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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Bat571Jesus Montero is spending the winter (with his family) in Peoria and will be working out under supervision. If he takes this in the right spirit, and his wife realizes that they won't make the big bucks until Jesus proves he can stay in shape physically and emotionally, maybe Z will salvage him yet. If he could turn himself around and take the DH spot and (~) run with it, that would solve one problem and leave more resources for a corner OF. It may be my inner Pollyanna talking, but an .800 OPS from him at DH, with closer to .900 against LHs would sure solve some issues. Boy, Jesus with his head on straight and JJ hitting bendy stuff -- c'mon, Santa!!!6 hours 19 min ago
Bat571Brandon Finnegan was a revelation. A LH Leone? What a performance by that kid!6 hours 54 min ago
DaddyOOne of those games that makes all the boring ones worthwhile. Yes, baseball is frequently boring. But when it's good, it is very VERY good!7 hours 7 min ago
Bat571With JJ, Taylor, Miller, Ackley, Jackson, Saunders, and Kivlehan, Marte, and even Hicks coming, M's team speed is a strength going forward. Smoak and Morales may not be around next year, which means a significant net gain as well. Good things ahead.7 hours 10 min ago
SABR MattBat571 won the internet with his James Jones nod - "learn to hit bendy stuff, JJ" indeed. Get him hitting .285 and drawing a few walks every now and then and he can lead off or hit 9th for me anytime.7 hours 12 min ago
SABR Matt7 different Royals stole bases today.7 hours 13 min ago
SABR MattDerek Norris is the worst defensive catcher in baseball.7 hours 13 min ago
SABR MattGoodness...what do you suppose Billy Beane is thinking right now? He's tried to win every way imaginable and keeps getting immediately blitzkrieg'ed out of the post-season. Still no World Series appearances for Chokeland.7 hours 14 min ago
Bat571Royals again prove Billy Beane's stuff doesn't work in the playoffs. Oakland doesn't leverage Lester's fine start into anything. The A's are gonna think about this one for a while. And KC proves speed can still kill. Learn to hit bendy stuff, JJ!7 hours 15 min ago
SABR MattYES! EAT IT, OAKLAND!!7 hours 16 min ago
SABR MattOrcs continue to struggle under the lights...got an 8-7 lead int he 12th and immediately gave it back. :D7 hours 28 min ago
rick82I saw the ump burn the Royals with two borderline strike non calls, resulting in a three run homer by the Orcs. Glad to see the Royals tie it up.7 hours 54 min ago
DaddyOThis AL Wild Card game is something else...going to the bottom of the 10th tied 7-7. Love that the A's coughed up a lead that looked like a sure thing.8 hours 17 min ago
Bat571WWPD? -trade for Kemp and Butler, sign Lester, and win 117.8 hours 25 min ago
MtGrizzlyThere is probably a decent argument for a good old fashioned Pat Gillick style off season. WWPD? (What would Pat do?)8 hours 37 min ago
bsrThe best thing about this season is it put us back on the map as a non-joke franchise. I mostly credit McClendon and Cano for that. I think we'll have an easier go selling players on getting on board the bus this year than we've had in the past. The travel, weather, and soul killing stadium for hitters still don't help, but at least we look like a winner on the upswing with some talent and resources now.8 hours 42 min ago
bsrHa well, how about that. Good timing in the shout box I guess. I have just learned that when it comes to deciphering what the M's are doing, it's best to follow the cash flow and everything else follows from that. Payroll was $78M in 2013. In 2014 they got +$25M from MLB national TV contract, and payroll wound up around $100M. Attendance was +300K, I don't know what the net margin per attendee is but let's say $30, that's another $9M. Project another +300K in 2015, and you are at $121M (78+25+9+9). That is without adding any benefits of the M's own TV deal (I've never seen good detail on how this deal works accounting-wise, so I leave it out). So, that is where I expect them to budget payroll, $120M +/-, depending on what talent is available, and how season ticket sales are trending early on. $110M payroll would be extremely conservative IMO, I think it will be higher. I could see $115M and keep some powder dry for a big add midseason.8 hours 46 min ago
SABR MattI also do not believe we will make any trades that require us to deal someone Jack Z likes from the prospect depth. This year taught us that his wheel of AAA movables (guys who can come up and go down whenever he wants) can be an effective way to keep more relievers up, to rotate through options for the bench, to shake up the roster etc. I don't think Z will want to give that up.9 hours 53 min ago
SABR MattI think payroll will go up. By whatever ity takes to add two bats that the Mariners can spin as being significant upgrades at least slightly believably. I'm guessing our big adds will be of the caliber of Cuddyer or Willingham.9 hours 55 min ago
mojicianZ Interview: Dan Hultzen is pitching and receiving favorable scouting reports. He is being shut down until January.11 hours 11 min ago