With all of the attention heaped on a certain trade this week, the Jays' acquisition of catcher John Buck was lost in the all of the excitement.
As much as we loved Rod Barajas in spite of ourselves, this move looks like it has the potential to be an upgrade at catcher at a very reasonable $2 million for 2010. Buck's a guy who swings hard and ends up striking out a lot (55 times in 186 ABs versus 13 walks in '09), but he also hits the ball a ton when he makes contact (.484 slugging with 12 doubles and 8 homers in his 59 games last season.) While the swings-from-his-butt description might resemble Barajas on the surface, a look at their slash lines over the last couple of years shows at least some distinction:
Barajas '08-'09 - .275 OBP / .406 SLG / .681 OPS (in 229 games)
Buck '08-'09 - .302 OBP / .405 SLG / .707 OPS (in 168 games)
Parsing through the distinction between the two, it seems as though Barajas will manage a few additional dribblers through the infield while Buck will keep the bat on his shoulder once a week or so. So, you know, no big whoop. The big distinction that we can draw between the two is that Buck is almost five years younger and we much prefer the look of Buck's swing (as you can observe in this video of him at some baseball academy).
And this probably isn't worth much, but Buck raked like a mofo in one of our old MLB 2K games. Which shouldn't put him over the top in our mind, otherwise, I'd be advocating for a J.D. Closser multiyear signing. Still, we're calling this an upgrade.
(You hear that, you cynical smarmy sarcastic heathens? The Jays got better at a key position! Building!)
Cliff Lee's not bitter
Went to that thanksroy.com page, which has already been infiltrated by the merchants of mirth. In particular, I enjoyed this comment from someone on their way to the rainy coast: