Bautista Plays Hardball

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the Vernon Wells trade and how it doesn’t allow the Jays to sign Jose Bautista to a multi-year deal as much as it allows them to wait before signing Jose Bautista to a multi-year deal.

In other words, the only reason to sign Bautista right now is to hedge your bets against him having a similar season this year and watching his value soar even higher.  By freeing up $86 million dollars, the Jays could potentially extend Bautista later in the season if, in the early going, he’s able to reassure everyone that his 2010 season wasn’t a flash in the pan.

Well, not so fast, says Jose Bautista.

I won’t be open to [negotiating] after the [arbitration] hearing. After the hearing, I believe we will notify the team that [a long-term deal] is not going to be a possibility, unless it’s in that window they have from the end of the season until the free agency period begins. My desire is to play in Toronto long term but, after the hearing, or during the season, I have come to the conclusion that it’s probably not the best thing for me to be negotiating any type of deal. I want to focus on the game and trying to win ball games. If I’m in that type of negotiation, it’s going to shift my focus from what I need to worry about and that’s baseball. I don’t want my mind to be elsewhere when I come to the ballpark to help my team win.

How very Pujols of you, Jose.  Translation:  I’ll be your player, but I ain’t gettin’ played.

MLB rules dictate that as soon as the World Series is over, clubs get a five day window for exclusive rights to their potential free agents before they go on the open market.  It’s unlikely that Bautista, if he manages to have a similar season wouldn’t want to at least test the waters of that market before signing a deal.

Bautista’s statement is essentially eliminating the middle ground for the Jays.  Toronto only has two options: 1) They can hedge their bets prior to Monday’s arbitration hearing, or 2) risk having to pay top dollar in the offseason.

Waiting it out isn’t as horrible as it sounds.  While it isn’t ideal, the $86 million that the team saved in the Wells trade, still offers them the freedom to wait and see, even if it’s for a little bit longer and potentially for more dollars or years than they may have anticipated.

Why is waiting more appealing than a cheaper contract right now?  Because Bautista’s future on this team not only depends on how he performs in 2011, but also on the performance of players currently in the Jays system.

While it’s certainly a problem you’d love to have, the timing of Bautista’s coming into prominence may be a bit frustrating for the Blue Jays.  Despite how many plate appearances John Buck made least season, Toronto is in the middle of a rebuild.  And so far they’ve been very successful in acquiring new players and developing the players already in their system.  This means that for the first time in years, there are fresh candidates for promotion.

Assuming that Brett Lawrie becomes the Jays every day third baseman in 2012, Bautista would be pushed to a corner outfield spot.  Given the strength of his arm and Travis Snider’s hold on left field, it can also be assumed that if Bautista does have a place on this team, it’s in right field.

The Blue Jays happen to have a 24 year old corner outfielder who has continued to impress at each level he’s played at since being drafted by Toronto in the seventh round of the 2008 draft.  Last season, Eric Thames in his first year at Double A put up the following numbers:

573 PA, 8.9 BB%, 24.4 K%, .370 OBP, .526 SLG, .238 ISO, .393 wOBA.

Despite a slight decrease in power numbers, which can easily be attributed to the fatigue of a 153 game season, Thames also went on to have a successful Arizona Fall League, getting on base 37% of the time and improving his BB:K ratio from his time in New Hampshire.

The numbers that Thames and Lawrie are able to put up this season could have just as much consequence on Jose Bautista’s future in the organization as what Bautista is able to do himself.

Comments (50)

  1. To quote Ken “Hawk” Harrelson from the White Sox broadcasts – “He Gone!”
    Do they trade him at the deadline or just get the picks for him? He’d likely be a Type A free agent.

  2. Tough talk is gonna get him traded out of TO. He should shutup and play, I’ll bet there is a regression back to the mean for him, but a 35 HR season will do just fine, if he can hit .270 and have a .370 obp. Besides what’s wrong with negotiating from Monday til spring opener?

