Every season, teams struggle to live up to expectations, or simply are not good enough to compete in one's division or league. Sometimes it is a disappointment and other times it is a foregone conclusion a team will not be good. In the case of the latter, it is certainly fair for the fan to want to have an idea of how long it will be until the team returns to competition. That brings us to the day and age of overemphaisis on players who have not played in the major leagues yet.
Some fans feel like a player that they have never seen play before could not be worse than what they see on an everyday basis. In several instances, they are right as bad teams sometimes have players that do not belong in the major leagues. But I think fans take it too far when they put undue faith in their team's farm system. Like getting rid of all players over the age of 25 and replacing them with those that are under is guaranteed to make the team better. That is frustration talking, not logic.
After a season like this, it is understandable how every team's fans want a Mike Trout or Bryce Harper. Most would settle for a Willin Rosario, Wade Miley or even Todd Frazier. Let's start by talking about players that are in Trout and Harper's league. Anybody remember Alex Ochoa? How about Alex Escobar? I can think about can't miss players like Sean Burroughs and Corey Patterson where organizations counted on their teams to change because of these players. Point is, there is never a guarantee. And I am simply talking about the players who are backed by the hype.
What about the players that are not backed by the so called hype? This is where my problem lies. Just because your team stinks, is it a guarantee that the players that are currently in said team's minor league system are the solution? If a GM is in charge of putting a good team on the field, they are held accountable for the results of the major league team. If they cannot essemble a competitive MLB team, what is to say they can develop players in the minor leagues? But fans of a bad team will still leave out hope that the future is better. Sometimes for no other reason than the fact that those players are young.
Lets take the New York Mets, for instance. They traded Cy Young Award winner RA Dickey to the Toronto Blue Jays for Travis d'Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard. Whether the trade is good are bad will be determined by how d'Arnald and Syndergaard do once they reach the major leagues. That trade gave the Mets three of the top 100 prospects in the major leagues right now with Zack Wheeler added to the other two. From that perspective, it is a good thing. But scouts say the trade moved the Mets overall farm system to within the top 20 in baseball. Did those scouts who meant to be complementary forget there are 30 teams in MLB? A top 20 farm system is not the same as a top 5 or top 10 farm system. While there may be a little more to root for, for Mets fans, there is still no guarantee. It would be a lot more encouraging if the Mets were known to have the best farm system in MLB, or at least in the top five. But they do not.
People like to point to the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays and most recently, the 2012 Oakland Athletics as examples of how teams should be built. Though both teams deserve credit for what they did, two points need to be made. One: The Rays lost in the 2008 WS and have not been back since, despite being competitive every season. The Athletics got huge production from Yoennis Cespedes and Josh Reddick. Cespedes was signed to a 4 year contract prior to the season and Reddick was not a prospect when he was acquired in the Andrew Bailey trade. The A's are not part of the norm. For every team that has a season like Oakland, there are the Royals and Pirates. Even the Nationals only got Stephen Strasburg and Harper because they had the worst record in baseball two years ago. And they got lucky as top picks like Matt Bush, Brien Taylor and Luke Hochevar either never made the majors or failed to be franchise pitchers.
So, the motto of a lot of people continues to be: If your team stinks, the organization should quit competing on the major league level for years (as if the prior losing wasn't enough). Then... maybe... the young players will become something. But what if they don't? Do you quit for the next series of years? There is some luck involved in picking players in a draft. I disagree with those who think a team in that spot cannot trade for a player over 30. I also disagree with the fact that team cannot sign a free agent over the age of 30. Just like with the younger players, it all depends on the player. It is time to spot stereotyping non-major leaguers as being the only solution for the future. If a team gets rid of all older players and plays these younger ones, it is a promise that a series of players who are the same age as the ones the team just traded will be on the team when the team gets better. To me, it is a matter of the trust of the players that are on a roster. Some could be a huge influence on the younger players brought in. And the chemistry is usually better with players who have been on a team for a while as opposed to somebody from another organization trying to fit in. But, once again, it all has to do with the player, either younger or older.