This thread here on the ORG made me think a little about how small market teams can deal with the current state of the MLB and still compete. I've been complaining for a long time about how MLB is unfair to small market teams and that they really have no chance. However, innovative people are capable of succeeded no matter what the rules. And that is what will be necessary for a small market team to compete in the changing market place.
So this thread is to throw out your idea on how the small market teams (mainly the Reds) can be innovative in this time of disparingly large margins between the rich and poor in MLB.
My suggestion is to no longer have starting pitchers on the pay roll. Take your 12 or 13 pitching roster spots and make them all relief pitchers. Each pitcher pitches 2 to 3 innings a game, rest a game or two and comes out and does it again.
The benefits that I see are:
- a 4th starter is costing more and more every season. small market teams can't afford any type of decent starting pitching on open market. However they can afford relievers. The bulk of your staff will be made up of pitchers making between league minimum and a million dollars a year. You might add in a player or two between 1 and 2 million.
- the opposing team will only see a pitcher once a game, twice at the most. I think everyone agrees that the first time through the line-up the pitcher has the advantage.
- You can have flame throwers and soft tossers back to back to keep the other offence from getting used to one type of pitching. The variety would keep opposing teams on their toes. And if you try and have a righty and lefty go back to back you can really screw with plattoon positions on the opposing teams.
- The pitchers we develop will have a much lower value on the open market since another team would have to build up their stamina if they wanted to make them a starter.
- Relievers (are generally) easier to replace than starters.
- The entire pitching staff would be less than 20 million and if a team was adept at developing relievers they could probably be between 10 and 15 million. For the Reds that would give then between 55 and 65 million for position players. I think the Reds could be very capable of putting a good offense on the field with 65 million available.
- Pitchers would never have to bat and giving an NL team an almost AL look (however you would have to go through 3 to 4 bench players as pinch hitters a game).
- Injuries - I would think that pitchers would get injured a whole lot less if they weren't going 6 or 7 innings at a pop.
The obvious negatives of this would be:
- It would be very difficult to sign a highly touted drafted pitcher with this model.
- Nostalagia - no chance of watching a pitcher, with this model, throw a no hitter or perfect game.
- Minor league pitching prospects would never hold much value for trades since they would be working as relievers.
So that's my idea for a small market team to try some innovative in an attempt to create success in the current business of MLB.