Saturday, November 28, 2009

Questions

Heyo friends - who wants to talk about shortstops?

Yeah, me neither. When do the Winter Meeting start again? Until then, I've got questions, maybe you have some answers....

When did prospect porn become the baseball fan's vice of choice?
Regurgitating discussion from comment sections this week....but seriously, what's up with the completely absurd fascination with unproven prospects - talented as they may be - who haven't even advanced beyond the low minors?

Honestly, if I read "No way I would give up (Casey Kelly, Jesus Montero, Ryan Westmoreland, Kyle Drabek, etc) for one year of a 32 year old pitcher" one more fucking time, I think I might just go on ahead and gouge my eyes out.

There are so many things wrong with the reasoning behind this line of thought that I'm not even going to bother taking it down. Actually, yes I am:

(1) That "32 year old pitcher" is one of the best (if I was biased, I'd say the best) in the game, he's at his peak, he's not declining, and nobody works harder. I understand, prospect fans, that you love to show just how clever and informed you are by touting your team's "next big thing"....but in actuality, all you're really proving is your ignorance by dismissing the greatness of Doc. Jesus, this makes me angry.

(2) In all likelihood, you're not getting one year of Doc, you're getting a contract-extended Doc. Oh, and don't worry about the goddamned payroll - you are all big market, free spending clubs. You'll manage.

(3) Your teams are involved in the discussions because they are built to win now. Prospect X, should he pan out, will be a guy who can help you win in 2 or 3 seasons. What, you have an aversion to winning today? You'd rather roll the dice on potentially being in the same position a few seasons down the road?

(4) Please, Yankee/Red Sox/Phillies/Dodgers (to a lesser extent) fans, don't insult our intelligence by clinging to the value of "cost controlled players". Are you just trying to be cruel?

(5) That player you're touting as the next big thing? The guy you've never seen play, but can't possibly bear to lose? He'll be replaced in short order by the next guy on your team's top-10 prospect list, or perhaps by the next high schooler who slips to the 6th round on signability concerns that your team drafts and "convinces" to bypass college.

So there.

Why can't Dustin McGowan become Toronto's Jonathan Papelbon?
....minus the part about being a douchebag, of course.

I'll remind you this is all hypothetical on my part. I'll let you know that I know there's probably a prettttty, pretty slim chance that ol' Dusty can even recover from his shoulder woes to be an effective MLB arm. But hear me out - didn't Boston go through the same thing with their (begrudgingly) nails closer? I can't pretend to know the severity of Papelbon's history of arm troubles, but I do recall (with a google assist) that Papelbon was a rising power arm who was moved to the bullpen in an effort to placate that tender shoulder.

Can this scenario unfold for McGowan? And really - doesn't he seem perfect for the role? Power fastball? Check. Hammer breaking ball? Check. Superficial "unique" look required for a memorable closer? His lambchops say "check".

Bears watching, is all I'm saying.

Shouldn't we be talking a little more about Jesse Litsch?
Hey, he is what he is. Jesse Litsch is probably no more than a back end starter who can provide the club with some serviceable major league innings. That's not a knock, that's just who he is. In fact, I mean it as a compliment, because I really do believe that he doesn't receive near the credit he should for being just that.

He doesn't throw 95 and he won't get you more than about 5K/9. But if he can bounce back from his TJ (does that stand for "Tommy John" or "Toronto Jay"?) surgery and provide the club with some rotation stability, the club will be much better for it. And that, my friends, would be admirable. I'm pulling for the guy.

Do writers make absurd claims because they think the Jays are wholly incompetent? Or are they just smug?
Actually, I've got the answers here:

YES, the Jays will offer Marco Scutaro arbitration.

NO, the Jays will not accept a package of Ian Kennedy, Melky Cabrera, and Francisco Cervelli in exchange for Doc.

...and NO, Alex Anthopoulos will not "throw in" Adam Lind to "even out the deal" in exchange for your precious little prospects.

