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View Full Version : The "Blow it up" myth



traderumor
07-28-2012, 10:27 AM
As I watch a team like the Astros dismantle their team of virtually all legitimate major league talent that is not in their mid 20s, doing that ultimate joy of so many message board analysts of "blow it up," I think watching games they play are a grim reminder of "be careful what you ask for."

Having gone through the Reds lean years, and the criticism they often received for not having a "fire sale" after it was obvious they were going nowhere again, save 2001, I am thankful that they never turned themselves into what the Astros management has.

While I'm sure if their plan, whatever that may be, is successful and winning will cure the ill will with the fans, I would be fearful that I would forever alienate my fan base, which has had a recent taste of playoff baseball.

Of course, anyone could have told McClain that hiring Ed Wade would lead to the franchise's demise, the current group better be right about a good portion of these "prospects" they pick up and have strong drafts over the next 2-3 years, or they are going to be in Siberia for awhile.

With attendance down, they also may be shooting themselves in the foot with quick fixes like Free Agents, whom they may not only have trouble affording, but also getting them to come and try to revive the franchise (ala Dave Parker circa 1984).

Anyhow, I certainly think that they have gone way too far in the old "blow it up" method of rebuilding which so many propose for bad franchises. While it may seem like a way to get a fresh start and "replenish the farm system," do you really get value?

It will be interesting to watch their attempt to recover from years of poor choices.

cincrazy
07-28-2012, 10:31 AM
As I watch a team like the Astros dismantle their team of virtually all legitimate major league talent that is not in their mid 20s, doing that ultimate joy of so many message board analysts of "blow it up," I think watching games they play are a grim reminder of "be careful what you ask for."

Having gone through the Reds lean years, and the criticism they often received for not having a "fire sale" after it was obvious they were going nowhere again, save 2001, I am thankful that they never turned themselves into what the Astros management has.

While I'm sure if their plan, whatever that may be, is successful and winning will cure the ill will with the fans, I would be fearful that I would forever alienate my fan base, which has had a recent taste of playoff baseball.

Of course, anyone could have told McClain that hiring Ed Wade would lead to the franchise's demise, the current group better be right about a good portion of these "prospects" they pick up and have strong drafts over the next 2-3 years, or they are going to be in Siberia for awhile.

With attendance down, they also may be shooting themselves in the foot with quick fixes like Free Agents, whom they may not only have trouble affording, but also getting them to come and try to revive the franchise (ala Dave Parker circa 1984).

Anyhow, I certainly think that they have gone way too far in the old "blow it up" method of rebuilding which so many propose for bad franchises. While it may seem like a way to get a fresh start and "replenish the farm system," do you really get value?

It will be interesting to watch their attempt to recover from years of poor choices.

Generally I agree with teams when they tear it down and start over completely. But I agree with you here, the Astros have gone WAY too far. It's not even close to a legitimate major league team. Who the hell is Scott Moore, and why is he hitting 3rd in your lineup? It's truly embarrassing. It's going to be even worse for them next year in the AL West. They may lose 120 games.

Crumbley
07-28-2012, 10:35 AM
Maybe changing the name wasn't such a bad idea, this is a sub-expansion team.

Vottomatic
07-28-2012, 10:39 AM
I think "blow it up" is the right mentality for some teams. I don't understand keeping a Felix Hernandez and paying him $20M per season when the rest of the team is pitiful. One guy obviously isn't getting it done. Trade him for 4 guys who have the potential to be solid major leaguers. The Rays and Blue Jays seem to have this mentality. It really comes down to scouting and development. The Reds have been fortunate to build a roster through their farm system and continue to draft well and develop well. Some clubs don't though. If the foundation isn't solid, the rest of the organization can tumble at anytime. Building a solid foundation with a solid farm system really can be key for some teams. But other teams like KC and Cleveland obviously aren't doing a very good job in that area. And the big market teams will always buy their way to the top or so it seems.

Benihana
07-28-2012, 10:43 AM
Generally I disagree with the OP. I don't know enough about the specifics with the Astros, but I believe in Jeff Luhnow. I like what he is doing generally, just like I like what Theo is doing with the Cubs.

The composition of their respective rosters when they took over was just so bad, they had to do some radical moves. Usually in these "blow it up" scenarios, the team is atrocious for 2 years or less. By then, if the GM is any good, the prospects turn into real players and the aura of excitement returns to the team. As much as it pains me to say it, I'd be pretty surprised if the Cubs aren't contenders by 2014. Ditto for the Astros in 2015.

If anything, I wish the Reds would have "blown it up" more than they did in the 2001-2006 lean years. Unfortunately the closest they came to blowing it up was right after they fired their GM and didn't have anyone in place to make carefully thought out moves. Even still, that explosion netted Aaron Harang, the Reds best pitcher of the decade.

_Sir_Charles_
07-28-2012, 10:56 AM
I really don't think you guys understood the depths of the problems in Houston before the "full destruction" mode got turned on. Over the past several years, when they were actually competing for the playoffs, they were doing so with an old team. They were staying viable by trading off all of their prospects for hired guns and FA's with big contracts. They did this for about 5 years straight. It completely decimated their farm system. They had ZERO high level prospects, ZERO middling prospects. The cupboard was freaking bare. No exaggerations. The only time they had a "prospect" was right after that year's draft.

But while all of that was going on...the older MLB club was just getting older and older. What they're doing right now is EXACTLY what they "need" to do. The only way they'll ever compete in the AL is if they completely re-tool the farm system. And that'll only happen if they deal off all of their known commodities in quantity for quality types of trades. Sure, they want talent...but they DESPERATELY need depth.

Wade was bad, no doubt...but Luhnow looks like a man with a serious plan. He is getting lots of praise here in Houston for doing what many thought should've been done years ago. I, for one, am glad they're moving to the AL. Because in 5 years, they're going to be formidable IMO. The downside to the move...it means I'll never see the Reds live anymore. *sigh*

_Sir_Charles_
07-28-2012, 11:10 AM
From BA, this actually pretty clearly describes the problem. This is before this season began and the owner/gm took over.


