple of SS blue-chippers and a Japanese import ready to take over for Ryan shortly, and several OF prospects to hold down the fort until one becomes Jayson Werth - or until we add Carlos Quentin/Melky Cabrera/whomever to replace Ichiro.
We're in good shape. Our meaningful free agents list goes:
2013: League (5 mil), Ichiro (18 mil)
2014: Vargas (5 mil+), Figgins (8 mil) Guti (7 mil)
2015: Felix (20 mil)
2016: (Jaso goes here, but is he significant?)
2017: Smoak, Wells
2018: Ackley, Montero, Carp
Our ENTIRE MOTO is ours through 2016 if we want em.
In the mean time we drop a TON of big contracts in the next 3 years (though we'll have plenty of money to re-sign Felix if he wants to stay and we want to pay). Our pitching rotation isn't timing out til the latter half of the decade, easily. We don't have any bad contracts past the 2013 season.
I wanted Fielder because we could have afforded him, and he's gonna be a crusher the next several years.
But I'm thrilled to have a middle of the order that might be amazingly special AND will be ours for the next handful of years.
I wish we had a couple of GOOD vet bats to show the kids the way. I think it would have helped Smoak a lot, for one. "I can't play because I'm Ill" Guti and "I don't talk to anyone" Ichiro don't count. Neither did "I am a fat tub of useless goo" Cust or "I am a bi-polar angry bird" Bradley.
Fielder is a professional ballplayer with experience and talent, and I wanted him to share both with the guys on this team. Losing that is in the "Bad" column for me. I was looking at Cuddyer for the same clubhouse reasons even if he was a bad park fit.
So we'll need to make that up. Can someone persuade Texas not to extend Hamilton so he can come give that to our guys next year? Pat Burrell helped a young SF squad immensely in the locker room. I guess it'll be Wedge's show this coming year, all the way.
Hopefully that falls into the "Good" column.
That was always one of the awkward parts of a PF scenario. For me, a franchise player at SS, CF, 2B, C is worth sooooooooo much more than a DH.
If that's what you have to do, you do it ... the Red Sox have had their best decade with Ortiz at DH, and sometimes Manny in LF ... but that's another part of the silver lining. Maybe Jay-Z can find a franchise bat who doesn't ossify the left side of the D-spectrum.
Who's Cat? :- )
I'm confused by what reports mean of the 'next Internation FA signing period' - ie. is that the one we are in now? Or is it the one after this one?
If it's next one, and there would be no repercussions for doing it, I'd hand $15 million over to Bob Engle and let him run free.
This team is not in a bad position. I'm utterly convinced of GM Jack's desire to build a winner. I'm also utterly convinced that we have the wrong management and ownership group in place to get us over the top.
Invest in the minor leagues, lower payroll, build it right, and sell the team to somebody who cares about winning.
As Heyman tweeted:
JonHeymanCBS Jon Heyman
no mystery here: tigers pizza king is one terrific owner. on@CBSSports. tinyurl.com/6v9qfhc
And man am I jealous. I think the price was too steep. I think the Tigers overpaid, and the 82 year old owner doesn't give a rats about what I think. He wants to win. And win badly. And that's what I want in my owner.
I think Fielder woudl go where the money was. But I probably won'thave gone ten years.
At this point, though, I don't care what the reason is...Seattle has never signed a premiere free agent and never will as long as this ownership group is in charge. And we have ZERO chance of competing with the Angels and Rangers until such time as we grow our payroll and our market expectation. Which means...we will not be competitive any time soon.
That's basically what Boras was demanding two months ago. The whole GM world called his bluff, ran him down to no more than 6 yrs/$150M (and likely less), then one Victor Martinez injury blows all that discipline up.
I wan't to know which team was bidding 7yrs/$180M that the Tigers had to trump?
If the Nats weren't going there, then the answer is "nobody!" I think the Tigers got in a bidding war with themselves.
Boras wins! Boras wins! Boras wins!
I hate that.
(But the Tigers got good again...for a bit)
Hey, are we allowed to noodle around with the idea of Ackley-Smoak-Carp-Montero having UP years together in 2012? Or is that in bad taste in the Seattle blog-o-sphere? :- )
Replace question marks where you can, but when you have what you're going to have (and of course we are not necessarilly there yet) look for the bright side. I will never be the person to say, "Looks like we're playing for next year" before the season starts.
Lord knows I hate the idea of putting Piazza (Montero), Morneau (Smoak), Utley (Ackley) and Ibanez (Carp) in my MOTO, with the chance to add Stephen Drew (Franklin), Alex Rios (Catricala) and a decent free agent bat next year.
What an atrocious lineup.
And no way could we do anything with the King and his court of 100 ERA+ pitchers, while prepping Clayton Kershaw (Paxton) and Barry Zito (Hulzen) to join the party.
No upside is possible. Better flush 2012 and 2013 now.
Don't forget the number 3 pick this year...
If this is true (that no STARS from the Stars 'n' Scrubs mentality are coming up in the near future), then what's left for the M's at this point in the offseason, aside from several somewhat unattractive options for this year?
My best guess: another blockbuster trade.
If our $2-3M remaining budget just flexed back to $12-18M or so, and ownership doesn't want the PR hit from a budget cut - a truly dangerous prospect at this point in time - they should make a second ESPN-leading trade and make it *this* offseason.
A prime opportunity exists in the combination of Jason Vargas' presence and Roy Oswalt's availability. Oswalt is a man who is looking for a one-year deal, and Jason is relatively cheap while quite solid. Should Roy want to build a case for a future contact, Safeco is a valuable ally in that venture - but if he just wants to contend one more time, Seattle can provide that opportunity as well with Roy as Part 2 of a two-part Master Plan. Step 1 is the blockbuster.
Seattle could build an offer for an extendable impact bat around Vargas, one of the Hultzen/Paxton/Walker trio, and any further desired combination of MLB/MiLB talent not viewed as critical to the future (as the remaining two hopeful TORs would then become). It would be quite possible to make one of Casper Wells/Trayvon Robinson a third major piece here, for example. We're quickly able to approach an offer that would command a fairly serious return.
Let's say the incoming bat was a star-type outfielder, cheap enough to allow the Oswalt contract now worthy of a big bucks extension long-term - how would Seattle shape up?
C Montero/Jaso, 1B Smoak/Carp, 2B Ackley, 3B Seager, SS Ryan, RF Ichiro, CF Gutierrez, LF ShinyNewPlayer, DH Carp/Montero
SP Felix, Oswalt, Iwakuma, Noesi, Millwood | 2 of Hultzen/Paxton/Walker, many other options
Yes, I ignored Figgins and Olivo for the time being. =) Live with it.
Oswalt replaces Vargas, and is a valuable mid-season trade chip if we're not contending. Carp, Montero, and Smoak would each give up approximately 1/3 of Jaso's PA count... whatever that ends up being. Ichiro or Guti likely clear out of the OF logjam after 2012, and if you needed to you could always shift Ichiro back to CF for his final season (in order to clear the corners for Carp and our new acquisition). Also, Oswalt and Millwood are gone in 2013, leaving bright shiny holes for the young ace-types.
My question is... what could you get for a Vargas+Walker/Paxton/Hultzen type of package, or by adding one of Wells/Trayvon to the first package? More pieces could come as needed, of course, but I'd expect those to be the cornerstones unless we landed a guy that required throwing Franklin into the mix. What stud OF types might be gettable, and at what realistic cost? I can't imagine we're in the Mike Stanton or Justin Upton ballparks... but what about Alex Gordon, or maybe Andre Ethier?
Or... is there a better way to spend our dollar-and-talent cookies right now?
You is Cepedes might be a good way to spend money.
I don't think we're gonna get a Hamilton-type of add in free agency after 2013, honestly.
But we could get a second-tier guy, and the question with any trade is whether 4 players + a ton of cash to get a dude for a couple of years and hope to sign an extension is worth more than the second tier FA + all those guys still being available for use or trade.