Can we convince ourselves that the disdain we feel for the Jays offseason moves to date will dissipate as the plan becomes clear?
Yeah, I probably can, personally. I've been getting on (for now) by telling myself that if these were the final moves of the offseason (throwing 2 years at Johnny Mac, signing Alex Gonzalez v2.0) rather than the first moves of the offseason, things would make more sense.

I'll carry on believing that these moves are not a precursor to more of the same in addressing the many other holes on the roster, and by April 1 we'll have reason for hope.

I keep telling myself that it's all part of the process, and AA knows what he's doing - because I want him to succeed. I'll keep believing that better days of baseball are ahead.

We have to, man.

44 comments:

Torgen said...

"Can we convince ourselves that the disdain we feel for the Jays offseason moves to date will dissipate as the plan becomes clear?"
Successfully executing a bad plan doesn't make it less bad.

Dex said...

About time. The absolute nonsense the Jays blogosphere has gone through already determining that we're suddenly the Pirates is getting tiring. I don`t think we`re competing in 2010, but I don`t think we`re entirely buried in Orioles country either.

Damo Suzuki said...

Nice Post.

Yes, a few more signings will help to clarify what exactly AA's sense of building will mean, so to say that J-Mac and A-Gonz are the benchmarks for what AA will do moving forward for 2010 may be unfair. I wasn't expecting the Jays to compete for 2010 and I'd think a person who has never been a GM before just wouldn't have the ability to try and fix all the problems at once, so the decision to try and prioritize certain aspects of the building process makes sense if the team has no chance of competing in the short term.

Have the decisions so far been bad decisions? That may be perfectly moot if the Jays can't find decent pieces to solve their other problems.

Swagmanjay said...

Ack,

You'll get a lot of Man-Love for this post. My favourite part of this blog is the authors ability to reach inside my head and take my thoughts and write it out - ostensibly with more 'fucks' than I'd use...but still.

I would love to see Boston/NY/Philly/LA fans reactions if this was turned around - like Toronto potentially trading for Josh Beckett. It would be brilliant to see the shitstorm if Jays bloggers and commenters were posting crap like 'Yeah, Arencibia and Overbay should get it done...do it now AA.'

This morning, I'm the first guy in the basketball game crowd starting the slow clap. Well done.

Blue Jays Daze - Mat Germain said...

Totally agree with all your points. To tell you the truth, i had never thought of Dustin as a closer.....intriguing, but I also like Jason Frasor in the role last year. (a lot more than Downs anyway)

I think that what Alex A is most scared of is another AJ Burnett "happening", where one of the big clubs signs 3 type A and we get screwed out of it again. Or, even worse yet, that Doc has some health issues that make certain he won't qualify as a type A.

Otherwise, one of the NYY, BOS, or LAA will give the Jays plenty of return because they want to win NOW. People keep mentioning the LAD and PHI and I laugh my balls off. Roy, swinging a bat for the first time in his mid-30s? Running the bases and having hamstring issues? Right, I'll believe it when I see it.

Catch my comments on about why the Jays are stuck dealing with only 3 teams here: http://bluejaysdaze.blogspot.com/2009/11/take-2-teams-off-list-of-possible-doc.html

Anonymous said...

MLBTradeRumors posts the lists of Type A's every so often (every player is ranked, but for free agent compensation purposes only the FA's matter of course), and I think Halladay is ranked the top player overall (or at least the top pitcher), so unless he got injured and missed the whole year, we'd certainly get a first round draft pick from him if he left that route. Not saying it's likely at all, but just clearing up that it wouldn't be an AJ Burnett situation.

Also comical: Right beside this post, the RotoWorld news' top story is about how it wouldn't make sense for the Red Sox to trade Buchholz and Kelly for a 33-year old who will need a lucrative contract.

Gil Fisher said...

