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As I think you've figured out by now, this hasn't been the best of seasons for the Toronto Blue Jays. (This is a bit like saying Hurricane Ivan is causing things to become a bit damp.) The question becomes: where are they going to go from here? Is the club on the way up, or on an express toboggan ride to the depths of Tigerland (or, to keep it up to date, Snakeland)?

To discuss this question, I have brought in two entirely fictitious experts: Oscar the Optimist, and Prentice the Pessimist. (I chose those names because we don't have anybody whose real name is Oscar or Prentice posting on Da Box.) Oscar thinks the glass is half full; Prentice, likewise, sees the glass as half full, but of something foul and toxic that he will be forced to drink anyway, and pretend to like.

Prentice, like most pessimists, speaks emphatically, so his words will appear in italics. Let the debate begin!

That's it. We're doomed.

What do you mean?

Face the facts. This team stinks. Their starting rotation is inconsistent, their offense, except for Delgado, is pathetic, and the bullpen... well, don't get me started. They're going to lose 95 games and, in the offseason, they're going to lose their best hitter. Probably to a division rival, at that. How can you possibly face the future with anything other than dread?

Sometimes bad things happen to good people. The Jays are a good team, honestly they are, and their GM makes good decisions. It's just that everything went wrong. Their offense was crippled by injuries, they lost their best starting pitcher to injury, and, well... they lost everybody else to injury too. Despite all this, some good things happened this year.

Name two.

Alex Rios and David Bush established themselves as quality major league regulars.

Rios isn't hitting for power. And Bush is a young pitcher and young pitchers will break your heart. You know this.

Rios isn't hitting for home run power, but he's hitting for doubles power. Doubles usually turn into home runs as a player gets older and stronger. And Bush isn't any ordinary young pitcher: he's a remarkably poised and mature young player who already knows how to change speeds and how to throw his curve for strikes at any time in the count. Billy Koch, he isn't. Think Jimmy Key.

That's two players and two players who aren't yet among the league elite. Big deal. Let's go around the diamond, starting with first base. Delgado is as good as gone, as somebody will offer him at least $12 million a year for four years, and the Jays can't afford that. How can the Jays replace that offensive production?

By carefully using Delgado's money to sign players who can contribute when placed in the proper situations. Or by trading for a good player that another team doesn't want to pay for. This is how the Jays got Lilly last off-season, and there's no reason to believe they won't do it again. There's lots of ways a smart general manager can improve his team for examples, just read --

Don't say it.

Moneyball.

I told you not to say it. The Oakland A's are smart, but they have three top starting pitchers. Anybody can build a contending team with three top-class pitchers in the rotation. The Jays used to have three top starting pitchers. One of them is now in St. Louis, and one is now in Anaheim.

Calling Escobar a top starting pitcher is pushing it, but never mind; we'll get to the pitching later. Now, let's consider the middle infield. Orlando Hudson is now one of the best second basemen in baseball, and Russ Adams is a promising young shortstop. And if he doesn't work out, there's Aaron Hill, who looks even more promising than Adams.

Promising. Hmph. That's like jam yesterday, and jam tomorrow, but never jam today. Other teams don't have promise; they have actual. The Jays don't.

I notice you didn't mention O-Dog.

Yeah... he is pretty good. But inconsistent. Some months, he hits .350. Some months, he hits .150.

Everybody goes into slumps; it's part of the game. Even Barry Bonds goes through stretches where he only reaches base about 48% of the time.

So, wise guy, what about Hinske, huh? He's not hitting for power; he's not hitting for average; he's not hitting, period. He's near the bottom of the league in everything other than slamming your bat down in frustration after hitting yet another popup. When are you going to give up on him? Oh, right, yeah: we're stuck with him for three more years.

Don't forget that Hinske isn't Josh Phelps there are a whole lot of things he can do. He runs well, he's patient at the plate, and he has made himself into a quality defensive third baseman through sheer hard work. Even if his bat doesn't come around, he's useful. And if he doesn't work out, the Jays have Hattig behind him, who is hitting lots of home runs in the minors.

Hitting home runs in the minors doesn't mean a thing. Josh Phelps hit home runs in the minors.

