Sunday, 21 October 2012

Here's to you, Future Manager

Good Riddance John Farrell (2011-2012)
The news officially dropped late last night. John Farrell has returned to become the manager of the Boston Red Sox. If current rumours are to be believed, Adam Lind (and his 5 Million dollar price tag) will be going along. Mike Aviles, a middle infielder with good potential, a sorry OBP and a low strike out ratio, will be heading to Toronto.

I can't say I'm surprised. There was too much smoke not to be a fire. And the news that Farrell tried to have Omar Vizquel (the fan favorite) released in July was the final drop in the smear bucket. John Farrell was heading out of town, the only question was, what could Alex get for him?

I'll wait for the official compensation news to reach me, until I pass judgement on that. I can only say, I'm happy he's gone. The rumours and statements coming out of the clubhouse by Vizquel, Janssen, Frasor, Snider, Cecil ect., were too plentiful to ignore. Something was wrong in there, and its had a lot to do with Farrell. Can new blood unite this team and get some wins?

And of course, now the speculation starts. Who will be the next manager for the Jays? Alomar Jr, Butterfield, Acta, Hale, Martinez, Wakamatsu have all been thrown around by press and fan alike.

Well Future Manager, I pondered it while listening to Simon and Garfunkle's 'Mrs. Robinson' and this is what I have to say to you:

And here’s to you future manager,
The fans will you love you more than you know (wo, wo, wo)
Baseball bless you please, future manager
The Jays hold a place for those who came to play
(hey, hey, hey… hey, hey, hey)

We’d like to know a little but about you for our files
We’d like to help you learn to help yourself
Look around you, all you see are sympathetic eyes
Stroll around the grounds until you feel at home

And here’s to you future manager,
The fans will you love you more than you know (wo, wo, wo)
Baseball bless you please, future manager
The Jays hold a place for those who came to play
(hey, hey, hey… hey, hey, hey)

Hide your biases in a place where no one ever goes
Leave it in your locker when you become a Jay
It’s a little secret, learned from the Farrell Way
Most of all, you’ve got to hide it from the kids

Coo, coo, ca-choo Future Manager,
The fans will love you more than you know (wo, wo, wo)
Baseball bless you please, Future Manager
The Jays hold a play for those who came to play
(hey, hey, hey … hey, hey, hey)

Sitting on the bench 165 games
Going to the pitcher’s mound
Laugh about it, shout about it
When you’ve got to choose
Every way you look at it, you can’t lose

Where have you gone, post season baseball?
The Jays  turns their lonely eyes to you (woo, woo, woo)
What’s that you say, Future Manager?
The Jays are up and ready to play

(hey, hey, hey … hey, hey, hey)

Friday, 14 September 2012

Alex Anthopolus the Coupon Mom

Let's talk Alex Anthopolus. A lot of Jays fans worship the ground he walks on. He's a ninja, he can pull of deals like Houdini. Deals nobody even imagined could ever happen, because the story with AA is "if you've heard the rumour than it isn't true." And that has proven... true. Escobar did not get traded to Oakland, the Jays didn't get Yu Darvish, and Matt Garza and Justin Upton? Just dreams.

But i've been watching AA for a couple of years now, and this is what I have to say for him. AA is a coupon Mom. Perhaps you've seen the show while flicking by TLC- Extreme Couponing? Couponing has become a bit of a thing in the last few years. Crazed Moms spending hours clipping, and printing and then they get to the grocery store and fill six carts full of crap and then hold their breath at the checkout that they will only pay six dollars. At home, they proudly bring the cameras into their garage/basement/spare room to show off their "stock pile" - rows and rows of canned and bottled products that won't go bad for years and they got them "practically for free!"

Raise your hand if you're starting to get where i'm going with this.

Yesterday morning, I woke up to find a few articles that were heavy in the quotes by the man himself. Most notably on Carlos Villeneuva and his outstanding performance this season. Yet somehow, the quotes were less than praiseworthy. In fact they were the exact opposite.

