These last two updates were originally going to be one long update, but last night turned into this morning and I was pushing 700 words already.
So, here’s part 2 of my thoughts on the Jon Daniels Philosophy.
As I said before, there are clubs like the Yankees and Cubs that are building their teams backwards, upside-down, and inside-out. Cobbling a team together with big-time free agents can work, but is never a guarantee of anything. The name Barry Zito* comes to mind.
Let’s take a look at the Rangers’ [projected] Opening Day lineup and where these guys came from:
Colby Lewis (P) – Draft/Free Agent
Yorvit Torrealba (C) – FA
Mitch Moreland (1B) – D
Ian Kinsler (2B) – D
Adrian Beltre (3B) – FA
Elvis Andrus (SS) – Trade
Josh Hamilton (LF) – T
Julio Borbon (CF) – D
Nelson Cruz (RF) – T
Michael Young (DH) – T
In the above list, 4 of those players were trades, 4.5 were drafted, and 2.5 were free agents. Of the 4 trades, only 1** did not spend time in the Rangers’ minor league system. So, out of 10, you have 7 players that spent some time in Oklahoma City.
My point here should be obvious. The Rangers’ success in 2010 isn’t built on blockbuster deals for guys like A-Rod. The scout-first philosophy is paying off, but it requires patience.
Everyone is afraid of the championship window, but —
Teams that end up dealing with windows are franchises that overload their team with high-priced veterans beyond their prime years and don’t have a productive farm system to keep the young talent flowing. Smart teams manage the payroll, don’t lose financial flexibility by committing huge dollars to unproductive veterans and don’t cannibalize the farm system because of a mentality of trying to win now at all costs.
That comes from TR Sullivan and I tend to agree with him. Everyone will have to build to be successful, but making it to the World Series doesn’t mean you just stop. You have to strike a balance between drafting, trading, and signing. You can keep the good times rolling if you don’t lose your head.
But, for some teams, that Yankee Arrogance creeps in. They forget what made them winners in the first place. They sign multiple free agents to big contracts and they start to take on water. Before long their roster is old and slow and there’s no one in the reserves to make up for it.
I understand how devastating just one 252/10*** kind of deal can be, but there are still those out there that don’t want to hear it. They want to win now. Right now.
2012 be damned!
*A pitcher that the Giants gave a lot of money to that wasn’t even on the 2010 playoff roster.
** That would be Josh Hamilton, who was acquired in a crafty trade with the Reds.
***10 years of $25.2MM a year is what that dope Tom Hicks promised to pay A-Rod.