Friday, May 17, 2013

Tao's Tweet Bag - Pertinent Questions, Flippant Answers

Well, hello chums, and welcome to the inaugural Tweet Bag of the 2013 season. Has it really taken this long into the schedule to churn out one of these posts?

Well, yes...but consider the toxicity of the conversation over the past few weeks, and you'll understand why this semi-regular post was delayed until the team managed to string together a couple of wins. I assume you'll understand. Friendsies?

Okay, on with your questions:

This question has been asked many times in recent weeks, and I tend to slough it off out of hand. I understand that there is the temptation to look at Josh Johnson like a dented can of soup on which we might be able to get a snazzy discount, but is it really worth it? Who likes dented soup?

But since you asked nicely, allow me to expand.

Firstly, it should be said that we don't really know what to make of Josh Johnson's injury because he's fully mired in it at this time. The moment of truth will come when he returns - whenever that happens - when we get to see how he looks when he's back to something resembling passable health.

If Josh Johnson returns and he's good, then you should probably kiss him goodbye. The Jays have a lot of money for the ensuing years already owed, and Johnson will be looking for more years than a reasonable team should give him. Which won't stop some damn fool team from handing him a contract for too much money and too many years.

There is a scenario where Josh Johnson misses a long stretch this season - maybe well past the point where he'd be tradeable -  where the Jays could make him a qualifying offer for one year. And if that were to come to pass and he accepted, then we can recycle this answer a year from now.

You know, you could have asked "Who's better?" That might have been nice.

But since you asked: I tend to be focused on strikeout and walk rates when evaluating players lately, and neither JPA nor Colby are especially flattered by those numbers. JPA has struck out in a third (literally, 33.3%) of his at bats, while Colby has whiffed in an astonishing 40.7% of his at bats.

Colby has managed to convert some deep counts into bases on balls, walking in 8.6% of his trips to the plate. At the same time, Arencibia has walked twice. Two times. One time in the second game of the season, and then one other time against Baltimore. But in his last 20 games, he has not let a pitcher offer him a free pass.

Maybe he's just in a hurry to get back to the dugout to put his catching gear back on.

Yes, JPA has the second best isolated power on the Jays at the moment (.257), but Colby isn't far behind (.190), and offers vastly superior defense at a premium position. So I'll say Colby. Dang.

May I have another?

I understand that Kawasaki is an endearing player, and that his various antics and rituals have led to a streak of genuine affection from a certain portion of the fanbase. People dig plucky dudes.

Moreover, there are aspects of Kawasaki's game which were lacking in the Jays' lineup early on. This includes the ability to draw a walk, of which he has 11, or nine more than JPA in less than half the plate appearances. He also has the ability to get his bat on the ball, as evidenced by a stupendous 93.2% contact rate (4th in MLB among players with 80 or more PAs).

The biggest problem, though, is that Kawasaki doesn't hit the ball hard. At all. His .279 slugging percentage lags far behind his .337 OBP, and while he's managed to swipe five bags and only get caught once, there are limits to how productive you can be slapping the ball weakly around the field.

I'm also not a huge proponent of his defensive skills, though he plays short well enough to get by.

My suspicion is that once José Reyes returns, we won't miss Kawasaki's outsized personality that much.

A few quick ones to close us out...
I really like Robinson Cano, but know this: There is no amount of money that the Jays could offer Robinson Cano that the Yankees would not match. The only team that I could envision stealing Cano away is the Dodgers, but even they have their limits.
Maybe one more start. Or two. But probably not. He's walked between the raindrops in his first two starts. Though throwing strikes is always appreciated.

I think Rogers would have to lean on the Argos to find another place to play. It's an open question as to whether if that's something they really want, or if the 10-12 dates per year are worth enough to Rogers to tolerate the inconvenience. My guess is that the successful Grey Cup might have softened their resolve to get the Argos out, if that was even on their agenda.

And that's about what we can squeeze in for today. Thanks for the questions, and apologies to those whose questions were too smart for me to answer with some diminished capacity today. Cheers, and enjoy your long weekend.


MK said...

To answer the Argo question, it's a good bet it will happen after the PanAm Games in 2015. One of the stadiums currently being built near York U is rumoured to be converted for them once the games are over.

Dan Daoust said...

"At the same time, Arencibia has walked twice. Two times."

You can tell me you weren't channeling John Travolta in SNF there, but I won't believe you.