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Thread: Building A Team

  1. #1
    2009: Fail Ltlabner's Avatar
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    Building A Team

    We all want 5 HOF starters, a bullpen full of lights-out closers, a top flight offsense and defense that is chock full of range and glove skills. Throw in a little base running speed and that mystical notion of "clutch" and you've got yourself a darn good little baseball team.

    The money relalities are such that you've got to "cut some corners" somewhere and realize that fininical limitations do exist. That doesn't mean that having unlimited resources buys you wins (sorry George) or that teams with smaller warchests can't compete (hello Twins, Cards, Braves and A's).

    So, with this long introduction, if you are building a team and deciding where to allocate your resources, where do you "spend a little extra" and where do you "cut back" to live within your means? What skills are critical to success, what can you live without, or live with in lesser quantities?

    A prime example might be, 2 studs, a good #3 and a #4 and #5 that can at least keep you in games instead of 5 Roger Clemons clones.
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    I simply don't have access to a "cares about RBI" place in my psyche. There is a "mildly curious about OBI%" alcove just before the acid filled lake guarded by robot snipers with lasers which leads to the "cares about RBI" antechamber though. - Nate

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    Member Marc D's Avatar
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    Re: Building A Team

    With an eye towards the playoffs I'd cut back a bit in the 4th and 5th starters department as well as the middle relief types and spend a bit more on offense. Being better than everyone else at the backend of the rotation and bullpen will win a lot of games in the regular season but doesn't translate well into the playoffs imo. I'd rather have the top end pitching and a healthy offense to go with it.

  4. #3
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    Re: Building A Team

    With the way the amatuer draft happens today, I would commit a lot of resources to the international scouting market.

    On the big club, I think most everyone will agree that pitching should be the focus of the budget.

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    Beer is good!! George Anderson's Avatar
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    Re: Building A Team

    Quote Originally Posted by FutureRedsGM View Post
    With the way the amatuer draft happens today, I would commit a lot of resources to the international scouting market.

    On the big club, I think most everyone will agree that pitching should be the focus of the budget.
    I agree 100%. The Reds need to focus on hiring the top notch scouts in all of MLB. Look at the glory years of this franchise and you will see the core players came up thru the farm system. The Reds are not going to outspend or even spend at the same level as the large market teams, so they have to rely on the farm system. Whatever time and effort the Reds have focused on the amateur drafts in the past needs to be tripled in order to get this farm system to produce players needed to compete at a championship level. I wanna see less C. J. Nitkowski's, Steve Gibralter's and Chad Mottola's and more Barry Larkin's, Pete Rose's and Johnny Bench's coming out of the farm system.
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    Hisssssssss Yachtzee's Avatar
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    Re: Building A Team

    I think i would focus my scouting and development on starting pitching. I think that unless you are the Yankees, you have to draft and develop your own starters. Free Agent starters are expensive and a big gamble, considering they could injure themselves right after signing the big FA contact with you. Better to have your own pitching with some in reserve. With more options at starter, you have flexibility in that you have someone to step in when a pitcher gets hurt, you have available pitchers to be converted to closer or middle relief, and you can always trade starters for needs at other positions.

    Other than starting pitching, scout and draft best talent available regardless of need. Just because the farm system lacks depth at second base doesn't mean that the next draft should be used to seek out middle infielders if there's a limited amount of talent there. At the major league level, I think trades and free agency can be used to fill holes in the lineup a lot easier than holes in the rotation. At this point I think offense is a lot cheaper to buy on the market than pitching and it is likely to be that way for a long time.
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    Battle Toad Historian thatcoolguy_22's Avatar
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    Re: Building A Team

    My financial breakdown would look something like this:

    Starting Pitching 40%
    Legitimate #1 and #1a with slightly above league average guy in 3 slot (4.00-4.3 ERA) and hopefully I can have some home grown talent on the backend to save a little money.

    Infield 25%
    Defensive minded middle with offensive corners.

    Outfield 15%
    Defense Defense Defense! Easier to keep speedier steal threats from your own organization and smaller trades. Budget can remain low.

    Bullpen 15%
    No need for a dominant closer. (There really are only a couple of those anyways) I would look for someone with a skillset similar to Antonio Alfonseca. Not necessarily dominant at all but can throw high heat mixed with some breaking pitches.


    Bench 5%
    Contact guys. You cannot stress this enough. Whats the good of a bench that strikes out .300?





    I think this would be the blueprint to a defensive minded and pitching first team with a little pop.
    "Last week I helped my friend stay put. It's a lot easier'n helpin' 'em move. I just went over to his house and made sure that he did not start to load **** into a truck."