There's a lot of talk about how adding Fielder destroys your ability to compete later because he wrecks your budget.
There's not a lot of discussion about how trading the farm for a player can affect your ability to field a viable team just as much. Without continually refreshing the team from within you've got to hit on all your expensive signings, and that can cripple a team.
After this year we'll know more of what we've got. You can say right now that "we don't have a major internal add" coming up, but Catricala could be Ethier without the price tag, the bad knees, or the cost in prospects.
I think we're done with major trades for this offseason. At this point we don't know what we have. Who is Wells? Is Carp's level legit? Is Trayvon a bust waiting to happen or about to dominate? Franklin, Miller, Catricala, F-Mart, Liddi, Seager...
There are a ton of guys near the majors with the ability to impact our future decisions. Jack didn't spend all this effort to acquire these guys to block em off with expensive dudes. If he doesn't have an internal solution in RF once Ichiro departs, then we'll talk trade or look to FA. But if he has internal options?
We've got 6 guys aimed at 3B, several at LF, and at least a couple of blue-chippers at SS.
No sense going to a trade unless he's way better than what we've got available. If Ryan Zimmerman wants to extend here, then maybe we trade a 3B and some other stuff to the Nats to make that happen.
But if it's beat-up Ethier (who I like) vs a fully realized Catricala...
Dunno man, I don't expect that. We may run with a really young roster. I'm curious to see how this year goes and what blossoms for this team, both on the big club and in the minors. We're seeded with far more potential on both than we've had in a long time.
Yeah, people aren't going to like it but Sandy has been channeling Jack all off season. There will be such a wave of young players stacked up from AA to the majors that you have to find out which ones can play. They aren't all going to work out but they all aren't going to have to. Figure out which ones fail and then fill those holes in FA.
1. Keep stockpiling young talent.
2. Use the surplus to fill holes (Paxton could be the Pineda of next offseason?)
3. Use fitness/conditioning to maximize talent (Carp in '11; Smoak in '12?)
4. Keep Felix feeling happy and beloved (next "big FA signing" will be Felix extension?)
5. Have more "free talent" than the other teams
He said on the radio that when they got here the team had no "free talent" (guys under club control playing for virtually no salary but contributing significantly). His goal has been to not only create that, but keep it coming. Then you can spend money to fill the gaps.
Grizz is right -- sounds like Sandy!
In that regard, Cliff Lee, Figgins, Kotchman, whatever, were just window-dressing and sideshows (a few millions to sorta -- unsuccessfully -- keep things pretty) while the real story has been building infrastructure through the draft and international signings.
Matt, that's what you gotta root for -- the Z-crew's ability to compile more "free talent" than LAAA and TX, then know what to do (Putz trade, Lee trade, Montero) with the surplus.
In the post PED-era, I think (talented) youth is going to be the new "Moneyball" undervalued item. Most athletes are going to substantially drop off physically in their early 30s just like the rest of us. It remains to be seen if treatments like PRP (Cliff Lee) or adult stem cell therapies will take the place of PEDs in that regard in the long run. But in the short run, youth/health might end up being king.
I just wanted to supplement with FA before he did. When a 27 year old monster hitter is available then I think we should be in on that, with our desperate need for monster hitting.
But 9/220 is steeeeep. I'm glad Jack had - and executed - a plan B to increase our hitting talent.
I'm not normally for 5-for-1 trades of minor leaguers unless we have a clear surplus. You want one of my six 3B options and a couple of arms? We can do business. You want Nick Franklin? Good luck. So if it's Prince + all our guys vs. Upton minus 4 of our guys, I'd rather have Prince and keep the pipeline strong.
Jack got around that by making a 1 for 1 trade (2 for 2 if you like) so nothing was depleted, we just shifted resources.
Jack said he'd have taken 4 bats for Pineda. IIRC that rumored list was Montero, Stanton, Morrison and Heyward. I can't argue with that. Those are 4 bats I'd have considered seriously as a return on Pineda too.
The fact that Stanton was the HS bat I wanted instead of Almonte has nothing to do with it. ;)
But Jack had his plans and when Fielder said no we went in another direction that still added needed talent to this team. I would have had a problem if we'd just shrugged and said "oh well" and added some schlub. I like Montero, and I have no problem with the option we chose. If you gave me the opportunity of a top-5 arm prospect or a top-5 bat prospect I would take the bat.
Swapping the arm for the bat is fine with me. Now we'll see where we're at and if we can get back to .500 this year while all the kids learn how to play in the bigs. If the key players we have achieve upside and we don't black-hole the rest, it'll be a VERY fun year.
Anaheim and Texas and Oakland won every AL West title during the last decade.
NONE of those teams required a "premiere" FA signing to get to the post-season for the *FIRST* time.
Anaheim (2002) - won WS. Payroll = $61 million (8th in AL). Texas and Seattle ranked 3rd and 4th in payroll that season. Didn't add Vlad until 2004.
Oakland (2000) - Started run of 3 titles in 4 years in 2000 with a $33 million payroll (11th in AL).
Texas (2010) - Reached WS. Payroll = $55 million (14th of 14 in AL).
In point of fact, Texas wasted almost a decade at the bottom of the AL West after signing the biggest FA contract of all time with AROD.
You can *get* good without expensive contracts. You cannot *stay good* without expensive contracts.
No team in the history of free agency has *required* a high priced FA acquisition in order to compete. While it can help and work out (Detroit with Pudge, Mags and Cabrera), it can also hurt, (Texas with AROD, Cinci with Junior).
It should be noted that Anaheim trailed only Boston and NY in payroll in 2011. They failed to make the playoffs, (as did Boston). Anaheim spent $46 million more than Texas did in 2011, yet Texas won the West easily.
In the last three years in the AL specifically, teams that failed to make the playoffs in year X were more likely to make the playoffs the following year when payroll DROPPED than when it increased.
AL Teams that made playoffs after missing playoffs previous year since 2008:
2009: Yankees (-$6 to $201), Twins (+$9 to $65)2010: Texas (-$19 to $55), Tampa (+8 to $71)2011: Detroit (-$17 to $105)
After making the playoffs in 2009, Boston increased payroll by $40 million and missed the playoffs in both 2010 and 2011. The Angels increased payroll from $113 in 2009 (last playoff year) to $138 in 2011, and failed to make the playoffs in either '10 or '11.
Teixeira in 2009 is the only case where a "premiere" FA bat was added to a team that missed the playoffs and that team made the playoffs the following season. Second to that was the VMart in Detroit. However, in both cases (Tex and VMart), the aggregate payroll dropped between the two seasons.
The panic and certainty of the dominance of Texas and Anaheim based on their 2012 roster changes is still "speculative". There were many who pegged Seattle to compete for the post season immediately after signing Cliff Lee. Last season, Boston was considered an absolute lock for the AL East title after signing AGON and Crawford, while the Yankees scoured the discard bin for guys like Garcia and Colon.
GETTING good is about flexibility and development. STAYING good is about willingness to spend. The reason they work differently is that when developing talent, teams naturally maintain maximum flexibility. If Saunders fails, in comes Peguero, then Halman, then Carp. But, if you sign even Civics to even modestly pricey contracts, the ability to be flexible vanishes. It is simply not possible (politically or logistically or financially) to routinely pay someone 8 figures to ride the bench. Sexson WILL stay in the lineup for a long time while failing. Figgins WILL stay in the lineup a long time while failing.
Was there ever, at any point in time during 2011 even the remotest of possiblities that Carp or Trayvon or Casper was going to supplant Ichiro in RF and relegate Ichiro to the bench? Ichiro did not play 161 games while hitting .645 because of his ability. He played 161 games because he has the biggest contract in the lineup. Figgins played 161 games in 2010. He hit .484 and still managed to play 81 games in 2011 (which would've been more if they hadn't sent him to the DL after August 1st).
