Wednesday, June 15, 2011

On Building a Champion Without Resorting to the Likes of Ty Wigginton

I admit that part of my antipathy to Ty Wigginton stems from an esthetic choice. My preferred method of building a championship team, both in theory and in practice, is to develop through the farm system, or to acquire young players from other teams that haven't yet had their shot. Seeing a group of young men collectively find its way into the majors, and eventually coalesce into a champion, as we saw in Colorado in 2007, is much preferable to hauling in the likes of a 34-year-old Gary Sheffield as a free agent. To say nothing of hauling in a rummy like Ty Wigginton.

Do you know how many of the regulars on the 2009 Rockies, the winningest team in franchise history, had previously played regularly for other clubs? None. Carlos Gonzalez had played half a season (badly) in the outfield for the Oakland Athletics, and Yorvit Torrealba was the backup catcher for the Giants and Mariners, but neither of them ever played even 100 games in a season for another team. Everyone else who had as many as 100 plate appearances for that team came up through the Rockies system.

That's my idea of team-building. You develop young guys and give them a chance, or you bring in players from other teams and make major leaguers out of them. That's how you catch lightning in a bottle.

It's possible for a champion to succeed by bringing in other teams' used-up parts, as the Giants did last year. But I wonder if San Francisco will ever embrace Aubrey Huff and Pat Burrell to its collective bosom the way we did Brad Hawpe and Ryan Spilborghs. I rather doubt it.

And make no mistake: If I felt that Ty Wigginton was going to be a crucial piece on a World Championship team, I'd be happy to have him aboard. But he's not. Cuz he sucks.

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