Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Ricky Ro: Both right and wrong

By now you've read much, no doubt, about Ricky Romero's post-game comments last night and the various reactions and events which have followed. Romero has been, in his time here, the epitome of class and i refuse to assume that he's getting any sort of "attitude" - I doubt anyone thinks that. John Lott (a VERY good writer) characterized Romero's comment as "calling out" his teammates and Romero today pointedly denied that was his intent. According to today's reporting, Romero had a closed-door meeting to be sure his team-mates understood that.

My reaction is that Romero was, at the same time, both right and wrong. It IS true that Bautista and Lind get less to hit when the rest of the team isn't clicking. While the Jays are, as John Farrell notes in an implied refutation of Romero's remark, still 4th in the AL in offense, that obscures the RECENT situation. In June, in 18 games, the team OPS is a mere .678(good for 9th of 14 AL teams) and that would be much worse if Lind's was 1.231 over the same period. Edwin encarnacion, in half as many plate appearances, has been acceptable in June, everyone else (including Bautista) has been almost invisible.

Obviously in some cases it's simply an ill-timed confluance of slumps, but it is nevertheless a correct observation that the time is now three weeks on in an offensive decline. Through the first 1/3 of the season (54 games) the Jays averaged 5 runs a game, since then they've average 3 runs a game.

John Farrell's defense of his team means little in context because what happened weeks ago before Corey Patterson regressed or when Juan Rivera had a hot two weeks isn't the point.

But here's where I think Ricky is wrong in spirit, if not on facts. Most of these guys simply are Not. That. Good.

Ok, Bautista and Lind are two of the best hitters in the league, but he excepted those two.

Escobar is one of the better hitting SS in baseball, so we can overlook his being in a two week slump (he's had two good hitting games in his last 13 coming into tonight) and JPA has been battling an injured thumb which has hampered all aspects of his game and has sent his offensive production into a tail-spin in the last month. I'd like to see him sit tomorrow and in the first game against the Cards, and if that three-day rest didn't help his thumb, put him on the DL and try to have him right by the time the second half starts instead of letting him bury himself offensively. In any case, in light of the injury I'll give him a pass too.

The rest of them? Bluntly speaking, they are bench players who have no business starting. Ok, maybe not Aaron Hill - he's not right but for the last 44 games he's hit just about what the average major league 2B this year is hitting, I'm (perhaps irrationally) reasonably optimistic somewhat better days are ahead. But Romero can't realistically expect production from Davis and Rivera and Patterson and Nix. if you do get some, a couple of good weeks here, a great game there, that's gravy - but you should assume they will fail because, let's face it, they suck.

Davis or Patterson as your fourth OF? Sure. but if they are your regular starters something is wrong. Rivera and Nix are below average even for that bench role. Maybe you can hold out some hope for EE. As a DH his season OPS is .880, but the rest of these guys are what they are and what they are isn't good.

By the time Lawrie and Snider prove themselves healthy and back in the groove, we ought to see something like this:

Call up Snider, DFA Rivera (as if anyone would claim him)
Call up Lawrie, DFA Nix (will likely clear in late July)
Call up Thames and send down McCoy
Trade a reliever (Dotel preferably) in order to activate Janssen so you don't have to run the 8-man pen).
Consider whether Adam Loewen is competent enough in CF to lose Patterson and call up Loewen. Otherwise, you are stuck with Patterson as your only reserve CF.

Getting rid of Davis would be cool, but it's more difficult and AA won't wasily give up on a guy who's on a two year deal.

One thing I'd like to see is a strong attempt to acquire Matt Kemp - but that's probabyl unrealistic.

Anyway, Romero's remark is mostly overblown, but I think he, and we, need to resign ourselves to not getting offense from most of these guys. And as I've written this, another loss goes in the book in which everyone not named Adam Lind (excluding pitchers) went 3/26 so, yeah...


peter said...

I agree generally. It's time for a shake-up. I didn't disagree with the Snider demotion, but I think he's getting close to ready to be called back up.

On Thames I'd like to see lower strikeouts but I don't have a real problem with giving him an extended chance in Left field.

I'd actually send down Davis (I think his speed is valuable and he has hit in the past so continue to try to get him to shorten his swing, but in Triple A).

Try and trade Patterson as soon as you get offered something reasonable for him, but until then unfortunately he will probably be in Centerfield. I don't mind trying Loewen in Centerfield.

I'm not super high on either Loewen or Thames given their strikeout rates but I'd rather lose with marginal players who have the possibility proving us wrong than Rivera, Patterson, Dotel, Rauch, etc where we know what we have...

I do agree that EE is young enough and has had enough defensive struggles that he is worth giving a chance as a DH. He has been playing better of late and has better long term potential than Rivera.

I however also want to see some more of Cooper. Apparently 30 AB's is enough for Farrel and company to decide that a guy hitting .400 in triple A, showing patience and striking out very little, is not a major leaguer. There have been a lot of young players that have developed power over there career but even if he doesn't given the shot I think he projects to be a reasonable major leaguer. If he develops power with some other team the organization is going to look really bad not giving him a chance while raking in the minor leagues on a year we are not going anywhere.
I am also frustrate that Rzep hasn't got a chance to start, though I think it's getting near time to call Cecil back up. I'm not sure why Stewart was given the chance after struggling so far in double A, and I don't like the policy of not sending them to triple A, but I do think this is a year when we should be looking at what we have mixing things up, and not wasting our time with aging veterans.

The Southpaw said...

I don't think they have necessarily ruled out Cooper - it's just a roster crowding issue.

I think they already had a good idea what he is - and that's fairly low ceiling - but I doubt seriously they let those 30 AB change their view very much.