Posted tagged ‘rebuilding’

Troy Tulowitzki was the turning point and worth every penny, gosh darn it!

December 11, 2018

So I wasn’t surprised Tulo was released. Mark Shapiro and Russ Atkins are forging their own path, even if it means scorched earth and paying a 34-year-old $38 million over the next few seasons to not show up to Dunedin.

Whatever. I’d still pull the trigger on that trade.

Tulo’s arrival midway through 2015 – along with David Price’s arrival a few days later – was the turning point. His mere presence gave the Jays an incredible boost. Before the trade, the team was hanging by a thread. Tulo put on the uniform and that Jays team took off like a rocket!

Not going to get into his numbers or the injuries. I’m perfectly content with the 2015-16 playoff banners and the memories.

If you’re into the whole “what has he done latley” argument, that’s cool. You’re entitled to feel that way. I just prefer to put more heart and emotion into my fandom.

Thank you, Tulo.

ER

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Short, scribbled, simiring thoughts about Charlie Montoyo

October 30, 2018

When the Blue Jays hired Tim Johnson to manage the team, it seemed like there was nothing but high praise for the new skipper. And then…well….we all know what happened.

Of course, I’m not saying a similar fate will fall upon Charlie Montoyo. I just couldn’t help but think of Tim Johnson whenever I saw rave reviews about some of the potential candidates to manage the Jays in 2019.

Anyway, Charlie Montoyo meets the apparent requirements. Bilingual, comes from a system that uses analytics and has plenty of coaching and managerial experience.

Now we’ll see how that all translates.

But please….understand this:

Do not expect this man to move Heaven and Earth right away. The team is transitioning and the young talent needs to develop. It won’t happen instantaneously. At the very least, kindly give Charlie Montoyo a few years before evaluating his pefromance.

ER

Take a moment, say your goodbyes

September 24, 2018

Ever watch The Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor In Paradise?

When a contestant is “sent home,” Chris Harrison – the long-time host of the popular reality series – delivers a subtle command:

“Take a moment, say your goodbyes.”

As the Blue Jays prepare for the final week of a tumultuous regular season, perhaps it would be wise for all of us to take a moment and say our goodbyes.

The rebuild is well underway and there’s a strong chance that some familiar faces will not return next year.

By all accounts, John Gibbons will be formally relieved of his duties. Safe to assume the coaching staff will also be dismissed or reassigned.

And it won’t stop there.

Kevin Pillar could be playing for a different team next season. Same could be said about Marcus Stroman, Yangervis Solarte and Justin Smoak. Maybe some team would be willing to take a flyer on Kendrys Morales or Russell Martin and work something out with the Jays’ front office in regards to those contracts. I like Marco Estrada, but I would be surprised if he’s back next season.

That doesn’t mean such departures will actually occur. But with all the minor league talent that debuted this season, along with the talent we’ll see in 2019 (*cough* Vladdy Jr. *cough*), there isn’t enough space for everyone. Otherwise, the team won’t evolve.

It’s impossible to predict exactly who will stay and who will go. But one could certainly expect fewer pieces remaining from the teams of 2015-16 next year.

So if you’re heading to Skydome, Tropicana Field, the Boston Pizza at Front and John (where a lot of fans hang out, apparently) or watching/listening/following the final matches, take a moment and say your goodbyes.

It’s been one hell of a ride, but it’s now time to rebuild for (hopefully) something greater.

ER

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

The Blue Jays were awful in May…..and we all need to hug it out.

June 3, 2018

It’s going to be okay.

Things have been bleak since they swept the Royals in April. The rotation is struggling, the bullpen has fallen apart, the lineup is underperforming and injuries are affecting their peformance.

But it’s going to be okay.

At best, this team could’ve contended for the second wild card spot. For that to happen, many factors would’ve had to work in their favour. Currently, that’s not happening and – barring a miracle; they do occur – it will likely stay that way.

But it’s going to be okay.

Since it’ll likely stay this way, there will probably be changes. Big changes that will be tough to accept. Fan favourites are going to be traded.

But it’s going to be okay.

We are witnessing evolution in real time. The Blue Jays are a team in transition; and it’s a transition that is u-shaped.

There’s a lot of excitement for the young talent developing in the minors. Many fans want Vladimir Guerrero Jr. called up yesterday. It’ll happen eventually; (try to) be patient.

Meanwhile, there will be more aggravation, long losing streaks and low attendance. It’s going to suck.

But it’s going to be okay.

As a wise – yet deranged – fictional character once said, “It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.”

Don’t fret because the Blue Jays are in a steep nosedive. Hang in there.

If all that young minor league talent lives up to its full potential, the rewards will be endless. They will develop and blossom. However, it will take an undefined amount of time. Again – and I can’t stress this enough – (try to) be patient.

If it doesn’t happen, at least you took the risk. If it does, pat yourself on the back for making the investment. You could’ve walked away, like some fans; but you didn’t.

May was awful an month.

But 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

Hate to admit it, but I’ve made peace with the 2017 Blue Jays

July 13, 2017

The consensus was unanimous: The four remaining series before the all-star break would give a strong indication of whether the Blue Jays would be buyers or sellers at the non-waiver trade deadline.

Baltimore came in and the Jays made Kevin Gausman and Ubaldo Jimenez look like Cy Young and Walter Johnson.

The Red Sox were next and they steamrolled their way to a three-game sweep.

So the Jays flew to New York and took two out of three from the Yankees. A pleasant surprise to say the least.

Finally, it was time to face Houston. While splitting a four-game series against the best team in MLB is certainly a positive, it was the weirdest split I have ever seen. Two wins that featured strong pitching and clutch swings. Two losses where they were completely out-classed and out-matched by the Astros.

So what does it all mean?

The pessimists feel the window of opportunity has closed and it’s time to “blow it up.” The optimists feel they still have a fighting chance. They will also point to the trade deadline of 2015, when the team was hovering around the .500 mark before AA acquired Tulo and David Price.

I find myself in the middle of these conflicting opinions; and while I choose not to fully commit to one side, I have reached a more comforting consensus:

I have made peace with the 2017 Blue Jays.

Making peace means that I accept the high probability that they won’t make the playoffs. It also means that I accept that there will likely be some form of re-tooling or rebuilding and key pieces from the 2015 and 2016 playoff runs could be traded.

Making peace is my way of softening the blow. It allows me to be disappointed, but not overly upset. If the Jays flounder their way to the end of the regular season, I will still be able to enjoy the matches.

I guess one could call it self-preservation. It is definitely not the right way of handling things; nor is it the wrong way. It’s just my way.

Of course, I hope I’m wrong and the Jays go an incredible run in the second half. But if that doesn’t happen – and a strong argument could be made that things will not get better – then I’m ready for it without any anger or frustration.

Just remember: Nothing is truly guaranteed.

ER


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