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:

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Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome!  A happy, healthy New Year to those of you who are celebrating!  See you Monday!

43 Responses to “The Curious Case of RRR”
  1. 1.

    Here’s something for all the baseball experts in attendance. Name the ballplayers who won the batting crown during their rookie season.

    - Joseph Durocher
  2. 2.

    Hey Mike,

    Speaking of “setting the team up for 2010″, if Hill and Lind are to be the 3-4 hitters next year as I’ve read all over the place, would it not make sense to slot them in those spots going forward to “get used ot hitting there”?

    Personally, I’m not a big supporter of a thought like that (hitters will hit, no matter where you put them, IMO), but we know Cito is… so wouldn’t slotting them in 3-4 now make sense?

    Or is making sense too much to ask at this point?

    MW: It could be. I don’t think that hitting Hill and Lind 3rd and 4th is the best course of action, but if that’s the plan for next year – why wait?

    - Kevin A.
  3. 3.

    Snider is striking out about 44% of the time since his last call up (41 k’s in 92 at bats). I’m starting to wonder if he may need to start next year in the minors.

    MW: I think he just needs to clear his head. If he reaches base at least 35% of the time and hits 30-40 homers, it doesn’t matter to me how often he strikes out.

    - Clint
  4. 4.

    sorry mike, proven your point? the rays would be 4 back in the central and 14 back in the west. so that proves what exactly? average teams shouldn’t make the playoffs and the rays are just that. and btw texas is not going to the playoffs either and they are a good team and not in the al east. the real issue is the structure of the al. the fact that detroit makes the playoffs and texas doesn’t makes a mockery of the playoffs. what they should do at least is add 1 extra playoff team and have a 1 game sudden death between the 2 worst teams (detroit vs texas).

    MW: What makes a mockery of the playoffs isn’t the Texas/Detroit thing. It’s the incredibly disparate schedules being played by teams who are battling for teh same playoff spot. The Rays wouldn’t be four back in the Central if they actually played in the Central.

    - kenny
  5. 5.

    Hi Mike,

    don’t know if it makes much sense, but one theory is that the Jays are auditioning Ruiz to be a bench player, i.e., see how he handles long sits before again pinch hitting.

    Perhaps they really have no plans at all to have him everyday (maybe someone else in mind) but really would like to see how he handles just being part-time.

    Any thoughts?

    (PS I don’t agree this is the proper route, I think he should be in there everyday.)

    MW: It’s an interesting theory, but in practice that’s insane.

    - Rory
  6. 6.

    Mike….

    a)Do you know the name of the Yankees’ broadcaster whose trademark line for homers is ” See Ya.”
    b) It was nice NOT to see the horrible colour of blue in the form of empty seats Thursday night at Rogers Centre for U2….Is there anyone “cooler” in rock’n'roll than The Edge? Bono is the ultimate front man, but I found myself fixated on The Edge and his unique style of guitar..Brilliant show!!

    MW: A – Yes. B – I’m glad you enjoyed the show.

    - chris m.
  7. 7.

    I completely agree with you on Ruiz. There’s no reason whatsoever not to play him. Apart from anything else he’s affordable and tradeable so why not showcase him. We’ve been showcasing everyone else by all accounts. Cito Gaston made it clear that Barajas is being given the opportunity to strut his stuff.

    Unless Ruiz has made some unfortunate crack about either Gaston or Ricciardi or the organization in general, I cannot understand why he’s not out there.

    Shana Tovah u’metukha

    - isabella reyes
  8. 8.

    With respect to RRR, I think there’s much more going on than we know. When you look at his minor league record, you see batting averages close to .300 (over .300 these past years).

    And admittedly, he is having a good (great) reintroduction to the majors. He can play 1B. His fielding in AAA vegas is .993, so why not put him at first. It seems natural to put him against a lefthander and platoon him with Overbay.

