Jose Reyes may just be a matter of days from returning to the Blue Jays’ lineup, which is pretty fantastic news and is something I can’t wait to see. That goes without saying. But getting him back on the 25-man roster means taking someone else off of it.
Well, I think it’s possible the Blue Jays end up designating Juan Perez for assignment or optioning Neil Wagner to clear a spot for Reyes. As good as those guys have been since being called up from Buffalo, the bullpen doesn’t really need four lefties or eight total arms, considering how good the starters have been lately.
But at some point, whether it’s when Reyes returns or when Brett Lawrie gets healthy, the Blue Jays will almost certainly have to jettison an infielder from the roster. Somehow, Mark DeRosa appears to be the most likely fringe player to stick around, given how well he’s hit lefties this year, and considering he has the ability to play multiple positions (I mean, he’s not playing any of them all THAT well, but still). And as we’ve seen in recent years, the Jays are typically reluctant to dump veteran players until it’s absolutely necessary.
That leaves Munenori Kawasaki vs. Emilio Bonifacio vs. Maicer Izturis. As bad as Bonifacio and Izturis have been this year, I think the Jays have no choice but to send Kawasaki down to Triple-A when the time comes. Here’s why:
- Managing assets is important. Bonifacio is out of options, and Izturis could decline a minor-league assignment, which means the Jays would be forced to pay either player’s remaining salary if they DFA’d them. For Bonifacio, that wouldn’t be a huge investment, but he’s still earning $2.6MM this season, so the Jays would be paying more than half of that amount after releasing him. As for Izturis, he’s under contract through 2015, with a team option for 2016, meaning if he were waived today, the Jays would still owe him more than $8.5MM. Not happening.
- Kawasaki’s primary on-field pluses at the moment are his ability to play shortstop and his on-base percentage. With Reyes back, there will be no regular spot for Kawasaki at shortstop, and his bat doesn’t play as well at second base. If you keep him as a bench piece, his OBP and his ability to have long at-bats aren’t as beneficial either, since he won’t be getting three or four at-bats per game. It’s easy to see how Bonifacio has value as a bench player — he can sub in at almost any position, and his speed makes him an ideal candidate to pinch-run late in games. Kawasaki isn’t particularly strong in one area, making his value as a bench player minimal.
- Having Kawasaki playing shortstop everyday at Buffalo makes a lot of sense considering how dedicated the Jays seemed to their relationship with the Bisons — Kawasaki could be an above-average contributor in AAA, not to mention a fan favourite south of the border. More importantly: Having him available in the organization should Reyes get hurt again (knock on wood) will be important. If Bonifacio were let go, and Reyes (or another infielder) got hurt later in the season, there’d be one fewer body left on the 40-man roster to fill in.
- Even though Kawasaki has outplayed Bonifacio and Izturis over the last several weeks, we shouldn’t assume that will always be the case. From 2009 to 2012, Boni had a slash line of .271/.332/.345 while playing plenty of positions and racking up stolen bases. Over the same few years, Izturis hit .274/.336/.381 while playing multiple positions. Both of those OBPs are comparable to what Kawasaki has posted this year, and both players typically hit for a higher average and more power than Kawasaki, while providing more flexibility.
Would optioning Kawasaki to Triple-A cause some disappointment or anger among Jays fans? Maybe. But it’s hard to imagine a full-scale revolt over a player currently hitting .219, particularly when you’d still have the chance to watch him play a couple hours from Toronto. Would it be bad for the clubhouse? Eh, I’ll take my chances that getting Reyes’ perma-grin back in the dugout will offset any effect that Kawasaki’s departure would have. It’ll be a bummer to see him go, but to me, it’s the only move that makes real baseball sense.
(As I was writing this post, I noticed that Ben Nicholson-Smith published a better one on the same topic at Sportsnet, so go read that too.)
This column from Dale Clifford of the Peterborough Examiner is my new favourite thing. I haven’t even gotten around to being offended by all the horrible baseball opinions expressed in the piece because I’m too busy being offended by how terribly it’s written. Many thanks to Andrew Stoeten for drawing my attention to it at Drunk Jays Fans today.
Here are my ten favourite sentences from the article:
1. “I wasn’t caught up in all the hype over the winter when the so-called experts had them going to the World Series and the odds makers in Las Vegas gave them great odds to winning it all.”
This is so close. I feel like changing “to winning” to “to win” or “of winning” would at least make this readable.
