Jays In 30…Thoughts
30 thoughts from the week that was for the Toronto Blue Jays
4/16/2016 – 4/22/2016
1) PEDs. I would have never guessed Chris Colabello would be a user of PEDs but really how can anyone truly know. It is unfortunate but will open the door for someone else to join the club and prove they belong. Crazy, after fighting so long to make the show that he would fool around with something like that. Did he really not know?
2) Now What? Do we see Colabello again? Clearly this was hanging over him this season so maybe he comes back with a bang? He isn’t eligible for the playoffs so is there a point in giving him regular at bats? He isn’t young so the upside isn’t there… So many questions.
3) Who Comes Up? Chad Girodo was immediately called up to help out the bullpen but that will be short lived. It was announced Drew Hutchison will be spot starting on Sunday to give the entire rotation an extra day of rest. I agree with Greg Zaun here…it is early, the team has struggled why would you allow your #6 starter to throw a game? Come on. It is April. Make your starts.
4) Once The Dust Settles. Do we put Edwin Encarnacion on first base more often and call up an outfielder to allow Jose Bautista to DH a little more? At the end of the day I would bet this is the long term solution – I think the 8 man bullpen is a little overkill.
5) Another Backstop? Josh Thole can’t do much more than catch the knuckleball. Sadly he really can’t properly even catch a fastball. The options for a 3rd catcher on the roster are slim – there would have to be a trade, waiver claim or free agent signing…catchers are tough to come by and I doubt we will see a new one any time soon.
6) How Long Can it Last? Could Russell Martin start catching the knuckleball again? I really feel the backup catching position is a concern and Thole just can’t be on an MLB roster. The team would, however, have to acquire someone to become a personal catcher for Happ or Estrada (I would guess). I doubt a new catcher will be brought into the fold but I can dream!
7) Injuries. The injury bug hasn’t hit the Blue Jays yet, besides the 2 lefties Aaron Loup and Franklin Morales, but on Friday night Troy Tulowitzki (hip) and Michael Saunders (hamstring) both sat out of the lineup. It wouldn’t be a big deal to me but these guys have had injury trouble in the past…
8) More Deals With The Devil? Scott Boras has another client within the Blue Jays organization. The one time All-Star Michael Bourn signed a minor league deal with the club on Friday. At 30 years old Bourn has 2 gold gloves, 2 seasons with 60+ stolen bases and 2 all-star appearances. The only issue is that he has really regressed over the last 3 years – concluding last season with a .238 average. I guess it doesn’t hurt to take a look?
9) A Little Crowded. Earlier I had suggested the team may call up an outfielder. The Bourn signing makes me believe this even more. Their triple-A outfield consists of Domonic Brown, Junior Lake, Dalton Pompey and Darrell Ceciliani – there really isn’t a need for a 5th. Who gets called up after Drew Hutchison spot starts on Sunday? Domonic Brown would be my best guess…speed and power are always good traits on the bench.
10) Where Is The Love? I follow the Cubs a bit, as it used to be like a terrible car accident and you had to watch, and as a lover of great defense I enjoyed watching Darwin Barney. The former gold glove winner is slick in the field and can play all over the diamond. I know Toronto always has a weird obsession with backup infielders (i.e. John McDonald and Ryan Goins) but this guy gets very little love. He is better than Ryan Goins with the bat and a near equal with the glove…so what gives?
11) The Argument. I know everyone loves Goins, and I do too, but let’s look at the stats. Barney has produced as much, or more than, Goins in home runs, stolen bases and RBIs. He also has a higher career batting average, on base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS (obviously) and yes, I’ll say it, a higher fielding percentage! They are not ideal starters but if you have to choose one it is Mr. Barney. Keep in mind he is only 2 years older! Goins isn’t a prospect anymore.
12) Trying Something New. After John Gibbons took my advice from last week’s 30 Thoughts (kidding of course), the Jays starting batting Michael Saunders leadoff. It seemed to spark Saunders as he is now batting at a .321 clip – I just hope he can stay healthy. I guessed he would have a tough season and the man is proving me wrong!
13) First Base Production. With Colabello being gone for 80 games could help be on the way? Or do we keep it internal with Edwin Encarnacion and maybe Jose Bautista? We will see soon enough where the Blue Jays go after Hutchison is done his start on Sunday and his roster spot becomes available.
