Tagged: Aaron Hill

The Cleanup Hitter

There was an article written on Bluejays.com last night talking about how the cleanup spot for the Jays has been a bit of a puzzle since Scott Rolen was traded to the Reds.  I agree, but this shouldn’t be all that hard to figure out.

Cito Gaston says that he doesn’t want to move Aaron Hill down to the cleanup spot because he feels that sometimes players play the game differently when they are moved to that spot.  they feel the pressure and start to try too hard to hit the ball over the fence.  Although this is invariably true, I would like to see him try either Hill or Lind in the cleanup spot over the last part of the year.  As for the two spot, move Alex Rios in there.  The movement to a place in the order where he doesn’t feel like he has to smash homeruns all the time may be good for him.  He’s also a decent contact hitter when he’s on and he’s the fastest baserunner on the team.  Seems ideal for the 2 spot to me.  Put Hill in a situation where he can put up even more RBI and put to good use that ridiculous bat of his.  It’s not like the Jays have anything to lose here.

Here’s my suggested lineup for the rest of the way:

  • SS Marco Scutaro
  • RF Alex Rios
  • DH Adam Lind
  • 2B Aaron Hill
  • 1B Lyle Overbay/Kevin Millar
  • CF Vernon Wells
  • 3B Edwin Encarnacion
  • C   Rod Barajas
  • LF Jose Bautista

I mean, why the hell not?

Any thoughts?

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Wow, what a summer: The Bitter and The Sweet

So yeah.  Sort of lost initiative to write here over the summer.  I’ve had a bitter-sweet one so far.  On a  personal level, one massive bitter pill:  My mom has fallen ill.  This is likely the single largest reason I haven’t been writing here.  She’s mostly okay now; let’s hope she gets better.

On the sweet side, I went on tour for 2 weeks in July across Southern Ontario and Qu├ębec.  It was fantastic.  No new album yet…but soon.  I actually have two in the works.

Again on the sweet side.  I have cats.  Two of them.  I grew up with cats and haven’t had any pets at all since I moved out of my parents house almost 7 years ago.  Well now 9 month olds Timbre (pronounced Tamber) and Cappella are here and I couldn’t be happier about it.  Timbre is currently between me and the keyboard, making this just a little more difficult than it otherwise would be.  But that, my friends, is the beauty of cats.

On the baseball side, it has also been bitter-sweet for my Jays, and indeed for Major League Baseball as a whole.

For the Jays…

The Bitter

  • The rocket fell to the ground:  After the fantastic start that had just starting making even the most pessimistic of Jays fans (such as myself) believe that maybe they could contend with the behemoths in the AL East, the Jays fell back down to earth…hard.  Yes, it was expected.  I mean, when you have the amount of pitching injuries that the Jays have, you aren’t going to remain hot for long.  Deep down all of us Jays fans knew that the bats would eventually cool off and the young, unexpectedly good pitching would too.  I picked the Jays to finish 4th in the AL East this year with a 78-84 record.  It would appear that that is about where they’re headed.  Another season of mediocrity.

  • The Doctor and the GM that couldn’t:  One thing I haven’t commented on is the whole Roy Halladay trade rumour business.  I mentioned in an earlier entry that if the jays eventually fell out of contention that J.P. Riccardi should look into trading the ace.  With a year left on his contract, the returns would be astronomical.  Well, the Jays DID fall out ofriccardi.jpg contention, and J.P. DID look into trading him, but could not.  My problem is not with the fact that the Jays brass considered trading their long-time ace, but how it was handled.  J.P. