Terry Frei would have us all dressed up with no place to go
After a pretty good article about not using altitude as an excuse, Terry Frei comes back with a pretty lame one this time around that rehashes the riches buy happiness story this girl has heard in one too many fairy-tales already. Let me just say that yes, capital investment is needed to be competitive, I'm not arguing that it's not. What I am saying is that baseball executives really need to rethink how they allocate that capital to achieve success. The model Frei suggests follows something similar to what the Diamondbacks seemingly do consistently in Arizona, or what several of my friends do consistently on shopping trips. Take some cash you don't have, buy some glamorous things you want, use glamorous looks to bring in cash or prominence. Yeah, that works in high school when you want to be homecoming queen, but it usually isn't the best model for competitive business success. Look at the Dodgers during the Rupert Murdoch years, a lot of cash thrown willy-nilly means little or nothing in the end if your front office hasn't done its homework. Look at our own team for that matter. This is where the Dodgers failed, this is where Dan O' Dowd and the Monforts have failed up to this point.
They have not spent the money or time to build the infrastructure of a championship team: namely, they haven't aggressively gone after scouts and bright front office talent -preferring nepotistic hires to talent searches (check out the front office and see how many of their hires are family members or friends of the Monforts), they have failed to build their international presence and allowed other teams to catch up in places like Taiwan where they had an early advantage, and they seem to be behind the curve in minor league player development and conditioning if the progress of our best prospects is any sort of measure (and it is).
The cure isn't a big name free agent, it doesn't have to be a new owner either. If Charlie Monfort seriously wants to be like the O'Malley's he has to think ahead of his time like the O'Malley's did in their pioneering Latin American scouting, or he has to be a shrewd evaluator (or hire these types) of people's baseball skills not only on the field in players and coaches, but in the front office, in player development (I like Bill Geivett and Bill Schmidt, honestly, but I wonder if we're not surrounding them with the right underlings) in all aspects of the organization and be willing to let go when the people he has aren't meeting the bar.
Listen, if this is just a fashion show, go ahead and buy the pretty dress, but if you're serious about a complete makeover, I want to see the personal trainer, the salon team, the dietician and the dressmaker before I'm willing to buy into your empty resolutions.