2. “I based my opinion simply on the players they got and never felt they would be the ones that would lead them to the Promised Land, or if not there, at least make them high-end contenders.”
What on earth. If I’d written this sentence in a high school essay, my teacher would have scribbled a giant red question mark over top of it.
3. “They got an old pitcher in R.A. Dickey, who despite winning a Cy Young award last year, has had his best years behind him and it would be difficult for him to repeat his recent success, despite tossing a knuckleball, which can lead to longevity for hurlers of that form.”
This sounds like an uncomfortable interviewee’s response to a question he’s unqualified to answer. I have no idea what this sentence even means. Despite winning a Cy Young award last year, Dickey’s best years are behind him? Um, well, I guess technically he’ll probably never top last year, and 2012 is, in fact, “behind” him now. Ugh, this is making my head hurt.
4. “I personally liked Yunel Escobar in that spot but he became an attitude issue.”
He BECAME an attitude issue? I don’t think that means “his attitude became an issue” like you think it does.
5. “Even with other newcomers Emilio Bonifacio and Melky Cabrera, I didn’t see them being overall game-changers.”
Holy shit, man. Dangling modifier much?
6. “I felt more important than these additions, was the question of health which decimated the unit last year but even if fully healthy, it wouldn’t be enough.”
7. “Speaking of the Jays, on another topic, and it may seem like I picking on them but I’m not, I have something to say about someone in the broadcast booth.”
I’m enjoying imagining “It may seem like I picking on them but I’m not!” in a “Grittings, my nam is Kahlfin” voice.
8. “I feel like I’m just listening to a fan in the crowd or something sitting on the couch at home.”
Some…THING sitting on the couch at home? Nope. Forget I asked. Don’t wanna know.
9. “He should listen to other professional callers with smooth deliveries like Vin Scully, Joe Buck, Jon Miller, Gary Thorne or even in the radio booth next door, Jerry Howarth, as to how to call it.”
This starts off as such a nice sentence and just goes off the rails toward the end.
10. “I have suggestion.”
I have suggestion too: More editing.
I love John Gibbons as much as the next guy, but can we please stop lavishing him with praise when he brings Casey Janssen into a tie game at home in the 9th inning? Every manager does this! I’m pretty sure there’s literally no way you can become an MLB manager if you don’t understand why it makes sense to use your closer in the 9th in a tie game at home.
“But John Farrell didn’t do it!”
He sorta did though.
After Janssen became the closer last year, there were four home games in which Farrell had the opportunity to bring Janssen into a tie game in the 9th. He brought in Janssen to start the 9th in two of those games. In another instance, he left Darren Oliver in to face a lefty, then immediately brought Janssen in for the second batter. In a fourth instance, he let Steve Delabar stay in to start the 9th after Delabar only threw a handful of pitches in the 8th.
Gibbons has managed three games in which he had the opportunity to bring Janssen into a tied home game in the 9th (actually, once was the 10th, after the Jays tied it in the 9th, but same idea). He has brought Janssen in twice. In the third instance, he did the same thing that Farrell did with Delabar last year, letting him start the 9th after a quick 8th.
I mean, obviously Farrell is a fuckface and Gibbons is the best. I’d just prefer to focus on the actual difference between them, rather than a situation that they essentially manage the same way.
When Andrea Bargnani was still playing in November there was a night where he went 2-of-a-couple-dozen from the floor in a “worst performance of career” type game. I remember this mostly because I caught Sportsnet’s highlight package of a game later in the week, which game the host/writer/producer tried to present as Bargnani’s chance to get Raptors fans “back on his side” after such a poor performance a game (or two?) earlier. And so a clip of one of his missed shots or turnovers or whatever is followed by an observation that mistakes like these aren’t going to help him get the fans back on his side.
Now this host/writer/producer was indeed clueless, but the script she followed was based on this idea that Raptors fans were officially fed up®. And to me this was significant: here was a glimpse at the supply side of the paranoia and the childishness and ill-directed indignation that characterizes Toronto’s demand for sport. The result of the game was of little concern: the real story was Bargani’s performance and the effect it would have on how he was perceived by fans.*
The stupid question of whether Toronto is “the worst sports city in the world” usually incites a really disturbing appropriation of the title as a badge of pride. The argument will go something like: Toronto’s teams suck, and we still support them. As a result the teams have no incentive to improve. Therefore, Toronto is the worst sports city. To the extent that fans are to blame for this, it is only because they are too passionate. In fact, their passion for a team takes precedence over the more sensible response to all-consuming shittiness which is to just give up. The conclusion is something like if we weren’t so damned devoted, we might be able to fix what ails our professional sports teams.
