Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Prepare for the Yankees to get raided in the Rule 5 draft, as tanking teams seek to become the next Astros

Last December, when the San Diego Patsies selected 20-year-old Yankee catcher Luis Torrens in the Rule 5 draft, you could hear the caw-caw sounds of blogs snickering. No way was Torrens ready for the majors. He wasn't even ready for Double A. It was borderline cruel to make a prospect sit out a year when his testicles have barely dropped, and - worse - Torrens had already missed a season due to shoulder problems. Two lost years? Horrible thing to do to a kid.

But they did it anyway. The reason? San Diego was following baseball's new building model: The Philadelphia 76ers. It's simple. You just tank. Just field a team so bad it will be lucky to win 60. Then do it again. You'll keep drafting No. 1 until you hit the jackpot. And if you're too cheap to sign that top pick, don't worry. Your fellow owners rigged the system so you'll receive a compensation top pick next year! You literally cannot lose. You can get sandwich round picks, and trade veterans for prospects, and play minimum wage rookies - and who cares? Finish last for three or four years, and when the Bryces and Stephens finally reach their peak, you'll win the pennant... and then, why, you can demand the city builds you a new stadium, or you'll walk to Winston-Salem! Perfect. Bravo!

Actually, tanking is hardly new. It's been played since the days when Judge Roy Moore and Luis Polonia were double-dating. But it reached a crescendo this year with the Houston Astros, a franchise so craven in its pursuit of the tank that Sport Illustrated predicted its eventual rise. For the three years between 2011-13, the Astros averaged 54 wins. They tanked, and tanked, and then tanked again, and now they are World Champions, with their front office hailed for its genius. Bravo!

The 2018 Tankathon begins next month with the Rule 5 draft. That's when the Yankees farm system will get picked clean by teams who barely plan to show up next season. Thus, they can draft young, high-ceiling prospects and stash them on the roster all season - because they don't care about winning. In fact, a good team will only mess up their tanking strategy. 

Look at San Diego. When your city just lost its NFL team, the last thing you need to fear is a fan uprising. The Padres could send out a lineup of cosplayers from the ComicCon, and nobody will complain. Last year, holding Torrens the entire season, they effectively competed with a 24-man roster. Torrens came to bat 123 times. He hit .163 with no HRs. In the entire year, he had 25 total bases. He just watched.

For years, the Yankees were one of the few proud franchises that refused to tank, because Hal Steinbrenner famously proclaimed his Empire could build and contend. Yeah, right. Two summers ago, everything began to turn when we ditched Wild Card hopes and dealt Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller and Carlos Beltran for prospects. Yep, we tanked. And frankly, we came late to the party. For years, we pissed away prospects for the likes of Alphonso Soriano and Lance Berkman, propping up last-ditch playoff runs until the cupboard was bare. Now, we're flush with prospects - so strong that Brian Cashman will probably trade a few this week, rather than subject them to the Rule 5.

Then there is Torrens. I don't want to root against him. It wasn't his fault. The kid signed with the Yankees and surely dreamed of playing in New York. But I sort of hope he tanks, so the Padres don't get rewarded for screwing both their youngsters and their fans. Either way, it won't matter. They'll rise from all the draft picks, and they'll horde all their prospects, and the front office eventually will be hailed for its brilliance. After all, you can't lose them all.  

Just tank, folks. Finish last. Remember: If at first you don't succeed... fail, fail again.


Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...

Please tell me it's within the rules to NOT protect Ellsbury

John M said...

Hart, you're being ripped off.


Some guy is coopting your idea and has published his own book of Trump poetry.

I'm pissed.

el duque said...

Ah, that's life.

Alphonso said...

Only the original minds will be remembered by history. Duque will endure. Imitation Duques will become laughing stocks.

Or the other way around.

Not sure.

Need a cocktail.

This is a really slow off-season.

Parson Tom said...

this video is long, but it does a great job of capturing the essence of presidential prose:


Urban Farmer formerly known as DutchFan said...

Off topic: a rip off is a flawed acknowledgement of someone else's greatness.

On topic.
The system in pro sports in the US seems broken. Too many rules and a forced way to achieve the parity that can never be achieved in a natural way. It hurts great teams, starting players and screws the fans.
In Europe soccer has become the most predictable game around. Sad. When it comes to the Champions League there are only about 6 to 8 teams that really matter. And they come from England, Spain, Germany and 1 or 2 from Italy and France. They buy all the talent (Manchester City had more than 150 players under contract) from all over Europe and elsewhere (south America primarily). A side effect is that the level of play in all other countries (including Holland) is getting worse by the year.
Moneyband marketshare determines all earnings. If a Dutch team were to win the Champions League it would earn less than half of the prize money a quarter finalist from England would get. So there is no way of bridging the gap.

Even in Spain and England ratings are starting to drop, because there are only so many matches between United and Barcelona you want to watch. And what about Chelsea vs Man city 2 in the Championship, twice in the league cup (domestic) once in the FA cup (domestic) and twice in the Champions League. Kinda predictable.

What I want to say is, that even if the Yankees were to be in the world series every year and play the Dodgers, even that might get a bit tedious.
There is no real solution obviously and every system has its shortcomings but for now I like the MLB system better than what the UEFA and FIFA came up with.