griffbag

This week’s Griff Bag– i.e. Richard Griffin’s mail bag over at the Toronto Star– was a study in extremes, with some quite excellent questions, and some astoundingly infuriating ones (including one I thought might totally be racist!), balanced out by a healthy serving of mush. Not all that different from most weeks, actually, but for some reason I just didn’t have the wherewithal to mash my keyboard into a pulp in a hulk-like diatribe furor, so… one sentence or less is all you get!

Frankly, it’s more than at least a couple of these questions deserved.

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 Richard Stoeten

After last week’s mailbag perhaps I could give a little bit of support (and perspective) to those who want John Gibbons out.

1. To those who wanted a big name perhaps it’s worth remembering that wishing for Terry Francona, Joe Torre, Joe Maddon etc was simply fantasy baseball. They were either not available or not interested. That leaves you with a whole bunch of guys named ‘Who.’ Tony Pena? A complete bust at Kansas. Charlie Manuel? Even folksier than Gibby and 20 years older. Buck Showalter, the two-year wonder? The list goes on.

3. It’s maybe worth remembering that Francona spent 4 seasons under .500 at Philly before getting it right. Joe Torre even worse at the Mets. Jim Leyland in 11 years at the Pirates probably only got them anywhere near once or maybe twice. All bad teams? Sure but what do you think the Jays have been plunking out? The best team in the East is managed by the same guy who was pathetic in Toronto even before he saw the Holy Grail.

So is Gibby as good as these guys? I have no idea but I can’t think of one thing that he did, or didn’t do that would have made one jot of difference to this season. So just for once can we stick with a guy and find out now the pieces are finally coming together. He has total respect for his players, the fans and the game. He treats them as men and if these guys are good enough the Jays will win because of how they perform. And because the manager stayed out of the way and let them play their game.

Thanks again, Griff

Frank Taker, Prescott, Ont.

Bang on, but what happened to number two?

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Q. Hi Richard Stoeten,

Love the mailbag. I just want to join the chorus calling for Gibbons to go. I see a lot of people defending him by suggesting that he isn’t the one hitting or pitching, so he isn’t the problem. It seems there has to be more to managing than the fundamentals. The Jays could be compared to this season’s Dodgers. In late June the Jays actually had a better record than the Dodgers, a team loaded with talent and for whom the same high expectations were in place. The Dodgers’ owners apparently read the riot act to Don Mattingly and he has managed to turn the team around.

They’ve faced injuries, but he has not been afraid to ruffle feathers by sitting veterans, and making the sorts of lineup changes necessary to win games. I watched him the other night. He spends the game on the dugout stairs, leaning over the railing, talking to his players — simply seeming like he cares about what is going on. Gibby on the other hand spends most of the game slumped in the corner chewing whatever it is he’s chewing, and looking like he’d rather be elsewhere. He leaves pitchers in too long (he basically admitted that in talking about Happ’s first game back), doesn’t seem to think about his lineup (you’ve previously noted his leaving two left-handers batting back to back), and his calls to the bullpen seem to inevitably backfire and he seems ill-prepared to make the necessary changes by having someone else ready to step in. Surely a manager with his head in the game has got to be able to get more from his team than one with his head in the clouds, or wherever it is that Gibby’s head is at.

Thanks,

Scott, Burlington

Holy fucking thunderously dull-headed confirmation bias.

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Q. Hi Richard Stoeten,

First off, thank you, I love your column and it is the only way to get insider news for the loyal Jays fans stateside. I have been a Jays fan since the beginning. I remember watching the very first snowy game on TV. Thinking back I am feeling this is the most disappointing Jays squad ever. Sure the early years were lean but expectations were low. Can you think of a more underachieving squad than the 2013 Jays? Given that fact, what are the chances that we cut the John Gibbons rehire experiment after this year and do you think there is any interest in a proven winner like Charlie Manuel?

Thanks,

Joe in Orlando

The proven winner who just got fired for not being magically able to turn dog shit into apple pie???

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Q. Hello, Richard Stoeten;

I always enjoy your baseball columns, despite my disappointment with the Jays this year. They remind me of the Bosox a couple seasons back, when everyone thought they had a World Series bound team after a few big signings. Do you think that the Jays are in a similar situation? The Sox are winning with the basic core guys they had that year, after lots of juggling, so maybe the Jays can be in the same position in coming seasons if they juggle correctly, regards,

Lee Heinonen, Sprucedale, Ont.

Yep.

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Q. Hi Richard Stoeten:

Were you able to pick up any reaction from the players to the Bonifacio trade?

Matthew McKean, Ottawa

Obviously I don’t talk to players, but I’m not sure I care for what you may be thinking of insinuating.

