Yes, that's an, um ... Honda Civic
Q. Could a GM just make 5-6 great imports, and turn a team around?
A. Pat Gillick could. :- ) I don't know if he's available.
I'm not saying that the Honda Civics Import strategy is unreasonable. Not at all. Some GM's work that way.
But I think James also wrote that this has only been done one time in baseball history, that a GM took over a team, made 6-8 great moves and won the pennant ...
... the 1961 Cincinnati Reds, if I recall correctly. A new GM took a 67-win team, spent the winter wheeling and dealing, and in 1961 the new-look Reds won 91 and the pennant. Just about the only time it's ever been done.
On the other hand, if our 2nd and 3rd Presidents can die together on the 50th anniversary of July 4, 1776, I suppose Jack Zduriencik could reprise Bill DeWitt, 50 years on.
Am not saying that no GM has ever done a great job in the winter. Pat Gillick does this every time he takes over a team. Perhaps the M's, Orioles, and Jays didn't "win the pennant in one winter," but certainly it is possible for a GM to outplay his opponents that badly.
A GM has to be a man among boys to do this. Pat Gillick didn't identify Arthur Rhodes, Mike Cameron, Stan Javier, Mark McLemore, Bret Boone and Paul Abbott by accident. I think at D-O-V we counted Gillick as 15-for-17 base hits, in his MLB(TM) veteran imports, at one point.
Q. Is the Pat Gillick approach workable here?
A. Is that Jack Zduriencik's big strength, do you think?
Do you want to ask Jack Zduriencik to pull a Pat Gillick "pick you all the castoff 31-year-old ML vets" miracle?
Or do you want Zduriencik to bring in a can't-miss vet -- say Prince Fielder -- and use his talent-evaluation gifts to pick the best scrubs from his battalion of kids, Wells, Trayvon, Carp, Smoak, Seager, Liddi, Ackley, Nick Franklin etc?
This is one more argument for Stars & Scrubs: it removes the pressure from the GM to identify the correct $9M free agent adds ::coughfigginscough:: . ANY GM can get him a great player when he's spending market rates, $20M per year.
Q. The top half of the inning, briefly: can the 2012 Mariners pitching staff allow fewer runs, despite losing Fister?
A. Sure. They better add runs. Their 2011 ERA+ was only 99.
They got three months of great starting pitching, so it kind of seems like "How could they possibly do better?", but ... there was a lot of "bleed" in the back end. And that bleed in the hose dripped their team ERA all the way down to league average.
The bullpen had weak ERA's. They gave 22 starts to Blake Beavan and Anthony Vasquez. That's a ton of runs that can be made up in 2012.
If the Mariners are ever going to compete with the Rangers, they'll have to get a pitching staff in the top 3 in the AL. That means 50 to 75 runs' improvement.
Not precisely sure how, and it doesn't matter. The M's are loaded with arms and they have to figure it out.