Saturday, October 16, 2010

Welcome to the offseason

Wait.... what? The Blue Jays regular season ended two weeks ago? Seriously? Where have I been? (.... and that's my quasi-apology for being absent. What can I say? An untimely convergence of a busy work schedule, two kids at home, and not a lot on my mind would have resulted in baaaad blogging. Much like we have here & now. Self-heyo!)

(Oh, and as an aside, if you don't think Appetite For Destruction is one of the best albums released in the last 25 years, we probably can't be friends. That's just how I roll.)

So, yes....the offseason, which finds us all consumed in the search for the new manager. And I have to be completely honest here, friends - I have no idea how to feel about the direction the team should take, nor do I feel strongly for any candidate in particular. Does Anthopoulos look for his own Joe Maddon (you have no clue how it pains me to type that), or shoot for a "name" guy with big-league managing experience? Look to hire a bench boss who will accept input from the front office, or hand the reins over completely?

Much has been made of the team interviewing the flamboyant Bobby Valentine, and with the Mariners apparently zeroing in on another potential Jays candidate, Eric Wedge, the internets might just blow right the fuck up with speculation.

And what of the "Cito Recommends" group? Do we have to take this seriously? Does Anthopoulos? Don Baylor? Juan Samuel? Really?

Or how about the "hidden gem" department, which basically includes every bench coach in the major leagues?

Or the internal candidate group, including Butterfield, Leyva, Rivera, and Fasano?

(Hang on, I'm going somewhere with this. Really.)

But wait - we still have the "once managed in the bigs and looking for another crack at it" genre.

And the "somehow affiliated with the Red Sox, so they must be good" category.

If you're getting the impression that I'm worried AA might be casting his net a little too wide, you might be correct. I'm all for due diligence (finance nerd), but it seems to me that Anthopoulos runs the risk of missing out on candidates - like we've already seen with Wedge - as a result of ensuring seemingly everyone and anyone with interest is interviewed.

But again, I just don't know. You'd think I'd feel strongly one way or the other - Valentine! Butterfield! Martinez! - but I don't. Speaking in the vaguest of terms, I suppose I'd like to see a bright baseball mind willing to accede some decision making control to the front office (specifically, with regards to the coaching staff) with fresh (but not batshit crazy tinkering) ideas on how to run a ball club. Is that too much to ask?

.... and about the playoffs
If you can't get into Roy Halladay vs Tim Lincecum, I question your genetic makeup as a baseball fan.

Oh, and fuck the Yankees.


Steve G. said...

Hiring a manager is just such a crapshoot :/ Terry Francona in Boston and Dusty Baker in Cincy seemed like horrible hires at the time. Baker has been good through one year though, and unless you're a talk radio nut, Francona has done really well as Red Sox manager.

Meanwhile, Trey Hillman said all the right things in his early years with the Royals, and then did a horrible job. Eric Wedge always seemed to underperform year after year with the Indians, even if he was a nice dude. (Also, when he was still playing and finishing up his career with the Pawtucket Red Sox, he signed a baseball for me.)

Tao of Stieb said...

At the risk of getting put back in my place (again), I'm in no way a fan of Wedge. I think he oversaw a good group of players and steered them into a cliff towards the end of his tenure.

And I don't care how well Bobby Jones and Rick Reed pitched for Bobby Valentine.

Don Baylor is a retread. Leyva is a crony and has never demonstrated much of anything aside for the ability to stand next to The (Former) Manager.

Blair says on his new radio program that Butterfield is already gone to Baltimore to work with Buck Showalter.

And Sal Fasano? Don't be ridiculous.

So...where does this leave us?

NO to Bobby V. NO to Eric Wedge. NOOO to Baylor, Samuel, Leyva or Fasano.

Dave Martinez actually intrigues us the more that we think about it, and we loved seeing him in Joe Maddon's ear throughout that ALDS.

Not that he's the candidate of choice necessarily. But we're starting to get a good vibe off him.

Ty said...

I read yesterday that Luis Rivera said the Jays told him he didn't get the job, and Bobby V also said he doesn't expect to hear back from them. So they're interviewing a lot of people, but at least they're being pretty straightforward and quick with the guys they don't want.

Speaking of guys they don't want, Baylor was dismissed as Rockies hitting coach yesterday and given the very Cito-like title of 'Special Assistant to the GM'... Here's hoping he stays over there.

