12:00 AM Eastern

This baseball thing is so much easier when you actually have people who can hit the ball out of the park on a regular basis.  The Milwaukee Brewers showed the Blue Jays how it’s done, getting only seven hits, but having five of them clear the Miller Park fences, and most of them by whole lot.  Heck, even Craig Counsell got in on the act!

For the third straight game, the Blue Jays’ flaccid, embarrassing offense could muster only one hit or fewer through the first four innings.  This time, though, they got their second in the fifth – they didn’t get their second hit Sunday until the 7th, Saturday until the 8th.  It’s incredibly frustrating when the opposition scores three and you feel as though the game is over.  But it’s even more frustrating because it’s true.  In games in which the Blue Jays have trailed by three runs at any point this season, they’re 1-21.  These aren’t exactly the comeback kids.

And yes, there’s a difference between having the opposition score three and having the Blue Jays fall behind by three.  There’s just not nearly as much of a difference with this club as there should be.

As I mentioned on The JaysTalk tonight, the feeling is almost the same as it was in mid-May, when I believed that the Jays were a well-placed loss away from having John Gibbons walk the plank.  I thought that if they had been shut out in that final game in Cleveland on May 12th, after they’d scored a grand total of one run in the first three games of the series, that Gibby wouldn’t be on the plane to Minnesota.  Through no fault of his own – I don’t think he should be the scapegoat for this.  I don’t think there should be a scapegoat at all.  This is an offense-wide failure.

The Jays won that game, despite not scoring in the first nine innings, then went to Minnesota and swept the Twins and it was the beginning of a 14-4 run.  Since then, they’re 4-11. 

Is Gibby in real danger at this moment?  As completely unfair as it is, the answer is yes.

I don’t believe that someone should lose his job if it’s not warranted, just to “shake things up” or “because it can’t hurt” or “to let the players know we’re serious”.  I don’t believe that firing John Gibbons will make these hitters all of a sudden be able to take advantage of their opportunities offensively, nor do I believe it’ll make the pitchers better (like that’s possible).  I haven’t agreed with every move that Gibby has made, obviously (just read the archives), but I certainly don’t believe there’s something he’s lacking that’s even partially responsible for the fact that his hitters turn from big-leaguers into the Lansing Lugnuts with runners in scoring position.  And that’s probably an insult to the Lansing Lugnuts.

So what to do now, other than wait?  My initial response is move Alex Rios out of the leadoff spot, because it feels as though he’s been awful for months.  For the month of June, after the 0-for-4 tonight, he’s hitting .288/.345/.365, so he certainly hasn’t been awful.  But not leadoff-worthy.  You know who has been?  Eckstein.  If you want to ride the hot bat, why not move the .333/.391/.385 in June back up top for now?

Look at this – the Jays have actually driven me to consider small sample sizes and act as though they mean something!!!!!!

But the top of the line-up isn’t the issue.  Until these last three games, they haven’t had any problems with getting people on base.  They came into tonight in a virtual tie for 4th in the league in OBP with Detroit.  They can’t cash them.  And it continues to be mind-bottling.  You can say “they are what they are” all you want, but it’s just not true.  72 games of “Krap with a capital K” doesn’t erase years and years (in a lot of cases) of average to better than average offense.  This is why I don’t believe that things can possibly continue like this.  I didn’t believe it six weeks ago, and the fact that six weeks have passed (three of them pretty good) doesn’t change that.

So please don’t write into the comments section and ask me if NOW I think the season is over.  It’s just as ridiculous now as it was in April.

Here’s tonight edition of The JaysTalk:

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Comments are encouraged, as always – The 24/7 JaysTalk is afoot!

220 Responses to “Look At Them Homers, That’s The Way You Do It”
  1. 1.

    On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being the least and 10 being the most) how comfortable would you be with Gustavo Chacin replacing AJ Burnett in the rotation next year?

    MW: -60

    - Jay Money
  2. 2.

    Baseball is a sport, however it is also a business. The GM builds the team and the Manager manages it. The results of the team are a direct reflection of these 2 positions no matter how you want to slice it. The results are horrible and like most of the idiots that called your show a month ago with the foresight to say we are cooked (and you firmly disagreed as always)are proving quickly who the idiot really is (sorry but if you can dish you must be able to receive).

    I wish I worked in an environment where I could buy stocks for my clients have them sink, then say, “it is not my fault these stocks were good in the past so I expected them to be good now, blame someone else.” JP is responsible for building this mess and Gibbons for getting the leagues best pitching (a rare gift) and leading the team to a dismal record (which will get worse and worse – Ben Sheets tomorrow – yikes!). This is the 7th year and looks like one of the worst teams under JPs tenure. Bye JP and bye Gibbons, looking forward to a new direction as a passionate Jays fan that is tired of the clown show.

    MW: I enjoy the name-calling, but if the Blue Jays don’t make the playoffs this year it doesn’t mean the season was over in April. That’s just stupid.

    - Matthew
  3. 3.

    You also forget to mention that Ricciardi is responsible for putting together this brutal offense. He should be out the door with Gibbons as well. Every aspect of the job he has done is mediocre. He has had his time here to make and design his team and it has not worked out. He was wrong and it is time for the Blue Jays to move on without him.

    MW: Yeah, that pitching staff is just terrible.

    - avi
  4. 4.

    Hey Mike

    It is unfair and unfortunate, but John Gibbons will likely be fired shortly. Who else is JP going to blame? Certainly not himself. If you HAD to choose one guy, who do you think should be held accountable for the teams current state, JP or Gibby?

    MW: It’s definitely more J.P. than Gibbons. Gibbons can only work with what Ricciardi provides him.

    - rick
  5. 5.

    Hey Mike

    One other question, although i know your not a supporter of this possibility. With the Yanks starting to heat up, and their desparate need for pitching (especially with Wang out), do you think New York would part with Phillip Hughes straight up for Burnett?

    Thanks again Mike…

    MW: No, they wouldn’t. But I’d do that if I were the Jays.

    - rick
  6. 6.

    Hi Mike

    Do you really think Gibby’s job is in jeopardy? I’ve heard J.P. on your show at least a couple times saying how well Gibby has managed and handled the guys. I believe he even went so far as to say Gibby is going nowhere if my memory serves me right..

    MW: He did. That’s also what the owners of the Mets said about Willie Randolph, what, three weeks ago?

    - Tim
  7. 7.

    Hey Mike,

    I know you’ve been asked a million times, but I’m just curious if any new ideas have been tossed around: if Gibby is fired sometime in the near future, who do you see as his replacement?

    Also, what do you think about Hank Steinbrenner’s recent comments on National League rules? I think he sounded a bit ridiculous, but at the same time, I’m surprised injuries like Wang’s don’t happen more often.

    Oh, and we get to see Marcum hit tomorrow! I wouldn’t mind seeing him somewhere in the middle of the lineup considering how the team has been hitting lately.

    MW: I’d hit Marcum fourth, no problem! I love Hank Steinbrenner, he’s going to be a lot of fun. I liked Mike Mussina’s quote better, though, he said pitchers aren’t used to running the bases. That straight ahead is OK, but that having to turn corners while running can be a real problem.

    - Ty
  8. 8.

    I wonder if Bill Bavasi had his own pet Wilner on the radio in Seattle. If so I hope he joined Bill on the unemployment line. And I hope the Blue Jays follow suit.

    MW: I hope I can get the severance package that J.P. does. I hope you lose your job, too. And that you can no longer feed your family.

    - Scott
  9. 9.

    The season may not be over, what incentive is there for Blue Jay fans to keep watching?

    Because this is getting tougher and tougher to watch.

    MW: I can’t answer that, I feel the same way.

    - David
  10. 10.

    Really, it is ridiculous to say the season is toast, now 72 games in? Exactly when it is OK to write it off? The All-Star break when they are 8 out of a wild-card? Or how about at the trading deadline when they are 9 back. How about Sept 1 when they are 10 out of a wild-card?

    I am sure the guys in the Titanic said something similar when the ship was sinking, “This can’t be happening. On paper this is impossible.”

    MW: September 1st 10 games out is fine. July 31st nine games out would probably be OK, too.

    - Paul B
  11. 11.

    Hello Mike, I hope you had a great Fathers’ Day with your kids!

    I have always been a fan of “staying the course” with a team like this rather than making a trade to change things up just to change things up, but I find that these Jays are tugging at my patience. What is causing the team to fail miserably at cashing runners in? Is it something psychological that can be fixed with something like hypnosis? At this rate, I don’t think any of our hitters deserve to appear in the All-Star Game.

    Perhaps before the next home game we can set 100 blue jays (the actual birds) free or something.

    MW: Or maybe they can just start to hit.

    - Ashleigh
  12. 12.

    All the time you say that often our perception is not reflected in the stats (ie. Vernon doesn’t GDP ‘like every 3rd at bat’)

    But I have suspected that the Jays have been terrible at come-back victories. As you pointed out – the numbers are in agreement.

    I am filled with a slew of c-words I want to throw out! Clutch, chemistry, concentration…etc. Please – calm me down, your-Wilness.

    MW: How about crap?

    - soupman
  13. 13.

    Mike, who do you think are the top five GM candidates out there right now? The best, the brightest, those with some (but not too much) experience, and high industry credibility…

    I must be asking because Bavasi just got fired and the M’s need a new GM. That must be the reason why I’m asking. Really.

    MW: Honestly? I don’t know. I hear good things about some people, but I really don’t know anything about them.

    - Geoff
  14. 14.

    It just seems as if these guys are depleted right now. The mood from the get-go was not a good one tonight.

    I’m not sure if you noticed on the DP that Barajas grounded into, Wells could’ve made a much better attempt at disrupting the throw by the 2nd baseman if he had an aggressive slide, but he just went in calmly, and let them turn the easy 5-4-3.

    It seems as though no one in our lineup is a threat for opposing pitchers right now

    MW: I didn’t think Wells went in calmly at all. He just about had his head in the shortstop’s groin when Counsell released the throw.

    - Fraser
  15. 15.

    I think John Gibbons should get fired and be replaced by Gary Denbo. Now that would be something.

    - John
  16. 16.

    Hey Mike,
    I have been a die hard Blue Jays fan for years now and have barely missed a game, but honestly I am starting to lose interest in this team. It is just not a very compelling team to watch and it really hurts me to say that. If I am losing interest, than the casual fan must also be giving up on this team. What do you think, if anything, needs to be done to fix this? I was thinking about it and pretty much none of the Blue Jay hitters are having even an AVERAGE year at that plate by their standards. It is starting to get ridiculous!

    MW: Just now it’s getting ridiculous?

    - Stefan
  17. 17.

    The definition of moribund? Lacking vitality.
    I have no doubt that if these hitters found themselves locked into a small room with an annoying fly, and each were armed with fly swatters, that after some time passed each hitter would be slumped in his chair, exhausted, while the annoying fly continued to buzz around the room.

    - Michael Hobson
  18. 18.

    Mike, is there any connection to the fact that last year both Wells and Overbay signed big, long-term deals and then went out and have horrible years since and now we see Rios, having just signed a big, long-term deal this year having a brutal, brutal year? And don’t give me the mulligan argument for Overbay with the hand injury. That injury happened in June and he was horrible the first two months last year before the injury.

    MW: Yes, he was horrible for the first two months last year, but he never got a chance to turn it around. He’s certainly not having a horrible year this year, neither is Wells (who gets a mulligan on last season because of the shoulder). Rios is also not having a brutal, brutal year, though he’s performing well below expectations. I don’t think it has anything to do with the contract, but it could.

    - James
  19. 19.

    Mike, seeing the same Dire Straits reference I thought of during the game up on the blog almost makes up for having watched it. Not to mention the fact that money for nothing has been the perfect description for this lineup for nearly the entire season. Do you have any contacts at Baseball Prospectus or ESB who could put the Jays’ offensive… convultions into some kind of historical context? Maybe knowing how bad things could actually be might soothe the soul a little.
    Jon

    MW: Convulsions? Not the word I’d have gone with, but OK. I wouldn’t put the BP or Elias folks to work for me (I can’t, anyway). Historically? Check the Dodgers in the ’60s with Drysdale, Koufax and no offense.

    - Jon
  20. 20.

    Hey Mike,

    Tonight was the first time (that I can recall) where I turned off a Jays’ game when they were down 2-0. I just felt like the game was over no matter if the Brew Crew scored another run or not.

    It is beyond belief how these hitters can continue at such a low average with runners on base. If this goes on all year they will truly defy all odds – and not good ones. Plus they have no one that would scare me as an opposing pitcher right now. Rolen and Rios with 3 home runs are not making people run for cover in the upper decks. The Brewers have 3 or 4 guys that can change the game with one swing.

    I like Gibby as a manager and I am sure the coaches are doing their best and are very good at what they do… not their fault but somethings got to give.

    The season isn’t over but it just doesn’t seem like there is any life. Maybe I felt the same way in April but I am truly one frustrated fan.

    Maybe they need to give Jobou some more cigars and rum.

    I am sure the comments will be interesting to say the least. Have fun!

    MW: It doesn’t seem like there is any life because it never does when a team is losing.

    - Cameron
  21. 21.

    Hey Mike, a couple of things – a lot of people are talking about how unprofessional it was for the Mets to fire Randolph after a win. But didn’t the Jays fire Buck Martinez after a series sweep or something like that?

    And though Gibbons is pretty clearly in danger, is there any point at which we can consider Godfrey or Ricciardi to be in danger? I mean, it’s their fault that we don’t have Barry Bonds on this team, and when the unanimously held reason for their struggles is the lack of a cleanup hitter…

    MW: I’m pretty sure the lack of Bonds comes from even higher up than Godfrey. Yes, Buck did get fired after the Jays swept the Tigers in Detroit.

    - Tyler
  22. 22.

    Mike,

    You know what’s great about your blog tonight?

    You are finally showing a sense of understanding the inevitable.

    I led off Jays Talk the night the Jays lost a bad one to fall 33-33. I said that this was the end of the Gibbons era (the JP era will follow after game 162), that he had to go, the there would be a crisis in confidence and something was clearly wrong with the team under his leadership.

    I don’t think Gibby makes it until June 30. Ironic seeing as how JP said he was doing the best of his career last week. But with such praise comes an extension? Yeah right, more like a pink slip.

    The worst part is that this has been inevitable all season long. You can’t carry a manager who puts up with what Gibby puts up with. This isn’t about putting in the right lefty at the right time. Coaching isn’t just a tactical thing – unfortunately you have never understood this.

    You don’t believe in intangibles. You belive that guys with lifetime averages of X should continue to hit X. But sometimes that doesn’t happens, and when it doesn’t happen for most of the team then something is wrong. And when something is wrong the captain of a sinking ship has to walk the plank.

    If there was a blank for failure to accept baseball realities then I think you might be on it to. Better you understand the inevitability later rather than never though.

    MW: I don’t believe that intangibles lead to wins because I think they’re present on losing teams as much as they are on winning teams, and they’re often made up to be ascribed to players on winning teams for no other reason than they’re on winning teams. Has David Eckstein lost all his intangible qualities because he’s on the Blue Jays? Has Ted Lilly gained some because he’s on the Cubs? I just can’t believe that someone who doesn’t warrant losing his job should do so because “something isn’t right but we don’t know what.” I do understand the inevitability of it happening, though, that’s what happens. But it doesn’t make it right, nor does that make it something which I’ll demand or with which I’ll agree.

    - Stephen
  23. 23.

    During a recent broadcast, Jesse Barfield mentioned how long it takes a hitter to get comfortable in a given spot in the lineup. If I remember correctly, he wasn’t talking about the Blue Jays per se, but it confirmed one of my problems with Gibbons. How many different lineups has he gone with this year? Far, far too many. You’ll accuse me of making a chicken vs. egg argument, but the fact is that he really hasn’t let any one lineup stick for any significant period of time. And that includes stretches when they were scoring runs. Notwithstanding injuries, there’s no excuse for the number of different lineups he’s put together this year. One day he’ll be quoted as saying he likes a certain lineup, and two days later he’ll switch five guys around. Every time he switches players around because they’re facing a lefty, or unnecessarily rests good hitters when the team is hot, or completely blows up the lineup (once every ten days or so?) it affects the team. “Offense wide failures” do not fail this wide for this long. Managerial failures do.

    MW: Bobby Cox switched guys around like crazy when they were facing a lefty, it’s the right thing to do. And you can’t brush injuries aside. Throughout this season, the team has dealt with injuries to five regular starters and ineffectiveness leading to the release of another. Each time that’s happened, the line-up has had to be re-jigged. It’s not an argument I put a whole lot of stock in.

    - Shmuel
  24. 24.

    mike, gibby should be fired because he doesn’t hold players accountable. he massacres the lineup every day. eckstein batted leadoff for a month! rios bats third forever. scutaro and overbay batted at the bottom. mcdonald didn’t come in for defense for eckstein for the first 2 months! why not ride inglett, the only guy who’s hitting!

    point 2, mike, name me one player that JP signed to a big contract who actually had a BETTER year after he signed? The only guy is bj ryan who had one good year after he signed but has been average the past 2. other than that everyone has pretty much sucked. blame JP, his clock is ticking too.

    MW: Ryan has been average the past two years? On what planet? He missed all of last year, and he’s been better than average this season while still recovering from surgery. Downs has been really good this year, but I don’t think you mean “big money” in relative terms. Yes, Wells, Rios, Hill and Overbay all had performance dropoffs the year after they signed big contracts. Clearly Ricciardi’s fault. The lesson? Don’t sign players who have played well. Give big money to crappy players.

