Monday, November 30, 2009

Scutaro starts calling the shots?


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Type A free agency must be an incredible power that changes a man because it sounds like the temptation of playing for big money with a perennial playoff contender might be going to Marco Scutaro's head.

MLBTR recently reported that Scutaro's preferred destinations are the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers because they give him the best chance of playing in the post-season.

When did Scutaro suddenly decide to start calling the shots?

Predominantly a career journeyman, Scutaro hit career highs in all offensive categories in 2009 and did a decent job fielding during his first two full seasons in the majors as a full-time shortstop. He's expected to command a hefty contract from the highest bidder on the market, but I wonder if all this attention has made him a little jaded.

With six years of service time under his belt, it's not as though Scutaro has had a long and tortured time in the majors like his former teammate Roy Halladay. Unlike Doc, Scoots played in both the division and league championship series with the Athletics in 2006.

Don't get me wrong - Marco Scutaro was a great player for the Blue Jays and after the year he put up this season, he rightfully deserves a big paycheque. However, is he really in the position to start making demands to sign with a team who is a perennial contender?

Perhaps Scutaro should speak to Roy Halladay about how long you have to play on a losing team before you can start making demands to play for a winning team.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Two Tickets to the Gonz Show


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Toronto, line up to get your tickets to the Gonz show.

The signing of former Red Sox and Reds shortstop Alex Gonzalez has capped off what has been an unusually active past few days for the Jays in the free agent market.

First they sign John McDonald to a reported one year deal as a stopgap solution at shortstop for 2010. Then it’s revealed that it's actually a two year deal, then we find out that John McDonald will actually be the backup SS and that his role on the team is undefined. Now they sign Alex Gonzalez to a one year deal (with option for a second)

Gonzalez (or A-Gonz as I will probably call him) is the final piece of the puzzle when it comes to the Blue Jays infield. At $2.75 million for one year and a $2.5 million option, the Gonzalez signing isn’t the biggest waste of money the Jays have ever spent on a shortstop. Just look back to 2008 when they paid David Eckstein over $4.5 million to stand out there between second and third base.

Speaking of Eckstein, I noticed that the Blue Jays have now successfully acquired both the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds left side of the infield in the exact same way. They traded to get Rolen from the Cards at 3B, and signed Eckstein as a free agent SS. Then they traded to get Encarnacion from the Reds at 3B, and signed Gonzalez as a free agent SS. I guess some people’s trash is another person’s treasure.

Those wishing to complain that a combined $4.25 is too much to pay for both McDonald and Gonzalez in 2010, how about these less attractive alternatives? Orlando Cabrera at a total of $12 million for two years, or resigning Marco Scutaro so some ridiculous three or four year deal upwards of $25 million? I'd rather take the Gonz/Mac combo, thanks.

Believe it or not, this was actually a very smart move which basically forces the hand of the Boston Red Sox. Now their only options are to overpay either Marco Scutaro or Orlando Cabrera, neither of which the Blue Jays were interested in. I tip my cap to you sir, Alex Anthopoulos. Well played, sir.

If anything, at least we can be reassured that nothing will make it past the defensive wall combination of J-Mac and A-Gonz. Consider them the new version of J-Mac and Scoots.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Scratch that - Johnny Mac NOT your starting shortstop


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Are you as confused as I am?

Just hours ago the Blue Jays officially resigned John McDonald for a two year $3 million dollar deal, that pretty much answered the question of who would be the starting shortstop in 2010.

Now this comes along.

Jordan Bastian reports that John McDonald's role on the team next season remains undefined and that the Blue Jays are actually still seeking a full time shortstop.

Say what?

So I guess that means time for the Blue Jays to dip into the shortstop free agent bargain bin. Viable options out on the market include former J.P. Ricciardi mancrush Orlando Cabrera, Alex "not that Alex" Gonzalez, or hell ... maybe even Adam Everett.

This news comes as a huge surprise after I (and many of us) had assumed that this contract basically locked John McDonald in as the full-time shortstop until somebody else challenged him for the job.

In my estimation, part of the reason for signing Johnny Mac to the two year deal was so other teams could not scoop him up. By the sounds of things, it appears there were a few teams gunning for McDonald and Alex Anthopolous didn't want to let him slip away just in case they couldn't find a replacement at SS in the interim.

