Thursday, June 23, 2011

Let's Talk About Deck Chairs

So John Farrell thinks the Jays' offense might need a "spark". Well la-di-fucking-duh. Thanks for tuning in, Skip. And don't worry: Once Interleague games are over, you can go right back to worrying about your overstocked bullpen. Maybe even use Mike McCoy as your backup catcher so that you can trim your bench down to a single body to maximize the arms available to you at any given moment.

Sorry...Does it sound like we might have pissed on the wrong side of our Cinnamon Toast Crunch this morning? It certainly feels that way.

Generally, we're the optimist when it comes to the Jays' fortunes, preaching patience and forbearance and the like as the rest of the internet calls for the immediate and swift beheading of anyone who's had a bad week. So we fancy ourselves as the voice of reason (an incredibly immodest stance to take, we realize.) But after the unmitigated shit show of the past few weeks, it's getting harder everyday to watch a team that fields two fourth outfielders as starters everyday, and who supplements that with a second baseman who's forgotten how to hit line drives (and that's how he made it to the big leagues in the first place, for Jimmy's sake!) and a third baseman who hits just slightly better than the pitchers might.

So, yeah. Maybe it's time to reconsider Corey Patterson's spot in the lineup.

(And is it just us, or does Patterson have some sort of charisma and charm that makes managers think of him as a gamer and a guy they have to get in the lineup, in spite of, you know, all the shittiness? "The speedster" gets thrown out six times trying to steal, and yet: "Get him in there! He's a waterbug! A sparkety-fucking-sparky-plug for the offense!")

Hey! Quick flashback, friends: Remember when this team was going to be the Go-Go Jays, running the bases with abandon and keeping pressure on the other pitchers? Well, one key problem with that approach is that you actually have to get on base to make it work. (We'd actually thought last night that a positive in recent weeks was that we hadn't seen the Jays make a lot of needless outs on the basepaths, until it occurred to us that most of the outs are being made at the plate anyways.)

But wait: Wasn't this the best offense in the game just a few short weeks ago? Why yes, it was, fellow traveller. But consider what's happened over that time: Since pounding around Royals pitching for a couple of nights this month, the Jays have posted a .194 team batting average - cut to Jayson Nix asking: "What's wrong with that?" - and a .254 OBP to add to a .326 SLG for a galactically shitteriffic .581 OPS. (Standard arbitrary endpoint caveats apply.)

And over those 13 games, the Jays are averaging 2.4 runs per outing. Also, they are striking out at a higher rate (7.9/game) then they are getting base hits (6.3/game).

We can play along and try to figure out where you slot Aaron Hill to minimize the impact of his popping pretty much everything up to the infield (and for god's sake, don't suggest that he go to the top of the lineup...just stop with all of that tomfoolery), but really, we're getting to a point where we've seen enough of this team to know that outside of Adam Lind and José Bautista, there's not much there.

A spark? That'd be a start.


Drew said...

on the wrong side of our Cinnamon Toast Crunch this morning?

Same guy!

Mike Storeshaw said...

If only there were a promising young outfield prospect in the system who could come up from the farm, play decent defense in left field, and hit some line drives. Know of anyone like that?

sporkless said...

Yep, I'm usually patient, but I'd rather watch Thames and Gordie-Dougie struggle out there than this cast of DFA all stars. How exactly does having Patterson and Nix play every day help move us to playoff contender in 2012 and beyond?

Until Thames is healthy, I actually want EE at 3B. Hard to see how he could do worse.

Voodoo_Matt said...

My solution to this problem is:

Snider and Lawrie get one start in triple-a after the DL. If they don't pass out from dizzyness or lose a limb they're in the Toronto line-up the next day. Patterson-Davis platoon, which I would be severely tempted to turn into a Thames/Loewen platoon if there is any way to move Davis and Patterson. Nix gone because his career numbers aren't good enough and they're way above where he is now. McCoy to LV. Finally, I'd hire an excorcist to remove the ghost of Mario Mendoza who has been haunting Aaron Hill.

The Ack said...

^^ Approved.

Also.... if Nix doesn't have a monster opening series, is he still getting close to everyday AB's with the Jays?

This guy says "negative".

Ian - BJH said...

Yes, Cinnamon Toast Crunch is a superior cereal, excellent choice Tao.

But on to more pressing matters, the problem is the Blue Jays can't really call in the cavalries because there isn't much in the way of help down in Triple A (aside from maybe Thames or Loewen).

If Snider and Lawrie were healthy, then Farrell could do a complete overhaul of the lineup, but there just isn't that much wiggle room right now with the bevy of injuries to the prospects.

KissMyPurpleButt said...

Yes its frustrating to watch 3-4 journeymen in the lineup everynight, but its all part of the plan. Snider/Lawrie will be up next month or Sept at the latest.

Anonymous said...

While I'd love a change now, I'd love even more a massive overhaul in a month, where Snider, Thames, Gord/Doug (and dare I say McGowan?) are called up at the same time.

The BlueJaynator said...

"outside of Adam Lind and José Bautista, there's not much there"

Escobar is solid. They're just having trouble stringing together consecutive hits the past few games. Eff the Braves.

Brad Fullmer Fan said...

You're just sucking the fun out of...oh wait, you're completely right.

This team needs to bring back Snider, Thames, and Cecil already and discard the garbage.

Torgen said...

