12:55 AM Eastern

I’m just wondering if, at this point, I have to say anything other than “2-for-21″.  I was seriously considering writing just that, and leaving it to be the entire post.

That figure, in case you weren’t already sure, is the Blue Jays’ club output with runners in scoring position for the entirety of their stay at Lake Buena Vista, Florida.  A trip on which they got unceremoniously swept by the hated Tampa Bay Rays.  The Rays, by the way, have never lost a regular-season game at Champion Stadium.

2-for-21.  A spectacular .095 batting average.  An .095 slugging percentage as well, but a .174 on-base percentage, thanks to the walks that Lyle Overbay and Gregg Zaun picked up after Shannon Stewart’s two-out double in the 4th tonight.  Is there a Mendoza line for OPS?  If there is, it’d probably be, like, .450 or something.  In fact, in Mario Mendoza’s WORST season, his OPS was .426.  The Jays’ RISPOPS in Orlando was .269.   

It’s become laughable, this constant failure when presented with the opportunity to score, and it’s pathetictude like this that leads to teams losing seven games in nine.  The Blue Jays look horrendous right now.

But all is not lost.  You knew that’s where I was going, didn’t you?  And all is not lost just because Scott Rolen and (probably) Adam Lind will be in the line-up for tomorrow night’s opener in Kansas City.  It’ll be nice not to see Marco Scutaro and his .200/.351/.250 in the line-up most days, and Shannon Stewart’s .189/.302/.216 against righties has been particularly ugly, but to expect Rolen and Lind to ride some sort of tandem white horse into beautiful Kauffman Stadium and wake up the Jays’ slumbering power bats is a little much.

All is not lost because the Blue Jays are actually a good team, all evidence to the contrary.  They sit 4th in the league in on-base percentage and 5th in the league in ERA.  Eventually all those runners, all those chances, will turn into some scoring.  They’re hitting .260 as a team, but .234 with runners in scoring position.  Worse still, just .216 with RISP and two out.  I mean, that’s Yankee bad!  But things even out over the course of 162 games, and by the end of it all, the Jays’ hitting in all situations should be about the same.  Which means they’re due.  Of course, they’ve been due for a six- or seven-game winning streak for a few years now, but that’s another story.

The power outage is what’s so hard to explain.  Tied for last in the league in home runs, 11th in the league in doubles.  It’s baffling, but I honestly don’t think there’s any reason to believe it won’t come around.  Even without Frank Thomas, the Jays should get enough offense from Hill, Rios, Wells, Stairs, Rolen and Overbay to make them a better-than-decent line-up, and Eckstein, Zaun and (hopefully) Lind are all better-than-average bats at their positions.  This is a team that should score, and not just against the Red Sox.  And I believe it will.

Despite the protestations from some of the commenters here, it’s not “getting late early” for the Blue Jays.  There are still 139 games to go, and even at their suckingest, they’re 4 1/2 games out in the division and 4 games out of the wild card.  If they’re in the same position on August 15th, they’re in the thick of the race, so let’s not get silly.  And please don’t hit me with the “if they keep this up” argument.  Obviously, if they lose seven out of every nine, they’re going to be historically bad.  They’re not going to keep this up.

It’s hard to watch, though, while we wait for them to snap out of it.

I swear that after the first two innings tonight I thought that Dustin McGowan actually had a good chance of throwing a no-hitter.  Five strikeouts through seven hitters, hitting 99 on the gun and just simply blowing people away – and then in the fourth, it all fell apart.  He was pretty lucky, actually, with Zaun throwing out Eric Hinske trying to steal second.  I mean, how often does a pitcher allow five straight hitters to reach base, giving up a triple and throwing a wild pitch in the bargain, and only give up one run?

The house of cards collapsed in the 5th, though, and McGowan was gone without allowing an out.  He wound up walking five of the last seven hitters he faced.  Leave it to Jesse Carlson to come on and get a big strikeout to end the 5th with runners on the corners, though.

Alex Rios should be in great shape for K.C. after getting pretty much this whole series off.  He sat Tuesday, got the flu Wednesday and in an ironic twist, got the heave tonight.  After being rung up on appeal by first-base ump Tim McClelland to end the third inning, Rios was tossed after an emotional display.  I saw McClelland say something along the lines of “you threw your bat, that’s one, you threw your helmet, that’s two” before the camera cut away.  I’m assuming Rios’ third strike was that he cursed a blue streak as he started to walk slowly out to right field, and that was enough for McClelland.  I don’t think an ejection was warranted, but I don’t know what Rios said, either.

Huge props to Gregg Zaun for his day overall.  He built on his 10-pitch deep fly out in the 9th on Wednesday night and had a 2-for-3 day with a walk, just missing a go-ahead three-run homer in the 9th.  His hit-and-run single in the second was executed to absolute perfection, smacking a line drive to exactly the spot where Jason Bartlett had been before he went to cover second base, but the piece de resistance was the steal of home.  Scoring-wise, it’s considered a runner’s fielder’s choice, but it was a beautiful bit of baserunning derring-do.

With Zaun on second and Marco Scutaro at first, David Eckstein dropped down a bunt out in front of the plate (don’t get me started).  Tampa catcher Dioner Navarro went out to get it, fired to first to retire Eckstein, then kind of hung out about 30-40 feet in front of the plate, impressed with the job he’d done, while Akinori Iwamura put his head down and started to walk the ball towards the pitchers’ mound.  Zaun saw the letdown in focus intensity, and the uncovered home plate, and took off, barely sneaking his hand in past a racing Navarro as he scrambled to get back.  It was fantastic.  Too bad the Jays couldn’t do anything with it.

As I said way up there (man, this is getting long), Rolen and Lind should be in the line-up for the opener against KC and Zack Grienke, who has allowed just one home run in 29 innings, has a WHIP of 1.17 and an ERA of 1.24.  If I had to guess, I’d say Rolen will hit 6th, behind Matt Stairs and Lind 7th, in front of Lyle Overbay.

Lastly, congrats to the Oakland A’s for signing Frank Thomas.  They pick up what will be a valuable asset for them and only have to pay him the major-league minimum.  Thomas had a great year with the A’s back in 2006, and they like him out there.  I think it’s a great move for Billy Beane, assuming Thomas has the second half I expect him to.  The A’s, despite the fact that they currently share first place in the West, are going nowhere this year, but bringing in Thomas shows fans that Beane is trying to ride the wave of the team’s hot start.  Truth is, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he grabbed Thomas in order to cash in on the bounty he might bring back on July 31st.  Who knows, maybe after Thomas heats up and the Athletics cool down, Frank will get traded back to the Blue Jays!  Now THAT would be fun.

Comments are encouraged, and remember – in order to make up for tonight’s Raptors-induced loss of JaysTalk, we’ll have a special pre-game JaysTalk Friday for listeners of the Fan590 (if you can’t listen, catch it here on the website) from 7:05 – 7:30 Eastern.

93 Responses to “The Crappiest Place on Earth”
  1. 1.

    Do you think Vernon Wells needs a BIG bat behind him, for protection?

    If so…

    Do you think Matt Stairs is that big bat?

    MW: I’m not sure what I think about the “protection” theory. I mean, if Barry Bonds could have the kind of year he did last year with Ray Durham or Bengie Molina hitting behind him, what does it all mean? Vernon had a big year with Carlos Delgado hitting behind him, then a bad year after Delgado left, then a good year when Troy Glaus arrived, so I think that’s why people seem to think he needs to be protected. I’ll say this – you’re always better with a big, scary bat in the on-deck circle, because pitchers are more reluctant than usual to walk you.

    - Erik
  2. 2.

    I’m not sure what the Mendoza line for OPS is, but I like to think of .300 as the ‘Guzman Line’ for OBP.

    MW: Who Guzman? Cristian? If it’s him, he’s proving you wrong two years in a row now.

    - paulf
  3. 3.

