Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” as applied to the Padres offseason

On Monday, Nate of the Vocal Minority, wrote a comparative analysis of the Padres’ and Indians’ offseason actions (inaction). What followed was a good conversation about the Padres approach and strategy in the comments section. Commenter Billy Lybarger adroitly pointed out the following:

Doing nothing is not a strategy. It is nothing.

But is it?

I immediately thought of Sun Tzu’s, The Art of War, and began to think with certainty that the ancient Chinese war manual had been distributed to Padres executives upon the O’Malley/Seidler group’s arrival last July. After all, The Art of War is required reading in business colleges, why wouldn’t it end up floating through the corridors of Petco Park?

Let’s examine Sun Tzu’s strategies as employed by the Padres during the winter months of 2012-2013 . . .

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

Edwin Jackson? B*tch please! Cory Luebke will be back in July.

“Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.”

Still working on mastery of these concepts with an eye on the 2014-2015 seasons.

“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win”

Yasmani Grandal’s interpretation of this maxim has provided him with a surplus of free-time until the end of May. Addendum to Sun Tzu’s maxim: Don’t get caught.

“All warfare is based on deception.”

Is there anything more deceptive than the silence of a thousand trees falling in an empty winter wood . . .

“Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer”

This is about Dave Winfield.

“Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.”

Many of us are uncertain about what the Padres are doing, or not doing, as it were. What is the next move? What will fall like a thunderbolt, next?

“To know your Enemy, you must become your Enemy.”

The O’Malley and Seidler families arrived from Los Angeles with blue blood coursing through their veins. They’re very literal.

“You have to believe in yourself. ”

Josh Byrnes . . . Big Believer in The Art of War.

“Pretend inferiority and encourage his arrogance.”

Who will be this year’s troika of Marquis, Ohlendorf, and Whatshisname? Lull thy opponent into submission . . .

You see? Padres. Sun Tzu. Believe.

I contribute to Padres Public on Thursday mornings and when I’m feeling particularly inspired. I can also be found on twitter at @AvengingJM where I offer bite size chunks of hysteria 7 days a week.

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  • Man, “Defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win” really sums up Byrnes’ “approach” for the 2013 season.

  • SingingFriar

    So, who is the Padres nemesis in the analogy? Free agents? The ephemeral offseason? The angry fans?

    • You’re implying that I have an “approach” . . . it’s whatever you want!

  • Is that the Art of fWAR, rWAR, or WARP? Here comes the Sun, do-do-do-do…and I say, it’s all right.

  • This has always been my favorite Sun Tsu-ism, and probably the one that makes me most scared for the Padres. (Paraphrase, going just off memory). “Plan well and you will succeed, plan poorly and you will fail, worse if you do not plan at all” Doing nothing, to me, means they either didn’t plan at all, or they planned poorly.

  • Gloccamorra

    There must be a “Do not move until you are ready” in there somewhere. If not, I may have to go with “We will sell no wine before its time”. The injuries last year created too many question marks for this year, and Byrnes preferred to set the timetable back instead of make premature moves. One analysis I read of the Padres offseason went something like “They didn’t make any bold moves, but they didn’t make any mistakes either.”

  • I’m the ghost’s muse. So I got that going for me.

  • Axion

    this is extremely my shit