I thought for sure that yesterday I’d get to the office and be able to rather easily toss off a bit of extra analysis of the Yankees’ transformational Friday night. I found myself, however, having difficulty getting up for another version of the same old fucking fucking fight, combating some of the sullen sky-is-falling nonsense I’ve seen in my inbox, in the comments here, and in the Toronto Star. Rogers aren’t spending enough money! Why won’t Anthopoulos make a trade! The future is never now, and the honeymoon is fucking over!
Honestly, it just feels redundant at this point to keep trying to hand-hold these hysterics back to reality, and frankly, whatever I might say won’t be a whole lot different from what most of the reasonable commenters here are saying anyway. You know, the people who’ve figured out that it’s futile to keep thrashing their heads against the dead horse of Rogers’ cheapness, and have seen that there’s a legitimacy, as much as we don’t like it or may not think it’s necessary, to their refusal to put the cart before the horse. The fans who grasp that it would almost certainly have taken including a Brett Lawrie to bring Pineda to the Jays– and do ya maybe think that would have changed the tone of Damian Cox’s moronic spew? The ones who haven’t lost sight of where this club is truly at.
Cathal Kelly suggests that “this year’s Jays look ominously like last year’s Jays,” apparently forgetting that Patterson and Nix are already replaced by Rasmus and Lawrie, Hill by Johnson, Rauch and Francisco by Santos and Oliver, Reyes by Alvarez, shitty first half Encarnacion by solid second half Encarnacion, hurting Lind by healthy Lind, and 27 starts from shitty Drabek and Villanueva (5.15 ERA as a starter, 1.50 as a reliever) by either better Drabek, or Dustin McGowan, or Drew Hutchison failing that.
The Jays start out better on paper. Plus, they’ll see guys like Hutchison, Anthony Gose, Travis d’Arnaud, Adeiny Hechavarria and a number of other arms get another year of development that will push them closer to the big leagues, and turning either themselves, or guys like Rasmus, Alvarez, McGowan, Brett Cecil, Travis Snider, Eric Thames, or JP Arencibia into decent trade chips– the kind of quality MLB-ready pieces the Jays lacked the ability to move this winter, that the Reds (Yonder Alonso), Diamondbacks (Jarrod Parker) and Yankees (Jesus Montero) didn’t.
Sure, another year of poor performance may see guys like Snider, Cecil and Drabek truly devalue themselves, but there were more than enough questions hanging over their heads this off-season that it’s not likely they would have been seen as true centrepieces in any deal like the ones Jays fans so badly want to rue the club’s failure to deliver on. Lawrie could be. d’Arnaud could be a key piece, but he certainly doesn’t have the offensive pedigree or minor league history of Montero– 2011 was truly his offensive breakout year, posting a .311/.371/.542/.914 line after two sub-.320 OBP, sub-.740 OPS seasons in the Sally and Florida State leagues.
Given another strong year, he’s a much better trade candidate– or a more realistic candidate to force a JP Arencibia trade. Same goes for Gose and Rasmus, and the starters who spent 2011 at Dunedin and New Hampshire– Hutchison, McGuire, Jenkins, Wojciechowski– and the guys they’ll push for jobs at the back of the rotation. Even with expected flameouts, the Jays will have a lot of nice pieces– nicer than they realistically do now, given how far away some of their better prospects are, and how important to their future guys like Lawrie and d’Arnaud are– to move in a year’s time, or even at mid-season, when more clubs will be willing to start selling off what they’ve got. And they’ll have another wave of guys– Marisnick, Nicolino, Syndergaard– that much closer.
In other words, the Jays’ recent hoarding of draft picks is only just starting to pay dividends, and while a lot of fans will say that the new CBA makes that strategy untenable, insisting the Jays rush to change course and start spending wildly, there is really a lot still to be reaped from the rebuilding of the farm system.
This, of course, isn’t to excuse the club’s lack of spending– they could have augmented this process by filling roster spots with free agents– but to understand why the club hasn’t rushed into bad deals that weren’t very likely to get them to the level of their division rivals this year anyway, and why it’s not a cop out for Anthopoulos, working within the parameters that have rightly or wrongly been set by ownership, to have stayed so quiet this winter.
The Yankees have shown they’re always going to be strong, and there’s never really going to be some special one-time window of opportunity to blaze past them. People who insist the process isn’t going fast enough, or that spending and success won’t ever happen because it hasn’t happened yet, I’m sure it feels real cathartic to hysterically vent about what seems to be yet another off-season that hasn’t magically fulfilled your wildest dreams, the rest of us will be over here in reality, feeling fucking great about the future, having (mostly) never been under the illusion of any pipe dream path to a 2012 pennant.