“There’s no question when he takes the ball he has done a great job. Obviously, part of the criteria, and that’s not to take anything away from him, but that’s the unknown with Carlos. He has never had 200 innings, he’s never had 32 or 34 starts. I think we’d all say we love what we see with what he has done for us. He’s a great teammate and all of those things but we’ve only had bits and pieces of him starting. Last year, when he had an extended look, very good for eight and then the other four there were some durability issues there. But I think the conditioning, I think he learned from that, he prepared himself better in the spring and so far he has done a very good job, he’s maintaining his stuff.”
“I guess I don’t want to use a term that’s derogatory to the player. I don’t want to doubt him. But I also have to be objective and realistic too. It’s more how do you value a player. And again, Brandon Morrow for example, we extended him last year, the year before he had 149 innings I think and we got him up to 180. We felt like, okay, he has shown us that he can get to that level. 180 is not 200 but he can get to that level and we felt comfortable at that point."

What am I hearing here? Given the interviews Carlos gave yesterday, exactly what Carlos heard. AA is not willing to shell out the bucks to keep him because he can't guarantee that he will be able to make 32 to 34 strong starts. Because it would certainly be the end of the world if AA paid him big bucks and instead of being a starter he ended up being "just" an above average long reliever in the bull pen.

Let's investigate the going rate for pitchers in the Blue Jays organization shall we?

-Ricky Romero will make 5.25 million dollars in 2012 and 7.75 million in 2013. Ricky Romero just lost his 13 straight start and has an ERA over six. And yes, he has had 32 to 34 starts, but he has also proven that there is no such thing as a sure thing in starting pitching.

-Brandon Morrow  will make 4 million in 2012 and 8 million in 2013. Morrow has proven one of the most consistent starters this season. Except that he's only pitched 99 innings, because he hurt himself and spent a few months on the disabled list.

-Dustin McGowan made $600,000 in 2012 and will make 1.5 million in 2013. Dustin has pitched 21 innings since 2009.

-Casey Janssen was signed to a 2 year 5.9 million contract for 2012-2013 as a reliever, long before we ever knew he would become a fantastic closer. He will make 2 million in 2012 and 3.9 Million in 2013.

In 2012, Villanueva made 2.27 million. He has pitched 111 innings, with 2 starts left in the season. He will end up pitching approx. 120 innings with an ERA under 4. In most clubs that makes him a standard number three starting pitcher. As a free agent for 2013, I would expect him to earn between 4-6 million in 2013.

Let's get back to the metaphor. AA is a couponer. He loves a good deal. And in his eyes, keeping Villaneuva is a not a good deal. AA is the type that hit every grocery store in town, and will buy 30 packs of no-name Mac and Cheese because it comes with a free bottle of ketchup. If you take a look at the minor and major league rosters of 2010, 2011, 2012 it is full of "good deals." Yunel Escobar was heavily discounted, and AA threw him in the cart. Colby Rasmus was also on sale, but the sale came with an asterisk which mandated also purchasing several soon-expiring options, none of which are still with the team. But its also full of fillers and a stock piles. Jesse Chavez, Scott Richmond, Royato Igarashi, Ben Franscisco are all cheap crap that ended up getting thrown away this season. AA is one of those coupon Moms who goes out to the garage just to look at his bookshelf full of salad dressing and canned ravioli. He marvels at his brilliance in snapping these things up practically for free, and the possibility of numerous salads and microwavable dinners in the future. But the long story is, one can only eat so much ranch dressing and canned ravioli. Some of those items will end up in the trash or giving AA botulism. His obsessive money saving, ninja deals may seem valiant from a distance, but up close, it may be what stops this team from ever making it to the post season.

How many times have we heard it? You have to spend money. You have to spend money. And AA refuses to do it. Next year, when Villanueva pitches 150 innings somewhere else, I hope he pauses to think. But he probably won't. He'll be maniacally driving to every grocery store in town with a mitt full of coupons.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Baseball Peccadillos: The Yunel Escobar Edition

This is pretty typical Escobar
I always like reading the google searches that lead people to this blog. Most of them are about Yunel Escobar. People seem to have an insatiable need to know what his tattoo his all about. What does it say, and what does it mean. Most recently, someone arrived at this blog after asking,"Why does Escobar rub dirt on his pants?"

