|Image courtesy of CBC.ca|
It all stemmed from an article Bruce Arthur of the National Post wrote on Yu Darvish. After getting wound up in the Yu Darvish hype, I found this article to be a big reality check and really brought me back down to earth.
Essentially, Arthur said that fans should be surprised if the Blue Jays land Darvish, because it doesn't really fit in with the model that Alex Anthopoulos has been building since he took over the helm.
The main point that Arthur mentioned that really clicked with me is the Blue Jays spent $70 million dollars total on player payroll in 2011. If there's any truth the rumours, the Blue Jays could have paid $50 million plus just for the negotiating rights for one player.
If you take that payroll information into consideration, then it really puts things into perspective.
Why would AA take close to an entire year's worth of team payroll and bank it on merely a posting fee alone? Then factor in the potential contract and the price for Yu Darvish completely eclipses the entire team's payroll.
Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see the Blue Jays sign Yu Darvish. Judging by the buzz around the blogosphere and Twitterverse the past week, I think it's safe to say most fans feel the same way.
Nothing's even set in stone with Darvish, and yet there has been a buzz with fans that I haven't experienced since the 2006 off-season. When the Blue Jays signed A.J. Burnett, B.J. Ryan, and acquired Troy Glaus and Lyle Overbay.
The caveat is none of this fits in with "the plan". It goes against everything Paul Beeston has ever said about the posting process, and it contradicts the model which AA has built since day one.
Alex Anthopoulos painstakingly worked to create a lean mean payroll and acquire players with high ceilings. We just witnessed him trade to get a closer in Sergio Santos with a team friendly contract, when he just as easily could've found one on the open market.
Also, this whole Yu Darvish thing doesn't jive with the recent comments about payroll parameters. If the Blue Jays are truly holding back, why would the payroll restraints suddenly become nonexistent?
As a quick aside, as @ChrisArnold33 pointed out to me on Twitter, if the Blue Jays were actually in on Mat Latos "to the end" as Peter Gammons reported, why would they bid high on Yu Darvish?
The Blue Jays would have had to send a boatload of players to San Diego in return for Mat Latos. A move like that seems much more feasible and follows the pattern of what Anthopoulos has done in the past.
Admittedly, I'm just as anxious as any of you are about the Yu Darvish news, but the unique thing about this whole situation is the Blue Jays are in a great position no matter what happens.
Either they get the rights to arguably one of the best pitchers on the market, or they put that money back in their pocket and Alex Anthopoulos sticks with the blueprint and marches forward.
Assuming the Blue Jays don't win the Yu Darvish bidding process, the first reaction might initially be a little disappointment, but that will be followed up by a huge sigh of relief.
If the Blue Jays get Darvish, it might put them over the top, but if they don't get him it's not like Toronto immediately plummets to the bottom of the AL East. This is by no means a "make or break" situation for the club.
In this whole Yu Darvish situation, it helps a little bit to play devil's advocate. On one hand, it would really send a message that the organization is willing to pony up the cash when necessary. But on the other hand, why risk that much money and deviate from the plan?
No matter which stance you have on this issue, I think we can all agree the framework is there for the Blue Jays to become contenders.
Getting Yu Darvish doesn't necessarily change the framework of "the plan", it just advances the timeline for when it will hopefully come to fruition.