This is egotism disguised as self-scrutiny, the type of answer you would give in response to being asked to name your biggest weakness in a job interview. (I care, too much? Is that a weakness?). It avoids confronting much more compelling evidence of Toronto’s claim to worst sports city. Like the fact that you can’t pass an inning at the dome without having to endure the wave, or at least some UFC fan’s attempts at starting the wave. Like the fact that so fucking many of the people who attend Blue Jays games are more interested in taking picture of themselves, or making paper airplanes to throw toward the field, than they are in what is happening on the diamond. Like the fact that Toronto fans boo average players for performing like average players. And the fact that, if such a player returns to Toronto with another team, he will be booed again, as if people hate that they can no longer hate that someone they hate plays for their team (that they LOVE, by the way).
It is this type of completely baffling indignation that truly defines Toronto as sports town. Yesterday’s Jays game, the sixth of a 162-game season, had people chanting “go Leafs go”. Just as some super clever and passionate Leafs fans chose last year to make known their displeasure with the Leafs through a display of “support” for the Jays. And in these mirror incidents I think you can see the consequences of the “worst sports city” debate: so many people seem to believe it their responsibility to respond to any sort of failure with rage, or at least excessive negativity. After all, what kind of fans would we be if we just sat back and passively watched a game that wasn’t going well? Shouldn’t we be fed up with these kind of results, already?
I get that many people are at a Jays game to share time with friends, to spend an afternoon out, to get drunk and eat chicken fingers. I don’t expect everyone to keep score, or to pay any attention at all beyond respecting the fact that others might be trying to watch the game. What I find consistently surprising is the fact that the casual fan is just as likely to have some knowledge of who to boo as they are to have some idea (or interest) in what is happening on the field. And I think this is significant.
And this is what I find truly troubling about spending so much time at the dome, among so many complete douchebags. I don’t really care about what Johnny Gomes, or people in other cities think about Toronto fans. I guess I don’t really care about the wave, either. But the behaviour I have witnessed in this first week of the season has made me change my opinion from “many people in Toronto have no idea how to behave at a baseball game” to “many people who attend baseball games in Toronto have no idea how to behave like human beings.” Boos could be heard about 20 minutes into Tuesday’s home opener. Friday’s game featured hundreds of paper airplanes being tossed toward the field, and hundreds of people cheering if one came close to gliding onto the field for some fellow human being to have to run over and pick up.
It is a bit more difficult to trace a line from the latter infraction than the former. But it is clear that the excitement that surrounded that Jays’ offseason has attracted larger crowds to the dome, and that these crowds are composed of many people looking for a distraction from having to pay attention to the annoying game that is happening on the field. And in this I can find some blame for the Toronto-as-worst-sports-city truism. After all, many of these newcomers are inevitably Leafs fans. Don’t they deserve to cheer for a winner, for a change? And when the Jays aren’t winning, don’t they deserve to be able to boo when the home team gives up a run, or makes an error? And when they don’t want to watch a game, don’t they deserve to be able to entertain themselves by making paper airplanes and throwing them on the field? What kind of fans would they be if they just tuned out, bored out of their minds?
* The stupidity of the narrative set up in this stupid highlight package that deserves no serious contemplation was made more stark by the fact that it addressed the Raptors, whose fans are unique in this city of so many insufferable sports consumers. An NBA game at the ACC is usually well-attended, despite the struggles of the home team. The crowd is lively but not obnoxious, critical but not mean-spirited. Folks tend to pay attention to what is happening on the court. These are fans who manage to convey devotion without the sense, so prevalent among fans of the Leafs and Blue Jays, that they are owed success by virtue of their prolonged “suffering.”
Amidst all the Twitter back-and-forth over whether an eight-man bullpen ever makes sense, I feel like one important point is being brushed aside: Jeremy Jeffress is kinda shitty.
