Bautista Can Wishcast, Anthopoulos Can't
Jose Bautista wants to win. Badly.
If that wasn't evident from his dour body language after finishing second in the home run derby, it was certainly obvious from the theme of the interviews he gave during the All-Star break:
The Jays are in contention! (Albeit at 43-43)
They're only 2.5 back! (Nevermind the 6 teams they have to leapfrog)
Now is the time for the front office to make a move to put them over the top!
When it is pointed out that the pitching staff has only 3 functional ligaments between them, and that rebuilding the staff will cost the Jays a number of their prized prospects, quoth Joey Bats: "If that's what it takes... it has to be done."
This has set off alarm bells for Toronto's jaded sports fans - already saddled with that "nobody-likes-us" high school insecurity - that this could be the beginning of a disgruntled Bautista wanting out of town.
On the heels of Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady, Chris Bosh, Steve Nash, Roy Halladay, Roger Clemens, Shawn Green, David Wells... ok, you can't really fault them.
But if you dissect Bautista's words, even HE knows that replacing the lost pitching isn't realistic. Observe:
"I know it's wishful thinking"
"Maybe we can add one (arm) and win."
"Maybe people like Brett Cecil and other guys take advantage of the opportunity."
We're grasping at an awful lot of straws here. With Luis Perez the latest arm to go SPROING, the Jays now have 249.2 of their 770 innings pitched on the DL. Replacing a full third of a pitching staff at this point in the season, when every contender is looking to upgrade pitching and prices are exorbitant, could strip the Jays' newly replenished farm system.
Anthopoulos has been marvellously cagey in his trades, dealing from a position of strength to pick up talented problem children from teams ready to contend. He's bought low. In this case, everyone knows what his needs are and buying low will be impossible.
If a low leverage move for an innings eater is available, great, But the likes of Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza, Zack Greinke and Cole Hamels are being sought by just about everyone and the cost will be prohibitive.
After years of a fallow minor league system, the Jays now have an impressive and growing array of prospects. The time may come to cash in some of the future to make a playoff run. This isn't that time, especially when the potential payoff is a lone playoff game that is itself a roll of the dice. Mortgaging significant pieces of the future for a single game will send the Jays into buyer's remorse faster than this guy.
Besides, it's hard to imagine pitching rentals performing better than Aaron Laffey and Carlos Villaneuva have so far. Where the pitching has lagged is with supposed rotation stalwarts Ricky Romero and Henderson Alvarez. They have to be better and the Jays will have to rely on winning a lot of 10-8 games, while sorting out which minor league pitchers can be a viable part of the future.
It's not as sexy as a blockbuster trade for a "proven starter", but it should still make for an intriguing second half, while preserving the young talent that can make this team a perennial contender.
After all, they are still just 2.5 games out.
Labels: Jose Bautista, trade deadline