Saturday, November 6, 2010

One of the Best Personnel Moves of the Year

In case you missed it, the Blue Jays made one of the best personnel moves I've seen all year.  The Boston Globe's Peter Abrahams has the scoop:

"Something has to be done about the AL East. There are way too many smart guys in the room.
Did you see what the Blue Jays did yesterday? They traded a PTBNL to Colorado for catcher Miguel Olivo then almost immediately declined his option and paid his $500,000 buyout.
Their plan is to apparently offer him arbitration, which he will decline, then take the supplemental first-round draft choice as compensation as Olivo will be a Type B free agent."
The AL East just keeps getting tougher and tougher, doesn't it?  It was bad enough with the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays all built to win 90-95 games.  Now, the Orioles and Blue Jays seem poised to join them.

To call this move savvy doesn't really do it justice.  It's borderline brilliant.  How brilliant?  Fangraphs Jack Moore can explain it far better than I can:
"The Jays now have five different players who could bring back draft pick compensation, with Olivo joining Jason Frasor, Scott Downs (both Type A), Kevin Gregg, and John Buck.
If the Jays offer arbitration and everybody declines – obviously the best case scenario – the Jays will come out of this with at least 5 supplemental draft pick and two second round picks. If Frasor and Downs were to go to a team with an unprotected pick – this year, the 19th pick, held by the Detroit Tigers, is the first unprotected pick – the Jays could pick up two more first rounders. In this ideal situation, the Jays could pick up an utterly massive haul, with eight picks in the top 50 of the draft. Said haul becomes even more impressive when we consider that the upcoming draft in 2011 is considered to be one of the deeper drafts of recent times, and far deeper than the 2010 draft."
Let's be honest, the Red Sox and Yankees have huge a financial advantage over the rest of the division.  If they make a mistake with a free agent signing, they can cover their mistake by trading that player away to another team, while absorbing the bulk of the remaining contract.  On the flip side, teams like the Rays, Orioles, and Blue Jays need to be smart and savvy.  They need to draft well, develop players through their farm system, and make smart, systematic, well timed trades and free agent signings.  While the Blue Jays strategy to stockpile draft picks may not work out as well as planned (see the Oakland A's 2002 draft where they had seven picks in the top 39), it definitely puts them in a great position to build an incredibly deep farm system.   With a deep farm system that produces quality prospects, the Blue Jays not only can build their team with young, cheap, high reward talent, but also use their surplus prospects to trade from a position of strength.  This move, while unconventional, puts the Blue Jays in an excellent position to succeed a few years down the road.

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