    Frank traded back to the Jays? At this point in time, I douby we have anyone they’d want. I love the Blue Jays and have been following them since 1977. It’s not easy being an American Jays fan. I really have to work at it.( I have a Blue Jays jersey collection with 150 jerseys in it. I even have Hosken Powell for crying out loud.) However, this year is turning into last year. Good thing the CN Tower is up in Toronto and not down here in Ohio or I’d be tempted to take a leap. Here’s to tomorrow. Down deep I just have to believe they are going to win and look good doing it. Last time they were in KC the Royals left fielder stole home runs on consecutive days from Aaron Hill. Aaron will just heve to hit the ball a few inches higher.

    MW: They might lose tonight, and the season still won’t be over, and there will be no reason to leap from whatever Ohio’s tallest free-standing structure is. By the way, MAJOR respect for the Hosken Powell jersey. Do you have a Dave Revering one, too?

    - Jim Branscome
  4. 4.

    Hey Mike,

    Love your blog. In my opinion, you and Jeff Blair are the premier baseball analysts in the country. I would love to hear more of you on The Fan.

    I realize that despite the fact that the Jays have been awful the last week or so, it’s still very early. Even so, it’s been a disappointing start. I hope they can turn it around.

    My question is: what do you think the Jays’ timeline is to be competitive before they have to rebuild? How long do you think their window is to compete?

    Personally, I think the core of this team is quite young (particularly Hill, Wells, Rios, Marcum, McGowan) and isn’t necessarily in a situation where the have to win now, or not win at all, but I wonder what your thoughts are on the subject..

    MW: Since all the major players are signed through at least 2010, there’s your window right there. And by then, we should be seeing some contributions from the “next wave”, too, so it might even be longer. But players like McGowan, Marcum, Accardo, Janssen, Hill, Rios, Lind, Diaz, Purcey and the Romero brothers (no relation) are going to have to continue to develop. Of course, the Yankees aren’t going to be this vulnerable again for a while, I don’t think, so that may change the timetable.

    - James
  5. 5.

    Wow, sounds like frustration has finally set in. Suckingest is a pretty sweet word if i may borrow it from time to time. Yes, the series finale seemed to be a repeat of the first two games. Jays get a lead, give it back, tampa goes ahead, dont give it back.. Troy “older than Mathuzala” Percival comes in and gets his third save in three days with unimpressive old man stuff. (I thought managers generally didnt run closers out there on the third consecutive night?)

    Zaun, Stairs, and Wells are the only guys these days that even appear to have a hope of hitting the ball hard somewhere. (let alone getting hits). Overbey is lost. HIll has gone into one of his pop up to second slumps.

    I guess my question is, have you noticed that since Eckstein hit that homer against Detroit, he’s been hitting an awful lot of fly balls? Coincidence? I think not!

    MW: You may be right about Eck, but it’s nice to see that you put Zaun in the good group seeing as four days ago everyone wanted to run him out of town. I know that whenever Alex Gonzalez hit a home run, he’d go into “I’m a power hitter” mode for a couple of weeks, striking out a ton and flying out a lot as well, but I don’t see Eckstein thinking in that same vein.
    I just checked the numbers – six fly outs for Eckstein in the four games since the home run. More than usual for him, definitely, but I’m willing to write it off as coincidence for now.

    - sammy jalalzai
  6. 6.

    How does the Frank Thomas situation work out now ? Do the Jays Still have to pay him the 8 million owed or is that money freed up now ?

    MW: The A’s will pay him the pro-rated portion of $390,000, the Jays are on the hook for the rest.

    - Mike
  7. 7.

    I know this question is at least a month early because I think we can be sure JP will give Gibby a chance to work with a “full deck” before considering replacing him BUT…

    Hypothetically, if the day comes when JP does make that move, would you guess he would go outside the organization for something like Davy Johnson (my choice) or Ken Macha (guessing here based on common Oakland heritage) or even Don Mattingly?

    Or will he just promote Witt and hope hiring a home-town hero will be enough?

    MW: I’m pretty sure Ernie Whitt won’t get the job. If someone is going to get promoted from within to fill in for the rest of the year, it’ll be Brian Butterfield or Marty Pevey. Buck Showalter is going to be a consideration, as well, though Johnson is a good choice and Macha did a solid job with Oakland. But like you, I think it’s much too early to think about firing the manager.

    - WillRain
  8. 8.

    Mike, the entire series was absolutely disgusting, actually repulsive.
    If we had 9 Robinson Diaz’s in the lineup last night we would have won. Sonnanstine consistantly threw juicy fastballs right down the wheel house on the first pitch to every batter and what did the Jays do??? took all the way. They need to get more agressive up there Mike, agree?

    MW: I agree that they have to start getting more hits, then people will think they’re being more aggressive, more focused, more intense. If they’d swung at the first-pitch-juicy-wheelhouse fastballs and popped them up, people would be saying that they have to take more pitches.

    - Keith
  9. 9.

    “2-for-21″ is disgraceful. it’s a sad time to be a toronto sports fan.

    do you honestly think waiting for them to “snap out of it” is the best course of action? The only problem with that is when will they snap out? 10 games back? 15?

    I think there needs to be some sort of change NOW!

    MW: Ummm, 1/3 of the starting line-up is now different than it was a week ago. Isn’t that some sort of change?

    - David
  10. 10.

    What’s with the Jays ? More
    often than not, they sweep
    or get swept. They’ve
    become the Dave Kingman
    of baseball teams.

    MW: You mean they sent a dead rat in a box to a newspaper reporter?

    - Lobo
  11. 11.

    I recognize that there are still 139 games left, but it’s just beginning to feel an awful lot like last year.

    MW: That’s a completely fair statement.

    - bg
  12. 12.

    Do you think Rolen is ready to play at the major league level? I haven’t heard anyone say he was tearing up single A. To me this smells of panic.

    MW: When your hurt guys get healthy, you put them back in the line-up. The fact that he went 0-for-9 in three games in A-ball means nothing unless he went 0-for-9 because he’s not capable physically.

    - JW
  13. 13.

    Mike,

    I realize that you have to stay positive since it’s your employer, but this team is terrible. They’re inability to hit with runners in scoring position has become a trademark of Gibbons teams, so even though it is early in the ’08 season, it is something the fans have seen far too many times, as a result you’ll get the ‘it’s all over comment’. At this point it seems to me that Gibbons is gone, most likely after the Kansas City series. If that’s the case who do you see as a replacement? Do you think they should go internally or someone with a lot of experience (ie) Buck Showalter? What’s the chance they bring Cito back?

    I’m hoping Scot Rolen can rectify the hitting, but I think it’s unrealistic to expect him to come in and be expected to produce immediately. Has there been any movement on the Barry Bonds front?

    Go Raps!!!

    MW: I don’t have to stay positive because of my employer, but I’m not blinded enough by what’s happened in 23 games to say that this team is terrible. This team is not terrible, by any objective evaluation. They’re three games under .500 despite having zero contribution offensively from DH and third base, and they’re in the top 5 in the league in both OBP and ERA. They have been playing terribly for a week and a half, but they’re not terrible. There’s a difference. If they sucked and I thought they were going to lose 100 games, I’d tell you they sucked and they were going to lose 100 games, regardless of who signs my paychecks.
    You’re right, it’s unrealistic to expect Rolen to come in and be a world beater right away, and no, there’s nothing on Bonds.

    - Bobby
  14. 14.

    MW, I don’t understand your love affair with Greg Zaun, the guy is horrible. I don’t care that he had a good night. It doesn’t deserve praise, because 155 of the 162 games he’s bad. Yeah and I know you’re going to tell me I’m wrong, BUT I can guarantee most fans will agree.

    MW: You’re wrong, and because most fans will agree with you doesn’t make you any more right.

    - The Rat
  15. 15.

    Why do you think Lind will be in the line-up? Inside source?

    Honestly, it’s embarassing that he hasn’t been brought up sooner.

    MW: Well, let’s remember, he was hurt. But if you’re going to get embarrassed about him being in Syracuse for two extra days, that’s your prerogative. I think he’ll be in the line-up because Jerry said he thinks so on the broadcast last night, and that’s good enough for me.

    - Chris Jones
  16. 16.

    Can we push for a series of rule changes that allow a team to win based on pitching performance alone, with no bearing on how a team hits?

    That’d help.

    Also, to carry over the Bonds talk from the previous blog, bearing in mind that I do actually want the Jays to go after him:

    Even in the event that he IS tendered a contract by the Jays, do you feel that Barry’s massive ego would allow him to come play for the lowly Toronto Blue Jays?

    MW: I do. Despite their current lowly stature, the Jays are a good team, and if Bonds comes here when they’re floundering and they start to win, he’d get a lot of credit, which works well for someone with a massive ego.

    - Doug
  17. 17.

    Mike did you think Gibbons descion to pinch hit Rod Barajas for Matt Stairs was as terrible as i did?
    Stairs is a carrer 240/332/492 against LHP
    Barajas is a Carrer 232/289/430 against LHP

    Then you have the fact that Stairs has been really stinging the ball the last few games and I thought that was a awful move!

    MW: The flaw in your argument is that you’re discounting the pitcher. Trever Miller is a lefty slinger who is death on left-handed hitters. This year doesn’t mean much, but lefties are hitting .083/.214/.083 against him, while righties are at .429/.429/.429. Last year, there was a 248 point difference in OPS (favouring righties) with Miller on the mound. It’s not a bad idea to NEVER have a lefty in the batters’ box against him.

    - Dan M.
  18. 18.

    I loved the guy in the stands last night with the “Sing Barry J.P.” sign.
    Maybe next home game every can start a “we want Barry” chant.

    MW: I’m assuming you meant “sign” Barry, because I don’t want J.P. getting up on the dugout and belting out “Mandy” or anything.

    - Dan M.
  19. 19.

    So last year our offence wasn’t good enough and this year we have released our best hitter (as you’ve said many times Mike) and the fans are supposed to pretend this team isn’t destined to finish 4th in the Division.

    Mike do you think J.P. should be fired?

    MW: Nope.

    - Dan M.
  20. 20.

    Hi Mike:
    Actually, on the Bluejays’ website, the manager indicated that Scot Rolen will be batting sixth in the lineup. Also I would like to note that Scot went 0 for 9 in his three rehab starts, so I will be surprised if hhe gets his bat going tonight. I think it will take some time for him to get back to where he was in the preseason.
    Kevin Huber

    MW: Woo-hoo! I got one right!

    - Kevin Huber
  21. 21.

    How do I put this delicately, but is Rios, um, very bright? I realize there are few Mensa members in baseball,but he just doesn’t seem to have the mental focus to be an elite player. Is that why JP has tried to deal him?

    MW: Rios seems to be pretty bright. I don’t think he’s terribly comfortable with English, though, but that certainly doesn’t make him a dumb guy. What makes you think he is?

    - Dan
  22. 22.

    this is quite funny, oakland in first place is “going nowhere”, the jays in last place are a “good team, all evidence to the contrary” so according to the all knowing mike wilner, we should ignore the evidence and just trust you. when are you going to pull your head out of the sand mike, this is not a good team. .500 at best at worst 90 losses

    MW: The Jays will finish the season at least 10 games ahead of Oakland.

    - les
  23. 23.

    The great thing about the Thomas signing for the A’s is they don’t need him to produce. They’ve still got Sweeney and Cust, too. But between the three of them they should end up with a good, cheap DH. Rather than betting heavy on one of them, they’ve spread out their risk.

    It reminds me of when Boston acquired Millar, Ortiz, and Je. Giambi all on the relative cheap, and weren’t sure which of them would stick, but between the three of them they were hoping they should end up with SOMETHING.

    It terrifies me to think the Jays might be looking up at the Rays all season. And they’re doing this without Kazmir and Garza healthy, or Pena hitting (heck, maybe they should just release him).

    - Michael
  24. 24.

    could we be looking at another 9 game losing streak? boston coming up. hot boston vs ice cold jays, could get ugly

    - les
  25. 25.

    The inability to beat the weak teams will as it has in the past kill this teams chances of post season play. The pattern from years past still continues.

    - Stephen Smith
  26. 26.

    Wow! The Jays did it all last night Mike. Lets see…Poor defence, Terrible Pitching, Horrible offence and oh!, that Rios fella got tossed. Judging by his reaction you can just tell that the guys are feeling the pressure as well as the frustration. I think last night pretty much summed up all of the jays woes but hey, like you said, it’s early days right?.

    I have to start off by applauding Gregg Zaun. Say what you want about this guy but he has been one of the only consistant players on this team lately and his experience on the field and behind the plate has influenced the jays immensely. I honeslty thought that his hit in the 9th was out of there and i’m sure it would of been on any other ballpark.

    Back to Bonds. Sportsnet had Ken Rosenthal on the show last night and he himself said that bringing Bonds to this team would bring a huge load of baggage and ultimately would not be a good singing for the jays. What are your thoughts on this?.

    Also, how do you think we’ll fair against KC and Boston on the rest of this road trip?. Do you think the double time change will contribute?.

    Always a fan,

    WO!

    MW: The change from Eastern to Central time is no big deal, not like going to the west coast. I’ve been talking about bringing Bonds here for over a month, I’m very much in favour of it, but I’m not going to go over everything again. Look all over this blog for my answer to that question. As far as the rest of the road trip goes – they could go 5-1, they could go 1-5.

    - Warren Owen
  27. 27.

    Last night when Mac stole second to put runners on 2nd and 3rd with 1 out I just knew the game was over. No way either Scutaro or Eckstein get a hit. And when it happened I wasn’t even mad, I expected it to happen and I did…I may have laughed a little. I guess that’s a testament to how sad the state of affairs have become.

    Now my questions, Mike. What do you see from Rolen from here on out…more like ’06 or ’07? Also, what about Lind? Surely he can’t be as bad as last year can he?

    If those two hit like they did last season we are in trouble…

    MW: It’s funny, when Overbay walked, I said to our fine op, Jason Niven, that the Jays were now screwed because they’d gotten a runner in scoring position with nobody out. It has become a joke, but it’ll be over soon. I expect Rolen to be much like the 2006 version, though if you ask him, he’ll tell you that he’ll be more like the 2004 guy (which I think is way too much to expect). As for Lind, he’s only two years removed from an Eastern League MVP season. He’s hit everywhere he’s been with the exception of last year in the bigs, when he still had 11 HR and 46 RBI in 89 games. I’m more worried about his baserunning than his bat.

    - Matt S
  28. 28.

    Urrrrggggggggggghhhhh…..

    I can’t watch/listen anymore. This is just a continuation of last year. McGowan, I don’t need your impersonations of AJ Burnett…

    Mike, dumb, random, desperate question – Do you see another shoe dropping from the release of Frank Thomas? For example (stretch…) trading for Jason Bay?

    MW: I thought that if the Jays really wanted Bay, they could have gotten him in the off-season. That said, I’d love to have him here. Great hitter, great guy.

    - Ryan
  29. 29.

    I’m writing, so there is something to say, but really, what can be said?? You said it all, Mike: This team is awful right now. I’ve actually never seen a team hit as poorly as we are hitting right now, and worse: the pitching is falling apart a bit: who can blame them. This better turn around tonight in KC and definitely in time for Boston or this season could be over early.

    AHHHHHHHHHHHH!

    - Michael
  30. 30.

    Just a correction Mike. The Jays are 11th in the league with 17 Homeruns not tied for last and their 13th in the league with 29 doubles.

    MW: You’re right, it was 12:30 in the morning and I flipped the stats. Going into last night, they were tied for last in doubles and 11th in homers. I had it the other way around.

