Monday, August 29, 2011

Full on Maple

Tim Horton's Unveils the New Collectors Coffee Mugs to be used at Rogers Centre
I'm excited that Brett Lawrie is a Toronto Blue Jay.

He's young and exciting to watch.

He plays the game "the right way".

And best of all....   He's Canadian.

Am I right???


Well, apparently I'm not.

A few Blue Jay bloggers have been commenting on the "insecurities" that some fans have, causing them to cheer a bit more enthusiastically for Lawrie, simply because he's Canadian.  It's been implied (or said flat out) that it's basically wrong to cheer for someone's success based on the simple fact that they have the same birth country as us.

It's almost written as if cheering for the success of a Canadian in the MLB somehow makes you less of an educated baseball fan and instead, just a homer blindly cheering for "a good ol' Canadian boy".  We should look more at the players xBABIP, UZR and SIERA to determine the decibel level of our cheers and nothing else, because performance is all that should matter.

Well to that... I say.... Seriously??

I enjoy following the writers that keep flogging (to death) this idea and agree with most of the posts they come up with. Hence the reason I continue to read the blogs. And I also agree wholeheartedly that decisions made around roster creation should not be based on citizenship. If I ever see the Jays trade a good player for a Canadian player, or use a players citizenship to justify a roster move, the lineup to stand on the soapbox will begin behind me. Citizenship has no place in this part of baseball.  

But the last time I checked (no matter how much this blog will talk about roster moves) I'm not the GM of the Jays...  (Yet).  I'm also, not the President of Baseball operations.  Or the assistant to the GM.  Or the director of amateur scouting.  Or anyone else who has any say what-so-ever in the future direction of the Toronto Blue Jays organization.

Opinions?  Yes.  Relevant opinions?  No.

So when it really comes down to it, what does that make me and every other blogger and journalist?

A Fan.

Yes.  Simply a fan.

Despite the fact that I have an unhealthy affection for the Jays and spend far too much time following their goings on.  Despite the fact that I second guess baseball decisions with the best of them and "know I could do better" <--- (dripping with sarcasm) than half the GMs in the league.  And despite the fact that I took about 90 seconds to create this blog and have somehow found the time to actually put a few posts on it..... I am simply a fan.

O enlightened reader, although my opinion is being brought to you over the all mighty interwebs, I am but a fan like you.  Meaning that my opinion is no more relevant than yours.  And as fans whose steps bear equal weight on the ground upon which we tread, I choose to cheer......

For whoever I want... whenever I want.... However..  the fuck... I want.

And you should too.

Being upset about fans cheering for a player based on nationality?  Even going so far as to suggest it may be based on the fans "pathetic need to belong to something"?  That's as insulting as it is ignorant.

I assume the anger comes from the belief that cheering harder for someone based on their nationality is to (at least in part) disregard their performance on the diamond.  But I would say disregarding nationality ignores much more as far as the fan base is concerned.  As an example, I would look at the Jays only Hall of Famer.

Robbie Alomar was just inducted into the Hall of Fame based purely on his baseball credentials.  Sportsnet created a 30 minute show based on Alomar's road to the Hall of Fame.  It was mentioned numerous times that he is only the 3rd Puerto Rican player inducted into the Hall, and how much of an inspiration he is to people in his home country.  Alomar said he was inspired by other Puerto Rican players as a child and this motivated him to be a better player.

At no point did he mention Carl Yastrzemski as a role model based on his .OPS and .ISO numbers during Alomar's childhood.

Do you get it yet?

Although it's irrelevant from a performance perspective, stupid from a roster creation perspective and should never overshadow a players performance, nationality does matter to (I think) most fans and shouldn't be disregarded out of hand.

Personally.....

I do cheer a bit harder for Lawrie because he's Canadian.
I do hope Adam Loewen gets a fair shot at the big leagues, but couldn't care less if David Cooper does.
I was hoping the Jays would sign Jeff Francis in the off-season (to a team friendly contract of course)
I do pull for Crosby to beat Ovechkin, even though most of the time I couldn't give a shit about hockey
And yes.... I sometimes even watch the CFL.

Except for maybe the CFL part.... surprisingly... I don't feel pathetic about any of it.

No one "has to care" about the nationality of the players on your favorite team.  But for the fans that do, let them care without criticizing their choice at every turn.  And if the media wants to push that "good 'ol Canadian boy" story, let them.  In this hockey mad country, a little more attention for Canadians that find success in "America's game" is probably a good thing.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

It's Elementary my Dear Anthopoulous

The Back of this Shirt Reads: "Unless You're a Jays Fan


The Hill/Macdonald trade for Kelly Johnson was certainly a surprise (which ironically shouldn't surprise anyone who follows the Jays).  It was an especially painful surprise to me as it rendered my 90% completed blog post on Hill completely and utterly irrelevant.  Blast!!

