AAst

Alex Anthopoulos met with the media yeterday morning in Dunedin and said exactly what anybody who’d given it two thoughts ought to have expected him to say about his club’s stand pat off-season, giving fans one final opportunity to vomit up as much winter negativity as their innards could summon before spring officially began. Even the calling of the session itself and its live broadcast online (on TSN only, as the Sportsnet feed of their parent company’s club’s GM’s potential self-immolation mysteriously succumbed to technical difficulties at the last minute) proved contentious among some fans, underlining the utter loss of perspective that seems to me to be characterizing this tail end of the off-season. After all, the media availability was almost certainly just a rote exercise on the first day in which all players are required to be at camp.

Negativity and disappointment directed at this club is, of course, justified, but some fans seem to believe that grants them license to act like spoiled children incapable of acknowledging nuance or any speck of thought that doesn’t enable them to piss and shit that negativity anywhere, and as though anyone who isn’t satiating their blind, deaf, and dumb thirst for acknowledgement of their supposed victimhood is a weaselly apologist with some kind of agenda hidden behind incomprehensible logic.

It’s not a monolith, of course. Many fans are able to swallow the bitter pills this club has been asking us to swallow this winter — the wholly disingenuous posturing as though they have no concept of realistic expectations on the free agent market; the bizarre acknowledgement that Ryan Goins isn’t a permanent second base solution, but that he is somehow the best they’re willing to do in what seems like it ought to be a crucial few months in early 2014; the sudden finding of religion on notions of the quality of their internal pitching options — with the understanding that this isn’t the end of the world. Unfortunately, as is usually the case, their voices aren’t nearly as loud as their whiny counterparts.

That’s because it’s hard to say in this climate of negativity that Anthopoulos is right when he points to health as the major factor behind last season’s disaster, but he is. It’s hard to look at the  projections with enough perspective to wrap your head around how they’re fluid, imperfect, and hardly a substitute for actually playing the games.

And it’s easy as fuck to fake pity everyone who won’t goose-step along with you in the moronic doom and gloom brigade and pretend like it takes some measure of wit to regurgitate irrelevant noise like a club history that has zero bearing the here and now, to feign expertise on matters of health, or to narrowly pick at a single statement or inaction as though it’s all that’s needed to prove the club’s entire existence is an affront to everything good and true and that doesn’t smother puppies to death.

The fact is, the Jays are not that far behind the other teams in the AL East, yet certain people are acting like they couldn’t make runner-up in Little League.

Their back-end pitching is untested, yet people are acting like no one could possibly come from there to being successful.

Drew Hutchison and Kyle Drabek had Tommy John surgery in mid-2012, yet people are acting like they’re fresh from the infirmary and didn’t throw 57 and 45.1 innings, respectively, at various levels (including the AFL) in 2013.

I’ve said this sort of thing before, but I’ll say it again and say even more: last year the Rays gave 31 starts to Jeremy Hellickson, who finally stopped out-pitching his shitty FIPs. They gave 24 to Roberto Hernandez (Fausto Carmona), who had a 5.41 ERA over his previous 180 innings, a 3.77 ERA in 2010, and ERAs above 6 and 5 in 2009 and 2008. They gave 22 to Alex Cobb, who has been a successful and improving big leaguer, but was not exactly a heralded prospect coming up.

Boston gave 27 to Felix Doubront, whose xFIP numbers made his 2012 look a lot better than his FIP (4.37) or ERA (4.86) did, and which gave him a nice 1.9 fWAR, but just  0.3 by BR’s calculation. They gave 29 to Lackey, who was awful in 2011 (6.41 ERA, 4.70 FIP/xFIP) and had Tommy John in 2012. They also had Dempster, who sucked when he went to Texas in 2012 and struggled with injury, plus Lester, who had seen his ERA, FIP, and xFIP all trend downward for three straight years (including a 4.83 ERA in 2012), and Buchholz, who has started about the same number of games since 2010 as Brandon Morrow.

