Monday, October 6, 2014
Posted by el duque at 7:44 AM
Also, hooray for the Nats, who drafted first twice in a row - (along with a bunch of compensation picks) - en route to bringing an NL Division crown to Warshington!
While we're drinking, let's toast Pittsburgh - poster team for disaster for more than a decade. Sorry, Bucs, that you disappeared so quickly this fall. Maybe you should have lost a few more games, back in those seed-building years.
In its quest for NFL-style parity - that is, a league without dynasties, (or without the Yankees) - Major League Baseball has reached that magical point where as soon as a team falls out of the race, the smart owner starts dismantling, chasing the golden 10 worst record in baseball, which means they can sign free agents next winter and not lose draft picks. It's almost like the NBA lottery. It's worth losing to get a shot at the next LeBron.
Of course, Boston understands this, and its owners made damn sure the Redsocks weren't going to get hot in September and screw up the future. As a result, they'll draft high, they'll spend high, and next season, they'll probably win the division - the way the SF Giants did it - growth through mediocrity. Because they were so bad in the mid-2000s, they got to draft Buster Posey. And let's not kid ourselves about the mastermind known as Buck Showalter. The Orioles took Matt Wieters first, Manny Machado third and Brian Matusz fourth - because they were bad. Awful. Terrible.
Want to make some money? Bet the house on Houston in 2016, flexing its corporate rewards for long term mediocrity - the way Tampa did in the late 2000s. (And Toronto, alas, poor Toronto, always ends up around .500, and never goes anywhere.)
Meanwhile, the Yankees - Toronto on the Hudson - shall battle Girardi-like every September - loading up on salary dumps to chase the magical away-field, one game Wild Card elimination. Last June, we didn't draft until late in the second round, after 54 names had been pulled from the board.
Want to be bad forever? Come in fifth. (And hey, Seattle fans, with the great regular season force known as Robbie Cano, you might want to get used to 83 wins. You could be sitting there for a lonnnnnng time.)
In the mid-1980s, the Yankees launched a 14-year barf, in which they missed the post-season continuously, despite shelling out for the highest payroll in the game. It wasn't until they completely fell apart and drafted high - Brien Taylor (who failed) and Derek Jeter, who didn't - that the team finally built what could be its last dynasty in history... or at least in my lifetime.
So, congratulations, Kansas City. And good luck to the Dodgers (the new de facto Yankees). But don't look over your shoulders, folks. Those Padres and Diamondbacks were pretty awful this year. It won't be long.