esmilcatches

The Jays made it official this afternoon, sending Erik Kratz down in order to accommodate Jonathan Diaz’s return to the roster. This confounds the everloving shit out of people, which… sort of confounds me in return.

Yeah, it’s a bit strange the way that the Jays have set up their roster, but to act like what they’re doing is utterly indefensible is maybe a bit rich. Lots of people pining for Kevin Pillar, or for Kratz to have remained as at least a decent right-handed bat off the bench, or for the eight man bullpen experiment to finally be smothered to death. All of these are fair ideas entirely, and I’m sure that some of my responses on Twitter to people getting upset about the failure to execute them is as much an overreaction as the ones I’m trying to oppose, but… we really are capable of understanding what’s going on, right? We don’t really need to pretend these are fireable offences, do we?

Granted, we’re not all doing this, but bear with me.

Yes, as I noted earlier, Diaz has hit literally nothing since being sent down, but we’re talking less than 30 plate appearances. We’re talking about a guy who can take over defensively at multiple infield positions in late game situations, which has utility with Juan Francisco slated to get an extended look at third base in the near future, with Brett Lawrie slipping over to second. He’s not a great base stealer, but he at least gives John Gibbons a pinch running option, potentially. He’s a more passable shortstop backup than Steve Tolleson, and with the flat-footed Francisco, an ailing, potentially mummified Lawrie, and Jose Reyes — who is getting a day off tonight, in fact — being the club’s theoretical starters, does it not make sense to roster a couple of infielders who can also double as spare outfielders? Especially when they’re right-handed bats, given that the club has three ostensible starters in Francisco, Colby Rasmus, and Adam Lind who have platoon issues with lefties?

No, in Diaz’s case it’s not much of a bat, but looking beyond the last few plate appearances, you see a guy who put up a .358 OBP for Pawtucket last year, a .361 at New Hampshire in 2011, and an expectedly high number in Las Vegas in 2012, but one that was powered less by the hitter’s paradise that is the PCL than it was by a 15.5% walk rate.

There is less time available for a guys like Anthony Gose — who is clearly a weapon on the base paths, but is also a left-handed bat– or Pillar, who can only spell incumbents in the outfield, or the guys at an already-crowded DH spot. And while, yes, Pillar has absolutely been doing well at Buffalo (.309/.349/.463), he’s still a guy who rocketed through three levels last year (AA, AAA, MLB) having never played a game above A-ball when the season began, and he struggled mightily when pressed into big league action. That doesn’t mean the Jays should necessarily shield him, but is it an ideal situation to bring him up and hope the hot bat continues in the big leagues in a limited role? Is it not defensible to choose to not introduce him to such potential for failure, and just let him continue to apprentice at the triple-A level?

I think it is, but certainly it’s debatable. And, of course, they could manage to have both a Pillar and an extra infielder on the roster if they weren’t so insistent on holding so many relievers. We all know the reason for that, however, and it’s the fact that they don’t want to lose guys like Esmil Rogers, J.A. Happ, and Todd Redmond.

Again, debatable, but not exactly indefensible. After all, Rogers, despite being in the middle of an abysmal run, and for all his faults and all the braying about why he’s still here, is viewed, I’m certain, as a tinker away from being a valuable bullpen piece again — and whose underlying numbers one one hand look good (9.33 K/9, 2.95 BB/9), and on the other unlucky (a worse HR/FB% and BABIP than even his last season in Colorado). Now, I’ll grant that it’s a bit of a stretch to call him unlucky — he’s not generating ground balls nearly enough, and that’s going to be a huge problem for him — but that’s something he worked on to some success over the last couple of years (1.1 fWAR over 190.2 IP after moving from Colorado to Cleveland), and the temptation that he can figure it out once again is far more understandable than some of the folks looking only at the results want to believe.

When it comes to Redmond and Happ, you only have to look at a few things to understand what’s going on here. On one hand you have Happ’s first start of the season — underwhelming as it was — and some of the decent work Redmond has provided out of the bullpen in relief of struggling starters. Frustrated fans, quite understandably, will say that they see these guys as no better than any other scrap heap arm that will come available, but that simply isn’t true — check out the names of dreck that has been claimed off waivers since the star of March, via MLBTR’s Transaction Tracker, if you don’t believe me.

On the other hand, you have the fact that the Jays used twelve starters in 2012, and thirteen in 2013, including such luminaries as Joel Carreno, Kyle Drabek, Chad Jenkins, Ricky Romero, Jesse Chavez (when he was bad), Carlos Villanueva, Aaron Laffey, Sean Nolin, Ramon Ortiz, and Chien-Ming Wang, in addition to Rogers, Redmond, and Happ. Depth is a good thing, the Jays have been rightly scarred by the way they’ve been hurt by a lack of it over the last couple of seasons, and it’s certainly arguable that whatever marginal value they’re letting slip away right now could be offset by the marginal value they’ll keep when later in the season they’re not forced to rush Aaron Sanchez in a panic, or make a hopeful turn to guys with pretty minor league numbers (like Liam Hendricks, who is now in his fourth season at triple-A, after failing to ever crack a not-very-good Twins rotation over the last few years, or Sean Nolin, who may end up as more than a warm body, but is hardly a saviour), or ones still living off pedigrees established long ago (Romero, Drabek, Deck McGuire).

Is Alex Anthopoulos minding the trees at the expense of the forest a little bit here? Sometimes I think yes, and I understand that it’s frustrating. And can I explain why Steve Tolleson is leading off for the Jays tonight? No, I cannot — though surely it has something to do with microsplits and the fact that he’s wielding a hot bat of late, in an impossibly tiny sample size. But let’s not act like any of these things is completely indefensible. You don’t have to like the explanations offered, but I think at least understanding them as they are would take some of the blind sourness out of some of the conversation surrounding this aspect of the club right now, and that would be a very good thing. So, too, would a few damn wins, I suspect — and I think that says a lot about what’s going on here, as well, no?

Consider this your Game Threat.

Comments (273)

  1. Hey, Tabby’s back! Time to resume the winning.

  2. First post and Buehrle has already pitched the first.

  3. Four fucking minute half inning.

  4. Go Jays. Buehrle gon Buehrl and we got the Tabby black magic back.

  5. good post, stoet.

  6. Love that man.

  7. JOSE FUCKING BAUTISTAAAAAAA

  8. Haha Wilson, you ARENT gonna get that aide of the strike zone called! Just forget about it!

  9. thing of beauty

  10. is Buck the only person on Earth that says “cut on”?

  11. funny how it goes.

    ump squeezes Wilson on the second pitch of the AB and maybe on next pitch as well. Jose should have been 0-2 and getting a steady diet of garbage in the dirt. instead Wilson falls behind 3-1 and has to throw a strike, which catches too much of the plate and boom. 3-0 ballgame.

  12. 3 pitch SO for Kittenface, that was ugly

  13. and that’s way the man from muncie does not face left handers

  14. Weird. I never watch movies, but for some reason I am positively dieing to see this new Godzilla movie.

    • Why?

      It’s just another shitacular ‘splosions and CGI fest.

      • I dont know! I dont even watch movies, especially garbage like that, maybe cause of nostalgia for the old Godzilla franchise. I dunno, I am SURE I be mad at myself that they shook me down for 15$, yet Im doing nothing to stop it.

  15. I just fucking love seeing Canadian Jesus turn doubleplays

  16. Jesus, Buerhle is at 16 pitches so far.

  17. Thanks Jose, another rally killing 3 run home run. Gawd, when will these guys listen to Zaun Cherry!?

  18. That strike zone. Wow.

  19. CJ Wilson must have spat in this ump’s cornflakes

  20. Mike Trout, everybody.

  21. Why won’t Colby play further back? How many catchable balls have been hit over his head this season?

    • There must be some statistics by which they can figure out what is the optimal positioning, because whatever he is doing now seems like it cannot be the best set up.

      • Well, now, “optimal positioning” varies from batter to batter. How far back you play would depend on whether Johnny Mac or Albert Pujols is at the plate.

        • Ya, that is definitely the case. Plus it would have to do with the speed of the outfielder and their strengths at going back on balls vs. coming in on balls. However, it seems like you really need to think through giving up singles vs. giving up XBHs.

          • I think Colby is short changing himself and is better coming in on a bloop ball. He makes at least half of those catches and if he misses they usually don’t drive in as many runs as the ones hit over his head.

            • That’s sort of what I was thinking too Karl. It seems like the cost of letting a “catchable ball” land over your head is just so much higher than those bloop singles.

              • Hate to say it, but it looks like he’s trying to preserve himself for the big $$. Devo wouldn’t do that.

                • Nonsense, you look better letting a ball fall in front of you than going over your head. Selfish players play deep not shallow.

  22. Devo would have had that one.

    • Memory plays tricks, as does first/puppy loves.
      Still, you’re probably right.

      • I have this big problem with Colby stopping short of the wall. I think especially in his own park. He should be making a lot of those catches.

  23. Oops :)

  24. Lind in for bases loaded vs LHP. Let us pray

  25. 0-for-27 means you can say, with 95% confidence, that Diaz’s “true” batting average at AAA is less than .105.

    (Y’know, assuming you believe in this “true talent” stuff and independence of at-bats and stuff. Which is a lot less to assume than you need to a lot of fancy stats.)

  26. An in lieu of game threat post? The End Is Nigh.

  27. C’mon ZZ Tub (that’s Lind, to me).

    • If Billy Gibbons had been crossed with a billy goat.

      (I’m not suggesting it never happened. Muncie believes in ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’)

  28. time for adam to shave

  29. Jaysus.

  30. Whelp…at least he saw more than 3 pitches. Wilson already at 70 pitches, so we got that goin

  31. On the plus side, Wilson at 71 pitches through 3.

  32. They have that ump miked up?

  33. All this roster anguish with Lawrie and Fat Juan…..are you happy now that you DIDN’T go out and get a “real” second baseman, AA?

    • I’m kinda high on the current set up….

      Vs. RHP

      Fat Juan 3B
      Lawire 2B
      Diaz late inning D.. Lawrie to 3B

      Vs. LHP

      Lawrie 3B
      Tollenson 2B (he’s had some early success against lefties)
      Diaz late inning D at 2B
      Fat Juan big stick off the bench

      Unless you’re telling the Jay could have signed Cano, or robbed someone blind in a trade…. this ain’t so bad.

  34. Buck is right ; pitch counts suck.

    • It’s like those people who buy new cars but don’t drive them in order to keep the mileage down.

  35. Geez Lawrie sure looked like he wanted to bounce his helmet there.

  36. lol Diaz

  37. Colby. ‘Murica.

  38. Another air erased.

  39. bluejays grand slam combo, 1 ticket, peanuts, popcorn, and an apple? all for a low low 39$

    wow are people really this gullible? hey let’s give them an apple and they will come rushing in!!!!

  40. LETS GO BLUE JAYS! #Unsweepable

  41. C’mon Lind, make love to the camera.

  42. Was supposed to meet someone at a bar this evening, who never showed. The DJF comments section provides better commentary anyway so I win

    • Her loss. Go find some chicks in Jays gear and chat em up!

      • Watch out for female baseball fans. Dangerous kind.

        • Bean, I’m sure you’re gentle…when the mood strikes.
          Hope the hand is healing well.

          • I’ve got Miss Piggy bandaids on today. It’s healing well. Haven’t had to take off any time off from the gym, but I did get out of carrying things home from the grocery store.

  43. Nice camera work on the snotter.

  44. Go for gold Hank!!!

  45. I stand corrected ; This ump deserves a goddamn apple being tossed at him.

  46. Buck: RA, AER…er ERA…sorry

  47. ‘This year, Buerhle has had the biggest increase in ‘ER’…uhh…’EA’..i, ahh i mean ‘EAOR’….’EAIEE’…uhhh…err…E..I…E..I OH….over tio you Tabby’

    ‘Shtroong Buck…shtroong.’

  48. Buehrle only at 92 pitches…and 10 of those are due to the tight zone. Gibby sucks if he pulls him for Delabar.

  49. buck “they disabled sergio santos”

    I can just see sammy the bull gravano taking a baseball bat to sergio’s arm.

    aaah buck

  50. Jesus!

  51. CJ!

  52. Langley Jesus!

  53. Unsweepable?

  54. Nice smack!

  55. Candian Jesus!

  56. erection arising

  57. Saw Dickey examining his fingernails in the dugout, poor start imminent?

  58. Did Reyes and Lind just make kitten claws? What was that?

  59. PLEASE let Buehrle keep going Gibby. Dont do sonething stupid like yank him prematurely. Also: can this team score on anything but HR? Not that Im complaining, but when did they last manufacture a run?

    • 1st inning in yesterday’s game. Reyes got on, stole 2nd, then went all the way from 2nd to home on a Bautista groundout.

      • That was my favorite play so far this year. Still have a half chub from it.

        • Same here. But I gotta admit, I had a bit of a panic attack when he came up clutching his side.

        • My dude was a fan of that as well. You guys are WEIRD.

          • No way Bean! He’s got good taste in baseball and in women! That was such a gritty play. Reminds me of descriptions of how Ty Cobb played.

            • He just thinks that everyone should “go for it” all the time. Steal all the bases. Always go for home. Like, steal home all the time. Or die trying. He doesn’t know much about baseball…

              As for his taste in women…he likes women that are trouble…

  60. Where are the fucktwats that were complaining about how we “only” hit home runs?

  61. More pitches! Make him throw more pitches!

  62. Munenori is a waaay better hitter than Diaz and Goins.

  63. Just read Jose Fernandez is out for the year. Rough year for pitchers in MLB .

  64. Fat Juan!!!

  65. 7th inning. Gibby in to fuck it up.