Baltimore won 85 games with a rotation that screams mediocrity. The Yankees won handing the ball to shitty Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova — who wasn’t good in 2012 — David Robertson, and a CC Sabathia who wasn’t nearly his usual self. Kansas City won 87 giving starts to Wade Davis, Luis Mendoza, a guy named Ervin Santana coming off a godawful year. Cleveland made the playoffs pulling Corey Kluber and Danny Salazar out of pretty much nowhere, and managing to have Ubaldo and Scott Kazmir not be complete tire fires. Texas gave 34 starts combined to Nick Tepesch and Justin Grimm, plus 20 more to Martin Perez, who, despite a strong pedigree, had been pretty bad in his first 38 big league innings in 2012.

This, of course, isn’t to say that good pitching isn’t necessary or that the Jays shouldn’t be searching for as much as they can, but to again point out that many Jays fans’ expectations of what makes a tenable rotation are completely out of whack right now, and that teams can be plenty successful with plenty of question marks being asked to take on a lot of responsibility.

Is the rotation a concern? Yes. Is it hopeless? Hardly. Are the Jays “not trying”? Should they just go ahead and rebuild they’re so far behind? Ridiculous.

This doesn’t mean anybody has to like what’s happened this winter. I certainly don’t, but it serves no one to blindly and incoherently point fingers without an honest grappling with figuring out what the hell is truly going on here. All what we do know is that none of what appear to be the possible answers to that question are particularly good.

If Rogers is genuinely as willing to open the chequebook, as Anthopoulos and Beeston always say, the front office’s refusal to push harder to improve a roster that’s unquestionably geared to compete in the next two years is baffling, to say the least. Confusing the issue further is that free agency wasn’t their only avenue to improvement, and the fact that Anthopoulos and Beeston are obviously comfortable enough to not have started overpaying in prospects in a desperate attempt to win now, plus the fact that they surely could have cut payroll if they were really more inclined to save dollars than accumulate wins.

Their hedging, potentially with a view to major roster turnover beginning in July, makes more sense if Rogers has pulled the financial rug out from under them, but such a suggestion raises deeper issues, too. If the front office knew that payroll being reined in was a possibility all along — which for years was exactly the fear I suspected was driving their fiscal conservatism, having seen it happen to J.P. Ricciardi — the decision to make the commitments that the club did last winter looks infinitely dumber. If it’s all on Rogers and out of nowhere — based on Guy Laurence’s new paradigm, or the opportunity to use the sagging Canadian dollar as an excuse — that’s even more grotesque.

The spin we’re hearing is that it’s all about value, and whether it’s worth the cost of adding a Jimenez or Santana — or, if you’re Baltimore, maybe both — given what you can expect out of them compared to what the internal options are. It almost makes sense, until you remember the existence of Ricky Romero, or think for a few seconds about what this club is really worth. Obviously a team can’t afford having too many Romeros banished from the roster while still drawing enormous paycheques, but… actually they totally can.

It’s not about can or can’t at all, even, but the willingness of ownership to or to not — or the willingness of the front office to put their jobs on the line to continue pushing payroll northward. And that’s exactly where the Jays’ P.R. misdirection works best — even if it’s maybe not intentional. In the world that Beeston and Anthopoulos try to create Rogers is benevolent and perfect, and the curious decisions made by the front office are theirs and theirs alone to stand by. Fans, it seems, either dumbly believe management’s rosy picture of Rogers and conclude that the front office is in over its head, or they don’t believe it and make Rogers an easy villain, or they swallow it whole and work backwards to agree with the club’s own lame justifications.

There is never, then, any unified opposition, with fans spread out, pushing at all three pillars.

The truth, I tend to suspect, lies somewhere in between. Shit, maybe the front office has as hard a time reading which string the higher ups are going to pull next as we do. And think about it: of course the club is always going to stay on positive message when speaking with ownership. It may not even be a lie, as they may genuinely have never had Rogers turn them down for any additional dollars precisely because they know enough not to ask. The club then operates in a grey area with uncertainly about just how high their payroll could actually be allowed to go, and when they might next be massaged towards changing course, be it because of the dollar, a new C.E.O., a failure to capitalize on the excitement and ticket sales of the first half of 2013, the wasting of so many of Sportsnet’s marketing dollars on a roster that wasn’t as good as they were sold on, or… whatever.

