Sunday, August 13, 2006

GM For a Day

I'm not feeling up to posting about the struggling Yanks again today. I hope people will bear with me while I try to sidestep their recent funk in favor of more pleasurable writing experiences. The Red Sox series looms in the not too distant future, and I'm sure things will get very intense around the Yankees blogosphere. For today, I'm going to do something I've wanted to do for a while. I'm going to play GM of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Why, you ask. I actually kind of like the Rays. There's something about that franchise that is begging to be brought out. They're kind of like the Cleveland Indians in Major League. I'd like to see the Tampa franchise do well, if for no other reason than they should either compete or be contracted. I am one for the contraction of every major American sports league, but since that is very unlikely to happen, I'm going to lend my services to the Rays and make them a contender, or at least put them in the Wild Card chase.

According to the Wikipedia account of the Devil Rays 2005 off-season, changes were in the air.

"Immediately after the season ended, Stuart Sternberg, who bought into the ownership group in 2000, took over from Naimoli as managing general partner, thus taking over executive control of the team. He immediately fired Chuck LaMar, who had been the team's general manager since the team's first season, and most of the front office. Matt Silverman was named as team president, and Andrew Friedman took the role of Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations. Gerry Hunsicker, former General Manager of the Houston Astros, has taken over as Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations, and will advise Friedman. Sternberg has decided not to have a de jure General Manager, calling the position "outdated", and Friedman and Hunsicker will share that role at MLB functions."

That's where I come in. I've read numerous articles on Sternberg which insinuate that he's out to increase the budget and get the team on the right track. I'm going to imagine that I've walked into Mr. Sternberg's office with a plan, at which time he's going to be so impressed that he will hand me the GM's job that he thought was outdated. Here we go.

The first thing we need to do as a business is figure out how we're going to make some money on this franchise. Forbes appraised the franchise at a worth of $209 million in 2006. The operating income of the team, called EBITA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, and Amortization) is $20.3 million. That amount of money is good for 13th in Major League Baseball, placing the team just between the Kansas City Royals and Cincinnati Reds in yearly income. For reference, the Yankees operate at a net $50 million dollar loss putting them at the bottom of the 30 franchises, with the Red Sox (-$18.5 million), Mets(-$16.1 million), Marlins (-$11.9 million), and Angels (-$2.6 million) being the other franchises operating at a loss. The Yankees, Red Sox, and Mets on the other hand are easily worth the most money, on the opposite end of the franchise spectrum.

What that tells me is that the value of the Tampa franchise is low because it is a small market. It also tells me that the value of the franchise can be improved by making some moves. If we can tap into emerging market opportunities in our own backyard, we can generate income opportunities, excitement about the team, and change the entire direction of the organization. By maximizing our earning potential, we can approach the level of the Reds or the Pirates and add $50-60 million to the value of our team, without even factoring in inflation. The following excerpt from Mega Communications, Spanish-language radio in Tampa/Orlando, helps me to set the stage.

"Tampa ranked as the nation's 5th fastest Hispanic market with growth of 168% from 1990 through 2005 and during that time, the make-up of Tampa's Hispanic community changed as well. Once primarily a Cuban community, Mexicans are now the #1 Latino group essentially driving the population growth......followed by Puerto Ricans, Cubans and those from Central and South America. Tampa has truly become one of the most diverse Hispanic markets in the country and now compromises nearly 20% of the Tampa - St. Petersburg Metro population.

And Tampa's Hispanic growth far outpaces that of the general market. Projections show Tampa's population growing 44% from 1990 - 2011. During that same period, the Hispanic community will grow 295% - nearly seven times the general market rate!"

Therin lies the future. The fan base of the future doesn't exclude the lily white majority of the current demographic, but it needs to adjust to account for the generation of future Tampans who will be forming their loyalties from today. That generation will be increasingly Hispanic. Floridians are used to the Latin element of their neighborhoods. Perhaps some old guard don't care for it, but it's undeniably a Florida cultural force. I look at San Diego when I imagine the future of Tampa. What did the San Diego franchise do to immediately connect with their natural Latin fan base? They named the team in Spanish.

