Posted tagged ‘mark Shapiro’

Josh Donaldson: He brought the rain and it was magical AF

September 3, 2018

Josh Donaldson’s tenure with the Blue Jays was a blessing. The events surrounding his departure really, really, REALLY suck. However, this is not as tragic as some have made it out to be.

Josh Donaldson was not going to finish 2018 in a Jays uniform. I made peace with this notion well before the season started. Unless the team was a legit contender for the second wild card spot, this was it for the Bringer of Rain.

I prayed he would be traded during the off-season. Prayed the Jays would get a king’s ransom in exchange. I get why they waited for the middle of the regular season – contending teams would be increasingly desperate to land Donaldson’s services and therefore, empty their shelevs of young, developing talent.

Of course, that didn’t happen. Josh gingerly walked off the field in May, never to return wearing a Jays uniform; his value drastically fell.

Who’s to blame? Nobody.

Donaldson didn’t intend to miss a significant chunk of the season. Mark Shapiro, Russ Atkins and the rest of front office didn’t anticipate something like this to happen, nor would they want it to happen.

Of course, social media is more than happy to point fingers.

On social media, Shapiro and Atkins have screwed up everything!!!! Some have claimed they have set the team back by decades. Others have filed a non-confidence motion. Heck, if Shapiro and Atkins saved 1000 orphans from a towering inferno, they’d still be villanized.

So let’s take a breath.

The Blue Jays are rebuilding. It has been evident for a while. Whether you like it or not, they are a team in transition. Keeping Josh Donaldson would be counter-productive. A player of his caliber and age – if healthy, obviously – would naturally yield younger, developing talent. It’s not a perfect formula, but it only makes sense to collect several “prospects” in exchange for Donaldson and hope some – if not all – live up to their full potential.

The only mistake Shapiro and Atkins made was not trading Donaldson before the season. An error that defines the concept of hindsight.

Here’s something else to consider: Do you really believe Donaldson wanted to be a Blue Jay after 2018?

Think about it. He’s in his early 30s and about to become a free agent. He wants to win now. He expects to win now. Why would he stay in Toronto and endure a rebuild that doesn’t have a definitive timeline? Donaldson has earned the right to play for whoever he wants; so the Jays might as well get something for him, even if it’s unfortunately not a king’s ransom.

While Donaldson and Atkins have both paid the appropriate amount of lip service post-trade, we may never know what actually happened behind the proverbial closed doors. Maybe there were diagreements. Maybe feelings were hurt.

There will be some who desperately need to know what occurred for their own agendas. But for me….I just don’t give a damn.

When I think about Josh Donaldson, I won’t think about his departure. I’ll think of the man who told the world that this was the “get it done league.”

I’ll think of the man who dove into the first few rows at Tropicana Field to catch a foul ball.

I’ll think of the man who crushed a walk-off home run at the final home game of the 2015 season, sending the crowd into a frenzy; including yours truly from my right field seat in the 200s.

I’ll think of the man who knocked in the tying run in game five of the 2015 ALDS, setting the stage for Jose Bautista’s iconic bat flip.

I’ll think of the man – who I witnessed from my perch in section 525 – dive gracefully across home plate, clinching game three and an ALDS series sweep in 2016.

Damn right his name should be added to the level of excellence. He was the American League’s most valuable player in 2015. The only other Blue Jay who won AL MVP is already on the LOE.

Josh Donaldson was the glue, the missing piece, the magic tonic. He brought the rain and it was MAGICAL! His unfortunate departure will never overshadow his impact.

I really hope things work out for him in Cleveland and of course, with the Blue Jays’ long-term plan. Seeing a popular player get traded is never pleasant.

Just remember: It’s going to be okay.

ER

Ironically, I share a similar opinion as Cathall Kelly. But I choose to be more respectful and less fatalistic.

March 29, 2018

Rest assured, this is not a critique of Mr. Kelly’s recent torpedo at the Blue Jays. These are just my thoughts for Opening Day. They’re pleasant, but not glowing.

Anyway……Hello regular season.

Whenever someone asks me how the Blue Jays will fare, I always like to give two opinions. 2018 is no exception:

Subjectively, they’ll finish 162-0 and capture the World Series title.