Yes, I know, he’s a former first-round pick. And he’s only 25. And he has a “live arm.” And the idea of a bullpen featuring a bunch of high-strikeout guys like Sergio Santos, Steve Delabar, Esmil Rogers, and Jeffress is pretty tantalizing. But personally, having just absorbed the recent rhetoric about how the team doesn’t want to lose a good, young, out-of-options arm, I hadn’t looked at Jeffress’ stats in a while. Here are his spring numbers:
Besides the strikeout per inning, that’s sort of scary stuff. Of course, spring training stats don’t mean anything — or rather, they don’t mean everything. This is an aside, but I think some people are too quick to write off spring stats entirely. They’re often not at all indicative of what will happen during the regular season, sure, but they don’t mean “nothing” for everyone. Anyway, we’d probably rather look at Jeffress’ regular-season stats, right? Okay.
|162 Game Avg.||4.89||68||71||72||48||39||2||55||62||1.784||9.1||0.2||7.0||7.9||1.13|
|KCR (2 yrs)||5.65||27||28.2||31||22||18||1||24||26||1.919||9.7||0.3||7.5||8.2||1.08|
|MIL (1 yr)||2.70||10||10.0||8||4||3||0||6||8||1.400||7.2||0.0||5.4||7.2||1.33|
|AL (2 yrs)||5.65||27||28.2||31||22||18||1||24||26||1.919||9.7||0.3||7.5||8.2||1.08|
|NL (1 yr)||2.70||10||10.0||8||4||3||0||6||8||1.400||7.2||0.0||5.4||7.2||1.33|
So, uh, again, nothing to get too excited about there. Even the strikeout rate isn’t exceptional for a one-inning reliever. Still, despite playing parts of three seasons, there’s only a 38.2 IP sample here for Jeffress. And those were his age 22-24 years, so you don’t want to be too quick to pass judgment on the numbers. It’s possible that with 40+ appearances on a big-league team, they’d look better. I’ll bet his minor-league stats have been pretty great. We probably don’t need to go all the way back to his age-18 season, but let’s take a look at what he’s done in the high minors over the last couple seasons….
|AA (5 seasons)||AA||4.94||33||20||89.1||83||49||69||85||1.701||0.5||7.0||8.6||1.23|
|A+ (3 seasons)||A+||3.68||29||19||122.1||91||50||70||152||1.316||0.5||5.1||11.2||2.17|
|A (2 seasons)||A||2.86||23||18||94.1||62||30||47||109||1.155||0.8||4.5||10.4||2.32|
|AAA (2 seasons)||AAA||5.60||53||3||82.0||79||51||43||85||1.488||1.0||4.7||9.3||1.98|
|Rk (1 season)||Rk||5.88||13||4||33.2||30||22||25||37||1.634||0.0||6.7||9.9||1.48|
Hmm. There are a few things happening here — Jeffress was actually starting games as recently as 2011, so we probably shouldn’t put a ton of stock into those stats. A lot of his time came at the PCL too, which we all know isn’t exactly pitcher-friendly. But…. There’s still not a ton here, is there? I mean, he’s pitched in AA in FIVE DIFFERENT SEASONS? The only promising development is that the walk rate declined to 3.9 BB/9 last season. But 3.9? Still not that great! (For comparison’s sake, Ernesto Frieri‘s walks were a concern last year and he averaged 4.1 BB/9). And that’s one of the only positives amidst a lot of red flags. He doesn’t even seem to have potential value as an Octavio Dotel platoon type — right-handers have actually had more success than lefties against Jeffress.
The Jays obviously know this guy better than I do, and they clearly see something they like there, if they’ve kept him around this long. And certainly, you never want to give up an arm for nothing when that arm throws 95+ mph and has upside. But really, what are the odds that Jeffress becomes a reliable bullpen piece this year? Hard for me to imagine he’ll be anything more than a guy you put in when you’re losing, who occasionally turns a three-run deficit into a six-run deficit. And if you’re afraid to put him through waivers, then what, he’s gonna be on the 25-man roster all year long? If the Jays had decided to DFA him this week, or if they decide to do it a week into the season, I don’t think I’ll lose any sleep over the move.
Arden Zwelling tweeted the cover for Sportsnet Magazine’s Blue Jays preview issue today. Let’s take a look.
Hey, cool photo! And it’s always nice to be reminded that Jose Reyes is a Blue Jay. Sometimes I forget, but it’s usually only a matter of time until someone tweets “Jose Reyes is a Blue Jay” and reminds me.
Anyway, what does that say above the Sportsnet logo? “This is gonna be fun”? Seems accurate. Although… where have I heard that before…? Oh yeah!
Okay, a bit derivative on Sportsnet’s part maybe, but in fairness, both things WERE locks to be fun, right? I mean, the Lakers went from a second-tier contender to a favourite for the NBA title and… sorry, what’s that?