    - rocco
  25. 25.

    scutaro
    wilkerson
    barjas

    these guys have no history of being better than average major league hitters.
    theres 1/3 of your lineup.

    eckstein
    rios
    wells

    these guys have a history of being average to sightly above average throughout the body of work of their entire careers (a great year is no more representative than a terrible year)

    theres another third of the lineup

    stairs
    rolen
    overbay

    these guys have had a history of being well above average…but that was YEARS ago. in fact lyle might better fit into the second category but i put him here for symmetry sake.

    theres the other third of your lineup.

    so when you say the players have a long history of being better than average..i think you underestimeate what level an “average” major league hitter at a given position performs at.

    if these guys performed to their average year, they would well below average the major league averages.

    there is not a single hitter on this team that the opposing team must say “you cant let him beat us” about. not a single one.

    i cant think of too many big league teams where that can be said. perhaps KC and seattle.

    sure the hitting with risp could very well be a fluke…but an objective view of the data tells you that theres no reason to expect a huge change in performance. there just isnt.

    when the caller suggested today that the “blow it up” i dont think he’s far off from correct. you DO trade pitching. you trade burnett to the highest bidder, and teams are stupid enough to look at that arm and think they can ride it deep into the playoffs.

    you arent gonna get anything for wells or rios, although if you could dump wells salary, it might be worth it even if nothing significant comes back. rios can certainly play center and corner outfielders lind and snider are on the horizon. its also not too difficult to sign a free agent corner outfielder who will come cheaper than wells and will outperform him. they are all over the place infact.

    you arent gonna get anything for eckstein so you might as well keep him. with the shortstops on the free agent market next year, i dont see the jays paying through the nose for the overrated furcal. i dont think cabrerara is that great. the process of moving hill back to short and preparing scott campbell to be the eventual secondbaseman must begin

    is it over? of course its not over. but you are kidding yourself if you think its far from over. the jays are “only seven games out of the wild card” but there are SIX teams ahead of them. this is functionally like being 10 or 11 back.

    MW: There are still 90 games remaining. It’s MUCH too early to get caught up in how many teams who has to pass where. I appreciate the hard work, though. Yes, it was YEARS ago that Overbay had a good year. If one and a half counts as years, or one for Stairs. I would disagree with you on Rios, though, and the first group of three is only playing regularly because of injuries. You’re absolutely right, though, when you say that the Jays don’t have that one player who the opponent will key on in order to not let him beat them. Again, though, this team isn’t one that should need to score five or six runs a night in order to win, and no matter how average to below-average you think this group is, it doesn’t explain away the massive offensive failures.

    - sammy jalalzai
  26. 26.

    Mike, You and Jeff Blair both agree that Gibby should not be fired. Blair thinks the only effect a manager has is to manage the pitching staff. Does the manager not set the tone for the team? The Jays look like losers. Notice how some player have their pants barely below their knees and other have them so long they are touching the ground when they walk. They are called uniforms for a reason – they are supposed to all look the same. If it were me I would tell the team to pick the way they want to look and that EVERYONE must wear them that way. They would be told to put away the necklaces, earings, noserings and makeup. Look like a uniform ball team that is here for a purpose. Every since Gibby got into phsical altercations with two different players I think he has been trying to hard to be Mr. Nice Guy. Funny how the Jays are so opposed to Barry Bonds because of their high moral standards yet they tollerate a manager who beats up his players. One thing is a fact, since Hilerbrand called out Gibby for the toxic clubhouse – the Jays have continued to suck. It would be nice for Wells to start thowing his batting helmet instead of joking around with opposing players and always worrying about how his socks look.

    MW: Seriously? You think the way they wear their uniforms is the issue. You’re kidding, right? This is a joke.

    - wayne
  27. 27.

    oi vey!
    What is it with these guys?

    Three straight games where they can’t touch the starter. Not a sniff.

    I dread how good Sheets is going to look against this offense (in the loosest sense of the term) tomorrow. But at least one thing going for the good guys is that he’s not a left handed rookie.

    MW: Indeed.

    - mama
  28. 28.

    Would you mind telling Rios that there still are ways to cheat without getting caught?

    MW: I think you’d better be the one to make that accusation.

    - Gary
  29. 29.

    I love the Jays Mike, but this club stinks right now. I’m not advocating anyone’s firing as I believe a club that is always changing on the fly and developing a new plan is a club that will not win, regardless of how much money they spend or what trade they make (see the Mariners and Mets for proof.

    The fans are somewhat hostile right now because the likes of Richard Griffin have convinced them the current management is incompetent. The Reed Johnson situation has become the face of this supposed bad management. The reality is Adam Lind would have been the starting left fielder next year anyway and Johnson would have been out the door, besides that, one player will not turn this team around if that is even possible. It’s going to take everybody making a contribution game in and game out. My own take on this situation is simple, the guys they are paying to drive in runs (Rolen, Stairs, Wells and Rios) are not driving them in. I don’t care if Rios is hitting .288 this month if he’s not going to get the hits when they count. He could hit .500 and if he does not drive in or score a run he may as well have hit .000. The objective of the game is to score the most runs to win, not pile up the most statistics.

    It’s funny how the Jays once had four players with 20 home runs at the All Star break, and this year they might not have a single player with 10 of them. Home runs, especially those with men on base, have a demoralizing effect on the opposition and give your pitcher a hell of a lift.

    This club has now drifted nine games out of first place. At the rate they are going, they will have drifted out of the wild card picture by the All Star break.

    I know this isn’t anything you haven’t heard or read before, but I’m a realist, not a romantic.

    MW: I’ll still take the guy who hits .500.

    - Jim Branscome
  30. 30.

    For the fellow who was asking for some historical context for the current offensive struggles – we may have jumped the shark at Batter’s Box, we may not be the Cool Kidz anymore, but we still actually research things like that. We currently have some “More Thoughts on a Dysfunctional Offense” on the front page, which compares the current crew to the 1997 team. And although the 1997 team was even worse at scoring runs (they were last in the AL) than this year’s bunch, there are good reasons to like them better anyway. Their problems were easier to identify, and they had some obviously promising young bats.

    MW: You guys jumped the shark a few years ago, but you still do good research, for sure. It’s unbelievable that that team only had two players hit more than 16 homers.

    - Daniel McIlroy
  31. 31.

    Assuming this is another one, how many consecutive years is this now without meaningful baseball in August?

    MW: 15?

    - Charles
  32. 32.

    Monsieur Wilner,

    Do you think the season is over now? I kid, I kid. I’m not going to go there.

    Can you do me a favour and ask J.P. to do us all a solid and call up Adam Lind? We’ll let it slide that he should have been up here for good once The Big Hurt was released. What’s done is done. Just tell him to get Lind up here now, for the rest of the season, to start everyday in left field, because things cannot possibly get any worse and Kevin Mench isn’t doing much of anything. And tell him I said thanks.

    And remember, you’re a rudey.

    Cheers.

    MW: Lind wouldn’t replace Mench, though. You can ask J.P. yourself, just call the show tonight!

    - eyebleaf
  33. 33.

    yeah mike, how many of rios, wells, overbay, hill were free agents? you see, none of them had to be signed to extensions. Atlanta is a perfect example of how to do it. andru jones was having MONSTER years but they said no we’ll let you become a free agent. he then had a bad year and some foolish gm gave him a 2 year deal and now look at him. you’re right there are no bad contracts on this team. the next gm will love having to clean up this mess, wells six more years, rios 5 more years, hill overbay years. at least JP had the decency to clean up one of his stupid contracts in thomas and aj can’t wait to jump ship. the next few years look pretty bleak. mike how many teams in the AL have not won 90 games in the past 14 years? you can write tampa off that list cuz it looks like they will win 90 this year so that leaves KC and you guessed it. thanks JP how much you wanna bet JP resigns before getting canned?

    MW: Tampa’s not going to win 90 games, and the future doesn’t look bleak at all. As for J.P. resigning, get serious – how many G.M.’s can you think of in sports who have ever fallen on their swords because their teams haven’t performed? Can you name one?

    - rocco
  34. 34.

    It’s amazing how quickly things change in baseball. At this point two years ago, the Jays had more power and offense than they knew what to do with, and the pitching stunk. Flash-forward to today, and the rotation is just about the best in the league but the lineup is just about the worst in the league. It’s inexplicable.

    I just don’t think the big three cornerstones of Rios/Hill/Wells are nearly as good as we or Jays management think they are. Rolen is a good player, but certainly isn’t capable of being the leader of an offense at this point in his career. Overbay is another good complimentary part, but again, shouldn’t be one of the three best hitters on a team that expects to contend. Stewart, Stairs, Zaun, Eckstein….these are all guys who should be the eighth or ninth best hitters in your lineup, but unfortunately they’re taking up four spots in the Toronto lineup.

    I dunno, after 72 games, I’m convinced. This team doesn’t have an Oakland-esque second half comeback run in them. I hope I’m wrong (and I’ll happily eat my words if this team can finally get things firing on all cylinders), but this looks like another lost season. Frankly, it’s time to blow things up in Toronto. Fire Gibbons, fire JP, ditch half the roster and start anew. This crew clearly can’t get it done.

    MW: Here’s hoping you wind up eating your words.

    - Alex P
  35. 35.

    At this point in the Jays frustrating season I would prefer a loss Wednesday night to spice up the WWJP. Gotta get the entertainment somehow.

    MW: Shaun Marcum is the king of no-decisions, so you’ve got that working for you, at least.

    - Ari
  36. 36.

    mike, you don’t think contracts have anything to do with performance? take a look at ichiro, he signs his big deal and now is having his worst career year. moral hazard

    MW: So no player should ever sign a long-term contract for big bucks?

    - rocco
  37. 37.

    Bring back the Ernie Whitt for manager nonsense. That was hilarious.

    All kidding aside, this team is obviously getting incredibly frustrating to watch. It feels as though because this team has had more hype around it (and justifiably so) than any other J.P.-led Jays outfit, each loss is significantly more painful. The problem gets compounded by the horrifyingly gut-wrenching style that has been the Jays’ weapon of choice this season, and voila. Armchair G.M.’s unite! Gibby’s head, J.P.’s head, whoever! SOMEONE MUST PAY!

    I love the logic (or lack thereof) of the ‘When IS it really time to panic?’ camp…Isn’t the thing we’re constantly taught to do when faced with an emergency is to NOT panic? Why is that little nugget of knowledge disregarded by the sports world?

    I guess the closer they get, the farther away we, as fans, feel. The carrot is seemingly dangling in the Jays’ collective faces, and with every loss we (the fans) are petrified of having the carrot fall out of reach.

    All I can say is, at least we’ve got a carrot.

    Go Jays Go.

    MW: Carrots are good and good for you. I think the problem is more the weapon of choice than the hype. Even if there was no hype, seeing all these games that the Jays are right in, but losing, is a killer.

    - Steve
  38. 38.

    Hey Mike,

    It may be a little late to make a comment about Sundays game, but I was at the game and I noticed something the Cubs were doing that I didn’t see the Jays doing. In the top of the 3rd, I saw the Cubs hitters perfectly placing hit balls into short right field.

    For the Jays, I noticed the Cubs were playing the field for doubles, except for Johnny Mac, and the Jays kept hitting the ball deep.

    My questions are: Is the scouting report for the opposing teams’ outfielders to play deep? Are the Jays hitters to focused on hitting the ball deep instead of just getting hits?

    Thanks again Mike,

    Ryan

    MW: The Jays’ hitters are focused on trying to hit the ball hard, so are the Cubs’.

    - ryan
  39. 39.

    Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful team, That started from this lake ontario port, aboard this tiny ship. JP was a mighty sailin’ man, the Gibster brave and sure. 26 passengers set sail that day for a three hour game. A three hour game.

    The pitching started getting rough, the tiny team was tossed. If not for the courage of the fearless wilner, the hitters would be lost. The hitters would be lost. The team set ground on the shore of this uncharted rogers dome, with ernie, pevey too, ted rogers and his wife, the burnett star, and the rest, here on wilner’s isle!

    MW: 26 passengers?

    - bubba
  40. 40.

    Some good news for everyone..to change the tone.

    Arencibia went 2/4 with 3 rbi in his AA debut and Snider went deep again for his 10th AA dinger..i think that give him 14.

    Ryan Patternson is approaching the 300 mark with some power.

    Lind had two more hits and is now hitting 330…wonder if he could save some of those for the big show.

    snider is two years away, and should not be rushed..but im fairly confident he’d outhomer Rios, Wiklerson, Mench, and stewart combined if given 650 PA next year.

    - sammy
  41. 41.

    Just had to comment on you saying Rios (.288/.345/.365 for June) “certainly hasn’t been awful”. A corner OFer that slugs under .400 is awful. Looking at the season he is slugging .371 and there is only 4 outfielders with 200 at bats in the AL slugging worse. So I would say yeah he has certainly been awful. You have to hit for some power if you are going to be a corner outfielder in the Majors. Or get on base at a .400 clip.

    I guess it is worth noting that Wilkerson and Stewart are both slugging worse than Rios but then Wilkerson has been released by 2 different teams in the past year so he’s doing about what you would expect.

    As for firing Gibby….he has done amazingly well with the pitching staff this season and handling the pitching staff was his weakness last year. But fair or not…the team isn’t performing. To me…he should have been fired for saying what a great player Wilkerson is, if you think what he’s been doing is great you shouldn’t be getting paid to manage.

    He and the batting coach ought to go…batting coach has to go because the team isn’t batting and….well batting is right in his job title. Might not be fair but if your job title was sales manager and there are no sales you’d be fired. If you are hitting coach and there is no hitting you gotta be fired too.

    Also Wilkerson should be released. Stewart, if he hadn’t been hurt should have been released. Since we don’t owe these guys much money and they can’t/don’t hit like a major league outfielder let them go. It might tell the other players ‘see: to have a roster spot on a major league team have to hit like a major league player’.

    MW: You can’t release Stewart while he’s on the disabled list, and Wilkerson hasn’t been released by two teams in the past year, just Seattle. Rios has been underperforming, without question – especially given what he’s done the last couple of years, but he hasn’t been awful by any objective measurement. I’ll grant you, he’s no Reed Johnson, but just barely.

    - Tom Dakers
  42. 42.

    Most certainly, it is unfair that Gibbons lose his job. It is J.P. who hasn’t built the farm system (rated one of the very worst in baseball). Instead of having good young talent to bring up, J.P. goes around picking up cast-offs from other teams, who seldom really work out — look at who he has picked up this season (they have the odd good game or good week, but that’s it). For all your obvious knowledge about baseball stats, I see you and your station (except the Bobcat) as apologists for J.P., not surprisingly as your station is a Rogers station and saying that the Jays are in big trouble this year and in the future wouldn’t go over very well with your bosses. The discussion you should be having is about the poor job J.P. has done in building an entire organization. J.P. is the teflon man and you and your station are keeping it that way.

    MW: I shake my head when people say things like “people are too easy on J.P.”.

    - Blair
  43. 43.

    I hope they don’t fire Gibbons as an attempt to turn around the season and only do so believing that the offense is utterly hopeless (and will remain so) and there need to be big changes. And in that case, I hope they fire JP at the same time so that a new manager can start remaking the team as soon as possible.

    Also, with AJ’s history of injuries, does that put any pressure on the Jays to trade him, lest his value after the season plummet and we keep him for two more years?

    MW: Utterly hopeless?

    - bg
  44. 44.

    Your sarcasm in responding to writers’ points is occasionally funny but it’s starting to wear thin since you keep using it to defend the indefensible. This team needs to be shaken up badly, with whatever actions are open to them. Firing Gibbons is not fair? Who cares — that is irrelevant. This is the majors where everyone makes huge money to get the job done. It’s not getting done.

    Forget your friend Gibbons for a moment and look at it on a general level. Your view seems to be that a manager is basically a figurehead who is not accountable for a team’s record. When is firing a manager justified then?

    MW: When things become untenable, when the players quit, when a bunch of them start whining in public, when a manager is making moves that are actually costing his team games, when a team thoroughly collapses in historic fashion, when a team radically underperforms. None of those things apply to the Blue Jays.

    - John
  45. 45.

    Another one – yikes this is just so unbelievable as to the hitting. Well not really – as with any sport when some key players “slump” offensively it can and most often does run right on through the lineup.

    All it would take is for one or two guys to get “hot” and the rest will follow.

    Rios – man I’m sorry but he is looking “ball shy” when it comes to keeping his head on the ball – no wonder he is unable to hit for any power lately – he is pulling his head off the pitch constantly, That’s a tough fix but not un-fixable if he has become “ball/pitch shy”.

    When I played ball the coaches used to put anyone who was doing that up against a post (their back to the post) then pitch to them – no way you can back off the pitch and it also teaches how to hit an “inside pitch”. Crude – yes – but it did work somewhat- even with a few bruises.

    Eventhough a club can go into a funk like this as to offense collectively – you have to believe and I truly believe that collectively they will come out of it and start producing – big time.

    I never knew Marcum was a diabetic hence the reason for wearing the glasses of late was due to shadows etc while pitching at night. Most certainly diabetes effects eye sight – that’s a tough when your diagnosed with something like that later in life (2004 for him).

    Hey Mike – I don’t think the uniforms are any kind of an issue as to playing the game – however don’t you think it would be nice to see consistentcy or at least some kind of “dress code” as to how the uniforms are worn. Case in point – looking at Fielder last night – he reminds me of a “rapper” wearing a baggy outfit – to me anyway it didn’t look very professional.

    I still like the old days that way when the baseball uniform was worn as it was intended to be worn – just looks all around much neater and more team oriented. Being a huge Red Sox fan in those days (pre-Jays days). Just watching the guys on the field all wearing the uniforms the same (for the most part) – looked sharp!

    Thanks

    p.s. nice to hear Toth apologize while you were on the BP yesterday – although I didn’t buy the excuse of just being an “on-air” rookie of 6 months and wasn’t aware of the “code” stuff – just apologize and make no excuse!

    MW: Yeah, there’s no code, but the apology was nice. As for your take on the uniforms, ignore the unimportant. And it’s McGowan with the diabetes and the specs, but I know you knew that. Those two are inextricably linked.

    - Bob
  46. 46.

    Mike…we are regular listeners to the Jays and of
    course you after the game…
    BUT! It is getting very very
    disgusting to listen to the
    games with the jays playing
    so bad…Gibbons should be fired quickly and JP at the end of the season when some
    good Gm’s are available…
    Love your Show & your Blog….

