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Alex Anthopoulos's first order of duty is to come up with a philosophy for the team.  What is a team philosophy you ask?  Beeston and Anthopoulos stated in their first Saturday press conference that the organization first needs to define a philosophy and from there decisions regarding payroll and free agents and roster composition can be made.   The philosophy covers how the team will compete, it is a baseball equivalent of a business plan.  Alex and Beeston were supposedly meeting over the last couple of weeks to determine the philosophy.  This week they might be presenting it to Rogers.  So we at Batters Box, at no charge to the Blue Jays, will help define what the philosophy should be.

There has been a lot of discussion in other threads about what the Jays should do but a lot of it is based around specific players such as JJ Hardy or Hanley Ramirez that the Jays could target.  However a philosophy cannot be based on what other teams might be willing to do, it has to be more abstract than that, it is what will wo do, in general, to make this team competitive.  Here are three offerings from members of the roster.

But first how many dollars are committed for 2010? 

C Vacant  0.5
1B Overbay  7 
2b Hill  4  4.2
SS Vacant  0.5
3B Encarnacion  4.75
LF Lind  1.0e
CF Wells  12.5
RF Snider  0.5
DH Vacant 0.5
B1 Vacant 0.5
B2 Vacant 0.5
B3 Bautista  3e
B4 Ruiz  0.5 

SP Halladay  15.75
SP Romero  0.5
SP Marcum 0.5 
SP Rzepczynski 0.5
SP Cecil  0.5 

RP Frasor  2e
RP Downs  4 
RP League  1e
RP Tallet 2e
RP Camp  1e
RP Carlson  1e
RP Pick-em  1e

Totals  $65.5m

Salary information is from Cotts baseball contracts.  "e" means estimated.  Minimum salary of 0.5 used for all vacant spots and minimum wage players.

The Jays have $65m committed for 2010 assuming BJ Ryan and whatever cash was part of the Rolen deal is a 2009 write-off.  If the payroll is $80m, the Jays have $15m to spend and so on from there.

On to the philosophy........


Philosophy  #1

 1. The Jays will compete primarily through scouting and player development.  However all teams want to compete this way, with only the Yankees being less committed to young players.  Teams like young players because they are cheap and often provide the best value as measured by performance versus pay.

2. We don't have access to the latest research on the draft but is the draft more than the luck of the draw?  If it is more than luck then do what is necessary to provide better draft results.  If paying over slot gets you better players then pay over slot (up to a reasonable point of course).

3. Figure out what needs to be done to improve player development.  From coaching to facilities to food, do what you can to develop more players to major league standard?

4. Continue to commit to international signings, not necessarily in the few high profile and high dollar players, but in the higher volume signings and hope to find some late developers who are cheap at 16 but turn into value at age 18.

5. When you have a limited budget you have to find value, as defined by having a player who delivers more value than his contract/pay.  Successful young players usually deliver value whereas free agents are a hit and miss proposition as they are usually able to negotiate a contract to get paid for the value they have previously shown they can deliver.  A teams opportunity in signing a free agent is if the player can deliver more value than he has in the past, as the free agent contract is usually based on his established level of performance.  Undervalued players on other teams (such as Marco Scutaro) should be scouted actively and traded for.

6. You have to assume team payroll will be around $80 million, assuming that is break-even for the club.  Rogers are a public company with an obligation to the shareholders to try and maximize shareholder value.  Rogers could choose to make an investment in a higher payroll, on a short-term basis, if the value proposition is that the investment will be repaid through a playoff spot and higher ticket sales the next season.  Rogers will not spend $100m or $120m if that creates a $20m or $40m loss for the club.  Based on attendance over the last several years the Jays will not be able to justify a higher payroll unless they have an excellent chance to win.  The challenge for the front-office is to deliver ongoing performance on an $80 million payroll.

7. The club is starting under water, payroll-wise, for the next five years with the Vernon Wells contract which is very unlikely to deliver value.  $20 million for Vernon leaves $60m for the rest of the roster.

8. With an $80m payroll it will be hard to sign free agents, or pay internally developed players, much more than $10m per season.

9. The organization appears to have a strength in developing pitching.  The team should expect to develop its pitching internally and sign or trade for position players and/or young hitters.

10.  Most of the hitting tools can be evaluated early in a players career but the hitting for power tool appears to have the greatest variability.  Undervalued players who develop power in their mid-20's can be a source of value, think Dan Uggla, Garrett Jones, Jack Cust, etc.  The Jays should see if it can find a way to find players with late developing power who are undervalued currently.

11. In the short term the team is unlikely to be able to improve to 95 wins in 2010.  While the team has young pitching, the progress of young pitching is uncertain and the sophomore jinx and/or injuries might impact some of them.  On the hitting side the team has lost two of their top performers, Marco Scutaro and Scott Rolen.  While Scutaro might be re-signed it is unlikely that he will produce at the same level in 2010.  The Jays have offensive gaps at catcher and shortstop, as well as uncertainties at first base vs RHP; DH or outfield; CF; and third base.  A case can be made for the Jays to be competitive in 2010 but how is it different from the cases made in 2008 and 2009?  Therefore the Jays should look at 2010 as a consolidation year rather than a competing year.

12. The team has a number of young pitchers who are still establishing themselves.  Some of these pitchers will take a step back in 2010 while Shaun Marcum, Dustin McGowan and Jesse Litsch's return from surgery is also an uncertainty.  This pitching could become a core strength in 2011 through 2014.  The hitting core of Adam Lind, Travis Snider and Aaron Hill should be under contract in the same period.  The Jays need to trade or sign players to fill in the other positions and who could supplement the home grown core from 2011 through 2014.

13. The Jays could determine in each off-season if they have a serious chance to compete the next season and if so, ask Rogers to bump up the payroll with a few experienced fill-in players on one or two year contracts.

14.  On a longer term basis it will be difficult for the Jays to compete with the Yankees and the Red Sox year-in and year-out.  The Jays will have to look for opportunities to go for it and at other times pull back.  Based on the requirements of having a competitive team for TV the Jays could follow one of two approaches.  One they could have a go for it and then rebuild mode as the Marlins do.  This means you are either building or tearing down.  The other approach is to be respectable each year.  To do that you need to supplement the home grown core with players acquired via trade.  The Jays might have to trade players at their maximum value, likely in their late 20's or early 30's to keep the pool of younger talent coming.  In that case the Jays should look to lock-up their young players perhaps through the first couple of free agency years.  Players could then be traded around age 30 at a time of maximum value.

