Thursday, July 28, 2011

Saint Anthopoulos' School for Wicked Boys

We all know you have to give to get. It is never easy to give, no matter the return. Except today.

What We Lost

The biggest piece the Jays parted with is Marc Rzepczynski. Whacked out of their gourds as the Cardinals might be, I remain confident they'll do the right thing and return Rzep to the rotation; where he will quickly turn himself into Jaime Garcia's Polish Brother.

Ghostrunner on First is pretty much Ground Zero for Rzepczynski love - losing him hurts differently than the other GROF pet projects. I'm bummed he's gone but tempered heavily by, you know, all the bonerz.

The Cardinals did improve their bullpen for this season, which is the basis under which they generally operate. Appease The Genius and win now. Say what you want, they're aren't exactly wasting the peaks of Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday waiting for a "troubled youth" to figure it out.

Jason Frasor hurts to lose but only in the most sentimental way possible. It is nice (and fitting) he set the appearances record recently and is now gone. It's the nature of the battle he fought so well for so long.

He got his eulogy and we all noticed how fond we are of Frasor and how thankless his role. His job is an easy one to fill right up until it comes to actually doing so.

Zach Stewart will likely appear in a number of big league baseball games. Either as a starter or reliever, he will get there. Some really like him while others suggest he's 25 and playing at Double-A. I cannot pretend to know too much either way so I'll just say neither fate will surprise me.

Trading Dotel and Patterson is a testament to patience, and how much of it smart people have while dummies like us bray for blood all too easily. Two true pros who will go about their highly specialized business in the most businesslike manner imaginable.

Dotel is like a La Russa wet dream, when you think about it. Patterson is a nightmare for Cardinals fans, a La Russa fever dream of too clever by a half in-game ego stroking. Corey Patterson will single-handedly strip the Cardinals of the "best fans in baseball" moniker, just you watch.

What We Gained

Hope. By the truckload.

An unshakable belief in a general manager we already believed in implicitly.

Colby Rasmus, a hopefully not very sick but good to have around again like an old shoe Brian Tallet, proto-LOOGY Trevor Miller, other things shaped like Mark Teahan. Colby Rasmus. Colby Rasmus. And somehow, even more swagger.

As much as AA likes to crow about the value of good people and good citizens, he's clearly drawn to (and sees fit to compile) swagger. Swagger puts some baseball people off, which is fine. Most people I know, in real life and on the internet, are not some baseball people. We like swagger because guys with swagger can often play.

Throw a bunch of swagging ballplayers who aren't quite living up to expectation together and you have, at the very least, potential. Imbue these malcontents with the freedom to let their freak flags fly, with some gentle pillow talk about how much belief there is in them, and you just might have something more.

Throw a few option-heavy contracts their way and you have a carrot-on-a-stick to go with the chip on their shoulder - you have fuel for their hate game. That fuel might just burn hot and move the whole ship along at high speed.

What it all means

Phase One of The Plan is now over. 2012 is now Next Year. It is, in a word, fucking on.

Not only is getting a cost-controlled, 24 year-old centerfielder with a 4 WAR season already under his belt a great move for the club moving forward, it is also the kind of move that reverberates. Moving from a replacement level-ish stopgap to a guy with legit 6 Win upside right now, not 4 years down the road means the club requires one fewer piece to compete. One piece (Prince Fielder?) makes them not a good team but a competing team. A "better than the Rays" team. A "shit down the throats of the AL Central" team. A "buy your tickets now" team.

It is happening, people. Maybe Prince Fielder is a bad example but, then again, maybe he isn't? This coming offseason starts the whole "marginal win value" debate anew. That is a debate that can be an awful lot of fun.

Then again, why go out and throw money at a player when another GM will grow tired of some underperforming asset. Whomever will stand by ready to scoop up that unwanted trash? The Toronto Blue Misfits want your problem children - they're starting a movement.


  1. I can't wait to use the new hashtag.

  2. When you can form of the best teams in baseball by simply spending money on a FA or two, you have to do it.

    If the Jays don't do it this offseason, I'm not sure what they're waiting for. You will not find a team with more young, cost-controlled, potentially elite talent than the Jays right now in MLB. Enough waiting for the endless future to contend and wasting current top-level production...the time is now. Make it happen, AA.

    As for the trades, well, it would have been hard to imagine a baseball day going better for the Blue Jays organization than it did today.

    I don't know how exactly AA managed to pull this coup off, but I'm just glad there is a seemingly never-ending supply of old "baseball people" that can't deal with taented players with swag. As Jose Bautista and Yunel Escobar have shown (and soon what Colby Rasmus and Brett Lawrie will show), it's quite the market inefficiency.

  3. It's amusing that the O seems to be taking shape while the starting pitching has question marks - more or less the opposite of this point last year.

