Why I’m Not a Fan of Losing on Purpose
I try to limit my posts that are just links to my other posts, but this one pertains to the Mariners off-season plans, so it’s relevant here too, I think.
I hope you read the whole thing. If you don’t, though, here are the final two paragraphs that basically sum up my thoughts on the rebuilding process, and why I’ve been continually advocating for the team to make improvements to their roster rather than just sitting around and waiting for their prospects to develop.
There’s too much variation in baseball for teams to simply accept their most recent record as evidence of their short term future. There’s too many things that simply can’t be projected — and too much uncertainty around the things we do know — for more than one or two teams per year to simply punt the entire season and lose on purpose. Trading from the present to improve the future is one thing; trading from the present simply because we see no future is another thing entirely, and requires a level of certainty in forecasting that we simply don’t have.
If our forecast for a team is 65 to 90 wins, then making smart moves to improve the roster and increase the likelihood of getting towards that 90 win part of the bell curve could very well be a better move for the future of the franchise than blowing up the roster and accepting the ramifications of a 65 win season. Rebuilding can be the right path to take, especially if you get the kind of offer for your veterans that can inject a real talent boost into the organization. Just dumping good players because there’s no point in having veterans on a team with a mean forecast of 78 wins, though? That’s just putting too much faith in what we know. If we’re going to stress honesty, let’s honestly admit that we don’t know enough to suggest that a 78 win team should give up hope and lose on purpose.
If the M’s bring in some veterans this winter, I know there’s going to be a group of people who complain that they’re just “blocking the kids” and so forth. A decent amount of you guys complained about signing guys like Kevin Millwood last year. I get that there’s a pretty good sized crop of fans who think that a team should either be going for it or going young, and everything in between is just a waste of time.
I just think that mentality is completely wrong. There’s a real value in putting wins on the board, even if they may very well not be the wins that put the team in the playoffs. The Mariners shouldn’t look at their 2013 roster and decide that it’s not good enough to make real improvements. They should look at their 2013 roster and decide that it’s not good enough, so they should make real improvements.