Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Canadian Poker Tips from the Pros
The guy you see above is Jonathan Duhamel. He just became exceedingly rich. Duhamel was already a professional poker player, grinding out and learning how tough an easy living can be. Duhamel survived an 8 day tournament, an interminable 4 month wait, and a final table circus to take home a gaudy bracelet and a life-changing paycheck.
In Duhamel's everyday poker existence, he needs to manage his bankroll and take calculated risks. His is a world of increments. He reminds me of another swarthy dude from Montreal, Alex Anthopoulos.
Alex Anthopoulos seems to maintain a very even keel. Based on his first year of calculated moves, I feel as though AA is the type to bide his time. Not one to overvalue his hand to get in deep at a table beyond his means.
The various reports and conjecture about the possibility of acquiring Dan Uggla and/or Manny Ramirez make my head spin a little. Does Anthopoulos sense weakness in the division? Is he rolling up his stake and taking his shot now?
Considering the relative cost to employ both these two offense-only players, it might not be a bad gamble if, IF, everything that went right in 2010 happens again and all the bad things from 2010 go right this time around.
Personaly, I can't see that happening. Acquiring Uggla for one expensive arbitration year (or extending him and hoping 33 year old Dan Uggla is AWESOME) and moving him to third base (as moving Hill would be asinine) as well as signing excellent-if-somewhat-power-stricken Manny? Two moves which would necessitate at least a few more as the message would be clear: the future is now.
Realistically, how much closer do those two moves bring the Jays to competing for a playoff berth? 3 Wins? 4 tops? If Uggla puts up another 5 win season and Manny somehow puts up a 4 Win season as a DH and Adam Lind replicates 2009 without giving too much back with his glove, you could probably put the Jays down for 90 wins.
Guess what 90 wins gets you in the AL East?
Even if you think the Yankees are too old and will overpay Jeter's corpse and the Red Sox don't have any pitching beyond Jon Lester and the Rays will struggle with Desmond Jennings and Matt Joyce and God knows who else taking over in the outfield, you can't assume two of those three teams will fail to win 90 games.
It just doesn't seem like that time. There are too many variables. It would be too much like 2006 for too many people's comfort. J.P. took his shot and missed. He paid a premium for a closer, determined to nail down the crucial few wins a lockdown closer represents. He upgraded third base and strengthened his rotation and it didn't end up working. The process was sound (enough), but the results didn't line up.
At the risk of torturing this poker analogy with allusions to bluffing and referencing how going all-in works every time but once, I feel confident in the FO's Zen-like Howard Lederer table image. Alex Anthopoulos doesn't strike me as the type of maniac to shove when he has a coinflip.
Playing in the AL East doesn't afford the opportunity to run around like Brian Sabean, going buckwild against weak players. AA and friends need to build their stack and pick their spots. I just can't see this being that spot.