For your reading pleasure, here is another collaborative piece from Ryan of Jays Droppings and Adam of South of the 6ix, answering the questions given to Mike Wilner on Jays Talk. This week, we cover the questions after both games from Tuesday and Wednesday, offering our perspective – whatever that may be worth to you.
As always, you can follow Ryan on Twitter @angry_jays and Adam @ACorsair21 & @SouthOfThe6ix. Our websites – even though you’re already on them – are jaysdroppings.com & southofthe6ix.com.
With that, let’s get to it!
Matt - St. Thomas, Ontario
Q: Wants to comment on the bullpen, specifically complimenting Tepera and Barnes. Do you think they can carry this momentum throughout the season?
Ryan: Really great ‘hmm’ to the future question you have here Matt. Now Tepera and Barnes have been beautiful surprises so far this year, and if the Blue Jays are going to begin to leap over teams, these two will be key arms coming out of the pen who will need to continue to pitch this effectively. I think it’s important to toss in Joe Smith’s name in there too. The trio of Tepera, Barnes, and Smith need to keep on pitching on when Gibby gives them the finger point that’s for sure, and when Biagini falls back there with them … wait for it … wait for it … the bullpen might just be: Awesome, eh!
Rocky - Markham, Ontario
Q: Wants to discuss Anthony Alford. Acknowledges that he has hit for average and has tremendous speed, as he likens him to former Jay Shannon Stewart. Also, he sounds wasted. But he wants to know if this is a fair comparison. He also wants to know if his call up could be permanent or if he needs more time. Again, he sounds very wasted.
Adam: Seeing as though Alford is out for the foreseeable future, I’ll stick to the comparison to Shannon Stewart. Right now, I think it’s a bit too early to compare him to anyone simply because we haven’t seen what he is as a player just yet. Remember, he’s still in the development stages and we shouldn’t evaluate him based on what little we have seen during this brief appearance.
Granted, this isn’t to say that Alford can’t be – or isn’t – a special talent. He’s certainly a great athlete and his ceiling is crazy high. However, we shouldn’t underestimate the severity of this injury, as it will affect his power, which is something he’ll have to regain during his recovery. Had this not occurred, it wouldn’t have surprised me to see him contribute next season. For now, that may have to wait, but the future is certainly bright.
Dan - Geneva, Switzerland
Q: Wants to acknowledge Bautista's turnaround and how it's positively affecting the team. Noticed that his turnaround was very quick and recalls that it happened when Edwin returned. Is there a correlation? Also, is taking playing time away from bench players to get the veterans in a groove beneficial?
Ryan: Yes, Dan, Bautista swinging the bat well and playing better defense is going to be a damn good thing for the team. And, yes, I think you might be onto something about how when Edwin returned to Toronto, Bautista started to find his groove. Some soft whispers in the old MLB land say that Edwin had said some kind of Jedi ‘hit the ball, catch the ball, throw the ball’ words to Bautista, which lit the baseball fire in him … Fuck no, it has nothing to do with Edwin’s return, Bautista is good and it was only a matter of time before his bat speed picked up and he started to be the Joey Bats we all know him to be. He’s awesome.
As for your second question, I’m not sure how to answer this … Is this a trick question? Okay taking playing time away from ‘bench players’ to get ‘veterans’ in a groove … hmm … what do you mean by ‘veterans’? Do you mean the Blue Jays ‘star players’ like the ACTUAL ‘starting lineup’? And how do you take time away from ‘bench players’? Dan, none of this makes sense.
David - Bolton, Ontario
Q: Asks about Sanchez's injury and wants to know if it's the same injury that has plagued him. Also, wants to know if he's talked to Joe Biagini.
Adam: As far as I know, the injury is on the same finger, but I’m not sure if it’s a new blister or the recurring one. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter as the Jays are taking the “let’s wait it out” approach. It’s smart, as he’s (arguably) the best pitcher on the staff and is vital for the future of the rotation in years to come. Sanchez said it best, stating that if he “needs to wait 30 days to find an answer for the rest of my career, then so be it.”
Barry - Hamilton, Ontario
Q: Says he "feels it" and that the Jays are "on fire like last year." Barry, too, sounds wasted. Thoughts?
Ryan: I feel it too, Barry! … And:
‘You can't start a fire
You can't start a fire without a spark
This gun's for hire
Even if we're just dancing in the dark’
The Boss knows.
