Toronto Blue Jays Fan Dilemma

Jays Journal was invited to the “State of the Franchise” address in order to take part in what could really be the turning point in franchise history. Well, the second turning point after the first pair of World series we took in the early 90s. Sadly, I was forced to decline and am unsure as to whether Jared and/or Scott will be able to attend, as I am currently on course in Winnipeg, earning my Wings in the Royal Canadian Air Force.

However, as I sat back after letting the Jays brass know that I couldn’t attend the event, I was faced with the same dilemma that every single Jays fan out there is forced to face every day of 2012. The dilemma is simple ans is as follows: we know the team is getting better and is close to something special, the questions are, how close and how special? That, my friends, is the Toronto Blue Jays Fan Dilemma.

As most MLB fans know, Alex Anthopoulos has been one of the, if not the, hardest working GMs in all of MLB for the last 2 years. That’s why you almost always see the Jays being linked to every single FA or trade rumor out there, he just seems to be involved in – or is suspected of being involved in everything.

Here’s what we know for certain. The Jays have 2 cornerstone pieces in Jose Bautista and Brett Lawrie that other teams would kill to have. That duo alone makes the Jays a formidable team. We also know the Jays have one of the most under-rated pitching aces in MLB in Ricky Romero, and a newly-found closer in Sergio Santos that should help curtail the many late inning losses the Jays were submitted to in 2011.

We also know that help, and not the low-end kind, is on the way. From Travis d’Arnaud to Deck McGuire, the Jays could be the few AL East clubs actually holding players back so that they can give their in-house guys a chance to heighten their trade values. For example, do you give Travis Snider many ABs in order to get a better sense of where he stands, or do you call up Anthony Gose half-way through the season and trade Travis Snider for the value he builds in AAA? Such are the issues the Jays GM will have to work though as much of his built up talent gets close to being MLB ready.

Even for the Jays GM, it’s a dilemma.

This is just a hunch and one that is base solely on observations of recent Jays deals, but I have a feeling that the Jays GM will be eager and willing to deal much of his in-house talent for top-end controllable talent. Just as he has acquired Colby Rasmus and Sergio Santos by dealing pieces which didn’t seem critical to Jays success, he will be on the hunt for similar pieces in 2012. What that tells me, in all honesty, is that if the Jays are in contention in 2012 by the time the all-star break comes around, Alex Anthopoulos may have more ammunition than ever to bring the Jays to the next level through a wily deal or two.

But, as a Jays fan, how do you brag about that when talking to other MLB fans?

You can’t. All you can do, is sit and wait and point to the future as being a very, very bright one for the Toronto Blue Jays.

And thus stands the Toronto Blue Jays dilemma. How do you get behind a team that could go either way? Do you really believe the Jays ARE a playoff contending team for 2012? Or, do you simply contend that they have enough to be competitive and could become more competitive if the GM makes the right move or two?

Personally, I’m under the impression that the Jays are really on the cusp of something special. How special remains to be seen, and is part of the Jays fan dilemma, just how improved will this squad be? However, I know one thing for certain: there is more talent bubbling to the surface in the Jays organization than ever before, and to me, that’s more important than anything else.

Drew Hutchison, Deck McGuire, Chad Jenkins, Adeiny Hechavarria, Anthony Gose, Moises Sierra, Travis d’Arnaud, Michael McDade, and many others are just itching to get a chance to prove themselves as they sit atop the charts of one of the top 5 minor league systems in all of MLB. Few franchises have comparable talents to what the Jays have from LoA to AAA. Does this mean the Jays will be able to count on them in 2012? Who knows? Who knew how Eric Thames would react to more playing time in MLB in 2012? Who knew that Henderson Alvarez would make the jump to MLB in order to put himself solidly in place for a rotation spot in 2012?

The truth of it all is that nobody knows for certain.

Aside from players who are incoming to help the current Jays regulars, I also know this for certain: the Jays and their fan base are both energized and looking for the results to prove what they already know, that something special, very special, is brewing in Toronto.

As I sit back here in Winnipeg, awaiting my next flight on the Gonzo, a Dash 8 military aircraft we use for training purposes, all I can think about is the Toronto Blue Jays and how soon they may win another championship. Do I brag about it and hype up the Jays to my friends? Not at all. I believe that the best way for Jays fans to settle the dilemma of how competitive the Jays will be in 2012 is to let the 2012 Toronto Blue Jays do the talking for them, on the field and unquestionably.

Anything else Jays fans do or say just doesn’t hold water until results warrant it. And there, my friends, lies the whole source of the Toronto Blue Jays fan dilemma. Until results are shown to the entire world, all of the work done by Alex Anthopoulos and how great it is becomes here-say.

The Toronto Blue Jays fan dilemma will continue, until the Toronto Blue Jays put up a championship….or two.

-MG

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  • johnwsimpson

    I’ll pick some nits, because…..well shit, it’s late January, what else am I gonna do

    Ricky Romero is hardly an ace. Is he the number one pitcher on our staff? Probably, that could be debated. But we don’t have a Kershaw or a Verlander or a Halladay, and it’s misleading to suggest we do by throwing the word ace around.

