Now that we’ve all danced like wild indians around the celebration bonfire and slammed frothy mugs in toast of the new Jays acquisitions, we awake this morning to the sober reality that, yes, there could be some downside to picking an ace with a history of shoulder issues, an often injured shortstop getting paid $100,000,000, and an aging, poo-throwing lefty.
Why are you hearing about this now? Why wasn’t it on the lips of the hype machine earlier? Well, because that’s the entertainment industry for you. It’s like Ferengi Rules of Acquisition (Star Trek reference), once the positive spin stops selling, you switch to the negative spin.
No trade is as amazing as it seems on paper since all trades involve human beings that have to perform. Theoretical baseball is often the most fun form of the sport, because once it starts getting tested, it falls apart more often then not—especially when held up to the intense light of unrealistic expectation, like the ones now being generated. Even so, I still believe this trade will work out well for the Jays.
The acquisitions of these 5 players from the Marlins came with very little cost to the Jays aside from finances. Hechavarria was the biggest prospect of the bunch that moved, and will (yes, WILL) develop into a fine shortstop. He can hit, field, run, and refrain from tattooing slurs into eye-black. At the worst, he’ll be a great multi-position, defensive back up.
I’m glad to be rid of Henderson Alvarez. He had a lot of maturing to do on the mound. Nice guy, personable, and je had the stuff, but he lacked the pitch-ability. When coupled with JP Arencibia—a catcher who calls games based what he thinks is hard for him to hit, and, therefore hard for anyone else to hit—his pitch count runs up. Alvarez needs a breaking ball, or something to help him work up and down. He needs more strikeouts to be effective because his control isn’t good enough to rely on contact. He wasn’t going to help the Jays win for a while, at least not consistently. He can go develop in Miami, surrounded by players who are also not expected to win for a while.
Jeff Mathis is a fine catcher who could help any club behind the plate, just not at it. I think he knows this, which is why he’s made a name for himself as a real pitchers catcher. He’ll get a lot of playing time in Miami where most of the pitchers will be young because all the others are getting sold.
I can’t honestly comment about the prospects that are making this trip since I haven’t seen them play. I can say, however, that they’re prospects, and prospects have this awful tendency to not pan out. They weren’t even the Jays top prospects. God bless them, though, as they’re heading to a club where their path to the big leagues just got a lot more direct. They were part of one of the biggest trades in history (the biggest in Jays history) so they’ll get priority treatment. They should be doing cartwheels all the way down to Florida.
For what the Jays got, they didn’t over pay. Not at all. Bear in mind that for the Jays to go out and find this kind of impact ready talent in the free agent market, they would have had to over pay to make comparable players consider the move north anyway.
Yes, some of these players have a history of Injury. But, let me ask you, who doesn’t have a history of injury anymore? I mean, seriously, guys get hurt. It’s part of the game. And they’ll get spun regardless.
Youngsters that make a big name without injury are ridiculously expense, and once they sign, the media spins how they’ll never live up to the money. Older players with impact history get are still super expensive, and they’ll get the “they’re just gonna get hurt” spin. You can’t get away from it, so just enjoy the upside.
Hopefully they don’t drop like flies ala 2012, but still, the potential exists for everyone to get hurt in this sport— at any time. A general manager can’t be overly cautious about acquiring talent based on injury history unless it’s so dramatic and consistent it makes no sense (Dustin McGowan, anyone?) to steer clear.
Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle; these are all players that WILL make an impact when healthy. Which is, and this should go without saying, better than players who MIGHT make an impact if healthy, like the Jays have acquired in the past (hell, I’m one of the guys in that past, thanks).
I’m not as concerned about the Jays getting value out of this trade as I am concerned the Jays keeping all these players through this off season. Now, run off and spin that…