Unfortunately, knowing the way that Cito coaches, John McDonald is doomed to be banished to the bench once again aside from the odd pinch-running assignment. Which is a shame, because one would think that this starting shortstop position was Johnny Mac's to lose.

But now he's lost it before he even had a chance to defend it. Now he'll spend the rest of 2010 and 2011 trying to get it back.

Your starting shortstop for 2010: John McDonald


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So much for Plan A, Plan B, or even Plan C … it appears as though the Blue Jays will be resorting to Plan D at shortstop next year. Thanks to a reported one year deal worth approximately $1.5 million, John McDonald will return for one more season to wow fans with his defensive prowess at shortstop.

While the rumblings of this deal initally irked me, I fully understand the reasoning behind it. Instead of taking a chance right out of the gate with Mike McCoy or some other el-cheapo free agent signing, the club would rather have the stability (albeit his offensive shortcomings) of Johnny Mac stationed between second and third base.

Two months ago, I would have been livid to find out that the Blue Jays were giving the starting shortstop position to John McDonald. The reasoning behind my disdain in that decision was having Johnny Mac on the team didn't move this team forward, it merely kept it at status quo.

Now that Alex Anthopoulos has announced the Blue Jays are "building", I understand that this move is to keep John McDonald as a placeholder until somebody else comes along . Whether that happens via a position player in a trade involving Roy Halladay, or if it means somebody from Las Vegas gets called up remains to be seen.

If anything, at least Johnny Mac will distract us from the on-field product with some of his defensive gems scattered throughout the 162-game schedule.

In the meantime, I don't see what all the fuss is about over giving a deserving player like John McDonald a starting job he has coveted for so long. $1.5 million dollars is chump change for McDonald to play 120+ games next year.

After all, the Blue Jays will be paying B.J. let Ryan almost seven times that kind of money in 2010 to work on his tan and try some experimental hair restoration products.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Halladay Break-Up


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So much for staying together for the kids.

Now I know what it must feel like for those poor children on Jon & Kate Plus 8 watching their parents go through a bitter custody battle, because it appears the same thing is happening to Roy Halladay and the Blue Jays organization - they're breaking up.

The most recent development was Paul Beeston's quote in the New York Post indicating that there is absolutely no chance Halladay will stick around in Toronto following the end of his contract in 2010.
"We would like to sign him, he is an original Blue Jay and we have never had a pitcher as good as him ... but he is not inclined to sign with us."
At this point in the proverbial marriage between Doc and the Blue Jays, Halladay is living it up as a single man and seeing other people while the Jays have been desecrated to sleeping on the couch while living on a steady diet of cheezies and "Who's the Boss" reruns.

It's unfortunate that it had to come to this, but it's very rare that an amicable breakup is possible in this particular situation. People are going to say things they don't mean, tears are going to be shed, and feelings are going to get hurt.

The important thing here is that the kids (the fans) aren't the ones that suffer. The best way to do this is for the Blue Jays to trade Roy Halladay in order to get the most in return in the way of players and prospects, and also so that this doesn't become a long and drawn out process.

I remember how emotionally draining it was during each Roy Halladay start at the trade deadline earlier this year, so imagine how difficult it would be to experience that for yet another season. There was something heart-wrenching about watching Doc tip his cap to the crowd at the Rogers Centre knowing fully well that it could have been his last game as a Blue Jay. Frankly, I don't know if I could do that ever again.

It's hard to say goodbye, however I am ready to let go and say so long to Roy Halladay. In this instance, I think it's better for everyone if they decided to go their separate ways and agree that it's better to just be friends.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Ticket Increase Fiasco


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Image courtesy of Flickr user JeremyCai
It appears as though the Blue Jays aren’t winning over very many fans these days.

After the infamous Boston Red Sox ticket stunt, Jerseygate, and other numerous public relations blunders, the most recent development seems to have irked quite a few fans of both the faithful and fairweather kind.

Unearthed by Drunk Jays Fans earlier today, the latest debacle surrounds the purposed ticket increases for certain season ticket holders and possible single game tickets as well. Initial knee-jerk reactions have been pretty harsh, so before we get our panties in a knot, let’s stop and consider the following:

99.2 percent of season ticket prices will remain the same in 2010. That’s less than one percent of ticket holders that are affected by this increase, about 24 people in total. Frankly, if more fans aren’t coming out to the ballpark (as all numbers indicated in 2009) then you have to charge more for tickets if you want to make more money.

