We beg to differ. As the saying goes, there many a slip between a cup and a lip, and if you don't believe us, you should see the front of Parkes' shirt after a night at the Monarch. (Zing!)
As such, we're going to go around the diamond to provide you with exactly the sort of
First up: the back catcher.
- Gregg Zaun as the Scandalized Incumbent;
- Rod Barajas as the Boy Who Played Hard to Get;
- Curtis Thigpen as the Catcher of the Future;
- Robinson Diaz as the Rookie;
- and featuring Special Guest Star Sal Fasano as Fu Manchu.
Zaun got off to a quiet spring (standard caveat: fake games don't mean diddly), but has turned it on as of late. His homer and double versus the Clevelanders showed that the old man with the undertaker's sense of style and apparently no teeth might still have something left in the tank. But he's still 36, an age by which most catchers have already begun to decline.
(We pause now to consider about a dozen "blank cheque" jokes, but choose to defer. For now.)
Barajas has acquitted himself well in the spring, and is working on getting familiar with the pitching staff, notably Halladay. At the plate, he has performed at least as well as Zaun for most of the spring, and is (knock on wood) the first backup in years that the team has had coming out of the spring who could plausibly take over for an extended period without hurting the team offensively.
(We pause now to shudder at the remembrances of the Jason Phillips era.)
With the signing of Barajas, it was pretty much a done deal that Thigpen and Diaz wouldn't see much big league action this year. And it's just as well: Thigpen is versatile, but our guess is that he doesn't have the defensive skills that the others do, and his offense isn't good enough to get him out from behind the plate.
Diaz, who we believe has a better bat and glove, has likely sprung past Thigpen in the pecking order. It was odd to see him get playing time at third base in the spring, but that's what fake games are for. Or so we are told.
(Yet another pause. This time to consider the fact Kevin Cash, who previously played the role of Catcher of the Future, has a spot on the Red Sox roster. Bully for him.)
Much as one can admire the hirsute Fasano, he's really just another body in camp at this point. Let's not forget that the adjustments that he suggested to Roy Halladay's cutter grip last year (for which he received effusive praise in the press) were abandoned shortly thereafter. He's a wise old soul, but more than likely a backup in Syracuse at best.
How will it all shake down?
What are we, Nostradamus? Your guess is as good as ours. But if you wanna know what we're guessing (if only so that you can hold us up for ridicule later), here it is:
- Zaunie gets lots of leeway to right himself.
- Barajas starts in more than 90 games this year (in Toronto or elsewhere).
- Thigpen doesn't wear a Jays jersey until after September.
- Diaz gets the call, but spends more time on the big club perfecting his sunflower seed expectoration.
- Fasano gets to make the faithful in another city his pals.