12:25 AM Eastern

I’m sure after tonight’s terrific finish (thank you, Shawn Camp), most people will be talking about the fact that Jonathan Papelbon drilled Adam Lind in the 9th inning, but that’s not my major issue with this game.

Lind had a fantastic night, belting three homers – two to dead centre and one off the Pesky Pole in right, and then got hit by Papelbon’s first pitch to him as he came to the plate with two out and nobody on in the 9th.  Try as you might – and Papelbon did with his “My bad, man.  My bad” comment to Lind as the inning ended – there’s no disguising intent when you hit a guy in that situation.  None.

I do hope a significant Red Sock gets drilled tomorrow, but at the appropriate time.  I don’t want Roy Halladay getting thrown out of the game in the first inning for putting one  in Dustin Pedroia’s or Victor Martinez’ ribcage.  Actually, I suggested on The JaysTalk tonight that Camp be given the ball to start tomorrow and that he hit as many Red Sox as he has to in order to get thrown out, and then have Halladay brought in from that point.  It won’t happen, but that’d be a lot of fun.

My problem with tonight’s game was the starting line-up.  I understand that there are a lot of people who think I criticize Cito Gaston too much, but I defy any of you Cito fans to explain this one.

In what universe is the 2009 version of Kevin Millar EVER an appropriate choice to start a major-league game at third base?

Granted, he had a fine game over there – even made a nifty turn of a double play with the shift on – but, to use one of the greatest journalistic arguments ever, come on.  Cito has made himself so deathly afraid of using Lind in left field that he’d rather start Millar at third than put Lind out there, move Travis Snider to right and Jose Bautista to third.  I understand why Cito does a lot of the things that he does, though I don’t agree, but I absolutely can’t wrap my head around this one.

I understand last night.  Encarnacion got hurt mid-game, Lind was already DHing, Marco Scutaro and Joe Inglett are hurt, there weren’t a lot of options, they were leading 11-3.  But tonight?  You have got to be kidding me.

You know that Millar will start in the series finale with Tim Wakefield on the mound, given Millar’s .419/.486/.903 mark against Knucksie in 35 career plate appearances.  Millar has homered more often off Wakefield than off any other pitcher he’s ever faced.  I’m just really, really hoping that with supergroundballer Roy Halladay on the mound, we won’t see Millar at third.  Heck, put HIM in left field if you’re so scared of Lind out there. No, wait – don’t.

But the bigger question is – why is Cito so reticent to let Lind play the outfield?  He’s not a good outfielder, but he’s not THAT bad.  He’s certainly a better left fielder than Millar is a third baseman.  And allowing Lind to play some left will let the Jays see if they can go with a Lind/Wells/Snider outfield long-term.

What’s the point of running Jose Bautista out there every night?  Sure, the defense is good and the throwing arm is outstanding (as are the seven September homers – a career high for any month) .  But if the Jays up the payroll, Bautista’s not going to be the right fielder next year.  And if they cut the payroll, Bautista (who is arbitration-eligible and will earn about $3 million next season if tendered a contract) isn’t going to be the right fielder next year.  Sure, this 8-1 run is a lot of fun right now, but doesn’t it have to be about 2010 and beyond?

This just adds more fuel to the “Cito must go” fire.

By the way, I couldn’t resist the shot at Camp, who was awful tonight, but let’s not forget that he has had a relatively outstanding season.  For a guy who was pretty much the definition of “nothing special, if even that” going into this season, he’s been a big, big part of any limited success the Jays’ pen has had.  Going into tonight’s game, Camp had a WHIP of 1.234 and was holding the opposition to a .238/.311/.367 line, which is pretty terrific.   Right-handed hitters have barely touched him (.218/.288/333) and he’s gone more than two innings ten times.

As a true long man, he’s been ridiculous.  Over those ten outings in which he was asked to pitch more than two innings, he’s thrown a total of 29 innings, allowing three runs on 16 hits, walking five and striking out 23.  That’s a 0.93 ERA and a 0.724 WHIP when the team has needed him to suck up some innings.

Here’s tonight’s edition of The JaysTalk, for your listening pleasure (can you believe there are only three or four left?):

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Tomorrow night, it’s Halladay against Wakefield.  Hopefully, the game presents itself with the opportunity for the Blue Jays to even the score for Lind.  Despite what the last caller said, putting the winning run on in the bottom of the 9th via the hit batsman wasn’t the right way to go.

Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome!

100 Responses to “But Heaven Forbid He Plays Left Field”
  1. 1.

    Of course you’re right, you can’t put the winning run on in the bottom of the 9th by hitting somebody to exact some revenge.

    That being said Papelbon is piece of dog excrement. Him hitting Lind is completely in keeping with what he know of him, he’s arrogant and he’s an idiot. Hit a guy cuz he’s having a good day at the plate, throw teammates under the bus after they’ve been traded, not to mention the crap he spouted about Billy Wagner possibly joining the Sox, which of course he eventually did. I wonder how that relationship is going? There’s no getting around it the guy is a jerk.

    If the Jays do exact their pound of flesh tomorrow, I hope none of the Red Sox are as egotistical and arrogant about it as Jorge Posada. They have to know its coming right?

    Worst case scenario would be Doc doing it and the ump automatically ejecting him to make himself a big part of the game. Of course if Doc throws at somebody he’ll likely hit them, not throw behind them a la League or Carlson, so they’d at least have to warn each team, lame.

    Do you think hurting players on a team that is extremely likely to be playoff bound figures into the equation of whether or not to retaliate?

    MW: It shouldn’t.

    - Sean in Lethbridge
  2. 2.

    Michael,

    If Gaston is let go or fired up as it were, do you think Brian Butterfield be a potential managerial candidate?

    He’s been excellent at his job and knows the team as well as anybody.

    MW: I would love for Brian Butterfield to get an honest shot at the job if it were to come available. If I were the GM, he’d be the first guy I interview.

    - Uncle Ben
  3. 3.

    Sorry, you don’t wait until next season to get revenge on the Lind hit by pitch. That allows too much time to pass. You should have drilled Martinez. Yes, you put the go ahead run on base but… Who cares! The game is meaningless to the Jays’. It’s more important to stand up for your teammates than worry how the Texas Rangers will feel about it.

    MW: I disagree.

    - Kelly Pfeiffer
  4. 4.

    I agree 100% with your assessment of Lind getting drilled.
    It’s not surprising, coming from that punk Papelbon. I believe in retaliation and hope Pedroia or Youkilis or someone takes a fastball to the ribs. Maybe it should be League, whose fastball tends to ride in on righties and can hit 95mph.
    What I don’t get is drilling a guy because he’s had a great game. If he was standing there and showboating, then fine, hit him. But Lind isn’t Barry Bonds and Papsmear showed his true colours.

    - Cory
  5. 5.

    I wanted to follow up on a reader who mentioned Halladay and Greinke’s game totals against the top hitting teams and the bottom hitting teams(Halladay 16 starts against top teams, Greinke 6. Greinke has 12 starts against the bototm hitting teams and Halladay 6)

    Here are some actual numbers for qualifying pitchers:
    Halladay’s Opp_Qual_OPS: .775 (which does rank 3rd in the MLB right behind Guthire .777 and Garza .776 Halladay has faced the toughest lineups in terms of OBP though)
    Greinke’s Opp_Qual_OPS: .755 (ranks 23rd in the MLB)
    CC’s Opp Qual OPS: .750(ranks 30th in the MLB)

    Interesting that CC has statistically faced some of the easiest lineups and gets some of the best run support in the league. Definitely don’t think he should get near the Cy Young regardless of 20 wins.

    But many former Cy Young winners have faced much easier lineups than Greinke and CC.

    2008 NL Cy Young Winner – Tim Linececum – Opp_Qual_OPS: .730
    2008 AL Cy Young Winner – Cliff Lee – Opp_Qual_OPS: .735
    2007 NL Cy Young Winner – Jake Peavy – Opp_Qual_OPS: .742
    2007 AL Cy Young Winner – CC Sabathia – Opp_Qual_OPS: .738

    I am sure these are all stats voters have never even looked at. Look at the OPS difference between Cliff Lee last year and Halladay this year. Insane.

    MW: Voters never look at those stats. Wins, losses, ERA, strikeouts, sometimes innings pitched and complete games, that has tended to be about it.

    - Dan
  6. 6.

    You’ve cited the change in the Yankees spending since JP took over a number of times and you are bang on. I don’t know if you have seen this or not but if you have, it’s a handy reference for those who are skeptical of your assertion.

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/242713-how-to-fix-a-problem-that-few-see

    I made that graph last fall to illustrate the very point visually.

    It’s team payrolls, according to USAToday, since 1988. One line represents the Yankees and the others represent the #5, 10, 15, and 25 teams in the majors (so as to better represent the whole of the league.

    One might notice that the lines pretty much parallel each other through 2001. there is a growing divergence but it is gradual and consistant.

    THAT is the playing field JP was looking at when he was hired.

    In 2008, there was more space between the Yankees and the #5 team (approx $90 million) than there was in 2001 between them and the #25 team (approx. $70 million)

    The entire nature of the division and the challenge before any AL East GM is different now than it ever was in history before 2001.

    MW: Nice graph!

    - WillRain
  7. 7.

    Seeing the Red Sox have clinched the wild card berth, I doubt they play anyone of significance tonight. Revenge for the cowardly beaning of Adam Lind may have to wait until next year.

    Don’t look now but tonights home run binge gives the Jays 199 for the year which places them fourth in the AL. Boston is third with 202. At times I suppose we tend to think of the Jays as somewhat lacking in overall power, but the numbers say they’re almost as good as any team out there.

    MW: That they do. Think how much better they’d be if Randy Ruiz was actually given a real chance to play!

    - Jim in Ohio
  8. 8.

    What the Sox did tonight was so Bush league that it must immediately vault them ahead of he Yankees for most hated Jays opponent.

