Archive for the ‘The Long View’ Category

St. Louis Cardinals v Chicago Cubs

The All-Star break is finally upon us, and when the Jays resume play against the Rays at Rogers Centre on Friday– with Esmil Rogers, mind-bendingly their best starter, on the hill– they’ll be looking to improve on a 45-49 record that currently has them all but out of the playoff conversation. Remaining in the season are just 68 games, over which the Jays would need to go 46-22 to wind up with 91 wins– two shy of the 93 that it took to earn both American League Wild Card berths last season, but a nearly comfortable-ish amount more than the 89-90 wins the league’s fifth-best club picked up in the few years previous.

To do so would require the club playing .676 baseball for the next two-and-a-half months– which is exactly the level they played at through their best, can’t get any better than this six weeks of the first half, going 25-12 starting on May 10th and culminating in the eleventh win of their streak back on June 23rd.

The Rays, who were behind the Jays in the standings when the streak was in full effect, now sit at 55-41– a living reminder that things can change fast. On the other hand, though, Tampa could play .500 ball over their remaining 66 games and still get to 88 wins– just a win behind the pace Baltimore is currently on, and still ahead of the Yankees and Cleveland at their paces. The Jays, to reach 88, would need to go 43-25. In other words, they’d have to play .632 from here out– a better clip than anyone in baseball has so far– and they’d still almost certainly wind up falling just short.

Any reason to think they’re capable of doing that, as constituted, or even with help via the trade market, is pretty far fetched.

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lineupBarves

After much scuttlebutt and popular sentiment that may have suggested the contrary, John Lott of the National Post tweeted out this nicely framed (sorry, Shi) shot of the Jays’ lineup card for tonight’s game against Barves, showing that Brett Lawrie is indeed in the lineup again for the Jays.

It’s mildly surprising, of course, given that Lawrie could have easily been told to sit following last night’s death stare at Adam Lind and Luis Rivera at third base, after his fly out to shallow right field.

Richard Griffin said today in the Toronto Star that “It may be the most disgraceful exhibition of me-first mentality I can recall in 40 years around the major-league game,” figuring that “it will be a long time before Jays’ young star will ever convince anyone about his desire to contribute on the field ‘for the team’.”

I dunno… maybe?

There’s obviously no defending Lawrie– he’s either being either hopelessly dumb or hopelessly selfish– but it seemed to me like it was handled pretty well (read: awesomely) in the dugout immediately afterward.

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If you’re a regular reader, you’re probably well aware that the term “long read” is sort of a misnomer here on DJF mountain, but I suspect that you know what I mean when I use it. Occasionally we dive just a little bit deeper into a topic than usual, and sometimes, frankly, it seems as though our efforts disappear a little too quickly into the ether.

I get that. It’s a product of the medium we work in, which otherwise has many, many advantages and great aspects– one of which is the fact that I can do things like collecting up all of the most interesting, re-readable ones (or, at least, the ones that either best stoked my narcissism or impressed me from my colleagues), and posting them after an apporpriate time has passed. Say a year, or maybe a year and almost-two-and-a-half-weeks or something. *COUGH*

And, lo and behold, here are a bunch of them for the year that just passed (um, almost-two-and-a-half-weeks back). The year in DJF Longreads for 2012…

 

The Off-Season Turns The Corner - 1/26
Making sense of the off-season as it became truly apparent that the Jays, once again, wouldn’t be big spenders on the free agent market.

Fans have been discouraged by this off-season, often failing to grasp how little fruit we’ve yet seen borne by Anthopoulos’s labours, while the Geoff Bakers of the world asininely scoff from their high horses about bloggers defending their clubs’ decisions to stay the course. But while Baker may be right about Rogers’ crass, cynical cheapness on the whole, given the reality Alex Anthopoulos is forced to operate in, the best course of action he could have taken– for the sake of his own job, and by extension the franchise– is this. The Jays may not be contenders in 2012, but fans should take an immense amount of comfort in the fact that they’ll continue to load up in their preparation for unleashing hell on the American League in the following seasons.

