At the Toronto Star, Richard Griffin announces that he won’t be filing his epic Bullpen column this week, and teases us with promises (again) of a late-week mail bag– and tosses a few Qs & As into the post for good measure! A mini-Griff Bag, so naturally, I’m going to go ahead and hijack it!

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. Hey Griff Stoet!

Any chance we can lobby the MLB to start next season a little bit early? I can’t wait!

I’d like to get your take on a couple players that I think would fit perfectly into our lineup for next season: Nick Swisher and David Ortiz. The mutual respect and friendship of Big Papi and Jose Bautista has been well documented and boy, does our lineup look a lot better with him in the DH spot behind EE than with Lind or a fourth outfielder.

Truthfully, Ortiz is old and maybe not an everyday player even as a DH and maybe EE is better off just DH’ing some nights; this is where Swisher comes in! His regular spot can be in LF and on nights that Ortiz takes off and EE DH’s, Swish comes in to play 1st and Rajai fills LF. Seems like a well functioning lineup for once!

Now of course, this all works until someone goes down with an injury and then we’re back into the 2012 version of the Toronto Blue Jays, but hey, it’s the off-season, we’re allowed to dream!

Richard Colton, Kingston

I think getting a big, left-handed bat, like that of David Ortiz, would be fucking fantastic for the Jays, Richard, but it’s one of those things that I couldn’t possibly believe might happen until I actually see it. There seemed like maybe a chance he’d bolt if Bobby Valentine stayed– assuming, dumb as it would be to do so, that the media’s narrative about the clubhouse troubles there was true– but without Bobby V., without a bunch of hefty contracts on the Red Sox’ payroll, and with Papi being, along with Pedroia, the faces of the franchise, I have a really hard time seeing him going anywhere. Reportedly, Ortiz and the Sox are already in talks to re-up for next year, and despite the many concerns about the aging, injured slugger, I think it fucking sucks, because it would be ridiculously fun to have him here, and I hope the Jays jump at the chance if he actually tests the open market.

Swisher I’m less enamored with, almost entirely because of the cost. I think he’s terrific, and obviously the Jays need someone who can balance the right-handed power of Bautista and Encarnacion, but as one of the premier outfield free agents out there, I suspect it’s going to take a lot, in both dollars and term, to get him here– or wherever he ends up– and I think the Jays would likely be better off spending that capital elsewhere. I wouldn’t be opposed to them signing him at all, but I’d be wary of all the resources it would take, and all the years they’d have to give in order to do so.

Ortiz, for my money, would be way more fun, and a more palatable– i.e. shorter term– kind of risk.



Q. How much is playing in Canada, a “foreign country,” an impediment to getting top athletes to play for Toronto’s Jays and Raptors. For example it seems to me that all of the Jays field managers have been first-year guys who might have come here to get their feet wet. Would we even have a sniff at an experienced manager with credentials?

Gord Little, Maple

The fuck? I don’t know who you think the current manager of the Jays is, or whether you’ve heard about how coveted he is by a certain segment of bleating, bleary-eyed, white haired, jowly, red-faced, pseud-Irish Massholes, but the Jays have themselves a manager who could have basically written his own ticket.

And as for the “experienced manager with credentials,” do you mean a guy who has managed in the Majors previously, yet is available? Doesn’t that kinda mean that he’s been given a chance elsewhere and failed?

Yes, it does.

Regardless, we also have an assistant GM who reportedly turned down the opportunity to run the Baltimore Orioles last winter, suggesting it’s not like he was looking for any excuse to return stateside. So… the foreign country stuff is a little bit overblown– it’s not too difficultly trumped by money and opportunity.

I will totally grant you that it’s a minor factor that might not bode well for the Jays, all else being equal. Little things, like sending their families through customs at the airport every time they visit, or exchanging money, or needing Canadian cell phones, or (yes) not getting ESPN– or having damn hockey as the lead Sportscentre story all summer– tend to wear on players, from what I understand.

In most cases, though, I don’t think it’s as insurmountable an issue as it gets made out to be– or as big as, say, the fucking shitty, knee-ruining turf at Rogers Centre, or the fact that you’re likely to end up playing to a stadium at 50% capacity most nights, with little attention paid to you in the US media unless you’re winning. So… it’s not entirely not a thing, but… I dunno… ask AJ Burnett and BJ Ryan how far a few extra million will go towards making you amenable to playing in a foreign land. Or ask Dave Winfield, Paul Molitor, Dave Stewart and Jack Morris how far playing for a winning organization will go.



