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.