The nice thing about unplugging yourself and getting away for a breather is that it allows you a certain amount of time to reflect and reassess. With the benefit of some time to quietly reflect, you can strip away some of the axiomatic thinking that creeps in and takes over when you are locked into the day to day grind of it all.
We highly recommend it. In fact, we'd especially recommend it to those in the comments sections of this blog and others who have started to freak out at the seeming disparity between the Jays signings and those of other teams, notably the Yankees. Because it's patently ridiculous the way that some are even trying to make some sort of point by comparing the Sabathia-Burnett-Teixeira signings with the Jays' scouring of the fringes to sign a handful of minor league free agents.
"They get C.C.! We get Mike Maroth! Fire J.P.! Fourth place! Gargggrggrghrghr!"
The Yankees, you have to remember, are in full restocking mode. They've lost a number of aging players with big contracts, so they can make all of these signings and maybe more, and still be under last season's payroll number. That's what they are doing now, and they are setting the market for the rest of the league, because they always have. There shouldn't be any cause for alarm.
The Jays' are on minor-league and marginal signings at this point, likely because are waiting (like everyone else) for some more movement in the free agent market amongst the more austere teams. There are lots of big names still on the board, and our guess is that some of them will be left scrambling for dance partners by the time February rolls around.
Besides, the Mike Barrett signing is a greatish one, both for the Jays and for the player. He gets the chance to get out of PetCo Park, and the Jays get a guy who was a Silver Slugger winner as recently as 2005. The signing also provides insurance in the event that Rod Barajas turns into a tubby pumpkin again.
We could definitely see Barrett taking playing time away from Barajas, especially if the latter backslides as he did in the final six weeks of last year.
That's a wrap on 2008
As 2009 lingers alluringly on the horizon, we look forward to turning over the calendar page and taking on another year. Have a great New Year's celebration, and we'll see you on the other side.