In his latest at Fox Sports– y’know, unless he wrote something between 11:20 and now– Ken Rosenthal takes the path of least resistance in a large piece on the Jays, arguing that the Escobar incident underscores the club’s desperate need for some veteran leadership.

He even goes to the trouble of defusing my first line of indignant questioning, noting that “some might ask, ‘Wait, isn’t it the manager’s job to lead?’ Yes, but there is only so much a manager can do. The Jays’ John Farrell isn’t a baby-sitter; he shouldn’t need to walk from player to player, inspecting their eye black. The best teams police themselves — and if the Jays want Farrell to sign an extension beyond next season, Anthopoulos should be doubly motivated to clean up the Jays’ act.”

None of that is untrue, of course, though it’s not like Farrell is entirely on his own– Torey Lovullo, Dwayne Murphy, Don Wakamatsu, Luis Rivera, Bruce Walton, Pete Walker, and occasionally Pat Hentgen and Chad Mottola happen to be around too, you know. But I get that there’s a different dynamic between the players themselves and the members of the coaching staff, so maybe you can’t quite say that their presence ought to be enough.

Nor can you say that, apparently, of clubhouse veterans Darren Oliver (bullpen guy!), Omar Vizquel (beyond reproach!), and Jose Bautista, who Rosenthal explains, “should be the model, but he spent the first two months bickering with umpires, setting the wrong example.”

He also wasn’t with the club when the incident took place, but apparently that’s neither here nor there.

Rosenthal also, somewhat oddly, reminds us that for much of the year, “the clubhouse was not thought to be an issue; if anything, the Jays’ youthful exuberance seemed like part of their appeal. In early March, I wrote, ‘If there was a spring training award for best clubhouse vibe, it just might go to the Toronto Blue Jays.’ ”

And honestly… whatever.

This veteran stuff makes a cute framework for an article, but the meat of what Rosenthal is saying– what little of it there is– comes from elsewhere.

“The trick now is for the Jays to surround their preferred youngsters with the right type of veteran talent,” he says, and “the good news is the Jays seem to understand what they’re missing. They plan to shop aggressively this offseason, looking for solutions at second, in left field and most of all in their starting rotation.”

Nothing new here, no, but he reiterates the common belief that Escobar “is a goner,” while lauding the character of Adeiny Hechavarria and Anthony Gose, who figures to eventually replace the “self-assured one moment, full of self-doubt the next” Colby Rasmus.

“And Travis D’Arnaud, who did not play after June 25 due to a torn knee ligament, still looms as the catcher of the future,” he adds. “Until then, Arencibia”– who, along with Lawrie, walks “a fine line between confidence and know-it-all arrogance”– “will remain a durable, inexpensive alternative.

Yep… still not a whole lot of new information, is there? But hey, at least there’s more of the same kind of platitudes about the potential for off-season craziness that we saw last year, as Rosenthal explains that “the Jays are deep in prospects, free of bad contracts. They’ve got the currency to improve, both in free agency and trades.”

Yep. Now they just need to go out and do it. Like, for reals this time. Veterans, rookies, whoever. As long as they can play.

Comments (55)

  1. I did not hate this article…
    Yep. S’about all I have to say I guess.

  2. I don’t agree with the notion that the Jays need “veterans.” But they sure could use some proven starting pitching. I think for 2nd, LF and DH you just need to acquire as much talent as possible, whether it’s a 25 year old or 38 year old.

  3. I like the idea of getting some more veteran talent on the team, but the talent part is very important. Wilkerson, Mench and Delucci were all veterans. Vizquel too. They need
    to be impact veterans not bench decorations.

  4. jays don’t need vets

    they need pitchers, they need pitchers who have a good track record of being healthy and succesful

    if that pitcher is 25 or 34 it doesnt matter

  5. The Jays don’t need more veterans, they need more talent. Selling low on the talented, cheap Escobar will only create another hole in the middle of the infield, though (in which the only replacement right now is a guy who can’t hit).

    • Don’t disagree entirely… but…. well…. currently Escobar can’t really hit either…. who knows if he will next year.