No Wave Jays wakes from slumber at news of John Gibbons hiring / opportunity to post this image:
I’m not a member of the Blue Jays front office (you don’t say), but I think it’s reasonably safe to assume that the whole “we won’t do contracts longer than five years” thing is just their way of saying they want to avoid overpaying for the back half of a long-term deal, when a player is aging, (usually) less productive, and (usually) more expensive.
It’s not like the Jays are saying “it’s not about the money.” More years EQUALS more money. If you want to add years to a deal without making it more expensive, I think the Blue Jays would be happy to take those extra years. It’s not like they’re going to balk at signing someone to an eight-year, $80MM deal, but say “Oh, sure, we’ll do FIVE years for $80MM.” It’s not about the years themselves, it’s about the money in those extra years.
Which is why I don’t get the argument that Cliff Lee is a reasonable target because he’s only on a three- or four-year deal now. These are exactly the years of a free agent contract that the Jays want to avoid. This is the part of Lee’s contract that’s going to net you less value. He’s turning 34 this summer, and you could end up being on the hook for over $102MM for his next four seasons. Simply saying “It’s a four-year deal! What’s the problem?” ignores so many other important factors. It’s like saying the Angels acquired Vernon Wells at the right time because he only had four years left on his contract.
I’m actually not entirely opposed to Toronto putting in a claim on Lee and risking the Phillies letting the Jays take on his entire salary. I don’t think the Phils would let him go for nothing, and even if they were willing to, there’s a chance that Lee could block any deal (assuming that the Jays are on his no-trade list and assuming that his no-trade clause is actually a non-assignment clause, which many are). So more likely than not, nothing is worked out, and the Jays showed their fans they were at least willing to try. As a fan and even as a GM, it seems like a worthwhile risk — I think Lee’s still probably got a couple very good years left in him, and the opportunity to land him for “only” money is great (or perhaps even a couple prospects, if the Phillies were willing to pick up a chunk of Lee’s tab).
From an ownership standpoint though, I’m sure Lee’s contract represents an albatross, and a risk not worth taking. And I can understand that view too. It’s not about the years on his deal — it’s about the money owed on those years, and the fact that it could be spent in more efficient ways. Let’s just hope it is.
All the Twitter arguments tonight about whether the Blue Jays should be spending more aggressively made me want to write up a quick post on why I still like their approach.
Basically, it comes down to this: The following things are true about spending on major league free agents….
- It’s probably the single-least efficient way to acquire a player. When you compete with 29 other teams for the right to sign a player, you’re almost always going to have to overpay in either years or dollars to get the player to choose you over other suitors.
- For Toronto, this is even MORE true when it comes to many free agents — players often prefer not to play here for a variety of reasons, whether it’s the weather or just playing in another country or the playing surface or the division or whatever. Based on what I’ve read and heard, the Jays have been willing to be the highest bidder on some free agents that just weren’t interested in playing in Toronto.
- It’s the most obvious form of acquiring talent, to the casual fan.
Because of this last point, when the team doesn’t spend on free agents, fans view it as a failure to be aggressive, a failure to spend money, a failure to make a serious run at a playoff spot, a failure to think “win now.”
But look, if you throw out free agency, the Jays have been one of baseball’s most aggressive teams, if not the MOST aggressive, since AA took over. The team has spent big dollars on the draft, spent on international free agents, and spent money and prospects to facilitate trades for young, controllable talent (Brett Lawrie, Brandon Morrow, Colby Rasmus, Sergio Santos, etc.). They’ve also spent to lock up those talented players that they acquire in ways other than free agency, and invariably they get a better rate than they would on the open market. It’s not as splashy as committing $100MM to a free agent, but it’s certainly less risky, and arguably more effective.
This argument isn’t new, and for people who are convinced Rogers are just being cheapskates, this probably won’t convince them otherwise. But unlike those people (apparently), I actually believe that the Jays WILL be willing to spend on an impact free agent or two when they feel the rest of their young players are ready to compete for a playoff spot. The 2012 team wasn’t just a player away, and if you want to maximize the value of a signing, then adding a big, multiyear contract to the payroll a year or two before the team is truly ready to contend doesn’t make a ton of sense.
Whatever, I’m boring myself writing about this. People who already agree are just nodding their heads, and people who don’t agree will just come up with some argument I don’t agree with to rebut my points. Life is futile. I’m getting drunk.
