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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IcebreakerXMojican: Field Gulls had a good article on Lynch... Basically says that after six days he'll start losing some of his signing bonus and a few other things, making a total holdout kinda costly.5 min 12 sec ago
PlawsableWhat if the &quot;Thanks for approving spending&quot; quotes were about Castillo and Morales in combination and we&#039;ve only seen the one shoe drop? Castillo comes available at a time when Jones seems to be showing he could be a capable to even very good CF with much more work but isn&#039;t there now. Saunders coming off injury isn&#039;t a good situation to use him there. Ackley hit the same point Jones is at but with a much weaker arm and stopped spending time there. I think Jones has looked better there than Ackley aside from some really bad misplays. There&#039;s Almonte who also still seems to need more seasoning. If you think Castillo can at least be better out of the gate than Jones/Ackley with a glove and bat in CF, there&#039;s a RH regular who requires only cash to acquire. The timing seems perfect.1 hour 20 min ago
rick82We'll see if we dodged a three year headache with Morales. But watching Cruz practically reach the left center warning track last night with a broken bat - that's Smoaking it, gangsta style!2 hours 3 min ago
SABR Mattaaaaaand that's a good reason to gamble on one-year old guys rather than signing 31 y/o players unless they're superstars. :)2 hours 31 min ago
rick82Last two weeks: Swisher: .214/.233/.286 .518 OPS Hart: .261/.370/.348 .718 OPS Season so far, .624 vs. 627 respectively. I had thought Swisher was coming out of it but apparently not. I'm glad we don't have that contract to deal with.2 hours 44 min ago
SABR MattThe Mariners really, truly hate Montero.3 hours 28 min ago
SABR MattWe do, after all, have his countryman Kendrys on the roster...and his fellow Roc Nation Sports client (Cano) is our team leader. Eyes sideways.3 hours 29 min ago
MtGrizzlyMontero will be back in AAA today, Moe. He was evidently packing up after last nights game.3 hours 29 min ago
SABR MattIndeed moj...but sometimes you ahve to take a gamble (see: Abreu, Jose). If I were a scout on this case, I know how much pressure would be on me (I'd probably have a three-month-long migraine preparing for the scouting workout) but I would still, in the end, recommend the Mariners drop $60 mil over 6 years for Castillo.3 hours 30 min ago
mojicianIts advisable to taste the wine before you splurge on a fancy bottle.3 hours 44 min ago
mojicianHow would you like to be a scout with that sort of responsibility? GM: "So your saying Matt, that if I pay Castillo $32 million bucks X 4 he'll turn into Brett Gardner with more power?" These Cuban signings transact $50 million+ based on a few workouts and youtube vids.3 hours 46 min ago
bsrCastillo repped by Roc Nation Sports. I wonder if we built any goodwill over there, with our recent $240M contribution to the cause? :)3 hours 48 min ago
moethedogBTW, in case you missed it: We currently have Morales, Hart, Montero and Morrison on the roster. That's 4 guys who are 1B/DH types. It isn't possible that Hart is going to get RF time, is it? Sigh.....3 hours 50 min ago
SABR Mattthe evidence is in against my earlier consternation with Cuban hitters...the ones with ++tools tend to do well these days. Castillo supposed is bull strong AND extremely fast. A ++defensive corner OF and average CF, line drive hitter...smooth, level swing, no hitches, Brett Gardner style 4 WAR player.4 hours 2 min ago
mojicianLately Cuban sensations have been panning out.4 hours 9 min ago
SABR MattMariners "in on" Rusney Castillo...have serious interest pending the results of his workout for teams. wonder if they have the stomach to bid 6 years though...because he'll likely take that much to get.4 hours 20 min ago
SABR Mattif he holds out he'll be run out of town on a rail. He should definitely not be a moron.4 hours 23 min ago
mojicianAh, a Twelve! So if Lynch does hold out, what is the best course of action for his $ 5.5 million salary? Can the Seahawks sign someone else worthwhile? I am assuming football has something similar to baseball's restricted list and that Lynch would be suspended without pay for refusing to play. Also, if he held out and decided to return, say midseason, would his paycheck be reinstated?4 hours 35 min ago
SilentpadnaIt won't cripple it mo. Christine Michael will help us easily get over Lynch if we have to. (We would have to anyway after '14 for cap reasons). Michael is the best overall athlete in the past two drafts. And Lynch is at that age....I'd rather jettison him a year too early than a year too late....Next Man Up...4 hours 47 min ago
mojicianActually, that's Twelvish to English.5 hours 16 min ago