    Robert & Betty Goodwin

    - Robert Goodwin
  47. 47.

    Hi Mike,

    First, I think you have full control and the right to ommit comments such as Scott’s in your blog. That’s the most stupid comment I’ve seen in you blog. Just get rid of it, Mike!

    Now, backto the Jays… I’m a fan of the Jays, but also a fan of baseball. I don’t like hockey. I wait all winter for baseball… Yet, yesterday was the first day I ever remember changing the channel away from the Jays… They’re awful to watch.

    Again Mike, I hope you’re right in that is too early to say is all over now. However, most likely you’re not right this time. Anything can happen in baseball, but the chances of the Jays making the playoffs are just as slim as the chances of get a win when you’re down by 10 runs in the bottom of the nine and you have Papelbon in the mound.

    MW: The chances aren’t even remotely close to that slim.

    - Axel
  48. 48.

    Good morning Mike, hope you’re well.
    A first for me last night, I turned off the game after the seventh. I’m not bailing out or jumping ship (until the next time they win three in a row, right?) I just didn’t want to watch any more of the Jays last night. I’ll try again tonight, especially as I want to see Marcum hit.
    Interesting point apropos of nothing in your blog, but they mentioned on TV that McGowan is wearing the glasses due to vision changes cased by type 2 diabetes. That was rather inspirational in the Kita household, as Mr. Kita was recently diagnosed.
    Changing gears again, thank you for attempting to make people see that the ‘strategy’ they are talking about affects a real human being and his family; that firing Gibbons has ramifications, unlike in fantasy baseball. That being said, I really hope they change the way they’re playing soon, both for Gibbons’ sake and for the fans. For you too, that way you can answer different questions, instead of being asked to predict when soon becomes late and early becomes over.
    Finally, a question. I don’t have a great eye, but watching Wells these days, while he looks fine (to me) at the plate, he seems to be popping up a bit more than usual for him. (I know, he’s always ben a bit pop up prone.) Do you think this is a result of timing or minute adjustments from his injury, or perhaps an attempt to hit it slightly differently in order to protect his still tender wrist? Thanks Mike.

    MW: Glad to hear McGowan has some new fans! I haven’t noticed it with Wells, because as you say he’s always been kind of pop-up prone, but given what happened on the weekend, maybe he has changed things around a bit to protect the wrist.

    - kita
  49. 49.

    Hey Mike,
    I agree with you that the offense is to blame. I also believe that JP has assembled a poor hitting lineup that lacks the needed ‘fear’ and power in the middle (all due respect to Vernon). But, what I really don’t understand with your thoughts is regarding the manager. Not Gibbons, just the ‘manager’ in general. You seem to imply that the manager is not responsible for much of anything. If the pitchers weren’t pitching well, it’s on them. Likewise for the hitters. The ‘approach’ the hitters or pitchers take also seems to be ‘okay’. So, in your mind, what is the role of the manager other than filling out the lineup card? If we can’t blame the manager for the results of the team, what can we blame him for? And, if the manager isn’t all that important (the ‘quality’ of the players is), then why do teams shop around for ‘better’ managers and pay the better managers bigger money. There must be ‘something’ to being a manager, and isn’t wins/losses how you judge the quality of the manager. I mean, nobobdy gives big contracts to losing record coaches because they ‘like them as people’. Results is all that matters, and at this point: Gibbons has been here a long time without results.

    MW: Sure, wins and losses are the ultimate judge of everything, but it still comes down to the players on the field. Is Jim Leyland a terrible manager now after being brilliant for two years? Was Lou Piniella a terrible manager when he was in Tampa Bay? What happened to Cito Gaston as a manager that he went from winning four division titles (and two World Series) in five years to a guy with a .445 winning percentage over the next four years? And I wouldn’t say that the approach the hitters are taking is ‘okay’ – it’s awful, but it’s the hitters who are responsible.

    - Michael
  50. 50.

    Mike you mentioned that something was wrong with Scott Rolen but did not mention what. Do you care to explain. And also is Dustin’s home dominance and his awful performance on the road something in his head or does he just happen to pitch poorly every time he goes south of the border. Thanks Mike!

    MW: I don’t know what’s wrong with Rolen, but he doesn’t look comfortable at the plate. He looks fine defensively, though. As for McGowan, the stats are skewed because of the horrible outing in Cleveland, but even taking that out wouldn’t even things out.

    - John Terry
  51. 51.

    Hi Mike,

    I’m out of town so couldn’t watch the game, but I read about it…

    I agree with you that Gibbons isn’t to blame for this, even though I suspect he will be gone by the end of the week. Ricciardi put this team together, and Ricciardi is to blame for this. I hope that Godfrey is as we speak interviewing prospective GMs because if Gibby is out of town on a rail, his boss should surely ride shotgun!

    MW: Ricciardi’s not to blame for this, either. WELLS, RIOS, OVERBAY, HILL and all the other underachieving offensive players are.

    - isabella reyes
  52. 52.

    Wilner continues to pretend he’s objective by so often coming to the defence of JP and Gibbons. He uses terms like “unfair” and “scapegoat” in describing any move that would be made to fire the manager.

    The simple fact remains: Wilner is employed by Rogers (directly or in part as a freelancer) and it would be insubordination for him as a co-worker of sorts to JP and by extension Gibbons (all on Rogers’ payroll in one capacity or another) to call for the firing of either the GM or manager before Rogers upper management itself makes that decison — if and when they do. Not to mention the fact that he has a Wed show with JP, which further puts him in a conflict of interest of sorts. Hmmm. How comfortable would the next installment be if Wilner called for JP’s firing after another loss in Milwaukee?

    MW: THIS is a comment I shouldn’t have posted. You’re so full of crap.

    - Brad
  53. 53.

    Hey Mike, if Gibbons does get the axe in the next little while (whether it’s warranted or not – I believe not), who do you think are the candidates to take over for him?

    Sorry if this has been asked/answered already, I’ve been working crazy hours lately and haven’t had time to read every comment of yours recently (but I will eventually!)

    MW: Davey Johnson? Jim Fregosi? Buck Showalter? It’d have to be someone who has done this before, the Jays can’t hire another rookie manager if Gibbons goes.

    - Randy
  54. 54.

    Hey Mike,

    One of the ideas about Rios’ power decline that I’ve been kicking around with friends, but haven’t brought up when I’ve had the chance to get through to JaysTalk is the fact that he was in the Derby last year. It’s been rumored before to throw guys off and I think since the derby he’s hit a total of 6 dingers?

    I do like the move at trying him at the leadoff spot, as that certainly had him hitting the ball well last year, but I do agree with you that it’s time to get him out of there.

    Thanks Mike!

    MW: It’s a long time to still have home run derbyitis.

    - Luke
  55. 55.

    Mike, I agree with you John Gibbons is not the problem here, however the two men who have created the atmosphere of complacency are. It is very apparent from reading and listening and watching that this team really has no personality and no identity. Other GM’s have been fired for performing better than JP’s teams have.

    MW: No personality and no identity. That’s code for “I can’t explain what’s wrong, but this sounds good.”

    - Bob
  56. 56.

    Remember May……..what a great month, LOL!!! Mike you must be a Leaf fan as well because every October the Leaf fans say they are playoff bound and have a great team but every April they are done with everybody saying if they only won a few games earlier in the year……Well you sing the exact same tune about the Jays and I realize you get paid to be argumentative on your blogs but the fact of the matter is the Jays have showed all year long how they aren’t even close to being a competitive team and now they have lost 8 of their last 11 with no signs of putting it together. I’m still waiting for that winning streak you keep talking about in all your comments so i can get back on the wagon, LOL!!

    May was a great month too bad it was only a very small percentage of the season but hey there’s still lots of time isn’t there, LOL!!! The Fat Lady is warming up…….

    MW: OK, that’s it. That’s the last comment that gets published in which someone says that Rogers is telling me what to say or that I’m paid to be argumentative or any other crap like that.

    - Beans26
  57. 57.

    Hi Mike,

    Just have one question. As a serious fan for only the past few years I have noticed the Jays don’t play much in the way of small ball (bunting, stealing bases, etc.). Although this year at the start they seemed to be doing a lot more of it. Any reason you can think of as to why they shyed away from that recently?

    MW: Because it doesn’t help a team win.

    - Andrew
  58. 58.

    Mike,

    I agree with your statement on Gibbons, that it’s not entirely his fault that the team’s not hitting… and if it were one or two players in a slump, that’d be one thing. But when you’re looking at a team-wide slump where EVERYONE is hitting below their average, I think that speaks to something more endemic. I think JP needs to pull the trigger quickly at this point, before th6.e team slides too far back. As you said before, it’s not the number of games we are back, but the number of teams in between us and the WC. Right now, that number is 6 (with Detroit and Cleveland nipping at our heels).

    Right now I feel like JP’s fiddling while the Jays are burning.

    MW: I don’t see any fiddling, and I don’t see the jump in logic that says that there must be something systemically wrong because so many people are underperforming.

    - Kevin
  59. 59.

    So is the Brewer’s mascot going to have to go on the DL today due to massive burns on his rear from all of the rides down the slide last night?

    MW: If this keeps up, I can see it happening.

    - Mike M
  60. 60.

    You mentioned last night on JaysTalk that (paraphrasing, hope this is somewhat accurate) ‘Rolen doesn’t look right’ at the plate. What’s your guess? The finger, the shoulder, or something else? I’m concerned myself that it’s the shoulder.

    MW: I’m not concerned that it’s the shoulder. That thing has been surgered three times, it should be almost bionic by now. I have no guess as to what’s wrong, that’d be really irresponsible.

    - Ryan
  61. 61.

    “Look at this – the Jays have actually driven me to consider small sample sizes and act as though they mean something!!!!!”

    Most hilarious thing you`ve written all year (in a good – nah GREAT – way!)

    As for teams over the course of history that compare to the Jays, the `66 Dodgers actually had league average offense (when you adjust for how tough it was to score at Chavez) and their pitching was dramatically better than the rest of the league. Neither is true for Toronto. It’s not a good fit.

    MW: Well, it was just off the top of my head. What about other Dodger teams of that era?

    - Michael
  62. 62.

    Mike I know you dont think GIbbons should be fired and its not his fault. But something has to change. We need a manager to give this team a giant kick in the ass. Light a fire under some of these guys get them going. Also i think Rolen’s shoulder might be done for good hes got no power left in it.finally how far is Travis Snyder away i know we shouldnt rush him but any chance we see him this year?

    MW: Not much of a chance. Rolen wasn’t brought in here to hit 30 homers, though. I said when the trade happened that he’d be the perfect two-hitter for this team. It’s just a shame that they don’t seem to have a 3 or a 4.

    - Jeff Ferguson
  63. 63.

    Perhaps a reason to fire Gibbons is to get someone in there to motivate the players in a different perspective. Maybe they need a controversial Ozzie Guillen type to single out underperforming players. Does cursing at your players and media people help you win games? maybe not, but at this point nothing else is either, so they might as well try.

    MW: That’s one of the “wrong reasons” I pointed out in the post.

    - Shmuel Yitzchok
  64. 64.

    Mike, thanks for commenting on my Doc & AJ for Reed & Pine Tar joke. You didn’t comment on the serious part of my question though. Would you rather have a new GM on board during the season so he can evaluate the current group, or wait until you might have more options for a GM in the off season.

    Thanks!

    MW: I think that if you change the GM, whoever you bring in is going to have plenty of access to information about the team. Bringing a guy in in August so that he can watch the last two seasons of a team that’s not going anywhere and assess based on that is problematic.

    - Chris - Kitchener
  65. 65.

    Hey Mike,

    The hitters don’t seem to be going the other way too much do they. It seems that other teams are just living on the outside corner and getting the Jays hitters to reach out and pop it up or ground out to short. It seems like the majority of this lineup is so anxious, they can’t just sit back and drive the ball the other way. I know from experience just how hard it is to pull a fastball on the outside corner and have any kind of success. You gotta hit it where it’s pitched. That, combined with their lack of aggresiveness in hitters counts makes up the reasons why this team is struggling offensively. I have seen WAY too many 2-0 fastballs go right down broadway, almost like they’re afraid to swing for fear of hitting into a DP or popping it up. I agree with you though. Gibbons is going to be gone very shortly unless they turn it around in a hurry, even though he shouldn’t be the fall guy. This is J.P.’s team and although he assembled what looked like a good team on paper, in reality they’re awful(the hitters I mean, the pitching staff is great). I’m not even sure yet that J.P. should be fired, but what I do know is that something has got to change and outside of trading the whole lineup what else can be done? I know, I know, the hitters can start hitting, but I’m starting to doubt that it is going to happen this year unless something changes. Maybe wayne is right though, if they all come out in high socks tonight they’ll hit 6 bombs and win 11-0. Or maybe not…

    - CP
  66. 66.

    Okay Mike, I have to call you on this: on one hand you say that the Jays players have much better career numbers than they’re displaying this year, so they simply CAN’T continue this terrible trend, leading one to assume that you don’t believe the team make-up is the problem. This would also lead one to assume that you feel JP has put together a solid team (which is something I’ve believed myself up to this point).
    But in response to someone else’s post, you claim that “Gibbons can only work with what JP has given him”, and mention that you think JP is more at fault than Gibby. So which is it? Has JP assembled a bunch of over-valued players, and Gibbons is unfairly going to become the scapegoat for the teams woes? Or has JP assembled a talented team whos career numbers would promote a winning franchise, only to be dragged down by the cancer that is John Gibbons?
    It always seems that you alleviate any responsibility from Gibby: the guy can do no wrong. Why even have a manager if they “can’t go out and hit for them”? What CAN they be blamed for? Across the board, in every sport, managers are the ones to blame when teams aren’t doing well. That’s the nature of the position. I think it’s completely fair to fire Gibbons as a result of years of a non-playoff ballclub.
    At the end of the day, ONE of the two has to be shown the door (or both). Either stick with the players and personnel decisions (i.e. JP) you’ve made and kick Gibby to the curb, or dump JP and get a whole set of new players for the all-knowing, all-powerful Gibbons to manage.

    MW: I love it when people call me on stuff that I didn’t say, and I also love it when people call me on stuff that they take completely out of context. The question I was asked was that if ONE of J.P. or Gibbons had to go, I had to choose one, couldn’t say fire neither, which would I choose. The answer is Ricciardi, because he’s far more responsible for what’s on the field than is Gibbons. That doesn’t mean that I think the team isn’t any good.

    - John
  67. 67.

    Re: Post #9 -David-

    If you’re a baseball fan cheer up pal! Get to the park June 24th-26th when the Reds are in town for several reasons. (unfortunately they don’t have a lot to do with the Jays…)

    - POSSIBLY the last time you’ll ever see Ken Griffey Jr. live in Toronto again.

    - Preview of Monster cleanup hitter Adam Dunn, a player the Jays could POSSIBLY get at the trade deadline assuming they’re not out of the race. (Also Mike Wilner’s candidate in the great ‘Bay vs Dunn’ debate!)

    - Youngsters Jay Bruce and Canadian Joey Votto from Etobicoke. Two of the best young hitters in the game today.

    The Red’s are a fun team to watch, get out to the park!

    MW: Why did you have to throw that apostrophe in there?

    - Ryan
  68. 68.

    Maybe a spanking will wake them up!!! No one should feel safe in the lockerroom from an offensive standpoint. Many people said with this team that it would almost have to be perfect to get in the playoffs.

    There is nothing convincing me that the offence won’t turn around until mid August when it may be too late.

    I would hate to be a pitcher on this staff, because they have got to be feeling a massive amount of pressure, konwing they can’t give up more than 2 runs or they will probably be hit with an L.

    Maybe they should get some hats for bats and learn to hit curveball like Cerano in Major League!!!

    Or watch the Natural and listen to the psychologist they brought in the lockerroom!!!

    When will Zaun be back behind the plate. Let Barajas DH for a bit. His defense looked a little suspect back there. I don’t think he caught a throw from the OF.

    MW: So, in mid-August the offense will turn around?

    - Aaron Ker
  69. 69.

    Hey Mike

    I like your insight but your view on the Jays plight seems to be one of wait and see. You don’t think it is the Manager’s fault, you don’t think it is the GM’s fault you don’t see any trade possibilities. Obviously the hitters are choking at the plate, but tough decisions have to be made. Cito came in when the Jays started the year off 12-24. Things improved. Same players with some tweaking later in the season resulted in a better record. It is time to turn the page and look ahead. 1 player will not get this team into the playoffs. 1 bat is not the answer. There are many holes to fill, but the pitching staff is the pride of the American League. A shake up has to happen now if for no other reason then to have a new philosophy (a winning one) for the last half of the season.

    MW: You’re not alone in thinking that the current front office/coaching staff doesn’t have a winning philosophy, but I don’t know what would make you think that.

    - Chris
  70. 70.

    Mike,

    Seven years with JP, it hasn’t worked. Its time for him to go and The Jays go in a different direction. You compare this team with Colorado, Philly which is ridiculous. Tell me Mike, who’s going to hit the instant RBI’s on this team? I must say you are a dreamer and little reality would help. I guess that’s why we read blogers question you credablilty.

    MW: I’m not at all concerned with you questioning my credibility, Bruno.

    - bruno
  71. 71.

    Do you think the Jays philosophy at the plate is hindering their offense?

    As a caller on your postgame show last night alluded to, Jesse Barfield said on TV the other day that “this is very hard to watch.”

    MW: It is hard to watch – but seriously, does anyone honestly think that the Jays’ hitters are being sent up to the plate having been told to let the first two good pitches go by, because they’ll probably get something else to hit later in the count? How stupid do you all think these people are?

    - Cam
  72. 72.