You're missing the point, as usual. Good teams don't have players like Hinske or Hattig. Good teams have players like Alex Rodriguez. Or Scott Rolen. They can field and run, plus they can do lots of damage with that wooden thing they carry with them to the plate, which many Jays treat as if it were a precious ceremonial object that needs to be returned to its owner in its original pristine condition. And their teams are going to the playoffs. The Jays aren't.


I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. How about the outfield? The Jays have some fine young players there, and they're only going to get better, don't you think?

Faugh.

Faugh?

Yes, faugh. I like the sound of that word, as it describes what I think of the Jays' outfield. Rios isn't hitting for power or drawing walks and, as I recall, you Moneyball types like that sort of thing, don't you? Wells is swinging at everything that doesn't swing at him first. And Gross isn't hitting for power or for average.

You're being too harsh. You shouldn't judge a player on what he can't do, but what he can and all three of the Jays' outfielders can do several things.

But none of them are among the league leaders in any offensive category, are they? Contending teams have players who lead the league in home runs, RBI's, runs scored, and all those other good things that you don't often see in these parts. Players like Manny Ramirez. No, I don't think you've won this argument. Not even close.

You miss the point. The Jays' outfield is going to get better. The Yankees and Red Sox have older outfielders who are going to get worse. The same thing goes at catcher, too. Check back with me in two years; you'll see that I'm right.

Here we go again. Jam yesterday, jam tomorrow, but never jam today.

Now, let's hold our noses and move on to the pitching staff. Halladay has been hurt. Batista has been awful since the All-Star break. Lilly is inconsistent...


You're reaching here. Lilly is among the best starters in the American League. Nobody knows this because he's getting awful run support.

OK, I'll give you Lilly. And Bush we've already covered. Then, there's the Jays' fifth-starter options: Towers, Miller, Douglass, and Etcetera. Towers can pitch, but doesn't have major-league stuff. Miller has major-league stuff, but doesn't have a clue where it's going. Douglass is like Miller, but with fewer tattoos. And Etcetera is some guy who keeps getting called up from Syracuse to get shelled; sure, he changes uniform numbers now and again to throw us off, but it's all really the same guy. If that's a major-league starting staff, then, as Dorothy Parker once put it, I am Alexander Dumas, pere et fils.

That's a fairly obscure reference.

Hey, we pessimists are well-read.

You're not going to believe this, since you view the world through thorn-covered glasses, but the Jays' starting staff isn't all that bad. Halladay is a staff ace when healthy. Lilly is a quality left-handed starter; many managers would cheerfully sign away their immortal soul to acquire such a player, and the Jays got him for somebody they didn't need. Batista is a good pitcher when healthy; he's just running on fumes right now. Bush is reliable and sometimes dominant, which is rare in a young pitcher. Towers is far better than most fifth starters, and Miller recently two-hit the Anaheim Angels.

Every team has trouble finding a quality fifth starter; for example, the Yankees have sent Tanyon Sturtze to the mound. As they say in logic class, Q.E.D.

Yada yada yada. Well, Q.E.D. this, my fine friend: try to say something positive about the bullpen. Go ahead. I'm waiting.

...

I thought so.

I will say this: relievers are cheap and easily obtainable. And the Jays have lots of pitching coming up through the system. Soon, they won't have to sign somebody like Ligtenberg, as players like him will be available for virtually nothing.

You might want to use a better example.

Sure, but you see my point: bullpen pitchers are an easily replaceable asset. If one breaks, go get another one. The Jays spent about $5 million and bought themselves a completely new bullpen last offseason; most of those guys had good track records. It's not J.P.'s fault that just about all of them crashed and burned; you can't predict bad luck.

Look, all this jibber jabber has been marginally entertaining at best; by now, your readers are probably in another thread, searching for cuttlefish or something. The bottom line is this: the Jays don't have the financial resources to compete with the Yankees and Red Sox.

The Yankees and Red Sox are at the very peak of their success cycles, like the Indians were a few years ago. Think of them as milk right at its Best Before date. Soon, the Yankees will crash and burn, and take the Sox with them (since the two teams are yoked together by Fate). Then, the field will be wide open, and a certain team of blue avians will take over.

What about the orange avians, then? Peter Angelos has pledged that he will spend $20 million more this offseason. They're ahead of the Jays as it is; with that money, they'll get even better, while the Jays slip behind.