It hasn’t been confirmed yet, but single game ticket prices are almost certainly going to go up in price. If you take a look at the 2010 Rogers Centre seating map, they have done away with the separate pricing for the field level sections in 113 and 130, and they are now all one price.

The Toronto Star featured an article on how one fan in particular will see a 56 percent increase in the price of his season tickets. I’m not really feeling that empathetic in this situation because if you’re willing to pay over $3000 dollars to see your favourite team, then you should be willing to pay $6000. And if not, then just downgrade your tickets to a different section. Not to mention that this guy is a lawyer - come on, he can obviously afford the increase.

After this past year’s lackluster season, I would love to see the Toronto Blue Jays lower their ticket prices. Unfortunately, sports business doesn't work that way – ticket prices are not reflective on the team's performance. Lowering or freezing ticket prices benefits fans in the long term, however bumping up prices increases the revenue which hopefully leads to more team payroll and eventually a winning team.

A couple bucks more at the ticket booth might seem like a lot, but if it’s for the greater good of this team and the future of the franchise, frankly ... I’ll give a toonie now if it will bring a playoff run later.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Another Roy Halladay Cy Young Calibre Season


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I hate to say it ... but for the fourth year in a row, Roy Halladay crafted another Cy Young calibre season and had nothing to show for it.

The Baseball Writers Association of America did the right thing by giving the Cy Young to Zack Greinke. Though not your typical runaway candidate, Greinke did everything right on a team that played so horribly wrong throughout the season. Greinke didn't have an impressive win/loss record, however he certainly made up for it all other categories.

The voting went down pretty much as expected, but I would have liked to see Doc finish a little higher than fifth place. Ultimately I guess it doesn't really matter because you either win the Cy Young award or you don't - there isn't any purple fifth place finish ribbon like there was at the track & field meet in public school.

Out of all the votes, the one that stands out like a sore thumb was the ballot which included Justin Verlander as a first place vote. This is just another example of a voter not digging deeper into the statistics and only scratching the surface and looking and win/loss and strikeouts. For shame!

Even though the Roy Halladay trophy case won't have any new additions this year, I commend him on another fantastic season and in my heart he will always be a Cy Young award winner.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Time for Halladay suitors to "suit up"


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It's a bitter pill to swallow, but I'm come to grips with the fact that Roy Halladay is likely not going to be a Blue Jay for much longer. The poor guy was dangled like chum in front of hungry sharks at the trade deadline, and now Alex Anthopoulous has the daunting task of trading away the franchise's best player.

By this point, I'm sure Alex Anthopoulos and Paul Beeston have narrowed down the candidates to which they are willing to trade Roy Halladay to. Ultimately, Doc has the final the say the matter so that means any potential suitors must be contendors and give him a chance at winning.

Below is what I believe to be the short list of candidates for Roy Halladay:

Los Angeles Angels

The Angels seem to be the front-runners on the short-list to land Halladay in a trade. They have handily won the AL West the past five out of six years and would give Doc arguably the best chance to pitch in the playoffs. Whether or not John Lackey walks away from the Angels, they could definitely benefit from having Halladay in their rotation (then again, who wouldn’t?) Plus, Mike Scioscia knows that if he has to yank Roy Halladay from a game, that he won’t give him lip like Lackey did.

Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers are no longer high on Chad Billingsley, and Los Angeles needs a bona fide ace to anchor their starting rotation. A deal swapping Halladay for Billingsley makes perfect sense ... not to mention, Halladay would rack up the wins facing teams in the NL Central. No more of this playing second fiddle in the Cy Young voting.


Philadelphia Phillies

At the trade deadline, the Phillies went home with the second-best looking gal at the prom (Cliff Lee) but now they have an opportunity to bring in the valedictorian of the pitching class in the majors. Luckily for the Blue Jays, the Phillies still have many of the players they were hoping for initially at the trade deadline. If the Phils would part with J.A. Happ and Kyle Draebeck, this deal could happen and would immediately give the Phillies the best starting rotation in baseball.

Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox probably have the deepest farm system and young major league talent to offer up to the Blue Jays to get Halladay. Whether they would be willing to part with Clay Buchholz, Michael Bowden or others remains to be seen.

New York Yankees

Out of all the places that Roy Halladay could be traded to, this would be my biggest nightmare. If traded to New York, not only does Alex Anthopoulos give the Yankees an even better chance at repeating as World Champions, it also means the Blue Jays would have to face Doc at least three or four times in divisional match ups. Great for television ratings, but bad for our souls.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Our Silver Sluggers


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Of all the sights that Blue Jays fans were subjected to over 162 games this year, the one above is one that I never got sick of seeing.

For their incredible efforts this season, Adam Lind and Aaron Hill were rewarded as recipients of the American League Silver Slugger awards. The two brought strength and power back to the heart of the Blue Jays lineup in 2009, combining for 71 home runs and 222 RBI's.

Prior to the start of the 2009 season, like most folks I would have been happy to have one 30/100 hitter in the lineup, let alone two. As much as I was screaming that the Jays needed to sign a free agent big bat, Hill and Lind have proven that sometimes the best solutions come from within the organization.

Congratulations boys, job well done.

The Value of the Hometown Discount


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It's a term that's been thrown around quite often during this week's MLB hot stove - "hometown discount". For those unfamiliar with the term, a hometown discount is when a player takes a bit of a paycut to play in the city that they grew up in, have family in, or where they started their career.

The problem with the hometown discount is that it seems like the valuation is at an astronomical level. To assume that a player would consider signing with club solely for the reason that it's their hometown is a bit ludicrous. While it may play some part in their decision, in my mind here are the top reasons why a player signs a contract with a particular team:
  1. The money
  2. The chance to win
  3. Proximity to home
  4. Strip clubs per capita
One such example was last year when A.J. Burnett decided to opt out of his contract with the Blue Jays. Some speculated that he might sign with the Baltimore Orioles so he could be close to his wife Karen and their family in Maryland. Unfortunately, Burnett was tempted by the $82.5 million dollars from the Yankees and the bright lights of New York.

Burnett's adversary and former mentor Roy Halladay could be one of the few exceptions to these rules. The team learned that Doc's number one priority was winning, followed by the opportunity to be close to home, and money was the least of his concerns. His Mormon lifestyle basically rules out any possibility for reason number four, but if he gets a few beers into him who knows what might happen.

Home for Halladay would either be in Colorado where he grew up, or in Florida where he lives during the off season. If Doc places a lot of weight on which city he plays in, that means the Rockies, Rays or even the Marlins would be suitors for his services.

Another recent example involving the Blue Jays is the talk of trading Lyle Overbay to the Seattle Mariners. Overbay is well known to have grown up in Seattle and enjoyed the odd Vanilla Caramel Frappe from Starbucks while thrashing around in his plaid shirt listening to Pearl Jam.

This situation is a little trickier because Overbay is not a free agent and doesn't really have a choice about where he is traded. But if a player does in fact have a no-trade clause, the hometown discount may not have that much baring on their decision.

So the next time you see the phrase "hometown discount" thrown around in trade talk and free agent speculation, remember that most baseball players couldn't give a damn if the ballpark is 20 minutes from their backyard. Just like Puffy said, it's all about the Benjamins baby.

Whether they want to admit it or not, the true reason why they sign on the dotted line in a certain city is because of one reason ... strip clubs per capita. Don't believe me? Just ask A-Rod.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Best Moustaches in Baseball: Part Two


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Many heroic male figures throughout history have used their facial hair to persuade, inspire and seduce legions of followers and admirers. Since the dawn of time, mankind has used many forms of facial hair to not only express themselves, but provide a sense of identity.

One of the greatest forms of said facial hair is the moustache; and no group of warriors have displayed the characteristics of a fine 'stache better than the men (and occasionally hormonally imbalanced women) of professional baseball.

In honor of Movember in which men across the world unite in growing moustaches to raise money for Prostate Cancer, I have decided to delve into the art of facial hair for part two of The Best Moustaches in Baseball.

This year’s version covers some ‘staches that may have been omitted from last year’s list or have just recently left their stamp as some of the best cookie-dusters in baseball.

