Tuesday, 20 December 2011
Because this whole "not-getting-Darvish" thing is the end of the world, amirite?
I think the real moral of the story here, and I'm guilty here too, is to not get too caught up in the rumors until we know for sure. I know it's hard, especially when it's a big-ticket item such as Yu Darvish, and when seemingly every source known to man is saying that it's going to be the Jays who won the bid...
Anyway, I remember looking at this last night thinking that no matter what happens, either way, it's not a big deal. If the Jays lose, they don't have to spend $100MM+ to sign someone who's never pitched in the MLB. If they do win, we get our pitcher that we've been looking for, meanwhile taking a massive risk with a $100-125MM contract on our hands, which is really the entire antithesis of AA's business model. I want to get this point across as loudly and clearly as possible: Yu Darvish alone would not have gotten the Jays to the playoffs. He would simply be another piece on the way, and one who would require a giant pricetag.
There are clearly some positives and some negatives to bidding on and signing a guy like Darvish, but not being the winning team really doesn't signify anything in terms of the Jays and their plans to compete in the near future. I'd like to reiterate that just because they didn't win the Darvish race doesn't mean that they're not going to spend money. They've already loaded up their farm system and scouts, going crazy on international and draft expenditures over the last 2 years, plus including cash in the Rasmus and Wells deals. There are different ways to skin a cat, per se, and if spending doesn't increase at the major league level this season, it doesn't really have any bearing on the future, or the present, with regards to spending money (though the new CBA might throw a wrench in that and force spending at the MLB level anyway, so shut the fuck up and be happy with what you're getting, even if you don't actually want it, despite not knowing any better). If Rogers are in fact a bunch of cheap fucks, we won't know it for a while, as it will only be determined a few years from now, when they don't pony up the cash to maintain guys like Lawrie and Arencibia when they hit free agency, and has nothing to do with the current crop of free agents. And even if that does happen, the farm system is in a good enough place that the Jays can just Tampa Bay their way to success, without actually needing to spend a billion dollars.
I think AA realizes that free agent contracts are pretty inefficient, and that he wants young, controllable players on his team, not only because they're cheaper, but because they're typically better and more useful for longer periods of time. The whole idea is to get guys in their primes, not to get guys who have one year of peak left before regressing for the rest of their careers, while paying them top dollar.
Finally, and I've said this a few times and could very well be wrong about it, but going after Matt Garza now makes no sense to me unless he would like to sign an extension for cheap, which I doubt will happen. If Darvish became a Jay, the Jays would still be a piece or two away from being contenders for the division, and giving up assets for 2 years of Garza would then make some sense. Giving up pieces for Garza now will just improve the Jays from 81 wins to 85 wins. The Rays won 91 last year for the Wild Card and the Yankees won 97 for the division (with the Red Sox at third with 90). I don't know exactly what a full season of Brett Lawrie and Colby Rasmus is worth, but I really don't think we can expect the Jays to get improvements from everybody to the point where they can win 100 games in the AL East. Garza and Darvish, which replaces Cecil and [Jojo/Litsch/Mills/Mcgowan], plus improvements... maybe we're talking. Basically, I don't expect the Rays to regress at all, and don't expect the Yankees or Red Sox to regress enough for the Jays to justify going out and grabbing one piece, because it probably won't be enough. On the other side of the coin, I don't see AA going out and giving up a ton of assets to land Garza and another pitcher (Gio, Niese, whoever), because I don't think we want to sacrifice the future just to win now. He wants sustainable success going forward. I'd rather wait and just crush in 2013 through 2018.