Feb. 06, 2018
Not the Offseason We Wanted...but the Offseason We Needed
So here we stand a couple of days from February and the offseason has been slow to say the least for Blue Jay fans. We've watched the Yankees add Giancarlo Stanton to a lineup that already crushes the ball; we've seen the Cardinals add Marcell Ozuna to the mix and the Brewers trade for Christian Yelich...So basically what we know now is the Miami Marlins are going to have an outfield consisting of contestants from the stands that win a draw before the game. Jays fans have been getting super impatient looking for the big free agent signing or the major trade. So let me say this once again in the nicest way possible: FREE AGENTS HAVE THE CHOICE OF WHERE THEY WANT TO GO! and TRADES ONLY HAPPEN IF THE JAYS GIVE UP THEIR BEST PROSPECTS!!!!!!!
Now that I've got that off my chest; lets look at the moves the Jays have made. They haven't made the huge signing or trade like everyone wanted them to make...see the first paragraph and don't make me rewrite it because every time I say it I go to a dark, dark place and it takes me a few minutes to calm down.
So they allowed Darwin Barney and Ryan Goins to leave via free agency. People that are fans of the team were pissed at Goins leaving as though he was some sort of folk hero. We've been down this road before not too long ago with the Jays (see Kawasaki, Muni). Let's be perfectly honest Tulo and Travis haven't been healthy on a consistent basis so Barney and Goins got far more at bats than they ever should have over the last couple of seasons. A lot of Jays fans have spoken about how great Ryan Goins is and how amazing he is in the field; but if you look at his stats and his defensive ratings, he's actually dropped off significantly. Now; if you say that to them...the most obvious comeback for them is "I can see with my own two eyes how good he is." It basically had me saying this outloud:
Again taking me to a dark place. So they made a couple of trades acquiring Aldemys Diaz and Yangervis Solarte. Now these guys are great upgrades compared to what they have and if you need them for an extended period of time; they are a lot less likely to hurt your batting order than the other two. Yes; Diaz was bad last year but the year before he was .300 hitter and in the hunt for rookie of the year. He also made an allstar game. So he's probably somewhere in between being very good and bad. That's ok. We need a decent backup that can play when needed for an extended period of time. People point out how bad Solartes batting average was but he was playing in San Diego which is a pitchers park. I like his chances for improving all his offensive stats this year. Both of these guys are under team control for a few more seasons at reasonable contract values and that's what you want. This team needs financial flexibility with the contracts of Tulo and Martin taking a big chunk of the budget and pay days coming for Sanchez, Stroman, Osuna and Donaldson (maybe).
So from there they moved on to addressing their outfield needs. Signing Curtis Granderson and trading for Randal Grichuk. Now; I know what you're going to say about Granderson. Yes; he's old. Yes; he didn't play for the Dodgers after getting traded. Yes; he can't hit lefties. That's ok. He's not going to be an every day player. He's going to play against righties and he's done a good job there for his entire career. He's no longer and every day player and the Jays don't view him as one. They've got Steve Pearce to face lefties. So both of those guys split the at bats; which means Ezequiel Carrera is strictly a pinch runner and we don't have to watch him play left field any more as though he's never stepped on a baseball field and doesn't know where to throw the ball.
How is it possible that you can be a major league player and not know what base to throw to; how to call for a ball; where the cut off man is; how to tag up or not run into an out and....I'm stopping right now. You all now know what I think of him as a player and lets just leave it at that.
Now on to Randall Grichuk. The odd man out in St. Louise after their big trade. He strikes out a lot. That's true. However, he hits the ball a long way. A lot. Sounds like a certain right fielder we had last year and the year before only 10 years younger. So what we know is for now he's going to be the Jays starting right fielder. For how long we don't know. Why do I say that you ask? Now here's an even better stat. He's played every single outfield position with center field being the position he's played most. Wait; we've already got a center fielder and he's the best to every play. No. Stop. Pillar isn't actually all that good when you start looking it his advanced stats. Throw in the fact that he's a brutal hitter and that's two strikes against him. Grichuk is a better fielder than Pillar. Yes. It's true. Pillar makes a ton of highlight real catches because of two things: 1. He sometimes get bad reads on the ball and 2. He lays out for catches far more than he has too if he'd just run through the ball. Both of these things contribute to more errors and he doesn't have a strong arm. Grichuks advanced stats defensively are better with fewer opportunities. So this might make Pillar expendable; which isn't the worst thing.
So this is exactly what we need right now. More flexibility with lineups; better backups and financial flexibility for the coming years. Right now we don't need to force ourselves to trade our best young players because baseball is becoming a younger mans game. The days of 30+ year olds getting massive contracts is gone. Now it's about developing your farm system and getting starts that way and having them under team control and signing a free agent here or there to push you over the top when you're young guys are at the top of their game. Patience is a virtue Jays fans but trust me; this is going to pay off.