The budgetary issues that were supposed to keep the Atlanta Braves out of the final sprint for Ervin Santana may be a thing of the past, as last night Jim Bowden laid this on us:
Braves making legitimate run at Ervin Santana according to source
— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) March 12, 2014
A team owned by a publicly traded company that actually wants to win? Amazing. (And speaking of, on his show on the Fan 590 yesterday, Jeff Blair opined that he’s “not entirely certain MLB would approve another publicly traded company buying a franchise.” Hmmm. I wonder if the Jays’ experience subsidizing pointless excess Sportsnet channels with cheap content under Rogers’ corporate boot-heel might illustrate anything about all that.)
Update: It’s official now, Santana to the Braves.
#Braves will announce Ervin Santana signing this morning at Champion Stadium.
— David O'Brien (@ajcbraves) March 12, 2014
Should this force me to change the screed any? Since the Braves weren’t an option until very, very recently, and the Jays sat on their hands all winter, I’m going to say no. Smart decision on Ervin’s part, though, to go to a good NL team with a sudden need and a run environment that will look a whole lot better to whichever prospective employers next year don’t bother to pay attention to park and league factors.
Oh, and way to go, Jays. It’s better than having him land in Baltimore, I guess. And especially good on Atlanta, who didn’t have a need to fill three days ago, got hit with injuries, then simply went out and got this done. Funny fucking thing that, eh?
It seems already like we’ve discussed this ad nauseam, and I wasn’t planning to do it again today this much, but the opportunity arose in the comments on the post below this one to make clearer just why I think the Jays’ possible inaction on Ervin Santana is so upsetting. And rather than leave it all buried there, I figured it would be useful to make a full post out of it.
Plus I get to FJM a comment from RADAR! Because this is where we’re at, apparently.
So we followed the evil triad as they amassed draft picks to be used as currency to acquire players.It raised a bottom farm system to a top five.
In 2 years Rid the Jays of one of the most untradable contracts in history.
Obviously not. Don’t think I need to explain that one. Nice move, though.
Raised payroll by 40 mil in one swipe.
False. A lot of money moved out of the draft and international free agent pools into the big league payroll, and a whole lot more was added via MLB’s US TV deals. They did increase it some, but not nearly by the amount you’re saying. (Payroll in 2008 was $98-million, by the way. And the converse of all this is that in those years, when everybody was calling them so cheap, that wasn’t quite true either.)
Engineered a trade that was considered incredibly one sided.
Not by all at the time, and certainly not in retrospect.
Put together a team that included the current NL cy winner the 2011 and 2012 NL batting champs.
All decisions hailed by the fanbase and experts as successes.
Nope. Not even close. There was a tonne of trepidation about the deals — especially the Dickey one.
Example? I wrote: “Adam Rubin of ESPN New York finds an ‘AL official’ who says that Alex Anthopoulos is ‘out of his mind’ for doing this deal– which… might even be right, but at least the Jays have improved so much already this off-season that they’re not putting all their eggs in Dickey’s basket. We’re through the looking glass here people: after years of being beaten over the head with the opposite, for the 2013 Jays, everything will have to break wrong for them to not contend.” [Note: Ugh].
I also wrote: “The cost in prospects, of course, is undeniably huge, and could come back to haunt Alex Anthopoulos. … It’s taken a long while for me to come around to this point regarding this deal, and I think it’s understandable that some yet haven’t, but the more that it was out there and being talked about … the more it became clearer that this is a deal that truly makes sense for the Jays in a lot of ways, despite the insanely puking high cost.”
Now that because neither UJ nor Santana have been signed,they’re idiots and cheap bastards?
Both UJ and Santana have warts and we have no idea whats happening behind the scenes nor how they should be truly valued or what else is being worked on..
Ubaldo isn’t the issue. There’s a legitimate case to be made against making the deal with him that Baltimore did. On the other hand, Santana appears to have fallen into the Jays’ lap (and please, we have plenty enough understanding of what’s going on) and yet they sit motionless. That is the issue.
One deal that’s not made and all the rest should be forgotten? That somebody should be the “root of the Jays rot?”
Yes. There is an obvious, tangible upgrade they can make that they aren’t making and for no comprehensible reason. In the most basic way, if a sports team can’t do that, something is very wrong. The Jays’ particular context makes it worse: that a team can go so hard after wins in a three-year window just a year ago and now stop is bizarre to say the least. It ought not to be simply swallowed with a generous helping of last year’s pixie dust.
A little quick throwing everybody under the bus aren’t we?
