Monday, December 29, 2008

The Superstar Equation

. Monday, December 29, 2008

Superstar... it is a word that evokes passion. It channels a certain mystique. It provides pride in the team you love.
Superstar is something that every team needs. The thing that many teams are willing to overpay for be it in the form of young prospects or a mountain of cash.

One thing is certain. To be a truly great franchise you need to have that signature player that can excite the fans. To entice the sports world and to build a revenue stream.

The question however is just how important a factor the superstar truly is to team success. We have seen many cases of a team giving it's all to sign a alleged superstar and then never be any better than they were before. From Alex Rodriguez and his then record 252 million dollar deal, to Mike Hampton signing for 180 million to Miguel Tejada going to the Orioles.

One player can make a difference and that difference can be huge but the thing that most fail to see and this is especially true in HBD. Is that you cannot build a true dynasty on a lone Superstar. You can have the best player in the world your in but if the team you set around him is full of holes you will never succeed.

There is no doubt that having a superstar is key. But the craze in which owners are willing to sacrifice an entire draft for the sake of a stud international free agent or forking over 20 million a season for that great hitter is indeed a flawed theory.

A HOF hitter may play in all 162 games but the salary to effect ratio will never pan out if you only have a great player on a poor team. More to the point if you a team with a great hitter vs a great pitching staff regardless of situation with enough exposure to the hitter the staff will win out. For a hitter success is going 1/3 every time out. 3 at bats vs a potential of 7-8-9 innings of possible 7 hit 4 earned run ball.

A closer can be elite but will only close out 40-50 games to preserve the win. A superstar can make an average to above average team great. A superstar cannot however take a porous team from obscurity to greatness.

Much like when Michael Jordan had Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman so to does a HBD superstar need to be surrounded by pieces that compliment, augment and enhance his natural abilities.

You should always build a great team with a superstar and not build your team around one.
If you fail to heed this advice you will doom your franchise to failure. No amount of money, nor huge bonus, nor key ratings will save you should you do it the wrong way.

Quality in quantity is more important than simple quality in one lone player. So you can sign that 40 million dollar international free agent. You can bring in that huge Arod type signing. But you will always be behind the team that bring in 4-5 quality guys each draft, makes savvy trades for youngsters and builds from within to make a true team.

A superstar is worth it's weight in gold. But their far from priceless.