Sunday, 30 September 2012

Rookies and Retirees


Omar Vizquel, on his way out of his very long, and prestigious career, made some comments about the coaching staff and what he perceives as a lack of communication with the young team. The comments more or less echoed what Gregg Zaun said in the wake of the Escobar fiasco (Escobiasco?) on Prime Time Sports. People freaked out on Twitter, because what else do people do on Twitter besides tweeting pictures of food and puppies? I wasn't particularly concerned by them, mostly because much of what he was saying is relatively obvious to anyone watch consistently. I mean, why else does Lawrie keep making basic base running errors? Or the Sierra flipdown silliness.

The motivation behind Vizquel's comments might be better understood when one remember that he has managerial ambitions. That isn't to say that Vizquel is campaigning for a Blue Jay job, but he might just be subtly putting out messages about what he stands for, how he might run a team if he had the opportunity. GMs and presidents like to hear about communication, you know.

"I said it because we have a young team and sometimes we just need to talk and communicate a little more with the coaches," said Vizquel. "It was no intention at all on my part to kind of blame or point fingers at any coaches or the manager. It was just a constructive comment, something that we needed to do to become a better team."

There was a closed door meeting in which Vizquel explained himself and apologized. And everyone felt better, other than the fact that the team is staring down a 90 loss season.

Details. Minor details.

One of the things John Farrell is going to have to manage in 2013 is the enthusiasm of Brett Lawrie. The kid is electric to watch, and the team plays differently when he is in the lineup. Lawrie is going to make some spectacular plays just because he is a superior athlete. Farrell describes Lawrie as "headstrong", but not in a negative way. Watching him this season, I've noticed that he isn't particularly patient at the plate and doesn't seem to focus until he has two strikes, so he is constantly hitting defensively. At the end of Sunday’s game, he was batting .273 with a .720 on-base plus slugging percentage, which is below what was projected to be after Lawrie hit like a demon in 150 at-bats in 2011.

As Farrell puts it, “Because he is a high-energy player, sometimes those subtleties, those small adjustments, he has to feel those, work through those, rather than just being told ‘Hey, do this,’ ”.

And hopefully part of the "this"  he is going to feel is to learn to run the damn bases. 

“I thought that I played the game hard,” Lawrie said as he assessed his season. “For sure, you make mistakes. Obviously, I’m owning up, I make mistakes. So does everybody. Nobody’s perfect, but at the same time we learn from them.”

Well, I guess you better.

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