No. The “insanely pukingly high cost” of last year’s moves was palatable only when contingent on the idea that they WOULD NOT DO THIS. Again, somewhere something is fucked: either the front office drastically undersold the potential pitfalls of their 2013 strategy to ownership and now are being forced to pay for it with a stagnant budget, or ownership made promises that the payroll would keep going up regardless and instead — perhaps because of the abysmal season, the new CEO, or perhaps in a panic over the sinking Canadian dollar — pulled the rug out from under the club. And the front office naively believed that wasn’t a possibility despite watching the exact same thing seemingly happen to their predecessors.
Or maybe they simply somehow believe that adding Santana isn’t in the best interest of their club, despite the whole world, their players — and according to all the reports, the front office itself – saying otherwise.
Whatever the case, this is a situation where blame can be laid. If — and this is key — they don’t actually sign the bastard. But actually, even still it’s kinda fucked because it should never have been allowed to get to this point in the first place. An organization that isn’t utterly fucking bush league wouldn’t have let it get to this point. Where that blame goes, though, it’s really hard to tell. I touched on that three weeks ago:
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.
Guess which one you’re heaving at?
AA, Beeston and Rogers have made some very good decisons in turning around the franchise. So we should demand heads to roll if we don’t get what we determine to be the right choice?
Not quite. The issue is that continuing to stand idly by is a crowbar blow to the side of the head of the credibility of everyone involved — Rogers, Beeston, Anthopoulos — and casts last year’s decisions in a wholly, wholly different light.
To me, you can’t say that it’s great that they did all of those things last winter but that it’s also OK that they’re not picking up guys like Santana and Stephen Drew on the relative-cheap right now, because those are all part of the same thing. You’re either serious about the entire project — the three year window; winning — or you’re not. To decide now to throw up their hands and act like they’re not, to me, makes last year’s choices indefensible. It also makes the choices — which we let slide on the premise that money was being saved for pitching — to not even make smaller upgrades this winter to the bench, or at second base, indefensible.
It would have been whiny irrational fan bullshit to say these things after missing out on a Tanaka, or a Cano, or a McCann, or a Garza, or an Ubaldo, or any number of the possible major upgrades we couldn’t have truthfully expected the Jays land this winter, but Santana is going to sign a one-year deal. Even if he somehow doesn’t, his rate has come down so precipitously that it is to a level now where there is no serious argument to be made about risk. (I’m sure you’ll respond that we don’t know this, but we pretty much know this).
And with the club surely having all along had enough money in the budget to cover Josh Johnson accepting a qualifying offer — or they at least should have accounted for that possibility, otherwise why acquire him at all? — the possibilities to me are stark: either they make a tangible upgrade at a reasonable cost and sign Santana or something is truly fucked. Especially given the potential reward and how badly the Jays need to scrape together every win of value they possibly can.
The potential injury stuff? The stuff about him maybe not being an upgrade? On a one-year deal following a three-win 2013 in which demonstrated there is legitimate reason to believe his awful 2012 was the real outlier? That’s garbage.
They’ve earned the right to keep on making the decisions based on their track record.
I don’t even know about that. Like I say, either they’ve badly misread Rogers’ pathologically ruthless pursuit of grotesque dipshit design-by-committee corporate self-parody, or they misrepresented last year’s possibilities to ownership so badly that they should have never been given approval to make the deals they did in the first place. I want very badly for their sake to believe that the front office is as angry over all this as we are, and that they’ve operated entirely in good faith; that Rogers is the villain here, having pulled the rug out from under them (maybe even after pushing the idea of moving up the club’s plans, netting themselves a nifty coronation during the grand, Ted Rogers statue-unveiling, Nadir Mohamed-exiting year of 2013), but that doesn’t exactly leave us any better off.
I also want very badly for this to all work out. There’s no reason that it possibly still couldn’t, even without Santana or Drew, but that’s entirely not the point. If the front office can’t insulate themselves against ownership’s myopic whims or can’t respond to changing market conditions, instead rigidly clinging to snapshot-in-time valuations and standing firm by quaint principles that stack disadvantages on top of obvious natural disadvantages, despite all the positive that they’ve done for this organization — and there is undeniably a lot — it is absolutely not unfair to ask the question: then what fucking good are they anyway?
The answer to that question is hardly clear, by the way. And I’m not trying to say we ought to tend to the more damning side. In fact I hate validating these darkest of negative thoughts, because of all the incoherent rage that inevitably comes along with them, but if not now, when??? At least as far as simply asking the question goes. I mean, this isn’t losing out on a $100-million dice roll on Yu Darvish, this is the kind of money that six months ago we genuinely thought there was a chance they might give Josh Johnson just for shits and giggles to see if he had anything left. The players are actively campaigning for the team to sign a free agent. Like… what the fuck is going on?!?!!? And if I’m being too premature in my exasperation and pessimism about it all… good! Maybe somewhere someone will actually fucking start listening while they can still do something about it. Might as well let it out now, loathsome a place as this cheap-jack organization has brought me to…
Amazing graphic via commenter KellyGrubersBastardSon.