    I think it’s also misleading to suggest that some of these prospects are banging on the door. To pick only three examples, Gose’s bat remains a work in progress, Hecchvarria’s doesn’t exist, and I think it’s a stretch to call Deck McGuire high end help, when recent reports profile his ceiling as back end of the rotation.

  • Jays131946

    @johnwsimpson How is ricky not an ace. Sorry if a sub 3 era isnt good enough. And nobody is justin verlander except verlander and if therse only one of him then that means that he can only be on one team… Any way deck isnt gonna be an ace but he can be a solid 4th starter and an innings eater. The jays have better starters in the minors then him. Whatever your opinion is the jays look good for the future

  • johnwsimpson

    I’ll pick some nits, because…..well shit, it’s late January, what else am I gonna do

    Ricky Romero is hardly an ace. Is he the number one pitcher on our staff? Probably, that could be debated. But we don’t have a Kershaw or a Verlander or a Halladay, and it’s misleading to suggest we do by throwing the word ace around.

    I think it’s also misleading to suggest that some of these prospects are banging on the door. To pick only three examples, Gose’s bat remains a work in progress, Hecchvarria’s doesn’t exist, and I think it’s a stretch to call Deck McGuire high end help, when recent reports profile his ceiling as back end of the rotation.

  • TimShepherd

    Thanks for the post Matt and for your service to your country. Good luck on getting your wings.

  • Jays131946

    @johnwsimpson How is ricky not an ace. Sorry if a sub 3 era isnt good enough. And nobody is justin verlander except verlander and if therse only one of him then that means that he can only be on one team… Any way deck isnt gonna be an ace but he can be a solid 4th starter and an innings eater. The jays have better starters in the minors then him. Whatever your opinion is the jays look good for the future

  • RonB.Rown

    @johnwsimpson Romero is an ace. Are there better-performing aces? Sure. But it is unambiguous that he is an ace and the ace of the Toronto staff. Pitching aces are characterized by being the top pitcher in the rotation and in the 1st rotation slot. Some ambiguity might come in when 1) the number one slot pitcher isn’t particularly good, 2) is possibly not the best starter on the team, and/or 3) significantly lacks experience (e.g., if Stephen Strasburg didn’t get injured and had began the 2011 season as ace, it mighta looked odd because he only had 2 months of MLB experience to begin the season). If a pitcher isn’t particularly good and it is obvious that he was sort of shoehorned into the number 1 slot due to a lack of better options, it might seem artificial to call the pitcher an actual ace. Romero does not fall in this category; he is particularly good. Compared to other aces, is he among the top 5? No. But he holds his own. He is also unambiguously the best starting pitcher on the team, so no iffiness there. Lastly, he’s got the most experience as a starter on the rotation. He’s not yet a veteran, but he’s surely no longer a rookie, as he is entering his 4th full season.

  • RonB.Rown

    @johnwsimpson Just looking up some league leader stats. Here are some of Romero’s rankings among starters in all of MLB: ERA – 14th (2.92); IP – 12th (225); AVG against – 8th (.216); WHIP – 16th (1.14); OBP – 25th (.296); OPS: 27th (.662). Even in the latter categories where he was in the mid-high 20s, there were pitchers who we incontrovertibly recognize as aces behind him – e.g., Sabathia, Carpenter. Based on these rankings, one could reasonably assume that Ricky is something like the 18-20th best starter in baseball. Even if we say that he over-performed and will regress somewhat, we could still say he’s in the low-mid 20s. Given that some teams have more than one top-20 pitcher on their staff, even a rank of say 22 would put him in the middle of the pack among slot-1 pitchers. Legitimate ace.

  • TimShepherd

    Thanks for the post Matt and for your service to your country. Good luck on getting your wings.

  • RonB.Rown

    @johnwsimpson Romero is an ace. Are there better-performing aces? Sure. But it is unambiguous that he is an ace and the ace of the Toronto staff. Pitching aces are characterized by being the top pitcher in the rotation and in the 1st rotation slot. Some ambiguity might come in when 1) the number one slot pitcher isn’t particularly good, 2) is possibly not the best starter on the team, and/or 3) significantly lacks experience (e.g., if Stephen Strasburg didn’t get injured and had began the 2011 season as ace, it mighta looked odd because he only had 2 months of MLB experience to begin the season). If a pitcher isn’t particularly good and it is obvious that he was sort of shoehorned into the number 1 slot due to a lack of better options, it might seem artificial to call the pitcher an actual ace. Romero does not fall in this category; he is particularly good. Compared to other aces, is he among the top 5? No. But he holds his own. He is also unambiguously the best starting pitcher on the team, so no iffiness there. Lastly, he’s got the most experience as a starter on the rotation. He’s not yet a veteran, but he’s surely no longer a rookie, as he is entering his 4th full season.