    Cito is rewarding Bautista for good play and he has a great arm. I like him in the outfield. His BA/OPS in the last 28 days is similar to Ruiz at .243/.862 (Ruiz is .240/.850). Bautista can field — with 10 assists in 64 games in the outfield, he would be leading the league with 22 assists (Bay has 15) if you extrapolate his stats to play every day. His one year contract ends. I think it’s a matter of keeping Bautista happy enough to accept an offer for next year should the deal for a power OF (Bay) falls through.

    Snider’s not going anywhere because the team really wants to see the kid’s arm and batting develop.

    Conversely, Randy Ruiz’s only position is at 1B and DH which are occupied by Overbay/Millar and Lind. Millar is playing the least number of games this season, by far, since he joined the majors, justifiably so, because his hitting has faded since ’06. It’s theorized that he’s liked for being the clubhouse leader, but I still think he would sour if Ruiz got playing time over him at 1B. I think Millar’s done. Maybe Overbay is too if they don’t re-sign him.

    So Ruiz I think is being squeezed out for the remainder of this season for other priorities. Ruiz is a known quantity and with the PA this year his performance in the majors replicates the minors. He is with the Jays for the foreseeable future. Maybe he is hurt. I thought that maybe there was a stat that Lind hit worse in LF vs DH but the converse is true.

    And with Wells hitting .500 in the last 14 days (what is up with that???), Cito don’t dare sit him.

    Happy new year!

    MW: Thanks. Lots of holes in the above, though – fielding percentage doesn’t mean anything, Bautista is still under control for next season and Overbay is signed through 2010, for starters. With Bautista, it’s not a matter of keeping him happy – he doesn’t have a choice. It may be a matter of deciding whether to tender him a contract in the off-season, but I would submit that if Jose Bautista is playing one of the outfield cormers for you, you’re not a playoff team. The Jays owe nothing to Millar, either. There’s no way he should ever be playing ahead of Ruiz.

    - Tim
  9. 9.

    As always, you are right on the money. R^3 (that is pronounce “R cubed”) needs some time at DH against some good pitching to show what he can do. I like the idea of having a power packed middle of the lineup. Maybe R^3 can play some 1B against lefties. That would allow Snider, Lind and Ruiz to rock. If the Jays want Snider to be a TRUE major league power hitter, he is gonnna have to face some tough lefties.

    Just a fovour to ask of you Mr. Wilner, could you post the “10 Questions with Alex Rios?”

    I would really appreciate that as I was unable to catch the broadcast.

    Thanks again.

    MW: It’s posted – it’s in the Fan Audio section, though you have to go back a ways. Look for “The Blue Jays This Week” of September 13th.

    - T.J.
  10. 10.

    Mike, I agree with you entirely. What I’m unsure of, though, is why? Any theories as to why Cito loves Bautista/hates Ruiz, or is it entirely the Snider-in-left thing (because that seems a bit flimsy, as you’ve pointed out)?

    MW: I really do think it’s entirely the Snider-in-left thing, combined ever-so-slightly with the fact that Adam Lind got hit by a pitch in the shin in Detroit.

    - andrew
  11. 11.

    Mike:

    My assessment is that the Blue jays can’t head north next year with bith Encarnacion and Bautista. Yest they are under contract, and I question whether they can be “off-loaded: and return anything of value.

    Would value your comments.

    MW: Bautista can simply be let go with the Jays owing him nothing, which I think will be their likely course of action. As I’ve said in the past, I would try to deal Encarnacion – my thought was to Milwaukee for J.J. Hardy, which would allow the Jays to put Chone Figgins at third when they sign him in the off-season.

    - Mel Norton
  12. 12.

    Call me crazy, but Randy Ruiz played one game in LF this season in Vegas.
    Perhaps he can play LF while Snider play’s RF, since Snider is playing RF again tonight.

    MW: You’re crazy.

    - Chris
  13. 13.

