Why We Can’t Overreact To Last Year
One of the main problems with last year’s team is that they got absolutely nothing from the first base position, so they were unable to generate any offense from a position where most teams had a guy who could pound the baseball. Casey Kotchman was the most notable failure, and his .217/.280/.336 line has been used as an example that Jack Zduriencik’s theory on roster construction is flawed, and the team is focused on acquiring the wrong kind of players.
One year later, Casey Kotchman is hitting .360/.435/.453 for the Tampa Bay Rays. He leads the AL in batting average (among hitters with at least 80 plate appearances), and his success is one of the reasons the Rays are in first place in the AL East.
Baseball is weird and players are inconsistent. Sometimes, good players have bad years, and bad players have good years. It happens. Andrew Friedman isn’t a genius for finding Casey Kotchman this winter, and Jack Zduriencik wasn’t a moron for giving him a job last winter. Both teams took low cost flyers on a guy who has some skills and some flaws, but they’re getting very different results from essentially the same decision.
Last year, the M’s ended up on the wrong side of a lot of bets. They won’t always get the 2010 version of Kotchman instead of the 2011 version. Things like this tend to even out over time, and given enough decent decisions, the M’s will get some unexpected good results out of guys as well. The key is to keep making good bets on players and not overreacting when they don’t pan out.
Judge the process, not the results.