If we are to learn anything from the way the Royals dominated the league this year, and won the World Series, it’s that the way to make a successful team is to build through the farm system. If you look at the 10 teams that made the playoffs this year, 8 of them were young teams that were built through the minors, with the addition of cheap and influential veterans. Teams that picked up expensive big name players at the deadline to help them make a final push to the playoffs, like the Mets acquiring Cespedes and the blue Jays acquiring Price, don’t have too much to worry about paying for them because they were basically half year rentals. But for teams like the Royals, you notice they are mostly made up of their young core that came up together, creating a good chemistry, and then adding cheap veterans at the deadline like Ben Zobrist. So baseball has become a game built off of young development players.
So looking into this upcoming free agent market, it is definitely a good idea for some teams to stay away from the big names, and just keep to building their team out of young and upcoming stars. If we look back at the last few years of the offseason in the MLB, one will noticed that a majority of athletes have been getting this massive contracts, and not many of them have been panning out. Many of the players have been underperforming, and have been unable to live up to their expectations made from previous seasons. If you look at some of the teams that made some of the biggest offseason moves, the Chicago White Sox, the Washington Nationals, the Seattle Mariners and the San Diego Padres, you will notice that these teams were near the bottom with some of the worst records in baseball last year. These teams went out to make a statement that they were to be taken seriously this upcoming season, having some of the best rosters on paper, and they completely blew it. Their big players got paid way over the top and most of them weren’t able to play up to their previous season, which is why they were being paid so much in the first place.
Not only have some of these players been over paid, but a lot them have been given long term contracts, so if they don’t turn it around, you are stuck with them for years to come. The Yankees and the C.C. Sabathia contract is starting to catch up to them, because although he has been dominate for much of his time in New York, the last 3 have been extremely poor, and New York is stuck with him for at least 2 more years, paying him over 20 million dollars both of those years. They even went out and signed Jacoby Ellsbury to a seven year, $153 million contract, in which the guy has either been batting in the mid .200s, or has been sitting on the bench with an injury. When you look at the contract that Robinson Cano received, one will notice that he has been living up to expectation with his numbers, but his team has not even been able to reach the playoffs in the 2 years, in which he has played for them and the team does not look to have a strong future in store. They spent so much money on him that they weren’t able to put enough pieces around him.
There is no reason to deny that it would obviously be great to go out and add a player like David Price to your roster over the offseason, but the question remains if you are willing to take the risk to give a guy a maximum contract. If this player doesn’t pan out, you could be paying them an overabundance of cash that is underserving, and end up making a fool out of your team’s management. This player would probably not even be in the majors anymore if it weren’t for the fact that your management would be throwing away so much money on them. With the way the league is turning into a style that grows around a farm system, and the way big contracts have not been panning out, it is definitely a good idea to consider keeping the cash in your back pocket, and putting your interest in building a team for the future rather than around a big name player. It is time for management to take back the control and not fall in to the demands of the players, because the trust in the player’s reliability is starting to fade.