Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pushing back on nostalgia, and rounding out the coaching staff

A couple of years ago, the news that one of the Jays' old-timey heroes was coming back into the fold as a coach might have had us dancing on one leg and singing choruses of "goody-goody-gumdrops". But yesterday's announcement of former Cy Young winner Pat Hentgen's return to the fold full time as the Jays' new bullpen coach has elicited much less from us.

Not that we're not happy to see him back, because there are few former Jays on whom we look more kindly than Hentgen. (You wanna think Shaun Marcum is a bulldog? We once saw Pat Hentgen dive headfirst to beat a runner on a play at first. That's nails.) Plus, we've appreciated that Hentgen has shown a willingness in the past to serve in whatever role the Jays' brass asked of him, rather than just allowing himself to be paraded before the press at Spring Training.

Still, we're showing a bit of restraint on the announcement because:

a) We've seen a long list of other celebrated former Jays make their way onto the coaching roster (Lloyd Moseby, Ernie Whitt, Garth Iorg, Buck Martinez), and none of them blew our minds in terms of their contributions; and,

b) We really don't much have much of a sense of what the bullpen coach does, and before Pappy Walton's ascension to the title of pitching coach, we might not have given more than a moment's thought to the role.

Neverthless, we're eager to at least pay a little more mind to Hentgen, and watch his evolution in the coming years. Might he become a future pitching coach? Or will he be the Chief of Tomfoolery in the bullpen, teaching the youngsters how to administer hotfoots and get phone numbers from the ladies in section 136?

The rest of the staff
If you're looking for a theme to just about everything we're writing lately, it's something like "I don't know what I don't know, but I know that I don't know...so...I dunno." So don't expect much in the way of declarations one way or another on the rest of the Jays staff.

But we can say that we're optimistic about the Jays bringing in Don Wakamatsu, given that some folks have told us that he's tactically strong and gets a bum rap because of how lousy his team was last year. Also, we're happy to see Dwayne Murphy return as the Professor of Power/Hitting Coach, given that it is difficult to quibble with last year's results. Add him to Pappy and Butter, and you've got a good core that will provide some continuity for the players.

The new first base coach, Torey Lovullo, is apparently an old pal of Farrell's, and was rumoured to be coming in as the new bench coach. We're actually relieved that Lovullo, a long time minor league manager, and the skip in Pawtucket this past season, didn't get the nod as Farrell's 2-I-C just yet. It's nice to have a familiar face on the staff for Farrell, and someone who he can trust implicitly...but we're not sure how that sort of (sorry) cronyism would have played with the players and a staff full of guys who were somewhat on the outside of The Manager's crew of old chums.

The sad note here is that Omar Malave, the Jays' first base coach this year, is not on the staff at this point. A lifer in the Jays' organization in a way that few others can claim, we're hoping that the Jays find a role for the long-time minor league manager, especially given the strong Latin contingent coming to the fore, and the lack of a Hispanic voice on the coaching staff for next year.

28 comments:

sarah said...

Tell me about some things that you DO like, Tao!

Tao of Stieb said...

Are you saying that I'm excessively negative?

sarah said...

I'm saying I want to hear about some things that you like! That was an excessively negative interpretation of my comment.

Tao of Stieb said...

You see, if I had gone ahead and done the "goody-goody-gumdrops" one-legged dance, exclaiming how awesome this was, I would have been inundated by comments that said: "Tao, you don't even know what you're talking about...You're dumb if you think this makes a difference."

So this is what I came up with.

And yes, I am running scared from the anonymous commenters these days, because I really don't feel like I know anything about anything anymore. I spent part of the weekend just catching up on baseball given that I was off saving democracy for the past six weeks.

And BTW: You're welcome.

The Ack said...

I approve of the "Professor of Power" moniker, even if Murph needs a little work on becoming the Ombudsman of OBP.

Navin Vaswani (@eyebleaf) said...

Tao: I want you to know that you are appreciated. Thank you for saving democracy. You don't get enough credit.

Ty said...