The first thing I want to do to remake the identity of the franchise is to rename the club. Tampa Bay Devil Rays is too long and obscure. What the hell is a Devil Ray anyway? The picture helps, but I thought that was a Manta Ray. It's not a good sports image. Try again. The Florida teams have been successful with keeping their ocean roots. The Dolphins and the Marlins are decent icons for a Florida team, so I'd like to keep that. Using Spanish for the team name helps a lot, because I've always liked the shark as an image for a sports team, but the word "shark" never grabbed me. Tiburon is much better. The Tampa Tiburon is my choice. Drop the "Bay". It's unnecessary.

I'll get into graphics and uniforms later. The key is the language of the franchise. Bi-lingual services, broadcasts, and marketing are essential, and we need to ramp those up a notch. We also need to build stronger ties with young people in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and other nearby Caribbean communities. We want to be their team. Planning a few home games in Puerto Rico every year will help that connection, and youth clinics, player visits, and other permanent community affiliations in each of those countries will sell the brand. It will also open the door for young players who want to play Big League ball to dream about being a member of the Tiburon. That's the next step.

The big spenders are beating us to all the good young Caribbean talent. The money they have to spend is going to make that happen, but there is a lot of under the radar talent out there too that we can tap into with the right kind of Latin scouting machine. We need to build that and nurture our connections on the ballfields and sandlots of those countries.

I propose an informal Cuban initiative that builds ties with Cuban baseball people, without violating any US regulations against business with that country. We want to have access to that treasure chest when Fidel's Cuba is a thing of the past and the US and Cuba normalize relations again. If we start now, a revolution (no pun intended) of new baseball immigration will lead to our doorstep.

As for the other development and scouting, I think we need to look at what other small market, low budget, organizations have done to be competitive on a consistent basis. Look no further than Oakland and Minnesota. Neither of those teams is financially distinguishable from us. I refer you back to the Forbes chart for a look at team revenues. Those teams have committed to building their minor league systems, generating low cost talent on a consistent basis. You not only need to develop players for your Major League club, but also bring in new players EVERY year who will be Major League ready by the time free agency rolls around for your big stars. Scouting is key, and great instruction is just as important. Draft college pitchers, and look for high on base percent batters, who are patient at the plate. That can be taught, and the earlier the better.

I propose we hire current Sacramento River Cats' manager Tony DeFrancesco to be our Director of Minor League Development. He's an outstanding baseball man, with a mind for the modern game. He understands how to develop talent in the way I just described as he's presided over a number of the Athletics' farm teams over the last decade or so. He believes in the Billy Beane philosophy and will make sure that it's taught from the ground up in our organization. If he's interested in continuing his managing career, offer him a 5-year assignment to oversee the building of our farm system, at which point he can take over as our Major League manager. By that time, the players he's helped to develop will be ready and their replacements will already be in the system. It's a win-win for him.

As for the Major League situation. We need a new stadium. I'm sure things are in the works to fund that stadium, but we need to convince people that it's worth the investment. Getting the team competitive in a hurry is the one sure fire way to convince investors that something worth their dollars is going on. In order to be competitive in the short term, we need to increase the payroll and move our players in the direction of the so-called "Moneyball" way of competing. The current crop of guys is not worth hanging onto for the most part, and I think we can do some dramatic things to improve our roster. Let's use the Oakland and Minnesota models for our plan. Both teams spend about $63 million on their current teams. We spend $35 million. Investing heavily in our scouting and minor league systems is going to take some cash, so we'd better play it a bit more conservatively the first couple of years. Let's tap into our $20 million dollar operating income to fund the increase in payroll. We'll raise the expenditure to $45 million in 2007, and another $10 million in 2008. By the end of 2008 we will be spending $55 million on our roster and developing good young ballplayers. Here's how to spend that money, position by position.