Keith Hernandez

Before I knew Keith Hernandez the baseball player, I knew him as the guy who allegedly spit on Kramer and Newman. His two-episode stint on Seinfeld not only solidified himself as one of the coolest moustache-clad men in the majors who may or may have not banged Elaine Benes.




Sal Fasano

During his illustrious career, Sal played for ten different teams and along the way he made a lasting impression on almost every city that he played in. As Blue Jays fans, we had the pleasure of watching Fasano work his magic in a Blue Jays uniform during the 2007 season.




Al “The Mad Hungarian” Hrabosky

Not only was Hrabosky’s facial hair mean looking, just take a look at his name. It’s basically the baseball version of Vlad the Impaler or Atilla the Hun. Hrabosky followed in the footsteps of legendary closers like Rich Gossage and Rollie Fingers as having a badass ‘stache.





Ross Grimsley

Grimsley is the whole package – sporting a moustache and an afro that would make even the Ladies Man Leon Phelps jealous, Grimsely wasn’t just a looker. In 1978, his 20-11 record garnered him a seventh place finish in the AL Cy Young voting.





Jeff Kent

I’ve always said that if Jeff Kent could moonlight as a police officer if he ever felt the need to take up a second job. Now that he’s retired, you just might see Jeff Kent responding to a domestic dispute, or making a cameo appearance in a Super Troopers sequel near you.

 


Reggie Jackson

Not necessarily most revered for his prowess in the facial hair department, Mr. October still contributed towards the moustache culture with his classic but cool addition to the list. Did his stache help him hit three home runs in one game? No - but he looked damn good doing it.




So there we have it folks - part two of the best moustaches in baseball. Feel free to cast your vote on your favourite soup strainer below. The wondrous thing about the world of moustaches is that just like the hairs themselves, the history of moustaches in baseball only continues to grow as the years pass.

Who has the best baseball moustache of all time?



Monday, November 9, 2009

The Man Behind the Curtain Goes to Work


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Occasionally it's best not to know what's going on behind the scenes. Unfortunately for the Toronto Blue Jays, over the course of this past season the disarray and inner workings of their organization were revealed for all to see. Now, Alex Anthopoulos has the dubious task of taking his place behind the curtain and starting the magical Oz machine once again.

Anthopoulos didn't waste any time this week as it was a relitavely busy weekend  - first there was the "state of the franchise" conference call on Saturday, and lately it's been the rumblings about the Jays wanting to trade Lyle Overbay to the D-Backs for Chris Snyder.

According to the Arizona Public, trade talks were well underway but were put to a halt when the Jays realized that Snyder's back wasn't all it was cracked up to be (sorry ... I couldn't help myself).

It appears as though AA is making good on his word that he would be active in the trade market this off-season and the wheels are already set in motion because a move like this would benefit the team two-fold:
  1. Foreseeing any other major injuries from Snyder, the Blue Jays would have a full-time catcher up until the end of 2011. Hopefully by then, J.P. Arencebia will have made his triumphant debut and will be well on his way to becoming the future star catcher of this team.
  2.  
  3. Trading Overbay also sets in motion a search for a long-term first baseman. Although the move makes perfect sense, it sounds like AA does not want to move Adam Lind to first base no matter what. This must mean that he working on something else entirely that we don't even know about to bring in a first baseman long-term. Your guess is as good as mine on this one.
Moving on to the other big deal that didn't happen late last week ... it appeared as though the Blue Jays all but missed the boat on the J.J. Hardy trade and that the Minnesota Twins cashed in on this blog's most beloved mancrushes.

Little did we know, apparently Anthopoulos was working behind the scenes and the Blue Jays were one of the teams in the hunt according to Jeff Blair. Reports indicate that it would've taken Adam Lind or Travis Snider to land J.J. Hardy, and if that's true then it's no surprised the Jays balked at that proposed deal.

Maybe most surprising of all is that Russell Martin is another name being tossed around as a possible replacement behind the backstop for the Blue Jays. He could be an integral piece of a trade with the Dodgers which might ship Roy Halladay to Los Angeles for Martin and a couple of others. This is just a theoretical trade, but since this is just a sliver of information that's been leaked out, who knows what AA could be cooking up.

Whether or not any trades come to fruition this week at the General Manager's meetings, it's refreshing to see a General Manager take a different approach at this ballclub. Although it's uncertain how this team will finish in 2010 or  even 2011, I am confident that Alex Anthopoulos is putting together a winning team.

