Jays From the Couch brings you the latest Toronto Blue Jays news & links. This edition: The not so nice R-Word
Well, well. Just when we thought there were worse things than a rough start for the Toronto Blue Jays, they go ahead and prove us completely wrong. The rough start has gotten rougher. Not only is the club 6.5 games out of first place, they’re losing starting pitchers faster than we can blink. These are indeed tough times; these are times that cause folks to throw around drastic ideas, like the R word- rebuild, which is pretty much the theme of the morning news today. Let’s get to it, shall we?
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* Shi Davidi broke down the current Blue Jays situation rather nicely at Sportsnet where he explained the pitching situation rather succinctly. With Aaron Sanchez out for at least a start and J.A. Happ possibly out for even longer, we could be looking at starts from Casey Lawrence, Mat Latos or Mike Bolsinger. Shi points out that no one has been impressed by Latos’ stuff in Buffalo AND he would cost the team $1.5M to bring up, so he might be kept down in AAA. Of course, he has an opt out in his deal, so they could call him up to keep him in the organization a bit longer, one supposes. Bolsinger is an interesting option since he would have to be added to the 40man roster.
Of course, if things continue to be miserable for this team, Shi also concedes that a drastic move could be in order. Now, there have been 2.5M tickets sold already, so there is pressure to win and dismantling the team does not do that. And, it is a bit early to jump on that bandwagon, so we shouldn’t expect that to be at the top of any lists moving forward.
* Ugh, I am loathe to include this, but I mentioned it above, so…the idea of a rebuild is circulating wildly and CBS Sports has picked up on it. Matt Snyder looks into the idea floated by Buster Olney that, should the Blue Jays woes continue, a firesale might be in order. Snyder lists Russell Martin as likely unmovable, but Troy Tulowitzki as a possible chip, especially if the Blue Jays eat money. Has anyone met the Blue Jays front office? Eating money?! Phht.
Snyder says “it’s possible that, come July, we see Donaldson, Marco Estrada, Francisco Liriano, J.A. Happ [assuming he isn’t out for an extended period of time], Jose Bautista, Tulowitzki and a few relievers all dealt.” That seems like quite the sale. Thankfully, he also acknowledges that this team is roughly 5 games out of a Wild Card spot – the Wild Card is where everyone predicted this team to land – with 150 games left. So, let’s just focus on that, rather than the idea of selling off all of the above players, shall we?
* For what it’s worth, we talked about the idea of a rebuild on Episode 117 of the Jays From the Couch Radio podcast. Sandwiched in among the mixture of ranting, raving and calling for calm, we explored this idea and offered up why it is not the right way to go. Check it out! Basically, people are calling for a rebuild because they think these players cannot perform in a way that will help the team compete, so they should be traded. But, if that is true, then they won’t have much value on the trade market, so it doesn’t make sense.
* Let’s talk about something else, shall we? Though, it isn’t much more happy in nature. Writing for The Athletic, John Lott brings the very intriguing story of Lourdes Gurriel Jr and his escape from Cuba and subsequent journey to playing in America. We all have a small idea as to what players form Cuba have had to go through to leave their native land to pursue the dream of playing baseball, but the individual stories always serve as stark reminders of the precise issues these young players face.
For Gurriel, his experience was an expensive one. He is committed to paying the people who smuggled him (that’s right, smuggling people to play baseball is a thing) a rather large sum. In fact, Lott shares that it is millions of dollars, which he can pay in installments. Gurriel was signed by the Blue Jays for $22M and a significant portion of that must be paid to his smugglers. Think about this. The player may consider it a fair price, but it boggles the mind that this is even happening. Lott details the journey Gurriel took and it is well worth the read.
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