posted at 10/18/2011 11:22 PM EDT
"About knowing the Unknown Soldier? When did you ever write that?
About you staying at a Holiday Inn? When did you ever write that?
Case closed. Next!
Too bad, because I really like your posts, and agree with most of what you have to say.
I'll go you one further. Free agency has ruined baseball. I used to follow guys like Yaz, Evans and Rice in their climb through the minors. You got a chance to see them come up and develop. They became our players, year in and year out.
Now, people watch a player for a few years, and if he's really good, then you have to hold your breath when he reaches free agency.
In places like KC, Cleveland, and the many small market teams, you know the chances of keeping them are slight. Even a rich team like the Sox, may choose not to go hard after a player of theirs turning free agent.
I think it makes it harder to bond with a team. Baseball is an individual sport.
While we root for the team, we all have our favorite player or players.
It's not like the days when you could look at a player, and think he'd be around for a decade or more, barring injury or trades.
Free agency makes player movement much more fluid, and damages loyalties real or imagined. "
I will say this – I am almost 100% behind you on free agency. Are you trying to get on my good side? Free agency really wasn’t a big deal until when it first came around, back when collusion kept it in check. The ethics of collusion, of course, are a matter for another debate. If you are disregarding that as true free agency, then I see your viewpoint as being even that much more accurate. But if you are going to rant on the foibles of the current state of free agency in MLB, I am your proverbial choir, and have been posting that stance for a long time, although not for identical reasons.
In today’s game, free agency is viewed too often as the rare combination of a quick fix and a good solution. It’s rarely both, and usually not even a quick fix. It involves overpaying heavily for the past on players who 1) have a minimum of 6 years in and 2) are usually over 30. How many truly ban contracts are there in baseball that was not the result of free agency, either obtained through it directly or drawn up to prevent it?
That said, at one point you suggested more due diligence in the free agent market. To me, this is akin to thinking more due diligence will help at a roulette table. Look at Lackey and Crawford. Exactly what had they done in the past that would make anyone think they would be among the worst players at their respective positions in the entire league? These were upper tier players who simply failed to perform at ridiculous levels. They weren’t even average players this year. Even Lackey’s less than successful track record at Fenway was not a red flag, given that all those games were against a Sox offense that was always among the best in the league at the time. I’d think facing Manny and Ortiz and company had more influence than the Green Monster.
The small market teams to seem to survive because they are a David going against a league of Goliaths. Tampa is viewed as a huge success, but the reality is they have won 2 playoff series and 0 titles in the past 4 seasons, and nothing since 2008. But merely getting into the post-season 3 times does make them successful. If the Red Sox or Yankees had that same track record, it would be viewed as failure. Expectations matter, thanks to budget and free agency.
Of course, baseball does have a lot of inherent parity. If you have liked my posts in the past, you have probably seen one of my repeated 60-40 references, about the winning percentage range across MLB. Combine these last two paragraphs and it is actually possible to view the small market clubs as having an advantage when it comes to defining success. A small market team is going to win 40% of the time and every percentage point closer to 60% defies expectations just that much more. And if they get in, they become the story of the season. After all, Tampa won one more game out of 162 than Boston this year. One started the post-season as the poster children for a miraculous “never say die” baseball team that might shamefully break up for economic reasons; the other viewed as a massive failure in need of overhaul. Certainly that one win was not the difference. But that 1 win in the face of expectation? Absolutely.
As for our point of contention – David Wright – I agree he is a mega-talent. However, back injuries are particularly frightening. Fortunately, you are not among the “Beckett for Wright” crowd, at least not publicly. Wright and Youkilis both have one year left, each with an option. I would agree that, Youkilis is probably better served as the primary DH for his remaining time, but given that the Sox have been completely derailed by injuries the past 2 season, getting a guy coming off serious injury might not be the best way to go, particularly if that player has a heavy price tag to begin with.
I agree with a post made by Schumpeter’s Ghost to an extent, where he basically says “focus on pitching”, and the options in the OP are all the low cost short-term variety of RF solutions, which is the only way free agency should be used. It’s for patchwork. And the original post in this thread is all about patch work.
Your other free agency suggestions, I am not on board with. I like Buerhle. I live in Chicago and have seen him pitch far too many times. He’s one of those guys that should simply not be as successful as he is given the pitch repertoire. However, he does some things so well. Best pickoff move in MLB. He works so quickly, he might be personally responsible for knocking 30 minutes off every game he pitches. I do doubt he will be amenable to a 2-year contract, and will probably give preference to the White Sox if all things are equal. The Cardinals might be a close second for him, as he is from that area and has never shied away from admitting his being a fan of theirs. As a pitcher, he is ridiculously streaky, throwing BP for 3 weeks straight and then suddenly morphing into a soft-tossing Koufax for a month or two. However, the problem is that, in order to get him, the Sox probably have to offer the kind of deal that we both are decrying in this thread. 2 years? No brainer, but certainly not enough. The White Sox would be idiots to not at least offer two years. 3 years? The maximum anyone should offer him. 4 years? I would be he gets offers for at least that much when the dust settles. And I also think he’ll stay in black and white.
And as you have read my posts in the past, you should know that I have always written with an air of condescension. I am not stopping that anytime soon, regardless of my hotel chains of choice…