Tuesday, July 4, 2017

State of the Franchise

Against my better judgement, in an early season moment of weakness, I suggested that I could contribute an article to the site.  Those of you who know me will realize that I shouldn't be doing this, as I have already sworn off all Jays related activities, including watching or listening to games, following along on Gameday, or even so much as checking in for scores.  However, I made a commitment, which I will now reluctantly keep.

It is now close to the halfway point of the season and what better time could there be for taking stock of what has transpired to date and evaluating the state of the Blue Jays franchise.  I plan to do so in a detailed, sweeping, and critical but "fair" manner!  First, the players:

Jose Bautista

Joey Bats was once a top end offensive talent, with a well above average arm.  He is responsible for some of the great moments in Blue Jays history and, I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit, one of the top 10 moments in my life.  As the off-season approached it was clear that he would not be back - he was going to cash in as a free agent and, let's face it, that wasn't such a bad thing for the Jays.  His arm was shot and his best offensive days were behind him.  Further, he was going to demand 150 Million dollars over 5 years - surely somebody would give him 120?


Bautista's market dried up and the lack of any reasonable replacement options means that Atkins (if he indeed pulls any of the strings) was forced to bring him back on a 1 year $18 Million deal with options for 2019.  Bautista's performance this year has been nothing short of horrific.  His noodle arm is always tested and bested by opposing runners.  He's run into a few balls and hits them out but I could do the same if I stood in and swung hard every time.  His average stands at .234 with 35 RBI.  As we all know, these are the best stats in showing hitter performance - they're tried and true and clearly show a massive decline!  As sad as it makes me to see my heroes falter, it is clear that Bautista's career is near the end - it's all over but the recriminations and second guessing.

Kevin Pillar

It's one of the great fallacies of our time that Kevin Pillar is believed to be a great defender.  When he has missed out on the Gold Glove in recent years, many Blue Jays fans believed he had been "robbed".  The voters don't get this stuff wrong, though, as the great Derek Jeter's many gold gloves illustrate.  Plays that a faster and more skilled fielder would make standing up are completed by Pillar only with theatrical dives in every direction.  In reality, he is an average fielder and that is probably being kind.

At the plate, Pillar is one of the worst center fielders in the league.  Anyone can get hot for a month or two but it's generally just a mirage and that was definitely the case with Pillar's early season success.  All the talk of this being the real Pillar and how with 1500 at bats under his belt he had now learned to hit (Thanks tabby!) was absolute nonsense.  Complete garbage.  One can only hope that Pillar will be moved to the Phillies in the off season and replaced with someone more competent.  I doubt it though, and i will not be around to watch.  I cannot be made to do so!

Steve Pearce/Ezequial Carrera/ Dwight Smith Jr/Anyone else who happens to play in left

Left field has been an absolute sink hole this year.  A catastrophe, a disaster!  Pearce, who has a long history of injuries, has been injured most of the year (surprise!).  When he plays, he's not that great anyway.  A waste of money and space.  Carrera is a 4th outfielder at best, someone who you can keep around as long as he doesn't have to play very often.  The fact that he has been viewed as a saviour at different times throughout the year tells us all we need to know.

Smith Jr. has strung together a couple of three hit games but has no power and his defense in the recent debacle in Kansas City shows that he has no skill in the field.  We could pull someone up from the Vancouver Canadians or even little league and they would perform to a similar standard.  I believe a quality team cannot win with such poor positional players in the outfield!

Josh Donaldson

The trade that brought Donaldson was thought to be one of the greatest heists in the history of the game, perhaps in any sport!  Donaldson immediately went on to win an AL MVP and the main piece going back the other way already seems to be out of the sport, now focusing on odd ketchup related events.  Now that some time has passed, though, we can see that the prospects included in the deal are just starting to blossom and view of the trade is changing, to the detriment of the Jays!

Donaldson is one of the most injury prone players in the game today.  Sure, a full season of his services would be valuable but he's out so often and lame so often while he's in that it's all just an academic exercise at this point.  It's hard to believe it but he is now past his prime and is on a steep decline that will result in full seasons of negative value within two years.

This is the time to jump ship and get rid of him for whatever can be had!

Troy Tulowitzki

Nobody was happier than me when Tulo was acquired by the Jays.  The price looked somewhat steep but getting rid of Reyes was worth it at almost any cost.  Plus, Tulo was still a great defender, near his prime, with a potent bat.  What was not to like?

Well, basically everything!

Tulo has never looked comfortable at the plate as a Jay.  He's had short stretches of excellence but has mostly under performed.  I've waited and waited for him to return to form but have finally realized he already has returned to form.  This is his "form".  It's the best we're going to get and we might as well get used to it.  Tulowitzki has essentially been a fraud for his entire career!  His numbers have been wildly inflated by Coors Field and now that he's away from it we can all clearly see that not only was he not good to begin with but he is clearly on a steep decline.  I won't be quite as hard on him as others because I'd rather have Tulo than Reyes.  However, that doesn't mean he's any good!

