Re: Tonight: A referendum on organizational approach
posted at 9/21/2013 10:18 AM EDT
In response to SpacemanEephus' comment:
The Sox are going to clinch the division against the Blue Jays, hopefully tonight.
Done! to the victors go the spoils..
This is a symbolic referendum.
Team first vs. top heavy.
Anthoupolis went all-in on the latter day Theo Epstein approach to competing in the AL East: stock-pile superstars with bloated contracts and pray they stay healthy and productive.
While Epstein was part of the problem the ownership group led by Henry, Luccino and Werner each played a significant role in the demise of the franchises values. Which led to some very questionable roster decisions.
This is a psychotic approach fueled by irrational Yankee fear: To compete, you must match star power/payroll.
The Yankees dominance of the division certainly played a role in some of our questionable roster moves. I also think that NESN ratings and the need to feed the monster was at play too.
But the Orioles and the Rays have already dismantled this notion. Cherrington was stuck with it for a year but found the Trojan Horse to move on. And now he has done this absolutely awesome job doing the obvious, but oft-overlooked, thing: putting together a complete TEAM.
The Orioles and Rays model doesn't work unless you're willing to lose 100 games for half a decade to stockpile prospects. Which is dependent on having a very good infrastructure in place with a solid player development and scouting program. Then trading established players for prospects while spending moneys wisely on free agents or trading prospects for proven vets to round out your squad. In both cases they had success and to your point have assembled rosters with players that fit their organizational pylosophies. Therein lyes the true value. "Defining your organizational values and building teams with players and field managers that fit.
The 2011 Red Sox were flawed roster and the deal with the Dodgers was the catalyst to allow Cherinton to right the ship. I too think he deserve a ton of credit, but so to does the Sox ownership for recognizing they'd strayed from their original blueprint that netted them two championships.
Tonight, this series, is a referendum on these models. The Jays were every pundit's, including the vast majority of smart folk here on our esteemed board, paper champ pre-season pick to run away with the division.
But, a couple guys got injured and a couple guys underperformed. And when that happens to a top-heavy club, they get exposed (see 2012 Sox). So, we stand at the end of September with a complete reversal of fortune.
The Sox have had significant injuries this year. But we hardly noticed because the depth was so amazing and the across-the-board contributions so solid.
Pre-season rankings are always flawed because you can't accurately predict injuries and underperformance. My recollection was that they were picked by many of the pundits to be in the mix in what promised to be a 5 team race. unfortunately someone forgot to tell the jays...
In the case of the Blue jays much of the buzz was due to their acquisition of three top of the rotation pitchers and an All Star SS who if healthy and performed to career norms were supposed to lead them to the promise land...the flaw was was that both Reyes and Johnson fall into the oft injured category. So to me the refferendum is that one can't buy a championship club by acquiring players with pre-existing chronic injuries in hopes that they stay healthy and return to peak performance.
If you use the Dodgers as the example of a team spending lavishly to field a championship team as the model. They already had a solid nucleus in place with Kershaw and Kemp then went out and acquired and signed players who addressed needs led by a manager and a new ownership group who's sole purpose was to send a message to their players and avid fans that they were back in the business of winning baseball games.
One final thought the hope is that Red Sox ownership group has learned a valuable lesson from the dysfunction of a divided leadership team. Collectively moving forward continue to be mindful of the impact of the types of players they acquire not just the character of the individual or the back of his baseball card but the sum of his parts.