Actually, that has generally been the prism through which I’ve written about the club for years, and in the frustration of this wasted off-season maybe sometimes I’ve lost the plot (though lately I’ve had some great reminders of late not to be sucked in with the blindly negative, or even to give a hint of empowerment to their corrosive, dumb, self-indulgent teenage venting — so thanks for that, shitstains!). But that isn’t to absolve the front office here, either.

Obviously I think there is some merit to the pillar of fandom that believes what the club is saying, though. As noted above, the rotation is not nearly in the kind of awful shape that the worst of fans are wont to believe, and if the club had been firmer from the beginning that they felt this way — or even that it was possible they might — I wonder if they wouldn’t have been better off. Perhaps not, in terms of ticket sales — uncertainty and last year’s splash likely does a better job of selling hope than the moronic certainty too many fans have that Brandon Morrow has only about 100 big league innings left in his arm, and that Drew Hutchison and Marcus Stroman can’t come in and be successful — and maybe that’s my answer right there. But that doesn’t mean fans are wrong in thinking that they and this club deserved a whole lot better, either. And it certainly doesn’t mean that what’s going on at second base isn’t still a complete fucking disgrace, or that the club ought to sell us confidence-eroding horseshit just to have moved a few more flex packs over the course of the winter.

Viewing it this way, I wonder — as I did earlier in the week as well, I think — if there is simply a top-down rot in this organization that is underlined by an utter lack of respect from level to level. Rogers doesn’t respect the front office enough to give them unfettered access to the real capital this club generates, while the Jays don’t respect Rogers enough to not pull the rug out from under them, and don’t respect the fans enough to speak to anything but the lowest common denominator (not even just in terms of the constant selling of false hope, but the pandering to those afraid and unwilling to think outside of pitcher wins and RBIs), while fans don’t respect either enough to think of them as anything more than imbeciles and villains.

It’s just a theory, but it sure sometimes feels like that’s the muck we’re in — the kind of muck that was unheard of in the idyllic days of Labatt’s ownership — nor does it feel there’s a real good way out until someone like Tim Leiweke comes along and, for all of the faults and bluster and willingness to risk big (the consequences of which we’ve yet to see, it must be remembered) a person like that might bring, starts acting like this is big time club we all know damn well that it is.

It all sucks and we deserve more — familiar refrain much? — but let’s not let that obscure the fact that things are actually pretty alright, once you peel away all the marketing, failed expectations-managing, and futile desires for hollow certainty. Plenty of talent is here, and the idea that this team is doomed to failure is simply the other side of the same monumentally dumb coin that last year suggested the regular season was but a nuisance on the path towards the coronation that was the Blue Jays’ destiny. So let’s just fucking enjoy some baseball and see what happens already, eh?

Comments (580)

  1. AA has gotta be cooking up a trade.

    I think that he just didn’t see enough value in the fee agents and is confident he can fry up a sweet deal to improve pitching.

  2. So Gardner just signed an extension with the Yankees leaving Rasmus easily the best remaining OF free agent for next near. Getting the feeling he’ll get a QO next winter from the Jays and that’s about it. Potentially going to be some interesting holes in the outfield next year. Would love to see them lock him up for 3-4 years, but who knows if there is money there. Wonder if waiting to find out which is the real Rasmus costs them big time.

    • I really fucking wish they’d extend him already.

      • Wonder what Cletus can pull in if Gardener’s worth 12.5 AAV

        • Obviously it will depend on this year’s results, but if it’s anything like last year’s, then considering his age I would not be surprised if he got BJ Upton money at a minimum. If he matches last year then you could also be looking at Werth money.

          It’s a pity he had such a down 2012, if he had that extra year of success, then I really couldn’t see a reason for not locking him up already. That said, Jose and EE really only had one good year on the books before the Jays gambled on both of them. And before anyone says anything about his 2012 season, just remember EE’s recent situation and his baggage prior to his breakout. Considering that Rasmus did have a similar year in 2010 and the premium position he plays, i figured he would have also been worth the risk. Add to that the trouble the Jays have had at attracting premium FA’s in the past and you would think that would have been one more point in favour of doing the deal. Of course, there’s nothing to say the Jays haven’t tried to lock him up already and Cletus just wants to test the market.