I haven't even spoken about Tulowitzki's work with the glove.  Even I have to admit it's still fairly respectable.  He always looks like he'll bend over and never be able to get up again yet somehow makes ridiculous plays.  His error rate has crept up over the past years, however, and with his constant injuries, his value on the field is greatly diminished.

It's over!  This is a career that is near an end and I, for one, will be OK with it.  I will not look back!  I cannot be made to do so.

Devon Travis

It was a stroke of genius obtaining Travis in exchange for Gose (who has a horrifically poor attitude and skills to match).  Not much use in having speed if you never get on base and you have a 10 cent head to go along with the Million Dollar Arm!

As an added bonus, Travis has finally put it all together this year and is a serviceable defender while batting for average and power!  It looks like this is really going to work out!

If only it were that simple.  It's become clear this year that Travis will never again take the field.  His career is not only in jeopardy but is, in fact, over.  It was a good run but he is clearly not going to be able to play for the Jays or any other team again (and I would encourage him not to be watching on TV in the meantime either) so it's time to start wondering about what could have been and resigning ourselves to another decade of Goins!

Justin Smoak

Suddenly, it seems like Smoak is "good".  There's talk of him making the All-Star Game, which would clearly prove that he really is "good". (*** Update - this has actually happened ***)


Smoak is absolute garbage and we all know that he always has been.  Deep down, every single reader of this article understands, at a gut level, that Smoak is terrible, is a sunk cost, and should be jettisoned from the team immediately.  His defensive work does not make up for the fact that he has one of the worst bats in the history of the game.

If Smoak is on the squad again next year then I will officially renounce my fanship of this club!  I will not watch the Jays again.

Kendrys Morales

Let's not kid ourselves here - this is a guy that once broke his leg celebrating a home run.  That is the highlight of his career to this point and I don't think he's going to top it.  He's huge and out of shape - he can occasionally swing the lumber and randomly hit one on the barrel, driving it out of the park with sheer mass and luck.  He is so slow on the base paths, though, that he may be the first batter in the game to be thrown out on a home run over the fence.
I won't devote much effort to his fielding - don't bother ever putting him out there.

He's no good!  The Jays will never win with this guy!

Russell Martin

One of the best pitch framers in the game!  Veteran presence!  Leadership!  A great game caller!

What's not to like?  This guy sounds like he could win a championship all by himself.  Astute observers of the game, such as myself, have noticed that the narrative holds little in common with reality.

Martin now has a limp arm, unable to throw out even the slowest of potential base stealers.  His so called skilled pitch framing and game calling has not helped the Jays staff - it's likely even hurt them.  His skills on the offensive side of the game have eroded to the point that it would be best not to put him out there anymore.

Hell, he's even been put at third base somewhat frequently, to cover for the oft-injured Donaldson.  Imagine that, replacing the declining, oft-injured Donaldson with the rapidly declining, always injured Martin.

***  Please Note ***

The rest of the position players on the roster, now or earlier in the year, are irrelevant!


The pitching staff has been an unmitigated disaster this year.  Without exception, the staff has been below expectations.  It's been a horror show to watch - thankfully I quit watching most games early on.

Aaron Sanchez

Sanchez is still young and is a great pitcher. He was spectacular last year.  It's too bad, then, that his career is all but over due to ongoing blister and nail issues. Not much more to say here - it's just simply over and could have been so great.

Marcus Stroman

Stroman has under performed.  I think we all believed he would turn into something truly special but he is now just an average pitcher.  That's nothing to sneeze at but won't win you anything over the long haul.

It's clear that Marcus cannot control his emotions on the mound.  Not only does he greatly disrespect the game (like Bautista does) but his inability to harness his emotions causes him to lose effectiveness and it actually pumps up the other team.  It gets them mad and that causes them to hit better!

Stroman is probably the best of the bunch but it just isn't good enough.  He's also too short to succeed as a major league pitcher - this much is clear to those of us who understand the game, who have been around long enough to see others fail before him.

JA Happ

Happ has been a mediocre pitcher throughout his career.  He ran into some random, statistical luck over the last couple of seasons but that luck has now dissipated and he's turned back into a pumpkin.  He lacks velocity, doesn't have a good out pitch, doesn't miss bats, and clearly doesn't have the will to win like a true champion does.

His lack of "pitcher wins" shows that he is no good anymore.  Can't wait for his contract to expire!

Joe Biagini

This guy seems mentally unstable.  Just nuts.
Also a poor pitcher.  Good day to him!

Francisco Liriano

His best years are long, long behind him.  If Pittsburgh couldn't fix him then our inferior coaching staff certainly can't, as proven by the results since he came over to the club.

When he pitches, I feel a sense of hopelessness, to a certain extent, but also a sense of calm.  Why calm?  Because I already know the Jays will lose the game!  Therefore I'm already resigned to my fate and don't worry about being upset.

Roberto Osuna

Has been spectacular.  Unfortunately, as someone who has seen anxiety in person, I can certainly let you know right now that his career is over!   This is the sort of thing that can't be worked through and that nobody comes back from.  It's such a shame because he's so damned good.  I harboured hopes he would still become a starter but now that won't happen and it's also time to look for a new closer.