Escobar mid hand-clap while Laffey winds it up

 The answer: I have no idea why he does it. But this I do suspect: Yunel Escobar is a superstitious ball player with a routine. I have tried to learn all of Escobar's piccadillos because i'm weird like that. And I will now share them with you all.

Escobar loves him a good pre-game long toss.  Every pre-game you can find Yunel out along the third baseline with a wide assortment of partners (Davis is the most common, but also Lawrie, Johnson, McCoy and Hechavarria). By the end, they are usually about 275-300 feet apart. Escobar gets all his flash out during this toss, and you can commonly find him doing behind the back catches, under the leg catches and spins.

Escobar plays some pre-game long toss with Hechavarria

Escobar's handshakes have been well-documented by the media, and Yunel spoke about them in one of his bobblehead day videos, so I won't talk about those here. 
Yunel Escobar - Toronto Blue Jays v Kansas City Royals
Photo: Kyle Rivas/Getty Images
Before the game begins, Yunel jogs out to third base writes something in the dirt, rubs it out and then rubs the dirt on his right thigh. Last year, he did this at second. This year third. Although, he does occasionally add some additional dirt from second base.


Just as ever present to his dirt smear are his batting gloves/pocket.

When he's on the field, his gloves are hanging out of his back, right handed pocket. When he has the gloves on, the pocket is inside out.

When the game is not in play (no one at bat), Escobar will not step on the foul lines. He usually hops over them, he sometimes spins over them.

Back in Atlanta, Escobar was well-known for his on-deck jump

Photo: the Chattanoogan
I've only seen him do that jump on-deck three or four times since he has come to Toronto. However, I do occasionally see him do it at short stop before the game starts. Whenever I see him do that, I always think "maybe Escobar is going to have an awesome game today."

Yunel marks the dirt with his bat before going up to bat
Yunel spins his bat, count 'em, one, two, three
  Up at bat, the peccadillos keep on rolling. When Escobar batted lead-off he always gave the foul line in the batters circle a real good kick, but batting lower, he usually dosen't mess the chalk quite so much. He also marks the dirt with the handle of his bat. A 2007 article by the Chattanoogan ( claims that he isn't writing anything in particular, but that the first ever game that he did it got four or five hits and hasn't stopped since.

Once in the box, Yunel will spin his bat, one, two, three times. And he is a mighty fine bat spinner.

Yunel Escobar - Detroit Tigers v Toronto Blue Jays
Photo: Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
Yunel's home plate actions are just as quirky. If Escobar gets home, you can expect this scene.

Yunel Escobar is, without a doubt, superstitious, with a dash of quirky. While I have no idea what any of these actions mean,  I love to watch him play, peccadillos and all.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

A Villanelle for Villanueva

My birthday is coming up, and it got thrown out that I could select a "Shersey" (code word for the t-shirts with players names on the back) from the Jays Shop as a gift. I try whenever possible to not shop at the Jays shop, and instead shop at infinitely cheaper locales. Such as ebay, or the oddly named "Redbeard" sports supply store in my hometown. From time to time, I have won a jersey, like the brand new Jose Bautista batting practice they tried to tell me he wore (as someone radios the Jays Force girl and says "you took off the tags right? It's got to look real!" No worries Jay force. While i'm sure Jose Bautista smells wonderful, he probably dosen't smell like new t-shirt). But alas, I have gotten completely off topic. So yes, actually shopping at the Jays shop. Fun times. My Mom has an Escobar shersy, and since none of my friends have been convinced to love baseball as much as I do, I attend most games with her and didn't want to match.

So I decided not to buy anything at the Jays shop. Instead I bought a Villanueva shersey on instead. It had the added benefit of being cheaper (hello promo codes!) and being able to select anyone I wanted. I decided to buy a Villaneuva shersey for multiple reasons. I've liked him and his versatility since he was signed for Toronto. Long reliever, starter, bilingual leadership man. (not to mention witty and nice guy. Seriously have you heard him speak? Dry humour, that guy). He stepped up to the rubber last year for some excellent starts, before being sidelined with an elbow injury and he was fantastic in long relief earlier in the season (not counting that horrible game with the grand slam, but we all have our down days). And now he's got 9 starts under his belt, with a 3.31 era, six wins, three loses, 90 Ks in 87 innings pitched. He has continuously stepped up for this team in a big way and he does it well.

