December 14, 2009

Deep Thoughts: Monday

Excuse me while I to continue to explicitly rip off Elliotte Friedman. Although he certainly can't have been the first to list his thoughts. That was Peter King ...

1. The Toronto Raptors delighted the home crowd Sunday afternoon. Big games from Chris Bosh and Hedo Turkoglu. Minutes, energy, points and blocked shots from Sonny Weems and Pops Mensah-Bonsu. But it was Jarrett Jack who had me on my feet after he got in the face of Trevor Ariza, who swung and missed with a bitch-elbow targeted for the back of Demar DeRozan's head.

A Raptor. Standing up for his teammate. It was a sight to behold. I felt like a proud parent, even though I have no children, and have no influence in stopping the Raptors from playing like Goddamn choir boys.

Bless you, Jarrett Jack.

2. I hate Mondays.

3. Ladies and gentlemen, the Joey Gathright and John Buck eras in Toronto have begun. The Jose Bautista era isn't over just yet, and let's not forget about Raul Chavez; we're in for another year of snap-throws down to first.

What? You're not excited? Yeah, it's unfortunate as fuck that neither Buck or Gathright can get on base; career OBPs of .298 and .327, respectively. But, well, beggars can't be choosers. And the Toronto Blue Jays are definitely beggars. And sellers. Beggars and sellers.

4. My number one source for information on Dustin McGowan is the Blue Jays blogosphere. It's why I don't believe McGowan will ever pitch again. I want to believe. But it just isn't worth the emotional investment.

5. In honour of John Gibbons, Ted Lilly, and Shea Hillenbrand, I hope Cito Gaston and Jeremy Accardo come to blows. And here's hoping it's Accardo, by TKO, in the first round.

6. Great post by The Ack, the esteemed weekend editor over at The Tao of Stieb, about his desire for Doc to be traded "anywhere but the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, California, United States of America." He's right, but at the end of the day, if that's the best deal on the table, I'll learn to love Joe Saunders. And so will you.

7. The Ack brought up service time in his post, and how long guys are under team control. It got me thinking: the Jays have done a pretty good job of locking up their players - Alex Rios, Aaron Hill, Vernon Wells (don't start), even Roy Halladay. And I'm rather confident Adam Lind and Travis Snider will be added to that list.

When Paul Beeston says that money is available when the team needs it, I'm going to believe him. No, there's no briefcases full of stacks of crisp $100 bills for big-ticket free agents -- see Figgins, Chone and Bay, Jason -- but the checkbook is readily available when it comes to the cornerstones of the future; for the core: the Hills, Linds, Romeros and Sniders. And if one of those signings doesn't work out - HOLA ALEX!!!1 - so be it, that's life. Shit happens. "The player" gets his hands on crazy bank, and stops giving a fuck. Thankfully, there are other lunatic general managers out there to take your problems off your hands.

Think about it: if that money wasn't available, to lock up the team's budding stars, the Blue Jays would be the Florida Marlins. They'd be relatively competitive, and win a World Series every now and then. And this is my stop along this train of thought, because the end of the line is another bottle.

8. Continuing with the disappointment theme, I'll be honest with you: Tyler Myers is putting up the type of numbers in Buffalo I wish Luke Schenn was in Toronto. And guess what Myers was up to last season? You guessed it: playing in the WHL.

I'm by no means giving up on Luke Schenn. A trip upstairs in civvies is what he needed; what he deserved. He's looked lost in the defensive zone, doesn't fit the mold of a great-first-pass, puck-moving defenseman, and looks like he shoots the puck only a little harder than I do. My biggest worry is that this kid gets pigeon-holed into something he's not, and never lives up to sky-high expectations in Toronto. I'm worried that in the end we'll only be left disappointed. Other than a young kid who throws a great bodycheck every now and again -- yes, an important skill to have -- I'm not sure what Luke Schenn is.

9. In four games since being reinserted into the Maple Leafs lineup, Rickard Wallin has played 06:39, 10:24, 08:16, and 11:11 respectively. No points, of course. It's Wallin. My point is: why couldn't Jiri Tlusty have been given those minutes?

