Ahhh, I knew there was a reason I whipped up that little link post yesterday: because a new Griff bag was coming down the pike, and it would have looked especially lazy of me to have a pair of these posts back-to-back. Of course, I still would have done it, it just would have looked kinda shitty of me…
Anyway, here we go with a new batch of questions from Griff’s readers, via his latest mail bag at the Toronto Star.
As always, I have not read any of Griffin’s answers. Except… actually I heard that he actually endorsed the fucking ridiculous notion that the Jays acquiring Michael Young wouldn’t be incredibly fucking dumb. So, I read that one– but don’t worry, I don’t think there was ever much chance his answer was going to influence.
Oh, and 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!
Richard Stoeten. Last year, the Brandon Morrow-Jose Molina combo really worked well. Do you think the Jays will continue to use them together, or do you think the Jays will try to use J.P. Arencibia with Morrow? Thanks.
Nathan Zaltsman, San Francisco, CA
Am I the only one who notices that Griff fields a lot of questions from San Francisco? Odd. Anyway Nathan, it’s actually an interesting question. Since Aaron Cibia is “the future,” or at least the “near future,” you’d think that they’d want to have him get comfortable with all the pitchers. You’d also figure that, sooner or later, Morrow will have to stop using Molina as a crutch and actually find some success with another guy behind the plate. So, I guess my answer to your question is, no, they’ll probably try to mix it up.
Of course, if there’s a massive discrepancy between the success Morrow has with one or the other, it wouldn’t surprise me to see them go back to the “personal catcher” situation they had last year, but I don’t see why they’d aim for it off the hop.
Richard Stoeten. First of all, thanks for the continuing enlightment of our beloved Jays! Looking forward to another mailbag season. That being said my question pertains to the HoF induction ceremony. I know it is a ways away, but a couple of buddies and I will be heading down to show our support of Robbie and Pat. We have booked our room already (thankfully as it was a mess) but we were wondering: As HoF induction rookies, what should we plan on doing and being ready for? Any pointers you could provide us on how to make the most of this weekend would be much appreciated. Thanks!
Isaac V., Toronto
Q. Is it by design or is it mere coincidence that the team seems to be heading in a younger and “by extension” more fleet-footed direction? With the off-season pick-ups of Corey Patterson and Rajai Davis and the departure of Vernon Wells the ball club appears to be re-defining itself (at least on paper, anyway). I like these moves that A.A. has made, in bringing in some speedsters, hopefully to help electrify the Jays’ running game. Are the Jays, through these moves, consciously trying to change their image and in-game style, from being a notoriously base-to-base ball club to more of a heart-and-hustle team? If so, then I’m one of those who are all for it.
Darrell Holtze, Guelph
Oh, for fuck sakes, just stop. More of a heart-and-hustle team?
I’d hate to pass on back-to-back questions, but what the fuck am I supposed to say to someone who appears to have missed the last decade of baseball analysis? Yes, stolen bases are great if you can consistently take them at a decent enough rate. And yes, the Jays seem to be focussing on athleticism, especially in the middle of the diamond. But that’s not at all just about stealing bases– and maybe I’m wrong, but I’d like to believe steals are just the gravy on that pie.
Major League front offices have advanced far beyond this kind of thinking, despite the fact that they may still put this kind of a spin on some of their moves. They understand the value of base stealing, and when push comes to shove, it pretty easily outweighed by things like the ability to get on base or hit for power. Sure, Corey Patterson can steal a base or two, but his career on-base is a vomitous .292– and that’s why he’s a fifth outfielder and not even worth discussing. Steals are a great weapon for Rajai Davis, and they certainly increase his value, but don’t think for a second that the Jays overvalue that aspect of his game because of some grand philosophical shift, or that they wouldn’t replace him in a heartbeat with a slower guy with a much better bat who would, in the overall, give them a better chance to win games– that is the kind of player they’re looking for.
Note to Travis Snider: don’t go getting any ideas.
Q. After reading your article about Delgado’s attempt at a comeback, do you think the jays would be interested in services? He would fit AA mold of a DH/1B player and it would be great for the fans and for the organization if Carlos finishes up his career with the team that he spent 11 arduous years with.
Matthew Lee, Toronto
I’m not big on cynical nostalgia plays, but it’s a nice idea, I guess, and you’re right that a healthy Delgado could be a fit with what the Jays say they’re trying to do. But… it’s also an idea that has a chance to end really awkwardly– think Ken Griffey Jr.’s swan song in Seattle. And, as I was saying in last week’s mail bag, I think the Jays might be serious about trying to turn Edwin Encarnacion into an asset. If that’s true, it means they’ll have to play him, and that wouldn’t leave much opportunity for Carlos.
