My first responsibility before I say anything else is to explain my absence during the most comment worthy fall in 22 years. The truth is, everything I felt inspired to write, someone else - some many others actually - were already posting much the same thing, or something better. I'm not a stat head, i don't live in the Toronto area or in close proximity to anything they are doing. There's almost nothing I do better than others, ranging from long timers like Ian Hunter and Andrew Stoeten to others that are newer to me such as Gideon Turk. I just don't bring anything to the plate except an echo.
So I rode the wild ride and enjoyed it immensely but all the things that might have been said were either already said everywhere or so very obvious that there was no point in writing them up. When the playoffs hit, every time I had the urge to write there was always something that was going to happen tomorrow which might well render what I had in mind moot. So this will be sort of a long post that covers a lot of lingering thoughts and then gets to the real point - the heartbreaking (to me) departure of Alex Anthopoulos.
As far as the playoffs go, I'm disappointed but at peace with ow it turned out. As AA pointed out, the odds that this lineup would not get the key hit even once in 12 opportunities were very slim, but that's baseball and stuff happens. I have a lot harder time dealing with the 7th inning of game 2 as rallies like that, in that situation, are just not supposed to ever happen. I have no specific complaints about anyone associated with the team this season (well, except Drew Hutchinson).
I almost wrote a piece last week looking ahead at the upcoming decisions, particularly regarding the pitching staff. About how I'd be willing to give Price a 200 mil deal if needed to keep him, how I'd put a QO on Estrada, about how I'd keep in mind the potential to trade Dickey/Thole if both Price and Estrada came back on those terms (to lessen the financial hit from Estrada), about how I'd try to get Lowe to resign, put Osuna in the rotation and put Sanchez and Hutch in competition for the 5th spot with the realization that Sanchez can go to the 'pen...unless I decided to just make Sanchez the closer and be done with it.
I'd do with Sanders what they did last year with Smoak, assuming he came back I'd deal Revere (presumably for a good reliever) and open the door for Pompey who can do everything Ben Revere can do and more. Maybe see if Navarro can be brought back but otherwise, I'm fine with the line-up. It might be gravy to put a big bopping left handed first baseman but with the existing lineup, Smoak-abello is fine. Let's not forget how much production they combined for.
Now, who the hell knows? None of us have any CLUE what Mark Shapiro will have in mind.
I had intended to write something by now about my subjective view of the prospect rankings, but it just seems awkwardly timed at the moment.
So, to the news of the day. In the same theme I opened with, Richard Griffin - whom I seldom cite or quote or even reference - pretty much nailed my feelings in this column. I'm NOT of the opinion that Shapiro is going to be bad for the team or screw things up, we really don't have any evidence of that. I DO think the team is set to be a contender with reasonable management for several years to come.
That said, Alex deserved the job, he deserved to work in the role he was good at with virtual autonomy and ownership bungled things and, implicitly if not overtly, drove him out by misplaying how they replaced Beaston. With every respect to Shapiro, they could have easily went out and perused someone who was an excellent business mind who could revolutionize the fan experience and directed the stadium renovations and so forth while Alex handled the baseball. He earned that. He deserved that. And no matter what the team does next year, it will offend my sense of justice that Alex won't be a part of it. If they win the World Series, or enjoy whatever level of success, he will still be the one who made it possible and he won't be there to be in integral part of it. I'll never be content with that. I've never been an ownership basher before, but I am now. This is on them.In the wake of a magic season when they had more good will accumulated than they ever will again, they botched it.
As for implications, as I said who really knows? Whither Gibby? He deserve to return but ill he? Who's the new GM? Will he (wisely) promote Tony LaCava and leave Alex's talented staff in place, or will he bring in a bunch of folks with personal loyalty to him? Don't forget that there's impact on the field as well. What if Joey Bautista decides his loyalty was to Alex and that changes his view of going to the FA market next winter? Just for one example. Remember how Tulo worried about not being able to trust anyone? Rogers kinda just proved where they fell on that scale.
I wrote when the Shapiro deal was announced that if they were hiring him for the business side then great, if they were castrating Alex on the baseball side then it was a very bad idea. I'll also remind the reader that last winter when the whole "AA is on the hot seat" drama was going on that I was very clear he didn't deserve to be. Even before 2015 the man was a success, the team was very good and the future looked very bright, and firing him before that success had a chance to bear fruit would be insane (look at how long the Royals waited on Dayton Moore to finish the task). It may well have been that Rogers didn't see things that way and had designs all year to clean house - and then the team that Alex built took 3 months to prove them wrong and leave them with all kinds of egg on their face.
To quote Griff: "Rogers is proving they are bad baseball people."
To that I say, A-fucking-men.