After clinging to respectability the last four seasons, the Astros finally bottomed out in 2011.

At 56-106, Houston had its worst season ever and lost 100 games for the first time. It took a total team effort, with the Astros ranking 13th in the National League in scoring (despite playing in a hitter's park), 16th and last in runs allowed and 15th in both defensive efficiency and fielding percentage.

The club's disintegration has several obvious causes, such as a decline in Opening Day payroll from $103 million (eighth in MLB) as recently as 2009 to $71 million (20th) in 2011. The franchise is in limbo this offseason as it awaits the finalizing of a sale from Drayton McLane to Jim Crane for $680 million, which also includes a 60 percent share in the Houston Regional Sports Network. MLB continues to look into Crane's past and is trying to nudge the team into the American League.

The most obvious reason for Houston's collapse is its failures in scouting and player development. Once a pace-setter in Venezuela, the Astros now hang their Latin program's hat on Jose Altuve, a 5-foot-7 scrapper who led the minors in batting but made little impact in his big league debut. Altuve was one of four players who went from instructional league in 2010 to the majors in 2011, along with righthander David Carpenter, outfielder J.D. Martinez and third baseman Jimmy Paredes.

Martinez is a rare draft success for Houston, which had a brutal run from 2005-07. Just four players from those three drafts have reached the majors, ranking worst in MLB. Only one player has provided long-term big league value: 2006 sixth-rounder Bud Norris.

Bobby Heck took over as scouting director in 2008 and the organization has made progress, but it has been slow. The organization's emphasis on athleticism and raw tools still could pay dividends, but Heck's drafts have produced only four big leaguers so far: Jason Castro, Jordan Lyles, Martinez and J.B. Shuck. How much of an impact they'll make remains to be seen.

With the big league club foundering and the upper levels of the system still thin, Houston traded two of its most marketable commodities in July for five members of its current Top 10. Hunter Pence went to the Phillies for four minor leaguers, including first baseman/left fielder Jonathan Singleton (No. 1), righthander Jared Cosart (No. 2) and outfielder Domingo Santana (No. 6). Righthander Paul Clemens (No. 5) and lefty Brett Oberholtzer (No. 7) arrived in a four-player package from the Braves for Michael Bourn.

The added depth should allow the Astros to slow down the development of young prospects such as shortstop Jonathan Villar, second baseman Delino DeShields Jr. and righthander Mike Foltynewicz Several players could repeat levels after looking overmatched in 2011, when Houston's affiliates combined for an MLB-worst .409 winning percentage in the minors. Due to their poor drafts and foreign presence, the Astros have finished 30th in organization winning percentage in three of the last four years, and they ranked 29th in 2010.

As one veteran scout put it, "When you have one bad draft, it takes two good ones to make up for it." So Heck and the Astros are digging out of a deep, deep hole.

Hoosier Red
07-28-2012, 11:24 AM
As I watch a team like the Astros dismantle their team of virtually all legitimate major league talent that is not in their mid 20s, doing that ultimate joy of so many message board analysts of "blow it up," I think watching games they play are a grim reminder of "be careful what you ask for."

Having gone through the Reds lean years, and the criticism they often received for not having a "fire sale" after it was obvious they were going nowhere again, save 2001, I am thankful that they never turned themselves into what the Astros management has.

While I'm sure if their plan, whatever that may be, is successful and winning will cure the ill will with the fans, I would be fearful that I would forever alienate my fan base, which has had a recent taste of playoff baseball.

Of course, anyone could have told McClain that hiring Ed Wade would lead to the franchise's demise, the current group better be right about a good portion of these "prospects" they pick up and have strong drafts over the next 2-3 years, or they are going to be in Siberia for awhile.

With attendance down, they also may be shooting themselves in the foot with quick fixes like Free Agents, whom they may not only have trouble affording, but also getting them to come and try to revive the franchise (ala Dave Parker circa 1984).

Anyhow, I certainly think that they have gone way too far in the old "blow it up" method of rebuilding which so many propose for bad franchises. While it may seem like a way to get a fresh start and "replenish the farm system," do you really get value?

It will be interesting to watch their attempt to recover from years of poor choices.

I agree with you. I think completely blowing up the team "can" be the right option with a caveat that it better work. If you blow up the team and get a haul of prospects promoting you from 5th place to 3rd but no higher, you probably would have been better off fielding a mediocre team and trying to talk yourself into Jimmy Haynes having a career year.

In order for the Fire Sale mode to work, I think two things need to happen. 1) You need to have a good draft or two under your belt. If you have a base of talent to build from, you can both deal with a player not working out and will have an abundance from which to deal in the future. 2) You need to say no on occassion. Whenever a team rolls out the fire sale sign, other teams know they can take advantage by offering lesser prospects because any prospects/salary relief will benefit the 5th place team more than keeping the player. Best example I can think of is Washington holding on to Adam Dunn through the trade deadline a few years ago which let other teams know that only "serious" offers would be considered.

traderumor
07-28-2012, 11:26 AM
I'll put it this way. Anyone can come in and "blow it up." That's no different than taking an expansion team. I'm more impressed by the manager who can keep the on-field product competitive while retooling. Fans generally like the blow it up, and what GM doesn't want to pass the buck to someone else's ineptness?

I recognize the organization was in pretty bad shape, but now they are putting their eggs all in the basket "I'm smart enough to pick the right prospects and get value for my replacement level or slightly above average major leaguers." I think the story will read that very little legit talent is acquired in these deals and that the Astros recovery will come from draft and develop.

Scrap Irony
07-28-2012, 11:27 AM
I'll put it this way. Anyone can come in and "blow it up." That's no different than taking an expansion team. I'm more impressed by the manager who can keep the on-field product competitive while retooling. Fans generally like the blow it up, and what GM doesn't want to pass the buck to someone else's ineptness?

