It's been a bit of a surprise to us how many people we've heard complaining about the Jays' decision to let John Buck take his talents to South Beach. (Of course, we don't generally listen to call in sports talk radio, and this weekend we caught up on a bunch of podcasts of the Jeff Blair Show. Which was a pretty fair immersion into this now foreign territory.)
If there are any of you who are somehow harbouring your crush on John Buck, and having a hard time letting go, let us make three simple points to you.
1. The contract that John Buck got is stupid.
Three years at $6 Million per annum for a catcher who had a pretty good year? There's no way the Jays should have gone anywhere near numbers like that. (We'd have offered two at $3M/year at the most.) If your argument for keeping Buck in any way hinges around the notion of the Jays getting him for less money or fewer years, you have to stop yourself right there and give yourself and "F" in Economics. Also, if the Jays went into next season with John Buck making more money than Hill ($5 M) or Lind ($5.15 M), we'd assume that this was the beginning of a series of sadly-comic self-destructive moves leading to a decade-long demise of the team's fortunes (i.e., The Gord Ash Plan).
2. John Buck is getting old and breaking down.
Buck equaled his career high in games played last year, after a couple of partial seasons due to injuries. But don't forget that the man squats behind the plate, and has spent more than 5600 innings taking foul tips into his body, and getting run over at the plate, and progressively wearing away at his knees. He's a 30 year-old catcher, and while we wish him well, we can't imagine that he gets through three years unscathed, nor does he equal the numbers that he put up last year.
3. John Buck was only kind of an All-Star.
"How do you just let an All-Star just walk?" You let him walk if he was the best of a shallow pool of AL catchers who were available after Victor Martinez became unavailable due to injury. Let's not make it out like he was Mike Piazza in his prime.