griffbag

A dispiriting three weeks into the season and finally our spirits are lifted. No, certainly not by a weekend of baseball, but by the return of the Griff Bag, as Richard Griffin has a brand new one up over at the Toronto Star. So let’s do it to it!

As always, I have not read any of Griffin’s answers.

If there’s a question you’d like me to answer, email it to askrich@thestar.ca and maybe he’ll select it for a future mail bag. Fingers crossed!

Q. Hi Rich Stoet,

I agree with you 100 per cent and was surprised at the move to put Rajai Davis in to bat for Colby Rasmus — it made no sense to me at all. It is sad to see a hitter who is hot sitting while another player who is kind of streaky being brought in to bat in his place.

I think that it takes a bit of time for a team to jell specially the pitchers who have to pitch in cold weather at the beginning of the season, but among the new players that I am disappointed in are the outfielders who don’t have strong arms nor do they throw like Jose Bautista — their throws have for the most part hardly got to the catcher and are usually wide of the mark.

I am looking to see Melky Cabrera’s bat come alive. As for Emilio Bonifacio, he may be able to play at different positions but he is not good with the bat, and does not have a strong or accurate arm. I do hope and look forward to a quick return of shortstop Jose Reyes, who is one of the bright lights of this 2013 season.

I wish the Blue Jays much success this year and look forward to seeing some contending style baseball. Sorry I did not have a question instead of comments.

Regards,

Tony D’Souza, Toronto

Yeah… not a lot of guys can throw like Bautista, Bonifacio has indeed been a disappointment, the pinch hit wasn’t a great idea, and contending baseball sure will be fun. Uh… yeah.

 

Q. Hey Mr. Griffin Stoeten,

Big fan of your writing! I’ve written to you 2-3 times with questions before . . .

With Jose Reyes out and Brett Lawrie out, why not sign someone . . . I’m not real high on Maicer Izturis and I was thinking . . . What about signing O-dog, Orlando Hudson, former Jay, fan favourite, good clubhouse guy, energy guy and a world class defensive infielder? On the same note, why not sign Scott Rolen? World class defensive 3b, high energy guy and former Jay too? Or Freddy Sanchez or Jason Bartlett or Ryan Theriot . . . you get the picture . . . any chance we sign one?

Thanks,

Lance

You’re not high on Maicer Izturis, so your solution is the sack of bones formerly known as Scott Rolen, someone who has played all of three games since mid-2011 (all at High-A!), and handful of sub-replacement level guys? Yeesh. Hey, but at least you’re ascribing magical clubhouse abilities to them that you can’t possibly know.

 

Q. Richard Stoeten:

I retract my previous question (re: installing Bonifacio in CF and trading Rasmus for pitching). Rasmus is fielding his position and swinging the bat well. Bonifacio and Izturis, on the other hand, barely seem major league ready. Was it really fair to assume the defence would right itself once Lawrie’s back? That sounds like too much pressure on Lawrie, who already needs to dial things down if he hopes to stay off the DL, and we’ve seen so far what high expectations can do to a group of veterans. I’d give away Bonifacio or Izturis (maybe both) for the sure hands of Johnny Mac right about now. There’s space in this lineup, I’d wager, for one light hitter, but there’s no room for errors.

Matthew McKean, Ottawa

Juh? This lineup, by my count, has, like, six or seven light hitters at the moment, doesn’t it? Not that Izturis isn’t one of them, for now– nor will he ever be anything much more than that– but I think you may be forgetting just what a putrid hitter good ol’ Johnny Mac really is. McDonald’s career slash line is .238/.276/.330, compared to .271/.334/.380 for Izturis. It’s not great, but it’s hardly fucking “not Major League ready.”

As for Lawrie, it’s not about pressure, it’s about the fact that he is just that much more athletic and has that much more range than the guys who held down the position in his stead. No defence is ever going to be perfect, but he doesn’t have to do anything more than what he’s capable of to help tremendously, so… I’m not sure what the problem is. You think he’s going to be lumbering into guys to cover balls hit up the middle like some meat-skulled hero? Uh… no.

And please tell me how we’ve learned more than precisely fucking nothing about expectations here.

 

Q. Hi Richard Stoeten,

As much as I enjoyed watching the World Baseball Classic from the lobby bar of my Cuban resort, I blame the Classic for the Jays slow start. This is not about Brett Lawrie’s injury so much as it is about those players losing the opportunity to have a spring training before, during and after the Classic. Their activities during each of those periods of time must have been different from a normal spring. The Jays will recover and be the team we all hoped that they would be. I know that you do not want to bash the Classic, nor do I. Would you be in favour of an October Classic similar to the hockey world championships held during playoffs?