The problem with that is that you have to have a base with which to work.

The Astros, at the beginning of the year, had Joey Altuve, Brett Myers, and Wandy Rodriguez.

That's pretty much it.

They didn't have much of a choice but to do a complete tear-down.

traderumor
07-28-2012, 11:29 AM
The problem with that is that you have to have a base with which to work.

The Astros, at the beginning of the year, had Joey Altuve, Brett Myers, and Wandy Rodriguez.

That's pretty much it.

They didn't have much of a choice but to do a complete tear-down.You always have a choice.

_Sir_Charles_
07-28-2012, 11:40 AM
You always have a choice.

You also have to take into consideration the move to the AL. The owner basically wanted a "fresh start". Keeping Brett Myers and Wandy Rodriguez was not going to make the Astros better than a last place team in the near future. Not a chance. So instead they get the best prospects they can get in the hopes that in the near future they'll have enough kids to field a GOOD team for years to come.

What good does it do to field a team of Brett Myers, Rodriguez, Hunter Pence, and Michael Bourn if the remainder of the team is Mike Costanzo's? And to be honest, I think they'd LIKE Costanzo. Go back and look at that BA article. The farm system was SO bad that they were regularly rushing kids through the minors in the hopes of filling the holes quicker. When in truth, those kids were nowhere NEAR ready for the bigs. Getting all of the quantity that they have in these trades the past 2 years, it's allowing them to SLOW the rush through the minors and lets them develop their kids properly. How else were they going to get that quantity that they needed? The draft? Trading the "Costanzo"'s? This is basically the price they have to pay for dealing so horribly since 2006 or so.

traderumor
07-28-2012, 11:47 AM
You also have to take into consideration the move to the AL. The owner basically wanted a "fresh start". Keeping Brett Myers and Wandy Rodriguez was not going to make the Astros better than a last place team in the near future. Not a chance. So instead they get the best prospects they can get in the hopes that in the near future they'll have enough kids to field a GOOD team for years to come.

What good does it do to field a team of Brett Myers, Rodriguez, Hunter Pence, and Michael Bourn if the remainder of the team is Mike Costanzo's? And to be honest, I think they'd LIKE Costanzo. Go back and look at that BA article. The farm system was SO bad that they were regularly rushing kids through the minors in the hopes of filling the holes quicker. When in truth, those kids were nowhere NEAR ready for the bigs. Getting all of the quantity that they have in these trades the past 2 years, it's allowing them to SLOW the rush through the minors and lets them develop their kids properly. How else were they going to get that quantity that they needed? The draft? Trading the "Costanzo"'s? This is basically the price they have to pay for dealing so horribly since 2006 or so.Maybe a start would be to stop whiffing on deals (granted those were old regime deals). They whiffed on Pence and Bourne, now they are getting lower level minor leaguers for what's left, and it is hard to praise a manager at this stage for trading away the few major leaguers he had left for prospects. I guess the broader point is withholding the guy's praise until he's actually accomplished something. Trading marginal major leaguers for marginal prospects is so much putting fresh bread on the shelves, and the bread may be full of unhealthy preservatives. I am thinking not only are these "bad for business moves" in the short term, but I'm not sold on the "good baseball moves" at this point.

757690
07-28-2012, 11:58 AM
I wish the Reds stayed true to their blow it up plan of 2003, instead of wasting millions on the likes of Milton, Cordero and Aurilia, and trading for burnt out relievers every trading deadline. They probably would have been serious playoff contenders much earlier than 2010.

_Sir_Charles_
07-28-2012, 12:11 PM
Maybe a start would be to stop whiffing on deals (granted those were old regime deals). They whiffed on Pence and Bourne, now they are getting lower level minor leaguers for what's left, and it is hard to praise a manager at this stage for trading away the few major leaguers he had left for prospects. I guess the broader point is withholding the guy's praise until he's actually accomplished something. Trading marginal major leaguers for marginal prospects is so much putting fresh bread on the shelves, and the bread may be full of unhealthy preservatives. I am thinking not only are these "bad for business moves" in the short term, but I'm not sold on the "good baseball moves" at this point.

Hang on...they WHIFFED on the Pence & Bourn deals?!? Since when?

In the Pence deal, they got what are now their #1 prospect prior to the draft (Singleton), #3 (Cosart), #7 (Santana) & #26 (Zied).

In the Bourn deal, they got their current CF'er (Schafer), #5 prospect (Clemens), #8 (Oberholtzer), and #17 (Abreu)

That is NOT whiffing. That's doing exactly what they intended...restocking.


In my opinion, other than the horrid drafting they've done, their downfall started with the trades for Tejada & Valverde. Those deals started the trend of trading multiple prospects for aging vets.

traderumor
07-28-2012, 12:15 PM
Hang on...they WHIFFED on the Pence & Bourn deals?!? Since when?

In the Pence deal, they got what are now their #1 prospect prior to the draft (Singleton), #3 (Cosart), #7 (Santana) & #26 (Zied).

In the Bourn deal, they got their current CF'er (Schafer), #5 prospect (Clemens), #8 (Oberholtzer), and #17 (Abreu)

That is NOT whiffing. That's doing exactly what they intended...restocking.I assume your rankings are the org's rankings, so to be relevant to the conversation, you would have to include their overall ranking, not just system, since you have asserted that the cupboard is bare. For example, Brandon Larson used to be our #1 prospect.

Schafer is hitting .220, good glove, no-hit, Ken Berry maybe?

_Sir_Charles_
07-28-2012, 12:19 PM
I assume your rankings are the org's rankings, so to be relevant to the conversation, you would have to include their overall ranking, not just system, since you have asserted that the cupboard is bare. For example, Brandon Larson used to be our #1 prospect.

Schafer is hitting .220, good glove, no-hit, Ken Berry maybe?