    And did we all see Snider’s excellent throw from left in yesterday’s game? Too bad Philips couldn’t hold onto the ball.

    I’m starting to hope the Jays don’t renew Cito’s contract. Butters would be a pretty good manager.

    MW: Cito is under contract for another season, and he’s the only one who calls Brian Butterfield “Butters”.

    - Alex
  14. 14.

    with a look at standings how can you say that this team is close to being a playoff team even with the moves you suggested? will they be able to dominate and outplay yankees if they mkur moves?

    thx

    MW: Dominate the Yankees? Maybe not. But they don’t have to dominate the Yankees to be a playoff team.

    - nik
  15. 15.

    Great job as usual Mike. I’m not sure how you do this night after night, your a much more patient man than I am. Only a couple more weeks to go, I’m sure you can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

    The Ruiz thing is almost comical now. McDonald is getting the start in LF (clearly Cito isn’t the least bit concerned with outfield defense) ahead of him. Just as the media and fans do, the players must just shake their heads when they see the line-up.

    I believe the single most important change this team needs to make to improve next season is the manager.

    MW: I don’t think it’s likely.

    - Kevin
  16. 16.

    Hey Mike

    I commented last on the 10th (#26) and was chirping again for the dismissal of one JP Riccardi. I stated that i would prefer to see a GM who would take a gamble once and a while to get this team into contention, to which you responded…

    “MW: You want someone who isn’t afraid to make big gambles? What do you call Ryan, Burnett, Thomas, Wells, Rios and Hill?”

    What do you call i call Ryan, Burnett, Thomas, Wells and Hill? Over 300 million of very unimpressive spending, which is another huge issue with JP. I realize injuries occur, but when you have 300 million at your disposal it shouldn’t be a gamble, you should get some production for that money and JP for the most part has come up short.

    To clarify, i was talking about having the stones to make a move when the opportunity presents itself. The Jays had some excellent pitching the last few years, some of the kids should have been dealt to boost the offense and become a contender. Even this year, the team has a red hot couple months to start the season, yet JP chooses not to take advantage of it and bring in some help. Even in off years, he doesn’t deal guys in the final years of their contracts to boost the farm system.

    Even you stated it was obvious AJ Burnett was going to opt out of his deal a year ago. And one of the teams in the mix was the Yanks, who were also going to make a run at Sabathia/Teixeira. A GM at the top of his game should have realized that AJ may sign with the Yanks and all the Jays would get back would be 2nd or 3rd round picks. Even if AJs defection brought back a 1st rounder, he should have been dealt for more at the deadline, just like Doc should have been moved a few months ago.

    Sorry for the rant, 15 years on non-contenting is starting to wear me out. Hell, these days i’d prefer to listen to your post game show rather than watch the game.

    MW: Well that’s good, I guess.

    - rick
  17. 17.

    Hey Mike

    Speaking of being worn out, i have one more rant this evening. What the heck is Cito doing?

    The Jays biggest flaw over the last few years has been their inept offensive attack. Riuz tears up the minors, and for some reason it takes months for the brintrust to see the light and call him up. Then, they finally bring him up, and he sits on the bench every game. Millar gets inserted in the cleanup spot when he shouldn’t even have a roster spot, and John McDonald now gets put in leftfield, while Ruiz rides the bench. Cito is clearly illustrating why he was out of work for so long. Can Lind not go to left to allow Ruiz the DH opportunity? With the Jays so far out of contention and yet another season being a complete write-off, Ruiz should be in the lineup EVERY game to increase the sample size and find out if he is for real.

    Players seem to have good things to say about Cito and i’m sure he is a fine “players manager”, but he has no clue how to put his players in the best possible situations to win ballgames.

    thanks again.

    - rick
  18. 18.

    mike, are you now saying that it is unfair for the jays to have to play the rays 18 times a year as well?

    MW: Huh? No.

    - raul
  19. 19.

