Strategy vs Tactics

Pick a target, hit it with everything you've got


=== Strategy and Tactics, Dept. ===

In chess, "strategy" refers to general, overarc'ing plans.  I am a pawn ahead, so I should trade pieces, get my rook behind my passed pawn, stop invasions, and get the pawn moving.

"Tactics" refer to specific, moment-to-moment, smaller-scale activites.  He goes there, I go there, then he goes there, then I go there.  If I play PxP, he plays NxP, then I play B-B4, then he goes B-K3.  That's tactics.

In Fortune 500, upper management deals in strategy -- should we keep selling camera film, or should we start making printers?  First-level supervisors deal in tactics.  Does our store need three employees on for Saturday or does it need four?


Strategically, Jack Zduriencik needs to be asking what he WANTS out of his rotation.  Does he want to place pressure on the rotation to win a playoff spot for him?  Then he better gamble on Taijuan Walker.  Does he simply need competent pitching, to support the new #3-4 hitters and the breakthroughs he expects from Montero, Ackley and Smoak?  Then maybe he can afford a 95 ERA out of Jon Garland or Jeremy Bonderman.

Maybe Zduriencik doesn't think 2013 is the year?  Fine.  Then somebody explain the presence of Kendrys Morales and Mike Morse, please, in one-syllable words, so even I can understand them.

To Dr. D it looks quite obvious that this Strategic Plan requires for a couple of blue-chippers to pull off a couple of Michael Pinedas.  He has no idea where a safe, comfortable MLB(TM) Jeremy "Mound Presence" Bonderman fits in from the 30,000-foot view.

He brought in the #3 and #4 hitters, and even the #3 starter -- all on one-year contracts.  He's got to select the rotation with this year in mind.  

In chess they refer to this as "consistency."  If one move brings force to bear on the queenside, and the next move brings force to bear on the kingside, and the move after that does neither ... well, your opponent spent all three moves bringing force to bear on the queenside.  Guess where there will be a breach first?

You pick an objective, and you hit it with all you've got.  

Jay-Z has to select his rotation with a view to 2013.  This does NOT (necessarily) mean selecting the rotation with the most experienced pitchers in mind.  Maybe it does, or doesn't.  It means selecting those pitchers which give him the best CHANCE to justify his one-year imports.


=== Tactically ===

Sgt. Wedge isn't likely to be thinking strategically; I'm not even sure it's his job to do so.  He's going to be wondering about who can give him the best start on Tuesday afternoon.  You understand why he cannot be faulted for this, do you not?  An organization NEEDS somebody to worry about this facet of the problem.

We have given full disclosure as to SSI's strategic imperative.  But let's put that aside for a second, and talk about what we fans are watching for this March -- tactically.



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M's Watcher's picture

M's Watcher

I enjoy all the chess references. I see Jack, the Grandmaster, playing simultaneous personnel development games at the Last Exit on Brooklyn. Maybe in a few scenarios, he ends up using veteran depth in a long drawn out win. In others, the kids step up and make it obvious they are ready, cannot be denied, and the opponents are wiped out. In any case, Jack is always in control, victory never in doubt, having planned success under each set of circumstances.
I was fortunate to see Yasser Seirawan in HS at Garfield, and at the Last Exit, back in the day, hot apple pie a la mode. Let's hope Jack plays it as well.


"Then somebody explain the presence of Kendrys Morales and Mike Morse, please, in one-syllable words, so even I can understand them."

Let's say Jack doesn't believe this is the year. Explaining Morse and Morales is still pretty easy: they are here to facilitate the development of Smoak, Ackley, and Montero into the stars they were always supposed to be by taking the pressure of supporting the lineup off of their backs and by providing a consistent source of strength for the young hitters to look to. They also double as backups in case Smoak or Montero faceplants so that the team will still be respectable and Jack Z won't get fired. If Smoak busts, Morse is willing to re-up with the team and can be kept around as a ~league average first baseman for a decent price.


what I was going to say about that side of it.

I only see Saunders as being strategically confusing because the others are on minor league deals which suggests depth more than a determination to use them straight out. Bonderman or Garland could go to AAA or even be a long man out of the bullpen. Having them to use in the bullpen lessens the chance that Ramirez, Beaven or one of the rookies is limited to that role starting the year. There's arguments for and against whether it's better for one of the big 4 to start in mop up so I'm assuming a preference of all of them starting.

If it were chess I could just call Saunders a feint, but its likely he's part of the strategy in this case. Maybe it was just as much a matter of depth that Z didn't see it safe enough to commit to starting 5 of what we had and maybe have to trade too much later in spring to fill a spot when Saunders was only costing low dollars and no prospects then.

I've preferred leaving a spot for the rookies to fight for since before bats were added because the collective chance of 4+ of them is pretty good. I think it's better to stagger their adjustment to MLB as much as can be done reasonably. This could even stagger free agent years, but that's so far out its not a huge concern. They could all be on the same timeline or spread out over 3 years as free agents potentially but that means losing a year overall on one or more.

In the time since Saunders signed I've thought about the implications a bit. Going for it doesn't preclude raising the baseline that the added depth does. If a decision is made that Saunders isn't one if the 5 I think the rule is that he can't be traded until half the season is played with the team he signed with. Logically it seems they have to go with Saunders unless injured in the rotation through June 29th vs.the Cubs which is game 81. If the move him to the bullpen it would decrease his value. None of those complications came with Garland or Bonderman so they remain options rather than commitments. It is only a problem if Saunders isn't one of the best 5 early. Iwakuma just signed a deal so can't be traded early either, so trade options among starters early in the season are Beaven, Ramirez and the rookies.


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IcebreakerXTerrible day for Seattle sports. Crunched by the Chargers and barely a game against the A's. Boooring.8 hours 40 min ago
moethedogNice back to back plays in LF by Hart. It was bound to happen at least once. 2 times might have been the over under.10 hours 54 min ago
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mojicianFelix tomorrow.2 days 4 hours ago