Another week, another Griff Bag? Aka Richard Griffin’s latest mail bag from over at the Toronto Star? Well, yes and no. Actually I’ve fallen behind on my… er… bags, so this is the one I should have posted last week. As for the one that Griff posted on Friday… we’ll figure that out sooner or later.
If there’s a question you’d like me to answer, unless it’s about fucking Ricky Romero and J.P. Arencibia, submit it to Griffin here, and maybe he’ll select it for a future mail bag. Fingers crossed!
With the trade deadline approaching, what would the trade value of Colby Rasmus be at this point? Reason I ask this is that he is a free agent at the end of the season and he might not net a single asset if he walks. If the Jays are not going to sign him why not net some assets? In saying that if they haven’t extended Melky Cabrera at this stage, who is the table setter and is a key piece in the top four of the lineup, wouldn’t you want to have your key pieces signed through your competitive years?
If the Jays are in a salary flux and can’t keep your key pieces why would they let them walk without maximizing their return?
Scott Cochrane, Niagara on the Lake
If he’s one of their “key pieces” in their “competitive years,” uh… in what fucking universe should they be trading him? He hasn’t played particularly well this season, but it’s not like they don’t need him. And it’s not like they should expect him to be as poor as he’s been so far from here out, either. In which case, he may still put himself into a position where he’ll net the club an asset if he ends up leaving.
That’s always going to be dicey, because lately you certainly get the sense that the Jays would be careful making him a qualifying offer if they were afraid he was going to take it and add $15-million to their 2015 payroll — and with the way he’s played this year he’s certainly a candidate to end up in QO limbo, if he somehow pulls it out of the fire enough to be given an offer — but the alternative is what? Trade him for peanuts at a low ebb of his value just to say you got something for him, and not even give him the chance to give your team a massive boost in the second half if he plays anywhere close to his potential?
If this was a go-nowhere year, sure, maybe that’s a reasonable angle — though I’d still think hard about holding on and hoping to squeeze a high pick next year out of the situation (or trying to bring him back on a discount if he declines the QO and finds the market soft) — but in a year where they’re expecting to be in the thick of it in late September and hopefully beyond? It’s crazy.
You keep Rasmus, without question.
I’ve got maybe a thought or two on the Jays this year.
First off, I’m a diehard fan. I have been since I was in kindergarten. Tom & Jerry used to be my lullabies and in almost every picture of me from my childhood I have some iteration of a Jays hat on.
I do have to say, as disappointing as the last eight or so weeks have been, I don’t remember the last time so many people cared about baseball in Toronto. Not even in the fun year of 2006 with all the splashy signings of A.J. Burnett, B.J. Ryan and the acquisitions of Lyle Overbay and Troy Glaus were the Jays this popular. It’s been a hell of a ride so far and I hope it continues.
Despite the recent woes, I think it’s been very interesting to see how well the starters have been doing. By all accounts, if you had said that at the beginning of the year that Dickey would be below .500, Buerhle would lose five in row, Morrow would hit the 60 day DL AND the Jays would STILL be within striking distance at the All-Star break not a soul would have believed you. I give credit where credit is due and Hutch, Stroman and (much more shockingly) Happ have been nothing less than spectacular in keeping the Jays afloat. Good on them. I’m glad all the talk of needing a frontline starter has gone by the wayside. I will say that the bandwagoners (wagoneers?) need to give it a rest. They are the ones that are here today and gone tomorrow. I’m done with all the fantasy type trades (Sanchez, Stroman and Anthopolous’ left arm for Price/Samardjza/Cy freaking Young). Why would they in their right minds decimate the only good thing coming in the not too distant future to sell some extra tickets now? What guarantee do they have that that would even work? Come on bandwagoners, you’ll have to do better than that.
What this teams needs is to get healthy and get back to basics. Play some small ball, hit a few long bombs and throw some strikes. Play the game day to day and forget about the last at bat or the last pitch. Just go out there and do what it is you do, which is how you earned your place in the league in the first place. This is a talented team that is not believing in itself right now. When they are on, oh boy are they on. They’re not all that far off right now, either. A few hits here and there and we’re talking about a 4-6 or 5-5 road trip instead of the skid they’re on.
I’ll be keeping faith in this team until the bitter end, whether or not I’ve got rose-tinted glasses on.
I’m having fun. Should have given you a soapbox warning first.
Love the work Griff. Keep it coming!
My Ref Nut
Does this years Jays season bring back memories of the 1989 Expos? Aug. 2 the Expos were cruising at 19 games over .500 with a 63-44 record. Mark Langston for Randy Johnson was looking like a brilliant trade at the time. Then they imploded and went on to lose 11 of 14 games and eventually ended the season with an even record of 81-81. As a fan, 1989 has to remain one of the most frustrating seasons in Expos history. This season with the Jays is giving me that feeling of deja-vu.