  8. #7
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    Re: Building A Team

    One thing nobody has mentioned that I would be intrigued to do:

    Take failed hitting prospects and put them on the mound...maybe even develop knuckleballers. Found a cheap reservoir of back end of the rotation/middle relief guys in the farm that can be turned over with little dropoff in performance and cost.

    Another idea I had, and this is likely a "small market" mentality, but overspend in the FO. Keep state of the art technology for developing players and new scouting methods, overstaff on market analysts to help determine which aspects of the game are undervalued, which are overvalued, and keep an eye out for paradigm shifts. Don't overpay unless it is for a specific commodity to push your team into the playoffs: for that big stack of cash, and then reinvest.

    Basically, develop a plan and stick to it. Great thread idea, ltlabner.

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    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
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    Re: Building A Team

    I would sign a deal with Castro that automatically awards the rights of any Cuban ballplayer to the Reds...

    Seriously, here's some of the philosophical rules I'll impose on my GM after I buy a major league team (generally derived from the goal of building a roster with as much reward as possible while minimizing the risk while having a legitimate chance at the playoffs):

    1. The majority of the roster should be built from players the farm developed or via trades.

    2. Free agency shouldn't be completely avoided but it should mostly be relied upon for the acquisition of useful parts (i.e. a Delluci or Catalanatto with the rare exception of when the $12M/yr guy provides the roster with a clear value when weighing projected performance against salary).

    3. Never draft for need unless the best available talent actually fits your need.

    4. Help strengthen your AAA shuttle by investing in signing minor league free agents.

    5. Avoid most long term contracts-especially for pitchers.

    6. The best way to build a major league roster is around hitters-earmark roughly 65% of payroll for this.

    7. Budget for wins rather than setting a payroll budget (figure out how many wins you'll need to make the playoffs and budget to acquire them-assuming it's doable- rather than predetermining what you want to spend and then forcing the roster to fit the figure).
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

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    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: Building A Team

    I'd focus on youth in the back of the rotation. I'd rather bring up my best AAA starter and let them eat innings cheaply than bring in some ancient vet or failed major league free agent and pay them to be below average. If the kids fail, at least they'll learn.

    I'd hire excellent teachers to be my bullpen coaches. Then I'd acquire a bunch of young, minor league power arms with control problems, as they tend to be slightly cheaper. I'd rely on my coaching staff to help them find consistency and mold them into quality relievers.

    And if some of those AAA starters can't handle the #5 spot in the major league rotation, their next stop is the bullpen. I'd make it clear that the bullpen is the backbone of the team, and that it isn't a "demotion" but a redefinition of their role.
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    Charlie Brown All-Star IslandRed's Avatar
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    Re: Building A Team

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    Seriously, here's some of the philosophical rules I'll impose on my GM after I buy a major league team (generally derived from the goal of building a roster with as much reward as possible while minimizing the risk while having a legitimate chance at the playoffs):

    (Snip)

    7. Budget for wins rather than setting a payroll budget (figure out how many wins you'll need to make the playoffs and budget to acquire them-assuming it's doable- rather than predetermining what you want to spend and then forcing the roster to fit the figure).
    Does this philosophy assume you have an endless reservoir of cash? :

    That would seem to be useful primarily to say, even though I can afford X, there's no reason to budget X if I can realistically expect to make the playoffs spending 20 million less than that. The problem comes if budgeting to make the playoffs comes out to 20 million more than X. (And let's assume that X already accounts for the increased revenue from a playoff run.) You said "assuming it's doable," but if there's a do-not-exceed number that defines "doable," then you still have a payroll budget.
    Not all who wander are lost

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    Re: Building A Team

    Quote Originally Posted by George Anderson View Post
    I agree 100%. The Reds need to focus on hiring the top notch scouts in all of MLB. Look at the glory years of this franchise and you will see the core players came up thru the farm system. The Reds are not going to outspend or even spend at the same level as the large market teams, so they have to rely on the farm system. Whatever time and effort the Reds have focused on the amateur drafts in the past needs to be tripled in order to get this farm system to produce players needed to compete at a championship level. I wanna see less C. J. Nitkowski's, Steve Gibralter's and Chad Mottola's and more Barry Larkin's, Pete Rose's and Johnny Bench's coming out of the farm system.
    I agree and realize Bench was a 2nd round pick, Carbo was their first that year. Until free agency came on the scene the Reds had one of the best if not the best system from top to bottom in all of Baseball. I would have liked to have seen what that team would have accomplished if it had not been dismantled by Free Agency.

    We have to build from scouting!!