14) The East. Besides the Orioles, luckily, the East has faltered out of the gate. It helps that everyone has been playing each other and no one can really get off to a big lead in the standings. Not sure if those Orioles are for real but they sure look pretty good…
15) The Bronx. Speaking of the AL East – the Yankees are off to a low start at 6-9. The fans have already turned on Alex Rodriguez (after they loved him last year) and the pitching staff just doesn’t look to be strong enough to have much of a say in how the East plays out this year…hopefully.
16) 700. Alex Rodriguez is only 11 home runs away from 700. Will there be much fanfare for this feat? He will be only the 4th ever to do it… ever. With Albert Pujols 138 home runs back and, regressing at the age of 36, there is really no one actively playing that has a sniff at 700. Bryce Harper comes to mind but after just getting too 100 he has a long, long ways to go. A-Rod deserves some love.
17) He Still Has It. One of the best in the AL East, if not the best starting pitcher, David Price looked good against the Jays on Saturday. I have said it before and I’ll say it again – I miss him but not at those dollars. Later in the week he didn’t look so good but we will not hold that against him.
18) How Short Is The Leash? I’ll say it again, I love John Gibbons. I worry for him. With a new boss, some questionable decisions and Eric Wedge breathing down his neck how long is his leash? This is a must win season and I don’t know what the new regime truly thinks of him.
19) See Ball, Hit Ball. Who would have guessed the Blue Jays main concern would be hitting to start the 2016 season? Could this be a result of the pre-season hype machine building these guys up too much? Or could it just be a bunch of guys off to a slow start and it will come around? Only time will tell.
20) Progress. Devon Travis has been taking batting practice and is making progress. It is a long ways off, including a long rehab stint, but what happens when he is available to play? I’d want Goins to the bench as a “super utility” type player. Get at bats by playing all over the diamond. If Travis hits like he did in his limited MLB at bats it is hard to not do this.
21) Whew! Things were looking bleak after the Jays lost the first 2 games in Boston but with great starts from Aaron Sanchez and J.A. Happ the team pulled out a series split. Things would have been very interesting, going into Baltimore, if the team was swept and 4 games under .500. Baltimore, however, made sure we got back under .500…
22) Another Close One. Colabello had a scary incident when he was struck in the head by a fastball from Steven Wright – this just games after Kevin Pillar was hit on the brim of his helmet. The story ended well with Colabello staying in the game and, in the ultimate sportsmanship move, received a bottle of liquor from Steven Wright! Great gesture but that scary incident just added to what Colabello is now dealing with.
23) The New Guy. Drew Storen faltered last year, once the Nationals acquired Jonathon Papelbon, and it seems to have spilled over to start this season. Can he pull it together? I hope so.
24) A Pleasant Surprise. Let’s look at some positives from the season – Gavin Floyd has been successful in the bullpen, who knew. Sporting a 2.84 ERA he has given the Jays solid middle relief innings.
25) Another Great Start. Jesse Chavez has been off to an even better start. Getting into some high leverage situations and with an ERA at 1.50, he has performed.
26) Oakland Jays. The Athletics have former Jays Liam Hendriks (9.95 ERA), Danny Valencia (currently injured, .294 average), and Kendall Graveman (1-1 and a 2.04 ERA) in town for a series (in which they lost the opener). As shown by their stats they have had varying degrees of success to start their season. I still don’t get losing Valencia on waivers…but I am over it…kind of.
27) Tough Start. Another former Jay, Dioner Navarro who may look good in a Jays uniform again, is off to a very tough start hitting only .069 with no walks in 10 games for the White Sox….maybe he looks best not in a Jays uniform.
28) Looking Ahead. After 2 more games with Oakland in town the Jays play 3 more at home versus Brett Lawrie and the White Sox (11-6) before heading on the road to play against the East again in Tampa Bay. Things aren’t going to get any easier.
29) What Can Be Done? Although it feels like the wheels have fallen off the team is only 2 games under .500. There will be some tweaks with the Colabello suspension and the roster will change around – hopefully some of these moves work out and give the team a boost!
30) Keep Calm. I’ll say it again. It is not time to panic. It is still early. The bats will come. Some tweaks may be needed but nothing crazy. It’ll all be ok.
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