Another Off-Day, Another Pirated Mail Bag

In which I highjack Andrew Stoeton, call someone dumb, and play “Hooked on a Feeling” twice

Off days just seem to bring out the pirate in me. So here we go again:

I would love to see the Jays put together a great May and June, setting themselves up for a potential playoff run… If they don’t put themselves in a place where the postseason seems likely, don’t they NEED to either re-sign Donaldson or see what they could obtain in a trade for him by the July trade deadline? I would have to think his value would be higher to the team trying to obtain him if they would have him for two postseason runs. Don’t get me wrong, I would way rather they re-sign him and try to reload this offseason and try to win with him, but they can’t afford to lose him for nothing after next season…

I’ve never really bought into the idea of “losing a player for nothing”: if the Jays and Donaldson do part ways at the end of the 2018 season (and Sweet Lord In Heaven Above I hope they do not) then it won’t be for “nothing” as the Jays will have had four glorious years of Donaldson baseball. If they trade him away sometime this season (and, yeah, they could garner a bucketload of talent) then they are trading away a season and a half of Donaldson’s offence, defence and general all round badassery for prospects that, unless they’re really really good, will never come close to matching what he brings.

Yes, Josh Donaldson is that good.

The choice isn’t between something (they trade him for assets) and nothing (he plays out his contract then goes free agent)—it’s a choice between two different somethings: on the one hand, more young prospects with less Donaldson, and on the other, all the Donaldson available. If it’s me, I take all the Donaldson I can get, every time.

And remember, it’s not up to the Jays whether or not Donaldson signs an extended contract or not: yes, it’s up to them whether or not they offer one, but it’s going to be Josh who decides what he wants to do come 2018, and come on, if you were one of the three best players in the game, wouldn’t you want to go free agent and see what you could get on the open market? Can you imagine the absolutely bonkers-ridiculous contract he could sign with the Dodgers or the Giants or the Rangers or (*gulp*) the Red Sox or the Yankees? Thanks to the way things are done in the MLB he can’t even hear what other teams might be offering until after his contract with the Jays has run out, so what possible incentive could he have to pass up seeing what those offers might be?

Don’t get me wrong, I would love for the Blue Jays to blow him away with an offer so good that he signs on for the rest of his natural life, but it would take a heck of a great deal to get that done so signing him long term is probably really unlikely to happen, which brings us back to the two different somethings…and I’ll ask you: would you call as much Josh Donaldson as you can get nothing?

I sure as heck hope not!

are you happy that hooked on a feeling is no longer played?

Absolutely not. Love that song! In fact, let’s give it a listen…


What do you make of the Travis struggles at the plate, pitchers adjusting, the knee still an issue?

I doubt it’s the knee or any other injury, since if it were I’m sure they would have sat him down already to let it heal; I mean, it’s not like he’s been a really integral part of the lineup lately and while he’s OK on defence I’d rather have Barney’s or Goins’ glove out there. Pitchers may be coming at him differently but I’ve not seen that myself, but then again they’re really good pitchers and so they could be doing all kinds of things I just miss. I will say this: Travis has been around for two years now and everyone uses so much video and scouting I doubt they’re only just learning about him now.

From what I’ve seen, Travis seems to just, well, miss the ball. He is swinging at some off the plate pitches that he shouldn’t be swinging at, and it’s looked at times (especially early on) that he was getting a bit pull happy, but not so much lately and he’s been doing better.

What’s really telling, for me at least (and now I’m really reading the tea leaves) is that Gibby has been sitting him down from time to time. Now, if I’m right that there isn’t an injury (and honestly, there doesn’t seem to be) then the only reason for doing this is to give Travis a bit of a mental break. Gibby’s also been keeping Travis well down in the order and if you listen to his remarks to reporters he never seems to make a big deal about Travis’ night good or bad… Based on this, and predicated on Gibby’s general awesomeness as a people-manager, I suspect that whatever’s going on with Travis is going on somewhere between the ears.