Catcher
Josh Paul ($475,000 expires 2006)
Dioner Navarro ($332,000 minor league service contract)

Here's a position where I see room for improvement. Paul is a 31 year old catcher who has never done a thing with his time in the Big Leagues. Even at that low salary, he's a waste of a roster space. I propose we use his roster spot to acquire a veteran catcher who will split the time with Navarro and teach him the ropes. It worked for the Yankees with Girardi and Posada, as they managed to win a couple of championships with the formula. A modest increase in the $475K that Paul makes will land you a better catcher.

Option #1 is to pursue Mike Piazza. He makes $2 million for 2006, but gets bumped way up to $8 million for 2007. The Padres hold a $750,000 buyout option and probably figure to exercise it with Josh Bard and Rob Bowen both ready to play backstop for a good young team. I offer Piazza the same $2 million(with incentives) to play in Tampa as a part time catcher, part time DH.

Option #2 is to go after a less exciting player who will sit on the bench when Navarro is catching. A veteran guy like Mike Lieberthal upgrades the position, offers a little DH help on occasion, and figures to be looking for work when the season is over. He's been making $7+ million a season for the Phillies on an absolutely awful contract and figures to be had for much less. I offer $1 million, plus incentives.

First Base
Travis Lee ($2.45 million contract expires in 2006)

This is just money being pissed away. Lee is dead last among Major League first baseman in VORP at a -1 billion. He's one of the 3 worst players in the Majors at any position. He's gone. I want power from this spot, and we're going to find it for the same salary or less.

Option#1 is Hee Seop Choi. He signed a one year, $725,000, contract with the Red Sox, but has languished in Pawtucket all season. He was recently released and is basically sitting around waiting for someone to want him. We want him. He's an average defender at 1st. He sports a good On Base Percentage when he's in the lineup regularly. His VORP while playing somewhat regularly for the Marlins in 2004 was 21.8 and he even posted a modest 8.4 VORP for the Dodgers in 2005 while playing part time. He's not going to knock down any mountains, but he's a good Major League player waiting to get a deal and a full time job. It's his in Tampa for $1 million.

Option #2 is Erubiel Durazo. Yes, he's a designated hitter. I don't care. He's playing first base for us next season when he's not DHing. In 2003, Durazo had a 25.4 VORP for the Oakland club, and in 2004 a whopping 49.4! He'll be our everday DH, but he'll also serve as backup to Choi when he needs a day off. He's also sitting around twiddling his thumbs, after the Twins cut him loose from their AAA roster. Any guy that puts up a career OBP of .381 can be on my team, provided he takes $500,000 with incentives. That's what the Twins were giving him, and I think he'll be hard pressed to find better with the Baseball Prospectus projections showing him to be a strong candidate for collapse, if he's not there already. Nonetheless, he's worth a flyer and my two first baseman/DHs cost me a total of $1.5 million, a savings of $1.04 million.

Second Base
Jorge Cantu ($355,800 minor league service contract)

I think Cantu's contract is a minor league deal. He only has a couple of years of Major League service now, so I don't think the money gets bigger and I think Tampa still has control of him. He's a keeper. I don't care for his low OBP, and his 2006 campaign has been forgettable. He is coming off a 2005 year in which he hit 40 doubles and 28 homers, drove in 117 runs, and he's only 24 years old. If he can come anywhere close to those numbers in a healthier 2007 we'll have a bargin on our hands. He doesn't cost us much, and hopefully his bat will make up for his subpar performance in the field at second. I think we can expect about $375,000 for his services in 2007.

Third Base
Ty Wiggigton ($675,000 contract expires after 2006)

I think Wigginton's deal is also still dependent on the team option, and I'm inclined to keep him. He's a versatile player that can handle multiple infield assignments, and frankly there's no one better out there in the 2006 free agent crop. I'd look to upgrade here, but in lieu of a really good option, I'm happy to stick with Wiggy at even money. B.J. Upton has been playing 3rd while Ty is on the DL, but SS is his position and that's where he's going to be for the next 10 years.