Granted, my definition of an adequate Tlusty tryout was 15 minutes a night in the NHL, but I'd have been happy with Wallin-type minutes. And we'd all be happier with Wallin out of the lineup. It was a win-win. The trade still doesn't make sense to me.

10. Why did no teammate of Tomas Kaberle come to his defense in the third period Saturday night, after Mike Green so rudely shoved him into the boards? Kaberle could have been killed!1 All Tomas could muster was a couple of shoves to Green's chest, because I'm sure he figured Mike Komisarek was going to help a brother out. A minute later, Kaberle was shown laughing on the bench, probably because he knew he could have ruined Green's life, but just didn't feel like it.

I don't know, maybe it's me. Did you see Green nail Kaberle? Wasn't it just a little, well, bullshit? Am I making too much of it? Am I pulling out the "Where were his teammates on that one?" card too often? You can let me know if I am.

11. I know I'm the leader of the Fire Ron Wilson brigade, but it hasn't gone unnoticed that he's shown a real knack for benching players at the right time. Last season, it was Tomas Kaberle and Jason Blake. This season Niklas Hagman and Matt Stajan. And it's worked. Those two have led Toronto's -- dare I call it? -- resurgence. Hopefully Schenn will respond in the same fashion.

It seems patience upstairs has prevailed. Wilson's in it for the long haul. He continues to set the tone; if you're not on board, enjoy the view.

My excuse? Stability. It frightens me. I'm simply not used to it anymore.

12. I was daydreaming about Phil Kessel at work a couple of days ago. It happens more often than I'd like. Anyway, my mind wandered, and I thought of Nik Antropov; it would have been neat to see the two of them play together. Antropov's playing with Ilya Kovalchuk, and producing: 25 points in 30 games.

Suddenly I stopped myself. Why isn't anything Matt Stajan does ever good enough for me?

After Saturday night's impressive performance, Stajan's got 25 points in 31 games. He's already tied his career-high of five power play goals. Of centres who have taken more than 500 faceoffs this season, Stajan ranks ninth in the league at 52.4%.

An unrestricted free agent next season, I want Stajan to stick around. And that's the best compliment I can give him.

17 comments:

Pension Plan Puppets said...

2. Me too.

3. That makes me so sad. Not really but I actually had a dream that my dad and I went to a baseball game and I saw you a few rows down and so I started a "Ver-non Sucks!" chant to get your attention and then the three of us laughed and met up with Archi for beers.

4. So much for "we're going to have sick pitching in 2010!"

8. Don't worry about Tyler Myers. He's playing soft minutes and getting powerplay time. Two things that Schenn has never got.

10. No one stood up for Tomas Kaberle because Tomas' rosy cheeks were enough for Green to back down.

If anything serious happened Komisarek would have stepped in to keep the kids under control.

11. You Fire Ron Wilson guys were always wrong. Sorry. You and Pal Hal Pall and the Toronto Media were off of your rockers for thinking a. that it could happen and b. for wanting it to happen. Look at the improvement of so many players not just this year but over the last two. That's not a coincidence.

Belligerent Burkie said...

1. I love how standing up for your teammates in basketball comprises entirely of getting close and having a chat. I believe Chris Neil did that to Tucker a few years ago, DGB ridiculed the hell out of him for that.

6. Unless Joe Saunders is still improving (he's already 28), I'd rather get prospects for Halladay. This team probably won't be competing for a wild card spot during Saunders useful life as a pitcher.

8. While I can't comment on what people thought of Tyler Myers before he was drafted, I remember people comparing Schenn to Foote. Not exactly predicting offence. He should be producing more, but that's part of the learning process.

11. Can't really agree more with PPP

12. Matt Stajan - same production as Antropov for over 2 million less.

Archimedies said...

1. I noticed a lot more Pops Menah-Bonsu than I had previously. It's about time Triano responded to all the talk amongst the team of 'Changing things up' by doling out playing time based around hustle on the floor.

However, if the Raps have taught me anything, it's that they'll give up 115 points and lose their next game. Let's not bring up anything about Houston playing on the East Coast at noon.

2. NO KIDDING.

3. I'm fine with the Gathright and Buck signings, because they are both human beings that play baseball for a living. We needed to add a few of those to put together and opening day roster.

