The Short Porch – An Occasional Column on Backdoor Slider

Posted: May 23, 2013 by waltmtaylor in Uncategorized

Image

We are just past the first quarter mark of the 2013 MLB season, and small-market baseball has a pulse.  Cincinnati is clearly the class of the small-market clubs, but others are trying to crash ultra-exclusive MLB Postseason party.  The Pirates are playing .600 ball and are only 2 games off the pace in the NL Central.  After a hot start, the Royals have cooled to .500, but are only 4 games back in the AL Central, a division that nobody seems capable of running away with.  Oakland and Tampy Bay are doing what they do, hanging around their respective races despite their relatively low payrolls (and attendance figures in Tampa).  Colorado is tied for the lead in the NL West, another division that looks to be wide open, even for the likes of the small-market Padres. 

While optimism in May and June is nice, will any of these clubs still be relevant in August?  Based on the current rosters, rising stars, failing big-market teams in LA, and the pieces that are in place on these clubs, it’s not out of the question that we would see a World Series or LCS showdown that did not involve the Rangers, Yankees, Cardinals, Giants, or Braves.  But there lies the problem.  The rosters as they currently stand will not be the rosters in August and September. 

The real question is not whether these teams can keep performing at their current levels, it is whether or not they will be buyers at the trade deadline in July.  The big boys, unless they fall way off the pace, will make the moves to win now.  The little guys will be cautious, not wanting to mortgage their future on an investment that may only turn into a wildcard and an early exit from the playoffs.  We see it every year.  But what are they waiting for?  They don’t want to give up their prospects, but what will they do when those prospects develop into a solid team on the playoff fringe a few years later?  Nothing.  They will again not want to mortgage their future, and thus be stuck in a cycle of mediocrity. 

The time to win is today.  The season to build for is this season.  I doubt that a Kansas City Royals fan will mind if his team has to have a fire sale and stinks in 2017 if he gets to experience playoff baseball this year.  I think Pirate fans will be fully capable of dealing with a sub-.500 season in 2105 if they get another sniff, the first in over 20 years, at the NLCS this fall.  It will be good for baseball, maybe not TV ratings, if 1 or 2 of these clubs will get bold, spend some money, and give their fans a winner in 2013.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s