4

Helping Old Cleveland Friends

Back in the early nineties, I used to go down to Cleveland with my stepdad for a week to watch the Jays every summer. Cleveland played in good old Municipal Stadium back then. The stadium was big. It was empty. The pillars were like giant walls. I was too young to drink beer. And somehow, the atmosphere was perfect. I was a little squirt. REM was my favourite band. And Cleveland slowly became my second favourite team, and they still are today.

I could go down memory lane and get all nostalgic and shit and go on about meeting Juan Guzman in the concourse before he pitched that same night. I could tell you about the time I saw Mark McGwire at the Galleria Mall when Oakland was in town. And share my story about how I nervously approached him and mustered up the courage to ask him for his autograph. I could tell you how he stared at me with his expressionless, smug look, shook his head, and turned around and started talking to the people he was with. I was eleven – nice guy. Anyway…

Since I do watch Cleveland and follow them (and have since the early nineties), this team needs a little trade deadline help from the Jays. They need some sort of help if they want to actually press on further than the ALDS this year and try to make a real run at the World Series before their window closes. They need to upgrade their bullpen. And they could even add an arm into their rotation, as well. So, Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins might be able to help their old friends, and Cleveland might be able to help the Jays.

When it comes to the ‘pen the brass should be open to trading any of their pitchers, especially if the pitcher is hurling as well as Ryan Tepera. The Jays might not be in any sort of rush to trade him since he’s under control until the end of 2021 and is cheap and all that stuff. But, you just never know with a bullpen arm – just look at what’s happened to Dominic Leone in St. Louis, who is on the 60-day DL. The same Dominic Leone that some Jays fans were upset was included in the deal to the Cards that brought back Randal Grichuk.

Good teams might not be knocking on the Tepera door in the future like they are right now. And Tepera’s value might not be this high ever again, so the front office should capitalize on that if they can. And Cleveland desperately needs him. And he has affordable arbitration years for their franchise. There is no way that Cleveland isn’t interested in adding a pitcher like Tepera into their struggling ‘pen. There is no way that they don’t call their old friends and ask about him.

The Jays will trade someone to Cleveland, and I know this because my magic crystal ball is that damn good and showed me this fun fact. And this magic crystal ball isn’t just any crystal ball. It was given to me by my great aunt – who got it from her neighbour – who used to be Rance Mulliniks’ barber. This crystal ball is the shit. It’s crystally clear and crystally cool. And it tells me the crystal truth…

And the truth is, aside from my own selfish gain from Toronto helping my second favourite team not get murdered by the dumb Yankees or the Sox or ‘Stros this postseason, all of this Jays/Cleveland trade stuff I’m going on about really just makes too much sense. If Cleveland could actually add the proper pieces in July, there isn’t a reason this team couldn’t get to the World Series this year and maybe win. And the Jays have those pieces. And what Jays fan wouldn’t want to cheer on uncle Eddie this fall anyway?

But, what was once Cleveland’s strength is now their damn weakness. It’s their damn bullpen woe. And the Jays have pitchers that could help fix this. If the Jays end up making a minor deal by trading Clippard or Oh to Cleveland – which is probably all that will happen – then I’m fine with that. But, maybe the Jays could offer Tepera and a decent prospect like Reese McGuire to Cleveland for one of their top pitching prospects like right-hander Triston McKenzie.

I think that the Jays would have to give a little more to get a prospect with as much upside as the hard-throwing McKenzie, who last year had 186 strikeouts at High-A Lynchburg to rank second in all of the minors. So who knows how much more – or if Cleveland would even part with one of their top pitching prospects.

Cleveland doesn’t have a lot of catching depth in the farm, so a McGuire and Tepera package would be an interesting offer for a prospect like McKenzie, especially since Cleveland should be pretty damn desperate to try and break the curse of Wahoo and add a solid arm to their ‘pen. We think we have it bad as Jays fans with the whole ‘the Jays haven’t won it since ’93 thing’, but imagine waiting since 1948. And Cleveland fans might have to wait a lot longer now that the dumb Yankees are full-on awesome again.