  3. He should have no problem getting Type A, even if he hits 20 HRs this year.

  4. Jays pitchers and catchers report on Sunday. The thing is, nothing is going to change in terms of seeing anything new from Bautista between now and a few months into the season.

  5. I don’t think anything he says at this point is going to “get him traded”. The team obviously already made a determination about what they were going to do with him. It seems they decided the risks of signing a long term deal were too high. If he has a huge year and it turns out they could have gotten him at a discount, man is that going to be frustrating.

  6. Jose Bautista is possibly the only elite player that the Jays have and one of the few marketable ones left, too. I have a very tough time believing they are going to trade him at any point during the season.

  7. And really, if Bautista is confident in his abilities (and why wouldn’t he be?), this is exactly what he should be doing. He saw the Jayson Werth contract last year just like everybody else.

  8. The problem is, if you don’t trade him, how do you get value for him beyond a draft pick or two? If he starts off strong, and the Jays get a staggering offer for him, why wouldn’t they take it?

  9. I hope Bautista realizes that he’s not Pujols. A slip to prior production could mean losing several millions of dollars. I understand that he’s betting he’ll be healthy and productive and I applaud his confidence but this would be a major risk for him as well.
    AA spoke about risk for draft picks not signing and I have a feeling he’ll feel similarly about this. I don’t expect him to blink that’s for sure.

  10. Apparently it doesn’t mean losing anything. If the team hasn’t offered him a multi-year deal, what is he walking away from? I have no problem with him not wanting to negotiate a deal while he is focused on playing baseball. If you take that at face value, how has he risked anything?

  11. Think about how many teams will be bidding on Pujols next year. When all but one of them fail to land him, you’re looking at a lot of teams with a lot of money available and a strong desire to make an impact move. Another good season this year, and Bautista should have no problem getting Werth money next year. He’d be crazy not to try.

  12. Well..outside of staggering offers. Anybody can be acquired for a price. I just don’t see the Jays making a huge effort to trade Bautista, especially if he’s once again one of the best hitters in baseball.

  13. He’s negociating the right way. He’s got some cards to play as well. For his sake, I hope he doesn’t get off to a Frank Thomas start to the season or he will really have a lot of pressure on him. He may have a tough year if whoever hits behind him isn’t productive and with other teams aware of him. Add in his own expectations and that it is a huge contract year and playing 3b, if he goes down, he’s going down in flames.

  14. It all depends on where they are at the trade deadline. If they aren’t in contention, and some team that is comes looking for a big bat, who knows? It would be irresponsible of them not to try and get some value out of him, if they believe he’s not going to resign long term.

  15. He is sooo gone, i think jays wait it out until the season starts before they trade him. More teams might be interested as the season goes on… let the rumors begin

  16. great post! everyone seems to talk about bautista in a vacuum. it really depends on a number of factors around the jays’ situation. even if you assume he is for real, he is still an aging slugger.

  17. Let’s hope AA doesn’t Jose Cruz this (not a typical JP basher, but not dealing Cruz for anything was one of the bigger blemishes on his resume in my eyes), if he’s hitting at the deadline you’ve gotta deal him. It’d be a nice little test for Anthopolous if the team is playing typical Blue Jay ball in July (not quite in the race, but not very far out of it) and he has to trade the defending HR champ or risk losing him for draft picks.

  18. Exactly. I personally wish they would sign him long-term, but if it’s not going to happen, then I really hope they get some value out of him. He could be a very valuable trade commodity if he starts the year off strong.

  19. I have no problem with what Jose is saying, but I do think if they do not reach a deal by Monday he will be gone by the trade deadline. I wonder what the guy is worth after 1 monster year? 4 year / 40 million? I really don’t think you want to lock him up for longer than that…

  20. Why does everyone assume that if Bautista becomes a free agent that there’s no way he will be a Toronto Blue Jay in 2012? The Blue Jays have pretty well just as much money to spend as anyone next winter (I’m not sure where their budget is but I’m assuming they’re a mile under it.) If he wants to play in Toronto, which it appears he does as long as this hearing doesn’t harm relationships too much, then Toronto has as much chance to get him as a free agent as anyone.

