Friday, August 8, 2008

Reasons for optimism....or not

If I'm being honest, I very nearly packed up the keyboard and threw it out the window (as opposed to simply putting it in the garbage, because that would be too easy) after reading the Tao's "Bandwagon" post. How do you follow that up? Answer - you don't. So I'll apologize in advance for the letdown. Jesus, Tao, throw me a friggin' bone here. You should know better than to post solid gold on a Thursday. Or on a Monday. Makes me look bad.

In a strange twist of fate, it did actually set up the post I had been thinking about......reasons for Jays fans to be optimistic about this season and next....or not. You decide.

Schedule = opportunity
One week from today, the Jays begin a stretch of fifteen games facing the three teams ahead of them in the division - 6 against Boston, 6 against the Yankees, and 3 against Tampa (fuck you, Joe Maddon). Wouldn't it be interesting to have a gander at the standings if the Jays can take, say, ten or twelve of fifteen? Admit it....a little exciting, no? Borderline delusional, yes....but still something to be optimistic about. Even the asshat bandwagon JaysTalk callers crowd has to be able to see that.

Bottom line - if you can't get up for that stretch of games, then turn in your fan card and apply for citizenship to Red Sox Nation. Or join the Rays Rebellion (that's a freebie, from me to you, Tampa fans). Or latch onto the Evil Empire. Whatever.

On the flip side, they could lose ten or twelve of those fifteen, and be buried before this month is out - leading to......

September recalls!
It sucks having to be excited about admitting your season is over, but hey, at least you get a chance to see the kids. Ricciardi has said he didn't expect to bring up a whole whack (I think those were his exact words - a whole whack) of players, but we could see the likes of Robinzon Diaz, Free Buck Coats, and Davis Romero for a cup of coffee.

And, are you ready for this? You sure? I have a sneaking suspicion we could have a Ricky Romero sighting in Toronto before the season is out. Sounds crazy, I know, but he's been promoted to AAA already, pitching reasonably well, and Ricciardi could be establishing make-or-break time with the former 6th overall pick. Just keep an eye on him, is all I'm saying.

Hey, did you know the Jays passed on Troy Tulowitzki to pick this kid? Someone should phone in on 'Wednesdays with JP' and ask about that.

2009 Payroll
Question: AJ Burnett, Frank Thomas, David Eckstein, Shannon Stewart, and Greggg Zaun?
Answer: Who are approximately $35,000,000 of payroll coming off the books at the conclusion of this season.

In my mind, I'm already spending Fast Teddy's money. Let's see.....$15 million for a front-line starter to replace AJ....$10 million for a mashing 1B/DH who actually owns a fielding glove and isn't 40+ years old with declining batspeed.....maybe $8 million for a legit everyday shortstop who can swing - with apologies to Johnny Mac, who's been out of his mind defensively lately and chipping in with the bat. So the money's gone and we haven't addressed the losses (bear with me here) of Zaun and Stewart. Shit! Now what?

The Farm - 2009
The Jays minor league system consistently ranks in the bottom third (or worse) of the league by guys who get paid to know these things - our guy Keith Law, BA's Jim Callis and John Manuel, etc. And who am I, some shmuck blogger, to argue with that knowledge? But for the holes in the roster at the major league level that need to be plugged, I think the Jays are in decent shape.

Zaun will be replaced by one of Diaz, Brian Jeroloman, or JP Arencibia. My money's on Jeroloman to be a twice-a-week guy next season behind Barajas. His bat might not be ready, but Jeroloman was never about the bat - his value lies in defensive abilities, handling a staff, and walks. Lots and lots of walks. Besides, 2009 will be a nice little transition year for when he assumes the same role in 2010 behind Arencibia.

Diaz seems the odd man out here. I don't know that anyone thinks his future is behind the plate, and offensively, he's Vladdy Guerrerro without the pop. Which is to say, he's a singles hitter who swings at everything. And Curtis Thigpen....we hardly knew ya.

Shannon Stewart will be replaced by.....wait a minute. Shannon Stewart is still on the team?

...and beyond
Travis Snider, Brett Cecil, and JP Arencibia. These are the blue-chippers, and sure, we could see them sometime in 2009, but I don't think it's fair to expect big contributions from them.