    • I wonder how this sets the bar for a Colby extension. Both players are similarly valuable but in different ways – Colby with a huge advantage in power, Gardner with better OBP, baserunning, and maybe a slight edge defensively. Colby plays a more valuable position, but then again everyone and their uncle knows Gardner is fully capable as a CF. Same service time, Colby substantially younger (27 vs 30).

      I can see Colby getting a similar AAV and at least a year extra. 5/$65mill sounds about right if they go for a deal right now. wait for another good year and he probably pushes $100mill as a free agent.

      • Unfortunately in the way AA see’s “Value” compared to market value, we might be seeing the last year for Rasmus in Toronto, unless its a team friendly extension which would be hard to see unless Rasmus totally fails in which I don’t see. Hoping they re-sign him though because 2 holes in the OF to fill next winter looks grimmer than trying to find a pitcher this winter.

        • This is a big ST for Sierra and Pillar.

        • Rasmus is gone, Buerhle gets traded, Reyes gets traded Encarnacion gets traded Bautista gets traded they blow the team up after firing Gibbons in JUne and AA in August. at least that seems to be the trend of all the commentary. I am not saying the Jays are doing well or even making all the right moves but Rasmus has not prven anything. He has been very inconsistent in his career so far so I agree with AA wait until JUne and then siign him if you can.
          But either way this is make or break year for the Jays

  3. I can show you one guy who won’t be making the Olympics.

  4. After Kenny Ken Ken posted his article about the Jays yesterday, I tweeted at him wondering if he wasnt asking the right questions about why the Jays weren’t upgrading, specifically Rogers pulling back on payroll. Now there is this

    http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/rosenthal-boras-takes-jays-ownership-to-task-022314

    Of course Boras is going to say that and AA is going to claim otherwise. Good times indeed!

    • Boras’ comments obviously must be taken with a grain of salt since it’s in his best interests if every big-market team spends as freely as the Yankees or Dodgers. Boras has made similar criticism of the Mets and Cubs for their relative lack of spending in recent years.

      That said, you do wonder what exactly the Jays are doing here. The three ways of building a team are via the farm system, via trades and via signings. Well, the Jays haven’t developed any good everyday minor leaguers in years and AA couldn’t make a trade happen this winter, so that left free agency as their only available route to get better this offseason….and they didn’t do that either.

      • Yep you make good points, especially about Boras. Even though it’s obvious he would say something like that, it is unusual for agents to criticize a club so directly and publicly. I wonder now if this isn’t more of a reaction to some failed negotiations this winter. Is it possible they were working on something only to have it fall apart for some reason or another? Boras and AA seem like oil and water. Both seem intent on getting every ounce of value from their transactions just from opposite ends of the table. Doesn’t seem like there is much middle ground in their outlooks.

        • Seems like there was a deal in place and fell through, likely Rogers pulling back the money that AA thought would be there. sour grapes by Boras but perhaps confirms what we all know deep down.

    • yep kinda adds to the whole Jays-Boras animosity a bit. not the first time Boras has called out an ownership group, but I doubt he’s even a blip on the radar for the Rogers bigwigs.

      it does tell us that the Jays arent interested in Drew or Morales, or else Boras wouldn’t throw a prospective bidder under the bus.

    • I really don’t know what to think about Rogers. They could easily have moved some big contracts this offseason if they really wanted to. Fact is, a lot of teams can only dream of having a $130M+ payroll.

      It just makes a lot more sense to me that AA genuinely didn’t see any good value on the market this offseason. I think the point was raised on here that half a year of Cliff Lee, say, would be much preferable to 4 years of Jiminez/Santana/etc., and I’m inclined to agree.

      I’m really not seeing how the team is all that bad right now. They’re pretty much guaranteed to get substantially more value from 2B and catcher. It’s not far-fetched to think Dickey and Buehrle might put up 3 WAR each, and it wasn’t that long ago when Morrow was racking up complete-game shutouts left right and centre. (Just maybe he’s not made of glass and merely had bad luck with injuries over a year and a half. It happens to the best of ‘em.) Then they’ve obviously got a shit-tonne of depth with back-end starters. I just don’t see how the likes of Jiminez and Santana would make them that much better, coupled with the risk of making them worse, at a big cost.