    Pappelbon has ridiculous control. Lind has hit three homers. There are two outs and noone on. He gets drilled by a pitch he had no chance of ever getting away from.

    I can understand hitting Lind if on ANY homerun there was a hint of showmanship. there certainly was not.

    In fact, hitting lind there on purpose is very similar to this new NHL tendency of idiots starting a fight with an opponent after a perfectly clean body check is delivered. (yes, even us people in phoenix can go the hockey comparo route)

    On baseball tonight, you saw Peter “sox homer” Gammons and John “i have no pride because i was a fat professional athlete” state unequivocally that there was NO intent. Really? How could they KNOW? They might think, yes. They might have an inkling…true. But to KNOW?

    the red sox announcers were likewise poo pooing the beanball stating there would be no way Paps did that on purpose just after the Sox scored all those runs to get them back into the game.

    Had lind been leading off or even batting second, yes i would believe that. but there were two outs and noone on. its really, really suspicious.

    Doc should really hit someone. He wont get thrown out on the first one. If he hits someone later on by accident and gets run (like that stupid, stupid game against the rays a few years ago..was it the delgado four homer game?)so be it. it means more when doc beans a guy and sticks up for his mates than when shawn effing camp does it. its really not all about winning at this point. there has to be some pride factor, especially now since the sox clinched due to the ineptitude of the rangers. a loss wont hurt the sox as much as a ball to the spleen.

    MW: It wasn’t the four-homer game, Halladay’s ejection came three days earlier. I’m with you, despite the amazing objections of the Red Sox faithful – when you hit a guy who has homered three times, on the first pitch, with two out and nobody on, you haven’t got a leg on which to stand.

    - General Zod
  9. 9.

    Mike, in lieu of Halladay’s start tonight, I just wanted to run this oddity by you.

    The numbers suggest that Hallady has had a lot more trouble with the Rays as opposed to the Yankees.

    vs Yankees 3-1 2.70era 1.075 WHIP

    vs Rays 1-4 3.35era 1.326 WHIP

    It seems weird given that the Yankees are generally regarded as the best offensive team in baseball.

    What is it about the Rays that gave Halladay so much trouble this year?

    MW: The Rays say (a quote from Matt Garza) that they “know how to beat Halladay.” But they’re not telling anyone.

    - Brent
  10. 10.

    just a point about how great camp has been in long relief – in a way it’s obvious that his stats will be better in his 2 inning+ appearances: if he comes in in the 5th, with the intention to mop up innings, but gives up a few runs and looks terrible, then he won’t reappear for a second inning. perhaps it would be better to look at stats where he entered the game before the 6th, or something like that.

    but still, it does suggest that once he gets in a groove, he can stay there for a few innings. if he has a great first inning, he’ll rarely melt down in subsequent innings, which is great.

    also, clearly jesse carlson is the man to hand out the beanings! although a brandon league 99mph heater to the ribs would look pretty nice too. is there any way boston can be convinced to make papelbon their leadoff hitter?

    MW: Unfortunately, that ain’t gonna happen.

    - btc
  11. 11.

    Boston also put up 50 million for Dice-K, not included on payroll

    - Paul O
  12. 12.

    Hello Mike, I don’t think Papelbon intended to hit Lind. People just think that just because Lind hit 3 homeruns before, & he gets hit with the first pitch, it’s intentional especailly from a hot head like Papelbon. If you look at the replay, Lind would of not been hit untill that last split second when his elbow dipped downwards towards & caught the ball. Papelbon was just trying to brush him back because he knows any player who hit 3 homeruns in a game is too comfortable, as any good pitcher should. Now, Papelbon might be thinking before he threw that pitch, that if he hits him, so be it but that wasn’t the main intent. It wasn’t as if that pitch was way inside to the point it was obvious to hit him for sure. Yes, the location of the pitch is probably exactly where Papelbon would like it but Lind could of as easily not been hit by that pitch. I believe Papelbon was being sincere about his apology.

    Now, you probably would say he didn’t apologize & all he did was say “my bad, my bad, my bad” which you think by mentioning on Jays talk is that it was his fault, that he is just telling him the obvious. Well, in today’s slang language, with young people, when Papelbon says “my bad” in that manner, he’s meaning an apology. If he said that back in the 1960′s or something, players would probably think what the heck is he saying. Take if from myself who is 26, from bro to bro in todays style language from young people, ‘my bad’ is an apology. Player are not going to go to each other & say “I’m sorry”. Do you know how bad that sounds on the field of a man’s game??You probably don’t. I assume you’re much older than me..Of course no offense…Maybe, if he said it to the media but even that’s odd. So, I think that’s where you have to understand slang from young people these days. It looks bad on Papelbon because he has an ego that has made him so good but I think he respects Lind(who wouldn’t with the season he’s having) & the game too much to lie about that he didn’t mean it. That’s my input on that & I don’t think you should conclude he hit him intentionally just because he hit 3 homeruns & on the first pitch. I would think it was intentional if he hadn’t came to Lind after the third out.

    Now, retaliation is a different story. Regardless if it was intentional or not, the Jays should either hit a key Red Sox hitter next game which is tonight or early next year. First pitch, fast ball to send a message & make it obvious… It doesn’t matter what Papelbon does is intentional or not, it tells the Red Sox pitchers to be carful pitching inside to the Jays best hitters. Anyways, great game regardless. Especially a game where it means nothing to the Jays. Keep up the great work as always with this blog Mike.

    MW: Thank you for the lesson on “today’s slang language, with young people.”

    - david F
  13. 13.

    As for the Cito thing, I just read it, maybe you should ask him before throwing him under the bus & demanding that he should be fired. Funny you were totally the opposite with Gibbons. Not sure but it sounds that you are better friends with Gibby?..If you are, you are really bias because of it.

    I don’t think you should be criticizing a major league manager as you do on here & especailly on air with what Cito had done. The way you did it from Jays talk last night, it’s a major insult, & seems like it’s personal thing but I know it’s probably not…or you’re trying to get your ratings up since the Jays are out of it. Bob Maccowan style. One of the reasons I don’t listen to Jays talk as often as I did. If you think you can be a better manager, why didn’t you try for a managerial position either in the minors or majors??…You are probably the best on paper decision baseball person I have heard but that doesn’t mean you will be anywhere near the best in a real baseball game. No manager is perfect, even legendary Tony Larussa or Tommy Lasorda. You agreed with 99% of John Gibbon’s decisions & what was his winning percentage??…

    So, my point that it’s not simply in making the right decisions to win games. You could make the right decision on paper but it doesn’t mean success. Yes, Millar shouldn’t of started 3rd base last night but it worked out, didn’t it??…I don’t think Cito would of done that if the Jays was in the wild card race. Like a caller said, because the Jays are out of it, it’ll a nice gesture to a veteran since he played in Boston & won a World Series with them. You never know, but if Batista & lind started 3rd & left, who says they wouldn’t of made an error to cost the Jays a run even if that’s the right decision…So, my point is that baseball is complex & just because you make the right decisions on paper, it doesn’t mean it will work out at the end.

    MW: You really need to learn about the word “have”. Sorry, that’s bugged me through both your comments. As to the Cito-Gibby thing, John Gibbons almost always put his players in the best position to succeed – and whether they did or not was secondary, that’s all a manager can do. Cito Gaston does not do that on a regular basis, plain and simple. The fact that making a move like starting Kevin Millar at third base happened to work out doesn’t make it any more appropriate a move.

    - david F
  14. 14.

    As my conclusion, I think you criticizing is ok, but there’s a line. I just don’t think you are criticizing anymore last nite when you were on air. You were bashing the whole half hour a man that has helped a team win 2 World Series. It’s now called ranting & abuse of you job title. That’s not right. But that’s my opinion & I’m sure you’ll disagree with it as always. However your work ethic seems excellent with the blog & is a differnt story.

    MW: You’re right – I disagree. It’s my job to go on the radio and talk about what I see happening on and off the field.

    - david F
  15. 15.

    Hi Mike
    Papp had to have hit Lind on purpose as he has only 4 HBP this year and his control is much better than he showed then.
    I also want to run an idea by you.
    MLB needs to fix the one last inequity. The only state with two MLB teams in the same league is Pennsylvania. The Pirates and Phillies can never play each other in the WS whereas all other two teams have the chance. SOOOO switch the Jays and the Phillies. Both stay in the East and Lind will have to play LF

    MW: THAT’S the one last inequity in MLB?

    - Richard from AR
  16. 16.

    My understanding was that Lind was still hampered by some injury that prevented him from playing the field, and that’s why Millar ended up at 3rd.

    Whatever the case, Lind’s injury sure didn’t affect his swing any.

    MW: Or his ability to run the bases. Or his ability to play left field in the game in which he got hurt.

    - Scott Shepherd
  17. 17.

    Mike,

    Where was you critical eye to managerial strategy when John Gibbons was the manager? All you did at the tiem is defend and create excuses for Gibbons! What is it about Cito that gets in your nerveS?

    MW: See above. But when Gibby made a strategic move with which I disagreed I called him out – he just didn’t make many.

    - ALT
  18. 18.

    Hi Mike, for sure I am with you on the Cito fiasco last night that is called managing. Not going to go off on another rant here with regard to Cito, however it is pretty self explanatory this season especially why Cito was out of MLB for so long.

    Bo-Sox clinch a 7th wild card spot to get into the post season. That by the way is the most by any team since its inception.

    Hopefully they will get a bit healthier as to pitching before heading to Anaheim. No matter how the Red Sox got in – bottom line is they work in the off season, spring training and regular season to get into post season and they have done it again.

    The Jays have looked great of late no matter the time of season or their position in the standings. They look pretty comfortable out there. It’s too bad Cito is not playing his guys where they should be to get a preview of next season. Made me shudder to see young Lind take one off the right elbow, hopefully he is ok as a hit like that can turn ugly later on.

    The Bosox loss in nine innings did have one good consequence. That being they did not have to go deep into their pen in extra innings. They will need a well rested group come Monday.

