Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Heart Pumps Kool-Aid

Moving your Opening Day starter and nominal ace takes a certain amount of guts. Doing it in consecutive years while remaining steadfast in building is damn near impossible. Alex Anthopoulos clearly has these guts to make these challenge trades and keep reaching for the Outer Chutlosphere of elite talents.

That's a good thing for a man in his position. Take this money quote from his interview with Jonah Keri for Getting Blanked (read every day, I post twice a week)
Because of the division we play in, the teams they put together, we need to get as much upside as we can. There’s a risk component involved, that’s part of it. But we’d rather shoot high and miss.

If we were in a different division, our strategy could probably be tweaked. But the win totals required to get into the playoffs in the AL East, they’re 95 and above. You can build a very good team, and we have...You certainly can get into the playoffs with 88 wins elsewhere. In this division, you need to be that much better.
I don't think anyone — after spending more than 30 seconds thinking about it — would disagree. That doesn't make it easy. For Anthopoulos and his team, sure. But for us, too.

This age of baseball enlightenment is a great thing but it comes with a price. How much has the average Aware Blue Jays fan invested in Travis Snider? How many hopes have we pined to his barrel chest? How long did the average Blue Jays fan spend talking themself into Shaun Marcum, Nominal Ace?

Like the Tao said on Twitter, we wanted the new regime to be bold. I don't think any of us new exactly what we were in for now that they are. It isn't that I'm attached to Shaun Marcum in any way. The "flu-like symptoms" thing got tiresome though I admire the considerable chip on his shoulder.

It should make for some entertaining interviews in the near future. Shaun Marcum strikes me as a guy who spends most of the day operating at or near "seething contempt."1

But saying good bye to Shaun Marcum is one thing. Loading up a package for Zack Greinke might just be another. Greinke, Upton, any potential game-changer. Loading up a basket full of kids and making a run at it makes my blood run a little cold. It seems so soon! Are they ready?

Obviously the braintrust knows much better than I. Perhaps I like the safety and security of perpetual re-building? Spared from the rigors of contention and the tortures of pennant races; baseball fits my little life perfectly. Making plans, stopping life to suffer through 3.5 hours of potential agony? Yikes.

Call me a coward if you must, but my thick layer of ironic detachment didn't get there by accident. Worse than getting close and missing? Missing all together. Those of us who remember the 2006-2008-era Jays for what they are realize there's no glory in an honourable death.

1 - I know he's saying All the Right Things now, but he's got some hate in him. Book it.

You'll never guess where the image came from. Dogs on Skateboards!


  1. Agreed. The thought of stacking up on Greinke and/or Upton, then finishing fifth with 70 wins scares the snot out of me...

  2. You'd think in a city where the Leafs continually make poor player personnel decisions that fans would realize it takes more than throwing money at a situation or adding mediocre veterans to build a contender. You need a solid core in place before you add the missing pieces.

  3. I agree, but you of all people should admit knowing when your core is just right can be tough. You can keep trying to upgrade til the cows come home, at some point you need to make a move and go for it.

    Which terrifies me.

  4. I'll admit that, however I don't think that core is in place at this point. If I thought the core was in place, then I think the right moves would have been to add Grienke and Adrian Gonzalez and stay far away from the top end free agents. I have a feeling that the Cliff Lee, Jason Werth and Carl Crawford contracts will end up looking horrible in a few years.

  5. Free agent deals almost always do.

  6. It's okay, guys. The Jays are going to win 109 games and run away with the AL East division pennant.

    1) By late June the rotation will be Morrow, Romero, Drabek, Cecil and Stewart. It will be the best rotation in baseball.

    2) The bullpen will be anchored by the fearsome fivesome of Frasor, Camp, Villanueva, Rzep, and Purcey with Janssen and to mopping up the rare spilt innings that this team has available.

    3) The outfield of Snider, Wells, and Lawrie (who will hit so well in spring training that he makes the opening day roster and never looks back) will be positively beastly. They will combine for 100 home runs between them and bat .300BA/.370OBP/.530SLG% as a group.

    4) The infield of Lind, Hill, Bautista, and Escobar will be better defensively than anybody anticipated. Lind will take to first base like my high school history teacher to a coffee mug full of single malt scotch. He and Hill will both bounce back and nearly replicate their career years from 2009. Yunel Escobar will remember how awesome he is at hitting and have a season that represents the average of his 2007-2009 numbers. Jose Bautista is going to top 2010 and win league MVP honours in a landslide.

    5) J.P. Arencibia will be okay. He'll struggle early on, but get himself together and finish the season looking like an average big league catcher overall (a higher than average SLG%, but a lower than average OBP).

    6) Manny Ramirez will be signed in February. Manny will be Manny, Jays will make the playoffs.

  7. "How many Wire references are too many"

    3 per paragraph.

  8. Drew, I loved this post. But that should come as no surprise. It's going to be fucking INTENSE when this team is ready. I can't wait, but, like you point it, I can. Fuck.

    As for Wire references, I was going to say there's no limit, but Archi's probably right. I tend to get carried away sometimes.


Send forth the witticisms from on high