I know I wrote last week about staying in the here and now but I want to talk, briefly, about next year.
More specifically I want to talk Expectation. Expectations are things that we have as professional in our field of work. We have them personally and we even have them in our hobbies. The Mariners went into this season with the obvious attitude of wanting to give opportunities and the desire to see players seize them.
We saw that with Adam Kennedy and Milton Bradley, we saw it with Jamey Wright out of the bullpen. We saw it with Carlos Peguero, Michael Saunders and even Greg Halman. The Mariners gave many opportunities to many different players both young and old, Dustin Ackley, Kyle Seager and Mike Carp all benefitted in some way from this philosophy this year.
Going into next year the organization will have need of some such goal as they did this year. May I suggest: Improvement.
I’m just a fan and obviously no way connected to the organization to which I exert so much energy following. That said there is a season for all things and while we as fans have endured 3 pretty miserable seasons in the last 4 years, it’s time to start to see some improvement. I know these sentiments are echoed across the fan base and I’m not trying to “stir” anything up. It’s just a matter of fact. We want to see Improvement.
That iImprovement, isn’t just the development of players. I don’t think I’m alone when I say “we want more than that.” There is a desire to see some additional W’s on the board.
I believe that I’m in small percentage that’s still really patient with this club. It’s not that the front office doesn’t do things that I disagree with. It’s just that I realize how much of a crap shoot this really is at times. While a good percentage of constructing a roster is being able is make wise decisions, there is certainly some luck involved.
Now, I’m sure some of you might think that I’m going all Geoff Baker at this point. Don’t worry I’m not, I disagree with Geoff on a few principles. I most assuredly would disagree that GM’s make bad decisions that they know at the time are probably not going to end up turning out “good”.
The contract with Carlos Silva wasn’t smart at the time and it isn’t smart retrospectively. The Brandon Morrow trade was okay. It’s wasn’t great, it wasn’t as bad as some think it was. I believe if he was moved now you would get more back than what we got at that time. As for Chone Figgins, I liked the deal at the time and I think 75% of the fan base did too (though you’ll rarely find one out on the streets that admit it). I thought — at the time — if nothing else he’d be an improvement at second base. It’s just too bad things have worked out as they have.
Getting back to my point we all have goals and achievements that we as fans have every right to set a goal for a club in which we follow. We are the paying supporters, we are the public, there is no team without us. While the team can choose to ignore us, and some might say that they have (I would argue otherwise), I believe they understand that we want progress.
That said, what is our definition of progress? Is it a .500 record? Is it one win more than what we had last year? What exactly do you define as progress? I think most fans are done with the idea of just seeing guys “improve” and I get that. Not to say that I don’t have some of those expectations for certain players (*cough*Justin Smoak*cough*) it’s just that they want to see a more… tangible? Wins, while conceptual, are the closest thing fans have at the end of the season. Sometimes those wins translate to banners, sometimes not.
These goals should translate to philosophy and that drives your efforts and helps you craft the guys you are bringing into spring training and ultimately the potential 40-man roster going into next year. This is kind of a preface to my personal off-season plan.
I’m not asking for opinions right now, good Lord the season just ended. Let’s take sometime to enjoy the playoffs and take kind of a bit of a break from it all.
Just kind of think about it… what are my expectations for next year? It’s something I’ve been asking myself the past week and it’s produced plenty of added fruit for thought. We’ll touch more on this subject after the playoffs but I want that specific question stiring in all your minds.