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Pepper reminded us last week of Weaver's First Law:

No one gives a damn in July about a game you lost in March.

Personally, I don't even care all that much in March - however, recent events have reminded us of another of Weaver's Laws. To wit:

The best place for a rookie pitcher is in long relief.

So, what's going on here anyway?

First of all, I'm rising from my bed of sickness and pain to deliver this Game Report to you, Bauxites. Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, blah blah blah... Anyway, it's possible that I may be a little grumpy.

Weaver used to say he spent most of the spring thinking about who was going to be the 25th man on his roster. He would go through game situations in his head, over and over. If I hit for this guy, I can bring in this guy, and then I've still got this guy to hit for that guy...

The Blue Jays appear to spend no more than five minutes worrying about such things. Tops.

And what the hell. If you're carrying 12 pitchers (why, Lord, why?), you can't build a bench anyway. All you can do is make sure you've got every position covered in case someone hurts themselves during a game.

Remember last year? Simon Pond makes the team out of spring training. Seven games into the season - that's seven games - they send him back down, having noticed that they don't really have a role for him. So much for the best-laid plans of spring.

You couldn't have figured that out ahead of time? If Tosca wasn't going to use Pond to bat for Woodward and Cash, he had no role. Tosca wasn't and Pond didn't.

All this stuff has a chance to work, but it seems awfully random and sudden and whimsical. Did they decide they needed Batista in the pen because Koch has looked awful? In that case, why on earth were they depending on Koch? Why would you do such a thing?

Did they decide Chacin has been so impressive they just can't hold him back? We haven't even hit the Ides of March, people. Nothing anybody has done is impressive, or even particularly meaningful.

My own theory is that Gregg Zaun went to management and said "Batista's got three new pitches. You can't let him start. I'll be taking off my socks and shoes to give him signals."

I really dislike the idea of changing the season plan after less than 10 exhibition games. In this case, I admit, there is some rationale. If Batista is going to pitch short relief, you want him to have some time to adjust to that role.

That doesn't mean you hand Chacin a rotation spot. I'd like to see him do a little something more to actually earn it. He has still done very little pitching above Double-A. And need I remind anyone that the number 2 starter has yet to throw a pitch, the number 3 starter has exactly 16 games of ML experience, and the number 4 starter has never started more than 21 games in a season.

Batista should be fine in the bullpen. I think it's a waste of human resources, but it's hard to imagine anybody (except possibly the Yankees) being willing to put Batista in the role that obviously best suits him - swing man. He is the perfect 5th starter because you don't need a 5th starter all the time. He can go back and forth between the rotation and the bullpen and maintain his effectiveness.

It's extremely unlikely you'd get a veteran major leaguer to embrace that role, however.

Ah, I'm sick and I'm grumpy. I'm happy Gabe Gross and John-Ford Griffin hit HRs but I already knew they could hit minor league pitching. I notice Scott Schoeneweis (we all need practise spelling that one) got the win, and I'm wondering what the chances are that Schoeneweis or Justin Miller is actually starting games by mid-May. Batista worked the 9th, and also said that he thought the team was "looking for someone, like the guy who buries people, a gravedigger like the guy in L.A." Which leads to this happy thought - Batista's striding-in-from-the-bullpen-music? Why, the Funeral March, of course!

So let's do something... well, if not quite fun, at least diverting. If every team in the AL East was a cat, what kind of cat would they be?

Well, the Yankees are obviously the Lion, King of Beasts. They're huge and powerful and arrogant. They're also a little lazy, and have some very unpleasant traits. When a male lion takes over a pride, he immediately kills all the Cubs. This instantly brings all the females into heat, which is both gratifying and ensures that only one lion's genes are passed down to posterity. That sounds a liitle like Steinbrenner to me.

The Red Sox can be the Tiger - they're actually generally bigger than lions, and they're a lot easier to look at. I mean, for one of the deadliest killing machines ever to walk the earth, they're kind of attractive.

The Devil Rays are the Cheetah. They're playing with these great awful monsters, and all they can do is run really fast.

