“The Toronto Blue Jays organization has most of the pieces necessary to not only field a playoff-caliber team but to also build a dynasty if it plays its cards well,” says FanGraphs at the conclusion of their explanation for the Jays’ possibly-low but still outstanding 9th place ranking among MLB franchises. “The minor league system is strong and should be able to sustain a steady stream of talent, although the new restraints on acquiring amateur talent will offer a challenge to the club. The organization also has stable ownership and, theoretically, the money necessary to acquire some star talent to supplement those currently on the 25-man roster.”

They actually ranked eighth in 2011.

The rankings are based on a broad criteria, some of which the Jays do very well in– “2013+ outlook” (5th) and “baseball operations” (2nd)– and, I think more interestingly, some of which they’re kind of middling at.

Under “2012 outlook” they ranked just 15th, and while that’s not horrible by any means, given the division they play in, or at all indefensible, it’s still a little disappointing to see the ranking explained away mostly on the fact that “the club made very few (significant) changes to the 25-man roster, outside of the bullpen” over the winter. They, of course, are a very different team from the one that took the field on Opening Day a year ago– which isn’t at all to say they’re good enough to be ranked more than a spot or two higher, being realistic about it, but I bristle at the notion that the fact they didn’t do much in the off-season means it’s the same team they ran out during 2012.

The club also places 15th in the “financial resources” section, which is understandable, given the fact that Rogers hasn’t really flexed their financial muscles the way that we know they’d be capable of if they actually wanted to– not to mention Paul Beeston’s absurd five-year-max policy when it comes to free agents, which rules them out on any big ticket player who wasn’t developed internally.

Still, with only the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels, Rangers, Tigers, Phillies, Braves, and Cardinals ahead of them– the Rays placed tenth– the Jays are in pretty good company once again. Yes, it’s pretty easy to think highly of a franchise that, for several years, hasn’t had any real onus on them to produce results, but receiving this kind of praise is obviously a lot better than being at the bottom of the list.

Comments (53)

  1. BONER!

  2. You don’t think Fangraphs knows this is a different team than 2011? They’ve written numerous articles on Colby Rasmus so I’m pretty sure they’re aware of the changes between Opening Day ’11 and ’12.

  3. Interesting. To continue it over the long term, i’d fill in the holes through free agency and trade roster guys (Aren Cibia, Rasmus, Thames, Escobar, Lind, ect) for packages of high ceiling prospects when their our high end prospects are ready to take the big league spots. These guys with friendly contract and service time are going to be pretty valuable trading chips. You could also trade off other prospects who are ready but won’t have a spot for lower end prospects as well.

    Based on the haul that it took to acquire pitching and with the new CBA, that seems to be the best way to restock the system and keep it going.

  4. clever response Scott …

    you don’t think he is referencing the fact that they only point out the lack of off-season moves for his reason to criticize there reason for a 15th place ranking???

    • Yes but I’m saying just because they didn’t mention it it doesn’t mean they didn’t consider the in-season changes. Fangraphs basically wrote the book about being thorough on a topic.

  5. In related news, an Orioles squad featuring multiple major leaguers lost to a Florida community college yesterday.

  6. This is the post that will see the DJF spirits soar. Perepetual re-building to a future that will dilver us to place of infinite baseball pergatory. Surley our future will be briimming with an endless array of prospects with high ceilings, and tradable high priced veteran talent. When will this model ever win? (This is the skill testing question that was asked for earlier and I alone know the answer).


  8. Anyone know where the opposing teams are likely to stay, as an autograph hound. Is it going to stay as the Four Seasons most likely. Competition now from Trump and Ritz Carlton and soon the Shangri-La?

  9. I love that the Jays have a 5 year contract policy. It makes perfect sense to me, because if you are building a complete team the proper way that should be all that is necessary. Most athletes have a period where they are in there prime that lasts around 5 years anyway, if they are lucky. Let Los Angeles pay Pooholes 30 million plus when he’s 41. In my opinion he is already on the downward slide. Prince Fielder is a mess physically, and will end up with wonky knees or a bad back, almost guaranteed.

    I think AA is doing a great job, and we are just starting to see the benefits of having him in place, and it’s really starting to open some eyes. Eyes that have been shut to baseball in Toronto for a realllllllly fucking long time.

    Go Jays.

    • It makes perfect sense from a business standpoint, but not from a baseball standpoint. What free agent would ever sign a free agent contract that takes him right to the end of his prime?