Matt Meisner

St. Catharines

Jesus, what was I doing posting Game Threats for seven insufferable weeks if there wasn’t a Spring Training? Had I lost my mind??!?

Anyway, yeah… no. That’s not really the reason. In fact, I’d argue that there simply isn’t a “the reason.” Shit happens. The bats have been cold, key guys haven’t been healthy, and the starting pitching wasn’t great in the first week or two. Not sure why we’d need to go any further than that.

As for the Classic, my idea would be to have most, if not all, of the preliminary round after the minor league season ends in September– perhaps while giving a free pass to the next round to some of the powerhouse countries. *COUGH* United States *COUGH* You could then hold then end of the first round and the four second round games during a short period in the spring, with big leaguers, and have the two semi-final games and the final on back-to-back days during the All-Star break. Or… something like that?

 

Q. Hi Richard Stoeten,

While I consider myself a ‘lifer’ Jays fan and am trying to be realistic about having the wind taken out of sails so soon in the season, I can’t help thinking that sometimes the Jays are snakebit. This brand new World Series lineup has always had a spectre of fragility about it for a whole bunch of reasons, but who would have thought that not having Brett Lawrie would become such a problem? Assuming the worst, that he will always be injury prone, what are the options for third base for this season and beyond? Do we even consider putting Jose Bautista and EE back there for a spell this year? Love the new video updates by the way. Emmy material for sure.

Thanks,

Rob Brander

After the back injury happened while Bautista was manning third, I wouldn’t expect to see him there very much, and I’m pretty sure Edwin’s days at the position are over, as well. So… there aren’t a lot of attractive options, and I guess that means, if Lawrie goes down again, you’re looking Izturis/DeRosa platoon that we saw the club open the season with. But it’s not like anybody is going to have something great just waiting around on the bench for an opportunity– maybe some clubs will have some prospect in the minors, but the Jays are not one of those.

That all said, I think it’s premature to be that concerned about having an MLB-ready replacement for Lawrie on hand. Yes, his style of play lends itself to opportunities to get hurt, so I can’t chalk up his various ailments to bad luck alone, but it’s not like the injuries that have hampered him are of the chronic variety, either. He’s an important player, he needs to stay on the field for this club, and it was at least encouraging that he handled the rib cage trouble this spring smartly, not trying to play through it.

 

Q. Hi Richard Stoeten:

Like most of the bandwagon, I was very excited about the Blue Jay’s trade with the Florida Marlins this past winter . . . They acquired two very good starting pitchers with Buehrle and Johnson and an all-star SS in Reyes. But I was less enthused with the acquisition of R.A Dickey . . . Admittedly, I had only seen him when he was with the Mariners playing against the Jays and he was shelled! But more to the point, a year earlier, the Jays were in the bidding for Yu Darvish. I’m not sure if we’ll ever know what the Jays offered, but I’m wondering why they didn’t throw the bank at him. Compared to what they gave up to acquire Dickey, I wonder if this was a major regret for AA and Beeston. Even without Darvish or Dickey though, doesn’t it follow that you only need your 1-5 to be better than your opponents? Morrow, Johnson, and Buehrle surely would be up in the top of the league in that department, add in Happ, and possibly another FA starter. I’m just not sure why one would throw the dice on Dickey, when you have a stud catching prospect (Travis d’Arnaud) and highly touted SP (Noah Syndergaard) in the wings. Was it that imperative to go all in for Dickey this year?

Brian, Ottawa

Yu Darvish is a tremendous pitcher, no doubt, but the total cost to acquire him was north of $107-million, including the posting fee paid to the Nippon Ham Fighters. Dickey’s contract is immeasurably more reasonable, at $30.5-million for just three years, and while I’m a huge fan of Darvish, a seventy million dollar difference between them there is not, so I think the Jays are probably quite happy with how things worked out. Especially since it’s hard to envision them being able to take on all those extremely expensive Miami contracts if they’d already outlaid all that cash for Darvish.

Yes, the prospect cost was a tough pill to swallow, but it’s entirely possible that the Jays sold d’Arnaud– who is already hurt again– and Syndergaard– who some project to be a reliever– at the peak of their value. And it’s not like they were quite waiting in the wings, either. Syndergaard is only just starting in High-A ball this year, while d’Arnaud would have come into the year either in Buffalo, or as a rookie catcher in a stupidly high-profile spot– and since not everybody is Buster Posey, that’s not exactly ideal. Which isn’t to say that those two didn’t have a tonne of value, but the fact that the Jays went hard for one more piece to help put them over the top makes a tonne of sense, does it not?

Like… you don’t feel better, with Dickey being here, about their ability to come back strong following a slow start than you would without him?

 

Q. Why wouldn’t the Jays have kept Mike Aviles to play second? It seems like middle relievers like Rogers are a dime a dozen.

