I went on a cruise. I came back alive. Here, then, are five supposedly fun things baseball teams should never do again.
1. Sign Michael Young to a $16 million per year, five-year deal after his age-29 season that doesn't actually kick in until he's 32. It's supposedly fun because Young was a nice 3.5- to 4.5-win player from 2005 to 2008. He followed that up with solid years in 2009 and 2011 and a decent one, all things considered, in 2010, but he cratered to literally-less-than-worthless status last year and the Rangers have to be thankful that the Phillies were willing to take him off their hands.
Using the Baseball Prospectus version of WAR(P), Young has been worth 5.6 wins above replacement over the first four years of the extension, for which he's been paid $64 million. There is simply no dollars-per-win ratio that justifies that. Don't sign Michael Young to big deals.
2. Build a stadium with public money. Just stop.
3. Let your general manager get to the point where he feels like he has to make win-now moves with a team that had 72 victories the prior year. I'm not going to flat-out blast Dayton Moore for his trade of Wil Myers plus other goodies for James Shields and Wade Davis, mainly because Shields is really quite good and Davis can be useful, and Myers, good as he probably is, is no lock to be great. The move might even be defensible as a win-now move … except that the Royals rotation is now Shields-Guthrie-Santana-Davis-Chen. That's Ervin Santana, who the Royals are basically praying bounces back from a horrendous 2012, and Bruce Chen, who the Royals are … well, no, there's no point even praying.
Will the team be better in 2014 with Shields-Guthrie-Davis along with Felipe Paulino and Danny Duffy, both back at that point from surgery, with John Lamb and Chris Dwyer also possibilities? Sure. And isn't a farm system not only for bringing players up to the majors but also for trading to acquire major leaguers? Sure.
But does this seem like a move being made a year early? Yes. Even supposing that the Royals were a .500 team that got unlucky last year, they're still left trying to add six or eight or ten wins to that talent to make a playoff team. That's a lot to ask in one off-season.
Though note that you'll never catch me telling Dayton Moore to his face that I think this was a panicked win-now move to save his job. Hell no.
4. Try to take Sandy Rosario from the Red Sox. Sounds cool, right? He's got good stuff and if he pulls it together he could end up being a middle reliever of some utility. So the A's did just that, acquiring the reliever in a trade with the Red Sox for a player to be named later (who turned out to be Graham Godfrey, about whom don't get me started because it'll probably just get me in trouble with his fiancee on Twitter). A few days later, Oakland acquired Chris Resop in a trade. They needed to clear room on the 40-man for him and designated the most obvious choice for assignment: Sandy Rosario. Rosario was promptly claimed by the Red Sox.
The lesson: don't you dare touch Sandy Rosario. The Red Sox will extract a possibly useful relief pitcher from you for doing so and end up with Rosario back on their team anyway.
5. I'm cheating, but I wanted to get to five since that's what I promised above and I'd hate to disappoint you, so I'm going to do one that's not a team thing — arguing your father's Hall of Fame case sounds like a great idea. You're educated, you're well on your way to a PhD, you can put words together to form a sentence … and you can make jokes about "VORP, GORP, SCHLORP, and THUNDERCORK" that imply that you've never actually read a baseball article because if you had, you'd realize how hackneyed and ridiculous you sound.
Dale Murphy's kid isn't even making a stupid point (which basically is that Murphy's good character should count to boost him in just as much as someone's bad character should keep them out), but his entire lengthy argument is undermined because he felt the need to go for a cheap joke rather than simply saying "the stats, especially the advanced ones, don't stack my dad up with the very best who've ever played, but there's more to the Hall of Fame than playing record." See how easy that was?