I'm going to be completely honest with you here, friends.
I have no idea where I'm going with this post. Inspiration in these (what's the opposite of dog days?) of winter isn't exactly found with a simple Google news search of 'Toronto Blue Jays'. You'll get articles on shoo-in Hall of Famer Robbie Alomar, "news" of the Octavio Dotel signing, and articles about how these young Jays aren't ready to go all-in just yet (because constructing a contender is exactly like a poker hand).
So let's kick around the Dotel bit. What to make of it? I don't know. As I'm sure you've noticed if you've been paying attention - and I certainly won't hold it against you if you haven't been - I'm really neither here nor there with it. It seems like a carbon-copy replica transaction of the team-friendly Kevin Gregg exploit signing: reel in a middling "name" relief arm close enough to compensation status on a one-year deal, hoping for a best & likely scenario of reasonable performance resulting in a freebie Type-B sandwich pick. And if The Player sucks, decline the option and/or don't offer arb.
Worked well enough for Kevin Gregg, who has recently roped the OriLoLes - oh, those silly little Orioles - into a potential $16-$20 million dollar contract. You read that right. Lest this curious vesting option not come through for ol' Kev, it's still $10M guaranteed. You're welcome, Gregg.
And while Dotel might just come with even scarier numbers - and not the good scary - from the season prior, ask any Cubs fan how they felt about "losing" Kevin Gregg. Let me tell you - I know one or two, and they were downright giddy. It was embarrassing for me.
So it worked before. And it might just work again. But let me tell you something else - I'm starting to get juuuust a little leery of the whole "let's exploit the free agency compensation system and collect draft picks at the expense of signing premium players" strategy. Admittedly, the bullpen is as good a place as any to work the system. And perhaps signing the veteran allows the Jays to groom an in-house arm - a hard throwing youngster not seen as a future rotation piece - as the next great Jays closer. That would be, to me, the ideal.
But at some point, roster construction has to be about more than hoarding picks to strengthen the system. Those assets must be parlayed into a stronger major league roster - be it via trade or free agency. That time will come, of that I remain confident. Even if it's become apparent that it isn't going to be this year.