Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Blue Jays Players Seem Desperate

Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

All the attention Ervin Santana is getting and the pressure Blue Jays player are putting on Alex Anthopoulos has got me a bit frustrated. This frustration has made me revisit some negative feelings about athletes that I have buried deep down. I am torn between being upset with Blue Jays players, in my eyes, begging Santana to sign with Toronto or applauding them for trying to entice Santana to sign here.

From time to time I forget that this game that I follow and love so much is a business. I also forget that these players aren’t playing for me or you, but are playing for themselves and their next big payday. I am not a fool, although by the end of this post you might feel differently. I understand that this ‘business’ of free agency, trades, promotion and demotions, 24-hour media attention while having to perform on the field takes a toll. What I don’t understand is a player trying to squeeze a few extra pennies from a team on a one-year contract.

Ervin Santana can sign with Toronto, Minnesota, Atlanta, or Timbuktu for all I care. It is my opinion that with or without Santana the Blue Jays will be the same team as they were last. What team is that you ask? The Blue Jays are a team that will need to be healthy to compete and if they aren’t… well, we have another year of .500 ball or worse on our hands. I’m okay with that because I will continue to love watching the Blue Jays regardless of what happens this year. I am probably one of the more patient fans, as long as we don’t turn into the Cubs, I know that we will eventually find a way to build a winner.

I think that the added pressure from Blue Jays players are actually making Alex’s job more difficult. I think that Santana is the best FA still available from a poor FA crop this off-season. It isn’t like Alex didn’t make offers. It isn’t like the Jays weren’t rumored to be interested in every FA out there, well not everyone. I don’t know if these rumors were true or fabrications put out to the media by agents (Please refer to Scott Boras). What I do is that I don’t want my GM to overpay a premium for an average major league pitcher or any player to come to Canada. I don’t want to have our players publicly begging in an attempt to persuade FA’s to pick this team. It screams desperation and should be considered a slap in the face to the guys competing for a spot in the rotation. It is like that kid in the school yard that want to play so bad that they feel the need to jump up and down screaming, “PICK ME, PICK ME.” It’s sad.

I know that J.A. Happ, Kyle Drabek, Todd Redmond, and Esmil Rogers haven’t come out the gates like grey hound casing a bone. Does this mean that they are all no-talents? I don’t think so. These guys are talented players, who trained hard all winter just for a shot at make a contribution to our Toronto Blue Jays. These guys have pitched a few innings and have not looked very impressive, but it is just a couple innings here and there under a 2-week span. You think that the LA Dodgers are looking at Clayton Kershaw’s 10.00 ERA over 3 games and 9 innings and thinking about releasing… I don’t think so. I know Clayton Kershaw is not in the same league as the guy we have fighting for the 4th and 5th spot in our rotation, but Ervin Santana isn’t either.

I think that all the Blue Jays position players should focus on getting ready for the regular season by getting their timing down and staying healthy (remember that is key), all the Blue Jays pitchers should focus on getting mechanics ironed out and staying healthy, and leave the recruiting player in March to Alex Anthopoulos and his team… after all that is their job. And the best way to get FA’s to sign with you and not having to pay premium prices is by winning, and don’t give me that you need to spend money to win crap, look how well that worked for us last year or the Anaheim Angel.

P.S. Now that I have written this Ervin Santana is going to sign with the Blue Jays and be the 2014 Cy Young Award winner.

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  • Shaun Doyle

    I’d agree with you if we didn’t need his 200 innings so badly. Other than Dickey and Buehrle, there isn’t a guy who we can realistically expect even 150.

    • Ryan Mueller

      We won’t know who is realistically able to give us 200 innings this season until the end of the August. For all we know RA and Mark could be on the DL by the end of this month and we don’t have anyone pitch 200. Stroman could take the 5th spot and I am not sure but I don’t think that we will have an inning count on him. I don’t see Redmond getting to 200, he struggles to get to the 6th…too many deep counts. Thanks for commenting Shaun it is always fun.

  • brad

    I’m not really for the whole begging a player to come thing but if it helps them land him then I don’t care. The message this Santana talk sends to the pitchers who are underperforming and those that underperformed last year is exactly the message they need to be sent: “If you do not perform, you will not make the team.”

    I’m not really sure how you think health alone will make the current rotation anything close to contention caliber. Dickey and Beuhrle stayed healthy last year and if you add 180 innings(best case) from Happ, Rogers and Morrow at their 2012 ERAs, that is still one of the worst starting rotations in the MLB. As for Hutchison and Drabek, what they show in spring is all that anyone has to gauge their recovery progress on. Are they talented? Sure, but for this rotation to be competitive it needs to be completely healthy AND have a TON of things go just right (Morrow pitching like 2 years ago and a drastic improvement from Dickey…. at the very least… likely would also need one of Drabek or Hutchison to come back not only fully recovered, but better than 2 years ago).

    If they sign Santana, one of those unknowns goes away. You are almost guaranteed health from that one rotation spot(which makes 3 in total) and based on track record and pedigree he is way more likely to be successful than anyone competing for the back end right now. Suddenly all you need to have a good rotation is: Slight improvement from Dickey and lack of regression from Beuhrle and Santana. The back end contenders that you speak so highly of will then be there for insurance in case of bad health from Morrow or poor performance from Happ(presumably) in the #5 spot.

    • Ryan Mueller

      I agree the potential signing of Santana could send the message, “you under performed” to 4th and 5th hopefuls. To the comment about health being correlated to contention, well I just look at the guys we have in a positive light than you do. I think that when RA, Mark, and Brandon are healthy they are a solid 3 and if Morrow is healthy he is talented enough to put up CY young numbers. I am not sold on Rogers or Redmond, but I think HApp could be a solid #5, but with good health, if one of Redmond, Rogers, or Happ struggle we have options (if they all stay healthy). I do agree with your statement about unknown going away if Santana is signed and that it would add to organizational depth in the pitching department. I have actually echoed that sentiment before, but I don’t like the begging….it is beneath me…hahaha. Thanks for the comment Brad it was well put together.

  • Vince

    I’m happy to see the player’s lobbying to being in more talent required to make this team a better contender. You say this is the same team, but it’s not. Fact of the matter is that this team should set out to replace what josh Johnson was supposed to bring. This team was put together to win now, so the message to this team on the off season doesn’t comply with that. The fact that the player’s have done this, speaks volumes about their faith in what ownership is doing to better their chances of competing in this very difficult division. And that message obviously doesn’t meet their standards, nor the standards of the paying consumer. So I applaud the player’s for sending this message.

    • Ryan Mueller

      Vince, my reference to the Jays being the same team with or without Santana was not in reference to the 2013 jays. I meant that I believe that Santana wouldn’t provide enough value to make much of a difference. As to your comment about AA’s lack of off-season signing not showing that Rogers/AA are serious about winning now, I respectfully disagree. Looking at how much media attention the key free agents, the big fish FA, got this offseason I see the Blue jays mentioned as being in on everyone….even Cano was rumored to be offered a contract. We can’t force players to sign, even if we offer more money, we still can force them. I agree that players lobbying to get player to sign with us is a good thing but why not lobby in the offseason? Thank you for your comment Vince.

  • Jason Kerr

    I think there is this stigma about playing in Toronto and it has something to do with playing North of the border … It’s harder to sign guys to come play up here. The players might be saying ‘Hey, it’s not actually that bad up here.’ Oppose to saying what we think they’re saying … We need you to help complete our rotation … Which Is more than likely what is happening.

    • MovieJay

      No, it’s only the “losing” stigma. When you’re on the way up, FA’s want to sign with you. When you’re not on the way up, they don’t. It’s why we landed Winfield, Molitor, and Morris when we did. They knew they might make it to the World Series if they came here.

      My opinion is that we should grow this team from the bottom up. I want us to have the best farm system in baseball again and to not give it all away for old journeymen. Dickey’s good and everything, but Syndergaard and D’Arnaud were really special.

      We need to keep the young guys and bring them up instead of all this nonsense of overpaying for journeymen players who only ever help us to play around .500 but never better.

      Our SP is suspect. It’s easily the weakest rotation in the AL East. The only thing that can make us finish better than the O’s this year is our bullpen, which will probably not blow as many saves as them since they lost Jim Johnson.

      The Blue Jays brought up Stieb and Key, Hentgen and Leiter, Halladay and Carpenter. Now we trade them for journeyman and still finish in the AL East cellar. I say skip Santana and develop the young guys and stop pretending like he’s what we need to win, because 90 W’s are nowhere in sight for us this year.

    • Ryan Mueller

      You make a valid point. I just look at it a little different, being a fan that has more of a connection to guys in our system than Ervin Santana. I have followed some of the guys fighting for the 5th spot for a few years now and want to see them do well. Thank you for you comment Jason.