Could it really and truly be? Back-to-back weeks? Yes, it could be! After such a ridiculously long time in the desert, it seems we’ve come upon two oases in quick succession, as hot-ish off the presses, we’ve got another Griff Bag– aka Richard Griffin’s reader mail bag from over at the Toronto Star. Commence hijacking!

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. Maybe the Jays should let (John) Farrell go (to the Red Sox) and hire your old buddy, Tito (Francona). That would certainly add an additional level of spice to the division, wouldn’t it?

Francona was a great manager, has played in Canada and is well liked up here, so might be a good replacement. But if AA is genuinely committed to Farrell, then he MUST extend him right after the season. It makes the Jays look like a Mickey Mouse organization if their staff are always treated as the managerial equivalent of training wheels for a so-called big league franchise like Boston. It demeans the organization, the city and the fans, in my opinion. Thoughts?

Always love your column.

Marshall, Toronto

What? Um… how the hell have the Jays been any kind of training ground for other organizations, exactly? Name me the last Jays manager to have managed anywhere else at the big league level after leaving Toronto– was it Jimy fucking Williams? IT WAS! I JUST LOOKED!

I’m pretty sure that’s a) fucking insane, and b) exactly the opposite of the picture you’re trying to paint here. And I’m also pretty sure Alex Anthopoulos is entirely right when he says that, in sports, non-player contracts are about setting the terms of remuneration, and that’s about it.

Sure, teams are more reluctant to move on from staff members they’re locked into paying for years down the line, but it’s rarely an impediment if someone’s employment is deemed no longer tenable– Boston’s cutting bait on Francona and (eventually) Bobby Valentine are clear examples of that. Extending Farrell this winter wouldn’t make him any more or less likely to be fired, or any more or less likely to want to jump ship. And it’s not like Boston is going to hire a placeholder guy for one year, in order to wait out the end of Farrell’s contract, so… what exactly is the issue here? The Jays should see how next year goes and proceed accordingly.

 

Q. With the N.Y. Mets apparently ending their affiliation with the Buffalo Bisons after this season, wouldn’t it make perfect sense for the Jays to move their Triple A team there from Vegas?

All everyone both inside and outside the organization talk about is how you can’t measure hitters or pitchers in Vegas because of the park and/or altitude so why not move them to a beautiful ballpark an hour and a half away and just over the border so we southern Ontarians can go see them. I’m sure their attendance would improve dramatically.

Rick Fokken, Port Colborne

Fokken, eh! Pretty sure this is going to happen, just because it’s so mutually beneficial. And while it should help the Bisons, who didn’t get much geographic benefit from being a Mets affiliate, I’m not sure how dramatic the impact on attendance will be. At least in theory, it does increase the size of the potential market. It doesn’t hurt that in the next few years there should be some king hell prospects coming through the ranks to go check out, either. Or so we’ve been led to believe. But will people from this side of the border show up once the novelty wears off? I’m not so sure it’s a slam dunk.

 

Q. Richard Stoeten,

I have a question regarding injuries to players. When a player is injured and requires surgery, who covers the cost of the surgery and the rehab? I imagine the team takes care of it, but what if the player in question was minor-leaguer or an aging veteran with a questionable future with the club. Can the team discharge itself of their responsibility?

Thank you,

Randy Fisher, Toronto

I’ve never seen it in writing, but I can say with damn certainty that if a player is on the club’s roster, the club– or their insurance– is paying for whatever surgeries are required.

 

Q. Hi Richard Stoeten,

I really enjoy your mailbag and want to take the opportunity to ask you about Ricky Romero. Everyone seems flummoxed about his terrible year but I am just wondering what the process is trying to figure out what has gone wrong. Can’t the Jays simply analyze film footage of his delivery last year frame by frame and compare it to this year’s delivery frame by frame and get him to correct whatever he is doing differently. Obviously this might be hard to do on a consistent basis but some of his starts this year it seems like he has no clue from start to finish.

Thanks,

Patrick Mulholland, Stettler, Alta

Um… that sort of thing is easy enough for anybody with a computer to do, and those who’ve done it don’t really see any tangible difference in his mechanics. The Jays work with video constantly, so… I’m pretty sure they’ve already had a look. And, I mean, if fixing it were that simple, don’t you think they would have done it by now?

