October 03, 2008
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.