Not pictured: Major League ballplayers

When the Jays signed Adam Loewen with the intention of turning him into an outfielder, it was a win-win scenario. Not only did they troll the OrioLOLes in a big way, they acquired a big giant CANCON reclamation project to market. The upside of the player ranks a solid third, especially when we consider the immensity of his task.

Not only is Loewen’s story inspiring in and of itself, the maple syrup coursed through his veins, giving him superpowers in the eyes of many Jays fans. After 1000 minor league plate appearances, Loewen got his big league shot in September. After a (charitably) mixed bag of results, the Jays removed Adam Loewen from the 40-man roster today, exposing him to the Rule 5 draft among other indignities.

Update: The Blue Jays have given Loewen his full release. He is now a Minor League free agent.

It seems the public opinion on Adam Loewen is rather divided. Some state he “proved” he can play in the big leagues during his September call-up. Others, myself included, feel he proved he did play in the big leagues and not a lot more.

A player of Adam Loewen’s calibre is not a viable Major Leaguer for a developing team like the Toronto Blue Jays. Every at bat given to Adam Loewen comes out of the pocket of a better, higher-ceilinged prospect. That he is Canadian should not obscure his marginal status on the far edges of a Major League roster.

Remember John Hattig? His 2005 cup of coffee was very similar to Loewen’s in that he was a mid-twenties journeyman making his first big league splash. Hattig posted very respectable numbers in baseball’s silly season, drawing many walks without showing much in the way of power. He was never heard from again.

Hattig was born in Guam, the first-such Big Leaguer to claim the island nation has his homeland. Did that grant the well-travelled third baseman any special amnesty or favor among fans? Nope. Gone and instantly forgotten.

On twitter, many fans seem to wonder why the Jays would waste so much time converting and progressing Loewen through the minors only to expose him and, quite possibly, end his time with the team? Let the value of Adam Loewen’s admittedly great story never be understated – it means as much to the Blue Jays brand as it does to fans’ attachment to him.

The Jays are doing a great job of growing their brand within Canada, driving up TV ratings and travelling the nation with their marketable core of young players. The Loewen project is a tidy feather for their cap, providing countless column inches this fall as Loewen and Lawrie took on the world with Maple Leaves flying high.

There is no price for that kind of soft-focus exposure but there is a key difference between the two. Brett Lawrie is a major league talent, an impact player who happens to be Canadian. Adam Loewen, unfortunately, looks like quite the opposite. Hard to blame the team, when you think about it. The world is lousy with replacement-level 5th outfielders; there is no harm in grabbing one with a sweet backstory to soften the hearts of even the most cynical among us.

Comments (17)

  1. Well Loewen also could have turned out like Rick Ankiel (or maybe he still can). That seemed to be the biggest reason to use resources on him. Either way, though, the Jays are better off giving major league ABs to better players/prospects that deserve it.

  2. Also, about the shot at Cooper….I’m no fan of his as a player (he’s a horrible defender at 1B and hits for little power at the position), but I’m not so sure he wouldn’t be more valuable than Adam Lind has been for the past two seasons. He’d at least get on base at a higher clip than .290.

    • The shot at Cooper is cheap but I’m neither ashamed nor proud of it. It is what it is. I stand before the internet’s judgement.

    • 1st base is a power position. Why would anyone ever consider putting in Cooper versus Lind is beyond me..Cooper hit a grand total of 11 hr’s in 2011, 9 in hitting friendly Vegas. Lind hit 26 in a so so year in 2011 and 23 in a real bad year in 2010.

      Cooper will never make the majors hitting the way he hits and plays defense.

  3. Meh, the Jays took a shot with Loewen, it didn’t work out like the miracle some think it should have been and now it’s done. His story is impressive and certainly inspiring, but it’s true to life.

    At the end of the day, the Jays need to be a contending team, not a Disney movie team.

    Moving on…

  4. Why do you hate Canada, Drew? Are you a terrorist? You probably sing ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’ during the 7th inning too, don’t you. Pfft.

    • Actually, I thought this was the first time anyone on this blog has written about Canadian ballplayers without unnecessarily criticizing anyone who owns a Roots sweater. Good objectivity this time.

  5. We all wanted to believe that Adam Loewen would become a good major league player, but the truth is that he has shown very little to indicate that it can be a possibility. The Jays made the right move here and still could re-sign him to another minor league contract but he is still a long shot at best to ever become a good major league hitter.

    As for David Cooper, I wouldn’t give up on him yet. He admittedly got away from his game plan in his first go-around with the Jays. Then said he was much more relaxed the second time he was called up and knew what he had to do. The results were the following September batting line:

    .289/.325/.526/.851

    He has it in him to be a decent hitter, but his defense could hold him back.

    • well technically, he’s still under contract. I believe he cleared waivers and was outrighted to AAA. He’s now exposed to the Rule 5 draft, but he could still receive an invite to Spring Training and is still very much in the organization; he’ll just have to be re-added to the 40-man roster to make a return to the Major League team. If he continues to struggle, however, the Jays could just release him outright.

  6. I think Fullmer_Fan is right. The Jays took a shot on converting Loewen. It was a high-risk project but with very little downside as the upper-levels of the system were very weak at the time of his acquisition. The downside was obtaining a org-player to fill out the AA and AAA rosters.

    This move may be also good for Loewen. He has nothing left to prove in AAA. The Jays outfield is crowded. Thames, Snider, Encarnacion, Davis suggest that Loewen would be either stuck at AAA or in fierce competition for at-bats. As someone who is still developing as a hitter, he is better served going to a team that can provide him regular at bats. Personally I don’t see him being more than a platoon outfielder or AAAA player going forward.

  7. I guess I mostly agree that the Jays have no use for him, but this seems a little harsh. A tiny sample of big league bench time shouldn’t mean any more than a good year in Vegas…and while that doesn’t mean much, I’d say he has more chance of being Rick Ankiel (who kinda sucks, FWIW) now than he ever did before.

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