  21. I love Jose Bautista, but c’mon Fullmer Fan: elite player? Elite player for exactly one year, at the age of 29. Prior to this year, his career high in OPS+ was 99 and his career high in HR was 16. Please let’s not make it out like the sky is gonna come crashing down on the roof of the Rogers Centre if they fail to sign this guy long term. The consequences of that are far less than they could’ve been had the Drabek + Snider + two more prospects for Greinke rumours proven to be true. I’d be all in favour of a three year deal for 2011-2013, but I doubt that’s possible now, so shoot for a deadline deal or at worst 2 picks if he continues his offensive onslaught or a 2012-2014 deal if he falls off, but not too much, or let him go if 2010 appears to have been smoke and mirrors in light of a steep dropoff in 2011. For God’s sake though, no Werthian deals under any circumstances. That would be idiotic.

  22. If Bautista is on a 30-ish HR pace at the break with a solid OBP, I don’t think it’s at all unreasonable to expect him to be looking for a deal in excess of $75M in free agency. Hell I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s closer to 100, what with his versatility and how shallow the FA pool is. Obviously the Jays should have 0 interest in signing him to that kind of deal, which is why a deadline deal really is the best case scenario at this point.

  23. I imagine that AA will take a page from the Red Sox dealings and not be sentimental with players (Garciaparra, Pedro, etc). As a fan it would be nice to keep Jose around but the risk with him long-term might be too great and he could be looking for a huge payday if he has another big season. Batista will be 31 at the end of the 2011 and allocating a lot of $ to him does not make sense. He will be looking for a contact that is probably 5 years in length to set him up for life – and who can blame him? Batista is a bonus for the Jays who was hardly in their short-term, let alone long-term plans. If the Jays can turn around for a player with long-term value it is the correct move to take.

    As for trying to sign him as a free agent – forget it. The worst thing the Jays could possibly do is outbid other club’s stupidity. I see this as sort of a Delgado->Wells->Batista scenario. After letting Carlos go for nothing (who was taking up a huge % of payroll), only two years later did the Jays dish out an even bigger contract. Obviously Batista won’t likely command a Wells type deal but this is an opportunity to not repeat mistakes of the past.

  24. There is a possibility that many here are ignoring…

    What if Bautista absolutely MASHES, and eclipses his 2010? Something like a .280/.380/.600/.980 line, with 60 HR and 100+ BB?

    Then he will command a Werth/Wells contract, and the Jays will get nothing but two draft picks.

    Alex needs to lock him up now, for a reasonable rate, to ensure he does not walk. Something like 2 years at $25MM plus club options for 2013 ($15MM) and 2014 ($20MM).

  25. Free agency is inefficient, yes, but it is also a necessity. The fact of the matter is you are not going to be able to sign all your star players to team friendly extensions, and at some point, you are going to have to either A) outbid other teams in free agency, or B)outbid what you think other teams will pay in a contract extension.

    I don’t want money spent for the sake of spending money, but I want this team to make an attempt if a player that fits into their system becomes available. You can’t run away from over 100M contracts simply because they are too much money. Sometimes, that is what it takes.

    Suffice to say, if this team is still winning 75 games and has a 65M payroll in 2013, I will not be happy.

  26. No, you can’t run away from over $100 million contracts for free agents, but you can run away from them for players of Jose’s calibre. Nine figures makes sense for A-listers like Pujols, Crawford, and Lee, but Jose is not one of those guys and never will be. Someone may decide to pay him that, but that doesn’t make him an A-lister. People forget that Morris, Winfield, Stewart, and Molitor were not A-listers in the sense that none of them got over 3 years guaranteed, in fact Molitor was the only one in that quartet that got 3 years guaranteed, while other free agents in those two classes were getting deals up to six years in length. I have no problem with $20+ million AAV free agent contracts if the player has that kind of on field value. Where I draw the line is when they start to get beyond say 4 guaranteed years. I’d rather see somebody else making that mistake and tying their team in knots (knots that have much more to do with not being able to promote from within than any financial restraints, which should not be an issue given that Rogers is the richest owner in the game) going forward.

