About a month ago, I had the opportunity to go for lunch with the iconic former president of the Toronto Blue Jays, Paul Beaston.
To say Paul Beeston worked for the Blue Jays is like saying Babe Ruth spent some time in New York or Bill Bellicheck worked for the Patriots. True, but hardly serves justice to the statement.
Paul was the very first employee the Blue Jays hired in 1976 the year they announced expansion. He was the the president of Baseball Ops or the president of basically everything Blue Jays since 77. He left in 97 and became second in command of MLB till 2002. Came back to run the Jays as the president again from 2008 to 2015. He’s won 2 world series and oversaw the recent success the Jays found over the past two years with consecutive trips to the post season. He knows baseball and knows this team. It’s insulting to think otherwise.
“Deano.” Paul barked “How do you think the team will do this year?”
“Paul, I wish I could be more positive but i think they’re going to blow.”
“Why’s that?” he chuckled over wings and a pint of Keiths.
I went on to tell Paul they were lucky their starting rotation was as healthy they were last year. They ripped the guts out by pulling their offer to Edwin after he asked for some time to test free agency. They cheated not filling holes at 1st and in left. And they were old.
All those things being true, Paul told me barring something strange the Jays would be competitive.
Well something strange is happening
-Tulo, Donaldson, Happ, and Sanchez have all been injured to start the season. Arguably your two best position players and two best starting pitchers
-Martin, Travis, and Bautisa hit .109 through the first 12 games of the season
-Platoon guy Steve Pearce has offered very little offence and his d at 1st makes Justin Smoak look like Keith Hernandez
-Bullpen has 8 blown saves (they’ve actually won 5 of those games)
-Osuna has been a disaster since the WBC
A bigger picture for the brutal start for the Jays places the blame squarely on the offence. They ranked 25th in baseball (up from 30th last week), hitting .233 with an on-base of .298 with an ops of .269. Brutal for any team but no one could have predicted this. Or did they?
There’s more to this abysmal start than shitty numbers.
Over the summer, management decided to pull an offer from their clubhouse glue and RBI-machine Edwin Encarnacion after his agent said they wanted to test free agency but would get back to them. Like children, Jays president Mark Shapiro and GM Ross Atkins took their offer off the table and went home.
They then decided they were smarter than baseball and signed Steve Pearce (.167/.211/.377) and Kendrys Morales (.219) who was supposed to hit for average from both sides of the plate.
I get what the Jays were trying to do. Be smarter than baseball. Have the baseball world take notice of their baseball IQ and show the world you don’t need character guys that hit 40 bombs and drive in 100 runs. Can you move the soul of the team, save some $, and hope the cheaper guys give you similar numbers? Hasn’t happened and there isn’t precedent that dictates it would.
1 Edwin 20 mil = 1 Morales + 1 Pearce right?
Wrong. Shitty math and stupid logic nary make good baseball decisions. You also have to wonder if watching the Indians make it to the World Series buoyed their baseball egos and their bosses in decision-making.
Jays are 9-18. Draw excuses from where you like. Injuries, slow starts, lack of offence, shitty bullpen. It’s a great conversation piece among Jays fans over cold pints.
Throw this into the mix.
Jays ownership and management didn’t just misjudge the market this summer, they ignored it. They also willingly thumbed their nose at the window to win a championship and decided otherwise. That part you can’t argue with no matter how many beers you’ve had.