    Hello MR. Wilner.. This thing with Cito not giving Randy more playing time.. With you being around the club.. Has anybody actually asked him why he is not getting more playing time.. I would love to hear is responce, and if nobody has asked him , can you ask him? Thanks Mike..

    MW: He has said recently that Adam Lind is still sore from being hit in the shin by a pitch a week and a half ago, and he’s not comfortable putting Lind the outfield, which means he has to DH, which means there’s no spot for Ruiz. But Gaston has also said that he wants Travis Snider to be his left fielder, which means there’s no room for Ruiz and Lind has to DH. And Gaston never did explain why Ruiz only played about half the time for a couple of weeks before Lind got hurt, giving away playing time to Kevin Millar.

    - FLIPPER
  20. 20.

    Micheal,

    Happy Rosh Hashanah.

    With Yom Kippur coming up, do you know if any of MLB’s Jewish players (Ian Kinsler, Youk, Brad Asmus, etc…) will take that day off?

    I remember Koufax did but cannot recall how other Jewish players deal with it.

    MW: I remember guys like Youkilis and Shawn Green taking the night of Yom Kippur (Kol Nidre) off, but playing during the day. This year, with Yom Kippur being Sunday night/Monday, guys get a break. There are no night games scheduled for this Sunday, so no worries that way, and there’s only one day game on Monday – the Dodgers are at the Pirates, and I’m guessing Brad Ausmus isn’t likely to play. I don’t think there are any Jewish players in the majors observant enough to wait until about 10 minutes after 8:00 on Monday night, when the fast will end.

    - Uncle Ben
  21. 21.

    Mike,

    Well, at least Cito hasn’t lost his sense of humour, or maybe of the macabre: having Ole Vern grab a piece of lumber and trundle up to the plate as a pinch-hitter (with MEN ON BASE!!!) was genuine Theatre of the Absurd…

    Then again, that notorious run-producer, the “Big Zero”,would no doubt have flailed away in futility as per usual; I’d be fascinated to know what Overbay’s BA is with RISP in the last few months – it must have been miserable enough for even Cito to wake up and turf him from the clean-up slot…

    I know you think there’s hope for this sad collection in the near future – but a team reduced to using John McDonald in the outfield in September makes one wonder about what prospects are lurking in the farm system…

    MW: It’s not the lack of prospects lurking in the farm system that’s put McDonald in the outfield. As for the Overbay thing, he was actually doing very well as the clean-up hitter (.284/.381/.461), but Cito couldn’t wait to get Vernon Wells back in there once he started to heat up.

    - Ken
  22. 22.

    This is not a question for the jays. I want become a sports broadcaster and I am only in grade 9. What do I have to do to get there.

    MW: Work hard. Pay attention in English class. Learn to write, learn how to get your thoughts across clearly and directly. Then go to college or university and take radio/TV, do really well and get an internship at a big radio or TV station. Then work hard and never say no.

    - satbir
  23. 23.

    Happy Rosh Hashanah!

    Do you think Ruiz’s past is going to come back to haunt him and the Jays? Do you think he’s flying under the radar right now?

    MW: You mean the steroid thing? I don’t see how it can come back to haunt the Jays, they’re hardly using him.

    - Fred
  24. 24.

    Mike

    Why does Roy Halladay has to face New York and Boston the most, compared to the other pitchers who only face them only just a few times and because of that they win all the awards and and Roy wins nothing!

    MIKE WILNER FOR PRESIDENT OF BASEBALL!!!!!!!!!!!!

    MW: Because the Blue Jays face the Yankees and Red Sox the most (along with the Rays and Orioles). Halladay won the Cy Young in 2003.

    - Raps Fan
  25. 25.

