Friday, February 6, 2009

Requiem for a Russ

And so it comes to pass.

It's probably been three or four years coming, but Russ Adams and the Blue Jays finally parted ways yesterday to make way for marginal bullpen arm T.J. Beam.

(With the departure of A.J., and J.P. Arencibia still a year away, the Jays needed to shore up their strategic supply of initials.)

Adams was J.P. Ricciardi's first pick as Jays GM, and their fates seem destined to be forever intertwined. The selection is still held up as emblematic of all that is wrong with the embattled GM's tenure with the team, and we're reasonably sure that Adams' name will continue to be dropped into to post game JaysTalk rants up to and immediately following J.P.'s almost inevitable dismissal.

We've heard for years about how the Jays passed on Scott Kazmir and Matt Cain and Cole Hammels in order to pick Adams. Realistically, none of those players (all high school pitchers) were going to sign with the Jays, especially if the team adhered to the recommended slot bonusses.

(We're assuming that there were slot recommendations in 2002, but someone feel free to call BS on us if we're wrong on that.)

In his only full season with the Jays, Adams played a somewhat underwhelming 139 games in 2005, posting eight homers, 63 RsBI, 11 steals and a .707 OPS. In retrospect, it's funny to look at those numbers and comapre them to Marco Scutaro's 2008 (7 HRs, 60 RsBI, 8 SBs and a .697 OPS). Isn't it funny how some of the same pundits in the Toronto sports media who hold up Adams as a sign that everything is amiss in Blue Jayland were hailing Scutaro as the team's MVP last season?

A quick glance at the position players picked behind Adams in that draft shows that there weren't a ton of great bats to be had. Nick Swisher, James Loney, Jeff Francoeur came later in the first round, Joey Votto came a the start of the second, and Brian McCann went deep in the third, but most of those players would have had (say it with us) signability issues.

We'll confess to being a bit sad to hear of Adams' departure. It kinda makes us feel as though time's slipped away on us.

Roto-Hoedown Update
Thanks to everyone who wrote in to beg, plead and grovel their way into the 2009 Roto-Hoedown. We're down to a single spot left, and we unfortunately can't expand on the 15-team format.

If you are still interested in playing in the big boys' roto league, then it's not too late to email us (taoofstieb at gmail dot com) and knock our stirrups off. We're going to hold off on filling that last spot until later in the weekend, when someone who really deserves the spot steps up and claims it.

(We probably have enough people to set up a second league as well, so there's always that.)

For those of you who emailed yesterday and haven't heard back from us, we'd recommend writing back and laying it on a little thicker with the grovelling. A hint: we like when people use full sentences with correct spelling. It appeals to our sensibilities. As do pictures of your sisters or signifcant others in bikinis.


Lloyd the Barber said...

I too will muss Riss. So much so that I wrote a similar post that went up 9 minutes after yours. I didn't think about the Scutaro thing, thankfully. I need to sleep at night.

eyebleaf said...

Wow, that shit about Adams and Scoot is completely fucked up. Wow.

Good luck, Russel. And Godspeed.

Chris said...

It's all about expectations...

When your utility-infielder-turned-starter-because-Eckstein-sucks hits like that then it's a nice bonus. But when your 1st-round pick-shortstop-of-the-future puts up those numbers, it's a little different.

And let's not forget Adams' defense. Actually, strike that. Do everything you can to forget his defense.

/does a tequila shot
//smokes a bowl
///shoots heroin
////Still remembers all those missed throws. Crap!

Johnny G said...

I would of applied, but I am in 2 and possibly 3 leagues already that are quite in depth with minor leaguers, contracts and cap issues.

However, That being said I am now officially offering up my services as a cheerleader to someone in the league. Highest bidder gets it. Bids can be made in Jays Tickets, Jays Bobbleheads and Rogers Cable Credit.

Thank you.

The Ack said...

I hope Aaron Hill doesn't suffer from post traumatic stress disorder as a result of this.


I fully expect to fail miserably in the Tao's roto hoe-down. I've never done a 5X5 league, the annual league I'm in is a points based head to head.

