I'll say this about the "fuck this offseason" crowd....they have an arguable point. Perhaps not a defensible point per se, and certainly not one I'm ready to concede, but they do have a point.
Now the disclaimer, as always, remains that three months of offseason remain, and you never know (radio silence!) when the other shoe will drop with this cloak & dagger regime. But it does seem faiiiirly safe to assume that we likely won't see the "impact" move many of us (read: me) predicted we'd see in an effort to firm up the roster on the path to contention.
Sure, there was the big trade - Marcum for Lawrie - but that was quite obviously not a move designed to strengthen the team now. It was a deal Anthopoulos felt he had to make for a player long-coveted (just like Ricciardi & Mencherson, natch) towards contention, uh...sometime? And there's no arguing that smartly offering arbitration to free agents Downs, Buck, Olivo, and Gregg will ultimately benefit the organization through the stockpiling of draft picks. But again - when?
When will these moves position the major league roster as contenders? Certainly not with an eye toward 2011...but 2012? 2013? Is there a set timeline - beyond the now-standard "the players will tell us when we're ready" fall-back?
I believe there to be. But as usual, AA ain't tellin'. Except with regards to 2011. It's not setting up to be the year we (yes - we!) bring the Evil EmpireS to their knees. And as per usual - with us - it's hurry up and wait. Be patient.
But that's the rub, isn't it? Was there really ever another way? Could it have possibly gone differently this offseason without pulling an Orioles and throwing money at middling veterans in a vain attempt to not finish last? What other outcomes could we reasonably - reasonably - have expected?
Cliff Lee, Carl Crawford, and Jayson Werth were never going to sign here.
Justin Upton was never going to be traded here (or anywhere).
Zack Greinke - apparently - was never going to be a Blue Jay.
Now now, angry commenters, lest I be accused of having, uh, intimate relationships with Alex Anthopoulos, like many a blogger have been accused of this winter, there are scenarios which make a whole lot of sense to me which very likely will never be considered.
For example, let's talk about Adrian Beltre. He's still out there. He's theoretically been rejected by many of the winter's largest suitors, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim California United States of America notwithstanding. He wants a shit-tonne of money and 4 or 5 years to be sure - but what impact free agent - this offseason, or next, or the one after that - won't? And if "the money will be there when we need it", and the club is poised to make a push in the next two (or three, even) seasons..... why not make that free-agent play now? Check off that gaping hole at third base on next season's to-do list this offseason?
And it's not even that I'm pro-Beltre, but it's this certain logic of not spending that I'm trying to unravel.
As usual, we wait. And that's not half bad. This team is fun. It's a good ballclub. The organization, as a whole, is now walking a straight-line path towards respectability, and maybe even envy.
That's the part we have to wait out.