Editorials

Micro vs. Macro: Thoughts on JD-Gibby plus the looming last call for Dickey and Bautista

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Touching on the Donaldson-Gibbons “situation” while digging deeper into the similar yet different realities of R.A. Dickey and Jose Bautista.

For those that are looking for an in-depth discussion about the “altercation” between Donaldson and Gibbons, not to mention running the risk of making something into a bigger issue than it needs to be, you’ll have to get your fix elsewhere.

Though I will say this:

The fact that the level of impact a manager has on the ultimate success of a team is often viewed as being minimal at best is certainly up for debate. But it also means that the fine line a bench boss has to walk in order to fine tune a group of grown men is often overlooked. So in the grand scheme of things, Gibby deserves a round of applause for not being afraid to get in the face of this fan base’s most beloved player.

As for their dispute’s level of significance: Well, not to be “that guy” but, if you’ve ever played the game of Baseball at any kind of competitive level, you know full well how inconsequential it’ll more than likely become.

But even with all of that said, it’s not like we truly know what’s happening behind the scenes. Even the so-called “Insiders” don’t have a firm grip on the subject. Was it just a heated exchange in the moment? Did it stem from something earlier in the year? Did they both shrug off the situation just to avoid any added media scrutiny? AKA: “Tom Ford Cologne.”

Bottom line: How about we refrain from jumping to any overly dramatic conclusions.

However, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get a kick out of it. And whether you took Wednesday afternoon off or you just caught the highlights, you’d also be lying if you said you weren’t glued to your screen. But when all of that drama overshadows what came after the fact (the potential for Donaldson to miss time due to a thumb injury), the public’s focus should have shifted to a more legitimate concern. And as of this morning, it still hasn’t.

Should we be surprised, though? Considering the number of news outlets that are far more concerned with what’s “trending” seemingly exceeding those that carefully select the content they push, we really shouldn’t be. Unfortunately, that’s a not-so new reality. But I digress.

It looks like I may have stretched the truth when I said they’re wouldn’t be an in-depth discussion. But that doesn’t negate the fact that it still belongs in the “Micro” category!

Let’s move on by digging into the main objective. AKA: Raising issues that are much more noteworthy as it relates to the big picture.

Blue Jays

Before we begin, allow me to preface these issues with a personal perspective:

Speaking from my own experience — altough something tells me that a relatively high percentage of people can relate — it’s often difficult to simply just live in the moment when it comes to sports in general.

To be honest, that’s something I’m trying to improve upon. Especially when the grind of a season can be mentally draining.

Why not just enjoy what’s in front of me — minus the enormous amount of strikeouts the Jays’ offence has put up lately, of course — instead of obsessing about what the future holds? Hell, the moment even has me thinking I should care about useless stats.

If you haven’t heard: Toronto is fresh off a series that went down in history after they became just the sixth team ever to win five consecutive series while visiting Yankee Stadium.

Side note: Stay tuned for Cam Dorrett’s upcoming series preview as the Jays get back at it against Cleveland to kickstart the weekend action — a series that promises to provide a playoff atmosphere. And as coincidence would have it, or as the Baseball Gods planned all along, the Indians were the last team to accomplish the same historic feat over a span that lasted from 1967 to ’69.

It shall be entertaining, and I shall have my popcorn ready, but there’s a flip side to just taking the season as it comes. Keeping one eye on the surrounding storylines of any franchise, whether they’re in the forefront or playing the background, is half the reason why places like this to express your opinion even exist — for the writer and the reader.

Simply put: When it comes down to it, the vast majority of us get our kicks from playing GM.

As far as the Jays are concerned, there’s no shortage of intrigue to set those GM wheels in motion. But for the purposes of this piece, let’s take one from each of the aforementioned categories.

And even if the end games revolving around Jose Bautista and R.A. Dickey come with negative connotations, we still have to tell it like it is.

The End of Era?

First up: The likely last call: 

If you’re familiar with what I previously wrote about Devon Travis and his breakout year, you got a fresh reminder of just how much of a steal Travis was.

