Get the Right Player First, then Spend the Money

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Kawasaki

The mantra being harped by Toronto media over the years is teams need to spend money in order to compete. People have blindly taken those words as gospel. Yes, ownership may have to open up their pocket books in order to get the player they want. But management often makes the mistake of making decisions based on emotion and not on what is really needed. Take for instance Jonathan Bernier, the topic of my last post. Did the Leafs really need another goaltender if their situation in net is secure?

I bring this up because of the news of Toronto FC acquiring Jermain Defoe and Michael Bradley. A lot of talk was made about management needing to get some big-name players in order to compete in MLS. MLSE had to spend some serious cash to get Defoe and Bradley. I would only hope those two are the final pieces to help turn TFC’s fortunes around.

I still remember the buzz the Blue Jays made in 1997 spending a lot of money to bring in Roger Clemens as a free agent. Clemens pitched well while in Toronto but they didn’t have the offense to contend for a World Series championship. It happened again in 2012 when the Blue Jays made that blockbuster trade with the Marlins. And the result there was a last-place finish in the AL East.

The point I’m trying to make here is good teams get the right players regardless of what the name is on the back of their jersey. If you can get a player that meets your needs and doesn’t require a long-term, eight-figure contract, why not get him? Mason Raymond and Munenori Kawasaki are just a couple of names that come to mind. The Raptors are leading the Atlantic division and in a playoff position with supposedly less talent than say Brooklyn or Miami. Pundits are scratching their heads as to why. Maybe it’s because the Raptors already have the players they need to compete.

I guess if fans and the media scream very loud, they will end up getting what they want. But that to me is a bad way of assembling a team, especially in Cup-starved city like Toronto.

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