August 18, 2009
If someone tells you J.P. Ricciardi "completely fucked up the 2009 draft," as happened to me yesterday, please smack your friend upside his or her head, regardless of his or her - clearly - limited mental capacity.
Sea change. That's probably the best way to describe the 2009 draft for the Toronto Blue Jays. Yes, they failed to land the autographs of three of their first five picks on to contracts, but it's not all doom and gloom. (Is it ever, over here? Playoffs!1)
Some have called the happenings "another black hole" for the organization. You know I disagree. As The Southpaw points out, Toronto "went FAR over slot on three players." That's huge; "a substantial shift in philosophy."
Look, I get that the fan base, collectively, is rather pissed off. It's got a right to be. Sixteen years sans playoffs will do that. But, for the first time, the Jays drafted the best players available, regardless of their signability. And that's what they should be doing - taking the best guy. Period. Even if he is, as was the case with James Paxton, a Scott Boras client.
The Toronto Blue Jays have simply not done it this way before. Instead of drafting and signing their first five picks, all decent prospects but not the best ones available, as they have in the past, Toronto finally rolled the dice. The old strategy hasn't exactly worked. (This is where that whole "no playoffs in 16 years" thing comes into play.) I'm all for, as Will Hill wrote on what is essentially his blog over at TSN, "swinging for the fences." Go big or go home. Draft the high risk, high reward guys; the ones with higher ceilings. Even if you may not eventually get your hands on them. The old method, while it has brought results (see Hill, Aaron, and Lind, Adam), hasn't led the team to where it needs to be. (Playoffs!1)
I don't wish ill upon the three guys that got away - James Paxton, Jake Eliopoulos, and Jake Barrett. (I'll leave that to The Tao.) Supplemental draft picks are on their way. We're all good. I only hope the three are drafted again, that the baseball market continues to collapse, and that they're forced to sign for less money than they turned down (Costanza Negotiation 101). Especially the "good Canadian boys."
And welcome back, Travis Snider.
Really, I can't say enough about Sniderman. An opposite field home run, and a tribute to the departed Alex Rios in the form of a dropped fly ball in right field. That's respect. Snider gets it. He is the truth.
UPDATE: The fine folks at Batter's Box have graded the 2009 draft an immense failure. While I certainly don't subscribe to that type of negativity, they make some good points. But, in the end, drafts can't be graded until at least five years down the road. Remember when Ricky Romero was a bust?
UPDATE #2: Read this: "'I think [Paxton] wanted to sign and it was just a number that we could not bring ourselves to pay,' Beeston said earlier today. Beeston said the Jays offered money above the slot that is recommended by Major League Baseball. Beeston personally handled the negotiations with Paxton, the top Canadian selected in the draft and his agent is Scott Boras."