 

Q. Hi Richard Stoeten,

I’m wondering what you think of the idea of bringing up RHP Sean O’Sullivan to finish the season with Toronto, in the wake of J.A. Happ’s season-ending injury. The Jays had a plan of using six starters for the remainder of the season, but Happ is now unavailable, and O’Sullivan, a former big-leaguer who is only 25, had a very nice run with AAA Las Vegas since joining that club mid-season. Thanks for your great coverage again this season!!

Frank Dixon, Kingston, ON

To what end, exactly, are you suggesting the Jays bring O’Sullivan up? Like… I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but you cannot fucking possibly be suggesting he’s anything close to a viable starting option going forward for the club, can you?

 

Q. What is significance of the different colored rope necklaces that some players wear.

Thanks.

John Felker, Osoyoos

Depends on the colour. I think black means they’re into S&M, red is fisting, dark blue is anal, light blue is oral, yellow is watersports, brown is coprophilia, green means he’s a hustler, grey is bondage, purple is piercing, and orange means “anything, anywhere, anytime (but not necessarily anyone).” Or, at least, that’s what Al Pacino led me to believe in Cruising.

 

Q. Richard Stoeten:

It’s probably unfair to judge John Farrell’s performance after such an injury-filled season. But since we haven’t exactly improved under his stewardship, it’s easier to remain unattached and listen to the rumours that he’s bound for Boston. In other words, Farrell’s not what’s wrong with the Blue Jays, but it wouldn’t be heartbreaking if he left. The out-with-the-old-in-with-the-small, move-the-runners-along kind of baseball has yet to fully materialize and I wonder whether a different kind of manager might have more luck. Which brings me to my question: Omar Vizquel has expressed an interest in managing after this season. He won’t be, like previous Jays’ managers, a former catcher, pitcher, or swing for the fence kind of player. Rather, he plays the kind of baseball that next year’s team might be well suited for. Plus, he’s essentially had a year-long, in the dug-out interview. What would players and Blue Jays’ brass think of giving Vizquel a shot, if Farrell ends up heading back to Boston?

Matthew McKean, Ottawa

Oh good fucking lord, who cares?

I have no fucking idea, nor is it anything close to anything I would ever consider for a second contemplating. But, to pick out the one, narrow part of your question that I find at all interesting in the slightest, I do agree that it probably to a large extent comes down to bad luck, the way Farrell’s tactics haven’t been able to manufacture runs this year. And I say that despite the fact that I disagree with those tactics on principle quite often. Thing is, it’s really hard to judge how he’d run a healthy team, and I think that some of the wastefulness we’ve seen in the course of his aggressiveness this year is likely a response how shitty his team has been and how difficult it’s been scoring runs, especially since Bautista has been out.

That said, I wasn’t enamored of his work last year, either, and I certainly won’t rule out a more full-throated shitting-on of him down the line, as we continue to get a better sense of who he is as a manager.

 

Q. Mr. Griffin Stoeten

I was at the Jays disaster sitting in left field and watching (Rajai) Davis — more interested in watching the planes of the Air Show — and now many balls did he not even try for with some energy? Then shortstop did not help Romero in the disaster inning. They all (most) make big money under big money contracts and get that big money whether they play well, or try or just mail it in. There is no performance rewards except for the odd contract e.g. making all star Team; winning MVP etc. Have you even thought about, or had discussions on, or has the industry ever considered Performance Based Compensation? You may have a $10 million dollar contract and get paid it no matter how you stink up the joint but what if players were paid a base salary calculated based on the number of years on the Majors. eg — Rookie gets based of $250,000. Then all second year players get a base of $500,000, Third year players get $700,000 etc. like in business where there are base salaries and then performance bonuses. You put in extra effort and huge achievements you get bonuses. You do the minimum and mail it if you get your base. In other words you play the game and perform your position like a professional you get rewarded above your base contract. You just mail it in you still get good bucks but you get what you are worth. An average producer. Baseball has stats about stats so maintaining all of this would not be too difficult — most probably available. With performance-based compensation you would not see such lacklustre performances like I saw by some of the Jays. Fans deserve better. Has this concept ever been thought of or discussed at the higher up levels (forget the union)?

K D Butler, Toronto

It has probably not been thought of or discussed before… because it is INSANE.

