As you may have heard about in the previous post, Mike Wilner had some audio from yesterday’s post-game at Miked Up– as he’s rather awesomely been doing all spring. Turns out, it wasn’t entirely from Alex Anthopoulos. Starter Brandon Morrow and manager John Farrell spoke to the media as well, and here’s the gist of what they said, as well as all the non-Drew Hutchison stuff from the GM…

John Farrell

The manager felt that Brandon Morrow threw the ball well in the last three innings of his outing Thursday against the Philles– when he really started to establish his fastball, which makes his off-speed stuff that much more effective. Farrell suggests he’s taken the opportunity this spring to go out there and “pitch,” rather than just throw the ball, as he’s done in the past.

“It’s very positive that he’s not relying on just sheer power, with a hard fastball and a hard cutter,” the manager said of Morrow’s spring. “He’s disrupted some hitters’ timings, and when he’s able to get some guys out front, that’s when he’s able to get a two- or three-pitch out, which is what we’re looking for to get deeper into ballgames.”

To the fact that for the second game in a row he’d moved Kelly Johnson into the leadoff spot, with incumbent leadoff man Yunel Escobar hitting second, Farrell simply said he was “taking a look.” He added that he felt that Escobar can use the whole field, and has “the ability to hit the hole” a little more [no, you turn six], while Johnson is more of a dead pull hitter. In other words, with a runner on he likes Escobar’s ability to get the ball through infielders playing at double play depth, plus the advantage he can provide on a hit and run.

 

Brandon Morrow

Asked about his fastball Morrow said that he felt he’d lost it in the second inning for a couple of hitters, but was otherwise pretty good on a day that saw him give up just one hit and two walks, striking out only one. He adds that he was missing with everything for those couple of batters, but maintains he felt good about the rest of the performance, which WIlner notes encompassed just 58 pitches through five innings– a good number for a starter who struggled to go deep enough last season, despite throwing just 32 strikes. Morrow went to the bullpen for 15 more pitches, just to get his pitch count to where it needed to be.

On Farrell’s notion of his becoming more of a pitcher than a mere thrower, Morrow agreed. “I’m thinking through at-bats and watching the way they’re reacting to the balls, and calling a little bit of my own game– shaking the pitches,” Morrow said.

 

Alex Anthopoulos

The GM began his talk with the assembled reporters– which we miss part of, as Wilner needed to switch tapes mid-scrum– by explaining that there is no set date by which the club wants to have its position battles set– beyond, y’know, Opening Day… though, as John Lott surmised in a great piece in Wednesday’s National Post, in left field it’s a battle that might linger through the season.

Once they make the decision, he adds, they’ll tell the players– speaking specifically, as Richard Griffin notes for the Toronto Star, of Omar Vizquel’s quest to make the club as a backup infielder.

After a bit of stuff about Drew Hutchison *COUGH*, Anthopoulos was asked if he envisioned any sort of major changes before the end of camp, the way that Jose Bautista suddenly moved to right field, as Edwin Encarnacion was given the job as Opening Day third baseman.

He said their wasn’t, but then the typically tight-lipped GM just couldn’t help himself from expanding on one tiny sliver of light left open.

“There’s always a chance, in the last week, last two- three days, that a trade could come up. I don’t see us doing anything, we’re not actively talking to anybody, but when teams are starting to make their cuts, and out-of-option guys are available, maybe someone becomes available.”

He points out that the club picked up Jayson Nix and Fred Lewis in that way each of the last two springs. And hey! Maybe they’ll need to fill a roster spot when they finally get rid of the utterly redundant Ben Francisco!

Speaking of the outfield, Anthopoulos is then asked of the fucking asinine possibility of both Travis Snider and Eric Thames coming north with the club, with Snider playing every day in centre.

“Zero chance,” Anthopoulos says. “Not even a scenario.”

And I’m reminded of a tweet I received from @fontcrimes after I posted about Adam Lind’s awfulness over the last two years, which wondered how in the fuck Adam Lind gets such a free pass with the local media, while Colby Rasmus is projected as some eternally-loafing hayseed question-mark.

This tangent deserves a full post, I’m extremely sure– especially after hayseed Lind essentially openly pissed and moaned this spring about the 15 to 20 minutes of working out needed to maintain his conditioning and not turn into an utter shitbag like he did last year– but fucking motherfucking seriously.

