Monday, January 11, 2010

Introducing The Let's Try not to Suck at Historical Levels in '10 Campaign

So I'm led to believe that Aroldis Chapman or his agent decided he'd rather live in Cincinnati, Cincinnati mind you than in DC. He'd rather pitch in a bandbox where his every youthful mistake will be floating in the Ohio River rather than in a neutral at best ball park. OK. That makes sense. Oh wait, it must be that the Cincinnati Reds, playing in the 33rd largest media market in the US with a 2009 Opening Day payroll of almost $75m OUTBID the Nationals? Really? I can't say if Chapman will ever be a major league pitcher, even less likely is him becoming a top of the order ace. But for the pocket change between the cushions in the Lerner's sofas, the Nats could have bought a chance at greatness. Not a big chance but a chance nonetheless. A chance that isn't going to come along for a while. Maybe there is another freely available young hard throwing left hander we just don't know about. Maybe they can get him? Oh wait. That would cost too. Sorry. We'd rather get Randy Winn or Doug Davis. Proven veterans. Winners. Full of grit and determination who know how to play the game the right way.

As the Nats proved with the Storen pick, they are unwilling to gamble in any way to get better. Drew Storen may be the next Mariano Rivera for all I know. He'd have to be if ANY of the high ceiling HS pitchers taken after him develop into major league All Star starters. It was a chance to at least TRY to be a contender at the cost of risking some precious dollars and they were unwilling to roll the dice.

I'd rather fail trying to win the world series than to generate consistent 81-81 records. And I know, it only takes a moderate amount of luck to go from 81 wins to the post season so that's not a terrible strategy, but it isn't an exciting one. And this is an entertainment business.

I will give them this much. They aren't Kansas City. But they aren't far away with Marquis, I-Rod and Capps. The "Let's Try not to Suck at Historical Levels in '10 Campaign" doesn't get the blood flowing.

OK so no Chapman. Why not Sheets? Short run, he'd cost more. He may break down. He may never even throw a pitch for you. But he might pitch like he has in the recent past. He would make an excellent rental at the deadline. And all he costs is money.
I suppose I'll need a few more years of pounding this same point before I give up and realize that the Lerner's are not interested in winning, they are interested in running a successful business. I can't blame them on that point because well they are running a business. Winning and losing is only a difference at the extreme margins for them. They will pay to not be historically bad but they will not pay to be outstanding. They HOPE to be great, if it can be done without taking risks or spending too much but if it doesn't happen, well they can still sell enough tickets to visiting team fans to keep the cash registers clicking.

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