Part of the theory of developing a deep farm system is to move prospects for established players to augment the major league squad. I mean Jim Callis is the Hugh Heffner of the prospect porn, but time and again he'll tell you he'd trade (Brown, Drabek, ++, for example) for a Roy Halladay.

The odds are miniscule that Casey Kelly would ever turn into anything close to what Doc is. I can see an argument that you'd rather have Lackey and Buchholz than Doc and ????third-rate-FA???. But Casey Kelly arguments are trash.

To be quite honest, I'd much rather have Ryan Westmoreland, who is just as raw as Kelly but has as much upside is a much safer bet as a hitter than a Kelly as a pitcher.

Boston is a big market team that deals in FAs. They come (Scutaro, Holliday, Soriano?) and they go (Bay, Wagner). The end result is a gain (you get two for a departure and lose one if you sign one). Boston has had twice as many top 50 draft picks this decade as the Jays. All things equal, they can still deal half their top picks and have as good a farm system as the Jays. And that's what they'll do - deal prospects and sign Free Agents at the expense of their farm. Prospect porn be damned.

(/meandering rant)

Gil Fisher said...

And while my mind is wandering - why don't we expand the trade? What else could we send to Boston?

Scott Downs? - This almost makes too much sense. The Sox are apparently looking at Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez as Papelbon support. They are type A relievers....so is Downs, but a year from FA. Boston could save a draft pick, perhaps earn a couple more after season's end (that's three first rounders!) and we could potentially protect the first round compensation pick if they sign Scutaro (or second round pick if they sign Holliday and Scutaro).

Accardo/League? We seem to have no shortage of late inning relievers - Downs, Frasor, League, Carlson, Accardo, Roenicke all seem like possibilities for eighth inning roles. Accardo and League have that high-upside stuff that might make them attractive on the market and might induce the Sox (or other team) to top up the package for Doc.

Anything else? What about taking Lowell off their hands, with some cash of course? Let's close out the decade with the Trade of the Decade. The Motherlode.

Legend has it that JP was staunch in his belief that Rios on his own should be enough to acquire an unproven, mechanically flawed Tim Lincecum and wouldn't throw in a Curtis Thipen or Jesse Litsch (depending on what legends you believe). Let's not make that mistake twice. Sometimes those throw-ins are like a catalyst, they don't amount to much before or after, but the deal can't happen without them.

What do you think? Can we grow it?

Tao of Stieb said...

I wouldn't touch Mike Lowell with a ten foot pole.

I'm kinda resigned to the idea of Halladay going to NY or Boston, but I don't want to ship out a bunch of piece to bolster them just so that they'll shake loose a prospect.

As for Dusty in the pen, I think that given his issues with diabetes, it might make sense for him to have a shorter role. Not sure if he's using an insulin pump or what, but a full nine inning 120 pitch game seems as though it might be tough for him to pull off.

Gil Fisher said...

If it takes Scott Downs to turn a meh return in to a nails return, you do it. You don't risk the arb offer to Downs next fall, let a big market team do that.

Ty said...

Tao: Dusty Lambchops started using an insulin pump on the mound pretty much as soon as he found out he had diabetes, which was right around the time he finally started to put it all together -- probably not a coincidence. I remember an interview a couple years back where he talked about how much it helped him on the mound, so I don't think it's really a huge issue as far as IP/game goes. I agree that he'd almost definitely benefit from the reduced workload of a reliever though, and he's definitely got the stuff to be a good closer if he's healthy.

Darren Priest said...

Nice post, Ack. I saw someone has quoted you over on the MLBTR forums as well.

Some of the stuff I've been reading has me thinking Doc won't be moved before the trade deadline.

Who knows, maybe the 2010 Jays will end up being the 2007 Rays. Never thought I'd be wishing my team could be more like the Rays, but there ya go.

Mattt said...

Man, I really hope Dustin comes back and is the same guy he was...

eyebleaf said...

Ack, the weekends aren't complete without you, man. Well done.