In the meantime, may he work his magic from behind the curtain and hopefully he won't come back out unless he has something spectacular to show us.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Alex Anthopoulos State of the Franchise Conference Call


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I woke up this morning wondering if Alex Anthopoulos had forgotten all about his promise to address the "state of the franchise" this week and give fans an update on which direction the Toronto Blue Jays would be taking.

After dragging in the city's best writers in on their weekend off, most of them stuck it out to ask AA all the pertinent questions about what's happening with the Blue Jays. You can listen to the full call here at the Fan 590, or just check out the brief synopsis below:
  • AA feels like Toronto has the potential in the coming years to compete along with teams like the Angels, Red Sox, and other top market teams.
  • He wants to continue to build the core of this team, and will continue to make changes to the scouting and support staff.
  • When asked about trading Roy Halladay, AA said he was reluctant about trading Doc, but gave the typical J.P. Ricciardi statement "he has to be open-minded about a trade making this team better in the long term". In the type of tone that Anthopolous spoke of, it sounds like Halladay will be around in 2010 and if the Blue Jays can remain competitive next year then he could re-sign.
  • Alex is NOT actively shopping any of his players, but he is pursuing alternatives to upgrading certain positions.
  • He doesn't believe in adding three or four free agents in any given year.
  • Aaron Hill will not be moved from second base to cover shortstop. Adam Lind will not fill in at first base, unless they need him to move somewhere else (like the rumoured trade involving Chris Snyder and Lyle Overbay)
  • Anthopoulos doesn't consider this a "rebuilding phase" but more of a "building phase".
The overall tone from this phone call was hopeful for the future, but it seemed like the main focus for Anthopoulos was that they really want to develop the scouting and be more thorough with their player development. It sounds like they don't feel buying up high priced free agents is a long-term solution, and building a strong young core of a team is the only way that the Blue Jays will be able to compete with the Yankees and the Red Sox.

At no point was there a set dollar amount discussed in terms of payroll, however it does not sound like the 2010 payroll will be leaps and bounds higher than 2009.

Well, at least we have some answers now!

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Yankees as World Champions: bad for baseball?


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Today the Yankees enjoyed a lavish ticker-tape parade down Broadway Avenue celebrating their 27th World Series Championship. While most folks in New York came out in droves to celebrate, the rest of the baseball world basically rolled their eyes and said "not again".

After watching the continued success of the New York Yankees as the most financially driven team in MLB, it begs the question - are the New York Yankees as World Series Champions bad for baseball?

In a word ... yes.

It's not just because I'm a bitter Blue Jays fan that hasn't tasted the victory of playoff baseball for sixteen years either. There are 29 teams in baseball I would rather see hoist the Commissioner's Trophy above their heads other than the New York Yankees.

So here are a few of my reasons in no particular order why I think the Yankees as World Champions are sending the wrong message.

1.) Team payrolls across the MLB are bound to go up

Whether it's predetermined or not, it seems like teams subconsciously emulate the formula of the previous World Series Champions. In the case of the New York Yankees, most clubs will probably take after their model which is "sign the best free agents at any price, so long as it means winning".

This means guys like Jason Bay, Matt Holliday and John Lackey are going to rake in especially fat contracts this off-season. It also sends the message that money equals success, almost the exact polar opposite from the Tampa Bay Rays model which was build a team from the minor league system upwards.

2.) It makes even more free agents want to flock to NY

I'm sure a large part of the reason why Pedro Martinez and Raul Ibanez signed with the Philadelphia Phillies was because they had a fairly good shot at winning another championship in Philly. For free agents that are getting close to the end of their careers and want an almost-guaranteed shot at the post-season, they will likely be seeking to sign with the New York Yankees.

3.) It doesn't promote home-grown talent

There was a lot of hype surrounding the "core four" of Jeter, Rivera, Posada and Pettite that have stuck with this organization since (almost) day one. Aside from those four guys, most of their roster spots are occupied by players acquired via trades or free agent signings (only ten in total came up through the Yankees organization).

The Yankees aren't notorious for drafting and developing great players, they are known for signing other team's great players. I realize it's all fair in love and baseball, but it feels like the Yankees would rather build a winning team with their pocketbook rather than their minor league system.

