At Sportsnet, Ben Nicholson-Smith has a rundown of comments that Alex Anthopoulos made on today’s Brady and Lang on the Fan 590, and while Ben does an excellent job of pulling key strands, I can’t very well just paste a link to his work and wash my hands of it, as much as I may want to. So I’ll go one better and add my own thoughts to what he’s relaying to us as well!
“He’s going to get a clean slate again next spring. Very good chance he comes off of the roster in the off-season. I told him that ahead of time, just for the 40-man spot. He’ll come in next spring, he’ll come in and compete and hopefully he’ll start fresh and he can get it turned around.”
I wrote earlier in the week that Romero could elect free agency if he’s outrighted a second time, which is true, though if my reading of the CBA is correct this time– and that’s always going to be dicey– the Jays would not be on the hook for the rest of his deal in the same way they would be if they’d released him and he signed elsewhere. Romero, then, wouldn’t have any incentive to elect free agency, which is why Anthopoulos suggests that he’ll be back in the spring, trying again to earn himself a place on the roster.
In the piece linked above, I argue that it’s possible that the club has promoted and shown faith in him, despite an inconsistent (to put it politely) year in Triple-A, largely in the hope that such a message is received by other clubs who may have interest in Romero as a reclamation project, and not so much because they hope to get anything out of him on the field. Both Anthopoulos and Romero– who spoke on yesterday’s radio broadcast– have been saying the right things, though, and being positive about a bad situation, so… maybe I’m wrong. And maybe the market isn’t nearly so desperate for bad pitching as I want to believe.
“You never know where discussions will lead, but we’re very reluctant to move our better players and you would do everything you can to make deals without having to talk about those guys,” Anthopoulos said.
He went on to explain that trading a star player such as Bautista would solve one problem while creating another.
It would be easy, given the fact that Jose Bautista has now had his second straight season ended prematurely by injury, to maybe get a little worried about his future viability as an everyday right fielder. Or as a player who can be counted on to stay on the field at all. Or as someone who won’t contribute to the mess the Jays already have on their hands at DH heading into 2014.
And that, naturally, is going to lead to trade talk– strictly, I believe, among fans and media provocateurs.
But I don’t think it means a whole lot, precisely because of what Anthopoulos says. And because Jose’s contract is so good. And because the rest of baseball sees what we see, too, meaning that the dream scenario where the Jays actually manage to get a cheap front line pitcher and some kind of offensive production back in a deal for the soon-to-be 33-year-old Bautista just isn’t really in the cards.
I’ve said for a long time now, the Jays for this three year period really were built in tandem with Jose Bautista, and I’d be shocked if they actually sent him away. Of course, I don’t believe any of the bullshit fans want to put on him about a lack of leadership, so I guess I can understand that those poor souls who do might have a different viewpoint.
But honestly– and maybe this is just wishful thinking on my part– I think that when the Jays went to Rogers to raise the payroll last season, they must have done it knowing that there was a chance that things may not work out. That maybe, despite the $110-million they’d committed for 2014 (before arbitration raises, options on Janssen and Lind, and a potential qualifying offer to Josh Johnson), they’d have to go even higher. So maybe that $14-million earmarked for Johnson will be around regardless. Maybe, if the right player was willing to take their money, they could go even higher.
They would have had to plan for it, right? They couldn’t have just made these deals, edged up to the very top of their theoretical pay structure, and then decided to sink or swim.
So… I think some money is going to be there. I think some money has to be there or Rogers’ and the club will be in for one hell of a crisis of consumer confidence. And while the cost may be exorbitant, Matt Garza and Masahiro Tanaka are out there on the market. Neither will cost a draft pick, and Tanaka doesn’t even have to be wooed– just straight up bought. As we discussed ad nauseam during the Yu Darvish debacle of two years ago, Japan’s posting system is very advantageous for a team like the Jays.
I think they could maybe even convince ownership that it would be the last real big outlay needed, since if things don’t work out in 2014, the club might wind up looking to rework itself and shed some of their high-salary contracts. Or, at the very least, a tonne of cash will be coming off the books follow 2015 anyway.
Do it, Rogers. For fuck sakes, do it!
“Once he’s had his full rest and we get to talk to our doctors and our trainers and so on, just to get a sense of how they feel he’s progressing. That would be the final piece of information that we need.”
Part of the reason I’m deluding myself into thinking that money might be there to help the 2014 Jays is the fact that Anthopoulos can still, presumably with a straight face, talk about the possibility of making a qualifying offer to Josh Johnson.
Apart from the fact that doing so means that the Jays will assuredly retain him, it’s a pretty preposterous notion, at this point. I just can’t see the market for a guy who had the year he did, with the injury history he already had, being– at this point– in the range of $14-million. Maybe, if I said all along, he had shown anything in the season’s last few weeks, but with him being hurt, it’s just not really plausible.
They do have exclusive negotiating rights until after the World Series, though, and could maybe use the time to work out something incentive-laden (though, yes, Anthopoulos doesn’t really do that), or structured with a team-friendly option or two that might work out for both sides. And to that end, I can understand why Alex might be laying it on a bit thick when it comes to the possibility that they’re considering offering him a whack of dough.
If they do retain him for a reasonable price, though, they sure as fuck had better not just stop there when it comes to pitching. I mean, it’s not like this system is just going to pop out a fully formed Noah Syndergaard or something, ready to take the bull by the horns by mid-season [slits wrists].
“I know he’s done fairly well with the bat in a limited sample size, but I don’t know that I would put a whole lot of stock in it, because we have a whole lot of minor league time with him and we have a sense of what type of hitter he is.”
As Nicholson-Smith notes, Anthopoulos– which may be Greek for “Captain fucking Obvious”– acknowledges that the club maybe didn’t quite think enough about defence as they put together their 2013 roster. That said, while he praises Ryan Goins and puts him in the same breath as the outstanding Orlando Hudson as a defensive second baseman, obviously recognizes that the bat, despite some very early success, leaves a lot to be desired. He’ll obviously be looking elsewhere for help at second.
I’ll say it again: thank fuck.