15. This philosophy says that in this off-season:

Roy Halladay should be traded for young position players at the skilled positions.
One or two relievers who are within one year of free agency should be traded.
Investments should be made in the draft, in player development and international scouting
The club should try to sign some undervalued players with a club option for 2011


#2 - The Fifteen Feathers of Blue Jays Wisdom

1. One great player is better than two good players.

2. Open the vault for superstars, and only for superstars.

3. Pitching, defense, and the three-run homer.

4. Sabremetrics can be your friend.

5. Four-and-a-half man rotation, five-and-a-half man bullpen, and a multidimensional bench.

6. If you listen to the fans too much, you'll end up sitting next to them. Same goes for listening to the media.

7. Sunk costs are sunk.
8. Plan for injuries.

9. If your pitching&defense is above average, you can add the most wins by improving the offense. If your offense is above average, you can add the most wins by improving the pitching&defense.

10. The organization should ensure that their fans understand how unacceptable it is for fans of the visiting team to be louder than Blue Jays fans in Rogers Centre.

11. Use the whole roster.

12. Being outspent is acceptable. Being outworked is not.

13. The last time the Blue Jays were the best team in baseball, they were also the classiest team in baseball. Maybe there's no connection, but why take chances?

14. Don't swing at bad pitches.

15. Throw strikes, change speeds, work fast.


Philosophy #3

You have to think outside the box. You're not going to get anywhere playing by the same rules as the Yankees. If you place the same value on everything as the Yankees do, they will end up with a better team by virtue of their greater financial resources. You have to differentiate yourself somehow. Ideally, you would do this by finding out the areas the Yankees are handling poorly, and making those areas into advantages for you. You can allocate your money to big-league talent, the draft, scouting, development and the international market in a different way than they do. You can beat them to the punch on tandem starters. You can eliminate the slave-to-the-save mentality, especially if you have the right personnel to do it. But you're probably going to have to risk looking stupid if your strategy backfires. If you think inside the box, you're going to need a few miracles to wind up in the playoffs.

Don't be afraid to sign highly specialized role players who thrive in certain situations. Then, put them in those situations as often as possible, and anything else as rarely as possible. Good platoon players are more valuable than bad generalists.
Do invest in player development, as others in this thread have noted.
If a power hitter looks finished, he probably is. Don't let him prove it in a Blue Jay uniform without a very good reason to.
Don't be afraid to move Vernon Wells into a corner.
Do engage in statistical research.
Take advantage of pitch fx and hit fx.
Why can't we learn more about clutch hitting?
Do consider giving your 'everyday' position players regular rest, and seeing how it affects their performance.
Do be aware of the interactions between pitching and defense, and how a good defense can decrease the price you have to pay for good run prevention.
Do value defense.
Don't fetishize experience.
Don't fetishize fastball velocity.
Don't discriminate against undersized pitchers.
Do keep a positive outlook.
And please, please, even if you don't do any of the above, do get rid of the "OK Blue Jays, let's play ball" shoutalong before the first inning, immediately - it's embarrassing.
OK Bauxites, it is your turn.
Major League Philosophy | 56 comments | Create New Account
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Mike Green - Monday, October 26 2009 @ 10:45 AM EDT (#207706) #
Green's philosophy:

1.   Pitching talent, like other major league talent, is distributed in accordance with one end of a bell curve.  Most talent is average or slightly below;.

2.   Don't try to force average pitching talent into too important roles.  Ergo, the five man rotation with each making 34 starts of about 6 innings has got to go. 

3.   Spend on position players; save on pitchers.  You want to have 11 pitchers on the big league club, who can throw 120-160  innings a season.   If you're lucky, you'll have developed two or three noticeably above average pitchers, who will hopefully throw more or in higher leverage situations. 

4.   Bring up young pitchers slowly, with low leverage relief roles first.

5.   A balanced bench is worth something.

6.   You can't compete in the AL East every year, but when you are competitive, you must go for it. 

whiterasta80 - Monday, October 26 2009 @ 11:00 AM EDT (#207707) #

My philosophy:

Rock a 60-70 million dollar payroll until we have a legitimite shot at something (i.e. previous season had 80 wins, 2 sub 4 ERA pitchers and 2 100 RBI guys).  I have seen no evidence that a 100 million dollar payroll gets us closer to the playoffs thus far. At the same time we have to be prepared to spend when something goes our way (i.e. a 27-15 start)- then you break the bank for Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez or the equivalent.

Until we get Albert Pujols, Ryan Howart, or Alex Rodriguez I am not paying more than 8 million per year for any position player and generally no more than 5 million.  Spending alot of money on position players gets us any closer to the playoffs. Vernon Wells (who I screamed not to re-sign) should have taught us that just because you pay a player to be A-Rod doesn't mean he can be A-Rod. As the Blue Jays we can only afford to pay our superstars.  IMO if we're trying to get value (and we need to in the AL East) then Roy Halladay is the only player on our current roster worth over 7 million per season.  Aaron Hill and Adam Lind can join that list with repeat seasons.

I also focus on having the traditional skill sets at each position.  This means our CF has to have ridiculous speed and our 1B has to strike fear into the hearts of pitchers (i.e. not Overbay).  Internally this means that I promote Mastroianni and move Lind or Snider (probably Lind) to 1B.

Finally, I focus on getting 3 pitchers, all around the same age who can compete in the AL East.  Maybe Cecil, Romero, and Marcum can be it (doubt it).  Moneyball didn't work, Scout's Honour didn't work the A's and Braves just hit the jackpot with starters.  We need to do the same. 

With the pitching side, of the draft I focus on several high schoolers the first year, a mix of high schoolers and college in the second year and college only pitchers in the third year. 

Wiith the hitting side I focus on guys I think will stick at SS and CF, and toolsy players who don't necessarily have a position.  Every other position you can convert people too.


whiterasta80 - Monday, October 26 2009 @ 11:07 AM EDT (#207708) #
Sorry about the insult to grammar that was the above post, I'm in a hurry.
Mick Doherty - Monday, October 26 2009 @ 12:10 PM EDT (#207709) #

1. One great player is better than two good players.

I think I agree with this, but would love to see it outlined in more detail. So much depends on what level of "good" you mean and what position(s) the players play. Do you trade Halladay, in arguable a great pitcher, for two genuinely good everyday players, a shortstop and a catcher (probably the two hardest positions to find "greatness")?