    Interesting that you use 75 wins The Other Scott, considering the Jays have won 75 or fewer games 3 times in the last 15 years. I hear what your saying though. I believe that the payroll level will rise even if they only re-sign guys like Morrow, Cecil, Drabek, Snider etc etc to long term team friendly contracts. I also believe there will be some free agents in the 2012-2013 offseason or earlier if AA feels confident that the foundation is in place. I want to win too, but I don’t equate having a certain payroll number with winning. It’s more about how well the team is run and right now, it’s being run very well. There are just too many examples of high payroll teams consistently sucking and low payroll teams winning for payroll to be considered a direct correlation with winning. It absolutely helps, but running a team well helps a lot more.

  27. Joey Bats your agent is clearly a giant d-bag who also has a stupid name. Yes,you, Bean Stringfellow – I am picturing a skinny poindexter with a british accent. Secondly, Joey Bats don’t ever for a second take your position in baseball for granted – what AA giveth, AA can taketh away. You were a nobody before you came to Toronto and if you start slow next season you will be a nobody again. Third – I agree that if Joey Bats gets hot, he is getting shipped out of Toronto. Fourth, it makes me sick we are having this discussion BECAUSE I HONESTLY AM A BIG FAN OF BAUTISTA but he needs to know when to hold ‘em, and know when to fold ‘em. He let his agent yap it up in the press a month ago about no long term contract and now he is acting like a Primadonna saying he won’t negotiate during the season when last year we signed Ricky Romero mid-season, but Bautista is too good or something? PFFF GET A GRIP JOEY BATS YOU ARE BREAKING OUR HEARTS.

  28. I don’t see Bautista being traded unless he becomes less valuable to the team. We’ve already been told that Boston tried very hard to get Jose, but the Jays wouldn’t bite. All Jose’s statement says is that he wants any negotiations to be done before or after the season so he isn’t distracted by it like Halladay apparently was when JPR made things awkward.

  29. I should have used 80-85 wins, because if you are down in the 75 win range, you are probably too far away for one or two impact free agents to help you get to the playoffs anyways.

    As for Bautista, whether he is an A-Lister depends entirely on this year. If he plays exactly the same, I estimate his numbers will regress to about .270/.390/.585 with maybe 35-40 home runs. That kind of production two years in a row makes you a 100M contract player. If the Blue Jays win 85 games again, all it will take for them to become a playoff team keeping the exact same team is sophomore improvements from Drabek and Arencibia, plus possible rookie production from Stewart, Gose and Lawrie.

    I’d say that is the scenario they need to do whatever they can to keep Bautista. If they win significantly less that that, there’s no point signing anyone to a big contract, and if Bautista is significantly worse, then it’s a non-issue as to rather he needs to stay or not.

  30. Tom, if you read a bit more carefully, you’ll notice I didn’t call Bautista an elite player. I said he possibly was one (we’ll find out this year for sure).

    And yes, the Jays should do everything they possibly can to keep elite players in the fold.

  31. Rogers can certainly afford anybody, so money shouldn’t be an issue next offseason. And why wouldn’t the Jays sign a player of Bautista’s caliber if he comes off another great year? Outside of the pipedream that is Pujols, who else would you rather have in that 2012 pool?

  32. Prince Fielder is an option in 2012, though how his free agency plays out could be interesting, considering concerns about his body type, etc., that could eclipse his offensive capabilities. However, even if Pujols is still a Cardinal, as has been mentioned, there will be teams that miss out on Fielder and will still be interested in a big bat and have big money to get it… Enter Bautista. If the Jays want him going forward, now is the time to lock him up; if not, I imagine he’s gone at the deadline, or simply falls off a cliff and this whole discussion is moot.

