Thoughts on Shapiro’s “State of the Organization”

This past Friday afternoon, Mark Shapiro said some things to the local media. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm coined it as a ‘State of the Union-like address’, which, ah, sure, something like that.

Now, I really wanted to get at some of the stuff that Shapiro said earlier than today, but my Mom came up to Toronto from St. Catharines for the weekend, so I was busy doing things in the city that she likes to do when she visits. And yesterday I felt a bit off with a mild migraine from life, so now here I am – a few days after the fact. But, I figured it’s better late than never, right?

So Shapiro touched on some topics, which I think many of you would be interested in, especially if you didn’t catch Chisholm’s piece over at MLB.com.

I’m just going to copy and paste some of the direct quotes from it and open up the discourse for all of you good people…

About this Vladdy situation…

I can unequivocally say on Vlad, despite some of the other comments out there — I’m not sure of the player development background of the person who commented from the union, I don’t know who it was, I don’t know what his background is in player development. But Ben Cherington, Gil Kim, Ross Atkins, Eric Wedge, myself — that’s what, like, 40 years in player development? — I feel strongly that the best thing for Vladdy’s development is the path that we’ve laid out.

First off, you have to kind of like like Shapiro’s sass here, or maybe I’m misreading the tone. You don’t have to agree with the Vladdy process, but holy hell that’s about as sassy as it gets from Shapiro, no? He was tossing some serious ‘player development background MLBPA’ shade.

I also find it pretty damn interesting that Shapiro brought up Eric Wedge’s name in this little stream-of-thought answer considering that he could possibly be replacing good ol’ Gibbers next season. Maybe I’m reading into that a bit much since Eric Wedge is the ‘field coordinator’ and stuff, but still…

It’s no secret that since Wedge was hired back in ’16 that he has been working closely with Shapiro, Atkins, and Gil Kim to enhance the payer development system. Apparently, Wedge is the favourite to replace ol’ Gibbers, according to Bovada or Westgate or one of these Vegas sharks. And something tells me that he might actually be the safe bet here – like it or not.

Anyway, Shapiro goes onto say this about Vlad…

There’s no debate that he’s on an accelerated timeframe. He’s already eclipsed the timeframe that any player would have at his age and his level of experience. He’s on an accelerated timeframe. He’s going to get up here at a very young age. Maybe next April, we’re open to that. We want him to have as strong of a foundation as humanly possible to be a complete player and a future leader.

So, yeah, ‘maybe next April, we’re open to that’.

Howl away…howl at the dumb process and everyone who is a part of it.

I mean, seriously – maybe next April? That’s a real tough sell. Personally, at this point I could care less about this whole Vladdy coming up in September thing because the team is trash and I think that the Arizona Fall League is fine for now. And bloggers and fans and whoever can call it bullshit if they want to because it is, but one month of September baseball here in Toronto isn’t going to do anything more for Vladdy than the Arizona Fall League. And disagree with me, that’s totally cool.

However, it is going to be real difficult to leave Vladdy off the 25-man roster on Opening Day. I was kind of hoping that the Shapiro regime would make a bold statement and put him on the 25-man Opening Day roster because bold statements say something. And, personally, I think, that statement would make some serious noise around the league and about the current CBA. But, this is not going to happen. GM’s around the league wouldn’t like it and good ol’ Rogers would never allow it.

So…maybe we will see Vladdy in April. Or maybe the Jays front office should do something bold and put him on the Opening Day roster because that’s the right thing to do – too bad we don’t live in a world where the right thing is done.

On the recent *JOSH* criticism *DONALDSON* on the Jays’ high-performance department…

If we had a regret about high performance, it would only be that we call it high performance. It’s probably just because of the European model and that was something when we were thinking about it, that was the model that existed out there. It existed all over professional sport, just not in baseball. But in reality, all it really is is adding resources.