Again, let me reiterate that I'm not bitter and jaded (okay ... maybe a little) that the team I cheer for wasn't number one this year. However, I would have been happy to see the Phillies win the World Series. I would have been thrilled to see the Dodgers or the Angels win the World Series. Hell, it would even be fun (more so hilarious) to see the Nationals win the World Series. But there's something about watching the Yankees get their World Series rings that doesn't sit right.

It's almost like if the tallest, strongest, and fastest kid in grade seven won every single event at the track meet. Sure, it's great for that one kid - but for everyone else, it just creates an environment of resentment.

It's about as exciting as when the team with the highest payroll wins the World Series.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

$200 million buys a World Series Championship


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Very quickly, congratulations to the New York Yankees on becoming World Series champs. There was nothing overly dramatic about Game Six or the series in general, however good for the Yankees on coming out on top.

But for the New York Yankees organization, anything less than a championship this year would have been an utter disappointment. So after missing the playoffs for the first time in 13 seasons, they went out and snagged the best free agents on the market in the hopes of building another winning team.

On Managing ...

This World Series in particular might have possibly been the most over-hyped when it comes to managing decisions. The media scrutinized Joe Girardi for only using a three-man rotation the entire playoffs, and they even grilled Charlie Manuel for something as simple as not starting the runners with one out.

Basically, people need to stop giving so much credit to Joe Girardi because I think even Cito Gaston could have managed the Yankees to a Championship. Just like the 1992 and 1993 Toronto Blue Jays, when you have the best group of players, often times they will come through when needed and these minute coaching decisions don't really have an effect on the game.

Godzilla comes to life

After tonight's MVP performance, Hideki Matsui certainly bought himself a fat contract with whichever team signs him in the off season. Initially I thought he might be a good fit for the Blue Jays as a DH, but now it appears that the price tag might be too high and I find it hard to believe that Matsui would leave his cozy nest in New York to shack up in Toronto.

In closing ...

Whether we like it or not, the New York Yankees are the World Series Champs. However, if any other team in the American League such as the Blue Jays had a payroll of $200 million dollars, they could also very well be standing in the Yankees champagne-soaked shoes.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

World Series Observations


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After having the pleasure of watching five relatively exciting World Series games, there are a few things that have stood out in my mind as noteworthy. The following is a list of some observations from this year's series thus far:

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Alex Anthopolous Game Plan


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Alex Anthopoulos has a plan for the Toronto Blue Jays. The problem is that he can't reveal the full details just quite yet.

He's been in the midst of attempting to rebuild this team, solidifying the coaching staff last week and now the next thing on Anthopoulos' agenda is the players.

Last week on Primetime Sports, Paul Beeston assured us that fans would have a better idea of what kind of expectations when it comes to total payroll by the end of this week. It looks like he and AA just might deliver in time before next week's General Manger's meetings.

Anthopolous dropped a few sound bytes about particular free agents and whether or not they would return next year. John McDonald, Rod Barajas and Marco Scutaro were names that he mentioned and could not say whether or not they would be back next year.

My suspicion is that at least two out of those three players will leave via free agency, with Johnny Mac almost certainly out the door. It simply doesn't make sense to pay John McDonald over $2 million dollars a year to play 30 games at shortstop

Of course the giant, glaring elephant in the room that Alex Anthopolous needs to address is what to do with Roy Halladay. Whatever happens with this team in the next 3-5 years basically hinges on whether or not Doc is traded this off season.

The longer that time goes on and the more and more that Roy Halladay sees his former teammate A.J. Burnett pitching in the World Series, perhaps he's developing a little bit of resentment towards the organization that has failed to make the playoffs the past sixteen years.

Not only would Halladay be looking for a winning team, but he could very easily find a suitor that would be willing to pay top dollar for him. Regardless of whether the Phillies win the World Series, many teams have seem the impact that adding an ace like Cliff Lee to the pitching staff can do to solidify themselves as a contender.

Teams like the Dodgers and Angels will be looking for that added insurance to get them over the hump, and Roy Halladay could be that player who gets them over the edge.

We will have to wait and see if that happens under the watch of Alex Anthopoulos, or if Doc just walks away via free agency at the end of 2010. Either way, the gears of change are in motion and things in Toronto are going to look a lot different next year.

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