Shortstop
B.J. Upton (ML minimum - minor league service contract)

Oh, how sweet it is to develop your own talent. Upton costs us nothing for now, and has an immense upside. At 21 years old, this kid is perhaps in the bigs too early, but the time is now for him to show his stuff. The team needs him and I believe he will help to generate some excitement for the club. His comrade, Ben Zobrist is up with the Major League club now, but is not ready for primetime. Upton has this job all to himself.

Utility Infielder
Tomas Perez (? - one year deal)
Russel Branyan (? - one year deal)

Both of these guys are waiver claimed scrap from other ballclubs. They probably make the Major League minimum, but I don't like either one of them. I want an established veteran, who can handle the glove and the bat. I'll try to get someone like Alex Cora from the Red Sox to provide leadership and a reliable glove. He can play all the infield positions, with above average defense at the middle spots, and his bat isn't too dismal. I'll shell out $1.5 million for his services, matching what he makes with the Red Sox.

Right Field
Damon Hollins ($346,200 minor league service contract)
Jonny Gomes ($355,800 minor league service contract)

Damon Hollins does nothing for me. If he's got minor league options send him to AAA. If not, DFA him. Gomes on the other hand is a good hitter. He's also a serviceable corner outfielder. He won't knock your socks off on defense, and he should see some time at DH, but he'll do just fine for me out there every day. I think I can expect 30 home runs out of him in 2007, provided he can stay healthy. Hmmmm. I think I need a good backup.

Center Field
Rocco Baldelli (3 years/$9 million - club options on 2009 and 2010)

Oh Lord. I don't want to bash Rocco. He's a good young player. He's also overrated and overpaid. I don't want him, so I think I need to find a buyer somewhere. I plan to trade Baldelli for whatever I can get. My plan is to get pitching for the guy if I can, so I'll hold off on what I think I can get for him until I address pitchers. The only thing you need to know is that he should be gone before 2007 Spring Training.

I plan to move Carl Crawford to center field next year. He rates about the same in center as he does in left. He's slightly above average in both positions and his speed is an important factor in that decision. By moving him and his $15 million contract to center field, I can acquire a power hitting left fielder. There are plenty more of those out there. 24 year old guys who hit for power and can run are very rare, and Crawford covers that nicely.

Left Field
Greg Norton (ML minimum - minor league contract)

You can see a plum position for upgrade here. The team has plenty of speed and good power for the bottom of the lineup, but it really needs a guy who will scare somebody in the cleanup hole. For $3 million dollars a season over 3 years, I'll work with Jose Guillen. He is an excellent power hitter, and plays the outfield at about a league average rating. He has good power and is a good investment as a Dominican slugger on a team names the Tiburon. His durability and attitude have been called into question, but on our budget he may just prove to be a bargain.

Utility Outfielder

I'm going to find myself another good glove here. Major League minimum. Perhaps a guy in the organization.

There you have our offense. I think the lineup stacks up this way, with projected 2007 OPS:

Carl Crawford (L) - .850
BJ Upton (R) - .797
Erubiel Durazo (L) - .830
Jose Guillen (R) - .855
Hee Seop Choi (L) - .866
Jonny Gomes (R) - .913
Jamie Navarro (S) - .741
Jorge Cantu (R) - .792
Ty Wigginton (R) - .763

Bench: Lieberthal/Cora/OFer

For that group (averaging a .823 OPS) I'm spending about $13.5 million. I still have $31.5 million to spend on pitching. Great. Here's how I spend my money:

Starting pitching
Scott Kazmir ($371,700 minor league service contract)
Casey Fossum (2 years, $4.55 million, club option for 2008)
James Shields (? _ League minimum minor league service contract)
Tim Corcoran (? - League minimum minor league service contract)
Jae Seo ($350,000 contract expires in 2006)

First off, Kazmir is a stud and a bargin at $375,000. We'll plan to spend big on him when his payday comes. He needs help, so we need to spend our money on good pitching. Fossum is with the club next year regardless of whatever else we do, so count him in at the back of the rotation. Seo is a good bargain that will help Hee Seop Choi feel comfortable with us. I'l sign him for $500,000. Shields and Corcoran are history.