But maybe it’s zee rays from Venus or something.

Will any minor league prospects get calls up to see what they have? Lourdes Gourriel have an ETA?

Like Salty, do you think anyone else might be DFA’d / replaced? Pearce?

Two questions with one theme: will the Jays suddenly be able to pull a great player out of their butts to replace some of the less than inspiring names on the roster?

Um, no? If they could, don’t you think they would have done this already?

I already dealt with all this calling up prospects silliness when I raided Stoeten’s last mail bag so I’ll skip that and go straight to the question of firing Pearce.

Huh? What in the name of little green apples is that supposed to accomplish? Zeke in left field every day? That is a really and truly terrible idea. They let Salty go because they had a better option in Maile: no, he’s not a great option, but he’s better with the glove and behind the plate than Salty and no worse with the bat. Who and where is the better option for Pearce? I mean, sure, yeah, if someone crops up on the waiver wire who is better than Pearce then I say go for it…but that is not going to happen.

Do you think Stroman will pitch well enough this year to be in the conversation for AL Cy Young? (Top 5 finish maybe?)


Unless his “minor tightness in the armpit, nothing to worry about, it’s nothing I’m good to go” thing really is a thing, in which case…

…no, I just don’t want to think about that. So instead, cue the sitar, and:

(Bet you didn’t even know that the Blue Suede version was a cover, did you?)

When everyone comes back from the DL, do you expect the batting order to change significantly? I can’t see why Bautista has been batting third for so long without any results this season to deserve that spot unless Tulowitzki wanted to stay fifth. Even if Tulowitzki had reservations from moving around in the batting order, the hitting has been so bad this season that player objections would be down on the list of things I would consider when filling in the lineup card. This would be my everyday lineup against RHP if things project out the same from now until everyone gets healthy.

1. Pillar
2. Carrera
3. Donaldson
4. Morales
5. Tulowitzki
6. Bautista
7. Smoak
8. Martin
9. Travis

If Travis continues to be a non-factor, Goins at 2B and batting ninth could be a possibility.

I agree whole-heartedly with Pillar as leadoff and Donaldson batting third, but ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Zeke in the two spot? Bautista at the bottom half of the order?I’m trying to find a nice way of saying just how dumb this is, but…nope…can’t come up with anything.

OK, I get it, Joey Bats hasn’t been getting all the homeruns that gets the kiddies going, but his on base is .328 and rising while Zeke’s is .329 and going down. More significantly, Bautista’s OBP is thirty points higher than his batting average while Carrera’s is just twenty, and…José Bautista is good and Ezekiel Carrera is really not.

And where’s Pearce? I know, I know, “He’s terrible, the Jays should fire him,” except he’s not.

Here’s how it should look:

  1. Pillar
  2. Bautista
  3. Donaldson
  4. Morales
  5. Tulowitzki
  6. Smoak
  7. Martin
  8. Pearce
  9. Travis

As someone that has seen many crappy Blue Jays seasons, what advice would you give to new fans of the team that are now experiencing one for the first time?

One: it’s early.

Two: this isn’t hockey.

Three: calm the heck down.

Four: Josh Donaldson is really really good at baseball—even if the season does go in the tank (see point one, above) then you still get to watch him for the rest of the season.

Five: read this article.

Beyond that I can only say this: baseball, for me, is never really about whether or not you win the pennant or the championship or whatever (and maybe I can get away with that having been alive for 1992 and 1993, but oh well…). It’s about watching baseball, which is easily the greatest and most beautiful game ever invented in the history of anything anywhere. So long as my team is playing well (and they are, most nights) and the players I get to watch are doing incredible things (and with guys like Tulo, Donaldson, Sanchez, Stroman, Estrada and, yes, Travis and Bautista and Goins and Barney and Morales and Smoak and…Pillar?? Is he really this good now? You betcha…they absolutely are) then I am a happy man.

Not that I’d mind if they won the pennant of course.

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