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Will the Scouting Gurus Please Show Up?

Before jumping to larger concerns, let us get the basics of the Scott Podsednik signing out of the way. You guys have been all over this signing for two days, and there's not much for me to add, so I'll simply summarize.

  • He'll be 34 next season and he's not very good. If he repeats last season, which is the best case scenario, when he hit .304/.353/.412, he'll be marginally non-terrible. Of course, the previous five years he hit a combined .260/.326/.356. But that was only when he was younger and in his athletic peak, so those 2288 plate appearances probably don't tell us much. As Simmons would say, when you have a chance to sign a guy who has two career years with a team, and that team still doesn't want him back, you have to do it.
  • Not to be a jerk, but your weird uncle (or your GM, as it were) or someone is going to think he's great defensively, but there's solid evidence that he's pretty overrated afield. I think the best way to think about it, allowing for the usual defensive vagueness, is that he's not going to kill you defensively, but he's also not going to actually make you good either.
  • Since we're talking about a Dayton Moore signing, we can say that the contract could have been worse: $1.75 million for one year, with a scary option for 2012. We're still just lighting money on fire here, but only about $1.2 million.

All in all, typical Dayton: older, more expensive, worse. We've seen this movie before.

But what utterly saddens me is this: why does it have to be this way? Why does Dayton make so many moves that look like they were dreamed up by a talk radio caller or (gasp) a blogger who isn't even trying hard? We've supposedly got a great scouting mind running this team... and the solution he comes up with is Scott Podsednik?

Are we sure we didn't hire Murray Chass or some other good "baseball man" who checked out of actually paying attention or following the game in detail decades ago?

At first I thought Dayton Moore was just a bad GM, now I'm worried if he's even trying.

Because when it comes to stopgap options who aren't very good, you don't have to pick a formerly famous person who was born in the 1970s. There aren't rules about these things.

Dayton Moore has J.J. Picollo on staff. He's supposed to be another great scouting mind. Dayton Moore has Mike Arbuckle on staff, he's also supposedly a great scout. Supposedly, we've got everything in place to build the kind of low-cost roster that can win here. Supposedly, nobody knows more about 15-19 year old baseball players than these guys. Supposedly, they can spot tools from space. Supposedly, they were all great great hires.

And we're left holding the Podsednik.

Centerfield is the centerfold for the tools hounds, but nobody had a better idea than Scotty Pods? Nobody knew of Player X, who was 23 and a minor league free agent? Nobody knew of Player Y, who could be snagged in the Rule 5? Nobody suggested Player Z, who could be had for whatever pitching prospect we had who smoked weed last summer?

I'm not going to jump up and down over Scotty Pods. Lame signing, but he's just a guy. He'll say all the right things and score from first once or twice and we'll all love it. Whatever.

No, what really upsets me is that we have another opportunity to learn that our front office continues to be built more on "supposedlys" than a track record of success.