Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Masahiro Tanaka, The Posting System, and Crying Over Spilled Milk

Might he look better in a lighter shade of blue?

Much as they were two off-seasons ago, the Toronto Blue Jays are once again being tossed about as a potential landing place for the next big thing out of Japan, should Masahiro Tanaka of the NPB's Rakuten Golden Eagles be posted as expected. In his typical fashion, Anthopoulos is playing his cards close to the vest, never more than hinting at the possibility of the Jays being in play for the Japanese right-hander. However, this hasn't stopped fans and media alike from speculating that they could be one of the clubs to make a serious play for Tanaka.

In a lot of ways, it just makes too much sense not to seem likely. Despite what a certain knuckle-dragging segment of the fan base will try to tell you about the magic of coaching, chemistry, and cut-off men, the 2013 Blue Jays had exactly three glaring weaknesses (when they were healthy, at least). They had obvious holes at catcher and second base, receiving sub-replacement level performances from both performances. Those should be relatively easy to improve at, because even replacement level at both positions would be about a three win upgrade over what they received in 2013. Their biggest problem, and unfortunately the hardest to address in a meaningful way, was the disastrous health and performance of their starting rotation. If the general consensus about Tanaka being among the top free agent starters this off-season is accurate, landing him could go a long way towards shoring it up. What's more, Tanaka is exactly the kind of acquisition that, in a perfect world, I believe Anthopoulos should be targeting right now.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Could There Be Hope Behind The Plate in 2014?

Yes please!
If it's true that last off-season J.P. Arencibia received some sort of assurance that he wouldn't be traded amidst swirling rumours, early signs suggest that he shouldn't be nearly so comfortable in his job heading into 2014. I won't rehash J.P.'s historically woeful 2013 performance here, but suffice to say that only wearers of the most rose coloured glasses could feel good about the prospect of going into 2014 with Arencibia as the club's starting catcher.

So, unfortunately for his many fans that apparently still exist for some reason (but oh so fortunately for those of us that are bigger fans of winning at baseball) it should come as no surprise that the Blue Jays are rumoured to be looking hard at a number of potential upgrades on the trade market. While he may remain with the club in a backup role, I think we should probably get used to seeing a whole lot less of JPA going forward.

Most recently, the Jays have been linked to Angels catchers Chris Iannetta and Hank Conger. A couple of weeks ago, they were also rumoured to be interested in the Washington Nationals' Wilson Ramos. Quite frankly, the only thing that needs to be said is, "Do it already!". Obviously that's an oversimplification of a complex situation requiring in-depth analysis of past performance, clever projection of future performance, and shrewd assessment of the value of various assets, both financial and human, but... nuts to that. Do it already!