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Jake's Take: Big Money for Small Parts or Small Money for Chemistry?.

This isn't really Rays-related, but this is warning that I hope that the Rays Front Office heeds.

Why are the Mets and Blue Jays spending so much money on Closers? $9 MIL for Ryan, $10+ MIL for Wagner? What in the blue hell are they doing? You're paying out of your ass for a guy that pitches 1 inning(maybe 2, if he needs to) a game and will most likely only pitch in 50-70 games, at most, during the season.

On paper, both closers look like they're at the top of their game: Strong K/9 rates, Low ERAs(in respect to where they played) and don't really walk many hitters. So they're good, they've been good and their new teams feel that they'll continue to be good.

The problem I have is, what if the Mets and Blue Jays are wrong? What if Ryan and Wagner are great in 2006, but totally collapse in 2007 or fall to a season-ending or career-ending injury? You just wasted over 10 MIL for 1 good season. What good was that? You spent so much money on a closer that now every young reliever with good periphreals thinks he deserves more than $5-8 MIL a season and won't sign for less than 4 yrs. You just screwed up the market and yourselves in one big swoop. Good for you, you've joined the ranks of Kevin Brown, Kris Benson and Orlando Cabrera. All 3 of those players upped the yearly contract demands of Front-line Starters, Mid-rotation starters and average short-stops.

I understand, you both think that all your teams need is a strong pitching staff/bullpen and you're automatically contenders for the pennants and a good closer is a big piece of that puzzle. What you fail to understand is, throwing money around doesn't win you championships. Houston and Chicago weren't in the top 5 of teams with the highest payrolls. Florida wasn't when they beat the "big money" Yankees. Oakland hasn't ever been, yet they've been consistantly competing in their division.

Chemistry is what wins in baseball.

1 Mind, 1 goal, 1 philosophy, 1 team.

Not 25 "idiots", not 25 "multi-millionaires", not 25 players whose goals are to put more money into their pockets and not 25 people who are part of the "Me Generation" where they are willing to insult their own teammates for the love of money.

The best way to get "Team Chemistry" is to pound it into players' heads from Day 1 on. It starts with the manager and front office. If they aren't on the same wavelength, the players will think it's ok to rip the front office, manager or other players. You don't want players to be worried about how much "so-and-so" is making or if they or one of their buddies will be gone soon. You want everybody to have 1 goal or 1 thought and focus on achieving it. Nothing else should matter