Goatriders of the Apocalypse

How to build a winner

I just spent about half an hour writing a thoughtful piece on different strategies for building a winning team.  Then, when I went to save it for publishing, it mysteriously vanished.  Damned gremlins.

Anyway, I don't have time to rewrite it right now, but I will try to publish it tonight when I have a chance.  Instead, I'll just open the topic to everybody ... in your opinion, what's the best method for building a winning team?  The Yankee Method?  The Rays Method?  The Cubs Method? 

Discuss, and don't assume your perception of those methods are universal ... if you pick one, please define it too.

Good Question

I think it would be difficult to choose just one method for any team since every team has its own unique situation; concerning location, revenues, and current rosters. Any fool could operate the Yankee's system, but only they can afford it, so theirs' would be useless to the cubs. The Rays also are a product of their environment, where unless the cubs intend to have a fire-sale and become the worst team in baseball for 6-8 years their method doesn't really apply to where the cubs are at right now either. The Red Sox probably represent the closest comparison to the cubs in terms of current situation, where the cubs could likely benefit by looking more closely at how the sox system operates.

For me, any system's success depends on consistency, and the cub's drafting and player development system has zero consistency. Most of the players tabbed for success coming out of the farm system never pan out, and then other players the organization continually overlooks come out of nowhere and produce - where both situations happen far too often. So an organizational change has to take place, both in philosophy and practice. For the past ten plus years the cub's organization has stockpiled 6 foot 6 hard throwing right handed pitchers, while in that time 3 have risen through the system and only one remains with the team. The team has lacked true lefty-righty balance with the pitching staff and batting order for just as long or longer as well. And any team that can go a decade without producing a single game-changing position player has to consider fine-tuning their process at some point. The fact that these problems exist is an issue, but the fact that they persist is the true problem.

The cubs simply lack a system that they, themselves, believe in. I believe if the team developed a stronger international scouting reach along with changing how they evaluate players within the system, then the team could ultimately be more successful. But these problems in tandem with no real ownership group have all been too much to overcome at once.

So for me, I think the cubs need to develop their own system, that they believe in, and build it from the ground up. After the team does that, then they can begin to look around at what other teams are doing and cherry-pick the best ideas that the others use. Surely the team could benefit from valuing prospects on the level that the Rays do or spending money the way the Yankees/Red Sox do, but if they don't have their own system established to add these new ideas to then making those changes won't have much effect. A team can always find new horses to hitch to the carriage, but if the carriage is already broken then it doesn't really matter which horses you have pulling it.

our decent track

our decent track record with mid-level prospects makes me not so sad to see the cubs trade for quantity instead of quality. it comes down to a simple point. do you put all of your eggs in one basket, or do you spread those eggs out.

I hope that in the future the cubs can have a better record with higher profile players, but on the same note i am not sold on sinking huge signing bonuses into young players that may bust. I like the draft this season. Andrew Cashner could become a very effective major league pitcher, and ryan flaherty could so the same in the infield. Neither of these were bank breakers but both have upside.

I guess my answer to the question would be to keep the system the cubs have; a mixture of player development and trades/free agent signings. However, i would like to see them increase their play in the foreign markets like Venezuela and the Dominican, all while increasing their scouting of draft eligible amateurs.

It's obvious.

Sign Kevin Millar. He's a WINNER!


Whatever you want to call the Yankee method, I'll take it. I think it's having the most money and winning the most championships. I'm a big fan of both.

red sox. brilliant in the

red sox. brilliant in the draft, great at developing talent, and willing to use top tier revenues to sign the free agents they want, no matter the cost.

It wasn't very long ago

that the Red Sox wouldn't pay their top FA's either.

A couple of things to note however when building an organization. The minor league system is designed to help the big club and that can happen a couple of different ways. The players they develop can either grow into roles on the big club or they can be traded for complimentary pieces to add to the big club.

It has frustrated me to see so few position players drafted by the Cubs develop in to quality MLB players on the team or when traded. Still I think Hendry's plan has been to draft pithcers when in doubt, based on the assumption that their future value will always be in greater demand.

If the Cubs were a small market team, they would most certainly need to change the way they identify talent in the draft and may very well need to replace some in charge of development. But as of now, their plan seems to be working as they have a pretty good record on drafting good pitching talent.

What should not be overlooked however is the owners willingness to continue spending and that is my biggest concern, down economy or not.

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