Posted: Thursday July 27, 2006 2:13PM; Updated: Thursday July 27, 2006 4:46PM
Cesar Izturis has come back from elbow surgery to play in 29 games so far this season.
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
The baseball world ripped the Sox from thread to thread, largely unwilling to consider the silver lining.
"I rated it the third-biggest trade-deadline trade of all time when I looked at them last year," baseball analyst and historian Mike Carminati said. "As far as rightness, I think that it was slightly right then for both teams and remained so. It helped the Giants immediately and helped the Sox build for the future -- it formed the core of the bullpen for the 2000 division champion team. However, the Sox got a lot of negative p.r. since most of their fans felt they should not be building for the future, though they really were a .500 team at best."
We all want to win. We want to win the baseball game, the scholarship, the promotion, the lottery, the girl or guy of our dreams. But quite honestly, one of the reasons we are able to function in society is because we know we can't win every time. Some victories require a little groundwork, a little investment.
It isn't right that baseball morality permits only the Tampa Bays and Kansas Cities of the world to deal away veterans with six-digit odometers or eight-digit salary expectations so that they can build for the future (not that doing so has done those haphazardly run organizations much good in recent years). It should not be so shameful for a .500 team, a team that can only win a World Series if karma and luck fall head over heels in love, to say, "Look, we can be a long shot this year, or we can make a small sacrifice and become a serious contender for years to come."
Teams can get hot instantly -- there's no denying that. Florida surprised everyone in 2003, went on a run and won the World Series. Houston recovered from a faceplant of a start in 2005 and took the NL pennant. If you're three games out of the playoffs with a .500 record, the postseason possibilities may be so tantalizing that the slim odds of winning it all may not matter to you.
Good enough. That doesn't mean it should be a sin to step back and decide that whatever you have now, you can build upon with a little more patience. It should be a choice. And it can be a choice that remains open until the moment the deadline passes, a choice that depends on whether you can get a quality deal or not, as opposed to a deal that just makes you look busy.
As for the fans, some will complain. Some will always complain. But if you show you have a plan and you make an intelligent trade for the future, sacrificing a mere two months in the process could render those complaints moot rather quickly. Meanwhile, a large number of fans will extend you a laurel and hearty handshake. If the Dodgers can pick up help for 2007 in exchange for sending players such as outfielder Kenny Lofton, infielder Cesar Izturis or reliever Takashi Saito to the playoffs with other teams -- and that's basically what should happen -- the people of Los Angeles will forgive.
So join me in casting off the stigma of the nasty "seller" label. Join me in calling every team in baseball a buyer -- whether they are a future-is-now buyer, buying for the long haul or something in between.
It could be just the thing to allow your team to have a dynasty.