Monday, 31 March 2008

Morning Roundup


Opening Day for me is like some magical combination of Christmas, New Year's Eve and my birthday all wrapped into one. Yeah, it's pretty great alright. But the massive highs are so quickly accompanied by crushing lows, as anyone who's been given the gift of white tube socks, drunk Baby Duck over Moet, or never been to Chucky Cheese knows full well.

My optimism for this club is as unbridled as the next guy's and I do sincerely believe that this is the best club the Jays have fielded since 1993. But still, I've never really shaken a modest disappointment that we remain an organization that will rely heavily on luck above all if we're to make a move to the next level.

Money is one thing and there's no question we can't compete with New York or Boston. This doesn't explain, however, our inability to compensate with ahead-of-the-curve scouting and player development (that means going above slot on picks, getting more scout butts in the bleachers, re-establishing our claim to certain foreign markets, just generally being like the Braves, etc.), superior in-game strategy (do we even have one beyond the Theodor Herzl "If you will it, it will come"?), or even the old puffed-chest swagger of the glory years.

I guess what I'm saying is that being a Jays fan is kind of like taking a girl who's a 7 out of 10 to the dance: nothing wrong with a seven even if she doesn't turn any heads, but you'll always be left wondering if you couldn't have done better. (The answer is probably not, just take a look at yourself in the mirror. Seriously.)

I do like this team and I will enjoy watching it this year as I always do. But count me amongst those who forsee an 85-win third place finish and are begging to be proven wrong.

First order of business. Blair is doing a live pregame chat today and I encourage you to drop him a line. Last year he rudely tore me a new one for suggesting that JP trade Alex Rios to the Dodgers for Brad Penny, but that didn't disuade me from trying once again to earn the big guy's nodding approval in 2008.

Alex Rios! Oh ya! Nothing to report, sadly. Well, nothing good. Or maybe, it's hard to read. McLeod says "The deal to lock up Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Alex Rios long term is close to getting done" this morning. M'kay, sweet.

But Jeremy Sandler of the post says this:

Rios said he and his agent remained undecided about signing away his ability to hit the free agent market as soon as after next season in exchange for a contract reported to be worth US$65-million over six years, with an option for a seventh year.

Bingo. There's a much bigger pay day awaiting young Senor Rios--perhaps even from these Jays--to be had by playing the waiting game. Also take note that Kinzer is Francisco "K-Rod" Rodriguez's agent and talks between those two and the Angels are at a similar impasse. The ship may be headed for the rocks, ladies and gentlemen.


And sometimes even the alley-dwelling drunk shows he still has a shred of self-respect. The O's made a very smart and costly decision to dump half-goblin OF and HGH user Jay Gibbons, eating almost $12 million in the process. I will refrain from mocking Bal'mer for on full week as my own little tip of the cap to this nifty little roster move..

* ESPN Sunday Night baseball kicked off last night with a quick and dirty 3-2 Nats win over the Braves in the inaugural game at Nationals Stadium. Ryan Zimmerman socked a game winner in the bottom of the ninth and the place went nuts. P.S. I really like Jim Bowden's offseason roster moves (especially bringing in Lastings Milledge) and am silently cheering for the Nats, and NOT because they used to be the Expos.

Enjoy the game, folks!

-- Johnny Was

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