I think all 15,000 of us Jays fans know that the 2010 version of this team has some secret weapons. For instance, Alex Gonzalez is secretly amazing and not a dreamboat. Brian Butterfield secretly has our outfielders positioned so well that Fred Lewis can track down flyballs even after taking 23 steps in the wrong direction. Adam Lind has secretly passed away.
But I’m not here to talk about known secret-weapons. I’m here to talk about a secret secret-weapon. Last week, reports came out that the Jays had come to an agreement with Venezuelan right handed pitcher Adonis Cardona. This reported signing is interesting for a few reasons. Firstly, it signals a shift in team-philosophy. The Jays no longer go after guys with initialled first names like A.J. or B.J.; rather, the Jays go after South American/Latino players with awesome first names that sound like Aroldis or Adonis or Adeiny. Impressive move by A-squared. Secondly, Cardona is 16 years old. This means a few things in itself. For one thing, the child is not allowed to be signed until July 2, lest the Blue Jays violate some international treaties on child labour. Also, being 16 years old means Cardona might not know what “German” is, at least if he’s anything like Justin Beiber. Finally, who knows what’s in store for the kid. I’m pretty sure at 16 I was just figuring out that I was growing hair in interesting and new places and that it felt good to touch ‘down there’.
However, to me, the Cardona non-signing signing is genius. Firstly, it has other teams in an uproar. This is great. Let other teams cry. Everyone knows you’re allowed to break the rules in baseball without any repercussions aside from not being allowed into the Hall of Fame (see: steroids, Pete Rose/gambling, Sammy Sosa/corking). But honestly, not so many make it in there anyway, so who cares. Secondly, the Jays are reportedly spending $2.8 million on baby Cardona. 2.8 million!! That’s a lot of money for a kid about whom Keith Law (J.P. Ricciardi hater extraordinaire/ESPN columnist) says, “One scout I talked to had him as a good two-pitch reliever, chance for a plus curveball, some physical projection, arm action didn't thrill him.” Sounds like Jason Frasor but taller and living within his recommended Body Mass Index (Joke explanation: Jason Frasor is short and fat).
But I’m not upset about spending so much money on Cardona. Firstly: F Rogers. Have you looked at your cable bill recently? Let’s go ahead and spend some of that coin. Secondly (and here’s where I get to the point of this post), spending this kind of money on a baby like this sends a message to other teams that he is some kind of phenom. He probably isn’t. But other teams are going to start thinking, “Woah. They just spent a lot of money on him. He must at-least have a really high ceiling”. Why is this important? Well, it’s the start of what I think might be the Jays secret-weapon, or at least should be the Jays secret-weapon moving forward through the Beeston/A-squared era: PROPAGANDA.
I have to give credit where it is due. This is not a new concept. Like the fascist a-holes they are, the Red Sox have been employing this strategy for years. Those jerks somehow didn’t have one guy mentioned in the Mitchell report, a report compiled by friend of Bud Selig/Red Sox board member/Mid-East peace maker George Mitchell. This despite the fact that the 2004 Red Sox team had numerous players that have either been busted for steroids or have absolutely disappeared since steroids were banned (see: David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Bronson Arroyo, and rest of team). Oh, and about that 2004 Red Sox team, according to reputable play-by-play man Gary Thorne, that Curt Schilling bloody sock business was all a big PR move. Did it gain them sympathy and hero status? Of course! One more thing about Red Sox propaganda, and I think this is the point that the Blue Jays can really learn from: somehow, everyone always thinks that the Red Sox have such a great farm system. After the 2007 World Series, Sports Illustrated came out with an article that drooled over the Red Sox genius farm system. That they use the same teaching methods through all of the levels of the minors and in the majors and that’s what makes them so successful. Horse-sh*t. Every team does this. The Red Sox are successful because they spend a crap load of money on free agents, they cheat, and they fool other teams into bad trades by using propaganda to build up their futures as guaranteed successes. This is how they got Mark Shapiro, the Cleveland GM, to agree to send Victor Martinez to the Sox in a deal that had Justin Masterson as the centerpiece going back to Cleveland. Who?! Justin Masterson!? Have you heard his name since he left the propaganda machine of the Red Sox? Didn’t think so. If you were wondering, Masterson has started 7 games so far this year. His record: 0-4. His ERA: 5.92. Not quite the superstar the Red Sox had the world believe he was.
So, how can the Blue Jays implement such a propaganda machine? It’s quite simple. It all starts with Paul Beeston. Beeston was President and COO for Major League Baseball from 1997 until 2002. He is close friends with Commissioner Bud Selig. Once the Jays can plant someone in MLB head offices, the propaganda can begin. The Commissioner’s office will turn a blind-eye to the Jays signing babies to multi-million dollar contracts. The rest of the league will start to believe that the Jays prospects must be for real, even if they’ve never done anything before. The Jays sign obscure Latino prospects and turn them into Gold. I know this strategy isn’t as charming as ‘moneyball’ or ‘sabrmetrics’, but it will work. It’s the Jays’ secret secret-weapon. Let the propaganda machine turn...