The Orioles - I don't know. Maybe they're a Leopard, passed out in a tree, working their small corner of the jungle. One where there is plenty of mayhem, and very little pitching.

And the Blue Jays? Suggestions?

Jays 7 Red Sox 3 | 16 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
BallGuy - Saturday, March 12 2005 @ 08:34 AM EST (#105877) #
I think the Jays are a collection of feral cats...kind of untamed yet sort of domesticated at the same time. You never know what to expect of them as they could be friendly or could just as likely scratch you. Feral cats are a motley collection....and that kind of describes the Jays.
No offence Magpie, but this is a surreal topic. Do you have a fever?
Pistol - Saturday, March 12 2005 @ 08:40 AM EST (#105878) #
I think the Jays are going to start Chacin in an effort to showcase him to other teams.

So say in July, the DBacks and/or Marlins are out of it and looking to dump payroll. What would they want back for say Vazquez or AJ Burnett? A cheap, effective starting pitcher for starters.

Most teams won't be willing to give up a cheap starter and take on salary, but with the payroll increasing and a wave of pitchers coming up a year for the Jays a from now (Banks, Marcum, Rosario, McGowan, Gaudin, Vermilyea) I think the Jays want to see what they have in Chacin now.
Pistol - Saturday, March 12 2005 @ 09:13 AM EST (#105880) #
Obviously there's only a few ABs, but what's developing so far?
 Player  	AB  	 AVG	SLG  	Avg+SLG
  G Gross 	13	0.462	1.615	2.077
  C Koskie 	10	0.300	0.800	1.100
  J McDonald 	11	0.364	0.727	1.091
  G Quiroz 	10	0.400	0.600	1.000
  R Tablado 	8	0.250	0.625	0.875
  K Huckaby 	7	0.429	0.429	0.858
  F Menechino 	13	0.385	0.462	0.847
  A Rios 	16	0.313	0.500	0.813
  M Negron 	15	0.333	0.467	0.800
  E Hinske 	15	0.267	0.467	0.734
  F Catalanott 	11	0.273	0.455	0.728
  R Adams 	14	0.286	0.429	0.715
  J Griffin 	11	0.182	0.455	0.637
  S Hillenbran 	13	0.231	0.385	0.616
  R Johnson 	14	0.286	0.286	0.572
  V Wells 	15	0.200	0.333	0.533
  O Hudson 	8	0.250	0.250	0.500
  J Hattig 	12	0.167	0.167	0.334

Note - walks aren't in the ST stats at

Gross is obviously Bondsian right now, but John McDonald seems to be hitting better than his reputation.

Flex - Saturday, March 12 2005 @ 09:41 AM EST (#105881) #
I was thinking the same thing as Pistol regarding Chacin. Blair in the Globe this morning (I know, this is a habit of mine) talked about confronting Ricciardi with the idea that the reason he made the Batista move now was that he had a deal pending for a pitcher and that Josh Towers wouldn't be on the team coming north.

Ricciardi reportedly smiled and shook his head. That smile tells me Ricciardi was thinking "You're close, Jeffey. You're close..." Makes sense to give Chacin some profile as a starter now if they want to use him as a bargaining chip. This at least makes it seem as though they've got a plan. Otherwise, as Magpie says ... awfully random and capricious.
Named For Hank - Saturday, March 12 2005 @ 11:03 AM EST (#105882) #
Blair in the Globe this morning (I know, this is a habit of mine)

It's a way better habit than "Griffin in the Star this morning".

Jacko - Saturday, March 12 2005 @ 12:22 PM EST (#105884) #
Player AB AVG SLG Avg+SLG G Gross 13 0.462 1.615 2.077

The amateur psychologist in me wonders if Gross is putting up these awesome numbers because he knew he wouldn't be making the team out of spring training.

I also really like his attitude. A few days ago, he told reporters that he didn't much care where he was playing as long as he was hitting well.

Anders - Saturday, March 12 2005 @ 01:12 PM EST (#105888) #
About Chacin - lets not go nuts here. He tore up AA in his fourth year, when he was about the right age for the league.
If he had been doing all this is his second year, well then.

