Monday, February 22, 2010

FanGraphs, predictably, isn't a Houston fan

R.J. Anderson's post on Wade's extension merits its own post, rather than getting lumped in with the early reactions post:

Even with some degree of deferment, the Ed Wade extension is hard to grasp. Ignore the slight losing record in Wade’s two full seasons at the helm. There are cases where a losing record for a period is unavoidable and not the kiss of death. Take, for instance, Andrew Friedman’s 127-197 record through his first two seasons. Under Friedman’s watch, the Rays continued to develop their farm system while acquiring and nurturing youth and potentially useful role players alike. Wade hasn’t done that...

...Trading for middle relievers and rentals on mid-rotation starters when you aren’t really in the position to compete for the playoffs seems like a misuse of time and resources...

...he odds of Houston becoming a worthwhile contender during Wade’s tenure are slim to none. Add in that the team could evidently be in the process of being sold, and really, this entire thing makes no sense. I don’t know what Drayton McLane is doing and frankly deferring to him scares me.

Of course the Rays are the model for all MLB franchises, and you can argue about their success in a division with the Yankees and Red Sox. We've gone over how good/bad a GM Ed Wade is. He's certainly not as bad as he looks, and his M.O. in Philly was to rebuild through drafts and augment through trades. Because of the contracts Wade inherited, it seems that he's trying to contend while rebuilding from the bottom up. The fact is he was hated in a city that easily drifts toward hatred, and that sentiment has been attached to him by writers/bloggers who don't spend a lot of time thinking about the Astros. To me, it looks as though the Astros will be in a prime position to take the next step about the time those huge contracts come off the board.

Regard, committed funds by year:
2011: $44.25m (+ arb years from Wandy, Pence, Bourn, Lindstrom, Byrdak, Keppinger, Sampson, Quintero)
2012: $26.5m (arb years from Pence, Bourn, Lindstrom, Keppinger, Sampson, Quintero)

My main problem with this article is the lines about his drafts being too early to evaluate, and following that up by saying that Wade hasn't nurtured talent. He has had the oldest team in baseball. There's isn't any talent at the Major-League level to nurture, unless you don't want to count giving Bourn a season to get his crap together, and to continue to provide opportunities for Pence to grow.

If the main focus of his efforts in Houston has been via draft, then don't evaluate his tenure yet.


Ryan Sides said...

Agreed. I don't think Wade has made every perfect move (and I'm still a little puzzled at Lyon for that price when we have a handful of other guys that are just a notch below him but WAY cheaper already on the roster), but nevertheless, putting this on Wade is ridiculous. And further, the Rays were losing before and at the time Friedman came in, so to lose for a few more years wasn't really going to bother anybody. Houston has had a good deal of success since the start of the century and a three-year rebuilding process wasn't going to go over well (even if it would have been the best thing). Just a whole different set of dynamics between Tampa and Houston.

Reuben said...

Totally agree. The Wade-bashing, by now, is as flat and myopic as it is predictable. Critics like this guy (not to mention guys like Heyman and Law who obviously either have a personal problem with Wade or just enjoy being obnoxious) don't know how much of an impact Drayton makes on the 25-man roster decisions. Some writers just will not forgive a GM (or owner) who tries to keep his team competitive instead of letting it get horrible for a few years. Ironically I read a good post on Fangraphs (by Dave Cameron?) a while back about the "marginal value of a win for losing teams" or something- basically arguing that bad teams who bring in stop-gap vets (the Pirates/Iwamura in his example) are actually helping their franchise long-term- because it helps prevent them from losing too many fans. This, in turn, gives them more revenue to use once the team is truly a contender again. Winning 78 games instead of just 60 can make a big difference to a rebuilding team.

The Constable. said...

+1 to Sides and Reuben