I dunno ...

Matthew E - Monday, October 26 2009 @ 12:18 PM EDT (#207710) #
Mick: What I meant by that was this. If you have two good players, then it's hard to improve your team at those two positions. Now, let's say you have one great player and one replacement-level player whose contributions, combined, are equivalent to those of your two good players. In such a case, you can improve your team much more easily by finding someone who's better than the replacement-level guy. The problem with the Jays in recent years is that they've had too many good players and not enough great players. Can't get by in the AL East that way. Gord Ash made the same mistake.
christaylor - Monday, October 26 2009 @ 12:20 PM EDT (#207711) #
1. Have a philosophy, obtain as large and flexible budget as possible and as much autonomy as possible from Rogers.

2. Do not tie budget to attendance. The Jays are content providers to many aspects of the Rogers corporation.

3. Do not base the teams actions too heavily on the perception of the team's ability to compete. Improve the organization wherever and whenever possible. Build a team that looks make the playoffs on Sept. 1 and the fans will come.

4. Push the team to be a buy in a buyer's market and seller in a seller's market. Even if the push leads to what seems like two lateral moves that end up with Jays only assuming more risk.

For example (caveat, I'm not in favour of this particular example) FA talent projects be cheap this year and he FA market lacks a high profile FA pitcher but several risky ones. Sell Roy for one close to the majors top prospect at SS/3B and buy two risky pitchers with his 2010 salary (Bedard Harden Sheets).

Riskier, but I only see three ways to finish ahead of the Yankees/Red Sox. Years of losing (TB), building riskier teams that could pay off big time or sputter because the risks bust, or one of the Yanks/Sox collapsing. I don't see the first succeeding for a Toronto baseball team or the last being likely (or even a way of getting the Jays to the play-offs, see 2006). Taking on risk (but well-evaluated risk) is the Jays friend. JP seemed far too risk-averse.

5. No team has figured out the amateur draft. Not even the lauded Billy Beane; it is a crap-shoot. Draft and sign the best talent available in a bottom up not top-down fashion (one of JP's biggest failings was his inability to stop being a scout and become a GM).

6. Unlike the draft, it does seem possible to figure out player development. Find out what has worked in other situations and apply it to the organization. Learn from the players who've come through the system and who are in the system what problems were/are at each level, listen to the players and address the problems.

7. Do the things for the fans. Examples: Blue Jays = Blue uniforms. Get people raving about the food and drink prices, selection and quality (bring Toronto restauranteur/chefs/street vendors to help address the issue). Incentivize the individual drink/food vendors to seats to be creative/distinctive. Address the seats themselves, which were conspicuously left untouched during the renovations. Make the seating in the 500 level general admission (and less than the price of a movie). Use new media and allow/encourage players that enjoy using new media to step out onto the internet. This could be particularly necessary to stop attendance from cratering during an on-the-field rebuild.

To sum up: adaptability & autonomy (AA) are very important for the baseball operations. The Jays of the last 15 years have seemed to have very little of this as an organization. Prior to this Labatt's seemed to take a hands-off approach. Turn this aspect of the Jays into a key piece of the philosophy.
John Northey - Monday, October 26 2009 @ 01:44 PM EDT (#207712) #
I've been thinking (scary stuff) and was wondering how true the 'all average' is worse than 'star mixed with replacement' is.  In Jays history we've seen a few great regular seasons.  What were those teams like?

  • 1985: 99 wins (franchise best)
    130+ OPS+: 1 player (Barfield) plus Cecil Fielder over 81 PA
    120's: Mullinorg (both of them)
    110's: Bell, Upshaw, and Burroughs (who was replaced by Oliver/Johnson who hit 76/81)
    150+: Stieb (172), Henke (211)
    140's: Key, Caudill (who knew?)
    130's: Acker, Lavelle
    120's: Alexander, Davis, Lamp
    110's: Clancy, Filer

    So stars for pitching were 2 guys in the rotation and 2 in the pen plus very many above average guys.  Offense had tons of guys at the above average but no 'great' seasons.  Trick was to have many guys play just a bit over their heads all at the same time with 2 near HOF'ers having peak seasons (Stieb & Henke).
  • 1987: 96 wins (Pythag of 100)
    140+: Bell (146)
    130's: McGriff & Fielder (platooned at DH)
    120's: Mulliniks & Beniquez (88 PA's)
    110's: Moseby, Fernandez
    100's:Leach, Barfield, Whitt
    Sub 100's: Upshaw, Gruber, Iorg (44!) plus all infield and catcher backups
    150+: Flanagan (190), Henke (181), Key (164)
    140's: Eichhorn
    130's: None
    120's: Clancy
    110's: Wells, Stieb, Gordon (11 IP)
    100's: Musselman, Cerutti
    Sub 100: Nunez (90) and Johnson (88) plus 3 guys who had few innings (including Duane Ward & Phil Niekro)

    No one noticed how pitching based this team was at the time iirc.  121 ERA+ vs a 104 OPS+.  Weakness was clearly 2B & CA but 'stand Pat' did nothing useful about it that year (2B was a rotating mess) while always trying to improve the pitching (which Flanagan did quite nicely while Niekro, Johnson and Ward did not).  We had stars and dogs that year and the price was an underperforming team that collapsed when injuries hit at the worst possible time to positions with no quality backups (SS & CA).
  • 1992: First WS win, 96 wins vs Pythag of 91
    Offense: 4 guys between 119 and 127 plus Winfield at 137 while all others were 90 or less among regulars (plus Jeff Kent at 109 traded mid-season and two guys with about 50 PA total between them)
    Pitching: 2 starters and 2 closers over 150 (Henke/Ward and Cone/Guzman), 3 at 100-116 (Morris, Key, Timlin) then lots of crap (3 in the 90's, 1 in the 80's with the rest in Josh Towers territory).
    How the heck did they do it?  By having a pair of near Rivera's in the pen and 4 solid starters.  An offense with 5 solid guys and lots of crap which just meshed perfectly for that season.  A lot more problems were there than I remembered thus explaining the many, many changes done that offseason
  • 1993: 2nd WS win
    Offense: Olerud killing the ball (186), 2 guys in the 140's (Molitor & Alomar), 2 in the 110's (Carter & Fernandez) with White in the 100's.  3B/CA/LF were basket cases but 2 of them were stable all year while Ricky just past his prime manned LF
    Pitching: Hentgen at 112 was the highest starter, 2 others over 100.  But... Ward was at Rivera level, Eichhorn was at 159, Cox at 139 (all 3 70+ IP). 
    Opposite of 1992 - pitching fell down but the pen was a 3 man team with a monster at the end.  The offense had 3 stars and 3 solid supports followed by 3 warm bodies who didn't suck horribly.
So, what do I see?  The handful of stars with crap can work, but you must not let the crap smell up the join too much (I'm looking at you Mr. Iorg final out of 1987).  You need backups who are 80/90's for OPS+/ERA+ and at least 2 star levels (140+ OPS+/ERA+) or you must have a team with everyone clicking (1985).
Mylegacy - Monday, October 26 2009 @ 03:17 PM EDT (#207713) #
My philosophy has FOUR parts:

Part 1 - The BEST option

Clone five more Roy Halladays - an extra in case one gets hurt.