    Can’t wait to hear Citos’ end of season media scrum. Someone needs to step and ask him some tough questions and make him somewhat accountable for the final W-L record of 2009.

    Thanks Mike – keep on doing what you do best.

    MW: That’s how the Red Sox make the playoffs so often? Work?

    - Bob (from Burlington)
  19. 19.

    I’m glad that you’re pointing out Cito’s deficiencies, if the team has any chance of winning next year, Cito must go.

    He just simply is not giving the team the best chance to win.

    MW: Plain and simple.

    - Kevin Daly
  20. 20.

    Mike, I will be very dissapointed if a Halladay fastball doesn’t hit pedroia, youuuuklis or bay.(hopefully not bay, he’s a canuck) i know doc will pick his moment but Lind’s hitting three dingers and getting beaned is too convenient a ‘mistake’. Lets stick up for our guys! Lind mightve been seriously injured in that episode.

    MW: Unfortunately, none of those guys were in the line-up for the Red Sox, but Halladay got the best guy who played, Ortiz.

    - marc
  21. 21.

    Hi Mike,

    Long time no post for me. Anyways, I was driving last night and wondered to myself if it would make any sense for the Jays to sign Rich Harden and convert him to a closer. We all know he has terrific stuff. Does this make any sense to you? Would he be too much of a risk given his fragility in recent years? Would it be too expensive a risk. What do you think?

    MW: As I mentioned with McGowan, it’s often more stressful for a guy’s arm to pitch him in relief than as a starter. I’d sign Harden and see if he could be my 5th starter.

    - Ian from Whitby
  22. 22.

    Hi Mike,

    I, too, would like ot see some good ‘ol fashioned retaliation for Lind being drilled in the 9th. That was clearly intentional and there needs to be retribution. I would destroy at least 2 Red Sox players with fastballs. I think I’d choose Victor Martinez and JD Drew. I would say Jason Bay but I love that guy. The Jays are safe if a brawl insues because we have Rod Barajas to clean house in there. Sound good, Mike?

    MW: No, why would you get two of them? Then they’d have to retaliate and it would keep going forever.

    - Ian from Whitby
  23. 23.

    Mike, why don’t you just ask Cito why he does it this way? the problem is not Cito anyway. What we need is a team with a fighting chance. Then you will see the value of Cito Gaston.

    I would like to get to the real, more pertinent and much more serious issue surrounding the success, failure and future of the Blue Jays franchise – our ‘silent’ owner ROGERS Corp., a multi-Billion dollar company, that has a 72.5 million payroll, 20th in the league, see: http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/teams/salaries?team=tor . Rogers profit edges up despite recession,Jul 28, “Toronto-based Rogers said overall revenue rose about 3 percent to C$2.89 billion from C$2.80 billion.” see: http://ca.news.finance.yahoo.com/s/28072009/6/finance-rogers-profit-edges-despite-recession.html

    Of the 8 playoff bound teams, at least 6 will have $100million plus salaries. A team needs to be so fortunate in every way to have a low salary and make the playoffs – it happens, but it is the exception not the rule. The rule is: you get what you pay for. Blue Jays don’t need to spend 200million like the Yankees. Number two in spending is 145million. But the Jays have to spend more if they want a competitive team, to get the Wildcard, forget the Yanks. You put a $130million team under Cito and he’ll get it out of them, we’ll be in the playoff hunt. Boston spends 122million, Toronto 72.5million. To use your argument Mike, “come on”. The reason we are not in the hunt it because Rogers is not putting in the necessary funding to have a competitive team on the field.

    What’s the reason they won’t put money into the Blue Jays?

    It would be nice to hear a bit more of that on the radio, instead of blaming the fans for not going to see a product that the owners do not attempt to make competitive.

    Sean

    MW: I have asked Cito why he does things the way he does them, and I’ve let you know his answers both here and on the radio. I don’t agree with his reasoning, and neither do most other observers. As for ownership, I’ve mentioned countless times that if you want to play with the big boys, you have to spend with the big boys. The Jays’ lack of payroll, though, doesn’t have anything to do with starting Kevin Millar over Randy Ruiz.
    Toronto

    - Sean
  24. 24.

    Your just telling it like it is. Millar has no business playing let alone being at third. We have had a lot worse outfielders over the years than Lind. This should be about the future at this point and Lind should be in the OF with Snider and Ruiz should be getting some at bats as the DH. You can’t even think of contending and give Bautista regular at bats no matter how good he has been for the last month.

    And one of Pedroia, Martinez or Youkilis needs to be drilled tonight. This is a must.

    MW: Sadly, none of them played.

    - Strat
  25. 25.

    Mike,

    Maybe I got this wrong – but did you, or someone, actually suggest that the Brewers would trade Fielder for Purcey, Janssen and a prospect??? Talk about overrating the local talent! This is the same Purcey who will be 28 next year, and hasn’t shown any signs that he will actually be a major league pitcher? This is the same Janseen who was cuffed around as a starter (and if you can’t start for the 2009 Jays you’re in real trouble – see Tallett, Richmond), and looks like a career long reliever?

    I would suggest neither of these players has any appreciable trade value.

    Why not swap Wells and Overbay for Lincecum and Cain
    as well? That trade would be good for the Jays too..

    MW: Wells and Overbay for Lincecum and Cain would be awesome. I don’t know where you see that Purcey hasn’t shown any signs that he will actually be a major-league starter. You must have missed at least those two starts against the eventual AL champs last season wherein he gave up one run on 11 hits and struck out 18 with three walks in 16 innings. Or the six innings of two-hit shutout in Detroit, or his first start this year, or his first two starts after his September call-up. Look, there’s no question that Purcey has shown some signs. But again, we were talking about only one year of Prince Fielder.

    - Ken
  26. 26.

    If this team is going to succeed and move forward next year, they have to address the closer issue. The current cast of characters just doesn’t cut it. Closers are aggressive no nonsense types of pitchers with great command of typically two pitches. If you watched last nights game you saw Frasor and Barajas consult numerous times on pitch selection etc. Do you think for a minute that the same thing would happen with Mariano Rivera on the mound? Not a chance. It shows a lack of conviction and self doubt. This raises a very interesting question. Why is it so difficult to develop a two pitch dominant pitcher within one’s own organization? I’m not just talking about the Jays here but baseball in general.

    MW: And yet, they got the job done. And Frasor has gotten the job done 11 of 14 times this season. I don’t get why it matters how closers behave.

    - mike glatt
  27. 27.

    Hi Mike:

    I’m probably going to ask a question that you’ve received many time but due to my work schedule (as a paramedic) I don’t get to always listen to you. Does Aaron Hill have any chance of getting consideration for the MVP this year? Or will his average/on-base and the fact that he plays on the Jays destroy his chances? Your thoughts? And again, sorry if I have caused you to reiterate yourself.
    Also, quickly if I may…Albert Pujols – MVP again this year? Is there another contender?

    Thanks Mr. Wilner, always enjoy you on the radio when I get the chance to listen.

    Sincerely
    Kyle Schubert

    MW: Hill is likely to get some 8th-10th place votes for the MVP, but the fact that he plays on a team that’s 25+ games out destroys his chances. Pujols should win pretty easily in the National League.

    - Kyle Schubert
  28. 28.

    Hey Mike!

    I agree with most of what you said. But I think the Jays and Cito (and me) like Bautista where he is. Unfortunately, this makes no room for Randy Ruiz and clearly the Jays won’t be signing or hiring anyone who can be a DH. Is this a good managerial decision? It depends on whether you see Bautista as an everyday OF. But you are right, for some reason, Cito is afraid to put Lind in left.

    Personally, I don’t think there is ANY direction in the Jays’ organization with where they want to go so I think that Cito is assuming that they’ll go nowhere.

    I completely agree with you about not putting Lind out in LF but there must be some reason that we know don’t know about. Putting Millar at 3rd doesn’t make any sense. Maybe Cito is putting him in the game at a special request of Millar, who likely is close to ending his career and wanted to play in Fenway one last time???

    To clear up what Jerry was saying about 1990 Joe Carter, I took a good look at baseball reference and clearly, Mike, you are right. There were a total of 542 baserunners in Joe’s 361 plate appearances with runners on. All of the statistics are consistent with your findings. There are no addition errors.

    Papelbaum’s pitch last night was clearly a cheap shot. And with tonight being the last game against Boston this year, I think you put Scott Downs on the mound and have him nail as many hitters as possible, starting with Pedroia, Martinez and Youkilis, especially if they are down more than a run. Actually, Halladay could do it in the 8th – it’s his final start, after all! Then at the ensuing brawl, Phillips could stomp on Papelbon’s's right hand for a few minutes, point at his chest, and say “my bad…”.
    Talk about a team statement… of course I am just dreaming.

    MW: I think you went a wee bit too far there.

    - Tim
  29. 29.

    Mike, I’ve always kind of thought that JP hasn’t made that many mistakes, but with a limited payroll his mistakes are more exposed – e.g. BJ Ryan, Frank Thomas, signing Rios to a big contract.

    But I’m trying to think: what mistakes has Theo made? I can’t really think of any. Other than maybe signing Lugo, what contracts have come back to bite him? Not many I think, far fewer than JP that’s for sure – do you agree?

    MW: It’s easier to cover up your mistakes when you have so much more payroll. Lugo was a huge mistake, as was Edgar Renteria (though Theo got out of that one – but if people can hold Rios against J.P…….). Smoltz and Penny were mistakes to a much greater financial extent than Zambrano/Ohka/Thomson, and right now it appears as though the Red Sox spent $100 million on Daisuke Matsuzaka for two decent seasons (a WHIP of 1.324 in each) – that’s twice as bad as B.J. Ryan. Red Sox fans aren’t terribly impressed with the money that J.D. Drew is making, either. And that’s just off the top of my head.

    - Paul O
  30. 30.

    Hey Mike I absolutely agree that the Jays need to plunk somebody tonight after Halladay leaves to a standing ovation with the Jays up 8-0.