  4. Great GROF post. Wait a little longer but do it a little better.

  5. I would never agree with the contract, but the story line of CC Sabathia opting out of his contract and signing with the jays would be priceless.

    the pitching is now the thing i am worried about next year.

  6. By far, the best article about this trade. Drew shows the restraint that most don't (or choose not to) exhibit.

    And well, obviously he's cooking with the right food: AA can sell hope like he can sell relief pitchers.

  7. "We're playing the Orioles tonight. You know what that means? Bad news for the Orioles!"

  8. Escobar/Rasmus/Bautista/Fielder/Lind/Snider/Lawrie/Arencibia/Hill

  9. So I guess it's time to start that five-month conversation of who's the one free agent piece?

    But actually, who?

  10. got the outfielder (would be nice if Gose was ready by next year spring).

    We need a DH (is that Thames or Cooper?), a 2B, 2SP's - and that is with Drabek getting his act together - and a closer (could McGowan actually come through for us??).

    That is still quite a bit to put together by next year spring.

  11. I know pining for Fielder wasn't the point of your post at all but it does bring up an interesting topic. What's the next piece? I doubt it's Fielder because frankly who wants to pay that much money for a DH only player when there should be plenty of cheap options both internal and external for that spot. It seems to me like the best place to spend money would be on some quality innings pitched. Trading for a #1 pitcher like Ubaldo Jimenez and/or signing a solid workhorse like Edwin Jackson would be pretty high on my wish list if I was GM.

  12. Fullmer -

    Honestly, I think this deal just accelerated the timeline significantly.

    If the Jays go out and blow their Vernon Wells $$ on the draft this year, the farm will be set, they'll have "cornerstones" at 1B, SS, 3B, LF, CF, RF and C, 2 Very Good pitchers in Romero and Morrow, Cecil and CV.

    That leaves a DH (A role I personally think Thames might be a able to fill, though a guy like Fielder could supplant that), a 5th starter, and some bullpen arms.

    I agree with you... I'd go out and spend some $$ this off season.

  13. I still think they need one more dependable SP (Ubaldo, Darvish, Wilson?) and another elite player for his position (whether that's at 1B/DH or 2B doesn't really matter) to really be right there with the Yankees and Red Sox as one of the best teams in baseball. And Rogers is certainly capable of making that happen this offseason.

    I'm not worried about the 4th/5th slots in the rotation (which could conceivably be filled by guys like Cecil, Villanueva, Litsch, Drabek and Alvarez) or the bullpen (which, as both JP and AA have shown, is pretty easy to construct with extra/failed starters, scrap heap guys, and cheap veterans).

  14. Romero/Morrow/Free Agent SP/Drabek/Cecil or some journeyman for the #4 or #5 SP spot. C-Arencibia, 1B-Lind,2B-The Free Agent we threw all our money at, 3B-Lawrie, SS-Escobar, LF-Snider, CF-Rasmus, RF-Bautista, DH-Thames, OF4-Loewen/Gose, IF5-JMac/Hill RPs are basically interchangable. I'm a big fan of where this is going.

  15. Please get Kelly Johnson, please get Kelly Johnson, please get Kelly Johnson.

  16. When you compare offensive production in good seasons, Kelly Johnson's best seasons stack up pretty well with Hill's best seasons. When you compare bad seasons, Johnson bad seasons are much more tolerable. You could certainly find worse places to burn money.

  17. How about both Kelly Johnson and Prince Fielder?

  18. I mean, it's not like they have much payroll committed in 2012. That wouldn't even get them to $100M.

  19. I don't think they'll win enough if they've got 2 spots taken up by 2 of Drabek, Litsch, Villaneuva. They should have 1 spot for 1 of those dudes.

    I think Romero/Morrow/Cecil is a respectable 1-3 and had hoped for Stewart to fill the next spot. Will need to add Wilson but don't see it happening.

  20. Can't Lawrie go back to 2B and Bautista stay at 3B?

  21. Let's wait and see how bad he is at third before we move him to a position requiring more range.

  22. Remember Paul Beeston hiring that unknown assistant GM in late 2009?

    He said something like, "If we didn't give him this job I was scared we were going to lose him."

  23. Please God, not Fielder. Who? Reyes. Reyes. Reyes. Reyes. Reyes. I can't repeat it enough times to drive the point home, but: Reyes.

    (And this post was totally awesome, btw.)

  24. I agree with Brandon (League?) re-quoting the best phrase of the post.

  25. AA will trade for a front-end starter - Seattle; LA; LA Dodgers; and will be in on Darvish. Last year someone in Boston said Toronto was an ace away from competing in the East with their rotation. AA now has the parts to package for that starter and $$ to sweeten the pot.

  26. What high hopes we had. RIP Colby


Send forth the witticisms from on high