PS. pre-emptive excuses fucking rule.

Sven said...

Just how bad was Adams at short? I didn't see him play that year, but can he still play middle infield in the majors? If he can't play there, then his value is pretty small.

However, there's no way that he'd be tolerated as a Scrappy Super Sub as a #1 pick. They are almost always "where did this guy come from"?

Tao of Stieb said...

Not to scare you Ack, but it is a 6x6 league.

Boogedy boogedy!

The Ack said...

FYI, I just shat in my pants. Too much information?

Tao of Stieb said...


Adams was playing a lot of left field last year in Syracuse, and was still pretty much hitting like a scrappy utility player.


We just poured a bottle of Wild Turkey on a 2005 Jays program with Adams on the cover, and turned up Boys II Men's "It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday".

Then, we went to throw the bottom in the recycling, but launched it three feet high and wide. Fitting.

We're sure that many more tributes will pour in over the weekend.

jw said...

If you choose to believe Moneyball, Russ was a consensus top pick. The Mets only took Kaz because Russ was off the board, and the A's had him pegged as the second they would take after Swisher. JP would have been better served grabbing Swisher instead but Adams would only have dropped a couple slots if that was the case.

Tao of Stieb said...

Throw the bottle in the recycling.


I miss Adams that much already.

Sven said...

Thanks Tao, I'm a bit surprised that JP wasn't able to trade Rusty for someone else's failed #1 pick, the whole "he just needs a fresh start and then he'll start hitting" line that always gets used.

I really hope Swisher doesn't turn into Paul O'Neil II, that would really suck, cause I hated Paul O'Neil.

Darren Priest said...

I wish I could find that article that listed the Jays position players in 5 years and how it was going to be amazing. Russ Adams was definitely at short. The rest are pretty much intact (Hill, Lind, Snider, Rios -- I forget the rest.)

Thanks for letting me into your pool, Tao. You either like me more than I thought (probably not) or you are overstating the demand -- which I applaud!

Torgen said...

jw: You took the words right out of my mouth. Not only was Adams Beane's second pick among position players, he was the second pick even if money was no object--ahead of Khalil Greene.

Anonymous said...

JP did amazing in the 2002 draft, he got Bullington and Loewen!

Callum said...

The difference between Russ and Marco lies in their fielding. Russ was well below league average in 2005 while Scutaro was above or well above average in 2008. Add in the fact that Scoots played 6 positions last season and you can see his added ~value~ and how they are not close to being the same player.

Tao of Stieb said...

Well mash my taters.

Let's give Scoots the MVP post facto.

Scutaro is a good fielder...but then again, Adams didn't really start to get the yips until after 2005.

So there.

Anonymous said...

Scoot ain't that bad, better than Adams. Maybe Inglett can come on board as SS after Scoot and JOhnny Mac fly the coop.....

Anonymous said...

1) The Jays made a decision three years ago that Adams' bat was good enough that they should give up on his SS defence and convert him to 2B. In hindsight, the truth is his bat is only good enough at SS and they should have left him in AAA for the past three years working on his arm. His SS defence, from my recollection, was only horrible due to his throwing accuracy, the rest of the package was average-ish. And it seemed to be a head (confidence) issue too. Leaving him at SS in the minors, may have helped the situation considerably. Again - in hindsight.

2) From BA's 2006 handbook, here is our projected 2009 starting lineup:

C - Curtis Thigpen (DFA)
1b - Lyle Overbay
2b - Orlando Hudson
3b - Aaron Hill
ss - Russ Adams (DFA)
lf - Adam Lind
cf - Vernon Wells
rf - Alex Rios
dh - Shea Hillenbrand

s1 - Doc
s2 - AJ
s3 - Dustin McGowan
s4 - Gus Chacin (DFA)
s5 - Ricky Romero
cl - BJ Ryan

Dave_K said...

I don't think most folks held Adams' bat against him as much as the fact that he seemed to think 1B was either 5' higher and/or 15' further away from where it actually was...