    That game last week where the Jays pitcher threw behind the batter wasn’t payback; the only message it delivered was “I threw so badly, I completely missed”.

    And what exactly is it at the Bosox stadium? It’s not just the short dimensions and that the ball carries but it seems that every pitch is put in play as well.

    On another topic, did you see the highlight in the Yankee game where a foul ball went off a fan/the screen and the catcher caught it and it was called for an out? What’s the rule on that, isn’t the ball dead on fan interference?

    Looking forward to Roy’s last game (JUST FOR THIS SEASON!) tonight.

    MW: I wouldn’t bet that it was just for this season. I didn’t see that highlight – if the ball touches the screen, it’s dead. If it touches a fan on the way to the glove, I’m not sure. The Red Sox’ team OBP would fly in the face of the notion that every pitch at Fenway is put in play.

    - Gary
  31. 31.

    Cito put who where??? Are you kidding me? By all accounts, the best option had to be Casey Janssen, as he did play short all through college. Now that would be fun.

    What the Jays should do, is get one of those motorized pitching machines, camoflauge it in the stands and randomly throughout the game fire pot shots at the Red Sox bench. That would be fun. I totally volunteer to operate said machine.

    Just an observation, but since Toronto let Eric Hinske go to Boston, he has appeared in two straight world series (the Sox in ’07, and the Rays in ’08). Now Mr. Hinske is on the Redemption Yankees with a very realistic shot at making it to the Series for a third straight year. I realize that this is probably a total coincidence, but, if the Yankees end up in the Series, I say that the Jays should sign Hinske just to see if this is just superstition, or divine influence…

    We have seen your line-up if the Jays expand payroll, what are your thoughts if they retract, or even reamin status quo?

    MW: I think that Hinske would have to go to Baltimore next, I’m pretty sure there’s a rule that you have to play for every team in a division before you start back a second time. If the Jays remain status quo with the payroll, that would be awful. If they pull back, I guess I’d have Kyle Phillips catching, Lind at first, Hill at second, McDonald at short, Encarnacion at third, an outfield of Coats/Wells/Snider and Ruiz DHing.

    - T.J.
  32. 32.

    I hate to agree with you on the Cito front, but I can’t understand the “Lind as DH only” thing. He’s young, too young and too mobile in fact, not to play the field. I like to believe, deep down, that Cito is a motivator, who can get the most out of his players, but I know I’m wrong.

    FYI, I love Shawn Camp. Every time I see Cito call on League or Carlson, I’m like, BRING US CAMP. As a Toronto ex-pat living in Vancouver, I’ve honestly watched 100 games on TV this year (4 oclock starts coincide with my schedule nicely) and the bullpen makes me sick and the way good ol’ Cito uses it, makes me sick.

    As for MIllar, seeing him at 3rd made me want the Jays to re-sign him. What a gamer, man. You need guys like that, who JUST LOVE BASEBALL. Maybe not as your third baseman, but still.

    MW: Please don’t even joke about re-signing Millar.

    - Nicholas Carella
  33. 33.

    The fact that Papelbon deliberately plunked Lind then offered a weak “my bad” says a lot about his characeter. I saw the highlight on the Jays site (NESN feed) and the homers calling it were actually speechless for several seconds. Then one guy said “I don’t think that was deliberate”. As you put it so well Mike – come on.

    I will be glued to the radio/TV for this one tonight. I want Doc to avenge the brutal last start he had at Fenway when the Jays showed nothing against Paul freakin’ Byrd.

    I also want to see the Jays exact some revenge on Wakefield who single-handed killed the Jays season by screwing the offense up on game #42. (yes that was sarcasm).

    On a personal note I was at the game in Fenway for that Byrd-Halladay tilt and had to suffer much abuse from the Fenway fans in the CF bleachers as I sat there with my family in my white Jays jersey. What a target I was. Actually the abuse turned to pity by the time the Jays were 0-5 RISP. My friend texted me that I was on the RSN TV broadcast during the plug for the Jays shop. I guess I stood out in CF in that sea of red and blue. My 10 year old had fun hoisting the big “K” sign they gave out before the game every time a Jays pitcher struck one out.

    I got to the game early and was able to get some balls during BP. One I caught in the batters eye, and another thrown to me (and daughter) by Shawn Camp from a very long distance. Ironic that later in the game Camp threw away a 30 footer to Johnny Mac at 3rd and the Sox scored 2 runs.

    Any fellow bloggers who have not been to Fenway for a game – put it on your bucket list….and wear your Jays shirt for fun.

    Mike – I’m looking forward to your pregame shows this fall. Please try to get Marco Scutaro on for a show. I want to hear him talk about the most amazing Jays play of 2009. You know what I mean.

    MW: I’ll do my best. I tried and failed to get Scoot last season.

    - Rez
  34. 34.

    Mike I know you are not much interested in the fake umpires and may not know/care about an answer. I wondered if you knew whether those two at Fenway last night were the 2 guys from Toronto, or do we have imposters and a new fan trend ?

    MW: I’m pretty sure they were the two guys from Toronto. I try to pay as little attention to them as possible.

    - Rez
  35. 35.

    Mike,

    I sure hope that retribution is dished out at some point in tonight’s game to settle the score. That was out and out ridiculous and for Papelbon to do the “my bad” gesture was even worse. It was done knowing that the Jays would not retiliate, given the score. I actually dislike the Red Sox more than the Yankees, if that is possible.

    As for Lind in LF, lets face it, he is a subpar LF to say the least. I’d rather have him take many, many, many grounders at 1b in the off-season to see if he can play the position.

    MW: Fair enough – but is he a worse left fielder than Kevin Millar is a third baseman?

    - Steve-O from Waterdown
  36. 36.

    Mike,

    It has been discussed in length on your blog and elsewhere about the disparity of playing in the A.L. East and the fact that baseball is unlikely to do anything about it. Having the Yankees and Red Sox in the post season every/every other year is good for baseball. Other than their respective fans, nobody cares about the Jays, Orioles or Rays. So, I have the following suggestion (with apologies to those who’ve already proposed it): add another wild card spot. The two wild card winners play each other and the division winners get to rest up before the Division Series.

    I see two options – 1)shorten the season to 154 games, have a best out of five wild card series and bump the division series up to seven games or 2)leave the season at 162 but start earlier in warm climate or domed stadiums.

    It doesn’t address all the issues but it provides a bit more hope to those teams who can’t spend $150MM-$200MM and keeps post season baseball an exclusive club. Dumb idea?

    By the way, I’m totally with you about starting Kevin Millar at third base. It’s almost a slap in the face to those who make their living at the position. It boggles the mind (and again Ruiz is nailed to the bench).

    MW: The problem with the playoff suggestion is that the division winners don’t want a week off after the season – it does them a disservice.

    - Rob Theriault
  37. 37.

    Do the Pads do Gonzalez for Cecil and Romero?

    If what we hear about Mcgowan is real, the jays could make these 2 (or others) expendable espeacially with Stewart coming soon.

    MW: They Padres definitely listen when you bring up Cecil and Romero, but let’s not start thinking about birds in the hand as far as injured pitchers are concerned.

    - Simon
  38. 38.

    Mike,

    I’m pretty sure JP is behind the lineup choices of Cito. Dont blame Cito, blame JP. He must go ASAP!! Don’t you read (fellow Jew) Steve Simmons’ columns?

    MW: Fellow Jew? What would that have to do with anything?

    - Benjamin Hutton
  39. 39.

    Hey Mike,
    This may only be my opinion but despite the questionable inside pitch by Papelbon, shouldn’t baseball try to think of another way to deal with this type of scenario….retaliation is not much of an answer. because in a way it’s the same thing that’s going on in hockey…the fights….some people will argue that its “part of the game” and I guess the same could be said for Baseball’s “an eye for an eye”
    While I agree that such actions shouldn’t go unpunished, I just think throwing the ball to hurt another player is not really an acceptable response….it’s kinda childish too…
    Retaliation only fuels more bad blood….
    I kinda know your opinion on the matter, but do you kinda see mine as well?

    MW: Kind of. But baseball had been able to police itself for years and years without much trouble. If you don’t want to have to face retaliation, don’t throw at guys.

    - Randy
  40. 40.

    man, all i can say is, i’m glad Cito is managing, and not you. Thanks for your time.

    - larry nunn
  41. 41.

    Mike…
    a) I had trouble grasping your answer to my question the other day about the NL being the fastball league and the AL being the off-speed league. How can the umpires determine what a pitcher (AL or NL) will throw whether they were league specific or not? Maybe you can elaborate a bit..Thanks!

    b) The Blue Jays are where they are in the standings deservedly, so this is not a comment/question with sympathy attached. But Mike, do you think right now that the Jays are in a no-win situation? What I’m getting at is that when they win now it’s “garbage time” or “where were these wins in late spring and summer.” And if they lose, they’re mailing it in and counting the days ’til Dunedin 2010. Agree or disagree?

    MW: A – It had to do with the bubble chest protector vs. the inside chest protector. B – Agreed.

    - chris m.
  42. 42.

    Mike, you extract revenge? I’m quite sure you *exact* revenge.

    MW: You’re right! My bad, man. My bad.

    - Chuck
  43. 43.

    When Martinez was up to bat, your comments went through my head even after Jacoby was on 2nd. You can’t throw at him in that situation for both the reasons you stated. You can’t afford to miss, and you can’t affory to have Frasor booted.
    It seems that the schedule isn’t the only thing that is unbalanced in baseball. How does an umpire not throw out Papelbon? What a joke. Do you remember the game a couple years ago when Halladay was going for his 20th win of the season and was tossed for pitching inside? He came about 8 inches from hitting a batter and was tossed and then we have to watch crap like this. How do you expect charging the mound situations to stop if the umps don’t take control of an obvious situation like this? There is no respect in this division unless you play for one of two teams. I consider myself to be one of the biggest Jays fans, but even I am getting sick of the structure the Jays have to compete with. For those of you that say the Jays should spend up closer to the sox and yanks, ask yourself this. If the Jays where to spend up, don’t you think the yanks would just spend more? I believe that if a salary cap was set at about 130 million, many teams would spend up to that, knowing that other teams couldn’t spend double. It would make more money to go around and there would be more fans in the seats in many more parks because there would be a better opportunity for meaningful games deeper into the season.I would still love to see more teams in the playoffs, but I could live with the current system if a salary cap existed.