  • RonB.Rown

    @johnwsimpson Just looking up some league leader stats. Here are some of Romero’s rankings among starters in all of MLB: ERA – 14th (2.92); IP – 12th (225); AVG against – 8th (.216); WHIP – 16th (1.14); OBP – 25th (.296); OPS: 27th (.662). Even in the latter categories where he was in the mid-high 20s, there were pitchers who we incontrovertibly recognize as aces behind him – e.g., Sabathia, Carpenter. Based on these rankings, one could reasonably assume that Ricky is something like the 18-20th best starter in baseball. Even if we say that he over-performed and will regress somewhat, we could still say he’s in the low-mid 20s. Given that some teams have more than one top-20 pitcher on their staff, even a rank of say 22 would put him in the middle of the pack among slot-1 pitchers. Legitimate ace.

  • tmehl

    Hello there,

    I would like to introduce myself first: I am Thomas from Berlin/Germany. I have been a Jays fan since my US-American friend introduced me to Baseball during the great George Bell days :-)

    I even spent a High-School year in upstate New York to watch some Jays games but then the players went on strike. But since my friend is from the Bay Area I was able to attend some A´s/Giants games and what struck me the most was, how dull and boring the atmosphere in the stadiums was. I am a huge footbal fan (European stye) and in football each club has supporters clubs, which create banners, flags, choreographies and most importantly: songs. In Dortmund the supporters created about 60 songs about their team which they sing more or less frequently. There is a 80.000 stadium with 55.000 seats for the rich and 25.000 standing fans under one roof, who create a skin-creaving(it gives you goosebumps) atmosphere game in and out. Each team has an “anthem” which is alwayssung when the players enter.

    So what can the Jays fans do? Create atmosphere. Join a supporters club, make banners, create songs, find out who is responsible for the music at the RC (Skydome) and ask them to play the songs through the Jumbotron (maybe with lyrics at first so that everyone can sing along) and then with time you don`t need the Jumbotron anymore and the fans create the atmosphere an their on.

    Thanks alot for your great articles about the Jays, I enjoy them alot, although I have the feeling that the articles are sometime a bit too rosy.

  • tmehl

    Hello there,

    I would like to introduce myself first: I am Thomas from Berlin/Germany. I have been a Jays fan since my US-American friend introduced me to Baseball during the great George Bell days :-)

    I even spent a High-School year in upstate New York to watch some Jays games but then the players went on strike. But since my friend is from the Bay Area I was able to attend some A´s/Giants games and what struck me the most was, how dull and boring the atmosphere in the stadiums was. I am a huge footbal fan (European stye) and in football each club has supporters clubs, which create banners, flags, choreographies and most importantly: songs. In Dortmund the supporters created about 60 songs about their team which they sing more or less frequently. There is a 80.000 stadium with 55.000 seats for the rich and 25.000 standing fans under one roof, who create a skin-creaving(it gives you goosebumps) atmosphere game in and out. Each team has an “anthem” which is alwayssung when the players enter.

    So what can the Jays fans do? Create atmosphere. Join a supporters club, make banners, create songs, find out who is responsible for the music at the RC (Skydome) and ask them to play the songs through the Jumbotron (maybe with lyrics at first so that everyone can sing along) and then with time you don`t need the Jumbotron anymore and the fans create the atmosphere an their on.

    Thanks alot for your great articles about the Jays, I enjoy them alot, although I have the feeling that the articles are sometime a bit too rosy.

  • JustinBeach

    Personally I’m not all that concerned. There is no telling, for sure, how individual players will perform but I can’t imagine this year’s team being worse than last years team. When you’re rebuilding, from within, that’s what you hope for – that you get better each year. Alvarez, Drabek, Morrow, Romero, Arencibia, Lawrie, Thames and Snider have more experience under their belts, the bullpen is stronger and regardless of what you think of individual prospects there is a small army of them coming along. They’ve had the off-season to work with guys like Johnson, Lind and Rasmus to try to find the holes and get they playing to their potential. At the very least by the All Star break the Jays will have a better idea of what they have and where the holes are. The impression I get, and what I hope for, is that the Jays are not trying to build a playoff contender this year – that they are trying to build a team that can contend year after year for the foreseeable future. As long as the team keeps getting better, I’m willing to be patient. (There are also the ongoing rumors that the Jays passed on Fielder, in part, because they are going to try to bring Joey Votto home to Toronto at some point this year.)

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  • JustinBeach

    Personally I’m not all that concerned. There is no telling, for sure, how individual players will perform but I can’t imagine this year’s team being worse than last years team. When you’re rebuilding, from within, that’s what you hope for – that you get better each year. Alvarez, Drabek, Morrow, Romero, Arencibia, Lawrie, Thames and Snider have more experience under their belts, the bullpen is stronger and regardless of what you think of individual prospects there is a small army of them coming along. They’ve had the off-season to work with guys like Johnson, Lind and Rasmus to try to find the holes and get they playing to their potential. At the very least by the All Star break the Jays will have a better idea of what they have and where the holes are. The impression I get, and what I hope for, is that the Jays are not trying to build a playoff contender this year – that they are trying to build a team that can contend year after year for the foreseeable future. As long as the team keeps getting better, I’m willing to be patient. (There are also the ongoing rumors that the Jays passed on Fielder, in part, because they are going to try to bring Joey Votto home to Toronto at some point this year.)

