Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday Jays Chat with...Hum and Chuck

(Yesterday afternoon, Joanna from Hum and Chuck and I caught up on the off day to discuss the awfulness of the Braves series, as well as the high and low points of the season so far. Below is a transcript of our chat.)

umChuck: Hey

Tao: Ding ding ding...Let's get it on!

HumChuck: So, that was a rather shitty series

Tao: Dreadful. It was drudgery to watch it unfold. And it's not as if you could even really get much of a hate-on for the Braves. Chipper aside, I guess.

HumChuck: No, they seem to be a pretty good team, which some nice young arms and pitchers that hit home runs

Tao: I wondered that night if Tim Hudson was really that good, of if the Jays just made them look good. You take a look at the strike zone graphs, and the Jays (Hill and Davis, in particular) we waving at stuff that was nowhere near the strike zone. Down down down and away away.

HumChuck: Davis' new name is "Down and Away." In funks like this, I sometimes wonder if it would better to not swing at anything. Cause swinging at balls is just torture.

Tao: When the Jays got Davis, I think I said "good fourth outfielder, and could play every day in a pinch." But that was probably a bit too enthusiastic. He actually looks worse at the plate right now than Snider did when he got sent down, and that's saying something. He probably belongs on the bench, but the Jays just don't have another CF option.

HumChuck: Some people are whispering "Vernon...." some places. Not loudly or aggressively.
It's just a different situation to be in. We have no options at centre field for the first time in a long time.

Tao: I forget if it was in the comments or in a post, but I mentioned that - money set aside, and you can never really do that - I kinda miss some of what Vernon did. But yeah, for years, we couldn't wait to bump Vernon because we had a perfectly good replacement in Rios...and now neither are here. And productive CFs don't just fall out of the sky.

HumChuck: If he could leave his contract in Los Angeles, Vernon can come play any day.

Tao: Just looking up their numbers: Rios, .599 OPS. Yikes! That's Nixian territory. And Wells is .566, which is EXACTLY the same as Jayson Nix. Wow. Maybe we should keep our nostalgia in check. (Ray-Jay is a monster .622, BTW.)

HumChuck: What did you think about the Romero comments? Big deal out of nothing?

Tao: In a weird way, it was probably good for the team. He says something upsetting (possibly) to the media about his teammates, and then he comes back and says: "OK, I'm sorry. I love you guys. We're family. But seriously, start hitting." And it's all out in the open. Ricky seems like a guy who wears his emotions on his sleeve, and I don't think it's smart to just stifle him, because he really wasn't wrong at all with what he said.

I also see it as a situation where all of these people are adults, and he said what he said in the most diplomatic way. He said "We" a lot and he didn't say specific names. I don't think what he said was wrong, either.

Tao: And by the way: The way that the Jays' media corps dealt with this? They should remember this the next time they spend months on end getting media-trained non-answers. They really torqued this into something else.

HumChuck Yeah, what it became was totally blown out of proportion.

Tao: Saying RickRo "called out" his teammates was really turning this into something that it wasn't. But then, here we are still talking about it. Onto happier dunno.

HumChuck: Let's answer some Twitter questions.

Tao: Bring it.

HumChuck: @Grubersmullet asks Can Carlos V be a legit #4/#5 starter for Jays? Possibly taking over Litsch?

Tao: I don't know that Jesse is all that close, or that he can stay healthy for any amount of time, so I'd take the second part out of the equation. But can Villanueva be a part of the rotation? I think so, but I think in the long term, he might be best suited to a middle relief role. His second or third time through the league, I'm not sure if he's going to continue to be as effective with just pounding 89 MPH fastballs down. But he's been great so far, and probably my favourite acquisition this offseason.

HumChuck: It was robbery what AA did. Our current #5 cost 100,000 dollars.
I really like what Villanueva has done so far, and what I think the policy on pitching should be is that the best guys pitch. And the ones that are successful stay and the ones that aren't get swapped out. Having too much pitching is a luxury

Tao: It's a good philosophy, although I think people would have been tempted early in the season to punt Jo-Jo Reyes out of the rotation (or frankly, out of the organization.) We're lucky that there wasn't a quick hook on him, because he's really been the second or third most effective starter, behind RickRo and sorta behind Villanueva.

HumChuck: There are always different rules for southpaws.
I will amend my philosophy, and say that success would be judged by more than just certain numbers. Cause JoJo had turned a corner at a one point that happened several starts before the win.

Tao: Yeah, he's been alright. But it kinda raises the other question, which is: What's the deal with Brandon Morrow, and when does he snap out of it?

HumChuck: Morrow showed signs that he snapped out of it his last start. Morrow's 2010 first half numbers are eerily similar to his first half this season. I had just forgotten because he was so awesome the 2nd half. His next few starts should really be indicative. And he should use his changeup more.

Tao: It would be nice to think that he could put an entire season together, but we'll settle for now for a good second half. As for the change: He's been missing with fastballs early in counts, which means he ends up playing with a smaller deck. Still, he should come around. Any more questions from the tweeps?

