Saturday, February 28, 2009

Dead Presidents

When I first read Blair's piece today about the Jays (quite obviously) shopping Scott Rolen and Lyle Overbay while confirming some interest in Orlando Cabrera, I was all ready to go. I was primed to break it down, to point out that Cabrera's worth about 3 wins a year, mostly due to his defense (which UZR likes a hell of a lot more than +/-). I would adroitly point out that Cabrera is a year OLDER than Scott Rolen, might as well be Scutaro's offensive twin, and is slightly detestable. I would re-recite my "Scott Rolen at any dollar amount is 10 times better than Jose Bautista for nothing" speech. It was going to be great. Predictable, but great.

But having read L'Homme Du Sports 18000 word piece on the NBA's finances, I realized none of it mattered. The Jays don't care about replacing Scott Rolen's wins or defense or bat or leadership; they want someone to eat the bill. Jose Bautista's warm body at $2.4M is better than Rolen's 3-4 wins at $11M because, shockingly, $2.4 million dollars is less than $11 million dollars.

This team is in full fledged cost cutting mode, and I don't think it will be any other way for while. I joked yesterday that the Jays were hardly the new Rays, but I foolishly recognize now that they aren't trying to be anything else. Keep the costs low, hope to catch lightening in a bottle. Hope you keep churning out quality pitching, avoid ANY contracts to avoid bad contracts.

Reinvesting in the draft? Sounds good, except the team is completely divesting themselves of cumbersome (and/or market value) dollar figures at the big league level. Will the Jays compete in 2010, with veterans in contract years and a group of promising kids come of age? Nope, they look to be running only kids out there because they're cheaper. You never know what will happen, right?

With great cynicism Rogers seems to accept the Jays continuing status as also-rans, so financially they might as well jog. As Paul Beeston said "if you're not going to spend $120 million you might as well spend $80." Improving the team is now secondary to cutting costs. Will Roy Halladay walk? Of course he will, because he won't get anything resembling a fair market offer. I foresee Carlos Delgado all over again.

Do we give them any reason to do otherwise? If the Jays win 90 games, how many more dollars does Rogers make than if they win 70? I'd hazard a guess very few. As long as the Red Sox and Yankees still show up 9 times a year, they'll be just fine.

This shouldn't effect me like this, but watching a team attempt to get worse is hard to take. Save a few bucks sure, but they aren't going to be recirculated into the baseball operation. That money will be gone. Would the kids be fun to watch? Hopefully they would, but the line between exciting youth movement and carousel of middling prospects is pretty fucking thin, and I have no interest in toeing it.


  1. Must...get...razor...blade...away...from...wrist...

  2. I don't mean to be facetious, but I think you're over-reacting with implied Marlins comparison. Intentions are one thing, but it will be hard to move Rolen this summer with Adrian Beltre on the block looking more attractive for contenders as a 3B upgrade because he's in the final year of his contract. Rolen's not going anywhere, nor should he be, unless JP is trying to Mike Sirotka some poor sap. Brass must know that the more sensible salary dump is BJ Ryan, and we've heard nary a whisper about him getting shipped out of town even though there are at least 3 internal candidates capable of taking his job.

    I don't really see the negative in moving out expensive veterans who are replaceable internally, especially when the 2010 edition looks to have a tits rotation and bullpen and plus defense. No one is going to shed any tears for Lyle Overbay, who's destined to finish up his career in Beantown as the rarely used backup 1B heir to Doug Mientkiewicz, John Olerud, JT Snow and Sean Casey. The status quo isn't working and it's time to get smarter.

  3. I'm kinda hammered so this may be the wrong blog to comment on, but DJF don't seem to want to post much this week...

    I hope you're wrong, I hope the team is just hitting a bump in the road, but I fear that perhaps you've hit the nail on the head...

    I've been a fan of this team since 1987 and I always will be a Jays fan, but I can't help but feel abused by the ownership on this one...

    Rogers has money with which to play, and this team is a high risk, high reward investment for that money...

    if they put $150M into this team, they may recapture the glory years and fill the dome night in and night out and turn that money into a huge profit (ignoring the free advertising and other revenue streams that owning a MLB team provides.)

    I just hope someone within the company looks at this team as what they could be...

    Regardless, I'll watch 150+ games this year, as usual... But I may be one of the few, with a half decent investment Rogers could turn the rarity that is me into the commonplace fan of this team...

  4. 4 games...Jason Lane is's something.

  5. somebody hold me.


    (umm - line 2 is unrelated to line 1, just to clarify)

  6. If the plan is to compete in 2010, who are they going to replace Rolen with if they trade him away? There's no internal option if they're keeping Campbell at 2B like they've been doing.

  7. This was probably the most out of character post I've written. I'll cheer for and watch the Jays no matter what, I see the benefit in shedding useless salary that is or will be replaced by better, cheaper or more importantly more fun options. I guess my main frustrations are this:

    1. Watching Scott Rolen is a pleasure, a truly memorable experience. Even if they bring up a kid (rather than play Bautista/Scutaro at 3B every day) they won't be as good as Rolen, nor will they feed my aesthetic baseball needs.

    2. I hate to see teams simply shed salary, because I don't give a fuck if the business is solvent. If you are ditching Rolen to spend his money elsewhere, fine. But cutting costs does not equal cutting loses with an overpaid player.

    Rolen COULD be a fringe HoF guy (Brooks Robinson is in, Rolen's got him in HR, OPS, AVG, just about everything. The fielding is debatable, I can't really say) that makes this team better, and better to watch. Even if Scott Campbell exceeds all expectations (as a 2nd Basemen) can he approach that? Will he be 1/5 as much fun to watch? Will he help this team win more games? Will Jose Bautista? Will Orlando Cabrera?

  8. Big tune. But a crazy fucking depressing post.

    Will Roy Halladay walk? Of course he will, because he won't get anything resembling a fair market offer. I foresee Carlos Delgado all over again.

    Ugh. I think I'll have another drink.

    I am now seriously contemplating buying a 500-level ticket to every home game that Doc starts. It could very well be his final season in T.O.


  9. Well, I wrote a comment about how I felt better about things after sleeping on it and how I thought Blair was reaching a little with the Rolen rumour... Then blogger ate it so clearly I was wrong. We're fucked.

  10. Obviously Griffin's White Jays comments have finally gotten to JP and he is just trying to latin up the infield.

    Actually, it's more like JP is looking to get out and is blowing this shit up.

    I hate him.

  11. Good news Lloyd, Blair taketh Rolen away and then he giveth him back. He has an article up about a possible sign and trade to get Orlando and said via twitter that they might still hold on to Rolen if Cabrera signed for cheap-ish.

    If that is the case I'm all for it. I dislike Scoots at short defensively and think Cabrera would be an improvement there. Plus it gives us a guy who can leadoff and steal 20 bases a year (Cito was talking about running more at some point, right?).

  12. Scutaro has a better career OBP and a better 2008 OBP than Cabrera, so if Scutaro isn't a guy who can leadoff, I don't see how Cabrera is one.

  13. Both are only slightly higher but Cabrera adds more speed. It seems like Cito feels he needs to manufacture runs, read the piece Blair did on Hill as the #2 hitter, so if you have a guy with essentially the same OBP and is able to be more aggressive on the basepaths wouldn't you prefer him?

  14. I got no love for Scoots, and Cabrera offers historically (though not in 2008) better defense, 3 more baserunning runs and not much else. Plus he's a whiner. Eff him.

  15. Would Scoot be able to steal more if he was given the green light more often? It's not like he came to the Jays from a steal-friendly organization.

  16. Well, Orlando Cabrera won't be causing any nightmares anytime soon.

  17. Definitely dodged a bullet there.


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