On Thursday morning Blue Jays manager John Farrell spoke with Jeff Blair for a segment on the Fan 590 (audio here), touching on the basic storylines from camp that, for some reason, we still get blanket coverage from the local newsmedia, though they’re pretty damn insignificant by just about any kind of measure. Shit, now there’s a paragraph that’s really gonna suck the readers in. Here are some highlights!
On Brandon Morrow, Farrell said that a transformation started at the end of last year. “I think you’re seeing the maturity of a guy who knows what his next step is,” he says, referring to Morrow’s comments at the press conference to announce his contract extension that he needs to be a bigger asshole on the mound. Farrell also says that every young player goes through having to think about their contract situation, and now that Morrow has his extension, he can better “focus on the advances that he needs to make.” In general, we’re told that Morrow needs to work on his curve and changeup, “so he can take advantage of his fastball that much more.”
Right. And how about working on pitching from the stretch while you’re at it?
Asked about Brett Lawrie and what he needs to do this spring, Farrell answered simply, “to pick up where he left off.” He then lavished praise on his young, maple-dick-tickling third baseman, saying that, while a lot gets written about him, but the thing the club sees day-in and day-out is that his approach is pretty simple: he just wants to
set the world record for Red Bull consumption win and to get better than a player. In fact, Farrell says, Lawrie had texted him– about what, we’re not told– at 10 o’clock the previous night. I don’t have a clue what to think of that, really. ”There is no questioning his confidence,” he adds in the understatement of the year.
“He could very easily get caught up in all the hysteria that surrounds him,” Farrell says, “but he’s got a very strong support system at home, and it shows up every day he walks on the field.”
Speaking of hysteria, Farrell was speaking before Brett Cecil’s start, which was notable for the pitcher’s lack of velocity, and the subsequent reaction in the Twitterverse. But it sounds like the Farrell would be less upset about that than with the issues Cecil had with his command– he told reporters, Ken Fidlin of the Toronto Sun among them, that the ball didn’t feel good coming out of his hand, and that he was having trouble keeping the ball down. That’s precisely the sort of trouble Farrell told Blair he wanted this spring’s winner of the Vernon Wells Best Shape Of His Life Award to avoid.
As opposed to last year, Farrell says that Travis Snider “knows the situation he’s in” and he “doesn’t attach to every comment or word that might be talked about him.” He explains that in previous years Snider was eager for feedback, eager to know where he stood on the team and in the organization, and that maybe his up-and-down experiences have hardened him up a bit, that he’s matured, he knows where he stands and what’s at stake.
Farrell also notes– as he and Anthopoulos always do on this subject– that there’s more to the left field battle than spring stats. It’s Eric Thames’ job, and “Snider is going to have to come in and flat out take the job away from him.”
And, how will we know whether he did or not, if it’s not based on spring stats? We won’t. Which will make whatever decision they make a whole lot easier to justify. But that, of course, isn’t to suggest that’s somehow wrong to toss spring stats, for the most part. Quite the opposite.
Lastly, Farrell heaped more praise onto one of the club’s aspiring backup middle infielders. Guess which one.
Oh, sit down, McCoy and Valbuena!