Jennifer - Toronto, Ontario
Q: Loup is "horrible! horrible!" Can the Jays bring up Chad Girodo? Why is Loup still here? Also, it's also nice to see Carrera has been hitting so well.
Adam: I wouldn’t call Loup “horrible! Horrible!” In his last five appearances, he’s pitched 2.1 innings, giving up 2 hits, 1 earned run, 0 home runs, with 5 striekouts and an ERA of 3.86 during that span. I understand that there are other relievers that have out-performed him, but he’s certainly not “horrible.” I think that’s a little too harsh.
Now, could the Jays call up Girodo? Sure. But I think they’re waiting for other members of the bullpen to be totally unreliable, rather than hit-or-miss.
And yes, it’s nice to see Carrera performing well. Nothing really more to add.
Curtis - St. Thomas, Ontario
Q: Another Alford related question. Wants to know what his ceiling may be? Also wants to discuss Bautista playing 3rd base and if it's a good thing.
Adam: Alford’s ceiling is very high, but again, it’s a bit too early right now to evaluate him based on what little we’ve seen. This injury isn’t insignificant and hopefully it doesn’t inhibit his development. Fingers crossed.
Regarding Bautista, of course it’s a good thing. Look, the outfield is the only area that hasn’t really been plagued by injuries with the Jays, save for Pearce. But having Pillar healthy, Bautista healthy, Carrera healthy, along with some AAA outfield pieces that can fill in the gaps, anytime you can move someone from the outfield that is able to play the corner infield spot without leaving a huge hole in his main position, it’s a good thing. There was a time when we thought having Bautista play a little first base here and there was a luxury the Jays were lucky to have. This is really no different. Further, it’s not like he hasn’t played third base before and, quite honestly, I’d rather have Bautista play third than Martin.
But who am I?
Robert - Aurora, Ontario
Q: With Sanchez on the DL so much, should he go to the bullpen when he returns to lessen the workload? Perhaps keep Biagini in the rotation?
Ryan: I’m not sure Robert, what do you think? So here’s the thing Bobby, are you asking this question because you don’t know the answer? Or just for the sake of hearing your own voice? I mean I guess that you could genuinely be curious to this thought that popped into your thought universe, BUT really? I kind of just want to soapbox your question, but I will answer the question even though I’m suspect to your intentions here Bobby because, I believe, this question is just a question for the sake of being heard. On second thought, I’m going to soapbox this question. What the HELL do you think?
Anthony - Toronto, Ontario
Q: Compliments Grilli's intangibles and leadership towards the team. Do you think he's in a permanent slump or is he going to break out of this "lull?" Also, should the Jays leave Goins in the lineup and maybe give Tulowitzki more time on the DL?
Adam: It’s tough to say when it comes to Grilli. Bullpen pieces are so fluid when it comes to their production year after year. It’s tough to really evaluate. While you’re right that his leadership skills are probably valued, they won’t be enough to keep him on the team if his performance isn’t up to par. I don’t necessarily think that this lull is permanent, but he’s been in the league for 15 years now. Regression is something that should be expected.
Regarding the Goins/Tulo question – no. There is absolutely no situation that I can consider that would call for leaving a healthy and rehabbed Tulowitzki on the DL for the sake of keeping Ryan Goins in the lineup. Don’t be silly.
Mason - Parry Sound, Ontario
Q: Once all the players from the DL return, and assuming no set-backs, what will it take to get back to the postseason? Also, how much longer does Pillar have to hit this way before he's considered a good hitter by all?
Adam: it will take a whole lot of winning on the Jays end, and a whole lot of losing by the teams they are competing with for a playoff spot. As Ross Atkins stated, they need to go on a run, and quickly. This two-game road-trip in Milwaukee is definitely a good sign of them starting to turn a corner, specifically with how well Bautista and Travis have been hitting. But it’s going to take a string of winning streaks to get back in the conversation of legitimate contenders. Do I think they can? Absolutely. But things need to break right.
Regarding Pillar, personally I think that if he can keep this up at least until the All-Star break, then we can be comfortable with the consideration that he has turned his offensive game around and this is who he is. But, again, that’s a subjective analysis and timetable. I’m sure there are others that know way more than I do that’ll say they need to see it at least for the remainder of the year.
