Monday, March 1, 2010

A Crack in the Facade?

When fan hero and noted gloveman John McDonald signed a two-year deal this past offseason, many eyebrows jumped in shock. While the terms are peanutty (relatively), the second guaranteed year of the deal caused the most consternation among hardcore Blue Jays watchers.

The back and forth, uniquely web 2.0 as it was, about the curious second year being a waste of valuable resources or an essential non-issue grew tiresome instantly. Inconsequential as it may be; that 35 year old Johnny Mac is one of only three players under contract for 2011 stuck out. Something had to be up.

Something just might, in fact, be up. In the comment section of my slightly hysterical/poorly conceived Eric Hinske "don't make fun of his tattoos!!!!" post, an astute Anon noted that Mr. John McDonald currently posses 8 years of big league service time. (8.118 years, technically.)

So, all John McDonald needs to do is stick on the big league roster for the bulk of his deal with the Jays and boom: vested. Interesting, very interesting.

Occasionally the Drunks hilariously and on-the-nosingly refer to the Jays as Rogers Baseball Operations. Could this be a small example of the Jays doing right be a long-time soldier and favorite of the organization? Might his $1.5 million dollar pittance be returned in the form of a lifetime of minor league instructorhood or future bench bossery?

As unlikely as it seems, enough of the pieces fit to make it an enjoyable mental picture of backs slapped and hands shaken. Unless all our wildest dreams come true and Butterfield is named manager for 2011 season, I seriously doubt the PMoD's place on the roster is secure next year. A wasted roster spot as it might be, a lifetime of security isn't a bad thing to hope for a dedicated gym rat (or whatever the baseball equivalent of gym rat is) like Johnny McDonald.

Image of poor J-Mac pissing in the ocean courtesy of Reuters via Daylife.


  1. I have to think that the Johnny Mac signing has more to do with the fact that me doesn't mind sitting on the bench AND that he could mentor a young player or two in the coming years. AA has let it be known that he covets a young shortstop. If he get his hands on one this year, the prime minister of defense could show the young guy the ropes. I think that is why he was offered a 2 year deal.

  2. Yeah, I think Johnny Mac was probably brought back mostly as a mentor too. Every team needs a backup SS; why not keep one like Mac who is well-liked, defensively strong all over the infield, does whatever you ask him to, and could help a young SS - should they acquire one anytime in the next two years - learn how to play the position better? I mean, yeah, they could have saved a few hundred grand by using someone cheaper and less experienced, but at least with McDonald they have a guy who seems like he'd make a good mentor for the young guys, AND they're helping out a guy who's been nothing but a class act with the organization for quite a while now. The man didn't even complain when he was traded for HIMSELF, for fuck's sake.

  3. I honestly do believe that this kind of stuff IS very much a factor, to a certain extent. What does it hurt to have McDonald on the roster for the next two years, in the grand scheme of things for the Jays? Nothing. And this way McDonald is assured of his pension. He mentioned on an interview with Wilner once upon a time that he was indeed concerned about his pension.

    A lot of people think McDonald doesn't complain about playing time because he's a good guy and team player. I'm sure he is. But even more importantly, in my opinion, is the fact that he is a marginal MLB player, and if all of a sudden, he is a complainer, he could become an MilB player (or at least I'm pretty sure he assumes that). So he has to play his cards right, in that respect.

  4. "But even more importantly, in my opinion, is the fact that he is a marginal MLB player, and if all of a sudden, he is a complainer, he could become an MilB player (or at least I'm pretty sure he assumes that). So he has to play his cards right, in that respect."

    JMac knows better than to pull a Lou Merloni.

  5. there are also questions as to the ability of agonz to play more than 100 games...

  6. I really like the idea of Johnny Mac mentoring a young shortstop, but I gotta say, if the team threw in that extra year to make sure he gets his pension, then I'm glad I'm a fan of this team. Nice to see a company do right by an employee for a change.

  7. Someone wrote about this recently. I want to say Blair, but as far as I know JMac wasn't shooting down the luge track in Whistler, so I don't know--Bastian? Griffen? Macleod? I probably read it in the Globe and Mail. Anyway, it was before you posted that article about Hinske so I just assumed you had it in mind. I have a feeling it is that, combined with his value as a mentor in the near (and far, as you hinted) future.

  8. the only shortstop I would want on the bench
    more than J-Mac
    is Ozzie Smith
    because he could do backflips!

  9. Well, good think we got Álex f***ing González to be mentored by a guy 2 years older than him.

    I absolutely think there is value in having JMac stick with the team. Using his defensive skills to help our young pitchers will help with their confidence, and he can certainly try to teach the kids how to be a glove master.

    However, if thats the case, why the heck is he mentoring González? He is a better player than González. (Neither can hit, so I'm right)

    Additionally, I'm not sure I can find an SS in our high minors who's ready to be called up.

    JMac is a class act, has never complained about the crap he's had to handle, and deserves a good pension. But it would be nice if the team had somebody with an offensive upside at shortstop playing this year.


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