An Open Letter To John Farrell…

Dear John,

Stoeten here. How’s it going, big guy? Tough first few weeks on the job or what?

Yeah, I know that last road trip could have gone better, and it’s got to be tiresome to have to be dragging Juan Rivera’s dead weight around constantly, not to mention racking your brain to figure out if it might simply be true that Aaron Hill just… well… that he might not actually be very good.

I get it, John. You’ve got more on your plate than a person insane or desperately hungry, or insanely desperately hungry enough to eat at Denny’s.

But here’s the thing, John: I think you might scare the shit out of people.

I mean, how else could a guy with the reputation as a consensus builder you brought to this city be flubbing some serious basics so badly? Is nobody talking to you???

Now, now, simmer down, John! Simmer down. This isn’t some hater, John. This is me. This is Stoeten. I’ve had your back since the moment the Jays hired you. Shit, I actually believed you were just blowing smoke with all that shit this spring about how you wanted the club to run more.

Ho ho ho. You really got me with that one, John.

Now, I might not have gone as far as offering to put Preparation H on your shrapnel-ass the way I did with John Gibbons in the open letter I wrote to him four years ago that I’m totally ripping off here. But I think I’ve been fair, John. I think I’ve been extremely fair.

And I don’t think it’s unfair to ask you: do you even understand splits and sample sizes????

Faaaaaaack, John. Octavio Dotel against lefties? Noooo!!!!!! Moving Travis Snider to second against AJ Burnett because of success over seven plate appearances??? Nooooo!!!!! Having runners– like Corey Patterson last night, or John McDonald at Fenway on Saturday– try to steal bases down multiple runs in late innings? Nooooooo!!!!!

This should be basic stuff, John. Any idiot with a computer– me, for example– can see that Dotel has sucked bags of dicks against left-handers the last two years, or that in the AL last year, of the 16,039 plate appearances with a runner on first and less than two outs, only 1804 resulted in double plays, for a rate of one every 8.9 plate appearances– hardly a reason to literally run scared of one. (Note: You see what I just did there?).

So I’ve got to ask, what gives, John?

I just can’t believe it’s that the people around you are oblivious to this stuff. I think it might be that they’re afraid to say it. I mean, look at your I’m-about-to-strangle-every-fucker-in-the-room face in the picture above from when you received this letter! I know these might not be the easiest things to hear, John, but there’s really no sense getting angry. You can fix them! It’s just… I know you you want to be a “leader of men” or whatever bullshit nonsense sports people think matters in a locker room, but maybe tone down the intimidation factor a little.

You don’t want poor Alex Anthopoulos to be trembling with fear when he eventually feels no choice but to come to you and explain that you don’t need to be a fucking rocket surgeon– or someone who witnessed Snider’s performance against Burnett last night– to comprehend that seven plate appearances means nothing anywhere close to above total jack shit.

And that’s what it’s going to come to, John. You can’t keep this batshit running game up. You can’t keep setting your players up to fucking fail. And you can’t rely on pure stupidity to explain your decisions and expect it to not get noticed.

You’re not Cito– Alex doesn’t have to let you do whatever stupid bullshit you want as a condition of his employment. And while I am so incredibly fucking loathe to shit down the throat of your decisions all year that it makes me want to puke, I’ll do it.

But please don’t make me do it, John. Please find someone around there who isn’t an idiot and listen to him for cock sakes. If for nothing else, for me. PLEASE!

You’ve done some great things so far. You’ve just got to turn down the suck a little bit, and turn up the good. I know you can, John.

Best of luck, and until we talk again, stay gold, Ponyboy,

  • Renegade

    Not every manager is perfect… If his biggest mistake is using Dotel against lefties when the Jays are down SEVEN runs I will take it every time. He isn’t batting Kevin Millar clean-up 60 times a year.

  • Renegade

    Also, Corey Patterson probably has the green light so half the blame should go his way for the steals. As for the “sample size” problem, nearly every manager in baseball uses that shit to determine who plays and who doesn’t.

  • stoeten

    The fact that other managers do dumb things does not make me feel any better about our manager doing dumb things, nor should it for anyone.

  • Mr. Belding

    Hey, hey, hey. *What* is going *on* here?

  • Lunchbox45

    The thing I’ve noticed is that.. Cito was so old school and stubborn, that bringing in Farrell instantly made me feel better.. However, I was being naive.. We went from negative to even, but we certainly not in the positives yet.. He’s done some stuff to impress me, but some stuff has been frustrating to watch.

