Vidya, on Sep 29 2010, 10:13 AM, said:
The point you're missing is the one I called most important. Building through the system and then selling the players before they reach free agency is one thing. Holding on to those players and signing them to long term contracts is a totally different thing. Organizations can increase their chances of success greatly by doing that. That's what the Twins are trying to do right now. It's what the Indians have done in the past. It's what the Brewers were hoping to do. The Rays have a new stadium in the works, and I'm sure that's their plan as well. It's very likely that the Rangers will follow that plan as well.
The Mariners have already signaled that's their plan with the long term contract they've given Felix. While they have cut salary, the Mariners did sign Figgins last winter to a long term contract. To claim that the Mariners are following the Marlins or even the A's model is just not right.
Free agency has shown that it is the most expensive way to build a winning franchise. That's why players under team control for many years are valued so highly right now. Even the Yankees are focusing on retaining their own players. They haven't abandoned the FA market, but it's not their primary source of new talent. With the new cable contracts, the downward trend on free agent contracts will very likely reverse, but teams will still be looking at their own talent first.
No I don't think I'm missing your point whatsoever. In fact, I'd say that in many ways you, Taro, and myself are saying essentially the exact SAME thing.
I wholeheartedly agree that the model that SHOULD be followed is to:
Build your club primarily through your own minor league system. That is how the clubs that are currently successful out there are achieving that success (and it's the model that has historically been the most successful as well) -- i.e. the Twins, the Rays, the Reds, the Braves, the Indians in the past, and yes, even the Yankees.
Hold on to your own players by signing them to long term contracts (though an organization has to be discerning about that one.) Just because you developed player X doesn't mean that there might not be a better option out there, either in your own system or in someone else's system or roster. That's the point where you decide whether to trade that player or simply let him walk in Free Agency.
(and the last resort option) Look to supplement your roster through Free Agency.
If I may be permitted to do so, I'll cite one of the wisest men of all times, Solomon, who said that the wise man would "...avoid all extremes." (Ecclesiastes 7:8) That's what I was trying to say -- the club that builds wisely tries to avoid the extremes ...
At one extreme, you've got teams like the Marlins and the A's -- teams that have always looked to keep overhead costs low by perpetually selling off players in order to keep player payroll down. That's precisely what the Marlins did following their World Series win in 1997.
At the other extreme, you've got teams like the Yankees of a few years ago, the Mets, the Red Sox (at times), the Dodgers, and even the Cubs. Though those teams DO develop their own minor league talent as well, those teams have many times in the past, and will do so many more times in the future, signed guys to gluttonous-sized contracts (which then has a trickle down effect for the entire FA market.) What happens when your high priced Free Agent signing doesn't pan out as you'd hoped? (i.e. Carlos Silva, Milton Bradley, Richie Sexson, etc.) A great example of that kind of extreme were the Mariners under Bill Bavasi. We all saw how building your team by primarily using expensive veterans worked out.
Both extremes have consequences. The teams that have historically been the most successful are the ones who are somewhat in the middle -- and who do a bit of both. Balance is the key.
My use of the Marlins was merely a cautionary tale and an example of one extreme. I wasn't saying that the Mariners are following that model (at least I sincerely hope we don't go down that path.) I believe that the Mariners are on the right path now, looking to build this club through its own minor league system. After all, that's how the 1995 club and the teams that were dominant through the 2001 season happened -- mostly via our own system. But given the current state of the club, I would also contend that the Mariners HAVE to look to supplement their roster through FA in order to stop the exodus of fans from Safeco and the resulting loss of revenue. They've just got to be smart about it and to give Jack Z both the autonomy and the resources to do his job.
This post has been edited by Mariner Analyst: 30 September 2010 - 05:19 AM