Escobar has had a terrible June, along with pretty much everyone. Corey Patterson has reverse platoon splits, except when you look closer, he's terrible against everyone but his bunts go for hits more often against lefties.

Tao of Stieb said...

Forgot about Escobar. I ain't mad at Yu.

Kevin A. said...


AA was on PTS the other night and said that while McGowan is encouraging, they have him on a set schedule which wouldn't see him returning to the majors until September at the most optimistic.

Anonymous said...

1) Aaron Hill has a pop-up rate of 3.6% in June, 2nd lowest anyone on the team (Lind is #1).

2) There are 6 players on the Jays lineup with full-season pop-up rates higher than Hill's.

3) His June 16.7% line drive rate is higher than Jose Bautista's, among others.

4) His full season 19.4% LD rate puts him 4th on the team.

Hill hits into a lot of fly-outs to the outfield, and many of them are of the line-drive variety. He has the 2nd lowest BABIP on the team, some 20 ticks below career norms.

Sure, he's sucked this year, but some of the myths about the line drive and pop-ups...are just that.

Anonymous said...

Aaron Hill is that you leaving comments on here again? You suck, deal with it.

Parker said...

I think this is AA's only major failing as a GM so far: his belief that any worthless player can somehow morph into a useful trade chip by putting up half a season's worth of slightly-better-than-career-average numbers. It's almost a shame that he was able to get returns on Buck, Gonzalez, and Gregg because it seems like it gave him the idea that he could do the same with any and all dicarded garbage players he brings in.

I don't understand it; if anyone was willing to give up prospects for trash like Patterson and Nix, how were the Jays able to acquire them so cheaply? Half a season of success isn't going to make any competent GM believe that the player has somehow turned a corner. Look at Bautista; he's been doing it for a solid 1-1/2 seasons now and almost everyone STILL thinks he's a fluke. And really, Escobar is the only thing of any value that another organization had to give up, and the Atlanta side of that trade has been almost universally panned by non-retarded baseball analysts.

To the anonymous commentator defending Aaron Hill, you can quote all the statistics you want to, but consider this: Aaron Hill's best-developed tool is his ability to make outs. Even in his 36 HR season, he led the league in making outs. I'm no Bill James, but I'm pretty sure that's a bad thing.

Aaron Hill (formerly Anonymous) said...

You caught me, guys.

Parker: I'm not disagreeing with you over the fact that I suck. Only that I suck for reasons which aren't what people seem to think they are(ie. pop-ups/lack of line drives)

Of all the suckage that's going on with the team, can't we at least target our criticism at real things?

Mike Storeshaw said...

I don't think we can assume that AA's game plan in bringing in players like Nix or Patterson was to try to get a half-season of decent production and build trade value.

Obviously the best case is that those veterans outperform their career numbers, and build some potential trade value. But if they perform at a lower level, they're still cheap replacement level players that don't make you start the clock early on prospects in a non-contending season.

It's more likely to me that the idea was to have a few guys with MLB experience available to fill some spots, allowing prospects (such as they are) to get more time in the minors.

As frustrating as it is to watch them, I can't disagree completely with bringing them in, given the expectations for the season. The only part I really disagree with is not keeping Snider in the mix, and Cecil to a lesser extent given the emergence of Villanueva, since they had service time already.

Tao of Stieb said...

Funny, but I thought I checked Aaron Hill's LD% earlier this season, and it was brutal...but there it is: 19(ish)%. I stand corrected.

Still has an OBP of .289, but then again, even in the good years, his OBP was barely above .300.

So: No more cheap shots about pop ups. From here on out, we'll focus on the fact that he doesn't seem to hit the ball hard anymore, and that there are too many parts to his swing. (Stop dropping your hands, Mr. Hill!)

See: I always figured it was Hill who was reading the blog.

Parker said...

It appears I was mistaken: I could swear I read that Hill led the league in outs made in 2009, but upon further review it turns out he actually finished second with 511 to Orlando Cabrera's league-leading 512. My bad.

The Ack said...

Way to totally sabotage your credibility there, Parker.


@dwbudd said...

Honey Bunches of Oats is a better choice.

What really frustrates as a Jays' fan is not that the team is losing (and the sometimes almost bizarre ways they find to lose - Tim Hudson hitting a two-out, two run homer? 9-21 in day games?), but the use of basically worthless players like Jayson Nix, Corey Patterson, and Rajai Davis.

Davis is 30, Patterson is 31, Nix is the youngest of the lot at 28 (though the worst of a bad bunch). Mike McCoy (another basically useless player) is 30.

All of these guys have OBP less than .300; they're virtually all certain to be worse next year. When the Jays ever contend again, which of these guys is going to still be in the league, let alone on the roster?

I know you have to plan for the future, and that some of the young prospects are hurt (Lawrie) or not ready.

But when one in three guys on the roster is a middle-aged guy who, in his prime, was of dubious value?

Voodoo_Matt said...

They wouldn't be having this much trouble if the had held on to Kevin Mench. or David Delucci for that matter.

Eric Thames said...

Don't worry guys, I'm gonna fix all that, now that I'm back.

Smoooooooooth sailing from here on end.

Parker said...

The Ack: Good one, Johnny!

Paul said...

First of all, everyone knows the best part of any cereal are the marshmallows.

Secondly, weren't you Mr Grumpy All Caps last week when people dared suggest we didn't drink AA's coolaid and stick with "the plan"?

Looks like another year where the best we can hope for is to over achieve to mediocrity.

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