Part 2 - The 2010 option

If for some technical reason Part 1 just can't be done - remember that Pitching and Defense wins. You can go far with 5 good starters - you win playoffs with 3 great starters. Normally it is easier to get 5 good starters than 3 great ones. Right now the Jays have at least 10 (Roy, Marcum, McGowan, Romero, Rzski, Cecil, Ray, Mills, Tallet, Richmond) MLB quality (or near MLB quality) starters - I say KEEP the top THREE and package the other seven - a set of three and a set of four - for two above quality starters. We will then have five above average starters. We resign Scoots and Barajas and let er rip.

Part 3 - The Long Term option

Long term - build from within. Draft JUST like we did in 09 - ONLY INVEST so that we actually sign the little critters. Invest in Latin America. Don't be afraid to package two or three minor leaguers for one KEY guy. Expect to be able to AFFORD to pay to KEEP your own players (those that you brought into the system and raised there) for the 6 years you control them and at least 2 to 4 years of their free agent time. That means you keep a player till he's about 29 on average. THEN - start over with the draft choices you get from those guys. IF a GUY is a SUPER STUD - trade him for MORE than you can get in the draft - before he leaves for just draft choices.

How much will this cost? 100 to 110 million EVERY YEAR (on average) between the signing of prospects and he payroll of the big team. IF you  SAY YOU WILL COMMIT TO THAT - then SAY it is contingent on US FANS getting our butts in seats to the tune of at least 2.5 to 3 million fans a year. IF WE FANS know that the team WILL INVEST - we will show up. For this Plan to work - we fans have to show up BEFORE the results show to finance the Plan - I BELIEVE we will IF the team commits to the Plan for at least 10 years or so - assuming we show up.

Part 4 - The Final Solution

Go Leafs!

FisherCat - Monday, October 26 2009 @ 03:20 PM EDT (#207714) #

First: Since there is no recent Minor League I figured I'd post this update here.  Darin Mastroianni has been added to the Blue Jays contingent on the AFL's Phoenix roster.  I believe to replace an injured Indians or Tigers player?

Second: Back onto the subject at hand.  I came across an intersting quote from a scout (MLB Trade Rumors I think) that summed up the JP era quite nicely.  It was regarding the Keith Law comment about the Cruz Jr for David Wright deal.  The scout wasn't so much bashing JP for not getting David Wright, but because he didn't trade Cruz Jr when he had value and instead let him leave as an FA.

This is where AA has to be better than the previous regime.  I'm sorry, but even with Doc the Jays are not 2010 contenders.  So AA, do what JP couldn't do...

...sell HIGH (or relatively high)!  The Jays need to have a conveyor belt of solid talent continually coming up the pipeline so that when it comes time to decide whether to sign someone like VW/Scutaro or let him go.  You have some talent ready to insert in if the market price for said player(s) are out of budget.

Mick Doherty - Monday, October 26 2009 @ 03:32 PM EDT (#207715) #

package the other seven - a set of three and a set of four - for two above quality starters.

Nice idea, but for real -- who's going to be on the other side of that deal? That's a real question, not a criticism. Who takes three, or even four maybe-they'll-be-good (TANSTAAPP) pitchers in return for one established starter? If you have a guy who is almost a sure bet to win you 13-15 games, you don't trade him unless you get back something  major-league-ready, if not on the mound, then elsewhere.  

So, again, for real -- let's say you package Cecil, Ray, Romero and Tallet. What do you expect in return? Name names!

Magpie - Monday, October 26 2009 @ 04:05 PM EDT (#207716) #
remember that Pitching and Defense wins.

Except when it doesn't. I don't believe it's Seattle and the Dodgers opening the World Series this week. It's the two teams that led their league in scoring runs.
MatO - Monday, October 26 2009 @ 04:18 PM EDT (#207717) #

remember that Pitching and Defense wins.

If so then JP would still have his job based upon 2007 and 2008.

92-93 - Monday, October 26 2009 @ 04:30 PM EDT (#207718) #
"SP Marcum 0.5"

No matter how many times I correct people, this keep showing up. Shaun Marcum is arbitration eligible this year. Even coming off TJ you'd assume he makes at least another million on top of that, if someone like Edwin Jackson settled for 2.2m before going to Arb1 this season. I'm expecting Shaun to make at least 2m this year.
Mylegacy - Monday, October 26 2009 @ 07:13 PM EDT (#207719) #
Mick you say ..."name names" to which I say ...That's what AA gets the big bucks for.

Seriously - we trade a known walking wounded like Litsch + 3 others and another walking wounded like McGowan + 2 others. They make the deal MOSTLY on the 2 or 3 others with the CHANCE they get a ringer in a soon to be healthy Litsch or McGowan.

)McGowan, Cecil and Mills) or (Litsch, Tallet, Richmond and Ray) HAS to be able to get a solid number 2 and a half guy? N'est pas?

christaylor - Monday, October 26 2009 @ 07:37 PM EDT (#207720) #
Oops. Point 1 ought to be: 1. Have a philosophy but be adaptable... not just "have a philosophy".

Although in a way, the way it is, is fine with me. I don't particularly care what the philosophy is as I doubt merely having a philosophy has helped a team win games. Sometimes, it is better to be lucky than good.
brent - Monday, October 26 2009 @ 08:17 PM EDT (#207721) #

I have been saying this for years: play the kids!

It took JP years to realize he shouldn't just keep running veteran re-treads out there. His success with players like Zaun or  Scutaro only kept feeding him to do it again. The Twins seem to always let someone from their farm system have the first chance to replace a position. The players on their farm must be playing their butts off because they know they will get a chance. They give a chance to Snider and Lind but they were still on a short leash. You have got to stick with these players through their struggles to get that value later.

