Too much patience or too little?

Baseball writer Craig Minami made the following comment in a TrueBlueLa comment section last night.  It is the mantra of the common sense baseball fan who can look at a team from afar and realize that team building takes place over twelve months with no offseason.

The team you see in December is not the one you will see in Spring Training
The team you see in January is not the one you will see in Spring Training
The team you see when camp opens is not the one that will be here on Opening Day.
The team you see when camp opens is not the one that will be here on Opening Day.
The team you see on Opening Day is not the team you will see in July.
The team you see at the trade deadline is not the one you see in September.
The team you see in the November is not the team you will see in Spring Training.

Even when the team has completed the roster by Sept 1st, the postseason guggling keeps the guessing game going as management had to decide which of its many weapons are the correct ones to use for each postseason series. That is how Caleb Ferguson ended up watching the World Series instead of participating in it.

They say that patience was at one time considered a virtue, but Dodger fans might be done with patience if they ever had it at all. Thirty years isn’t that long of a time between Championships when thirty teams are trying to win it every year, but it is a very long time when you have the history of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the financial wherewithal of the current ownership. When you add in that the rival Giants have managed to win three World Championships in the last ten years the bit bites hard.

It is because of this drought that many Dodger fans are feeling impatient even though they have been to the World Series two years in a row. They see the Dodger roster and are underwhelmed considering that the Dodgers signed only one significant free agent while trading or losing multiple assets off their current roster.  Dodger fans don’t know the interworking of management but on the surface, it would appear none of the high marquee free agents were pursued, none of the mid-level free agents were pursued, and as stated earlier, only one free agent was even signed.  They aren’t keen on the fact that ownership has now decided to get in line and keep the payroll budget under the luxory tax.

Dustin Nosler has been blogging about the Dodgers for years and he has been patient. His patience ran out today when he declared

The fact that the Dodgers — the Los Angeles Dodgers — are treating it like a hard cap this winter is infuriating. I was OK with it last year — I even wrote a bit about it. But the stipulation in my mind was that they were resetting the tax so they could spend a little more freely. Not necessarily a $250-300 million payroll (which they could afford), but to at least not be scared of the defacto salary cap

Dustin thinks the Dodgers should spend. Most Dodger fans think the Dodgers should spend. Harper beckons, he beckons hard.

I understand the sentiment. My own tagline at TrueBlueLA says “Patience is for those who die waiting for something to happen” That, however, has never applied to baseball. I’m very patient if I believe in the management. I can’t say I believe in the current management because of the brain drain over the past two years. Andrew Friedman still sits on the top, but so many others have gone. One can only hope they have been replaced with top-notch talent but we won’t know until we see how their decision making works out.

The previous iterations of management under the new ownership tried winning with the largest payroll in baseball history. They won, but they didn’t win the Championship and none of those teams really seemed capable of winning a championship unless Kershaw made a Bumgarner run. He never did. The team never advanced into the World Series while carrying those $250 million dollar payrolls. It wasn’t until 2017 I felt the Dodgers had a team that I would have bet on, and they came oh so close. So close.

I’ve always enjoyed the idea of a hard cap not because I care about saving money for ownership but simply because I like the idea of winning because you are smarter than the other teams not because you can outspend them on a roster. Being smarter doesn’t happen overnight. That type of winning takes time because it involves upgrading your whole system. The best scouts, the best analysts, the best minor league coaches, the best international infrastructure. The best everywhere. To do this you simply pay them more because MLB has historically been cheap when it comes to these areas.  I think the Dodgers have tried to do this and we can see the results.

However

Boston is probably World Champions because when no one was bidding on JD Martinez last winter they said we can’t not sign him at this price and gobbled him up. The Dodgers meanwhile played peek a boo with the luxury tax by moving payroll to the Braves and taking back Matt Kemp.  Matt was interesting at first but by the end of the year, he was exactly the payroll anchor that we felt he was when he was acquired. JD meanwhile led the explosive Boston offense to the World Championship. The Dodgers celebrated by being under the luxury cap and saving millions of dollars for ownership. Woo Hoo

The Tiger are certainly World Champions because they added the contract of Justin Verlander in the summer of 2017. The Dodgers added Yu Darvish. A free agent to be, so no future costs. I was certainly on the get Yu bandwagon. I was wrong. I wish Dodger management had not been as wrong as I was. Houston management chose Verlander, the Dodger management chose Yu. Houston won the 2017 World Championship, the Dodgers did not. It is usually so much more complex than that, but in this case, probably not.

None of that is to say the Dodgers should be in on Harper or Machado. A year ago I would have drooled at the thought of adding Manny Machado for a decade to the Dodgers. Having watched him play, I don’t drool anymore, I spit. I have zero interest in watching Manny Machado play for the Dodgers.  Harper would seem like a perfect fit given we traded our right fielder. Given how many long term deals I’ve seen become albatrosses I’m not usually in favor of any deal over four years. If I knew the Dodgers would do everything in their power to sign Mike Trout when he becomes a free agent in two years I’d walk away, but not knowing that, I’d be in on Harper. Very in.

 

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1 Comment

  1. 68elcamino427

    heh

    I don’t Drool
    I spit

    Then I pour salt on it!

    Like

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