FanPost

2013: The Implications of "Win Now"

The Jays are expected to be serious contenders in 2013 (and, according to Las Vegas, are the early frontrunners to win it all). This should impact on the managing philosophy, in that the good of the team should far outweigh the good of any individual player and there will be increasing focus on the "now" rather than long-term development.

There is an old adage that a win in April is worth exactly as much in the standings as a win in September, so you can not afford to "give away" April wins (or any other wins, for that matter).

Who on the Jays will be most affected by this change in philosophy?

Adam Lind

The Jays have said that Adam will be given a chance to bat against lefties, even though his career splits are (ahem) "not great", and even though platoon options (see Canzler, Russ) are available on the bench. This sounds like trade positioning (why admit the player you are trying to trade is only good as a platoon partner?). If the team is better off with a platoon, I would expect (hope!?) that Lind would be on a very short leash.

Ricky Romero

I believe that the "real" Ricky is much better than what we saw in 2012 (though possibly not as good as what we saw in 2011). But if R-squared [grin] has a poor spring, can the Jays afford to give him starts? And even further - if he is REALLY struggling, can they afford to leave him on the MLB roster, or do they ask him to accept a demotion to work out the kinks in the minors? (See Halladay, Roy - 2001)

Sergio Santos

Under normal circumstances, S-squ ... err ... Sergio would be given the opportunity to reclaim the closer's job that he was given in early 2011. But can the Jays afford the inevitable learning curve in 2013, particularly when Casey Janssen pitched so well in that role in 2012? Would it not make more sense to allow Casey to continue, and use Santos in setup, with a view to moving Santos the closer role in the future? (See Ward, Duane)

Starting P

The Jays should have an excellent bullpen in 2013, particularly if Oliver does not retire. In particular, Happ and Cecil both have experience starting, so both should be capable of long middle relief. This gives the Jays the option of pulling a struggling starter early. SP do not like being pulled early, as a rule - it affects their IP, QS, and W-L, all of which have some bearing at contract negotiation time. But on the inevitable days when they "don't have their best stuff" it would likely be better for the team to pull them and try to salvage the win. The focus on winning could also impact on situations like when a pitcher has a chance at a complete game (or no-hitter!), but is struggling late or hurting. (See Slowey, Kevin)

Brett Lawrie

Managers are generally forgiving of "errors of enthusiasm", particularly from young players. Even displays of emotion are tolerated, within limits. But when every game counts, ending key innings on unsuccessful steals of third and throwing headgear at umpires can no longer be tolerated. But in this case, the "win now" philosophy works both ways - if Brett is the team's best 3B, and our chances to win are better with him in the lineup than with a Boni or Canzler, can Gibbons afford to bench Brett for a couple of games for a bonehead play? And if Brett knows that, where is his incentive to reform? (see Henderson, Ricky)

What do you think? Will the Jays manage differently in 2013, and if so who will be the most affected?

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