So Jays Fans Are Back At This Fire Shapiro And Atkins Stuff

So Jays fans are back at this Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins need to be tossed in the can kind of talk. And the truth is I really had no intentions of writing another piece about this totally worn out topic. It’s just that this noise has been so loud lately that I can’t help writing about this again. I just really don’t understand any Jays fan who actually believes this. I really don’t.

And I’m not about to go on some dumb rant and explain to all the ‘shatkins’ people out there that they are being nonsensical clowns. I just want to try and understand why certain fickle fans loathe Shapiro and Atkins so much.

What have these two executives done to make certain Jays fans so miserable? I think this is a fair question. And I have many more questions, too. Did they expect them to build a World Series team in 2017 and ’18? And did they forget that Shapiro and Atkins did get us back to the ALCS in ’16? This Jays front office gave the ‘16 ALCS core of players every opportunity in 2017 to play for that Wild Card spot again. But, everything that could go wrong last season did, similar to what’s happening now.

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Do these people actually believe that these ‘Cleveland Cronies’ were brought here by big bad Rogers to destroy baseball in Canada? Can they not see the success that Cleveland has had over the past couple of seasons? A Cleveland team that was mostly built by Shapiro. A Cleveland team that went to the World Series in ’16. Made a run in ’17. And will get back to the postseason in ’18. But, Mark Shapiro is shit and Atkins is his yes-man kin.

The truth is that I’m really trying to figure out what Shapiro and Atkins have done which has ruined so many of these people’s lives. What have they done that has had so many people aggressively hammer dumb things on keyboards and finger press these thoughtless comments on smartphones?

Mark Shapiro signed JA Happ and these people howled because he didn’t sign David Price. And if you compare both of those contracts and look at their numbers today, that was a damn good move – a damn good move that a lot of these ‘shatkins’ people refuse to acknowledge. They sure love Happ now, but still hate Shapiro.

Shapiro and Atkins didn’t ink Bautista to a multi-year deal, which would have had this ‘shatkins’ tribe all howling into the wind right now if they did – even though they howled for that to happen. But, they did bring him back for 2017. And because of that, Jays fans got to send off one of the greatest players in franchise history the proper way with a standing ovation and many José…José…José…José chants.

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So what are they so upset about? Seriously. Is it the Edwin thing? I dunno. I remember that he was offered a contract better than the one he signed with Cleveland. Is it the Kendrys signing? Because I think that it’s kind of interesting that when the Jays signed Morales, who is represented by Wasserman Media Group, on November 11th in 2016, that the very next day they signed Lourdes Gurriel Jr., the No. 6 ranked International prospect (at that time,) who is also represented by Wasserman Media Group.

Maybe the Lourdes deal doesn’t get done without the Kendrys deal – or maybe I’ve thought about this too much. If you add the money on Morales’ contract and the 7-years of control at $22 million for Lourdes, it’s worth every penny to have a near MLB ready versatile prospect like Gurriel Jr. Gurriel Jr. could be worth all of that money combined. Maybe these ‘shatkins’ people don’t like Lourdes Gurriel Jr. Who knows? I certainly don’t.

Are these same people smashing plates because Teoscar Hernandez is a Blue Jay? Are they pissed that they traded Joe Smith for a good lefty prospect in Thomas Pannone (and prospect Samad Taylor, too)? Are they bummed out that they didn’t trade Vladdy Jr. to Miami for Christian Yelich this offseason? Are they crying because they drafted Nate Pearson with the pick they received when Edwin signed with Cleveland? Are they up in arms about them picking Bo Bichette in the second-round of the 2016 draft? Are they frustrated because they continue to build the farm with talented young players who will be a part of a future Jays team that will have all of us excited for years to come? Even though it doesn’t feel like it right now, these are exciting times to be Jays fans folks.

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I’m really trying to understand all of these ‘shatkins’ people. I really am. They must be angry that they didn’t go out and spend all the cash-rules-everything-around MLB this offseason. That’s what it must be. Even though we all know, Shapiro and Atkins have to work with the budget they are given. And they only had about $20 – 25 million to work with this offseason – so there’s that.

Any reasonable Jays fan knows that they weren’t in a financial *ROGERS* position to sign JD Martinez – or Lorenzo Cain – or an Arrieta. And they actually did a great job spreading out the money, adding depth, and making effective trades. But, howl away for the sake of making noise if that’s your thing. Howl at that lonely moon.

Here’s the thing, most of us Jays fans are hardworking people who make an honest amount of money and have to budget every dime to pay rent as we make ends meet. It would be nice to go out and spend $40 dollars on two steaks, but if you only have $100 dollars in your weekly grocery budget, it’s not possible. And that’s pretty much where Shapiro and Atkins are with how much money is tied up in certain aging players on this roster. And soon that money will be freed up and the Jays will be able to spend to bring in players they need – or re-sign players they want to keep, who will help win the 2022 World Series.

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I trust what they will do at the trade deadline, and I believe that they will make sure that there is enough talent around when the Vlad years finally begin. There is no reason not to howl in excitement for what’s around the future corner. This organization isn’t going to be absolute dogshit for the next two decades. This organization might be only a couple seasons away from playing baseball in October again – pretty cool stuff.

So why do these people hate Shapiro and Atkins so much? It’s not their fault that Josh Donaldson has been injured. It’s not their fault that Roberto Osuna is an asshole. It’s not their fault that Aaron Sanchez had blister issues last season and has looked lost out there this year. It’s not their fault that Marcus Stroman is injured. Or that Marco Estrada hasn’t painted the way he usually does. And it’s not John Gibbons’ either.

So, what is it? I honestly would like to know.

  • Tools of Ignorance

    These are the sane, level-headed observations and evaluations that Stoeten once made (though, oddly, has abandoned somewhat in his recent years). Wonderful levity. Kudos.

  • sons

    I don’t hate them, but come on, they f’d up the Edwin thing large. Don’t defend that fake 48 hour offer they gave him. They clearly wanted Morales all along. At the very least they could have taken their time on everyone. Even with Edwin’s usual slow start, the WAR difference this year is already 1.4. And last year it was 3.

    But hey I’m not going to pick on one move that failed. AA made 2 big moves that failed (Dickey and Tulo). I just wish these guys would give a little more effort to now. We could have done a lot better than Garcia for example.

      • sons

        Not true. He didn’t do anything and they suddenly said he HAD to decide right away. He went 30+ years of life to finally be a free agent and then suddenly had an ultimatum. Total bullshit move. He said ‘wait I’m still reading the damn thing’ and then they not only ‘revoked’ the offer but signed a replacement basically immediately – implying talks had already been happening.

        That was absolutely the outcome Shapiro wanted. Don’t be obtuse.

        • Dexxter

          A point I think a lot of people forget is that being the only Canadian franchise in MLB, you’re always playing with a disadvantage in free agency. Realistically most US born players would likely prefer to play in the US. Lots of international players are closer to home in the US as well and everyone prefers the warmer weather for baseball. The Jays are on a tonne of no trade lists for a reason.

          You can be deny this and be offended and upset about it… or accept it as a reality and figure out how to combat it. One way to do that in free agency is to be aggressive early. Money talks and beating the market with an early offer can help get players to sign here. But no expiry means they can sit on it and wait to see if they become a fall back option for a big spending team. Take it or leave it is I think what the Jays have to do. And if they have a deal come together they need to strike quick.

          Honestly I was more concerned about the Happ deal when they signed it then Morales’. Two early signings and both a bit of an overpay. One worked out great…. one didn’t.

      • sons

        What did it cost us really? I wish Shapiro would make a bold move like that. Johnson was a potential Cy Young candidate in many people’s minds and Reyes was an all-star that happened to break his leg 2 weeks in.

        • Starvenger

          At the end of the day, it cost us prospects (was Hechavarria still a prospect?), and salary constraints.

          But that trade gave us 20% of the roster (hypothetically, as it turned out that Buck was just passing through), including 2/5 of the starting rotation, so I guess I consider it a pretty big trade, even if the talent given up wasn’t on the level of that given up in the Dickey or Tulo trades.