Dan

And guys like Mike Aviles aren’t???

 

Q. tell them to fire gibbons now and hire zaun,alex was involved only to put an x on the deal but others higher up put it together to save his ass and embaressment,play the best 9 everyday,s*** there young guys good for 150 a year,no match up bull let the team we play do that,we are to good,but if they don’t do what i suggest,it will expand your job nicely this year,be careful what you write.

Argle bargle, or foofaraw?

 

Q. Hi Rich Stoeten,

With the recent errors by the second baseman over the weekend, do you feel the best defence is being put on the field? I have some issues with Gibby’s choice of players in the Boston series and like many fans, want to see the Jays play better.

ASF

Whatever issues there may have been, they seem to be sorted. As long as Jose Bautista is healthy, Kawasaki and Izturis up the middle look fine, as does an outfield that fucking never includes Rajai Davis and Emilio Bonifacion. Happy?

 

 

Q. Hi Richard Stoeten,

I wonder if anyone understands how a knuckle ball works. With no spin, there is no protective air circulation around the ball, so it’s subject to drafts and gusts. It rides the wave of air in any given span. There are infinite amounts of things that affect air currents in a natural environment. But they don’t exist in a closed space. A knuckleball will not work in a shopping mall.

Chris

Thanks for the physics lecture, Mr. Wizard. Next time maybe have a clue what you the fuck you’re talking about.

 

Q. Hello Mr. Griffin Stoeten,

Thanks for the continued coverage of the Jays this year and in the past. I always enjoy the information and your insight. I have been a Bautista fan since he came out of the homerun closet years ago. Lately though he has two strikes against him (in my opinion) because of two comments.

His first was when he commented that Team Canada should not have bunted in the game against Mexico and said “I believe in the unwritten rules of the game and that they should be respected, that it’s a code amongst players and everybody that plays baseball higher than Little League knows what that is. There’s no excuse and that’s it.” His comments then were wrong, considering the rules of the tournament and the fact we pay his paycheque.

Secondly, Bautista was asked about his obvious challenge against an umpire regarding balls and strikes. He seemed unremorseful, dismissed it as his personality and said he can’t control it. Following this there has been much discussion in baseball blogs, news and talk shows about his attitude towards umps. I don’ t like it and I am wondering what you think of these comments, considering they are getting so much coverage in the baseball media.
Thanks for your time.

Philip McCloskey, Orangeville, ON

The supposed fact that “we pay his paycheque” has fuck all to with anything, Phil, and the man is entitled to his opinion. And as for the umpire stuff, I think it’s insanely overblown. Bautista has been overly demonstrative the whole time he’s been here, and look at what a tremendous hitter he’s been. Has he been getting jobbed for it? Because it sure doesn’t show up in the numbers he puts up. It becomes an issue when he’s on a cold streak– it did last year, then his bat heated up and it returned to being the non-issue that it should be.

 

Q. I fail to see the sense of the Jays letting relief pitcher Jeremy Jeffress go based on one outing, be it good or poor. Where was the logic in this decision, if any? Why is it that some players are given longer leashes than others? Is preferential treatment ever involved? Why raise Jeffress’ expectations by letting him know back at the end of spring training that he made the 2013 roster only to, what it appears as senselessly if not unfairly, cut him loose so quickly after just one in-game appearance? David Bush, Jeffress’ replacement, gives up (four) homers in his first outing, (and is) dropped from the major-league team? However draconian that would be it would otherwise seem to me to be a double standard amid the team’s search for effective and durable relief pitching.

Darrell Holtze

Guelph, Ont.

The Jays managed to keep Jeffress in the organization by sliding him through waivers, so they accomplished what they wanted on that front, and used Bush as fodder to give the relievers some rest during a blowout. I agree that it kinda doesn’t seem right, but it’s not like these guys don’t understand the business, so I wouldn’t weep too much for their feelings.

 

Q. Ok, so I am super confused. Foul ball caught is an out. Foul tip caught is only an out on third strike. What’s the difference?

Dan Frook

Basically, a foul tip is when the catcher catches a pitch, as he catches any other pitch that the pitcher throws, even though the bat made very slight contact with it. It is essentially considered a pitch, despite the contact. If the catcher doesn’t catch it, or catches it outside the act of receiving a pitch (i.e. it goes into the air in foul territory), it’s a foul ball.

Comments (37)

  1. I wish they weren’t such awful questions.

    Rich,

    I have way too much time on my hands and I’m paying attention to the standings in April. Player X is hitting below .200 after 10 games, he’s awful! We should go sign Player Y. Aren’t you impressed with how smart I am?

    Sincerely,
    Fair weather fan

    • Rich,

      These guys are all bums! We should go out and sign all the guys that for some reason are all free agents near the end of April, because they’re all magical players and will help us win 143 games this year!

