From Alan Schwarz -
For general managers scratching out their 2007 shopping lists, discussing players in terms of “best” this and “outstanding” that is well and good–but too limiting.
After all, award-winning players such as the recently named Most Valuable Players, Ryan Howard of the Phillies and Justin Morneau of the Twins, are tied to their teams. And with high-profile free agents such as Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Lee already off the market, GMs are focused more on a group of players who never receive awards: the truly, unmistakably average.
The belly of a Bell curve is rarely so attractive. As dull as “average” sounds outside baseball, team builders covet these players so highly that the average begins to appear above average. And you wonder why salaries keep going up.
“Is it attractive? Oh, yeah,” said Brian Cashman, the Yankees’ general manager. “You have to have a great deal of talent to be an average major-leaguer.
“We all like to have a roster of above-average major-league players, but that’s not realistic. You’ll have a few above-average players, and you try to sprinkle the rest of the roster with as many average players as you possibly can. There’s value in their performance.”
If Rick Helling’s agent sees this, he should be calling Cashman first thing monday morning.