Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Keepin' It Up

Now I am simply confused...

Listening to Toronto's AM 640 yesterday, the sub for Bill Waters was discussing the Blue Jays and taking calls about the Blue Jays. There seemed to be an ongoing theme that JP Riccardi did not know what he had in terms of arms in the system. This theme was coming as praise for the young arms in the Blue Jays system with the solid job they had done to this point.

The host mentioned that Jays fans had been told that there is not much in the cupboards, that the Jays were going into the season with five starting pitchers and needed health in order to be competitive.

The first issue is that this is simply obvious. Very few teams can afford to dig deep into the minors in order to cover up long term injuries to their starting five. I would say that Baltimore, Boston, and San Francisco are two exceptions to the rule, with others being capable of replacing low-end starters, but having no hope of replacing top end starters.

That aside, I find this report to be conflicting with what another writer stated (one whom I ripped up) that the Jays had raised a white flag on the season prior to Spring Training. That is, the author of the aforementioned article mentioned that the Jays actually had nothing in the cupboards and in order to be competitive, should have spent money and draft picks to add proven starters.

However, quite the opposite has proven to be true-something I asserted. The host of the Bill Waters show on AM 640 should have taken Riccardi's inaction during the off-season as evidence that he had faith in the youth that had been coming through. Riccardi's big off-season splash to his rotation was bringing in Matt Clement and minor signing Bryan Bullington. Clement proved to be as useless as one could be, but Bullington has offered some nice organizational depth, even showing some of the promise that once made him the first overall pick.

To be honest, as someone who was quite familiar with the Jays system, I didn't walk away from this offseason unimpressed. I figured the rotation would be fine and signing free agents would have been useless.

My problem with the discussion on AM 640 is that Riccardi clearly knew what he had. Riccardi showed this by going against the author at Baseball Digest Daily and not wasting money and draft picks. If Riccardi did not know what he had, he would have went the route of Mark Shapiro and signed a David Dellucci type player (to a long term, Major League contract).

With over half the season remaining, the Jays have one of the deepest rotations in baseball. The club can comfortably go to it's 9th or 10th starter, adequately replacing all but Roy Halladay. The big issue for Jays fans shouldn't be that Riccardi "doesn't know what he has", rather, it should be that Riccardi is going to have some difficult decisions to make for 2010.

That is, with Halladay, Dustin McGowan, and Shaun Marcum, more or less a lock to anchor the front three spots of the rotation, they also have to figure out what to do with youngsters David Purcey, Ricky Romero, Brett Cecil, Robert Ray, and Brad Mills, converts Casey Jansen, Jeremy Accardo, and Brian Tallet, prospect Marc Rzepcynski, and 'veterans' Scott Richmond and Bullington. Oh, and Jesse Litsch along with 2009 draftees Chad Jenkins and James Paxton would be fringey September 2010 contributors.

While the names after Marcum will not blow anyones socks off, each one is plenty capable of being a high quality 4th or 5th starting pitcher.

However, if Riccardi does not do anything, one voice in baseball will claim that he has raised the white flag, while the another will assert that going 10 or 11 deep by mid-June shows that Riccardi is clueless as to what he has. I see both as Riccardi not wanting to spend on what he knows he already has. It is Riccardi understanding the market.

Gasp - A Noble Truth

Now I hate to be cynical, but really? This is a story?

I first heard the news that Sammy Sosa had tested positive for taking performance enhancing drugs as I was driving around, taking care of some pre-Korea errands. And I must say, my first reaction was, "this is news?" That is, I was questioning whether or not this was something that had not already been broken.

Alas, the presumed guilt of every player in the Majors.

But wait, that's not the point. The point here is that not every player is presumed guilty of taking steroids during the steroid era (although I certainly would not doubt that a great majority did so), the point is that it has always been obvious that Sammy had been a user throughout his career.

My problem isn't that Sosa's name got leaked, it isn't that some innocent players are presumed guilty, nor is it that a non-story is being covered, it's the fact that there were some, we'll call them noble truths, some no-brainers out there that simply should not surprise anyone.

So I'm sorry Sammy, even without this story, I simply assumed that you had used steroids. It's like assuming that in a few hours it will no longer be dark outside. It's like assuming that Albert Pujols is an outstanding ballplayer. Or like assuming that some baseball writers will use information that legally should not have been leaked and use it as a slight against a player that brought an enormous amount of energy and joy to the ballpark.

It is times like these that I loathe 24 hour media coverage.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

It's Not That I'm Back...

I have, for all intents and purposes, clipped the wings that made this site soar. While things were far from booming for me, I was very pleased with the direction of the site and the increased readership. Four months of school-related busy-ness and it feels like the first time all over again.

Over this time I began to question why I was "blogging" and if there was a point to continue. While I did not come up with an affirmative yes, I furthered my understanding of why I write and to whom I write for.

That is, it is not as if I am writing through the lens of some minority, fact is, like the majority of baseball fans, I fall under the category of WASPy-McWASP; but a Canadian WASP! While I have a relatively open mind when it comes to writing and researching (read, filled with cynicism) there really isn't a whole lot that I can offer to the baseball world that couldn't be found elsewhere.

Alas, a purpose must be found, a purpose must be committed to, and a purpose must be put into action.

Over the coming weeks as I prepare for a major change in my life I intend to develope (/discover) this purpose, stringing it together as a work in progress.
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