Posted by: Peter Houston | February 1, 2010

State of the Union

Late last week, a young, new, revolutionary leader delivered a bleak state of the union address. He didn’t mince his words. He admitted things may get worse before they get better. He told his people there is reason for hope, but acknowledged the suffering isn’t quite over.

But, as most people know, he wasn’t to blame. He inherited the grim state of his union. His predecessor, who was in control for eight long years, had his fingerprints all over the crime scene. He made a series of poor, rash decisions, and by the end of it, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who didn’t want him gone. What he left wasn’t much, but it was nothing his successor couldn’t build on.

The new leader, never short on optimism, said once he got things back on the right track, it would unite the nation.

“When we do start winning, and winning big, we’re going to be able to carry a wave straight through and it’s going to go across Canada,” said Alex Anthopoulos.*

C’mon… you didn’t actually think this was going to be about Obama, did you? What did you expect? This is Jays Balk, not the New York Times. Funny coincidence though, isn’t it?

All jokes aside, last week AA, Paul Beeston and Cito posted up in front of some season ticket holders at the Rogers Centre and basically just reminded us that the Jays are going to be terrible this year. It was a formal we’re-rebuilding-so-don’t-get-your-hopes-up-because-we-don’t-want-to-disappoint-you declaration. Apparently there was one scheduled for the Leafs in September, but Brian Burke didn’t get the memo and traded for Phil Kessel (Playoffs? Seriously? Wait, I probably just didn’t hear correctly… Oh, no, you did say playoffs. Wow, you’re actually an idiot.) But I’ll leave that one for another day.

Each of the Blue Jays representatives had their own special way of reminding us that this season is going to be depressing. Beeston, as president and CEO, said that payroll is going to be between $60-63 M, down about $20 M from last year. When asked about attracting fans to the park, AA said that trying to spin and sell the Jays as a winner isn’t right and that he’s going to be honest with the fans. Easy buddy, sometimes the truth hurts. Cito didn’t even have to open his mouth. The fact that he’s managing the 2010 club is depressing enough. But, he added to the misery by unveiling some of his lineup, which features John Buck at catcher and Jose Bautista at leadoff. Oh, and he thinks it would be great if we got King Carlos back (it really wouldn’t).

Oh ya, and then there was the whole Johnny Damon thing. Apparently AA talked to Scott Boras about him…once. So settle down. Why would you be excited anyway? He (will be) an overpaid, aging outfielder, who can’t play defense and is just going to take at bats away from Travis Snider. Sure, he hit 24 dings last year, but if Jason Kendall played every second game at the new Yankee stadium he’d probably pop off 20 too.

AA also said he’s still shortstop shopping. Yes, he did already sign two shortstops this offseason, but the more the merrier, right? Obviously neither of the two he did sign are long term solutions, which is what he’s looking for.

“There was one GM that I kept calling,” Anthopoulos said with a laugh. “I wore him out probably — just trying to find ways and work three-ways [trades] and four-ways and five-ways. … It’s definitely at the top of our list.”

The man has obviously been working hard, there was never much doubt about that. And I can honestly say I haven’t disliked one of his moves. The John Buck signing didn’t particularly tickle my fancy, but whatever, he’s just a plug anyway. It’s either going to be J.P. Arencibia, Travis d’Arnaud or Carlos Perez behind the plate when we’re playing any meaningful games. If John Buck directs the 2010 Blue Jays to the basement, I’ll gladly follow. Anybody not want the first overall pick?

The point is: 2010 isn’t going to be pretty, but have some faith. The rotation is littered with potential and there’s more coming. The thought of Hill-Lind-Wallace-Snider gets my heartbeat going a little faster. And I don’t know about you, but it just feels like AA’s got everything under control. He’s a man with a plan. If nothing else, you know he’s going to be working harder than any other GM. The man was working on deals on his honeymoon for Christ’s sake. So stop your whining and when in doubt, remind yourself that at least we’re not the Pirates, or Royals, or… Leafs.

*All quotes are courtesy of Jordan Bastian’s article.



  1. A blog about a Toronto team that does not simultaneously support the new Giguere-led dynasty…

    By the way, who won on Saturday again?

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