Oh, yes, the Baltimore Orioles that fine example of a well-run franchise. A team that spends money on the free-agent market every offseason, and, before this year, finished fourth every year. Behind the Blue Jays.

This year, despite everything going wrong for the Jays, the Orioles are still only eight games ahead of the Jays. The Orioles signed two expensive all-stars last year, and are playing .460 ball. If they sign two more, they'll play .500 ball. That's not good enough. You can't build a house without a foundation, and the Orioles don't have a foundation.

If the Jays have a foundation, it's riddled with termites.

Cheap shot. My point is this: the only way to build a contending team is by growing it from within, and that's what the Jays are doing. Sure, this year was horrible, and next year may be horrible too, but the Jays were never planning to contend this early. Last year was a fluke, and this year isn't important. The plan is to win two or three years from now.

Yeah, right. Jam yesterday, and jam tomorrow. I've heard this before. What makes you think that things will change? What makes you think that Rogers won't get fed up with the losses and bail out? After all, he's a smart businessman, isn't he? And don't smart businessmen realize that losing money is a bad thing?

Smart businessmen know that you can't succeed in business without making an initial investment first. You have to grow a business from the ground up. And, in the first years, businesses expect to lose money. They'll make it up, with interest, when the revenues start to flow in later years.

And that's what the Jays are doing: they're investing from the ground up. Have you checked the Jays' farm system records lately? Syracuse isn't doing much, but all of the other full-season minor league teams are doing quite well. The Auburn Doubledays, in particular, are kicking butt and taking names. The Jays' farm teams are doing better than the farm teams of their divisional competitors.

So what? The Jays won't be able to afford to keep their best players anyway, as they can't afford to pay them. They've lost Clemens, Green, and Wells, and soon they'll lose Delgado. They're serving as a de facto farm team for the clubs that have money.

Rogers has never said that they won't pay money for players when the time comes; this isn't Interbrew we're dealing with. It's just that now isn't the time. Besides, when the Jays' farm system fully ripens, they won't need to buy a lot of expensive players they'll be able to trade for them.

Look, I know this year has been horrible. It's been awful for me too I can't begin to tell you how many times I've turned off the TV set in the eighth inning. It's gotten to the point where I turn the set off when the Jays' lead drops to one run in the seventh, as I don't want to watch yet another meltdown. And next year isn't likely to be much better for one thing, we'll be watching Carlos hit home runs at SkyDome as a member of the visiting team. (Please, baseball gods: let it not be the Orioles or the Yankees. Thank you.) But the Jays are a young team; next year, they'll be healthy, and they'll get better. Just you wait.

You said that last year. And what have we gotten in return? An endless procession of blown leads. Bats made of balsa wood. Injuries, injuries and more injuries. And baseball writers who won't be truly satisfied until they've gotten J.P.'s head on a spike and are dancing around it in circles, ululating in triumph. You might enjoy this sort of thing, but for me it's about as much fun as root canal without anaesthetic. I've given up. From now on, I'm going to stick to watching hockey.

Ummm...

Never mind. Give me the remote control. I'm going to watch the Antiques Road Show.

But I thought you were going to watch the Yankee game... oh, I get it. Pass the popcorn.
Optimists versus Pessimists: The Great Debate | 24 comments | Create New Account
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_Moffatt - Friday, September 17 2004 @ 11:02 AM EDT (#35028) #
Awesome. Absolutely awesome read. Thanks Dave!
_greenfrog - Friday, September 17 2004 @ 11:37 AM EDT (#35029) #
Hilarious. And on the mark.

