5:57 PM Eastern
Before the sun sets on 5769 and I take the weekend off to observe Rosh Hashanah with family and friends, I figured I should throw a blog post up here both to give you Wednesday night’s edition of The JaysTalk and to discuss something that’s been bothering me about the way this September has come together for your Toronto Blue Jays.
First off, the Wednesday JaysTalk didn’t show up yesterday because yesterday was The Billie’s 8th birthday, and we took her and some of her little friends out to the great Charles E. Cheese’s Restaurantic Emporium. This time, sadly, Lennox Lewis didn’t show.
This weekend, the Jays are in Tampa to face the free-falling Rays, who have gone ahead and proven my point about the American League East. There’s no question that the Rays are a good, young team. In fact, they’re probably one of the best teams in all of baseball (much like, stunningly, the Blue Jays were last year). And yet, sitting in the American League East, there the Rays are – 20 full games out of first place and 13 games out of the wild card. They can’t get close to the Beasts either.
If the Jays can pull off the unlikely sweep this weekend, they’ll knock T-Bay under the .500 mark. I’m still waiting for the apologies for all those who ripped me earlier in the season for my 78-win prediction for the Tampas, by the way. It appears as though I may only be off be a game or three. And even an 82-84 win season for the Rays would, in fact, be a precipitous drop-off from last season.
Anyway, onto the curious case of RRR. That would be, of course, Randy Radames Ruiz, the Blue Jays’ missing DH-of-the-future.
All Ruiz has done since the Jays called him up in mid-August is hit. He has only had 100 plate appearances, I’ll grant you, but over that time he has amassed a line of .276/.360/.529. He’s second on the team in OPS, trailing only Adam Lind. His seven homers and 14 RBIs in 24 games put him on a 162-game pace for 47 bombs and 95 “steaks”. Now, of course, no one actually believes that Ruiz will be able to make those numbers, but why not give him a look until he proves he’s not up to the task?
And yet, he hasn’t played since last Saturday – it’s been a week off. Unless he’s hurt, and if he is, they’re not telling us, this is absolutely preposterous.
The reason that Ruiz hasn’t played in a week is that, slightly prior to that week, Cito Gaston decided that Travis Snider was better-suited to play left field than to play right field. If Snider is in left, then Adam Lind has to DH, and if Lind has to DH, then there’s nowhere for Ruiz to play.
It seems as though Gaston would rather have Jose Bautista playing right field than have the combination of Ruiz’ bat at DH and Lind and Snider’s gloves in right. To me, this is wrong-headed. It’s not about winning games in September (and who’s to say that having Bautista in right over the other option is more conducive to winning anyway). What it’s about is setting up the team for 2010 and beyond.
Snider may not have a terrific arm, but we’ve seen him throw better than what he’s shown the last month. He can handle right field enough to play there the rest of this year so the Jays can give Ruiz a shot DHing every day, which they should really, really want to do.
Also, if it’s true that Jason Bay will be a major target of the Jays this off-season, as has been rumoured, then where are they going to put him? Bay isn’t a right fielder, and one would think that one of the reasons to add him would be to have a power-packed middle of the line-up along with Lind, Snider, Aaron Hill and (keep your fingers crossed) Vernon Wells.
The way they’ve gone about things this last week doesn’t appear to make any sense, and here’s hoping they fix that as we head into the final fortnight of the season.
As promised, here’s that Wednesday night edition of The JaysTalk, for your listening pleasure:
Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome! A happy, healthy New Year to those of you who are celebrating! See you Monday!