Sunday, November 13, 2011

You Get to Do the Lightning-in-a-Bottle Thing Once

You get to do the Lightning-in-a-Bottle thing once. Our time was 2010. I am very happy about that & don't expect it to happen again. The odds are worse than 1 in 30. Probably, 3 years out of 4, a really good team wins it all. The other year is the lightning-in-a-bottle year. Therefore, the odds of lightning-in-a-bottle are about 1 in 120.

You build consistent success by investing in sizable improvements. When you have the resources to do so, there is no excuse for not doing so. Otherwise, you will sink back into the mediocre mire.

The 2011 Texas Rangers provide a great example of how to run an MLB Team. As Mark pointed out a couple of weeks ago, reaching the World Series in consecutive seasons is an amazing feat. As happy as I am that the Cardinals won, I still give the Rangers credit for getting there again, & getting there in the way that they did.

Between the 2010 & 2011 seasons, Texas acquired Adrian Beltre to, effectively, replace an aging Vlad Guerrero. And, in one of the less-noticed, but substantial moves of the off-season, they acquired Mike Napoli to replace the retiring & chronically ineffective Bengie Molina. This transformed their lineup from powerful to over-the-top powerful. That 3 through 7 of Hamilton, Young, Beltre, Cruz, & Napoli was a core 5 right up there with any team in recent memory. They also found some fine pitching, both in-house & via the trade market. Picking up Mike Adams was the best move that they made in mid-season. They knew that Cliff Lee was going to be gone, but they knew that they had the arms to replace him (besides, he lost both games in the World Series!).

Meanwhile, after a cruddy 2011 season (although not cruddy at the box office or in sales of merchandise), we are tossing around lightweight moves (e.g. Bloomquist, Carroll, now Barmes). Our team should be thinking much bigger than that, or we will be back in the mediocre mire.

I am only OK with turing SS over to Crawford, if we sign Beltran. Otherwise, Crawford needs to go to Fresno. Signing a Rollins for 2 years (first year as a starter, second year as a part-time starter & mentor) makes sense to me. Getting a real 5th starter (Mark Buehrle is my latest favorite, but others would work out well), so that we are not trotting Barry Zito out there & praying, should be on our list.

We need to decide whether we are going for consistent success, or just waiting for our next turn at lightning-in-a-bottle, which may take 30 to 120 years. I'm for trying to guarantee continued success.


M.C. O'Connor said...

I don't believe Rollins can be had for less than three years. He's a Type A guy and will be 33 at the end of the month. Some team--the Phils?--will give him at least four years. Crawford may not be ready, but expecting Rollins to step aside for him in 2013 is a fantasy.

I also don't think the Giants are done. I just don't think they will go after Beltran or any of the big names.

Ron said...

If we are not even in the running for 2 or 3 second-tier free agents, then we might as well just settle for mediocrity. We have a real chance to capitalize on our recent success & stay good for a long time. NOW is the time to make that statement. Signing our Pitchers long-term & getting some talent into our lineup is what we should be doing, not dinking around with puny moves designed to make us a little better. Getting Melky only makes sense, if there is an even bigger acquisition coupled with it. Otherwise, we're just running in place. I'm tired of the poor boy shit - we all know that we are a rich team. Unless we keep getting better, that could change quickly.

Rollins can be our SS in 2012, then slide over to 2B, if necessary, sometime in 2013 & 2014.

M.C. O'Connor said...

I just don't see Rollins saying to himself "I'm not a SS any more." Would he be great to have? Sure. But what makes you think he will choose to sign with a team that expects to make him change positions?

I agree that the Giants have a real window to win another one. And I don't care about their money, but it is clear that THEY do. And they should spend it on an extension for Cain first, and arb for the guys worth keeping like Sandoval. The other pieces don't have to be the biggest and the best. They already have the BEST pitching staff and the BEST catcher and arguably the best 3rd baseman. They have a young hitter (Belt) ready to emerge as a force. They have a young SS with an impact glove. The glass is half-full, not half-empty.

Zo said...

Ron makes some compelling arguments about how Texas managed to stay on top, even though the 1 in 30 or 1 in 120 analogy is silly. The Giants are, without doing anything else, one of the better teams in the league, and should be in the playoffs barring another total offensive collapse. The reason is pitching, pitching and more pitching. That said, I agree that if we really want to win, we should be trying to cement a real offense (after giving Cain what it will take to keep him) and not fucking around with mediocre shortstops to block a young, cheap and only slightly worse (or maybe even better than) mediocre shortstop. One other thing, there are 39 million reasons why Zito will be a starting pitcher next year. Wishing otherwise is simply not going to change that.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Ryan Doumit is available (so far) and would make a good backup catcher. That's not a splashy move but could be a smart one. He supposedly turned down $3M from the Dodgers.