Monday, December 17, 2007

Requiem for a Gas Can

It's old news by now that the Jays, after five seasons worth of service, have kicked the Gas Can to the curb.

We decided to keep our distance from this story in part because we were preoccupied by the avalanche of Mitchell Report related news. Mostly though, we did it because we wanted to allow the Drunk Jays Fans' Bergkamp an opportunity to mourn the loss of his favorite Blue Jay, and to eulogize him appropriately.

And now that that's done, allow us one last kick at the Can.

It's almost hard to believe the steep decline that Towers' reputation took after a perfectly respectable 2005 season (13-12, 3.71 ERA). Towers promptly cashed in with a two-year deal, and then proceeded to have one of the worst seven-game stretches ever seen by a Blue Jays starter. Dude just flat out blew: 10.09 ERA, with batters putting up a Bonds-esque 1.084 OPS against him. A WHIP over 2.17. The era of the Gas Can had begun.

Or maybe the point was that he always the Gas Can. Maybe his prolonged stints in Rochester and Syracuse weren't just a matter of old-school baseball types working against him because he wasn't a big strapping strikeout pitcher, but rather, that they recognized the fact that one day, teams were going to stop letting him throw that BP junk over the plate, and start to hammer him into oblivion.

Of course, Towers was one of the last to recognize this trend, even as his head was being wrenched off his neck, checking to see just how high and how far his last pitch had been cranked by some marginal fourth outfielder. As Jeff Blair noted in his G&M blog, Towers "spoke like a 20-game winner but couldn't back it up on the mound in the past two years".

We'd tend to agree with Blair's notion that Towers will end up somewhere in the NL, where the level of play is just that much lower, and the ball parks are just that much bigger. Who knows: one season in San Diego, and Towers might be able to spew insolent I-Told-You-So's back at T.O..

If nothing else, we'll miss him because without him around, the Gas Can label of our blog will go silent next year.

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