          I mean, we expected Reyes to be an all star again, Johnson to be the stud pitcher, and Buehrle to be a consistent innings eater. We got one of those three things, which to me, means that the trade ended up as a failure, even if, in terms of how the Marlins made out, it was effectively a wash.

          I do understand that they’re playing something of a long game. And that’s great, because the prospect pipeline is rich again. But like you, I’m hoping that Shatkins will make a bold move like that if the opportunity presents itself and the time is right.

    • DAKINS

      No, no they didn’t.

      They offered Edwin more than Cleveland did. (which wasn’t fake, not sure where the hell that idea is coming from, probably thin air.)

      Edwin’s agent was dumb, and turned it down.

      The Jays moved on.

      That wasn’t the Jays’ fault, at all.

  • Regulator Johnson

    In fairness if they keep their current pace 2017/18 will be their worst 2 full season stretch since 1983.

    I agree with the analysis here and its possible that the team would have been this bad no matter what moves were made or money was spent. But the team is worse than both the post-Delgado and the post-Halladay teams, which were really bad teams! I can’t really fault people for wondering whether there was a possible set of moves that could have led to the team not being a dumpster fire. The fact that fans blame management for building a terrible team shouldn’t really be a mystery, should it?

    • Dexxter

      Except the post-delgado teams were non playoff contenders for years. Like decades even.

      So far we have one year of a not very good team and a bad start to year #2. Which wouldn’t be bad at all really if Sanchez, Stroman and Donaldson perform to reasonable expectations and Osuna is…. well… Anyway.

      Every sane Jays fan in the world would have counted on these guys the same way our FO did…. but it’s been a tough go for all of them.

      Plus the farm system is pretty stacked. Of course farm systems don’t always work out and (gulp) Vlad Jr. may not be the second coming and lead us to the promised land… but two decades of a non-playoff team with a weak farm offering little hope for the future? I don’t see that either.

      We can make Ricciardi era comparisons again in 2035 maybe.

      • Regulator Johnson

        For the record I agree with you & the point the article was making. I’m just saying it’s tough for fans to look at a team that is stocked with veterans but realistically is the worst Jays team they’ve ever seen and give the FO any credit.

        The implication of this article (basically that fans are acting in bad faith or they are deeply prejudiced against the FO) over complicates a very simple reaction to a putrid on-field product.

  • niveb

    “Any reasonable Jays fan knows that they weren’t in a financial *ROGERS* position to sign JD Martinez – or Lorenzo Cain – or an Arrieta.”
    That is the problem- they are enabling Rogers, covering for them. The BlueJays needed JD Martinez-the season was over when he went to Boston.
    The fact is that the Jays should be in the competition for every top notch Free Agent. They should have been competing for Yu Darvish and Arrieta, they should have been competing for first class outfielders in the past two off seasons. They just do not go after the best talent. They don’t compete with the Yankees or the Red Sox.
    And you tell us that it has to be this way *ROGERS*-it doesn’t. And after 25 years of ownership channeling Harold Ballard and whining that Toronto/Canada is a small market, a sort of Pittsburgh or Cleveland, patience has run out.The fans want respect. And Shapiro and Atkins are on the other side *ROGERS*.
    And nobody knows better than Rogers, incidentally, how good the Toronto market is. The trouble is nobody knows better than Rogers that Canadians will put up with a lot in the way of bad service, high prices and shoddy products.

    • dolsh

      They’re not covering for them. They’re doing their job.

      Like every other middle manager with P&L responsibilities, they’re given targets, a budget, and accountabilities.

      Very few people will tell their boss to piss off…why expect Shapiro to do it?

  • AD

    Simple, they dont have the balls to tell rogers off. Clearly. Rogers is telling them to try and field a compeitive team for monetary reasons. If they are actuallt actually trying to build a competitive team, they have done a terrible job the last few winters. Not enough impact talent was added and a lot was subtracted.

  • byngski

    Thank you Ryan for this article. I believe that we have a pretty good crew running the club and working in the organization (kudos to the scouting department). The results thus far have been crap but you rightly identified the causes. It’s funny that those who criticize the front office don’t reserve the same amount of venom for the under performing players except perhaps for Morales.

