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?