Objectively, if a number of factors work out on the positive side and they’re not heavily effected by injuries, they could compete for the second wild card spot. Otherwise, don’t make any plans for postseason baseball.

We can crunch numbers and analyze everything to death. But nothing is 100% certain, especially for on-field performance. So like everyone else – whether they like to admit it or not – I prefer to go with my gut.

And my gut says….there’s likely going to be a dip.

I sense a transition process between the current 25-man roster and the sexy, young minor league talent everyone is excited about. It won’t be a linear transition, but one that’s u-shaped instead. Couldn’t tell you how long it will last. Maybe a few seasons, maybe more than that. But it’s going to likely happen.

Ideally, I’d prefer if the transition began now. However, Mark Shapiro and Russ Atkins feel they can put it off for the year.

It’s not a terrible decision. Teams could pay more at the non-waiver trade deadline. And if the Jays are clearly not a contender by the end of July, my hope is that they would get a nice return for Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ, and a king’s ransom for Josh Donaldson.

Therein lies one of the major storylines of 2018: What’s going to happen with the Bringer of Rain?

I love Donaldson and very grateful for what he’s done on the field. However, I would be SHOCKED if he signs a long-term deal with the Jays.

If there’s actually a dip or any form of rebuilding, it wouldn’t make sense to keep him. It also wouldn’t make sense for Donaldson wanting to stay if the next few seasons are going to be lean, with a lot of unknowns thrown in as well. Donaldson will be a free agent at the end of 2018 and he’s earned the right to field offers and seek out the best deal. It pains me to type this, but I just don’t see that happening with him and the Jays.

In fact, the only players on the current roster that should remain with the club through any kind of transition is Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, Roberto Osuna and Devon Travis. That’s not a gurantee either.

So let the Yankees and Red Sox have their fun, if it turns out that way. The Blue Jays are cultivating for the future and if Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette actually live up to their hype, combined with consistent production from Alford, Urena, Hernandez, Borucki, etc., then we are in for a treat. Heck, look at what rebuilding has done for the Astros.

Of course, I could be completely off the mark. If the Jays actually make the playoffs in 2018, I will happily admit that I jumped to conclusion.

It could happen. Part of me hopes it does.

ER

Short, scribbled thoughts about the fugly start to the regular season

April 17, 2017

Wish I could tell you it will get better. But the truth is I can’t. There are few guarantees in baseball, so I can only hope for the best and be positive.

The Blue Jays will either figure it out or they won’t.

You can push as many panic buttons as possible. You can demand they fire Gibby. You can beg for Rowdy Tellez to be called up. You can curse Mark Shapiro and Russ Atkins for all entirety. You can refuse to purchase tickets. Just understand one thing: We have no control over the fate of the team. Like it or not, we have to let the process work itself out and show some – here’s a word you might not like – patience.

Gregg Zaun sometimes criticizes certain fans for wanting instant gratification. It’s a theory I subscribe to as well. We live in a society that values anything quick and aggressive, while discarding items that are slow and can’t instantly capture attention. Baseball clashes with this kind of society; in the game itself and with the length of the season. The adage of the regular season being a marathon and not a sprint certainly applies to the Jays’ situation.

The consensus couldn’t be clearer: There’s nothing fun about how this season has gone so far, especially after Sunday’s 11-4 dumpster fire loss to Baltimore. Greater concern is Aaron Sanchez’s blister problem and J.A. Happ’s elbow; issues that are incredibly alarming. Can’t forget the nightmarish offensive production either. So as much as it sucks – and it really does suck – there is nothing we can do, but to simply let things breathe. It might be painful, but it’s the right course of action.

If that won’t work for you, consider this: If the worst thing in your life is a 2-10 baseball team, then you have a pretty good life.

ER


Episode 78 [Season Finale]: Highs, Lows and a Postseason Appearance

October 23, 2016

This year marked the 40th anniversary season of Blue Jays baseball, which turned out to be more than just a historic milestone.

Brendan Panikkar of BaseballHotCorner.com looks back at the 2016 Jays and what the off-season could entail.

Episode 78 Direct MP3 Download

…or…

***Thanks for listening to the fifth season of DNJT! Enjoy the World Series and the off-season.***

Hey! Why is everyone getting worked up about Joey Bats, contract negotiations, money and 2017????