Q. Hey Griff Stoet,

I’m sure you’re sick of hearing questions about (Brett) Lawrie moving to second base, but how ’bout one more? Who do you think has a better shot at standing his ground and turning the double-play when a base runner tries to break it up? Lawrie or anyone else? Plus, I’m assuming there are more third basemen available than there are second basemen (good ones anyway). Also, I’d rather have my 2B bat leadoff than my 3B. The third baseman should provide power and bat 4th or 5th.

Bob Chedder, Pickering

What kind of cheesy question is this? I mean, a reason to move Lawrie to second is that you want to put one of your team’s (theoretical) best– also: most injury-prone– hitters into harm’s way more? And then you want to tie a guy’s position to his spot in the batting order?

Thanks, Connie Mack, but that’s not really how it works anymore. Even if it did, the fact that Lawrie saw some time hitting lead-off hardly makes him a lead-off man in anything resembling a true sense. Look at him, for shit sakes! He’ll fill out, he’ll hit for a little more power than he showed this year, and he’ll slow down a little as his career goes on. This was a temporary solution for a team that didn’t have a whole lot else that worked there, given the multiple fucking on-base suckholes on the roster.

And the fact that Lawrie is only 21, and not getting any more fucking lithe or smaller, also has to be considered when you talk about the canard that is moving him back to second base, as well. Sure, the Jays could try it– the Tigers gave the middle finger to defence when they signed Prince Fielder and moved Miguel Cabrera to third base last winter, and it’s working out pretty OK– but fans toss this comment around so casually, without bothering to wonder just why the fuck Lawrie was moved off of second, or just why the fuck a lot of scouts had him as an outfielder, long-term, in the damn first place!

Like… it’s not as though this was a decision the club made flippantly.

Lawrie did a fantastic job at third this year, so can we just please leave well enough alone and stop the fucking drumbeat of insanity that is asking Brett Lawrie to forget everything he learned the last two years and go back over to get himself killed at second base for a year or two before he’s inevitably moved again. It doesn’t make as much sense as you think.

Comments (43)

  1. Here’s a crazy idea – if AA was interested in adding Ortiz, could he trade Farrell’s rights for Ortiz’s (thereby granting the Jays an exclusive negotiating window with him)? Or is that too good to be true?

    • That’s completely bananas. They’d have to waste even more time trying to fill the manager’s role. It took up loads of effort, resources and time in the 2010-2011 off-season.

      • Nah, you just promote Sal who has since then garnered more experience and seemingly good reviews.

        • I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing Sal Fasano up here. From what I’ve heard, he’s earned a fair amount of respect and drilled some good fundamentals into the guys down in New Hampshire, and he’s won a title in 2011.

    • Also If Ortiz wanted to go FA, all he has to do is keep saying no to Boston for another month…just the same as he would if his rights were traded to the Jays.

  2. A year or more ago, the “Can Lawrie play second?” question was at least somewhat sensible to ask… but it’s really dumb now. Let’s say (for the sake of argument) that you can turn your awesome-fielding 3B into a somewhat-adequate-fielding 2B. Now what? Who’s going to play 3B? It’s clear now that it won’t be Bautista. Should it be Edwi… haha, forget that thought.

    Anyway, point being – it’s not any easier to go out on the market (FA or trade) and find a good 3B than it is to find a good 2B. In fact, hasn’t the average 2B moved ahead of the average 3B offensively now?

  3. This is more of a baseball question than a specific blue jays question but what is it about 2nd base that seems to be so hard to fill? What is a typical second baseman like? When I think of players, second base seems to be the very last position I think of when going through a lineup. Any thoughts…?

    Thanks guys.

    • The Jays have had a hole at third base for years that’s been a revolving door of nothing spectacular to shitty. I think it’s great that we actually have this position solidified for the foreseeable future.

    • When I think prototypical 2B, I think of Aaron HIll in 2008.