I would use the analogy for your car. If your car was broken, and you cared about your car, you’d want somebody who has the ability to diagnose it specifically and not just say the engine is broken. At the Major League level, we’ve just added resources. We added a physical therapist, we had some turnover with our trainers, but we’ve added nutrition as a component to the clubhouse, we’ve added a mental performance coach, things that didn’t exist here before.

There’s no denying that the front office has added all of the aforementioned things. And from the prospects that I have interviewed in the past, they all seem very happy with the resources available to them. Anywho…Not much else to say about that.

On the whole JD thing…

What I won’t do is get into specifics, or timelines, or negotiations or anything like that. … When you reach a juncture where there’s either an end to a relationship, or a temporary end to a relationship, it’s a strain and it’s complex. Emotions — especially for a player who obviously likes where he is, and for a fanbase that adores a player — certainly heighten those circumstances.

The whole thing was ugly for both sides. And both sides lost in this, unless, of course, JD rakes in October and the curse of Chief Wahoo is broken. A World Series ring would certainly sweeten Donny’s terrible Toronto departure, but Cleveland isn’t going to win it…Or…

Moving on….

From the outside, it’s somewhat because of the story it can be and the interest it creates when you’re not contending. That can get a little blown out of proportion, but in every one of these circumstances, they’re tough. They’re tough for us because he’s a great player and he makes whoever he is playing for better. They’re tough for the fans because he represents an incredible juncture in baseball for the Blue Jays. And they’re tough for him because he liked being here. But we’re moving forward and I have nothing but respect for Josh.

I’m not too sure anything really got ‘blown out of proportion’ here, amirite? Donaldson was the franchise player. And the franchise player was traded for Julian Merryweather?!?!?!?!? And the whole situation was bad for both sides, it really was. Both parties couldn’t have imagined or written an uglier ending for one of the most talented players to ever don a Jays cap.

But, a bit of me wonders if this trade will end up being better than the Roy Halladay trade, seriously. Drabek? Woof. d’Arnaud? I mean, sure, but…And Michael Taylor-something? Who knows?

Anyone want to take me up on this bet?

And, finally, next year’s payroll…

We haven’t set the payroll for next year. I’m confident that what the payroll is at will have zero impact on our ability to execute our offseason plan. I’m not sure if that’s clear or not, but with everything I said and where we are, we’re not going to be playing on Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.

It’s fun to dream though, no? So let’s just dream that neither of these players end up in the dumb pinstripes.

I still think we’ll be active in free agency, where we have gaps and holes. We’re going to want to field the most competitive team with the best players and the best people around our young players as humanly possible.

I think these are words that actual say this – unless the younger players play beyond their expected ceilings, don’t expect a winning year folks.

But, we already know this.

But there’s an opportunity cost, too. We need to give opportunities. In order for those players to transition, in order for those players to develop, in order for us to get a clear understanding of who we have and what they represent for our future, we have to play them. We have to play them.

And we already knew this, too.

So, don’t stare into the free agent pipedream to nowhere land this offseason. Next year is the transition year that we have all been waiting for. But, holy hell it would be nice if the Jays could get in on Bryce Harper and trade Kevin Pillar. Wouldn’t that be cool?

Maybe one day, but probably not.

At the end of the damn day, we’d all just be happy to see Vladdy on that Opening Day roster (including Mark Shapiro and company), but that’s not going to happen. And it’s really too bad that that’s how it is for everyone involved – minus the owners, of course. I think it’s safe to say that once this CBA runs its pretty ugly course, there’s a good chance that Vladdy and the rest of the league might not be playing any baseball for some time, let’s hope that doesn’t happen.

  • The Humungus

    “we’re not going to be playing on Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.”

    Good. I’d rather they shoot for Anthony Rendon after next season anyway. He’s been versatile enough to start at 3B and 2B, plus I’m sure he could play 1st. Also, he’s racked up about 20 WAR in 4.5 seasons of work.

    • Ryan Di Francesco

      Rendon would be very fine. But, I wouldn’t be upset if they added the likes of either Machado or Harper…But, yeah, Rendon is a bit of WAR machine and is a fun future thought.