    Hey Mike…..in reading your last column today your starting to sound like me…I keep asking myself the same things your writing about. There wasa time back in 94-95 where I refused to go to Jay games simply because of the way Cito managed. I know we are all armchair critics after the fact but every good manager at least listens and tinkers with the line-up from time to time when one realizes that your simply not getting the maximum from your team. With the Jays this year since that 27-14 record the tinkering should have been happening all the time. I chuckled when you pointed out that Wells, somehow managed to get back to the 4th spot..that Snider was moved to left and I’m sure I mentioned it in the past to you that if they really are looking to get Jason Bay, why be moving a young kid on a yoyo from left to right to left, possibly sign Bay and then back to right….how’s that for building a kids confidence. If Ruiz is hitting that well and you want Batista in the outfield, why not sit Wells, move Batista to centre, Snider to right and Lind to left and Ruiz to DH….way to simple. Mike, hockey season is around the corner, you may want to consider wearing a hockey helmet…from your past history didn’t you once say you’ve experience a few concussions, continuing to bang your head on the wall trying to figure out what the Jays are up to in September will only put you on the DL and then what do we do not having you to listen to.

    Have a good night and keep up the good work.

    Mark

    - Mark Feeley
  26. 26.

    Hey Mike,

    MW: In fact, they’re probably one of the best teams in all of baseball (much like, stunningly, the Blue Jays were last year).

    If the Blue Jays were one of the best teams in baseball last year, someone should have told them . . . otherwise, they would have ADDED players at the waiver deadline as opposed to DUMPING Stairs and Eckstein.

    In the real world (not the sabermetric world of analyzing stats at season’s end) the Blue Jays were NOT one of the best teams in baseball in 2008. The best teams in baseball don’t dump players at the deadline.

    Claiming the Blue Jays were one of the best teams in baseball in 2008 is revisionist history.

    MW: No, it’s not. It’s the truth. The fact that they dumped Stairs and Eckstein – neither of whom were playing, you neglect to mention – at the deadline has nothing to do with anything. At the end of August, despite how good they were, they weren’t in a position to win anything, because of the screwed-up fashion in which Major League Baseball awards its post-season positions.

    - Ken Pagan
  27. 27.

    Hi Mike,

    hope you enjoyed your weekend off? but it’ll be good to have you back on the ol waves.

    Just a quick question, 6-12 for the season series against the ‘detested one’s’. I imagine the Jays are about the same if not worse against Tampa? (is Crawford kryptonite for Halladay? he always seem’s to do well against him) I’d like to know the break down for the Jays this season thus far against the A.L. East? and have they been historically bad within the division this year?

    Thanks as always

    MW: Historically bad? I don’t know, but probably. The Jays were 4-14 against the Rays to go with that 6-12 against the Yanks, and they’re 4-11 against the Red Sox with three more in Boston coming up next week. They were 6-6 against the Orioles going into Monday night’s game with six games left.

    - ukJay
  28. 28.

    michael,
    yes… your prediction/expectation on this yrs. rays was quite insightful indeed.
    i have to admit it was one of the very few things i didn’t agree with you in regards to this season & its eventualities.
    i can’t lie i thought they had become a pretty stacked team & had them pegged as a team that very well could repeat in the a.l. east.
    knew it would be brutally difficult to manage as it is unfortunately for our team every single season but kudos there on your foresight no doubt about it…
    but that’s probably the rub here isn’t it? they are pretty much a stacked team & yet nowhere to be seen right now in the a.l. east pennant race. very tough division to manouevre about it seems….
    and yes the ruiz thing happening here is a strange one to understand & assess.
    certainly at the very least a tad perplexing to endure.
    as for j. bay…. so that’s the rumour is it? we actually have a shot at that guy this winter?
    no doubt the most money will probably talk the loudest to him in the final outcome but with the american wife & child now (i believe) & his newly granted dual u.s. citizenship, i’m thinking he’s got other plans for himself & his family going forward.
    here’s hoping i’m way off the mark on that one & there’s no truth to that whatsoever…
    how are you handicapping that one at this point michael?

