Friday, February 24, 2012

AA,YU & JM's

It is so great to read Rick and Will’s posts this week. It’s all about being a fan and the hope that each spring brings to each club. As a fan, I feel the Jays have a good chance to make the wild wild (??) card playoffs. I want to feel this way. However, it certainly depends on a number of ifs in the player ranks, but that is for next time. Today I want to rant a little about some moves Alex Anthopoulos made.

For the most part Alex Anthopolous has done a great job putting the Jay’s house in order in the minor leagues and making positive trades and call-ups for the big team. In this past off-season he made a couple of what I think are goofs.

From the fan side it was the Yu Darvish bid. Did we or didn’t we go for him? I don’t know. Did we or didn’t we make a competitive bid? We may never know. I would like the Jays and AA to come clean. They should have at the time. The deal would have made no impact on the rest of the team picture of free agency or trade deals. So it would have been an off the shelf pick. Yes, the asking was a huge price and if AA did not want to play that game he should have said so. I would have been happy with that. AA saw Yu Darvish and others play in Japan last season. A smart idea if you might make a move. (I think he still has ideas that would come out of those trips to Japan.)

My point is that the coy response from AA about Yu got the fan’s expectations up and was a poor PR move. He could have said they were in it or not. The let down was not that the Jays lost out on the bid but that AA seemed not to care whether the fans (taken in by media reports) understood or could understand the deal, good or bad. AA’s thinking is unclear. Did AA think Yu Dervish a tier one or tier two type of pitcher? Did they make a real bid? Would he have been a fit for the Jays? Was he worth it? All these questions are left unanswered. All this by the guy who wants us, the fans, to back him up by putting our bums in the seats. Probably too late now, but AA should have kept the fans in the loop on this one.

Now for the other oops. Catcher. It seems that the Jays thought so little of Jose Molina that they let him go without much fight, or so it seems. The resultant hole is now filled by Jeff Mathis. Ultimately it will probably be Travis d'Arnaud who will come in next season, but not yet. I think if AA offered Molina something halfway decent he would have stayed for another year. His 2011 salary was 1.2 million and it’s now 1.5 for the Rays. AA is paying the same 1.5 for Mathis 9 (last year was 1.7 million from the Angels). But what do we really get from the number two catcher?

Mathis’ strong point is his ability to handle young pitching. Molina did a pretty good job of that too. Mathis threw out only 24% caught steeling second and Molina 40%. Neither are the best at going down on balls in the dirt. This is something I will pick up shortly. But here is the kicker, Mathis has just a .194 BA while Molina is career .241 and last year .281 in a backup position off the bench.

So in the space of eight days AA lets Molina go, picks up Mathis and then signs the new closer Sergio Santos. Santos has great movement on his pitches. Batters can’t pick up the late movement on the ball. This is great for a closer but hard on the catcher who must have a best guess on where the ball will wind up. There are many examples of Santos getting a strike out and the ball goes in to the dirt and the catcher is all over the place trying to cover it. This could be very problematic if a close game.

I hope Mathis is up to the role. He will have to show much more than he has to date to stay in a Jays uniform beyond June.


Rick Blechta said...

John, Mathis has the rep of being a very good defensive catcher. You say the Jays got rid of Molina, got Mathis and then traded for Santos. Could there be a different reason than just not wanting Molina? He was not very good at balls in the dirt last year, and a number of the Jays pitchers throw in the dirt a lot, and now they've got Santos who will add to the problem (and not in a bad way). I'm of the feeling that this is the exact reason they let Molina go.

Don't get me wrong, I like José a lot, but those knees are getting older and he just doesn’t go down as well as the Jays need him to. I think Mathis will be able to do what they need him to do when called upon.

Rick Blechta said...

And great to have you back!

John the Tomahawk Trembath said...

Thanks, Rick, it's good to be back. If JP Arencibia can last 130 games this season, Molina could have stayed on I figure. I know he his nearly done but he can call a game and his bat off the bench is worth it I think. Mathis not so much. No bat. btw by the looks of the catching for the Angles,maybe they should have kept Mathis.
I agree with you that our whole staff is all over the place and Santos et al will indeed test both catchers quite enough. I do hope it is for the good.