 

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In lieu of a Game Threat…

 

You know what an insufferable and lonely feeling it is to be the the single sober person in a sea of screaming drunks? That’s precisely what it felt like for me reading through the comments on last night’s Game Threat, as frustrations continue to boil over among fans who seem to have let their absurd expectations crash down around them into the already ample pile of wreckage of the 2012 Jays season.

Of course, it needs to be noted that I’m absolutely not alone among the grown-ups who can survey what’s happened to this year’s Jays with some measure of perspective, but it sure as shit doesn’t feel that way sometimes– especially when so many comments get impossibly, incoherently negative, and do so all at once about the present, about the past, and about the future.

Surely it’s entirely in-bounds to take a critical eye to the moves Alex Anthopoulos has made that have brought us to this point, and indeed there have been a number of poor decisions along the way– not to mention transactions that haven’t brought results to match the enthusiasm they were greeted with– but it absolutely kills me to see things go so hard the other way, as in Richard Griffin’s ludicrous suggestion today in the Toronto Star that the Orioles and their filling of holes via the scrap heap and sprinkling them with pixie dust is some kind of non-horrendous model to be followed. Or the insistence of a commenter last night that the only good thing Alex Anthopoulos has ever done is get rid of Vernon Wells.

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Radical-ish!*

I mentioned in Tuesday’s Afternoon Snack that, back on Friday, Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star had given us five things the Jays ought to do in August, and amazingly, by the end of the weekend the club had pretty much already nailed his whole list of suggestions– save for the one we couldn’t possibly know about: quietly beginning the process of courting the Buffalo Bisons as the club’s new Triple-A franchise.

Well, I thought, if the club is seemingly so damn eager for suggestions, why the hell not throw a few more ideas at the wall and see if they stick? And why not make them a touch more severe than the stuff Griff floated?

So, in that spirit, here are Five Radical-ish Things the Jays Ought to Do With What’s Left of 2012…

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So… quite the season so far, huh?

We’re heading deep into the dog days of August, and though the Jays are mathematically still hanging around the playoff conversation, and it continues to feel like a betrayal to suggest that it’s impossible they’ll close the gap and make it interesting in September, the frustration among the fan base is growing thick as a slice of Pat Tabler’s insufferable analysis.

Negative things have compounded, become distorted in scale, and have even sucked into the pile what may in other years have been perfectly reasonable cases of the club employing good process to bad effect.

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Taking the Long View…

As of the conclusion of last night’s game against the Royals, the Jays have now played 81 times in 2012, exactly half of the season’s schedule. For now the club still clings to a winning record, and might seem poised for a potential second-half surge were it not for the fact that the rotation is in absolute shambles. The trade market has yet to develop, but even if it were to materialize this instant, the Jays’ front office may not see the value in giving up vital futures in an attempt to put a band-aid over the hamburger that is their pitching staff. There appears to be little to do but to wait and hope that their makeshift starters bridge the gap between now and when Brandon Morrow’s health, or the trade market, can provide them with some help, or that it at least becomes clear by July 31st that they must be sellers, at which point they can begin acquiring assets and looking ahead in earnest to next season.

In my view– which should come as no surprise if you’re a regular reader– there’s not a whole lot of value to be mined by worrying too intensely about the upcoming weeks, which will nominally “make or break” the season, but not exactly in the grand sense that the phrase should be reserved for. One way or the other, we’ll soon know for sure what kind of season 2012 will be remembered as, but what’s important isn’t so much where the Jays are at and where they’re going in this particular year, but where they stand in the context of their entire development arc.

The samples of data from this season have grown enough, I believe, that we can start to adjust our beliefs about the long-term future of certain players on this club, and in this organization, in accordance with what we’ve seen this year. So let’s take a position-by-position look at where the club is at, and which areas of need should be focused on as we begin looking past whatever we think is going to happen with the rest of this year.

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