  • Hip

    The only concern that I have is that John has not made the moves to improve. The Silent Assassin has made them.

    Perhaps they are on different pages still. Maybe it is a front office kind of thing that has to work itself out!

    The season is still young, so let’s be patient and see how it unfolds!!

  • Tools_of_Ignorance

    Then who do you blame for giving Patterson the green light when he’s not capable of making prudent decisions with his legs?

  • OttawaLynx

    So one call to the ‘pen, one spot in the batting order, and two stolen bases leads to a quasi-maniacal rant? Really?

  • Malcolm

    Yeah, there have been numerous odd momentsquestionable moves, but these Jays are playing some baseball that can be a joy to behold. I haven’t witnessed this, I don’t know, esprit de corps in quite a while and that can be attributed to Farrell too.

  • Candy Catalanotto

    some sabermetrics genius should try and come up with a kind of WAR stat for managers. ive heard that a manager can really only win you or lose you about 5 games a year.

    in any case, farrell’s a rookie manager on a team not expected to contend. if he can get this team to 500 by years end, i say he did as well as could be expected. he’s learning on the job on a team where he can afford to learn on the job, just like, say, lind or snider learning their respective positions.

    but when it comes to certain arguable decisions, im willing to give him and his baseball experience the benefit of the doubt.

  • stoeten

    It’s been pretty much every time Dotel has been used, and there have been other odd moves, but yes, there hasn’t been a big sample to pull from this early in the season. And, I’m sorry, do those things not give us a strong indication of how he is (or isn’t) thinking? Especially when they repeat themselves, or are justified by nonsense– hence my selection of those examples.

  • Bartman

    Hate to crap on part of your parade but the JMac steal was actually a Hit and Run! He was looking back to the plate the whole time! I forget who shit the bed with the hitting part?

  • Brendan

    I liked the FUBAR reference.
    I’d mainly like Farrell to tell his players that sliding headfirst not only gets you hurt, but is useless anyway.

  • Jeff S

    Are we still mad that Corey Patterson attempted to steal 3rd when the Jays were down a pant-load of runs in Boston and attempting to rally? What in any of the previous games gave the Jays the idea that the Red Sox were remotely capable of throwing them out when stealing bases in that series? From what I recall, the Jays were practically running at will on Friday & Saturday, so why would taking 3rd be any different? It’s not as if the play came out of nowhere – they had been active on the base paths the entire series to that point.

    Now, that being said, I understand why it was a dumb move, but still, it’s not like there wasn’t a little bit of reasoning behind the decision to attempt the steal.

  • Dick Van Dyke

    Good letter – I think you should have held onto it until after we lost a game. Last night was incredible – against that team and against that closer – we aren’t winning the world series this year so we should celebrate the victories we get!!!

    We should all be whistling fucking dixie today!

  • brentinKorea

    Stoeten, the manager’s decisions so far have been too small a sample size. Check yourself and back the fuck up :P

    I think what Farrell is doing is giving players the benefit of the doubt and giving them a chance to succeed. He even gave Frasor a chance in a close game with a lead. I think it’s refreshing to give players another opportunity to turn themselves into something more useful.

  • Garafraxaguy

    Fuck. Dear John was a great show. I loved Kirk, he was my hero.

  • OttawaLynx

    My feeling on using Dotel is he’s new to the team and perhaps Farrell and Walton think they have some ideas on how he can pitch against righties. I’d imagine that they’ll stop doing it if they see it isn’t working. As far as Snider, 7ABs isn’t enough to show a trend, but it might be enough to give Snider a confidence boost (not that it worked, but still…). I don’t know about MacDonald, but I imagine Patterson has the green light to go when he wants. If Bautista et al. didn’t like the steal late in the game (and I didn’t either, BTW), I’d imagine they might mention it to him themselves.

    On the other hand, Farrell’s hand might be forced a bit by Rivera’s sukkitude, but he seems to have largely moved EE to the DH spot, so I’ll give him credit for that.

  • oakville69

    I am concerned about the injuries that are a result of the aggressive running game.

    Hill last night, Escobar’s slide into third which resulted in a concussion & Rajai Davis in the home opener.

  • Ice Cream Jonsey

    My understanding is that stealing bases makes a lot of sense when you do it successfully 80% of the time. The Jays are 23 for 29 so far: 79.31%.