    MW: I think you’re way off the mark there. His taking on U.S. citizenship has nothing to do with his feelings about Canada whatsoever – I don’t know why so many people seem so anxious to jump to the same conclusion that you have. I think the Jays will go pretty hard after Bay this winter, if they decide to raise the payroll, but I don’t know how willing he’ll be to come here. He’d want assurances that the Jays won’t be an also-ran team, payroll-wise, while he’s here.

    - darrell bishop
  29. 29.

    Hi Mike,
    I have to agree with you regarding Ruiz.Right now the team reminds me of a ship without a rudder.They are not going anywhere this year and they are not making any moves to prepare for next year either.Cito’s decisions have me just shaking my head and I was a Cito fan when they brought him back.The Jays have to clean house but it is not so much the players who need replacing,it is management from the top down.Right now the team is a disaster and heads need to roll among those responsible.

    - Paul
  30. 30.

    JUst wondering what the record is of the pitchers who played in the World Baseball Classic this spring?

    MW: No clue.

    - Wayne Triemstra
  31. 31.

    Mike Cito makes me so frustrated.
    Do you have a facebook any chance?

    MW: Nope

    - Han Solo
  32. 32.

    Hi Mike,

    I completely agree with your point about Ruiz – this guy should be playing everyday until he proves he isn’t good enough, period.

    If the goal with a signing like his is to hope to catch “lightning in a bottle” and have yourself a nice controllable low-cost, high run-producer for a few years, then you have to play the guy obviously.

    We’ve talked about Tampa’s high draft picks and the great benefit for them of the Garza/Young trade, but how about their signing of Carlos Pena? This was a guy who, like Ruiz, kicked around for years as a AAAA-type and lots of teams gave up on him. But the Rays played him everyday and look what they got in return – a (almost) two-time AL homerun champ and a relatively cheap .900+ OPS.

    Ruiz may not be the next coming of Pena but how will the Jays ever know if they don’t at least play the guy. Sheesh.

    MW: Sheesh indeed.

    - Jamie
  33. 33.

    For a good while now, Cito has been unable to prove that he knows how to manage to win or to manage for the future development of the team.

    Also, I don’t know what they, Cito and Tenace, have done with Snider. All that he seems to be doing these days at the plate is thinking about mechanics instead of hitting the baseball, which everyone should know he is clearly able to do. The hitting approach by Cito & Co. seems to me to be a kind of dogmatism. Aren’t certain players more apt to go by “feel” at the plate more so than a strict plan?

    MW: Some, maybe, but Cito has two things in which he absolutely believes about hitting and with which he’s been successful in the past – have a plan, and get started on time.

    - Will, Oshawa
  34. 34.

    Hey Mike,

    I came across an interesting rumour today about a possible Wells for Bradley deal with the Cubs:

    http://www.bleedcubbieblue.com/2009/9/21/1046388/milton-bradley-suspended-cubs-win#storyjump

    I’m going to grain of salt this one because it was mentioned in a blog, but I still found the suggestion an interesting one. I want to get your opinion on this deal (acknowledging that it is complete fiction at this point). I guess the question is: would you ship a potentially productive Wells (and his 107 million remaining guaranteed dollars) for a complete head case and possibly finished Bradley, being aware of the fact that you are likely to be paying Bradley 20 million for the next two years for staying away from the team?

    Initially it would seem that saving 87 million at a time when “cash is king” is a no-brainer, but can the Jays pay another guy that much money not to play for them?

    Thanks Mike.

    MW: Yes, yes they can. Remember, this came from a fan who writes a blog – there’s nothing about which to get excited. I think that, no matter the issues with Bradley, the Jays would happily trade Vernon for him.

    - Branden
  35. 35.

    Shana Tovah Mike.
    May you and your family have a happy and healthy new year.

    MW: Why thank you!

    - david998
  36. 36.

    Mike,

    What are the chances that the Jays make big moves in the off season ($100MM + payroll, for instance) in your opinion?