I agree with a lot of what other commenters are saying. I think we all generally know what we want to see. In the AL East, it is so true that you need to be building or tearing down. Selling high? Of course. These are things JP just couldn't master as GM.

Gerry - Monday, October 26 2009 @ 08:23 PM EDT (#207722) #

Bastian reports that the Jays have added a couple of Mel's.

Mel Didier and Mel Queen were both named to the position of senior advisor under Anthopoulos, who assumed general manager duties for the Blue Jays at the end of the regular season. Didier brings 56 years of scouting experience and Queen has spent 31 years in baseball as a coach, manager or administrator, primarily with Toronto.

Matthew E - Monday, October 26 2009 @ 08:59 PM EDT (#207723) #
(McGowan, Cecil and Mills) or (Litsch, Tallet, Richmond and Ray) HAS to be able to get a solid number 2 and a half guy? N'est-ce pas?

No, not at all. Nobody's trading anybody for anybody these days. If they can't rip you off, they're not interested.
parrot11 - Monday, October 26 2009 @ 08:59 PM EDT (#207724) #
My philosophy would be:

1)  to completely blow this team up and be willing to trade pretty much everyone but Snider (so that includes Lind, Hill, and Halladay). What should be targeted are prospects with elite upside.

2) Spend whatever money necessary hiring the best scouts, development personel, and front office staff

3) Pick and sign the best draft prospect (i.e. prospects with the highest upside with the best chance of reaching it) at each slot. Money should play almost no role in the decision-making process. The draft is the one area that the Jays can compete with the big spenders and stand a chance at winning.

4) This should lead the Jays into having one of top farm system in the league. And the Jays should maintain this draft philosophy in perpetuity. While there might be occasional blips, the Jays should aim at maintaining a top 5 system indefinitely (or until baseball changes the CBA).

5) Only pursue significant free agents once the club is in position to legitimately compete.

6) Have a set of guidelines when dealing with the level of commitment to make for a player. So have a maximum contract length and average salary you're willing to go for elite players, very good players (i.e. occasional all star), good player, ... Also, I would stop buying out arbitration years unless the player was an elite player (i.e. be willing to go year-by-year).

So, it will require patience on the part of both the fans and the front office/ownership, but would provide this organization with a solid foundation with which to build a sustained winner.

Denoit - Monday, October 26 2009 @ 09:22 PM EDT (#207725) #

Pitching, defense, and the three-run homer.

The pitching and defence have been there, 3 run home runs not so much. I would like to see this team try to increase its team OPS. In the past few years this teams offence has been centered around guys who just dont get on base enough. Guys like Vernon Wells and Alex Rios and even to a lesser extent Aaron Hill.  Too many time promising innings have been killed buy guys swinging at bad pitches. When you get 7 or 8 guys who can all command the strike zone and have a chance to put one out it really puts alot of pressure on the other teams pitcher.

Wildrose - Tuesday, October 27 2009 @ 01:06 AM EDT (#207726) #
The team may not be showing Halladay the proverbial door after all , Beeston meets with the player and his wife and agent:

There has been no change in Halladay’s status: he is under contract for another year and Beeston made clear that the Blue Jays want him to be a part of the team. Sources say that if Halladay is open to a contract extension with the team, money will not be an issue.

Jim - Tuesday, October 27 2009 @ 08:26 AM EDT (#207727) #

 If they can't rip you off, they're not interested.

Well to be fair when you are putting together packages with the likes of Tallet and Richmond aren't you trying to rip them off?

Jim - Tuesday, October 27 2009 @ 08:37 AM EDT (#207728) #

Sources say that if Halladay is open to a contract extension with the team, money will not be an issue.

Those are some awfully stupid sources.  Let's say it costs 20 million a year to extend Halladay.  How does that not create an issue?  They are going to have 45 million dollars tied up in Wells and Halladay.  

Unless they are taking the payroll to 120 million there is no way to resign Halladay and put together a roster that has any chance of even finishing 3rd.

Roy will be 34 in 2011.  Assuming he doesn't get hurt next year he will have thrown over 1100 innings the prior 5 seasons.  If he gets 100 million over 5 years there is little chance you get 100 million worth of performance between ages 34-38.

It's a painful decision, but one that needs to be made.  It's time to move on.  Either trade him for as much as you can get when you think he has maximum value or let him leave and take the potential picks, but there is no way to build a winner with Wells and Halladay making 45 million, because there is nothing in the system to support them from 2011-2013.



Mike Green - Tuesday, October 27 2009 @ 09:51 AM EDT (#207729) #
Wells' contract is what it is, and will make it difficult to be competitive during the 2010-14 unless there is a significant consistent bump to payroll (whether or not Halladay is signed). 

Is Halladay likely to be worth $20 million per year from age 34-38?  If you simply look at great pitchers at that age and compare, the answer would be clearly no.  Halladay has some factors weighing in his favour though:

1) he is a fitness freak, and
2) he does not have as much mileage on his arm as most early 30s pitchers because he got a late start and he throws fewer pitches per PA than most. 

Personally, I think that he has at least 3500 good innings in him, which would mean at least 1500 more good ones or 6-8 seasons worth.  If he's on the open market, I expect that the Yankees and Red Sox would be very, very interested.

FWIW, the age 41 ERA+ top 10 leaderboard ends with Spahn at 124, Kenny Rogers at 119 and Pete Alexander at 118.  In 9 years, I expect to see Roy Halladay's name there somewhere. 

Jim - Tuesday, October 27 2009 @ 11:13 AM EDT (#207730) #
Do I think that Roy Halladay has as good a chance as anyone to be productive at age 37 and 38?  Yes.
Do I think the Blue Jays are in a situation where they can take that chance?  No.

Jim - Tuesday, October 27 2009 @ 11:21 AM EDT (#207731) #
Here are the MLB starters between age 36 and 38 in 2009:


Across the board they are less effective then they were 5 years ago.  You can't pay 34 year old pitchers like they are going to stay at that level forever, it almost never happens.

