Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition

photo credit: @CommandSign

by mike in boston [hatemailaccount a..t.. gmail dot …. com] @mikeinboston

Traveling this week, so just a quick post.

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Jays Talk

 

This was the week we were all dreading. Going in to the off-season following a big payroll increase that led to 74 wins there were 3 clear needs for the Jays: 1) a starting catcher, 2) a starting second baseman, and 3) a top of the rotation starter. These are not matters of debate. JP Arencibia had one of the worst seasons in baseball history. The awful tandem of Izturis and Bonafacio fielded and hit poorly at 2B. And Dickey was not able to be the ace that he had been in seasons past. Meanwhile, the Yankees spent money improving their rotation, as did the Orioles. The Red Sox and Rays made moves to maintain their playoff rosters. So the main question was not what would the Jays do to improve but rather how much money would Rogers spend fixing the holes?

 

AA reveled this week that the current roster is basically the roster that will compete for spots on the opening day squad: no proven starting pitcher and no starting 2B. The team will go into the season hoping that surgery has cured Morrow and Melky, that Lawrie can be a full time player, that a veteran catcher who has never played a full season can do so in 2014 for the first time, and on and on and on. That’s how they plan to get to 90 wins.

 

The payroll will be basically the same as last year due to arbitration settlements and scheduled raises. The $14 million in savings from letting Josh Johnson go will not be spent on improving the starting rotation. One big question we all had was whether Rogers was committing to the Jays long term or just approving a one-time spending spree. AA and Beeston have assured us that more money is there if they want it. This has to be considered a lie at this point. The Jays had a big advantage over other teams this off-season in that they have protected draft picks. So, the total cost for signing a free agent pitcher is less for the Jays than it would be for other teams. Yet they are choosing  to waste this competitive advantage since they don’t want to pay$ 12-14 million for one of the best available starters.

 

For Jays fans, this is extremely disappointing. Why spend all that money last year if you weren’t willing to spend more this year to make sure that you capitalize on the assets you have? This is not an instance of good money after bad, since the Jays claim that they have a competitive roster. Maybe that’s a lie too, and they are planning to trade Bautista and Encarnacion. I guess we will see.

 

Many others have rightly slammed AA for terrible roster management. There are several guys who don’t have options left and so either have to make the team or be exposed to waivers. They should have been traded ages ago. There are several hitters who cannot hit left handed pitching yet the bench lacks a power right handed bat. Again, terrible roster management. Depth is the buzzword coming out of camp. The starting rotation in Buffalo is going to be solid like we’ve never seen before. I guess that is good news but I don’t see how that helps improve the quality of the 600 innings you want to get out of the top of your rotation.

 

Here’s my question for you this morning: can you remember a bigger disappointment inToronto sports than what we have seen since the Marlins tradeThe Jays were touted by some as World Series contenders prior to the season, then the season was a disaster out of the gate, then they won 11 straight to get back in it, followed by a steady decline that yielded no meaningful baseball in August or September. Then their pariah ex-manager wins the World Series with their division rival, and then they make no plausible moves to turn their 2013 roster in to a 90 win team in 2014. That is a rough 14 months. Have the Leafs or Raps ever had a such a crash? I guess TFC might be in the running, depending on how things turn out this year.

 

For more opinions, see: Jays are a last place team  and Jays Gotta Be Better, Right? and Hooray! Internal Improvement

 

Quick Hits

 

  • on PTS Beeston said there is no circumstance in which we see grass in the Dome before 2018. That’s a disappointment. It would be nice to see them making more improvements to the fan experience in the meantime.

 

  • Naylor had a co-host on from the Buffalo News several days last week. It’s the Olympics. Why would you have an American on? Was there really no one better left in Toronto?

 

  • Speaking of Buffalo, I drove through there yesterday and caught their drive time show. Here is what I heard: “I enjoy watching Canada lose more than I enjoy watching the US win, so you can imagine how devastating the US loss to Canada in hockey was.” Ah Buffalo … never has a city deserved the fate of its football team more. They are perfect for each other.

 

have a good weekend everyone, and thanks for reading

mike (in boston)

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