      If the options on the market aren’t that inspiring, might as well hang on to however much payroll flexibility they’ve got left.

      • Actually my point about Cliff Lee was the opposite. A trade at the break will cost you as much in salary as Jimenez for the whole year + prospects. Lee makes $25 mil a year and is owed a minimum of $62.5 mil over the next three.

      • +1 Pecan

    • I’m sure kenny was thrilled to get your tweet.

    • I guess Boras expects everyone to just back up the Brinks’ trucks and dump the vault into his clients’ laps.
      I’m not sure what AA and the Jays are doing – but I’m thinking it’s all about not pissing tens of millions of dollars per year away unnecessarily. It’s about “Do we really want Player X at X-million dollars a year for X-many years” – and I guess AA and the Jays have decided that this year’s crop of guys wanted more than they were willing to pay.
      Just because you HAVE shitloads of money, doesn’t mean you HAVE to spend shitloads of money – which is what Boras thinks the natural order should be.
      AA wants high-ceiling, controllable young arms. He doesn’t like tying up so-so guys for long-term deals, nor giving up picks. Face it, Santana and Ulbado have a LOT of question marks on their resumes. They’ve been good, and they’ve stunk out the joint.
      But are you getting something with them that you can’t get in-house?
      Not at 10M for 4 years, you’re not.
      At least that’s his opinion.
      Better no deal than a bad deal.

  5. Jays first Grapefruit League game this Wednesday to air on the MLB Network at 1:05 pm for those who get the channel.

  6. Scott Boras: Curse you Seitzer!!

    http://ow.ly/tUNVI

    • If he can make Gpins even slightly productive we’re playing with house money.

      • it’s just a coach being a coach and saying he can fix anyone, but why am I so optimistic about Goins after reading that piece?

        the ex-baseball player in me just loves overachievers, wouldn’t it be nice if Goins surprises?

        • I agree. We’ve had so many nasty surprises over the years, I know Bautista was a nice surprise and so was EE but on average I think we’re owed a few more. Please let Goins be one of them.

        • Since it looks like we’re not getting an upgrade through free agency, he’s looking like that’s all we got so at this point I am hoping that he makes me eat every last word of doubt I have written up about him this winter. The same goes for Happ. At this point, I can be bitter and just be doubtful but might as well look at the upside since that’s all we got. There’s always some that disappoint and some that surprise. Maybe we get two nice surprises in those two guys. I

          There’s always the trade option too, though I am sure guys like Franklin would be overly expensive in terms of prospects. Getting something back for Buehrle while getting a cheaper starter was always the idea in my head so that they would have a little more depth to make a move and possibly get something that’s not in the system to make a trade easier to facilitate.

          • You’re entitled to be optimistic but what exactly about this team, its past, any trends whatsoever lead you to be this optimistic?

            The pitching is at best mediocre and not good enough to contend in the East, at worst it’s a fucking dogs breakfast and a 5th place team.

            • Fangraphs gives them a 34.7% chance to make the playoffs and projects them for 82 wins, clearly it’s not hopeless. This even after the Orioles add Jiminez and Cruz.

              Of course like any team they need some things to go their way, and it would help if the divisional opponents could have some things not go their way for a change, but the Jays are very much in the thick of things.

              Looking at our competitors rosters:

              the Yankee infield has major bust potential with Texeira supposedly hurting already, Jeter’s state of performance being a major unknown, and the fact that they’ve used the old “throw shit against the wall” strategy at 2B and 3B. The outfield and catcher spot look good, although I doubt Beltran will be as valuable as everyone thinks given the negative he has become defensively. Soriano should be ok at DH, although he will probably end up spending more time in the field than they would like. The rotation looks quite strong, even if Sabathia continues his slow decline. The bullpen looks like a weak spot – Robertson is pretty great, and Thornton should be an adequate lefty specialist, but I’m not even sure who they have past that. Their signing of Bailey is probably inconsequential. They’re gonna need someone from the farm to surprise for the bullpen to be good. Noted injury risks in Texeira, Jeter, Beltran, Gardner.

