Monday, March 29, 2010

Clarifying Clarence's Choices

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Image courtesy of Daylife
While I haven't necessarily agreed with every single decision Cito Gaston has ever made, I've made a sincere effort to understand there is a method to his madness.

One often wonders what's going on inside that 66 year old head of his, especially when it comes to roster moves, in-game decisions or lack thereof.

With just under a week until the 2010 season gets underway, Clarence and the coaching staff have started to whittle down the non-roster invitees and the regulars into the Opening Day 25-man roster.

Are we overreacting to Overbay?

Ideally, Lyle Overbay would not be the starting first baseman for the Toronto Blue Jays this year. If Adam Lind ends up being the full-time designated hitter, Overbay as the full-time first baseman  would potentially be taking at bats away from Randy Ruiz.

I don't think it was a statistical decision as much as it was a political decision. It was rumoured Overbay was one of the players who spearheaded the mutiny back in November, so my theory is this was a decision to keep Overbay happy during the final year of his contract.

Some are speculating that it was to raise his trade value, but even if Overbay puts up a decent first half, I think the Blue Jays will have a tough time finding any suitors for him at the trade deadline ... especially a team that's willing to pay the approximate $3.5 million left remaining on his contract.

Unless someone is looking for an above average fielding first basemen with a decent OBP, the Jays shouldn't expect to get the same kind of haul they received from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for Scott Rolen.

Another reason for announcing Overbay as the starting first baseman is management is giving him the chance to play out the year so he can build his own value as a free agent.

It sounds like a crazy thing to do - help a player build their own worth so they can earn a contract with another team, but I think that's just the kind of guy Alex Anthopoulos is. He's an intelligent businessman, but he also gives the players the kind of respect they deserve.

The Sausage King claims his throne as closer

The "announcement" was about a week late, but Cito finally indicated who will be the closer for the Blue Jays this year, and it will be none other than Jason Frasor.

I believe this decision was made for two reasons; Frasor is the closer because simply ... he's the best man for the job. As Cito stated, Jason Frasor hasn't done anything to lose the title of closer.

Secondly, by announcing Jason Frasor as the official closer for the team, inherently he will draw interest from clubs who could be in need for a ninth inning guy somewhere down the road this season.

Personally, I thought Cito would lean on Kevin Gregg as the closer because he has the most experience closing out games. Now it appears Gregg and Scott Downs will duke it out to see who will be the setup man.

It's just proof that if Clarance makes enough decisions, eventually he will get some of them correct.

8 comments:

  1. Overbay vs. Ruiz feels like a football coach complaining about having two quality starting quarterbacks - It actually means you don't have a quality starting quarterback. Both are older and probably don't have much value to the next Blue Jays teams that would compete for a playoff spot.

    I could see Overbay having some minimal trading value, but not a lot. I think the best hope for dealing him is if a National League team that overvalues defense - The Dodgers? - gets sick of their incumbent.

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  2. Roll, at this point with Cito it's almost like a tragic comedy. It's so sad sometimes that it's funny. I just keep telling myself that it will all be over by October.

    Steve, I hate to play the stereotypical "he can take a hometown discount", but maybe if Casey Kotchman doesn't pan out with the Mariners, they could look at picking up Overbay. They seem to be making a full out push for the playoffs this year, so maybe they would be interested in taking on Overbay.

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  3. Is there a stat that gives a +/- or a ratio of Citos good decisions/bad decisions? There must be, there is a stat for everything.

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  4. I think people are blowing this Cito (sorry, I mean Clarance) Gaston stuff out of proportion. Yeah he's makes a few bone head moves, but one more season of Gaston isn't going to set the franchise back a year. As for his moves:

    - Lyle Overbay is plain and simple the best option the Jays have at 1st base
    - Jason Frasor should be the closer
    - Travis Snider batting 9th does seem odd, but as long as he's in the line-up I could care less. If he hits, he will move up.
    - Bautista leading off? It doesn't make sense against righties, but the team doesn't have any good lead off options against right handed pitching.
    - Yes I think this year should be used to see if Travis Snider can develop into a RF. However I'm pretty sure we all know how that is going to turn out.
    - One could argue that he leaves his starting pitchers in too long, but is that a good thing or a bad thing for a "Building" team.

    Would I have brought him back, no, but I'm not going to waste my energy complaining about him, when no manager can turn chicken S$%# into chicken salad.

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  5. Ian, Seattle is actually a good destination for Overbay, although they're now run by a pretty sharp guy, so I';m not sure what the return would be. A B-level prospect? If that's the case, then it might almost be worth seeing if Overbay can piece together a superficially decent year, offering him arb, and scooping up a draft pick.

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  6. Mattt, I'm sure someone somewhere is keeping a tally. We just have to find out who that is!

    Peter, I agree it's easy for us to pile up on Cito because that's certainly the way most of the blogosphere seems to be going. I think it's just because we hold him to a very high standard, and expect the best of him. When he makes silly mistakes, it's easy for us to blatantly point those out.

    Steve, I'm with you on this one - best case scenario, Overbay nets the Blue Jays a draft pick thanks to a Type B free agent status. I'm cool with that!

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  7. I think Overbay's value is entirely based on the number of suitors - one significant injury could increase his trade deadline value a reasonable amount (of course, depends on the who else is out there too). The thing is, 3.5 mill is not that much if he's OPSing over .900 against RHP.

    All that said, why would you make him an everyday and trot him out there against LHP? Does this do anything for anyone: him, Clarence, the team, the next team, Bueller, Bueller?

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  8. QJays, you're right - anything could happen. Any first baseman could go down, which then makes Overbay a hot commodity. I think the Jays should just plan to ride it out with Overbay, and if an offer comes along - then weight the options and see if it's worth it.

    But yes, it will be brutal to watch Lyle versus lefties this year. About as brutal as it's going to see Bautista against righties.

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