      • And just to prove my point…. some post ASG numbers

        Escobar, Y
        54G 198AB .253AVG .295OBP .364SLG .659OPS

        Hechavarria, A
        34G 103AB .252AVG .284OBP .359SLG .644 OPS

        • True but at least we know that Escobar is capable of so much more than that when motivated. Hech has yet to prove much of anything with the bat. There’s nothing wrong with him starting in AAA or as the Utility guy in 2013.

          • Sometimes when I see Hech without my glasses on I’m like, is that Tony Fernandez?

          • racist!

          • manimal: Yes he probably needs another year in AAA. But if the Jays feel they need to unload Escobar, then at least they have SOMEONE in the fold who can do the job and who should continue to get better over the next few years

          • CCPD: I was kidding.

          • @IMW yes that’s the beauty of having depth. Saying that though, having that depth seems to be AA’s new mantra. I have trouble seeing AA making more work for himself. Moving Escobar just creates another hole to fill imo and his value is certainly at it’s lowest right now.

      • Much better chance of Escobar hitting next year than the guy that currently has a 30 to 4 K/BB ratio.

        If the problem is talent, selling low on Escobar after this season won’t solve that problem.

        • Agreed BFF. The Jays’ problem is still getting on base, and that’s something Escobar has proven to do in the past – as recently as 2011. I wouldn’t say no to Escobar playing second if it didn’t ignote more procrastination out of him.

      • I’ll play devil’s advocate. Is the hitting problem Escobar’s entirely, or is Murphy fucking up the players? Maybe what is needed is a fresh approach to batting via the coaches ranks.

        I don’t have any numbers at the ready, but the Jays from top to bottom, with some notable exceptions, have been garbage. Perhaps Escobar, Rasmus, and others will do better with a different batting approach.

  6. The kind of “veterans” the Jays need are guys with proven track records of success who should be impactful players in 2013. They could be 25 or 26 year old “veterans”, as long as they have been good for a couple of years.

    Kenny Ken Ken’s entire article was BS. It’s an after the fact explanation for what went wrong.

    • IMO, the YE versus AH is a moot point. YE is gone. In this case, the Jays are significantly pissed off and don’t care what he brings back, if anything. His attitude is a cancer and they want him gone – period.

  7. Well it’s going to be interesting to see just how “aggressive” the Jays and Rogers are going to be this winter. I have a feeling that the free agent market is going to be extra competitive this winter after MLB announced the new national TV contracts. Starting in 2014 teams are set to get an additional $26.3 million in payments on top of what they are getting now. That will bring the total national TV money per team to roughly $50 million per year!

    I would not be surprised if teams start to spend some of that windfall this winter. With the Jays deep pockets they should use that to their advantage now instead of waiting until everyone has the cash in hand. If other teams think like that it’s going to make things a little tougher imo whether the Jays are aggressive or not. In light of all the shit that has gone on in the Jays clubhouse this year, at least according to guys like Kenny Ken Ken, the injuries and the fact that the team is based in Canada, it should be interesting to see where the Jays aggressiveness gets them. I still have trouble with the notion that AA in all his value glory would actually ever overpay for a needed free agent. Obviously, there’s no real track record yet of AA doing that one way or another considering the rebuild situation, but I think the time is coming for us to see if he actually will.

    It will be also be interesting to see where the payroll goes from here. If they are set to get a bump of $26 million in revenue starting in 2014 I wonder if we’ll see that amount plus whatever their aggressiveness will cost them this year. Do we see a payroll that’s $40-50 million higher than where it is this season?

    http://bizofbaseball.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5731:mlb-on-cusp-of-tv-extensions-with-fox-tbs-that-will-net-800m-annually&catid=57:television&Itemid=122

  8. I’m pretty sure Rosenthal shits all over his own premise and proves how bunk this nonsense about need more veterans for clubhouse purposes is when he says “the clubhouse was not thought to be an issue; if anything, the Jays’ youthful exuberance seemed like part of their appeal.”

    Winning team = great, loose clubhouse. Losing team = inmates running the asylum.

    Nothing to see here.

    The Rosenthals and Zauns of the world that are shitting all over the clubhouse dynamics are making hay by providing people with a tidy excuse for the team’s ineptitude this season and a reason not to accept the reality that the undermanned team that took the field in August and September just was not very good.

