Let me clarify my small market comment. The way I meant it was that I am tired of hearing John Allen use it every time the Reds can't get a player or finish under .500. I am fully aware that the margin of error for a small market team is much, much smaller than it is for the Yankees. However, looking at the success of other teams in the league, one can't argue that no success is possible in a small market. It is harder, but doable. That was my point. The excuse I was referring to was the usage of the small market whenever we screw up or when Allen wants to comment about revenue sharing. We can do better than what we are doing now, it is obvious.
Of course, it's doable for a small market team to compete IF they get extremely lucky and all the cards fall just right.
When you start tracking the teams that make the post season, you will discover that much of their season is filled with incredible good luck.. They might have 2-3 position players who have awesome seasons at the plate. A pitcher or two will come out of nowhere and put up great numbers. Most of the time, a few guys have career years. Injuries are at a minimum. The bench/bullpen has extraordinary years. That was the Reds in 1999.
PLUS, not only does it require a lot of luck, but it also requires that your division rivals have poor luck. If key injuries hits your division rival, or the rival team hits a slump, it ultimately helps your team. The Reds benefitted from this the first half of 2002. The Cards and Astros were struggling and that helped the Reds. Take the California Angels this year. if Seattle hadn't self destructed at times during the season, it kind of makes you wonder if the Angels would have even made the post-season.
That's how small market teams compete. Oakland has gotten lucky because certain players have been availible when they drafted them. And they have been lucky because they have been relatively injury free. You let a couple of those young stud pitchers develop arm trouble, and spend an extended amount of time on the DL, and suddenly the A's are back in the cellar with the rest of us small market flunkies.
The difference between the small market teams and the large market teams is that teams with $$$$ can overcome bad luck by replacing/moving slumping/injured players with more players. Even if the Reds bring in Bartolo Colon, and make all the fans happy, what happens when Colon goes on the DL for two months? There are no replacements and there's no money to bring in another Colon-caliber pitcher. OTOH, the Yankees can stock up on eight starting pitchers. If three of them go on the DL, they still have five others. If Derrick Jeter goes down to a season ending injury, the Yankees can afford to go out and trade for ARod to replace him. If Bernie Williams goes on the DL, the Yankees can go out and trade for Jim Edmunds. But if Larkin goes down, the Reds can only afford to pay Juan Castro. If Junior goes out, the Reds can only afford Reggie Taylor. THAT'S where being a small market team bites you in the rear.