  • JaysJournal

    @RonB.Rown @johnwsimpson Well stated Ron! Entirely agree.

  • JaysJournal

    @TimShepherd Thanks Tim!

  • johnwsimpson

    @RonB.Rown @johnwsimpson One could spend all day cooking up definitions for how good one has to be to deserve the title ace. My point is not to do this, but to comment on the fact that the label ace, regardless of how you would LIKE to define it, or what you would LIKE it to mean, carries the connotation of pitcher cut from a finer cloth than Ricky Romero. Is Ricky good? Yep. Is he under-rated? Almost surely. Is he Cliff Lee yet? Nope. So in the broad context of this piece of writing, I still consider the statement misleading.

  • JaysJournal

    @johnwsimpson There are a lot of assumptions in your reply John. And you know what they say happens when you ass-u-me….

    Hech and Gose continue to be misunderstood by most. Gose put up good stats playing 2 levels higher than Jake Marisnick even though both are the same age, yet, people pick on his SOs. Give him a break, will ya? How well would HE have hit in Lansing? I’m fairly certain that adding someone like Gose, who will be an all-star caliber CF defender (within top 3 best range + best CF arm in MLB when he gets there, no questions asked) and his speed to the lineup will automatically bring the Jays a lot of what they’ve been looking for. His D in centre will make all Jays pitchers better, and his SB abilities will drive opponents nuts.

    Yes, Gose needs more seasoning as he is very young, but I do believe that Jays fans and others continue to under rate the impact he’ll have on the club when he arrives. Both he and d’Arnaud could arrive at some point in 2012, but are likely to be major cogs in the team taking another step forward in 2013.

    As for Hechavarria, he has done better each time he’s been promoted and also has more range than any Jays regular infielder has had since Tony Fernandez and Roberto Alomar patrolled that area. He’ll likely hit 9th, meaning that his bat doesn’t need to be all that potent for his to add value to the lineup. So long as he hits more than John McDonald did, he’ll be fine.

    And your argument about Deck McGuire is….ugh. Only a Jays fan can complain about a pitcher with a #4 floor and #3 ceiling since we’re flush with potential high end pitching prospects. Many teams would love to have a pitcher of his caliber ready to help them out in 2012. I think Jays fans will be pleasantly surprised by his performance once he arrives.

  • JaysJournal

    @RonB.Rown @johnwsimpson Well stated Ron! Entirely agree.

  • JaysJournal

    @TimShepherd Thanks Tim!

  • johnwsimpson

    @RonB.Rown @johnwsimpson One could spend all day cooking up definitions for how good one has to be to deserve the title ace. My point is not to do this, but to comment on the fact that the label ace, regardless of how you would LIKE to define it, or what you would LIKE it to mean, carries the connotation of pitcher cut from a finer cloth than Ricky Romero. Is Ricky good? Yep. Is he under-rated? Almost surely. Is he Cliff Lee yet? Nope. So in the broad context of this piece of writing, I still consider the statement misleading.

  • JaysJournal

    @johnwsimpson There are a lot of assumptions in your reply John. And you know what they say happens when you ass-u-me….

    Hech and Gose continue to be misunderstood by most. Gose put up good stats playing 2 levels higher than Jake Marisnick even though both are the same age, yet, people pick on his SOs. Give him a break, will ya? How well would HE have hit in Lansing? I’m fairly certain that adding someone like Gose, who will be an all-star caliber CF defender (within top 3 best range + best CF arm in MLB when he gets there, no questions asked) and his speed to the lineup will automatically bring the Jays a lot of what they’ve been looking for. His D in centre will make all Jays pitchers better, and his SB abilities will drive opponents nuts.

    Yes, Gose needs more seasoning as he is very young, but I do believe that Jays fans and others continue to under rate the impact he’ll have on the club when he arrives. Both he and d’Arnaud could arrive at some point in 2012, but are likely to be major cogs in the team taking another step forward in 2013.

    As for Hechavarria, he has done better each time he’s been promoted and also has more range than any Jays regular infielder has had since Tony Fernandez and Roberto Alomar patrolled that area. He’ll likely hit 9th, meaning that his bat doesn’t need to be all that potent for his to add value to the lineup. So long as he hits more than John McDonald did, he’ll be fine.

    And your argument about Deck McGuire is….ugh. Only a Jays fan can complain about a pitcher with a #4 floor and #3 ceiling since we’re flush with potential high end pitching prospects. Many teams would love to have a pitcher of his caliber ready to help them out in 2012. I think Jays fans will be pleasantly surprised by his performance once he arrives.