    - Dan M.
  31. 31.

    Hi Mike,

    Just wondering if you are concerned about the “big inning” that seems to be plaguing Jay’s starters. Is it just as it seems a bad inning, defense issues or something that actually hitting with RISP would solve?

    Thanks,

    MW: I think that actually hitting with RISP would solve everything.

    - Colin
  32. 32.

    Hi Mike,

    I just wanted to throw in my comment/opinion on the Barry Bonds discussion.

    I like the fact that the Jays have no plans to sign him. I hate the Yankees for having the “win at all costs” attitude in the organization.

    In one of your responses earlier you said “So the fact that we didn’t know that Sprague was a user in ‘92 and ‘93 makes it OK?” No that doesn’t make it ok, however in my opinion it is even worse if you do know that someone is a user and you go after them.

    I even think they should be investigating their staff now. I’d love to see weekly testing (all year). I know the PA would never agree to that, but if your not taking steroids…why would you care?

    It seems to me that you have the opinion that you don’t care how the team wins as long as it wins. I don’t. I’d rather the team struggle in mediocrity than win at all costs. I think there are other fans out there that feel the same. To me, that was why there was such a reaction the A-rod last year in TO when he yelled rounding the bases.

    Just my opinion.

    MW: Fair enough, I’d rather see them get the best players they possibly can and win. If Bonds was the only cheater, or one of a very small group of cheaters, I might agree with you and say “we don’t need a guy like that around.” But pretty much everyone was doing from the late ’80s on, and I don’t think it’s fair to Bonds to have him be held up as the “bad guy”. For all we know, there are a dozen guys on the current Jays club on ‘roids or hGH or some combination of the two, and I’ll wager there are still at least a hundred players in the majors doing some sort of illegal performance enhancer. The fact that we don’t know who they are doesn’t make them any better than Bonds, and it’s hypocritical to just send him packing.

    - Glenn Wadden
  33. 33.

    Sure the offence will come around alittle but It will be league average at best Mike.
    Wells has a carrer .331OBP .316OBP vs right handed pitching which isn’t terrible for a centre feilder but not someone who should be batting cleanup for a team with any thoughts of contending.
    Rios is the one bat you can probally count on but he’s never had a particularly good second half.
    Hill just an average bat for a secound basemen nothing more.
    Stairs will hit a solid .268 .359 .488 with 25 or so homeruns.
    Who knows what you’ll get from Rolen.
    Overbay is a first baseman with out much power who is already on the down slope of his carrer and carrying a first baseman without much pop forces you to get power from other positions which the jays don’t.

    I just think this team will be avg. offensively at best.

    MW: I don’t agree, but even if it is, the pitching should be good enough to win with an average offense. I have to add, since you know it gets to me, that I love how adamant you are about Hill and Overbay. Aaron Hill was a top-10 second baseman last season in batting average, slugging percentage, doubles, home runs, runs scored and RBIs as a 25 year-old in his SECOND FULL SEASON IN THE MAJOR LEAGUES. Just an average bat for a second baseman, though, won’t ever be any better. And Overbay is 31 and broke his hand last year after having his best season ever, but he’s on the downside of his career. Hilarious.

    - Dan M.
  34. 34.

    I agree with most of what you are saying but it is still very worrisome. They brought in a new hitting coach and the hitting seems to be worse than last year. It is very exasperating watching the Jays hit into double plays and fail to execute when they have men in scoring positions. I realize there is a long way to go but they are losing games now that will come back to haunt them in September. How long will the Jays go before they start to make changes..i.e. players and Manager??

    MW: As I mentioned before, the regular line-up is now 1/3 different than it was a week ago. New DH, new LF, new 3B. That counts as making changes.

    - David Rubinstein
  35. 35.

    MW: You mean they sent a dead rat in a box to a newspaper reporter?

    Maybe JP sent one to
    Richard Griffin :-)

    - Lobo
  36. 36.

    Like you, Mike, I always liked Hinske and man would he look good at first right now!

    MW: Lyle Overbay is a much better hitter than Hinske, just not this month.

    - Scott44
  37. 37.

    The main thing that frustrates me is that each night one part of the team plays well. Last night the bullpen kept us in it, some nights starting pitching is playing well, and heck even once in a while the hitters keep us in a high scoring game. However we never get all 3 at once. It just makes me want to have batting practice with a vital part of Gibbons’ anatomy. However as you said this stuff doesn’t last forver on a good team. So thanks for being the voice of reason Mike.

    MW: My pleasure. And I bet Gibby could take you.

    - Nick
  38. 38.

    Mike,

    Was it foolish of me to think the Jays were going to tie it up with runners on 2nd and 3rd and one out? I was trying to be optimistic as I have been pretty pessimistic about this team for awhile now and thought here we go, they’ll tie it up in the ninth and maybe pull this one out and go into K.C. on a high note.

    Instead, Scutaro strikes out and Eckstein flies out to end the game.

    On a positive note, I’m REALLY looking forward to seeing Scott Rolen in the lineup tonight!

    MW: It was foolish of you, the way the team has been hitting, but that ball Zaun hit goes out most nights in most parks, I would think.

    - Derek
  39. 39.

    Hey Mike,

    Love the Barry Manilow reference, you crack me up.

    I understand the theory that average with RISP should eventually even out but is that a proven fact? Aren’t there instances where teams just generally suck at that over a season or does it almost always mimic their normal batting averages? I want to be a believer. Help!

    MW: Over 100,000 plate appearances or some such, it probably evens out. Over a year, certainly not always. But in the five seasons previous to this one the difference between overall batting average and batting average with runners in scoring position across MLB was less than .004, which I’m thinking is statistically insignificant. And in any one of those five seasons, the greatest difference in overall OPS between scoring position situations and not was 21 points. Interestingly, overall league OPS was higher every one of those five years with runners in scoring position than without.

    - ben
  40. 40.

    Mike,

    While Rios may not have deserved to have been tossed last night it was about time somebody got in his face and told him to quit acting like a baby every time he strikes out. The Jays’ players and management should be embarrassed that it had to be an umpire. This is what happens when a team keeps on keeping on without any true leaders and a guy doing his best to impersonate a manager. Rios’ post strikeout antics are very similar to one Troy Glaus and even Vernon Wells does it to a smaller extent. When do you ever see true superstars (ie Manny, Ortiz, Arod, etc) throwing their bats and helmets or clenching their teeth and holding their bat like they’re about to do their best Bo Jackson impression after every strikeout? Do you think these behaviours would be acceptable on Jim Leyland’s team? Even the greatest players ever are going to get out 60% of the time. Tip your hat to the pitcher, get your @#% in the dugout and start thinking about what you’re going to do different next time. These are supposed to be professionals, time to start acting like it.

    MW: Thanks for editing your own curse word, saved me the trouble. But here’s where I have a problem. Some people complain that the team lacks passion and leadership, others complain that Rios gets run for being peeved about striking out. If it was Derek Jeter getting all upset, he’s a fiery guy and a leader, but it’s Rios, so he’s a baby. Good call bringing Troy Glaus into the conversation, those World Series MVPs are so not clutch and can’t lead.

    - Matt
  41. 41.

    “I’m trying to get an $18.8 million pay cut for an All Star with a 1.000-plus OPS,” Borris said.

    MW: We’d love to have him.

    - JW
  42. 42.

    Mike

    I understand English isn’t Rios’ first language and I don’t get the impression he isn’t bright from listening to him, but from watching him play. He does seem to make his fair share of mental gaffes. Maybe it’s an immaturity, I don’t know.

    MW: Being lazy and lacking focus doesn’t mean you’re stupid. Personally, I think he takes his at-bats out to the field with him, and that’s the problem.

    - Dan
  43. 43.

    Mike, I should clarify. JP should be embarassed that Lind isn’t up yet. If Lind isn’t up by tonight something is seriously wrong with upper management.

