Thursday, December 3, 2015

I Don’t Think the Sox Have Changed Their Philosophy

I think they still think they’re right. I think they still think it’s a stupid move to sign a pitcher to a long term deal when they’re over 30. I think if John Henry gave another presentation on the topic, he’d still pull up the same report showing the same data. He’d still show the sharp decline, and go on and on about what a waste of money those later years end up being.

I don’t think he’s a hypocrite.

I do think that, as I alluded to earlier, the Sox realized they have to make exceptions. Either the Lester contract opened their eyes to it, or Lester wasn’t the exception they were willing to make. But, here’s the one problem with their philosophy.

If you stick to your guns, and only sign reasonable contracts, there won’t be any talented players left to sign. 

Let’s say the Sox stuck to their guns, and didn’t sign any stupid contracts. Who would they be signing? No Price. No Greinke. They’d go to the teams paying out the crazy contracts. No Zimmerman. No Cueto. They’d get stupid deals elsewhere too. Who’s left?


So, the Sox realized that they have to go out on a limb every once in a while. They’re probably swearing up and down at themselves after this deal. Well, actually, they’re probably swearing at the rest of the league for forcing them to make this deal. They know it’s stupid.

It reminds me of drafting high schoolers. It’s stupid. You can’t waste a high draft pick on a kid who’s been playing against 15-year olds. It doesn’t work in baseball. It doesn’t work in basketball. But, it’s almost reached the point where the smart teams are forced to. If you don’t take a stab every once in a while, the stupid teams will have gobbled up all the talent by the time it gets to you. All the college graduates will be the players so bad they weren’t even gambled on by stupid teams.

So, yes. The Sox are right. It’s a boneheaded move to sign a pitcher over 30 to a long term deal. They know it. You probably know it. Every once in a while, though, you have to suck it up and make a dumb decision.

Which is why they went so crazy after Price. If you’re going to make a dumb move, at least be smart about it. They didn’t dump $100 million on Zimmerman coming over from the NL. They didn’t offer the moon to Greinke and his history of never pitching in baseball towns. They didn’t throw all the money they had at someone just because he’s the best available. They saw a guy who has pitched almost his entire career in the AL East. They saw a guy who finished a close second in the Cy Young race this year, and already has the award under his belt. They saw a guy who is great with younger pitchers, and is well known as an amazing teammate. They saw a true ace. And, they saw a guy that wouldn’t cost them a draft pick. Price was the best that’s come up in quite some time. Better than Lester. Better than Scherzer. They saw that. So, they decided if they were going to go for it, they needed to go for it. Because as much as they were holding Greinke as a back-up plan, it was a Plan Z, not a Plan B. They knew it. So, they went really stupid. The contract will be terrible either way. At least with Price, they knew the good parts would be better.

So, the Sox aren’t wishy washy. They didn’t panic. They haven’t been lying to us. They’re not hypocrites. They just knew that every once in a while you had to break from your mold. For every five Bill Mueller contracts, you need one Manny Ramirez. In a rotation full of Derek Lowe money, you need a Pedro Martinez. Every smart plan needs a stupid exception.

And David Price was the smartest stupid exception out there.

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