Whatever works for you.
And here's Ryan's take:
Ryan: For the first part of your question Mason, it’s real simple: Wins.
And for the second part of your question Mason, it’s real simple: Longer.
Adrian - Newcastle, Ontario
Q: With Tulo & Donaldson returning, will it cause a "hiccup" in the clubhouse? In other words, will it cause any problems with the young kids towards the veterans in the clubhouse? He's also concerned that the young players will "lean" on Tulo and Donaldson - whatever that means, I don't know...
Adam: I don’t think this should even be on the radar, to be honest. These bench players that have filled in for Donaldson and Tulowitzki are just that – bench players. I don’t know what you mean by “lean” on the veterans, but this shouldn’t even be a worry. Donaldson and Tulo have more than earned their spots in the lineup, and it’s pretty much a given. Further, with how much of a leader we’re told Tulowitzki is, I’m sure he’ll put a bullet in any sort of “hiccups” that (won’t) occur immediately.
This isn’t anything to concern yourself with.
Trevor - Owen Sound, Ontario
Q: Regarding Travis and Bautista finally hitting for power, Trevor thinks they both can hit at this level for the rest of the season. Thoughts on that? Also, any updates on J.A. Happ?
Adam: I’m very pleased with how well Travis and Bautista have been hitting, and it’s pretty much been on a dime, too. However, this sort of pace isn’t sustainable and it’s fair to assume that they’ll regress a little bit. That’s not to say that they will fall back into April-form or anything, but it’s fair to assume they won’t be this good for the rest of the season. I think it’s fair to say that they’ll have their slumps here and there, and will be what we expected them to be in the end – very good hitters.
Regarding Happ, according to Atkins, he’ll require 1-to-3 rehab starts, so expect him to rejoin the club in approximately 2 weeks time.
Allie - Toronto, Ontario
Q: Looking at the roster and considering the return of Donaldson & Tulo, is there any specific target the Jays should pursue at the trade deadline? He suggests a lefty bullpen arm.
Adam: It’s nice to see a questions regarding what the Jays should add rather than what they should sell, right?
Anyway, yes any bullpen pieces – specifically a lefty – would be a welcome addition. Also, not dissimilar for last year when the Jays acquired Liriano, adding another arm capable of starting would also be very beneficial, as we have seen. I think the Jays are pretty much alright when it comes to the offense, but if there’s one thing I’d like them to add – personally – would be a more reliable backup catcher to allow Martin some rest here and there.
I think they’ll focus more on the pitching side, should they acquire anything at the deadline.
Brian - Toronto, Ontario
Q: Admits that, a few weeks ago, he wanted to the Jays to be sellers. However, he's since changed his view. He wants to know what sort of prospects the Jays have that we can look forward to for the next few years?
Adam: We’ve heard the growing enthusiasm for Rowdy Tellez this past Spring Training, so he’s definitely someone you can be excited about. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is also someone to look forward to, but these are the ones making the most noise. Besides them, Sean Reid-Foley, Conner Greene, & Richard Urena are names to keep your eyes on.
Tammy - Peterborough, Ontario
Q: Concerned what may happen if another pitcher goes on the DL. What do the pitching prospects look like if the Jays need to bring one up?
Ryan: Really Tammy? C’mon? You can think of a better question than this, no? Liriano, Happ, and Sanchez are on the DL, right? So who’s next, Estrada too? C’mon … and you know the depth chart is bad, Buck Martinez has only talked about this being Mark ShapIro’s biggest concern heading into the season about 100 Buck Martinez times, eh! C’mon Tammy, and if you want to learn about the Blue Jays pitching prospects just Google it for fuck sakes. Geez. It’s really that easy.
Chris - Stoney Creek, Ontario
Q: Asks about the Yankees and if they're the real deal? Isn't entirely sold on them due to their track record and aging stars. Thinks it's Boston's division to win, but no reason to count Toronto out.
Adam: I’m never one to count either the Yankees or Red Sox out of anything, as they’re just a team that has a lot of fire in the oven with their resources – both financial and physical. But I think you’re right when you say that there isn’t a reason to count Toronto out. There’s still a whole lot of games left to play, so it’s a bit (here comes that word…) early to make concrete predictions. Right now, there isn’t a team in the East I’d count out.