    MW: I think a balanced schedule is more likely than a salary cap, but if there were a cap, things in the A.L. East could definitely be more fair. Your memory fails you – Halladay was ejected (going for his 22nd win) for hitting Rocco Baldelli in the back with a curveball.

    - dan from elmvale
  44. 44.

    michael,
    the best team in all of mlb to start the season & apparently the best team in mlb to finish the season. it was just those (few) weeks of bad baseball in between i guess that made the difference hun?
    so i’m doing the quick math here on the production from the catcher position for the good guys and it’s certainly commendable all in all is it not?
    obviously & mostly barajas’ doing this yr. but so far 22 hr’s & 89 rbi’s & counting… and i hate to do the spilled milk thing but i’m pretty sure if j.p.’s plan of barrett being the back up all yr. had played out (if not for the early season & as it turns out season ending injury) it just might be more like.. who knows 30/100? with pretty solid d behind the plate to boot. might need to give that man another contract i suspect.
    and something seems to be becoming apparent in regards to yourself that i want to ask of you. since the gaston hiring my memory was that you were kind of let’s wait & see how he does as opposed to alot of us that were kind of excited about the prospect of it. and as time has marched on with him steering the ship, you’ve been pointing out his good points & bad but definitely taking issue with some of his philosophies of the game & the way he manages that has come to be a tad frustrating for alot of observers.
    but now you don’t seem to be making much of an effort to sugarcoating it at all.
    as you put it (and i thought very effevctively) in one of your recent posts (i paraphrase here) you want a manager that makes decisions to help win each & every game not just decisions that might help over the long haul of a 162. how am i doing?
    you’re certainly becoming more & more baffled it seems by the man’s way of thinking. i take it you’ve definitely seen enough now michael?
    am i right?

    MW: The power numbers and RBI numbers from the catchers are terrific, and likely would have been even better had Barrett been able to stay healthy, but the OBP is just deplorable. As for Cito, yes, I spent a large part of this season being frustrated by his moves (even way back in April and May), but now I’m just confused.

    - darrell bishop
  45. 45.

    Jason Fraser should’ve responded by plunking Jacoby Elisbury on the first pitch, instead, like usual, the Jays are a day late and a dollar short.

    MW: Wrong.

    - Bobby
  46. 46.

    would you agree that the blue jays layoffs signals no payroll increase for 2010?

    MW: Not necessarily.

    - PaulO
  47. 47.

    Jack Armstrong said that the Blue Jays are not promoting their players, why aren’t Rogers promoting the Blue Jays on the TV channels they own which is most of them! Where are the Blue Jays comericals that had Arron Hill catching the bride throwing away the flowers? And the other ones just like that?

    Mike Wilner for President of the Toronto Blue Jays!

    - Raps Fan
  48. 48.

    So with this recent round of layoffs for the Jays, I’m guessing any chance of a payroll bumb is out the window.

    - Clint
  49. 49.

    If the Jays chose to trade Doc and not spend money this off season, then we need to have only ONE goal going into next year, become the WORST team in the majors. That’s the only way we can draft Bryce Harper and compete in the AL EAST!

    MW: Isn’t Bryce Harper draft-eligible in 2010?

    - Nitin
  50. 50.

    Are you sure papelbon didnt want to throw something inside?
    maybe it was an inside pitch that missed. its not like it was aimed for his head.

    MW: It’s a good thing it wasn’t at his head, that would have been unforgivable. Again – two out, nobody on, guy had hit three homers, first pitch is directly at his ribcage. You do the math.

    - TheSunkenZealot
  51. 51.

    Hope the Angels are taking notes on how to win at Fenway: hit half a dozen dingers every game. Can’t believe nobody thought of this sooner!

    Mmmmm. Dingers.

    MW: Tasty, indeed.

    - Branden
  52. 52.

    Also, every time Kevin Millar is penciled in at 3rd, I lose a little piece of my soul.

    Get better soon Adam!
    Thanks for making me hate you a little bit more Jon!

    (Your Camp beanballocalypse suggestion is maybe the best thing I’ve read. Full stop.)

    - Branden
  53. 53.

    mike, what is the contract status of randy ruiz? do the jays have rights on him? all the guy does is hit home runs. it seems he has to be the dh next year.

    MW: It would seem that he would have to be a regular starter this year, no? And that hasn’t happened. Ruiz is under control of the Blue Jays through the end of the 2015 season.

    - ramone
  54. 54.

    These are the reasons why we should keep Roy Halladay!

    Mike, I bet you heard this before!

    http://www.fan590.com/onair/landry-stellick/media.jsp?content=20090722_093620_8032

    MW: Wow, talk about convergence.

    - Raps Fan
  55. 55.

    Over/Under on Ruiz playing more than one game this final weekend. I cannot believe Cito didn’t give this guy a better look.. it’s pretty sickening.

    MW: Starting? I’m going to say under.

    - Renegade
  56. 56.

    Hi Mike,

    Why have we not seen more of ruiz this year? All he does is hit and any chance of them playing him at first base next year? Can you say carlos pena? Late Bloomer with major power? How come JP does not get credit for picking this guy up. Ok my lineup for next year:
    Figgins
    Hill
    Lind
    Wells
    Ruiz
    Snider
    Bay
    Arencibia
    Figgins

    My feeling is like this. If the jays let Barajas walk and then you have Arencibia come in and learn on the job, he will most likely hit 20 home runs and hit 250. That is a lot better than barajas for a lot less. Then you focus on upgrading the pitching and we are a contender. You trade Halladay for 4 pitching and 1 hitting prospect. You sign John Lackey and go with Marcum, McGowen, Romero, Rzepchinzky.

    MW: So you have two sophomores, one guy coming off Tommy John surgeries and two China dolls in the rotation? Not exactly a recipe for success. And if you’re going to spend to bring in Figgins and Bay, why would you deal Halladay? Not that Bay would sign here if Halladay were traded. You’d hit Wells 4th and Bay 7th? Also, Figgins is only allowed to be in the line-up once.

    - Moti
  57. 57.

    We spent millions and millions for Frank Thomas to be solely a DH. We have Ruiz, who is far cheaper, and has a greater upside than Frank had, when we got him (younger and faster)
    After sitting for several nights, he is four for four with 2 homers. If the Jays let him go, they better get some decent value for him. I dread seeing him with another team

    MW: Ruiz doesn’t have greater upside than Thomas did.

    - Lex M.
  58. 58.

    If the current Blue Jays management cannot find an every day place in the line-up for Randy Ruiz, I would suggest that they be replaced with people who know something about fielding the best possible team!! What more does this player have to do to prove that he belongs in the line-up on a regular basis? It’s absolutely ridiculous that he has spent so much time sitting on the bench when less qualified players are on the field.

    MW: Ruiz might not wind up being as good as the guys who are playing ahead of him, but he should be given the opportunity to fail.

    - KEN
  59. 59.

    Why in god’s name is Ruiz not playing every day? That alone should cost Cito his job next year!!!

    Where does RR stand in the HR/PA stat this year?

    MW: I don’t know, but he leads the major leagues with one home run per 11.6 at-bats.

    - Kevin
  60. 60.

    Mike-I have to agree with your comments re: Cito and the lineups with Millar at 3rd and the lack of playing time for Ruiz.

    Millar is finished with the Jays and won’t be back. September is usually a time of evaluation when a time is well out of the running.

    I write this as the Jays are pounding the Bosox in the Halladay start when Ruiz is 4 for 4 with 2 HR and a triple (not gonna happen) short of the cycle.

    Ruiz would cost the Jays the MLB minimum and a roster spot. That’s not a lot to give a potential DH a spot when JPR has spent a fortune on other players.

    Also, it was obvious at the beginning that Adam Lind was a poor outfielder with a rubber arm. Would it not be obvious that Lind, if he plays on the field, should be at first base. I understand Lyle O. is an excellent defensive 1B but it would make sense to start breaking in Lind at 1B for the long term given that Overbey has just a year left on his deal.

    I like Cito and I’ve been a fan of the team for more than 25 years and went to 30 games a year when I lived in hogtown. But I’d like to see him become more engaged while taking a few chances with some players.

    - robotica
  61. 61.

    Bang on..How does a young kid like Lind wind up a DH?..And why has Ruiz been used sparingly down the stretch?..This guy has 9 HR in 30 games..Why not see how he will do with an everyday spot at DH?..It may save this team some money looking for another DH in the off season..

    Baffling but not surprising considering the Jays have a temp President, a GM with one foot out the door and a manager with an unwarranted 2 yr deal..Too bad for Ruiz..

    - ray b
  62. 62.

    I dont believe that halladay hit ortiz on his own. I think cito told him to do it. when the jays were getting hit in new york nobody retaliated, even halladay. even during the arod “mine” incident a few years ago halladay never retaliated, so why now?

    MW: When did Halladay have a chance to retaliate during the A-Rod incident? It happened in the 9th inning in the last game of a series.

    - ramone
  63. 63.

    Ni Hao Mike,

    The Chinese “hey how are you doing”

    You have talked about Lind not playing in left…but in an interview last week it seemed as though Adam didn’t have the confidence to play the field. If he feels more comfortable being a DH then I think Cito made the right call in keeping him focused on what he does best…hitting.

    Brad

    Zhongshan, PRC

    MW: At the expense of a chance to see if they have a 40-homer guy in Randy Ruiz? And I’m not sure how you heard Lind doesn’t have the confidence to play the field. Cito doesn’t have the confidence in him playing the field, but Lind wants to be out there.

