Thursday, November 5, 2009

The bad news sure can pile up

We've been otherwise engaged in earning a living for the past week, and so here we are, trying to sift through the piles of disconcerting and discouraging news from the past week. Frankly we don't even know where to begin, or whether if we've already whinged electronically about half this stuff.

Twice this week, a professional colleague tried to engage us in a conversation about the Jays, and we pretty much just shut down emotionally and stared off into space, sigh and repeated banalities to keep ourselves together. ("Yeeeeeeep...yep...yep. Somethin' else, eh?. Yep. Not too good. Nope.")

So where to start? How with about the Cito Thing? (That's what we've taken to calling it, even though it's not totally about Cito and it's not just one thing.)

For brief moments, we had these notions that the move to Alex Anthopoulos and his initial moves augured well for a newish direction for the franchise. It's not that they needed to strip everything down or blow everything up, but they needed to make some adjustments to the balance of pro versus amateur scouting and they needed bring in some new voices.

At this point, we're all good.

And we're even vaguely optimistic about the three-year appointment of Paul Beeston, and feeling vaguely regretful about the tenor and tone of some of the bad things we've said about him recently.

And then, the Rogers Baseball Operations, led by The Merry Idiot Beeston, decide to delay any attempt to change the on-field leadership, and put off any decision about managerial succession off until next year. Which is smart, and sends out a TREMENDOUS message to the players on the team and the players who they may be trying to recruit to come to Toronto.

"Look prospective Blue Jay! We are a shit show! A team which is governed by nostalgia! A team which is about to spend a full season indulging a manager who has ostracized his players as a bunch of pussies! Who doesn't cotton to those who don't respect the decision-making of his protruding gut! A man who could give a fuck about losing his clubhouse! And by the way: Fuck those crybaby players! Now, can I offer you a dollar more than the other teams trying to sign you?"

Ask a sailor, and they'll tell you: Some days, the wind is with you and sometimes it's against you, but the worst thing that you can do is to allow yourself to drift.

Oh, we know that some of you are clever cats who wanna say "What does next year even matter anyway, because all the good free agents are coming out in 2011." Well, wouldn't it be ready to right the ship now and bring in someone new who could potentially make Toronto an attractive place to play?

By taking action, and empowering their new GM, the Blue Jays could (and should) be making a decision now about how they want the field level leadership of this team to relate to and govern the players who step between the lines and make the magic happen. Instead, they've decided to sit back, take it as it comes and let tomorrow take care of tomorrow. Which sounds like the decision-making process of a retiree. Too bad Beeston's retirement is on hold for the next three years.

P.S. - Thanks to the Ack for picking up the slack. (You see what WE did there?)


eyebleaf said...

You know what makes me optimistic? The fact the Jays are kicking off the off-season by taking a look at John Halama.


Tao of Stieb said...

Seriously, I thought that was a joke.

Oh, bother.

Tony said...

Well, you know, Halama could be one of those low-risk high-reward guys that end up making GMs look like geniuses.

But... he probably won't be.

Ian H. said...

If there was a button I could press to fast forward time by one year, I would do it right now.

eyebleaf said...

Funny you say that Ian. We ran with that whole shtick last season. FUCK!!!1

As for Halama, two words: Victor Zambrano. Two more: Tomo Ohka. Two more: John Thomson. One more: Fuck.

The Ack said...

Well, that was certainly the clear & concise post I had promised the readership was forthcoming.

(along with depressingly true as fuck (grammar!), of course)

It's ridiculous that we all have a sense of dread heading into the year on day 1 of the offseason. Ridiculous, because it's likely justified.

(ps - lay off Halama - someone needs to take Doc's rotation spot. To quote Bill Simmons, "I will now go and light myself on fire.")

I need something stronger than "FML".

Darren Priest said...

I was reading somewhere (maybe on Truth and Rumours) that Gillick wanted Cito gone back in the good ol' days. Supposedly, Beeston saved his ass and Gillick left over it. The writer was surmising what the last 15 years might have been like if that had gone differently.

Now, that was depressing shit!

The Ack said...

Incidentally, at least this cracked me the fuck up:

Twice this week, a professional colleague tried to engage us in a conversation about the Jays, and we pretty much just shut down emotionally and stared off into space, sigh and repeated banalities to keep ourselves together. ("Yeeeeeeep...yep...yep. Somethin' else, eh?. Yep. Not too good. Nope.")

It's funny 'cause it's true.

Peter D said...

There is no upside with Halama, this is a pitcher that hasn't been in the majors since 2006.

As for righting the ship, I'm not convinced that it matters who the manager is this year. It will be the activities of the GM that make the biggest impact. I see the following as the most important off season moves that could right this ship:

1. Trade Roy Halladay for players readay to make an impact by 2011.

2. Do not sign any free agents prior to March.

3. In March/April sign as many quality free agents to one year deals as you possibly can. These free agents much be seen a players that will have value come the trade deadline, as well as be willing to sign for a below market 1 year deals that give the team flexibility.

