Friday, July 20, 2012

Enough to make a guy emerge from a summer hibernation

I mean, it's been a month, so I truly & honestly have no clue whether there are still folks who will bother to click the link here... but if nothing else, it's online therapy for this guy to talk it out, right?...

Words on the Trade

The first tweet that emerged (after a tense evening awaiting news on the fate of Travis Snider (more below)) was along the lines of "Blue Jays announce 10-player trade..." aaaaand there goes my work day.  At least it was on a Friday.

I suppose I don't get the opposition to the deal.  I don't care for the "junk for junk" label so conveniently attached, even if we can all agree it's probably not a trade of tremendous future consequence.  The Jays received some pitching help now in J.A. Happ and Brandon Lyon (and maaaaybe a useful arm for later in David Carpenter), a fact and need too easily dismissed by many, in my estimation.

Those aren't sexy parts (in a baseball sense, guys.. c'mon) but they are roster requirements.  They aren't likely to be the players to push the Jays nearer playoff contention, but an unpopular truth is the club has to compete it's way through the remainder of the schedule.  Treading water it may very well be, but nobody wants to see the club drown in waves of Robert Coellos and Jesse Chavezs. 

And hey - not many clubs have rotations consisting solely of ones and twos, and Happ's multiple years of control mean that maybe the team has a player who can slot into the back of the rotation for multiple seasons.  Time will tell if the new fella can cut it in the big boy division, but competent arms are needed more than ever in Blue Jay land with effective seasons lost from the likes of Drabek, Hutchison et al.  We (ok, ok..."they") could probably do worse.

The flip side of any trade coin - what did the team give up?  At the major league level, it's addition by subtraction in saying goodbye to Francisco Cordero and Benny Francisco, whether by ineffectiveness or a largely unused roster spot.  Benny Fresh, we hardly knew you.  No, literally.  What did he get, like 30 at-bats?  And Coco, well.... let's just pretend this half-season didn't happen.

But it's the prospect talent loss that seems to have drawn the most gnashing of teeth.  But what exactly is lost here?  A-ball arms deemed by management to be back-end starters at best, with middle relief a more realistic outcome, and no assurance at all of ever seeing the bigs.  Sure, there's value in upside and control, but loss of control of a probable marginal outcome isn't a loss worth losing sleep over.  There's also value in the sure thing, and both Happ and Lyon are major leaguers right now, even if they aren't going to set the baseball world on fire.

In this day and age of internet-promoted prospect porn (hey - we're all guilty), it's a natural reaction to hold our breath and gasp as the future Blue Jays of our dreams are dealt for kinda sorta blah guys today.  But neither Asher Woj nor Joe Musgrove were anywhere near the top of the Jays prospect rankings, sure to be leapfrogged in the years ahead by the Sanchezes, Syndegaards, Nicolinos, Norrises, et al (I could go on) of the system.   Carlos Perez is an interesting young player, but in a system stacked with catchers, an average defending backstop with limited power was always likely to be squeezed out.  And neither Asher Woj nor Joe Musgrove would be seen as bright enough prospects to headline deals bringing back impact talent. 

So if they were neither likely to emerge as future star-level Blue Jays nor bring back the same in trade, what's a proper use of the asset?

Trades like these.  And here we are.

Words on Travis Snider

There's nothing wrong with having an unusually strong attachment to the once and future savior of the middle of the order.  Safe to say you can count me among the hordes.  Snider did his time in Vegas with nary a peep of discontent uttered from his meat-loving lips, and did about all a player could do to prove he was "fixed" in the offensively inflated PCL.

And now he's back and past grievances can be forgotten. 

Just make it work, Lunchbox.  For all of us.