    - Brad Teeling
  64. 64.

    So the Jays have scored 782 runs, and given up 747, yet remain 9 games below .500.

    Good times.

    MW: It seems to be the way in Blue Jay land.

    - Kevin A.
  65. 65.

    Hey Mike,

    I was really surprised by the startling lack of effusive praise for Doc in what could well be his last game as a Jay on what could be the last JaysTalk with Doc as a Jay.

    I’m with you (and many others) in wanting a clearly stated direction for this team, but I’m getting a little sick of the constant speculation about payroll and possible front office shake-ups (we’ve got all winter for that). Let’s enjoy the last week of baseball, knowing that spring training is a long way away. I would’ve enjoyed a bit more reflection on the absolute wonder that is Roy Halladay from tonight’s callers.

    If he is indeed traded this off season, we’ll all be blowing the dust off of our respective copies of “Long Cold Winter” by Cinderella. (Name the fittingly titled, and soothingly rocking power ballad from this album to which I am referring and I’ll never doubt your skills again.)

    I can’t think of another athlete so universally respected and acclaimed, yet so consistently taken for granted by his home fans.

    MW: I was surprised, too, by the lack of Halladay droolage in Wednesday’s edition of The JaysTalk, but I do think fans showed that they don’t necessarily take Halladay for granted during the July tradescapades. I think most Jays fans DO know what they’ve got before it’s gone.

    - Branden
  66. 66.

    Hi Mike,
    I really don’t want to fall for the annual September tease by the Jays, but the offence has been impressive. What’s your take on this? Is it real?

    Bautista has 9 home runs this month….is he real?

    Ruiz has 9 home runs since his call up…is he real?

    Our catchers have got close to 100 rbi….are they real?

    Lind and Hill are going crazy…are they real?

    Vernon Wells…

    Baseball is such a crazy sport…you just never know about next year. The offence might be real and the young pitchers might come through. We could all be pleasantly surprised.

    Or not.

    MW: Like I said back in April and early May – why search for the greater meaning in all this? Why not just enjoy it while it’s happening?

    - OzRob
  67. 67.

    Michael,

    Randy Ruiz’s HR rate is now 1/11.3.

    Just sayin’.

    MW: Cito can’t hear you.

    - Uncle Ben
  68. 68.

    in response to your “dream line-up” for 2010 of

    “Figgins, Hill, Lind, Bay, Fielder, Wells, Teahen, Hardy, Barajas” :

    I’m assuming Figgins plays 3rd, Hill 2nd, Lind DH, Bay LF, Fielder 1B, Wells CF, Teahan RF, Hardy SS and Barajas C.

    However, do you think it’d be better if you kept Overbay and eliminated Teahan from the situation? Then you can DH Fielder, and put Overbay at 1B, Lind in left and Bay in right. The defense drops in the outfield, sure, but it improves a bunch at first base and you’re getting an OPS of .800+ from Overbay. Overbay’s trade value in the Felix trade could be compensated for quite easily, don’t you think?

    MW: Yes, but Fielder is a solid defender (no Overbay) and Teahen is a fantastic rightfielder. But I don’t have any real problem with keeping Lyle. How is it, though, that even when I spell Teahen correctly and you copy it correctly, you (and everyone else) still can’t spell it right?

    - brendan
  69. 69.

    I forgot to mention, that could be the line-up vs. RHP. Against lefties, you could bench Overbay, slide Fielder into 1B, opening up a DH spot. If bautista is still with the team, you could DH Lind and put him on the OF. or if encarnacion is still with the team, you could put him at third and figgins in the outfield. or you could just DH Ruiz vs. lefties.

    - brendan
  70. 70.

    Hey Mike,

    So this year’s Jays have peeled off 8 of 9 against teams either out of the race or preparing for the playoffs . . . improving from 17 games under .500 on Sept. 20 to 9 games under .500 entering October. . .

    Kind of reminds me of the 10-game win streak the Jays peeled off after Labour Day in 2008, to all of a sudden become “arguably one of the best teams in baseball” even though they had a 68-66 record entering the long weekend and decided to dump veterans Matt Stairs and David Eckstein because that is what teams out of contention do . . .

    but the Jays win 10 in a row in September to become “one of the best teams in baseball” in 2008 even though their 86-76 record was the 12th best record in baseball.

    So next time you refer to the fact that J.P. Ricciardi assembled “one of the best teams in baseball in 2008″ well, in the real world (not the post-season analytical sabermetric world) the 2008 Blue Jays were basically a .500 club entering September, 12 games out of the playoffs, hampered by the fact they had been utilizing the services of Mencherson to fill holes in the lineup . . .

    This is common knowledge.

    MW: In the real world, the Colorado Rockies were all that and more going into September of 2007, and they went to the World Series. But I just want to get this straight – if that 10-game winning streak had happened in July, or in April, then it would have counted, but because it happened in August and September it doesn’t?

    - Ken Pagan
  71. 71.

    Hey Mike,

    Regarding that odd play by Wells in centre Tueaday night (had Bautista toss the ball in on for him), from the Globe:

    “Toronto outfielder Vernon Wells has a bruise on his right index finger that gives him problems both throwing and batting. But with bodies at a premium at this late stage of the season Toronto manager Cito Gaston said he has little choice but to keep the centerfielder in the lineup. “Four more days to go,” Wells shrugged when asked about the injury.”

    MW: It’s September, the Jays can add anyone they want to the roster. I can’t believe that they’re playing with one (or two – see third base) hand tied behind their back when they could actually call some people back from their early vacations.

    - Kevin A.
  72. 72.

    I can understand beaning a guy who slides hard into second, or has been mouthing off, or really doing anything to aggrevate the other team.. But to nail a guy simply for doing his job really well?

    I heard any interesting comparison somewhere last night, somebody asked, “Does this mean if a pitcher strikes you out four times in a game you can throw your bat at them?” And that’s pretty much what Papelbon did to Lind. How arrogent do you have to be to think that you need to personally punish somebody for simply doing what they’re supposed to do at the plate?

    MW: Cito said that, and he’s absolutely right. Beaning, however, only refers to hitting someone in the head.

    - CJohnson03
  73. 73.

    Hi Mike,

    In the overall scheme of things, it kind of looks like the Jays offense and pitching did somewhat live up to expectation prior to the start of the season. You can say Wells, Rios, and Overbay didn’t produce the way you thought they should but if you switched the numbers Hill and Lind put up with Wells and Rios, then I think most people would have been fine with it. Coming into the season, if you told everyone Hill and Lind each would have about 15HR and 65 RBIs while Wells and Rio each had about 35HRs and 100+ RBIs, people would have been happy. With Overbay, he was below his career average numbers for a season but at the same time, look at how few ABs he’s gotten while being healthy for the entire season (the platooning with Millar really limited his ABs) so it’s kind of hard to blame him. Actually, if you project his numbers to the same 581 ABs he got in 2006, he would have 49 Doubles, 22 Hrs and 90RBIs, which is almost identical numbers to that year. Next, you’ve got a career year from Scutaro and an unexpected 19 HRs and 71 RBIs from Barajas so you might have had the makings of a club which may have met expectations. I think the glaring hole is the subpar averages from the likes of Barajas and ridiculous combined 570 ABs to Millar and Bautista who all combined to hit under .230. Snider didn’t pan out this season but what did people really expect out of a rookie?

    All the pitchers, I think did what was expected of them, especially the younger pitchers who did a marvelous job. The hole was BJ but it was somewhat offset with a good season from Frasor.
    Point here is that they Jays are not good enough with this current group and if they have visions of getting better, they need better players.

    MW: Yes, they do.

    - Joachim
  74. 74.

    In this recently completed Roy Halladay shutout, granted against a triple A lineup,(Was hoping for a no hitter!!) a couple of things stand out.

    Doc plunked Ortiz, one of only two regulars who were playing….Methinks the Boston skipper KNEW someone was going to get it and kept his other regulars out of harm’s way, as it were :-)..

    Gaston HAD to use Ruiz and Millar was batting third and playing third base and did a fine job.

    As for Randy Ruiz….Two more home runs. What else must he do to get playing time!

    As for off season changes, well, Gaston should REALLY think about retiring. It’s time to go…

    MW: Gaston could get a nice, cushy job as a special assistant to the President/team ambassador and wouldn’t have to put up with the day-to-day grind anymore. I don’t think Terry Francona sat everybody because he figured someone was going to get drilled – he did it because the Sox had clinched a playoff spot the night before.

    - Doug
  75. 75.

    Hey Mike I know that Barajas and Scutaro are hitting the open market what do you think the chances that the jays retain both of them? Maybe offer Barajas a 2 year deal at 3.5 to 4 million per with a 4.5 million club option for the 3rd year and maybe a similar deal for Scutaro with maybe a 0.5 million difference higher that Barajas, you think they have a shot or are they going for the highest deal with another club?

    MW: I wouldn’t offer Barajas that kind of money, and I’m even more afraid with Scutaro than I was before because of this heel injury.

    - Royce
  76. 76.

    you recently compared Wells to Carter’s last year in SD. BA and OPS are about the same but Carter hit 24 HRs and 115 RBIs and Wells is at 15/66. If Wells had 115 RBIs no one would be booing (and when are announcers going to go back to saying RBIs instead of RBI–RBIs has become a word through usage).

    MW: I always say RBIs, I hate when people say RBI as a plural. Carter had 542 runners on base when he came to the plate that season, 99 more than Wells has had, but Wells has been just awful with runners in scoring position, and Carter was good (.268/.364/.432). I just don’t happen to believe that people can choose when they get their hits.

    - Gary Siskind
  77. 77.

