Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Extra G Stands for "Gaming the System"

Everywhere I turn the Jays acquisition of Kevin Gregg is lauded as a great "depth move" and appears to be a tidy bit of business: pick up hard-throwing right hander with mixed results in the past at a reasonable price. Hey, worst case scenario, you're buying a draft pick. So sayeth Mr. Wilner:
No, he’s not a great closer, and there’s plenty of debate that he’s even a good one, but that’s OK. He’s an established, durable guy with a good arm who is only costing the Blue Jays $2.75 million. And he’s all but guaranteed to be a Type-B free agent next season. So, at worst, the Jays just spent almost $3 million to secure themselves another top-40 pick in 2011


When you can get a guy like Gregg - whose numbers are kind of enigmatic - for less than three million bucks, you do it, even if the only reason is to turn him into a sandwich pick a year down the road.
That line of thinking, while fiscally sound, bums me out. Rebuilding is one thing, playing kids and developing your talent is necessary part of the process. Grabbing a seemingly useless reliever solely for his ability to garner a draft pick is a little too cynical and a little too much a "fuck you" to the paying customers.

At no point do the people in the stands or watching on TV deserve to sit through The Kevin Gregg experience with a salvaged draft pick the only reward. Means to an end? You can't build Rome in a day but you can't build a dragon slayer out of middling draft picks. I may be intrigued as to how the sausage is made, but I don't make me pay for a front row seat on the kill floor.

There is no hope in routing for the Elias rankings to decide Kevin Gregg is among the top 40% of relievers, especially when the chance of a sandwich pick (Brett Cecil notwithstanding) contributing anything to the process is pretty slim.

Moves like this exhaust my ability or desire to "play along at home" like so many mother's-basement GMs. I don't have it in me to praise or even care for this move. Kevin Gregg sucks, and that is about it. He sucked before his velocity starting slipping and his began throwing his cheesedick curveball all the time to compensate. Kevin Gregg, the human sandwich pick, sucks the life from me and stretches my credulity more than the ownership trying to put the "multi" back into "multipurpose facility" ever could.

We shouldn't expect ownership to run the team like a toy; however treating the fans like pawns (Don't worry, it's a valuable depth move! Think of the sandwich picks!) is a little much. It's a business, yes. One contingent on the confidence an dollars of the consumer. You can only goad coins into the collection plate for so long before the parishioners demand a miracle.


  1. I'll have you know I no longer live in my momma's basement, Drew.

    Shit, now I've gone and ruined the illusion.

  2. pretty bang on. It's one thing to bring in a johnny damon or carlos delgado with the thought of getting prospects or a pick out of it it's a whole other thing to bring in an ok to shitty reliever.

    Watching young guys struggle is at least interesting due to the hope that they may be better. Watching crappy veterans struggle is just depressing. See kevin millar.

  3. Amen. I have to say I agree with the you as this move is at the very least kind of puzzling. 3 million seems an awful lot to pay for a longshot pick, if that's the angle we are supposed to buy into.

  4. Shanon Stewart, Johnny Damon, Brian Roberts, Dustin McGowan, David Wright, Huston Street, Clay Buchholz, Chris Coghlan, Joba Chamberlain, Tommy Hunter just to nitpick......

    Granted, a sandwich pick is what it is, but it's another asset nonetheless. As a fan, I really do enjoy watching my team try an outside-the-box scheme like this. Watching another Jesse Carlson develop does little for me as a fan.

  5. I like the strategy of identifying cost effective FA's and signing them for their FA compensation. I have a fair amount of confidence that Gregg can return $3m of value (not much more). But $3m should be filling a void on the roster and I'm not sure there is one in the Bullpen. (I could see a starter being signed under the same scenario to save some of the young arms, though it wouldn't be my preference.)

    This makes a lot more sense, if it allows you to move out a veteran bullpen arm in a trade for a young prospect of some description.

  6. It isn't as though I don't understand it Gil, I just don't fucking care.

    Excuse me for being a tad sentimental, but if the Jones family from Timmins make their annual trek to the Rogers Dome and are subjected to Kevin Gregg wasting their time, are we supposed to tell them it's okay because the team should get a sandwich pick out of the deal? Yeah, good players have been sandwich picks, but at what rate? 10%? 15%? 7%? Snooze.

    Just because I makes sense doesn't mean I have to like it.

  7. I've been thinking, just because the whole sandwich pick thing is our justification for the Gregg signing doesn't mean it was the Jays' reason. I know that it seems like the only logical explanation, but that doesn't automatically make it true.

  8. Very true. They must be willing to downgrade from Frasor because a deal is in place?

  9. Prediction, Kevin Gregg will suck and the Jays will not pick up his option or offer him arbitration, therefore there will be no sandwich pick coming to Toronto.

    That being said, I also support this type of outside the box thinking, I just think they should try to go after more sure things like Damon or Dye.

  10. "Outside the box" seems a little too congratulatory for my liking. How about "outside the realm of good taste but still a necessary evil" thinking.

  11. I think you're over reacting a bit Drew. What does it matter if Frasor or Downs are pitching for the Timmins crowd this year if they're not next year and we're worse for it?

  12. Anthopoulos: "In a lot of ways, Kevin Gregg, in terms of a role in the 'pen and being guaranteed a spot, he replaces Brandon League."

    AA: "As I sit here today, I don't see us doing anything [else before spring training], but that's pretty fluid and it could change."

    Interesting. I read the second tweet (Bastian) first and was confused, but the first tweet is an interesting angle. Of course, in our hearts, Gregg cannot replace League.

  13. Hilight of the post:

    "He sucked before his velocity starting slipping and his began throwing his cheesedick curveball all the time to compensate."

    Any time someone uses the word "Cheesedick", I applaud

  14. Gregg was type A last year making 4.2 million, if the Cubs offered him arbritration he would've accepted and been awarded 5 mil. Thats why the Cubs denied. Now people seem to think he'll at least be able to hold onto his type B status, but what if he holds onto to his Type A? He isn't likely to accept arbritration with his base salary at 2.5, hell if he's useful 4.5 for 2011 might look attractive to another team as well. He adds depth and in the grand scheme of things 2.5 million isn't alot of money.

    I like how you mention Cecil, We got him for Justin Speier a RP similar to Gregg

  15. The risk of accepting an arb offer from a team that might not want you is that they can cut you by mid-march and only have to pay 45 days of your annual salary. Then your probably only going to catch on as a minor league FA somewhere at that point.

    It may be a better idea to just go into free agency and try to find a club that wants you on a major league deal. (probably not to a team that would have to forfeit a first rounder though)

    But he maintains his type A status, might he not be worth keeping? Type A status would probably mean he either had excellent stats, or a bunch of saves.

  16. We also go Arencibia or Ahrens for Speier as well, which may not look like much at this point, but they still might be worth more than Speier.

  17. Actually it was Eiland in the second round. Ahrens was for the Rangers signing Cat.

  18. Two things: Speier left after numerous good years and contributions. He wasn't a cynical play at draft pick status.

    That said, the two option years pretty much crush this point. There aren't any picks coming back if they decline his options. He walks. Odd.

  19. I'm pretty sure you can deny the options but offer arb.

    Also, nobody suggested Speier was a cynical play at a draft pick. I think Bwilly was just highlighting what a departing RP can turn into.

  20. I don't know if I'd call it a cynical play at a draft pick, more a working the system.

    Another comp pick for a reliever? Dustin McGowan for the loss of Graeme LLoyd.


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