For those of you who read this blog, but don’t follow the podcast, you might not know that I now reside in the Greater Philadelphia area – sorry to all the fellow Delawarians who take offense to this characterization of Wilmington, but it’s true: you’re Philly.
Given my proximity to “The Linc” and the plethora of dicks the Spanos family has heaped in my face over the past year – keeping McCoy, trying to move, pushing for a meh stadium solution, not signing their first round pick right away again – I’ve taken a rooting interest in the Eagles.
No, I’m not an Eagles fan and I don’t suspect I ever will be. But, c’mon: they are guaranteed to play the Racists, Eli, and Jerry Jones six times per season. It’s not like I didn’t have a rooting interest in the Eagles to begin with.
On Monday, the Eagles faced the Chicago Bears. Despite playing a rookie quarterback and having an inexperienced head coach, the Eagles absolutely demolished a bad Bears team. To understand why, you only need to know one statistic presented during the broadcast, unrelated to the Eagles: the Bears only have one player they themselves drafted prior to 2013.
That’s because a desperate Bears general manager traded his starting quarterback, two first round picks, and a third round pick for Jay Cutler back in 2009. For the next two years, the highest draft pick the Bears had was 68th. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the Bears produced a grand total of one Pro Bowl season – a current backup in Dallas – from their 2009 and 2010 drafts, or that the highest Career Approximate Value produced by any of their selections is lower than several noted Chargers top selection busts, like Antoine Cason or, for you old-timers, Freddie Jones.
Then Bears general manager Jerry Angelo was desperate because he sensed that he was close to being fired. His fairly recent Super Bowl trip – albeit the most pathetic SB team that I can remember – gave ownership just enough reason to hang onto him, but he knew he was near the end of the rope. Some publications openly called for his firing. So he did what any reasonable, self-preservationist would be: he forfeited future assets in order to bolster his immediate bottom line.
The results have been a disaster. The trade, and corresponding free agent splashes (like Julius Peppers) made the Bears better than they would have been in 2009 and 2010 without the trade, but much worse in the long haul. What could have been a controlled deconstruction and rebuild of an aging roster became a prolonged period of average football before being able to rebuild. The Bears trapped themselves in the NFL’s proverbial hamster wheel, with an inevitable fate of a lost half-decade.
Which brings me to Mike Dee and the Padres. Right now, Mike Dee is at least on the lukewarm seat. Besides #FireMikeDee Day, and the national recognition that received, local radio hosts and newspaper writers have wondered aloud whether Dee will survive this season.
If you’re Mike Dee, obviously you’re worried about your job. And if you’re worried about your job, you’re likely gauging what it might take for you to retain your job.
For the Bears’ Jerry Angelo, that was making the postseason again. So, he threw a bunch of future resources at an average solution (Cutler) and then supplemented that with wild free agent spending. It hurt the franchise’s health a great deal, but allowed him to retain his job a few more years.
For the Padres’ Mike Dee, I pray to the baseball gods that it doesn’t mean trading from our farm system to push .500 in 2018, that it doesn’t mean aggressively promoting players and starting arbitration clocks early, and that it doesn’t mean frivolous free agent spending for 2017, 2018 when the money may be better spent locking up long-term pieces. These are sub-optimal things a desperate team president might try.
The fact that self-preservation may be a true motivating factor in future moves means Dee is already firable. As a fan, it’s much more desirable than waiting and just hoping we don’t make a desperate move. And, if ownership is articulate with the reasoning – to ensure a reckless move isn’t made until the rebuild is complete – I think the majority of fans will be pleased with the decision. (Nevermind that independent polls, one by Gaslampball and one through Twitter, show an overwhelming majority of Padres fans support firing Mike Dee.)
Let’s hope ownership feels the same way.