Whose Fault is It?

Adam Goodman - Barrister & Solicitor
http://www.aglaw.ca

With the Jays quickly fading, the debate is on as to who is most responsible.

I know you’re frustrated, and for good reason.

Even if you didn’t expect the Jays to compete for the AL East this year, a wild card seemed to be a reasonable goal.

Is it a completely lost cause now? Not according to math, but unless this team quickly turns into the one that was 16-12 over March/April, they don’t stand a chance.

When things go this poorly, the natural reaction (other than to throw things at the TV) is to find blame. Someone has to be responsible, right?

So who should you point the finger at?

John Gibbons?

The Players?

Shapiro/Atkins?

Alex Anthopoulos?

The answer is all of the above.

As much as many of you want to look at this as a black or white issue and lay it all on one of the above, the truth is there are many contributing factors to what is quickly becoming a complete mess.

John Gibbons

I love Gibby as a person and had a hard time putting him on this list, but he has to take some of this on himself. While baseball managers don’t hit, pitch or play defense, they do make out lineups, pitching changes, and find ways to manage the egos and light fires when needed. I’ve spoken to many players who’ve had John Gibbons as a manager and it’s hard to find a bad word said about him. Maybe this group needs a hardass; someone to crack the whip when players make mental mistakes or fail to run out balls. While I believe that even the best manager in MLB history would have a tough time getting this team, as it’s constructed right now, to win consistently, the manager always seems to be the first to go when things aren’t going well. If this continues much longer, Gibby may be the one to take the hit. Again, I have a hard time putting much of this on him. Sure you can say he pulls pitchers too soon and leaves others in too long, but that’s all hindsight thinking. For those pinning all of this on him, there’s only so much he can do when pitchers don’t throw strikes, hitters swing through them, and fielders mess up.

The Players

Outside of J.A. Happ, there are very few who you can let off the hook here. They get paid millions of dollars to perform at a high level. To look at the lineup and see a team batting average of .229 and an ERA of close to 5, how can you not lay it on the players?  If this was a collection of bad players, that would be one thing, but many are simply playing below expectations. In 2015-16 multiple players were having career years. They don’t necessarily need that to happen this season. They just have to play to their career numbers and right now, very few are doing that. Swinging at bad pitches, walking batters and poor defence happen to everyone, but not at the regularity we are seeing this year.

Shapiro/Atkins

This is a 2 for 1 deal and the pair have become the favourite duo for many to hate. Let’s face it, they don’t have the charisma of AA and don’t connect with the fans the same way. Many loved Alex simply because he’s Canadian and have hated “Shatkins” from day one.

Have they made bad moves? Sure they have. Kendrys Morales, Randal Grichuk, and not being able to bring a big name free agent are the moves that people have the biggest issue with. Oh, and not re-signing Edwin Encarnacion, but EE’s agent is just as much to blame for that one. They also added Teoscar Hernandez, Lourdes Gurriel, and rebuilt a minor league system that was pretty bare when they took over. Injuries to Josh Donaldson, Marcus Stroman, Troy Tulowitzki, and Steve Pearce are completely out of their control. So too is the contract of Russ Martin. While they haven’t come in and become the next coming of Pat Gillick, they also haven’t “ruined” this team like many suggest.

Alex Anthopoulos

It’s funny how most find it impossible to be fans of AA and Shapiro/Atkins. If they like one, they hate the other. It’s kind of like politics. While AA left after the 2015 season, he’s still very responsible for a big chunk of what remains with the Jays. The contracts of Tulo and Martin are his doing. He traded away pieces that could be very helpful now. No one will ever let him forget the Dickey for Noah Syndergaard deal. He went all in at the deadline in 2015 and it led to their first postseason appearance since 1993. So far, no one that he traded away has come back to haunt the team but he did leave the new regime with a depleted farm system and some aging players with hard to trade contracts.  It was also under his leadership that they signed Vlady Jr. and drafted Marcus Stroman, Anthony Alford, and Danny Jansen.

So before you point your finger directly in one area, keep two things in mind.

  1. There’s plenty of blame to pass around.
  2. The future doesn’t look nearly as bleak at the present does.

      

Now, feel free to get back to venting!

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