Lind’s magical 3.7 fWAR, 139 wRC+ season is two years in the rearview, while Rasmus put up 129 wRC+ and 4.3 fWAR in twenty-goddamn-ten! Rasmus has been worth 7.9 fWAR over 420 [note: ha!] career games, while Lind’s accumulated 4.3 wins in 621. Granted, Rasmus gets a lot of value from being above average defensively in centre– something too many media dildos are real quick to ignore– but his career wRC+ is 103 to Lind’s 104. And yet the people pining for David Cooper are where, exactly? Christ!!!

Anywho… Anthopoulos went on, saying that the club believes there’s “still more there” in Edwin Encarnacion, who will get more at-bats– and is still young, at just 29. Doesn’t hurt that his contract provides a lot of value, either.

As for the battle at the back of the rotation, Anthopoulos claim that Kyle Drabek and Aaron Laffey are still pushing for rotation spots. “That’s why there still here,” he says.

“Kyle’s made tremendous strides,” he adds. “He’s getting better each time out.”

“As the fifth starter,” he says, referring to Dustin McGowan and the possibility of him missing an early-season start for the health of his arm, “you could stay back a little longer, because of the off-day.”

With McGowan, and his lack of options, in mind, Anthopoulos addressed the possibility of Drabek not making the team, saying with a sigh that “Las Vegas is where he’d be.” He noted, however, that the club has discussed sending guys elsewhere. Oh, what a great situation that is.

Wilner then asks about Adam Lind– acknowledging, that he’s been one of the worst qualified¬†hitters in baseball over the last two years, but maintaining he hasn’t been one of the absolute worst, as long as you include enough guys who were thought of little-enough to be given only handfuls of at-bats– who Anthopoulos says he believes in, because “the talent is there,” because “he’s always hit,” and because of his strong first half in 2011.

He adds that the lineup could evolve over the course of the year.

So… there’s at least that. (And also– let’s be clear– the possibility that Lind’s two years in the wilderness really are because of… whatever the fuck they’re claiming. He has¬†shown he can hit. I just don’t, y’know, quite grasp how a bad back makes you inclined to flail away at breaking balls way too fucking much. But hey, that’s just me.)

Comments (29)

  1. Drunk Greg Zaun was on the FAN590 yesterday raving about Ben Francisco. He claimed that the Jays were sorely lacking a right handed power bat on the bench and picking up Francisco was a great move.

    He also thought Travis Snider should be the left fielder (at least for the first 150 AB’s of the season), even thought Eric Thames has done nothing to lose his job.

  2. The ignorance people in Toronto have towards Rasmus is pretty amazing. If you only listened to Zaun, Bob McCown and Ashby you’d think Rasmus was one of the worst players in MLB. You hear stupid things like “he’s no Devon White” yet he might actually be better than White at this age (he’s certainly accumulated more WAR). And the fact is White was an underachiever until coming to the Jays at 29 and only had 1 great year under his belt at that point of his career. Seems like we have an identical situation here, only we were lucky enough to get the guy at a much younger age.

  3. …how in the fuck Adam Lind gets such a free pass with the local media, while Colby Rasmus is projected as some eternally-loafing hayseed question-mark.

    The million dollar question.

    • I think there exists a homegrown bias. We watch these guys develop and (hopefully) get better year over year. Every morning the minor league box scores get scoured over looking for positive news that maybe Adam Lind and Chip Cannon can replace Kevin Mench and Brad Wilkerson. Maybe they even blossom and have a star season and win a meaningful award like rookie of the year or silver slugger.

      Then, despite a few awful seasons, one can find anything (BABIP, HRs, RISP, nerd stats), to justify a return to excellence. I was forever in Hill’s corner because I fondly remember his stint at 3B when Koskie went down. If he can only… lay off.. bad pitches off the corner.

      Compare that with Rasmus who had all those warm fuzzies in another organization. In his Blue Jay time has shown nothing to separate him from Jonas Hoglund despite the fact that actual baseball fans see loads of potential. Give him some time to make a great catch, hit a walk off, go to a kid’s hospital. Soon enough he’ll start selling t-shirts and divide a fan base between the Rasmus boosters and those scouring AAA Las Vegas reports on Tony Gose.

  4. oooh the intrigue! Thames vs Snider, Lind vs Left hand pitching, E5,7,3, or EDH? I think the simple fix would be to have Snider or Thames move to first and trade (ditch) Lind and keep EE’s mind on hitting…because he is good at it when his mind is on it.