    Lind may have had an injury but in his first two games back he was 4 for 8. He then had an 0-4 and then a pinch hit single last night. I’ll take Lind at 75% over what we have now.

    MW: There may be another reason for Lind not being here that we’re not aware of. Frankly, it’s all I can think of right now.

    - Chris Jones
  44. 44.

    Just another year to look forward to an underachieving team. Every year this is the team to do big things and usually by the all star break we are out of it. It’s time to get rid of JP his dog and pony show has run it’s course. Last year we had hitting problems what did we really do to change that in the off season? Yes it’s only April but we are basically the third worst team in the A.L.

    I’m a very frustrated long time Jays fan who would like to see the light at the end of the tunnel!

    - Jamie B.
  45. 45.

    “Is there a Mendoza line for OPS? If there is, it’d probably be, like, .450 or something. In fact, in Mario Mendoza’s WORST season, his OPS was .426.”

    Coach and I cam up with one several years back. It was under .500 OPS and we called it the Fox hole (e.g. Player X is in the Fox hole) – after infielder Andy Fox (circa 2003/2004).

    MW: I like it!

    - Robert Dudek
  46. 46.

    Do you think JP is regretting his decision to let go of Johnson? Stewart has certainly not come as advertised…

    MW: Stewart is killing lefties, which is really weird, because he was kept because he’s the better overall hitter. I think April 25th is too early to regret any move.

    - Jeremy
  47. 47.

    What makes you so sure the Jays will turn things around offensively. You said the same thing last year and look what happened. Its not like Lind and Rolen are Pujols and Fielder coming in.

    MW: Well, where would you put both Pujols and Fielder? I think they’ll turn things around offensively because they’re 4th in the league in OBP. Keep getting runners on, eventually they’ll score. No team is this bad.

    - avi
  48. 48.

    Yes Christian Guzman, of the .303 lifetime OBP. He’s only been over .300 for the last 68 games or so.

    MW: I’ve gained a newfound respect for him, though, based on the last two years. Let’s see if he can keep it up!

    - paulf
  49. 49.

    Friendly wager that Gibby doesn’t make the weekend. This team is absolute horse#$%&.

    MW: I’ll take that bet.

    - Rick
  50. 50.

    Sorry Mike! I know you’ve been commenting on the whole Bonds thing for ages now so let me re-phrase my question with regards to the Ken Rosenthals comment:

    If Bonds does somehow get to TO, would the Jays be able to deal with all the negativity that surrounds the guy. For-instance: Could they handle the steriod issues?, Could they handle the media when it comes to talking Bonds in general? etc…

    For a club that’s currently on it’s back, i think all this could go really sour for JP very quickly…..

    MW: I think they can handle it. I think the players would leave Bonds off in his own corner, doing his thing until game time. The media circus would be huge, but I don’t know that it would have a real effect on everybody else. How often can you ask guys what they think about having Barry around?

    - Warren Owen
  51. 51.

    “And Overbay is 31 and broke his hand last year after having his best season ever, but he’s on the downside of his career. Hilarious.”

    I really like Overbay (mostly because he reminds me of Olerud, my favourite Jay of all time) but this comment is far from hilarious. If you look up Overbay’s comparable on baseball-reference.com. You seel players like Reggie Jefferson (done at 30 in 1999), Willie Aikens (done at 30 in 1985), Ricky Jordan (done at 31 in 1996), Euribel Durazo (done at 31 in 2005) and Ben Broussard (who looks to be just about done). This far from hilarious, but very troubling… here we have a player who statistically is most similar to a bunch of players who fell off a cliff in their early 30s.

    I suspect you’ll be answering the Overbay question for the rest of the year and while I personally hope that he’s not fallen off a cliff, there’s more merit to this argument than you seem to admit.

    MW: I’m reluctant to look at players who fell off a cliff at an early age during the Steroid Era and make any sort of judgement about them. Willie Mays Aikens had some legal issues, too, which set him back. I’m interested to know, though, who Overbay’s comparables were before last season.

    - Christopher Taylor
  52. 52.

    Mike, everyone talks about who will replace Gibbons. More important is who’s going to replace JP Richardi. I wish people who want Gibbons gone realize its not Gibbons its JP Richardi that should go its his team and this team sucks. My question, is there any GM available?

    MW: There are lots of GM’s available.

    - bruno
  53. 53.

    Mike, you seem quite eager to accept the premise that this team looks a lot like last year’s. You also seem content to ‘stay the course’, if you will — the EXACT same remedy you suggested as far along as July and August of last year.

    How is it that that famous Bushism goes — ‘fool me once, shame on you… fool me twice, shame on me’?

    I’m near certain you consider yourself above George W Bush logic, so, really. What gives?

    At what point do you consider change to shake things up? I’m talking about Gibbons, as you can’t fire all the players.

    Is two weeks of similar results (not 2 for 9, but 5-6 games under 500, which is where they’d be after a couple more weeks of this) with a full deck good enough for you? At what point is it actually time to do something, because this staying the course stuff just isn’t working. You saw no reason why they wouldn’t break out until practically mid September of last year.

    MW: Actually, the Bushism was “fool me once, shame on me, fool me twice…..ummmm…won’t get fooled again” or something like that. You actually took Bush off the hook by putting the right phrase in there. I don’t see how taking out Thomas and adding Rolen and Lind to the line-up is “staying the course”. A lot of people think it is, though, so if someone could explain that to me, that’d be great.
    I will never support firing the manager just for the sake of change.

    - JCL
  54. 54.

    calling me a psychopath? now who’s name calling mike? by the way do you REALLY think I am insulted by anyone on this blog? call it what you want, I could say a lot worse. but just because YOU don’t LIKE a word, doesn’t make it invalid. and just to prove what a low class person you are, I have NEVER called YOU a name, but you have resorted to calling me one, because that’s the best you can come up with, sorry you couldn’t come up with an actual intelligent response. here is the definition of fool. yup it applies to JP among others

    FOOL

    –noun
    1. a silly or stupid person; a person who lacks judgment or sense.

    MW: I cut the rest of the comment, because anyone can to go dictionary.com if they want the full definition. The word “idiot” is a noun as well, but if you call someone an idiot, you’re name-calling. And I didn’t call you a psychopath. In fact, I went out of my way to make sure that I didn’t. You are scaring me, though.

    - les
  55. 55.

    Last year there were analysts claiming that the Jays’ lineup was too right-handed to be a great lineup. I didn’t bother paying attention to them because the lineup had many great hitters, and if they all hit like they could it wouldn’t matter. To some extent I’m starting to believe those analysts. I think Lind might actually be a better fit for the Jays’ lineup than Thomas, in part because he’s another left-handed bat. Other reasons include a potentially higher batting average (the Jays need more hits now than walks, since their problem isn’t getting on base), and a faster baserunner (Lind can actually go from first to third or score from second on a single!).

    MW: You always need more hits than walks, but what you need in the overall is not to get out, and the jury’s out on how well Lind will do at that. I don’t believe that you can be “too right-handed” if the hitters are all good, but a better balance of good hitters is more optimal. I’m pretty sure I’d still rather have Thomas’ second half than Lind’s, but at least I don’t have to bat Lind in the middle of the line-up while he kills me for five more weeks waiting to heat up.

    - Shmuel
  56. 56.

    Hi Mike,

    Have been a Jays fan since 87. Every April hope springs eternal, but this year looked legitimately good. This is the most frustrated I have been in a long time. I’m willing to give them a pass until Rolen is in there for awhile.

    However, I think Ricciardi needs to look in the mirror and reflect on some of the moves he has made. It seems like he has the anti-Midas touch. Everything he touches turns bad. I just don’t see any real progress in the time he has been here. If we don’t at least make it close (which is all I realistically hope for anymore), I believe the Jays will need to head in a different direction leadership wise.

    Rob H.

    MW: If the Jays stay reasonably healthy from this point on and don’t make it close, there will be a change at the top. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that.

