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.