Accordingly I have prepared a (horrible) limerick for Carlos Villanueva.

It's hard to be morose
while watching Carlos.
The team may not be batting
But Villaneva is combating
Evidenced by the era he posts

For the record, I don't even fancy myself a poet and hadn't written a poem since grade school until I started this blog (evidenced by the fact that I just wrote a limerick).

 Back to Villaneuva. I'm loving the season he is putting up. In an injury prone season, I would not be out to lunch in saying that Villaneuva is currently the team's best starting pitcher. Yes, really. With Morrow injured, Romero and his ballooning ERA and penchant for walking and hitting batters, Laffey and his long balls and Alvarez's plagued inconsistencies, Villaneuva has been a bright spot. He's fairly consistent, he battles, he strikes batters out, and is a class act on and off the mound. If the Blue Jays were at game seven of the world series tomorrow. He is the one i'd want on the mound.

A few days ago, a slew of articles hit the web and Villaneuva wants a contract and he wants to stay in Toronto. Sign him up Alex. Regardless of his role, I hope to see him in Toronto for a few more years. In the meantime, I'll continue to cheer him on, shersey and all, as the Blue Jays finish up what will likely be a losing season.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Farm Report part I- the Lansing Lugnuts

Since I was a little kid, my family has made an annual trip to Frankenmuth, Michigan. Also known as "Little Bavaria" it is famous for the world's largest Christmas Store and World famous chicken dinners. My Grandparents love it, my Mom loves it, and i'll admit i'm kind of partial to it myself. This year, I plotted to catch a few of the Blue Jays farm teams along the way. I saw the Lansing Lugnuts (Class A for the Blue Jays) take on the East Michigan White Caps (Class A for the Detroit Tigers) at Cooley Law School Stadium in Lansing, Michigan. I also two games at Jerry Ute Park in Erie, PA where the Erie SeaWolves (Double A for the Detroit Tigers) took on the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Double A for the Blue Jays).

I'll start off with the Lansing Lugnuts. Anyone who has been keeping up the prospects may have heard about the oft-spoken about "Lansing 3" -Nicolino, Sanchez and Syndergaard. Three amazing starting pitchers who are tearing up Class A. They have scouts and other teams drooling. I imagine there are a fair amount of Jays fans out there dreaming too. I planned my trip carefully to make sure I would see one of the 3. I decided to see Sanchez and bought my tickets. Two days later, Sanchez was put on the DL and I saw Blake McFarland instead. He brought about no drooling. He went 4.0 innings, gave up eight hits, four runs with five ks. He allowed a homerun on the second pitch of the game, as well as three doubles.

At the A-level there are a lot of guys who will never make it to the major leagues. Even the Lansing 3 may never make it to the show. And its obvious in the guys walking around. A lot of the guys are really short, or really stocky. Its amazing how different these guys look when you're used to looking at big league bodies.

I kept score for the game and made some notes next to some of the players names to remind me what I like about them. I wrote:
 Michael Crouse (CF) (Nice HR),

Michael Crouse warms up

Gustavo Pierre (3B) (Easy speed, good arm at third, loves the game). Of all the Lugnuts, Pierre was my favorite. He was quick at third, threw lightning bolts to first. He bolted around the bases and has the body of a big leaguer. He cheered on his teamates at the dugout fence, and from my seat on the other side of the field I could hear him clapping. If you've read this blog you know that I really like players who just love the game and Pierre loves the game.
Gustavo Pierre at third.

Andy Fermin (2B) (Good baserunner)

Fermin at bat

Chris Hawkins (RF) (Excellent eye, good hitter).

Michael Crouse went 1-4 with a HR and BB. Hawkins went 2-4 with two singles, one sac bunt and a walk. Pierre went 2-5 with a single and a double, as well as a controversial caught looking strikeout which caused manager John Tamargo to be ejected after a riotous argument with the home plate umpire.
Tamargo gets riotous. Fermin looks on.

