Another week (albeit a week like no other in recent memory), another Griff Bag — aka Richard Griffin’s mail bag from over at the Toronto Star — which, of course, means its time for another caustic hijacking of whatever insanity has been running through Griff’s readers’ brains. So let’s get 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!
What do you think is of more value to this Jays team right now: Gose’s speed in CF and on the base paths or Rasmus’ bat? To me that’s what the choice boils down to and after the Texas series I’m leaning towards Gose’s speed. Also, while Navarro is a heads-and-tails improvement over JPA, I’ve been underwhelmed by him so far. We seem to be in competent hands when Thole and Kratz share catching duties. I know Navarro was AA’s big off-season acquisition, but would you trade Navarro and/or Rasmus in exchange for upgrades at SP and 2B?
Matthew McKean, Ottawa
Without question the more valuable of the two is Rasmus. It maybe doesn’t feel like that sometimes. That’s because there are elements of the game that give us visceral responses as fans that can be indelibly imprinted on our minds — a stolen base and a great catch on the good side, for example, a strikeout on the bad — where Gose excels and Rasmus doesn’t. Gose is a weapon, to be sure. The game-changing tools are still as loud as when the Jays salivated over him as a Phillies prospect. And when he’s hitting as well as he is right now, in a microscopic sample size, it’s easy to get carried away dreaming on all the good that he brings. But over the long run, you’re going to be much, much better off with Rasmus. He may not steal the bases and there are some catches he may not make, but the differences between the two bats, over time, ought to be enormous enough to offset all the value Gose provides elsewhere and then some.
That’s maybe tough to swallow when looking at Rasmus being hurt, and just barely above a league-average hitter through his first 143 plate appearances of the season – .222/.266/.489 (104 wRC+) — but Gose only just barely posted a greater wRC+ in his year playing in the extreme hitting environment of Las Vegas (106 wRC+), and hasn’t come close to it above double-A ball. It’s been a nice couple weeks for him so far, but we can’t let our perceptions change based on such tiny samples.
Think of it this way: Juan Francisco is only just over 100 plate appearances now — 60 more than Gose — and there is no reason to think what we’re seeing from him is for real.
Same thing goes for the catchers. Yes, Navarro has been disappointing, especially in terms of his lack of power (though the fact that he’s been hurting may have an impact on that), but we’re talking about 50-odd terrific PA from Thole that we can’t possibly expect to keep up, and a very Arencibia-like all-power, no-OBP thing from Kratz. There could probably be a little more opportunity for the other catchers, but in no way should the Jays be thinking about moving their best pieces at that position or in centre.
That doesn’t mean it can’t change, though. But let’s remember the one thing few fans — and some media folks! — seem to be unable to grasp these days: the only teams who might have interest in free-agent-to-be Rasmus are ones that need him for the stretch run, and are stupidly unlikely to be willing to part with the kind of pitching the Jays covet. It’s just not going to happen — and no, the team acquiring him does not receive a compensation pick when he leaves next winter.
Could the Jays find a three-way deal that sends Colby to a club that had some prospects they might be able to add to ones of their own in order to get a pitcher? Because that might not be the craziest idea… it just isn’t nearly the clearest option yet, either.