A lot of palaver this spring centers around the $220 million payroll that the Los Angeles Dodgers are unabashedly sporting, but as far as I’m concerned, and I’m paraphrasing here, it’s a lot of hot air that doesn’t mean squat. I don’t mean that the Dodgers will not stand a chance because their team is store-bought; I simply mean that our guys stack up well, and the Giants did it the old-fashioned way by drafting and developing their future stars.
In his address to reporters this morning, Larry Baer emphasized that the Giants intend to continue to develop players within the organization, while selectively adding specific players, and that the disparity in payroll between the Dodgers and the Giants, is historically not that odd. Only a short time ago the Giants were $30 million-$40 million ahead of the Dodgers in terms of payroll, and that was OK too; there is more than one way to craft a championship team.
The Dodgers have created a certain amount of Giants’ fan concern through their high-profile trades, stockpiling well-known brand names with imposing stats, and signing ace Clayton Kershaw for a boatload of loot. They are playing for all the marbles. But is it enough? Will the players have each other’s back?
The Giants, on the other hand, acquired half of their starting position players and four-fifths of their starting rotation, not to mention their closer, from within the organization and are also clearly going all-out for the title. Brian Sabean has demonstrated a consistency during his tenure, of shoring up weak areas prior to the trade deadline. Larry Baer indicated this morning that there was still wriggle-room for this to happen this season.
Two different outfits and two different methods of gittin’ er done, but one way would seem to make much better sense than the other, not only in terms of quality play but also in terms of bang-for-your-buck. Producing home-grown products makes better sense because all teams are going to emphasize organizational-wide traits that mesh with their circumstances. The Giants emphasize speed and defense, primarily because they play in a park which is spacious and unique. Home run production is not as critical to the Orange and Black, because AT&T is just too big; better to seek hitters who can spray the ball around and let it find the gaps, than to hold your breath waiting for one to go over the wall. That could be hazardous to your health.
Filling a roster through trades and free agent signings, works well on paper, but often only until the paper starts to shred. Players arbitrarily brought together bring diverse personalities and mindsets to the field, and sometimes those players find it harder to get on the same page than management and fans would like. Unhappiness abounds, fingers begin to point and it takes too long to fix. Maybe a team gets it together and maybe it doesn’t.
No, when it comes to store-bought versus home-grown, I have to suggest that I am not the first to believe that home-grown’s always going to be better than store-bought.