    Mike,

    Just for sake of shaking up things, and making Rios,wells,overbay,zaun..etc realise how terrible they are, why not have marcum bat clean up, and Doc to DH. Instead of making Gibb pay for this, lets shake up things this way. Have fans laugh at our lineup maybe that’l wake em up. My suggested line up:
    1. Ecstein
    2. Marco
    3. Inglett
    4. Marcum
    5. Doc (DH)
    6. Barajas (first base)
    7. Jonny Mac
    8. Wilkerson
    9. mech

    - Haroon
  73. 73.

    This team is officially pathetic. You really only need to tune into 5 minutes of every game as that is the time it requires to become so frustrated that you need to turn it off. There is absolutely no leader on this team. Every post game interview is the same, Gibbons says, “Dem the breaks, that’s the way baseball goes” no player has stepped up and taken responsibility for what is going on. This has become your typical Toronto team, it’s a real nice place to play, no responsibility and everyone makes excuses for your poor play. When you sign to play in Toronto it’s like joining a real nice Country Club.

    MW: Has there been a new thought brought forth in the last two months? I’m really getting sick of this.

    - chris
  74. 74.

    He Mike,

    Caught the pregame show and I must say that some of the comments you made started to get to me.

    One in particular is you stated that there are 9-10 guys in the the Jay’s minor league system that other teams are interested in. How do you know this? Do you speak to other GM’s or is this just another so called fact that you throw out to the listeners?

    Another is that the season isn’t over. This is true for there are still some 90 games to be played but for the Jays making the postseason that goal is for sure over. Actually come to think of it J.P. hasn’t stated that was the goal but instead the goal is to be playing meaningful games come September….how pathetic a goal is this from a G.M. that has done nothing in the 7 years that he has been here other than waste Mr.Rogers money on buyouts and poor contracts.

    This team is so frustrating and I am looking forward to more and more fans saying enough of this and we want change.

    MW: Just another so-called fact. I make stuff up all the time.

    - Corey
  75. 75.

    Mike, am I the only one who finds it ludicrous that the same fans who rip Gibby for “lack of passion”, are those that also rip him for “physically abusing two of his players”?

    Come on, people — you can’t have it both ways! If he sat back and “took it” when Lilly was in the process of coughing up an 8 run lead, (and then turned it into a physical confrontation with his boss), or when Shea Hillenbrand decided to “get smart” on the clubhouse blackboard, you would be all over him (Gibbons) for being too passive. Yet because he did react in anger, you claim he is “out of control”.

    As the Swirsk would say, “what’s up with that”?

    - Norm
  76. 76.

    Mike,

    I understand where your coming from. The Jays get on base, their career averages as individuals are much better than what they are doing this year (Can’t say I age with this)

    Eck – ’08-.281 Career.286
    Hill – ’08-.263 Career.284
    Rios – ’08-.268 Career.285
    Wells – ’08-.276 Career.281
    Rolen – ’08-.276 Career.283
    Stairs – ’08-.257 Career.267
    Overbay – ’08-.261 Career.281
    Zaun – ’08-.266 Career.252
    Bajaras – ’08-.285 Career.243
    Wilkerson-’08-.247 Career.250
    Stewart – ’08-.240 Career.297

    So if we are really going to focus on guys below career average its Hill, Rios, Overbay and Stewart. The rest are above or right on (although I think the power is out). Of those 4 only Overbay and Rios are really difference makers and both have been terrible. Maybe Rios is not the hitter everyone thought he was going to be after the first 1/2 of last season. (Maybe it was the HR contest) And Overbay hasn’t been the same since breaking his wrist.

    Bottom line – this offense NEEDs those guys to produce. I think Rios has taken a monster step back and I now wish JP had of trade him to the Giants, at the time I thought it was shooting the O in the foot. Overbay is a good big leaguer, but he is not a long term solution at 1st (see Prince Fielder). I think he should turn it around unless his wrist is not the same.

    Rolen’s shoulder is better but I am not sure he’ll ever have a .500 plus suggling season again.

    So while this team is not coming up big in situational hitting , their numbers are not fair off career numbers. I thought going into this season they were going to need Rios to continue to improve, a solid season from Overbay, Wells and Rolen, and Hill to have a career year. Rolen and Wells have shown up, but Rios needs a kick in the ass.

    The team lacks talent on offense and your right, that is no reason to fire a manager. Willie had the talent. The Jay are razor thin on talent, expect pitching. I don’t avocate trading a pitcher for a hitter and I don’t think anyone is going to take the Jays crap and give back gold. But I would like to either see if some of the young guns are ready to produce, but maybe the Jay have no Jay Bruce, or try to find some pure power minor leaguer and ditch one of the 3 minor league catchers they have.

    MW: Do that chart again with their slugging percentages instead of batting averages.

    - JW
  77. 77.

    Wow! Talk about a rollercoaster ride: the depths of despair watching teh Jays, then flipping channels to the Lakers-Celtics game and the jubilation of that blowout. JP said that he’d look at this team towards the end of June and then decide whether they are contenders or not. Based on their current position in the standings, they are most assuredly NOT contending. Therefore, what is JP going to do (besides fire Gibby, which I am not advocating)? Are we likely to see some minor leaguers up with the big club starting right after the All-Star break? Before the break? I can’t watch this anymore!!! At least somebody start leaning in for some HBPs or something!

    MW: We still have almost two weeks until the end of June, and the team is two games under .500.

    - Vava
  78. 78.

    If upper management had anything to do with not signing Barry Bonds (or interfering with any other baseball move), then both Gibby and JP should be safe. You can’t hold someone responsible if you don’t give them responsibility. Almost any baseball person would agree that Barry Bonds would have completely changed this lineup and its effectiveness. It would probably improve the performance of guys like Rios, Rolen and Wells and give the team a legitimate home run threat who will take walks.

    - Jim B
  79. 79.

    My point about the uniforms is that this is not a team, they are a collection of individual players with no clear leader. No one is getting mad, no one is throwing their helmet or breaking bats over their knee. You can be a team in many ways. The red wings have a family approach with likeable owner. The old A’s all had the mustashes in uniformity. The “its us against the world” has worked countless times. Tell me how this team defines itself? When you have this many player preforming below their ability all at the same time – it is not a coinsidence. For a team that changes it uniforms every year (then wears 20 year old ROAD uniforms at home) it is obivious that no one has a clue what this team is. Like I say, lets start by looking like a team and that will define us around the league. Then maybe we can start to play like a team.

    Right now guys come here and our losing ways rub off on them. Name the last free agent that came here and was a all-star or at least had a better year then he did befroe he came here. After the way we treated Clemens I knew it would be hard to get any name guys to come here and now wtih the Thomas fiasco – I hope we have a good farm system as what free agent in their right mind would sign to come here?

    MW: Rod Barajas. Really, the idea that uniform affects performance is so ridiculous that I might have to make up a new word for it.

    - wayne
  80. 80.

    Mike,

    Love the titles of your Blogs. Do you come up with them on your own or is there a copywriter who does this? Seems you got the music playing as you blog.

    Keep up the good work!

    KK

    MW: I come up with them on my own and the only music playing is in my head. Thanks!

    - karim kanji
  81. 81.

    It is just sad. Oh well, there is always next year.

    - David Clano
  82. 82.

    Mike,

    I am crushed! My favourite team in pro sports, LA Lakers lost. It was ugly. Jays aren’t helping the matter either. Life sucks. I am in a state of mourning today. Need some mental therapy, any tips?

    MW: Remember that it’s only sports.

    - Beburg
  83. 83.

    In response to the comments concerning the Blue Jays’ “woeful” farm system, here are some facts (as of Wed. am, June 18)

    AAA — Syracuse Chiefs, record 40-31 (.563), 3rd in Northern Division, 2.5 GBL. (Red Sox and Yankee farm teams are tied for lead)

    AA — New Hampshire Fisher Cats, 25-44 (.362), Last in their division, 18 GBL (Yankees farm team in lead)

    A-Adv (Florida State) — Dunedin Blue Jays, 36-33 (.522), 3rd in Division, 9.5 GBL (Twins farm team is the first half division winner)

    A (Midwest) — Lansing Lugnuts, 39-31 (.557), won the first half pennant in their division.

    A-Short Season (NY-Penn)– Auburn Doubledays, 1-0 — just starting season, defending league champions from 2007.

    Rookie — Dominican Summer League — Blue Jays “1″ are 3-11, last in their division, while Blue Jays “2″ are 10-5, third in division 0.5 GBL.

    Rookie — Gulf Coast League –not yet started.

    With a combined record of 154-155, it would appear (without exhaustive compilation of other organization figures) that the Jays probably fall in the “middle of the pack” in terms of their total system.

    Obviously the weak link is the AA team at New Hampshire, and since AA is normally the home of some of the better organizational prospects, it is worth keeping an eye open to see if the recent promotions (Arencebia, etc.) will improve the record of this club.

    As a generality, however, I would say that classifying the Jays’ farm system as “among the worst in baseball” is not born out by the record.

    - Norm
  84. 84.

    Mike – There is a 100% chance that Gibbons is fired today. There is also a 100% chance he is not.

    It’s mind bottling

    MW: Is this A.J. Burnett?

    - Dave G
  85. 85.

    Oooops! “The Reds are a fun team to watch”. Must be like nails on a blackboard…

    - Ryan
  86. 86.

    LOL……I knew it

    - Corey
  87. 87.

    Hey Mike,
    In response to your answer to my question about what makes a manager a good manager: I think that even the “best” managers (as defined by their ability to get wins and championships) lose their team, in the sense that their tactics, approach stop working on a certain group of players. Cito didn’t go from being a good manager to a bad manager. Rather, the team got bad. Not him. What’s happening in Detroit this year is the same as here in Toronto. Should they fire Leyland? Maybe. Not because he’s a bad manager. But, rather, because the current makeup of the team and management isn’t working. Isn’t that enough? That’s why teams hire and fire managers … to get a different approach and a different make-up of the team. It might not be Gibbons’ fault, but that doesn’t make it ‘wrong’ or ‘unfair’ to fire him. That is the nature of his job. {And lastly, I think it is sick that some people use this blog to tell you that they wish you got fired; this is not part of your job. You need your job to feed your family. I guess, so does Gibbons, but he will find another job in baseball}

    MW: Gibby at least will get paid the rest of the year if he gets fired. But I don’t see it that the current makeup of the team and management isn’t working, I see it as the hitters aren’t hitting, and bringing in a new manager won’t change that any more than keeping the current one will.

    - Michael
  88. 88.

    Hi Mike,

    Just wanted to get your thoughts on a ‘team wide’ offensive approach to batting against a particular pitcher. Everyone talks about a ripping the first good pitch you see, whether it be the first in the ab, or not. I wonder if the Jays might cure their woes if they tried to work together offensively as a team, meaning that they worked pitchers for the benefit of those batting behind them, and perhaps talked to each other about their ab’s against a pitcher so as to be better prepared the second and third time down the order. It seems to me that when they’ve followed this type of approach – hitting as a team – they’ve had some successes (ie. Joba, and remember Stairs following Rolens multi-pitch ab’s?) and everyones confidence at the plate jumps, since they can lean on each other. Confidence for these jays batters seems extremely low, and that I’m sure you will agree is a huge hurdle to scoring runs. I mean, with RISP, an opposing pitcher usually has to come to batters and give in a little. Have you any thoughts on this type of strategy? Thanks for your hard work Mike.

    MW: I think that’s what they’re trying to do all the time – work pitchers, pass the baton if they don’t get a pitch to hit, communicate about what pitchers are doing. It’s just not working. It’s not like Rolen said to Stairs, “look, I’m going to go up there and foul off 20 pitches, then you go hit a homer.”

    - Sal
  89. 89.

    Hey Mike,
    One follow-up to my manager thread:
    My friend and I were listening to the Fan yesterday and someone mentioned Cito Gaston’s name for the Mets’ job.
    My friend and I say: Why not Cito for the Jays’ job.
    Thoughts?

    MW: Looking back often prevents you from moving forward.

    - Michael
  90. 90.

    Now is the time to trade AJ, trade either Zaun or Barajas (Why do we need both when we have Diaz and Thigpen in the Minors) and fire not Gibbons but JP, i mean the blame goes on the players and the person who brought the players here which is…JP. And Mike, when are we gonna see you on OTR again…I’m telling you…YOU SHOULD HAVE A TV SPOT!

    MW: I’m on The Grill Room every other week or so. What do you think the Jays would get for A.J. if they traded him right now?

    - S.M.
  91. 91.

    Some of the comments are pretty scathing. Maybe you should give out the e-mail addies of JP and PG….people that COULD actually make a differance. Being the whipping-boy was something you didn’t see coming, I’m sure, not with the initial quality of this team.
    One of the comments by one of the Brew Crew after the game was that he was seeing the ball in HD. Only a guess, but could our guys, for one reason or another, not be seeing the ball well? I don’t care if they all wear glasses…HIT THE BALL!! Make contact, put it in play, and the complexion of the game will change, as well as the demeanour of their fans.
    What the heck, they might even end up going on a win streak.

    MW: Free specs for everybody!

    - Jack
  92. 92.

    Mike – its still early…there’s a lot of baseball to be played…let’s not get overworked already.

    MW: Crazy, isn’t it? I didn’t anticipate having to deal with 100+ comments a day.

    - jeremy
  93. 93.

    It’s not the uniforms Mike, its the lack of uniformity, the lack of team idenity, the lack of a leader, the lack of anyone being openly p****d off at the teams preformance. That is the problem.

    MW: See the Boston Red Sox. Look at how Manny Ramirez dresses, look at how upset everyone on that team gets with Kevin Youkilis for his constant displays of being openly p***d off. Two World Series titles in four years.

    - wayne
  94. 94.

    Mike,
    I could do slugging, and maybe I will, but lets look at MLB first.
    2008 – .409
    2007 – .422
    2006 – .432
    2005 – .419
    2004 – .428
    2003 – .422
    2002 – .417
    2001 – .426
    2000 – .437

    Why is it shocking that guys are below career slugging levels when all of MLB is well below the previous 8 year average? I mean we are talking an average of .425 from 2000 to 2007 and now a 16 point drop off. Clearly it is a different era and those career stats might not hold much water.

    MW: I’ll wager the average dropoff for the Jays is well over .016.

    - JW
  95. 95.

    #84:
    I think that it was Yogi Berra.
    Thanks Mike….a little levity at a time like this is sorely needed!
    Let’s hope the game tonight is the turning point.

    - Jack
  96. 96.

    I can’t help but agree about the uniform issue. It has been just burning me up inside. You can very clearly correlate uniform uniformity to offensive production. The manager’s main priority is, and has always been, to coordinate outfits. I don’t think it should stop at the clubhouse either. The manager should be organizing what these guys wear when they go out on days off.
    (man was that ever fun)
    Finger Pointing Fever has hit toronto media. Over the past few days I have read several articles from the various papers. They all have similar themes. Fire this guy (JP), this guy’s overpaid (Wells, AJ) and the jays lack leadership.
    Sophistry and rhetoric. People!! Go look up baseball contracts. Specifically carlos silva. No blue jay is getting paid a ridiculous contract. I realize AJ is making more than Mats Sundin and that’s hard for some of you.
    thank you mike for facts, perspective and intelligent discussion. These are rarities in this world

    MW: I appreciate that.

    - jeremy
  97. 97.

    Mike – There is a 100% chance I might be lights out tomorrow and there is also a 100% chance I get hammered. Stay tuned!!!

    MW: Maybe you could do both! What else is there to do on a night off in Pittsburgh?

    - Allan James
  98. 98.

    Mike – last year Doc Rivers was a bumb (24 wins)…this year he is the toast of the town (best record and a championship)…hmmm? Did he become a great coach overnight? Maybe it had something to do with Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen! Coaches can only do so much and it will be a shame for someone to lose his job and have all the balme placed on him – when in fact he is not the reason.
    Gary

    MW: Uh-huh.

    - Gary
  99. 99.

    Holy crap! You guys are still watching the Jays play?!

    Seriously, it’s summer and I have better things to do than watch a team I LOVE disintegrate.
    Hey call me a fair weather fan if you like but I can only take getting my heart broken so many times.
    Two glaring mistakes by the management this year and I am not into forgiving them. Riccardi and Gibbons should be fired! Ernie Whitt for manager!
    The Stewart for Johnson thing is working out exactly how I anticipated, badly! The other glaring error was replacing Johnny Mac with Eckstien on a regular basis. Put Macdonald in the game regularly and we still have our stellar 2nd baseman, Aaron Hill. But that’s my opinion and I can’t prove it. I just don’t think Macdonald charges blindly into Hill like Eckstein did. Anyway. When the weather cools off I might take the time to watch the Jays. Until then I’d rather watch my man Reed Johnson play!
    Take it easy Mike.

    MW: Go ahead, and count all the titles the Jays won with Reed here while you’re at it. I don’t think anything would have changed on the Hill/Eckstein play had McDonald been at shortstop. Hill was called off, but he kept coming.

    - Kevin from Avonlea
  100. 100.

    Mike,

    Do you know anything about the bonus money on burnett’s contract? Do the jays pay all of it if he opts out? I remember hearing about how it was structured and being a little confused. Is there some kind of floating bonus money they can pay whenever. If you have time to break it down that would be awesome. Thanks.

    MW: All I’m aware of is that he got a $6 million up-front signing bonus, everything else is straight salary. Vernon is the one with different bonuses, and Hill with different club options.

    - jeremy
  101. 101.

    Mike,

    To respond to your answer to my previous comment, yes they are only 2 games under .500, but they are 9 games out of first in the AL East and 7 games out of the Wildcard spot. THAT, to me, is the more important statistic. Even if they were ten games above .500, and still the same out of first or the wildcard, they’d be in the exact same predicament. JP keeps saying that they’re in it if they are 5 out with a month to play (or it could have been you, and I apologize if I got that wrong), so let’s put their record aside and look at the team relative to the others they are chasing. No matter their record, if they are more than 5 out at the end of June does THAT indicate that the season is to be re-evaluated by JP? Or do we still hold out hope in the face of a non-existent offence and pitching that is starting to move toward career averages? Thanks for keeping this blog going. I love it!

