Before letting the week get too far away from me, I made sure I was going to get some time in for my weekly-ish little caustic hijacking of Richard Griffin’s mail bag from over at the Toronto Star. (OK, so maybe I started it on Friday and had left it sitting all weekend– hence the URL suggesting it was posted on the 14th). Whatever the case, let’s not waste any more words– I certainly didn’t in my responses– and get to it!
As always, I have not read any of Griffin’s answers.
If there’s a question you’d like me to answer, submit it to Griffin here, and maybe he’ll select it for a future mail bag. Fingers crossed!
Q-In recent weeks there have been several notable contract extensions signed (e.g., Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Ian Kinsler). In your opinion, which Jays would AA be wise to actively pursuing extensions for this year? The Rays organization has received lots of praise in the media for their very early signing of lengthy contracts for Evan Longoria and Matt Moore, should (and will) AA try to do something similar for Brett Lawrie at this point?
W. Henry, New Wesrminster, B.C.
There has been talk, at least among fans, about the possibility of the Jays doing something similar with Lawrie as the Rays did with Longoria, but I suspect the time where clubs can slip deals like that past agents has passed. Even if one could, the Jays aren’t in the same financial predicament as the Rays, and don’t need to take the kind of risk that Tampa did, even if they believe Lawrie to be the kind of can’t-miss, MVP-calibre talent that Longoria has been. Moreover, the balls-out way Lawrie plays, while kinda fucking awesome, has the potential to take its toll on his body over the years, and that’s something that must be considered as well.
Some *COUGH* might tell you that the club’s wariness of deals longer than five years would have something to do with it, but it’s hard to imagine a world in which that isn’t bullshit. If they needed to, if they felt it was in their interest, the Jays would find a way to explain their way out of bending those self-imposed rules.
The way I see it, the Jays would almost certainly be thrilled to pay a little more to lock up a potential superstar in Lawrie once they have a little more performance data on him– though, admittedly, they don’t seem to place as much value on massive samples of MLB performance as I do, vis-à-vis the McGowan and Bautista extensions. Regardless, they still have a long way to go before any extension signed with Lawrie won’t be a bargain.
Q-Opening day. Oh, what a feeling. Since that first opening day at the CNE with snow on the ground, I love it! I was so disappointed to see Brett Lawrie not singing our national anthem. What gives? I will excuse all other players but there is no excuse for Lawrie.
Karen Maxwade, Toronto
Who possibly fucking cares?
Nice to read your stuff again this year. Like to hear your take on Sergio Santos. Don’t want to judge too quickly but the hype presented regarding Santos after the terrible closer record last year led a lot of fans to really look forward to this year. Were we sold a bill of goods or can this guy pitch better than he has shown. The hits were bad enough but the walks were worse. What a disappointment for the other pitchers in the game.
Bob Leatham, Ilderton
It’s two goddamn bad games from a goddamn reliever with goddamn elite stuff, give me a goddamn break.
Q-Why didn’t Santos get a save in the opener?
Larry Hawken, Nashville, TN
It wasn’t technically a save situation, because Luis Perez had entered the playing field at the start of the sixteenth, and– by MLB rules– was forced to stay in the game. He retired the first batter of the inning, meaning that the two outs Santos recorded en route to the Jays’ win didn’t constitute a save.
I’ve noticed in the first few games, the Jays have done a great job using their bench and versatility of their players by moving guys around and having them play different positions. My question is, if a player starts the game off as the DH, is he ever allowed to come into the game and fill a defensive position? Thanks.
Matt Hazel, Antigonish, N.S.
I think John Farrell has done a pretty good job so far in this regard, for example, actually sitting guys who have no business playing against left-handers, and putting Rajai Davis in a position where he can succeed– I’ll even ease up on my perhaps hasty criticism of Farrell for sitting Colby Rasmus last week, while playing Eric Thames against a lefty, seeing as it later turned out to be how the chips fell with regards to getting players days off.
Yes, a DH can enter the game as a position player, but you lose your DH for the rest of the game– meaning the pitcher has to hit.
I was pleasantly surprised to see Joey Bats play a bit of 1st base in Cleveland. Any chance he ends up there permanently sometime over the next few seasons? Do you think he adds anything by being able to chat with the pitcher and infielders on the mound during high pressure situations?
Mike Patton, St. John’s, NL
While there may be a tiny kernel of truth to the fact that a player maybe occasionally offers some kind of useful confidence-boosting words during high pressure situations, or that his mere presence on the diamond calms everybody around him, that kind of horseshit gets so overblown in the hack-driven narrative that it’s safer to just pretend it doesn’t exist– because, for all intents and purposes, it really doesn’t. So… no, I don’t think there’s a fucking chance Bautista adds anything in that way. And while it’s an interesting option to have him at first base– and I’d be all for seeing it eventually, if it becomes clear that Adam Lind is unable to get it together in his make-or-break season– he’s got a good enough arm that you’d kind of hate to take that away from him, and from the team. Someone like Anthony Gose may force the club’s hand, though, and first is far from the worst spot to stick Jose. He could handle it, and his bat– once it gets going– certainly plays there.
I was hoping for some help to settle a bet. A co-worker and I were talking about Adeiny Hechavarria and it is my understanding that he signed a major league contract as a pro free agent so that once his 4-year deal is done (I am not sure there are any options) he becomes a free agent again. My co-worker argued that he would be under team control and arbitration eligible instead. I thought that Cuban free agents are different and not signed as amateurs like players who sign from the DR and Venezeula for example and therefore do not come through the system with the same team control rules (ie. arbitration). Care to help settle this one?
