October 03, 2008

Joe Inglett IS Reed Johnson

Why? Can someone please tell me why Toronto Blue Jays fans are still complaining about the release of Reed Johnson? It was six months ago. Please, for the love of all things holy, get over it.

Just yesterday an acquaintance of mine, who happens to follow the blue birds loosely, was whining about how J.P. Ricciardi made the worst decision in the history of baseball when he released Johnson back in March.

Look, I get it. Choosing Shannon Stewart over Reed was a mistake. I'm sure Ricciardi himself would admit that. OK, you're right, he wouldn't, but still. My point is, mistakes happen. Ricciardi isn't the first general manager to err, and he surely won't be the last.

I loved Reed Johnson in a Blue Jays uniform as much as the next guy. He was a gamer. One gritty mother fucker. Socks up, played the game the right way, all that good stuff. And how could you not appreciate that facial hair? Believe me, I missed him this past season. He was gone, yet not forgotten.

But if you think Reed Johnson was one of the main reasons behind the Jays' struggles in 2008, you need an Ari Gold style bitch slap. 

Even if Johnson had played out 2008 with Toronto, he would surely have departed as a free agent over the winter. He wants to play everyday, and the opportunity to do so in Toronto simply doesn't exist, thanks to guys like Adam Lind, Vernon Wells, Alex Rios and uber rookie Travis Snider. For you math aficionados out there, that's four outfielders to fill three spots.

Enough about Reed Johnson. Please. Instead of always focusing on the negative and bashing J.P. Ricciardi, how about looking at the positives? A novel idea, ain't it? Instead of bitching and moaning about the release of Johnson, why don't you give Ricciardi some props for finding the middle infielding clone of Reed Johnson: the one and only Mighty Joe Inglett.

Last I checked, Johnson can't play second base. And last I checked, Inglett played a pretty significant role for the Jays this year. He filled in admirably for the fallen warrior Aaron Hill (whom I miss terribly).

How do Inglett and Johnson compare? Check out the layout:

                G       AB  R   H    2B  3B   HR  RBI   BB   K   SB  CS   AVG   OBP   SLG   OPS+
Inglett    109    344   45  102  15   7     3    39    28  43  9   2   .297  .355  .407   102
Johnson  109    333   52  101  21  0     6    50    19  68  5   6   .303  .358  .420   101

They played the exact same number of games. Johnson's average was only six points higher, and let's call their on-base and slugging percentages a push. Yes, Johnson scored and drove in more runs, but Inglett was tied for fifth in the American League with seven triples, he walked more, struck out less, and was more successful in the base thievery department. The final statistic, OPS+, says it all; they're the same fucking player! When it comes to Joe Inglett and Reed Johnson, as my main man Jerry Seinfeld so eloquently put it, "the difference is negligible."

They compare. That's my point. Sure, we lost Reed Johnson, and it sucked. Yeah, we had to put up with the likes of a clearly finished Shannon Stewart, and Mencherson, because of it, and we're all certainly better people for having had to watch that shit show (we endured). But in the end the release of Johnson, the incredible mediocrity of Stewart and Mencherson, and the insight of the Gastonian one, led us to Adam Lind, and Travis Snider. Things worked out, n'est pas?

Instead of beating the same dead horse - that would be the "I hate J.P. Ricciardi, he is the worst general manager in the world, what happened to the five year plan?" dead horse - focus on the positives.

Focus on Joey Inglett.


Ian H. said...

I don't think dropping Reed Johnson for Shannon Stewart was a COLOSSAL mistake for J.P. After all, it opened the door for Adam Lind and Travis Snider, so I think things worked out in the end.

Anonymous said...

One big difference, Inglett hits Left handed while Reed hits Right and struggles against RH pitchers.

eyebleaf said...

@ Ian: Totally agree with you. I just think it's weird that people are still complaining about it.

@ Anon: I took a look at Reed's splits and he actually hit righties pretty well this season, better than he used to, that's for sure. He saw pretty much equal action against both righties and lefties, while Inglett barely faced lefties. I guess Mighty Joe is more of a one trick pony, but he still put up an OPS+ equal to Reed's, so they're still the same guy to me. And you can argue, as people did over at The Tao of Stieb, that Joe is more valuable than Reed because he plays second base.

Ian H. said...

I think people were pissed about the Reed Johnson thing because he went over to a winning team. If he went to play for the Pittsburgh Pirates, no one would give a shit.