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Q. Hi Rich Stoet,

Am I the only person who had a problem with the home run trot of Alfonso Soriano in Wednesday’s game? It’s OK to celebrate but the finger pointing thing was disrespectful to the Jays and if I was playing, I would have clearly shouted at him to tone it down.

Secondly, when will Gibby be fired? It should happen because this team has clearly underperformed and the injury excuse can only go so far. I say bring back Cito because these guys had some of their best years when he managed the team. In fact, he preached aggressiveness and I watched Lind take a pitch that was clearly a strike and could be mashed somewhere. Instead he took it (like most Jays) and ended up walking. I would like to see the Jays be a bit more aggressive at the plate.

Keep the mailbag coming.

Anton Forde, Freeport, Bahamas

I don’t mind a bit of flair, though I might have shouted at Soriano if I was playing, too, but hold on a second here– more aggressive??!?!??

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Q. Hello, Richard Stoeten,

It appears that the Blue Jays bullpen which has been praised as the one aspect of the Jays that was solid, is proving to be not so solid after all with their abject failure the last two games i.e. the first game against Boston where Sergio Santos (who has hardly played in two years) and Aaron Loup each gave up two runs that caused the Jays to lose that game. Then last night the all-star Brett Cecil gave up a two-run home run that tied the game. It was Rajai Davis’s hits and speedy running that won the game for the Jays. What’s up with the bullpen? Have they too decided to pack it in? There are not too many games left in this season, one would expect this under-achieving team to show some fight. Happy to see Brett Lawrie who hit the winning single last night, playing great baseball.

Tony D’Souza, Toronto

I wager they’re overworked given how awful the starters have been for most of the year.

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Q. Do you think that Bautista’s recent move to the DL is just his coy way of quitting on the team? Prior to the move, he seemed to suddenly come down with a phantom injury that now sets him up for maybe not playing again this year. Nice way to mail it in Jose. I personally feel that Jose is the poster boy for a number of uncoachable players on the current Jays squad that have contributed to the dysfunction we’ve had to witness all season. I also find it extremely offensive having to watch the ridiculous celebrations on the bench of a team that is going nowhere when a guy hits a solo shot that turns a 4-0 game into 4-1.

Ted S

Absolute vile horse shit.

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Q. Hi Griff Stoet,

Maybe there were no takers, but seeing Darren Oliver lose the game for the Jays against the Yankees frustrated me a bit. At this stage of a lost season, why wasn’t a Santos or another reliever who has a future with the team not gaining some valuable experience in the ninth? I know he has been a good veteran voice for the bullpen over the past two years but I can’t understand why the GM wouldn’t trade this guy at this point for an asset of any kind to help restock the depleted farm system. Did Antholopous hold on to Oliver because he believed the Jays were still in it? Enlighten me on what he could have been thinking to not trade Oliver.

Love the bag!

Aaron Hickey, Sydney, Australia

He didn’t want to give a gift to some lucky team offering nothing, or give the impression he could be pushed around.

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Q. Hi Richard Stoeten,

Love the mailbag and your other Jays articles — never miss one. I have a question about second base. Rajai Davis was drafted as a ssecond baseman. I assume there is a reason why we haven’t seen him there. However, he hits for better average that Izturis and can steal bases. If the Lawrie second base experiment made sense, wouldn’t you look at Davis?

Thanks

D’Arcy Draper, Peterborough, Ont.

Lots of guys move off their original positions, usually after it becomes clear they’re not going to be capable of playing there in the Majors.

Comments (63)

  1. Talk about mailing in a post.

  2. What do you figure it would cost to bring in Hunter Pence as a left fielder?

    • Poor decisionmaking?

      • lol i like hunter pence,
        and i’m not quite sure who else could come in and play left

      • i think “poor decsionmaking” is the response to what it would take.

        “Too much” is the response to what it would cost.

        I like Pence, and he’s having a reasonable (3 WAR) year, but I don’t think the bat plays much in left and he’s the kind of guy you pay extra for because of all … the … other … stuff.

  3. I wonder if all Australians “Love the bag!”?

  4. “Yeah, it’s totally the fact that Mattingly almost got fired that the team turned around. He just needed a sure kick in the ass and to have his job on the line for everything to turn out right.

    Who’s Yasiel Puig?”

  5. “What’s up with the bullpen? Have they too decided to pack it in? ”

    Yes they held a meeting and decided to intentionally publicly embarrass themselves in front of millions of people. And potentially lose millions in future earnings.

  6. And of course Bautista’s faking an injury to avoid the rest of the season. That’s how these guys roll. Maybe if they paid him more money he’d try harder.

  7. I also thought Rajai at second base was a great idea! Why didn’t AA think of that! FIRE AA!

  8. Admittedly I only skimmed the questions because they were mostly shitty but which one was the racist one?

    • Don’t give this guy the answer, thanks.

