Sunday, August 1, 2010

Deadline dud.....or was it?

Well, that was that. MLB's 2010 non-waiver trade deadline has come and gone and I'm still trying to process how I feel about what happened with the Jays.....and I'm quite certain I'm not the only one in this boat. I was conservative with my own expectations, thinking one, maybe two bullpen arms (Downs, Gregg, Frasor) would be on the move, with an outside shot at a position player being dealt (Bautista, Buck, Overbay).

So what happened? Apart from "nothing", I mean. Are the Jays better off having left the roster intact? Or does the lack of movement rate as an opportunity missed? I'm going to be honest with you here, friends. I still don't know.

Deadline Good
I'm still firmly of the belief that Anthopoulos' strategy of targeting high-end, "game-changer" talent is the only way to build towards a long-term competitive club. The new regime will not deal for the sake of dealing, hording fringey prospects in the hope one might beat the odds and develop into a plus-regular at the major league level. And evidently, based on the fact that no deals were made, those were the types of players being offered. Hey Cashman - thanks for the call-back, but it's a top-10 guy or nothin'. Same for you, Theo. No favours for that little Nation of yours.

Opposing clubs are still, apparently, of the belief the Jays should act as a feeder club for the big-boy organizations, and just be happy they're taking portions of contract monies owed off their hands in exchange for warm bodies. By not budging and rolling the dice on expected compensation picks (and backing it up with spending on said draft - see 2010), this new Jays management regime is serving notice that their hands most definitely are not tied, and status quo no longer exists.

And hey - do we even have the right to complain that the team will remain competitive to close out the season by holding onto the major league talent? It's going to be a bad thing to watch Jose Bautista chase the home run title? You want to be stressed out watching Jesse Carlson pitch the 8th instead of Scott Downs? This has been an entertaining club this season, and figures to remain as such for the duration.

Deadline Bad
.....but I can't shake the following feeling: the Jays were motivated sellers, with assets in demand and eminently movable...and nothing got done. I do take comfort in the knowledge that players not traded will, in all likelihood, be rolled into compensation picks, during a draft year which talent evaluators promise has a deep, talented pool of players.

But that's also the catch - those compensatory picks won't produce major league players for two, three, maybe four seasons. That's if they develop into major leaguers at all. Dealing for prospects eliminates some of that doubt, and reduces the wait for expected MLB arrival.

Has the timeline for competitiveness been pushed back? Anthopoulos claims it hasn't, but coupled with the Wallace-Gose certainly hasn't been advanced. And regarding those comp picks....are we sure about those?

Scott Downs seems fairly certain to decline arbitration (doesn't he?), but, oddly enough, Jason Frasor continuing to pitch well and maintaining his type-A status might be the worst thing that could happen to the organization. Frasor might want to have a little chat with Juan Cruz about that whole arbitration decision. Bit of a pickle for Jays fans with this one. "Pitch well, Sausage King! Whoa whoa whoa! Not that well!"

And what of development? How does JP Arencibia see any meaningful at-bats down the stretch with All-Star John Buck holding it down? Or is he the org's next Brett Wallace? And with Lyle Overbay remaining the everyday first baseman - gotta give the guy a chance to earn another contract, right? - how does Adam Lind get comfortable at the position he's now expected to start at in 2011? Again, these are all difficult questions to answer, since as fans, we should want to see the best players play everyday.....but at what cost?

I still have confidence that Anthopoulos is building a winner. I know, long-term, he has a vision for the club and will work tirelessly towards building that winner. There's a part of me that thinks just maaaaybe he had a few too many balls in the air today, and they all came crashing down at 4 PM EST. But if the right deals weren't there, they just weren't there.

Seems simple enough, but I still can't quite figure it all out.


Brad Fullmer Fan said...

The Jays really aren't that far away from contending and could probably do so if they committed themselves to that idea this offseason.

These decisions to stockpile draft picks don't really push them back at all.

Anonymous said...

Damn, Ack. I was seriously just thinking about how I hoped you had a post this weekend. I check Twitter, and there it is. Just like clockwork.

I was hoping for a move or two, but I'm ok with the team as it is. Yunel was a very solid return on a marginal investment... there are VERY few opportunities like that. Best "rumor" I heard was Sanchez from SF... isn't pitching a strength? How many young pitchers do we need? Give RickRo, Marcum, Cecil, Zep, Morrow, et al another few months to grow, and I think we're good.