He doesnt rate better than a C prospect. He hasnt even averaged a 2:1 k:bb ratio in the minors, and he doesnt strike out a ton of guys. He doesnt throw hard. He can still be a productive guy, but hes never gonna be mistaken for a cy young candidate.
Mike Green - Saturday, March 12 2005 @ 02:03 PM EST (#105901) #
Chacin learned the cutter during the 2003-04 off-season, started off pitching so-so in 2004, and then was terrific the second half of the season, with his K rate jumping from about 5.5/9IP to 8/9IP.
Magpie - Saturday, March 12 2005 @ 02:10 PM EST (#105903) #
No offence Magpie, but this is a surreal topic. Do you have a fever?

Not any more. I am feeling better, after lots and lots of sleep. My throat does feel as if its being scraped by razor blades...

I also attribute my lousy humour to the fact that, while feeling like a piece of crap, I was still working last night's Raptors game. Which was more than just infuriating - it went to overtime. Just lose, already, so I can lie down.

Mike Green - Saturday, March 12 2005 @ 02:12 PM EST (#105905) #
Magpie's point about the bench is very well taken. Among the questions I'd want to answer this spring training are:

1. when a LOOGY comes in to face Hinske late in a key situation, will Hinske hit, and if not, who pinch-hits?
2. let's say Reed Johnson starts or comes into the game for Cat when a LOOGY comes on, and we need a pinch-runner for Zaun, who's that going to be?
3. what role does Menenchino have, other than as a backup to Hudson?
Pepper Moffatt - Saturday, March 12 2005 @ 02:28 PM EST (#105906) #
My guesses would be:

1. Hinske hits. Hinske almost has to hit, because barring a weird douuble-switch, they lose the DH if Hillenbrand is shifted to 1B.

2. John McDonald, I guess.

3. I hope that Menechino will DH against lefties and Hillenbrand will play first.
Braby21 - Saturday, March 12 2005 @ 08:35 PM EST (#105953) #
Menechino could come in and pinch hit for Hinske. Then Koskie could shift over to 1st and Menechino could play 3rd.

Also Reed could pinch hit and then Cat could play 1st and Reed could go out to Left.

Depends on the situation I guess but regardless if a lefty or a right starts they should always have a bat on the bench. (ie Cat/Myers or Reed/Menechino)
Magpie - Saturday, March 12 2005 @ 08:54 PM EST (#105954) #
When a male lion takes over a pride, he immediately kills all the Cubs.

It just now struck me - that's also what the St Louis Cardinals do.

John Northey - Saturday, March 12 2005 @ 11:14 PM EST (#105962) #
Looking at what Gross has done I can't help but remember last year with Rios when the Jays said no matter what he isn't coming up, Rios got off to a very hot start getting everyone excited, then he cooled off and spent a couple of months in AAA before coming up for good. A bit of deja vu? Although I think Gross is doing far better than Rios was doing last year at this time.

Interesting, just found the spring stats as ESPN and J Sequea hit 429 over 21 AB to have the highest average among Jays with more than 6 AB's. He only hit 269 with little power or walks in AAA after that, thus was left on the farm. Just goes to show how little spring stats mean. They are still fun to see though.
VBF - Saturday, March 12 2005 @ 11:53 PM EST (#105963) #
Actually, I would compare the Gross situation to the Simon Pond one of last year. They both had and are hacing great Spring Trainings. The Jays kept Pond on the roster with no real position. We all know how that went, so I perhaps it is in the best interest of the Jays to wait until a position is freed via trade, or whether it is Gross who is traded himself.

Let's say Gross continues his reign of terror throughout Spring Training. How much will that increase his value?
Pepper Moffatt - Sunday, March 13 2005 @ 12:05 AM EST (#105965) #
Menechino could come in and pinch hit for Hinske. Then Koskie could shift over to 1st and Menechino could play 3rd.

I don't think the Jays will be doing that, as Koskie has never played 1B.

Also Reed could pinch hit and then Cat could play 1st and Reed could go out to Left.

This is more likely, though Cat is one ugly 1B.

Jays 7 Red Sox 3 | 16 comments | Create New Account
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