4. Hey, me too!

5. There's no way Accardo comes back to the team, is there? He's gotta be moved before the season opens. He or Cito.

6. I'll definitely fall for Erick Aybar. Saunders not so much.

7. ***exhales long toke*** Let's just move on, yeah?

8. I think the most important statement Wilson made by benching Schenn is that everybody on the team is going to pay the consequences for mental mistakes. Part of Schenn's development is going to be learning that losing doesn't cut mustard. Changing that 'losing mentality' is something that Burke and Wilson have talked about since day 1.

9. Even Christian Hanson was getting the job done in place of Wallin.

10. I'm going to have to look up who else was on the ice at the time before I can really know. This being the internet, I know someone will probably pull it off this quickly. I agree with you, but I'll be quick to point out that it has been a relatively isolated incident and far from a running theme this season.

11. *nods*

12. I've heard Wilson say that Phil's confidence is rubbing off on everyone else, and I believe him. The bounce back against Washington was the best example to date. That 2-0 hole would have killed them earlier in the season, but they bounced back and rallied around Vesa to beat the top team in the East. They're starting to believe they can compete with anyone.

general borschevsky said...

#10. I also thought that was a weird play. I wondered if Green got confused between Komisarek and Kaberle because it was Komi's shove into the boards that Green seemed to be retaliating to. Everyone seemed completely surprised by it but I liked the way Kabby stood up to face Green and challenged him. I think Green knew at that point that if he dared take it a step further Komisarek and the entire Leaf bench were ready to go to war. It was great to see Kabby laughing about it on the bench after.

Also, the Leafs answered with a powerplay goal to make it 6-3. That's the best way to make the other team pay.

Space Weed said...

1. Finally, now everyone will shut up about how the Raps need Reggie Evans back.

2. Me too


3.Ugh...


4. His injury was a torn rotator cuff right? There's still a possibilty that he'll get better (though for Pitchers, it's a much worse injury than say a hockey player)


5. Meh


6. I'm happy anywhere Halladay goes. Unless 1) It's the Yankees or 2) We get a bunch of mediocre minor leaguers who'll never see the majors. And number 2) is likely to happen if Number 1 occurs, as that's what the Yankees do. I hope there's a salary cap soon, then The Yankees will just be stuck in last for the next 42+ years

7. I hope so, i'd rather have Adam Lind out in left field than Jason Bay. I like Jason Bay and All, but Lind is a better hitter than Bay

8. Meh

9. North Carolinians enjoy guys who walk around naked. NSFW will fit in there quite well

10. I think Brian Burke showed Kaberle a clip of him getting hit repeatedly and told him "Truculence"

11. Hopefully Blake realizes he's next to be benched, and will stop being a puckhog and shooting at the goalie's chest

12. Meh it's Stajan.

Steve G. said...

Adam Lind is the kind of guy that might be dangerous to sign long-term, though. I consider him a 50/50 guy at retaining his value past 30.

He's 26, turning 27 midseason 2010. He's a corner outfielder who hit 305 / 370 / 562. His comparable players on BR are full of guys who lost value as they aged - Wally Joyner, Brad Fullmer, Magglio Ordonez, Geoff Jenkins and Richard Hidalgo, although they are balanced by Adrian Gonzalez and Frank Thomas. His profile - pretty good power hitter with no speed - doesn't normally age gracefully.

I think Lind will be good until his early 30s, but the danger is that you'll have to pay him into his mid-30s. When does he become a free agent, anyway?

Hungry Leafs Fan said...

Is it just me or is Sonny Weems the Graham brother's long-lost triplet?

eyebleaf said...

@ PPP: If you see me at the Jays game, I will have my Vernon Wells sign. It is glorious. And I will fight you in public if I have to save Vernon's honour.

The Jays will have sick pitching in 2010. They're so stocked at the position that while losing McGowan certainly hurts, we're still OK. Depth!!!1

Soft minutes for Myers? That sounds like a convenient excuse. I'd be happy with Schenn if he was playing soft minutes and not fucking up so monumentally.

I can readily admit I was most likely wrong about Ron Wilson. I won't go so far as to say I am wrong because, fuck, look at that penalty killing. He needs to fix that shit. He's done a good job with the players at his disposal, but a 70.5% kill rate on the PK is downright offensive.