 

Q. Hi Mr. Griffin Stoeten,

Watched the game a couple of weeks ago and saw the Expos fans out in good numbers. I immediately thought of you. Wanted to know if the mailbag was cancelled for the rest of the season much like the Jays’ playoff chances? I submitted a question last week and wanted to submit another. (What is the hold up with the Jays offering Carlos Villanueva a team friendly contract i.e. 4 years with the last two years as option at maybe $3-4 million per year?)

Thanks.

Anton S. Forde, Toronto

The hold up is the fact that the Jays, quite rightly, worry about his ability to pitch a full season’s worth of innings as a starter. So why sign a guy now, with starts still left, when your main concern is his durability? Is that not the kind of situation where you want to gather as much data as possible before you make your decision?

And even if Villanueva maintains his current level of performance through the end of the season, it’s still no lock that it would be prudent for the Jays to sign him and guarantee him the spot in the rotation that he desires– especially since I think it will cost more than you suggest, too.

 

Q. Hey Richard Stoeten,

Your evaluation of JF and the situation is dead-on and I think if all parties in management have their brains on, they’re on it like flies to pine tar. What an opportunity! Once the smoke clears, AA will trade Farrell (I wonder who they’d be willing to give up?) and snatch Tito from limbo.

Cheers,

Rod Salloum, Vancouver

Q-Hey Griff Stoet,

What’s all the fuss? Why don’t we trade John to Boston, get back some pitching, and then hire Tito to manage here? Tito would look great in the Blue. Has anyone asked Alex about Tito?

Cheers,

Dave Ritchie, Toronto

Alex has a manager under contract, Dave, so I can tell you pretty goddamn easy what he’d say.

As for the trade scenarios, you seem to be forgetting that the Red Sox aren’t complete fucking idiots. It’s rather delusional to start dreaming on legitimate, game-changing talent coming the other way in exchange for a manager. It’s just so extraordinarily unlikely.

Sure, if the Sox do lose their minds and offer something of real value, then you do it without thinking twice, and take a look at Francona, if he’s still available, or one of the many internal candidates available. But why anybody is frothing at the mouth over this possibility is beyond baffling. I mean, you could dream up any number of ridiculously lopsided trade scenarios– it’s not like they’re ever actually going to happen.

 

Q. Good morning Richard Stoeten,

The Jays speak about doing a lot to build up a contending team “they will spend, over-spend etc.,” first you have to open the purse strings before you can reach in to get money out — perhaps spend a little to fix the retracting roof of the Rogers Centre that refused to close last night. Then do some serious work scouting and bring in good, solid baseball players who can form the pieces that are necessary to contend. The young chap at 3rd is unable to stop anything headed his way and Rajai Davis — may be good in stealing bases but he is no good in anticipating where the ball is going to come down and is either way ahead and has to turn and chase it down when he is too late and then he is crawling around trying to get to the ball. Oh boy, do the Jays need a good left-fielder — quick on his feet who can patrol his territory well and has a strong and accurate arm and good with the bat — Rajai has a habit of chasing balls outside the strike zone and getting struck out. The Jays have lost 2 of three games to the O’s and look lifeless with no desire to play. This is a team that should be putting up a fight as spoilers and showing their fans that they are a team, irrespective of all the injuries, to the end. Have a good day.

Regards,

Tony D’Souza, Toronto

Rajai Davis is a fourth outfielder, so who cares? To everything else: what the fuck are you possibly talking about?

 

Q. Hi Richard Stoeten,

After just reading about your travel exploits getting to Jays games, I’m pretty sure that there must be times when you end up watching them on TV. So, perhaps you have a perspective on SportsNet’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” theme music — new for this season, and hopefully only this season. For some reason that I cannot understand, it is always so loud and broadcast over top of the commentary that it is not possible to hear anyone speaking. I figured they would have figured that out by this point in the season, but it has not changed. My 20 cents worth.

Bryan Willis, Vancouver

THAT is your problem with the broadcast?

 

Q. Richard Stoeten,

I read with interest the AL/NL pitcher comparison, but what about the fielding? Seems to me that the NL must have some sluggers that are not really the best fielders in the world but are there for their bats only. While I realize that it’s a stretch to figure out, this lack of fielding skills must have SOME kind of result.

Peter Thomson, Elizabeth City, N.C.

Um… I realize you used a question mark in there at some point, but you “question” is reading a whole more a lot like a statement, to me. Yes, there are a number of newfangled defensive metrics that, with enough data, give you a pretty good idea of who is a quality fielder and who isn’t. Some of them are in the National League.

 

Q. I have a trade suggestion: How about John Farrell, Colby Rasmus and Kelly Johnson for Jon Lester, Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia. Also maybe throw in Adam Lind for Mauro Gomez. Then go after Francona. ?????

Frank Brown, Thornhill

Not sure if that one will go through. Are you playing on Beginner, Amateur, Pro, or All-Star?

Comments (51)

  1. Sometimes I wonder how you can keep doing this to yourself, Andrew.

  2. Holy shit – should not have been reading this in class (the necklace question)…so hard to keep a straight face

    • Oh fuck. That trade proposal at the end drove me over the edge. Let’s trade a manager, an average at best (with potential) CF, and A FUCKING FREE AGENT to Boston for an ace on a down year, and two perennial MVP candidates.

    • I WISH I could have kept a straight face. Co-workers giving me the look now

  3. Q. Dear Stoeten,

    Always get good laughs out of reading ‘Stoeten Answers Griffin’s Mail Bag’. My question is, has Griffin ever threatened to kick your ass over this or has he given his approval in a loving fatherly way?

    Thanks, Tom, Somewhere in the Pacific Ocean

    • This doesn’t directly answer the question but if you have a look at Griffin’s twitter avatar (@RGriffinStar is his handle) and compare it to the photo above you might get some idea…

  4. keep the fodder coming griff

    thanks for the read

  5. haha, love the answers.. And feel free to berate me for this, however….

    With Bautista’s injury to, I think, his throwing hand, do you think it is plausible that AA moves Joey Bats to 1B, to protect his hand, two years sooner than most anticipated?

    If so, that would make our big off season bat a fielder… Just wondering what hitting-first fielders may be available..

    • Jose’s injury is to left wrist & he throws right. Might not be the worst idea to at least start giving him some reps at first, but doesn’t it seem like we have too few MLB caliber outfielders, not too many?

      I guess it all depends on what AA does in the offseason.

    • Left wrist…not his throwing hand

  6. I really enjoyed the last question/ answer. One other thing… were these questions hand picked from Griffin’s mailbag or is every single person who writes in completely dilusional?

  7. I refuse to believe that Griff doesn’t get better questions than these, and he just picks these ones out to troll Stoeten.

  8. ***Delusional… thats a tricky word

  9. “Then shortstop did not help Romero in the disaster inning.”

    TAKE A LOOK AT BANNER, MICHAEL.

  10. “THAT is your problem with the broadcast?”

    Laughing out loud. Good mailbag.

  11. “Extending Farrell this winter wouldn’t make him any more or less likely to be fired, or any more or less likely to want to jump ship”

    False. If Boston tells him they want him, and Toronto still hasn’t re-signed him then I’m pretty sure that would very definitely want to make him jump ship.

  12. Holy shit Tony D’Souza solved all of the Jays problems! We DO need a left fielder who’s fast, great at fielding, strong armed and good with the bat! In fact, I don’t see why we couldn’t take Tony’s brilliant little piece of analysis and apply it to every position on the field. Why have teams never thought of this?

    Also, fuck you all for dismissing Future Blue Jay Torii Hunter. Let me throw out a statistic for you – since AA took over the best Blue Jay LF (by OBP) was Fred Lewis’ .330. Torii Hunter has not had an OBP that low since 2003. Plus, its probably not the best idea to lock ourselves into a long term option when we presumably have Gose and Marisnick coming down the pipe.

    I don’t understand why this is somehow a terrible idea but we should totally get into a bidding war for a 38 year old slugger who can’t take steroids anymore and pulls the ball to the short porch in Fenway Park? Seriously, David Ortiz’s OPS is actually .300 points higher at Fenway! He’s almost an entire Yunel Escobar better at home than on the road!

  13. Great read as always, can we get Griff on the DJF podcast one day?

    Regarding the “Lame Duck” manager situation, wouldn’t a manager be more motivated to help the team win if he’s on the last year of a deal? And if the team likes said manager, might be more motivated to win as well?

  14. I like how the same fans who come out with the ‘cheap bastard Rogers’ line, come out with the ‘the players get paid too much and don’t try hard’ line.

    Presumably they would like Rogers to put large amounts of money in a pile in order to secure a player’s services, but once the player has signed, immediately set fire to the money, so that the player can’t get it.