  • Knuckle Balls

    Its too bad all these reasons for being bad and the hope for the future will not help Gibber when he gets fired in a week or so. As mentioned by Mike Wilner the Dark Clouds are forming. Atkins and Sharpiro probably have Gibbers exit plan already worked out. Its not Gibbers fault but someone will take the fall.

  • Holly Wood

    This should not be on Gibby, be he will likely have to take the first bullet. When half your roster is hitting too close to .200 and your starters and bullpen take turns laying egg, then you are forced to play back up defenders due to injuries howcan we really expect this club to perform. Too many old, slow, under performing vets on this team. Martin, Tulowitzki, Morales, Pearce, Estrada Donaldson………

  • Terry Mesmer

    > Jays fans are back at this Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins need to be tossed

    Most never stopped thinking this. Most sports fans are basically conspiracy theorists who falsely believe they’re too classy for UFOs. Rage drives them and they don’t know why. But they certainly won’t blame themselves for their deep unhappiness.

  • MLip

    The reason I am disappointed in the Atkins / Shapiro regime is quite simple: the cost of attending a ball game has never been higher, and the on-field product has never been worse.

    I also think the way they have constructed the roster creates a very tiring team to watch — they strike out a ton; do not put the ball in play with runners on base; they give up leads; they play below-average defence; they are old and not athletic; and they have an abundance of DH-types who do not even hit well.

    If they were trying to tank the season for a higher draft pick, they missed the boat on trading Donaldson, Happ, Estrada, and Osuna while their value was at its highest. If they thought this team would contend, they did a poor job of evaluating the talent on the roster.

    Further they have filled out the roster with below average veteran MLB “depth” at the expense of giving opportunities to the internal talent in the system. For instance, I would much rather watch Alford develop than Granderson play every day on a bad team.

    Last, they also appear to be indecisive and reluctant to change things that are clearly broken — Morales won’t hit; Pearce and Tulo can’t stay healthy; Oh won’t remember how to pitch well; etc. They should move on from these players, even if that requires eating money to do it.

    With all that said, I do not advocate for anyone losing their job. What I hope is that they start making decisions on who is the future of the Blue Jays and developing a more entertaining identity — they need to create a “Blue Jays Way” that is fun to watch, preferably by emphasizing putting the ball in play, good defence, and athleticism.

    Just my two cents.

    • Knuckle Balls

      Unfortunately this management regime has committed to these players for this season. This season was to bridge for the 2019 season when some moneys comes off the books and some young talent appears like Vlad jr and 2020 Martin is gone as well as some other pieces and more young talent arrives. So while watching the have a drink every time the show Gibber’s stoic face and by the end of the game you won’t remember a thing about the game

      • MLip

        But I think that is exactly the problem:
        If the plan was to suck, they should have moved Donaldson, Happ, Estrada and Smoak before the season started and their value was at its highest. If the plan was to compete, they had terrible evaluations of the talent on their roster.

        Or maybe the team gets a little healthier, Sanchez finds the zone, they start rolling, and we see some good ball again.

        • Knuckle Balls

          I do not think the plan was to suck but conceed the fact that the team as built could be a second tear team for second wild card, which everyone agreed at the beginning of the season. The way they started no one agrued that. But Osuna situation, Donaldson hurt and starting rotation under performing and other injuries, but definitely starting pitching being bad this team is hard watch. They were also finding all kinds of ways to loose games. But over their last 5 to 6 games starting pitching been much better and the Jays have been every game to win it. So there is some light coming, but maybe not this year as expected.

  • Oz Rob

    I wonder if it’s just something as stupid as the fact that they aren’t Canadian? They also seem a little robotic, particularly Atkins. I have confidence in them both, but have to admit that it would be nice to see Atkins speak in a genuine way rather than spew out formulaic jargon. One wonders why they came to Toronto in the first place given that they had spent so much time in Cleveland building a winner…only to leave when they started winning. They must have seen the looming problems for the Jays, maybe they wanted a challenge.