  • RonB.Rown

    @johnwsimpson I was a *bit* more careful than just picking a definition that I “liked”, in that I checked out what wikipedia had to say about the term. The definition offered there was simply the best SP and 1st SP on a team’s starting rotation. I just went a step further and looked up the term on Merriam Webster online, which echoed what wikipedia had said.

    Having said that, outside of baseball “ace” is often used to describe someone of the highest level of skill in what they’re doing. Is Romero at that level? The Halladay or Cliff Lee level? No. But he is the ace of the staff, and unambiguously so, for the reasons I described above. Halladay and Kershaw may be better aces – top-level aces (within the top 10 percent of aces) – but Romero is a mid-level ace (top 50-60 percent of aces).

    This is not an unreasonable disagreement, though, given that “ace” has separate but overlapping means in and out of baseball, and the melding of the two often does suggest that to be an ace, one must be one of the better aces – at least top 12 or 13 (so people like Halladay, Sabathia, Cain, Lincecum, Carpenter, Weaver, Haren, Verlander, Felix Hernandez, Tim Hudson, Lee, Hamels). If Romero puts up another season like 2011 this year, perhaps you will view him as an ace without much reservation. In fairness to your point of view, this was the first season in which Romero showed prototypical ace-level dominance.

  • itsagameson

    it was time to really make his mark with the free agent movement. If he really believed in Darvich then he had to win that deal. There was no way with such an unknown prospect the brass were going to give him that ability. So he should have gone for Fielder from the get go. He got nadda. Now for all those fans that were just salavating at the thought of a better bull pen will soon come the revelation…Instead of looking to one of those arms when Pujols’s Angels have put up 6 runs to your 3 by the 7th your looking for a bat. A bat you don’t have. Or after fielder has yanked your mid-reliever out with a slam and a 4-run lead in the ninth..are you pitch hitting Rasmus with a left-hander ( yes I mean left handed pitcher )? You don’t just get 4 runs back very easy with no bas. Maybe in another couple yrs. if those farmers work out. Maybe. If Batista hasn’t start to fade. No. That’s where you make your mark AA. You say this way or I walk. Your not working for Timmies at the drive thru Or that Taxi driver picking up the last fare he needed to cover cost. Those guys were relying on u to get them something to cheeer about.

  • RonB.Rown

    @JaysJournal @johnwsimpson It’s easy to be under-impressed by a pitching prospect that is expected to be a secure 3-4 type starter. But these days a starting pitcher who can dependably put up 3-4 starter type numbers can command a multi-year contract worth around 10M a year. Toronto would often have to overpay, too, because being a Canadian market, players here get notably less mainstream exposure (if Romero were on a US team, he’d probably be receiving a level of hype in league with pitchers like Buchholz and Lester). A prospect like Deck represents a solid potential savings of a good 25M over his pre-free agent years. And they could well extend him longer into the future with arbitration buyout extensions a la Evan Longoria.

  • RonB.Rown

    @johnwsimpson I was a *bit* more careful than just picking a definition that I “liked”, in that I checked out what wikipedia had to say about the term. The definition offered there was simply the best SP and 1st SP on a team’s starting rotation. I just went a step further and looked up the term on Merriam Webster online, which echoed what wikipedia had said.

    Having said that, outside of baseball “ace” is often used to describe someone of the highest level of skill in what they’re doing. Is Romero at that level? The Halladay or Cliff Lee level? No. But he is the ace of the staff, and unambiguously so, for the reasons I described above. Halladay and Kershaw may be better aces – top-level aces (within the top 10 percent of aces) – but Romero is a mid-level ace (top 50-60 percent of aces).

    This is not an unreasonable disagreement, though, given that “ace” has separate but overlapping means in and out of baseball, and the melding of the two often does suggest that to be an ace, one must be one of the better aces – at least top 12 or 13 (so people like Halladay, Sabathia, Cain, Lincecum, Carpenter, Weaver, Haren, Verlander, Felix Hernandez, Tim Hudson, Lee, Hamels). If Romero puts up another season like 2011 this year, perhaps you will view him as an ace without much reservation. In fairness to your point of view, this was the first season in which Romero showed prototypical ace-level dominance.

  • itsagameson

    it was time to really make his mark with the free agent movement. If he really believed in Darvich then he had to win that deal. There was no way with such an unknown prospect the brass were going to give him that ability. So he should have gone for Fielder from the get go. He got nadda. Now for all those fans that were just salavating at the thought of a better bull pen will soon come the revelation…Instead of looking to one of those arms when Pujols’s Angels have put up 6 runs to your 3 by the 7th your looking for a bat. A bat you don’t have. Or after fielder has yanked your mid-reliever out with a slam and a 4-run lead in the ninth..are you pitch hitting Rasmus with a left-hander ( yes I mean left handed pitcher )? You don’t just get 4 runs back very easy with no bas. Maybe in another couple yrs. if those farmers work out. Maybe. If Batista hasn’t start to fade. No. That’s where you make your mark AA. You say this way or I walk. Your not working for Timmies at the drive thru Or that Taxi driver picking up the last fare he needed to cover cost. Those guys were relying on u to get them something to cheeer about.

  • RonB.Rown

    @JaysJournal @johnwsimpson It’s easy to be under-impressed by a pitching prospect that is expected to be a secure 3-4 type starter. But these days a starting pitcher who can dependably put up 3-4 starter type numbers can command a multi-year contract worth around 10M a year. Toronto would often have to overpay, too, because being a Canadian market, players here get notably less mainstream exposure (if Romero were on a US team, he’d probably be receiving a level of hype in league with pitchers like Buchholz and Lester). A prospect like Deck represents a solid potential savings of a good 25M over his pre-free agent years. And they could well extend him longer into the future with arbitration buyout extensions a la Evan Longoria.

  • RonB.Rown

    @itsagameson You’re mad at the wrong person. AA doesn’t get to choose how much money he has to play with. Rogers ownership does. And AA has done an INCREDIBLE job with what he has had at his disposal. He might be the best GM in the game today. His track record over the past two years has been, as far as I know, unmatched.

    What is more, I think that when the Jays are ready to step up to the big time, it will be more special that the team was built largely from the bottom up. This will not be a manufactured team of bought superstars, but a team made up primarily of players that entered MLB as Blue Jays (e.g., Romero, Gose, Lawrie, Cecil, Drabek, Janssen, d’Arnaud) or joined Toronto early into their careers and established themselves here (e.t., Bautista, Escobar, Morrow). We’re watching the gradual development of something that could be very special.

  • RonB.Rown

    @itsagameson You’re mad at the wrong person. AA doesn’t get to choose how much money he has to play with. Rogers ownership does. And AA has done an INCREDIBLE job with what he has had at his disposal. He might be the best GM in the game today. His track record over the past two years has been, as far as I know, unmatched.

    What is more, I think that when the Jays are ready to step up to the big time, it will be more special that the team was built largely from the bottom up. This will not be a manufactured team of bought superstars, but a team made up primarily of players that entered MLB as Blue Jays (e.g., Romero, Gose, Lawrie, Cecil, Drabek, Janssen, d’Arnaud) or joined Toronto early into their careers and established themselves here (e.t., Bautista, Escobar, Morrow). We’re watching the gradual development of something that could be very special.

  • Mylegacy

    Mat – first of all good luck – and hit the books – the Manitoba forests still hide many a bone of trainee military pilots who thought flying low and slow was easy.

    On the Jays -

    I too sense the team is nearing another “moment” of change in their being. This is so similar to the early 80′s when the Jay’s were assembling a cadre of home grown stars. No question we are entering another such era. We had Gillick back then and AA now – probably the best two guys you could have wanted then and now.

    Bautista and Lawrie ARE stars. As will be Marisnick (in RF), Gose (in CF) and d’Arnaud. Throw in near star level guys like Escobar and Rasmus – and a defensive whiz like Hechy and we have the making of something special

    On the pitching side – Santos may well be the greatest steal since Ramses tomb was looted. I am willing to bet my eye teeth (whatever they are) that Romero, Morrow and Alvarez (with his new adequate #3 pitch) will be among the “sets of top three starters” in the AL. They will surprise. I so want to see the gutsy, brilliant McGowan get his well deserved moment in the sun.

    AND – Just the other side of Cecil (who will finish 2012 in the pen) are a gaggle of talented arms the like of which the Jays (and most every team in the game) has not seen. While there are real excellent prospects like McGuire, Jenkins, Wojciechowski, Gabryszwski, Drabek, Musgrove, Stilson, Labourt, and a dozen or so others – there are a precocious pack of precious prospects who look to have Ace (or at least Aceish) stuff, they include: Norris, Syndergaard, Cardona, Hutchison, Sanchez, Osuna and Comer.

    The team is close. Is 2012 the year? I remember asking in 1984 is 1985 the year? It nearly was. What I KNOW is that every moment of every year from 1983 to 1993 was a form of sweet that no Maple Syrup ever came near. I GUARANTEE you that same sweetness over the next decade of promise – at least – 10 years of sweetness that will live in our hearts as long as we live.

    Have faith brothers. Have faith…in AA we trust.

  • Mylegacy

    Mat – first of all good luck – and hit the books – the Manitoba forests still hide many a bone of trainee military pilots who thought flying low and slow was easy.

    On the Jays -

    I too sense the team is nearing another “moment” of change in their being. This is so similar to the early 80′s when the Jay’s were assembling a cadre of home grown stars. No question we are entering another such era. We had Gillick back then and AA now – probably the best two guys you could have wanted then and now.

    Bautista and Lawrie ARE stars. As will be Marisnick (in RF), Gose (in CF) and d’Arnaud. Throw in near star level guys like Escobar and Rasmus – and a defensive whiz like Hechy and we have the making of something special

    On the pitching side – Santos may well be the greatest steal since Ramses tomb was looted. I am willing to bet my eye teeth (whatever they are) that Romero, Morrow and Alvarez (with his new adequate #3 pitch) will be among the “sets of top three starters” in the AL. They will surprise. I so want to see the gutsy, brilliant McGowan get his well deserved moment in the sun.

