The Mockingbird

False Choice

with 8 comments

From the very start, I thought it was pretty silly to believe that the Jays were going to — or really trying to — compete for a wildcard spot this year. But now that the injury bug has hit (and come on…how unlikely was it when you’re relying on a 3 through 5 that have never thrown anywhere close to 200 innings in their life?), Toronto fans are being presented with — and swallowing hook line and sinker — a false choice about what can be done:

a) Hack and slash the cream of the farm system for a one-year rental.

b) Do nothing.

Rogers is so beholden to the short-term bottom line, so committed to not investing one red cent until the team is in the World Series, that this blinkered viewpoint has spread over to the commentators, fans, and media. Tough break, but that’s just the way it is, they parrot. Time to throw your hands in the air and run Jamie effing Moyer out there (as a “classy distraction” — BARF), who at this point is nothing more than a feel-good story that the current trash of the league, the Rockies and Orioles, has realized has zero actual baseball value at this point.

I call B.S. There’s a c). It’s called building a fan base. It’s called generating a little goodwill. It’s seeing the big picture of what you’re trying to do here, and ‘wasting’ a little cash to show your fans some respect. It’s what real teams do, and are rewarded for in spades in the long run.

Here’s how it works: you find some team that really has a good reason to have given up for the next few years and has a contract for a veteran starter that they want to get rid of. And you take it on. It is not good value. It might be really, really, terrible value. But you only have to ship some joke of a prospect to get some rotation filler. The team almost certainly still misses the playoffs. But it doesn’t get ugly. I mean, offering up a AAA rotation ugly.

It’s only a ‘waste’ if you don’t consider any of the intangibles. Maybe you get a vet to help tutor the kids. Maybe you get the kind of decent middle-of-rotation guy you’re going to need in a couple of years anyway that you trade-and-sign. Maybe you just get a little hope for the second half and some draft picks when he walks. Maybe the team actually sticks around in the hunt for a while and the Dome isn’t a ghost town in September.

I’m not saying it’s ‘time to get desperate’ and just spend willy-nilly, but taking on payroll is not even being thrown around as an option — as if putting some of the mythical 120 million dollars that we keep hearing is coming ‘just around the bend’ towards fielding a product worth watching on the field once every five days is going to throw the team into a financial tailspin.

Going from comically over-the-top “IT’S OUR TIME” swagger to waving the white flag in the first half with a winning team, hot bats, fan-interest and a reachable wildcard, all because a bunch of injuries that were waiting to happen happened is a joke. It’s not AA’s fault — the guy is an absolute genius to do what he’s done with such little financial support. It’s not the team’s fault. It’s not the trainer’s fault. It is the fault of a passive, uninterested, thinking-small group who makes the financial decisions at the very top. But hey, as Toronto fans we’re used to that — right? Far too used, I say.

Written by halejon

June 28, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Posted in Seriousness

8 Responses

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  1. I don’t necessarily disagree, but you’re asking people who work in finances to consider intangibles.

    Everyone in the league needs pitching, so getting anything close to value is even more difficult, given the Jays’ dire situation on that front. It won’t be a joke of a prospect, it’d probably be one of the 8424 A-level arms the Jays seem to have. With the new CBA rules, a player needs to be with a team a full year to get compensation picks, so that’s not a motivation either.

    Again, I don’t disagree- seems like a reliable mid-rotation guy has been a need for the Jays for a while. I just don’t think any argument that Rogers Baseball Operations will see includes “intangibles”. The frustration of this moment will pass, and AA will continue trying to be smart in getting talent, while quietly whiffing on bullpen and bench guys.

    DaveC

    June 28, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    • Thanks for filling me in on the new CBA. I had a feeling that might have changed but was in full flame mode. My bad.

      Maybe “joke prospect” is also going too far, but I wouldn’t have a problem in trading one of those guys for a middle-of-the-road major-league player at all. Seems like everyone always values prospects at their highest potential and is terrified to lose a potential ace. If you can get an established middle of the rotation starter for a guy who has a 15% chance of being an ace, a 50 percent chance of being middle of the rotation, and a 35 percent chance of never pitching in the big leagues (see: Nestor Molina), you win! The idea that in order to squeeze 100% of the value out of that draft we have to wait for all those guys to mature doesn’t make sense to me. Again, it’s not like you just get desperate and give them away, but you take the standard hit on value in exchange for the very real chance that a guy is not going to make it.

      Oh, I don’t think they’ll hear that argument either — but that’s my point. Rogers treats the game logically, matter-of-factly, small time. There is no consideration of any element of the Yankee/Sox strategy of overpaying, or taking financial risks now in order to establish a dynasty, a global fan base, a SICK moneymaker in what is just begging to become a baseball town. Every single signing has to pay for itself in expected revenues this year, pretty much. It’s the recipe for very good teams that are never going to make it in the AL East, that the Jays have followed for more than a decade. And I’m sure they’re totally happy with that. I’m not.

      halejon

      June 28, 2012 at 2:02 pm

  2. Not to mention that the games will be watchable on television … not good for the broadcast when half the audience cuts bait and changes channels at inning 3 in a 6-0 game.

