Suppose a baseball team deliberately refrains from putting the best players from its roster on the field so that it will lose more games, finish at the bottom of the standings, and get the best draft picks for the following season as a result. Many people consider this to be a form of bad sportsmanship. But according to this story, the Houston Astros did something quite similar over the last several years: they traded away their veteran players, with the predictable result that they endured three consecutive years as one of the worst teams in baseball, enjoyed a number of high draft picks as a result, and used those picks to produce the core of the team that won this year’s World Series. If what the team does in the first case is an instance of bad sportsmanship, does this mean the Astros won the World Series through bad sportsmanship, too?
— David Boonin
Department of Philosophy
University of Colorado
Philosopher David Sobel comments here.