      Sincerely,
      Guy That Hasn’t Been to a Game Since 1993 and Know Nothing About Baseball But Those Jerseys are Pretty

  2. I had my doubts that one question (“Argle bargle, or foofaraw?”) was an actual question asked of Griffin, but there it was.

    Griff’s response was pretty bang on.

  3. Griffin beat you in the middle; he asked Zaun Guy if he was Zaun.
    but good stuff.

  4. “tell them to fire gibbons now and hire zaun,alex was involved only to put an x on the deal but others higher up put it together to save his ass and embaressment,play the best 9 everyday,s*** there young guys good for 150 a year,no match up bull let the team we play do that,we are to good,but if they don’t do what i suggest,it will expand your job nicely this year,be careful what you write.”

    … mind blowing…

    • Griff Answer: ” Is that you, Zaunie?? There’s not much I can argue with there, because I have no idea what you said.”

      • hahha, i wouldn’t have posted my comment if I had seen this, but holy shit Griffin must think this is funny to try and answer questions like that.

    • Never trust a man with no shift button.

  5. Why do I always read these? I’m all sad now.

  6. Hello Mr. Griffin Stoeten,

    Kawasaki appears to be the best short/medium term fit (within the roster) to replace Reyes at the top of the order.

    Wouldn’t Cito have done that on the first day?

  7. I wonder what Griffin does with all the good questions? I am almost sure he gets them, but he picks the doozys for his mail bag. for example:

    “Q. tell them to fire gibbons now and hire zaun,alex was involved only to put an x on the deal but others higher up put it together to save his ass and embaressment,play the best 9 everyday,s*** there young guys good for 150 a year,no match up bull let the team we play do that,we are to good,but if they don’t do what i suggest,it will expand your job nicely this year,be careful what you write.”

    WTF is that?

  8. I know it wasn’t addressed here but where the fuck is Casper Wells? Did he clear waivers or was he claimed?

    • Traded to Oakland for cash considerations.

      • Boo.

        C’mon he’s better then Rajai except as a pinch-runner and we have Bonifacio to do that if need be. We’re talking about a 4th outfielder transaction here so it’s not a big deal but it’s still disappointing to see the team make a counter-productive move.

  9. I think the concers about Brett Lawrie are misguided

    what is that all red bull going to do to the man’s brains in his elder years?

    also, Dave Cameron did a great piece over the winter RE the Jaya trading away top prospects

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/how-to-go-for-broke-blue-jays-style/

    say, versus what the Royals did

    • The guy that starts a ‘Let’s go Blue Jays’ cheer in the bottom of the ninth of a 7-0 game with 1 out

      You would suck more if there were 2 outs.

  10. before i read this comment section, as i am sure others agree
    wtf is up with these questions….doesn’t Griff get more to answer then this crap, 1 or 2 good questions, and one was basicly an opinion without asking anything….

    should just make up some good ones or find some in the comment section here and add them to the list…ggsssshh.

  11. So many idiots confuse the Rogers Centre with outer space in regards to the knuckleball.

  12. Worst. Mailbag. Ever.

  13. STOETEN:

    What is the origin of that awesome picture? Did you start it? or did Griffin as I notice it’s also his Twitter pic.

    • The photo’s been floating around the Internet forever. DJF has been using it as a GriffPic for quite some time, and presumably Griff himself picked it up from here.

      • maybe thats why Griffin picks the most horrendous questions asked him, because he comes here to have a good laugh at what Stoeten answers.

    • Must be a washed up minor league umpire, so stunk up on wine that he believes to be perpetually behind the plate. I mean, that’s my theory. Count, ump?

  14. There are many idiots online

  15. So much for Mall Knuckleball tourneys…. Fucked by physics again!

  16. Good work as always!

  17. Question regarding foul balls. I always thought that if you tried to catch a foul ball and made an error that it was a live ball, but the other day, Overbay failed to catch an Edwin foul pop up and Bautista had to go back to first. Whats the rule? I googled it but got confusing results.

  18. Q. tell them to fire gibbons now and hire zaun,alex was involved only to put an x on the deal but others higher up put it together to save his ass and embaressment,play the best 9 everyday,s*** there young guys good for 150 a year,no match up bull let the team we play do that,we are to good,but if they don’t do what i suggest,it will expand your job nicely this year,be careful what you write.

    This is one of the stupidest, and inarticulate piles of steaming shit I’ve ever read. Did you copy/paste this from the TSN comment section? Or from your own from about a week ago when the stupidity was coming out in droves?

  19. For big jim:

    If the ball is foul, it’s foul. The runners can’t advance, even if it’s dropped.

  20. I had to click the link to see if the Zaun question was real.

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