The Toronto Blue Jays and their fans were hoping for some huge Yu Darvish news. They didn't get it, but here's why that might not be such a bad thing.
The Blue Jays have a country to themselves. They're owned by Rogers Communications, who isn't just a guy with the coolest fake name in the world -- it's a huge telecommunications company with gobs of money. It made sense that the Jays were going to make a huge international splash for a huge international star in a huge international city. Yu Darvish to the Jays made all kinds of sense.
It's the day after the election, though, and all that confetti sure seems silly now. Get that cake out of here, intern. There is no joy in Mudville tonight, in which Mudville is defined as a cosmopolitan metropolis that was hoping for a spectacular free-agent announcement to make.
The Blue Jays have been a perennially okay team. Never amazing, never awful, never flashy*. And it sure would have been a good feeling for the Jays to parade their shiny new Darvish in front of the rest of the AL East.
Oh, that's a swell Freddy Garcia you have there, New York. We went and got Yu Darvish. Say, is that Daniel Bard in the rotation, Boston? Welp, hope that works out for you! We have Yu Darvish. Oh, is that a rotation filled with cheap, young, and effective pitchers, Tampa? Well, we have … well, never mind. You go to hell, Tampa.
Nope. Instead of dreaming of Yu Darvish, they get to survey a rotation with all sorts of potential. But potential doesn't sell tickets, and a marketing slogan of "No, Really, At Least One of Kyle Drabek, Jesse Litsch, Henderson Alvarez, or Brett Cecil Should Be Fine This Year" doesn't look right on the cover of a program. But the Jays are still in good shape with another move. They have Ricky Romero at the top of the rotation, and Brandon Morrow should be a lot better. Beyond that, well, uh, at least one of Kyle Drabek, Jesse Litsch, Henderson Alvarez, or Brett Cecil should be fine this year.
But the Blue Jays can take solace in the fact that there are still options out there. It's not March 1st. For the price of one Darvish posting fee and a couple of prospects, the Blue Jays could get Wandy Rodriguez. For far less than that postint fee and some much better prospects, the Jays could get Gio Gonzalez. For the price of a year of Darvish, the Jays might have a chance to get two years of Roy Oswalt. Edwin Jackson might be homesick, yearning to return to his fondly remembered former team.
None of those pitchers have the marketing cachet of a Darvish. But two of them could make for a better team in the short term than the Blue Jays might have been with Darvish. And if the Jays were to return to the playoffs for the first time since Joe Carter rounded the bases, it would make a lot of people forget about the ham-fighting character who got the Twitter machine all riled up that one time. Darvish is a pretty special talent, but the Jays have a chance to turn his projected salary into two Not Jo-Jo Reyeses. That might make for a better team in the short and long term.
For a while, it looked like the Blue Jays were going to be the ones dealing with crappy Yu Darvish pun after crappy Yu Darvish pun. Instead, they'll have to figure out how to make their team better without him. They can do it. As long as their plan isn't to stand pat and hope that Jeff Mathis is a pitcher whisperer, they should be fine. It might be that missing out on the big-name pitcher was a blessing.
* If only there were a country that was somewhat analogous that I could hilariously reference here …