After all, we have to have something to look forward to in 2010, right asshat bandwagon JaysTalk callers?

25 comments:

Darren Priest said...

Ack, you fool, Tao showed you how it's done: vitriolic posts where you set up a straw man (In this case, bvandwagoneers) and rail against him like Billy Sunday on a fistfull of bennies.

All you've done is present facts and reasoned commentary. Pfeh.

The other night, Tabler said the Jays need to go on a "10 of 11" or "11 of 14" to be back in it. That may not actually work out, numbers-wise, but we got 4 down and 6 to go.

Scooch over, bandwagoneers, I'm getting back on! We can do that, ya know...and no one will ever know. Well, no one but Tao, but nobody listens to that raving lunatic.

Brendan said...

MIckey Tettleton didn't hurt me. The score for the Sox game had just been put up at the stadium(was it Camden then?), showing the Sox had won and the Jays were done, so Henke threw a meatball just to get it over with. It did suck, of course, but it wasn't really heartbreaking.

Brendan said...

And I totally commented on the wrong post. Oh well.
I also wanted to comment on you, Ack, You've been doing some good work over here. Keep it up.

The Ack said...

cheques are in the mail, dudes.

silvestre said...

Ack, you don't suck at this, that's for sure. Although there is no SS to be had in free agency, Orlando Cabrera is the cream of next year's crop and he is not good anymore. But he is a former Expo, so Griffin will love the move.

eyebleaf said...

ack, you're a rudey.

perhaps Toronto is A.J.'s happy place, you know, like in Happy Gilmore. perhaps he'll fool us all and say "fuck it, i'm staying, we've got unfinished business in Toronto"...i mean, it finally seems like he's putting it all together...

i'm not ready to say goodbye. i love AJ.

Michael said...

Good to see the Jays come back and rally twice rather than rolling over. Hopefully with Doc, AJ and a healthy Marcum they'll be able to make a run.

The team does a good job of beating up on teams in other divisions...let's hope they can take care of business against the East and really make up some ground.

Jer said...

I say keep AJ, and dump a shit tonne of money on the ManRam train. We put his bat in the middle of this line up (and wells back and hopefully healthy) we can afford Johhny Mac's non-bat in the 9 hole. A-hill back at the 2 bagger (inglett and scut as the Best Damn Reservists in Baseball) sounds like a winning team to me.
p.s. Going completely delusional here for a moment, fuck the 5 man rotation... Doc, AJ and Marcum go on short rest all season (comeon Doc says he throws better on short rest and you can't tell me throwing a GD change up tires marcum out too much) Mother Fucking PLAYOFFS!!!!

Torgen said...

I know JP asked Hill whether he'd prefer short or second, but if the team could just move him back to short they'd have some good options at second in Inglett and Campbell. Not sure if either of those two can make the move to short. Campbell has solved the Eastern league offensively, but he's being held back to work on defense because they don't have major league fundamentals in New Zealand. I agree with getting Manny, with Delgado as a backup option in case someone actually gives Manny the $25M he thinks he'll get, but more than a one year contract for either and Snider's blocked unless they move Rios or Wells, and both have no trade clauses.

Darren Priest said...

Glad to see I'm not the only delusional Manny fan out there. I can't help but think he wouldn't want to come to Toronto because it's another country and the taxes are high and there's no Spanish-speaking community, etc etc.

I'm not actually saying there's no Spanish speaking community (I don't know about that stuff) but I remember Shawn Green wanted out because we didn't have a big enough Jewish community.

The Ack said...

For the record, I think the best news the Blue Jays could get this offseason would be if AJ DIDN'T opt out. It's also a 99.96% (I'll leave room) certainty that won't happen.

I'm all for sweetening the remaining 2 years by, say $2M or $3M more per season, but if it takes tacking on an EXTRA 2 years at $15M per to convince him to stay - I'm solidly in the "fuck you very much" corner.

AJ's a pure power pitcher with a history of arm troubles, and he's already on the wrong side of 30 for a pitcher of that description. Throwing him an essentially new 4 year deal for $50M+ would be/is going to be a disaster for whoever does it.

