Friday, January 1, 2010

The $25M (?) question

So, I guess there really was something to the early reports that the Jays might be in on Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman, he of the 100 MPH fastball and inevitable Randy Johnson comparisons. This being a Blue Jays blog and now being the dead of winter, I'm going to beat the carcass of the horse too - should the Jays get in on the $25M (estimate - whaddya want?) gamble, or shouldn't they?

Perhaps understandably, early reactions across the blogosphere and throughout the comment sections are mixed. $25 million is a lot of cash for a franchise on the rebuild. We've seen enough albatross contracts in these parts to be wary of handing out that kind of money to a less than sure thing. Aren't there any veteran arms on the market the Jays can bring in for that kind of a guarantee?

Yes, but, uh....for what purpose? An innings-eater (somewhere, Jeff Blair is frowning in my general direction) would be of benefit to the club, reducing the workload required from the Jays young stable of starters (though really....aren't there enough "young starters" in the system on whom to divvy up those innings?).....but a $25M innings-eater would be a waste of resources for this team. For those kinds of dollars, at this point in time, for this team in particular....it's upside or nothing.

Lost in this discussion is the aspect that really intrigues me, though. The Jays - and Rogers - just might be in this thing for real. If throwing in $6M to facilitate the Halladay trade - for the prospects the front office desired - wasn't proof positive of ownership's commitment to seeing AA's vision through, then pursuing Chapman only adds to the evidence.

The Jays may not - or more likely, probably will not - win the bidding war for The Player, but the fact they're in the game tells me that the organizational workings are different now than they were a year ago. And that's something, anyway.

Or it could just be my new 2010 optimistic outlook wreaking havoc on my better judgement, and I'm merely setting up for further disappointment. But....nah.

Building!


15 comments:

Ian H. said...

Ack, loved the reference to "The Player". The ghost of J.P. Ricciardi lives on!

Hell, I'm all for signing Chapman. The Blue Jays (and Rogers) would probably be more apt to spend $25 million on signing Chapman than some shitballer who is going to be gone in 3 years, and want more than $25 million anyway.

Other than the money ... what do they have to loose?

eyebleaf said...

Imagine if AA and the Jays are actually able to pull this off. I think all of baseball would sit up and take notice, if they haven't already, of our new Boy Wonder GM. After reading Moneyball, and the dramatics behind the Jose Contreras signing, after he engaged the Yanks and Red Sox in a bidding war for his services, I'm skeptical. Oh who am I kidding, we're so getting this Chapman fellow. He can live in anonymity up here, and live large. Free health care, communist brother! The bottom line is: I can't wait to read what Tony Viner has to say about this. Playoffs!!!1

Steve G. said...

Eyebleaf, I don't really think this would make the rest of the baseball world "sit up and take notice." I mean, the rule of free agency almost always is that the team with the best offer wins. It's not like the Jays are the Florida Marlins or Montreal Expos; they've shown themselves as being willing to spend.

I also still think there are tax issues at play. It's after Jan. 1, so Chapman has already lost a lot of leverage with teams in the United States. The Yankees and Red Sox also seem more like lukewarm bidders in this, so it might come down to $25 million from each, which is more in "real" money when you take into account the tax implications of Canada. (Note: I'm basing this off of discussion from a couple days ago in Boston, so I'm not sure if the tax stuff still applies.)

Gil Fisher said...

It seems telling to me that the Angels haven't been granted a private workout, but the Jays have. The Angels even sound a bit ticked about it.

I think it would at the least indicate that we were headed to a short list for the Player. And presumably, since the Angels were only "preparing" their offer, the shortlist wasn't based primarily on $$$$.

My hunch is family will play a big part in this and maybe Toronto might have an advantage over everybody not named the Marlins, due to better relationships with Cuba.

Also consider that he would likely spend his first 6-14months in Florida (Dunedin) and that after that he has the advantage of playing in two of the eight states without state income tax (New Hampshire and Nevada).

I don't want to put the cart in front of the horse, but.....load up the damn cart!!!!

plain_g said...

Somebody said starting lefties are the cigarettes in the GM penitentiary. If 5 of our 10 young starters work out, the others, Aroldis included, make great trade bait. If the team is on the cusp in 2 years, can Aroldis bring in a bat?

Tao of Stieb said...

If The Team is willing to spend a significant part of The Budget on propects (as they say they are), then ny all means, throw down the $25 mill on this lottery ticket.

(Although, having said that, who is the last Cuban to get to North America and really tear it up? Is it Contreras?)

Ty said...

Tao: I think it was Contreras, but I'm sure there were plenty of guys in the Cuban leagues who could've been great in the MLB but either couldn't defect or didn't want to leave their families behind.

The biggest thing for me here is that everybody from the Yankees and Red Sox to the Marlins and A's are interested in this guy -- if Florida and Oakland are seriously interested (and all accounts suggest that they are), then it's probably safe for us to assume that people much more knowledgeable than us have decided that this is a risk worth taking.

Mattt said...

I'm totally onboard with this. Even having the Jays interested in him is seriously promising regarding the direction our favourite baseball club is heading.

plain_g said...

"Edwin Encarnacion suffered burns to his face in a fireworks accident according to ESPN Deportes' Enrique Rojas. He will not require surgery, and will be ready to go in Spring Training."

Peter D said...

I'm all for this, the Jays have to do everything they can to build for the future, and spending $25 million on this guy is a much better idea than spending $25 million on guys that won't be here in a year or two. Trade Overbay, Encarnacion, Downs, etc. if you need to find the money to get this done.

Peter D said...

As for the last Cuban to have success, I'd say it was Kendry Morales or Yunel Escobar.

The Southpaw said...

My thoughts on the cost are here:

http://thesouthpawbaseball.blogspot.com/2010/01/whats-aroldis-chapman-worth-to-jays.html

In short, in the proper context, it's smart money.

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Gil Fisher said...

WOW! What a way to turn over a decade of misery for my beloved Leeds United! Who were damned today?

Marching on Together.

Anonymous said...

"...safe for us to assume that people much more knowledgeable than us have decided that this is a risk worth taking"

What? You DO know how the internets work dont you? Its all about uninformed opinion man...