Serious question leading things off here - has there been too much or too little said about Jose Bautista?
Here's what prompted me to muse aloud about the Blue Jays difference maker: Justin Verlander mowing through the lineup with absolute ease. Of course, 101 mph fastballs assist considerably and this post is BY NO MEANS meant to take away from the performance (masterful & absolutely dominant).... but with every failure of an at-bat, I couldn't help but think at the approach Bautista would have taken in each.
And isn't that what gives you comfort that Bautista's success is sustainable, even if not at his current Pujolsian (not a word, but should be) levels? That patient, no panic, fuck you 0-2, "why swing if you don't want to hit the ball as hard as you can" approach? Because it is for me.
Now go back to today's game, then imagine this Blue Jays club with no Bautista to pencil in.... ever. I'm still seeing arguments that the contract might work out, but the logic and process in doling it out was flawed. And there may be validity to that argument, I guess. But I have to be frank with you here.
I really don't give much of a shit how the decision was made to hand Bautista a market-value five-year deal. This is the easiest statement a Blue Jay fan can make - it's like a kid approving a Mars bar 'fer the love of God. And in years four and five, maybe we will all be groaning about the dead-weight/big dollar black hole that is 2014 JoBau (blasphemy!). But can you imagine the team sans JoBau today? Can you?
Jose Bautista is about as clear-cut an MVP candidate - if such judgements are even allowed to be made in May - as you will find. He's all of George Bell and Carlos Delgado, regardless of team success. His at-bats should not be missed and they bring me great joy.
Can he keep it up? Holy shit, I hope so. Because the alternative for this season, with today providing a glimmer of evidence, would not be quite so appealing.
JP Arencibia has a message for the Catching prospects up & down the system
Take your time, fellas.
A quick note on young John Paul: he's exceeding expectations (if even only my own) and looks every bit the part of a young catcher growing into the role of everyday backstop.
His power has never been in question; his patience and control of the strike zone has. And while he'll never be Jose Bautista (see gushing above), his 8th-inning walk - the lone blemish on Verlander's potential perfecto - was, as respected analysts would say, a professional at-bat.
Moreover, it looks like John Farrell is feeling it too, turning over the keys to Kyle Drabek's car with post-game praise despite Young Kyle's melt. Perhaps complaints of JPA getting just 3/5ths of the catching at-bats can go by the wayside, and all the whiny whinertons can shut up about it already.
Oh wait, that was me.
Hey, you know what sucks? Corey Patterson getting every-day at-bats.....