Thursday, May 19, 2011

That of Which We Shall Not Speak

We're nothing if not superstitious, and at times, we find that we'll bite our tongue on certain players or subjects so as not to somehow affect their outcomes.

(Okay, that's probably less a matter of "superstition" and more a matter of "outsized sense of one's own cosmological importance"...but why quibble?)

The point here (if there really is one) is that we've probably stopped thinking certain thoughts, or at the very least we've not repeated them when they popped into our head this season.

(This is not so much a matter of self-censorship or playing coy with the readership as much as it is a matter of the same instinct that keeps you from steering into oncoming traffic when your brain starts to wonder what that might be like and if it would be a good idea.)

As a result, we'll confess to having dished out our share of happy thoughts and glass-half-fullisms this year, trying to buoy our own spirits as well as yours. But given the better part of a week away from the team, with only some random tweets and a few highlight packages to inform our Blue Jays related thoughts, our mind started to wander. And there were a bunch of uncomfortable thoughts that we started to have about this team. So rather than try to stifle them any more and have them fester, we're going to just let fly with them, then walk away. And hope for the best.

Because deep down, we really worry that...

...Edwin Encarnacion has gotten worse in almost every facet of his game.

...Travis Snider is messed up, and that he might not be salvageable by this organization.

...Jo-Jo Reyes is really not very good, and that as much as we like him and root for him, the Jays don't have the roster space to continue to drag along his extended try out.

...Aaron Hill's best years are already behind him.

...this team isn't just a couple of clever tweaks and moves away from serious contention, and that it is more likely that several more years of good-not-great teams in the middle of the AL East will beget several more years of good-not-great teams in the middle of the AL East.

There. We've spat it all out. Let the cosmos do what they will.

Tomorrow, we'll be all sunshine and happiness again.


GCM1979 said...

EE - it's all in his head
Snider - he's in Bautista pre-swing change territory. Let's hope the tweaks work. The ceiling is just to big for him, not close to a bust yet.
Jo-Jo - continuing to improve on the fly. Won't be questioning by July.
Hill - swing change looks great. He'll be fine.
Jays - team will be ready to go once spare parts are gone.

Happiness to your occasional post of doubt.

BringVottoHome said...

I've had all of those scary thoughts that you have, Tao.

The one that really makes you wonder is the point about contending soon in the AL East. That directly makes you think about Jose Bautista. If he's as good as he seems to be, I'd think that sticking in the middle-bottom of the pack with a player like that is just unfathomable. You can't pass up having a player like that around and just floating on the surface, like we did with Roy Halladay all of those years.

If Anthopoulos and co. see it the same way as you wonder there - shouldn't he be traded away ASAP?

And if not, isn't the team sort of forced to be aggressive in trades and free agency and build a competitive team around him?

Obviously, I prefer the latter. I'm not one of those people that thinks they have to trade away every asset that's doing well. I just think Bautista is too good at this point to stick around during a rebuild. Either the team gets better, fast, or sadly, he probably shouldn't be here.

djhender said...

At the end of the day, they are "entertaining" enough for me to come back day after day without really worrying about the big picture WS run in a couple of years. But ya, 2 more years of EE throwing balls into the 500s... ugh.

The Ack said...

(afraid to say anything)

Tao of Stieb said...

Damn it Ack! Say something!

(This is turning into an abusive relationship, isn't it?)

Gil Fisher said...

EE - worse in every facet of his game, except possibly baserunning where he his possibly better getting to first.

TS - share you fears

Jo Jo - who?

Aaron Hill - felt good about him all year. I`m only going to look at LD% when evaluating Aaron for the rest of time.

Jays - looking good, never have all cylinders firing. Need consistent starts now.

Chad said...

Your last point is probably the most likely and, therefore, spirit-crushing, of them all.

*Takes a huge swig of Rogers' brand Kool-Aid spiked with Wiser's*

But, I remain optimistic!

Anonymous said...

I have to say that GM AA's contract with Hill was brilliant. I guess the tough choice will be to see if they pick up the options at the end of the year.

dogandabeer said...

Please remind me of AA's contract offer that was accepted?

I don't find that one.

Peter DeMarco said...

First off, I'm completely against trading Bautista for any reason. If we are seeing his true talent, players like him only come around maybe once in a generation. They will never get equal value in return in a deal.