None of the other pitchers are worth writing about - it is simply not worth my time and makes no sense.  I absolutely will not write about them and I certainly cannot be induced to so by any means!

Off the Field

Everyone knows the Toronto Blue Jays are one of the worst franchises in Major League Baseball and they may, in fact, be one of the worst in all of sports.  It's been this way since the beginning.  I've been watching the Jays since the early 80's, when I was too young to really even remember.  I do recall, however, screaming at the TV as a young kid and my dad being bewildered and unimpressed at my conduct.  Little did he know it would continue to happen for decades.  Watching the Jays has been pure torture for me and for all fans, I would expect!

The Jays started out at Exhibition Stadium, a converted football stadium that clearly was no good for baseball.  It was horrific but then a new stadium appeared!  The franchise was saved!  Skydome seemed good and modern for a couple of years but then, in short order, better franchises with more vision moved towards old-style ballparks.  The Jays have been trapped ever since and they will be for decades to come.  I refuse to watch a ballgame at the Skydome - I absolutely, 100% will not do so.  I may choose to attend a game in Seattle but even then the club would have to be good that year and if I was at a game where they were losing or looked like they might, I would immediately scream my displeasure, leave the city, and head back to Canada!

In the booth, we have Buck Martinez and Pat Tabler (tabby!)

 Both were poor players on the club and both are even worse announcers.  They rely on cliche, old stats, platitudes, and in the case of Martinez, booze!  Tabler isn't smart enough to realize how bad he is at his job.  This duo is clearly the worst in the league and I won't listen to their horrific "commentary".  I'm not even going to waste any more words on them.

In the dugout, Good Old Gibbers is probably the best thing about the club!  He gets great lean in the post game interviews, tries not to do dumb stuff like bunting (though has been doing so more lately!) and just stays out of the way.  He knows how to manage a bullpen.  I nominate Gibby for permanent manager of the club, until his natural death in his 90's.

Mark Shapiro has taken over running the club after AA wisely left for greener pastures.  He has systematically destroyed all that was good about the franchise (not much!) and we're left with an old core, no prospects, and no hope for the future.  I firmly believe he was brought in to tank the club, reduce its value, and get it ready for contraction or a move to the USA!
Ross Atkins does not merit any commentary from me - he's simply a puppet who is not responsible for any of the moves.

I had thought I would write on more topics but I'm sure it's obvious I'm running out of steam.  Who wouldn't at this point, having to think about this nonsense - this abject failure year after year?

I think it is a waste of time discussing the Jays, thinking about them, writing articles about them.  Why should we spend our valuable time on these pursuits when the season is already lost before the All Star break?  I, for one, will never write another article for this site!  I will never return to visit - even to reply to any comments on this article!

Furthermore, I will never again watch another Blue Jays game, on TV, on any streaming platform, or on any sort of future media or format that has not yet been invented or revealed to the general public.

I can't believe I've even been fooled into writing this - I can absolutely, 100%, steadfastly guarantee this will not happen again!!  I will not even listen to a Jays game as long as I live.  This will also extend into possible reincarnations - there will not be any "Jays listening" on either radio or Gameday audio in this or any other future life!

I feel I must take this even an extra step to protect myself.  I will never again read any analysis, commentary, articles, or other forms of writing revolving around the Jays.  Even articles that may only mention them in a peripheral manner will be avoided.  To make sure that this is strictly enforced, I will engage the use of a Chrome add-in that will block all mention of the Toronto Blue Jays.  I will refuse, absolutely, completely, and steadfastly, to use any other computer or mobile device which does not have this feature!!

Furthermore, if I should happen upon any in person discussions regarding the Blue Jays, I will immediately leave the area.  It's possible that I will then think about the Jays due to overhearing these illicit conversations.  If this should occur, I will wash my mouth out with soap in an effort to deflect my thoughts to something more pleasant.  Should this fail, I will proceed directly to the local psychiatric hospital in whatever town I'm in so I can demand electroshock therapy, which should hopefully remove any memory of these intrusive thoughts!!!

This is the end for me - I will not speak to any of you again.  It's all over!

Good Day!

*****  Update July 3, 2017 *****

I came back to the site to finish off the article today and I find that the Jays are mired in a losing streak and are being heavily outclassed by all opponents.  The squad is getting old, can't hit, can't run, can't pitch, and has no "will to win"!  Gibbers can't manage anymore and the GM is trying to make useless moves to improve the team, when he should be selling off everything that isn't bolted down.   I am sicked by this and not only will I not be back but I have privately lobbied mk to shut down Jays in the House permanently!  I cannot stand by while people are still being exposed to this nonsense - it doesn't just disgust me but also makes me sad.  Why should everyone suffer?  Please stop following the Jays!

I recommend collecting baseball cards - perhaps a nice run from 1952 Topps to 1976 Topps!  Nothing newer!  Enjoy the game through vintage cards!  This will be my last words to you.  Goodbye - permanently!