    MW: JP is the one who said 5 back in September, so why would 7 back in June (when they’re playing about as badly as they possibly can) change that?

    - Vava
  102. 102.

    Norm, while I agree with you the farm system happens to be pretty strong, records in the minors are even more useless than a pitcher’s W-L record in evaluating talent.

    MW: True. I don’t know if the Jays’ system is “pretty strong”, but it’s not as bad as the parrots think it is.

    - Ari
  103. 103.

    Mike:

    As for naming 1 GM in professional sports that fell on their sword after their team didn’t perform … I give you Bob Clarke of the Philadelphia Flyers 2 seasons ago. I know it pretty much never happens but he did and you only wanted 1 example.

    MW: Bobby Clarke hardly fell on his sword. He cited burnout, not team performance, as his reason for handing the job to Paul Holmgren, and he moved upstairs into a nice, comfy executive suite. Not even close to what we’re talking about.

    - Peter B.
  104. 104.

    “Ricciardi’s not to blame for this, either. WELLS, RIOS, OVERBAY, HILL and all the other underachieving offensive players are.”

    Mike, by your standards a GM is never to blame then? It’s always the players?

    JP has done some pretty indefensible things; the worse being signing Frank Thomas to an insane contract. We can also add AJ’s contract to the list of blunders.

    If J.P had had his way our rotation would include Meche and Lilly. He stumbled his way into this rotation.

    MW: If J.P. had his way the rotation would, indeed, include Meche and Lilly, and probably Marcum and McGowan and not Burnett. I still don’t think Burnett’s contract was a mistake, and what did signing Thomas cost the Jays in the long run? Just money. Sure it was a mistake, but indefensible? Please. A GM is often to blame – dig Bill Bavasi.

    - Chris Jones
  105. 105.

    Did you just say in comment 44 that the jays have not radically underperformed? Like … seriously. Are you watching the same team we are all watching? I agree with you most of the time Mike, but if you think this team is not radically underperforming then you obviously have no idea what you are talking about.

    MW: Yes, I did say that. They’re two games under .500. The Seattle Mariners, Colorado Rockies, Detroit Tigers and San Diego Padres are radically underperforming.

    - Stefan
  106. 106.

    JP has made made two terrible moves as GM – releasing Thomas and Johnson. We are paying a guy on another team and Reed Johnson was great. Mike, you always say Shannon Stewart is a carrer better hitter but he is getting old ad there was a reason to why he was released. Reed had a top ten OBP in 06 and was getting better but had a injury. To say releasing Johnson and signing Stewart id just stupid as any average fan could forsee this was wrong. If Shannon is so much better why didnt the cubs go after him instead of reed.

    MW: Look at the second half of Reed Johnson’s 2006 and then tell me again he was getting better. The average fan isn’t the right person to go to to determine whether a move is right or wrong.

    - Andrew
  107. 107.

    If the hitters aren’t being told to watch 2 good pitches go by, then why are they doing it?

    If their philosophy is to work deep in counts, they should abaondone it, because it’s obviously not working. Would you not agree?

    What do you think their hitting philosophy should be?

    MW: Swing at the first good pitch they see. They’re doing it because they’re all screwed up right now, I guess.

    - Cam
  108. 108.

    Mike: Last year Mickey Brantly was fired as hitting coach due to the lack of productivity. The powers that be brought in Gary Denbo to fix the problem. Now the situation is worse than last year……why is Gary Denbo’s name not being tossed about as someone who should be sent to walk the plank? If it was Brantley’s fault last year(which I don’t entirely agree with)then why isn’t it Denbo’s fault this year? As far as I know it was not Gibbons who decided to bring in a new hitting coach!! The natives are getting restless Mr. Godfrey and Mr. Rogers…time to stop sitting on your hands and do something.

    MW: Denbo is still around because you can only go to one well so often.

    - David R
  109. 109.

    If recent rumours are true and the Ms release Sexson, it would be nice if JP picked up a player being paid by another team. He can still destroy lefties and would make a good platoon player to play 1B or DH vs. LHP. He has to be more valuable to this team than Brad Wilkerson for a team so obviously starved for some pop.

    MW: Why on earth would you want to bring in Richie Sexson? If you do, you’re no longer allowed to argue that the Jays shouldn’t have Wilkerson or Shannon Stewart or any other hitter past his prime.

    - Ari
  110. 110.

    bored at work = ridiculous research = hilarious results

    quoting from face book search for mike wilner:

    1) Group:
    Fans of Mike Wilner
    Size:
    35 members
    2)Group:
    Do you think Mike Wilner is annoying.
    Size:
    2 members

    I realize it’s a small sample size.

    MW: Wow! Dig me!

    - jeremy
  111. 111.

    Hi Mike,
    I like everyone else do not like to see the Jays lose, but seriously, does anyone enjoy watching the game anymore ? It seems like half these guys sit and watch the game just to see what they can complain about later ! Does it really matter how they wear their uniforms ? I can’t think of one team that wears their uniforms all the same ! I can’t say that I am up nights trying to figure it out though. I realize stats, batting order, etc. are important, but how many ways can you say the same thing ? They aren’t hitting. Simple. Ok, I feel a bit better now.

    I noticed you weren’t correcting spelling anymore, can I? :)

    MW: Please do.

    - Kim
  112. 112.

    your dead wrong about reed johnson he’sd hitting 260 but over 350 with men in scoring position to have an old fart in shannon stewart! stop being such a cheerleader this team flat out stinks and jp should be the first guy the hell out of toronto. also when they have 2nd and third with less than2 outs they should put on the double steal because otherwise they’ll hit into a doubleplay!

    MW: Yeah, I hate those double plays with runners at second and third.

    - eddie
  113. 113.

    Michael of the Ballyard:

    So, I want to vent a bit. Not about the Jaya, funnily enough.

    Alright, so I help coach a team of 10 year olds — last year I head coached but this summer I want more time off before university so I am only doing a part-time thing.

    Last night I was replaced as third base coach, and I’m starting to relate to where you’re coming from in terms of things not always being as superficial as they appear to be when they happen on the field.

    There were a couple of incidents over the last two nights which I think caused this (although I was fine coaching third all of last season and the beginning of this one). Let me concisely describe them.

    Last night I sent a kid home to get a home run and he was hosed at the plate in a 1-run game. My thinking was that a kid on one of the worst teams in the league had to throw a strike from the lip of the outfield grass to home, and a 10 year old catcher who was literally 30 lbs. overweight (if not more) and couldn’t squeeze a 40 mph. fastball on regular pitches had to catch it and apply the tag to one of the fastest players on our team. The throw and the catch were made, and our guy was DOA. I asked the other team’s coach if they ever made a play like that before, and he said ‘never’. Regardless, you can see how the third base coach looks in this situation.

    Earlier in the game there were runners on second and third with either one or none out (I can’t remember now but I knew at the time) and there was a groundball to SS. My attention was on making sure the lead runner knew to go home as conventional widsom is you don’t advance on a groundball to the right side of the infield. After I knew he had committed to home I turned my attention to the runner on 2nd, telling him to go back so that he didn’t run into the SS’s tag. He did, ran back to second, tripped over his own feet and was tagged out about three feet from the base. Again, you can see how the third base coach is perceived.

    Last night a runner on second was making a straight steal of third and a sharp grounder was hit right at the third baseman, who had moved to cover the base. We were playing THE worst team in the league so I thought there was no way the guy was going to come up with it cleanly enough to put a tag on the runner before he slid hard, seeing as he’d been moving on the pitch. Alas, the third baseman of the worst ten year old team in the city fielded the ball cleanly enough to justify an out call, and we all know how the third base coach looks in either situation.

    Of course, there have been dozens of times this year where I have sent runners home on overthrows etc where coaches on other teams would never even think of doing so. On at least a few occasions those have been the runs that won us the game.

    Anyways, I do try to usually avoid the essay writing, instead aiming for succinct wit — much like yourself. But in this situation I just had to vent, and ask if you think this is probably a case of a coach being thrown under the bus for a situation absolutely beyond their control in which the right decisions were made and just didn’t materialize as they would have nine times out of ten?

    Even if you said ‘absolutely not’, I’m pretty comfortable and secure with myself and what I did — but I’d certainly like to hear it from you.

    MW: It’s tough with 10 year-olds. Aggression is good, because making them have to make perfect plays is a gamble that should pay off a vast majority of the time. I’m with you.

    - JCL
  114. 114.

    Hi Mike –

    Just wanted to vent about the Jays lack of progress this season and get your opinions on a few things. It is clear that this team needs some kind of a change and the sooner the better. Godfrey has said he doesn’t plan on firing Gibby or Riccardi. This season reminds me of 89 and Jimy Williams. A change was needed then as it is now and a complete turnaround was possible. As fans are we to hope for a medicore season if the President/CEO is unwilling to make a change for the better ? Not saying a firing would fix everything but something has to give. Maybe Denbo should part ways with the club. Hitting is the major problem with this club and it cost Mickey Brantley his job last year, do we really want to wait till the post season has come and gone to figure this out again ? If they are unwilling to make a shakeup this year I see Gibby going after the season when his contract expires. This is a team that is way way better than it is playing. As a big fan it is getting harder and harder to settle for an under .500 club with so much potential and star power. Also Burnett needs to go. He has been dragging the club down whith his performance for too long and now his attitude is contributing to the despair in the clubhouse. What do you think they could get for him ? Any bats out there that are available ? I know you have said that teams who made the post season last year were in a similar funk as the Jays at this point. But how long will this continue before something is done ? What point is almost not too late ? What in your opinion should be done to resurrect this team back into a winning and hopefully competitive one ?

    MW: I’m glad you got to vent. I’ve answered all your questions several times over the last few days.

    - Aaron
  115. 115.

    Oh, by the way, there was also an immature jackass (am I allowed to say that?) parent yapping about ‘good third base coach this, bad third base coach that’ during the inning where the kid was thrown out and the subsequent inning where I was replaced. I wanted to tell him that if he ever said anything about third base coaches again, I would shove the biggest bat I could find so far up his (deleted in the name of good taste – MW) . Alas, I didn’t feel I had the seniority to make a bold statement like that.

    But it sort of reminded me of the class of Mike Toth attacking you while you weren’t around to defend yourself (I couldn’t have really defended myself without creating a huge scene, which I didn’t want to do) and the intellect of many of your doomsday callers.

    MW: I don’t think so – you could have let that parent have it, and you should have, seniority or otherwise.

    - JCL
  116. 116.

    MW: Really, the idea that uniform affects performance is so ridiculous that I might have to make up a new word for it.

    Might I suggest “Vestuvio”?

    eg. That is the most vestuvio idea I’ve heard in a while.

    Anyway, for a real question:

    As unlikely as it would be for J.P. to try the following scenario, what do you think of the Jays trying a 4-man rotation the rest of the season if (and it’s a big if) they somehow were able to trade a SP for a bat? The pitching quality wouldn’t suffer and 3 young arms and a horse could soak up the workload.

    Damnit… I just gave you a perfect chance to use a word I made up against me now didn’t I?

    MW: Nice try, but the word doesn’t sing to me. A four-man rotation is a great idea, and one Ricciardi has considered in the past, but couldn’t get his pitchers to go along with. It’s not something you try mid-season, though.

    - Jobu
  117. 117.

    All the managers you mentioned earlier in the comments about them winning and then having a bad team is a terrible argument. At least they have won something… What has John Gibbons ever done? Oh right, managed the Jays to a .500 record for 5 years or however long he has been here.

    MW: Right, and those guys were great, then awful, then great, then awful.

    - David
  118. 118.

    Regarding Post 75. Beating up your players is not a sign of passion. The hockey mentality is one step up from neanderthal. Grit is a hockey word invented to define a guy who has no skill. Leader lead by example, managing is not done with violence – it is unacceptable at any time. Gibbions should have been turffed right away. Who knows, maybe had that happened then we may not be in the mess we are today, has anyone considered that?

    MW: Would you be interested in having Lou Piniella manage this team?

    - wayne
  119. 119.

    Hi Mike:

    Writing to you today from England. If things don’t work out this season could you ever envision a scenario where the front office – minus J.P of course – retained the young pitching while trading the core, Halladay, Wells & Rios for good prospects? It is something we bantered about at work today [a few Canadians in the office] and I thought I might get your opinion?

    MW: I don’t think they’d trade Halladay, and I don’t think they could get good prospects for Wells.

    - Tyrus C
  120. 120.

    First of all, wake up Jays fans wishing Gibby and JP would lose their job, thats a poor atitude and just stupid. I hope the Blue Jays turn it around and win. Plan is simple, hit the Damn Ball, the Offence has to wake up. Its unfortunate when Toronto fans blame the hitting coach, GM,coach, mascot and everyone else. Plain and simple the offence stinks.
    Bring back BJ Birdie too.
    Thanks,
    Tom Stewart

    - Tom Stewart
  121. 121.

    Hey Mike, I just don’t see how JP can fire Gibbons after saying on your show that this is the best job Gibbons has done since he’s been manager. What would he say when someone calls him out on it? The fact that they’re doing so poorly says a lot more about the players and the person that assembled them.

    MW: More about the players, I think, but yes.

    - Andy
  122. 122.

    If JP gets fired at the end of the year, either I hope Tony LaCava takes over, or the Jays throw a ton of money at Larry Beinfest (GM of the Marlins – the most underrated GM in the game IMO) and hope he accepts the job.

    Mike, if JP were to get the axe, do you think the Jays would promote someone from within, or look outside the organization for the next GM?

    MW: I would hope that Tony LaCava got a shot, he’s a great baseball mind and very deserving.

    - John
  123. 123.

    All through the season, I’ve been on the “you shouldn’t fire Gibbons” train, because… well, like you said, how does that help? Realistically, it doesn’t.

    But listening to last night’s game, I snapped. Something has got to give, and I think that “something” has to be Gary Denbo. If Brian Butterfield was the problem with the offense last year (injuries aside), how does Denbo not take the fall for this year’s crap-fest? He shows up, the offense goes further into the tank, and a guy that should be hitting his prime (Alex Rios), is nowhere to be found!

    MW: You mean Mickey Brantley. Asked and answered.

    - Tony
  124. 124.

    The greatest post today was #52 – I am glad you decided to post, myself and a large circle of Jays fans, appreciate what you are trying to do with your show and the blog, increase baseball interest in Toronto, #52 outlines the biggest issue, I am hoping you eventually sign on to another station so that we can really hear what you think!! Can you breakdown you pay structure? Is it commissioned every time you say “still early”, “hitting will get better” “Zaun is superior to Bengie Molina”? I am a university educated business professional (not that it matters too much) but if you think – we think that your affiliation with Rogers does not shape your comments and views about the Jays, that is truly laughable. I like your response to the other guy, it shows he is right and you are frustrated because you have no articulate way to defend those accusations because they are true.

    MW: I’m posting this only because it deserves a response. It’s NOT true. Why would you pay any attention to me if it were? I wouldn’t have taken this job if anyone was going to try to control what comes out of my mouth. It’s a tremendous insult and, frankly, quite lazy of you and others to simply dismiss my points as coming from someone who is “on the Jays’ payroll” (which isn’t the case, but whatever). It saves you from having to actually consider them, and from realizing that you might just be wrong. But I don’t expect that much self-awareness from most of the people here, even from a “university educated business professional.”

    - Matthew
  125. 125.

    Hey Mike,

    I just had to come to your defense regarding post #52.

    It just further proves that some so-called “fans” are truly morons and idiots.

    If Brad did some research he’d also know that McCown and Toth are employees of Rogers and they don’t have any problem calling for Gibby or J.P. to be fired.

    I believe you are only stating that firing either one is not the answer at this point in time. I don’t have a problem with that response.

    Hypothetically, let’s say Gibby gets axed and J.P. as well. New Manager and GM come in and the team continues to hit at its current sloth-like pace. What would all of you want to do then? Fire them also? Fire Paul Godfrey? Can Ted Rogers and ask Ron Joyce from Timmy Ho’s to take over the team?

    Firing for the sake of firing isn’t the answer boys and girls.

    Baseball question to end – what sort of progression should we expect from the Jays’ first rounder – David Cooper. I see he started in Auburn last night. Is that where he will likely stay for this year?

    Thanks

    MW: Yep. Unless he lights it up and gets moved up to Dunedin by August.

    - Cameron
  126. 126.

    MW: Yeah, that pitching staff is just terrible.
    OK, so youre going to tell me that Ricciardi should keep his job just b/c he constructed a good pitching staff. Pitching is probably the most crucial component of baseball, but you need to score runs and this team is not assembled properly to do so. The guy has had seven years here to rebuild and then reach the playoffs. He has failed and it is time for him to leave. His drafting has been very mediocre with players like Marcum performing well, but Hill and Lind have been disappointing thus far. At least Hill has this season. The team has no top notch prospects besides Snider. His trades and free agent signings have been mediocre. Some have worked out while other have not. Lastly, for some inexplicable reason he seems to have fallen in love with the players he has brought in. Why does he like Wilkerson so much? Hes awful. As far as I know he is not looking to make major changes trade wise. Its time for you to face the facts and to stop defending him. His time is up.

    MW: Do we really have to go over the whole draft thing again? Do me a favour, and just check the archives from last month.

    - avi
  127. 127.

    One more thing. His teams has never even played meaningful games in September.

    - avi
  128. 128.