HumChuck: Morrow also missed a chunk of time on the DL, so he might have "snapped out of it" earlier had that not happened. More tweep questions.
@Roll_Fizzlebeef wants us to talk about baserunning, why some people have a knack for it and why some people need a stop sign at every base.

Tao: I hate to go too far down this road, because I can see where someone might want to take this, but I think some guys are just smarter players than others. Some have the skill because they've worked at it, or because they've learned the hard way when not to take the extra base. Some guys have to be smart base runners, the way some other players have to be good defensive players. They need the skill to supplement other weaknesses. I guess. I don't know. I kinda feel like that question was leading to something...

: Corey Patterson is a bad baserunner is where it is leading.
I don't think he is dumb, but he may have been one of those guys who are so talented, they never had to learn the way to do something. Alex Rios is like that. Jose Bautista is not like that.

Tao: Corey Patterson is the black Reed Johnson. Actually, Reed Johnson's probably better. And it pains me to say that, because 1) I hate Reed Johnson and 2) Reed Johnson runs like a girl.
No offense.

HumChuck: Running is for children and idiots. Unless you are getting paid.
Reed Johnson plays smarter.

Tao: I stick to "meaningful strutting" if I need to get somewhere fast.
You're racist.

HumChuck: Yeah, you caught me. Should I mention that some people on Wilner's Sportsnet chat (which I go to often) failed to comprehend why the Braves' chant was racist?

Tao: Let's not go there. It's kinda depressing. One more tweeted question, and let's put a bow on this thing.

HumChuck: I'll just say "IT'S RACIST. REALLY RACIST."
@darelleats asks "Should Escobar have gotten more $$$?" and our opinion on pants in the summer.

Tao: If Escobar didn't ask for more, then I'm not going to give him any more. But if he'd played his cards right, I think he probably could have had another good season and a half and doubled the back end of the agreement. As for pants: Pants if necessary, though not necessarily pants.

HumChuck: I am very tall and very white, sometimes pants help to prevent the whole "My God, you are white" situation I sometimes run in to. I think if that's what Escobar agreed to, I think it's enough. I love him, by the way. So the deal makes me happy.

Tao: Yeah, I love Yunel as well. I just root for him, because I think he was put into a box and misunderstood in Atlanta, and I love to see a guy flourish given the right situation. I think people in North America forget how hard it can be to function in a second language, because most of them never have to speak anything other than English to succeed. I'm sure that being isolated as he was on the Braves was tough.

HumChuck: I think the fact that Bautista had to take him aside and basically say "No one dislikes you here, you can be yourself." says everything about that situation. The idea of the Latin coaches being necessary in this types of situations is really undervalued.

Tao: As for relative pastiness: I still can't really comprehend the whole "look at how tanned I am" thing. It's odd to me that people still want to go fry themselves, with everything we know about skin cancer and the like. You go to Central America, and see how the people there deal with the sun: They stay the fuck out of it, so that they don't croak. We should be as smart.

HumChuck: A lot of them are naturally brown anyway.

Tao: I was making the case for Latin coaches (or a Latin manager) and took heat from some people. Still, I think it's a skill that should be valued. If I were a catcher in the big leagues, you know I'd be learning Spanish and playing in Winter leagues to try to enhance my communications skills. I'd rather that than just speaking slow and loud, as though my Latin teammates are dogs.
Sill there?

HumChuck: Yep...and yeah, to help with the culture shock, too. I remember Pedro Martinez's stories about helping Vlad Guerrero out when he first got to Montreal. Cause Vlad was right off the farm in the DR. But Pedro found places for food in the Haitian community in Montreal, and it felt a little more homey.

Tao: Alright. So, we've answered everything that anyone could possibly want to know. Closing thoughts?

HumChuck: Um, hit the baseball, everyone? And there were more questions. But I think we are done.

Tao: We shouldn't give people too much goodness all at once. It's like drinking a whole case of "retro" Pepsi in one sitting. As for the Jays: A little offense would be nice. Not a 15-run explosion, and then a couple of one-run games, though. I'd like to see seven runs per game against the Cardinals. That's not too much to ask, is it?

: It might be.


The Ack said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Ack said...

I don't know who you hang with, but the last time I heard the name Vernon Wells whispered (or yelled) was the day he was traded. No offense to Vern.

@dwbudd said...

Interesting colloquy.

The whole running game approach has been tried before, and largely, it has been a wash at best.

I saw once an analysis by Bill James that, in order to be "successful," the rate at which one must steal bases needs to be AT LEAST 70%. If you get caught more often than that, it's a net negative.

Typically, this approach requires among other things an ability to get on base (much more than the current lot can) and is also usually predicated on the assumption that the team lacks power (the Jays' one offensive strength is power).

Buck16 said...

I've never met or seen a picture of Joanna, but she is the most beautiful and perfectest (I know, not a word) woman in the world.