              Tampa looks weak at LF, and they’re betting on Hanigan bouncing back from a horrendous season at the plate and Loney to avoid the regression demons. Otherwise the lineup looks strong. Strangely, it looks like the rotation may be an issue this year. After Cobb and Price, Moore looks pretty volatile and the backenders (Archer, Odorizzi, Hellickson) are iffy as well. Actually 3-5 they look a fair bit like the Jays. Other than Balfour the bullpen looks volatile (McGee, Heath Bell, etc.).

              The Orioles project to be good at C, 1B, SS, 3B (provided Machado comes back showing no ill effects), CF and decent at DH. However, Nick Markakis seems dead and LF contains some interesting guys but no one of any dependability. 2B is also a major weakness unless Schoop is ready to contribute substantially this year. The rotation isn’t very interesting but should be alright (Gausman and Bundy are on the horizon however). The bullpen looks iffy – Hunter is scary in the closer role, and Matusz/O’Day are good but limited in their effectiveness (LH/RH specialists, respectively). Norris to the bullpen may help.

              The Red Sox are the class of the division on paper, and project to be average or better around the diamond. However, Bradley and Bogaerts are rookies and Bradley in particular didn’t play too well in his debut last year. there’s some uncertainty there, even if more than likely they’ll be ok at those positions. Middlebrooks wasn’t so hot last year either. The rotation looks good, but it does contain the Morrow-esque Clay Buccholz. Past John Lackey the back end guys look a little iffy, but there’s enough interesting guys back there that they’ll probably settle on someone who can be decent. The bullpen looks strong and overall there’s not much to quibble with here. They are a very good, deep baseball team. Even if Bradley flames out, they just move Victorino to CF and play Gomes/Nava in the corners full time, a down-grade to be sure, but not catastrophic. They are a little weak on depth for the left side of the infield, which could be problematic if something goes wrong there.

          • I like that they’re all kind of downplaying the expectations. And if you get his plus defence where last year was a black hole, maybe. Anyway it’s Spring Training and it’s against the Law of Toyland NOT to have hope.

        • I loved that they got the technical and mechanical stuff working and they sent vids back and forth. This is good but why isnt there a hitting coach in the minors doing this stuff already? How did Goins get this far without these tips? This is why I think they need to seriously look at player development.

          • i guess the cop out answer is that that kind of thing happens in every organization. why was Bautista never “fixed” as he came up?

            Different coaching ideas, different organizational priorities, players mature and become receptive to coaching at different stages, minor league coaches are generally less experienced and have fewer resources, roving instructors have limited time to work their magic, etc., etc., etc.

          • @ Karl Sagan.

            I agree about the player development and I’ve been saying it for months. These guys are not being schooled on the farm and it shows.

            • What I don’t get is that one of the primary ideas of the minors is to prepare kids for MLB. It seems like such a huge waste of money and time NOT to develop them. I mean they scout and draft them and pay all kinds of money to set up the system. But if what Farrell alluded to is correct, the Jays draft their talented kids and then forget about them. Now there’s obviously more to it than that, but if what Seitzer did with Goins works out, what does it say for their system?
              And @ Kevin, it’s absolutely not an isolated case. I mean we only have to look at guys like Bautista EE etc (and lets not forget Bonifacio who, with all that speed, probably still can’t get a bunt down to save his life). So there’s lots of teams that have the same developmental problems. But there are a few, probably like the Cards and the Red Sox and a few more like the Rays (amazing pitching development), who should be copied.

    • Is Goins this season’s Yan Gomes? As in, a mostly unheralded player at a position of need who makes his debut with us the previous season, is mostly meh during said debut, and then breaks out the following season?

      Yeah, yeah, I know, literally the only thing those two have in common is that they were late-season debuts with the Jays in consecutive years, and that neither had any buzz about them when they made their debut.

      Still, the Yan Gomes incident should give us some pause when discussing things like “ceiling.”

      • No cause Gomes has had a pop in his bat consistently in the minors, though he wasnt really a heralded prospect.