    Hi Mike
    I wish I could say something that will turn this team around.Unfortunately the only people who could turn it around are the Jays themselves.I compare the Blue Jaye to THE Angels and the Mariners.We compare to the Angels in every way but one.I don’t have any stats but I will bet dollars to dognuts i is hitting with runners in scoring position.With the Mariners it is starting pitching.I guess what i am trying to say is if the Jays would only hit the average wrisp we would be in 1st with the angels but if our pitching wasn’t as good as it’s been we could be in last with the Mariners.So is it Gibby’s fault the hitters can’t hit with runners on I don’t think so but I will place more blame on the Hitting coach than you do.If his philosophy is to work the count and the players follow it when the time comes where a more agressive aproach is needed maybe all this does is cause confusion and bring doubt to an already tough game .A player with no confidence cannot play the game of baseball.Total blame cannot be placed on Denbo but perhaps a little more than your willing to place on him.
    Can’t wait til Chacin is in the rotation next year,he’ll turn things around.
    mario
    Go Jays!!!
    P.S.I t is never fun to watch a person lose their job but unfortunately you can’t fire the whole team.

    MW: Tell me you were kidding about Chacin.

    - mario
  129. 129.

    I guarantee things will turn around 180 when JP and Gibbons is fires. They will actually believe they can win a pennant without those two. You need realize and not being so stuck with your head so far up JP and Gibbons a** Mike. When will you know this? It’s sad.

    MW: If you honestly believe that simply the firings of John Gibbons and J.P. Ricciardi will make this a team with a group of capable hitters who go out and win games on a regular basis, then you’re an idiot.

    - Irvin
  130. 130.

    At this point is a change necessary? It is a question of perception vs reality. No Gibby doesn’t hit for the team, but he has quite a few 1 run losses as manager and late inning losses. That is not only a function of RISP and GIDP but strategy as well.

    JP has constructed an uneven team with respect to offense(the pitching must be commended however). He selected these players and the majority of the blame rests on his shoulders not Gibby’s. Should he go as well? Yes,because there is something quite askew with this team: Hitting! The only impact changes that can be made are to the manager, coaches and GM. You cannot trade the entire team, especially the underachieving hitters.

    Last but not least, Gibby is like a chef that is told to make pasta primavera with the ingredigents for a jambalaya. JP bought the wrong ingredients BUT the chef burns the dish anyway!

    MW: Ricciardi assembled a great hitting team two years ago, with most of the same components.

    - jay
  131. 131.

    Mike, the Jays were last in the playoffs when I was 13 years old. Will I see them in the postseason again before I retire?

    MW: Nope.

    - Flaming Moe
  132. 132.

    To norm, to judge a minor league system by overall team records is …well…dumb.

    here’s an interesting little tidbit from the hardball times about the Jay’s and JP

    2) He (JP) is completely oblivious to the fact that the Blue Jays’ lineup is badly flawed and has been unable to find even league-average offensive performers for left field and designated hitter.
    3) If he is aware of these flaws, then he should be fired for not addressing them. A general manager who cannot find two league-average bats for non-crucial defensive positions among 30 major league organizations is clearly incompetent. The fact that Adam Lind is crushing the ball in Triple-A but Ricciardi feels he cannot outhit eight players who have batted a collective .234/.319/.316 (the Jays’ 2008 production from left field) is evidence of this.

    - sammy
  133. 133.

    Want to know what is the saddest part of this franchise. The fact that almost an entire generation of baseball fans in this city have not ever witnessed a live meaningful game in august or september. Think about it (a generation is defined as 20 years in span, so we are pretty much right there), it is just so sad.

    MW: Yeah, I think a generation has become closer to 10-15 years. It is sad. Be thankful you don’t live in Milwaukee or Pittsburgh.

    - steven
  134. 134.

    Just listening to last night’s Jays Talk. In the AL the pitcher can bat for himself instead of the DH? Thanks.

    MW: Yep.

    - Andrew Busbridge
  135. 135.

    Mike, I can’t understand why you don’t tell us all to go to H E double hockeysticks and take a job that is very quiet where no one bugs you. All these people questioning your motivations, your morals and your credibility. Man, it’s a calling I guess, because there must be easier ways to pay the bills, like shark wrangling or gender checking killer bees or something.

    A question regarding Aaron Hill, if you don’t mind. I read that they have talked to the trainers of Ryan Church and to Corey Koskie. Obviously, any comparison to Corey Koskie’s post concussion woes is frightening, and I am wondering if there are any off the record opinions floating around that you can share. What is the general feeling as to seriousness and possible time of return, or is it pretty much up in the air, as per the official statement? Thanks Mike, and hang tough. Hopefully at the end of the season (may that be the end of October, fingers crossed) you can tell us all “I told you they couldn’t be that bad forever!”

    MW: It’s completely up in the air as to when Hill will be back. So little is known about recovery from brain injuries, even though the Jays did baseline testing in Spring Training. I was actually headhunted for that gender-checking job with the killer bees, but the benefits package sucked.

    - kita
  136. 136.

    Mike,
    Do you think the Jays made a mistake in firing Mickey Brantley? I mean he did have this team hitting in 2006, and alot of the same guys are still around. 2007 can be blamed on injuries, but who can be blamed this year? Isnt a hitting coach supposed to help his team well…hit?

    MW: I think it was a mistake, because every other coach on the staff got a mulligan because of the injuries.

    - Denny
  137. 137.

    Let’s see if I’ve got this right. According to many of the bloggers here, the Jays signed some players that no other team wanted.

    OTOH, many bloggers feel that the Jays should have signed (should sign) a couple of other players that no other team seems to want.

    Ummm, which is right?

    I think that the Jays need to do something. I don’t know what. Personally I’d like to see Inglett play more, but I can’t believe that one player will turn this around.

    I would HATE to bring the top minor-league hitting prospects up to play with this team, and catch whatever is wrong with the Jays.

    Steve

    MW: Inglett’s not the answer.

    - SteveW
  138. 138.

    Hey Mike, I think this is a really good article from The Hardball Times explaining what’s wrong with the Jays and why it might be time to move on from JP. (credit to BattersBox.ca for the find)

    I know you might not have time to read it, but one point really stood out to me that I never considered: “let’s assume that a return to the mean is guaranteed. The thing is, regression/returning to the mean is not the same things as regression/returning to the mean between now and September 28. It means given enough time they will again reach the mean, although it could mean that it will flow into April-May 2009 which doesn’t do the Blue Jays a bit of good this season.”

    All in all, you probably won’t agree with most of the article, but I think it provides a well thought out analysis and echoes the sediments that I, and many other Jays fans feel.

    MW: That’s very true, it certainly doesn’t guarantee that they’ll get back to where they should be by the end of this year. But it doesn’t mean it won’t. That’s why they used the word “could”. This could very well wind up being a lost season for the Jays.

    - John
  139. 139.
  140. 140.

    Mike,

    Like Steve Simmons says, “Time’s Up For Richardi”. The majority know it, you don’t. You believe in things only you believe in and it makes you look agenda driven especially when none of them come true. It seems you have no feel for The Jays and in baseball in general. All you do is read out statistics. When this year is over you’ll look as ridiculous as last year. Your right Mike, Tampa may not win 90 but they’ll end up with a better record than Toronto as you predicted wouldn’t happen Does your statistics tell you different? You can’t get nothing right, that’s how it’s looking. Blind Faith

    MW: Actually, Steve Simmons knows how to spell J.P.’s name. You do realize that it’s June 18th, right? Tampa hasn’t finished the season with a better record than the Blue Jays yet, unless I miss my guess.

    - bruno
  141. 141.

    Hey Mike and “Miked Up” readers –

    After reading a bunch of posts these past few days it is apparent that many of you are very frustrated with “your Toronto Blue Jays.” Is it Gibby’s fault? Is firing JP the answer to the Jays season? Maybe the Jays need to overhaul their minor league teams so they can start winning?

    The many remarks are getting to me, Mike and other Jays fans.

    Here are the facts: The Jays (according to historical analysis) are playing less then stellar. They should be playing better. We all know that. We all want them to play better.

    This is also a 162 game season. We’re not yet 50% through the season and the Jays are playing .500 baseball (actually under 2 games for you detail-ites).

    So, if the Jays season is all but lost then why bother playing the rest of the season? Let’s call it over NOW and start whining about the hopeless Leafs. I don’t think so!!

    Will the Jays improve? Who knows? But firing JP/Gibby/Wilner is not the answer. The Jays hitters – as individuals – just have to start playing up to their potential. Looking for leadership? It ain’t gonna come from outside. Someone from the current crop is gonna have to start playing better everyday.

    You know what makes baseball so fun? That in a 162 game season anything is possible. Just ask last year’s Rockies.

    Thanks Mike. As always, keep up the good work!

    kk

    MW: Thanks.

    - karim kanji
  142. 142.

    It certianly does bottle the mind, doesn’t it?
    As has been repeatedly mentioned, the Jays’ offense produces as much spark as an electrode-connected potato. This is agonizing to a lot of us, and like a Kenny G compilation album, we are begging for it to stop. I think a lot of people are thus looking for quick and obvious ‘solutions’. Hence the calls for Gibbons and J.P. to be fired, and for the team to be dismantled.
    Bad Idea Jeans.
    I agree with you, Mike, that managers have limited positive impact on a game (but they can certainly screw one up *cough* Grady Little *cough*). So I don’t think that keeping Gibbons or firing him will make much of a difference either way.
    Gibbons comes across as a very calm and relaxed sort, and this can be interpreted as lacking passion. But an ‘anti-Gibbons’ who will come in and be all red-faced and yelly and ‘passionate’ might make some fans believe that a new culture of winning is in place, but I tend to think that players would view such a display as a bit of a joke. It wouldn’t translate into wins.
    As for J.P., I think he’s a bit handcuffed right now. He doesn’t have much to offer from the roster to entice a trading partner (unless there are GMs out there who feel that their roster could stand to get a little older, or pricier, or less effective at the plate). And it would take a heavy loss of Toronto’s prospects to acquire Adam Dunn or Jason Bay, the two dudes that callers seem to most frequently mention as guys “J.P. should just go out and get”.
    If there were moves that could be made (and that wouldn’t strip the roster and farm system bare), I believe that J.P. would be making them. But those big bats that the team needs? Yeah, every other team needs them, too. Big hitters aren’t so readily available. Although I hear Tuffy Rhodes is willing to take a phone call.

    It’s hard for us fans (we fans? I’m no grammarian) to wait so long between instances of Jerry telling us “and the Jays take flight!”. But the cosmetic changes that a round of firings will bring won’t, in my opinion, deliver the success we are hoping for. I’m not really sure what will bring that success, though. Help us, Mike. What’s to be done?

    MW: The waiting is the hardest part.

    - Kipps Thompson
  143. 143.

    Oh yeah, lose J.P or lose fans.

    - Chris Jones
  144. 144.

    HA HA HA HA. So when the Jays are sold and moved to the U.S, Do you (MW) go with them? Or do you stick around and write blogs for the Intercounty Toronto Maple Leafs baseball team?

    MW: Hmmm, never thought about that.

    - The Rat
  145. 145.

    Concerning my saying in mid-August will be the turnaround. I just think that maybe once the Jays are out they will relax and hit. I think this was the case last season after the offence tore it up in 2006.

    The big bat is missing, which is pretty obvious. When Wells had his monster year, he had Delgado hitting behind him. I think Wells is a great #3 hitter with a fearful bat behind him. I love the way Matt Stairs plays the game, but him as your #4 is not a good spot. This team is one fearful cleanup hitter away from exploding (at least I think so).

    They definitely have the pitching to make a second half run if the offence picks it up. Might be time for JP to think about soul selling, or he might be job searching at the end of the year.

    What other big bopper bats are out there, other than Bonds, that wouldn’t cost you one of your starting pitchers?

    MW: There aren’t any.

    - Aaron Ker
  146. 146.

    Mike – I listened to the rest of Jaystalk last night but you didn’t have a chance to look into my Prince Fielder question. It’s not a big deal given all the other issues in Jay-land now, but we both seem to like cool trivia so I didn’t want this to drop. Do you know of Fielder’s home run last night was the first homerun against the Jays by a son-of-a-Jay ?

    MW: Too tough to research right now, but it was a cool question.

    - Ian C
  147. 147.

    Mike,
    Oops your right I did mean McGowan and not Marcum as to the specs and your right again those two are inextricably (nice word by the way) linked – I do confuse them a lot.

    Does all that well written/spoken english grammer of yours come from having a Mom who was/is a teacher?

    If you get a chance – myself and a buddy need a bet resolved and have decided we would take what you say as to the answer – I say a “Texas Leaguer” and a “bloop single” are the same – that being the hitter only gets a single out of a ball landing in “no mans land” between the infield and outfield. My buddy says if a hitter gets a double from the same hit it is still called a “Texas Leaguer” (if the ball landed in the same area)! I would think that would be more like a single and second on an error! What’s your take Mike?

    Proceeds from the bet go to “Canadian Diabetes Foundation”.

    Thanks

    MW: You can get a double on a Texas Leaguer, sure, as long as you run it out. The grammar comes from being a teacher’s kid in combination with reading a LOT of comic books growing up.

    - Bob
  148. 148.

    Sorry Mike I apologize, I’ve never been here before, I was told to put a song I re-wrote on your blog but it appears I put it (twice) on the wrong blog. A friend directed me here, so here it is, enjoy.

    Excuse me if this is the 3rd time in advance.

    Dream On (fire gibbons vers.)- Aerosmith

    every time that I look at the t.v
    these lineups really disgust me
    the season’s gone
    it went by like the shortest song

    this is not the Jays
    Gibbons, screws up it’s we the fans who pay

    yeah, I know nobody knows
    when will Gibbons be shown out the door
    I know it’s everybody’s sin
    learning to lose instead of how to win

    half my beer is spilled on written pages
    watch losses by fools who make high wages
    you know it’s true
    all the teams come back to beat you

    sing with me, sing for the jays
    sing for the batter, sing for the K’s
    sing with me, until it’s okay
    maybe tomorrow ted
    will sweep gibbons away
    (AGAIN)

    dream on, dream on, dream on,
    dream yourself a dream come true
    dream on, dream on, dream on,
    and dream until your dream comes true

    dream on [ x7 ]

    sing with me, sing for the jays
    sing for the batter, sing for the K’s
    sing with me, until it’s okay
    maybe tomorrow ted
    will sweep gibbons away
    (AGAIN)

    MW: Wow. You have a lot of time on your hands, huh?

    - Allan Winchester
  149. 149.

    I realized how bad this offense was when someone told me that the M’s are releasing Richie Sexson and I said “Hey, he’s better than what we have at DH!” Then I looked it up and saw that he would lead us in HR. But hey, he’s worth a shot for the minimum, right?

    As for the uniforms affecting team performance, I think that deserves a FJM food metaphor.

    MW: Those guys are way smarter and funnier than I am. I don’t think Sexson is a better option than Stairs, but maybe Mench. He’s still a Mariner for now, though.

    - Aubrey
  150. 150.

    The Jay’s pitching is very good and it consists mostly of young arms that have matured into good major leagers.The rest of the team is overrated.We tend to look at each player’s best years and expect them to do it again but they can’t and won’t in most cases.Rios has never had a good full season,just a couple of very good half seasons.We need to clean house and go with a youth movement.It worked with the pitching and given time it will work with the position players.Trade the underperforming vets for young prospects then sit back and wait for them to develop along with a few already in the system.Maybe in three years we would have a contender.The present club isn’t going to do it.

    MW: Why would a team give up good young prospects for underperforming vets?

    - Paul McCreath
  151. 151.

    Hi Mike,

    I really feel bad for the pitching. For all but maybe 6-10 games they have given the Jays a chance to win. Hopefully some timely hits and maybe 4 runs will give Marcum a much deserved “W” tonight.

    I still agree it is not time to panic. I am a little alarmed that the Yankees have rattled off 5 straight and are now 5 games above .500.

    - Colin S.
  152. 152.

    Hi Mike,

    I’ve always thought your show was great and right on the money…and that’s why I’m looking to you for the answers.

    This by far has been the best starting rotation for a while. The bullpen has blown many games, which undoubtedly would have us above .500 but well below first. The hitters might hit today, they might not – but on paper we have a great club.

    You said it best earlier in a post that Gibbons is only working with what he was given. However my personal opinion would be to drop JP for organizing this group, and Gibbons for not being able to lead them effectively.

    In your honest opinion before the all-star break, do the Jays go after anything (if so, what — I’m thinking a reliever and a consistent hitter). Also, do you fire JP or Gibbons….or both?

    Thanks Mike!!

    Dave

    MW: I fire neither, and I think J.P. has been trying to land an impact bat for a while now.

    - David Brennan
  153. 153.

    re: Post #97

    If I get hammered tomorrow night, there is a 100% chance it will be lights out afterward….Know of any good bars in Pittsburgh Mike?

    MW: I don’t, sorry.

    - Allan James
  154. 154.

    I can’t believe I mixed Butterfield up with Brantley. Crap.

    But I should add: thanks for all the good work you do!

    - Tony
  155. 155.

    Mike,
    Don’t you have a stats monkey to pull this stuff up for you?
    I gave a quick look and they are about 50 points below career averages. And this I would say is a much bigger problem than hitting with runners in scoring position. This offense is build around the “money ball” theory of hit for power and walk. This only works if you do both of those things. A walk and a single scores very few runners. A walk and an extra base hit should score every time.

    So…which hitter is going to turn into a power hitter by the end of the season? (you can’t pick Wells, Rolen, Stairs or Barajas cause they are doing their jobs already).

    MW: Rolen has three homers, so I wouldn’t say he’s doing his job, power-wise. Moneyball is not about walks and home runs. It’s not a theory about baseball, it’s about economics.

    - JW
  156. 156.

    Mike,

    Do you think the grounds crew is mad at me for not hosing off the area where Fido had his little accident after Sunday’s game? I didn’t hear anyone complaining when Alex was flying his mini helicopter around the stadium after a game.

    MW: The ‘copter’s exhaust isn’t quite the same.

    - Gregg Zaun
  157. 157.

    Hey Mike,

    Maybe you should do a specific blog on how to cut down comments, so that they aren’t 2000 word essays…..

    MW: People seem to need an outlet.

    - Stevie H
  158. 158.