If Wakamatsu gets the Mets job, it'd probably make sense Lovullo to shift over as Farrell's bench coach, leaving room for Malave at 1B. Maybe they're waiting to see what happens in NY before re-assigning Malave, just in case? Either way, it looks like a pretty strong coaching staff this year.

Farrell mentioned that one of the main reasons they brought Wakamatsu on is that he's a former catcher, and that's something specific he was looking for:

"Our goal is to make [Arencibia] an everyday catcher behind the plate, leading a pitching staff," Farrell said. "There's further work to be done, and we feel like Don is the right guy for this situation."

That's interesting and encouraging to hear about J.P., given that the Jays have tended to come across as very non-committal when talking about him so far this offseason.

As for Hentgen, I have to say, of all the former players to join the Jays broadcast team for an inning or two over the past couple of years, he came across as being both the most knowledgeable and most enthusiastic, by far. Hard to be cynical about his hiring considering he legitimately seems like a guy who has a lot to offer, at least based on the few short interviews I've seen with him.

Anonymous said...

Considering the success of our bullpen this past season, perhaps a different approach or at least some serious intensity from the new bullpen coach would help.

William Tasker - Caribou, ME said...

I think you make a great point about the Latin contingent not having a voice on the coaching staff. I was feeling good about this staff until you said that. Now the Latin thing worries me a bit.

Saving democracy? I hope you were more successful than we were in the U.S.

Anonymous said...

They could always hang on to Bautista. He speaks Spanish, and I think I read somewhere that his beard speaks Latin, so the Jays would be free to chase after any Cuban or Ancient Roman prospects.

sarah said...

I second Navin. Your democracy saving, negative or otherwise, is much appreciated. By us and Peter Capaldi also.

Darren Priest said...

I read today that the A's might be looking to move a starter for an offensive player. I wonder if there's a fit with the Jays.

Navin Vaswani (@eyebleaf) said...

You know what will really help the Jays bullpen? No Tallet.

Navin Vaswani (@eyebleaf) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tao of Stieb said...

No Tallet, No Doubt.

T-shirt that shit up.

The Ack said...

Yo Priest - what the fuck?

Navin Vaswani (@eyebleaf) said...

T-SHIRT TIME!!!1

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Darren Priest said...

Not sure how to respond to that, Ack.

I take it you don't think it's a good idea?

Anonymous said...

Sarah, I want to sit down and have a witty convo with your ass.

The Ack said...

Why would the Jays be looking for another starter?

Darren Priest said...

Well, I don't have a blog or anything, but I thought you can never have enough pitching. You can have an abundance of DHers and weak fielders.

I'll have the team work late on a formal proposal so you can really wink your teeth in.

Just kicking around ideas. You can set me straight on Saturday or Sunday.

The Ack said...

Fight! Fight! Fight!

No really, just seems odd you'd be proposing the Jays add to their strength when the consensus is they'll be looking to shore up the lineup this winter. But you never know what AA has cooking, I guess.

Darren Priest said...

Yeah, I can be a tough guy from four Provinces away. That's how I roll.

I agree the Jays are strong on starting pitching. I don't have it all sorted out -- just thinking about how things might shake out.

Ultimately, Alex Ant will figure out a way to take our five loaves and two small fishes and feed the multitude something delicious.

In the meantime, you and I can be on the under card when GSP fights Josh Koscheck. Pro tip: tackle me once and I'll gas out and tap.

plain_g said...

so, mlbtraderumors has 2 writers predicted maggs ordonez to the jays.
why?
don't we have like 4 corner outfielders?

Spiggy said...

Presumably they'd sign him to DH and do occasional RF duties. Which leaves Lind at 1B or traded, either of which I'm fine with.

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Andrew said...

What about the rumors of Zack Greinke and/or Alex Gordon being asked about?

Greinke seems like a long shot, given the Royals' apparent asking price of "two can't-miss prospects," and the fact that he'll be due a huge contract in two years time.

However, Gordon seems like a typical Anthopoulos pick-up. He's under team control for two more years, and, despite what the Royals say, I think there's a good chance he can be had on the cheap. I'd be willing to gamble on him, given the likely departure of Overbay, and the certain mediocrity (and hopeful non-tendering) of Encarnacion.