    Hi Mike,
    First of all, I agree that Camp’s overall numbers are quite good. Just wanted to clarify that your assessment of Camp doesn’t reflect “when the team has needed him to suck up some innings” but rather “when he has been successful in sucking up innings.” If the team needed Camp to suck up innings, but he got rocked quickly, then that outing wouldn’t be in your 10 outings. The reason I think the distinction matters is that your general statement suggests that he has been dependable, while I think that he has been very up and down. The ups are amazing — the downs are quite bad. As a manager, it’s got to be hard to go to a guy for a couple innings when you know that the first inning has a good chance of being a killer.

    MW: It’s a good point, and you’re not the first to have made it. But Camp hasn’t had too many killer appearances, either. Seven out of 58 with more than two runs scored is quite a few, but the overwhelming majority of his outings have been good ones.

    - qjays
  78. 78.

    Mike, Randy Ruiz has 9 homers in 100 at bats. Kevin Millar has 7 homers in 250 at bats.
    I know this has been discussed a lot already and there is no answer to it. But why…I mean why is Cito not playing Ruiz over Millar or Bautista? Can you directly ask him or ask J.P. for the reason?
    Kevin Millar hitting 3rd and playing 3rd base!..come on!!!!

    I think for Cito…it’s about making everyone happy and respecting the players…But giving the right players right playing time is just as important.

    When you go back to 1998, even though Tim Johnson didn’t get much respect from his players, but team still played real well.

    I understand it’s much different when it comes to on-field matters and making the line-ups. But are we wrong as a fan to expect reasonable baseball decision making?

    MW: No, you’re not. Millar is a veteran.

    - jay
  79. 79.

    Some observations:

    1. Why is there no discussion from Jays’ brass regarding the possibility of moving Lind to 1B? If Scott Hatteberg could do it (read the book Moneyball for the story behind this) despite having zero experience, why not Lind? We could then move Overbay for something else the team needs to address (note: I am going to take the high road here and not insert a joke at Overbay’s expense; as he seems to be a really nice guy who has not hit with consistent authority for three years now).

    2. I have mixed feelings about the Jays’ win streak: it’s been nice to watch, but with the team so far from contention that they need binoculars to see 3rd place, I think draft position come June would have been more valuable. (Note: I am not endorsing “tanking” a la NHL draft positioning pre-lottery, nor am I under the delusion that a drafted player is likely to help the team within four seasons; but drafting from 8th spot has to be somewhat more advantageous than drafting from 11th).

    3. I hope that whatever direction the Jays go in 2010, that the GM + president are very careful about the contracts they offer (both money per year and term). I don`t want to on at great length about previous debilitating contracts that the Jays signed; but I do want to point out that when you operate on a smaller budget than your competitors, that your margin for error decreases accordingly. I would argue that it is of greater advantage to start a player of somewhat lesser skill than to sign a more skilled player to a contract above their ability to produce; if only to retain some flexibility within a season to acquire a player of value (especially one who has the talent level to match their contract).

    Thanks for letting me have my say, and I look forward to reading your take on it.

    MW: 1 – There’s talk about having Lind play some first in spring training next season – I don’t think trading Overbay will necessarily bring in what you think it might. 2 – I’ve never believed in the “if you’re not going to make the playoffs, you might as well finish last” philosophy. 3 – The Wells contract is the only really debilitating one that the Jays have signed, and I think if they had given the GM the choice, he wouldn’t have done it. But you’re right – if you’re not going to be a big payroll team or worse, if you’re going to cut payroll after handing out some big deals, you’re in trouble.

    - Dom from Woodbridge
  80. 80.

    hey mike;

    Don’t agree with your assesment of bautista whatsoever and here’s why, he homered again in the halladay game and his arm is better than vernon’s hence more assists, and he’s cheap-3 million versus rios’s crappy 60 million contract and lousy attitude- can’t sign an autograph but can tell fans where to go-ROM incident. Bautista is better than rios and if given the oppertunity to play everyday would put up better power numbers and rbi totals than rios with much better defence, as rios looks lost out there, and remember the incident when he forgot to tag third to score! At this point in time The jays should dump wells salary with halladay and put bautista in center with snider, inglett and lind remaining. The issue of circumstance is why the jays can’t trade overbay to make room for randy ruiz, as he has superior power and better hitting overall. granted his defence is not as good but overbay has been a letdown from his one great year. Finally let millar play third, as he did in florida, he’s not rolen but the season’s almost over and he’s better there than @ first. Mike, what are the chance’s of halladay pitching in the last baltimore game and last game of the year, if he has another shutout and complete game, maybe some consideration for the cy young, he’s better than sabathia, if halladay was on the yankees this year his numbers would be 25-27 wins(bob welch anyone?) and grienke may be a lock, thanks for the great blog mike, maybe you can replace riccardi if he’s released!

    MW: You wouldn’t want me to replace Ricciardi, because I wouldn’t do any of those things you seem to want. Halladay shouldn’t start the season finale, he’s not in the Cy Young race.

    - robert.s
  81. 81.

    michael,
    so the hit parade continues i see. heard alan mention last night on the broadcast that the jays are now 4th in all of mlb in runs scored for this yr. with these few gms. remaining.
    that j.p. i gotta tell you. puts together great pitching staffs, great team d & apparently just as good at assembling teams that can knock in & score runs with the best of them.
    damn this brutal a.l. east division & the injuries this team seemingly endures yr. in & yr. out.
    can’t he just have 1 season where it all comes together for him before he gets kicked out of here. it’s gotta be frustrating for the man no doubt.
    and how about doc michael? seriously…
    so he ended his season with 2 back to back 9 inning complete game shutouts ?
    he’s just ridiculous….

    - darrell bishop
  82. 82.

    Mike….Something that happens many, many times during a game and instead of the ongoing scratching of the head, I thought I’d seek you out Mike on this one…A pitcher throws the ball and it scuffs the dirt and goes into the catcher’s mitt and a new ball is tossed in and the scuffed one discarded. The batter hits a 25-hopper up the middle, the CF throws it back in scuffed from the dirt AND bat, and the pitcher proceeds with the next batter using the same scuffed ball. Why no exchange now?

    MW: No clue.

    - chris m.
  83. 83.

    Way to go Halladay!!

    And how about Ruiz? I think he he deserves a chance to at least challenge Overbay for playing time at 1B, in 2010, unless you can think of a better role for him. I don’t think he needs to prove anything else in AAA, that’s for sure.

    Cito has to go. I sure hope Jays management is shaking their heads over Cito’s in game decisions and/or lack thereof. You know, I think he’d make a good hitting coach or something like that. Not someone who is responsible for in-game strategies or making out lineups. It seems to me that he makes too many decisions based on how much he likes a guy (Millar?), or whether a guy needs to prove something, due to pending free agency, or if a guy is a grizzly old veteran (Millar?) and stuff like that.

    I really hope he goes, because 2010 could be good, but probably not with him at the healm.

    - RM
  84. 84.

    Baseball Americas top 20 prospects for the Midwest League, (Lansing Lugnuts Low A) the Jays have no prospects, not even in the top 20.

    MW: That’s awesome. Talk to me about that list in eight years.

    - Danny
  85. 85.

    Mike,
    I just wanted to let you know how much my son and I enjoy listening to you during and after Jays games. You are a patient and calm man – I could not handle the number of totally out-to-lunch callers in the civil and respectful (?) way you do. For the most part, I would love to see your philosophy of retooling the team put into action. It is certainly a fact that the whole organisation, from front office to the clubhouse and field to the stadium experience needs reworking. Though I would be happy to see you as GM, I do recall many people feeling the same way about Buck Martinez going from radio booth to manager, and we know how that ended up. Just kepp on keeping on, and we will continue to follow you online and on the radio. Thanks for your insight and perspective.

    MW: Thanks!

    - Agt Mulder
  86. 86.

    I can probably name some of those players who dislike Cito.

    Overbay. Overbay. Overbay.

    He made a comment during the season on how he couldn’t produce with this new reduced playing time.

    Sorry, Lyle… You had a month and a half stretch there where you drove in 3, 3! runs! 2 were solo HR’s and one was a SF.

    I really think that I could’ve drove in 3 runs in a month and a half! I hope they trade his arse in the off-season.

    MW: I don’t think you could have driven in three runs in a month and a half unless you got hit by four pitches with the bases loaded. Overbay isn’t one of the many people I talked to with regards to the Cito thing, but I’m sure he’s not happy.

    - ed Chee
  87. 87.

    Now, to add to all the uncertainty, the Jays clubhouse is revolting against Cito Gaston. I’m a Gaston fan, as you know, but clearly he has lost this team and should probably go at the end of the season after all.

    So now we have an interim CEO who needs replacing, a big-mouthed and disruptive GM who needs replacing and a local icon who isn’t working out this time around and needs replacing. That’s a lot of replacing in one go.

    I would normally put something flip at the end of a post like this. I’d say ‘I await the off-season with interest’ or words to that effect. But not this off-season. I await this off-season with dread and foreboding. I don’t think there’s any leeway left for mistakes in the front office of this team. There’s no wiggle-room. If Beeston gets even a part of this wrong, it could do irretrievable damage.

    I love to complain about the choking Jays and their useless front office. But ultimately this is the team I support. I’ve never seen it in as much of a mess as this.

    MW: It’s never been in as much of a mess as this.

    - isabella reyes
  88. 88.

    PS As it turns out Halladay drilled Ortiz. And he had a complete gamer going, so there would have been no point in yanking him. But I agree with all those who thought it would have been good if League had thrown the pitch. He can really get the speed up on his fast ball, and he can be wild as hell. League would have had a lot more plausible deniability than Halladay!

    I’m thinking the only reason Big Papi played that game was to get drilled. They had every other important regular player off the field. Maybe we can all revisit this event next season. When Pedroia, Youkilis etc will be playing and will be available for a overly-inside pitch or two…

    MW: I don’t think that’s going to happen. It’s over.

    - isabella reyes
  89. 89.

    Mike, You think Cito is playing Millar so much because he knows that Millar doesn’t want to end his career this year, but thinks if he just benched him the rest of the year that no team would pick him up based on his numbers off the bench? It is nights like game 2 where Millar shows he can still hit that will really help him in getting a job somewhere next year.

