It’s not just Alex Anthopoulos and the rest of his key front office lieutenants who are down in Orlando this week– where, according to a Jeff Passan tweet, all kinds of trade talk is going on, despite the fact that not much has become concrete just yet– as the Jays’ field manager is down there as well! Ol’ Gibbers met with the media this afternoon, and Gregor Chisholm was kind enough to try to scratch down some of his patented Gibberish (some of which needs a helping hand to resemble proper English), providing a transcription of the session at his North of the Border blog.
In the previous post I noted the comments that Gibbons made regarding the possible moving of money from the rotation to the bench, depending on what the Jays are able to do on the pitching side. Here are some other highlights…
On J.P. Arencibia…
The writing was on the wall for J.P. I mean, [there] was kind of the sentiment [that] you guys [were] ready to get rid of him too. Not that we were, but you guys were pushing that way. That was a joke … But you know what, personally I’m going to miss the guy. You know what, I think wherever he ends up, I think he signed with Texas. I think that’s official now. I think he’s going to do a good job there. I really do. What can you say about him? He wanted to be in that lineup. He got beaten up pretty good. But I think he’s still got a bright future. Just came to the point in time there at Toronto where it was probably best to go the other way.
This topic has been exhausted, and… I don’t know. If Gibbons wants to feed the us-vs.-them thing with the media, or if he just wants to make it clear he’s got his player’s– or former player’s– back, sure, that’s fine. And even if I thought that was bullshit (and I might!), I can’t really fault him for any of what he says here. He’s not wrong that it’s for the best that Arencibia left, and he’s not exactly wrong that the media howled for his departure, either. Much of that was warranted because of his play, of course, and some of it was warranted by some of his attitude and actions. But as I’ve written before, it’s not like Maicer Izturis or Melky Cabrera or Josh Johnson took the same level of shit as J.P. did, despite that fact that they all were probably, somehow, astonishingly, worse. Just kinda hard to separate it all from how he handled it, at this point.
Anyway, something that I think I can fault Gibbons on is his absolute fawning over Ryan “.214/.243/.310 line against triple-A left-handers” Goins as a possible starter at second base for the club. Ugh.
“In September we’re much improved. Big part of that was Ryan [".214/.243/.310 line against triple-A left-handers"] Goins,” he said, not entirely wrongly.
“We really like [Ryan ".214/.243/.310 line against triple-A left-handers"] Goins. We like what he did in September. He gave us a shot in the arm. I thought he handled the ball well enough to be top dog going in there,” he continued. “Izturis to be a utility guy, I think that’s his strength. Today that’s the way we look at it. Alex could go out and make a trade for somebody to bring a second baseman in. I don’t know if that’s going to happen. But if not, I really like what [Ryan ".214/.243/.310 line against triple-A left-handers"] Goins did.”
Oh, and it gets worse before it gets better.
I liked everything I saw in September. He got some hits early. It’s always a big confidence booster. As he got more at‑bats, he started pulling guys out. He pulled the home run, and you could see maybe he’s a home run hitter and he started airing it out a little bit. But then I remember talking to him, and especially if he hit some left‑handers, he had to start hitting some balls up the middle and getting that breaking ball down and away, and cutting that fastball to the outside part of the plate. You either roll it over or you swing and miss it and punch a few to left field, left centerfield, and that will get their attention anyway. He was able to do it. I mean, he executed it right away. So we knew he had the ability and the hand‑eye coordination. I thought he finished very, very strong. For a guy who is known strictly ‑‑ not strictly, but his game has always been defense. He’s had some solid years too, but he’s never been that great big‑number type hitter down there. I thought he handled himself very well and, like I said, put himself on the map. I think early on the talk you hear is they saw him as a utility guy. I could see some of that. But he’s got a chance to be our second baseman, an everyday guy. If he produces, he can work himself a nice career. But he’s intense. He plays to win and he’s confident. He’s very confident which is half the battle.
A .214/.243/.310 line against triple-A left-handers. And the .274/.323/.385 against right-handers in triple-A isn’t exactly a ray of damn sunshine either– especially if you’re someone who has escaped the late 1990s and realized that batting average doesn’t matter enough to overcome those other two numbers there, especially when you’re talking about a guy who was in triple-A(!!!!!!).
Starter at second? I won’t actually believe it until I see it. I can’t! Great defense or not, it’s absolute ridiculousness. And if he gets hurt or is just too much of a drag on the lineup, given his staggering inability to hit the ball, then what? Back to Izturis as the starter??? And expecting to win like that??? Pfffft!
Another “ugh” moment came when Gibbons made mention of Melky Cabrera, which… wasn’t terrible bad, per se, but whereas on Brandon Morrow he said things like, “we think he’s going to be fine,” or “we think he’s moving on [from the injury],” Melky’s situation sounded a whole lot more up in the air still.
Asked about the potential role of Anthony Gose, Gibbers explained:
Well, we have ‑‑ if Melky’s fine, he’ll be in left field. But who knows how that’s going to shake out. We have Sierra who is out of options as well. Of course you have Bautista and Rasmus, so it’s a little bit of a log jam there. But a lot of it will depend on how Melky’s doing.
See what I mean???
Of course, to be fair, it’s a pretty big thing that Melky is recovering from, and it has only been three months now since he had the tumour removed, so maybe it’s to be entirely expected that his being able to be fully healthy and playing high level baseball by the end of March isn’t so clear yet. It would be nice to have some certainty there, though.
There were some positives to come from today’s little session, though– or at least one, and that’s the fact that, unlike his GM, Gibbons actually acknowledged a bit of interest in Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka.
“Yeah, I’ve seen a little video,” he admitted. “I think every team is exploring whether they can afford him or get an opportunity to get him. Our guys have talked about him. Whether that happens, who knows. But if they turn him loose and he comes over, there is going to be a pretty good bidding war for him.”
OK, so it’s maybe not that much less vague than what Anthopoulos has typically said, but it’s at least something. He’s seen video!
So… there’s that.