It’s here! The readers. The myths they believe. The legendarily ridiculous questions. Yes, it’s time for another Griff Bag — aka my latest hijacking of Richard Griffin’s mail bag from over at the Toronto Star! So let’s do it to 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!
By letting go of (Jeremy) Jeffress, (Moises) Sierra, and (Esmil) Rogers, it seemed that the Jays finally committed to fielding the best team rather than retaining assets. I realize Rasmus is a different calibre of player, but with what Gose has brought, especially during Wednesday’s walk-off game, can the team possibly put Rasmus back at CF? His only upside is his power, but this line up clearly doesn’t need it. It needs Gose’s speed. What do you foresee happening when Rasmus is ready to come off the DL?
Matthew McKean, Ottawa
I cannot possibly fucking fathom this sort of thinking. Not just the stuff about Gose being a better piece than Rasmus, or the team needing his speed more, or the assumption that the club doesn’t need any more power — all of which are absurd, of course — but also the checking off of supposed attributes and then simply adding the check marks to determine who is the supposedly more useful player.
It’s almost like you have a conclusion that you want to come to, and are working backwards to find ways to get there. That’s even almost understandable, I guess, because it’s pretty much the only way to figure Gose is better than Rasmus.
Yes, Gose is a fantastic defender in centre, and a better one than Rasmus. Yes, he’s good on the basepaths, steals bases, can occasionally bunt for hits, sometimes forces errors from the defence with his speed, and does a whole bunch of things either better than Rasmus or that he wholly doesn’t. But for fuck sakes, no, Colby’s only upside is not power.
Granted, Rasmus has had some awful years with the bat, so it’s hard to even argue that he is something specific. We really don’t know what he is. Last year, though, in the overall, he was the third most valuable centre fielder in the American League, and the sixth most valuable in baseball. And that’s just it: in the overall.
You’ll get all kinds of narrative-driven garbage about certain pieces fitting better than others, and maybe if there’s anythin to that it even works to Gose’s advantage slightly too. But the differences between the two players aren’t just binary “differences,” there are degrees of difference between the different aspects of their games, and those degrees are crucial. Gose is certainly a better base stealer, but otherwise? He’s a better defender and baserunner, but not by that much — certainly not by anything close to as much better Rasmus is as a hitter, at least when he’s going at his best.
And isn’t that funny? I’m actually acknowledging that the Rasmus we saw last year might not be the Rasmus who’ll show up again this time around. Admittedly, that might make the comparison a bit tighter. Colby’s a tough one to read because his performance has been so volatile — shit, he could probably still play himself into compensation pick limbo, if he’s not careful — and if you’re anywhere close to halfway serious about having an opinion on this, you need to account for those kinds of things.
But is Gose really that tough to read?
This year with the Jays Gose has walked 13.3% of the time and struck out 20.0% of the time. (.379 OBP in 60 PA)
This year with Buffalo Gose walked 10.5% of the time and struck out 24.8% of the time. (.317 OBP in 124 PA)
Last year with the Jays Gose walked 3.3% of the time and struck out 24.2% of the time. (.283 OBP in 153 PA)
Last year with Buffalo Gose walked 8.6% of the time and struck out 27.3% of the time. (.316 OBP in 443 PA)
In 2012 with the Jays Gose walked 9.0% of the time and struck out 31.2% of the time. (.303 OBP in 189 PA)
In 2012 in Las Vegas Gose walked 10.2% of the time and struck out 21.1% of the time. (.366 OBP in 479 PA)
Weird how the one that massively sticks out in a positive way is both the smallest and most recent sample of the bunch, huh? (It’s also the sample in which he’s been most shielded from left-handed pitching, FYI).
It would be great if this really were a new Gose that we’re seeing. It would be great, too, if Juan Francisco is as good as his last month has made him look, and if all the Jays’ other sluggers really do stay hot and healthy and render Colby’s power an excess. But Buck and Pat yammering on about some supposed new display of selectivity, or slobbering over Gose’s game-changing speed, doesn’t make those things any more real.
Can the team possibly put Rasmus back at CF? Absolutely they can and they should and they will. He’s far more likely the better player in the overall.
Two questions. With the recent success of Jay hitters do you think that they will experience more hit batsmen. I did not see last night’s hit on Jose (Bautista) but I remember when he came over to the Jay’s and was hot, he was a target.
Do you think that MLB would ever increase the bench by one player to allow for more specialists and add excitement to the game for the fans? It would not break too many budgets.
1) What? Seriously? No.
2) They’ve already allowed teams to bring up an additional player for the second game of doubleheaders, so they obviously understand the changing nature of pitcher usage, so I wouldn’t be surprised if such a thing eventually happened. I have no idea how much of an appetite their is for it, though. Can’t see the Players Association complaining.
The Cubs want a lot for Jeff Samardzija. I don’t like the idea of the Jays giving up both (Marcus) Stroman and (Aaron) Sanchez. But with Gose playing so well, could they deal Rasmus to a team looking for a centre-fielder in exchange for a pitching prospect or prospects, which they could then send to the Cubs along with Stroman in return for Samardzija? (Boiling down to Rasmus and Stroman for Samardzija). Would that be a viable way to use the surplus of talent in one area to fill a void in another?
