Tuesday, 8 April 2008

The Roundup

On a personal note, today the Missus and I celebrate two years of marriage, an institution which at times can instill as much fear as Jonathan Papelbon's splitter when you're behind 0-2, be rockier than a start from Josh Towers v.2006, and take you to euphoric Joe Carter World Series winning home run highs. I'm not trying to make any particular point, it's just an observation.

(For some inexplicable reason Dave Stewart's death stare popped to mind...)

On a final non-Jays-related note, I'd like to note my satisfaction that the NHL season is now over as temperatures finally hit double digits. That is all.

The big news today is that Rich Harden is being scratched due to some minor lat soreness. This is a pleasant turn of events for a couple of reasons. The first being that he pummelled the Bosox twice in his first two starts of the season--which is hardly a surprise seeing as he has bona fide ace stuff when healthy--and missing him this series certainly won't hurt our cause. The second is somewhat more esoteric. I like the idea of Harden (who has a $7.5 million club option for next year before hitting free agency) being solid this year, but missing a half dozen starts due to niggling injuries that'd scare off potential trade suitors.

That's right, I'd like to see him pitching here in 2009 or 2010, and it's really got little to do with the fact that he's Canadian. Well, sort of.

Even though good young Canadian talent is often overlooked by the Jays in the draft, I'd like to think that we will take a page from the Book of Schuerholz and start targeting Canadian free agent talent. It's nothing to do with nationalism (but if that puts butts in seats then so much the better) and everything to do with economics.

The Braves have long had a policy of targetting Georgia boys (and those from neighbouring regions in the Braves market) and successfully locking them up on hometown discounts. I'm all for being more like the Braves; are you saying that you're not? Who are the Georgia boys currently on the Braves 40-man?

* Brian McCann (Athens, GA)
* Chipper Jones (DeLand, FLA)
* Jeff Francoeur (Atlanta, GA)
* Tim Hudson (Columbus, GA)
* Mike Hampton (Brooksville, FLA)
* Chuck James (Atlanta, GA)
* Mark Teixeira (born in Severna Park, MD, but played his college ball at Georgia Tech)

That's a pretty sizeable chunk of talented local players for one roster. (Yes, I am aware that Mike Hampton is a giant albatross hanging around the club's neck.)

In conclusion, not targetting talented local kids who grew up cheering for your team and might be willing to parlay that into a hometown discount is just silly. Hence my interest in Rich Harden.

Back to more immediate concerns, it's looking like we'll see the following three pitching matchups:

Tonight: Burnett-Chad Gaudin (ex-Jay given to Billy Beane as an early X-mas gift in 2005)
Weds: McGowan-Greg Smith ( a very hittable AAA lefty replacing the injured Justin Duchscherer) OR Lenny DiNardo (shitty bullpen lefty)
Thurs: Marcum-Dana Eveland

Of the three A's starters, the young Eveland is the only one with a pulse. Expect the Jays to take two of three handily.

One little matter that hasn't been commented on elsewhere to my knowledge was the deliciously correct decision to slot Aaron Hill into the 2 hole in Sunday's game. Has he found his proper home, or was this a one day experiment with Eckstein taking a breather? Move Stew down in the order, Gibby. Come on.

For those of you who can tolerate his Hank Hill accent and constant overuse of "I tell you what", John Gibbons was on the Fan this morning.

Now, several clever fucks predicted that the upstart Rays would finish third in the AL East and ahead of the Jays this year, chuckling to themselves at how tart a thought that is. Let me tell you why that won't happen.

Eric Hinske has already racked up 13 ABs and has started in RF in four of the Rays six games to date. Acceptable bench player he may be, but you don't win with Hinske as a regular; I promise you that. The Rays have also chucked a bunch of ABs at black holes like Shawn Riggans (C), Willy Aybar (3B), and Jason Bartlett (SS; ok, his D more than makes up for his pitcher's bat).

If the Rays finish .500, it'll be a tremendous accomplishment. Let's not get ahead of ourselves, you witty little tossers.

-- Johnny Was


Anonymous said...

not sure if you fellows caught the predictions at Baseball Prospectus--most of their writers have the Jays finishing 4th behind Tampa. Prospect guru Nate Silver picks the Jays to finish 5th behind the O's. Okay.

The Southpaw said...

The reason I find that laughable is that the Rays haven't actually brought up all of their top prospects because they're cheaply/wisely holding them back in AAA to keep their service clocks from starting. Evan Longoria and David Price jumping to mind. They're no doubt an improved team and will win 70+ games this year, but I think anyone expecting them to boost their win total by 20 games from 2007 is really reaching.