This was originally published in The Athletic.
There’s a lot to be said, and plenty that’s been written, about baseball’s suddenly cold hot stove. On one hand, it seems like teams have finally figured out that paying free agents top dollar for what will likely be their less-productive, past-prime seasons is not a sound strategy. On the other, it’s very fair to lament the fact that owners seem more interested in hoarding every possible bit of the record $10.3 billion worth of revenues MLB earned last year than, you know, fielding championship-caliber teams. Either way, having a dormant offseason doesn’t help generate interest in the sport. Juxtaposed against other leagues that thrive on offseason storylines created by player movement – both real and potential – Major League Baseball seems like it needs to be dusted off once the games actually begin.
So yes, when only a handful of 30 franchises seem interested in self-improvement, it stands out. The Reds are doing more than most, and good for them.
But you’ll have to excuse me if I’m not as on board as others in crediting the people that run the Reds for actually trying to improve the team. One writer for Forbes has taken notice of the team’s winter of activity and labeled them the team that should be everyone’s favorite. Our guy at The Athletic, former Reds GM Jim Bowden, says “analysts will give them credit for at least trying to win.” A few area columnists have used their outlets to praise the Reds for their offseason efforts, even if skepticism remains about whether their maneuvers will translate to wins.
I don’t know that there’s a sadder indictment against a proud, history-rich franchise than praise for simply trying.
To read the entire piece, go to The Athletic.