The news of Andrew Friedman heading over to run the Dodgers as the new president of baseball operations struck something within me. I have long been an admirer of what he has been able to accomplish in Tampa Bay. So, too has Alex Anthopoulos. He often quotes the cost conscious Rays as a team to emulate. Friedman had been able to turn the Rays from a glorified farm team to perennial contenders. And, that is no small feat when you work within the meager budget provided for him.
What a change of scenery for Friedman. Going into Los Angeles with $240M to play with must be mind boggling for the 37 year old Friedman.
“The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. I just wonder what the road to mediocrity is paved with.”
It shows another side of the Dodgers under new ownership (since 2012). It appeared that they were determined to become the next Yankees and just buy up championship after championship. But, the hiring of Friedman points to a more involved vision than that. They spent BIG to get a winner immediately. That is for sure. They went all in.Zack Greinke
and others. There was no doubting the commitment of ownership.
Now with Friedman in tow, it appears the Dodgers have not forgotten about scouting, drafting and player development. You know, the building of a sustainable system that Anthopoulos preaches.
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Friedman brings a shrewd mind for all of these things, as well as for making brilliant, team friendly deals (seeEvan Longoria
This brings me to my point. Do the Dodgers have it right and the Blue Jays have it wrong? When the Dodgers prioritized winning now at all costs and then focus on the cost effective management, etc, did they show us that the Blue Jays have it backwards?
Since his arrival, Alex Anthopoulos has touted the importance of building a sustainable winner. He’s expanded scouting, international efforts and the like. He’s working on the foundation. When it comes to spending, he has been operating cautiously. He constantly tells us that he will jump for the right player at the right value. It has yet to be determined what those actually are, though. So, we’ve been left waiting on prospects and draftees to make their way up. And, this year we’ve seen that pay dividends with Dalton Pompey, Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Stroman, Kendall Graveman et al.
The question is: How is that going to bring championships? Does AA really think he can draft an entire championship team? Are we willing to wait for that to happen? Is he? You can’t draft and develop a whole championship. You need to spend. Period. The Dodgers raised eye brows by their spend happy ways.
One could argue that it paid off for them. Do you think they haven’t made that money back over the last 2 years? But, the Dodgers weren’t just spending to buy a championship. They have been always keeping an eye on their system. And, if you fork over a little extra dough, you don’t have to pillage the system. You can give up less in prospects by taking on more in dollars.
All that aside, with the spending (which appears part of a larger vision and plan) the Dodgers committed, they can now look to be more choosy about their spending. They have a group of players where they can add smaller pieces. Friedman will have room to work his magic. The Blue Jays have no such luxury. They don’t have a large group of players they can rest easy in. They have many question marks.
Is this because they avoid the relative comfort that spending brings? With spending, you have proven talent. You have top end, proven talent. It must provide some breathing room. Your margin for error is larger. But, by focusing so heavily on the system and avoiding spending like the plague, you end up in purgatory. That is not to argue that the Blue Jays should just start spending all willy nilly. No. After all, spending is no certainty. But, it is more of a certainty than waiting, hoping and praying for prospects. You never want to spend blindly with good intentions. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. I just wonder what the road to mediocrity is paved with.
So, I wonder what the vision/ plan is from the Toronto Blue Jays. This does not rest solely on the shoulders of Alex Anthopoulos. He keeps saying that if the right deal comes, he’ll jump at it, that ownership doesn’t have tight purse strings. But, if that were 100% true, there are MANY deals that he could have made. So, why didn’t he?
To build a “sustainable winner”, you have to scout well, draft well, trade well and spend well. There must be a plan to do so. The Dodgers’ ownership made a steadfast decision to win ASAP by spending. Then, with that working out, they are ready to enter the next phase, which is having the system to step in. Do the Blue Jays have a plan? If so, what is it?
Maybe this off season will reveal the plan. Maybe.
Have your say below.