    • Can’t argue with this logic but I would push it a little further by suggesting that the time to go beyond five years would be with a player who is before his prime. Instead of signing an Albert Pujols or Joey Votto, what if you gave a Brett Lawrie a ten year contract? Conventional wisdom says you don’t do that with a player who isn’t established but is the bust potential any lesser if the player is established? Vernon Wells was an established and his deal started looking bad before it even kicked in. At the very least, if Lawrie turns into the next Alex Rios, he doesn’t cost you nearly as much as a comparable free agent. I would only apply the five year limit to players who are a year or less from free agency.

    • At some point the Jays will have to make an exception to their self-imposed rule. I just hope that either Beeston or Rogers grows a pair for when that time comes.

      That aside, this is a great comment.

      • Does it take a bigger pair to say no to the FA who could deliver a World series but wants a 6 year contract or say yes, and sign him, and be called an Asshole for breaking your own policy?

        • Well, that’s when you look back at Anthopoulos wanting “quality human beings.”

          But, most wouldn’t give two shits. If they deliver a WS, that’s all that matters, and I’m torn between the quality human being approach and the asshole who guarantees a WS.

          Can we have some hybrid? A quality human asshole or something?

    • Mike, I think there is only 4 ” l’s ” in realllly

    • Prince Fielder is a mess physically?


  11. The Hardball Times just ran a piece about the most efficient thing to do is extending your own players.
    The team has the most information on the player and they don’t need to bid against other teams.

    Strategy says you should then keep trying to develop your own players and lock up the keepers. Just keep churning out the minor leaguers and give them an opportunity like Minnesota does (ignore the Smith interlude).

    Think about it, how valuable was it to the team that they called up Carreno last year for some work in the bullpen? Does anyone think he would in the rotation now without that?

  12. This has nothing to do with building a dynasty. I just ran across an interview with Phil Niekro as a Blue Jay in 1987. I didn’t know that. AND he was 47! 12 innings pitched. ERA of 8.25. Almost good enough for a spot at the back end of this year’s rotation. And here I thought Viszquel was setting somekind of record.

  13. I just watched the Marlin park tour on ESPN (link below). They actually have a pool area (like Arizona) called the Clevelander. How long till someone drops a Clevelander Steamer in that pristine pool? Floating Oh Henry, that is. Can I get a heeeeyyyyyyyy-o?


  14. Vizquel. Some kind. Moth-er fuck-er.

  15. Jesse Goldberg-Strasler does a Lansing podcast, 2012 Lugnuts preview:


  16. Not gonna lie. I’ve had a hard boner for like a month.

  17. Oh and the Dinger Machine is the ultimate fuck you from a shitbag like Loria to the taxpayers of Miami.

  18. The Blue Jays and Brett Lawrie have agreed to a 6 year $24 million contract that will be announced prior to the home opener. The contract includes 4 team options, but the Blue Jays must decide how many options to pick up 5 days after the 2017 World Series. The structure is as follows:

    2012: $500,000
    2013: $500,000
    2014: $1 million
    2015: $4 million
    2016: $6 million
    2017: $8 million
    2018: $10 million* club option or $4 million buyout
    2019: $12 million*
    2020: $13 million*
    2021: $15 million*

    The deal in principle was agreed upon prior to the winter meetings, but GM Alex Anthopolous had to convince President Paul Beeston to break the 5 year guaranteed money rule…

  19. I know he doesn’t have the greatest numbers but you have to think AA is looking at Lannan if the Nats can absorb some of his salary. Still only 27, pounds the ball down with a nice ground-ball rate and left-handed – he might be able to build some additional value before the deadline if some of the younger arms are ready and the Jays aren’t competitive. Guess it depends if AA sees him as much different from Laffey or Cecil and the Nats asking price…

    • I’m sure AA is monitoring it. Lannan isn’t great, but it wouldn’t take much for the Jays to be seriously desperate for starting pitching pretty soon. I’d take him over Cecil at this point.

  20. I think Fangraph methodology has changed year to year on their rankings. Last year the Orioles were ranked somewhere around 14th or 15th, and now are 29th. FG writers almost apologized for having Baltimore that high last year. It may not be very useful to compare year over year. Ninth is pretty good, really.

    • Yes, the weightings changed significantly. Basically, the arbitrary impression their writers have of the front-office talent matters less than it used to. Current talent matters more, crudely.

  21. Hey Hey Hey Hey….WHAT is going ON here?

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