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    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
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    Re: Building A Team

    Quote Originally Posted by IslandRed View Post
    Does this philosophy assume you have an endless reservoir of cash? :

    That would seem to be useful primarily to say, even though I can afford X, there's no reason to budget X if I can realistically expect to make the playoffs spending 20 million less than that. The problem comes if budgeting to make the playoffs comes out to 20 million more than X. (And let's assume that X already accounts for the increased revenue from a playoff run.) You said "assuming it's doable," but if there's a do-not-exceed number that defines "doable," then you still have a payroll budget.

    I'd bet over the course of a decade, most teams would actually save payroll by adopting this approach.
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

  14. #13
    2009: Fail Ltlabner's Avatar
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    Re: Building A Team

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    7. Budget for wins rather than setting a payroll budget (figure out how many wins you'll need to make the playoffs and budget to acquire them-assuming it's doable- rather than predetermining what you want to spend and then forcing the roster to fit the figure).
    Isn't the number to wins always going to range from the high 80's to 95+ games to win (with some exceptions)? So it's not like there's a huge variation. So if you're Pittsburg/KC for example, your budget would have to exapand significnatly to get to those additional wins to get into that 10 to 15 game "playoff wins" range. My guess is, they would have to spend a huge amount of money to undue the problems in the originization and buy some comptetitiveness. My guess is that ownership would either not want to, or more likely, not be able to do this.

    And if the budget to achieve the magic number of wins exceedes what the business can support? Then what....call a "pass" on the season and sit it out?
    Last edited by Ltlabner; 02-12-2007 at 09:12 PM.
    a super volcano of ridonkulous suckitude.

    I simply don't have access to a "cares about RBI" place in my psyche. There is a "mildly curious about OBI%" alcove just before the acid filled lake guarded by robot snipers with lasers which leads to the "cares about RBI" antechamber though. - Nate

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    Big Red Machine RedsBaron's Avatar
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    Re: Building A Team

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigredfan#1 View Post
    I agree and realize Bench was a 2nd round pick, Carbo was their first that year. Until free agency came on the scene the Reds had one of the best if not the best system from top to bottom in all of Baseball. I would have liked to have seen what that team would have accomplished if it had not been dismantled by Free Agency.

    We have to build from scouting!!
    I agree that the farm system is critical, but the BRM began to decay prior to free agency. While the team was at its peak in 1975-76, the farm system was already in decline by then, as a series of drafts failed to produce the next generation of talent to follow after the Roses, Benchs, Perezs et al produced by the farm system in the 1960s.
    "Hey...Dad. Wanna Have A Catch?" Kevin Costner in "Field Of Dreams."

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    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
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    Re: Building A Team

    Quote Originally Posted by Ltlabner View Post
    Isn't the number to wins always going to range from the high 80's to 95+ games to win (with some exceptions)?
    Most likely but the key is to thoughtfully and honestly evaluate how many wins the current roster is likely going to win and identify the holes. Hypothetically fill the holes with replacement level players and determine how many additional wins it would take to reach the playoffs. Multiply the number of needed wins by the cost of a marginal win (it's around $3M these days) and request a payroll reflecting that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ltlabner View Post
    So if you're Pittsburg/KC for example, your budget would have to exapand significnatly to get to those additional wins to get into that 10 to 15 game "playoff wins" range. My guess is, they would have to spend a huge amount of money to undue the problems in the originization and buy some comptetitiveness. My guess is that ownership would either not want to, or more likely, not be able to do this.

    And if the budget to achieve the magic number of wins exceedes what the business can support? Then what....call a "pass" on the season and sit it out?
    Obviously its dumb for a team that thinks its sitting at 65 wins to spend $45M more to get to 80 wins. A team like KC shouldn't buy a Meche in lieu of actually running their organization well because whatever marginal wins they may gain (and they're paying him like they expect 3 this year), really are useless. But its prudent for a team that thinks it's sitting on 83 wins to spend an additional $24M because the payday for playoff and world series appearances is typically huge. So payroll would be expected to be smaller for teams rebuilding and it should expand as your team gets closer to pay dirt.

    Importantly, this strategy isn't in lieu of running your organization well. This strategy provides a tool that helps a well run organization by giving the FO flexibility that allows some really intriguing long term planning. It doesn't trump my other guidelines-its useful in conjunction with them (i.e. win-based budgeting isn't carte blanche to be foolish in a free agent market). It should lead to a more efficient use of payroll.

    Also, this isn't an absolute-there are lots of exceptions. There are business reasons KC might want to sign a FA (or the Reds might sign a Milton) that can be completely unrelated to actual wins (i.e. trying to sell season tickets by juicing the fans). That just wouldn't be the kind of crap that my team would do.
    Last edited by jojo; 02-12-2007 at 10:31 PM.
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner


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