Yes, those are org. rankings. But that's the point. It shows you just how depleted they were. Those 2 deals effectively filled the upper half of the system. It's going to allow them to properly develop the draftees (which look to be fantastic...unfortunately). Any trade of a current ML'er for prospects is a crap-shoot. But when you get decent quality along with plenty of quantity...your odds improve dramatically IMO. I think they did VERY well on both trades when you consider that they accomplished EXACTLY what they set out to do. Replenish their upper levels of the farm.

And btw...the cupboard is NOT bare. Not anymore. Thanks to these 2 deals and the subsequent ones and the solid draft.

~edit~ in the overall mlb rankings, Singleton is 33, Cosart is 49, top draft pick last year Springer is 69, and Dominguez is 71. 2 of those 4 came in these 2 deals. Dominguez came in the Carlos Lee trade. That's 4 top 100's right there. Add in Correa and McCullers from this years draft. The farm is improving by leaps and bounds these past 2 seasons.

dfs
07-28-2012, 12:23 PM
Go back and look at that BA article. The farm system was SO bad that they were regularly rushing kids through the minors in the hopes of filling the holes quicker. When in truth, those kids were nowhere NEAR ready for the bigs.

Alfredo Simon and Xavier Paul were free agents/waiver claims looking for work.
Danny Dorn would have been available for a bucket of gatoraid.

You bring in your sacrifical lambs and let the fans go wild about Farney for a year or two while the real product matures.

_Sir_Charles_
07-28-2012, 12:32 PM
Alfredo Simon and Xavier Paul were free agents/waiver claims looking for work.
Danny Dorn would have been available for a bucket of gatoraid.

You bring in your sacrifical lambs and let the fans go wild about Farney for a year or two while the real product matures.

Fair point. They've been busy on the waiver wire pickups, but they've done a weak job on that front I think.

My main point was that dealing the veterans was pretty much the only way they were going to re-fill the upper echelon of prospects without having to wait on numerous drafts.

Tom Servo
07-28-2012, 12:32 PM
If you don't blow it up you end up with a zombie of a team that may initially appear living on the outside, but is really dead on the inside.

_Sir_Charles_
07-28-2012, 12:33 PM
If you don't blow it up you end up with a zombie of a team that may initially appear living on the outside, but is really dead on the inside.

Which is exactly what they've been for the past several years.

cumberlandreds
07-28-2012, 12:53 PM
I think its possibe to stay sem-competitive while rebuilding. The Reds never really bottomed out like the Astros durng the 2000's. I think what has happened in Houston is just terrible,expecially for the fans. IMO they have just botched it all up. They could have hung to a few of those veterans while staying somewhat competitive and rebuilt their minor leagues in the process. As it is now if the young guys currently on the team don't develop or if most of them wash out it could be at least a decade before they are competitive again. Goning to the AL West is just going to be a killer for them. I could see them breaking all time loss record of 120 next season unless a lot of those youngsters they have now turn out to be a lot better than expected.

Tom Servo
07-28-2012, 12:59 PM
The Reds never really bottomed out like the Astros durng the 2000's.
I'd say 2001, 2003, and 2007 indicate otherwise.

RedlegJake
07-28-2012, 01:06 PM
I like what the Astros have done and I'll be they climb back to respectability and competitive baseball much faster than anyone thinks! Some of these youngsters don;t look bad already. Remember - our own Reds had a few hiccups in 08 and 09 when some of them were young. I remember conversing with Milwaukee fans telling them the Reds were close and how they laughed saying no way Cueto and Votto and Bailey and Stubbs and the like were ever going to be that good. The Astros have a fully loaded farm system, a ton of talent on AAA, a ton in AA and the low minors and a huge wallet to open when its time to start signing free agents. I'd give them two years. You heard it here. In two years they will be fighting for first place in the AL West.

KoryMac5
07-28-2012, 01:14 PM
Problem Houston had was dealing with an owner who had grown attached to certain star players. Deals for Lee and Oswalt were on the table for a few seasons and the previous owner shot them down wanting to hang on to being mediocre. You have to know as an owner and GM when to turn the page and move forward.

Scrap Irony
07-28-2012, 02:08 PM
I think its possibe to stay sem[i]-competitive while rebuilding.

I'd argue that bottoming out allows a team to grab one of the top talents available.

A look at the current Washington team confirms that the strategy works.

In 2007, Washington was pretty brutal. They chose to completely rebuild, dealing what veterans they had (that had value), signing others cheaply, and dealing with the growing pains of youth.

They started Zimmerman early.
They started John Lannan early.
Same with Jordan Zimmerman.

As a result of those struggles, they were able to draft Strasburg.

The next season, same plan. Sign some undervalued free agent veterans (Michael Morse, Josh Willingham), make a big contract signing or two (Dunn, for example) with the savings by going young, and dealing more veterans for prospects.

As a result of those struggles, they were able to draft Harper.

They're now among the best teams in baseball.

Houston has to hope its got a Zimmerman to build around. (Johnson may develop into that. So might Lowrie or, more likely, Altuve.) It also needs luck in drafting (and has received some, in Springer DeShields, and others). The Astros also need to sign some underrated veteran free agents in order to deal them as well.

traderumor
07-28-2012, 02:24 PM
Like I said, fans love the blow it up. Why work on this marriage, its easier to just get a divorce and start over with a new improved model.

Scrap Irony
07-28-2012, 02:30 PM
Like I said, fans love the blow it up. Why work on this marriage, its easier to just get a divorce and start over with a new improved model.

Yeah, how dare Washington actually make the right decision, blow it up, and then become one of the best teams in baseball!

It has nothing to do with fans or a marriage analogy. It has to do with putting your team in the best position to win games for a decade.

Revering4Blue
07-28-2012, 02:38 PM
If I were an Astros fan, I'd be fine with the plan what the FO is doing.