The Dodgers acquired Hanley Ramirez late last night, sparing me from reading another week’s worth of Wilner and Stoeten tweeting replies to Jays fans that want to see Hanley in Toronto. However, there still seems to be plenty of chatter on Twitter about how the Jays COULD have stepped in and been the ones to acquire Ramirez. I think there are reasonable points to be made on both sides, so I’m not going to address the unreasonable ones (like Gregg Zaun claiming that Hanley could be a 35-homer hitter and a Gold Glover in Toronto — infinite LOLs). Here’s my case for why Hanley didn’t make sense for the Jays:
- Money: Yeah yeah, Rogers needs to spend to win. But Hanley is a $15.5MM player from 2012-14. That’s a larger average annual salary than any of the Jays’ current players earn. And if the Jays wanted to limit the prospect cost in the deal, they would’ve needed to absorb that entire salary. As a fan, maybe this isn’t a huge concern — as long as the team is putting a good product on the field, what do we care what they’re making? But look, as much as we bitch about Rogers’ supposed payroll parameters, every team in the league (perhaps excluding the Dodgers these days) has payroll parameters to at least some extent. No team can throw unlimited money at the players it wants. If the Jays had committed to spending $15MM+ on Hanley for the next two years, there’s no question it would have impacted what they’d spend elsewhere, whether we like it or not. So is acquiring Hanley the best use of that money? Eh.
- Defense: Hanley is a bad defender. Virtually every defensive metric rates him well below average, and if you’ve watched him play shortstop and third base, it’s hard to argue this point. The Jays have a decent third baseman in the fold already, so Hanley wouldn’t play there, and you’d think they’d want to avoid using him at shortstop too, since he’s not getting any better out there. So where does he play? Second base? Left field? Designated hitter? I think he’s at least a minor liability anywhere in the field, but playing him at DH certainly reduces the value his bat would have at a middle infield spot. I mean, if you’re playing him at DH, why not just sign David Ortiz, who is making less money than Hanley this year, who wouldn’t require a long-term deal, and whose 2012 OPS (1.024) dwarfs Hanley’s career-best mark (.954).
- Offense: After being one of the most productive hitters in the game from 2007 to 2009, Hanley came back to earth a little in 2010, though his numbers were still great. In 2011 and 2012? Not so much. I was prepared to write his 2011 season off as an injury-plagued aberration, but what are we supposed to make of 2012? It’s not the Marlins’ new park, since he’s been a much better hitter at home than on the road. Is it injuries again? He’s had some minor issues, but if injuries are truly to blame, then that might be a whole other concern. Hanley was excellent enough from 2007-09 and is still young enough that I have a hard time believing this is just who he is now, and perhaps a change of scenery would have helped. But there’s certainly no guarantee that he’d return to those previous highs. I think expecting any more than the numbers he posted in 2010 would be extremely ill-advised.
- Prospect cost: As I mentioned earlier, the prospect cost for Hanley would be lessened if the Jays agreed to absorb most or all of his salary. But it’s not like the Dodgers gave up bums in the deal. Nathan Eovaldi is 22, has had some success in the bigs, and ranked in Baseball America’s Top 100 prospects coming into the season. A comparable price tag for the Jays could have been someone like Drew Hutchison (if he were healthy). Even if we assume the Marlins would have taken a prospect like Adeiny Hechavarria rather than a pitcher, that’s not an inconsequential price to pay.
- Clubhouse fit: I know, I know. In this post-Fire Joe Morgan world, the idea that a guy’s “clubhouse fit” would seriously impact his value one way or the other seems laughable — at the very least, these “intangibles” take a major back seat to his on-field value. And most of the time, I’d be 100% on board with that view. But look, when the Marlins signed Jose Reyes this winter, Hanley was reportedly upset enough about having to move to third base that the Marlins were already considering trading him. To assume that a Dominican-born player who was pissed off about having to play 3B in Miami would happily accept a 2B/LF/DH role in Toronto seems downright insane to me. Maybe he’d play well regardless, but it seems to be asking for trouble to invite a potential major issue like that into the clubhouse. This stuff may not matter as much as on-field performance, but fuck, it does matter a little.
If the Jays had acquired Hanley, it’s entirely possible he would have reverted to his pre-2011 form, accepted a non-shortstop role gladly, and made Toronto a better team. But just because it was possible doesn’t mean it was likely. Roster construction is about taking smart, calculated risks. Trading away prospects, taking on big money, assuming a good attitude, overlooking defensive shortcomings…. Those are a LOT of risks to take to potentially land a middle-of-the-order bat. In this case, I just can’t see how it was worth it.