Kinda sad and disappointed for the MiLB relievers, but I think they'll be up next year. Cut Gregg loose and give those guys a shot. Tallet must go.

Mostly pleased that Bautista is still around. Lock this guy up for a couple years. Newborn leader. He won't repeat this years performance, but... maybe? He likes T.O, and the team and fans like him. He's the new core of the core.

William J. Tasker said...

AA received praise from most big-time evaluators for sticking to his guns on what he wanted for his relievers. Nothing bad about stockpiling draft picks. And nothing bad about sticking to your values on getting quality returns for your investments.

I'm really glad they kept Bautista and unlike Anon, I think he can repeat his success next year.

MJK said...

nice post. both sides are reasonably laid out.

at some point the Jays will have to switch from rebuilding mode to competing mode. once they make that switch they can't go back, since competing means committing to a sufficient payroll and hanging on to your improving players by rewarding them for recent performance. there's no point in spending unless you're willing to keep spending.

the Sox and Phillies have shown that you can keep building your farm system while spending on FAs and trading to fill holes. there is no reason the Jays can't do this as well. this off season will be telling, as the major holes in the line-up (3B, 1B, DH, upper-middle rotation starter) are always available on the free agent market.

the thing that bugs me right now is that this is supposed to be a development year. who needs developing right now?

- Lind at 1B
- anyone from the minors at 3B, or Hill at 3B
- Arencibia at C
- Snider at the plate
- Purcey as a closer

all of these goals will be set back as a result of the non-moves. AA doesn't seem to have put a value on development when deciding to retain Buck, Downs, Gregg etc.

Anonymous said...

Amazing you summarized my thoughts exactly, except more succinctly and eloquently.
I would have also like to see JPA get his MLB career started and Lind at 1st (if that is the plan).
BFF you need to stop quoting that article. 1) Wins on the field are the only ones that matter.
2) The teams above us are all in our division so that really doesn't help for the post-season dos it?

The Ack said...

Yeah, mike in boston, it's the "delayed development" thing that I can't seem to get past. Tough to envision the Jays really making a run at it starting in 2011 while breaking in a new catcher (assuming?), having Lind learn 1B, no legit 3B (unless JoBau?), etc. Not impossible, but seems the last few months of '10 would have been a good start to getting a jump on that.

At the same time, loading up the farm and drafting young, high-end talent, as is AA's want, is always exciting, so the deadline as it played out is not all downside.

One more thing confused me....following twitter as the drama progressed, it seemd the Jays were targeting Jonathan Sanchez from the Giants. Another SP? I know you can never have enough pitching....but at some point, I figured AA would be cashing in the existing surplus for positional talent. Not the other way around.

If nothing else, it should make for another interesting offseason...

Darren Priest said...

Great post, Ack. I'm surprised at the lack of moves, but AA has already built up my confidence. He's got plenty of rope. (I'm sure he'll be relieved to hear that.)

Mylegacy said...

During AA's chat with Wilner yesterday he mentioned Mel Queen had seen Aaron Snachez our 1st supplemental pick (34th overall) pitch in the GCL and Mel said he was "better than Carpenter." Mel is the pitching guru that worked with Chris and Roy - if he's that high on him we've a winner.

Anonymous said...

Well, if there was ever a year to hold out for draft picks, this was it. You can't underestimate what a strong draft can do for the farm system.

I don't want to be a dick, but does Overbay pick balls out of the dirt anymore? I've seen him drop a few lately. He doesn't look fundamentally sound when he's doing it. It's like watching a goalie or something weird.

Brad Fullmer Fan said...

BFF you need to stop quoting that article. 1) Wins on the field are the only ones that matter.

True, but they aren't better predictors of future success at all.

Steve G. said...

I kind of question whether teams can stockpile draft picks anymore. A lot of teams are savvy to the compensation picks, and I doubt any of them are going to sacrifice a first-round pick to sign the Immortal Jason Frasor.

I also subscribe to the KLaw viewpoint that there is some value in having the guy in your system and signed, as opposed to playing the draft crapshoot. If there is a guy out there that you want, better to go after him than hoping you get something better in the draft, due to the development delay.

And finally, I don't think AA should hold out for Top 10 prospects from the Yankees or Red Sox. The Yankees might have done that when George still had day-to-day control of the team, and the Sox might have done that before Epstein took over. Since then, both have shown themselves pretty immune to "panic" trades, so simply saying, "Montero or Iglesias for Downs or else!" isn't exactly smart or reasonable negotiating.