The Ack said...

At the risk of Leyva-ing Tao's comment, I pretty much agree. I do wonder, though, if I seem to be leaning towards the Dave Martinez's of the baseball world only because they're all shiny & new. After all, the Sox haven't done too bad with "retread at the time" Tito Francona....

Darren Priest said...

Is Grady Little available?

plain_g said...

can i interject here to ask if anyone thinks aa is in on the greinke sweepstakes?

Darren Priest said...

I hope they'll at least give Phil Wellmen an interview. He deserves that much.

The Ack said...

^^ I don't want to say too much, that's part 2 of my *planned* weekend blogging. But have at it....

Jim Briggs said...

I know the Bobby V dig was directed at this corner, but I think it's more rational to say that his antics are detrimental than to say he can't manage (I watched a lot of Mets ball back in his day and thought he did a fine job for that shitshow of an organization).

The Rick Reed/Bobby Jones note was less about those guys in particular (I doubt he had much to do with their performances), and more about the fact that he did more in NY with less talent than the Jays have right now, at least on the pitching end.

Given that it doesn't sound like Valentine is in the mix, I think I'll still be happy with whomever they hire, in much agreement with most of the rest of your "NO" list (no Samuel, Baylor, Leyva and Fasano - I think Fasano could be a good MLB manager someday, but not right now).

I also wonder if some of the interviewing they're doing isn't to vet out some potential options for managerial staff given the likely departure of at least a few of these guys (Butters, Leyva, hopefully not Murphy). Rivera, Fasano, other organizational guys and outsiders looking for promotion might account for this large list, were that the case.

Jim Briggs said...

@Steve G: I trust Dusty Baker about as far as I can throw him if he's working with a young pitching staff. He pretty much sabotaged the careers of Prior and Wood.

Darren Priest said...

Grienke would be an awesome addition, but I shudder to think of who the Jays would have to give up for him.

Hurley said...

I just hope this process doesn't drag on for too long. I'm all for being thorough, but if the reports about 200+ candidates are to be believed, I think that's going a little far. Are there even 200 Major League capable potential managers out there?

Here's hoping they get this done at a minimum before the winter meetings.

Jim Briggs said...

I'm sure the conversation would begin with Drabek and probably 1-2 other top-shelf prospects. Anyone thinking they'd get Greinke for the likes of Jeroloman, Rzep and Escobar would be delusional.

I wonder how well-regarded any of the past two years' draft picks are, and if they would be in the mix in such a conversation...

Jim Briggs said...

@Hurley I think AA said World Series is their deadline.

Tao of Stieb said...


I actually don't think that Bobby V is a bad tactical manager. It's just that he's a guy who sucks up a lot of the oxygen out of the room, and I'm not sure that's what this team needs.

Also, go back and look at those Mets teams. They had huge payrolls and were stacked with veterans.

As for Greinke: I have a feeling that the Royals are going to look for their Halladay payday, and I wouldn't be willing to give that up for a guy who has had one great season and some spectacular flame-out moments.

(Not to be insensitive...but I'm just not totally sure how long he keeps his stuff together.)

On the other hand, if you could do it for prospects who were not at the top of your list, maybe you consider it.

Darren Priest said...

I agree, Tao, I'm not keen on emptying the pantry for Grienke. With Rogers' money, they should just sign Lee.

Darren Priest said...

I can see Grienke being similar to Jeff Weaver in his next stop. Here's hoping the Sawx or Yanks overpay for him.

Jim Briggs said...

Agreed. Would not break the bank for Greinke, considering this team's timetable. Why deal your young horses when one of them could turn out to be as good as or better than Greinke?

@Tao - wouldn't confuse the Mets' spending for loaded teams, necessarily. They've always had the fat wallet but they also always get suckered into lots of bad / unwise / unlucky deals. I think they were still paying for Bobby Bo back then. What a mess!

I always appreciated Johnny O's contributions there (if I had a Jays only blog I'd figure out a way to get "Olerud" into the title). Their pitching was pretty suspect to me back then and it's even moreso when I look at it. They really rode Piazza, a few hot hands and a few really good role players during their best years.

Anyway, doesn't look like it'll be Bobby V, which should make the discussion moot. I do hope that whomever they hire is allowed some breathing room and is someone the fans will get behind. The team absolutely needs some air in the tires.