  5. Moving Yunel to the 2 hold..looks like Farrell is trying to replicate what the Tigers had with Placido Polanco in his prime.

  6. I think the people pining for cooper are pining for anyone not named Lind. People want some sign that this season is not a total write off. The rotation is badly in need of another arm or 2, a power hitting righty is needed and a competent major league first baseman. By not adressing any of these things the jays are signaling another year of lets see what we have. (not that that s all bad at this stage) but fuck come on throw us a freaking bone here. Some sign that someone other than fans want this team to contend this year. Would Cooper be that, Can’t see how he would be worse. If not at least drop Lind in the order. Lind is a huge gaping hole in the #4 spot and by not adressing it the jays are again saying wait till next year

    • “but fuck come”

      Pfffffffffttttt.

    • Lind is still owed too much money and isn’t really tradeable.Before he gets DFA’d for nothing they gotta play him. Business over talent.

      • This is pretty much accurate, I’d say.

        • When does a Jays beat writer actually ask the questions about Lind directly to the Manger and/or GM? Especially why he is projected to bat in the order where he is?

      • Is this true, though? Within baseball, nobody would take on $12 million to potentially have Adam Lind for the next 5 years?

        I could be wrong, but I’d bet what Keith Law said about Aaron Hill applies to Adam Lind as well. That people in baseball, other than Alex Anthopolous, believe there’s more in there.

        With that said, why would AA trade Lind if he believes he is at the nadir of his value?

  7. If Lind is as lazy about working out and improving himself as mentioned above, then I would certainly have him on a short leash too. He didn’t do much to protect Batista last year and I’m still not convinced we should keep him if we can get something valuable for him.

  8. I’m not convinced Lind is the real deal.

  9. They ask that question about Rasmus/Snider, but I’d be more interested in the EE/Thames/Snider 1st/DH/LF thing. Since I saw someone mention it in the comments earlier the week I’ve tried in my head to dismiss it, because I assumed it was ridiculous. I couldn’t come up with a real reason it would be. The outfield defense improves, the offense improves (Thames and EE both out-project Lind in wOBA Hell, Snider’s James projection is only one wOBA point behind Lind’s, and after this disaster last year you have to assume that if he takes a step forward he outperforms that.) And as shitty as Lind has been, there’s still got to be a NL GM who would take him for something.

    I don’t know.

  10. I think The Book of Moron needs to make a re-appearance, after seeing this post.

  11. I prefer Yunel in the #2 spot for a couple of reasons.
    1. He will not have to be bumped out when Gose breaks through. (ultimately making him mad).
    2. Yunel is a career .295 hitter with runners on base, and .303 with them in scoring position. (Johnson is .258 & .255)
    3. This will allow Johnson to steal bases because he will be doing it with Escobar up and not Jose.
    4. If my memory serves me correctly Yunel prefers the #2 spot.

    • Its not a bad idea. Escobar has done a good job of getting on base and he can still get on base in the 2 hole. But I think that Escobar’s bat control is superior to Johnson, meaning he can spray the ball more effectively in hit and run situations. Johnson is more of a pull hitter and has a much higher K rate.

      Johnson is not a prototypical leadoff guy by any stretch of the imagination. But he has shown to be able to get on base (hovered around .370 with OBP in 2010). And he has some speed to steal.

      I also like Escobar to remain in the 2 hole if Gose is ready for 2013.

      • I can’t imagine Yunel batting second unless he actually learns how to read signs from the 3rd base coach. How many times did he miss hit and runs last year? Or suicide squeezes that almost got people killed?

  12. McCown and Brunt (I think) asked some pretty point blank questions about Lind to AA this week. It is the most uncomfortable I’ve heard AA sound. I got the impression he was saying the right things so he wasn’t tossing his only 1B under the bus, but it wasn’t very believeable. I don’t get the feeling Lind is going to be allowed to fail for long before something happens. With the early innings limit for Hutch, I think the Jays’ management feel they have a shot, however remote, at the 2nd wildcard…or more…this year.

    Time will tell.

  13. isn’t two years in the rearview still 2010? or no worse than 2009?

  14. i asked AA at state of the franchise if coming out of the offseason with Lind in the cleanup role was a failure. He said all the right things but he sure wasn’t passionate about it. He gave the impression that it was a fair question. Im thinking short leash too. But then what?

  15. Escobar gonna hit into soooo many DP if he bats 2nd

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *