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D-Backs Potpourri: Processing

On tanking, an experimental hot take,

Baltimore Orioles v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

This is a baseball website, but I’d like to talk some hoops real quick. Those are the two sports I like to talk about the most because they’re the only two sports I played with some skill at a “competitive” level. Don’t worry, I’m gonna bring this back around.

Anyway, I want to take a moment to slander for Philadelphia 76ers GM and owner of the largest galaxy brain Sam Hinkie. When he took over the 76ers, he promptly gutted the roster into an unwatchable mess. Intentionally. Why? The theory that if you’re extremely terrible, you will get higher draft picks, and with higher draft picks you’ll have a chance to draft a game-changing superstar. In Basketball, more than any of the major American sports, one guy can change the entire outlook of your team. This was dubbed “The Process” because it sounds better than “We’re gonna send out some monumentally shit teams that you don’t want to watch for a few years”

Prior to Hinkie the 76ers were a decent team that had trouble getting past the second round of the playoffs. As of right now, after Hinkie’s departure and a former Diamondback owner’s son’s twitter scandal, the 76ers are a pretty good time that... has trouble getting past the second round of the playoffs.

The thing is with “The Process” is that people jumped all over it as some sort of genius plan before one could even conclude that it worked out. The idea was so widespread across all sports media, that folks in other sports started to take notice.

Tanking a season because you’re terrible and having a better draft pick is a decent enough reward is nothing new. In baseball, you’d generally rebuild and maybe bottom out if you had an expensive roster that wasn’t producing at even a .500 level. That’s what the Cubs and Astros did this decade, and they’ve been doing alright. The idea that being decent isn’t good enough and you shouldn’t try to get better from that level, only from the bottom, is new, and “The Process” seems somewhat to blame.

Which brings me to...

I don’t want to get into the buy/sell arguments again, because there’s too much of that content on this site. (I’m personally team “Stand pat at worst unless you can get some MLB ready guys because you can run in back in 2020 and see where you are there and maybe invest in the damn bullpen.” We have t-shirts) But the general message of “Well, we could try to be better, but what’s the point?” Is really kind of depressing, especially as a fan.

Or, it would be, but looking through the replies to that tweet there are a lot of “YES THIS IS CORRECT BECAUSE BLAH BLAH DRAFT PICKS MAXIMIZING EFFICIENCY HORP BLORP” The Process, and this idea that every fan should be a mini-GM rather than an irrational fan has infected all of baseball. You shouldn’t spend so much money on a free agent! If you trade this prospect that’s in Low-A to make a playoff run I’m going to lock myself in my room and listen to Simple Plan all day and break my lamp! Etc.

Pretty much all of the American League is terrible. All of the National League is an amorphous blob of could-be contenders. Nobody, even the contenders, really feels like they want to be bold and put their stamp on a major trade. Hell, even the contenders might be selling:

Cleveland is, at time of writing, the first wild card in the AL and two games out in the AL Central. Selling one of your pitchers* at this juncture would be w i l d. And yet, this is the state of baseball at this time.

At least the fans are still showing up, right?

*(If Cleveland is trading Bauer for the same reason the Diamondbacks did, and there isn’t any rumors or proof on that and I’m not saying they are, then disregard somewhat.)

If you ain’t first, you’re last. If you can’t guarantee a championship, then why try to increase your odds for one? This is all the symptoms of Process disease, and nobody seems interested in vaccinating.

I’m going to buy some stock in the following hot take “Mike Hazen road the coattails of a team that Kevin Towers/Dave Stewart built into a playoff team and hasn’t shown much since.” I don’t necessarily believe it fully or really at all, but I figure there’s some growth potential, and can be and easy sell if it turns out to be wrong.

Also works as an investment for me, because unlike a lot of people, I really don’t care about being wrong on the internet, but I will revel in being right. It’s the human condition.

I’m definitely not on the ground floor of this take. Teams are going to position players pitching way too much this season that what used to be a fun novelty in a blowout or a 20 inning game has turned into “Ugh, not this again.” It’s not fun to watch dudes lob 50 MPH fastballs on a nightly basis. Use your worst relievers you cowards.

Former Snakepit nemesis Troy Tulowitzki retired yesterday. He was promptly awarded a triple by the Coors Field scorer.

For old school Snakepitters from the beginning of this decade, you know that’s the most touching tribute I can give. Enjoy retirement, Troy.

I’ve mentioned it in this space, but I’m personally delighted that Yasmany Tomàs is back. Not really for any “good at baseball reasons”, though he’s raked enough in Triple-A that is makes a certain amount of sense, but it feels like if the team isn’t gonna make external improvements, they may as well be interesting and entertaining if not good.

I need Yasmany to be fired up to prove the previous haters in this front office wrong. I need Kevin Cron to be recalled so that he and Yasmany can bat back-to-back in a lineup and create the beefiest slugging pair league has ever seen. I need that to work so we can buy merchandise to that effect in 2020.

If nothing else, it’s a move that screams “F*** it, let’s get weird.” I appreciate that above all else.

Thanks as always for reading. Hope you have a life worth fighting for.