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Monday, March 02, 2009

On The McCourts' Frugality

I wanted to reply to Jon's piece yesterday but woodshoppy activities delayed me. Forthwith:
The McCourts have had several opportunities this past offseason to go cheap, and they have turned them down. They could have gone young and cheap at shortstop, but they approved an eight-figure contract for Rafael Furcal. They could have gone young and cheap at second base and third base, but they approved free-agent contracts for Casey Blake and Orlando Hudson. They could have skimped in the back end of their rotation and in their bullpen, but they approved contracts for Guillermo Mota and Randy Wolf.
Fine, as far as it goes, but not once is last year's expulsion of young talent for salary relief (in both the Manny Ramirez and Casey Blake deals) mentioned; neither is the disturbing nature of the clearing of debts with News Corp. I myself am not sold on the proposition either way (I can see both sides of the argument though I find neither convincing), but it seems to me that there is at least in that enough evidence for the pro argument of the McCourts' near-insolvency that such a light dismissal is insufficient.

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I wasn't trying to prove that the McCourts aren't broke. As I emphasized in the first paragraph of my post, I was trying to prove that the McCourts might not be broke.
Yes, but failing to acknowledge the legitimate reasons some people might come to that conclusion erodes your argument.
You mean if I want to argue why someone might be wrong, I have to argue why they might be right?

The majority belief is that the McCourts have cash issues. I didn't think I had to spend time outlining the commonly accepted theory.
And frankly, the proposition that the McCourts are still relatively cash flush leads to more substantial conversations than this gossip girl whisper campaign about whether the McCourts themselves are hiding personal economic troubles. I mean, aren't most folks at this point?

The more interesting discussion to have here is what the McCourts have actually done with the money they have, and how that points to incoherent developmental strategies, resource mismanagement, and a poor long-term approach to fan retention and development.
You mean if I want to argue why someone might be wrong, I have to argue why they might be right?

I mean that if you intend to address someone's criticisms, it's necessary to actually, y'know, address them.

And Maxwell is right: the accompanying issues of underinvestment in young talent in areas where this can be developed relatively cheaply (the Dominican, the draft) and resource mismanagement (the Dodgers puzzling 40-man roster moves, trades of young players for no reason other than salary relief) leave a gaping hole here even if you do assume they're flush-but-cheap.
Rob, I'm just trying to argue that there's another possiblity. It's not an either-or situation. I'm not trying to dismiss the cash-poor theory at all - your post is wrong to indicate that I am.

If you think that the evidence I introduce supports the possibility that the McCourts MIGHT be cash-poor but dumb (which plays in fact into what Maxwell writes), then my work is done.

Many people like vanilla ice cream. I also think strawberry is good. I don't need to analyze the merits of vanilla to make my case for strawberry if I'm not trying to say vanilla is bad.

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