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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SABR MattYep...as I figured...Weeks will mostly play LF, 1B, and occasionally DH or 3B...the other guy (Bloomquist or Taylor) will play 2B, SS and occasionally 3B.6 min 4 sec ago
MtGrizzly@RyanDivish: McClendon said that Weeks will work in left field this spring and said the combo (not platoon) of he and Ackley could put up good numbers19 min 27 sec ago
mojicianNotable Rangers tragedies: Nolan Ryan leaves Rangers with hurt feelings after being put in Jon Daniels' sandbox. Jurickson Profar out forever. Derek Holland out for 2014; 3. Yu Darvish and Matt Harrison injured in 2014 Ian Kinsler traded for "never missed a game" Prince Fielder to make room for the aforementioned Profar. As soon as Fielder is traded he has his neck fused. Kinsler is good in Detroit and says he hopes the Rangers lose every game. Shin Soo Choo out for the count. Houston Astros lose the nickname "Lastros" after only one season.16 hours 21 min ago
mojicianHow about the Angels? Notable tragedies: AAA sensation Nick Adenhart killed by a drunk driver the night of his rookie debut. Coach falls over with a broken leg after trying to catch a ceremonial first pitch, and Josh Hamilton. What about the Stros? Their regional sports network went belly up, they lost their first round pick in 2014, and nearly lost the 2015 draft pick. The Orcs don't have personnel tragedies because the turnover approaches 100 percent from year to year. Orcs are fungible, like bales of hay. The Rangers really are snake bit.16 hours 30 min ago
OBFI don't follow other orgs closely at all... do they all have their share of tragedy, or are the M's... uh.... special in that regard? Halman and Sanchez of course leap off the page, but even beyond that freak injuries to up and comers seem like regular occurrences(Snelling rounding the bases, the pitcher who got tore up in an odd self car accident, DTFT losing his career to a food allergy of all things[he should try whole30])... Like I said, could just be bias since I follow the M's closely, but it feels like we are snake bite...16 hours 51 min ago
MtGrizzlyMLB's 'streaming-tech' business unit is quickly becoming a major force in the OTT (over the top) market. HBO will be using the platform for their direct-to-consumer streaming service. Ditto Sony, ESPN and the World Wrestling Entertainment. Glenn Beck is already using it for his OTT network. MLB reportedly has a sales funnel of 40 more, including a number of traditional TV networks. Very strange to see MLB as a leading innovator in...anything really. But they have something figured out.19 hours 40 min ago
SpectatorSanchez still in coma, but "small dose of good news"; better than bad news, I guess. http://m.mariners.mlb.com/news/article/110180578/mariners-receive-update-on-injured-prospect-sanchez22 hours 34 min ago
SABR MattFarquhar abandoning the 2-seamer is very good news. His cutter should be dialed back a bit as well...throw more up the ladder 4-seamers and more curves and change-ups and a few fewer cutters and you've got the makings of a closer.1 day 57 min ago
SABR MattDaddyO - short form answer is that the Yankees spend more than any team in baseball by a wide....WIIIIIIIDDDDE margin for analytics and that they specifically looked for managers and coaches interested in analytics to inform decision-making...and I can guarantee you that their infrastructure for doing analytics work is second to none in organized sports.1 day 58 min ago
DaddyOInteresting article on MLB teams' increasing awareness of the impact of player fatigue over the course of a full season. http://www.wsj.com/articles/baseballs-fight-with-fatigue-14247105601 day 10 hours ago
lrI get what you&#039;re saying about getting a sense of how someone moves, but I think anyone fielding a 6 hopper in drills is going to look pretty good. I&#039;d bet if we could find some spring training grounders video of Smoak, or Morrison, they might look a little different than they do taking live grounders in games. I&#039;m not saying Smoak is a good athlete, he&#039;s not. I&#039;m just saying using that specific video to declare Montero a vastly better athlete than most any other pro baseball player seems premature. Let&#039;s also not forget he played catcher for what, 5 or 6 years. He has to have some feel for how to react to a baseball coming at him. You&#039;d think that should help him in the hands department as well, at least in theory. My main doubts for Montero are in the reaction time/reflexes/quickness area, which combined with having good hands are probably the most important things for that position.1 day 14 hours ago
MtGrizzly@ProspectInsider: Danny Farquhar tells us he's scrapping the two-seamer this year.1 day 14 hours ago
DaddyOMatt, I'd be interested in your comment, if allowed, on what that site has to say about the Yankees.1 day 15 hours ago
DaddyOFYI, saw a link to this on another baseball site, thought I'd pass it on... The Great Analytics Rankings, categorizes and ranks MLB teams with regard to their commitment to saber analytics. ... http://espn.go.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/12331388/the-great-analytics-rankings#1 day 15 hours ago
SABR MattI think when you watch an infielder over any sort of grounder, even if it's a routine fungo, you get a sense for how they are relating to the ball. I believe Montero has vastly improved in this area, his body now gets to a point where the incoming energy of the ball is being softly absorbed...look where his chest, glove hand, and outer hip are as he fields it. That is the kind of thing I'm talking about. Smoak was kludgy at first base relative to the ball...he made up for it easily by having soft hands and being very skilled picking bad throws from other infielders...but Montero could be better now at positioning himself relative to the ball...I would need to see how he handles a tough play where he has to range some in order to be sure.1 day 20 hours ago
SABR MattLOL at Paxton falling over in agility drills...pitchers generally are not athletes.1 day 20 hours ago
DaddyOOBF-- Yep. Nothing but puff pieces and meaningless drivel for another week or so, and even then the ST games don't mean anything. ST's who's hot and who's not will prove again like they do every year that stats put up against prospects who won't play and veterans who are just rounding into shape don't mean a thing. Still, at least there's baseball talk. And something to crowd out the joke that is the NBA.1 day 20 hours ago
OBFNot sure about Seattle, but the Willamette Valley, down here in Oregon, is going through it's annual February Tease... Sunny, clear blue skies, 60 degrees... But the cold and drizzle will be back in a week, count on it and will stay until late April... This of course perfectly mirrors Picthers and Catchers report (and spring training in general).... SUCH A TEASE! Come on April hurry up!1 day 20 hours ago
benihanaApparently yoga didn't help his agility. Paxton apparently fell in agility drills and jammed both wrists. Nothing serious but being held back a few days.1 day 21 hours ago
MtGrizzly@SamRyanMLB: Seattle @Mariners pitcher @James_Paxton practiced hot yoga 4 days a week during off season1 day 21 hours ago