How insufferably negative of you, Todd. They might as well just give up now, I guess, eh?
While trying to find the all-star game on my MLB app last night on my iPod, I instead stumbled upon a cache of classic games, and ended up watching Game 6 of the ‘93 world series instead.
Despite being 21 years ago, it was riveting. Despite knowing exactly what was going to happen most of the way (how could I have forgotten about Lenny Dykstra’s monster homer off Stewart in the 7th?) I was nervous with anticipation as the 9th began.
One thing struck me. These 93 Jays were so much more focused and intense than our current band of chest pumping, complicated-high-fiving underachievers. Granted, game 6 of the world series isn’t exactly the same as game three of a 10-day road swing through California and the North-West, but one got the impression, after watching the way Devon White seemed to celebrate with his entire being after every ball he took, or the way he sprinted to first on a walk, or the way way Joe Carter stared THROUGH the left field fence, or the way Olerud looked downright angry as he rounded second for a stand-up double, that this was the way they played ALL YEAR.
They were only about winning. Not about haircuts or sculpted goatees or ten minute homerun celebrations. You want a home run celebration? Watch Carter rounding the bags, jumping for joy, pumping the air with his fists.
I think the 2014 Jays could learn a lot from watching that game, over and over and over again.
Paul Lessard, Montreal
Holy shit, what a giant steaming load.
The mind sees what it wants to see sometimes — often with hilarious results — and apparently, Paul, you see a bunch of young kids trampling all over your precious fucking lawn. Save those blades, Paul. When they go, you go. Change be damned. Maybe go watch some of last year’s WBC before it’s too late and you’re in a fucking box.
With Alfonso Soriano now on the free agent market and the Jays in need of a RH bat that can hit Lefties, why wouldn’t the Jays take a flier on him? He has a Hispanic background, which would fit nicely into the locker room, he can play multiple positions, LF, RF, 3B, which would fit the mold of what Gibbons likes lineup flexibility. I know that he has been having a down year and his body might not like the beating it will take on the field turf, and he could be signed for the league minimum (the Jays wouldn’t need to pass around a hat), if he is willing to make the move north, why wouldn’t AA take a chance on him? He could do no worse then the other waiver wire claims he has made throughout the season.
Scott Cochrane, Niagara on the Lake
Wouldn’t have been the worst idea to see what they had, I guess, and so this question maybe made more sense when you submitted it (though, to be fair, Soriano has been awful this year, wouldn’t necessarily have been amenable to playing on the turf, wouldn’t necessarily have been amenable to another potential DFA down the line, and hasn’t exactly been snapped up by anyone else just yet), but with guys getting closer to health, I really think it’s mostly that they have better options.
I’ll take both Tolleson and Reimold over him at this point, I think. And certainly Valencia, too. Yeah, I know he was pretty terrific last year, and I wouldn’t be opposed to trying to catch some lightning in a bottle here, but it’s a pretty small thing, and — again — he needs to be willing, too.
Long time reader but first time writer. I have a statement followed by a question. It always amazes me that even though the Jays sit 4 games out of the division lead and 2.5 games out of a wild card spot at the All-Star break, many fans seem to have one foot over the edge of the cliff yet again. Since the “glory days” of the early 90’s, a bona fide pennant race – even this early in the season – has been scarce. Oftentimes the team has been much farther out of it by now. The Jays are still in the race, and have an excellent chance of playing meaningful late-season baseball.
Baseball, more so than any other team sport, requires that the long view be taken of the season. It’s where you end up after 162 games, and the inevitable peaks and valleys are just part of the journey. People should stop for a moment and enjoy the ride.
Having said that, I wanted to find out your views on the likelihood that John Gibbons and/or Alex Anthopoulos return if the season ends in disappointment (not necessarily not making the playoffs…but if the team continues to fall further back). I remain a fan of Anthopolous. He has made many shrewd moves over the years and I believe that the roster he has put together (when healthy) is a strong one. I am slightly more lukewarm on Gibbons but acknowledge the uncertainty regarding exactly how much impact a manager has on wins/losses. How much rope do you believe Rogers has given them? It seems unlikely that AA would be allowed to hire a third manager. Hiring Gibbons was a ballsy move that no one expected and it felt as though AA was putting all of his chips in the middle of the table on this one. What do you think? Love the column!