    So in essence, Cito is just helping out a veteran trying to extend his career over the development of a young player improving his horrid defensive numbers (Lind) and the opportunity for a journeyman minor leaguer show he can play in this league. Now going into the off-season, whoever the GM might be, is left wondering how much they trust Randy Ruiz’ small sample size of 100 ABs when it could have been 50-60 more to help make that evaluation.

    MW: It’s as good a theory as any.

    - Dan
  90. 90.

    Mike
    I am beginning to think you don’t like my posts as it appears you have a snide/smart remark for all my questions.
    I am going to try again for a reasonable question.
    Is the stuff about unrest in the clubhouse true or is another hype by the US press (read Ken Rosenthal)?

    MW: I have no idea what you mean – the last time you posted a comment was the end of August asking about Aaron Hill for comeback player and I said that it was a fan vote, so you never know how it’ll go (I’ve since discovered it’s an mlb.com writers’ vote). The stuff about the unrest in the clubhouse is true.

    - Richard from AR
  91. 91.

    Mike,

    I know this is irrational and ridiculous, but when I heard how Beeston had recently laid off more workers in the Jays front office – probably people doing an honest day’s work for not a staggering amount of compensation – it made me think what a more just and better world it would be if, instead, Beeston could simply FIRE Venon Wells – it would sure save a lot more money…

    MW: The people who were unfortunately laid off sadly didn’t have guaranteed contracts.

    - Ken
  92. 92.

    Re: Post #38

    Mike, you schmutz…I was simply pointing out the Steve Simmons is a fellow Jew….just like you and I…you should show him some support and listen to what he’s saying…..JP is the problem!!

    MW: Do you know what schmutz means? And why should I show a guy support just because he’s of the same religion as I am?

    - Benjamin Hutton
  93. 93.

    Mike,

    What do you think of the idea of Jim Balsillie turning his focus to the Blue Jays and buying the team from Rogers? He can promote the hell out of the BlackBerry all over the BlackBerry (formerly) Centre. I think he’d actually spend money and put a winning team on the field!!….Besides, Toronto is a more happening place than Hamilton!….If you see him around during the off-season, please run this idea past him.

    MW: I don’t know if Balsillie would spend (and therefore lose) money on a baseball team. One of the main reasons he wanted an NHL team in southern Ontario was because it’d basically give him a license to print money.

    - Bernard Singh
  94. 94.

    …and one more thing:

    If the team is in this much of a mess, how on earth will management attract free agents? I was watching Dan Shulman talk to Bob Mcown a couple of days ago and he pointed out that the Jays are the only team in the majors who play outside the US. They haven’t reached the playoffs since 1993. Their corporate owners have not sent out any clear messages of support. They have spent two years trying to find a CEO. Their GM has become Public Enemy #1. Added to that, today we hear that their manager has lost the confidence of his players to the point that there is an open revolt in the clubhouse.

    If I were a player’s agent, and the Jays were after him, I would see to it that they signed a significant premium to get him. If they weren’t interested in overpaying I would go elsewhere to more stable clubs with a better chance of succeeding.

    You like to play GM, Mike. You’re the new Jays GM. What will you do in the off-season to rebuild this team and give its long-suffering and totally fed-up fans a reason to come to the ballgame? Chone Figgins likes and respects Cito Gaston, but Cito will probably not be with the team beyond the end of this season. So good luck signing him.

    MW: It all comes down to payroll. If the payroll isn’t going up, then they’re not going after Chone Figgins anyway. But the team has been without a full-time CEO now for exactly ten months and one day, so I don’t see the two years, and Ricciardi is only Public Enemy #1 to the fans in Toronto, not to any baseball people who don’t have their own agenda. It’s funny, people don’t seem to realize that free agents sign in Baltimore, Kansas City and Pittsburgh pretty much every year.

    - reyes
  95. 95.

    Re: Post #92

    Ok, maybe schmutz was a bit of a strong word to use…but you should have the chutzpah to admit when you are in the wrong…The Jays were only projected to win somewhere between 75-77 games this year…last time I checked, they are on pace to do that…..So how can a couple of malcontents say that Cito has lost the locker room, when he’s pretty much on pace to achieve what was projected? Doesn’t this imply that he pretty much made the right decisions in order to achieve the desired/projected outcome?J.P. even said a little while ago [on The Bullpen] that it was probably one or two disgruntled players who made those comments about Cito!…In regards to the Steve Simmons thing, you know very well what it means to support someone of the same religion as us….c’mon Mike, you weren’t born yesterday….you know we always support one another!!

    MW: I’m starting to think this is some sort of racist rant trying to come off as rational and reasonable. You’ve used two Yiddish words in three comments, and you’ve used them both incorrectly, for one. This is the last comment of yours I’ll post.

    - Benjamin Hutton
  96. 96.

    Hey Mike…

    I am wondering what you think the Jays should do with Vernon Wells in regard to his CF position. You think it’s time to move him to RF. Using UZR he is -18.3 runs below replacement, which is worst in the league for his position. I don’t know if the organization has a replacement or if there is any CF on the market, but maybe CF isn’t the right spot for Vernon who is on the wrong side of 30.

    I know some people want to put Lind on the field, but his defense has been pretty awful as well, so we’d be looking at a pretty ugly outfield on the defensive side too. Although, surely if Lind had a nice month in September to work on his defense, things would be better. Thanks Cito. I know people mention Jason Bay, and his defensive numbers are pretty ugly too.

    I am wondering how much a team should look into the defensive side when building the team next year? I know in Lind’s case he is worth 6 runs above replacement with his bat, but factoring in his defense, he is goes to 3.5.

    MW: Again, it all depends on what they do with the payroll. I would have loved to have seen Lind in left for the better part of this month, too, and I think that Wells’ future is definitely in a corner (hey, if Ken Griffey, Jr. moved…..), but I don’t know if it’s going to be as soon as you’d like.

    - Dan
  97. 97.

    MW:
    My first post ever to your blog, but I am a regular lurker :)
    First, pls allow me to say that I’ve enjoyed the bloggage over the year and respect the amount of time that you invest in the interaction with radio listeners and web authors alike.
    Some would say that you are simply doing your job, but I think that your passionate approach is what gives the forum its vibe.
    Re our boys in Blue, we find ourselves at a crossroads unlike ever before. Sure is a long way away from the days of Labatt and their clear commitment to the club.
    This leads me to my point I suppose: despite all of the noise of clubhouse turmoil, JP haters, falling attendance, ball-and-chain contracts, and interim club Presidents etc., these are all symptoms of a single root cause: Ownership.
    What truly remains unclear is the Mothership’s commitment to this asset. It really all boils down to that point.
    If Rogers does not make some higher-level statement regarding its interest in a baseball property, then I’m afraid we as fans cannot expect any of the other layers to settle into place.
    It is a top-down problem in my view: if ownership is not clear in its direction, thenBeeston will never find a sucker (er, candidate) to take a lame-duck President role,nor will the GM vacancy be filled (foreshadowing), nor will in turn a new-millenium field tactician be appointed (Cito has had his run and we should be forever grateful for his yeoman years of service, but time to go).
    I trust you see the progression and thus my point.
    Thanks for the time and space to share a few thoughts.

    P.S. Re Lind/Papelbon, Doc showed us AGAIN why he truly is the ultimate warrior. A classy, well-timed 92mph “response” coming from Doc makes a much larger statement than a kneejerk retaliation from Frasor, League, or any of the others.

    MW: Brilliantly-timed by Halladay, without question. As for your contention, every time someone from the Rogers higher-ups has spoken about the ballclub, they’ve reaffirmed their commitment to it. I’m not sure what else you’d want.

    - Jaybird
  98. 98.

    Hey Mike,

    MW: In the real world, the Colorado Rockies were all that and more going into September of 2007, and they went to the World Series. But I just want to get this straight – if that 10-game winning streak had happened in July, or in April, then it would have counted, but because it happened in August and September it doesn’t?

    So when exactly in 2008 were the Blue one of the best teams in baseball?

    When they were 36-41 under John Gibbons in June?

    When they crawled back to .500 over the next two months?

    When they went 8-10 to close out the season like the 2007 Rockies?

    The 2007 Rockies won 14 of 15, so I don’t see the comparison with the 2008 Jays.

    The basis of the “one of the best teams in baseball” argument is that the Jays would have had a better record if they weren’t in the AL East . . . that they played a more difficult schedule compared to other teams in baseball?

    But we know the Jays actually had a solid record within their division, so it’s their record against the “rest of baseball” that dragged them down to 86-76, in their deserving spot as baseball’s 12th-best team in 2008.

    MW: I’m not going to argue this again, we’ve been through it all. A season is not a 10-game snippet or some crazy 77-game month of June that you have them playing – it’s 162 games. And over the grand sum of those 162 games the Jays were 86-76 and had the second-best run differential in the league. As for the Rockies comparison – you’re not serious, are you? You said that the Jays in 2008 were basically a .500 club entering September. They were – at 70-66. The ’07 Rockies were 69-65 going into September. Is the fact that the Jays were 11 games out of the wildcard on Sept. 1/08 while the Rockies were only five games out on Sept. 1/07 what kills the comparison for you?

    - Ken Pagan
  99. 99.

    Great job again this year, Mike. I’ve enjoyed the blog and JaysTalk (and the rain-delay shows) all year.

    Nice to see Hill and Lind break out. If Wells can bounce back to 25/85 and McGowan and Marcum come back I’m not feeling too bad about next year.

    - Zack
  100. 100.

    “A Jewish comedian once defined schmutz as “dirt that moves.”

    I hope Vernon Wells isn’t one of those that is complaining about Cito

    MW: Because Cito kept running him out there every day despite him having such an awful year? Wouldn’t that mean that if Vernon was complaining, his complaints would carry more weight because he shouldn’t have reason to complain?

    - dave12
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