Sunday, November 4, 2012

Beginning to lose patience with the Blue Jays

We’re several days into what the old timers used to call “The Hot Stove League”, a time when all good ball fans could sit around and discuss the season just past and look forward to what might happen in the spring. Nowadays, fans get together at bars and pubs – or for fish and chips as John and I did this past Friday. As always, talk quickly got around to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos
I think it’s fair to say that both of us are losing patience with the club. That’s saying a lot, because I’m much more calm and patient that my confrere can be.

The entire 2012 campaign was a disaster as far as we’re both concerned. Yes, the club had very significant injuries, especially to their pitching staff, and I certainly won’t soon forget that horrible week in June when the starting pitching took a hit from which it never recovered. Losing Santos after about 2 seconds of pitching in April could have been a huge blow, but Casey Janssen really stepped up, and boy, that was a huge and pleasant surprise in a season of nearly weekly bad news.

The thing that really sticks in my craw is the whole John Ferrell mess. I thought he was an honorable man, but it turned out that all he was waiting for was a chance to manage for his old club, The Boston Red Sox. The fact that the job came up after only one year (something that couldn’t have been foreseen) was unfortunate for Ferrell, but that didn’t stop him from asking to be allowed to move.

That’s when the Jays put in their rule about lateral movement of their manager. What they should have done was fire Ferrell’s ass right then. No matter what he said about the Jays being his only concern, it wouldn’t take a really smart person (something Ferrell claims to be) to see that Bobby Valentine might not last long. My guess would be that he thought Valentine might last for two seasons before once again imploding, but that wasn’t to be, either.

So the Jays let him go, rightly, before the franchise could take a further hit to its prestige. Right now the Jays look like the poor cousin in the AL East, a farm team for the big time Red Sox. Brother! It really made my blood boil.

Now the team is having to interview managers, and while they say that the process will go much more quickly than it did last time (when they hired Ferrell). It cannot come quickly enough. Stability starts in the manager’s office, and if the Jays are serious about look for free-agent pitching help, any players they want will need to see that the team is stable and well-managed. Why come here if the Jays are a disaster area? Toronto already has an issue of being in a foreign country, something that has kept some players from coming to the team in the past.

GM Alex Anthopoulos now looks really bad for choosing Ferrell, which is a bit unfair. One assumes that a first-time manager would be in for the long haul, not just trying to get a bit of experience before his real job is available. With a new manager, AA just has to get it right. If the next Jays manager is not able to do the job (leading his team into the playoffs) and have success right away, the Jays could be looking for a general manager around this time next year. He may just have to hire next year’s Manager of the Year to regain his lost credibility as a canny and shrewd baseball man.

1 comment:

John Trembath said...

Yes, Rick, I think that the Jays acted too much like Canadians for their own good. Maybe they should have fired him. We certainly got nothing out of him at the end of the season. FArrell will have to prove himself. I still have no reason to think anything will be different for the Red Sox next year. All in all, I think we have a chance to have gotten the better of the deal if AA can choose well.