@ Belligerent Burkie: About the fighting/getting in a guy's face thing. The difference b/w hockey and basketball might have something to do with the fact that fighting is allowed in hockey. Just a hunch.

Hey, I love prospect porn as much as you do, and I'm of the belief that the Jays aren't that far off. Again, if the Saunders package is the best out there, let's do it. I want Halladay gone. The sooner the better.

I was never happy with the Schenn/Foote comparisons. For a guy drafted 5th overall, his skill set needs to be more rounded. Doughty and Bogosian play the game I want Schenn to play. Schenn and Pietrangelo are struggling to figure it out, and Myers seems like the steal. It's rather unfortunate. But Luke's only 20. I'm confident he'll figure it out. Wilson's a hard ass, it may work out for the best.

Stajan's about to get his money. What do you pay him?

@ Archi: Jay Triano's gotta have his Pops. It was a good look yesterday, especially with Sonny Weems.

It's sad that all the Jays are looking for at this point are warm bodies. And Alex Gonzalez, Johnny Mac, Gathright and Buck def. fall into that category.

Accardo was tendered. He's still a Blue Jay. If we can't get anything back for him, we've got to keep him, unhappy as he is.

You're right about the Leafs' bounce back effort on Saturday. Toskala was clutch. I, like many, thought the game was over.

@ General: Perhaps Green is just a punk who knew if he went after Komisarek, it wouldn't have been that easy. And after the Leafs scored on the PP, I thought the same: that's revenge.

@ Space: I don't know about you, but I'm still hankering to see Evans on the court. He's gangster. The Raptors needs more gangster. He also dresses terribly.

McGowan is done; too many setbacks. And I'd rather Doc go to the Yankees than Boston.

I think Blake's played better of late, and it's time we all showed Stajan some love. He's producing, man!

@ Steve: Blasphemy!!1 Adam Lind is the truth. A little bit of a late bloomer, but kid can mash, and he proved it last season. I hope the Jays deal Overbay, and Lind settles in at first base. I think it's always dangerous to sign young cats, so I understand your concern, but I suspect that as a Red Sox fan, you just want him to hit the open market so your team can grab him. So selfish, Steve.

As per Cot's Contracts, Lind signed a one-year deal last season for $411,800. Talk about a bargain. He's arbitration eligible through 2012. He's a Blue Jay, long-term, so set your sights elsewhere!1

@ Hungry: Weems does kind of look like Joey. Strange. I like him better than Joey already. (Where has Weems been all season?)

40 said...

Bro,
Looks like you'll need another poll for the distinction of being at the top of the page..... Hopefully we'll have another one soon when we trade Bosh!

eyebleaf said...

I'm all out of sorts, 40. Can't believe it's actually happened. End of an era. I thought we'd leave Doc up there for the 2010 season. He deserves the honour. But I'm open another poll, with leaving Doc up there an option.

William said...

I just noticed the disclaimer at the bottom of the page. Too funny. You're a hoot, eyeb.

I read that Halladay and his agent were somewhere today. Just can't remember where. Must be going daft. But he'll be gone before the season starts.

A Cito and Accardo fight? My money's on Cito.

And remember among all other sad thoughts, you could be a Royals' fan. Hey, they just got Jason Kendall. Woohoo! That will excite the masses.

eyebleaf said...

William, apparently it's a done deal. Halladay is no longer a Blue Jay. He now plies his trade for the Philadelphia Phillies.

Yankee Hater said...

Well the pitching staff will not be sick as Halladay is gone. JA Happ is good. just be glad your not a Indians fan, at least Toronto got something for the CY Young winner as opposed to the tribe.

eyebleaf said...

It could always be worse, I've learned that. But it doesn't make it any easier. Mad prospect porn coming out of this trade. Still don't know who's headed north.

And isn't it typical that Doc gets traded on a Monday? Fucking Mondays.

Escaped Lab Rat said...

Thank God there's no Joe Saunders involved.

eyebleaf said...

Can't argue with you on that one, Escaped. I didn't want to love him, but I would have.

Oh, Doc.

bkblades said...

Please leave on Doc. That's all I ask.