Sunday, December 27, 2009

Does it matter?

With the flurry of change surrounding our Toronto Blue Jays and the wheels set firmly in motion towards implementation of The Plan, you'd think local scribes and fairweather fans alike would be able to see past the inevitable growing pains surrounding a young, talented ballclub.

You'd also think yours truly would have enough sense to know that was never going to be the case. I thought we were good. I thought we were all going to accept the fact that an organizational step forward would undoubtedly be offset by an inevitable preliminary step back? But no, some folks just feel the incessant need to remind us that rough days are ahead.

Ladies and gentlemen: "Your last place Toronto Blue Jays."

And let's not forget the familiar refrain of non-fans everywhere who can't see past their own ass:

The Jays are the new Expos. Relocation!

You know, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year....but fuck off, really. You wanted direction, we have direction. You wanted change, we most certainly have seen change. For better or worse. If we can allow ourselves to take the words of the Anthopoulos-led front office at face value, then it's change for the better.

(As an aside, I'm not convinced the Orioles are going to be drastically improved. "Power hitting" Garret Atkins couldn't even hold his shit down in Coors these last few seasons. Now he's in the AL East. New closer Mike Gonzalez has really only ever held that job down for the powerhouse Pittsburgh Pirates. And if Kevin Millwood is the answer, then I certainly don't know the question. Oh, and the Jays/Expos talk? Not even worth discussing.)

So, back to the question at hand:

4th place or 5th place in 2010....does it even matter?

33 comments:

dave said...

I'd prefer 4th so when some hockey-lover sees me in a Jays shirt and says "pffft, Jays suck, they're in last place." I can respond with "ACTUALLY SECOND LAST, THANKS!"

As usual, though, Ack you've written what I was thinking(except even my thoughts are riddled with spelling errors). We wanted an actual plan and we got it, let's go! And yes the Orioles do have a shot at jumping over the Fightin' Blue Jays but it's not a given.

eyebleaf said...

4th or 5th place does matter. It's a new era in Toronto, and it shouldn't start with a last place finish. Guys like Wells really have to set the tone now. In all seriousness, third place should be the goal. Fuck the Orioles and the Rays.

Anonymous said...

When you change this many players in a calendar year (remember the best defense in baseball suddenly becoming the worst?) How could you even guess how its gonna come out in the end? Of course it doesn't matter. It only matters when they are acutally trying for a playoff run, which, clearly, they are not.

Roy-Z said...

Third.

Rays just aren't that good...and they keep getting worse.

Mark said...

I hope you're joking about the Rays. They're still one of the best teams in the AL.

Ian H. said...

Despite all that has (and will) transpire with the Jays, I still don't think they will be a last place team.

I'm fine and dandy with fourth place - but like the great Ricky Bobby said ... "if ya ain't first, you're last"

Anonymous said...

The Orioles have some pretty sick young talent to go along with the re-treads...

I mean, an outfield of Reimold, Markakis and Adam Jones, plus Wieters behind the plate, and throw in those disgusting arms of Tillman, Matusz and Arrieta.

Also, the O's aren't strapped with a contract like Vernon Wells, and the O's have a tonne of money to burn. And the O's stadium is 50X better than the Jays.

I'd say their prognosis for '10 and beyond is much better for O's fans than the BJs followers.

Tao of Stieb said...

I don't know...I always worry about the Orioles, and I always hear about how much better they are getting, and then they go get some shite "innings eater" like Millwood, and the next thing you know, they're putting up a 70 win season.

Reimold, my arse.

(BTW...nice to be back! I'm going goofy from too much family festive fun.)

Steve G. said...

It's not so much that I think the O's free agent signings might propel them past the Jays, but rather, they still have some good, young prospects who might peak in the next couple of years. They have Tilman and Mastusz (spelling?) in the rotation, Adam Jones and the Greek guy in the outfield, and Wieters behind the plate. That's a good base of talent that could get better, although all of them have some warts.

That being said, the Blue Jays aren't owned by Angelos, which is always a benefit. He's like the worse version of the old Steinbrenner, on par with Drayton McLane.

Anonymous said...

We have lost Scutaro, Barajas, and the best righthanded starter in baseball.

We've upgraded defensively at short, offensively at catcher, and added a potential rookie of the year candidate in Wallace, a pile of good young arms, Marcum will be back, Romero and Cecil will be a year older, and Snider might start being the player we think he is. if we can turn Overbay into an outfielder who can defend and lead off, all the better.

