Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The object of our consternation

Regardless of who the Jays add in any given off season, or who comes through the system, or whatever complementary parts they add to beef up their line up, no one will receive the day-to-day scrutiny that Vernon Wells does.

Nor should they.

The Globe's snappy Jeff Blair has a bit of a think piece on V-Dub this morning, calling on the centerfielder to step up and assume the role of the franchise's cornerstone by taking a leadership role in the team that is too easily handed off to players who drift in and out of the Jays' clubhouse (like new acquisition Scott Rolen). (The Drunks beg to differ, mostly.)

We don't want to engage in the pseudo-proletarian debate about how the size and legnth of Vernon's monster contract should dictate his performance. The truth is that it's not really about the money.

But the team has bent over backwards in recent years to make Wells the franchise's centerpiece, even when his performance hasn't dictated that he deserved that role. For instance, Wells has spent much of the last three years hitting third, even though he would probably serve the team better hitting lower in the lineup. Wells is more of a fastball hitter and a free swinger, attributes that would be better suited to a spot in the lineup where he could hit with runners on base.

For his career, Wells hits vastly better in the five and six hole (.877 and .894 OPS respectively) than he does in the three spot (.823).

If this team is going to go anhywhere, Vernon and his healthy labrum are going to have to produce, and management needs to have the courage to use him in a manner that best fits the team's needs.


the ack said...

A+, bro.

the contract -shouldn't- dictate who is (and who isn't) a leader on the team, but the Jays commitment to Vernon, in terms of dollars and length, doling out the deal before he hit the open market, indicates they think of him as a cornerstone. And Vernon had to know that was the case when he signed it, and thus -should- accept the responsibilities attached.

There's just something about Vern, though, that leaves you feeling he should produce more - like his career high water marks should be the rule, not the exception.

Anonymous said...

It is at least somewhat about the money, though. He's making 18M per year in this contract. Last year according to Win Shares he was worth about 1 win more than a bench player over the course of the season. The Blue Jays are not getting good value for their money.

Torgen said...

Last year he needed shoulder surgery. Probably a bad example.

Jawn said...

I could deal with a shitty hitting Wells for a while. Slumps happen but fuck, it's his half-ass defence and general demenor out there that get's me.