Once I got over the initial anger at the wasting of my post and thought about the deal, I started to feel much better.  AA has once again gotten something for nothing, defying the overly confident creator of said shirt.  To those of you already seething at my implying that Johnny Mac was "nothing", read more before you get on that high horse.

With playoffs out of the picture, I couldn't care less about the impact a trade has on the remainder of 2011.  I don't even consider this when discussing potential positives and negatives of the trade.  It's all about how it works out starting next year.  Factoring anything about this year into the equation is short sighted and irrelevant.

Get it?  Got it?  Good.

On that note, moving on are two long time Blue Jays that many fans will have some sentimental attachment too.

Hill was a homegrown Blue Jay who had a couple great seasons with the club.  Once the future of the franchise at 2B, Hill had definitely fallen on tough times.  Will he recapture his stroke in the future?  Maybe.  But the Blue Jays no longer have to care.  Leaving town with Hill, is the tough decision about whether to offer him arbitration in the off season.  The likelihood of him accepting arbitration (considering the amount of sucking he's done the past couple years) was pretty good.

Bottom line with Hill:  He was likely to be non-tendered which would net the Jays nothing.  If he was tendered, he would likely be hanging out with Mark Teahen as overpaid bench players in 2012.  Some fans may be attached to Hill for sentimental reasons.  I on the other hand couldn't give a shit about sentimentality when it comes to the Jays.  Nothing lost for the team with Hill gone.

John Macdonald is a defensive wizard (guru?, master?, prime minister?) that lacks the necessary hitting skills to be an everyday player.  One of the best in the business defensively, he was a fan favorite in Toronto.

Bottom line with Johnny Mac:  A free agent at year end, he had no contract issues and no Type B status to worry about. Johnny Mac had to give permission for the trade to happen and it appears from the press conference as if he was thankful for the opportunity to go to a contender.  There is just as good of a chance to re-sign Macdonald now as there was before the trade.  Maybe more if he appreciates the move as much as it appears he does.  Again, nothing lost for the team next season.

So... to recap....

Bottom line with both Hill and Johnny Mac gone:  NOTHING LOST FOR THE TEAM!!!

Is there even any reason to continue evaluating this trade? Why yes there is. Because......

Kelly Johnson is an asset that has some value to the Jays next year in one way or another.

He's pretty much a lock for Type B status which means he will net the Jays a pick if he turns down arbitration.  He's also much more likely to turn down arbitration as he should get much better contract offers than Hill in the open market.  He has a higher career OBP, SLG and OPS than Hill and more recently had a solid campaign.  I'm thinking this shows a higher ceiling and a better chance of finding his stroke again than Hill, but feel free to disagree.  There is also a possibility he reaches Type A status, but do the Jays want him to?  Sure it's an extra pick if he turns down arbitration, but it's also a lot more likely he doesn't turn it down.

Johnson is getting paid a bit less than Hill and Macdonald combined, so the Jays save a little money there.  They also pass Hill's $1 million buyout of his options on to Arizona, saving them more money in the off-season.

Bottom Line with this trade:  The Jays saved over $1 million and picked up (at the very least) a compensatory draft pick for a couple Johnny Mac sightings on the Plays of the Week.

Something > Nothing

Pretty simple really.

And just to put it out there.... Kelly Johnson could come to Toronto, have a chat with Dwayne Murphy, adjust his swing mechanics and throw up a .950 OPS over the last month of the season.  Potential 2B of the (immediate) future for the Jays.

You heard it here first!!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Welcome to Wherever you Are



Well....  What dark little corner of the interwebs have you stumbled into now?

Oh shit... it's another baseball blog about the Toronto Blue Jays.  That "small market" Canadian team that somehow stole center stage of "America's game" back in the 90s.

And not just another blog, but a brand spanking new one.  Written by a Jays fan of 25 years who knows very little about advanced statistics.  No in depth comparisons of SIERA, xFIP and wOBA here to keep things interesting.  Just boring old conversations about roster moves and speculation about the Jays future.

Because that's what it's all about with the Jays now isn't it?  The future.  With some of the moves made in the past couple years the future isn't very far away (note:  next April ), but were still not quite there yet.  We've got another month+ left to go in the season and plenty of time to speculate on how our Jays will look for the foreseeable future.

So arm chair GMs unite.  Since AA has taken over the GM role, trying to predict the Jays roster moves has been a bit like living in the Matrix.  You're not really sure what the hell just happened, but you know something is different and you're very happy about it.  But that makes the guessing all the more fun, doesn't it?  Oh and SABR stat guys... I respect and appreciate the work you do, I'm just not very good at it.  Please feel free to use any stats to support any position you like in the comments section.

I look forward to getting things rolling with my first post later this weekend.  Hint:  It's about Aaron Hill.  I'm sure you can hardly wait.