I’d be lying if I said there weren’t whispers out there that the Jays may, in actuality and not just in posture, be more inclined to simply go with the rotation options they’ve got and hide behind nonsense about value — as though the deals Ubaldo Jimenez or Ervin Santana sign aren’t going to be chock full of value thanks to the way that the compensation picks tied to them have depressed their markets, which, of course, was the whole point of chasing them in the first place. I’ve also heard the opposite, though, so I’m not sure what exactly to make of anything at this point.
A lot of fans urging the club to do something tend to fail to look at things from the agents’ perspective. Anthopoulos must act, they say, because surely other teams will run into injuries that will make them reconsider the asking price on still-available arms, but isn’t that exactly the reason for the agents to continue to hold firm on their number, and not settle on terms dictated by the Blue Jays? I think so, which is why I don’t count myself among those fans. But it’s hard not to let some ugly thoughts creep in about it when you see a thing like what Jon Heyman wrote this morning at CBS Sports.
One person familiar with [the Blue Jays'] thinking suggested there was at least some talk at the beginning of the winter about looking to spend $8 million to $9 million a year on a 2- or 3-year deal on one or more of the available starters. Even taking the higher numbers, say $9 million per annum for three years, that would seem to be a stretch to the low side to lure someone such as Santana or Jimenez.
That sure would seem like a stretch, though bless ‘em for trying, I guess. But how, after acknowledging openly for so long that they need a front line starter, could that have possibly been the plan at any point?
Is Heyman’s source wrong? Is Heyman’s old pal Scott Boras telling him this just to be a fly in Paul Beeston’s ointment? Did something change? Was it Guy Laurence? The Canadian dollar? Was the two-year, $20-million deal the Mets signed with Bartolo Colon too rich for the Jays’ blood???
It’s all rather hard to fathom — especially how, if true, the Jays actually expected to spin what they surely knew was going to happen if they held firm on those numbers, vis-à-vis everything they’d been saying about needing to improve – and, like most rumours, probably shouldn’t be taken quite so seriously. Plus, the idea of potentially adding a second pitcher at that rate would suggest there’s still room for at least one at something closer to a price that’s not quite so laughable. And all the fears of new found austerity need to be balanced with the fact that just 18 months from Opening Day, when the 2015 season concludes, they’ll be staring at an upcoming payroll that, as it currently stands, only has $27-million in guaranteed money on it.
As presented, though, it sounds just slightly fucking insane. Almost as insane as it would be to pass up the opportunity to add a huge asset in a glaring area of need, despite holding a massive advantage because of their protected draft picks.
And I’m actually quite optimistic on Drew Hutchison, Marcus Stroman, and Kyle Drabek, too, to varying degrees. But even if everything breaks absolutely right for them, having a reasonably-priced Jimenez or Santana getting passed on the depth chart here is not a bad problem to have. Especially when you could damn well use making a trade to fix the painfully obvious hole at second base, and considering that the likely end-of-season departures of Melky Cabrera and Colby Rasmus are going to blow a hole in the outfield that Anthony Gose, Kevin Pillar, and Moises Sierra sure as fuck aren’t likely going to be able to fix.
Plus, even as much as I think the Jays’ young arms are capable of much more than we’ve seen from them yet, and that they could do just fine as soon as this year, we should probably also keep in mind just how good Jimenez and Santana have been. It’s been written about ad nauseam, I know, but a quick and dirty reminder: if you look at individual seasons over the last three years from Santana, Jimenez, Mark Buehrle, R.A. Dickey, and Brandon Morrow, you’ll find six instances in which one of those pitchers was worth more than 3.0 fWAR, and three of them belong to the free agents. Granted, Buehrle and Dickey probably get shortchanged by FanGraphs’ FIP-based version of WAR, since they’ve fairly reliably been able to keep their FIPs down, and thus look much better by rWAR, but still!
So, in a way, it had better be some sort of payroll parameter bullshit that ultimately prevents the Jays from adding one of these guys, should that be what happens. But, of course, that would be complete garbage also.
Welp. I guess, then, they’d better just fucking sign someone.