Thursday, 8 November 2012

Thoughts for a Thursday

Considering it has been a while since I've blogged (as is often the case in the off season), I thought I'd just give a few thoughts on a few things that have been going on.

John Farrell ran off to Boston, and I got over it really quickly. I find it all a bit ridiculous, but most things involving the Red Sox tend to be. Anthopolous continues his search for a new manager. 

John Lott wrote a couple of interesting articles on biomechanics that sort of got lost in the shuffle of the manager leaving. I was reminded of it when this article on Farrell talking about using it in Boston appeared. He said the Jays weren't big on it, but Lott's article indicates that Farrell doesn't really see it as a perfect tool, either. I think it depends on the organization. Farrell said he used it extensively in player development for Cleveland, but didn't in Toronto because the Jays weren't into it. He doesn't mention whether he pushed for it in Boston as pitching coach.  Per the Lott article:

“Biomechanics in and of itself is a great tool,” Farrell said. “But to what extent do you let it rule everything you do? When you’ve got a million and a half tied up in a [draft pick], and then you say, ‘This test says he’s going to get hurt so we better change things’ — well, he was drafted on what he’s been doing.

“If you look to change the delivery to appease the report, and make a delivery with less overall effort in it, you may end up with a guy that has no ability to pitch at the big-league level any more, or it may drastically reduce his effectiveness.”

I think it's wrong to assume the Jays were somehow preventing Farrell from using it, which might be inferred from his statements in the piece. Cherington might be a bigger believer in it than Epstein was. Or Farrell just wants to say whatever to appear proactive in improving his new team. His post-hire press conference illustrated for me that it's not just Farrell's look that'd be good in politics.

Actually, the most interesting thing about Farrell's statement to Lott is that he's talking like a pitcher. Those sound like pitcher fears that he's voicing. "If you change anything I do, I won't be able to do it at all." These are things a team needs to be concerned about, but they also need to be concerned about things like longevity and injuries.  Pitchers are often the most idiosyncratic of all the players, and their singular focus might not lend to managing. 

Maybe AA will seek a former catcher to manage the Jays. All four managers in the LCS (Bochy, Leyland, Matheny and Girardi) were former catchers. 

I thought that the Jays should be doing ASMI when I read the Lott article. While pitching is, in many ways, a terribly unnatural thing to do, there is most definitely a right way to throw a baseball. ASMI might aid in giving the team a clearer picture of how each pitcher throws the ball. Ricky Romero suspected that there was something wrong with his delivery in 2012, but couldn't quite pinpoint what the problem was. This might help in doing that.

Speaking of Romero, he was pitching sore for a good chunk of the season and had surgery to clean up some scar tissue in his elbow. But Romero wouldn't blame his soreness, which he hid from the team, on his poor performance. 

“I don’t know if it affected my performance,” he said. “I don’t like to think it did.”

He added: “I'm not going to make an excuse about this past season. I stunk and that’s it.”

Romero is a tough guy who grew up in a tough place and I appreciate that, but I do wish he wouldn't be such a donkey about it. Of course it affected your performance, dude. Isn't it nicer to have a specific reason that there were issues instead of a big mystery? 

I was once told that any pitcher worth his salt would want to be out there on the mound even if his arm was a bloody, pulpy mess on the ground. Which is why you can't always rely solely on their opinions on their ability to keep pitching. And sure enough:

“With the hard work I put in, you’re going to have to chop my left arm for me not to take the mound,” Romero said. “That’s the mentality I take."

The Jays were busy little beavers today, announcing that they have signed Maicer Izturis to a 3 year/10 million dollar deal. He can back up at SS and 3rd, but he's likely going to fill the hole likely to be vacated by the ghost of Kelly Johnson at 2nd base. They also picked up relief pitcher Jeremy Jeffress from the Royals, who has a weakness for the buddha. 

The Silver Slugger Awards were announced today. Billy Butler won the one for DH, despite the fact that Encarnacion had more homers (by 13), RBIs (by 3), OBP (by .011), OPS (by .059), extra-base hits (by four.) The fact that Encarnacion logged time at first might have split the vote, but the whiff of bullshit lingers. 

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