    Will El Capitain be back?

    How does Hill feel about possibly moving to 3B? Would an Overbay / Encarnacion platoon work at 1B?

    How much would you pay for Scutaro on a two-year deal? How Much would Miguel Cabrera cost?

    Thanks.

    MW: 1 – Good, I think. 2 – Probably. 3 – I don’t think he’d be in love with the idea, and it probably would. 4 – No more than $9 million, and I wouldn’t feel good about that. 5 – A LOT.

    - andy mc
  37. 37.

    OK. I realize that the season is almost over and these games don’t count for squat but…why not use right-handed Ruiz as a pinch hitter against a left-handed reliever instead of leaving lefty Phillips hitting with the bases loaded? I just don’t understand Cito’s almost total refusal to use pinch hitters. I’d much rather see how Ruiz deals with the situation than Phillips.

    MW: I really don’t know what they’re doing with Ruiz.

    - Joe
  38. 38.

    Mike…
    a)Touche!…I guess I should’ve worded it as: Mike, would you please tell me the name of the Yankee broadcaster whose trademark line for homers is “See Ya”?
    b)Also Mike, how (or why) do guys like Milton Bradley, Sean Avery, Terrell Owens and others of that same ilk, constantly find suitors?

    MW: A – It’s Michael Kay of the YES Network. B – They can play, and for certain behaviours, pro sports is all about 5th and 6th chances.

    - chris m.
  39. 39.

    Mike,

    Could the jays move Vernon to Right Field next year and go get a Center Fielder who can bat Lead Off?

    MW: They could, but they’re not inclined to move Wells out of centre field as far as I know.

    - Anthony
  40. 40.

    Mike,

    Re the exceedingly remote chance of a Wells for Bradley trade: I agree with you that the Jays would make the deal, if only to shed themselves of that crippling contract; but even the Cubs management might not be able to stomach the prospect of both Soriano and Wells grossly underperforming for their obscenely bloated salaries.

    Not that acquiring the likes of Bradley would be any bargain. He must be employing a gag writer for his public statements; that bit about “wanting to play in a positive and comfortable environment” (or something to that efffect) was a thigh slapper, given the source…

    MW: A lot of guys are very good at saying the right things when they are introduced to a new city’s media, and Bradley certainly sucked some people in. That’s the thing for me about this proposed swap – could the Cubs handle having the contracts of both Soriano and Wells? I doubt it.

    - Ken
  41. 41.

    “….which would allow the Jays to put Chone Figgins at third when they sign him in the off-season.”

    “WHEN”?! Do you know something I don’t?! haha

    - Brendan
  42. 42.

    Hey Mike,

    Fans like that guy who stated he wants to switch to being a Yankees fan are the reason why the Jays don’t fill the stadium.

    After Yankees and Redsox games, i see too many ontario license plates on cars of Yankee and Redsox fans cars, which is really too bad.

    I have a theory that when the Jays finally make it to the playoffs, or win another world series, all those band wagon fans who do not have patience in supporting a team that has to compete in an unfair division, will come back.

    Its too bad that lack of success causes some fans to support other teams. You don’t see leaf fans jumping off so quickly, or else the leafs would be fanless.

    - paolo
  43. 43.

    michael,
    no, i wasn’t thinking that bay’s pursuit of u.s. citizenship had anything to do about his feelings towards canada per say.
    i was thinking it was just something he was doing for the sake of his wife & family going forward as we don’t really know her thoughts on the subject i guess.
    anyway, my observation on the most money being thrown at him probably has some merit (as it usually seems to) with these athletes come new contract time.
    but your point is as well taken no doubt. if the jays don’t show him unconditional pursuit of a viable contender going forward, all the bucks they can muster won’t most likely do it, as the other offers you would think are going to be at least in the same neighbourhood. and of course
    there is going to multiple offers for the services of a player of his talents..

    - darrell bishop
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