Originally Posted by RedsManRick
Good post, M2. There's a lot to be said for the value of simply not shooting yourself in the foot. Very few teams are truly "great". The differences between a 90 win playoff team and an 78 win also-ran can often be the sum of a number of small choices combined with a bit of luck.
A few hundred less Corey Patterson PA, a few more Dunn batting 3rd and BP batting 6th, a bit of EE leaning to set his feet. Talent is certainly determinant #1, but good management on the fringes of the roster and in the dugout can add up quickly.
- Don't waste PA on guys who provided sub-replacement production except late in the game when those players are being used as defensive replacements to protect a lead.
- Don't give away outs to score a run in the first few innings of a game where you normally need to score 4 or more to win.
- Don't push your starters to max effort every single time out
- Pay attention to platoon splits
- Maximize the PA of the guys who produce the most
- Don't pay millions to replicate the production you're likely to get for "free" from a guy who just needs the opportunity
- Realize that winning is not about "good pitching" or "good hitting" -- particularly not as represented by any statistic like ERA or AVG. It's about scoring more runs than you allow. That's some combination of offense, defense, and pitching. They all count and being very poor at any one of them is a virtual guarantee that you aren't playoff bound.
This stuff isn't rocket science. But few teams this side of the Bronx have enough talent to overcome the accumulated impact of frequent minor mistakes.
To add to the main points.
Winning === Chemistry don't try to pay for it.
I hate the terms "winner", "gamer", "gritty", and "plays the game the right way". Very few players step out of the batting box and run to third. Avoid boneheads, but don't over value the attribute.
People hated Adam Dunn for his laid back image and attitude. On a winning team he would be praised as a level headed player who never gets too excited and keeps it real. On a poor team he was a slacker in the eyes of many.