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.

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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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moethedogI figured young at $5-$6M. But he may want more than a year and he's no lock to eat up innings. That's why I like Dickey. The way he lobs the ball up there he's not going to have arm problems. If you could get $3M from the Jays, and if you weren't giving up more too much prospect..... I would love to have him. Way more than Young. Even if Walker develops, what are the chances you go through a year with no loss of your other 4 starters? Kuma and Paxton have 29 starts between them: Felix 27.1 hour 46 min ago
SABR MattDickey is too feast or famine for my taste. I like Chris Young just fine. He won't cost more than 6-7 mil/year I think.2 hours 5 min ago
rick82Yeah, not sure about RJ. When Dickey takes a lickin, he tastes like chickin.4 hours 57 min ago
mojicianHere's how the world's best clock works: "Within the clock, lasers push together a ball of 10 million cesium atoms and cool them to near absolute zero (which helps reduce noise). The ball is tossed up in a 3-foot chamber, passing through a microwave beam. The microwave beam kicks some of the cesium atoms up into a higher energy state, which causes them to emit light." This is the inverse principle of how Felix's changeup (the world's best pitch) works. the ball jump drops its energy state mid flight causing it to absorb light and temporarily dissapear. You heard it on SSI.5 hours 18 min ago
Tacoma RainWhat about Walker?... I'd rather go with Young, having Taijuan as a fall back, and then a couple guys like Wade Leblanc or Jack's reclamation projects waiting in Tacoma than spending our limited budget on a pitcher who may not be needed.5 hours 49 min ago
mojicianOr maybe Dickey is like my dad's temperamental Omega watch. It looks great but stops telling time accurately when it doesn't receive a $600 servicing every few years, or it gets too much or too little oil in its many, many moving parts.5 hours 49 min ago
mojicianI dunno Moe, Dickey seems like a good guy to take a flier on, but at $12 million bucks, he'd be the key off season add. In 2015, he could be Cy Young, or he could be a meatball, and that sort of stuff depends on the air pressure and humidity that day, and how he files his fingernails (saw the R.A. Dickey movie on Netflix. He has a set of emery boards). As fine as a Timex is, if you're going to pay top dollar, the watch should have a sapphire face, a sweeping second hand, and be waterproof to a 1000 feet or so.6 hours 13 min ago
moethedogoops6 hours 56 min ago
moethedogRamirez may have been given his last start. Walker is still a '14 work in progress who will probably get his chance to prove something in 2-3 more Seattle starts. Chris Young gets more expensive and is a bit of a gamble beyond this year. Wilhelmsen is a possibility. I mention all that in regards to this: Toronto is evidently dangling RA Dickey. He's good for 200+ innings, 33 starts and a 100 ERA+. But at $12M he's expensive for a #5. I hated it when Seattle let him go years ago because I love the way knuckleballers take the pressure off your bullpen and the rest of your rotation. They are the Timex watches of MLB staffs.6 hours 57 min ago
moethedogWe know we've got a rotation with #'s 1-4 for next year that looks to be Felix, Kuma, Paxton & Elias. That's strong stuff. It is safe to say that Hultzen starts no higher than AA and is on a short inning count next year. Seattle in September for a start or two may be all we can hope for. Ramirez may have been given his last start. Walker is still a '14 work in progress who will probably get his chance to prove something in 2-3 more Seattle starts. Chris Young gets more expensive and is a bit of a gamble beyond this year. Wilhelmsen is a possibility. I mention all that in regards to this: Toronto is evidently dangling RA Dickey. He's good for 200+ innings, 33 starts and a 100 ERA+. But at $12M he's expensive for a #5. I hated it when Seattle let him go years ago because I love the way knuckleballers take the pressure off your bullpen and the rest of your rotation. They are the Timex watches of MLB staffs.7 hours 1 min ago
moethedogIf the trade was right and Toronto paid down his salary a bit, would you be interested in adding a Dickey for '15? Is he a better get than signing Young at, say $5M, or so? If the trade was right and you got $3M in Toronto loonies, I would be in. He's a heck of a security blanket. Way more so than Young. Of course there's the FA market or a guy like Colon..but the sure bet 200 innings are sure nice to think about.7 hours 2 min ago
MtGrizzlyYeah - two things I doubt we see again this year: Erasmo in the rotation and Morrison in RF.1 day 38 min ago
SABR MattI'm guessing Ramirez never starts for the Mariners again unless out of absolute necessity...I'm guessing McClendon is EXTREMELY ticked. If for no other reason than that Ramirez made ZERO attempt to adjust to the Rangers' aggressive approach on first pitches. Goldschmidt pointed out in the 4th inning that he'd giving up something like 6 or 7 hits on first pitches and refused to change his approach.1 day 1 hour ago
SABR Mattyeah...we also learned today that Morrison RF in a pennant race = VERY BAD. He cost the Ms at least 3 runs...maybe 4.1 day 1 hour ago
Tacoma RainI just have a hard time believing this coaching staff believes it is a good idea to have Miller try to learn a new position in the middle of his hitting slump and a pennant race.1 day 2 hours ago
moethedogOver on USSM they are suggesting that Lloyd was very close to playing Miller in RF today (with Van Slyke's approval), which seems not to make much sense since the alternative was to rest Cano, evidently. If you played Miller in RF then Cano had to play 2B. A Ty Kelly would fit into a multi-positional role for this team. BTW, Denorfia is a career .801 guy vL. He's at .623 this year, slugging .320. Will be interesting to see who gets the Sept. 1st call ups. Romero and Smoak, certainly. After that?1 day 2 hours ago
MtGrizzlyErasmo Snell returns1 day 2 hours ago
Tacoma RainWell the streak is over... The Mariners had gone 200+ game of not giving up 10 runs or more.1 day 2 hours ago
IcebreakerXLooking at the scoring summary, I wonder why McLendon didn't pull Erasmo in like the 3rd and switch to The Bartender or something. I guess we can look forward to a sweep by the Astros too... The M's really enjoy playing down to horrid teams, don't they?1 day 3 hours ago
IcebreakerXCan someone fill me in on how bad Erasmo was today? I don't feel like watching a dirge performed by tone deaf cats.1 day 3 hours ago