Sometimes a good plan comes to fruition. I have been told this, anyway. I eagerly await the prophecy’s fulfillment.
In the meantime, chaos. Chaos rules. Chaos is the morning and midnight and everything between, before, and after. Chaos is the reason Kole Calhoun hit cleanup and the cause of Cam Gallagher’s 143 at-bats and the force compelling Tanner Bibee’s breakout.
Preparation is great, but planning? Plans? Forget them all. Chaos wins every time.
There is some nuance to this; after all, as fans, we are seeking good outcomes for this baseball team. How can a team prepare without a specific plan? It is better to prepare for many potential situations than it is to plan toward one outcome.
This means accepting a spectrum of outcomes as worthwhile results. We should then seek to identify certain strategies or behaviors that consistently move us toward this set of outcomes or provide other net positive results. There may be an ideal, too, but this should be a guiding principle rather than a goal. Said another way, do not let perfect be the enemy of good.
In the context of Cleveland baseball, the guiding principle is to build a team that wins a World Series. There can be spirited debate about what the acceptable outcomes are in a given season. However, pitching development is critical to the long-term success of the team. The front office knows this and continues to specialize; it is an obvious strategy that they rely upon to either gain cost-efficient Major League arms or trade controllable players to fill other needs. To say another thing another way: Look at what them dang rookies did this year, folks.
Do mistakes happen? You bet, but trades are not final and submitted for grading until all of the players are retired (or banned I guess).
For example, Adolis García earned a wRC+ of 88 as a 26-year-old at Triple-A Memphis in 2019. The Rangers, who acquired him from the Cardinals for Cash Considerations, made out very well. You will see it again Monday night. Meanwhile, the Cardinals made the playoffs in 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022. They also cleared out organizational space for Lars Nootbaar, Jordan Walker, and Dylan Carlson to develop in right field.
The Rangers were in a position where taking a flier on a toolsy player had tremendous upside. The Cardinals, who may be the best in baseball at developing hitters, dealt from a position of strength. The “mistake” did not cost them as much as it could have, and their current state is completely inseparable from the reality of not having García.
As a fan of Cleveland, it hurt a bit to see Aaron Civale dealt mid-year. The playoffs felt within reach! How could the front office just give up?!
Well, sometimes you get a Dude like Kyle Mazardo back. Were the Guardians in a position to trade for Manzardo because Agent of Chaos and LGFT Yandy Diaz led the American League in hitting this year? It did not hurt their chances.
It will be a long time until we know what these trades mean for both organizations.
I have even lost the thread of my original point here and can now only revel in the chaos of baseball. Chaos.
Let us now chant in a minor key at strange intervals.