Fermin went 2-3 with a double, a triple and two walks (he ripped around those bases, he was a really natural and fast baserunner). I also saw closer Ajay Meyer who broke the Franchise record for saves with 30. At 6'6 and 185lbs, Meyer was a verifiable bean pole on the mound.

Ajay Meyer. Closer and beanpole.

The Lugnuts came from behind, to win the game on a catcher error, which allowed the winning run to score. I really enjoyed the game, even if I didn't get to see the famous three, and it rained most of the game. Minor league games are fun. I enjoyed the plays for both teams equally and it was great seeing players in their early days, trudging away the the grind of minor league baseball.
KC Hobson mirrors the umpire

 For anyone who wants a little road trip, or who is heading through Michigan, you should stop and see a game! It's a beautiful ballpark with a circling concourse and outfield grass seating. The whole neighbourhood has really been built up around the stadium. Also, the lugnuts have their own song. It's pretty special.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

The Trade Deadline via a Twilight Metaphor

The trade dealine has come and gone and the Blue Jays saw a few trades. Perhaps the most poignant was Travis Snider being pulled from a sinking game in Seattle in the seventh inning. Yan Gomes went into left field, so we all knew this wasn't a routine play. And sure enough, not two minutes later he was in the dugout shaking hands and hugging. But then the question remained, where was he going? And who were the Jays getting? I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that  was praying to the baseball gods for Garza or Upton, but I should have known better. This is AA afterall. If you've heard the rumour than it's not true. And nobody heard a rumour about Travis Snider and Brad Lincoln.

Not an hour later, Eric Thames was dealt to the Seattle Mariners for Steve Delabar.

And in one night, both of the players that most fans imagined as the left fielder of the future were gone.

In Spring Training, everybody picked sides. It was like Twilight. Team Snider or Team Thames. Team Thames was the equivalent of being on Team Jacob. Most of the die hard community was on the side of Team Snider, and confessing your love for Team Thames often resulted in being ostracized. Because Bella (the Blue Jays) never really loved Jacob (Thames), he was just a good friend when she needed him. Edward (Snider) was her true love.

So therefore, in a lot of fans minds trading away Snider was like staking Edward in the heart before he could live happily ever after with Bella. They were not happy. Despondent really. My twitter exploded.

Now, now. Don't pretend you don't understand my metaphor. We've all read it.

But i've been swimming against the tide on this one since day one. And I will say, I think this is the best thing that could ever happen to Snider and I wish him all the best in Pittsburgh. If Snider does break out and become the hitter and fielder we all hoped he would become, i'm sure there will be Blue Jays fans cursing the ground AA walks on. But here is my belief. Travis Snider was never going to reach his potential in Toronto. He needed a change of scenery. He needed a new gm,  new coaches, managers and even fans. He has a blank slate in Pittsburgh. He is no longer JP Riccardi's pick. Nobody in Pittsburgh remembers his flashes of brilliance and failure in 2010, 2011, 2012. And hell, the kid has the chance to play in October. Even the mouth breathers threatening AA's life should be happy for him. Who wouldn't want a chance to play with Andrew McCutchen?

So going back to my metaphor. Bella is now all alone in left field without Edward or Jacob to love her, comfort her and spew her bullshit. A new round of suitors have arrived.

Moises Sierra
Anthony Gose
Rajai Davis

I don't think anyone in April would believe the outfielder crew the Blue Jays are currently rocking. I think Moises Sierra has a lot of potential. He was a consistent hitter in AAA (since numbers mean nothing down there, consistency is certainly a good thing), he's a good runner and according to AA he is Nelson Cruz incarnate and has one hell of an arm. I'm not quite buying into the whole Nelson Cruz thing quite yet (although that would be amazing- remember last October??) I'm willing to give this kid a chance, and i'm excited from his one game sample size (running through the stop sign and all). I love the speed of Anthony Gose, but he's 21 and I don't think he's here to stay. His batting thus far has left a lot to be desired. Legging out infield hits is great, but sometimes that ball needs to get into the outfield.

