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Thursday Rockpile: Some days you get the bear, and some days the Phillies bust out their bats and beat your nature loving self senseless.

See, there's our problem. All this time spent hunting bears when the Rockies should be trying to beat the Phillies. Anyhow.., the day yesterday couldn't have gone any more perfectly... for the Giants.

Yorvit Torrealba's harrowing experience of having his son kidnapped and held for ransom earlier this year gets more attention from Jim Armstrong.

Clint Barmes' slump is reaching epic proportions, but Jim Tracy still has his back. Get your act together Clint, the mob out with pitchforks is getting harder to fend off.

Erik Manning at FanGraphs has a quick look at the Rox resurgence.

This Joe Posnanski guy, writes for SI right now and he seems to have all the mainstream national media tricks down already:

most of the low-payroll teams -- say teams with payrolls of less than $75 million -- have come to the conclusion that they are NOT going to win now. The one thing they have is time. And so, they're trading time.

17. Milwaukee Brewers $79,857,502 $3,194,300
18. Colorado Rockies $75,201,000 $2,785,222

------------------SMALL PAYROLL BOUNDARY-----------------------

19. Arizona Diamondbacks $73,571,667 $2,724,877
20. Cincinnati Reds $70,968,500 $2,957,021
21. Kansas City Royals $70,908,333 $2,727,244

So do you see the trouble with his arbitrary definition? Because the Rockies are competing for a playoff spot this season, he has to exclude them from his small payroll definition, but the team is closer in salary to teams he does include than to the teams that really have the financial wherewithal to spend freely. Now why would Posnanski do this? so he can make the following statement:

Point is, things are fuzzy right now for most of the small-market teams. Florida is the only one that seems to have a working plan. The Marlins have the lowest payroll in baseball but they are playing pretty well. They got Hanley Ramirez in a trade, drafted Dan Uggla as a Rule 5 pick, drafted Josh Johnson in the fourth round and, even beyond Johnson, have a very young and talented starting rotation that could at some point emerge.

First of all, the Marlins don't even have the best working plan of small-market teams in their own state. I have no idea why he conveniently left the Rays out of his article completely since the defending AL champs actually fall within his convenient scale, but excluding the Rockies and Brewers allows him to make his final conclusion that the Marlins model of a single brief window of opportunity every six seasons before breaking the team down and going through the process again is best.

Every team, every GM, has a plan. Those that seem to be working:



New York Yankees - currently relying almost exclusively on free agency for impact pitchers and position players, but try to develop star level talent on their own if possible.

Boston Red Sox - trade away internally developed depth for impact players too expensive for small market teams to keep. They do keep quite a bit of impact talent as it arises. Outspend most teams on development and the draft to keep this pipeline flowing. Not as big on free agency as you would think.

Los Angeles Angels - internally develop most of their pitching and role players, typically rely on free agency for impact position players. Can spend big on both the draft and internationally.

Los Angeles Dodgers - Develop impact talent, both pitching and position players internally by spending a lot on the draft (not so much in international free agency) and their player development system. Fill holes mostly via free agency.

Chicago Cubs - mostly follow the Yankees model, but develop more of their own pitching internally.

Philadelphia Phillies - Developed their own superstar core, and hope to continue this process with current farm talent. Trade away other minor league depth for impact pitching. Spend some on free agency to fill gaps.


$$ -

St. Louis Cardinals - Don't spend a lot on role players that you can develop yourself. Have a pitching coach that can fix almost anybody. Get Albert Pujols and build around him.

San Francisco Giants - Develop Cy Young level pitching internally and wait for other prospects to come up to complement them while throwing away money on free agents that don't really amount to much.

Detroit Tigers - Their current salary level says they should be in the $$$ level, but the market they play in suggests they go here. Seem to follow the Angels model of developing as much of their pitching as they can in house and get impact position players via free agency.

Chicago White Sox - I have no idea what the actual plan is, but it seems to be working in a weak division.

Texas Rangers - It's taken them awhile, but I think they've finally latched onto something in a hybrid version of the Marlins model of trading MLB talent for impact farm depth while also developing their own and adding some talent through free agency. This team could be really dangerous with new ownership.

$ -

Milwaukee - develop impact players internally and then outspend your small market peers in attempting to fill the holes. Trade off minor league talent for elite players when you are close to a playoff spot but otherwise stay conservative.

Colorado -  A lot of international investment and no significant trading of internally developed talent makes the team very self reliant. Spend heavily on secondary markets and players, but avoid those that buyers have little leverage with to fill holes.

Tampa Bay - Acquire overlooked players to supplement elite talent developed internally. Try to sell high on prospects that don't fit before they lose their luster.

Florida Marlins - Acquire plenty of young cheap impact talent that develops together to fit into a small peak window of opportunity, blow it up, do it again.

Money does seem to make it more likely that whatever plan a GM has will be a working one, but there are some smaller revenue teams that are doing alright for themselves.