September 02, 2009

No Longer the GBOAT




It was one thing for Scott Rolen to ask for a trade back to the Midwest. Family reasons? Fine. I understand that. Even though mere months separated Rolen from free agency, family comes first.

It's another to learn (from Mike Wilner, via his "extremely trustworthy in-uniform Jays source") that Rolen was a negative in the clubhouse, constantly complained about being a Toronto Blue Jay, and didn't hide his desire to leave Toronto, and Canada.

I'm no traditionalist, and perhaps my expectations are a little old school, but that's the last way I'd expect a veteran like Rolen to behave. It's unsettling. And disappointing. Frankly, it's bullshit, especially when you consider how much he was supported by the die-hards.

Sure, he hit .320, and played sublime defence. And, sure, I'm bitter about the way this season has unraveled. But Rolen's lost all currency with me. No longer will I refer to him as the "Greatest Blue Jay of All Time."

Financial Flexibility FTW

I found the silence among Jays fans, and in the Jays blogosphere, in response to Tampa Bay trading salary dumping Scott Kazmir to Los Angeles to be rather, well, loud.

Imagine that; a team in the AL East, this one nine games above .500 and only six games back of the Wild Card, trading a high-priced player for, yes, a couple of prospects, but above all else, financial flexibility. While they're in a playoff race!1

And this, the same Tampa Bay Rays team that everyone said "figured out" how to win in baseball's toughest division on a minuscule budget.

Figured it out, my ass.

17 comments:

Mattt said...

Rolen has been a problem everywhere he's played. None of this should come as a surprise. There were rumours of this behavior last year.

And the Rays Kazmir move? Makes no sense at all. Dumping salary while you are legitimately in the race speaks volumes about the clubs finances...

Johnny G said...

Dumping Kazmir allows the Rays to keep Crawford which given their pitching depth is the more important player.

That being said how much would it suck to be a fan of the team that is winning but can't do anything because the clubs finances are out of whack because of poor ticket sales.

"Dave Schultz" said...

what Johnny G said. They'll keep Crawford and they have several very good prospects in the AAA club in Durham (or now getting called up) with Sonnanstine and Davis.

Also, Kaz seems have been in decline the last couple years, hindered by injuries too. Whether that means Angels got a bad deal, who knows.

They've actually done financial flexibility pretty well

ok stopping Rays talk before Eyebleaf throws things at me.

LeafFan1989 said...

Fuck Rolen. He can take his American ass back to the States and i hope someone hits a line drive into his face.

Ian H. said...

Whether or not these tales about Rolen are true, do they really matter? Prior to these reports, most of us were in love with Rolen because he went out there game after game and played his ASS off. This situation mirrors what's happeneing with Jeremy Accardo - who cares if they're in a pain in the ass, so long as they perform on the field that should be all that matters!

QJays said...

Sometimes good players aren't good people. I think you've got to respect Rolen's ability to play but you don't have to like him (and really, he never was the GBOAT - that honour belongs to a guy who spit on an umpire, right?). Ty Cobb is in the Hall and Pete Rose belongs there.
For our sake, probably better to be rid of him, be glad to have seen some good baseball, and move on.

eyebleaf said...

I think Ian and QJays said it best: Rolen performed. That's really all that matters. I respect what he did on the field, and am certain that I'll probably never see anyone man third base like that again, but it's clear that Rolen was, well, kind of an asshole. While he brought it on the field, he clearly wasn't part of the solution, and that's why he's no longer here. There's something to be said about the guy who may not be as good as Rolen, but brings more to the table in terms of being a teammate. It's a tough one. But I don't think this guy is worthy anymore of the GBOAT title.

As for the Rays, Kazmir is on the decline, and making a lot of money, but it just goes to show that J.P. isn't the only one who signs guys to mammoth contracts, only to realize shortly thereafter that said contract was a mistake. In a perfect world, the Rays could afford to wait on Kazmir, and sign Crawford, and reward the swatting Carlos Pena. But it just can't happen unless you're the Red Sox or the Yankees. I thought the Will Hill article was great b/c it showed how well Kazmir has pitched against the AL East, yet he was still deemed tradeable because, in the end, the Rays needed that flexibility more than even a few 2009 playoff dates. Cash is king, especially in the AL East. The Jays aren't the only ones who realize that.

"Dave Schultz" said...

I don't even want to talk about losing Pena. I'll cry.