Q. Ricky Romero looks to be a lock to be the Jays opening day starter. I seem to recall that not so long ago (2006-2008) there was a perception that Romero was a failed prospect (I say perception because Romero was ranked in the top 10 Jays prospects in 2006/2007/2008). Perhaps the idea that drafting the “soft-tossin’ lefty” was mistake was due to his injury issues, a guy named Troy Tulowitzki, or a dislike of the man who drafted him. Question: Who do you view as an underrated Jays prospect who may still surprise, David Cooper, Kevin Ahrens, Justin Jackson?
Michael Spratt, Ottawa
It was always ridiculous and completely premature to shit on JP Ricciardi for the Romero pick, but that was never going to stop the whiny fucks of this town from doing it. The fact that Tulowitzki almost instantly emerged as an elite shortstop while Ricciardi was still waiting on his 2002 top pick Russ Adams to fill the club’s gaping hole at short (and figure out how not to sail his throws into the first goddamned row), coupled with Romero’s struggles in his early days as a pro, made it that much easier. Nobody would say that the Jays wouldn’t still go back and take Tulo, but the shitting-on Ricciardi took while Romero was in the minors was, like most of the shitting-on Ricciardi took, largely the product of assholes with axes to grind and huge segments of the fanbase that were too fucking lazy not to just regurgitate the nonsense without actually thinking about it. (I mean, riddle me this, fuckfaces, how many times was Saint Pat Gillick ragged
on for still living in Toronto while he was running the Baltimore Orioles?)
As for a prospect from your list who may surprise, well… I’m not going to pretend this is my area of expertise, but I’ll go with Justin Jackson. Bluebird Banter sums up his 2010 season here, and while it’s not that impressive, the stuff about his walk rate is encouraging, he’s still younger than we think (22), and by my recollection, his fielding is quite good. Cooper might be a safer bet to get to the majors at some point, but if Jackson can get healthy and figure out a way to get anything out of his bat, maybe he could be something. Big ifs, of course, and I really don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about– except that I know I’m not exactly hopeful of any of these guys at this point.
Q. Since the L.A. Angels missed out on all of the big time free agents, do the Jays get L.A’s first round pick #17 overall for signing Scott Downs? Thanks in advance.
Terry Giffen, Minesing
The Angels’ pick is protected, because they finished in the bottom half of the standings, so the Jays will get their second-rounder. You’re right that their pick is 17th overall, but ahead of them are some compensation picks for unsigned players out of last year’s draft, which has pushed them back to 17th.
Q. Is it just me, or has this been a disappointing off-season? We don’t make any serious upgrades, missing out on Dan Uggla and Zack Greinke. We have no (willing) 3rd baseman. We create payroll flexibility and the money is pocketed. By the way, is there a Guinness world record for the most former closers on one team? Five must be getting pretty close.
Frank S., Toronto
It’s not just you, Frank. There are many other people who can’t think their way out of a fucking paper bag and still fail to understand just what the fuck the Jays are doing here, no matter how many times it gets spelled out for them.
But hey, at least you also make the dickheadish assumption that the money saved on Wells is being pocketed, as though it couldn’t, y’know, be used down the road or on things other than the 25-man roster.
Q. Good afternoon
Richard Stoeten. What do you think about Michael Young for one or two years at 3rd base for the Jays pending Brett Lawrie’s arrival? Maybe he wouldn’t agree to a short term deal, but 91 RBIs would be nice from that position for the Jays. Is .950 FPCT too low for a 3rd baseman? Encarnacion was .932 in 2010. I can’t figure who they could offer in trade, a reliever perhaps plus Encarnacion (?), however, spring training hasn’t started so how do you decide who are the keepers? Thanks for a great column. Look forward to it every week.
I think it’s just about the worst fucking idea in the world, D’Arcy. I mentioned it in my post yesterday, and I really don’t want to be redundant– especially since Parkes and GROF covered it so well– but I suppose I should say, um… RBIs? Fielding percentage? WHAT FUCKING YEAR IS THIS?
I’ll also say this: Last year Encarnacion was a better fielder (-2.3 UZR/150 to Young’s -5.8), and a better hitter (.339 wOBA/110 wRC+ to Young’s .335 and 104), at an eighth of the cost. So… yeah, can we please make this nonsense stop.