January 21, 2010

Our Great Shame

You're going to have to pardon me for not being overly excited about Merkin Valdez, Alex Anthopoulos's most recent addition to the Toronto Blue Jays. Sure, 98 MPH on the radar gun tickles my fancy, but it's tough looking past the 1.72 WHIP Valdez posted in 49.1 innings last season.

While AA and the Blue Jays have moved on after losing out on Aroldis Chapman, I haven't. In the aftermath of the Cuban flamethrower signing with the Cincinnati Reds for$30.25 million, I found it curious that nobody in the front office would commit to the reported $23 million Toronto had offered. Not a peep from AA, or Paul Beeston. Post J.P. Ricciardi, I guess I'm just not used to that type of silence from upstairs.

So I did what any rational person would do: I emailed Jeff Blair. Was the $23 million offer true? According to Blair, indeed it was.

I continued to pry. Why not, from the top of the highest mountain, announce to the world that the Jays were big players in the Chapman ballgame? Why not let the fanbase know that the new regime went hard after the young, controllable prospect? Allowing the reported offer to remain unconfirmed was, in my humble opinion, a lost public relations opportunity. And, with Ricciardi out of the picture, didn't the Jays want to change their PR strategy? Sure, the Blue Jays had lost the battle, and didn't end up signing Chapman. But they could have let us all know they were doing their best to win the war.

More from Blair:

"Its the way Alex is. He believes being too open cost the Jays a Lincecum for Rios deal. Don't think saying you went after Chapman would score any PR points. It would just confirm you lost to the Reds."

Blair's right. Fuck public relations. Losing Roy Halladay wouldn't have hurt so much if Toronto had acquired Tim Lincecum. Hell, if Lincecum's a Blue Jay, perhaps Halladay remains one. And while there's no shame in losing out on a high-profile prospect to the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, or even Los Angeles Angels, there certainly is in losing to Cincinnati.

We'll have to settle for Merkin Valdez.


Mattt said...

At least his name is fun to say...

Hilleraj said...

I'm actually pretty happy with the lack of information coming from AA and his crew. As much of a JP apologist as I am (I spent YEARS defending the dude to anyone who would listen), there were times that I felt he was talking to the media just because he could. Sure, it's great that he was helping bring the fanbase up to speed on what he was trying to do with the team... but we have journalists to give us rumours from their "unnamed sources", and bloggers to disect this information for us... we don't need any potential deals ruined, just to get the details from the horse's mouth (JP kinda looked a bit like a horse, don't you think?). Keep up the good work, AA... and keep it up from behind closed doors!

Ian H. said...

To me, it's like one of those auctions - eventually two or more bidders drive up the price so damn high that the other guy can't believe what's just happened. Yeah, the Blue Jays lost a bidding war for Chapman to the Reds, but it's not like they LOST to the Reds.

(whatever that means)

eyebleaf said...

@ Mattt: Way to focus on the positives.

@ Hilleraj: It's definitely different, a marked change from his predecessor. And as a JP apologist myself, not necessarily a bad thing. And, for the record, I thought JP looked like a pimp.

@ Ian: I hope you're right. We've taken enough punches to the guts as a fanbase to be losing anything to the Cincinnati fucking Reds.

Escaped Lab Rat said...

I'm for the silence as well. It feels like a more 'professional' organization. Alas, it also means we have less stuff to talk about.

...I'd forgotten all about Rios-for-Lincecum. It's still painful to think about.

William said...

Wasn't Merkel the name of that weird African-American kid on that sitcom in the 80s?

Oh well. Big-time arms are big-time arms and perhaps Merkel Valdez will surprise people with success. At least he is an addition and could help perhaps.

eyebleaf said...

@ Escaped: Ricciardi was entertaining. AA, not so much. But that's probably for the better. And, yeah, it had been a while since I thought of Rios-Lincecum. Crazy. Hard to believe SF even considered it. Will be interesting to see how Rios does in Chicago this season. He was bloody awful after the trade. I don't think he gave a fuck.

@ William: Valdez's numbers in 2008 were decent. He's still working his shit out post Tommy John. The Jays are stockpiling arms. What's another?