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Thoughts on the Deadline and Happ-enings Tonight

Who needs Jon Lester or David Price when you’ve got NOLAN REIMOLD?!

Much like the above sentence, there has been a great deal of emotionally-driven nonsense spouted about the Jays’ inactivity prior to the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline. It’s unfortunate that some of that nonsense came from the mouths of Casey Janssen and Jose Bautista, but this is what you get with athletes who value honesty over media training.

Much like how people are wrong when they figure the only issues surrounding Rob Ford pertain to his addiction (believe it or not, drugs and alcohol do not magically make someone a racist, homophobic bigot), people are equally wrong by saying the Jays made no moves merely because Rogers cheaped out and rejected the addition of payroll.

Want an example? Look no further than the deal that sent Jon Lester to the Oakland Athletics – a deal that only went down because Billy Beane was looking for an extra hipster beard to add to the roster, inquired about Jonny Gomes, and the Sox begged him to take Lester as well.

See? Fits right in…

In all seriousness, though, the A’s gave up Yoenis Cespedes who, in my eyes, even in a down-year, is a prolific power bat with a Vladdy Guerrero-like cannon-arm.

Who were the Jays going to offer to match that deal? Jose Bautista? Would it help the team to add a significant upgrade to the rotation at the expense of the best player on the team?

How about the David Price deal? Sure, all the Rays got were Drew Smyly and Nick Franklin, a decent young starter and a young, unproven infielder. Aside from Smyly, the Tigers also had to part with Austin Jackson, who is a solid centre fielder in the midst of a down-year.

Sounds an awful-lot like Colby Rasmus… so why didn’t anything happen?

The thing that people tend to forget is that it takes two (or more) teams to make a trade, and unlike the options menu of MLB The Show, Alex Anthopoulos does not have the option to turn off trade limitations.

He does not have the ability to deal Munenori Kawasaki, Colby Rasmus and J.A. Happ for David Price and Evan Longoria, because other general managers also happen to follow the game of baseball, and they have their reasons for making the decisions (or lack there of) that they do.

As for the John Lackey deal? Who the hell wants John Lackey?

The reality is that deals look good to fans, they look good to the players, but they don’t always make sense. And with guys like Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez contributing to the big league roster, you’re not going to give them up for expensive rentals.

Having said that, a couple of the subtractions made over the last week or so made no sense to me. Why was first round pick Deck McGuire dealt away for absolutely nothing? Why was Esmil Rogers called up from AAA, only to be put on waivers five days later without giving him a minute on the mound, after performing pretty well in Buffalo?

Why am I convinced that he’s going to bite us in the butt as a member of the Yankees?

One thing is for sure: the Yan Gomes and Mike Aviles for Esmil Rogers deal now goes down as the worst deal of AA’s tenure. Short-sighted, ignorant, horrible.

Moving forward, the Jays would be doing themselves a significant favour by making a move or two before the second, way more confusing trade deadline.

If last night was any indicator, Drew Hutchison has maybe two more decent starts in him before he’s shut down with “arm fatigue”, or some other term that’s exclusive to sports. J.A. Happ is a crap-shoot, and how much longer can you go with both Todd Redmond and Chad Jenkins in the bullpen?

Speaking of last night, that was a nail-biter eh? Bautista dropped a routine fly-ball, Steve Tolleson forgot which side of the baseline he’s supposed to use en route to first base. Drew Hutchison BALKED, for crying out loud.

And for no Reimold reason (eh? eh?), they won.

They’ve now won six in a row, nine of ten, 11 of 14 since the all-star break, and have moved to within a game and a half of the first place Orioles. They’re also five and a half back of the Angels for the first wild card spot, and three and a half up on the Yankees.

Things are looking pretty good. And Brett Lawrie starts his rehab assignment in Dunedin tonight.

Everybody relax.

Tonight’s Lineup

1. Jose Reyes SS
2. Melky Cabrera LF
3. Jose Bautista RF
4. Dioner Navarro C
5. Nolan Reimold DH
6. Colby Rasmus CF
7. Danny Valencia 1B
8. Munenori Kawasaki 3B
9. Ryan Goins 2B
SP: J.A. Happ (8-5, 4.58 ERA)

The Houston Astros and their fearsome lineup of minor leaguers will send Collin McHugh to the bump, who sports a 4-9 record and a 3.45 ERA. He’s got 102 strikeouts in 88.2 innings this season. That’s not too bad, and for a team like Houston, that’s almost exceptional.

Last night was frustrating for the most part, but it was nice to see the Jays battle back a couple times and pull it out in the end.

Mr Reimold hit two homers and just missed a third in his second-last at-bat. Obviously, this lineup is not ideal, but if you think about it, this team is better than it was a week or two ago. Say what you will about Reimold and Valencia, and even Juan Francisco, but you could do a lot worse than to keep rolling out guys like that.

Suddenly, a bench that, in April, boasted two catchers, Jonathan Diaz, and the injured player of the week, suddenly has a quality bat in Francisco, above-average speed in Anthony Gose, and a decent utility option in Tolleson.

Oh, and while I haven’t touched on it much this week, Ryan Goins has impressed me since his call-up. The defence is no surprise, but if optics mean anything at all, he has looked far more comfortable at the plate. Does this mean it will last? Who cares? The Brettuation is on his way back, and Gibby has some parts to play around with.

Can a team succeed with platoons and question marks? Just ask Alberto Callaspo, Brandon Moss, and the first-place Oakland A’s…

For Jays Balk, I’m @TheAsherRoth.

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