Well, here we are then. It seemed clear what our off-season needs were pretty much the instant the season's final out was recorded. Now we're well into Hot Stove territory and... we still know exactly what our off-season needs are. What I'm having trouble with is figuring out just what kind of team we're trying to be.
Early moves suggested that we might be going for stars-and-scrubs strategy when we signed Mr. Kemp to that sizable and well-deserved contract. It's not ideal, but I could live with that. We certainly had an surge at the end of the year once some of the young guys got a shot. There are a few crummy contracts and those pesky deferred payments, but overall, the team wasn't looking too bad, even going into ownership limbo. I thought that a couple of clever signings might put us in contention, something that would certainly appeal to whomever the club's new ownership group might be.
However, as things have progressed, I find I'm just confused. Let's go to the game tape.
- Chris Capuano, 1.6 WAR, $3M next year.
- Mark Ellis, 1.3 WAR, $2.5M next year.
- Jerry Hairston, Jr., 1.2 WAR, $2.25M next year.
- Matt Treanor, 0.7 WAR, $1M next year.
- Aaron Harang, 0.6 WAR, $3M next year
- Adam Kennedy, 0.1 WAR, $.8M next year
- Juan Rivera, 0.7 WAR, $4.5M next year.
In my (admittedly limited) mind, there are exactly two sensible strategies Ned could employ regarding on the upcoming team sale. He could spend the smallest amount of money possible, thus minimizing future costs, which he is clearly not doing. He could also spend a larger amount of money in a way that immediately improves the product on the field, thereby bringing fans back to the park and increasing revenues, which he is also CLEARLY NOT DOING.
Look, I consider myself a reasonable man. I acknowledge there's more to baseball than can be summarized on a spreadsheet. However, I do require some indication that we have a coherent strategy going forward before this winter wanders completely into TIDU territory. If there is some master plan here, I'm not seeing it.