As trading season approaches and the winds of change blow through MLB (Cliff Lee, speaking for whichever team you were pitching for and whomever just acquired your rights....we hardly knew ya), the conversations surrounding a rebuilding team now firmly entrenched in non-contending mode are sure to center around one common theme.
Sell anyone and anything not seen as part of The Plan TM in 2011 and beyond.
Seems simple enough. For a confessed surfer of prospect porn and minor league boxscores, it seems equally obvious that yours truly would fall right in line with such. After all, for every marketable piece the Jays might offer, an intriguing prospect awaits his chance down on the glittery farmlands of Vegas. Consider:
John Buck: JP Arencibia (.364/.639/1.003, 23 HR, 60 RBI)
Jose Bautista: Brad Emaus (.412/.478/.890 in 72 games split between AA/AAA)
Lyle Overbay: Brett Wallace (.364/.498/.862, 14 HR, 44 RBI)
Alex Gonzalez: Adeiny Hechavarria (er....let's just say minor league stats unavailable. OK? We good with that?)
Compelling arguments, all (most). I've even wondered openly in this space as to the need to carry the sellable vets for the duration of the season. But upon reflection - as always - it's not that simple.
Imagine this team, this weird, bizarro 2010 Toronto Blue Jays team, without the offensive output of All-Stars Buck and Bautista. Yes, that felt as strange to type as it is to read. Now imagine watching the club try to find it's way through 70-odd post All-Star break games where the only sure offensive force is Vernon Wells (again with the bizarro).
It might be exciting. But it might also be painful. The only sure thing about rookies is there are no sure things. To throw 3 or 4 kids straight into the fire of major league competition stripped of veteran roster presence would be a disservice to their development and a potential disaster in the standings. A trade or two with an acceptable return would be tremendous and welcomed; a wholesale roster turnover is another thing altogether.
I'm all for change with this club. I've embraced it wholly and thoroughly and am genuinely excited about the future under the guidance and vision of Alex Anthopoulos. Things are different now, man. Slot-busting draft bonuses (Dickie Thon Jr.!), snagging front-line international prospects (Adonis!), and a thorough re-stocking of the minor league system. It was the only way to go, and it's the way the Jays have gone & are going. If the path taken by this Jays front office team has taught me anything, it's that patience is required....and hopefully rewarded.
So, yeah....Playoffs! Just maybe not this season.
....but can we start maybe talking about a Kyle Drabek appearance?
How do you follow up a no-hitter? By tossing 6 shutout innings in your next start, of course. Apologies for forgetting the source - I read way, way too much Blue Jays related info on the internets - but I browsed upon a thought that the Jays should consider a 6-man rotation in the season's final months as a means of limiting innings on all those impressionable young arms.
Until given evidence that it's a total shitbag of an idea, consider me down. And who better to take that 6th rotation spot than our guy Drabek? Curiously, I'm opposed to a Vegas promotion, because I don't see how inevitably getting shelled in the hitter's paradise known as the PCL (see prospect stats above) would benefit his development. I say when he gets the call, make it directly from New Hampshire.
How does a late August/early September cup of coffee sound?