    - Rob H.
  57. 57.

    Hey Mike,

    If you were in the Jays batting order, what music selection would you like as you strut up to home plate?

    Aneez

    MW: Probably “The Spirit of Radio”. Great song, Canadiana, and an outstanding first 30 seconds.

    - Aneez
  58. 58.

    I’d like for a minute to throw all statistics out the window. Yes, I believe that they do give an indication into a team’s performance and in most cases a pretty good one. However, this is one of those times where they just don’t tell the truth.

    Chemistry and complacency trump the statistics card for this baseball team. I watch the Jays and I know one thing for sure they just don’t win. There OPS, AVG and all of that other lovely stuff is insignificant…they just don’t win.

    Our bullpen ‘statistically’ was great last year and doesn’t seem too bad again this year. But what I see, and this is in plain site, is that our bullpen usually gives up one more run then the other guys when the game is tied or we’re up a run and in some cases they give up that extra run when were down causing the winning to be the tying run (Against Texas) or the tying run to be the ‘just got within one’ run (Against Baltimore).

    Our hitting, well enough said. I sense no urgency here. Some guys seem to try and work the count (Zaun) and others do not. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is and how often I see a Jay slam his bat against the ground as he trots to first waiting for the inevitable pop up out with runners in scoring position. And the Dp’s….don’t get me started.

    In my opinion, there are two things that must be done.

    1. Gibby has got to go. Yes I am fully aware that JP says that it is not his responsibility to go up their and motivate guys to bat and that if it was, Leyland’s Tigers would be 13-8 and not 8-13 (or somewhere around there). But in my assessment….it IS HIS JOB!!! I know that this isn’t Boston, but our guys need to be kicked in the rear a little bit, and unlike in Boston, the fans are not going to do it by way of intense pressure. Therefore, responsibility falls to the manager who always seems to answer a slump with “yeah but you know, he’s off to a slow start……he’ll get better….he’ll get better he’s a good ballplayer”.

    2. Bonds – Sign him………I get it, he’s not a 30-30 man anymore, he’s a 35-0 man. I’d still take it. Just his presence alone makes the team and everyone around him in the order better, at least from a fundamentally baseball perspective. The only draw back….team chemistry?? Well if I were the BoSox and I had won two WS in 4 years I may argue that point. But seriously, what team chemistry are we talking about? At most it will stay the same and we’ll finish 3rd….AGAIN. Any fan that argues against it is just lunatic……probably a Leaf fan. Seriously, I’d pay $800 for a Weber BBQ at Canadian Tire, but I wouldn’t for a sunbeam 5000 BTU single burner. Hope you get my analogy leaf fans because you do this every single time you purchase a leaf ticket.

    What do you think?

    P.S. Love your show and just want a WINNING BASEBALL TEAM!!!

    MW: I think that it’s hard to argue that chemistry is a major player in the Jays’ poor start and then dismiss chemistry as an argument against bringing Bonds here. However, I do think they should have signed Bonds a month ago, and should have signed him every day since. I don’t think that any of us know what John Gibbons does as a motivator. That fact that he doesn’t call out his players in the media doesn’t mean he’s not giving that kick in the behind behind the scenes. And you’re wrong about the bullpen – just remembering the things that made an impact. You don’t have the second-best ERA in the league by only not allowing runs when you’re up 5 or down 5.

    - Chris Marinoni
  59. 59.

    Snap out of it?

    My house sounds like the village coffee house on poetry reading night with all this snapping!

    * SNAP * SNAP * SNAP * SNAP * SNAP * SNAP * SNAP * SNAP *

    - USELESS MAN
  60. 60.

    I remember a few years ago when an obnoxious Tampa fan was on Hinske’s back during every at bat he had. Ironically Hinske was a major part in the Ray’s sweep of the Jays.

    I didn’t hear this fan during the series. Has he disappeared or did he perhaps not make the trip to Disney World. The former I hope!

    MW: I didn’t hear him either. He’s actually from Toronto, I think. How embarrassing is that?

    - Jay
  61. 61.

    “I think that it’s hard to argue that chemistry is a major player in the Jays’ poor start and then dismiss chemistry as an argument against bringing Bonds here”

    ??I’m arguing that the chemistry is already bad….and dismissing the negative impact that Bonds would have on this “already bad” chemistry. If it’s not good enough to win now, then who cares if it’s a little worse and still not good enough to win with Bonds here. Good ERA or not, I sense a psychological problem with our bullpen….asside from Carlson who seems to have good nerves although it’s yet to be seen as to how good he’ll be once AL hitters get used to his delivery, I don’t have that sense of faith in our guys….especially Accardo. Maybe I’m just picking on him cause I’m incredibly frustrated….Thanks for your time Mike….

    - Chris Marinoni
  62. 62.

    Ya Troy Glaus is so clutch the Cardinals have Ryan Ludwick providing protection to Albert Pujols who is on his way to 150+ walks this year. The only thing “clutch” thing Troy Glaus ever did was pump himself with HGH and put up completely unsustainable numbers. Good example for young players he is.

    And I’m not saying you can’t get angry once or twice. Rios does it every single time he strikes out. I’m no fan of Derek Jeter or Arod for that matter but these guys would never act like that after striking out.

    MW: Rios doesn’t do it every single time he strikes out.

    - Matt
  63. 63.

    Hey Mike,

    Any chance of turning Jays Talk into a podcast? I rarely get a chance to tune in, but I’d love to hear it more often, and I really enjoyed listening to Wednesdays with JP on Thursday morning at work.

    MW: I’m trying, I’m trying.

    - darren
  64. 64.

    I know it’s early in the season and all, but humor me for a second.

    I think we can somewhat agree that 95 wins will probably be needed for the AL Wild Card (+/- 2) right?

    Jays are 10-13, which means they need to play .612 ball the rest of the year to get to 95 wins. If their record was reversed (13-10), they would only need to play .590 ball to get to 95 wins.

    What’s the point you ask? Well .612 ball is the same as winning 99 games! Only 4 teams 2004-07 have played that well over an ENTIRE season (never mind over the last 139 games!). Whereas .590 ball is a 96 win pace. Yeah it may only be 3 wins, but which one would you think is easier for these Jays to achieve?

    You can’t win the Wild Card/Division in April, BUT you can definitely lose it. The more they keep losing now, the more likely it will be that they’ll have to win 40-45 games after July 31st. Which I don’t think they’re built to do.

    That is why this is frustrating!

    MW: Except when you remember that pretty much every playoff team goes through a 10-13 stretch at some point during a season. So every playoff team also has a run when they’re on a 110-win pace. You can kill yourself if you start playing the “they’ve done this, now they have to do this” game.

    - JJ
  65. 65.

    “MW: The Jays will finish the season at least 10 games ahead of Oakland.”

    Can we book this wager, Mike? A Vlad Guerrero bobblehead perhaps?

    MW: I can’t make actual wagers, if it was a personal blog, I could, but I can’t.

    - Robert Dudek
  66. 66.

    “Interestingly, overall league OPS was higher every one of those five years with runners in scoring position than without.”

    There is a very good reason for this. Bad pitchers, or pitchers pitching badly, will tend to get themselves into more RISP situations than very good pitchers will. So the sample of pitchers a batter typically faces in RISP situations is worse than average. Hence, better results for the hitters.

    MW: Yeah, but in the overall? I guess so, because there are more crappy relievers than good ones.

    - Robert Dudek
  67. 67.

    But do you see another shoe dropping from the Frank Thomas release?

    MW: Unless you count calling up Adam Lind another shoe, then no.

    - Ryan
  68. 68.

    Hi Mike:

    Perhaps a dumb question, but one I want to know the answer to. Where does the term “he can rake” come from in terms of it’s use in the Baseball world? I keep reading it on your blog, and I think it’s pretty cool, but I’m curious about it’s origin, and what exactly it means.

