After the Soriano signing, re-signing of Dempster, etc., my mind started wandering. I was like, "what is this team going to look like in 3 years? Will they all need walkers to get around? Furthermore, will we even resemble a competitive team at all?"
Unless we get a forward-thinking owner who "gets it" and hires a similar GM and the GM hires a similar player development team, then we will NEVER get the World Series again. We need someone who is not afraid to blow up a team, and start over when the direction undertaken just isn't working. What happens in 3 years to the Cubs? Ever thought about that?
ARAM and Lee's contracts will have ended; Z will be entering the final year of his contract, Soriano will be 36 years old with 3 years remaining on his deal, Fukudome will be 35 in the final year of his deal; Dempster will be in the final year of his deal at 35 years old; Lilly will be gone, Marquis will be gone, DeRosa will be gone, Harden's arm will have fallen off....Have you ever thought who will man those positions for us?
We had Ceda...We currently have Chen, Acosta, Rhee, Hart, Marmol, Samardzija, Marshall, Cashner, Jackson, Atkins, Caridad----all guys that can fill in after losing pitchers...
But have you thought about who would man 3B, 1B, 2B, SS, CF, and RF in 3 years??
Here's the list you have to choose from:
3B-Vitters (will be 23 yrs old if not traded for Peavy); Marquez Smith
1B-Hoffpauir (will be 31 yrs old then)
2B-Fontenot (will be 31 yrs old then), Tony Thomas
SS-Theriot (will be 31 yrs old then), Ryan Flaherty, Ronny Cedeno (if not in the Peavy deal), Hak Jue Lee, Castro, and Lake
CF-Colvin, Kroeger (will be 30 by then), Guyer, Wright
RF-(same as above) plus Dylan Johnston who also plays 3B
How long does it take to develop a high school draftee? According to MLB, it should take no longer than 4 years, which is how they set up the Rule 5 draft. How long should it take for a college draftee? Again, according to the Rule 5, it should take no longer than 3 years.
So, given that, pretty much everything you saw this year is what you will get in 3-4 years. Did we have any stand-outs at all? Rhee, Chen, Samardzija, Hart, Acosta, Caridad, Jackson, and Atkins seemed to stand out for the pitchers, while Kroeger, Hoffpauir, and Vitters showed glimpses of being able to hit at the next level.
Unless we get high draft choices, which is where MLB ready talent usually lies with guys like Longoria, both Upton's, etc. exist, then we're in a LOT of trouble in years to come.
Every year in the minors, a light bulb goes on for some players, and they start figuring it out. At age 25, it happened to Soto. Perhaps some of these 20-23 year old players we have on the farm will have similar epiphanies happen to them? Who knows? But the future looks bleak, and at the helm, is Hendry.
When you have a bunch of mid-thirty something players on your roster, not only are injuries prevalent, but also reductions in productivity. If we don't make changes now, then we are screwed for the future.
Unless we get a power lefty bat like Dunn, Peavy for the rotation, a lead-off hitter like Furcal, and some help in the pen (my suggestion would be Kerry Wood), then there's not a chance in hell that we make the World Series...or even the playoffs for that matter.
If you read between the lines, "the window of opportunity" of 2 years is referring to the fact that core players will be getting older, teams around us like the Brewers and Reds will have gained more experience to go along with their youth, thus becoming scary teams for us, and finally---if we don't win a World Series, the team will have to be blown up for the reasons I just mentioned.
Zambrano, if healthy, will be traded;ARAM will be traded as he'll be headed to free agency. They will try to trade Lee and Soriano at trade deadlines, or convince them again to waive their no-trade clauses. Fukudome will also be sent packing, either via getting him to go home, or find a taker like the Royals, and eat most of the $12 million that would remain on his contract. Guys like Reed Johnson, Theriot, Fontenot, and maybe even Soto, will be traded, while guys like Flaherty, Tony Thomas, and Welington Castillo will be brought up to replace them.
This is the reality that we live in, and this is precisely why it did not work for the Yankees when they tried to buy themselves a championship. Luckily, for them, they re-discovered the pattern for success, and have been holding onto their young talent instead of trading away for proven veterans. They've let guys like Chamberlain, Hughes, Kennedy, and Cano take their lumps while learning on the job, and they'll be better for it in the future.
The future indeed, looks bleak, but it CAN be fixed, but only if Hendry and his team are let go by the new owner. We need a change of direction. Hendry's team did an EXCELLENT job of developing pitching talent, but a piss poor job of developing any position talent whatsoever. Changes must be made quickly, and we might deal with a year like the Yankees had in 2008, but in the long-run, we'll be FAR better off.