I've calmed down. It isn't the news about Barry that ruined me; I was kind of expecting that he wouldn't be back. It was the interview with Brian Sabean on KNBR that did it. Paraphrased, once again:
So I'm going to hire my "Moneyball"-guy, but instead of stats, he's going to have a P.h.D. in Littlethingsology from Bovine University. Also, this entire season is the bullpen's fault, so if they get better, this team will be a playoff team.
The problem is that there isn't a magic cure. People think now that we aren't going to have to pay Barry, we can go and buy a better team. That's just not how the dynamics of this upcoming free agent market will work. Even if we could magically transfer the top eight position players from this free agent market into our lineup, it still wouldn't be a great lineup. It would cost $200M, and the players would only get worse over the lives of the contracts. We aren't in that 'win now at all costs' mode anymore, even if it would make sense to do so in this free agent market. We tried it, and, at the end of the day, it didn't work.
That isn't to say we won't try to compete. We have a surplus of pitching -- with as many as seven viable starting pitchers -- and the free agent market is brutally short of pitching. There's a chance we can turn one or two of those pitchers into young players who will help us now and help us a lot in the future. There's a chance that we'll be better off keeping that pitching depth for our future; it depends on what the trade market looks like. We'll look at free agents, to be sure. But we have to be sure that any player we get will still be valuable to us at the end of his contract. At the end of the day, there would be no sense in matching the young players we have with players who aren't going to retain their value when the young players come into their own.
I'm not going to say it's 'tough' to replace Barry. It's impossible to replace Barry, and I really think people are minimizing that point. If Barry wasn't on this team, this team would have had a historically bad season when it came to getting on base and hitting for power. With Barry, "historically bad" was just "worst in the league." There aren't many players who could have done that on their own. But right now, we need to see what our young players can do. At the end of the day, knowing our own capabilities and limitations will be an important part of our rebuilding plan.
We need to have patience, but understand that patience doesn't mean we need to prepare to lose for an extended period of time. We have a fantastic young starting pitching core -- perhaps the best staff in the game with which to build. It isn't going to take much for this team to be on the fringes of contention. We've seen what a team on the fringes of contention can do. It's important, though, that we don't settle for the fringes. We need to see what we have right now, and complement it as best we can going forward. This organization has a lot going for it. It will be hard work, but at the end of the day this team will be back on top of the division.
And I will trade for one overpriced veteran, who Bochy has already nicknamed 'Checkers'. Regardless of what they say about him, we're going to keep him....