  66. Such chintzy hits to take Buehrle out. Sucks.

    • first hit was ripped, but the Aybar one was a cheapy i agree.

      Buehrle’s command has been off the last couple innings, two walks in the 6th and fell behind both batters this inning, leading to get me over fastballs.

    • Nah. He lost the zone. I’m ok with going to the pen.

  67. I’ve decided I start drinking once Gibby decides to stick his grubby fingers in the pie.

    • What the fuck are you talking about? How would you like Burly to grab your fucking head like he did Delabar’s? When he comes back out for the 8th you can suck it.

  68. Erg. I woulda left em in.

  69. Iron Sheik with a cameo in that stupid Bud Light commercial. Wonderful. Also that travel Manitoba commersher shames me as a Manitoban greatly.

    • Both of those Bud Light Living adverts incite such a blind fucking rage in me…like worse than a million “Hey Brothers” or “Monster Truck” songs. Like, Boston levels of hate. I can’t really explain it.

      • An infinite “Stadium Loves”?

        Also love ‘Boston levels of hate’

        • YES. INFINITE ANYTHING. I just hate everything about those adverts.

          + yes, “Boston levels of hate” is a term used in the Weasel household. Or sometimes different teams for differing levels of love/hate/patheticness.

      • Woah! I can feel the rage way out here.

  70. Nice Turn – Buck

  71. perfect execution that inning from Delabar. and i like the fact that Gibby had him ready to come in in the 6th rather than a long man.

  72. What’s up with Colby? I didn’t catch what happened to his hamstring.

  73. Damien Cox has left The Star to become full time Rogers/Sportsnet property.

  74. Weighted ball!!!!

  75. I was just about to declare Delabar of old back and then……..

  76. What the fuck is a CJ Cron?

  77. Lucky Angels to Philly next. Good times for them.

  78. I like Delabar’s balls.

    More than Angel (Hernandez) balls.

  79. did Cron a favour throwing him a slider there

  80. Is Janssen expected/ready for this game?

    • yep they showed him stretching in the pen.

      i’m interested to see how hard he’s throwing. he succeeded last year throwing just under 90mph (down from 91.7mph in 2012), but you have to wonder how much more he can afford to lose.

  81. I’m not sure how I feel about the sound of, “second baseman Brett Lawrie”.

  82. Boy Meets World – the Corey Rasmus story, tonight at 9:30, only on Sportsnet!

  83. Double your pleasure, double your fun with double the Rasmuses. Rasmi? ‘
    It’s clear Colby got the looks in the family.

  84. Either there are two Cory Rasmus’s or Buck messed that story up too….

  85. Someone should thank the Man from Muncie.

    Let it be me.

  86. Fat Juan ees back

  87. Fat Juan!!!!!!

  88. You can’t keep a Fat Juan down.

  89. This Juan is Fat I hear

  90. If the Jays are within striking distance of a playoff spot on August 15th, I suggest they go with a four-man rotation. Dickey, Buehrle, Hutch, and a player to be acquired by AA, asap. Or maybe McGowan.

    • Stroman?

    • Or trade Sanchez and others for Utley and Cliff Lee.
      (nerver will happen but this Utley fan can dream)

      • Acquiring a front of the rotation starter will be AA’s focus and Lee could be expendable if Philly continues to fall out of the race. Utley would be a nice addition and plug a serious hole we have in the infield. Not to sure what kind of salary comes along with a trade of that significance but I imagine it being astronomical. I’m dreaming along with you bud!

    • How about Happ? I hear he was rookie of the year and has great potential.

  91. in a hypothetical situation where the Jays can only afford to keep one of Rasmus or Cabrera this offseason, who should they pick, if either?

    i think i pick Melky, cause his skillset is likely to age better than Colby’s

  92. Diaz looks awful at the plate.

    • Diaz is such a piece of shit at the plate… No point in even having him walk up to the plate…

  93. I’m glad to see to see Janssen back

  94. 91 mph…Casey’s ok

  95. Casey’s velocity looks decent, although the gun at the dome is known to be hot.

    • Now that you mention it, Think I’ve noticed that too.

      • Here’s another thought. It’s likely it’s the same gun as last year when Casey was throwing at the same velocity. So, hot or not, (see what I did there?) if it’s the same gun Casey’s ok.

  96. EvaaaAAAAnnkaaa

  97. Sullen2ndBasemanLawrie.gif

  98. What’s up with Lawrie and Lind with the Bro hugs? They did it after Lawrie’s home run too.

  99. Casey is MINT!

  100. Nice to see the wiggle back in action! Anyone notice the guy in the parrot shirt sitting behind home plate?

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