2. A finish line must be drawn.
It is not enough to say, as Huntington reiterated this week, that no one is untouchable. At some point, though maybe not now, the players — as well as the manager and his staff — will need to know that the carpet will not keep getting yanked out on an annual basis.
DK, who wrote that quoted link above, has said several times this week (and even in the same article that I’ve quoted!) that the players “saw” the Bay and Nady deals coming because of their contracts. That means that this McLouth trade makes it exactly one time that Huntington has pulled the carpet out from underneath anybody. Sure, there’s been a ton of carpet-pulling going on, but most of it was done by Huntington’s awful predecessor, Dave Littlefield. I’ve already spent far more words than necessary establishing that Huntington is not Littlefield and two years is not nearly enough time to clean up the mess that Littlefield left.
As for a finish line, well, I’ve got a rhetorical question for everyone that’s in favor of Huntington drawing a “finish line.” How did you feel about Cam Bonifay and Kevin McClatchy’s “Five Year Plan”? I’m willing to bet that you feel the same way I do, which is to say that upon hearing the phrase “Five Year Plan,” you grimace and chuckle sadly to yourself.
If you don’t recall the plan, it was laid out by McClatchy and Bonifay in 1996 to get a competitive club into PNC Park when it opened in 2001. You know, the 2001 season where the Pirates went 62-100. What people always forget is that the plan actually got off to a fairly good start. Then, after the Pirates’ unexpectedly contended for the 1997 NL Central title and sat at .500 on the 4th of July in 1999 when Jason Kendall destroyed his ankle, things took a turn for the worst. Buoyed by that .500 record and the near .500 finish in ’97, Bonifay made a disastrous decision; he decided to build around a core of players that wasn’t good enough to build around. As 2001 (or in this case, the finish line) approached, he panicked, overspent on bad free agents, handed out bad contracts, bungled the handling of Aramis Ramirez and ruined his Pirate career, built the worst Pirate team in recent memory, and was fired before the Five Year Plan ended.
Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.