As for Dickey, well, I can safely assume that there hasn’t been a trade conversation throughout this entire fan base over the last four years that hasn’t found a way to include the now infamous 2012 swap with the New York Mets.

It’s a deal that’s been harped on to death. And will only continue to be beaten into the ground as the career of Noah Syndergaard moves along. Just imagine how much more of a backlash could be taking place if Travis d’Arnaud ever managed to stay healthy and reached the level his potential promised. The sad part is there’s still time for that to come true.

In the deal’s defense, one should try to put it into perspective. We as fans were sick of losing the same way back then as we were before Anthopoulos mortgaged the future to aid last season’s return to the postseason.

One could argue that the Jays just weren’t ready to join the elite even if Dickey performed at the same level he was traded for. But any trade that represents “going for it”, especially after nearly two decades of frustration needed to be addressed with tangible results, should still to this day be viewed as the right mindset. The Jays’ brass just knocked on the wrong door.

Still (although this fan base clearly admits it’s a trade that will haunt this franchise forever) a part of this team’s supporters have formed somewhat of an apologist group. It’s a rare sight considering Dickey has become the epitome of a player that you truly never know what you’re going to get each and every time out. A sentiment that only rings louder, and with more and more frustration, with the majority of his fellow rotation members continuously displaying a level consistency.

With his contract up at the end of the year, is there any chance he’ll be back in a Blue Jays’ uniform? Which also begs the question: What kind of legacy will he leave behind?

If his stretch run isn’t extraordinary (which is a stretch to suggest in itself), his last impression could very well end up being the guy who was not only booted out the playoff rotation, but also the one who’s limited number of starts due to a six-man rotation actually helped the team’s run to get there.

To the apologists, this isn’t a personal attack. I’m rooting for R.A. as much as any of you. Here’s hoping 2012, where the confident, calculated, and entertaining version of Dickey reappears when we least expect it.

Up next: The potential last call:

It goes without saying that Bautista’s storyline deserves a column all to itself. But I can’t end a section that discusses impact on a “Macro” level without him.

Though as we all know, other than both of them looking for a new contract at year’s end, the similarities between Dickey and Jose are few and far between — their legacies couldn’t be further apart.

How many of you thought Bautista’s salary demands that rocked Spring Training were a potential stroke of genius? I was always under the impression that he never thought he would get his rumoured asking price of somewhere in the neighbourhood of $150 Million over 5 years. Bautista’s too business savvy to be delusional. But putting a dollar figure out in the open well before the season starts, and then producing at a first-rate clip as the year goes along, essentially creates a market where you’ll eventually net a deal that’s in the same vicinity of the same outlandish amount you had no business signing in the first place.

Now, does anybody think that scenario still has a chance of playing out? His slow start, along with multiple trips to the DL — which has led to periodic stints of production and the inability to get into any sort of season rhythm — have only furthered the concerns organizations already had about him wearing down in the not-so distant future.

Did I mention he’s been bypassed on the perceived totem pole by Edwin Encarnacion yet?

Actually, what I meant to say is: That leapfrog was arguably made as far back as two years ago.

He’ll get a chance to recoup most of the money he’s lost. But a strong September will only go so far without a few center-stage performances in the postseason.

That scenario has a double-edged sword, though. If it does take place, the odds of Jose needing to sign a one-year deal to re-establish his presence in the marketplace will be greatly diminished. But on the other hand, the Jays chances of getting over the ALCS hump will be that much greater.

The latter also means that the probable mission of the offseason is still attainable: Push all your chips in on Edwin and sort out the business of Bautista after he flips his cards over.

If the remaining part of the year is the last we get to see of Bautista’s near decade-long Blue Jay career, we’ll always have the memories of a player who grew into a superstar after nobody else wanted him — a perfect Toronto ambassador, minus the outcome of the incident in Texas — and of course, the Bat Flip heard ’round the world…

Enjoy the festivities as they unfold, folks.

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