As for Brad Lincoln and Steve Delabar. I'm holding out hope. They are exactly what AA wanted. Controllable power arms. The bullpen has been in shambles since day one, and frankly they are dropping like flies out there. I'm ready for some consistency and I really hope Lincoln, Delabar and Lyon can bring a little bit of that in the later innings.

While we all wait to see whether Villeneuva can pull yet another winning rabbit out of his hat and avoid the sweep in Seattle, i'll leave you with a few pictures. Because I take a lot.

Confession: not too long ago I was driving down front street with my Mom when I saw Escobar walking. I recognized him and promptly gawked. My Mom questioned how I recognized Escobar from the back. I present Exhibit A.

Lind, pre-back woes runs out of the box.

A new pitcher is warming up for Kansas City. Murphy, Brett and Jose collectively say, "Oh shit."

Arencebia takes a power swing.

From my running out of the box series. Rajai is too quick.

That time Ricky wore the high socks in an attempt to get his groove back. Still missing: Ricky's groove.

From my Jays from the back series. Classic Brett Lawrie.

Monday, 30 July 2012

The Second Half

There are so many thoughts about baseball running through my head that I somehow never get around to writing them.

Here is the breakdown of things going through my head the past month or so:
  • Tommy John. 'Nuf said.
  • Casey Jansen. Casey fucking Jansen. If something happens to him. I might die.
  • Trade with the Astros. I was happy to pack up Coco Cordero and Benny Fresh. Bon Voyage boys. Anything we get out of this is gravy.
  • Edwin still rocks. He is blowing my optimistic thoughts about him out of the water.
  • Joey Bats hurt his wrist swinging a bat. Something is just not fair about that.
  • Its the end of July and the Blue Jays are within 1.5 game of second place. Holy shit. With the injuries and the crashing and burning (Ricky cough Romero) they are holding their own. It has been a tough season to a Blue Jays fan, but if you hang in there is something crazy exciting about this team.
There are many more things, but I thought I would just post some pictures, because everyone loves pictures of Blue Jays.

I call this, how many Blue Jays can you fit into one picture
This is a part of my Blue Jays from the back series.
I have a soft spot in my heart for Mike McCoy. He's short, he's a utility player and he loves baseball. Everytime he comes up he plays his ass off and I appreciate that about him.
Rest in Peace Luis Perez's Tommy John ligament.

Words cannot explain how much I enjoy Escobar's baseball picadillos. Here he is making his mark before getting up to bat.

Ode to Carlos Villaneuva (and Aaron Laffey). Picking up the slack for the starters.
Escobar steps into Pujols's office
Rajai escapes the box. From my Jays running out of the batters box series.
I have a fish eye setting on my camera. One night I had a little too much fun. Look! JP Arencebia is nine feet tall!!
And JP is four feet tall. The catcher is a freaking giant.

Friday, 8 June 2012

On the Underdog

I'm warming up to this Colby Rasmus fellow.

Anyone who has ever been to a game, knows the pain of sitting in earshot of a group of people who won't stop talking. Most of it is cringe worthy. I've learned a lot about what other fans think of Colby Rasmus from twitter and these overheard conversations. The result is not good. While JP Arancebia and Brett Lawrie invoke "oooh that's my husband" comments, Rasmus receives far less fan fare. "Oh my god that guys a freak. And he's so dumb! I hear that he's like from the South, and he's like such a hick. And you, know the other team, like gave him away cause he's like anti-social and crappy at baseball."

Yes, it's true. Colby is from Alabama. Watching his most recent 1-on-1 video with sportsnet emphasizes this. He lived in a single-wide trailer when he was an itty-bitty and he just wants to love on his little one. It certainly seems foreign. But he's being upfront, he's being honest and he seems content with the Blue Jays, and I think we're all starting to see the results in the months of May and June. Colby came to the team with oodles of possibilities, a fantastic defense, but batting numbers that were worrying. This boy is one the way up. He's walking to the plate with confidence, hitting the ball hard, diving in the outfield and sometimes, smiling in the dugout. 

Toronto is the place where the looked down upon come to shine. Just ask Jose Bautista, Yunel Escobar and now, Colby Rasmus. They were picked up for a song because other managers and teams couldn't wait to get rid of them. Followed by rumours and whispers, they fell in line in Toronto. Last year, Escobar gave an interview and they asked him what was different for him playing in Toronto compared to playing in Atlanta and he replied with, "I'm happy now."

And that seemed to be the tone of Colby's interview as well. A dugout that dosen't kick the young ones when they are down. They are team, and that's something I can get behind.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Under the Bus

I think we can all admit that it has not been an easy week to be a Blue Jays fan. Mike Wilner called it the "Road Trip from Hell." While I tend to take issue with most things Wilner says, I think we can all agree with him here. It wasn't pretty. Two losses in extras prove that the Blue Jays did their best, but it just wasn't good enough. The starting pitchers have taken a beating. Walks are increasing exponentially and Brendan Morrow, coming over his best start, promptly had his worst and was taken out after just 2/3 of inning of work. The bullpen was stretched beyond belief, to the point that the Jays had to send down Yan Gomes and heralded Japanese whiz-man (because at 33 he is hardly a whiz-kid) Ryota Igarashi, who did not exactly live up to his hype, in order to bring up more arms for the tired and overstretched bullpen. While Jesse Chavez's strike outs seemed like a breath of fresh air, i'm not so certain that big league hitters won't pick up his hard throwing fast ball approach, real quick.

The Blue Jays have also been hit with a series of injuries. Encarnacion is having back trouble after being forced into the first base role after the demotion of Lind, Johnson is out with a hamstring and most recently, Escobar was removed from Sunday's game with a groin injury. He is listed as day to day. This is the issue I want to discuss. I read about Escobar's injury on the official Blue Jays website this morning and scrolled down to read the comments and what did I discover? Several fans who seem more than willing to throw Escobar under the bus in order to get Hechavarria to the big leagues:

"Remember what happened with Cal Ripken ..... He never relinquished the position after being called up as an injury replacement. Could happen again. Go Hecht!"

Adeiny Hecharvarria has long been pegged as one of the Jays most salivating prospects. A true defensive Whiz-Kid. Everyone worried about his batting, but then he moved to Triple A, and so far in 2012, he's batting .314. Everyone seems to conveniently forget about the Pacific Coast leagues inflated batting averages (if you need evidence, let's take a look at David Cooper, who while certainly has potential is very unlikely to bat .350 in the big leagues).

Time and time again, Jays fan have been left unsatisfied with big prospects. Prospects are just that. Prospects. They need time, they will likely struggle. Everyone can admit that Eric Thames, Brett Lawrie and Drabek are not exactly having the seasons we hoped they would. So why do Jays fans seem particularly eager to throw a proven baseball short stop with a .975 fielding percentage and a .287 batting average with a great contract away in order to bring up an unproven minor leaguer who is, let's face it, fairly similar? Yunel Escobar has been plagued by fans and the media with tales of his bad attitude and ego. His over enthusiastic style seems to grate people. He loves to argue with umps if a call dosen't go his way. Has the opinion of those in Atlanta followed him to Toronto?

Is there something wrong with a player who loves to play the game? Who claps his hands when he gets a hit, who argues when he thinks he's right? Who will put his field percentage on the line in order to make a difficult out (even if he dosen't make it)? I'll admit, Yunel Escobar is my favorite Jay. And judging by the jerseys, I see at games, i'm not alone. For me Escobar is a throw back to the superstitious players of old. Every game he jogs out to third and rubs dirt on the same spot on his pants, he dosen't step on the foul lines, his routine is identical every time up at bat. He loves his secret hand shakes and when he gets a hit, he smiles. Nobody knows too much about him, i've only ever heard  Escobar say two sentences in English, and accordingly, he certainly dosen't get too much face time with the Toronto press. We are left with his play on the field, and frankly, that should be enough.

The Jays need to give Hechavarria a chance. But not at the expense of Escobar. And certainly, a day to day groin injury should not have fans calling for him to lose his spot on the team. His play and his attitude have done nothing to deserve that. And Jays fans should keep that in mind.