    • i think it has to do with the defensive demands of being a middle infield position. if you can field really well you’re more valuable as a shortstop. if you can field middle infield reasonably well but can hit really well it may be more cautious to play a less demanding position to avoid injury as was suggested with lawrie.

      • That’s halfway to the major issue at 2nd now: If you’re a good fielder, you play SS. If you hit well, you play third. Second tends to get eaten up by people who can’t field well enough to play short AND can’t hit well enough to play third, minus a few exceptions and someone like Pedroia, who I assume ended up at second based mostly on his size.

  4. stoeten loves the word ‘canard’

  5. Ha…”cheesy” question from Bob Cheddar. Good one.

  6. Good read….love it when u do these…keep up the good work

  7. he’s going to ‘fill out’? Lawrie is? *where?*

    • Fair point, not sure, actually.

    • Good point but everybody gets slower as they get older. I use to run the 100 in the time it now takes me to drag my ass from my couch to my kitchen. Just kidding, I’ve never ran a 100. What am I, an asshole?

  8. Taking the long view, what would it take to get this team back to ,500? What will it take to get to 90 wins? What will it take to get to 95 wins?

    I know people will hate this as much as I do, but perhaps this needs to be another building year. Let’s have Happ establish himself and let Alvarez develop. Let’s have Hutch and Drabek come back from injury. Let’s have Colby and Lawrie put it together and for Romero to rebound. Let’s have Hech or Escobar learn second base. Let’s work D’Arnaud into catcher in the second half.

    Take another year and be ready for reals in 2014.

    • Good lord.

      • Remember, Alex is always balancing the short and long views of his team, so it is well worth for us to at least think about it and take it into consideration. I’m just looking at it as a theoretical exercise or at least challenge fnas assumptions.

        • I dont know if Hutch will be back at all in 2013 because they pissed around for the rest of the season til they decided to go the TJ route. Drabek will do well to get back in Aug and if he can just stick to his mechanics for the few starts he gets I’ll be happy. For Romero and Alvarez, there is no reason on earth why those two shouldn’t both show vast improvement.

      • Let’s get Aladdin’s magic lamp and…

    • Lets not.

    • i was not optimistic going into 2012 that they’d exceed their record from the previous year…but holy fuck, man. “get back to .500″? they had two terrible months that clearly had a thing or two to do with the fact that they were fielding their AAA team and pitching whos-his-nuts and whats-his-name. just go back and look at the overflowing optimism from last offseason, then take your current pity party, and split the difference…jesus. i don’t understand how “fans” of this team are so ready to abandon ship, or act like “if we don’t sign player X tomorrow, this team is never going anywhere” – when this team seems to be in a better position to actually do something than it has in 20 years. yes rogers should spend, and probably should have spent last offseason, but calm the fuck down because the panic button is going to land this team a jayson werth style contract for someone that probably isn’t as good as jayson werth. and then instead of people going: it’s rogers, of course they should max their salary out every year, we’ll get the beat writers, and the blog writers, and the mike wilners saying “this is why you don’t sign free agents” and then it’ll be the noose they use to hang poor old AA. and then it’ll be another fucking decade of middling teams that are going to have to hope for some of their own yolorioles magic, else remind themselves that the ship is always sinking in toronto, and contracts are the only thiings worth playing for in this city full of dopey hipsters with their hands in the fucking pockets and their obits for the team drafted up in advance.

      fuck man.

    • Bautista is going to be a year older next year and isn’t a spring chicken any more. many people don’t realize it but he will be what….37 in 2014? hard to imagine us winning a world series without Bautista….too big of a hole to fill. despite what AA says our window is closing….unless there is another Bautista in our system coming up? yeah, right.

      • Jose will only be turning 34 in October of 2014 so will play the regular season and hopefully the first 2 rounds of the playoffs at 33.

        Still no spring chicken but shouldn’t exactly be over the hill either. (we hope)

  9. Taking the short view, what will it take for the team to make the playoffs? You need a number two pitcher in the offseason, and fill second base at a minimum to get started. The team will then need to deal for another starter before the trade deadline and probably a hitter too.

    What prospect depth are you willing to jettison to make this happen? It could Hech, two Lansing pitchers, Gose, Marisnick. It’s going to hurt as it will be top 10 prospects.

