Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hold on Tightly

One quick note about the growing cacophony of Blue Jays trade noise: we must temper our expectations. I said as much in the comments below Stoeten's excellent post yesterday - the haul for Jose Bautista will fall far, far short of your hopes and dreams.

Imagine, for a second, the Jays played in the AL Central and were nipping at the heels of the division leaders (stay with me). Needing one extra bat, the Pirates call up offering the services of Garrett Jones - an unproven commodity putting together a monster season. Would you give up Brett Cecil to chase the division title? Henderson Alverez? Shaun Marcum? No. Chance.

It doesn't take a very long memory to recall the major pieces exchanged for three of the best pitchers in baseball over the past few years: Matt LaPorta, Brett Wallace, Justin Smoak.

Translation: what the Jays get back for Jose Bautista is going to underwhelm you completely. The name won't come from one of KLaw's or Baseball America's top 100 lists, unless the GM in question is completely out to lunch.

The other, much more Canadian, side of this debate runs consistent with a twitter exchange I had with the fine purveyor of this morning. The comment linked is in reference to a rumored offer of Scott Downs for either Jesus Montero or Casey Kelly. If the Jays were close, would you trade a controllable impact bat for a relief pitcher, no matter how good? Unlikely.

While "the American media" bogyman and/or bogymen certainly underrate the abilities of Scott Downs; making big league trades is pretty delicate, with so many optic concerns and moving pieces. Snowing a big league GM, especially given AA's reputation for snowing GMs, is increasingly unlikely. It sucks but it is true.

If, from the other side, Alex Anthopoulos made any of the deals we're shocked and appalled to hear bounced around, we'd call for his head. The market for a 30 year old slugger — one is clearly and undeniably awesome — does not stand to materialize in a way that will satisfy anybody. The lack of a big name will disappoint those in the "his value will never be higher" camp, the same lack of a big name will crush the "don't trade him, he's all we've got" camp.

As for the "sign him to a team-friendly three year deal" people, I don't know what to tell you. Decline phase isn't anything to mess with. 32 year old sluggers hanging on to old player skills aren't really friendly, more molestey than anything.

Image courtesy of Flikr user Paulo Brandao


  1. That's exactly what I'm afraid of, Drew. Smart executives are weary to give up the farm for a 29 year old who's having a career year.

    Any haul the Blue Jays might get back in return will be very underwhelming as you said.

    I say hang onto him and see how things play out. Even if he goes to arbitration, so what if they award him $5 million? It wouldn't be the worst spent money in franchise history.

    And even if Bautista puts up a decent 2011 and he wants to walk, then the Jays get 2 picks if he becomes a Type A free agent.

  2. "Molestey." You couldn't have described it any better.

    You're AA. You have a half-decent offer on the table for JoBau, but want to put a contract in front of him before you pull the trigger. What are your terms?

  3. I agree Ian, let him go to arbitration. Might you miss the boat on a potential trade this year? Maybe, but unless you get a shocking offer, push for Type A/B designation.

    I dunno, I don't mind trading him now, I guess. If the price is right...

  4. All true, and I think Jays fans in general are underestimating the value of Bautista's versatility if he's kept around for next year. It's easy to forget how shitty injuries are when pretty much the whole team has been healthy this year, but if somebody goes down next season, it'll be a lot easier to replace him knowing that you've got Jose around to play any of the infield or outfield corners as required.

    I'm not sure why the consensus seems to be that the Jays either need to trade him, or lock him up. Why not just hold onto him through arbitration next year, get a solid (and potentially awesome) season out of a guy who fills a team need at 3B (or in the outfield if necessary), and then see what you want to do with him at that point? At worst he'll be a Type B by the end of next season, but more than likely he'll be a Type A (barring some kind of catastrophic injury), which either gets you two really useful draft picks, or provides a big more leverage in trade talks at the 2011 deadline.

  5. Who's got a better arm: JoBau or Alex Rios?

    Last night's missile on Markakis was really a thing of beauty. Fack.

  6. Haha wow, I take a break mid-post to talk to a co-worker for a few minutes, and now that I've hit "post" I find out that three other people have already said exactly what I was thinking in the meantime. Crazy.

  7. I think it is a bit unfair to refer to him merely as a 30 year old slugger. He is a versatile defender with a great OF arm. He has always been a good lefty masher. That said, i definitely agree that he is not bringing back mike trout or anyone on that level.

    If you package downs and bautista, say to the red sox, maybe then you are talking the teams' top level prospects.

  8. Packaging Downs and Bautista, now that is an idea I can get behind.

  9. How about any of the following?

    - Downs and Wallace for Jesus Montero
    - Bautista and Downs for Montero and Brandon Laird
    - Downs and Zach Stewart for Casey Kelly
    - McGriff and Fernandez for Carter and Alomar

  10. McGriff and Fernandez for Carter and Alomar

    I do that trade in a second!

  11. good piece...

    I just read another great piece of keeping Bautista:

    Tough call?

  12. Man, this tdotspots guy is relentless!


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