Thursday, November 26, 2009

Time to Lay the Mac Down


Because I'd rather die than reference a shitty Euro R&B jam from the late nineties, I'll drop some Craig Mack and hope against hope that someones going to kick some brand new flavour in Alex Anthopoulous's ear.

This post originally started as a sop to John MacDonald and everyone, the fans and the team, trying to catch lightning in a bottle twice. John MacDonald's defense came out of nowhere and stole the hearts of a fanbase looking for something to latch onto, given the schizophrenic nature of the Jays in the middle of this decade. It makes sense to bring John MacDonald back as a gap-filling mascot, someone the casual supporters can cheer who boosts the feeling in the clubhouse by representing zero threat to any one's job. I get it. But branding him as a mentor and Butterfield Jr. one day only to sign the Latin version of John MacDonald the very next fucking day bewilders me.

I don't mean to disparage John MacDonald or what he means to this ball club in the future. Or the past. His role and legacy with the Blue Jays is more than cemented. If the team isn't trying to Win next year than perhaps there is space for a mentor for shortstop X the Jays planned to acquire. Except the Jays haven't done that. They did the thing they've done too many times before: reached out for a known, replacement level commodity. And I hate it.

Yup, Alex Gonzalez turns in solid defense from an important position. Better, statistically, than John MacDonald. He also can't hit a lick and gets on base nada, as evidenced by his .275 wOBA last year. .295 for his career.

It isn't that I want a 5 tool stud or nothing at shortstop. The market for that position sucks. It's just that A-Gon represents nothing. He represents stasis. There is no hope that Gonzalez will be anything other than what he already is. Exciting in the field, useless at the plate. Just like that guy he's playing ahead of.

The biggest hue and cry from the Blue Jays commentariat seems to revolve around the cost of Johnnie Mac relative to unsigned draft picks. I'm willing to believe those two buckets are independent of one and another, and money spent here does not equal money better spent there. But signing TWO guys to ostensibly bring the same meager bag of tools to the table stinks.

Which brings us back to Mike McCoy. Does Mike McCoy project as a worse offensive player than either of the two incumbents? Better yet, McCoy projects something completely different: hope. As the unknown commodity, McCoy represents the opportunity to fall in love again, to be dazzled again for the first time. He represents the ultimate in low risk-high reward proposition for both team and fan. As an unheralded waiver-wire scoop, he represents minimal investment for both sides of the coin. The team pays him nothing and the causal fans expectations are nil until he runs out on the field for the first time.

Instead, the Jays have two replacement level shortstops eating $5 million dollars of payroll with a somewhat promising alternative now effectively blocked. As commenter Torgen mentioned on Twitter yesterday, Jack Zduriencik improved a much worse team than the 2009 Blue Jays by picking up players with a considerable marginal value. The Jays seem determined to do the opposite. At best Gonzalez and MacDonald might play to their pay scale and represent break even contracts. That isn't going to be good enough on a team tossing money into a giant void wearing number 10.

Cronyism and placeholders are the stuff that makes us sick. Give us kids. Give us hope. Give yourself the chance to play with house money. Save your rehashed veterans and Kevin Millar 2.0. I appreciate the dedication to defense but this sucks.

6 comments:

  1. free mike mccoy

    Missing part of tag: With purchase of any replacement level SS.

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  2. I was pretty quick to defend JMac signing thinking a young staff would benefit from his defence but this is just redundant.

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  3. One placeholder is one thing. Two placeholders are really just holding each others sacks.

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  4. At least you have enough faith in the front office to assume Alex Gonzalez is the shortstop. Right now, I'm terrified that they're gonna make Gonzalez the 3B, Jmac the shortstop, and E5 is gone. It would certainly be a retarded Blue Jays-esque thing to do.

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  5. Excellent choice for the musical number.

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  6. I'm thinking/hoping Gonzalez will probably be used in one of three ways:

    1) As an additional piece in a Halladay-to-Boston trade. Boston reportedly wanted to sign Gonzalez and it's conceivable that including him in a Halladay trade could net the Jays an additional mid-level prospect or two. Boston wins because they get another option at SS without having to give up the draft pick to sign Scutaro, and Toronto wins because they get something from Boston in return, in addition to the draft picks from wherever Scutaro ends up signing instead.

    2) As a starting SS for the first half of the season who can be easily be traded off at the deadline. This gives the chance for the Jays to get a real look at McCoy in Vegas during the first half, and if he impresses in AAA then they can bring him in for the second half of the season while also improving their system with whatever they get in return for Gonzalez.

    A-Gonz isn't going to blow anybody's socks off with his play this year, but there's a very good chance that he'll be the best SS available at the trade deadline, depending upon where guys like Scutaro and Cabrera end up playing this year. That could work out well for the Jays.

    3) As has been said elsewhere, maybe this was just AA's way of cockblocking Boston and forcing their hand, leaving them with pretty much no choice but to sign Scutaro so the Jays can get their compensatory picks for him.

    Of course, it could be that the entire front office is just retarded, but I like to be optimistic and assume there's some sort of sound reasoning behind these seemingly redundant signings.

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