    Then we could make sure the players hustle by not feeding them, and putting a carrot on a little railway around the bases. The players can chase it and get fed when they hustle properly. Fans could buy little bags of peanuts and show their appreciation by throwing them at the players when they run out fly balls properly.

    Or dingers for donuts. Colby hits a dinger, and gets rewarded with a tasty Boston cream? That’ll stop the lanky fucker lolly-gagging it about out there.

    • I read this several times and I still can’t figure out what your trying to say. Perhaps it because you start paragraphs with ‘Then’ and ‘Or’ If you are from Newfoundland please disregard my query.

  15. I am still confused why people imagine this RSux organization is going to just automatically bounce back –

    1. Is Ellsbury the guy of 2011 stats or 2008/2009/2012 stats? Hmm, logic says the 3 years of .730 OPS are more likely than the .928 of last year, but hey, he is 30 when he hits Free Agency after next year, knock yourself out Boston, but he is just as likely to “take his talents elsewhere”, with Scott Boras finding him a spot somewhere.

    2. Pedroia is the only other “star” position player on that team likely to be productive past next year – and, he can be kind of ordinary for long stretches.

    3. If people wonder about Hech’s ability to hit, what about Boston’s Cuban? Iglesias flat out sucks with the stick, and with a lot less potential power even (ie, Omar Vizquel-depth outfields).

    4.Middlemarch at 3rd – coming off a broken wrist is not the best thing for a hitter (EE and Lyle Overbay nod in agreement), and he is not really an OBP guy, sooooooooo

    5. Ummm, Cody Ross, outfield and who else??

    6. Salty is terrible defensively (one of the absolute worst at C) and offers very little except HRs

    Not so scary talented, are they? They are not the only team with money, when it comes to bidding on free agents either, plus their reputation has taken a hit with the players (who have equal offers, what does a guy do, you think – go to Arizona or Washington or LA??)

    and there pitching prospects are apparently not up to snuff, nor has been their development process:

    http://articles.boston.com/2012-09-09/sports/33679038_1_brandon-workman-bruce-hurst-rick-peterson

    Sound like baseball heaven, John??

    • In my opinion Farrell has the makings of a good manager but perhaps not with a young team with certain players who need a kick in the ass every now and then. I suppose he could rely on Jose for that but it might not be the best approach. When the Jays have young personalities like Lawrie, Alvarez etc. I think a more confident manager would work out better. Tito might be a dream but he would work well with this club but another factor would be what he would command in order to be enticed as far as salary goes….would 3 to 4 million be out of the question?

  16. Entertaining as always.

  17. How about Farrell, Scott Richmond, Yan Gomes and Lind for Buchholz, Pedroia and Salty? Then we deal Salty for Dan Strailly, sign KJ and trade him for Chris Carpenter, and then sign Carpenter, Strailly and Pedroia to team-friendly contracts.

    Our rotation would be

    Carpenter
    Strailly or Morrow
    Strailly or Morrow
    Romero or Happ or Alvarez
    Romero or Happ or Alvarez

    Then we sign Josh Hamilton and Ortiz to fill our outfield and DH slots.

    Why doesn’t AA think of these things.

  18. About the base salary +performance based bonuses:
    I think it’s a great alternative to the current system. They use it in European soccer and the players are happy.
    In baseball you could argue that a team ‘s performance is more strongly affected by the individual player’s performance than in soccer. Maybe we could come up with a system that puts emphasis on both the team’s and the player’s performances.
    IT COULD WORK and probably would financially stabilize a lot of the teams.
    The best example would be the Boston Red Sox. They were forced to sell three of their main players to avoid financial losses at the end of the season because of a brutal season (and no playoffs) on the field.

  19. Dear Stoeten,

    I don’t live in my mom’s basement like all your buds so I didn’t even know that your blog existed. One of my friends on “pat” leave happened to find it and he mentioned I’d been ripped. While I grant you the “technicality” that AA would not talk about Tito (or any manager) while he has JF locked up, calling out a dude on hyperbole is as weak as a Kevin Gregg fastball. Also, I didn’t say trade JF for Jon Lester. I said “pitcher”. That can mean minor leaguer. How you read between the lines I’d inferred “game changing talent” is as ridiculous as you thinking you can bang a Playboy model with that beard. Bro. C’mon.

    That said, I enjoyed the attempt at witty banter so I will take a read of this from time to time.

    d.r

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