    Beau

    June 28, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    • But hey…if nobody is watching the games anyway, they can show even more UFC! On their own channel! And then in 10 years when the UFC is the biggest thing in Canada because they understand investing for the future in an untapped market, Rogers can sell the Jays because they can’t turn a profit. And then they say: “see, if we had spent more money on the team it would just have been a loss anyway, because Canada isn’t a baseball market, it’s a UFC market.” And then I get arrested.

      It reminds me of the Prisoner’s Dilemma (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prisoner's_dilemma). You follow logic, and so does everyone else, which guarantees your failure. So why follow it?

      halejon

      June 28, 2012 at 2:17 pm

  3. preach it brother. i agree. when does the switch magically flip and we go after it. i hate rogers…being owned by a corporation is a curse…im tired of hearing …”but can you blame them for not spending its a business”.

    what are we waiting for before we nudge ourselves into the conversation for acquiring top end talent? for jose to get to old to produce at an elite level…for romero,rasmus,morrow,lawrie etc. to get that much closer to FA and have their earning power spike. are we waiting for Gose d’Arnaud and the gang in the minors to come up? because at that point…the learning curve for those guys becomes a lengthy one…and it again becomes about “next year”

    were in on everyone but end up with none.
    we refuse to go over 5 years for a FA.
    we chose not to put forth a winners bid for Darvish…who may not have been a SURE thing…but he wasn’t exactly a wildcard either. darvish at 6/103 looks pretty good seeing what Cain got and what guys like Greinke and Hamels will fetch in a few months.

    its disheartening…we’re second rate.

    AA clearly needs to show value on EVERY transaction and every player otherwise it doesn’t happen. its like going to subway or burgerking and only getting the deal of the day because…hey…there’s value in it. i dont feel like a fish sandwich but i have too..because i need value otherwise my wallet won’t open.

    if i save x millions on every deal i do but NEVER reinvest the “savings” then the value of those transactions is really only felt on the management end.

    all too common logic amongst fans is “wow we just signed Jose for 14M a year and he’s worth double that, what a deal” OR “wow we just shed 85+ M trading Vernon Wells, we can now reinvest that money” …but thats bogus. for years we’ve saved money on guys like Rios, Rolen, Burnett, Halladay, Wells etc…. and what? who cares that we saved that money if those savings weren’t put back into talent on the field.

    and please apologists spare me the “we took on teahans contract, we upped our scouting and we gave hech 10/4″ these are moves WINNERS make ontop of the spending a lot of us seem to be clamouring for.

    ive really become quite pessimistic over the last few years concerning Rogers willingness to really do what it takes to make this team a winner.

    TyB

    June 28, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    • Yeah, it would be much, much better for the team to be some tycoon’s plaything — but I actually think it would pay off. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with signing Jose for bargain basement and shedding the worst contract ever…but when the team just eats the money and vaguely promises to invest in the team later you have to at least wonder if it’s genuine. I still feel the last rebuilding cycle, Rogers got halfway into going big for a playoff run and then got cold feet. They had some success, took on a few big players contracts but after some injuries, blew a lot of money on Wells and were done. Realistically that offseason when they were talking about re-signing Lilly and getting Meche and didn’t end with either, they knew they were still a few pieces away from having a serious playoff team, but weren’t willing to do what it would have taken to get over the top. Maybe they will this time, or maybe they’re just testing the waters again. Who knows?

      As for the scouting, etc, I agree. AA has the system in really great shape and is pulling some magical moves, but the other teams aren’t stupid, either. Try drafting a fantasy auction league with a bunch of guys who have maybe watched some highlights in their life in which they get more than twice as much money to start with. I don’t care how many sleepers you’ve got up your sleeve, it’s a stupid game to try to play.

      halejon

      June 28, 2012 at 6:00 pm

  4. another thing to consider that a lot of Jays fans seem to ignore about staying the course, there is no guarantee that the kids are going to pan out like everyone thinks, take Drabek and Snider shitting the bed once they got here. time for Rogers to open the wallet in the offseason and pick up a arm and act like they’re serious about winning, if they’re not serious about winning then maybe it’s time to sell to a owner with money that gives a shit about winning, you can only tell your fans for so long that we’re building it the right way before they see through the lies and BS.

    Seth

    June 28, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    • Yeah, I think that’s a reason why even really smart baseball people tend to massively overrate their team’s chances of competing. You end up with this fantasy team in your head that has with everyone performing at their best and all your prospects making it and nobody getting injured. When the reality is you need 6-7 starters and depth at every position and a prospect or two to step up — or you need to get really lucky.

      Snider is still going to make it!!! They just effed him up. But that’s another rant…

      halejon

      June 29, 2012 at 12:48 am


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