Anders Hayden, Halifax
That’s probably the only way you’re going to be able to make any kind of Rasmus deal for pitching — which, as I explained above, isn’t necessarily the best idea anyway. With the volatility and the fact that he only has a half season left before free agency, you’re probably not getting a whole lot back for him, unless there were a bunch of contending teams with real needs in centre. Ideally, you’d want to get back the value of the draft pick you’re probably going to get when he walks, but… sure, maybe if it’s for the right piece to flip in order to add the right pitcher you don’t care very much. I can buy that.
That said, Stroman’s on the big league roster now, and even if he wasn’t, he’s been on the cusp for too long to think of him as a serious trade candidate any longer. They need him here, and they need reinforcements beyond that. Alex Anthopoulos has said he’d look to add a true rental rather than making a major, system-depleting trade for a guy like Samardzija, and I tend to believe him. It makes more sense — and the level of prospects involved would fit better with this Rasmus scheme, though, again, giving the keys to Gose at this point is awfully frightening, no matter what his first fifty-odd plate appearances say.
It’s amazing how the situation with the Jays just feels so much better since many of the question marks (Ryan Goins/Morrow/Jeffress/Rogers/McGowan) have all been sorted out for better or worse and Janssen has come back. But my question is about Josh Thole. I like both Navarro and Kratz, but why doesn’t Thole get more playing time outside of catching Dickey? It’s a small sample size, but he’s batting well this year and has had good OBP in the past, even though he’s not a power hitter. What’s his defence like? I’m just curious about why he’s not starting more.
Rob Brander, Sydney, Australia
Thole certainly isn’t viewed as a below average receiver and defensive catcher. He’s regarded fairly well — and the fact that he catches Dickey attests to that, at least somewhat. He’s batted well in a small sample, yeah. I… I guess I just don’t understand what the issue is here? He’s a backup catcher doing well in a small sample size. I dunno.
I’ve always enjoyed your work. I’m an old-time Expos fan who has gravitated to the Jays since you know when. Like all Jays fans, I’m thoroughly enjoying this run that the Jays are on. This is basically what we all expected to see last year, but better late than never I guess.
I have a funny question for you. I’ve always been a big Jose Bautista admirer, and basically still am, especially since he seems to have gone back to the more patient approach that characterized his banner years (2010-2011). However, I’m wondering about his lack of enthusiasm on the bench when it comes to the accomplishments of other players. I’ve watched just about every game on television, and although we only get glimpses of the dugout, there are usually a lot of shots of the end of the bench where the “Dominican gang” sits. That’s understandable, given the results that Encarnacion, Cabrera, Bautista, Francisco, and now Reyes, have posted, especially in May. When one of them does something, they all slap each other on the back and have fun celebrating. Except for Bautista. As I said, I have a limited view of the dugout, but unless Bautista himself is enjoying a good day, especially if he hits a home run, he is nowhere to be seen when players come into the dugout after a HR or some other notable exploit. He seems to go into the clubhouse (to sulk?) after a poor result at the plate. Last week, after the incredible consecutive 2-homer games by Encarnacion, Bautista was never there to partake in the celebrations. This attitude seems more apparent when Encarnacion is on a tear. Could there be some jealousy involved? Bautista is used to being the offensive stud on this team, but that label has pretty well shifted to Edwin the last three years. I realize that very few people can be as demonstrative as Reyes (how refreshing), but I would expect a bit more enthusiasm from the team’s perceived leader. Although I like to think that I’m a good observer, I may be in left field on this. Just curious to know what you think.
Robert, Beaconsfied, QC
Yes, you do only get limited view of this stuff. It’s pretty seriously irrelevant. And FYI, when Bautista goes into the dugout after a poor result, I’m pretty sure that’s because he’s going to watch video in order to learn from his mistake, because he’s kinda super-competitive and driven to win.
I get why John Gibbons likes to have the lefthanded Lind bat between Bautista and Encarnacion (to split up the 2 right handers), but doesn’t having Edwin bat in the 4 spot right behind Bautista make more sense? Opposing pitchers would be less inclined to pitch around Bautista if Edwin is coming up after him, thus Jose would see better pitches to hit. Do you think Gibbons should stick to an everyday order of Bautista-Edwin-Lind, or do what he has been doing and insert Lind in between, depending on the pitching matchup?
Justin, Richmond Hill, ON
Though the idea of lineup protection being a myth is itself a bit of a myth, it’s doesn’t make nearly the difference the TV commentators of the world will try to tell you. And splitting of the left-handed and right-handed sluggers makes it more difficult for opposing managers to utilize platoon splits to their advantage in late-game situations. I’m fine with what he does.
Do the Jays have 4 all stars this year in Melky, Bautista, Encarnacion, and Buerhle?
Justin, Richmond Hill, ON
Sure. I guess so.
There’s been a couple plays lately that has me questioning Bautista’s leadership on the field. Firstly, I was at the game on Friday and there was a deep fly ball hit to right-center field. Pillar got there early and was easily camped under it. Bautista came racing over, and once Pillar made the catch, seemed to give Pillar the dirtiest look that he wouldn’t get out of the way to let him get it. Then, there was the fly ball last night that Tolleson went out for, got camped under, called for, and then, Bautista seems to call off and just get the catch. Am I reading too much into these plays? Just a matter of there being a lack of chemistry, or does Jose need to back off and trust the new guys that are around him?
This is nonsense.