Steve G. said...

I've always kind of wondered why people think veterans magically behave better. Every work place situation I've ever been in, it was more likely that some long-term staffer's malignant behavior was put up with, because otherwise, he would have been S-canned much earlier.

Likewise, in professional baseball, it seems like horror stories about veterans are more prevalent than about rookies. Sure, you hear stuff about Delmon Young and Lastings Milledge, but veterans are even worse - Millar, Rolen, Derek Bell, Rickey Henderson at various points, Sheffield, Ichiro - and because of the size of their contracts, it's harder to admit that they're a sunk cost.

eyebleaf said...

@ Schultzy: Pena's a goner!!!!1

@ Steve: I know Rolen came to town with the reputation of a malcontent, but he didn't exactly look like a guy who was unhappy, or a serious ass in the clubhouse. I shouldn't be surprised, especially after he asked for a trade, but it just pisses me off, since he was just a few months away from free agency, and we all knew his leaving was a formality.

As for Millar, he's clearly doing something right.

Bottom line: I'm glad this stuff came out. I think we ought to know about it. Rolen was splendid as a Jay, but I'm done missing him.

Anonymous said...

good luck maintaining that BABIP, Scott. Hopefully fourth place in Cincy is more fun than Toronto

Lee(tch) said...

Hey bro, hope NYC was good to you.
Glad to see the old commenting system back in order...

Anyhow, I have one thing to comment about and that is...baseball's "trading deadline" is a joke. In the past few days, teams have continued to make trades despite it being a month past the "trading deadline". Too many loop holes. What's the point of stirring up trade rumours about Roy Halladay in June when you can still trade him in the end of August. Now, I truly believe Roy's been affected by all that bullshit media attention and his mind is elsewhere. Ok, my rant is over.

Zack said...

"It's another to learn (from Mike Wilner, via his "extremely trustworthy in-uniform Jays source") that Rolen was a negative in the clubhouse, constantly complained about being a Toronto Blue Jay, and didn't hide his desire to leave Toronto, and Canada."

Oh, that's what he was whining about, I thought he was whining about being on my last place fantasy team. But he's a hoser, I mean, who wants to leave Canada? And now he's mucking up one of my National League Darlings, man I wish he'd just go away. Between he and Pat Burrell I think they're twins spawned from some strange lover relationship of Rosie O'Donell and Joan Rivers.

William said...

hehe. Hey, it was silent because you were gone, dude. The Rays got a great deal. Three decent prospects, one at least will pan out, for a fading Kazmir. It was brilliant. The Rays didn't stand a chance this year anyway. They knew that and we all knew that.

Welcome back.

eyebleaf said...

@ Lee(tch): NYC is always a good time, bro. As for the trade deadline in baseball, I don't mind them. There's a non-waiver deadline, and a waiver deadline. I like the fact that after the non-waiver deadline, teams can jockey when guys hit the wire, and try to outsmart one another; or claim guys to block another team. Chicago came out and said they never thought the Jays would allow Rios to simply stroll over to Chicago. Ken Williams said he was certain a trade would be made, or the Jays would keep Alex. I like that uncertainty; GMs calling other's bluff.

As for Doc, I continue to maintain that that isn't a good enough excuse. If he wants to go to New York, or Philly, or Boston, then he'll see what media attention is. Stoeten wrote on Drunk Jays Fans: All Roy had to do was say "I'm not waiving my no-trade," and all this would have gone away. Mats style. He could have just said it, and said he wouldn't take questions about it, and all would have been done with. Every athlete in Toronto is a PR freaking nightmare, it seems.

@ Zack: I'm disappointed in Rolen, but don't really harbour any ill will towards the guy. I just won't bestow upon him our lovable nickname anymore. He's not worthy, even for jokes. Also: you like the Reds?

@ William: I don't believe Kazmir is finished.

Jeremy said...

Disappointing with Rolen, but not really unexpected given the terms he's gone out on everywhere else he's played. I agree with Ian though -- he played hard, so that's good enough for me.

Zack said...

Eyebleaf: Yeah, it started when I was a younger kid and it's grown, to where I think I could make an argument that the Reds have the most overlooked starters in the majors, and if they were on a contender (I'm not even saying a division leader, throw them on the Marlins) they'd probably cruise to that World Series Ring, and even though I know it comes off as "sacreligious" I would much rather watch a game at GAB before I watch a game at Fenway.