We'd hate to go down the road of talking how something in a baseball helped us to see what really matters and all that jazz. Still, we were left dumbfounded when John McDonald hit his ninth inning homer on his first Father's Day after his father's recent passing. We don't really need to tart the moment up, because most of you readers saw it yourself, and had your own moment with it. We hope that you can remember whatever you felt in that moment, and we'll leave it there.
A bucketload of Sunday transactions
The Jays have been nudging the pawns around board for the past few weeks, adding players with marginal roles like DeWayne Wise and Nick Green to the roster, while sending Jeremy Reed away and waiting for Travis Snider's wrist to recover.
But Sunday's transactions are a bit more intriguing to us. The Jays dispatched Jorge Padilla to the Mets for essentially nothing, which tipped us off that something else might be moving later in the day. (We can't remember is Padilla was still on the 40-man, but we figured a move like that was making room for something else.)
Before the Jays even had time to hit the showers after yesterday's loss to the Giants, the team announced that they were calling up Triple-A slugger Jarret Hoffpauir, while sending Edwin Encarnacion off to Vegas to chill and get his swing back.
We love the move to bring up Hoffpauir, as it shows that the team might not be quite so stubborn about trying to get the most out of the minor-league veterans on its roster. He's posting a .910 OPS in Vegas, with more walks (21) than strikeouts (15), which shows a level of maturity with the strike zone. Moreover, he's in his 27 year-old season, which means (if the old scouting addage holds true) that the next few years might be his most productive. So why not give him a chance?
The only thing that is perplexing about this is the sequence of adding journeyman Nick Green and his career .656 OPS to the mix while dispatching Encarnacion, who's OPSing .765 this year. We're not entirely sure what Encarnacion is supposed to learn at this point in the PCL, and the Jays should know that they have a guy who will hit the ball hard and whiff a lot. We're not sure how that's supposed to change from here on out.
Maybe this is just the beginning of the end for Edwin.
A Minor League Hero is something to be
Another couple of transactions that might have slipped below the radar drew our attention this weekend. First off, our off-season mancrush Brian Dopirak was dropped from the 40-man roster and outrighted to Vegas.
It's funny to us now how much we spent the off-season bitching and moaning about the raw deal that Dopirak and Randy Ruiz were getting, and how the Jays should be making room for both of them on the 25-man roster. Now, Ruiz is getting back into game shape and helping the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, while Dopirak is rocking a sub-.700 OPS and grounding into double plays like your grandma.
We're sure there's a lesson to be learned there.
Meanwhile, Kevin Ahrens (the next Chipper!) and his .524 OPS was shipped from high-A Dunedin to end-of-the-line Lansing last week, with an order to stop with his switch-hitting nonsense (Thanks to Lott at the NP.) We'd say something hopeful about the young-ish (21) Ahrens' chances of pulling it together, but a slide back to the Midwest League at this point pretty much wipes clear most of the optimism that we might have had for him.
Litsch is bitchin'; Brian leaves us cryin'
How good did Jesse Litsch look on Saturday? Good enough that we're going to give him one week's worth of free passes. There shall be no discussion of his follicular colouring or pigmentation, nor shall there be any brickbats launched at the expense of his physique. You toss a three-hitter where you attack hitters like that, and you get yourself a nice reprieve.
As for the man he replaced in the rotation, Mr. Tallet: Shave your stupid lambchops, you beatnik.
Optimism! More Optimism Please!
Five Dunedin Blue Jays were named to the Florida State League All-Star game, including starter Henderson Alvarez, catchers Travis d’Arnaud and Yan Gomes and infielder Tyler Pastornicky. (And some other dude got added, but we're inclined to believe that it was a sympathy thing...or we're just too lazy to go back and find who it was.)
We've got a lot invested emotionally in Alvarez, d'Arnaud and Pastornicky at this point, so any good news coming from wherever they are is fine by us. We just wish we didn't have to wait so long for them to get here, because the more levels that they have to traverse, the more that we get nervous about whether if they can surmount the next obstacle.
On the other hand, the past few weeks worth of performance from J.P. Arencibia (still young at 24!) has us feeling like we might actually start to see real live prospects emerge from the system any day now. Arencibia is doing a passable job in terms of throwing runners out (24%) while reclaiming some of his past form at the plate (.884 OPS, 14 HRs, 35 RsBI.) It was in his 24th year that Mike Napoli finally emerged from the minors to start making a dent in Anaheim, and Arencibia's numbers compare pretty favorably with the Angel's backstop.
We could definitely learn to live with that.