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Friday, September 16, 2022

How MLB’s Most Confounding Team Is (Mostly) Overcoming Decades of Dysfunction

Standing at his locker at Nationals Park on the afternoon of the trade deadline, Lindor rolls his eyes remembering last season’s absurdities. “There were so many different things last year,” he says. “It wasn’t a professional organization, I felt like.”

Lindor played 2021 under the weight of a 10-year, $341 million contract signed before he stepped onto the field in Queens. He had spent his entire career to that point in Cleveland, and he says he struggled to adapt to the expectations of New York.

This year’s group is different, he says: “Guys go about their business the right way—you ain’t gotta worry about it—and then once they’re done, they turn the page. Professional. I like that.” He adds, “A lot of guys got arbitration for the first time, or second or third. They got a little more money. They realize it’s not just the money. It’s Gotta win. So it’s a big mix of a lot of things.”

“Accountability,” says center fielder Brandon Nimmo.

“Leadership,” says first baseman Pete Alonso.

“Winning,” says reliever Tommy Hunter.

Most people around the team trace the change to the same place. Righty Taijuan Walker sums it up as well as anyone: “It starts with Buck.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 16, 2022 at 03:28 PM | 32 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mets

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   1. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: September 16, 2022 at 10:36 PM (#6096566)
I'm sure they won't return to their historically normal level of comical dysfunction the moment Showalter departs!
   2. Howie Menckel Posted: September 16, 2022 at 10:47 PM (#6096568)
SO much good stuff here. Buck is the ultimate "anti-bullshit" national treasure even as he doesn't realize it:

"Buck Showalter, who in December replaced Luis Rojas as manager, was just a few days into his new job when he visited Citi Field for the first time. He ran into Alex Cohen, Steve’s wife.

“What do you think?” she asked him.

He briefly demurred, then waved at the blue walls. “It’s too dark,” he said. “And all these [inspirational] sayings can go.”

Nine months later, ensconced in his office, which he had redesigned so the bathroom door was around the corner from the entrance rather than the first thing you saw — ”That’s not a good presentation” — he still shakes his head at the idea.

“I have never said, ‘Man, I became a better player because of something I read Winston Churchill say, or Aristotle,’ ” he says. “Oh wow, I’m supposed to try?”

He says he wants to read only one saying: “Play better.”
   3. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 16, 2022 at 10:53 PM (#6096569)
I'm sure they won't return to their historically normal level of comical dysfunction the moment Showalter departs!

Be careful what you wish for. Mature, professional leadership is grossly underrated and shockingly rare.
   4. Proo Posted: September 17, 2022 at 11:36 AM (#6096614)
Wait, this isn't about the Mariners?
   5. cardsfanboy Posted: September 17, 2022 at 11:41 AM (#6096615)
“It starts with Buck.”


Not quite as dramatic as the buck stops here, but it does have a good synergy.
   6. Brian C Posted: September 17, 2022 at 12:42 PM (#6096620)
Reading the headline, I had no idea which team the article was referring to. And I'm not really sure that the Mets are MLB's most confounding team. But unlike the Orioles, Pirates, Rockies, Angels, Tigers, Rangers, White Sox, Reds, or Marlins, I guess the Mets actually seem to be overcoming their long-running dysfunction this year.
   7. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: September 17, 2022 at 04:14 PM (#6096644)
The Angels can certainly be described as extremely dysfunctional, thanks to an owner who is trying to win but is extremely bad at it and a control freak.

The Orioles are extremely dysfunctional, thanks to an owner who is batshit insane. Their current competence won't last.

The Pirates, Reds, and Marlins can't really be described as dysfunctional; their ownership doesn't give a #### if they win or not, they're just being very handsomely paid by the real teams to fill out their schedules.

The Rockies have throughout their history been pretty dysfunctional... they never have been able to make up their minds and stick to a plan for longer than two years, through a generation and a half of regular front office changes.

I'm not sure how dysfunctional the Tigers are. They were always going to be terrible for a while as soon as Mike Ilitch died.

The White Sox are still pretty good, other than their owner's bizarre fixation on La Russa. But as Reinsdorf gets older his grip on sanity is weakening. They may be getting set for an Orioles-like run.

That leaves the Rangers. I don't know anything at all about the Rangers.
   8. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 17, 2022 at 05:07 PM (#6096648)
An analysis of Mets dysfunction without so much as a mention of Bobby Bonilla? Sadly superficial.
   9. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: September 17, 2022 at 05:35 PM (#6096651)
Righty Taijuan Walker sums it up as well as anyone: “It starts with Buck.”

How cute. The players are all still in the honeymoon phase of The Buck Showalter Experience. Buck's great at getting players to know how to win, but once they know, they're going to want to be treated like adults, and Buck is still going to be the hardass manager treating them like 1st graders. Then it's going to stop being so fun for them.
   10. Howie Menckel Posted: September 17, 2022 at 06:49 PM (#6096656)
How cute. The players are all still in the honeymoon phase of The Buck Showalter Experience. Buck's great at getting players to know how to win, but once they know, they're going to want to be treated like adults, and Buck is still going to be the hardass manager treating them like 1st graders. Then it's going to stop being so fun for them.

The New York Rangers' only Stanley Cup title in the last 82 years (!) was coached by "hardass" Mike Keenan.

he was gone just weeks after that 1994 win, via a contract dispute.

Mets fans would sign up for same......
   11. SoSH U at work Posted: September 17, 2022 at 06:52 PM (#6096657)

Reading the headline, I had no idea which team the article was referring to. And I'm not really sure that the Mets are MLB's most confounding team. But unlike the Orioles, Pirates, Rockies, Angels, Tigers, Rangers, White Sox, Reds, or Marlins, I guess the Mets actually seem to be overcoming their long-running dysfunction this year.


I figured it was the Mariners, whose dysfunction, unlike the Mets', has kept them out of the playoffs for two decades.
   12. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 17, 2022 at 09:46 PM (#6096696)
How cute. The players are all still in the honeymoon phase of The Buck Showalter Experience. Buck's great at getting players to know how to win, but once they know, they're going to want to be treated like adults, and Buck is still going to be the hardass manager treating them like 1st graders. Then it's going to stop being so fun for them.

Well, 80% of managers don't even have a honeymoon phase, so they're ahead of the game.
   13. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: September 17, 2022 at 09:56 PM (#6096698)
I'm right there with you, Howie and snapper. The winning is great. It's just that all the quotes about how much the players love Buck will be fun to go back and read 18-24 months from now once the breakup has started, if history holds.
   14. Rally Posted: September 17, 2022 at 10:35 PM (#6096712)
The Orioles are extremely dysfunctional, thanks to an owner who is batshit insane. Their current competence won't last.


They have a ton of young talent with only a few of them starting to contribute in the majors. Looks pretty good to be. Unless they think one older RBI man is what they need and trade Gunnar Henderson, Grayson Rodriguez, and Colton Cowser to the White Sox for Jose Abreu.

In other words, the 2022 version of the Glenn Davis trade.
   15. Ron J Posted: September 17, 2022 at 11:14 PM (#6096727)
#14 Of course what turned that deal into a true train wreck is that Davis broke.

Schilling didn't become Schilling for quite some time. Not sure how to factor that in to the evaluation. I mean the Astros thought Schilling was worth a 24 year old with a career ERA+ of 86. (and their judgement of Grimsley would be untested since he got hurt and then released)

Don't get me wrong. Straight up for Finley wouldn't have looked great if Davis had aged like a 4 WAR 30 year old and there were two other significant players in the deal -- which is I think your point.

Still I don't think Abreau is a wonderful comp. Davis was quite a bit younger and (MVP for Abreau notwithstanding) probably had a higher established level of talent.
   16. Brian C Posted: September 17, 2022 at 11:19 PM (#6096729)
I figured it was the Mariners, whose dysfunction, unlike the Mets', has kept them out of the playoffs for two decades.

Solid point. Man, there are more dysfunctional teams in MLB than I can keep track of. I forget about the Mariners, honestly, because even though I live a solid 10-hour drive from Seattle, I am in Mariners' territory and thus can't watch any of their games.
   17. cardsfanboy Posted: September 18, 2022 at 10:01 AM (#6096750)
In this day and age, if a team goes 5-7 years without a post season appearance, then that has to be definitive of a poorly run organization. There is no reason for a team to not have appeared in the post season in the past 7 years. I'm not sure off the top of my head which teams this might apply to. (and not sure if that means they are dysfunctional or not)
   18. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 18, 2022 at 11:27 AM (#6096755)
In this day and age, if a team goes 5-7 years without a post season appearance, then that has to be definitive of a poorly run organization. There is no reason for a team to not have appeared in the post season in the past 7 years. I'm not sure off the top of my head which teams this might apply to. (and not sure if that means they are dysfunctional or not)

I agree with that, but I think you have to know their motivations to say if they're dysfunctional. Making the playoffs is not part of the business plan for the Pirates and Marlins. They can win 65-75 games ever year, and be perfectly executing their strategic plan.
   19. cHiEf iMpaCt oFfiCEr JE Posted: September 18, 2022 at 12:27 PM (#6096759)
This article would have been a useful read had it merely explained how so much has changed since Cohen bought the franchise and and then Buck arrived. Much of the rest, including a need to recite every reported incident which took place during the Wilpon reign, seems superfluous.
   20. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: September 18, 2022 at 12:28 PM (#6096760)
I forget about the Mariners, honestly, because even though I live a solid 10-hour drive from Seattle, I am in Mariners' territory and thus can't watch any of their games.


The great paradox of my adult life is that it's been much easier to follow the team of my childhood when I was farthest away from my childhood home.

Anyway, this iteration of "Mare the M's good now?!?" is actually supported by some numbers. Periodically over the last 20 years they'd win 85 games and the fanboys would get very upset if you mentioned that they'd been outscored by 70 runs. Now they're actually outscoring their opponents, and they're doing it with some young talent that might stick around a while. It'll be tough, playing the the same division as the Astros, to finish first for the next several years -- though that's not what you need to do anymore.

Of course, I'm in North Carolina. So it will remain the case that the last time I attended a playoff game in Seattle, the Kingdome was still standing.
   21. SoSH U at work Posted: September 18, 2022 at 01:01 PM (#6096762)
I'm not sure off the top of my head which teams this might apply to.


After this season, Detroit, KC, LAA and Pitt. Cincinnati and Miami avoid the list due to the super-expanded playoffs of 2020.
   22. Lassus Posted: September 18, 2022 at 02:42 PM (#6096767)
I was annoyed with the Buck hire as another boring old man manager.

I was admittedly 100% wrong.
   23. BDC Posted: September 18, 2022 at 03:16 PM (#6096774)
That leaves the Rangers. I don't know anything at all about the Rangers

No postseason since 2016 here; just fired their manager and then their GM, but oddly not at exactly the same time; ownership is relatively reclusive, with no particular grand strategy. They have spun their wheels a bit trying to engage the next "success cycle"; they were of course pretty good 2009-16 and it is not surprising that the talent from that cycle is almost all retired now, but they seemed to have no idea how to restock: notably terrible at drafting and at developing prospects they'd traded for. Did spring for big FAs in 2021-22 and are nine games better than at the same point last year, which sounds about right; you can buy nine wins but when you're starting with 60 that ain't much. Dysfunctional? hard to say. They could buy another nine wins this winter and be all the way up to mediocre :)

They do seem to have success with one veteran retread pitcher at a time (Mike Minor, Lance Lynn, Kyle Gibson, Martin Perez) … maybe most clubs have somebody like that in a given year, though.

   24. Brian C Posted: September 18, 2022 at 06:59 PM (#6096825)
I agree with that, but I think you have to know their motivations to say if they're dysfunctional. Making the playoffs is not part of the business plan for the Pirates and Marlins. They can win 65-75 games ever year, and be perfectly executing their strategic plan.

"Failing as an organization so that the owners can skim off the top" seems like a very obvious and very fundamental kind of dysfunction to me.
   25. Hot Wheeling American Posted: September 18, 2022 at 09:14 PM (#6096840)
For anyone keeping score, guessing from the headline, I went with Baltimore.
   26. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: September 18, 2022 at 10:52 PM (#6096845)
After this season, Detroit, KC, LAA and Pitt. Cincinnati and Miami avoid the list due to the super-expanded playoffs of 2020.


Interesting that only one of these four teams isn't trying to compete. Well, maybe two; I don't know what Detroit's plan is or at what stage they're in it, which is to say, I don't know if they're actually tanking right now. KC and the Angels certainly are trying to be good and are just fabulously incompetent.
   27. DFA Posted: September 18, 2022 at 11:35 PM (#6096848)
The Tigers certainly did spend this recent off-season like they were trying to compete. Just a lot of bad luck with the struggles and or injuries to their young core. On the plus side, progress isn't linear so it's entirely possible they will be roaring back strong next year. (I know little of the Tigers FWIW.)
   28. Obo Posted: September 19, 2022 at 12:15 PM (#6096880)
Dear official scorers: My guess was also Baltimore.
   29. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 19, 2022 at 01:13 PM (#6096883)
That leaves the Rangers. I don't know anything at all about the Rangers
Better at building stadiums than teams.
   30. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: September 19, 2022 at 02:12 PM (#6096895)
In this day and age, if a team goes 5-7 years without a post season appearance, then that has to be definitive of a poorly run organization. There is no reason for a team to not have appeared in the post season in the past 7 years.

Teams that haven't made the postseason in any of the last seven years: Phillies, Mariners, Angels, Tigers, Royals.

The Marlins, Reds, and Padres only made it in the weird 2020 pandemic year/postseason.

The Pirates last did it seven years ago. The Mets, Rangers, and Orioles six years ago, if you want to dial back to five years.
   31. Ron J Posted: September 19, 2022 at 02:13 PM (#6096897)
#28 I never thought dysfunctional was the right word for the Orioles. I suppose incompetence is a form of dysfunction.
   32. SoSH U at work Posted: September 19, 2022 at 03:10 PM (#6096907)
Teams that haven't made the postseason in any of the last seven years: Phillies, Mariners, Angels, Tigers, Royals.

The Marlins, Reds, and Padres only made it in the weird 2020 pandemic year/postseason.

The Pirates last did it seven years ago. The Mets, Rangers, and Orioles six years ago, if you want to dial back to five years.


You're right on all but the Royals. They're in there with the Pirates.

Seattle looks very likely to end its drought this year, while Philly is in good shape as is San Diego to no longer have to be "all but 2020'd."

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