  33. AA has stated in the past that he wants all contract negotiations to take place behind closed doors. He will not be pleased to hear that J-Bau has gone public with news that he hasn’t been offered a multiyear offer as yet. Now that it is public news, J-Bau is good as gone at the end of the season, if he’s not traded at the deadline.

  34. What about a 3 year deal for Joey Bats with an AAV that gets into the enticing range like 3 years/$45 mil? That way he gets a taste of relatively big money and he’s free to go after even more after his age 32 season. Win for the Jays, win for Jose. Say 12/15/18. It’s an overpay for sure at this point, given that he’s only produced the type of numbers that are worth that once, but he realistically still has another shot at a big payday and the Blue Jays can thank him for his services after his age 32 season when theoretically (it doesn’t always hold up) he should be heading for his decline years. I see Jose as kind of a transitional player for this team, somebody to be a veteran leader while all the kids are coming up, but not necessarily someone who will be around when the Jays go for broke. That contract may be a bit simplistic though, given AA’s previous contract masterpieces full of options and clauses. Let’s see if he can weave another one over the weekend. ;)

  35. Yes The Other Scott, 80 to 85 wins is the definition of being stuck in baseball purgatory. Possibly not bad enough to have a protected 1st round draft pick, and probably not good enough to shoot for the stars. It would be like being perpetually stuck in the Ash/Ricciardi years. That’s not something any of us want to see, but from what I’ve seen so far (granted it is early) AA is kind of a different cat compared with those other two. From this outsider’s point of view, he seems to have a plan with a ton of contingencies built into it (in order of preference), to get him where he wants to go. He seems to be able to juggle potential transactions very well. It will be interesting to see where this team is at by the 2012-2013 offseason, or the 3 year anniversary of his hiring, which IMHO was about the earliest we could’ve realistically expected to see his bottom up building plan coming to fruition and him being ready to fill in any gaps there are from the top down using the huge financial advantage that he has (theoretically: the proof will most definitely be in the pudding) in Rogers both via trade and free agency. He’s made huge progress so far. Let’s see what he can do in the next 18-20 months.

  36. Sorry Fullmer Fan, I read that as Bautista’s the only elite player on the Jays, though there might possibly be more, while you might’ve meant (correct me if I’m wrong) that it’s possible that Bautista’s an elite player, while the same can’t be said of any of his current teammates. My bad.

  37. That is just Jo-Bau putting on his poker face. He has bounced around long enough to understand the consequence of not taking the money that is on the table. Every baseball player could be a nagging injury away from exiting the game altogether.

    Look for an extension to be announced in the first half of the 2011 season

    AA is right when he says the Jays will always be there (as a franchise) but the money on the table may not. Other than the Angels, which other teams have money to spend in the next off season? (Not so much to spend after getting Wells) If Jo-Bau is looking for a Werth-like payday, I say he will be disappointed.

  38. I think if you are running the Jays as at baseball team, and not as a public opinion poll, you tell JB to fuck off right now. (The Jays will be here for seasons to come – as AA said) I love the guy, but that is bad business to engage in this shit. He has proven nothing … he’s only been given the opportunity to prove something, which most players are never given, and don’t deserve. If he has something he can prove, he can do it on my team.

    Let him know that. Take him to arbitration, and call it a day.

    Now, JB. HIT! Do it now. Do it fast. In front of all the cameras. Hit me a home run. Do it on the next pitch, you dumb-ass.

    And if he actually does it, trade him for the best price. He doesn’t fit here, and the fans haven’t bought him yet anyway. They didn’t care about Alex Gonzalez either. If JB has a decent season, but one that is below what was expected, let him walk for the draft picks. Good lottery ticket … glad I bought it. No pressure on me … all of it was on the player, and it paid off.

    Why is this so hard to understand?

  39. one of the few things that sucked about losing rios was his arm. then jose comes along… and now jose is in the news for the wrong reasons…. dude you have an agent who gets paid for negotiating your contract; let him/her do their job.