    The Jays need more power so how about trading A. Burnett, A. Hill, A. Lind, B. Coats, B. League, B. Ryan, G. Zaun, J. Accardo and prospect to Cincinati for K. Griffey, B. Phillips, J. Burton, F. Cordero and E. Volquez or J. Cueto.

    MW: The Reds would have interest in Hill, League and maybe Accardo. I doubt very much they’d give up Volquez or Cueto alone for that package (though you’d think they’d be able to flip Burnett and Ryan and it might be worth their while). Griffey will not waive his no-trade to come here.

    - David Millar
  159. 159.

    Hey Mike!

    Great show as always.

    Did you hear that the Mariners are considering releasing 1B Richie Sexson?

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080618&content_id=2954769&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb

    I find it sad that Sexson has more home runs (9 HR) than any other Blue Jay hitter this season.

    Also, who do you think will be the starting pitcher for the AL team and the NL team at the All Star Game in NYC this year?

    MW: It is sad, indeed. The starters should be Marcum and Edinson Volquez, but that won’t happen.

    - Silvio
  160. 160.

    Hey Mike,

    Will JP Ricciardi be around when the top 3 prospects (Snider, Cecil, Arencibia) make their respective MLB debut?

    MW: Probably.

    - Jeff
  161. 161.

    Mike… As a loyal season ticket holder and a devout jays fan, do you not think I have a right to see the best product on the field possible?

    Why am i spending all my money going to see these guys play if I can’t get a straight up answer as to why Adam Lind is not with the team. If he thinks Wilkerson and Mench are better options and better hitters, that’s fine just say so.

    But to be honest, it’s ridiculous to just say we’ll let him get his at bats down there and hope he’ll be up with our club next year. I as a fan deserve to know the truth.

    Thoughts?

    MW: I don’t think it’s as ridiculous as you think it is, though I agree with you – I think that Lind is the better option. But young players used to need a lot more seasoning than they get now. I have to imagine that there’s something the Jays find lacking in Lind, mentally, to explain why he’s still down there.

    - Chris
  162. 162.

    Mr. Wilner, this is unacceptable….

    4th on the bloglist!!!
    I actually have to scroll down a bit to select your blog, slowing my productivity by at least a second.

    MW: I would think that reading this thing slows down your productivity by plenty as it is.

    - Randy
  163. 163.

    I was having a conversation with a friend of mine, also a huge baseball fan, and we both came to the same conclusion. We enjoy watching the west coast NL games, or the baseball history-rich clubs like the Dodgers, Cardinals, or Cubs WAY more than Jays game. I guess it’s because this team is just so insanely frustrating to watch when you are invested in them as a fan that it’s hard to just appreciate the game for what it is. We find that when we are watching these other games we can appreciate the game better for what it is, and the parks and the fans are awesome. Overall it just seems to be a much better experience to watch Scully calling a Dodger game than your average Jays fan. I think Jerry & Alan do a good job of keeping their emotions in check, but then again it’s hard to know how really “passionate” they are about the Jays knowing neither is from Toronto. Maybe it’s easier for them to detach themselves from it and enjoy a Jays game better than I can. But you are from Toronto and have probably been following this team your whole life, so I was wondering how you feel about it? You are always working so you probably don’t have the chance much, but do you ever just kick back and enjoy a non-Jays game, and wonder why a Jays game can’t feel the same way?

    MW: I think Jays games are great. I mean, they’ve been frustrating as hell to watch this year, but that’s because of the emotional investment that we have in the team. Watching other teams’ games is fun, for sure, but I prefer to watch something where the outcome means something to me.

    - Ari
  164. 164.

    It is time for regime change. JP is one of the oldest tenured GMs in the game. Offering a new brand of baseball upon arrival, he stands here with a middling depth chart, long-term contracts to older league average players (Jays are now one of the oldest teams in the league) and little upside outside of blowing the team up (trade McGowan/Litsch or Marcum and accept a brief retooling period as you shed old salaries aka Mondesi). All of this sounds exactly as the Jays were when Ash was shown the door.

    Save for the fact the Jays had a lot of high talent players in their system at the end of the Ash regime.

    Gibbons has to go with JP; they are two of the same, no disrespect to Gibbons. I think he is a fine manager given the tools he has inherited from JP. Regime changes do not save the field general.

    Sick of watching years of lackluster play from “leaders” ranging from Wells, Delgado etc, I think it is time for a regime that brings experience and credibility to Toronto; managers like Bobby Valentine or Buck Showalter may show the managerial leadership (strong manager figure) Toronto has lacked for at least a decade. An experienced GM like Bob Watson/Gerry Hunsicker, John Hart may be better at retooling on the fly than an inexperienced GM. Not to say you have a combination of these personalities mentioned; it is usually one or the other (strong field manager or general manager). But this team is in no state to take on someone new to the role and manage to quickly retool.

    As a devoted fan since 1985, I am very upset by the performance of this team. I would prefer to focus my attention on emerging stories like the Cubs, Phillies, and Rays not to mention teams that have retooled multiple times (Cleveland, Florida, Oakland, Atlanta) than watch the same re-run from Toronto.

    MW: I find it interesting that all the managers and G.M.’s you brought up have never won anything. Regardless, you’re very much entitled to be upset with the performance of the Jays, but personally, I don’t think you should give up on a team to which you’ve been devoted for over 20 years.

    - Jonathan
  165. 165.

    Hi Mike.

    I think responsibility for the Blue Jays’ performance at the end of the day (both positive and nagative) rests with JP Riccardi:

    1) When JP took over the team, the cupboard was not exactly bare (he inherited a good young nucleus which included the likes of Halliday, Carpenter, McGowan, Wells, Rios, and Hudson).

    2) During the past 6-7 years he has had the opportunity to re-build the team to his liking.

    3) If the excuse is “It’s not JP’s fault, it’s the players’/hitters’ fault”, then the question becomes “Who signed these players?”. If the excuse is “Well, no one expected the hitters to play so badly”, then I suppose no GM should ever take the blame because it could always be argued that the team would have played better “if only” players A and B had played up to their potential, players C and D didn’t get hurt, (fill in your own excuse here).

    4) For those who blame John Gibbons, the question becomes “Who hired Gibbons?”.

    I don’t mean to pick on JP, and I think if the Jays turn it around this year and make the playoffs or go right down to the wire for a playoff spot, JP should be given due praise. But this is his team, and he, like every other GM who has ever held a MLB job, has to take responsibility for the results his team produces.

    MW: Every GM has to take responsibility for the results his team produces, this is absolutely true. But to say that Ricciardi “should have known” that this would happen, because the talent was so drastically overrated, which is the argument a lot of people make, isn’t fair.

    - James
  166. 166.

    Mike,
    The talk about the uniforms got me wondering what team you feel has the best looking one ? (break up all the negative talk for a bit) My vote’s for the Tigers home whites.

    MW: ’80s Astros, baby!

    - Dilson
  167. 167.

    If a team is unable to “hit” runs in with runners in scoring position, which I think 100% of us are in agreement that this is the largest concern for the Jays, then do you not have to turn to creativity?

    Gibbons refuses to take a proactive or creative approach. If the Jays bunted, hit and ran, stole, or whatever, just 10% more than they do, they would be better off. This blog title “Look at them homers, thats the way you do it” is so typical of the approach the Jays thought they would get away with but could not execute. This money ball philosophy is a farce and its time to adjust to the performance of your talent.

    Mike, do you agree, yes or no, that it is the duty of a manager to be able to solve the problem of the team? Gibbons seems to be waiting for the players to solve their own problems. Gibbons himself has said and I paraphrase “the job of a manager typically consists of activity from the 7th inning on and it usually has to do with the bullpen.”

    Perhaps he should try managing in he first six innings. He may be able to squeak out a few extra badly needed runs.

    I don’t know what is going on in his head…he just can’t figure out the answers….let someone else try.

    As far as people calling for your job, thats crazy. However, are you not able to see what the majority of us know- that is, your inability to sound graciously agreeable to at least some of your callers?

    Thanks for your time.

    MW: Why should I sound graciously agreeable to callers with whom I disagree? People call in and want to vent, which I have no problem with, but if you want to speak out of frustration and say things like “the season is over”, “the Jays don’t want to win”, “fire John Gibbons because he doesn’t know how to lead” then why would you expect me to agree with you? I mean, even with you – the Jays have more stolen base attempts to this point in the season than they have at any other time in the Ricciardi era, they hit and run plenty, and they’re currently tied for SECOND in the league in sacrifice hits. But Gibbons doesn’t do anything.

    - AE
  168. 168.

    To Sammy, post #132.

    If judging a minor league system by overall record is “dumb”, how would you do it?

    At least an overall record is measurable, unlike the methods that seem to be in use by the so-called “experts” (which so many “fans” are citing). They seem to be doing it by
    some combination of individual player comparisons (against what criteria?) and “ouija boards”.

    With seven or eight different minor league teams, playing at all different levels, with players of all different ages, I realize a “true measurement” is next to impossible — but to state that the Jays’ system is “bottom five in the majors” (which is at least one of the statements that I have seen quoted), is — at least in my opinion — not supported by the facts.

    MW: The thing is, the minor leagues is about development, not about wins and losses.

    - Norm
  169. 169.

    Yeah, Jon. The Dire Straits hit Money For Nothing reminded me of the Jays as well. However in hindsight, watching the endless crap on MTV was much less nauseating than the this “team” with runners on.

    - Vito From Hamilton
  170. 170.

    I am interested to see what JP has to say tonite. I was wondering if the frustration in the clubhouse is going to become an issue like a few years ago. I know I don’t know what the mood in the clubhouse is but an educated guess would be it can’t be good. I like gibby feel bad that he is the one probably on the block for this team, I hope the offence feels bad for him that their lack of production cost him his job. Personally I would like some of these players step up and be accountable for the teams play, Rolen is the only guy I heard comment that it wasn’t Gibbons fault it was the play of the players. You always comment that talent is the only thing that wins, I am starting to think character is a big trait in a player. Alot of our top players seem to lack this, guys like Wells and Rios should be coming out in support of their manager.

    - jason
  171. 171.

    Fans are not hostile because of Richard Griffin. They are disappointed and frustrated and maybe hostile because they were virtually promised a contending team. They didn’t get one. Some would say they were naive for believing it could happen. If they couldn’t hit last year, why would anyone think they could hit this year? But hope springs eternal blah blah blah and now the fans are just angry at themselves for being sucked in one more time.

    MW: I don’t think fans are angry at themselves.

    - susan
  172. 172.

    I think Ricciardi deserves to play out 2008. This is his team, and it’s his gamble that this roster of players can return to 2004 performance levels. (Not unreasonable, but definitely a calculated risk.) He deserves to play it out, other than dealing Snider, there isn’t a lot he can do to damage an already mediocre farm system* in a playoff push.

    But if he’s wrong, and Toronto isn’t playing meaningful baseball in September I think Rogers should start October by interviewing the Antonettis, DePodestas, Whites, Ngs, and Frosts who aren’t hired in Seattle.

    *I think developing a winning culture in the minors should be important for any organization, but it’s not indicative of having a lot of good prospects (for example, if your team is comprised of players older than league average).

    - Michael
  173. 173.

    So, if the players are not hiting, and we are not allowed to hold the President/GM accountable, do we just stop caring as fans? Do we just say oh well, if we give the current regime enough time they might get it right? What do we do? We have yet to see one of the hiters stand up and show that they are tired of this and hit. We cannot dump the players (hitters), nobody wants underperformers for performers, we are not allowed to hold the man who pulled all of these underperformers up on the mat, just what do you expect. Oh, I get it, let’s quote stats from the steroid erra, lets pull stats from these players when they had better players around them and use those. Frustrated, damn right, we buy the tickets, the ball caps, the jerseys, and because we pay those things, we should not have to sit and watch a GM pull together a team of all time underachievers. The cliche’s, the cop outs (see if you can do better!!), the excuses, fish, cut bait or get out.

    MW: You honestly think that some of the hitters could just decide to start hitting because they’re “tired of this”? Then why the hell having they been hitting?

    - Chris
  174. 174.

    “Signing Barry Bonds would be like selling your soul to the devil”

    JP Ricciardi.

    MW: Not a direct quote, but you got the gist.

    - Vito From Hamilton
  175. 175.

    Mike, I stand corrected about the Dodgers and Jays.

    Koufax/Drysdale Dodgers in the 60s (100 is league average; higher is better):

    1962 113 OPS+, 99 ERA+
    1963 106 OPS+, 105 ERA+
    1964 95 OPS+, 110 ERA+
    1965 93 OPS+, 116 ERA+
    1966 101 OPS+, 125 ERA+

    Toronto
    2008 93 OPS+, 116 ERA+

    The ’65 Dodgers won 97 games to take the Division and the World Series. The ’64 Dodgers, however, couldn’t score when it counted and only won 80 games. Looking at the Jays, it’s actually kinda eerie: it’s ’65 one month and ’64 the next! (And with no more Expos, let’s not mention that Canadian classic, the Summer of ’69.)

    Tip of the cap, Mr. Wilner.

    MW: Thank you!

    - Michael
  176. 176.

    great job even though i dont agree with all your opinions. how do you get to all the comments and do you plan answering every comment if your blog grows even more in popularity.

    MW: I get to all the comments by spending most waking moments doing it, and I don’t know how long I’ll be able to continue. I certainly didn’t anticipate there being this many comments on a regular basis, but I’m very proud of it.

    - Andrew
  177. 177.

    It’s not just against lefties, it’s all the time. Several times Gibbons has said he’ll use someone in a certain spot and then just a few games later the guy was moved. He didn’t have any patience earlier in the season (he still doesn’t, but now it’s a little more justified, but just a little). Unlike last year, the Jays’ injuries this season have not been out of the ordinary; every team has injurires. I’m willing to bet that not only do the Jays lead the league in different starting lineups, but that it’s not even close.

    MW: I agree with you, I don’t think it’s close. But then, the Jays are the worst-hitting team in the league when it counts. It’s broke, so why not try to fix it?

    - Shmuel
  178. 178.

    All honesty, if I had to pick the G.M. I’d want running this team right now it would be you. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have the MBA.

    Leave Gibbons where he is but two more weeks of this and I’m ready for J.P. to take the walk.

    MW: You don’t want me running this team. I’d sign Barry Bonds.

    - Andrew M
  179. 179.

    Hey remeber yesterday we were arguing about “market value” for contract.

    I think you missed the point I was trying to make. I wasn’t trying to argue with you what is and isn’t a market value contract. The point I was trying to make is you can’t say “don’t blame the GM for that contract it was market value at the time” which is what you do every time someone brings up the Wells contract.

    Thanks for your time Mike.

    MW: I tried to explain why I say that. Maybe it was you who missed the point. Maybe not, though.

    - dan M
  180. 180.

    I watched the Jays on TV,This dude Rance Mulliniks is a very smart commentator. How about hire him as a hitting coach… This Gary Denbo really sucks.He didn’t even make it in the Major league..

    MW: Neither did Tony LaRussa, Sparky Anderson, Tommy Lasorda, Tom Kelly, etc.

    - Angel galang
  181. 181.

    What the????? Wilkerson leading off? Seriously??? I mean, really? I thought Gibbons got over this putting the guy with the lowest average hitting first thing.

    MW: I’d have gone with Overbay myself.

    - B.Viddy
  182. 182.

    Mike, it’s often been said that hitting is contagious. And if that’s true, then non-hitting must also be contagious. What’s wrong with this team is so deeply-seated that I can’t believe they can pull it round this year, and nothing short of major surgery will prevent another debacle next year. Yes, the players are under-achieving but that has to be in some part down to a bad club-house atmosphere and a team that really, really doesn’t believe in itself. That kind of stuff comes from the GM via the manager…

    MW: That’s exactly what the Cubs’ and Rockies’ fans were saying last year (though more about the pitching than the hitting), and the Astros’ fans a couple of years back, and the Yankees’ fans two years ago, etc.

    - isabella reyes
  183. 183.

    I have left this question before but I believe that the jays should sign jay gibbons. I will give you his last 2 seasons then his best then i will do the same with wilkerson and i want to know hat you think. Jay Gibbons BA 230 OBP 272 HR 6 RBI 28 (270 AB).(2006) BA 277 OBP 341 HR 13 RBI 46 (343 AB). Best year(2003) BA 277 OBP 330 HR 23 RBI 100 (625 AB). Now Wilks BA 234 OBP 319 HR 20 RBI 62(339 AB). 2006 BA 222 OBP 306 HR 15 RBI 44 (320 AB). Best year (2004) BA 255 OBP 374 HR 32 RBI 67 (572 AB) I would like to hear your thoughts.

    MW: I don’t think there’s enough difference between them to go for Gibbons, but your formatting is tough to read so it’s kind of confusing. And don’t forget, Wilkerson can play defense.

    - sean m.m
  184. 184.

    Dear Mike,
    Please do not post the comments that are attacks against you personally or that want you fired. I think it only encourages the nut jobs. Make the commenters have a legitimate point or question. You should be more fair to yourself. However, I still love it when you really cut up commenters.

    MW: Can’t have it both ways.

    - brent in Korea
  185. 185.

    If the Jays are interested in moving AJ or anyone else off the ML roster to add some offence, they might want to look at the Brewers’ farm system. There are some guys there with incredible numbers.

    Check out Brad Nelson at Nashville AAA, a firstbaseman with some pretty good stats. .303-9-40, .418 OBP. Or an OF named LaPorte at AA (which is well stocked with talent). He’s got some monster numbers.

    Sure, these guys are minor leaguers, but there’s no harm in looking . . . or asking.

    Remember all the talk about Ryan Howard when he was at AAA?

    MW: Yes, but remember, the Phillies didn’t trade him.

    - Ken C. in KIngston
  186. 186.

    Down by 2, Jays lose. Now 10 games back, but it’s okay because the Jays are just as good as the Yankees and Red Sox right Mike?

    MW: I’m sorry, is the game over? I thought it was only the 6th inning.

    - Gary
  187. 187.

