Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Gillick was the architect of the great Toronto ball teams that had a nice run from the early eighties until the early nineties, a team of kids that became a contender, had its share of disappointments and then finally won a couple of World Series in 1992 and 1993.
Gillick built through the draft, slowly but surely. So slowly and so surely in fact that he garnered the nickname "Stand Pat" from the Toronto media as his club fell short year after year from 1985 on and Gillick refrained from signing free agents or making big trades. His first foray into the free agent market for a closer (I believe this was before the 85 season) was a disaster as Bill Caudill was ineffective and then ended up injured. His replacement, a homegrown solution, Tom Henke, would end up being an effective major league closer for a decade, most of that with the Jays.
Now, not sure if Gillick was once bitten, twice shy but it wasn't until the late 80s when it became clear that the team that he had assembled didn't "have it" that he began to make some moves. And what great moves they were. First he traded homegrown stars Fred McGriff and Tony Fernandez for Roberto Alomar and Joe Carter in a move that changed the franchise - Alomar was the best player to ever put on a Jays' uniform. He added Devon White, a noted malcontent before and after his time with the Jays but a guy who flourished under Cito Gaston. (Gaston never ever got the recognition he deserved for those clubs - guy is a terrific manager) Then he picked up hired guns Dave Winfield and David Cone in 1992 and Paul Moiltor and Dave Stewart in 1993.
Two championships resulted.
This summer it looks like Kevin Lowe will be standing pat and if he does so, that's alright with me. The UFA market is a mug's game for the most part. Its rare that any of the high end guys outperform their contracts. Years from now the Rangers and Flyers are going to be shackled by the contracts they gave to Drury and Gomez and Briere and Timmonen, nice players all in their own way but not worth the cash or term they received. Already the Flyers had to move a nice young player in Umberger and rumour has it that they will move someone else and they still need to address their back end.
If you can get your low cost guys and find a gem (Garon, Tjarnqvist, Hejda for the Jackets, Dan Cleary, Dallas Drake) then you can impact your roster in a positive way. Same if you can get a guy for a year or two - like Guerin in New York, Sykora in his last two contracts, Sundin wherever he goes this year - but giving Malone a seven year deal for 6M per, which is what he will get from someone, leaves you like the Leafs. Dead money from guys you have to buy out. Dead money from the guys you cannot buy out.
Presently the Oilers are the Jays of the early 80s. Adding another Souray is going to hamper this team when they are the Jays of the late 80s and they need to acquire a player or two to augment what hopefully will be a nice core. At that point hopefully Lowe will take a page from Bob Gainey's book and pick up a veteran or two with a year or two left on a contract to beef up his roster and take a run of it.
Mike Peca on a four year deal moping through the regular season would have been a disaster. Mike Peca with a year left on his deal was a beauty for what he added in the playoffs, even though his regular season was lousy.
As little dead money on that roster as possible please. Giving Pavel Demitra two years might work. Giving Pavel Demitra five years means in three years you're trading Chorney or Grebeshkov or Cogliano or some kid who needs to get paid.
Oh and Rachel McAdams? Just because its summer.
Posted by Black Dog at 9:04 AM