The Yankees players typically have the best stats, the highest payroll, the best OPS, the best of everything, but they don’t win it all every year. In fact, they have won the World Series twice since 2000 despite having many of the best players and being able to get any of the top statistical performers their little hearts and big checkbooks desire.
The Cardinals have won the series twice in that same period of time. How does their payroll compare to the Yanks? The Cards have spent approximately $1,051,000,000 on payroll since 2000, while the Yankees have spent $2,101,000,000 on payroll during that same period! Everyone holds the Yankees in high regard, but if you outspend a competitor by a billion dollars, and yet don’t win any more World Series than they do, you are felony stupid! The Yanks ought to be an example of how not to run a baseball team!
If you look at the road-map of the Cardinals to success, you will find that it includes players like Juan Rivera, Adam Kennedy, Chris Capuano and others whom most Dodger fans and fellow bloggers discredit. When Jamey Carroll signed with the Dodgers, you could have made a river from all of the tears of complaining bloggers. It’s always been that way in LA, as Dodger fans want the team to be like the Yankees and sign BIG EXPENSIVE free agents like Prince Fielder (he IS really big and expensive).
While I am not opposed to that, the big expensive free agent is not always the answer. Does anybody remember a moron named Manny? Sometimes the best road-map is a reclamation project (Lance Berkman) or an undervalued asset that you get on the cheap (Kyle Lohse), or a young player that seems to not be a prospect because they are in their late 20′s (Craig, Freeze). Look at the Cardinals on both Wold Series teams and you will see that thread running through their plan.
Freeze and Craig? Who knew they would be such a part of the Cards winning? Kyle Lohse who was a big part of the Cardinals team has been around longer the Chris Capuano, but when I look at their career records, I see every bit as much opportunity in Capoano as I did in Lohse.
I have gotten to the point of where I can ALWAYS predict what the stat geeks will say about any signing or situation. Juan Rivera, Adam Kennedy, Chris Capuano – they have all the stats and saber-metrics to prove what a bad deal these guys are getting. What an outcry! They hate it, hate it, hate it! See, I happen to believe that you can’t use stats to prove everything – for instance, if you want to use statistics, aerodynamics and the laws of physics, you might conclude that it is impossible for a bumblebee to fly – it’s body is too big, it’s wings are too small, too fragile and it is not aerodynamic enough to fly. The thing is: the bumblebee doesn’t know that, so it flies anyway.
That’s the power of the human spirit. You can measure statistics – and there are new ones every year, but you can’t measure that “thing” that some have and some don’t. For the record, I believe that for the Dodgers to win in 2012, it is going to take a team effort and guys like Uribe, Ethier and Loney who had difficult years last year HAVE to step up. We can debate whether they will or not, but that’s what the Dodgers have to hope for.
Capuano is a nice piece as a #5 starter. Adam Kennedy is a professional utilityman. Juan Rivera is a journeyman outfielder. The Dodgers have to rely on some of these role-players and youngsters stepping up, if they can be successful. To those who worship stats: tell me how many Cardinals would be on your fantasy team. For the Cardinals, the whole was greater than the sum of the parts.
The guy who held it all together was Albert Pujols. Look at the Indianapolis Colts. Peyton Manning held that team together and without him they are a disaster! Matt Kemp is the glue that will hold the Dodgers together. Andre Ethier can be Matt Holliday. James Loney and Juan Rivera have to play solidly and JUan Uribe has to be himself. I also believe that the guy who steps up and surprises everyone next season will be FED-EX! That’s my story…