I'm optimistic. I actually think four out of every five days we're potentially a better team than we were last year ... maybe a lot better.

I don't see why it's all doom and gloom. These guys may surprise.

K. Connolly

Ty said...

^^Agreed. And as much as losing Halladay is obviously a huge blow to this pitching staff, the team's win total isn't going to suffer a whole lot as a result, if at all.

The 2009 Blue Jays were only able to score enough runs to win 17 games when Halladay started last year. The numbers 2-5 starters in 2010 look to be significantly better than the guys they were running out there in '09, which should add a few wins from that group, and the 2010 Jays already look offensively better than last year's group. I don't think it's unreasonable to expect the same number of wins as last year, if not more... but I guess anyone banal enough to actually care about that kind of thing wouldn't know any better anyways.

Mylegacy said...

This will not be a year to watch the "team" - this will be a year to watch - and take pleasure in the play and growth of - "individuals."

Personally I'm REALLY looking forward to seeing Snider grow. Seeing which of Romero, Cecil and Rzepski grow or die. Seeing Ruiz hit 30+ homers? Enjoying Wallace and Drabek when they come up after June sometime. Enjoying watching all the prospects in the minors and - naturally - watching the draft and the SIGNING and then growth of our 9 picks by the end of the 3rd round.

Should be a great year to be a fan - unless the freakin' Spankees do well. I hate them fu*kers!

Brian Tallet's Mustache said...

Take a look at the most recent Fangraphs article, called, Pitching Outside the Box, Literally. In the second graph, who's at the top? R-fucking-Zep.

Anonymous said...

Somebody explain that article, please. I'm assuming Rzep being on top is good, right? Damn mathemeticians!

Brian Tallet's Mustache said...

I think the list can be summarized as "which pitchers are best at getting swinging strikes outside the strike zone despite allowing somewhat frequent contact within it. Truly, this would be a list of pitchers who use their talents most efficiently, getting swings and misses outside of the zone, where they are more valuable."

I don't think it's the greatest thing ever - it still means that he has a high contact rate on pitches in the strike zone, but still.

Gil Fisher said...

What it means for Zep is that he has a filthy slider with great depth. It looks like it's going to be a strike until it's too late for the hitter to hold up.

But I think Zep also showed good command of his fastball, unlike Cecil and Romero. If he can spot an 89mph fastball on a corner consistently, that slider will play for years.

Brian Tallet's Mustache said...

Fair point, Gil. Is it too much to hope that, as batters learn to beware his slider, they'll actually start laying off of pitches in the zone too (which would decrease his in-zone contact rate)? Especially if, as you say, he can place his fastball reasonably well.

Matt Wieters said...

I'd be much more optimstic if I were an Orioles fan than a Blue Jays fan.

2010 TBJ = Last place in A.L. East

Darren Priest said...

I think we're all ready to accept that, Matt, but thanks for your input.

Tony Viner said...

You are ready to accept fifth place behind Baltimore, Darren? Your defeatism is pathetic. In my world you would be involved in a tragic helicopter accident just for speaking as such an absconder.

Look, I have been a little too busy to comment on the posts of this Tao lately, but I feel I must respond to all of this ridiculous negativity.

I have built a team that will win 85+ games in 2010, and stands a great chance of shocking the world with over 90. Sure, Doc is gone, Rolen is a distant memory, and Scutaro walked. But rest assured, I expropriated an agglomeration of assets from the teams that relieved me of their contracts, mainly due to my sexy, underhanded business practices.

Rolen will be a constant injury risk for the Reds, and I defrauded them of their most inimitable pitching prospect and two other, very useful players. Encarnacion will hit 30+ HR and Roenicke will post an ERA under 3.00 and a WHIP around 1.30.

Boston will regret handing me their second round pick, especially when Scutaro's true physical condition shows itself. I have seen the relevant medical reports on his heel, and that little louse Theo Epstien has not. I signed Alex Gonzalez for less than half of what that boor paid for Scutaro, and he will outperform him in every category in 2010-2011.

The Halladay trade was a ruse from the beginning. After it was clear that Roy would not re-sign here, due to his personal braggadocio and obvious need for attention from the US sports media, I set a trap for that addlepate Ruben Amaro Jr. It was sprung according to MY plan and on MY terms. I appropriated a future ace, a silver slugger and a future all-star catcher for basically one year of Halladay. Doc was a great pitcher, but he is too expensive, uncontrollable, and his decline is imminent indeed.