As for McGowan, the most I hear about him is, well, over here. And that depresses me. I don't think he's coming back. Period.

Steve G. said...

Fisher, speaking as someone who comes from the state home state as Westmoreland, he hasn't been healthy in more than a year now. His athleticism is so great that apparently he's still a great prospect, but right now, he smells more like the next incarnation of Rocco Baldelli (another RI product, by the way) than a future superstar.

Referring to the Red Sox and etc. always being in "win now" mode, I think the Yankees of the early and mid 2000s proved that that model doesn't work so well. Yeah, most of the "prospects" the Yankees traded away sucked, but they also kept forfeiting draft picks by signing non-elite free agents. While they were doing that, the Red Sox were catching up by holding on to prospects - Pedroia, Youkilis, Papelbon, Ellsbury and Lester - and contenting themselves by signing mid-range FAs - Mark Bellhorn, David Ortiz, Jeremy Giambi.

Anonymous said...

Mikey Lowell for Doc, straight-up! Believe!

Gil Fisher said...

Steve, is the Warren House of Pizza still around?

I lived in Barrington when I was 9 (1979).

MLB's prospect development system favours teams who deal in FA's. The Red Sox have had double the number of top picks the Jays have had this deadline because they let go and replace free agents. For example, they're negotiating with Bay right now, but there preference will be to sign Holliday. They're similar players, but by signing Holiday instead, they'll gain a top 35 draft pick.

The Ack said...

Belated thanks for the props fellas.

A few comments:

re: Dusty & lack of info - I know! Try googling his name for news, and you get nothin'.

re: Downs - I don't mind involving him in any deal, but truthfully, I think he's one of those guys who the home team fans will attach more value to than anyone else. He's no more than a setup man (maybe) on a contender, I would think.

re: MLBTR comments....just one big *sigh* from me there. I hate reading through those "discussions". 4 way trade involving Halladay, Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez, and prospects! Get er done!

re: Scutaro....you know, it would likely be in our best interests if he signs somewhere other than Boston....because you know they will sign another FA - who may rank higher on the comp list than Scoots (example: Raf Soriano), in which case it'd be the AJ situation all over again.

Which would be kinda fitting, though.

Peter D said...

Answers:
1. I think it's only natural for fans to overrate their own players, and this includes prospects. Plus most people are idiots :)

2. I think McGowan as a closer is a very intriging idea. However, I think at this point of the Jays "Building"1 they need to develop starting pitching and if there's a chance that MacGowan can become the SP that he was over that one brief stretch, they need to make sure this happens. I vote no on Bill McGowan to Close.

3. If I had to guess, I would say Litsch is done as a major league pitcher. But then again, I was hoping they would deal him after his 13-9 season, figuring his value would never be higher.

hmmm, kind of like when I was hoping the Jays would deal Gustavo Chacin after his 13-9 season, and kind of like how I'm hoping the Jays will now deal Ricky Romero after his 13-9 season.

4. I'd go with Smug and/or God Complex.

5. The plan becoming clear sure would help, wouldn't it. But everyone should expect their disdain to grow a little more before it finally starts to dissipate and be replaced with unrealistic expectations. I call this the Blue Jays cycle of mediocrity.

Christopher said...

Back in '05 (I think) Dusty pitched the last game of the season. A ninth inning save against the Royals. He was completely dominant. Granted it was the Royals.

But in the offseason I called Brad Arnsberg on the Fan and asked him about using Dusty as a closer. He said that was something they were looking into and it was a possibility.

They signed BJ a month later and that was that I supposed.

But it has been talked about in the Jays organization and it is something that I have mentioned on some Jays sites.

Gil Fisher said...

Ricky's stuff is a lot better than Chacin/Litsch's.

Where are we at for committed $$$ for 2010? (Including or excluding BJ's 2010 wage and Wells March/10 bonus?)

Gil Fisher said...

This talk about Dusty has me thinking about Joba a bit more. They're similar pitchers. Both hard throwers. Both can deal a plus curve and slider (Joba relies on the slider more; Dusty balances his offspeed evenly between slider, curve and change). Both walking injury risks.

The only difference physically is that Dusty has diabetes and Joba needs it.

I'm not sure that I wouldn't feel better about Joba than Hughes in a deal (Hughes just hasn't seemed the same since his injury).

If push came to shove, I'd abandon both in a deal (in lieu for someone lesser) if it meant keeping both Montero and Jackson on the table.

Peter D said...

"Ricky's stuff is a lot better than Chacin/Litsch's."

I really hope you are right.

Bruno Van rottweiller said...

Ack,

You really outdid yourself. This is why this is the best Jays blog of all . Great sense of intelliegence by the bloggers and the best posters by far. It absolutely chumps that toilet bowl called Drunk Jays Fans. Stoeten is queen douchebucket! You can tell his posts by just reading the first two senstences and seeing the infantile use of grammar,logic and cuss words.

Bruno Van Rottweiller said...

Ack,

You really outdid yourself. This is why this is the best Jays blog of all . Great sense of intelliegence by the bloggers and the best posters by far. It absolutely chumps that toilet bowl called Drunk Jays Fans. Stoeten is queen douchebucket! You can tell his posts by just reading the first two senstences and seeing the infantile use of grammar,logic and cuss words.

Bruno Van Rottweiller said...

@ Petey D. Deal Romero??! No offense but that's illogical. No Doc, No Dustin and no ricky? who's pitching some unknown from the Long Island Ducks???!!You deal a Romero if you need that last hitter as a piece of a puzzle NOT if you are rebuilding!And no Arnsberg reclamation projects either because BA is gone. As of now, they need Romero...

Peter D said...

Bruno,

I know, on the surface it sounds like dealing Romero is a bad idea, however, this is my train of thought:
1. I think his value is at an all time high.
2. I actually see a brighter future for Marcum, Rzep and Cecil.
3. Most likely the Jays will get a pitcher coming back in the Halladay deal.
4. I think the Jays need to sign/trade for an innings eating veteran pitcher that saves the young studs arms. You don't want to burn these guys out.
5. I think hitting is a safer bet than pitching, if you can trade a pitching prospect for an equivelant hitting prospect, a rebuilding team should do so. I just think the odds are great that when the Jays are competitive, there is a better chance that Ricky Romero will be a) hurt, b) mediocre.

Summary
This leaves a rotation of:
1. Veteran Innings eater
2. Buchholtz/Hughes
3. Marcum
4. Rzepczinsky
5. Cecil

And you still have Purcey, Richmond, possibly Tallet, Jansen, Ray, McGowan and Litsch as fall back options

Darren Priest said...

Haven't seen the Gay Jays fan in a while, but this one's for you, bud!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GyrHm9C46tE

Mylegacy said...

Deck chairs Titanic.

Until the King is moved - or not moved - all else is just shufflin' shit 'round the deck. The guys we get for him will determine who we need for the big club and who we can move from the minors.

As to AA's plan - NOTHING about it means squat for five to seven years - a 14 year old in the Dominican ain't gonna make anyone forget the King. EVEN signing all NINE of our 2010 draft picks (before the 4th round) won't mean SQUAT for at least 3 years and more likely 5 years.

For 2010 and 2011 ALL ROADS LEAD TO THE HALLADAY DEAL - or lack thereof.

Non Sequiteur said...

@Mylegacy

The King? Borje Salming is not on the Jays roster.

eyebleaf said...

@ Peter D: Handsome Tony Viner is going to come around here and verbally kick your ass. It's only a matter of time. Litsch isn't done, and Ricky Romero is the stud of the future. He is part of the amazing legacy of one J.P. Ricciardi.

As for Doc, I really hope this deal gets completed before, or at, the winter meetings. I can't take this shit anymore. I definitely don't want him at spring training. I'd rather Sept 30 at Fenway Park, when he went another 9 innings and allowed only 3 hits, be his last start as a Blue Jay.

Tony Viner said...

Peter D:

The word 'handsome' can be used to describe the physical appearance or characteristics pertaining mainly to one's face; which are pleasing to the eye. The idea of being handsome usually conforms to generally accepted standards of beauty in terms of form, proportion etc. Moreover the old saying holds true – "beauty is in the eye of the beholder".

The above term does not apply to you, as it clearly does me, and I'll tell you why:

Ricky Romero is going to be a top 10 pitcher in the AL in 2010, for MY team. He will join RZep, Cecil, Marcum and (later) McGowan and Litsch in the domination of the AL. He is no "flash in the pan", and it would take a major catching or SS prospect for me to even think of letting him out of my firm, handsome grasp.

With my plan for the future in hand, Alex will trade Doc for a major haul, that includes our SS of the future (he will take over for Mike McCoy in 2012), a big OF bat with speed, and a top pitching prospect.

My team is going to light up the scoreboard this year. Snider was my personal pick, and he will hit 30+ HR. Adam Lind (not to be confused with my less-handsome colleague, Phil Lind), will repeat his silver slugging stat line. Aaron hill and Vernon Wells will support the real heart of the lineup I have constructed: Brian Dopirak (1B) and Randy Ruiz (DH), who will combine for 60+ HR and will shock the world.

I built this team, from pitching to defence to hitting, and I am extremely smart, with devilishly handsome features. This allows me to transcend basic negotiating practices, and steal super star players from other teams (such as McCoy, Ruiz and Dopirak).

My team will prevail. 2010 will be a successful, winning year. We will win 85+ games on a small payroll, and the whole world will recognize my august, pulchritudinous, qualities.

Sincerely,

Handsome Tony Viner

eyebleaf said...

Right on cue!!!!1

And "pulchritudinous."

I believe in Tony Viner.

Darren Priest said...

Yeah, I've got a lot of love for this Tony Viner guy. I guess this is what a small time shareholder feels like after getting a handshake and a few seconds of face time.

Gil Fisher said...

Pulchritudinous!!!!1

Steve G. said...

Ricky Romero? Seriously? He's a nice innings-eater... at least this year. The last time he dominated a league was high A in 2006 for 58 innings. He seems like a nice pitcher, but he's not a star.

Torgen said...

Joba Chamberlain, Ricky Romero, and Marc Rzepczynski all had very similar FIP, tRA, and WHIP numbers for their first full years as starters, and our lefties have less service time (read: more cheap years left) than Joba. Joba has hype, though.

Steve G. said...

Torgen, Joba flamed out a bit this past year for whatever reason, but his minor league numbers for 2007 blow Romero's out of the water, and he's also a couple years younger. I realize the sample size isn't great, but most of the conventional scouting wisdom is that Joba is a lot better as well.

eyebleaf said...

Romero > Joba.

Fuck Joba, and his rules.

Anyway, we have many t-shirts to make. One that says:

Pulchritudinous!!!!1

And another that says:

I Believe in Handsome Tony Viner.

SP said...

I'm late, but Ack nailed. I'm tired of this prospect bullshit.

Brian Tallet's Cock Cheese said...

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=4702760

Halladay says trade me by spring or not at all.

Peter D said...

I don't want my innings eater pitcher to be a 2nd year player. Who is going to save these kids arms? If the rotation is as follows:

Romero
Marcum
Rzep
Cecil
Purcey

Then look for two of these guys to have Tommy John surgery next year. Why overwork young pitching in a "Building"1 year?

Bring in a guy like John Garland that won't cost a fortune, but can pitch a lot of innings.

Gay Jays Fan said...

"Haven't seen the Gay Jays fan in a while, but this one's for you, bud!"

Thanks handsome!

Gay Jays Fan said...

"Haven't seen the Gay Jays fan in a while, but this one's for you, bud!"

Thanks handsome!