A $1 million Kotchman or Langerhans or Kennedy can be discarded and replaced immediately if necessary. An $8 million multi-year guy cannot. The "developing" (cheap) team has a massive edge in flexibility. Almost any pleasant surprise can be leveraged to improve the team, and almost any dreadful player can be discarded and replaced (though positional depth of near-ready players is obviously critical in this regard).
Anaheim has a great, relatively young lineup. They spent big on Vernon Wells, who not only was the worst full-time player on the roster, he also still got 529 PAs. If Brandon Woods fails, you can actually go out and pick up a Callaspo relatively cheap. If your $32 or $50 or $80 million investment fails, you're stuck. The best you can do is trade your dead weight for somebody else's dead weight and hope you get lucky.
Texas got good in 2010 because they dumped the $12 and $13 million they were spending on Millwood and Padilla and instead spent $5 and $6 on Harden and Vlad. That 2010 club had ONE regular (Michael Young @ $13 million) who was making so much money he couldn't be benched if needed. They had nearly complete lineup flexibility. Once they settled on which players they could count on going forward, they committed dollars to keeping them and they committed dollars to bringing in talent where they were weak, (Beltre).
I'm not convinced that Seattle has actually figured out what kind of hitters actually work out well in Safeco, or how to effectively coach hitting there. I think they are FAR more likely to figure that out by maintaining their lineup flexibility and rotating scads of young talent through the lineup until something goes click. Me? I contend that the big name, high priced FA signings that Texas and Anaheim are doing are what Seattle needs to be willing (and able) to do AFTER they figure out how to produce talent internally. To date, it remains over a decade since Seattle produced a single .800 hitter.
If I were Jack, I would be aggressively pursuing a salary dump in the outfield or third base. My criteria would be not too many years left on the deal, say one or two. If you could get Carlos Lee for a bucket of balls, I do it. He doesn't damage your flexibility. I don't want Alfonso Soriano because he has three years left on his deal. Sadly, doesn't look like there are any good salary dump options at 3B.
Alternatively, they wait until the trade deadline and if the M's surprise us, they will have the payroll flexibility to add salary.
What I don't want to do is trade premium youth for expensive veterans. Would you trade Nick Franklin and Taijuan Walker for the priviledge of paying David Wright $31M total the next two years?
My point wasn't that we needed a free agent to get good...my point was that...if we never sign a premiere free agent, we'll never be taken seriously, we'll always be overpaying for second-tier free agents, we'll never sustain success. It's a fantasy to think you can CONSISTENTLY win with a small payroll anymore.
So...what is the most likely (horrible) outcome that our current offense can/will assemble in 2012? Help me out here...I'm trying to be pessimistic enough to fit in at USSM.
Montero struggles behind the plate and ends up DHing to the tune of a 115 OPS+ (simmilar to Jose Vidro only with a lower OBP and a higher SLG)
Smoak continues pressing and hits .220 with 14 dingers again.
Ackley has a sophomore slump and hits .265 with minimal power.
Seager fails and is demoted, leaving Figgins in charge of third where he hits .200 all year.
Ryan starts at short all year and hits .225 because he gets tired...Kawasaki hits .150 for 50 ABs and then is released.
Guti grows an alien i his gut and hits .135 before being DFA'd.
Wells doesn't stick and is eventually traded for a reliever of no repute.
Trayvon strikes out 250 times per 600 ABs (prorated) a la 2011's outfield experiments.
Ichiro hits .250 and returns to Japan at the all-star break.
Oivo can't stay healthy and Jaso gives up an 85% steal rate while also not jelling with pitchers.
King Felix demands a trade.
Vargas continues to be mediocre, which is fine, but he then gets traded since he's the only guy on the team with any trade value.
Iwakuma and Millwood both hit ST with 84 mph slowballs and are both released.
The kids aren't ready yet.
Beavan stops defying gravity and gives up 3 homers per nine innings.
The league books..um...League. He no longer is effective.
Did I miss anything?
Wright and Reynolds at 3rd, Burnett and Guthrie at SP, maybe Johan Santana, Carlos Lee and Adam Dunn are probably available. Alex Rios could be had for a high five. I wonder if Nick Markakis could be had? Since signing his 66 million dollar extension after his breakout 2008, he's been only above average (but very consistent) instead of MVP caliber, and that contract is getting expensive ('12: 12, '13: 15, '14: 15, '15: 17.5 or 2 buyout). I think it would have made more sense for them to clear payroll before seeing Fielder sign so they could make their own run, but they still might be willing to move him for a moderate return if took the paycheck off their hands. We could afford to take Reynolds AND Markakis off the Orioles hands, if they were so inclined.
Know any teams that have signed 6-WAR international outfielders for 30 cents on the dollar?
If the career arcs are dropping off much earlier, that leaves the value points farther back on the curve ... perhaps some teams will not be quick to react to this...
In fact, if Pineda's arm shows any sign of fragility at all, you might say the Montero deal itself was an exploitation of this?
The game is changing.
The next 5-10 years will likely be a battle for TV revenue. The teams that can run their $150mil payrolls first and spend it reasonably well will have the upper hand like the Angels and Texas. Teams that are late to the game will start dealing with inflation.
By the tail-end of the decade the new TV deals and luxury tax rules will make it so that teams like the Yankees and Red Sox won't be able to dominate with like they have in the past. Everybody relevant will be able to run high payrolls. It will go back to winning with efficient roster building again.
Another reason I'm glad we have Dr Elliot on our team. Having state of the art PT hopefully will reduce injuries and prolong careers while also maximizing performance.
This whole offseason is starting to rattle my taste for baseball, particularly when contrasted with football and hockey and the salary-cap world they inhabit.
I know the argument that you can't buy a winner, and people point to the Yankees as proof (particulary the non-early 2000's versions) of that point. And then further espouse the "moneyball" A's and Rays as another way to compete.
How is this fun for the fans? Seinfeld famously compared sports fandom to "cheering for laundry", but in baseball are we now put in the position of "cheering for wallets"? Best bank account wins? ...and the Oscar for Best Deployment of Future Television Revenue goes to...??
Bleah. I'm starting to pine for an even playing field, rather than hoping that the home squad can leverage or cook up some under-developed or under-utilized strategy to compete. Baker's been pushing for ownership here to spend more money, to join the "big boys" of the game, but really, where's the skill in that? My owner can write bigger cheques than your owner? Bleah again.
Look to football, where the salary limitations create delicious opportunities to be creative - in fielding a team, in negotiating contracts, and in truly evaluating opportunity costs in both signing and keeping players. Can you imagine if WAR actually meant something in baseball? It only sort of does right now, because if any team wants to exceed a "budget" (self imposed), it simply does. WAR goes out the window.
If football was run like baseball, the Packers wouldn't even exist. In hockey, if your favourite team is consistently awful, the best place to look is at management, likely screwing things up.
Baseball is loosing fans because some teams (not saying the M's are in this group) are climbing a mountain so steep compared to their peers. Would you join a roto league if the player next to you got to start with $720 rather than $360 at auction? It's supposed to be fun, right? I'm not saying that owners are feeling this way (and Baker has done a masterful job lately at beating the drum that owners are making money regardless of the product on the field)...it's the fans...how is it supposed to be fun rooting for a team that has fewer resources at its disposal than it's competitors?
Cat is the Cat in the Hat, who in "The Cat in the Hat Comes Back" solves one problem by creating another. He takes a spot off a wall by wiping it on mother's dress, and so on. This causes the narrator and Sally to say: "Now what Cat, now what?". Cat never solves the problem until the unveiling of Little Cat Z who sets off a bomb called Voom which sets everything in order.
So, going back to the original post, I suppose Cat would be Z, but I hadn't thought that far into it. But now that I think about it, the Mariners could use some Voom.
My apologies if you posted it already and I missed it, but I'm still waiting for my Forecaster, could you put up Shandler's prediction on Montero and Pineda this year?
Pineda future Cy winner, Montero in Sept looking the part of a franchise player, quoth Ron... If I recall he had like 23 hr and 86 rbi in part time Yankee play for Montero this year, roto-ly...
will try to follow up shortly... :daps: