Saturday, April 23, 2011

Bits and Pieces

(See what I did there? With the picture? Bits and pieces? Kibbles and bits? A dog's breakfast? Ah, nevermind. I should stop trying to be clever. A Johnny Mac walkoff pic was the no-brainer call here. I'm sorry.)

Folks, as I always strive for in this space, I'm forced to be honest with you. The club leaves me flummoxed and without any sort of epic to produce in post form - all I have are a few scattered thoughts. Think of these as mini-posts, would you? Please and thanks in advance....

John McDonald, ball player and gentleman
Rehashing my own twitter, um, tweet (I guess?)..... I'm not sure which event gave me greater pleasure: Johnny Mac's walkoff blast (sure, let's call it a blast), or his handshake with Sammy Cosentino after the requisite post-game hero interview. Here's a guy who just won the game for the team (and let's not ignore the magnificent defence).... and he basically says "No, Sam, thank you for the time." Unbelievable.

I don't know what it is about Mac & me this season. I seem to be writing about him a lot; more digital ink than a reserve infielder normally garners. Maybe it's me, gettin' all old, longing for a link to the past - no matter how inglorious the years since '93 have been. Maybe it's a new realization and respect for McDonald's skills - contributions that don't show in a gaudy (or even respectable) OPS.

Or maybe it's just that John McDonald gives me no reason to think he's anything but an exemplary human being and defensive wizard, and goddamn if that isn't the kind of player I can get behind.

Brett Cecil has lost his fastball... and his way
Oh boy. Cecil's last start made his demotion to Vegas a foregone conclusion. Not just because of the missing velocity, nor the missing location. The missing composure was the final straw.

And this isn't meant as any sort of "tsk tsk" head shake here, because it's painful to watch a young player go through that so publicly. Despite the protestations that big Cecil can get by (for now) with an 88 mph heater.... when the confidence goes, it goes. I don't think I carry unique worry when I say that the rotation of the 51's isn't the softest of couches from which to regain that confidence, but if you're the Jays, whaddya do? What else do you do?

Hope he finds another tick or two of heat and remembers how to locate his bread & butter slider - away from the unforgiving Sportsnet cameras, I guess.

Pound down, Cec.

Hey Tao, can we talk about Lawrie? Just for a minute?
At the risk of getting run off this blog like Joe West on a heckler, I've been thinking (quietly) about Brett Lawrie and if maaaaybe there's a case to be made that he'd be better off.... in Toronto.

See, here's the thing. He's absolutely raking (admittedly) early on in Vegas. Crushing the ball. Two more home runs the night of this writing with an OPS north of 1.000. Even translated to non-PCL currency, it appears his offensive game is ready. Not finely honed, by any means, but ready for a big-league test.

If the offense isn't the issue, the bad news comes, as expected, with his defensive play. Errors every other game will not play at the major league level, ergo, not ready for prime time. My answer to that? Brian Butterfield.

You see where I'm going with this? Long viewed as the best infield coach in the game, wouldn't taking reps under the watchful eye and guidance of Butter be the best course toward advancing Lawrie's defence? Or would the negative glare of the aforementioned Sportsnet lenses offset the magic of Butterfield?

In any event, as the Curious Case of Jo-Jo Reyes has proven, player controllability weighs heavy in Blue Jay decision making, so it's likely a moot point until the arb deadline passes. But can we promise to at least talk about it again the day it does?


Dave said...

How fun is it that Lawrie is hitting so well that this is actually an argument to have?

But I disagree with you, Ack. I made the point with Adam Lind (and Snider in regards to the OF) last year (in someones comment section, somewhere) that he just needed to put in the work and he could become a reasonable First Baseman. Clearly he's done that which is another great positive to this season so far.

Lawrie just needs to put in the work and AAA is the place to do that. While I would never disagree that Butter has magical powers I'm sure there is advice given during Spring Training that can still be mulled over.

The issue to me, however, is 3B isn't 1B. It's more like SS, 2B, C and CF. In that being somewhat athletic and putting in the hard work doesn't mean you'll become an average defensive player at that position. Which is why I agree with KLaw that the OF is probably the place for him. Hit him a shit ton of fly balls, teach him to take safe routes, ask Snider to show him how to throw and boom, solid Outfielder. Especially because, from all accounts, he has some speed.

And that is how I would handle Brett Lawrie.


Anonymous said...

Why, when you have the Blue Jays management and coaches say: 'We like Lawrie at 3rd'...would you concur with KLaw, instead?

Love him at 3rd. Tao, agree.
Brett and Butter!!

Anonymous said...

I think you've gotta try Lawrie at 3rd. If there's potential to handle the position it's worth a shot. If it doesn't work out, transitioning to the outfield is likely not a problem.

Any why not experiment with Johnny Mac leading off tonight? Even though it's early, his OBP is just under .400. It's not like Patterson is really earning his spot near the top of the order.

Scrappy said...

What an awesome ending to the game. TB pitcher serves up a total straight fastball belt high and not only does Johnny Mac turn on it, but he gets to enjoy the fact that he knew it was gone with the bat flip.

Thank god AJ's in NYC as the last thing that interview needed was shaving cream in the face.

I like Lawrie being eased into the Majors by being platooning, although I have no idea his splits. Dude's still so young, be gentle against the guys with the nasty stuff.

Steve2 said...

I noticed that handshake too - it struck be as an odd thing but you got to love JMac for all he's done and the way he's done it.

Nicholas DeRosa said...

I like Lawrie in AAA, it gives him a chance to work on his defense with out the constant pressure of the majors.

Roberto said...

If Lawrie needs to be in the outfield, there's a problem, because there are a lot of outfielders in the Jays' system. Where does he play - bearing in mind that CF will be filled with Gose or someone else in a couple of years.

Lawrie, at the moment, has no competition at 3B. Take whatever time needs to be taken and turn him into a third baseman. If Ed Sprague can do it, Lawrie can.

Mylegacy said...

I like Lawrie at AAA for now. His defense is an obvious reason and AA's comments today are as well.

AA was delighted about Lawrie's hitting but curious how he would adjust as pitchers decide they want less of any plate Lawrie is standing beside with a bat. Will Lawrie chase pitches - or take the walk they give him?

AA wants to know - I want to know - inquiring minds want to know. Even - dare I say - such a luminary as The Ack wants to know - deep in the secret recesses of his convoluted mind.