I understand that Bob Elliot has been doing his job for a long time and that he has been very important to the development of baseball on a National level here in Canada, but given that he writes for the often reactionary drivel-machine known as the Toronto Sun, it shouldn’t be surprising that he often writes some cringe-worthy material. Yesterday, Mr. Elliot decided to say…something, although I’m not to this point entirely sure what that is.
In an article headlined, “No trade boost for Jays” Elliot starts out by quoting an unrevealed player:
“When a team gets help at the deadline it’s a sign to the rest of the team, management is saying ‘OK, let’s go, we’re serious about winning. Time for you guys to get serious too.’
“I’ve seen teams where the new guy didn’t do a whole lot, but the team took off as soon as the new guy arrived. It’s like a bolt of energy.”
He then explains that this particular quotation did not come from inside the Blue Jays clubhouse before briefly detailing the two deadline deals Alex Anthopoulos and his staff did make which sent outfielders Travis Snider and Eric Thames away for relievers Brad Lincoln and Steve Delabar. He suggests that the acquisition of two relievers was not the “bolt of energy” needed to elevate the Jays to contender status and that Jays management has somehow failed miserably for not acquiring a starting pitcher of some reputation.
This season hasn’t turned out as well as hoped for many Blue Jays fans; the addition of the second wildcard and the seeming regression of the Red Sox and Rays back to the pack, allowed many of us to think, ‘hey, maybe there is a chance here.’ But realistically, it seems to me the Jays have been exactly what most sane people thought they would be this year—granted, that’s actually impressive considering the unconscionable amount of injuries the team has dealt with. The Jays need starting pitching. They needed it at the beginning of the year and they need it even more now, but can we really get on management for not bringing someone in?
The market for starting pitchers at the deadline was centered on Cole Hamels and Zack Greinke. Once Hamels signed his extension with Philadelphia, Greinke was the only elite arm available. Considering that the Jays were behind most of the American League in the race for the second wild card, it would have been presumptuously erroneous for them to give up valuable prospects for a two-month rental for a shot at a coin-flip game.
Anthopoulos did exactly what he should have done, especially considering his long-term plan of turning the Jays into perennial contenders. He went after pitchers with team control beyond this season such as Matt Garza. Of course, he can hardly be blamed for not securing Garza before the deadline considering his current health status and what the Cubs were likely asking for. If he wasn’t going to get an injured Garza for 80 cents on the dollar, why wouldn’t he just wait until the offseason to improve the team’s starting pitching? Realistically, he and everyone else knows, it probably wasn’t going to happen this year given just how many teams stand in Toronto’s way.
But what bothers me most about Elliot’s article is the way he ends it. He reveals that the initial quotation was from the late Woodie Fryman of the 1979 Montreal Expos. Clearly, Elliot has brought this up to suggest one of two things. The 1979 Expos were a team on the rise—they made their only playoff appearance the following season. Elliot could be mentioning this quote as a way to compare the ’79 Expos to the current Blue Jays—a team that’s an acquisition or two from World Series contention. Of course, the Jays aren’t really there yet. As well as the offense is set up for the next couple seasons, the pitching and overall talent depth just aren’t there yet. The hoards of high-ceiling prospects in the Jays system are still a year or more away—as are the Jays chances of true contention. Acquiring a player to help them win this season and giving up valuable assets to do so would have been extremely foolish.
The other insinuation that Elliot could be (and I would suggest, most likely is) making here is that there are parallels between the Expos and Blue Jays as a franchise. Without being inside his head, it seems to me that he’s suggesting if the Jays don’t make trades to win now, they may end up like the Expos—plying their wares in another city.
Damn. I guess the Blue Jays not acquiring Zack Greinke or Ryan Dempster right now and for the next two months means the Blue Jays are going to pack up and move to Washington DC in 25 years.
The butterfly effect, my friends—it’s a dangerous thing.
And besides, the Jays just signed DH Jack Cust to a minor-league deal. There’s your “boost.”
And the rest:
Mike Baxter did something last night that hasn’t been done in nine years [Matthew Pouliot, NBC Hardball Talk].
Ted Lilly could be done for the year—I bet their wishing they’d tried harder to acquire Dempster now [J.P. Hoornstra, Los Angeles Daily News].
Carlos Ruiz will be out 4-6 weeks with plantar fasciitis [John Finger, CSNPhilly.com]. I guess the Phillies are now Cot for Choice, AMIRIGHT??
A few players who could end up finding themselves on the move in August [Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe].
Home Runs are back! [Dave Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom FanGraphs].
Remember when Albert Pujols was done? Turns out, that may have been premature [Christina Kahrl, ESPN SweetSpot].
Why Stephen Strasburg should not be shut down early [Beth Ann Clyde & Eli Marger, ESPN Stats & Info].