  40. It wouldn’t make sense to to sign Bautista to a long term deal with the direction the Jays are going. He is a aging slugger and I really don’t think he’s going to hit another 54 home
    runs maybe 30-35 which is still good, or would you rather have a stacked young talented team who you could use on the team for years to come and for future trades. I hope to see a team like the Twins and Rays in the next couple years where your always in the hunt for a playoff spot.

  41. I think the deal the Jays signed JoBau to is influencing his tactics. Don’t forget, the Jays didn’t allow him to get his 2nd year arbitration raise. They offered him the same amount he made in 2009 ($2.4MM) and he took it. If he had gone to arbitration in the 2010 off-season, he’d have made ~$4MM. I’m sure he remembers that, and all the times other teams gave him the run-around.

    I have a feeling he is saying “fuck you, pay me now, or lose me if (WHEN) I mash again.” I’d say he is willing to risk losing out on the Jays’ offer (I would bet no more than $30-35MM), and is hedging his bets on a $100MM pay day.

  42. This guy is for real, and all of you who expect a regression next year, were you watching what I was? J-Bau has room for improvement. I think he’s coming out with this because
    he’s truly figured it out. Yes there is the risk of injury but, if you KNOW you can repeat your production…go for the crazy cash and set up your family for a long,long time.

  43. “And if he actually does it, trade him for the best price. He doesn’t fit here, and the fans haven’t bought him yet anyway. They didn’t care about Alex Gonzalez either. If JB has a decent season, but one that is below what was expected, let him walk for the draft picks. Good lottery ticket … glad I bought it. No pressure on me … all of it was on the player, and it paid off.”
    If Jose Bautista hits this season, he won’t be Alex Gonzalez. He’ll be one of the better hitters in baseball. Not sure why the Jays should be in a hurry to trade or let go of a player like that.

    They’ve already gotten rid of all of their other great players over the last few years for one reason or another (Halladay, Rios, Rolen, Marcum), so it’s not like they don’t have the money to pay him.

  44. Eric Thames? Really? I doubt the Jays are looking at Thames as an option for RF in 2012 or beyond. Thames has a nice bat but defensively, he’s not suited to play anywhere but LF or 1B. If the Jays commit to a 4 year deal with the Jays, he’ll likely end up being our DH, provided of course, that he continues to mash. Otherwise, Bautista becomes a really expensive super-utility player.

    If things go to plan, our outfield in 2013 and beyond will look like: LF – Thames; CF – Davis, Mastro, Marisnick or some scrap heap FA while awaiting Gose; RF – Snider (with Sierra knocking on the door).

    We assume that Lawrie is at 3B and Lind is at 1B .

    The only position that makes sense, long-term, for Bautista is DH (or 3B if Lawrie can’t hold his own at 3B). I think AA wanted to evaluate two things this season before deciding on Bautista. Firstly, is Jose going to continue to hit in 2011? (most scouts and analysts think so. The Red Sox seemed to think so also). And secondly, how is Lawrie going to handle the chores at 3B? (I am not convinced he can pull if off, which means that Lawrie may end up playing LF or RF). Obviously, if Lawrie doesn’t hold his own at 3B, then Bautista’s value increases as his glove is adequate at 3B.

    For me, it looks like AA has to make a bet on a 21 year old prospect learning a new position in AAA before making his mind on Bautista. Thus, I’m not confident that we’ll get a long-term deal before Monday.

  45. @Fullmer Fan: Tough to say where the Jays are on that. They may see him as a vital piece to keep around or they may see him as someone who could accelerate the building process even faster by bringing in more young stud position players through trade. This may allow AA to feel satisfied that the system is built up enough from the bottom up, that he can start making some top down (if you will) moves in the 2011-2012 offseason (or the 2nd anniversary of his hiring), which would probably be a year before even the greatest optimist among us could’ve expected would happen. I’ll admit I was expecting a 3 to 5 year process. 2 years would be just fine with me, and if he thinks it’ll take trading J-Bau during his age 30 season to do that, he’ll pull the trigger. I’m OK either way. I won’t take it as a signal that the sky is falling should he be traded, and I certainly won’t think it has anything to do with Rogers, but rather with AA’s vision of where he feels the team needs to go to get better.

