Friday, February 27, 2009

Finally, some good news from the Beeston Era v2.0

It's fair to say that I had unrealistic expectations upon hearing the news that Paul Beeston was taking over as "interim" (more on that later...) President of the Jays. After all, Beeston was the guy at the top during the glory years of '92 and '93. Surely he'd be the guy to set the Jays back on course to greatness, yes?

Given those unrealistic expectations, it's safe to say that I've been completely underwhelmed to date - more my own fault than the Beest's, to be sure - but a $20M payroll cut (however you'd like to position it) didn't exactly do a whole lot for consumer confidence.

So this morning I'm skimming through the usual plethora of bullshit spring training stories, when I came across this fairly nondescript article. Nondescript, that is, except for this little nugget discussing the draft and player development:

The Blue Jays, under interim CEO Paul Beeston, intend to become even more aggressive in that regard by employing a new willingness to pay signing bonuses above Major League Baseball recommendations. That was a big no-no under old president Paul Godfrey and the shift in philosophy may help Ricciardi secure more high-end talent.

"That's definitely going to be an area we look at differently," said Ricciardi. "The gloves are off."


The Blue Jays going over slot in the draft?


I'd tell you that I'm speechless, but that wouldn't make for much of a post now, would it? Instead, I'll tell you that this is exactly the kind of strategy a team should be employing if they can't (or won't) compete on payroll at the major league level - or maybe more specifically, in the AL East.

I suppose we shouldn't get ahead of ourselves, because seeing is believing when your GM has a penchant for, how shall we say, half-truths. The draft goes the first week of June. You're on the clock, JP.

If you're not following Jeff Blair's exhibition game live blogging, you should be
.....and I'm here to tell you why. I've followed along for the last few games via the Globe site, and here are a few pearls of wisdom somewhat innocuously passed along by ol' Blairsy:
  • Reclamation project #2,426 Matt Bush possesses a nails slider, and the team thinks he can be a contributor given enough innings in the minors
  • While Cecil is the guy getting all the pub - everyone in management loves them some Brad Mills
  • Buck Martinez despises Blair - for calling him the worst manager he's ever covered (awesome)
  • Blair hints the Jays will move a relief arm before the season, and later subtly drops that the Jays like Tigers minor league SS Mike Hollimon. Hmm....Jason Frasor and Johnny Mac (I just have a bad vibe about Mac's place on the team) for Mike Hollimon?
  • Re: "more on that later" - per Blair (via Pat Gillick - presumably over cocktails, eh Blairsy?), there's nothing "interim" about Beeston's role as prez.....

On the downside, Blair indicates that he thinks the Jays could be the 2nd worst team in the AL, and in his estimation, Snider is probably only good for 15-18 HR this season.

Oh well, it can't be all shits and giggles. Besides, with the team's newly aggressive draft strategy, JP can put that 2010 top-5 pick to good use instead of focusing on my least favourite prospect characteristic - signability.

See how it all ties together?


dave said...

I see! I see! I'm also 9 beers down so I'll see if I see in the morning.

Good find, though, on the good news.

Wiffleballs said...

Mike Hollimon: Good bat, but the jury is out on defense.

johnny said...

He played some atrocious defense at SS in limited innings with the Tigers last year according to fangraphs and you've got to raise an eyebrow at all the positional changes across the IF. But yeah, it would be great to move the Frasor/McDonald contracts ASAP.

Dan The Man said...

Thanks for enlightening me on Beeston's brilliance...

I truly feel that the franchise is headed in this great direction that Toronto fans will never forget

Colin said...

I also noticed that above slot comment in a Sportsnet article (probably the same article with a different title), and it stood out to me too. I actually still like Frasor but I think we have enough cheap bullpen talent that he's expendable. I'd hate to see Johnny Mac go though, even in a bad year his defense is worth going to the park for, and a full year of him and Hill, if he can recover his early season defensive form of last year, would be a blast to watch.

The Southpaw said...

Never heard of the Holloman kid. He's still not close to the top 3 or 4 young options on my mind (Wood and Donald top shelf, Arias and Hu for fliers)

As for Blair's chats, I'm loving them but why does the G&M make them so damned hard to find. The only way I ever see them is when some blog links them and even when you link the Friday chat i can't find the Saturday one...

Clint said...

Sadly blair says the jays are still interested in Cabrera, going over slot is nice, but not having a first round pick negates that a little. Blair also says the Jays are trying to move overbay or rolen and would throw in League to 'sweeten' the pot. That sucks, also mentions they could make scott campbell available.