And since I’m tossing out bullshit nonsense right now, let me think up another whatever trade scenario. If a team like Cleveland really wanted to get in it this year, JA Happ might be the perfect arm to add to their always-injured rotation. If the Jays don’t move Happ to New York, Cleveland could be an interesting home for him.

Salazar is on the 60-day DL and has been on the DL most of his career. Carrasco was just placed on the 10-day DL. And Cleveland’s top pitchers right now are Kluber and Bauer and then…Clevinger. If Cleveland went all in on Happ, they could move Clevinger, Plutko, or Bieber to the ‘pen for the postseason, which would help them out a hell of a lot for when the real baseball starts. A four-man rotation of Kluber, Bauer, Happ, and Carrasco could pitch Shapiro and Atkins’ old friends back to the big fall school dance.

Who the hell knows what will actually happen at the trade deadline? But, Toronto has a Cleveland connection, and Cleveland has to do something big at the deadline if they want to have a serious chance of doing something besides losing again. They have to make a proper play, so that they’re not just the team that is playing baseball in October because they are in the shittiest division in the MLB.

Now, when it comes to the Jays, it’s pretty dumb to think that they should keep Tepera. There’s no way the front office doesn’t trade him if the offer is right. But, there’s no way any organization doesn’t trade any player if the offer is right – so there’s that. But, to think that Tepera should be safe or some shit from being traded because you like his dimples and think he’s pitched well for the Jays is not rational thinking here folks. Tepera is a 30-year-old who isn’t going to be the main dude in the ‘pen that helps the Vlad future get past the dumb Yankees, so move him when his stock his high. If the Jays could get Pannone and Taylor for Joe Smith last year, who knows what they could manage to squeeze out of Cleveland’s farm this year round.

  • Oz Rob

    What an asshole McGwire was….sorry you had to go through that. He was probably talking to his suppliers.

    What about trading Osuna to Cleveland? I’m intrigued to see how the Jays react to the Osuna situation. Only the Orb of Mulliniks knows perhaps.

  • Andy Z

    I agree that Tepera should be dealt if there is an offer out there for him that makes sense. I think the demand for him will be greater than what we have seen for rental arms. I’m not saying he is as good as Andrew Miller, but look at what he fetched from CLE at the deadline in 2016. I think you would see a lot of teams in on Tep – HOU, CLE, ANA, CHC, ARI, SF, STL – all have holes in the bullpen and would drive his market. If the Jays can get one or two good pieces who are close I think they have to do it . The next closer will emerge in time (heck, maybe they can acquire a young fireballer over the deadline).

    • Paul Beestons Grass Surface

      They have one in Sanchez. Yes he needs time to see what he can do. But on a contending team I don’t know if all the walks keeps him as a front end starter, which he should be with that arm. If…magic crystal ball if….some arms come back that are close to being ready or if the farm can produce an arm or two or if the FO can snag a starter in the off season, perhaps its time to talk to Sanchez about the closers role. I imagine Osuna has pitched his last game with the Jays…but its sports and everyone loves the redemption song…..but if not…well alot of if’s but who knows.

  • TheRealJeffS

    I have a similar story regarding approaching a famous ball player in a mall, albeit with a completely different outcome.

    It was the Eaton Centre in Toronto, and this ball player walked by with an attractive blonde on his arm. I recognized him right away, and mustered up the courage to turn around and go ask him for an autograph. He obliged, smiled at my younger brother when he breathlessly caught up to me, then asked me if I knew where the movie theatres were. Not being from Toronto, I had no idea. He smiled, gave us a nod, and off he went.

    The player? Jose Canseco. His Texas Rangers had just been thoroughly trounced by the Blue Jays earlier that afternoon by a score of 11-0 or something, and he still had the time to be polite and accommodating to two young baseball fans. I’ve never forgot how I kind he was, which in hindsight, I probably can attribute some of that kindness to him being under the watchful eye of the attractive lady I mentioned earlier.