Make no bones about a full-blown rebuild through shrewd dealing and drafting/developing and not being overly concerned about Joe Six-Pack Casual Astro's fan. Knowledgeable fans will be on board with this so long as the Astros don't make the same mistakes--which it doesn't appear that they are--the Reds circa '03 made:

1)Receiving pennies on the dollar for proven talents by settling for cash compensation instead of, you know, young talent/prospects to replace departing talent.

2)Holding on to soon-to-be free-agents and coveted veterans under the false pretense of "contending." Then again, IMHO, the Reds brass at the time wouldn't have felt compelled to do so if they would not have received the justifiable backlash for miserably executing point #1.

As for the casual Astro's fan, the lure of facing new opponents in a new league, should provide just enough incentive to attend games, at least for a year or two. So that concern is overblown, IMHO.

traderumor
07-28-2012, 03:11 PM
Yeah, how dare Washington actually make the right decision, blow it up, and then become one of the best teams in baseball!

It has nothing to do with fans or a marriage analogy. It has to do with putting your team in the best position to win games for a decade.But the Reds never did and have the same record as the Nats. Plus, don't you think its a bit premature to anoint your simplistic summary of the Nats "approach" a model?

Also, fans provide a revenue stream, which must be considered.

cumberlandreds
07-28-2012, 03:12 PM
I'd say 2001, 2003, and 2007 indicate otherwise.


IIRC the Reds never lost over 100 games and I don't think they finished last. Very bad teams,yes. But all the way to the bottom like the current Astros,no.

cumberlandreds
07-28-2012, 03:14 PM
But the Reds never did and have the same record as the Nats. Plus, don't you think its a bit premature to anoint your simplistic summary of the Nats "approach" a model?

Also, fans provide a revenue stream, which must be considered.

The Nats are the exception to the rule. It appears they are on the right track but for most teams who have tried this approach it takes much,much longer to get back to being a contender.

Cedric
07-28-2012, 03:16 PM
I wanted to literally blow up my tv when guys like Jimmy Haynes and Paul Wilson were the Reds ace pitcher.

I didn't have fun those years I know that.

Tom Servo
07-28-2012, 03:21 PM
IIRC the Reds never lost over 100 games and I don't think they finished last. Very bad teams,yes. But all the way to the bottom like the current Astros,no.
I wish they had. Might have been able to Justin Verlander in 2004 and Buster Posey in 2008. :(

Revering4Blue
07-28-2012, 03:28 PM
If you don't blow it up you end up with a zombie of a team that may initially appear living on the outside, but is really dead on the inside.


Problem Houston had was dealing with an owner who had grown attached to certain star players. Deals for Lee and Oswalt were on the table for a few seasons and the previous owner shot them down wanting to hang on to being mediocre. You have to know as an owner and GM when to turn the page and move forward.

Spot-on.

With all due respect, how can one argue with either post?

Scrap Irony
07-28-2012, 03:31 PM
But the Reds never did and have the same record as the Nats. Plus, don't you think its a bit premature to anoint your simplistic summary of the Nats "approach" a model?

Also, fans provide a revenue stream, which must be considered.

The model is actually Connie Mack's. His A's teams were either awesome or horrid. There wasn't much in-between.

If you don't like the old-school, pre-free agent model, I can go find many, many other examples. The Nationals are just the latest to use it. Would you prefer the Twins? They sucked for about five years before becoming an AL Central stalwart for a decade in the 90s. How about the Braves of the 80s and 90s? Sucking to greatness following the model I've described.

Sure, the Reds never followed this script. I'd argue that they should have. They could have dealt Adam Dunn for a boatload of prospects, but kept him until he had next to no value. Same with Casey, Pokey Reese, and others. They chose the middle route-- and it didn't work for a decade. They had to get lucky (with Votto, Cueto), spend money on development (Chapman, Latin America), and find a competent GM, not to mention an owner willing to open his pocketbook a bit larger.

Scrap Irony
07-28-2012, 03:32 PM
The Nats are the exception to the rule. It appears they are on the right track but for most teams who have tried this approach it takes much,much longer to get back to being a contender.

Five years of suckitude is a long time in a big market.

Revering4Blue
07-28-2012, 03:37 PM
The model is actually Connie Mack's. His A's teams were either awesome or horrid. There wasn't much in-between.

If you don't like the old-school, pre-free agent model, I can go find many, many other examples. The Nationals are just the latest to use it. Would you prefer the Twins? They sucked for about five years before becoming an AL Central stalwart for a decade in the 90s. How about the Braves of the 80s and 90s? Sucking to greatness following the model I've described.

Sure, the Reds never followed this script. I'd argue that they should have. They could have dealt Adam Dunn for a boatload of prospects, but kept him until he had next to no value. Same with Casey, Pokey Reese, and others. They chose the middle route-- and it didn't work for a decade. They had to get lucky (with Votto, Cueto), spend money on development (Chapman, Latin America), and find a competent GM, not to mention an owner willing to open his pocketbook a bit larger.

How about the mid-to-late 90's A's?

I obviously couldn't agree with you more regarding the Reds. IMHO, that is precisely the model that the Astro's should avoid.

_Sir_Charles_
07-28-2012, 03:43 PM
IIRC the Reds never lost over 100 games and I don't think they finished last. Very bad teams,yes. But all the way to the bottom like the current Astros,no.

And that was part of the problem IMO. Had they REALLY blown it up properly...the wait to get back to contention might not have been so long. But when you go at it in half measures, it takes longer to get the desired result.

Revering4Blue
07-28-2012, 04:06 PM
At the risk of overstating the obvious, without solid drafting/development, no plan will work--not even with a Yankee's sized budget.

Corollary, should a rebuilding team with a solid farm system suddenly find itself in contention, the assests are there to acquire proven talent without bankrupting the farm.

The Astros may well be in that position sooner than one may think if they proceed with the "blow it up" method--certainly faster than the treading water while closer to drowning method.

traderumor
07-28-2012, 04:24 PM
The model is actually Connie Mack's. His A's teams were either awesome or horrid. There wasn't much in-between.

