Both of these teams, the Astros and the Dodgers, were pretty great, and it was a really fun series. I think there’s a lesson in here about both the importance and limits of a team-building plan. Years ago, the Astros set a plan for how to build from a last-place team into a juggernaut, and it all worked. Good job, front office.
On the other side, Andrew Friedman’s Dodgers also made a lot of right moves, and they actually had Yu Darvish, a midseason acquisition, set to pitch game seven of the World Series. Using your resources to go get a pitcher like Darvish is a good move. And it didn’t work at all. Sometimes it doesn’t.
Ben Lindbergh wrote about that plan, and the building of the Astros, and like always with Lindbergh, it’s worth a read. He reminds us that just because it worked doesn’t mean it had to. The money quote:
Modern baseball is beyond dynasties.
There’s one last thing I’ve got to put above the fold. Two days ago there was a quiet bombshell for the Rays. Maybe. I mean, who really knows?
Back when Jim Hickey left, I said that maybe instead of “The Jim Hickey Era” we should be calling the near-decade of Rays pitching competence “The Josh Kalk Era.” Well, that’s over too.
No one on the outside knows what exactly Josh Kalk did, but we could see some of it in how the Rays pitched, and before he joined the front office, he wrote. Back when he wrote, he was smart. Like, really smart. The Astros poached Mike Fast from the public domain, as part of their World Series plan, because he was the best pitching analyst writing. Back in 2007, Josh Kalk was the guy you wanted to get, and the Rays did.
Probably the team will still be smart going forward. Hope so.
Other Rays Links
- Joel Sherman writes that there’s a dispute over the posting agreements, which could keep Shoehei Otani from coming to America this offseason. And depending on how it’s resolved, it could take the Rays out of the running, even if he does come.
- Former-Ray Gabe Kapler was hired as the Phillies’ new manager. Farhan Zaidi talked about the difficulty in replacing Kapler.
- Virtual reality as a baseball training tool—are there legal complications?
- A good pitching analysis of Dallas Keuchel.
- Tony La Russa will join the Boston Red Sox front office in some capacity, although exactly what he’ll be responsible for is unclear. I think I’m pretty okay with this. La Russa obviously knows a lot about baseball, but he’s old. Throw enough crotchety old guys together, with their lack of new tricks, and maybe they’ll have some bad ideas.