It's all about pitching, stupid.
People love to fictitiously trade an arm for a bat. Multiple arms, even, for one big middle of the lineup guy. But if there is one thing that we can learn from the Giants' rather tidy disposal of two of baseball's most potent offenses, it's that good pitching will win out in the end. (So don't go trading Tim Lincecum for Alex Rios, or anything silly like that.1)
Whatever happens to the mish-mosh of other players around them, Lincecum/Cain/Bumgarner/Sanchez look like they can keep this team in contention for years to come. And if we're trying to apply this lesson to our own team, let's just say that we're going to pull back on the Marcum or Drabek deals for some .840 OPSing first baseman. For now, anyways.
Slaughter your sacred cows
The Giants left their highest paid player off the playoff roster; they kept a big late season acquisition of the roster for understandable reasons; they left a guy making $13.6 Million on the bench, as though he were some scrappy super sub; their big offseason acquistion bare sniffed the sea air in the Bay; and they benched a player in the middle of the playoffs who is supposed to be a cornerstone of the franchise's future success.
Maybe a couple of years with The Manager has us subconciously buying into the orthodoxy, but we found the way the Bruce Bochy managed his roster to be pretty ballsy throughout the playoffs. And it reminds us that the notion that the Jays "have to" play Lind or Hill or Wells everyday because they've already commited financially to do so is a bit of a false argument that we trick ourselves into.
You can find a lot of help out there for not much
The Giants got Cody Ross (maybe their best offensive player through the postseason) for nothing. They also pulled Pat Burrell off the reclamation heap, and signed Aubrey Huff for a below market contract. If you need to find pieces to supplement the team's core, you can find guys who are low-risk to come in and fill in.
Deeper depth with take you deep
All those extra bodies that the Giants brought in this year resulted in a bench packed with guys who many would consider everyday players, and a lot of additional arms in the bullpen. We give credit to Bochy for using his resources well, but he also had a lot to work with.
Depth has generally been a strength in recent years for the Jays, but we're just reminding ourselves not to think that we can empty the bench of any remaining talent in order to package up for some dreamboat acquisition, or to make room for the prospect of the week.
Closers are funny, so don't take them so seriously
Take Kevin Gregg: Add one or two miles per hour on the fastball, and trade the goggles for a silly mohawk and a sillier beard, and you've pretty much got postseason hero Brian Wilson. Wilson's modus operandi was pretty much the same as Gregg's throughout the season: Throw down and off the plate, and hope that you gets calls or swings. For Gregg, it resulted in a few walk-a-thons in tight spots, and more than his share of blown saves.
But given that Mariano Rivera isn't walking through that door, the Jays could do much worse than going back to Gregg for another year, right?
So that's what we've taken away from this...and you? And feel free to tell us how wrong we are.
***1. That was never going to happen. We probably shouldn't even bring it up. It only encourages a completely false line of argument. But if you feel compelled, please, go ahead and tell us why J.P. Ricciardi was deficient for not making this trade happen, even though Brian Sabean was never THAT dumb.