  • stoeten

    Game Threat is up, if you’d like to confine your Farrell-related shitting on me to here.

  • Bobthecricketer

    one thing to keep in mind… i’m sure that managers will often give “explanations” that they know full well to be bullshit, in order to explain away difficult decisions – e.g. “i sat hitter x because he has struggled against pitcher y” instead of “i sat pitcher x because he’s a big pile of shit for whom i’ve been looking for any excuse to drop like a hot snot. hopefully his replacement will get two hits and i’ll have an excuse to keep him out cos his replacement is hitting “hot””. so farrell may have wanted to try snider hitting 2nd (which some (many?) have called for), while giving some nonsense about owning burnett to keep the media/fans off his back cos he’s hitting a hundred and fuck all, and to keep pressure off snider cos he thinks it’s just a once off thing

  • pharfromsober

    Do you ever think that Farrell wants to see these things for himself? That he wants to give the players a chance to prove themselves? Thats the reason for the ridiculous aggression on the basepaths. John actually wants to see whats he has before he puts the brakes on. And theyve done pretty well. In fact, that thought process explains everything you’re ranting about. Dotel may have asked for the chance to prove himself, or Farrell just wants to see for himself.
    Christ, normally i agree with you enough that i dont feel the need to write anything out, but dude said early in the season that he would wait until 40 games before he would put his head up and really look around. Give him at least until then before you start comparing him to Cito, ESPECIALLY when Cito would never EVER have used a squeeze to force that run across last night (AWESOME!!!). That was the flip side of everything you’re complaining about, as well as the 80% success rate of their steals, and the concentration problems opposing pitchers are having. If you’re gonna write something like this, you gotta suck his cock for his early successes as well.
    Relax, this is his first fifteen games managing, ever. For a website that usually makes fun of, rightfully, chicken littles, this post rings far to much of hysterics.

    On an unrelated note, I wish Farrell kept Snider in the second spot tonight.

  • Tom Jackson

    Happy to see Encarnacion in the five spot. Disappointed to see Snider dropped in the lineup again, not because I put any stock in what he did in one at bat last night, but because I think it could be a good spot in the lineup for him. I’d have gone:

    Escobar, Snider, Bautista, Lind, Encarnacion, Arencibia, Nix, Patterson, McDonald

    so I’m reasonably happy with this lineup. Now I expect to get shat on just as much as you Stoeten.

  • FowlofCanada

    Or would you rather the standard Jimy Williams answer – Manager’s decision!

  • JonJurrjens

    That picture is gold man…..fits the letter so well.

    Fucking genius.

  • ice_hawk1002

    i actually liked moving snider to the 2 hole behind a good table-setter in escobar and in front of masher bautista. might have been a good way to get him going. theres no way corey patterson is the best solution on this team to hit second.

  • Canuckistani

    I think you’re misplacing the injury issue. You can’t say “don’t run because someone might get hurt!” or else you might as well just not be playing.

    Hill’s injury looks like it’s just what happens when someone sprints and very likely could or would have happened on the next base hit just the same.

    Escobar’s injury was not part of ‘the running game’ at all. That was his own damn fault for being lazy out of the box until he saw that it wasn’t an out. And then being a dumbass and sliding in head-first. I guarantee he would have ended up with the same injury if Cito were managing that game.

    Rajai was just being Rajai. He was made a Blue Jay because that’s what he does.

    The problems with the running game come from doing bonehead things like trying to steal third with a four run deficit and a pitcher showing poor control. Someone up there said Farrell is just giving people the green light to let them succeed (or fail). My bet is he’ll start attaching leashes on people once they’ve proven where their real limits are.

  • Tocher Maime

    its gonna suck for you to have to write that apology letter to cito. because aside from a couple of weird stubborn things he does, the fact seems to remain the same that he just rules. i don’t think its ‘luck’ that he wandered back on to the team mid season and they started doing well, then he runs 1 re-build season and they perform way above expectations. how many ‘flukes’ can a man enjoy? cito was just actually good.

  • Baseballkid760

    From watching the jays I need to ask. Has Farell really cost us multiple games this year? From all the games i’ve watched I can honestly say I havn’t noticed any glaring mistakes. I think having our players steal is a good idea as it adds elements to the team. The season is not even a month old, I think Farell deserves a little bit of slack.

  • stoeten

    Did I say anything about being aggressive in general? OK, I called it a “batshit running game,” but that doesn’t mean I’m against all running. I was talking about two specific situations in which it’s not a very good idea to run.