Mick Doherty - Tuesday, October 27 2009 @ 11:58 AM EDT (#207732) #

I guess I don't understand the mindset of the world-class athlete. Halladay's status at age 39? How about retired, and not by ineffectiveness or injury, but by choice? The guy has 148 career wins; let's say in a best-case scenario, he wins around an average of 20 from seasons ages 33-38 (next season through 2015). That's six seasons, ~120 wins. That puts him at about 260-270 career wins. Even with a hometown "discount" he's at career earnings of greater than $150 million, he's a walk to the Hall of Fame, he's no sure thing to reach 300 wins even if he sticks around -- not that I've ever had the impression he's terribly stats-centered, even for the Big Numbers.

I just don't have that competitive desire I guess. Why not simply retire gracefully at that point and, you know, struggle by on your nine-figured life savings?

Mike Green - Tuesday, October 27 2009 @ 12:15 PM EDT (#207733) #
Most of 'em are a different breed.  How many major league pitchers retire voluntarily after going 18-10 with a 3.50 ERA at age 39?  How many major league outfielders retire at age 39 after hitting .300 with 25 homers?  Not many. It isn't only about making the money.  Most enjoy the game and the competition, until they cannot either play or compete.  Not many 40 year olds are saying "let's play two", but that spirit is often still in them.

As for Jim's point, I agree.  Halladay is not likely to be the same pitcher at age 34-38 that he was from age 28-32 when he averaged 210 innings and a 150 ERA+.  I give him 200 innings per year and a 130 ERA+, for the reasons that I gave above.  That will (depending on the course of salaries over the next 5 years) be worth more than $20 million per annum.  It certainly would be now. 

This isn't to say that I wouldn't trade him.  But, no Cliff Lee style trades please.

92-93 - Tuesday, October 27 2009 @ 12:21 PM EDT (#207734) #
"But, no Cliff Lee style trades please."

Therein lies the problem. CC Sabathia, Johan Santana, and Cliff Lee have proven that you just don't bring in a massive haul for your ace pitcher. Some will point to the Bedard deal as a framework, but unfortunately Bill Bavasi isn't a GM anymore, and you can't rely on such idiocy.

I'd much rather see Halladay for one more season and then take the two picks if and when he leaves than settle on some half-assed package like Carrasco, Knapp, Marson, and Donald. The offers simply aren't out there.
Chuck - Tuesday, October 27 2009 @ 12:23 PM EDT (#207735) #

I just don't have that competitive desire I guess. Why not simply retire gracefully at that point and, you know, struggle by on your nine-figured life savings?

When free agency started, way back when, and salaries started dramatically escalating, many presumed that athletes would retire earlier than in the past, to enjoy their wealth. Bill James countered that the opposite would happen, that players would hang on as long as possible given the financial benefit of doing so. A million bucks at age 40? Why turn that down?

Bill James has proven correct. It is the very rare player that retires, leaving a big payday on the table (Mike Mussina is a recent example). Add to the financial benefit the fact that most professional athletes are disproportionately competitive (compared to we teeming masses) and there is every reason to believe that someone like Halladay will pitch as long as someone lets him.

Mike Green - Tuesday, October 27 2009 @ 12:33 PM EDT (#207736) #
Minaya is still around, and the Colon/Lee/Sizemore/Phillips trade might have faded from his memory, he said wishfully.  Doc is a better pitcher now then Colon was then. With the Yankees in the World Series, the Mets might need to make a splash...
Jim - Tuesday, October 27 2009 @ 12:33 PM EDT (#207737) #
I would play until they dragged me off the field.

Of course, I also would have taken a page from George Brett's book....

Mike Green - Tuesday, October 27 2009 @ 12:37 PM EDT (#207738) #
There is actually another aspect of the whole longevity issue.  Players (generally) work hard on their craft and it is gone early.  How many skilled craftspeople among the teeming masses give up their craft at age 40?  For many, it is a matter of pride to be able to use the craft as long as physically able to do so. 
92-93 - Tuesday, October 27 2009 @ 12:51 PM EDT (#207739) #
"With the Yankees in the World Series, the Mets might need to make a splash..."

I brought this up in the other thread - living in NYC, I have a good sense of what the media thinks about the Mets and Yankees, and people are really tired with Jose Reyes. I guess the sky is the limit when you have a season like he did at 23, but it's been downhill from there. I think a package centered around Reyes for Halladay could work, and actually makes sense for both teams. The Jays would save several million and pick up a year of control at a position that's been desperately lacking, and the Mets get the starting pitching they are desperate for and can easily patch the SS hole on the FA market with a Scutaro/Cabrera/Tejada/Greene type signing, which could help bridge them to 2 of their better prospects, Wilmer Flores and Reese Havens.
VBF - Tuesday, October 27 2009 @ 01:19 PM EDT (#207740) #

The notion that one great player is better than two good players also doesn't take into account the extra spot next to the one great player. Could this unknown player have negative value that takes away the great player's value, and in doing so making the two good players a better option?

This doesn't really help my point, but this discussion always reminds me of when the Jays signed Koskie and Hillenbrand in response to Delgado leaving.

Mike Green - Tuesday, October 27 2009 @ 01:26 PM EDT (#207741) #
The Mets have a shortstop prospect Ruben Tejada who hit .289/.351/.389 in double A this past year at age 20, with a 19/3 SB/CS.  John Sickels says that he has a good glove.  Jon Heyman apparently published a rumour in July that the Jays asked about him in connection with a possible Halladay trade (also including F-Mart and Niese).  The accuracy of the rumour has, as usual, been questioned.

Tejada is, in any event, an interesting possible component, given the Reyes contract and the lower level talent in the Met organization. 

Dewey - Tuesday, October 27 2009 @ 01:32 PM EDT (#207742) #

Money should play almost no role in the decision-making process.

Yeah, sure.

There's a serious chicken-and-egg problem with this thread's query.  Which comes first, the budget or the 'philosophy'?  How can you construct a “philosophy” (even a modus operandi?) without knowing what your budget is? Without such parameters, as so often happens in such blogs as ours, responses simply fly off into fantasy-land.

There are very, very few matters anywhere in which money plays a minor role, let alone almost none at all. I do appreciate christaylor's points 1 and 2, however:  it's just as easy to place too much emphasis on money.

Matthew E - Tuesday, October 27 2009 @ 01:40 PM EDT (#207743) #

The notion that one great player is better than two good players also doesn't take into account the extra spot next to the one great player. Could this unknown player have negative value that takes away the great player's value, and in doing so making the two good players a better option?