    We need to hope that Alex can trade the right prospects away but keep the future stars (if there are any there).

    • Post coming soonish on this question, actually. People always talk about dealing prospects, but clubs always want MLB-ready commodities in these sorts of deals. Hard to do that without making a lateral move, but Escobar, Alvarez, JPA, Rasmus, Janssen, Delabar, Lincoln and (yes) Lawrie all have lots of value– to varying degrees– and yet aren’t exactly irreplaceable, core pieces. Dealing and keeping a mixture of those guys and the closer prospects– Gose, Hech, Marisnick, d’Arnaud, Stilson, Sierra– while flipping some of the lower level guys to lubricate a deal could get you somewhere, and keep most of the Lansing Three, Osuna, Stroman, and Smoral.

      In line with what they did with Comer, Musgrove and Woj, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Dan Norris get dealt after his poor year– seems they’re into selling fast on struggling guys, before there’s too much pro data to contradict their pre-draft shine. Wouldn’t shock me if he’s a guy like that– if the Jays have lost faith.

      I agree with your comment below, there could be more roster turnover than we bargain for– then again, along with a lot of folks I thought that last year, and we got practically nothing.

      I don’t think Alex can afford to balk this time, though.

      • I don’t think Alex can afford to balk this time, though.

        Interesting- by Alex’s comments, it appears he wouldn’t want to balk at the price because he’s going for a playoff appearance. Winning team drives attendance drives revenue drives payroll drives winning team virtuous circle.

        His public comments about pitching must be a tactic to invite other teams to come to him with proposals and get talks moving. The more talks he has, the perhaps better deal he can make. We know he loves talking and we know he loves dealing.

      • Very good analysis regarding the Jays dumping guys like Comer, Musgrove and Wojo to Houston in that 10-player deal that netted us essentially Happ. But according to something I read recently somewhere in BP or BA, scouts are still high on Norris, despite his awful periphials in 2012. His velocity was still good and in keeping with is pre-draft shine. Heck, I would keep Norris just for the beard.

      • i would trade the farm for brett anderson and sign mccarthy. #yolo

      • +1 stoeten… i don’t think they can contend next year and keep the big league roster together without spending an obscene amount of rogers dough. they should be looking at dealing from a position of organizational strength which is currently C, CF, SS and bullpen pieces.

      • Fuck you for mentioning Brett Lawrie Stoeten. Fuck you.

  10. I just listened to the Alex Speaks audio. The ending was balls out about not wanting to go through another 73, 81, 85 win season. Alex has always been super aggressive, but this offseason could be spectacular. Just imagine a more impatient Alex after what we’ve seen! My mind is in a flurry just contemplating the storm that could brew at the Winter Meetings. Possible significant roster turnover is already making many a panties wet.

  11. Watching this team fall apart this season surely should give everyone some pause that this can be a worst-to-first team. This team is not just one pitcher away like it possibly could have been a year ago. Even Alex recognized that the organization is further along, but that’s because the talent pipeline is one year closer, not the Big League team driving this. Where all of the wins going to come from- Alex needs to find answers to this if the team is going anywhere soon.

    Building on Stoeten’s reply, I expect multi-part swaps where we get a starter and a position player in big, messy deals.

  12. Overall good replies this week Stoet with the exception of the following doozy:

    “And as for the “experienced manager with credentials,” do you mean a guy who has managed in the Majors previously, yet is available? Doesn’t that kinda mean that he’s been given a chance elsewhere and failed?

    Yes, it does.”

    The implication that a manager who has ever managed more than one ball club is a failure and can’t be successful in future roles is so retarded that I wondered if that was a quote from Blair or Cox or maybe even (shudder) from the Toronto Sun. Ouch.

    How many managers only manage one club their entire career any more (I’m not talking about the the past)? That just isn’t the way it works any more. Managers are let go for a number of different reasons (e.g. eating chicken in the club house, a fall guy for the GM putting a shitty team together, not getting along with the GM, key injuries, etc)

    This club would gain respectability and show they are serious about winning if they went out and got a respected guy who has won it all before (e.g. Francona or Torre – not saying either are interested but them or someone silimar would be good) rather than fucking cheaping out with “experiments” every year. Does AA not think he could handle a big name manager or are they cheaping out or can’t they land a big name manager?

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