I am extremely smart, and uncompromisingly handsome. The true operational art of disingenuous, duplicitous, fallacious business dealing is lost on most of these baseball people, who have never been involved in a hostile takeover in Hong Kong or run an (illegal) mobile communications network monopoly, as I have.

If you want to deprecate, and expostulate about the immediate future of the team you love, you are barking up the wrong tree. This team will be a major force to be reckon with in 2010, nevermind in 2011 and beyond when we have only ~$40MM committed to payroll, and I commit upwards of $120MM on a yearly basis.

The moral of this little talk is this: You are just going to have to show some blind faith in my handsomeness, and smart, sexy business strategies.

Sincerely,

Handsome Tony Viner

Andy Mc said...

hahaha, Tony Viner.

Darren Priest said...

I love you, Tony. I live in the east, so you wouldn't be the first great Canadian to accuse me of being defeatist.

plain_g said...

K-Law says the jays should look for reclamation projects this year. any suggestions? how about andy marte, who was one of the best prospects in baseball a couple years ago and is still just 25. or how about delmon young, he seems to have fallen out of favour with the twinkies - i bet he could be had for a young controllable pitcher... or at least he could have been before they moved carlos gomez for jj hardy...

Gil Fisher said...

Speaking of addlepates, the AL East hasn't seen an infusion of pitching talent like Tilman and Matusz since Joba and Hughes debuted for the Yanks a few years back. How's that going anyway?

The Ack said...

Somehow, HTV's presence just makes everything better.

Anonymous said...

I must say the quality of this comments section is top notch. I can't imagine we will open spring training without a reclamation project or two - do you? Any other names about?

Brian Tallet's Mustache said...

Does Church count as a reclamation project? I like the Marte suggestion, too.

Rasputin said...

Perhaps a little off topic and we'll see what happens, but I don't know how Randy Ruiz couldn't factor into plans for next year. Until Wallace is ready and unless they make a move on Overbay to get a similar piece in return, there's room for him to float between DH and first.

Seeing Cito sit him every other day in September was frustrating as shit. He was running a 1.019 OPS over 33 games and we was PCL MVP for chrisakes.

Sure the dude's a juicer, but he's OUR juicer!

Gil Fisher said...

I think Church counts. All he needs is to go to a team that knows how to rehabilitate a seriously concussed hitter. Hill's and Church's concussions must have happened within weeks of each other, but obviously the Mets rushed him back and the Nats paid for it.

I think Ankiel is a reclamation project as well, albeit more expensive. I'd give Gabe Gross a minor league deal, too.

Steve G. said...

Church is a good guy to go after on a minor league or minimum contract. If he wants more than that, then I'm not sure he's worth it.

Is Marte a free agent? If so, then you might as well kick the tires on him. Otherwise, fine to acquire him, as long as you're not trading anything of substance to get him.

I'm not sure what the Blue Jays would do with Young. Between LF, RF, 1B and DH, they have Wallace, Lind, Snider and Overbay. I don't think Young is an obvious upgrade on any of them, and I'm sure there is someone I'm leaving out of that mix too, besides the corpse of Vernon Wells. Young would also probably cost a B-prospect or a guy who might be a 25th man or have some value, since he was once the first overall pick.

With Ankiel, I see him as similar to Young. He has a better track record, shockingly, but he's older and will probably be more expensive, and moving to a tougher league and a much tougher decision. That's a lot of question marks. Fine if you can get him on a one-year deal, iffy if you need to give him two to four years of guaranteed money.

Gross is a minimum contract / minor league deal guy to me, but with less upside than Church at this point. He doesn't have that fresh, "established veteran" smell that would allow you to flip him at the deadline for something of actual value.

Anonymous said...

_Jim Acker - Tuesday, March 30 2004 @ 10:17 AM EST (#74725) #
I'm certainly underwhelmed.

It's not like Jayson Werth is a stellar prospect anymore either. I mean he'd be a great player, but for the fact that he can't hit a lick.

Werth is great, seriously...for me to......

Gil Fisher said...

Am I to understand that Aroldis Chapman spent New Year's Eve with the Blue Jays?

Anonymous said...

What IS up with Ruiz? In what capacity are we going to see him this year? I realize we only saw a little bit of him last year, but geez it was good! Where does he fit into the 2010 Toronto Blue Jays?