    MW: I don’t know the origin of the term, I’m assuming it has to do with leaves or something. It means he can scorch the ball.

    - Cam
  69. 69.

    You can’t steal Zaunnie’s entry music! He has the Rush covered. It’s great when you see Getty sitting behind home plate on the Jumbotron as Zaun walks up to the plate.

    I have been with you since last season on the value of JMac’s glove, and I was willing to give Eckstein a shot. An eighth of the season has passed, and I’m not impressed. First off, it’s just terrible that he is leading off and not batting #9. Even if he can manage a .350 OBP the SLG just isn’t there to lead him off. Secondly, and most importantly : this offense won’t live and die by the production of the SS. Clearly having Eckstein over JMac is doing very little to help a mediocre offense. It’s getting close to that point in the season, like last year with Clayton, where Gibbons needs to realize the offensive upgrade from McDonald to X just isn’t worth the defensive downgrade, and it’s substantial. It’s almost comical to think that there was a time last year where we were discussing this offense being good enough to hide a “sinkhole” at SS, but I think the premise is spot on. If you aren’t getting serious, elite production from your SS (and Eckstein, even at his best, provides mediocre offense) I think it’s better to go with JMac’s hoover.

    FREE JMAC!

    - Ari
  70. 70.

    “MW: I don’t have to stay positive because of my employer, but I’m not blinded enough by what’s happened in 23 games to say that this team is terrible. This team is not terrible, by any objective evaluation.”

    Yup, sure you’re being objective.

    Okay since you like throwing around useless stats, here are some for you. Currently the Jays are:30th in runs scored, 17th in runs allowed, 18th in batting average, 28th in homeruns, 15th in steals, 23rd in ERA, but most importantly last in the AL East and 9th (tied) in the wild card. (source CNNSI.com)

    You can rant how early it is in the season as much as you would like, but this team is looking to get burried very quickly, and if you expect them to go on a 10-12 game winning streak, then I’d like to know what colour the sky is in your world.

    J.P, whose eerily becoming similar to JFJ needs to replace Gibbons NOW and at the same time, replace himself.

    MW: Ummm, none of those statistics are correct. The Jays are currently 17th in runs scored, 14th in runs allowed, 15th in batting average, 22nd in home runs, 8th in steals and 12th in ERA. At least you got the standings right.

    - Bobby
  71. 71.

    Mike,
    I’ve been keeping an eye on Tim Lincicum, because ever since the rumoured deal i’ve wanted to see if J.P. made the right decision by approaching the Giants with the proposed deal. Have you seen what he’s been doing ?
    4-0 to start, a 1.23 ERA, 36 K’s in 29 innings with 14 walks and a WHIP of 1.40 (not the greatest, i know, but still respectable) His run support probably isn’t that great either considering that it is the Giants.
    Despite the fact that the Jays are struggling offensively, i’m wondering if you still make that deal today ?

    MW: In a heartbeat. For all the same reasons I said I would make it in December.

    - Dilson
  72. 72.

    Mike in Overbays best season 2006 when he hit .307 .375 .512 his numbers were helped out significantly by the hitters friendly Rogers Centre as he hit just .297 .361 .430 on the road. Which is not awful but remeber this was his best year and he’s a first baseman. Another thing with Overbay is he didn’t have a decent offensive year until he was 27 years old and players who develop late decline early. So its easy to project an early decline from overbay and since his peak wasn’t all that spectacular to begin with once the decline starts it will more then likely be a sharp one.

    MW: Only time will tell. I’m confident that he’ll prove you wrong.

    - Dan M.
  73. 73.

    Mike I’m not saying Aaron Hill is awful I just think he’s avg. which theres no shame in. Once again Mike if you take away the hitter friendly Rogers centre and look at Hills road stats he hit .274 .322 .431 which is okay for a secound baseman but certainly not a superstar. He was 15th in road OPS amoung secound baseman with a .752OPS

    Just look in his own division who would you rather have?
    Robinson Cano
    Dustin Pedroa
    Brian Roberts
    Akinori Iwamura
    Arron Hill

    I’m guessing for this year alone you’d take Cano and Roberts over him, then Hill and Pedroa are sandwiched just ahead of Iwamura.

    and for the next five years you’d probally take Cano over them all with Roberts Hill Pedroa sandwiched ahead of Iwamura????

    MW: You’re in a division with four very, very good second basemen and Iwamura. I don’t know if I would take Cano over him, but I would take Roberts right now. And you can’t just look at road OPS to determine a player’s value.

    - Dan M.
  74. 74.

    just read this in an online chat with the well respected Jeff Jay. wanted to hear what you thought about it Mike.

    rawagman (Work, TO): What are the odds that it turns out that Frank Thomas is really cooked, and JP is given a bit of credit for rectifying an error of yesteryear, as opposed to pulling a Colleti and making damn-well sure that last year’s mistake remains on this year’s books AND in this year’s starting lineup? In a related question, what are the odds that I am just a mildly delusional, less mildly paranoic, Canadian Jays hoper?

    Jay Jaffe: Because of his past history and his failure to build the Jays, I’m rarely inclined to give J.P. Ricciardi the benefit of the doubt. He’s had seven years to try to put the Jays in a position to overtake the Yankees and/or Red Sox, and while he’s developed a pretty decent pitching staff, he’s placed some pretty big long-term bets on a pair of outfielders who really aren’t very special in Vernon Wells and Alex Rios.

    As for Thomas, yes, it’s possible he really is done, but 60 PA is in no way an adequate sample to judge that given Thomas’ track record of hitting his way out of recent slow starts. Look, the real motivating factor wasn’t his slump, it was the vesting option. Ricciardi realized he didn’t want to pay it, and that’s not entirely stupid, but he’d have done better to play this one down the middle and not try to disguise his motives. As it is, he’s just given those of us who enjoy watching him do his Mark Penn act more ammunition

    MW: I don’t know who Jay Jaffe and Mark Penn are. But his comments about Wells and Rios, at least, are incorrect. Whether they’re special or not (and most baseball people will tell you that they are), they’re both signed to contracts that at the time they were signed, were looked upon very favourably by most analysts. Wells’ doesn’t look so good now after the season he had last year, but it was what the market would bear at the time when you look at what the free agents that off-season signed for.

    - frank s.
  75. 75.

    No pitching and no hitting. Great combination.

    - Jim
  76. 76.

    “I don’t want J.P. getting up on the dugout and belting out “Mandy” or anything.”

    Liar!

    - Tyler
  77. 77.

    Mike: — a little poetry to show a few of my favorites:

    “Ive been pouring over the Blue Jay statistics
    Everythings they’re in plain site
    With a very few acceptions,
    Their wrong way more than there write!”

    MW: Beautiful poetry, HORRIBLE English. Please tell me you did that on purpose, because in a 25-word poem, you made 11 mistakes. That had to be intentional, right? Please?

    - Norm
  78. 78.

    Hey Mike,

    Do you think Adam Lind has the potential to be a better-than-average defensive outfielder, or will he eventually settle into the DH role?

    MW: I think he can be a better-than-average defensive outfielder. Not a great one, but he made huge strides in his defense last season.

    - Dan C
  79. 79.

    Mike, Im hearing rumors about Lind’s promotion being delayed to push back his arbitration one year??? is this true?

    MW: Mebbe

    - sammy jalalzai
  80. 80.

    Hi Mikey,
    WHAT THE HELL IS TAKING JP SO LONG TO BRING ADAM LIND UP? THIS TOO EARLY B.S. IS A CARRY OVER FROM LAST YEAR. HALF OF TONIGHTS GAME VS. KC IS OVER AND STILL NOT A F—–
    RUN! I’M TRADING MYSELF TO THE BRAVES AND GONNA ROOT FOR THE BRAVES ON PEACHTREE AFTER 49 YEARS OF BEING A A.L. FAN!
    DISCUSTED,
    L. MURR

    MW: Remind me never to discust you. Thanks for cleaning up your own language, though!