Lately, I've become more pessimistic (jam yesterday, jam tomorrow). A few observations:

- If Escobar isn't a top starting pitcher, he's pretty close. Wins and losses aside, he's having an excellent year (comparable to Lilly, for that matter)

- If Halladay is healthy, the Jays have #1, 3, and 4 starters in Roy, Lilly, and Bush. But the rest of the staff (bullpen included) is in shambles

- The news that Batista is joining the 'pen is just plain depressing

- I don't think Rios has established himself as a quality major league regular yet. IMHO, he needs to hit for a lot more power, and draw at least twice as many walks, to attain that status

- I think Hinske deserves the benefit of another full season (unless his performance collapses completely next spring) before we write him off

- I think Wells is fundamentally a very good ballplayer, and can be expected to rebound in 2005 (although he will have less protection if Delgado splits)

- Is there a coaching issue in the Jays organization? The system is supposed to be emphasizing OBP, command of the strike zone, patience, making the pitcher work, etc. But almost nobody on the major-league roster does this (see, for example, Rios, Wells, Johnson, Hinske, Woodward, Hudson, Cash. Cat makes contact, but doesn't walk. The one player with a track record of hitting and walking, Delgado, seems to be on his way out)
_mr predictor - Friday, September 17 2004 @ 12:00 PM EDT (#35030) #
Very entertaining Dave!

My 2 cents is that the Oscar Bauxites tend to look at the Jays in a vacuum and fail to consider other teams.

Predicting the Yankees' demise necessitates a view that Steinbrenner will slash the payroll by some 50% in the near future, when he has shown no signs of doing so. Until the payroll gap shrinks measurably the Yanks will remain contenders.

The BoSox are less obvious but they have a GM who is as shrewd as ours and will likely have 2x our payroll to play with for the foreseeable future.

Baltimore has 2 MVP candidates (Mora and Tejada) and some pretty good filler too (Bigbie, Roberts, etc) and with $20M for FAs could, for example, sign Delgado AND an ace. The bullpen is fine, if Sir Sidney rebounds and 1 of the young starters comes on they will be better than us again next year and maybe a few years thereafter.

I'm not going to plug TBay but they do have lots of talented youngsters coming up and well, youneverknow.

In the other divisions Texas, Oakland, Anaheim, Minnie and the ChiSox all look stronger. Cleveland and Detroit might be OK which leaves us with Seattle and KC to go with TBay as presumably worse than us next year. Not much fun if you ask me.

My greatest concern is that our limited budget lends itself to a kind of appreciation of mediocrity. One where you're thrilled with the signing of a "Kevin Millar" at a reasonable price, when your counterparts are flashing Beltran, Tejada and Vlad back at you.

That may all sound incredibly pessimistic but I consider it realistic. The odds of us winning the AL East in 2007 or 2008 are extremely long, it CAN happen but a lot of luck will have to be with us.
_greenfrog - Friday, September 17 2004 @ 12:14 PM EDT (#35031) #
"appreciation of mediocrity"

Yeah, I know. All that energy trying to uncover the next Gregg Zaun, Chris Gomez, or Aquilino Lopez. It's true that this approach will net an intelligent GM some gems (Zaun, Myers, Cat, Bordick, Lilly, Hinske 2002, Gomez, Menenchino, Lopez 2003), but you also lose some good players (Quantrill, Izturis, Stewart, Escobar, Carpenter), and end up with a lot of chaff (I won't even start listing names).

Now, if the Jays system starts teeming with excellent prospects, we may be able develop (or trade for) a few star players. This may or may not happen. In the meantime, it's painful to watch the Jays scraping around for overlooked players who just might be above average.
_Mylegacy - Friday, September 17 2004 @ 12:22 PM EDT (#35032) #
If Rosario and McGowan were in the starting rotation, as had been the plan, when at least two of Legaue, Vermilyea, Rosario and Peterson make to the bullpen by sometime next year.

IM(H)O the glass is half full. BUT, the pessimist in me niggles by saying.."half full of what?"
_adil - Friday, September 17 2004 @ 12:23 PM EDT (#35033) #
Oscar is an Optimist to a fault if he thinks Hinske is now "a quality defensive third baseman".

Yes, Hinske's errors are way down and he has an excellent fielding percentage this year. But, check out ESPN's fielding stats site at

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/stats/fielding

Out of 9 American League 3rd basemen with enough playing time to be rated, Hinske ranks last in both Range Factor and Zone Rating.

Several weeks ago, Mike Willner dismissed a caller on the FAN590 who brought these stats to his attention by saying: "I know what I see."

I agree with Willner on most topics, but in this case he and Oscar the Optimist should look at all the fieldable outs going by Eric (the Statue) Hinske for cheap hits.
Coach - Friday, September 17 2004 @ 12:35 PM EDT (#35034) #
Jam yesterday, and jam tomorrow.