    • The one about Jose quitting, I think.

    • The one about Jose quitting, I think.

      • Sorry, delete those if you want. Generally failing at the Internet today.

      • Yeah I guess that’s probably the one he meant. I thought maybe it was the one about the Bonifacio trade which was why I was confused. (Stoetens answer :Obviously I don’t talk to players, but I’m not sure I care for what you may be thinking of insinuating)

        Thought that question was fair considering how bad Bonifacio had been and don`t see how it could be racist when half the team is Spanish.

        • That’s fucking rich… trying to find the question with subtle racism and then calling half the team Spanish.

    • I couldn’t figure it out either. Maybe the one calling Bautista an Untouchable when clearly he’s upper caste?

      • I got it! It’s the one who thinks Cito should just be handed the job without having to interview!

      • Ugh, I misread uncoachable as untouchable. I was going to see how I don’t see how it’s racist, but actually it probably is.

  9. People are still on the “bring back Cito” train? I had assumed it derailed.

    • I don’t think that one will derail until either the Jays win another World Series without him or he passes away.

      I refuse to guess which will come first.

  10. Rajai Davis playing 2nd base is the asinine thought of the century

    • It is clearly asinine, but “asinine thought of the century”? I am 100% positive it is not the asinine thought of the year even.

  11. I don’t know that I agree that letting Oliver go for a PTBNL would really come back to hurt AA at future negotiations. I suppose he knows better than I.

    • Yes but if if was ptbnl or cash
      And the result was cash
      He could be seen as selling players
      Yes this sounds stupid

      • I think the thought is that he obviously would have come in asking for a certain value in return for Oliver, and then when it wasn’t there, just caving and taking whatever scraps that he was offered doesn’t really bode well for him in future talks, no?

        • I don’t know – does letting Oliver got for scraps (which probably helps the team, so you try out guys like Storey and Stillson this year) really mean that you’re not going to be able to trade for Howie Kendrick? They just seem like different scenarios to me. On the flip side, can you think of a GM who’s been hurt by having that kind of reputation? Maybe Ed Wade?

        • I somewhat agree with that sentiment, but I also think Oliver is a unique situation where they could spin it as a sending-a-veteran-to-a-contender-for-one-more-chance-before-he-retires deal, which I would think would somewhat negate the “Jays are a pushover” perception.

  12. Two things for the group:
    1) Do you think Goins has the makings of an every day player? If so, do you think he can make the jump next year? So far, I’ve liked what I’ve seen on the defensive side.
    2) Do you think they have an internal option in left field: some sort of a platoon involving Gose, Pillar and Sierra; or, just making one of them the full time LF?

    Doubt they do both of these things. But if they could fill one position internally, it sure would go a long way towards stretching the budget to fill other needs.

  13. Out of curiosity I thought I’d see what Boni has been up to. Found this is an article from Fox Sports in Kansas City:

    “The more the Royals see of Emilio Bonifacio — picked up in a trade with Toronto — the more they like. And the more manager Ned Yost sees of Bonifacio hitting second in the order, the more satisfied he is to leave the batting order alone.

    Since coming over from the Jays, Bonifacio is hitting .300 for the Royals with a .404 on-base percentage. He has eight steals in eight tries. And he is playing a solid second base, a position that has been a huge issue for the Royals all season.”

    Small sample size granted….but so were the first two weeks of April….or any two weeks this season for that matter.

    Don’t know what it means, if anything, but makes sense by the way the year has gone.

    • Culture! He went from a team with a losing culture in the Jays to a winning culture in the Kansas City Ro….uh, oh. Nevermind.

    • We all knew this would happen, if I ever get a hold of that Murphy fella I’m going to kick him the balls three times, once for the jays, once for the fans, and the last time cause kicking people in the balls is funny.

    • how the fuck does boni have 8 steals. what a joke

  14. “I say bring back Cito because these guys had some of their best years when he managed the team.”

    Urgh.

  15. The guy with the idea that Hose quit on the team and is uncoachable is a complete moron who should be beaten with a baseball bat. Oh and if he is so uncoachable how the fu** did he agree to listen to the coaches and completely change his swing at 30

  16. “…and I watched Lind take a pitch that was clearly a strike and could be mashed somewhere. Instead he took it (like most Jays) and ended up walking.” Whoowee! That’s gold, Jerry!

  17. I love the way people say all those other managers started off bad but what they fail to mention is that they got REHIRED. How did they get rehired if they were so bad?

    The fact is gibbons will never get hired as a manager. That’s why he needs to go. He simply is not respected throughout the league.

  18. Hey stoeten, you talk about AA not wanting to give oliver as a gift to some team offering nothing. Then what do you call the boni gift? Even unloading olivers salary has value.

  19. How is Griffin’s column the only way to get Jays information stateside?

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