    And… um… concentration problems from opposing pitchers? As demonstrated by what?

  • stoeten

    This is the same logic used by many of the Cito is God crew, and I don’t buy it. You can explain away any stupid rationalization by saying, oh, he’s just lying. Sure there’s a chance that’s correct, but that’s way too gigantic a benefit of the doubt to give anyone. Besides, there are always ways to tactfully explain those things without resorting to full-on bullshitting.

  • stoeten

    Yes, it’s just luck (progression to the mean) and the talent of the team. You can’t evaluate a manager based on his win-loss record, because in the grand scheme they contribute very little to each win and loss– the players do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to that. It only makes sense to evaluate him on what you see that he does contribute (lineups, bullpen management, choosing who plays, etc.), and when it comes to Cito, sorry, the evaluations aren’t pretty.

  • TheMainEvent

    stoets, i know your hardcore on the “run game doesn’t effect the pitcher” but i gotta say it really does. you say in what way, You can just tell when we have guys on the base paths A) the pitcher is constantly checking the runner, can’t just concentrate on the catcher B) they are CONSTANTLY throwing to the bag, that takes the pitcher out of rhythm & can cause him to lose focus C) the fact that hes already pitching from the stretch does help us, but I just feel like when you constantly have to be checking on a runner, constantly throwing the ball to the bag, probably throwing more fastballs cause you expect a steal, you can’t nearly be as focused as you would be before when the jays just sat on the bag, you knew they wouldn’t steal, and it was just like it was just you and the catcher out there, nothing changed, and you could have 100% focus on throwing strikes.

    theres no way you can say that causing a pitcher to lose focus doesn’t cause the pitcher to throw bad pitches, and you can’t say that running more doesn’t force the pitcher to throw more fastballs. cause clearly it does. And I’ve seen pitchers get rattled by guys being on the bases this year way more then I ever have as a jays fan, I’ve actually SEEN it, this isn’t something I’m just making up, pitchers just aren’t throwing as good as they would’ve in seasons past when we have guys on the bases.

    as for the dotel thing, i’m not sure, but i believe they haven’t allowed him to pitch to lefties at extremely important moments in games?? And seriously, a new pitching coach (or 2 with john) maybe they believe they can help him against lefties, i know his got insane #’s against them in the past, but maybe they are miracle workers, we believe in Morrow now, when the Mariners had given up on him, who says they can’t SOMEHOW help dotel find a way to get Lefties out. I’m not saying its for sure possible, but I am saying its super early in the season, and I don’t mind them giving him a shot as long as they’re not truly putting the game on the line when its happening.

    the patterson/macdonald steals were retarded. and i would assume that farrell has talked to them, but if he hasn’t, and we see it again, well, go apeshit, cause that is stupid as fuck. I’m assuming patterson was given the “green” light, which to the club means steal whenever the hell you want; and didn’t take into account that some players are just so retarded they can’t figure out for themselves the game situation & that this just isn’t the right time to be doing this. As for the Mac play, it was a hit & run, thats on John, not the time to be doing a hit & run, its not the tying or winning run, and its super late in the ball game; hopefully he’ll learn from that.

    on the lineup: idc if he makes the decision based on 7 at bats, im sure that decisions are made like that all the time by lots of coaches who probably would never tell the media why they did it, at least john’s being honest, and its so early in the season, i could really care less if hes making moves like this due to small sample sizes in a hope & prayer that maybe that small sample size can begin building into a big sample size after this game & a couple more working out for the positive. idk, just my logic, but i can completely see your side of things, i just think its not really something i’d jump all over John for this early in the season over 1 simple lineup change, who cares his reasoning, its not that terrible a change at the end of the day. Now if he used that reasoning & he put Rivera in the 2 hole, i’d flip the fuck out because… its fucken rivera, wow that cocksuckerface better get off the roster soon!

    now. on a better note, I LOVE YOUR WORK, ALL OF IT, YOUR BLOG IS LIKE MUST READ DAILY, I DON’T MISS AN ARTICLE, THE BEST READ ONLINE, NO JOKE, AND I LOVE THIS ARTICLE, idc if I don’t completely agree with it, and i dont care if your pressing alittle early on him, its a great read regardless & i can laugh my ass off at it & gives me another great piece to read from you, so by all means keep em coming, even if they are alittle over the top at least we get another piece from you to dig into! especially rant pieces like these, they are extra special!