Brilliant, Dave.

Could you ask Prentice what he means by yesterday? Was that all the way back to last season, when a rebuilt young club, after trimming $30 million of fat, greasy, bloated payroll and sending the worst stiffs on their way, had the best month on the field in team history, with a whole new supporting cast built to complement a Cy Young winner and two legitimate MVP candidates? Or is he talking about 12 years ago, when Pat Gillick cooked up that absolutely delicious jam?

For me, yesterday means 2001, last year of the dark ages. How quickly people have forgotten that sorry mess. Carlos was his usual amazing self, despite Jose Cruz and Raul Mondesi (anyone think J.P. might have got just a bit more for Shawn Green?) hacking away on either side of him. Apart from "protection" that enjoyed fishing in the dirt for curveballs, there was usually one extra out and one less baserunner for Delgado anyway, because Alex Gonzalez (.303 OBP) was in the 2-hole. That batting order was pathetic, except for #4 and #1.

Shannon Stewart, a great hitter and poor outfielder, was turned into Ted Lilly and many millions saved. That's a good deal. His durability and production are comparable to Cat, who costs less than half as much and will happily DH, or bat wherever he's asked in the order. No columns tout Stew for MVP this year. They were ludicrous in 2003, when he missed over a month and "led" the Jays to a losing record.

There are always brilliantly talented but frustrating pitchers, so let's not get distracted by Escobar, who caused both regimes grey hairs. Another guy who didn't have ulcers but was definitely a carrier was Billy Koch, who earned way more than Batista does. Knowing their track record, I wouldn't have been surprised if Gord Ash and Dave Stewart (the guys who brought you Joey Hamilton for Woody Williams and Mike Sirotka for David Wells) threw another guaranteed $20 million at Koch. Instead of such foolishness, J.P. saved money and improved his bullpen (or would have, if Escobar hadn't fumbled the closer job) while getting Hinske and Miller for his trouble.

That reminds me -- exactly how would someone who worries that the Hinske contract isn't good value have described the Homer Bush deal?

Playing the part of Greg Myers v. 03 and Gregg Zaun v. 04 was Darren Fletcher v. 01, for whom the end came abruptly. In the Kevin Cash role was Alberto Castillo. The "slugging" C had a .274 OBP, the defensive whiz ate up outs at a .198/.255/.252 clip. Those were the days.

The thing I liked best in 2001, apart from the Halladay kid and a brief glimpse of Wells, was the rookie they brought up to play third; Felipe Lopez had such a live bat and reminded me of a switch-hitting Tejada. Maybe he was immature, maybe he chose the wrong friends, but he's been his own worst enemy since then. I hope for his sake that he's going to get one more opportunity next year to be a starting big-league shortstop. Of course, the reason there was a spot for Lopez was that they had inadvertently given away Tony Batista for nothing.

Man, if that was jam, it was toe jam.

Everything that's happened since October of that year has had a reason and been part of a coherent plan. Even I was impatient with J.P. at first -- how could a so-called talent scout put up with Joe Lawrence while Orlando Hudson was killing Triple-A? Why was he sticking with Buck Martinez so long? Wouldn't releasing Mondesi and calling up Phelps improve the team?

Sometimes the moves don't happen when I'd like, and I haven't agreed with all of them, but the vast majority have made sense and there have been no franchise-crippling mistakes. The standings this year are disappointing, so fans were short-changed on excitement, but those of us who were hopeful and appreciative in March remain so, because the injuries to all the best players were beyond anyone's control. There was a ripple effect in Syracuse; otherwise the likes of Zaun, Menechino, Rios, Bush, Frasor and Chulk might have led the SkyChiefs into the playoff hunt. The New Hampshire club is terrific, and there's more exciting talent brewing at the lower levels.

Complain all you want. Embrace your gloom, celebrate your despair. The next three years are going to be the most fun I've had as a Jays fan in a long, long time.
_Jonny German - Friday, September 17 2004 @ 01:33 PM EDT (#35035) #
The odds of us winning the AL East in 2007 or 2008 are extremely long

Hey, I'd go a step further and say the odds of us winning any games at all in the AL East in 2007 or 2008 are extremely long... I mean, even if Rogers decided to sell the team, are there any billionaires amongst us who would be up for buying the Jays? I doubt it!

anyone think J.P. might have got just a bit more for Shawn Green?