    I don’t say “people are too easy on JP”. You have sidestepped what I said. I would say that you and all the on-air people at your Rogers/BlueJays-owned station (except the Bobcat)are too easy on JP. I must say that you are very good and persistent at dodging the issue. How can we reasonably expect to have commentators at a station owned by the company which owns the baseball team to be truly unbiased in passing judgment on the management of that baseball team? The way I see it (and hear it, as I have listened to you quite a bit), you are not unbiased — but you won’t admit it. It is safest for you to be critical of the players (and you are), then next safest to be critical of Gibbons (who I think has pretty much made the most of this team’s personnel). It is not safe for you to say that JP has done a poor job, so you don’t go there even though unbiased people like those at Baseball America, etc. say the Blue Jays farm system (built by JP) is one of the very worst in baseball.

    MW: Why is it safe of me to criticize the players and Gibbons, but not Ricciardi?

    - Blair
  188. 188.

    Hey Mike,
    Re; Question 60

    Why would it be “very irresponsible” to guess/speculate a potential reason why Rolen is not right, when we have already guessed/speculated that he is not right? I mean, of course as long as we are eliminating all completely silly, unreasonable situations. Is it out of respect for the player? Does it cross any journalistic integrity lines?
    Seriously, I’m just curious to know your line of thinking, and hoping to get an informative answer.
    Thanks as always.

    MW: Because I have no idea what it is, so why guess? I’d just be taking a complete shot in the dark, and there’s nothing to be gained by that.

    - Ryan
  189. 189.

    ” … You know who has been? Eckstein. If you want to ride the hot bat, why not move the .333/.391/.385 in June back up top for now?”

    Yeah, and Eckstein is, like, MEANT to be a leadoff guy, has an outstanding track record there, and was signed to lead off, whereas Rios is meant to be somewhere behind Wells in an ideal world.

    It’s ok mixing things up when you are trying to kick hitters into hitting, but seeing Eckstein wasted (or walked with 2 outs, almost the same) in front of the pitcher for two days is starting to make me feel less charitable towards John Gibbons than I usually am.

    There comes a point when the team stink so badly that you might just as well play them where they’re meant to play and cross your fingers.

    [This is where someone corrects my facts ... ]

    Someone sign Craig Counsell. Whenever I watch him he seems to do something incredible (last time – 2001 World Series, so maybe a bit of a superficial assessment).

    Quote of the game “Bernie’s got rug burn!”

    MW: Eckstein was signed to be a leadoff man, but shouldn’t have been. I don’t see the outstanding track record, his career numbers as a lead off man are .287/.352/.363 which – for that spot in the order – is just OK at best. Craig Counsell did an awesome job in the 1997 NLCS as well as in 2001, but he hasn’t hit over .256 since 2002 and has slugged over .357 just once since then.

    - Ben
  190. 190.

    Overbay, YOU’RE A BUM!

    - Vito From Hamilton
  191. 191.

    A great big bee yoo em.

    - Vito From Hamilton
  192. 192.

    It’s time for the team to move in another direction. Fire JP and bring in the man who should of had this job in the first place. Terry Ryan

    MW: Ryan should of? He had a job at the time. He also led his teams to a lower winning percentage than Ricciardi has.

    - Mario
  193. 193.

    ..and the Jays blow it bases loaded again. No Mike. There are heroes in sport. Trouble is you wouldn’t know it because you’ve had to cover the sad sack Blue Jays all your life.

    MW: Had Inglett gotten a big hit there, would he have been a hero?

    - Vito From Hamilton
  194. 194.

    If Jean Gibbons were to get fired would he be replaced by the butter man?

    MW: Do you mean Jean Gibbons like Jean Chretien? He’s not French. Yes, Butterfield would likely be the interim replacement.

    - Jay Money
  195. 195.

    my point exactly, these hitters cannot just start hitting Mike. Watching this game tonight it is one lost run after another. Who put this group together? JP, he and his scouting staff have misjudged the talent they thought they had. Do I expect him to make any positive adjustments and make a run for the playoffs, that would be a first in 7 years, but his predecessor was allowed 7 years and could not get it done before they cleaned out his office. JP must go, the fans are tired of his act. You have almost 200 comments on this board and they are showing that the people are tired of this. This slump is reality. Clean house!!!!

    MW: What’s your point exactly? His precedessor, don’t forget, was handed a two-time World Series champion. The fans being tired of his act is neither here nor there.

    - Chris
  196. 196.

    Another game, another loss. The Brewers did all of the little things that help a team win. And the Blue Jays, they just ‘flounder’ along. They ‘know’ how to lose. The really sad aspect of watching this ‘team’ is the fact that J.P. will likely be in charge next year. I don’t think most of the fans realize this. Most think that he will be let go after this disater. Personally I would be shocked if he was replaced.
    For all of those ‘diehards’, remember J.P.’s teams always play their best ball in September. Once, they have been eliminated. It happens every year.

    MW: The Brewers indeed did all the little things that help a team win. Like hit two home runs in what turned out to be a one-run game.

    - Brian
  197. 197.

    2 HR since coming off the DL….is Zaun back on the juice or what?!?

    MW: 3 in 3 games, in fact.

    - Zack
  198. 198.

    Just curious Mike was there something wrong with my attempt to lighten the mood?? Just thought I would leave some words of a song I like very much just to up the mood on the board and my own. Its a Paul McCartney song called “Hey Jude” just in case you didn’t know.
    Thanks
    Take care.

    MW: You just copied a verse from Hey Jude, with no other comment. I didn’t think it added to the discussion at all. Sorry.

    - Troy
  199. 199.

    Mike,

    You know it’s a joke. You’ve mentioned several times you would trade the future for this team. Oh yea, it will take them over the hump. You can’t get nothing right.

    MW: Huh?

    - bruno
  200. 200.

    @Mike

    Cheers. Those pesky stats sink me again. I’ll have to start looking them up, but that takes longer.

    I was kidding about Counsel. But maybe if they sign him, and then sign me to watch him every night, we’d be on to something.

    MW: Stranger things have worked. Well, maybe not.

    - Ben
  201. 201.

    I’m not a Gibby basher, but his teams have been consistently mediocre during his tenure. At what point do you pull the trigger and fire the guy? At what point of the season can you stop saying ‘it’s still early’ and admit that this team is cooked? There isn’t a sport where the coach plays the games, and yet in every sport coaches get fired when teams underperform-why do you give Gibby get a free pass?

    MW: I believe I have answered these questions approximately 1,000 times in the last month.

    - Chris
  202. 202.

    And a follow up:

    What are your thoughts on sports psychologists? Do the Jays use them?

    Seems to me that the team has a genuine, serious, metal block once they get men on base. Again (not checking the stats) their success at getting men on base is not so terrible. Or is it simply a coincidental failure to get consecutive hits, which leads to the same result.

    MW: Their numbers as a team drop drastically with runners in scoring position. They do have a sports psychologist on staff, but I would think that the players would have to go to him, and it’s not very macho-pro-athlete to do that.

    - Ben
  203. 203.

    Mike,
    Do you think J.P. & Co will look to Asia for some big bats? (more for 2009 and beyond than this year) I’m thinking of Fukudome, Ichiro, etc. There are good players in Japan, Korea, and the like. Surely one or two might be enticed to come over here. Yes, they cost money, but with AJ probably gone next year, that will free up some dough, and perhaps Uncle Ted will pony up some more.

    MW: I don’t know if there are many good players in Korea. Japan, I’ll give you, but the Jays won’t pony up the kind of money it takes with the posting system.

    - Jonathan
  204. 204.

    I’m arguing that the Jays’ lineup is “broke” precisely because they don’t have a lineup. It’s the lack of consistency that’s killing them. You’re putting the chicken before the egg. If Gibbons would stick with a darn lineup for several weeks in a row this wouldn’t happen. Everyone, including Gibbons, including you, has been saying all along that “this can’t continue forver” and “they’ll turn it around soon.” So why the heck would you switch the order around every two or three days? Let them get comfortable hitting in an appropriate way for their role as dictated by their spot in the lineup, and it won’t last forever.

    Another great example was not playing Rios tonight. Not playing Rios because “[i]t’s a left-handed lineup [and Rios is] not left-handed” (quote from Gibbons)?!?! I never thought I’d say this, but Gibbons is an idiot.

    MW: People are demanding accountability, so shouldn’t Rios have to sit out while he’s not hitting? Gibbons isn’t an idiot – what he said is true. He went with a lefty-heavy line-up, and Rios is, in fact, not left-handed.

    - Shmuel
  205. 205.

    And what do the Brewers and Jays have in common? Well, there are 11 teams who have General Managers who have been running their teams since 2002 (when J.P took over), and the Brewers and the Jays are the only 2 teams out of those 11 who haven’t made the playoffs. So why does J.P. still keep his job?

    MW: Because Doug Melvin keeps his, obviously.

    - Chris
  206. 206.

    You are really letting us down tonight. JP rips into Adam Dunn, a guy you have praising for weeks and you don’t say a word in his defense, perhaps mention is 5 – 40 homer seasons. Instead you kiss his ass and say there is a lot we don’t know.

    You let JP get away saying “well there is a lot you don’t know” – “he doesn’t like baseball” – the fan gets cut off and can’t respond. Well, Mike if a guy is hitting 40 homers does it matter if he likes baseball?

    This was your low point.

    MW: Thanks!

    - Stephen
  207. 207.

    That was disgusting.

    Why bring in Adam Dunn???

    Because he’s a high OBP hitter with power you freaking moron.

    MW: I love the name-calling. It adds so much to your point.

    - GregJP
  208. 208.

    Maybe Gibbons needs to have a Piniella-type meltdown like last year. That was cited as one of the things that got the Cubs going in 2007.

    And, Mark Wegner is umpiring this Milwaukee series as well…

    MW: No, Gibbons isn’t anything like Piniella. He beats up his players.

    - Rob M
  209. 209.

    Well I’ll give JP one thing, he certainly sounds distraught with the state of this ball club right now.

    Do you think the players share his passion? He sounds committed to winning. Are they? Doesn’t look like it.

    I was really surprised to hear about Adam Dunn — that he doesn’t really like Baseball, and doesn’t have a passion for the game. Glad to see JP is doing his homework. If we could only now get our hitters to do their job, we’d be laughing!!

    Also, by the way, I commented in April that this club wouldn’t win 70 games, and you sluffed me off like I was off my rocker. Well how dumb does that sound now, given the fact they can’t hit a beachball with RISP?

    MW: Given the fact that they can’t hit a beachball with RISP, they’re still on pace for more than 70 wins. And you’re right, the players have no interest in winning. Why would they? It’s not their livelihood or anything.

    - Cam Birnie
  210. 210.

    Mike, in your response to #168, you state that the minor leagues are for “player development”.

    Fine — no argument — but you did not (nor did Sammy, to whom my post was originally directed) address the question of how (aside from record) you measure this “development”?

    As I said, it seems that the so-called experts are doing their ratings based on some kind of subjective assessment of individual players’ merits and/or prospects — which for me is nothing more than another set of “predictions”, which may or may not hold true.

    And the argument that Major League success of young players (e.g. Ellsbury, Pedroia, etc.) means that the Red Sox system is superior doesn’t hold water — it may mean their system WAS better (last year or two years ago), but not necessarily that it is STILL better.

    So again I ask, how would you measure a minor league system, if “record” is dumb?

    MW: I agree with you completely on the subjective ratings of the “experts”. How do you measure a minor league system? By looking at the major league club six years hence.

    - Norm
  211. 211.

    Is there any particular reason Griffey wouldn’t wave his no trade clause to come here???

    MW: Let me answer that question with another question – can you think of a reason why he would?

    - David Millar
  212. 212.

    Say it isn’t so Mike!!!

    A guy calls in about why JP dismisses Adam Dunn as a viable deal and blasts the caller with “What do you know about Dunn, quotes batting average, home runs, and basically talks down to a fan with a legitimate question.

    Three callers before you comment that you don’t understand the Blue Jays lack of interest in Dunn but do you take JP to task on this? No we don’t here a peep out of you.

    I’ve been a strong defender of your objectivity in the past but this just shows me that you are a company line man. This saddens me because I have a lot of respect for you.

    Sorry Mike but I had to say this…..

    MW: You’re not alone. It’s the callers’ show. It surprised the heck out of me that J.P. was so willing to throw Dunn under the bus like that, but what should I have said there? The guy hits home runs and he gets on base. This is a fact. Ricciardi doesn’t want him. This is also a fact. My pointing out that the guy hits home runs and gets on base (after the caller had already done that) isn’t going to convince J.P. otherwise. It’s the same deal with Bonds. And hey, all you people citing a lack of passion and desire to win should be dancing in the streets about this.

    - Brent
  213. 213.

    Mike I got a bad feeling about gibbons after hearing JP tonite. He never made a comment on defense of Gibby that I felt his job was secure. JP seemed a little angry, although he tried to cover his tone, he seemed more irratable at all the negative feed back then usual. I did not like the way he barked out at the one caller about Dunn. I was a JP supporter, but tonite he just lost my vote.

    MW: I loved it. He seemed like he was just about at the end of his rope, and he was blunt and honest and irritable, which is exactly what you want from the guy.

    - jason
  214. 214.

    I like JP and am generally a fan of what he’s done with the team, but what was that about Adam Dunn tonight? He used an underestimate of BA to argue against acquiring him? Dunn, like Glaus, isn’t about batting average. He’s a player whose OBP (JP still likes that stat, right?) is over .380 career and over .400 at the moment. He’s got a career SLG of over .500 and is SLG over that this season. His OPS+ for his career is over 130. I’ve watched him play, he looks fine, at least as long as one doesn’t hate players like Glaus. Sure, I don’t have my ear to the ground and hear “the gossip” but the guy running this team is using gossip to rule out acquiring a player?

    This is the first time I’ve truly thought this GM incompetent. I’m a fan Mike, if he’s turn me off with the gibberish he said tonight on the radio… well you get the picture.

    I wish the caller had had the above facts about Dunn at his finger tips and had called JP on his BS. The GM of this team should be wanting to give up any pitcher on this team not named Halladay, Marcum or McGowan for Dunn.

    The only thing that gives me pause is that he’s actually trying to acquire Dunn and when he does he’ll remark that these comment were to prevent CIN from asking for too much… but… that’s seems unlikely.

    Not a good moment for JP, whatever the spin and I don’t even mind having Wilkerson in the line up (I’ve always liked him as a player).

    MW: I don’t think it was a bad moment at all for Ricciardi. I thought it was great radio. I wouldn’t use the word “gossip”, though, he wouldn’t say something like that publicly if he didn’t have it on very, very good authority. The caller didn’t need the facts, J.P. said them – he walks and hits home runs.

    - Christopher Taylor
  215. 215.

    Hey Mike thats ok. I just want the Jays to perform up to their potential and its frustrating. I read the blog most every day and its just gotten so repetitive. If its driving me crazy one wonders how you’re dealing with it. I just dropped a few lines of the song just to be different. Just to I don’t know try and get my mind off of the reality of this month of horrible baseball. Sometimes songs make you feel better.

    Take care Mike.

    MW: Thanks – if you had written anything along those lines, then posted a verse, I would have posted the comment. Though Michael Jackson might have sued us.

    - Troy
  216. 216.

    Mike you always mention that Jp needed three years to tear dowm this team. Well let’s just say you are looking for a way to substantiate wasted years.

    I vividly remember the florida Marlins in 97 winning the world series then afterwards completely dismmantling their team in the same year and getting back on their feet and winning again in 2003 with the lowest payroll in baseball

    MW: They sure did dismantle their team the winter after winning the World Series. It shouldn’t need to be said that you can get a lot more back when you’re dealing a bunch of guys who were good enough to win a World Series than when you’re coming off an 80-win season and trading guys like Paul Quantrill, Alex Gonzalez, Homer Bush and Raul Mondesi. The Marlins didn’t have the lowest payroll in baseball in 2003, but you knew that, didn’t you?

    - Neil
  217. 217.

    Mike after reading some of the comments to you after this game, I would like to emphatically deny that you are a moron. You have your opinions and fortunately for you, you have found a way of turning your passion for baseball into an occupation which is cool and not moronic at all.

    Just because you’re a broadcaster doesn’t make you omniscient. Nor does it make you infallible so I don’t get the viscious Wilner bashing by a select few here -especially one dude – whose name name will remain unpublished in this comment.

    At the end of the day, there’s nobody else I’d rather listen to discuss Jays. And even if Ricciardi does get canned I believe you will not go down with him because to quote a tune from an old James Bond movie. NOBODY DOES IT BETTER! When’s my cheque gonna be in the mail, Mike?

    MW: Vito, you’re awesome.

    - Vito From Hamilton
  218. 218.

    Sometimes I feel
    Like a man in the Wilnerness.

    - Styx -

    - Vito From Hamilton
  219. 219.

    If they’re so interested in winning because it’s their “livelihood” as you put it, then they should start showing some emotion like the GM does.

    Question. Does JP ever address the team in the clubhouse? If he doesn’t, he should, because I can’t help but think he could fire them up a bit.

    Or are you of the opinion they don’t need to be fired up — that that’s not the issue. I can’t help but think a ball club with passion doesn’t hit 35 points below the league average with RISP. Curious for your thoughts.

    MW: I don’t think passion has anything to do with it. If you don’t think they’re showing their emotion and frustration, then you’re not watching. There’s no wall-punching or Gatorade-cooler-throwing or fights in the dugout. Is that what you’re looking for?

    - Cam
  220. 220.

    I find it odd that you’re trying to tell me that Rios isn’t hitting when he’s actually been hitting pretty well recently. I even heard you argue that he’s been hitting well to a caller a couple of days ago (“are you aware that even with his 0-4 today he’s still hitting .300 over the last however many games?”). Do you believe what you write or do you just enjoy being contrary?

    Oh, and thanks for pointing out that Gibbons’ comment about Rios not being left handed was a true statement.

    MW: Anytime. I believe nothing that I write.

    - Shmuel
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