February 25, 2016

Is it just me or is anyone else bothered with how some fans and media are focusing so much on what could/might happen next season when the current one hasn’t even started yet? Why stress out about the 2017 roster when the 2016 version is right in front of us and provides the opportunity to savour a lineup that includes Jose Bautista?

The Blue Jays should seriously consider hosting “Eckhart Tolle Day” at the Skydome this year. Maybe the team can even invite Tolle to throw out the first pitch to Josh Thole.

Much has been said about Joey Bats’ stance on negotiations, hometown discounts and alleged financial demands. And of course, this storyline is full of speculation and conclusion jumping. It reminds me of Chris Bosh’s final season with the Raptors.

Any smart Raptor fan knew if the team was heading in the wrong direction – and they were – the hard-working Bosh would sign elsewhere when his contract expired. At first, I wasn’t warm to the notion, but eventually made peace with it. So when CB4 chose the Miami Heat, I had nothing but admiration and respect for him. The same goes for Joey Bats.

I am eternally grateful for everything Bautista has done for the Blue Jays. Witnessing his rise from no-name utility player to All-Star slugger is something I will always cherish. If he and the Jays can work something out, that would be wonderful! If things don’t work out and he chooses to play for another team, that’s fine too. I’m okay with it.

Granted, I would prefer it if he didn’t sign with Boston or the Yankees. Personally, I’d rather see him play for a team in California or the Miami Marlins. However, if he chooses the Red Sox or Yanks, so be it.

It’s important to remember that Bautista – along with AA – is the epicentre of this current chapter in Blue Jays history. He was the shinning star when things were bleak and has excelled on the field. He also helped guide this team back to the promised land, culminating in a championship banner and hopefully, a couple more. Bautista has earned the right to choose how his contract is negotiated and its financial worth. Fans should/must respect that right, even if that means an unfavourable outcome.

But all of that is not important right now!!!

The 2016 season should be the sole focus. Worrying about what will happen after the 2016 season is pointless. So let’s give our attention to what’s in front of us and enjoy it. Let’s deal with the future when it’s appropriate; say, November.

Never has the expression “cross the bridge when we get there” been more prevalent for Blue Jay fans than now.

ER

Short, Scribbled Thoughts on AA

October 30, 2015

Now that everything has been fleshed out and digested…

My first memory of Alex occurs in the summer of 2009. It was – if memory serves – during a weekend series at Tropicana Field. Alan Ashby had taken a few days off, so Jerry Howarth invited AA to sit in on a couple of broadcasts. The young assistant GM (at the time) sounded confident and wasn’t shy behind the mic. Looking back, this was a primer for what was to come.

When this current chapter of Blue Jays history is written, the starting point – or ground zero – revolves around two individuals: Jose Bautista and Alex Anthopoulos.

AA had a talent for keeping things quiet. That’s what made most of his moves so Earth-shattering. They just popped out of nowhere, giving him that ninja persona as Mr. Wilner once described it. Nobody saw the trade with the Marlins coming; ditto for Josh Donaldson, Tulo and David Price (though I was praying for that trade for a year!). Nobody expected fan favourites like Brett Lawrie to get dealt either.

He wasn’t perfect and there are certainly moves that haven’t/didn’t/aren’t working out as well as we hoped. But in the end, he successfully put together a team that produced a playoff appearance for the first time in over two decades. The 2015 AL East banner will fly from the rafters and AA played a role in making that happen. That’s what makes his departure so shocking.

Based on the information I’ve gathered and heard what was said (and not said), there came a point in the last few weeks when AA decided his ability to do his job became compromised. It’s a sad and upsetting end.

I’m not in the mood for pointing fingers or blaming people. Nevertheless, I’m disappointed with how things turned out yesterday. The timing is terrible and sends a bad message. Yes, a new President coming in tends to lead to changes; but the way things were conducted stings.

So now Mark Shapiro has the task of fixing this little PR mess. People are unhappy right now. Not the best way to start a tenure; though we don’t know what exactly happened and will likely never know.

Of course, if the Jays continue to succeed on the field, all of this becomes a moot point.

ER

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