Yup. At the very least, two first-round picks and an extra year of Green's production.
_greenfrog - Friday, September 17 2004 @ 01:48 PM EDT (#35036) #
I think that at the moment, there are good reasons for both optimism and pessimism about the Jays' future. Dave's post makes this point in an original and amusing way. I don't think that fans who feel pessimistic are "celebrating [their] despair"; most are frustrated, but they still want the team to win.
Thomas - Friday, September 17 2004 @ 02:22 PM EDT (#35037) #
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=3465
Have you checked the Jays' farm system records lately? Syracuse isn't doing much, but all of the other full-season minor league teams are doing quite well. The Auburn Doubledays, in particular, are kicking butt and taking names. The Jays' farm teams are doing better than the farm teams of their divisional competitors.

While I tend to view this as a positive sign myself, I'm not sure that it's particularly demonstrative of a good minor league system in itself. The most recent Baseball Prospectus Triple Play on the Jays (COMN - scroll to the bottom), showed the minor league records of all the teams in the AL East this year. The Jays affiliates were far and away the best with a .556 winning percentage, however the Yankees farm teams were in second place with a .520 winning percentage. Futhermore, the Yankees had a cumulative run difference only 19 runs less than the Jays.

I don't think anyone is going to argue the Yankees have a good farm system. They infamously didn't have enough to trade for Randy Johnson this offseason, and besides Dioner Navarro (who didn't have a great year) and Eric Duncan, they don't have many names that stand out to you. Tampa Bay has a good sytem, and they finished with a .478 winning percentage and with a -78 run differential.

Don't get me wrong, I believe the Blue Jays have a very good system, but they don't have a good system because they are winning games in the minor leagues.
Named For Hank - Friday, September 17 2004 @ 02:56 PM EDT (#35038) #
I agree with Willner on most topics, but in this case he and Oscar the Optimist should look at all the fieldable outs going by Eric (the Statue) Hinske for cheap hits.

See, and I'll disagree with this. I don't know if I'm missing something by going to the games in person rather than watching them on TV, but I am not seeing a lot of balls getting past Hinske that look like balls he or anyone else could get to. I see them go over his head... but I don't think you're implying that he should be getting those ones.
Mike D - Friday, September 17 2004 @ 03:18 PM EDT (#35039) #
Great read, Dave. The ol' tip of the cap from me.
Mike Green - Friday, September 17 2004 @ 03:22 PM EDT (#35040) #
Prentice the Prickly Pessimist should have pointed out that Hinske was ahead of Hattig when he was in triple A at age 23 and hit .282/.373/.521, and look how that turned out!

Oliver Optimist (everyone knows Oscar's a grouch) replies that Hinske has battled a slow hearing wrist injury, and has showed signs of improvement lately...
Mike Green - Friday, September 17 2004 @ 03:51 PM EDT (#35041) #
Hinske has battled a slow healing wrist injury. Typos, Ugh.
_Keith Talent - Friday, September 17 2004 @ 04:40 PM EDT (#35042) #
Great dualism Mr. Dave Till: a gifted writer you are.

The beauty of this article is that deep down, probably every Blue Jay fan contains both optimism and these very swirls of doubt.

I thought it funny though that even Oscar the Optimist sees Delgado's departure a foregone conclusion. I read it everyday in the paper that Delgado is leaving. How is everyone so sure? I think it's irresponsible journalism on the part of Toronto's media to print "when Delgado leaves this offseason" instead of "if".

We took a big hit on Dustin McGowan too. I don't even like thinking about that one.
Pistol - Friday, September 17 2004 @ 04:51 PM EDT (#35043) #
- If Halladay is healthy, the Jays have #1, 3, and 4 starters in Roy, Lilly, and Bush. But the rest of the staff (bullpen included) is in shambles

I think Lilly's proven to be at least an average #2 starter this year. He's 9th in the AL in ERA this year.
_Ron - Friday, September 17 2004 @ 05:32 PM EDT (#35044) #
Good job Dave!!!

A part of me is pissed that the current CBA places the Blue Jays at a huge disadvantage.

