"Let us go forth a while, and get better air in our lungs. Let us leave our closed rooms...
The game of ball is glorious."

--Walt Whitman

Monday, July 25, 2005

Crossroads

So. Here we are.

Halfway, plus a bit, through the season, over eleven games behind first in the divison, and hanging on to a first-place wild card tie by our fingernails after two solid months of slipping down the standings. We've got an excellent pitching staff and an offense so wilted no pitching staff could possibly compensate.

We also have three paths open to us. Now is the time to choose.

1. Sit Tight
Hope for the best with what we've got. Lock down the roster, take some extra BP, and pray for a quick and thorough end to The Slump. Trust the current players and staff to suddenly figure out what they've been doing wrong all year. The chances of this method working sufficiently to see us into the postseason are approximately nil, but would preserve what many believe to be a lineup capable of contending in future.

2. Roll the Dice
Make a trade, or two, or three. Inject new blood into the team. Make staffing changes. Take risks that would have been unthinkable three months ago. Spend some money if necessary, just get some hitters to back up our pitching staff. Make an all-out run for the wild card. This might actually work, but could also diminish our chances in following seasons.

3. Build for Tomorrow
Withdraw with dignity. Release players and/or make trades for prospects purely to open up roster spots. Bring up hot prospects and give them some major league experience. Use their successes to light a fire under the veterans. Focus on future seasons, and take any improvement in the current situation as a bonus. Chances of immediate success (such as winning the wild card) are slim to none, but the risks are also minimal.



Now, dear readers--weigh in. Which option do you pick? I'll write a column in a few days about the relative popularity of each option.

2 rejoinders:

frightwig sounded off...

Foremost, I'd be looking to trade Mays, Lohse, Stewart, Jones, and Romero. If I couldn't get a good return now, I'd be looking to unload them in the winter. Absolutely. None of them need be part of the plan for next year. Hunter could be had as well next winter, if another club had a sweet deal for me.

There aren't any immediate-impact players floating around the rumor mill right now. It might be OK to dump some excess pitching in exchange for rentals like Mueller and Millar. Mays and Romero probably should've been dealt away in that sort of trade 2-3 weeks ago. But I'd hold onto the outfielders this week unless I could get a player who would make the 2006 team appreciably better.

she-ra sounded off...

Option 3 -- it seems they've already conceded the division, which I see as a big mistake. Without that drive to be the best, I think they'll fall by the wayside while teams like New York/Boston and Oakland pass them by. Therefore giving up something for a player that might only be around a couple months would be silly; and sitting around twiddling our thumbs could ruin our chances to get some real value out of the veterans.

I would like to add that anyone born in the '60s should be on their way out.

Of course I think they will actually choose Option 2. Too bad we couldn't have this NYY, BOS, OAK, BOS stretch done before the deadline -- seems we'll know a lot more after that.