Another week, another Griff Bag — aka Richard Griffin’s latest mail bag from over at the Toronto Star — and… I… uh… here it is? Whatever, you know the drill!
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!
This might come as a little bit of a surprise from me, as I have a penchant, need to suggest making trades, but this year I totally feel that the opposite should happen with the Jays.
I really do hope that AA doesn’t make a rash decision and trade away their prospects in the hope of making the playoffs, the last time the Jays truly made runs at the east title it took eight-plus seasons of competitive baseball, the Jays this time around are in Year 2 of their “window”.
If any trades should be made they should be from their current major league roster, much like the 1990 trade of McGriff and Fernandez for RBI man Carter and a little known second base prospect Alomar. The reason I feel this way is that the current group of Jays has enough talent to compete but not the make up to truly take the next step in becoming a perennial contender.
I hope that AA doesn’t make the decision to trade the likes of Stroman, Sanchez, Nolin, etc, just to keep the window open for another season or two. If AA keeps those assets that the rest of the league covet the Jays can stay on top the east for more then a 3-year window.
Do you think that the Jays should make a trade not unlike the 1990 one?
Scott Cochrane, Niagara on the Lake
I hear this kind of talk a lot, but no matter how many times I do, it never actually manages to make any sense. Keeping prospects makes a whole lot of sense in the abstract, but not so much when you actually think about what sort of shape the club is in going forward, and how much — and when — the prospects you’re talking about are going to be able to help them.
I’m not advocating trading everybody, but yes, the Blue Jays should be seizing the opportunity that’s in front of them in 2014 by making trades that help them in the near term. Absolutely.
In addition to having a core of top players already well on the wrong side of 30, the 2015 Jays will either lose potential free agents Colby Rasmus, Melky Cabrera, Casey Janssen, and Brandon Morrow, or will need to use a lot more of their budget than they currently do in order to keep them. Add in a hefty raise to Jose Reyes — his back-loaded deal goes from $16-million to $22-million — and you’re going to have a tough time not downgrading in at least a couple spots, in addition to some natural decline you’d expect from the aging Reyes-Bautista-Encarnacion-Dickey-Buehrle core.
I’d talk here about making a 1990-style trade, but there just really isn’t a comparison. There is no John Olerud waiting in the wings to make an expensive piece like Fred McGriff expendable here. Even if there were, to do a massive deal like that on the fly, in-season, would be extremly tough, if not impossible.
So it’s not difficult to see pretty clearly what they are and where they’re going. And while I’m not saying they’re doomed beyond this year, contrary to whatever it is you’re drinking, the picture really isn’t getting any rosier than it is now — it doesn’t help that the Red Sox already have an outstanding group of prospects in or near the majors, and that the Yankees are the Yankees, with a not-insignificant amount coming off their books — and Aaron Sanchez, Dan Norris, Dalton Pompey, and the guys they have in the lower minors simply aren’t likely to be big enough MLB contributors during the time that the core of this team is under contract and still at their peak to change that. There isn’t a next generation of Blue Jays ready to step fully formed into the lineup over the next couple of years, and while part of that is exactly because Alex Anthopoulos has dealt a number of prospects, it doesn’t mean he needs to be deathly afraid of doing so again, if that’s what the situation warrants.
Again, it doesn’t mean they ought to trade anything and everything, but it would be an awfully bitter pill to swallow if the Jays didn’t do quite enough at this trade deadline because instead they wanted to keep prospects who ultimately most likely will not pan out anyway, and even if they do, won’t be significant contributors until the Jays are a far more ordinary team than the one that now boasts a pair of the top ten hitters in baseball, one of the best bats against RHP, and two dynamic table-setters at the top of the lineup.
I do know how important prospects are, but I don’t think fans making suggestions like this quite appreciate how good what the team has now is — nor do they seem to appreciate how difficult it will be to get back here in the future, no matter how they play it. The idea that by dealing more prospects the Jays would be blowing up the pipeline that will supply them with the MLB-ready talent they need in the next year or so, in other words, is a total fallacy. The fact that the guys they do have won’t likely be contributors so soon doesn’t necessarily mean they have no value to the club, but weighed against what the pieces the club acquires can bring to this year’s run, to next year’s, and to the budget-driving revenue that will be gained by a genuine pennant race and maybe even some playoff gate money? All that, to me, would seem to serve 2015 and 2016 better than do dreams of a couple of big talents producing enough big league value as they’re just getting their feet wet and helping this team when it’s in a much less advantageous position than it is now– especially if the Jays make the right choices on the ones they deal away.
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