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The Comeback: Who Wants to Lose?


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Baltimore Orioles — You could argue that by refusing to trade Manny Machado, the Orioles are preparing for a playoff run. You could also, more convincingly, argue that by failing to surround Machado with any notable acquisitions, they are giving themselves little shot in the coming campaign.



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I just wanted to do a quick google search of team revenues (which I provided 2016 and the payrolls were from start of 2017) of the teams that were not identified in The Comeback's list:

  • New York Yankees (1st in revenue and 2nd in payroll)
  • Los Angeles Dodgers (2nd in revenue and 1st in payroll)
  • Boston Red Sox (3rd in revenue and 3rd in payroll)
  • Chicago Cubs (4th in revenue and 8th in payroll)
  • San Francisco Giants (5th in revenue and 7th in payroll)
  • Los Angeles Angels (6th in revenue and 11th in payroll)
  • St. Louis Cardinals (9th in revenue and 14th in payroll)
  • Washington Nationals (10th in revenue and 9th in payroll)
  • Houson Astros (11th in revenue and 18th in payroll)
  • Cleveland Indians (17th in revenue and 17th in payroll)
  • Colorado Rockies (24th in revenue and 16th in payroll)
  • Milwaukee Brewers (26th in revenue and 30th in payroll)

Obviously, the first thing that is going to jump out at you is that the majority of the teams are in the higher end of the earned revenue and also the majority are top 15 payroll. Now, the teams that aren't at the top of the revenue boards, could probably be accused of doing the exact thing that The Comeback is accusing these other teams of doing for years. The Brewers, Rockies, Indians and Astros are not teams that you think of when it comes to perennial contenders. You have to draft well, for years, and then be ready to spend when the time is right (as the Brewers feel it is, for instance). Higher revenue teams, typically are going to rebuild/heal much faster than mid to small market teams. 

For instance, the Orioles (22nd in revenue in 2016 and 10th in payroll in 2017 btw) could greatly improve themselves if they went out and signed Darvish, Arrieta, but would that really be enough to fix this team? Not really when you exam the flaws in our line up. A team like the Orioles has to build smart. I wouldn't say that the Orioles aren't interested in winning this year. I would say because of some of our past decisions over several years (you can include not extending Manny years ago, if you want) the Orioles have placed themselves in a much more difficult position than they needed to be in. The Astros did a great job rebuilding that team (from the very grave, mind you), but in a few years will they be on The Comeback's list when they can't afford to resign all of their young superstars? It's difficult to build a contender and even harder to consistently maintain it. Their revenue spot will hopefully make it easier for them to maintain, but you never know.

I'm not really a fan of burn it to the ground and start fresh rebuilds because you can have a depressing product for so many years. But, if the revenue isn't there especially, you really have to draft smart, take care of your prospects (and they need to pan out, first and foremost) and then you can spend on shorter term enhancement pieces or to keep the essential stars of your team. Now, if you are the Mets or Phillies, you did it to yourself. You have the market to really sustain yourself so, once they are rebuilt, they need to do a much better job at maintenance. I think a lot of the teams on the Comeback's List are nurturing some of the younger players and then in a few years you will see them strike on some free agent signings to try and go to that next level.

And this was all my long winded way of saying, "building a contender takes time, patience and, most importantly, is hard." Baseball doesn't usually provide immediate gratification and sometimes being painfully mediocre can be just as frustrating as totally inept.

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