(....other than in deep shit with the Tao when he see the grammatical construction of the post title....)
Although nothing is ever certain, there were a few areas of this year's Blue Jays squad that, heading into camp, seemed fairly easy to predict. Funny how that works. Turns out those areas of "certainty" are drawing more questions than answers as the preseason crawls on. But maybe that's just me. Probably just me. But let's discuss, shall we? I mean, we're here anyway.... let's just.
Ricky Romero, Brandon Morrow, Brett Cecil, Kyle Drabek, Marc Rzepczynski. Bingo bango bongo. Done. Maybe three weeks ago.....
The new "big 3" are certainly set. But the 4/5 spots in the rotation? Wiiiiide open, it seems. Nothing but a personal vibe here, but all of a sudden, it seems like the phenom Drabek is no longer a lock to "head north" with the big club, and Rzepczynski seems more likely to be on the outside looking in with regards to the rotation. And why? New skip John Farrell seems enamored with Jesse Litsch (which, for this guy anyway, isn't the worst thing... LET HIM PLAY! LET HIM PLAY!), and out-of-options (and Tao fave) Jo Jo Reyes is pitching well enough that the "option play" might give him an edge.
Keeping in mind..... come June 1 (or whenever the magical arb cutoff date is), the spring battle will likely be long forgotten as Drabek (for sure) and Zach Stewart (for maybe?) will lay claim to the jobs if they haven't already.
All of this to say.... depth is good.
Now, this is going to come across as an endorsement for Lawrie to skip AAA altogether and start the season in the homeland.....and it's not, necessarily..... but at what point does the usual spring hype give way to "maybe this kid really is ready" conversation?
Oh, I know all the usual caveats apply. Gabe Gross. Simon Pond. Chuckle chuckle snicker snicker. But wasn't the primary concern with Lawrie his conversion to 3rd base and questions on his defensive ability in general? And haven't all those actually there been saying how remarkably strong he's looked fielding the position? And if this club really is gearing towards actually trying to contend in 2012.... wouldn't it be better to get the kid a year of experience leading up?
Of course, it's not that simple. There's the service clock issue (don't you wish we didn't ever have to take "service clock" into consideration? Because I know I'm sick to death of it. But that's another post...). There's the fact he's probably not really ready to handle the grind of a full major league season. There's probably a multitude of additional reasons that space restrictions just will not allow me to flush out (nothing at all to do with being lazy, friends).
So how about this. How about we all agree - you too, AA - that Lawrie starts the season in Vegas under the guise of "seasoning", and once the arb date passes, and assuming Lawrie is indeed raking and not butchering the position defensively, he's recalled and handed the keys to the hot corner indefinitely. Seems obvious and logical, right? Right. Done and done.
Serious question: is he really part of the team? And if he is, why can't I fathom that? And if the club is really in need of left-handed thunder, can't we just give the job to Eric Thames and see where that takes us? If we can't have the Stewart bone, and if we have to wait out Lawrie, can't we have this?
OK, not really.
(But would you be against it necessarily? In a platoon at least? C'mon.)
Oh boy. I'm not ready to even attempt to sort this one out yet. Maybe next weekend. Until then.....