    - Larry Murr
  81. 81.

    wouldnt REED JOHNSON come in handy now, shannon sucks….the team sucks…. im a cubs fan now .. check out the reed johnson highlites tonight… great move JP…

    MW: That was probably the best catch we’re going to see this year. If you haven’t gotten a chance to see it, make sure you do.

    - jglove
  82. 82.

    Mikes, Don’t worry no one reads this far down. Rolen just gave us the lead. Start printing the Play-off series
    tickets. I’m very SENSITIVE!
    But something smells rotton in the dugout. Why do I hve to BEG the Jays to win, Hey, here comes my shrink! I’ll see you later.
    PS. DO YOU REALLY THINK IT IS POSSIBLE TO TAKE A SERIES FROM KC?

    MW: Ummmmmm, hate to break it to you, Larry……………..

    - Larry Murr
  83. 83.

    Why the #@$$# isn’t Macdonald in for defensive purposes?!?!

    - Glenn
  84. 84.

    Mike, This is a worse repeat from last year. NOO! It’s not too early! Wake up and smell the coffee. BTY Joe Torre last fall said 50% of his job was to get the players
    (On the Letterman show) UP for the ball game. Why does it take someone to get assuming adults up for a ball game? I don’t know? I guess the GM’s over the years have gone toooooooooooo far with babying them. Like Frank Thomas saying “me take batting practice, do you know who I’am?” Too much soothing the egos these days. I see the GM’s in the NFL draft tomorrow are weeding out BOZO’s like this. In football, there is always someone with a good attitude to take your place. The scouts have been looking for character. It’s high time that the “baseball” scouts” learn from the NFL.

    MW: Yeah, because NFL scouting is such an exact science. Don’t get me started.

    - Larry Murr
  85. 85.

    Mike,

    I was thinking to myself after Rolen’s hit….I bet Gibbons leaves Burnett in for the 8th.

    I guess with Ryan pitching yesterday and Accardo scuffling, it wasn’t a bad decision.

    Still, to leave Burnett in as long as he did was terrible in my opinion. He’s struggled all year, finally has a good outing, so why not get him out of there?

    I know it would be a mute point if Eckstein doesn’t drop the ball, but it’s little things like that which really annoy me about Gibbons.

    Interesting interview with the scrappy one today. I guess he must have done something to anger god. That’s the only possible explanation for the two errors.

    MW: Moot point, actually. And yeah, it doesn’t matter about A.J. going back out for the 8th if Eckstein catches that ball, or McDonald, who should have been in there. But I have no problem at all with Burnett going back out for the 8th. He’d been pitching very well, pitch count was low, no B.J. Ryan.

    - GregJP
  86. 86.

    Hey Mike. I threw a beer mug at the wall after Burnett came in for the 8th Inning, I was quite angry .

    You’ve reiterated that Johnny Mac should be on defense when we have the lead. So where was Carlson? I mean, the guy is our only shut-down reliever we have right now. With Mac and Carlson in, the jays would have won 4-2, and the last innings would not only have been 1-2-3. but Carlson would have struck out at least half those batters.

    So why isn’t he pitching every night? How many leads have the Blue Jays blown by putting Downs, Frasor, Tallet, Accardo into the game. I know he’s a just a kid, but it seems that he’s been pitching better than the rest of them combined. So why don’t we see him more?

    MW: We’ve seen him plenty, more than I thought we would. I have to tell you, had the ‘pen come in to start the 8th and lost it, there’d be just as much whining coming from people who’d be saying that Gibbons was an idiot for not sending A.J. back out there – why does he always pull his starters so early?????

    - Sam McLean
  87. 87.

    Mike,

    The one discussion tonight with the caller where you said “it’s just luck” was amazing. It should be required listening for every baseball fan. (if not sports fan)

    I think it’s just human nature to think that there is some “reason” for everything. When there are runners in scoring position and a hitter makes contact with the ball there is probably 1/16th of an inch difference in contact between a fly ball and a ball that lands in front of the OF.

    The just are just going through a huge statistical outlier where they are on the wrong side of that 1/16th of an inch time after time.

    Either that or…….they don’t have enough urgency, aren’t trying hard enough, aren’t gritty enough, or don’t have the right team chemistry.

    MW: Yeah, definitely one or the other.

    - GregJP
  88. 88.

    Call it a hunch, but i think Marcum is going to bring it tommorrow.

    Sure the Jays couldn’t beat the Royals tonight, but with Marcum, oh man ! Im gonna say he pitches a complete game with 10 K’s. Call me crazy, or, just call me crazy.

    And call it a coincidence, but tommorrow Gibbons will look like a great manager. Losing, combined with poor hitting and the wind blowing in from the east seems to make Gibbons look bad.
    Odd …

    Keep up the Good work Mike

    - Dave
  89. 89.

    Hey Mike, sorry another question since i saw another guy asked an odd question. If your not sure of the answer then don’t worry about it.

    But,

    Do Ball players get paid bi-weekly ? or monthly ? Or is it all at once at the beginning of the season ?

    It’s prob the magnitude of the money they are paid but i just can’t comphrend how it is done.

    MW: 1st and 15th of every month.

    - Dave
  90. 90.

    Couldn’t wait for the new blog to post Mike (you can transfer this comment to next posting if it would fit in better) Living in BC I don’t get access to the post game jays talk and I’m sure this came up, but I really question managements desire to win. I’ve read that JP wants to win badly, but not calling up Lind to save a million or so in 2010 at the sake of loosing games is not acceptable to me as a fan. Not playing Jmac late in games because Eckstein might feel slighted is another sign of not truly wanting to win. I feel like the Leafs management is running the show.

    Also watching Stewart early in the season he’s looked terrible. We knew how bad his defense was but he’s looked worse than Thomas at the plate. It’s interesting how Billy Beane seems like an amazing GM for finding bargain players who produce while JP looks terrible by signing those same bargain players after Beane and not having them pan out at all. I know it’s early to judge Stewart, but I’m really frustrated watching him out there when it should be Lind.

    MW: You sure you wrote this without waiting for the new post to come up?

    - clint
  91. 91.

    Hey Mike,

    Stewart let a guy go from first to third on a single to left, which was hit directly at Stewart. This happened during the Friday night game at Kansas City.

    Is that sort of lackluster play acceptable? This guy doesn’t seem to care about playing the outfield.

    MW: This would have been a very legitimate question if you hadn’t thrown that last line in. It was brutal that Mark Teahen went first to third on the hard single to left in the 8th, but Stewart (who is very aware of his limitations as a thrower) didn’t throw to third because he wanted to make sure Billy Butler, who was the go-ahead run at the time, stayed at first base to both keep the double play in order and keep the tying run out of scoring position. Chances are Stewart wasn’t going to throw Teahen out, and chances are that if he’d tried, the go-ahead run moves to second.

    It was a very smart play, made by a guy who knows enough not to attempt something he probably can’t do. But yeah, he just doesn’t care about playing the outfield.

    - Jason
  92. 92.

    Mike, re #77 — I thought the first line, where I prefaced it with “a few of my favorites”, would tip you off that they were intentional.

    In retrospect, I should have also used “weigh” instead of “way”, and “plane” instead of “plain”.

    But I must confess I can only count 9 mistakes (Ive, pouring, everythings, they’re, site, acceptions, their, there, write) — where are the other two? (too?)

    MW: Thank the Lord. It should have been Blue Jays’ statistics – you missed an apostrophe, and the “a” before very few exceptions was unnecessary.

    - Norm
  93. 93.

    Not to argue overmuch, but I didn’t say “Blue Jays statistics”, but “Blue Jay” — hence no apostrophe missed.

    I’ll accept the other one, although reluctantly, as it’s really a matter of choice/style, I think.

    N

    MW: I think it’s the possessive, so it needs an apostrophe.

    - Norm
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