Friday, 22 February 2008

Noted in passing. . .

Mixed in with all the "bigger" stories (like how many different synonyms for "scrappy" a professional "journalist" can find to apply to David Eckstien in any given news cycle) as the Jays camp opens in earnest this week were a couple of other bits about young Jays players which caught my eye. Props to Jordan Bastain who is approaching Blair-like levels of respect from me for not writing the lazy story so many others phone in.

Among the things he brings to my attention is that the Jays have now trended back in the direction of keeping Curtis Thigpen behind the plate. Try as I might, I have utterly failed to pin down the exact reasoning behind the Jays' sudden fixation with Robinzon Diaz to the point where Thigpen was looking like a man without a job. I'm no professional but I haven't seen any evidence that Thiggy is not still the logical first choice (among in-house candidates) to Follow Zaun.

In fact, I think that Thigpen could be a player much like, well, Gregg Zaun as a major leaguer - and by that I mean the Zaun who wears a Jays uniform, not that fringe backup who wandered around the majors for a decade before that. On the other hand, I don't see anything about Diaz that I think translates well to the job of starting major league catcher. Whether or not Thigpen pans out is obviously something that remains to be seen - but I don't see why he doesn't deserve a fair chance.

Hell, in point of fact, I'm rooting for Rod Barajas either break a leg, or suck so hard the Jays dump him by June - because I think Thigpen needs to be in the majors learning the staff and watching Zaun work before the day comes when he's expected to step into the starters' role and prove his worth.

Another brief note at the end of that article says that David Purcey is turning heads in Jays camp. I admit to a bias in favor of Purcey, I want to see the big Lefty silence the negativists who insist he and Romero are busts and wasted draft picks. Nothing grates on my nerves so much as the fan who insists on playing Eeyore about his team, moaning to anyone who will listen about how bad things are and how it's only a matter of time till it all goes wrong again as if we were the Cubs.

Fuck that noise. I can handle realism, I enjoy it. Want to talk about the very slim odds Russ Adams ever has even a marginally useful career? I'm right there with you. But at the same time, writing off a talent like Purcey because he took a while to gain some respectable control is unnecessarily gloomy, and proclaiming Romero a bust before he even reaches 23 is moronic. So I'm rooting for Purcey to kick ass this season, and every bit of good news in that regard you can expect to see me comment on.

Disclaimer - As much as I hate the guys who are quick to call a guy a bust, I have to admit that there are guys on the other end of that spectrum who can piss you off too. You know who I mean: the guy who still thinks John-Ford Griffin is a talented guy who got unnecessarily shafted by the Jays? Yeah. I hate that guy too.


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