I don't think it's teams motivation to win. Not at all. I think it's the motivation for who they want to win. They want to win on value, not win on talent. They want to win on their talent for getting good deals and maximizing value from a player, not by spending on the latest talent to available. This gets to my ongoing point about the conversation we are having and how fans, media, and all of us need to change how we talk about players.
I see it all the time. Fans say, man, the Brewers got great "value" on that Grandal deal. No, they got a talent. Value is what the owner can deal with and the front office can brag about. As a fan, pay attention to the talent. What do you care whether the Brewers pay him $18 million and he plays like a $24 million player -- enjoy the talent that is worth $24 million don't celebrate your team got a deal on that talent. That's what gets me and I think that's shaped so much of the conversation -- coverage included.
This is what we see:
-- A front office wants the $16m player who gives $30m production.
-- A front office would settle for the $22m player who gives $22m production.
In the first case the front office gets to trumpet how it got great value and look at how skillful it is an, and in the second the front office got what they think any schmoe with a big bank account could. Where's the skill in that? Where's the front office agility and front office know-how and front office excellence there? When owners judge the front office on the value coming through the door and not always the talent coming through the door this is what we see.
That doesn't make them any less interested in winning. Not at all. The game is as competitive as ever. Front offices are ruthless in their competition.
How they compete just isn't only in the standings. How they do it matters.