Rio Mitha, Toronto
He will not be a free agent after four years. Griff probably explains this one better than I could be arsed to.
Q-Liked your 5 question marks but I think you covered the real big one in your blog: who is Santos and why was he “stretching” instead of pitching in the spring? did Chicago dump him and are the Jays hiding him because he has a flaw or tell in his game? Can’t see that getting by the Yankee or Boston scouts. A closer means everything to the season
Fuck off. For real???
Two questions: Is Cecil the kind of pitcher other teams look at and say OUR pitching coach can fix him? And, would it make sense for the Jays to make a pitch for Wandy Rodriguez (and I hope that Cecil can play into that move)? Obviously, not-so-young Rodriguez has a big ticket for two seasons and might be redundant as early as this September. Plus, I imagine Houston’s price went up after the winter’s ransoms paid for young pitchers in the way rising waters raise all ships. But a package of Cecil, one of the Single A guys and the salary relief would have to enticing to the new Astro GM, shouldn’t it? Assuming the answer to the first question posed was yes … at least as far as Houston’s concerned. Toronto gets an innings eater to fill the third slot. Alvarez will be fine holding down four and the pitching tidal wave, starting with Drabek, should be able to handle the tail end.
Gary Mugford, Brampton
Ugh. No, unless they think they can find his lost velocity between the couch cushions, I’m not sure why another club would be champing at the bit to make a play for Cecil, or why the Jays would be looking to trade him when his value couldn’t possibly get any lower. His flaws would be hidden better in the National League, that’s for sure, and that package you suggest to Houston might work, but it’s ain’t because of shitballin’ Cecil. It’s because you’re suggesting the Jays give up six years of cheap MLB control of one of their highly-valued Single-A pitching prospects in exchange for the opportunity to overpay Wandy Ramirez, who you yourself readily admits might be redundant in four months. I mean… the fuck???
Q-In an interview on SportsNet, Prince Fielder was asked how much of an option the Jays were as an off-season destination. His answer was that he was looking for a team that wanted him long-term, which in my eyes pretty much means it came down to money and years. As a Packers fan, I am a strong proponent of building through the draft, but even they splurged on a free agent in Charles Woodson. My question is if Anthopoulos or Rogers too stubborn with money to build a contender? I would think that with Lawrie’s explosion onto the scene and Bautista’s general brilliance Prince Fielder would have been that elusive “player to put us over the top” who AA always talks about when referring to budget.
Shawn Bank, Toronto
See: Every single goddamn thing written about the Blue Jays between November and February. Seriously, where the fuck were you?
In regards to the final question in your last mailbag, you stated that Colby Rasmus would have needed to have had a really, really good season in the past to be considered for comeback player of the year. Colby had an .859 OPS as a 23-year-old in 2010. That’s a really, really good year… no? I think a lot of Jays fans just don’t realize how good this guy has been in the past or could be in the future. Blue Jays fans all (rightly) love Devon White, but Devo never had an OPS like that. If Rasmus puts up another year like 2010, he runs away with Blue Jay comeback player of the year and nobody will be asking when we’re going to see Gose.
Dave Vigon, Guelph
How can you say in your last mailbag that Colby Rasmus hasn’t had a great season yet? In 2010, he put up a .859 OPS as a CF.
Scott T., Toronto
I can’t seriously imagine anybody giving a shit about comeback player of the year awards, but yes, Rasmus was very good in 2010, and only an idiot would try to somehow claim he wasn’t. He can be a metric fuck-tonne better than we saw in his 35 games with the Jays last year, and only a fucking idiot wouldn’t be able to grasp that, either. I don’t know where all these morons who aren’t thrilled to have stolen him from the Cardinals for a bunch of spare parts are coming from, but… um… did I already say they’re morons? Because they so are.
I can’t seem to find a definitive answer on this. Is the Rogers Centre air conditioned? I remember in years past it wasn’t, hence it’s very muggy under the dome. Has Rogers installed air conditioning since they bought it?
Harry L., Markham
In parts of the park there are vents from which air is blown, so… if that counts.
Q-Everybody is trying to make the wrong correlation between spring training success and success of the big league club. A good spring training means a good big league club sometime in the near future. 19 spring training wins in 1985, 2 years later the Jays win 97 games. Great spring in 88-89, the Jays win 90+ games from 91-93. The Jays may or may not be in the hunt for the wildcard this year, but I expect them to be at/near the top of the division in 2014.
Joe Miller, Mississauga
I expect that the Jays are only going to be better over the next few years, too. But holy fuck, this year’s Spring Training record isn’t at all what tells us this, and it’s absolutely pointless to try to cull any sort of meaning from it. The Jays are on the right path because of the quality of players coming through the system at the moment– and a lot of those guys were in minor league camp for much of the spring season. Top-end position guys like Marisnick, d’Arnaud, Gose, Hechavarria, Crouse, Knecht, Sierra and others played 10 or fewer of the Jays 31 spring games, while Drew Hutchison led up-and-coming pitchers withh 15 innings, followed by Deck McGuire at 7, so even that old saw– the notion that the record spoke to the organization’s overall quality that John Farrell was so quick to push all spring– doesn’t really hold a lot of water.
Let’s please just stop talking about it.