Time to evaluate
posted at 1/2/2013 10:44 AM EST
Okay, I've been counseling patience since the beginning of the season, saying we should wait 30 games before we start jumping to conclusions. Well, I guess we have given the team time to gel, and I think we are entitled to offer some judgments.
First, it's still possible things will start to mesh -- Doc has pulled together worse -- but I'm less sanguine. For whatever reasons this particular group of individually good players seems lost. That happens.
Danny, not having the buckets of money some other teams have, has to gamble, and each of his moves had been defensible at the time -- but they seem increasingly not to pan out (Shaq and JON, 'Sheed, Starbury . . .). Some times acquisitions that look good on paper fail for no good reason (Sox fans: Edgar Renteria, John Lackey, Adrian Gonzales, Carl Crawford . . .). So Lee looks lost, Terry is not Ray, Sullinger has good promise, but is a work in progress, as is Melo. Bass seems to have lost his shot. The jury's till out on Green. Bigs don't grow on trees. His strategy -- rebuilding on the fly with relative youth and promise -- seemed doable -- but what continues to give us fits is even younger, more athletic teams, and a continuing lack of reliable scoring. Why, with all our supposed options, we can't throw the ball into the ocean sometimes is beyond my comprehnsion -- but this has been going on for several years. We lack the surefire threes that House and Posey provided in 2008, and we haven't been to find them reliably since.
Defense, which has not been a big problem heretofore, is beginning to look like one. It can bail you out of scoring droughts, but only if it's top notch. Maybe Bradley will jump start it, maybe not. A few more weeks will tell.
I know we complain about Doc, but his biggest strong point is keeping an even hand on the tiller. He's not mercurial, plays people based on what he sees (and we don't) in practice, and stays preternaturally calm. That's not a bad things. Throwing chairs doesn't work. I still think he's a good coach, and don't see anyone out there whom I would prefer.
Danny came here knowing we were not a lucky team (i.e. not counting on the lottery), and built the team through better than average drafting, and developing youngsters into players who had value -- either for this team, or on the market. It has worked at least half the time -- even with people we thought were busts, like AB -- and that's as good an average as any GM in the league. Stability for a franchise begins with the ownership/GM/coach relationship, and I would keep it up for at least a few more years.
People here posit trades for virtually any player out there they like, but ultimately none of us knows what Danny is doing or going to do. I don't believe he will mortgage the future for a quick fix, but I'm sure he and Doc talk all the time about what the problems are and what solutions present themselves.
I personally no longer have championship hopes for this team -- optimistic as they might have been three months ago. What we have is a work in progress, a team that is trying to rebuild without becoming bad. If anyone can do it, I believe it's DA and Doc. I can be proved wrong.
I'll come back after 50 games and see where we've gotten to.