The debate rages as to whether the Rangers should push in the chips and go for it this year, or sell assets and build for the future.
That was the discussion on MLB Network Radio yesterday. Not just about the Rangers but about the teams in the playoff picture.
The discussion was between C.J. Nitkowski and former Mets GM Steve Phillips.
While we all know the pros and cons of the argument, Phillips brought up one interesting aspect from the prospect of a general manager. The fact that you can do both: Play for winning now and build for the future.
He relayed a story about his 1999 Mets club. At one point they were 27-28. He made some coaching changes after which they had the mindset to see where the next 50 games would take them.
At the deadline, they realized they were a contender. So, instead of selling off pieces, the went for it. Rather than trading off players, they made a few small deals to shore up some holes.
They won the wild card, won the Division Series, but ended up losing the Championship Series.
Afterward, his ownership group called him into the office for a recap.
They told him he made a $30-million decision. Adding the players they needed to add, and not waving the white flag, invigorated the fan base. Rather than giving up on the team, they came to see it. It generated a ton of walk up sales. Making the playoffs generated playoff revenue. And, the excitement of winning generated an increase in season ticket sales the next season.
All of which led to a $30 million upswing in additional revenue. Which was then plowed into getting high end free agents.
So, by going for it all, they were able to strengthen their present and build for their future.
He was very clear to caution that it is a tricky mine field to walk. You better have a really good feel for the talent level of your current team and an honest assessment of their chances.
It was an angle most fans don’t consider: the point of the added revenue generated by success and by winning, and then being able to plow that added revenue back into player acquisition.
You can serve the present and the future. If you do it right.
The key is the if. Does this front office possess the skills to correctly read the if?