Matthew, St. John’s, NL
I hope they’d still be around if this thing gets down to the very end before it goes tits up, or something like that, but if there’s a huge flameout before that maybe the equation changes. The common belief among those closer to the club than I am is that as long as Paul Beeston is there, Anthopoulos is safe. However, I’ve heard at least one whisper, completely unverifiable as it may have been, that Beeston is on his way out. So… there could be big changes. If Rogers truly wants to take payroll down to nothing and rebuild — and I wouldn’t put it past them — they’ll need a new GM do it with. The club’s play on the field over the next two months may or may not provide them with the opportunity. We shall see!
I don’t get the stuff about Gibbers, though. I could see AA getting the axe before he does. What exactly has he done wrong?
I write to you a frustrated Blue Jays fan. Even though we have one biased Sports Channel (And biased writers and radio talent) owned by the Blue Jays it absolutely surprises me that Rogers isn’t going through a similar backlash that the Teacher’s Pension Plan went through when they owned MLSE. I don’t see a difference. It is clear as day that AA doesn’t have a dime to spend ( Or the guts to make a move) and all that commitment that we Jays fans showed this year and last year through attendance, apparel and TV numbers is taken for granted. The Jays were in first place for the first time this late in the season in 20 years. Through injury and a string of losses we see additions of Nolan Reimold (Already on the DL) Brett Wallace (Dropped by the worst team in the league last year Houston Astros) and watch a team with one of the smallest payrolls in Baseball add TWO above grade pitchers.
I for one am tired of this farce. The Jays and ownership in this city have taken us for granted and now we are looking at another lost season where we had the opportunity to win the division with as little as 87 wins winning the east.
My question to you is this. Am I wrong here? Why isn’t there a backlash from the fans and finally… Please tell me this collapse will cost AA his job. He fears making a trade for proven talent as much as he fears his own shadow, 2012 was two years ago, he hasn’t make a significant move since! I don’t care if we win in Vancouver, Lansing, New Hampshire, Dunedin or wherever we store our young talent, I want to win in Toronto!
Marc Oliver, Frustrated Loyal Jays fan, Toronto
That you would suggest it’s possible that Anthopoulos doesn’t have the guts to make a move shows just how completely fucking unserious you are in your criticism. That you haven’t the foggiest fucking clue how to contextualize the minor additions he makes on the waiver wire shows it even more deeply. So does the fact that you say it’s “clear as day that AA doesn’t have a dime to spend,” when the reality is that while it sure feels like that’s the case, we simply don’t know.
The only farce here is your attitude, and the bizarre idea that Rogers gets a free pass in this town.
I like the MLB All Star Game, unlike hockey and football it still has a pretty competitive edge. It brought back memories of my first (and only) visit in 1985 to the old Metrodome. A pretty good AL side got taken to the cleaners by some really good pitching (Goose Gossage for one). I also had the pleasure of meeting a less than pleased Bobby Cox who was one of the coaches..
I also enjoy the HR Derby despite it’s detractors, and to be fair it doesn’t make rivetting television. But watching it live was great fun. It gives the fans a chance to get to get close to the players in a relaxed atmosphere. How do you rate it on entertainment value?
On a separate note what can be done to fix the replay fiasco (apart from scrapping it altogether)? It’s been a disaster for breaking up the game. Perhaps restricting reviews to home runs and home plate outs and restricting managers to just one or two challenges.
Frank Taker, Prescott
I’m not a big All-Star Game guy these days (partly because as a media type it’s the one big chance to take a breather mid-season — y’know, unless it’s a World Cup year, in which case I mostly fuck around for a month), and certainly not the home run derby. But I loved it as a kid, and I get that kids and casual fans are who the event is mostly geared to anyway. It’s pretty cool to have all those stars in one place — though certainly not as cool as before interleague play began.
Shit, think of the 1991 All-Star Game that was here in Toronto (which, like a number of readers, I’m sure, I was at). The NL had eight future Hall Of Famers on the roster, most of whom we’d never have been able to see live — Gwynn, Sandberg, Dawson, Ozzie Smith, Glavine, Larkin, Biggio, and Eddie Murray. Sure, Murray played with the O’s all those years, but how fucking cool is that?
The AL, by the way, had nine future HOFers in that game — Henderson, Boggs, Ripken, Griffey, Alomar, Molitor, Fisk, Puckett and Eckersley, plus Jack Morris, Mark McGwire and Roger Clemens. And Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams were in the park and honoured on the 50th anniversary of their legendary 1941 seasons! And there were honorary captains Hank Aaron for the NL and Rod Carew for the AL, and managers Tony La Russa and Lou Piniella. Like… holy fuck! (FYI, you can watch some of the opening of the CBS telecast on YouTube: here, here, and here).
So yeah, I get it.
As for replay, I think it’s gotten better as the season has progressed. Maybe? But yeah, I’m not sure what to make of it all, to be honest, or where to go from here.