As far as Manny....hell yes he would look good in Blue Jay blue...errr black and gray. But he's making lots of noise about how much he loves LA, wants to move his kids out there, wants to finish his career there, etc. Then again, this is Manny Ram here, so who knows.

Christ, I think I just hammered out another post in this comment...

Darren Priest said...

Ack and I agree on AJ! Maybe there is hope for peace in our time.

The Ack said...

by the by, let's not get too comfortable Priesty....

Torgen said...

Considering that the two option years were dropped in exchange for waiving the no trade rights, and Manny agreed to decline arbitration so that the Dodgers would get their draft picks, I'm pretty sure he's not coming back to the Dodgers after this season, and the Angels already have so many outfielders that they're rotating them through DH.

greenfrog said...

Don't forget about David Cooper. He's another blue-chipper who can mash, but is more of a 1B/DH type.

Jer said...

Whoa whoa whoa!!!! The angels ARE NOT IN LOS ANGELES!!!!! Don't get suckered in by the name they still represent the uber-suburbia of Anaheim no matter their moniker. ManRam is NOT staying in LA, it's a two team race between us and the yanks... and it'll probably come down to length + money... As far as blocking snider... he's 20!! If we sign manRam for even 3 years (I don't see him asking for more than 2) That means the pasty-white hope is 23 when he becomes our full time DH/LF... IF we don't move Lind to 1b in the meantime. Oh and a quickee on AJ... the biggest knock on trading him was teams were convinced he WASN'T going to opt out and didn't want to be on the hook for him.

Darren Priest said...

If AJ opts out, I wouldn't mind it at all. But if he picks up his option, I wouldn't mind it at all.

Darren Priest said...

If Manny became a Blue Jay, I wouldn't mind it at all.

Jer said...

Priest you strike me as someone who doesn't mind at all, you don't mind if I say that do you?? Not at all I guess

Torgen said...

How long is Johnny Damon on the books for the Yankees? Because he's basically a DH at this point, which could prevent them from adding another DH. Also, will new Yankee Stadium left field be as big as old Yankee Stadium left field?

Joanna said...

Re-up AJ and get Manny. Excellent baseball + damn fine flakey entertainment. What's not to like?

Darren Priest said...

I agree Joanna, I wouldn't mind that at all.

The Manute Bol Experience said...

The Yankees kind of seem set at outfield/DH already. Damon, Matsui, Abreu, Teixeira (yes, I'm putting him in pinstripes already), and they pretty much need Melky because he's the only one who can play anything close to a competent center. So I'm not sure they need Manny, but Hank Steinbrenner is fucking nuts, so who knows.

And Torgen, New Yankee Stadium will have the exact same dimensions as Current Yankee Stadium.

What do people think about Jason Giambi as a DH for next year? I wouldn't be totally opposed to it as a fallback plan...

Torgen said...

Doesn't old Yankee Stadium have some dimensions that would be illegal in a new stadium but that are grandfathered in for old stadiums?

sp said...

I'm usually pessimistic about anything Jays but I get the feeling Uncle Ted is gonna give us a huge payroll infusion for the next 2-4 years. Something like 130 million per season for that period. Keep in mind, I'm totally making that up and I'm not even sure if the current budget arc expires this year or not. But 130 per sounds like a doable budget for the richest motherfucker in Canada and with the team set up as it is, needing only a few more pieces, you'd think Rogers would ante up and go for it. Roy Halladay and that rotation, that bullpen, the defense...that combination doesn't come along that often. I say let's go all in. After all, we have a bunch of cheap talent coming up so we can afford to splurge now knowing that we'll have a lengthy period of time later on with cheap talent.

The extra money would give us room for Man-Ram (at about 18-20 million per for 3 years), a good #2 or #3 starter at 13-18 per (CC, Sheets, Harden, Lackey), an everyday SS at 8-10 per (Cabrera or Furcal) and maybe another bat for another 8-10 (Delgado, Giambi). Add that to this team, assume it's healthy and doesn't grossly under-perform for no apparent reason like this year, and you've got yourselves an instant contender.

Of course, if the big pitching signing is CC, Lackey, Sheets, Harden, etc, he would want a contract extending longer than the budget arc but it still might be worth it. If not, I'll settle for a Lowe or Moyer type. Point is, I say we go for it NOW.