Strategy vs Tactics

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

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=== 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.

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=== 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.

NEXT

 

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Comments

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.

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"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.

2

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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MtGrizzlyFrom mlbtr: "The Mariners, Mather explained, overshot their allotted player personnel budget by nearly $16MM in 2014. However, ownership had no complaints after seeing the team’s strong performance. Rather than asking how the $16MM would be recouped, they instead asked Mather how the team was going to get six more wins in 2015."15 hours 24 min ago
mojicianBe sure to tune into the shoutbox if you ever want to hear tomorrow's news today. :)21 hours 5 min ago
mojicianI'd like the record to reflect that I called a Giants World Series win on the night of the NL Wild Card game and right before the World Series started. My foresight is not quite 20-20, so I predicted a series win in five games. I want bragging rights and a bracket of some kind.21 hours 7 min ago
MtGrizzlyTo be fair, it's not as if Smoak had any success with his 'old' batting mechanics.1 day 7 hours ago
moethedogModern coaches would probably try to fix M. Ott or S. Oh!1 day 19 hours ago
moethedogChanging a hitter's stroke is more tricky than we wish to admit. There is a lot of investment by a player that has to be discarded, some can't do it. Many struggle because the stroke they have is their natural one, and the right one given their particular set of physical skills, make-up, vision, etc. Just telling a player to "go the other way" and assuming that fixes him is problematic, as is much "teaching" in that regard. PGA Tour-level players regularly "lose it" as they try to make mechanical fixes, some never get it back. What we think is purely mechanical is often bio-mechanical, meaning that a persons body optimally functions is a certain way. "Fixing" that may not be a fix. You older guys will remember Keith "Silk" Wilkes, the former UCLA and NBA player. He had a completely weird jump shot stroke that you would teach to nobody...but it worked.1 day 19 hours ago
moethedog"Fixing" it would have been disastrous. I think both Smoak and Ackley have been "fixed" to death. leaving them alone would have been a much better option. Some guys can be changed for the better. Some can't. Leave those guys alone. Hitting coaches (like swing coaches) are paid to coach, so they do. But I think in the majority of cases they would be better (at the MLB level) if they just said, "Swing a lighter bat" or "stand closer to the plate" or "take a day off" a lot more than they do. Not every problem can be "mechanically" fixed.1 day 19 hours ago
DaddyOI hope Smoak figures how to carve out a productive MLB career for himself. Meanwhile, he remains just one of a number of M's can't-miss hitting prospects who so far have sputtered and missed. A team can only pitch so well. Meanwhile they have to score some runs. Of course that sentiment is preaching to the choir.1 day 20 hours ago
SABR MattMcClendon's impulse to get Smoak to hit the opposite way and get on top of the ball was, (assuming this analysis is correct) the right thing to instruct. Smoak wanted to be a power hitter though. A power hitter's brain with a contact hitter's actual power because his swing was greedy and mechanically flawed.1 day 21 hours ago
SABR MattJust had an interesting discussion with a hitting instructor who used to intern with the Yankees the year I was there about Smoak. He thinks the Mariners fouled up Smoak's swing mechanics. He sees in Smoak's vids, a guy who starts the bat head too low in the zone and whose swing is too wristy, meaning when he wants to hit for power (gets a cookie pitch), he is going to have to swing up at the ball and the barrell will be at both an upper-cutting and a hinged (pullside) angle. If he squares it up with that funky contact plane, the ball will be a very high fly ball (subject to warning track outs)...and if he gets funny contact, he will ground out to the pull side. Hey...remind me again...what were Smoak's main out types? When he looked at scouting vids of early Smoak...he didn't start the bat head too low and his swing was way less wristy.1 day 21 hours ago
Bat571I suspect the Ms let Blake walk, though. If he's smart, he'll run to the D'backs and sign for whatever to get a chance to work with Dave Duncan. He's the classic Duncan project - big RH that doesn't overpower people and needs to learn how to pitch.2 days 15 hours ago
Bat571Griz - I think Blake Beavan is still in the org. He was outrighted to Tacoma in August, and can become a free agent if not put back on the 40-man by a date that's pretty soon or signed to a new minor league deal, but the Ms still have a shred of the return left.2 days 15 hours ago
DaddyOThis has nothing to do with current conversations, but I sure like Joe Panik. Not just his stats, but the way he plays the game. This guy is going to be a fixture for a LONG time.2 days 17 hours ago
misterjonezLove to see the decision made on Smoak. The M's seriously need to re-evaluate their offensive development program, but when it's time to cut bait it's time to cut bait. LoMo looks like a better bet, and neither one projects as a world beater. Here's hoping Smoak can turn into Adam Lind in Toronto; I wish him well.2 days 18 hours ago
moethedogSo here's the Lind attraction: Career vR he is .293-.349-.510! (Career vL he's .212-.257-.331) In a platoon situation at 1B or DH, he would be a terrific (and relatively cheap ($) add. Is Montero the vL bat to go with him? What is the cost of trading for Lind? But if you want to bring 115 starts of vR mashing, Lind is a guy to consider.2 days 18 hours ago
MtGrizzlyAll of the guys that came to Seattle in the Cliff Lee trade are now gone from the org.2 days 18 hours ago
SABR Mattand at least one of those catchers that did make the final three isn't even major league average defensively...I'll let you guys figure out which one. :)2 days 20 hours ago
mojicianSpeaking of rigged, what about Zunino's gold glove nomination? He caught the filthiest pitching staff in the American league, he cheated and stole caught strikes on a grand scale with his pitch framing, and then there are the tangibles: His AL Rankings: Second in catchers ERA, Fifth in baserunners nabbed, Third in fielding percentage, sixth in passed balls despite catching the magic changeup, the shuuto, and the Pax Curvanus, Second in games played. It is hard to come up with any measure of a catcher that Zunino isn't near the top of the leaderboard.2 days 20 hours ago
mojicianWhat about DJ making the AFL all star game with his .641 OPS and Kivlehan snubbed with his .913 OPS? This seems rigged.2 days 21 hours ago
mojicianSmoak's gone? Heh. That was a long and painful relationship. I hope he does well.2 days 22 hours ago