4. Try to improve your talent level, don't be afraid to deal a guy like Rickey Romero for a player you believe has a bigger upside going forward. I.E. Romero for Matt Gamel.

5. Deal for potential non-tender candidates like Hermidia, Shoppach and Hardy, if you don't have to give up much to get them. This players could either break out and be worth keeping long term, or be in demand come the trade deadline and bring valueable talent in return.

6. Do not sign John Halama

7. Deal any other players who are of value now, but do not project to be with the team post 2010, this could include players like Scott Downs, Jason Frasor, Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista, etc. If you can get talent for these players that will help this team post 2010, do the deal.

8. Offer Scutaro arbitration and let him walk. Getting draft picks for him is a much better option than bringing him back at a salary above his worth.

9. Let MacDonald and Barajas walk, these guys are not worth what you would have to pay them. Cheaper players of equivalent talent are out there. Overpaying for low to mid level talent is a mortal sin for teams with limited budgets.

10. Take a chance on some players recovering from injury, if their salary demands are reasonable.

I'll stop at 10.

haim said...

baseball season is over with the yanks great season & crushing WS victory..
P.S. is that Dave Stieb, really (cool)..

woefully Irrelevant white Guy said...

Peter D, I was laughing with Tao's brilliant post, it's so funny. BUt I'm laughing at your post. get the difference. If they seell off Doc, they are not doing shit! They might sign garbage liek Halama instead of all of the Blue Jay fan boy wish lists. No one is coming here if Cito is still fucking manager. He's a dolt. They promised people contention in 2010?? what ahppened? They are not rebuilding THEy are going to be run like a for profit business now! They don't give a shit unless they make a profit. They are not gonna contend under beeston or aa, not in this division when you are the 4th best team.

Peter D said...

White guy, so your solution is to let Roy Halladay walk for draft picks after 2010.

This team will not compete in 2010, but has a core group of young players that with the right moves, could be part of a competitive team in 2011 and beyond. However you need foresight for this to happen and holding on to Roy Halladay with the hopes and dreams that he will stay, will only set this franchise back.

Mattt said...

I know it's obvious and easier said than done but the way for Rogers to make more money would be to spend more money in retaining Doc, signing free agents and actually making a run at the playoffs. By fielding a middling, break even team next year Rogers doesn't make money, they break even. Maybe I just don't understand business.

Peter D said...

I really don't believe spending money on free agents is the solution. This option only works when you are a team that is close and only needs to add a couple of peices to be a serious threat. This is because you have to overpay to get free agents and the Jays need flexibility at the moment.

Personally I would love the Jays to resign Halladay and increase the budget to at least $150 million, but even in that scenario, I still wouldn't go the free agent route, other that to try and get bargain contracts on players who still don't have deals close to the opening of spring training (ala Bobby Abreu last season).

With a Halladay and Wells contract, you can't make any more big contract mistakes, you need payroll flexibility.

plain_g said...

i think it's great that someone mentioned the redundant but talented hermida - on the same day the red sox pick him up for middling minor league pitching. the jays understand the 'buy-low' idea, but they never pick someone with a high ceiling. they'd prefer to buy really low on someone like halama (say half a mill), then hope he hits his ceiling of serviceable mediocrity, than buy kinda low (hermida at 2m, any of beltre, bedard, sheets, hudson, etc) and aim for the fences.

Gil Fisher said...

I don't think beltre/hudson really fit the analysis. Their upside is behind them and they had decent years. They should receive adequate FA contracts and have little chance of providing excessive value. Though you have a point.

Gil Fisher said...

Personally, I'd like the Jays to sign both Rocco Baldelli and Rick Ankiel. Rick could play CF (likely RF). VDub could play RF (likely CF). Snider would play LF. Rocco would be the 4th outfielder. He could probably expect 400ABs if he performs well.

Gil Fisher said...

It looks like the Twins have acquired JJ Hardy for Carlos Gomez. One less SS to go around.

The Ack said...

re: Hardy - fuck it all to shit.

I guess he wasn't part of The Plan.

Whenever the goddamned thing gets formalized, anyway.

Peter D said...

What the F%$#? Are other teams GM's lurking on this site stealing my ideas. Both Hardy and Hermidia are now gone.

As for Ankiel, I'd stay as far away from him as possible, he was one of those steriod guys, who's stats may have been a mirage. I'm okay with Baldelli, but don't know if he can play everyday, so some background checking would be needed for sure.

Gil Fisher said...

All of Ankiel's offensive numbers have come since the steriod crackdown. I wouldn't begrudge a guy like Ankiel who's having a horrible time with injuries, trying to get to the Bigs.

Ankiel/Baldelli would make a decent CF platoon even.

I have no idea what either would command for a contract.

plain_g said...

just to be clear, by 'hudson' i mean the o-dawg, who had a 350+ ops along with stellar d, for a cool 3.3m last season. again, not a perfect fit with hill at 2nd, but hill came up playing ss if i recall. as for beltre, he's only 30, has been playing hurt in a crappy park, and projects to come cheap.