We’re still here, honest. And as soon as anything remotely interesting or concrete happens this offseason (which will start with the FA frenzy tomorrow), the ‘Bird will be all over it. It’s just hard to write with the shakes of advanced baseball withdrawl and while I know that bloggers live by the hot stove, I am trying to kick the habit as it is the incredibly unsatisfying but still highly addictive methadone of my baseball addiction.
But without the pressing need (or possibility) to pump out copy to a significant and/or paying audience, It’s kind of satisfying to be able to maintain certain standards instead of being forced to debase ourselves by writing full-page pieces about such critical pressing issues as the Jays lack of a backup catcher. Or dragging out Barry Bonds again. Good god, even the mighty Stoeten has been reduced to a shade of his former self, forced to reading tea leaves daily about the Manny pipe dream.
There is going to be one semi-original thought in the post though, and that’s about Lyle Overbay, who according to Jeff Blair on the Fan, was being aggressively shopped leading up to the FA deadline – even to the point of the Jays offering to pay some of his salary over the next two years. Unless there’s already a idea in place to replace him with someone huge, I think that’s just another silly, crowd-pleasing move.
Yes, the Jays had no HR pop last year and Overbay isn’t your traditional 1B masher. But for a team that is strapped for cash, trying to improve on an essentially average .777 OPS by first paying another team to free his spot and then wading into the free agent market is a terribly inefficient way to spend money (there’s this fascinating book called Moneyball that’s all about this – unfortunately there also seems to be another one with the exact same title that’s only about not bunting and stealing that everyone seems to have read instead). There were much bigger problems than Lyle last year, and there are much bigger ones to throw money at this offeason.
What about the “starting” SS with a .697 OPS? What about finding a pitcher other than Halladay who has pitched a full season in the majors that the team can start the season with? Once those slam dunk opportunities to upgrade have been taken care of and there’s still money to burn, great, then go into tweak mode and try to swing the incredibly marginal upgrade that is Overbay to someone like Raul Ibanez, or make the likely to be very expensive and/or very risky move for a guy who puts up huge enough numbers to make a real impact.
I think JP is taken with the idea because he really is prepared to give Marco Scutaro the starting job (for the first time in his life after a late-career resurgence and miracle season *cough* Zaun *cough* Stairs *cough* McDonald), and throwing raw young arms into the fire of the rotation has been the only thing that has really worked out for him in years. So that leaves pumping whatever money there is into a gigantic bat to fit into 1B/DH/LF with Lind and Snider.
It’ll be a great PR move because it “goes right after” the main problem of last year, but just like spending 55 million bucks on the most highly overrated position in the game in a knee-jerk reaction to the Miguel Batista closer experience, if JP forgets that the whole reason he pushed hard for Overbay in the first place was that he is more valuable than he looks to the HR-duhhhh-RBI crowd and wastes money just to get him off the team, it will go against the first principles of SABR/Moneyball dogma and thus be punished accordingly. Smite him (and sadly, us), Lord James!