You’d think the Jays record was a whole lot worse than those numbers in the heading on the post would show, given the corrosive state of the conversation surrounding the team right now — which, given the way they’ve played of late, I can’t say isn’t exactly warranted — but thankfully we don’t have that to talk about tonight as we head into another west coast game, with J.A. Happ taking on the Angels’ Jered Weaver in Anaheim.
Why don’t we have to talk about that? Because something fucking weird is going on, is why.
Gregor Chisholm tweeted earlier this evening that, according to John Gibbons, the Jays are planning on platooning Colby Rasmus and Darin Mastroianni in centre for a while, and Adam Lind and Cole Gillespie, “for a little while,” or “at least until someone gets hot.”
In this scenario, Erik Kratz, for some reason, remains in the minors, despite the fact that the club has the two aforementioned centre fielders, corner outfielders Gillespie, Jose Bautista (who starts tonight at first), Melky Cabrera, new addition Nolan Reimold, along with the versatile Steve Tolleson, who can play there in a pinch as well.
That’s not the only reason the move is strange, though. We’re now supposed to believe that Gillespie — the fifth right-handed outfielder on the depth chart (fourth if you count Bautista as an infielder for the time being) — is going to get regular at-bats against left-handed pitching?
Maybe the Jays are crazy enough to actually believe in some awfully small splits. Against lefties in the majors this season Gillespie has batted .275/.351/.314 in 57 plate appearances. If nothing else, that’s at least a decent on-base, but broaden the sample to include his 13 minor league plate appearances against lefties this year — in the damn PCL, no less — and the overall 2014 line slumps to .230/.329/.262. In 2013, at both the MLB and AAA level, Gillespie slashed .257/.322/.362 in 118 plate appearances against lefties. Over his 155 career plate appearances in the majors against left-handers he’s slashed .220/.284/.270.
He is barely anyone’s big-leaguer, let alone anyone’s lefty-mashing half of a platoon. I’m pretty sure he’s no Kevin Pillar, even.
So what the hell is going on?
Well, maybe Kratz is hurt and nobody is saying so. Maybe, as I said, the club actually believes Gillespie is the better option. Maybe they’re being ultra-polite and want to do right by him and not designate him for assignment so soon after picking him up, even though their claim of Nolan Reimold made Gillespie rather immediately redundant.
Or maybe… maybe? … hopefully? … fucking hopefully? … some right-handed hitting help is on the way?
Fuck, that’d be alright. Be it Chase Headley, who we heard rumours of the Jays closing in on earlier, or someone else, with Lawrie and Encarnacion now on the shelf, Francisco getting badly exposed (he has struck out in 48.5% of his plate appearances in the last 27 games, posting a wRC+ of 55 – .164/.227/.344 in 66 PA over the span), and a Baltimore cast-off looking like the closest thing to a saviour we’ve got.
It ain’t good.
Weirder still, John Gibbons was asked about the absence of Kratz and had this to say, according to another tweet from Gregor: ”I’ll tell you what, we’d like to get him back… He helped us when he was here. I think he would be a big addition.”
Hmmm. We’ll see what happens, I guess. Probably getting ahead of ourselves…
The Jays really probably do have to do something, though, and fans are in a lather that they aren’t. But it’s never as simple as it seems. In a piece for Sportsnet following last night’s game, Shi Davidi reported the Cubs’ ask, that the Jays balked at, which may have landed them Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel: “Marcus Stroman and Drew Hutchison plus at least one if not all three of top prospects Aaron Sanchez, Daniel Norris and Dalton Pompey.” Bold mine, and Billy Beane’s. So… turns out other teams don’t care if you don’t want to give up pieces off your big league roster. Turns out the three best minor leaguers the Jays have aren’t really so attractive to other teams, too. And that whatever trade they do make is gonna fuckin’ hurt, most likely.
Next game(s): Tomorrow, 10:05 PM ET @ Anaheim
For those of you who’ll be out and about, be sure to follow all the action on your phone with theScore app.
And now, the lineups…
Toronto Blue Jays
SS Jose Reyes (S)
2B Munenori Kawasaki (L)
RF Melky Cabrera (S)
1B Jose Bautista (R)
DH Adam Lind (L)
C Dioner Navarro (S)
CF Colby Rasmus (L)
RF Nolan Reimold (R)
3B Juan Francisco (L)
LHP J.A. Happ
Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim
RF Kole Calhoun (L)
CF Mike Trout (R)
1B Albert Pujols (R)
LF Josh Hamilton (L)
2B Howie Kendrick (R)
SS Erick Aybar (S)
3B David Freese (R)
DH C.J. Cron (R)
C Chris Ianetta (R)
RHP Jered Weaver