  9. I really hope the Jays don’t dump Escobar. At his worst, he’s worth 2 WAR, at his best, 4+. and he only gets paid $5 million.

    Sure the guy messed up but 1) why would you sell him when his value is at its lowest and 2) why take a chance on a prospect who still has a very questionable bat?

    he’s precisely the type of player that AA usually targets to pickup cheaply. i really hope they don’t make the mistake of dumping him for very little when Escobar still has a few prime years left.

    slot Hech at 2nd next year and use the savings to pickup that big bat in LF (in Torii Hunter) or DH (David Ortiz) and make sure you sign Annibal Sanchez or make a similar upgrade to the rotation.

    • I say slot Hech in at short if he’s the better defender as has been touted and stick Yunel at second. Make Yunel suck it up. Imho it’s better for the team.

  10. I hope we get some real baseball players up in this bitch, just like in Baltimore.

  11. You know what just made me sad?
    Remember how, like…. not that long ago we were screaming about how Adam Lind is garbage because he hasn’t been any good at all in like 2 years with the exception of 1 month at the beginning of 2011….
    That’s Colby Rasmus now…. and that breaks my heart because I’m a huge Colby fan…. Come on Colby! Turn it around!

    • Lind is below average on both sides of the ball while Rasmus plays plus defence at a premium position so his bat doesn’t have to be elite to be worth keeping around.

      • Rasmus has a -4.1 uzr this season to go along with a -10 and -9 the past 2 years.

        Although I seem to remember him being +uzr before he got hurt, so maaayybe you could argue that it is due to injury

  12. This is just some joker getting paid to write writing. Put this with all his reports that the Jays are “in” on everybody and their cousin. Only replacement refs are more consistently wrong than Ken.

    • If AA thought being linked to everyone and their mother was bad this past winter, wait till this winter.

      Would love if someone kept track of all the free agents the Jays were linked to this winter just for shits and giggles.

  13. You always hear about ‘veteran presence’, but all the baseball books I read, and the Shi Davidi article today, show what a fucked up mess the veterans can be. Traditionally veterans have seen it as their duty to make younger team members feel like crap, humiliate them, belittle them, and to force them to act as their personal servants. See Bouton, Hayhurst, et al, 1970 – 2012, passim. This disfunctional, bullying, infantile behaviour is commonly referred to as ‘playing the game the right way’.

    That ends with a 20 year old being made to feel like a failure because he’s not getting to play lefties, or a player like Hayhurst having what borders on a mental breakdown while trying to get his first win (or at least avoid setting fire to ballpark with his gas can), young careers being retarded or thrown off course, and another generation of morons adopting the habits of a disfunctional schoolyard as they lead adult, professional, careers.

    In other words, I want to see a lot more evidence before I believe a damn thing about the benefit any veteran can bring to a clubhouse.

    • Veterans eat chicken and drink beer during playoff runs.

    • Some people are assholes. Some people aren’t. Doesn’t matter what age they are.
      Them’s the facts of life sadly.

      • not sure I agree entirely. I think Ben’s on point here, veterans have a superiority complex, perhaps because its the way they were treated as rookies. dicks are dicks, but dicks in a pposition of relative authority tend to be HUGE dicks.

        that said, I don’t know how much of a difference it should make. resilience is necessary for success

  14. Jays should sign Roger Clemens to replace Omar. He can probably hit better than him as well

  15. Apologies to every journalist everywhere who makes a living off inventing stories but winning or losing is the causative agent. When you’re losing the advice doesn’t help, the “leadership isn’t there”, the rookies are too rookie, the veterans are too old, the depth isn’t depthy enough.

    And when you are winning it is the opposite: you’re “playing the game right”, the rookies are taking charge, blah blah fucking blah.”

  16. Everybody should head on down to Pittsburgh and watch my Shitshow. I strikeout, ground out and out-whine everybody else. And in between innings we have a show on top of the dugout where I point fingers at everyone to blame for my 83 OPS+

  17. I want Ortiz and Doc. A new 2B and a new LF. I wouldnt mind Colby being replaced by Gose if they can put an athletic big bat in LF. *shrugs*

  18. Grady Sizemore. Left Field. Why the h*^* not!? Honestly. Keep him healthy by being in left field..

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