The top guys I am targetting with a budget of about $24 million dollars for 2007 are:

Barry Zito (LHP) - 4 years, $48 million
Jason Schmidt (RHP) - 4 years, $40 million
Mark Buerhle (LHP) - 4 years, $32 million
Kerry Wood (RHP) - 3 years, $21 million

I know I'm overpaying for all of these guys, but we are the "Tampa Bay Devil Rays" after all. Until we establish a winning tradition that's what we're going to have on our hands. I'm hoping for any combination of two pitchers from that list. If I can only get one of them (none is not an option; we'll go higher to get at least one), I'll find a more moderately priced guy to fill in on a short term deal around 3 years at $5 million per. Let's assume this is the rotation for 2007:

Scott Kazmir ($375,000)
Mark Buehrle ($8 million)
Kerry Wood ($7 million)
Casey Fossum ($2.5 million)
Jae Seo ($500,000)

The budget remaining for the bullpen is about $13 million dollars after my $18+ million starting rotation is set. Wood worries me, so I need a good long reliever that can make some spot starts. I also want a reliable closer. What do I have in house already?

Bullpen
Seth McClung ($343,000 minor league service contract)
Dan Miceli (2 years, $1.5 million through 2007, club option 2008)
Brian Meadows (ML minimum contract expired after 2006)
Shawn Camp ($335,000 minor league service contract)
Ruddy Lugo ($327,000 minor league service contract)
Chad Harville ($525,000 contract expires after 2006)
Jon Switzer (ML minimum minor league service contract)
Travis Harper (DL - contract expires after 2006)
Tyler Walker (DL - $387,000 contract expires after 2006)
Shinji Mori (DL - 2 years, $1.4 million through 2007, club option 2008-09)

That is one disgraceful bullpen. Let's keep it short and sweet. I'm keeping McClung as insurance. I have Miceli and Mori under contract through 2007. I like Ruddy Lugo. The rest of the guys get DFAed. Here's my bullpen in 2007, after a $13 million dollar overhaul:

Seth McClung ($350,000)
Dan Miceli ($750,000)
Shinji Mori ($750,000)
Ruddy Lugo ($350,000)
Jamie Walker ($1 million - 3 years, $3 million)
Ryan Dempster ($5 million - $10.5 million through 2008)*
Francisco Cordero ($4 million - 3 years, $12 million)

* Baldelli trade

I plan to use either Dempster or Cordero as my closer. I prefer Cordero in that role, but we'll have to see how things play out. I indicate that I acquired Ryan Dempster for Rocco Baldelli's services. I'm not sure I can make that happen, but I intend to try. I hope I can get someone of Dempster's caliber for Baldelli. If not, I may go after Arthur Rhodes on the free agent market and pursue a trade with Baldelli elsewhere. I do have one spot on the 25 man roster open for competition. Delmon Young may end up getting that spot and supplanting Johnny Gomes in right. That will all depend on how he continues to perform at AAA, and how his demeanor matures as well.

If I don't feel that Young is going to stabilize, I may look to package him and Baldelli together for something big. All in good time. Adding up all my payroll, not including a little put aside for the 25th man, I spent $43 million and a pinch. Well within my budget. I upgraded the roster, I put together a very nice pitching staff, and built a solid bullpen. If the scouting and minor league situations improve, we're on the right track to a new ballpark, bigger fan base, increased revenues, and a better Forbes appraisal next time out. We also might stay in the wild card hunt for a couple of months this year. Certainly, we're better than the Orioles.

The last thing left is the logo and the uniform. I'm going to abandon the color scheme and borrow from the local NFL franchise for my inspiration. I'm going with pewter for my base color with black and red as sub-colors. I'll put up the logo and uniform mock up another time. You'll have to wait with bated breath.

So, Mr. Sternberg, do I get the job?

7 comments:

mars2001 said...