Second, I share all of your concerns as well, but I don't think these concerns will prevent the Jays from becoming a serious competitor. I still believe they are a stud pitcher and hitter away from being very good, even if Jo-Jo, Edwin, Travis and Aaron are all done as contributing major leaguers.

Think about it, if the Jays add (for a example purposes only) Prince Feilder. This will create a snowball effect in that they don't need to play an Edwin or Juan Rivera. Suddenly you have three monster threat hitters in the middle of the line up in Lind, Bautista and Fielder and you can afford to bring up a Brett Lawrie to play 3B and allow him time to learn the game. Arencibia should only get better, and filling out the rest of the line-up with Yunel, Hill (or replacement), Davis and Snider will be good enough.

Then add a SP (say Jered Weaver for argument sake) and the rotation looks great with Romero, Morrow, Drabek and one of Cecil/Litsch/whoever.

I'd also still try and pry Yonder Alonso from the Reds, maybe a Snider for Alonso deal makes sense? However in that scenario getting Fielder doesn't.

Anonymous said...

The good news:

EE is on the bench as soon as Lind is back and Lawrie is ready. Lawrie looks like the real deal.

Even IF Snider is unsalvageable, the Jays can slot in Eric Thames, who might not have the same ceiling but looks like a pretty good hitter, Or Sierra, or Loewen.

If (when) the team runs out of patience with Reyes, they can call up Cecil or Mills (or even Stewart), or put Rzep into the rotation.

Hill is the biggest concern, but even if his bat isn't what it used to be, he still has defensive value.

Anonymous said...

O ye of little faith, they were never going to be able to rebuild this team in 2 years, at least not to a level that competes with the Yanks, Sox and Rays… these are some of the best run teams in baseball, and have been running their teams this way for anywhere between 8-15 years. Not only do these teams have good farm-systems now, but they have likely had good farm systems for the last 5-10 years working like conveyor belts churning out talent year after year. So not only did they have quality minor league systems, these systems were mature enough to add major league talent every year, either for the big club or to be traded for a star. The Jays, before AA took over as GM, had one of the worst farm-systems in baseball. At this point, the Jays have one of the better system’s, but Its still going to be a while before many of the prospects picked up under AA’s watch become bona-fide major leaguers. The conveyor belt is getting primed, its just not rolling out the units at capacity just yet… 3-5 years from the time AA took over, and it will have only been 2 years at the end of this season. Patience.

As Always,
Go Jays!

Anonymous said...

If your fears about EE, Hill, Snider and Reyes are the worst case scenario, I feel pretty good about the Jays.

Anonymous said...

what if brett cecil never comes back and jesse litsch stays a .400 pitcher for the rest of his career? What if Yunel Escobar is a career . 270 hitter?

Christian A said...

The big difference between now and the Ricciardi era is that not everything has to go right:

- For every EE, there's a Lawrie
- For every Snider, there's Thames, Marisnick and Gose
- For every Reyes there' get the point.

Sure things can go wrong, but we have a TON of raffle tickets, and more coming in two weeks.

Roberto said...

Yeah, I can agree with some or most of that. But:

Edwin Encarnacion is filler. Anything the team gets out of him is found money. Brett Lawrie is the future at 3B, and there are better options than EE at every other position (1B, DH) he might play.

I’d hate to think Travis Snider has gone from a can’t-miss prospect to a can’t-hit prospect. But supposing that he has… he’s a corner outfielder; they aren’t THAT hard to find. Hell, Eric Thames may surprise us this year, even.

Jo-Jo Reyes is also found money. If he turns out to be good, that’s fantastic. If not… there are plenty of other talented starters who will be fighting for rotation spots in another year or 2. Brett Cecil may be back, sooner or later.

Aaron Hill… I don’t know what to say about Aaron Hill. I hope he has a solid last ¾ of the season and the Jays keep him around. If that doesn’t happen, then perhaps one of Hechevarria, Escobar, or Pierre is the 2B of the future?

Sure, there are instances when teams rebuild, and for whatever reason (injuries, bad luck, players not performing as expected), they don’t win and they have to rebuild again. Maybe the current core of players (Lind-Hill-Bautista-Romero etc) won’t win a championship. But… the ace in the hole is the minor-league system. If the Jays continue to scout well, draft well, and spend on the international free agents, their system should produce a steady stream of talent, such that they won’t be forced into an all-the-chips-on-the-table move like Ricciardi made in 2006.