Monday, November 9, 2015

There’s More Than One Way to Win

There’s More Than One Way to Win

You hear it all the time in football. (Actually, you hear most good examples in football because the smaller number of games tends to magnify issues.) But, you’ hear it all the time. How does this team expect to win with so-and-so at quarterback? How does that team expect to win without a pass rush? How does any team expect to win without a solid running back? 

Without fail, those questions are answered with cases where teams have, in fact won with even Joe Flacco at quarterback. But, the teams just needed to compensate for that deficiency in other areas. The Ravens win with marginal quarterback play by having an elite defense. Tom Brady won a Super Bowl with any number of unassuming running backs. And who needs a pass rush if you have Revis shutting down half the field at a time?

In fact, that’s always been my problem with Bill Parcells saying he ought to be able to shop for the groceries. On Iron Chef, they don’t let them pick the ingredients. They see who the best chef if by giving them all the same ingredient. So, if Parcells was a good coach, he should be able to win with whatever happened to be in his pantry. 

Bill Belichick is the master of this, of course. He wins with whatever talent is available. Give me a talented runner? OK. I’ll call for a run heavy offense. Give me Randy Moss? Let’s throw that ball deep every chance we get. Lose Moss? OK, those quick dump offs should work. You need to build you team around what you have at the ready.

What does all this have to do with the Red Sox?


The Sox are headed to the offseason, and the winter meetings, needing to fix some holes. People are begging for an ace. Others are begging for the Sox to drop some dead weight. Or to trade the prospects. Or to hold the prospects. 

I think that Dave Dombrowski needs to be smart enough to know he needs to do all of those at once. 

He’s already said that nobody is untouchable. Absolutely the correct attitude. If you hang up when a conversation begins with “Bogaerts” you’ll never know if it ends with “Strasberg and Harper.” It probably won’t. But, you can’t shut yourself off. You can’t go into the offseason with blinders on. “I have my shortstop…look for an ace. I have my shortstop…look for an ace.” Sometimes an opportunity will present itself that’s different, but still a way to win. Maybe the Sox find that the best option is, in fact, to put Hanley back in left. Maybe using one of the young outfielders to trade for an ace is a different angle that needs to be explored. Maybe the ace market goes sky high, and the best idea is a slightly better attempt at the “I’m the ace” rotation of 2015. Maybe then the best idea is to target some cheaper option out of the pen. 

That’s what should make the offseason so exciting. It’s not a time to put all your eggs in one basket. It’s not a time to sell the farm for a guy just because you assumed that’s what you wanted when you started.

It’s time to have some discussions. See what’s out there. See what’s available. See what types of players will help you win.

Then go after those.

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