If you don't like the old-school, pre-free agent model, I can go find many, many other examples. The Nationals are just the latest to use it. Would you prefer the Twins? They sucked for about five years before becoming an AL Central stalwart for a decade in the 90s. How about the Braves of the 80s and 90s? Sucking to greatness following the model I've described.

Sure, the Reds never followed this script. I'd argue that they should have. They could have dealt Adam Dunn for a boatload of prospects, but kept him until he had next to no value. Same with Casey, Pokey Reese, and others. They chose the middle route-- and it didn't work for a decade. They had to get lucky (with Votto, Cueto), spend money on development (Chapman, Latin America), and find a competent GM, not to mention an owner willing to open his pocketbook a bit larger.I don't agree that the Braves ever "blew it up" to get to where they were. I'd also disagree with the Twins, but feel free to actually provide the reasoning behind your opinion, oh and provide the "many other examples." A full blown purposeful tear down like this is not that common. Most of your examples are probably going to go from mismanagement to competency, which is how I would characterize the two examples you provide.

DGullett35
07-28-2012, 05:58 PM
I wanted to literally blow up my tv when guys like Jimmy Haynes and Paul Wilson were the Reds ace pitcher.

I didn't have fun those years I know that.

Also Elmer Dessens and Steve Parris.

Scrap Irony
07-28-2012, 07:26 PM
A full blown purposeful tear down like this is not that common. Most of your examples are probably going to go from mismanagement to competency, which is how I would characterize the two examples you provide.

I think you're arguing semantics here. The Braves and Twins took all the flostsam from their rosters and replaced it with youth brought about by higher draft positions and trades with other teams via acquiring prospects.

The Twins example:
After years of playing veterans like Paul Molitor, Kirby Puckett, Bert Blyleven, Dave Winfield, et al., the Twins decided to blow it up. Elected not to re-sign those vets. Went with kids, who weren't ready for prime time. (All of this mirrors the Astros of today.)

In two or three years, the Twins:
Dealt Chuck Knoblauch to Yanks for Cristian Guzman and Eric Milton (among others). Both became big contributors to later teams.
Dealt Rick Aguilera, a veteran closer, for prospect Kyle Lohse (among others).
Dealt for a Rule V draftee, Johan Santana and kept him on the roster the entire year. A team more concerned with winning games doesn't do that.
Dealt a veteran reliever, Hector Corrasco, for Lew Ford, a prospect who blossomed in Minnesota.
Still sucked enough to draft Joe Mauer with the first pick of the 2001 MLB Draft.

The only players who played with Chuck Knoblauch and the AL Central Division-winning team of 2002 were Brad Radke, Eddie Guardado, and LaTroy Hawkins.

Revering4Blue
07-28-2012, 08:03 PM
Speaking of semantics, the terms "blow it up" and "fire sale" are not mutually exclusive.

Blowing it up implies that no player is untouchable, but no players are going to given away below what is presumed market value. In other words--if you want player x, you'll have to cough up the requisite prospects/younger talent.

OTOH, a fire sale too often= salary dump(s), and implies that certain players are deemed too costly or do not factor into future plans. Player X or players Y and Z can be acquired for virtually anything, even cash, market value be darned.

It is pretty clear, at least to me, that the first situation is what is transpiring in Houston.

As for the notion of keeping veterans around just for the sake of selling tickets, well, we all know how that strategy panned out in Cincy.

traderumor
07-28-2012, 11:52 PM
I think you're arguing semantics here. The Braves and Twins took all the flostsam from their rosters and replaced it with youth brought about by higher draft positions and trades with other teams via acquiring prospects.

The Twins example:
After years of playing veterans like Paul Molitor, Kirby Puckett, Bert Blyleven, Dave Winfield, et al., the Twins decided to blow it up. Elected not to re-sign those vets. Went with kids, who weren't ready for prime time. (All of this mirrors the Astros of today.)

In two or three years, the Twins:
Dealt Chuck Knoblauch to Yanks for Cristian Guzman and Eric Milton (among others). Both became big contributors to later teams.
Dealt Rick Aguilera, a veteran closer, for prospect Kyle Lohse (among others).
Dealt for a Rule V draftee, Johan Santana and kept him on the roster the entire year. A team more concerned with winning games doesn't do that.
Dealt a veteran reliever, Hector Corrasco, for Lew Ford, a prospect who blossomed in Minnesota.
Still sucked enough to draft Joe Mauer with the first pick of the 2001 MLB Draft.

The only players who played with Chuck Knoblauch and the AL Central Division-winning team of 2002 were Brad Radke, Eddie Guardado, and LaTroy Hawkins.What you are describing is normal roster turnover by someone who was better at his job than the one he replaced. Also, you didn't present any evidence for the distinction with the Braves, so its not "semantics?" What the Astros have done is much different than your two examples. I see a distinction, but you may have the last word on this part of the discussion.

Phhhl
07-29-2012, 03:12 AM
It's sad because the Astros have been a viable franchise for a largue chunk of its' existence.

Revering4Blue
07-29-2012, 01:24 PM
Not sure where to post this tweet.


Brian McTaggart @brianmctaggart
MLB.com has learned Astros have traded 3B Chris Johnson to Arizona, according to source. More to come.

cumberlandreds
07-29-2012, 01:30 PM
Not sure where to post this tweet.

If true that's just astounding they would trade him. He along with Altuve seemed to me the only young players on that team that has good potential to be really good. If I were an Astro fan I would really,really be disillisioned right now.

Scrap Irony
07-29-2012, 01:40 PM
Mark Krauss and Bobby Borchering. Borchering's a former 1st round pick. 21 years old. Lots of power. LFer. Krauss is a 2nd round pick in the same draft, 24, and also a slugging OFer. (In this case, RF.)

Both are solid prospects with chances at being outstanding players. I'm guessing Krauss will be up with Houston shortly.

Lots to pay, for sure. I really like Johnson. But both Arizona prospects are solid.