A reasonable assessment of what you could do, but you've left out (or just touched on) some major pieces that would help your team (while showing your minor league system you're not going to pull a Pittsburgh on them (hiring dilapidated veterans) while letting them languish in AAA).... Also, take a few tips from the Marlins and the Nationals about fielding young, talented teams.

I'm assuming that you're wanting to compete for a Wild Card spot in 2008... easily done, with these additions to the roster that you proposed:

1. As new GM, finally make good on the multitude of promises made to Delmon Young. Bring him up, use some of your extra budget to hire a bodyguard/chaperone for him. Don't replace Gomes, rather, give Delmon a look in left at Spring Training and use him there if you can. His season line: .341/.363/.506

2. Bring up Elijah Dukes. There's no reason why he's in the minors (other than personality). He has a terrible attitude and will never become anything if he has to report back to AAA (major conflicts with the coaches). His current suspension is team imposed. Bring him up for a cup of coffee instead in September & show him that you want him for the team. He can be the 4th OF (for when Baldelli is traded/gets hurt) as he has played all three OF positions well this year... give him a bodyguard/chaperone as well, and make nice with the local media.... you have 2 Young, Angry Albert Belles on your team.... his season line: .296/.405/.493

3. Bring up Evan Longoria to play 3rd & shift Upton to 1B. As 1/2 of Upton's errors have been throwing errors (from SS/3B) & he's far too valuable of a player to leave rot in AAA.... bring him up and remove the chance that he'll make 1/2 of those errors. Keep Zorbist (who's a solid defender and chugged out a .325/.429/.457 (those are VERY close to his career numbers as well) in the minors this year)... while bringing up Longora no faster than Ryan Zimmerman (Nationals) last year... with Longoria's cumulative: .352/.408/.670....


Between this exciting new roster and the outreach to the hispanic communities - suddenly there's a reason to go to games... all of the treasures that the Rays/Tiburons have collected in the last several years are on display.... An outreach effort should also be made to fantasy league players who will be most excited that these players are in the majors.... encourage them to ditch their keyboards and come to games....

A potential lineup would look like:

Crawford (CF)
Upton (1B)
Longoria (3B)
Young (RF)
Gomes (DH)
Cantu (2B)
Navarro (C)
Dukes (CF/LF)
Zobrist (SS)

bench: Piazza (LEADERSHIP!) - C/DH
John Rodriguez (STL) - 4th OF
Rich Aurilia - PH/all IF pos.


and as for pitching... have the Rays pick the pocket of the Yanks on Mussina (ala Pettite/Clemens)... when they decline his option. Offer him a multi-year deal and ship him if necessary at the trade deadline to stock some pitchers in the farm system.

The lineup certainly has its flaws, but it will be very interesting to watch and of real interest for the 'Three True Outcomes' crowd....

Just hope that the Marlins luck is with us and that things gel in an amazing way.... you could compete for the Wild Card sooner than you think.

RollingWave said...

Your general idea is good, but I also think you overkilled a little on the veterans. espically the pitching.... getting one solid veteran in the pen should be enough, they still have Mori, who is a veteran from Japan. Buehlre has a option that the White Sox probably will exercise, grabbing a Schimdt type and maybe a Corey Lidle type seems like the best idea.

Also, dealing with the Cubs is a disastor waiting to happen. they have a terrible system built to ruin prospects. and their managers ruin pitchers at an incrediable pace.

If you really want to deal Rocco (which is reasonable.) deal him to the Rockies or Dodgers. (whom will also be lacking CFs next year) they have real solid prospects.

In fact, you might want to check out the two other Taiwanese pitchers in those teams ;) Chin Hui Tsao was the first Taiwanese pitcher in the bigs, he is basically a Kyle Farnsworth with perhaps even better breaking stuff. (throws very hard with a great slider) but he is also hurt most of this season so you might consider for a sec.

H.C Kou is the Taiwanese pitcher for the Dodgers, he is hovering between SP and RP in 3A at the moment, he is a lefty that throws flame with good slider. he's been showing some good progress recently in 3A trying to work as a SP. (went 7IP 4H 0 BB 7K 1 ER last time around)

But even not taking account to those two guys, those two system have far more reliable young players that came up throw a good system.