No, no; it does take it into account; that's my whole point. That extra spot is valuable because it's somewhere you can improve your team by finding someone who's just slightly better than acceptable. But if you have a good player in that position, it's very difficult to improve. The more you concentrate the talent in any one roster spot, the more room you have on the roster for more talent. If you spread it out over a lot of spots, it's harder to find room for any more of it.

GregH - Tuesday, October 27 2009 @ 01:48 PM EDT (#207744) #

This is completely off topic, but I note that in Toronto, The Fan 590 will join Game 1 of the World Series in progress, as the Raptors start their season on Wednesday night.

Does anyone know of a radio station that can be received over the air in Toronto that is carying the game in its entirety?


VBF - Tuesday, October 27 2009 @ 01:50 PM EDT (#207745) #
Indeed. I guess that's where resources come into play. Is there enough resources available to bring in a better than acceptable player for this extra spot? Or are you stuck with a below average player in this extra position? Since Carlos Delgado is making 43% of the payroll, we can only sign Chris Gomez to play shortstop, etc etc.
Matthew E - Tuesday, October 27 2009 @ 02:41 PM EDT (#207746) #
Well, if you can't afford to have superstars, then you're in trouble, because you can't win without them. Two other teams in this division are trying to have superstars at every position. They'll never get there, because there just aren't enough to go around for that, but they're trying. You can't beat them if you're trying to get by without any.
John Northey - Tuesday, October 27 2009 @ 02:41 PM EDT (#207747) #
I think the big key with the philosophy is that AA have multiple plans in place.

A) Unlimited resources (or at least a $125 million budget which is possible for the Jays in theory) including a large ($20 mil) amateur budget (draft/international/etc.)
B) Current resources ($90 mil a year, $5-10 for amateur)
C) Low resources ($70 mil a year, max of $5 for amateur)

Obviously we all hope A is the case, but fear that C is while B is the most likely situation.  There almost certainly will be a sliding scale to all budget figures - if the Jays are playing before empty houses and low TV ratings the budget goes down, if both are packed it goes up. 

In all 3 cases you have to figure where you send scouts and other resources.  For C you have no margin of error at all, for A you have room to survive a Wells contract and possibly a second nightmare.  B allows one messed up contract.
ramone - Tuesday, October 27 2009 @ 02:49 PM EDT (#207748) #
Well via Blue Jays Twitter, Beeston has just been appointed CEO.  Good thing there was that year long search for his replacement while the team was in idle with no real direction.
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 27 2009 @ 02:56 PM EDT (#207749) #
If the budget is $90 million or less, you are best off to try to compete after Wells' contract is over.  There simply isn't enough cheap talent here or likely to be ready in the next few years to realistically compete with the rest of the AL East.  If so, say so and be done with it.  You might average 17,000 fans in 2010, but at least those who are there will be in it for the long haul. 
Denoit - Tuesday, October 27 2009 @ 03:48 PM EDT (#207755) #

If the budget is $90 million or less, you are best off to try to compete after Wells' contract is over

With a little creativity it could be done. Not saying it would be easy, and alot of things would have to go right. But lets assume Roy Halladay is on board and the pitching is realtively healthy. Thats a good rotation, and a solid bullpen. The only thing I see lacking is a good closer, but thats not a necessity. The offence needs some work, but when (if?) Vernon Wells returns to being a good player, and Travis Snider figures it out put those guys beside Adam Lind, and Aaron Hill you have the makings of workable offence. If Encarnacion plays the way he did in September/October there is another good bat. There are already alot of good pieces in place, maybe im being a little to optimistic but as this team stands right now, they are still good. I think they are much better than their record showed this past season.

Richard S.S. - Tuesday, October 27 2009 @ 05:22 PM EDT (#207765) #

Rules for the future:

1) Drafting: a) College/University players carries a risk that is sometimes ignored.  How much did he pitch - was he overused?   (Draft no more than 30%).   b) High School players take longer to develop, but have much more upside and more risk.   (Draft no less than 40%).   c) drafting/signing for slot is absurd, seldom with much upside.   (Draft less than 30%).

2)  Rule 5, Non-tender list, waivers,etc. can yield GOLD if attention is paid.   The Big Team or the Minors, both can benefit.   Toronto was the class of the field, in it's heyday, it's time to get back there.

3) Don't re-sign anyone over 31 unless Star or Elite class player.   Pre 20: hard to correctly determine value, 20-22, 23-25, 26-28, 29-31, post 31: hard to maintain good value.   Three (3) year contracts (w/wo 1 option year) or Aaron Hill type contracts should be the unbroken rule.

parrot11 - Tuesday, October 27 2009 @ 06:18 PM EDT (#207772) #

Money should play almost no role in the decision-making process.

Yeah, sure.

There's a serious chicken-and-egg problem with this thread's query.  Which comes first, the budget or the 'philosophy'?  How can you construct a “philosophy” (even a modus operandi?) without knowing what your budget is? Without such parameters, as so often happens in such blogs as ours, responses simply fly off into fantasy-land.

I don't really think so. The draft is relatively cheap compared to the major league roster. I would absolutely cut $20M in the major league payroll to spend an extra $20M on the draft. In the end (as long as the decision-making is sound), you'll get a much better bang for your buck and have a chance to acquire superstars (which I think is critical to fielding a competitive team). Plus there's less long term risk than signing a veteran average player to a multi-year deal. The first step should be to have an extremely potent farm system. After that you focus on translating that to success on the major league field, but I think that it's a mistake to put the cart before the horse.

Ron - Tuesday, October 27 2009 @ 10:38 PM EDT (#207778) #
Here’s my blueprint for the Jays this off-season:

- Trade Halladay and Robert Ray to the Dodgers for Ethan Martin, Dee Gordon, and Kyle Russell

- Trade Scott Downs for Jed Lowrie

- Trade Lyle Overbay for Chris Snyder

- Sign Erik Bedard to a 1yr/6 mil contract. 1.5 mil bonus for reaching 150 innings and another 1.5 million bonus for reaching 200 innings

- Sign Reed Johnson to a 1yr/2 mil contract

- Sign Coco Crisp to a 1yr/5 mil contract (assuming the Royals don’t pick up his 8 mil option)

- Sign Alex Cora to a 1yr/1.5 mil contract

Here’s the 25 man roster:

1. Crisp (CF)

2. Hill (2B)

3. Lind (LF)

4. Wells (RF)

5. Ruiz (DH)

6. Encarnacion (3B)

7. Snider (1B)

8. Snyder (C)

9. Lowrie (SS)

Bench: Johnson, Cora, Inglett, Chavez,

Starting Pitches:

1. Bedard

2  Marcum

3. Romero

4. Rzepcynski

5. Litsch

Bullpen: Frasor, League, Camp, Accardo, Carlson, Cecil, Tallet

Top 10 Prospects in the system:

1. Martin

2. Gordon

3. Russell

4. Stewart

5. Collins

6. Alvarez

7. Farquhar

8. Arencibia

9. Cooper

10. Jenkins

The Philosophy from the only person in Da Box to correctly predict the 09 Jays would win 75 games:

1. Rebuild Rebuild Rebuild! Don’t go out and sign big name, high priced FA’s to long term contracts this off-season

2. Expand the draft and international budget. This goes all the way from hiring more scouts (from organizations like the Red Sox, Twins, D-Backs, etc…) to drafting the best players available. Oh yeah signing them would also be a wise decision. Be more active in going after the top tier international rookie free agents. Start going after the Jesus Montero’s and Michel Inoa’s of the world.

3. Try not to go beyond 4 years for any free agent

4. Do not buy out any arbitration years/free agent years unless the player has already performed at an all-star level. Only offer this offer to position players and not pitchers unless it's a special case (i.e Halladay has 5 years of service time, I would try to sign him to a long term contract instead of letting him play out his 6th year and head into free agency).

5. Go through the minors and target “old” prospects that have produced in AAA/AA but are blocked at the Major League Level or/and for some reason have never been given a real opportunity (i.e. Randy Ruiz)

6. Improve the tiny per diem farm system players receive. Give these guys enough to where they can actually afford a decent meal and not a Burger King combo. Every minor league club should have at least 1 full time Chef and Nutritionist

7. All major prospects will be monitored in the off-season to make sure they are staying in shape and following their off-season plan the Jays have provided. No more “Brandon League” type incidents would happen under my watch.

8. After each season is over, every single player and coach gets the option to have a one on one, face to face meeting with the GM.

9. Market the team across Canada. I want to hear radio ads, see ads in physical newspaper/e-newspaper, player appearances across Canada before the season starts, offer team travel packages that include hotels/flight/tickets to games at Skydome, etc..

10. Have a GM that won’t insult the fans or other players around the league.

11. Hire Ron as a special assistant to the President



92-93 - Wednesday, October 28 2009 @ 01:27 AM EDT (#207784) #
"Sign Alex Cora to a 1yr/1.5 mil contract"

And the inefficient money spending begins. That would be a horrible contract. Use anybody for 400k and spend that 1.1m on an overslot draft pick or international signing. The paying of veterans when you have no chance of competing simply must stop.
jmoney - Wednesday, October 28 2009 @ 11:49 AM EDT (#207794) #
Well you need somebody to play centerfield. 1yr 1.5mil contract is not the sort of thing that breaks franchises.
Mike Green - Wednesday, October 28 2009 @ 12:30 PM EDT (#207796) #
According to the plan above, Cora was signed to be a backup IF.  92-93's point was that if one cannot compete and if one is saving for the time that one can, spending $1.5 million on a backup IF is unnecessary. 

Confusing Cora and Coco Crisp is entirely understandable though...brunch and breakfast have much in common.

christaylor - Wednesday, October 28 2009 @ 02:04 PM EDT (#207804) #
"10. Have a GM that won’t insult the fans or other players around the league."

Hearing AA on the radio the seems the one thing the org has made sure of...
Ron - Wednesday, October 28 2009 @ 03:53 PM EDT (#207815) #
And the inefficient money spending begins. That would be a horrible contract. Use anybody for 400k and spend that 1.1m on an overslot draft pick or international signing. The paying of veterans when you have no chance of competing simply must stop.

With my philosophy, Cora's contract has no impact on the draft or international rookies. The Jays would take the best players available and sign them. The budget for the Major League Roster and Draft/International Signings isn't connected.
92-93 - Wednesday, October 28 2009 @ 06:29 PM EDT (#207825) #
"The budget for the Major League Roster and Draft/International Signings isn't connected."

How can this ever be true? If they aren't connected, I assume you mean for instance that Rogers says the Jays can spend 100m on payroll and 10m on the draft/international signings each year. That means Rogers is approving the spending of $110m, and is so rigid that they REQUIRE you follow that? That's AWFUL, and I refuse to believe a publicly traded company like Rogers would ever operate like that. The team would be much better off if upper management was given a total figure to work with, and can make their own decisions on how to efficiently spend it. The GM should have the ability to not sign Jose Bautista so he can sign Michael Inoa. Requiring him to spend a certain amount of money on MLB payroll even if he doesn't think it will improve the team doesn't make very much sense to me.
Newton - Thursday, October 29 2009 @ 04:41 PM EDT (#207857) #

1)  Maximize Groundball Outs with sinkerballers and great infield D

2)  OPS is all that matters - batting average and strikeouts are irrelevant - every starter in the lineup should have an OPS above .750

3) Draft Upside and Sign the guys you draft; a deep stable of certain big league bench warmers won't do us any good in the ALEast, we've got to roll the dice on upside picks

4) Make International Scouting and Free Agent Signings a Priority - again you've got to roll the dice in the AL East and sign the occasional 16 year old Caribbean phenom

5) Don't overpay Free Agents to become a playoff calibre club; only overpay when you've proven you are a playoff calibre club (it'll likely cost you less and will help avoid long periods of hopelessness). 



Ron - Thursday, October 29 2009 @ 06:32 PM EDT (#207858) #
How can this ever be true? If they aren't connected, I assume you mean for instance that Rogers says the Jays can spend 100m on payroll and 10m on the draft/international signings each year. That means Rogers is approving the spending of $110m, and is so rigid that they REQUIRE you follow that? That's AWFUL, and I refuse to believe a publicly traded company like Rogers would ever operate like that. The team would be much better off if upper management was given a total figure to work with, and can make their own decisions on how to efficiently spend it. The GM should have the ability to not sign Jose Bautista so he can sign Michael Inoa. Requiring him to spend a certain amount of money on MLB payroll even if he doesn't think it will improve the team doesn't make very much sense to me.

Under my blueprint, the draft budget/international signings is massive so you don't ever have to worry about not having enough money to get these players. I would give AA a figure of up to what he could spend. It doesn't mean he has to lock himself into a bunch of big bad contracts just so he can hit the upper limit. And of course I would be flexable enough to allow my GM to go over budget for the right situation/player.
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