November 09, 2009

Why They Hate J.P.

From an article on, about why the Toronto Blue Jays should pass on Marco Scutaro:

"In other words, the Blue Jays need to tread carefully before they offer a contract to a 34-year old player who is coming off what author Malcolm Gladwell would classify as an 'outlier' season - formally known as a career-year. ... To make an example that is recently relevant to the Blue Jays would easily be the signing of Frank Thomas. Let's be clear, I'm not comparing Thomas to Scutaro as players, but rather their circumstances. When the Jays inked Thomas to his two-year, $18 million contract in 2006, he was coming off a rather unexpectedly good season that saw him hit 39 home runs after the Oakland A's picked him up off the scrap heap following a nasty parting of ways with the White Sox. We all know how that story ended in April of 2008, with the Jays releasing the 'Big Hurt' and paying him for the rest of that season."

Now, I'm not saying the Thomas signing was all sunshine and lollipops, but TSN can't publish that article without the fact that Thomas hit .277/.377./.480 in 2007. Twenty-six home runs, and 95 RsBI. Both led the team. An .857 OPS.

I guess Daan De Kerpel just forgot.


On The Fence Sports said...

The Big Hurt was signed for a two year contract, not a 1 and a few months. By adding in your point about his 2007 season, the article gains nothing except increasing the article word count.

No issues with TSN publishing that article the way they did.

Steve G. said...

Meh, I agree with you that the Frank Thomas signing is the wrong one to attack. It was short years and decent money for a guy who could regress significantly, yes, but who is a first-ballot Hall of Famer and renowned for his hitting ability and batting eye. Taking a chance on him was defensible.

The signing that was nuts at the time and nuts in reflection was B.J. Ryan.

As far as Marco goes, he would worry me from a team standpoint. He did have a bit of a career year at age 34, so if someone else wanted to give him $10 million a year, I would let them have that privilege. Ideally, I actually think another "Thomas deal" would be good for him, with the caveat that if I was the Jays, I'd be trying to deal him anyway because he's old and SS is a position of scarcity around the league.

The Ack said...

I'm going to risk crossing you here and say it makes no sense for a rebuilding, er, building team to sign a 34 year old SS to the kind of contract it will likely take to secure him.

If someone (Red Sox?) is willing to give up the draft pick to sign him, then that's really the only strategy.

Now, if the market dries up and he's looking at a Cabrera-type situation, and you can sign him to a "below-market" deal....then by all means.

eyebleaf said...

@ On The Fence: Shocking that we disagree. Again, I'm not saying it was a fantastic deal, but just b/c the story ended badly, doesn't mean that what happened while Thomas was here is irrelevant.

@ Steve: The Jays won 83 games in '07. Thomas did his part that season. The Jays needed a DH, and he filled the role admirably. And, as I've written about time and again, the only way he comes to Toronto is if the Jays give him a crazy contract. As for Scoots, there's no way I give him anything near $10 million a year. $5 million, max. $10 million for 2 years sounds alright to me. It worries me that he was beginning to break down at the end of last season. Although it couldn't have been surprising.

@ The Ack: No crossage, don't worry brother. I'm torn on Scoots. I'll be happy if we get him at the right amount, but if he's got to go, he's got to go. Who would have ever thought he'd be a Type-A free agent? It might be prudent to take those picks.

The Ack said...

Building sucks.

eyebleaf said...

"The Eternal Building Process," as the Tao so eloquently put it.

Fucking brutal.

After reading Anth's comments about Doc, he's surely being traded. He said he's not re-signing. Period. That's about as clear as it can get.

And here's an interesting quote from Tenace, found over at Yahoo! Sports: "If a player had a problem with Cito or me, why didn't they come to us instead of going to the papers? But some players you can't please. They make all the money, and now they want to make all the decisions."

Wonder who he's talking about...

Scott said...

Nice call on Thomas' 2007 season. The Thomas deal didn't get ugly until '08, when he played like a month with the Jays.
I still think we should pass on Scutaro, though.

Mattt said...

I'd go for the draft picks as per Ack's point that the Jays are 'building'.

Andrew Bucholtz said...

As much as I loathe J.P. Ricciardi, I was actually a big fan of the Thomas deal, and I didn't like the move to release him. Thomas had a great 2007 with the Jays and even a pretty respectable 2008 once he got to Oakland (.263/.364/.387, 105 OPS+). I'm not convinced the Jays should bring back Scutaro, as the high picks they get if they let him leave could help more in the long term (and that's where this team needs to be planning for), but I think he is going to be good at least this year. Moreover, Thomas is not a good comparison at all, and certainly not one to prove De Kerpel's case.

Ian H. said...

No point in re-signing Scoots, at this point it seems like money down the drain and it would have to be at least a two-year deal. Maybe Orlando Cabrera cheap for one year of interim shortstop?

eyebleaf said...

@ Scott: I think it's reporting like that that makes Ricciardi the villain in so many eyes.

@ Mattt: Building!!!!1

@ Andrew: Yeah, it was a tough call to release Thomas. The fact that he wouldn't accept a lesser role on the team had the most to do with it, I think. The Jays didn't need him sulking around, so off he went. Much like B.J. Ryan, this past season. But I'm glad you agree with me about De Kerpel's article. I just think it's another case of convenient writing.

@ Ian: Orlando Cabrera is destined to be a Blue Jay before his career is done. I'd be cool with Cabrera and Johnny Mac, although I'm certainly intrigued by Drew's post about Halladay for a package that includes Colorado's Tulowitzki.