    AND – Just the other side of Cecil (who will finish 2012 in the pen) are a gaggle of talented arms the like of which the Jays (and most every team in the game) has not seen. While there are real excellent prospects like McGuire, Jenkins, Wojciechowski, Gabryszwski, Drabek, Musgrove, Stilson, Labourt, and a dozen or so others – there are a precocious pack of precious prospects who look to have Ace (or at least Aceish) stuff, they include: Norris, Syndergaard, Cardona, Hutchison, Sanchez, Osuna and Comer.

    The team is close. Is 2012 the year? I remember asking in 1984 is 1985 the year? It nearly was. What I KNOW is that every moment of every year from 1983 to 1993 was a form of sweet that no Maple Syrup ever came near. I GUARANTEE you that same sweetness over the next decade of promise – at least – 10 years of sweetness that will live in our hearts as long as we live.

    Have faith brothers. Have faith…in AA we trust.

  • gnor

    As Sergeant Davis, my theory of flight instructor was fond of saying: “The aircraft will now assume the attitude of a falling brick”. Please try to avoid this, Matt.

    The 2012 Jays:

    For the first time for a long time, The Blue Jays are starting the season without any replacement players in the lineup. In order to improve the team from this point on, AA will have to replace one of the permanent pieces. Nice problem to have. Spring Training this year won’t be so much about tryouts, as getting the team ready for the regular season.

    Can they contend this year? IMO, yes, if everything goes right. Since the chances of everything going right are slim to none, I would say that they are going to scare a lot of people this year.

    Are there more moves coming? Yes, if the price is right. I would look at the trade deadline as a place where prices will be lower, and they could improve by trading a position player and a prospect or 2, as in Hill-Johnson. If they are not in it, then they have Oliver, Cordero, Frasor, and Janssen they can move in a Colby Rasmus type trade.

    I still don’t see a mortgage-the-farm, all-or-nothing type deal to go all in this year, especially since another year or 2 will put them into Tampa Bay territory, where they can afford to trade their #1 starter because they have a Matt Moore coming up. In 2015, Ricky Romero or Brandon Morrow would be worth 3 top 10 prospects that they could stuff back into A ball, because Nicolino, Syndergard, or any one of half a dozen others are ready, and better.

    If nothing else, we will all get to see what this team can do, and have a good idea of where to improve. In the meantime this is going to be a great team to follow this year.

  • gnor

    @itsagameson Do the Jays really need another bat when they scored the 6th most runs in the MLB last year? More than 5 of the teams that made it to the playoffs? They were also #6 in runs allowed, which is where they need to improve.

    Do you really think it would be a good deal to spend $120 million on a pitcher that has never thrown a major league pitch? Would you still think it was a good deal if it was your money?

    Do you really think it’s a good deal to pay Fielder 23.7 million to hit 13 more home runs than Adam did last year. If they both had career years, the split would be 15. Do you really want to give up Adam Lind’s better than average glove for Fielder’s 15 errors? How long are his knees going to last playing on turf? Are you aware that Fielder doesn’t hit lefties very well either? How will his numbers play out if he doesn’t have Houston, Pittsburgh, and the Cubs to feed on?

  • gnor

    As Sergeant Davis, my theory of flight instructor was fond of saying: “The aircraft will now assume the attitude of a falling brick”. Please try to avoid this, Matt.

    The 2012 Jays:

    For the first time for a long time, The Blue Jays are starting the season without any replacement players in the lineup. In order to improve the team from this point on, AA will have to replace one of the permanent pieces. Nice problem to have. Spring Training this year won’t be so much about tryouts, as getting the team ready for the regular season.

    Can they contend this year? IMO, yes, if everything goes right. Since the chances of everything going right are slim to none, I would say that they are going to scare a lot of people this year.

    Are there more moves coming? Yes, if the price is right. I would look at the trade deadline as a place where prices will be lower, and they could improve by trading a position player and a prospect or 2, as in Hill-Johnson. If they are not in it, then they have Oliver, Cordero, Frasor, and Janssen they can move in a Colby Rasmus type trade.

    I still don’t see a mortgage-the-farm, all-or-nothing type deal to go all in this year, especially since another year or 2 will put them into Tampa Bay territory, where they can afford to trade their #1 starter because they have a Matt Moore coming up. In 2015, Ricky Romero or Brandon Morrow would be worth 3 top 10 prospects that they could stuff back into A ball, because Nicolino, Syndergard, or any one of half a dozen others are ready, and better.

    If nothing else, we will all get to see what this team can do, and have a good idea of where to improve. In the meantime this is going to be a great team to follow this year.

  • gnor

    @johnwsimpson Yeah, I don’t think every team has an “Ace”. Tampa bay doen’t have an ace either, but their starters threw 960 innings last year, and won a lot of ball games. Me, I don’t care if we ever get a Cy Young or an MVP. Give me 5 #2 starters that can eat innings and keep the team in the game, and we will win a lot of games. You don’t have to wait for your ace to come up to stop a losing streak. You can go on a 10 game winning streak. You have a better than average chance of winning every time out. Above all, you win playoff games.