_Sir_Charles_
07-29-2012, 01:41 PM
I agree. Johnson getting dealt IS surprising. Looks like it might be a good deal for them though. And as usual...1 for multiple players.

Revering4Blue
07-29-2012, 01:42 PM
Luhnow’s long-term plan taking shape


Owner Jim Crane, speaking before he hired Luhnow as his first and the Astros’ 12th general manager, said he envisioned this as a three-to-five-year project before the team was good again.

In making his big draft splashes with high school players and his trades for primarily talent that’s not close to major league-ready, Luhnow certainly didn’t eat into that timeline. But in being able to move parts of Wandy Rodriguez’s and Brett Myers’ contracts that respectively would have and may have carried over into next year, he was able to finish tearing down in order to build up.

“You can argue that it’s harder to do in this environment because we’re more restricted in terms of what you can spend,” Luhnow said, referring to the new draft and international amateur spending caps.

“You can also argue that given the moves we made this year, we were able to accelerate it because we didn’t have to hold on to our veterans just for appearance’s sake or just to appease the fans who want us to win a few more games in the short-term. By being aggressive in how we’re handling it, I think we’re actually cutting the time short on how long it’s going to take.”

http://blog.chron.com/ultimateastros/2012/07/28/luhnow%E2%80%99s-long-term-plan-taking-shape/

mth123
07-29-2012, 02:41 PM
Great move for the Astros.Johnson is a 27 year old journeyman mostly interchangeable part and they got 2 top position prospects for him.

traderumor
07-29-2012, 02:56 PM
Johnson seemed to be one they'd keep. Luhnow better be right on these picks. Owners have been known to lose their nerve in the middle of rebuilds when they are hemorraging cash. GMs become fall guys.

M2
07-29-2012, 03:05 PM
The Astros should be relegated. They no longer act like a major league team so they should no longer be allowed to play in the major leagues.

cumberlandreds
07-29-2012, 06:41 PM
The Astros should be relegated. They no longer act like a major league team so they should no longer be allowed to play in the major leagues.

They also shouldn't charge their fans full price to watch a AA team. I'm just glad I'm not an Astros fan.

Superdude
07-29-2012, 08:23 PM
They also shouldn't charge their fans full price to watch a AA team. I'm just glad I'm not an Astros fan.

As logical as these moves are, this just irks me a bit as a baseball fan. You can rebuild a team, but at least respect the game enough to field a decent ballclub. That team's a joke right now.

Hoosier Red
07-30-2012, 08:53 AM
I'd argue that bottoming out allows a team to grab one of the top talents available.

A look at the current Washington team confirms that the strategy works.

In 2007, Washington was pretty brutal. They chose to completely rebuild, dealing what veterans they had (that had value), signing others cheaply, and dealing with the growing pains of youth.

They started Zimmerman early.
They started John Lannan early.
Same with Jordan Zimmerman.

As a result of those struggles, they were able to draft Strasburg.

The next season, same plan. Sign some undervalued free agent veterans (Michael Morse, Josh Willingham), make a big contract signing or two (Dunn, for example) with the savings by going young, and dealing more veterans for prospects.

As a result of those struggles, they were able to draft Harper.

They're now among the best teams in baseball.

Houston has to hope its got a Zimmerman to build around. (Johnson may develop into that. So might Lowrie or, more likely, Altuve.) It also needs luck in drafting (and has received some, in Springer DeShields, and others). The Astros also need to sign some underrated veteran free agents in order to deal them as well.

The problem with the plan is two fold. As others have pointed out, 5 years is an awfully long time and a lot of things have to go right. It's hard to say they were able to draxt so and so, therefore the plan was good. They sucked, they were able to draft high(#1 both years) but it appears as if Strasburg and Harper are better than your average #1 draft picks. So unless the Nats specifically tanked to get those two players, there's a fair amount of unknown in there as well.

cumberlandreds
07-30-2012, 09:01 AM
As logical as these moves are, this just irks me a bit as a baseball fan. You can rebuild a team, but at least respect the game enough to field a decent ballclub. That team's a joke right now.

Thanks. You summed up what I have been trying to convey. The least the Astros could do is cut prices to their games by half the rest of the season for putting an inferior and less than major league product on the field.

Scrap Irony
07-30-2012, 10:11 AM
The problem with the plan is two fold. As others have pointed out, 5 years is an awfully long time and a lot of things have to go right. It's hard to say they were able to draxt so and so, therefore the plan was good. They sucked, they were able to draft high(#1 both years) but it appears as if Strasburg and Harper are better than your average #1 draft picks. So unless the Nats specifically tanked to get those two players, there's a fair amount of unknown in there as well.

Yep, it's a long process and you have to get at least a little lucky.

But, if done right (and you get a little lucky), it means you're a pennant contender for a decade. The Marlins have done it three times and been successful twice. But it takes patience on the part of ownership and fans. (It also takes an owner who knows when to open his pocketbook and when not to-- those are typically hard to find.)

Crumbley
07-30-2012, 10:12 AM
The Marlins have done it three times and been successful twice.
And they have a brand new ballpark that's empty.

Scrap Irony
07-30-2012, 10:26 AM
And they have a brand new ballpark that's empty.

The object of the game is to win, not sell tickets.

The Marlins have been able to do that twice despite playing with one hand tied behind their back financially by an owner who was among the worst in all of sports.

Crumbley
07-30-2012, 10:35 AM
The object of the game is to win, not sell tickets.

The Marlins have been able to do that twice despite playing with one hand tied behind their back financially by an owner who was among the worst in all of sports.
If a tree falls in the forest...

Scrap Irony
07-30-2012, 10:37 AM
If a tree falls in the forest...

... It still counts as a fallen tree.

IslandRed
07-30-2012, 10:44 AM
The object of the game is to win, not sell tickets.

Unless you actually own the team, in which case you'd probably prefer that if your team gets good enough to reach the World Series, you still have fans who care that you did.

