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!
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.
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.