Tuesday, September 6, 2011
The 2011 Blue Jays season hasn't been bad. Not by a long shot. The cursory 80-odd wins and fourth place finish are seemingly in place and I don't harbor much ill will over it.
There is, however, only so much a man can take. The disappointment seethes below the surface, generally spewing out in the direction of the American League Central or the poor Baltimore Orioles. Not often do I lash out at members of the local nine, especially now that AA either cycles through them in six weeks or brings in long-held mancrushes.
When a member of the Jays gets on my bad side, it's usually because of who they are not how they play. Eckstein drove me crazy for all the obvious reasons. Mench, Wilkerson and assorted retreads piss me off because I drink young blood. Rarely do I hold a strong distaste for a player just because he sucks.
Until now. Jon Rauch sucks and it drives me up the wall. I was less than enthused when the Jays announced one shitty reliever signing after another this past winter. I don't like feeling cheated and the spoonful of draft pick sugar barely makes the medicine go down.
Coming into the season, Rauch struck me as a cut-rate Jason Frasor - his 2010 line looked very Sausage Kingly with his strong K/BB numbers and fly ball tendencies. The very low home run rate in a gigantic ballpark didn't impress me much but hey, Anthopoulos has a hustle to run and Rauch is the means to an end.
Until, of course, Jon Rauch discovered facing the AL East teams isn't quite the same as taking on Cleveland and Kansas City on the regular. Either that or he just isn't a very good pitcher any more. Like, the worst reliever by fWAR in all of baseball bad.
Few pitchers in baseball match his low level of effectiveness (19 shutdowns against 11 meltdowns in 52 innings this season) with his continued high-level usage. His FIP is over 5. He gives up nearly 2 home runs per nine innings. He's been terrible. Only an ugly bout of awfulness by Frank Francisco and the sudden gutting of the bullpen left Rauch to pitch in big spots over and over again.
At some point, Rauch is either going to pitch himself right out of Type B status or pitch himself right out of a guaranteed contract next year. The Jays would have to offer Rauch arbitration to even get that far, at what point would a 33 year-old reliever coming off the worst season of his career turn down that opportunity? If Jason Frasor accepted last year, Rauch will run towards the arbiter with open arms. That I do not want.
Then this whole ugly scene will have been for nothing. Nada. A pointless exercise proving that gambling is better known as a tax on stupidity for a reason. It doesn't always work. Jays fans are the neglected children left to fashion some yellow-watered Mac & Cheese while Alex Anthopoulos spends all Daddy's money at bingo. It's no fair. He sold the damn strainer, for gamblor's sake!