The ethics of team-building

By Jason Wojciechowski on December 24, 2008 at 9:20 PM

Nico at Athletics Nation has this, with the key quote being: "But teams are supposed to build their team, their identity, through their farm system, using trades to fill holes or rebuild."

Wrong. There is no "supposed to" in sports. Teams are not "supposed to" build their teams through their farm systems any more than teams are "supposed to" spend a particular amount of money. There are no morals. You do what you need to do to win.

Now, as it happens, intelligent drafting and international scouting along with coaching in the minors is the cheapest way to build a good team, but it is not the only way to win, and it is not the normatively superior way to win. A team never was anything more than a collection of guys wearing the same uniform as last year's guys did, and it never will be any different than that, either. It's time to accept this fact and move on instead of constantly whining about the Yankees.