Another area of concern though is that Johnny Gomes and Jorge Cantu both been hitting like shite for a while now. Gomes simply can't hit a breaking ball it seems.

RollingWave said...

On second thought, you only need one true ace, just grab which one is more possible. Mussina or Schidmt (Schidmt is the better option IMHO due to age, but both are great charators) the rest of the staff with Kazmir and Fassum and Seo and all the other kids should be able to find a 4th/5th solution.

Trade Rocco to the Dodger for Kuo and maybe some other prospects too, give you a lefty reliever with good potential in many directions.(closer, setup, SP)

Closer will be a real toss up IMHO, I don't like the idea of overspending for a closer right now.. get a guy that will do the job on a year to year bases until you are sure you can compete. Bob Wickman might be that kind of guy. or gambling on guys like Dotel / Gagne/ Woods depending on the contract might do too.

Grabbing Piazza is a very good idea, perhaps another solid vet (Sheffield?.. if you could get him for less than 11M or so for 2 year?) too.

So basically all you are spending is 2 solid vet hitters, 1 ace and 1 mid range solid reliever.
and you unload some of the money on Rocco. that would put ur salary at around 50-55 M at highest, which is still the lowest in the AL east by a good margin. but it's a team that might really compete.

Mike Plugh said...

Thanks for the input guys. I like your ideas. A couple of things...

My plan is basically just to get closer to the wild card race for a few years while DeFrancesco can work his magic on our minor league system. I went with some borderline veteran hitters to raise the level of power and competitiveness during that time, but I want them to be expendable in the Oakland mold.

I don't want them to be around in 2 or 3 years. They're kind of holding a roster spot for the guys we do a stellar job of developing on our own. Hown grown goodness.

As for pitching. I went with a few guys that are young enough to help us for several more years. There's no guarantee that we'll develop pitching very quickly, so I wanted that to be a no brainer. Mussina is out because I can't see myself spending money on him at 37 years old. The other guys in the rotation still have some milage left.

Signing the Taiwanese kids is a good idea, but again, I want veteran relievers that aren't going to shit away games due to inexperience. I want guys who have closed and have good stuff. If I want uncertainty, I'll keep the guys they have now for cheap.

Anyway, nice ideas all around. Will you guys join me in the front office? ;)

Mike

RollingWave said...

The Rays current collection should still be able to put out 1 top starter (Kazmir) maybe 1 middle starter and probably 2 back end starter (out of Seo, Fassum, Shields, Cocoran and all those other guys) so you only really need one more top rotation guy or 2 middle rotation type guys.

And pitchers can develope quite fast. I don't think grabbing Moose for two year is such a bad idea, or if he comes at a good price.. even grabbing Maddux / Radke types combine with a Lidle type.

I think the short term plan is to establish TB as a legit team that's willing to spend to some degree and is interested in winning . for that you don't neccesarily need to lock up huge money on a Schidmt or Zito. but rather just get some solid establish guys for a start.

For the pen, they need a veteran guy with closer expereince and that's bout it, the rest of the guys you want young guys with solid potentials.

Come to think about it, they just need one solid Veteran to lead their lineup, they have a reallly long line of guys to fill just about every other position and the main problem is simply to work them out. (instead of being the wild swinging dumb running team it is now) Mike Piazza sounds like the perfect man.

RollingWave said...

So the short plan is.

A.Get Mike Piazza (I think you can spend more on this, 5M + incentive for 2 years +options at least)

B.Get 1 to 2 solid established veterans SP. budget is around 12-13M or so.

C.get 1 veteran with closer expereince. 4 to 5M max.

That's only a 20M or so increase in payroll, combine with unloading Lee and Bodelli the payroll should still only be 50M-55M or so at most. which is still the lowest in the AL east by far and only more than the Royals in the AL.

And there is a team that's a good first step to establish serious creditbility.

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