  46. I think a couple of us are overvaluing the Blue Jays prospects a little bit. If Jose commits to a long term deal with the Jays (4-5 years being longterm), he’ll be the Left Fielder for pretty much the entirety of that deal, and at that point he’ll be 35 and still able to make quite a bit of money with another team. Eric Thames is not projected to be an everyday starter on a contending team, neither is Mastrioanni or Sierra. The jury’s even still out on Gose because he has to learn to hit still. Jose is not going to be worse than any of these players and is going to be an improvement on all of them every year within the next five (assuming he’s not a fluke, which is still a pretty big assumption).

    That was a long roundabout way of saying Jose is needed on this team, he’s not expendable, because there’s a big dropoff between him and Eric Thames.

  47. Scott, I think some people are overvaluing the idea of prospects to begin with.

    If Bautista proves himself to be an elite offensive player, the Jays should keep him, not trade him for a bunch of guys that have a low percentage of becoming Bautista five years down the road. They’re not the Tampa Bay Rays.

  48. Tom, there is no need for it to be a 3-5 year process. The Jays have one of the best (and cheapest) rotations in baseball, several young, good position players, and a boatload of money to spend. In fact, they probably could have made a run at contention this year if they felt like it.

  49. @FF: I was talking about if you had asked me on the day AA was hired and after I’d had a chance to see which direction he was heading in, I would’ve said it would take 3-5 years for him to build things up to where he seemed to want to get them. Keep in mind that on the day they hired him, Romero was coming off a good rookie year where he sputtered down the back stretch going 6-6 with a 5.54 ERA in his final 16 starts, with an alarming .312 Opponent BA, and an even worse .403 Opponent OBP. Cecil was coming off his rookie season, which was anything but stellar with a 7-4 record and a 5.30 ERA and a .308/.377/.517 opponent batting line. Marcum hadn’t pitched since September 16, 2008 and I certainly wouldn’t have bet on him not allowing a hit or a walk for 6.1 IP in his first start back in 2010. Morrow wasn’t even on the team yet. Halladay was Halladay, but he wanted out. There wasn’t much to hang your hat on for the 2010 rotation, was there?

    I’d be fine with a 3 year deal for Jose at this point, but he’s got to show more than one good (even if it was great) season to warrant more than that. Let him be a bridge to the next wave of players. I really don’t think they’re one or two players away from legit contention at this point and I’d be careful about basing conclusions off a season where a helluva lot more went right than wrong. Lord knows we’ve all seen plenty of seasons around here where the exact opposite is true.

  50. Fullmer Fan: Prospects are very important. I’d say the major failure of the Ricciardi era was the fact that overall, the Blue Jays scouting sucked. His actual trades and signings worked out pretty well, except BJ Ryan.

    Fangraphs has a projection for 5M per win on the free agent market. Which means if you wanted to buy a 90 win team, you’d have to spend 250M dollars to get it. If you want to be a 95 win team with a 90M-100M dollar payroll, and say 75M is wrapped up in free agents, that means you need 30 wins from players making a combined 15-25M dollars. (Using a team of replacements as getting 40 wins.)

    The difference is you have to sort out the good prospects from the marginal ones. People tend to think everybody on the Jays top ten list of prospects is going to be an impact major league player. That simply isn’t the case. Right now, the list of impact major league Jays prospects look like this: Drabek, Lawrie, Stewart, Arencibia, d’Arnaud, hopefully Gose. There’s a bunch of younger players that have potential to be on this list such as McGuire and Woj. For anyone else, there’s a chance they’ll be a good major league player, but it’s not a good one.

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