Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins Have Depth
During the offseason there was so much that was said about the way the front-office worked out their baseball business. There was a whole hell of a lot of depth acquisitions that made fans howl into the shit winds because depth isn’t sexy… yawn.
It was hard for Blue Jays fans to sit back and watch the dumb Yankees pick Stanton from Jeter’s overrated pocket. It was frustrating to see Yelich and Cain take their talent to Milwaukee, which is Algonquian for the good land. And now it is indeed a damn good baseball land for all the Brewski Brewers fans to hoot and holler in all season long.
And when the Red Sox finally got the JD Martinez deal done, more Blue Jays fans got real mad - like I’ve-been-on-hold-with-Rogers-listening-to-their-dumb-elevator-to-shit-music-for-a-half-hour-waiting-to-complain-about-my-stupid-high-bill kind of mad - because Rogers is cheap and Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins don’t care about winning. Shapiro and Atkins don’t care… big effing cuss.
The Angels, who the Blue Jays will be competing with for the final Wild Card spot, added Cozart, Kinsler, and Ohtani, and seem to be the on paper wild card favourites – sort of. But, the Angels rotation is kind of trash, and I wrote this earlier in the year:
So the Angels will be counting on a bruised up kind of who-is-recovering-from-something mix of pitchers in 2018, with Garrett Richards, Matt Shoemaker, Tyler Skaggs, Andrew Heaney, and J.C. Ramírez, who are all recovering from some sort of ulnar collateral ligament damage or Tommy damn John or more torn ulnar collateral damage. And I’m not being hyperbolic here folks, but there are a shit ton of ‘ifs’ in the Halo’s rotation.
And Shoemaker and Heaney are already on the 10-day DL… and while it’s probably a bit too early to gloat, it’s good to remember the famous words of the great Canadian trailer park thinker Ricky: ‘I’m not the kind of person to say I atodaso, but, ya know what: I atodaso so. I fuckin’ atodaso.’
And a lot of these fans were not happy when Ross Atkins focused on adding depth and not splashing big in the free agent market. So, Shapiro and Atkins had to get a bit creative, a bit nifty, and a bit sensible when approaching the offseason this past winter and so that’s what they did.
They had a tight budget to work with – roughly 25million dollars, which doesn’t buy you a whole heck of a lot of Lorenzo Cains, and so they had to get creative. They traded Dominic Leone and Conner ‘Charlie Sheen’ Greene to the Cards for Randal Grichuck. They signed veteran Curtis Granderson. They acquired Ngoepe from the Bucs for a little bit of cash. They plucked Diaz from the Cards for J.B. Woodman. And they landed the versatile Solarte from the Padres for Edward Olivares and Jared Carkuff – not bad at all. Not very sexy, but totally creative and so far it appears to be working.
And in addition to all of those clever moves that not a single Blue Jays beat writer rumored up in the offseason, the Blue Jays FO went out and added starting pitcher Jaime Garcia, and relief pitchers: Seung Hwan ‘the Stone Buddha’ Oh, Tyler Clippard, and John Axford. And people called this offseason slow? The Blue Jays have 9 new players on their 25-man roster - not slow at all. And there will be no more Ryan Goins and Darwin Barney - just sayin'. And Solarte and Diaz are much better - just sayin' again.
The Toronto FO went about their business this offseason and prepared for the worst case Ontario situations, so that the team is prepared and has an answer for when bad things happen, the kind of shitty things which last season they were unprepared for.
I remember I bought Chris Hadfield’s book for my stepdad a couple of years ago and he went on and on about Hadfield’s approach to preparing for the worst and it seems that Shapiro and Atkins understand this way of thinking. Hadfield says, ‘‘Negative thinking sounds pessimistic. Defeatist. But when you think about it, planning for the worst can actually be energizing and confidence-boosting. How? Well, if you always prepare a contingency for every scenario, you’ll never be caught off-guard.” And this seems to be the Blue Jays approach because with all the ‘unsexy’ depth moves made this offseason, it seems that the good Birds of Summer are well-prepared to avoid a repeat of 2017... fingers big time crossed.
The Blue Jays have added layers of depth that should keep this ship from steering so off-course that ol’ Gibbers doesn’t even know exactly where it is, but he knows it’s somewhere at the bottom of the East. They are a team that has added some real value without making any noise. And the depth goes even deeper than who is on the 25-man roster, as the Blue Jays have many options in Buffalo that could come in and help out if and when that time comes.
The Blue Jays have Joe Biagini, Ryan Borucki, Taylor Guerrieri, Carlos Ramirez and Tim Mayza to turn to when someone in the starting rotation goes on the 10-day DL – or the bullpen springs a painful leak. They have Danny Jansen ready and waiting for the call if Martin suffers some sort of injury. They have Danny Espinosa for some added infield depth waiting if things start to holy-shit-hurt in the infield. They have Teoscar Hernandez, Anthony Alford (when healthy), Dwight Smith Jr., and Dalton Pompey (hopefully healthy) ready to take the bus up the QEW to Toronto.
Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins did a good job this offseason putting together a complete team that should compete with any team in the American League. They have constructed a roster that is built to survive the shittiest of shit storms. It might not be sexy, but it sure makes damn sense.