  • gnor

    @itsagameson Do the Jays really need another bat when they scored the 6th most runs in the MLB last year? More than 5 of the teams that made it to the playoffs? They were also #6 in runs allowed, which is where they need to improve.

    Do you really think it would be a good deal to spend $120 million on a pitcher that has never thrown a major league pitch? Would you still think it was a good deal if it was your money?

    Do you really think it’s a good deal to pay Fielder 23.7 million to hit 13 more home runs than Adam did last year. If they both had career years, the split would be 15. Do you really want to give up Adam Lind’s better than average glove for Fielder’s 15 errors? How long are his knees going to last playing on turf? Are you aware that Fielder doesn’t hit lefties very well either? How will his numbers play out if he doesn’t have Houston, Pittsburgh, and the Cubs to feed on?

  • gnor

    @johnwsimpson Yeah, I don’t think every team has an “Ace”. Tampa bay doen’t have an ace either, but their starters threw 960 innings last year, and won a lot of ball games. Me, I don’t care if we ever get a Cy Young or an MVP. Give me 5 #2 starters that can eat innings and keep the team in the game, and we will win a lot of games. You don’t have to wait for your ace to come up to stop a losing streak. You can go on a 10 game winning streak. You have a better than average chance of winning every time out. Above all, you win playoff games.

  • itsagameson

    @RonB.Rown @itsagameson I didn’t say AA hasn’t done a good job. The Lawrie deal was probably very good long term, But if his trying to get Darvich hurt his ability to get fielder then that was a mistake. As more than one writer pointed out not signing fielder isn’t only a loss of fielder winning you games..but even worse if he’s in your league and he is now..he can mean an extra L or 2 against a team u need to beat. And even the spend spend yankees have some good home grown players. Or do u want to go ten yrs. in last like Tampa and still not win a championship?

  • itsagameson

    @gnor so you want to be in Tampa territory. After finishing near dead last for 10-yrs they still haven’t won a championship. They’d really love Fielder.

  • itsagameson

    @Mylegacy hope your right

  • itsagameson

    @RonB.Rown @itsagameson I didn’t say AA hasn’t done a good job. The Lawrie deal was probably very good long term, But if his trying to get Darvich hurt his ability to get fielder then that was a mistake. As more than one writer pointed out not signing fielder isn’t only a loss of fielder winning you games..but even worse if he’s in your league and he is now..he can mean an extra L or 2 against a team u need to beat. And even the spend spend yankees have some good home grown players. Or do u want to go ten yrs. in last like Tampa and still not win a championship?

  • itsagameson

    @gnor so you want to be in Tampa territory. After finishing near dead last for 10-yrs they still haven’t won a championship. They’d really love Fielder.

  • itsagameson

    @Mylegacy hope your right

  • itsagameson

    @gnor eh I wasn’t the guy going after Darvich. AA was. And you can bet it was atleast $90 ml. or it wouldn ‘t have even made sense. Fielder not worth 20+ /yr. Detroit, a contender, thinks so. Let me ask u this …with fielder ( who’s gonna probably pay huis salary in promotion ) you’re not 6th overall in hitting come trade deadline..your 1st and on pace for a play-off spot..do you have a good chance at getting your starter at trade deadline?

  • http://cb cb1111

    @itsagameson @gnor exactly. you’re first not, sixth in offense.

    it’s hard to see how folks don’t recognize this key point. how they can’t correlate sixth best with ‘no playoff appearance’.

    it’s painful to read these sub-mental ‘fans’ applauding AA’s lack of roster improvement.

    santos? really? a converted fielder? don’t be surprised when he blows his sixth save by July.

    rasmus? really? don’t be surprised by his .240 BA and baseline .300 obp.

    bautista? hahahahahahahah. last year’s second half is his new ceiling. get ready for our new vernon wells and mike wilner constnatly saying after every loss “this isn’t JB, he will improve” ahahahahahah.

    this team reached it’s pinnacle before the all-star break last year and with the utter failure of this offseason will be hardpressed to keep pace with baltimore.

  • TodLazarov
  • jakely

    Mylegacy is dead on right. Go back and look at how rebuilds get done well. It’s all there. AA has to have studied how these get done properly, and with the amount of talent he’s collected in 2 short years, he’s one upping it. Way too many fans are not recognizing an architect at work here, but it’s what we now have. Getting good is the low end of the expectation spectrum.

  • itsagameson

    @gnor eh I wasn’t the guy going after Darvich. AA was. And you can bet it was atleast $90 ml. or it wouldn ‘t have even made sense. Fielder not worth 20+ /yr. Detroit, a contender, thinks so. Let me ask u this …with fielder ( who’s gonna probably pay huis salary in promotion ) you’re not 6th overall in hitting come trade deadline..your 1st and on pace for a play-off spot..do you have a good chance at getting your starter at trade deadline?

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