But I find it hard to be angry with Mike Rizzo for this failing. The fault was not in his actions. He made moves and offers that could have easily brought in the players he wanted. The fault was in his... let's say, overly optimistic point of view.
It's a point of view that I would have probably had. Imagine this. You are appointed GM. You have carte blanche to spend money and to do what you wish with a decent roster of young talent. You have an offseason where you know Cliff Lee is available. You don't think you can get him but you know you can put up a competitive offer. You see Brandon Webb is available. Sure he might be coming off of injury and his arm is still weak but he wasn't a guy that needed to K people to be successful. He was a groundball machine and you are building a team to field ground balls. You hear that Zack Grienke is probably going on the market. You've got a young reliever and one of two young MIs that can be dealt plus a couple of interesting young arms. If you fail to get all of those, well there's Jorge De La Rosa, who is your type of groundballer and who might be special outside of Colorado, and there's Javy Vazquez, who isn't your type of pitcher but he is the type that can put up that special type of year, and the Rays have to deal one of Shields or Garza, who could really benefit going from the AL East to the NL. Why wouldn't you think you could pick up someone who could be labeled "top of the rotation" in one way or another?
You are going to let Adam Dunn walk (you need someone to field those ground balls) but you have the money to go out and get Derek Lee or Carlos Pena. They aren't guarantees to match Adam Dunn's production over the next few years but as a bet to have their combinations of offense and defense help the team almost as much Adam would have next season? That's not a bad gamble. Why wouldn't you think you could have an offense no worse than last year with a better defense?
Of course, it one thing for me to think this, but really Rizzo shouldn't have. He should have known that there are 20 or so teams every year going after the same guys with the same resources. Maybe he could get one of these guys above but even two is a stretch. (And because really outside of Lee and Grienke, it's hard to call those other guys "top of the rotation")
It's not a fault to try to reach an impossible goal, but it is a fault to do it in public. It makes it look like you don't know what you can and cannot achieve. It also sets up fans for disappointment. But I can't be angry with this type of fault. He did everything he could to make it real. He put up fair and honest offers. It just wasn't to be. It almost couldn't be.