Scrap Irony
07-30-2012, 10:47 AM
Branch Rickey said that owners of teams want a perennial second-place club, just bad enough not to win. Keeps salaries down and interest up.

traderumor
07-30-2012, 11:05 AM
Branch Rickey said that owners of teams want a perennial second-place club, just bad enough not to win. Keeps salaries down and interest up.Didn't he also get credit for the "30 years old, time to get rid of the guy" axiom that was used as an excuse for trading Frank Robinson?

Chip R
07-30-2012, 11:21 AM
Didn't he also get credit for the "30 years old, time to get rid of the guy" axiom that was used as an excuse for trading Frank Robinson?

Rickey's philosophy was that it was better to trade a player too early than too late.

Revering4Blue
07-30-2012, 03:41 PM
The object of the game is to win, not sell tickets.

The Marlins have been able to do that twice despite playing with one hand tied behind their back financially by an owner who was among the worst in all of sports.

Actually two subpar owners. Wayne Huizenga didn't exactly set the world on fire.

At the end of the day, there are more WS banners in Miami than perennial division champion Atlanta. That's all that counts. I wouldn't bet against it occurring again in the near future.

Revering4Blue
07-30-2012, 03:51 PM
Unless you actually own the team, in which case you'd probably prefer that if your team gets good enough to reach the World Series, you still have fans who care that you did.

So keeping the likes of Wandy Rodriguez, Brett Myers and Chris Johnson around was going to expedite the process?

I doubt that even average casual Astros fans were that attached to the aforementioned three enough to justify staying away from Minute Maid Park.

traderumor
07-30-2012, 04:07 PM
So keeping the likes of Wandy Rodriguez, Brett Myers and Chris Johnson around was going to expedite the process?

I doubt that even average casual Astros fans were that attached to the aforementioned three enough to justify staying away from Minute Maid Park.This misses the point. This type of sell off raises "integrity of the game" eyebrows, such as doing everything possible to secure the #1 pick in the draft, shedding all your payroll while building a war chest of revenue sharing because of poor attendance, and gives an unfair competitive advantage to contending teams that still have the Astros on their schedule after the sell-off. While this may seem to be a reasonable handling, pragmatically speaking, it is a little smelly on the ethical side.

Scrap Irony
07-30-2012, 04:14 PM
Fire sales have been around as long as baseball.

Connie Mack made a living of it.

Kansas City was thought to be a Yankee minor league squad for about a decade.

File this under "N", for Nothing New Under the Sun.

bucksfan2
07-30-2012, 04:54 PM
So keeping the likes of Wandy Rodriguez, Brett Myers and Chris Johnson around was going to expedite the process?

I doubt that even average casual Astros fans were that attached to the aforementioned three enough to justify staying away from Minute Maid Park.

Its an interesting question. Wandy, Brett Myers, and Chris Johnson have little value to the fans because the team was woeful this season. But if you put together a team of Berkman, Wandy, Myers, Johnson, Lee, Pence, and Bourne may not have been so bad.

The key with fire sales is getting the trades right. They traded Berkman at his lowest value and got little in return. They had an awful minor league system but got little MLB value from the Berkman, Pence, and Bourne deals. They have guys hitting 3rd in their lineup that no one has ever heard of. While fire sales make sense they are also much harder to pull off. When teams go into fire sale mode the vultures approach but the return often isn't as high as expected.

traderumor
07-30-2012, 06:04 PM
Fire sales have been around as long as baseball.

Connie Mack made a living of it.

Kansas City was thought to be a Yankee minor league squad for about a decade.

File this under "N", for Nothing New Under the Sun.Prostitution is known as the world's oldest profession, too. That doesn't mean its a good thing to do.

_Sir_Charles_
07-30-2012, 07:11 PM
So keeping the likes of Wandy Rodriguez, Brett Myers and Chris Johnson around was going to expedite the process?

I doubt that even average casual Astros fans were that attached to the aforementioned three enough to justify staying away from Minute Maid Park.

The casual Astro fan lost interest once all three of Bagwell, Biggio and Berkman were gone.

Revering4Blue
07-30-2012, 07:37 PM
This misses the point. This type of sell off raises "integrity of the game" eyebrows, such as doing everything possible to secure the #1 pick in the draft, shedding all your payroll while building a war chest of revenue sharing because of poor attendance, and gives an unfair competitive advantage to contending teams that still have the Astros on their schedule after the sell-off. While this may seem to be a reasonable handling, pragmatically speaking, it is a little smelly on the ethical side.

That's a fair point. And it's one that I do not necessarilly disagree with at all. Unfortunately, the roster that Jeff Luhnow inherited from Ed Wade's run was so bad that rebuilding was about the only option--bad enough that reloading, as opposed to rebuilding, wasn't realistic.

See, IMHO, reloading and contending seems much more likely to work than rebuilding and contending. There is a distinct difference.

I do, however, believe that Luhnow should certainly "throw a bone" to the fans this offseason with a timely free agent signing or two, it doesn't necessarily have to be a big name, just actual MLB-ready talent. If he does not do so, it will only strengthen your lack of ethics point even more.

It will be interesting to see what transpires.

IslandRed
07-30-2012, 10:51 PM
So keeping the likes of Wandy Rodriguez, Brett Myers and Chris Johnson around was going to expedite the process?

I doubt that even average casual Astros fans were that attached to the aforementioned three enough to justify staying away from Minute Maid Park.

I was pointing out the problems (from the perspective of an owner) with using the Marlins as some sort of role model of how to run a franchise. The adulation (and money) from a happy city and fan base is the primary payoff of owning a winning ballclub. When a team poisons its own well to the point where fans leave and don't return even after winning a World Series, you're doing it wrong.

But not every teardown is the same. Even a casual Houston fan can see a reboot is required here, and I agree it's the most reasonable course to take. Like Scrap said, this has been happening for almost as long as there's been professional baseball. It's when a talented team blows itself up and the fan base doesn't see where it was necessary, that's when they hold grudges.