Happy Winter Meetings, everybody! The Blue Jays are fucked!
Ho ho ho. No, that’s not true. Sure, sure, the Yankees probably made up for Aaron Judge’s coming regression by adding Giancarlo Stanton (assuming he stays healthy), but that’s hardly a reason to cower and pack it in. *COUGH* You see, as the very fact that we think teams will readily give over a bounty for free-agents-to-be like Josh Donaldson or J.A. Happ illustrates, there’s a lot of value in having a chance for your team to be good. And, as the fact that the Jays would have been 8-10 wins better with the 2016 versions of just Josh Donaldson, Aaron Sanchez, and José Bautista instead of the 2017 ones (saying nothing of other decent players who gave them nothing last year but might in 2018, like Devon Travis, Troy Tulowitzki, Kendrys Morales, Joe Biagini (provided he gets in shape) etc.) shows, they have a chance to be quite a bit better in 2018 than a lot of fans believe.
And that’s before they make any tweaks! Which they probably will! Unless they suddenly decide to cower and pack it in!
Which, y’know, is actually what they might as well do if they’re looking at someone like Josh Harrison — which, according to a tweet from Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, they apparently are.
What’s that you say? Harrison is a nice, versatile piece on a decent contract who would bring some speed and is league average hitter for his career and it’s good that the Jays are interested in him? Yeah, I get that. I’m definitely being hyperbolic in my shitting on this idea. But countering the good that he might bring is the fact that he hits from the right side, he doesn’t play shortstop (he’s primarily a second baseman who has also spent time at third base and in the outfield), and I’m really not sure how much I believe in the bat.
Harrison posted a 104 wRC+ in 2017, thanks in large part to a career high 16 home runs. On their own, those are some very nice numbers, and Harrison had an even better year in 2014, slashing a .353-BABIP-aided .315/.347/.490 and hitting 13 bombs. He’s shown he can hit. And $10.25 million is a decent price, especially given the club option on his deal for 2019, and the fact that the Jays can maybe figure out a way to get the Pirates to take some money back in a deal. But Harrison doesn’t walk, and over two years and nearly 1,000 plate appearances in 2015 and 2016 he went deep just eight times.
If you get the 86 wRC+, .311 OBP, four home run Harrison of 2016, or even the 98 wRC+, .327 OBP, four home run Harrison of 2015, that’s not a very good use of either the portion of salary you’re paying him or the pieces it took to acquire him. And the thing about those 16 dingers in 2017 is that everybody was hitting the ball out of the ballpark this year. I don’t want to act like they’re all suspect or anything, but it’s certainly enough to give me pause.
If either Harrison or Aldemys Diaz hit from the left side, I’d be more for a move like this. And, OK, sure, I wouldn’t be against it — it certainly raises the floor, if you only think of Harrison and Diaz as replacements for Ryan Goins and Darwin Barney. I just don’t know if it’s the way to go — especially if you’re paying the full freight.
Jon Heyman tweets that the Jays are among the teams “eyeing” starter Alex Cobb — a guy who makes some sense for them, given that Happ and Marco Estrada are due to be free agents at the end of 2018. Especially if he has a death wish! Not that they ever were, and not that the Jays had the kind of payroll room to pay them anyway, but I’m just not sure the top free agent pitchers are going to be looking too seriously at coming here just right now. The Jays might be looking at taking a one-year flyer on some guys — which actually could benefit them, too. Sure, if they hold off on selling their free-agents-to-be until at least mid-season, they’re going to lose out on some of the value they could get for those guys now. But if they use their resources to add even more cheap-ish, short-term guys who could be valuable at the deadline, they can also trade them and perhaps recoup a little of what’s being lost by not pivoting sooner. Maybe? A little?
Annnnywho. Don’t hold your breath on Cobb, because Heyman’s tweet also says that the Cubs are focusing on him.
Speaking of the Cubs, Heyman also tweets that they are closing in on signing Brandon Morrow. Makes sense — and good for him!