        Goins has had much less pop in his bat. Best hope is he becomes a league average hitter, but not much more.

  7. This whole QO thing is so stupid. They should have set up minimum requirements to get a pick such as at least a 2 year deal or min total value of at least 14 mil. No team should have to give up a pick for a 1 year deal. You think the PA would have figured that out.

    • What’s stupid about the QO isn’t necessarily the system, it’s that certain players were stupid enough to reject them. You’re telling me Stephen Drew doesn’t wish he had taken his QO now? Nelson Cruz is going to end up with $6 million less than he would have if he had just stayed with the Rangers. Even Ervin Santana has to be thinking about it.

      • It is the system. Players should have the right to access free agency without being penalized. yes drew and cruz were stupid and greedy but you can’t blame santana when ubaldo got 4 years and lohse last year as well.

        But I agree, the best way to prevent a team from offering you the QO is to ACCEPT it and try again next year. Teams will think twice before offering it again.

        • Let’s hold a bake sale for the poor players who turned down $14.1 million so they could get more.

          The only reason that Ervin Santana or Stephen Drew can dream about money like that is because they play for Major League Baseball. It’s not a socialist charity, it’s a business. One of the rules is that there is a drag on players leaving teams. At $14.1 million it’s not a very painful drag.

          Ervin Santana’s agent wants to pretend it should be a ‘free market’ but within someone else’s business. It is a free market in this sense. Ervin Santana can build some expensive ballparks, create an expensive minor league system, and negotiate some rewarding TV contracts. He can have his own league and pay himself whatever is left. Or, he can play for other people who have already paid the money and done that and who have created a league with some rules designed to keep salaries from going through the stratosphere where only the Yankees and Red Sox can afford the best players. Santana is not worth some crazy contract that you think he’s worth.

  8. As I’ve often stated, and is quasi-echoed by Andrew above: last year’s Blue Jays team was almost universally chosen as, at the very least, a strong competitor for postseason play. They were beset by poor play, poor pitching and injuries.

    But, this year’s Blue Jays team is almost identical as the 2013 version except for the following changes:
    Navarro over Arencibia at catcher (upgrade)
    Goins over Bonifacio at second (upgrade)
    No Josh Johnson (looking at this change before the 2013 season, it would be a big deal; from a reality point of view, considering what Johnson provided, that’s a step sideways)

    In addition, with Drabek and Hutchison being healthy, Stroman, Nolin and Rogers et al having another year under their collective belts, the argument could be made that the 2014 Blue Jays are deeper than the previous year, at least from a pitching standpoint.

    I am NOT saying the Blue Jays will win the World Series this year. I’m not even saying they’ll be a lock as serious contenders for the postseason, but I am saying that by no means are they as far from the promised land as people think. It’s not all hellfire and brimstone right now. They are a deep team that, if a few things go right and they stay healthy, could really surprise some people.

    • Agreed. Obviously adding an experienced mid-rotation starter like Jimenez would have improved the chances of winning (and would give them more depth if they are hit by injuries, underperformance, etc.), but the team looks solid to open the season. I think a lot of people think they know what to expect (mediocrity) coming into the season, which is kind of hilarious given how 2013 unfolded.

      I know it’s been a rough 20 years of underachievement and disappointment that have beaten a lot of us into a state of perpetual negativity, but that should have nothing to do with what we should realistically be expecting to happen in 2014.

      • The pitching is not solid.. come on now stop fooling yourself. You can’t go into a season with a rotation full of maybes and expect to contend.

        There is 1 guy I’d call solid, the rest are crap shoots.

        • Rubbish. Did you even read Stoeten’s piece?

        • If you could go ahead and point out where I said their pitching would be solid, that would be great.

          I said the team looks solid. The bullpen was great last year and is mostly unchanged, the lineup struggled when injuries took over, but looks like it could be very strong if it’s relatively healthy, and the rotation, despite the question marks, as a couple dependable starters and a couple high upside starters and a couple where it could be a great fit or a disaster.

          “You can’t go into a season with a rotation full of maybes and expect to contend.”

