Blue Jays Need to Refocus: End the Dan Duquette Drama
There’s no question that Dan Duquette would be an asset to the Blue Jays. Barring the red tape of this ridiculous circus, I’d be thrilled to have his business and baseball acumen at the Jays’ disposal. However, Rogers’ seems to have misplaced its focus: that is building a contender for this year. The Jays’ are likely a few pieces short and they need all of their present assets available in order to get there. Even if Duquette’s ransom is paid and he joins the front office this season, his effect on team performance is going to be minimal. The President’s purview is stadium operations, payroll, ticket sales etc—the business side. All of those details are already planned for this upcoming season. They’d be fools not to have all that in place this close to opening day. Almost any effect Duquette would have on wins wouldn’t be felt until 2016.
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If they can acquire him for reasonable compensation, then sure, might as well get him working on his vision for the team now but Peter Angelos does not seem like he’s in a “reasonable” type mode. If a reasonable deal can’t be haggled (and soon), drop it. It’s not like the front office would be rudderless—Paul Beeston will still be around. The focus for Blue Jays’ ownership and management should be putting the best team they can on the field in 2015.
This is a crucial season. Decisions and free agency are looming for several core players. The famous “window of contention” is closing soon and the roster could see significant upheaval if 2015 is not a success. Roster upheaval, or the dreaded “rebuild”, is not something any team wants (unless you’re Billy Beane maybe). It’s best for everyone if the Jays have a successful season. Revenue for ownership, stability for management, glory for the players and joy for the fans. The Jays’ cannot be dealing away significant on field assets in 2015 for an executive whose contributions would not be felt for another season.
Make a reasonable offer, hear Angelos say no, tell him to suck an egg and move on
Ben Nicholson-Smith posted a list of names who could be the compensation for Duquette—All of which are totally unacceptable. With center as weak as it is, Kevin Pillar is an essential plan B (If the position was more certain, he might have been acceptable loss). Dioner Navarro is expendable on the Jays but he could net a reliever in trade—which the team so desperately needs. That value and flexibility should not be tossed away for a suit. Daniel Norris? The Blue Jay #1 prospect and MLB’s #25 prospect? *Spit take* Not if hell froze. Jeff Hoffman or Max Pentecost? Unequivocally, no. Correctly, Nicholson-Smith notes that “neutral observers in baseball believe dealing any top prospect would be excessive for just about any executive, no matter how talented.” Except for Pillar (whom the Orioles would not take in return anyways), all these players are twice or thrice more valuable than any player who has ever been traded for an executive or manager before.
Next: Will Reason Prevail? Dan Duquette Saga
The Jays need to extricate themselves from this absurd quagmire immediately. Make a reasonable offer, hear Angelos say no, tell him to suck an egg and move on. Refocus on the immediate objective of making the playoffs. Improve the bullpen. Don’t sacrifice the future. Don’t mishandle this more that it already has been. Jays’ ownership have created a few snafus this offseason already (the payroll nonsense, real grass etc.) and they’re wading into a big one. My advice to them would be to sit down, shut up and let Alex Anthopoulos work.
Here’s my offer Orioles: take your pick from one of Danny Valencia, Steve Tolleson, Liam Hendricks or Ryan Goins. Don’t like it? Fine, enjoy having a disgruntled and distracted GM oversee and construct your club.