The luxury tax was suppose to curb spending and the Yanks have done the opposite.

In order for the Jays to make the playoffs they have to finish ahead of either the Red Sox or Yanks, which is pretty hard to do when those clubs have more than double the payroll.

I know spending more money doesn't mean a world series/playoff berth every year but I have a hard time seeing the Jays finishing ahead of those two teams in the near future. Both of those clubs don't need a strong farm system because they have owners willing to spend big bucks on FA's or taking on big salaries through trades.

I don't see the Yanks or Red Sox dipping below 87 wins in the next 3 years.

I know I'm dreaming but I wish there was a hard salary cap at a figure like 70 million.
_James J Braddoc - Friday, September 17 2004 @ 05:39 PM EDT (#35045) #
Good job Dave! What's the Minnesota Twins and Oakland A's budget for 2004?
_6-4-3 - Friday, September 17 2004 @ 06:03 PM EDT (#35046) #
Dugout dollars claims that the Twins are spending 56.16 million this year, and the A's are spending 61.57 million (11 million of that was spent on Jermaine Dye. Yowza!)
_Matt - Friday, September 17 2004 @ 06:11 PM EDT (#35047) #
I could be wrong but I thought Ash made the Green trade.
Dave Till - Friday, September 17 2004 @ 06:23 PM EDT (#35048) #
Thanks for the kind words; much appreciated.

I'm somewhere halfway between optimism and pessimism right now. I think J.P. and the Jays are on the right track, but it's going to be difficult to get there from here. For one thing, the fans aren't going to come back until the team is actually winning something - and, if the fans aren't there, the team will lose money. Somebody at Rogers Communications may be tempted to cut the losses at some point and bail out - and, if they bail out, I don't see anybody else stepping in to stop the team from going into a Montreal Death Spiral [tm].

And there's a possibility that the players down on the farm might not work out (e.g., Phelps). Scouting is a bit of a crapshoot - you have to be lucky as well as smart to succeed in baseball. (For example: Mike Piazza was a 62nd round draft pick in 1988; I believe he was drafted as a courtesy to Tom Lasorda. Barry Bonds was the 6th pick in the 1985 draft, which means that five teams passed on the chance to own possibly the greatest player of all time.)

I'm prepared to believe that things are all going to plan, and that the team will break out a couple of years from now. It'll depend on whether the Yankees and Red Sox can keep on signing free agents without breaking their bank.
_greenfrog - Friday, September 17 2004 @ 07:21 PM EDT (#35049) #
Pistol: I like what Lilly has done this year (picking up from where he left off in late 2003), but I'm not sure he's established himself as a championship-calibre #2 guy yet--which is what I think the Jays should be striving for. In the playoffs, having a dominant 1-2 combination is so important, whether it's Schilling-Martinez, Hudson-Zito (or substitute Mulder), Beckett-Pavano (Penny), Wood-Prior (Clement/Zambrano/Maddux), etc.

It's interesting. If the Jays' top young arms (eg McGowan, Rosario, Banks, Purcey) excel over the next couple of years, the organization could have itself a superb rotation by 2006 or 2007. Big ifs though, at this point.
_Keith Talent - Saturday, September 18 2004 @ 12:48 AM EDT (#35050) #
People paying attention to finance news the past few days will learn Ted Rogers is in a spending mood. Two days after the Catalanotto signing he spent 1.4 billion to buy back AT&T's share of Rogers, now he's after Fido. Delgado must seem like pocket change to him now. Payroll increase? I hate to say it; Richard Griffin is right on this point; what is spent on payroll - if spent wisely - will reap rewards at the gate.
_Peter - Saturday, September 18 2004 @ 11:52 AM EDT (#35051) #
I'm all for gradually increasing payroll which I imagine is part of the plan, right after building a strong foundation. However, resigning Delgado doesn't make sense even with more money. He will want 3 years and it is likely his performance will decline over that time. Due to his tenure you can't trade him and that is too restrictive. I don't believe the overall Delgado package is good value for the money even at 8 mil.
Seattle(prior to this season), Texas and Cleveland serve as good examples of teams who have been able to move forward after giving up their best player and gaining more payroll flexibility.
Optimists versus Pessimists: The Great Debate | 24 comments | Create New Account
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