          The funny thing about that comment is that’s exactly what Boston did last year with literally FIVE maybes in their rotation. The Yankees have as many maybes as anyone. The Orioles are hoping MAYBE one of their starters can provide something more than a league average performance. The Rays are hoping MAYBE Matt Moore can find the strike zone and MAYBE David Price will still be in the rotation when the trade deadline passes.

          The competition’s success and the Jays’ imminent failure aren’t as written in stone as you seem so hellbent on believing they are.

          • You’re right ou said the team was solid, my bad.

            The maybes on the Red Sox are in an entirely different league than the Jays maybes… please don’t tell me that the Jays have a Clay Buchholz hiding someone that they’ve forgot to put out there?

            I’ll take the Yankees rotation maybes any day of the week over the Jays maybes, everyone else on here would as well.

            I’ll give you the Orioles though.

            And Bullpens are extremely volatile, do not for one minute earmark any measure of success out of the pen, you’ll set yourself up for misery.

            I have to think the bad defense was an anomaly and 2014 will just be a run of the mill season defensively. Where this team will shine is hitting, if healthy it’s the best in the AL.

    • Not to mention the offense in 2013 got basically zero (negative?) contribution from two or three positions, had 3 of their best 4 hitters sidelined for significant time, and still managed to be around league-average. If they can get full years from Reyes, Rasmus, Lawrie (who had much improved numbers in the second half) and Bautista, there’s the potential for something pretty special. Then if Navarro and Cabrera can repeat some of their recent success, it’s gonna be pretty crazy.

    • But they’re a team that’s further away from the “promised land” this year then they were this time last year. They didn’t do anything to add Johnson’s expected (rather then actual) performance back into the rotation, the 30+ guys are all a year older, and as much as we’d all like to believe that we’ll get performance bouncebacks from a few guys we may have to deal with some performance decline from others.

      I mean, when the Dickey trade happened and some people were scratching their heads at the cost a lot of justification was made that Dickey would be expected wins 89-92 (i.e. the difference between playoffs and just missing out). So sure people thought that the team was a playoff team but the team wasn’t considered a 100+ win powerhouse. If the FO legitimately believes that the team that they expected last year still exists then the incentive to add a three-ish wins should have been there.

      I think ownership just said no more money then you have to pay in arb/pre-existing contracts.

  9. What’s everyone’s thoughts on the Cuban SS, Diaz. I can’t seem to find a common consensus on his ability’s.
    I realize that it’s a long shot to see the Jays pick him up but do you feel we should be in on him and at what price/years should we back away.
    I’m a curious fellow.

    • Well, from what I’ve read – he’s a bit of a project still. Especially if you want to move him over to second base. But there’s a “dazzle factor” working here…as with most foreign players. Everyone assumes they’re going to catch lightning in a bottle with these guys, or they’re some exotic version of Roy Hobbs – and how often has that worked out?
      But jeez, just Google him…and there’s about a half dozen teams that are in the running for him.

      • Yeah, I’ve got a strange fascination with him, though I don’t know much about what kind of player he is. At the very least it’d be nice to have him in AAA as someone who could be called up. The Goins/Izturis experiment is scary enough. What happens if/when that fails is even scarier.

  10. Would Cruz have been a worthwhile addition for the Jays? He’d definitely slot really nicely as the DH platoon partner for Lind, but in general I’m kind of meh about him. The issue is that in a world where we might not make ANY additions I can’t really defend not signing someone for almost no money and who could displace Melky if he continues to suck.

    That’s what is so hard about this offseason. If AA still has an addition in mind I have no problem with passing on all of these players. There’s nothing super exciting about Cruz. But if we’re not going to add anyone, then a solid power hitter on a cheap one year deal seems like EXACTLY the player we could use as a fallback.

    Fuck this offseason is frustrating.

    • Not sure if the difference between Cruz and Sierra is big enough to justify even the 8M (plus the 2nd-rounder, which isn’t nothing), which might be useful if AA could still work out a deal for pitching somewhere.

  11. I nearly started a poopy blog to basically say all of what you have said in this post.

    Nice post.

    Keep up the good work. Through thick and thin, there will be DJF. Please do not stop anytime soon.

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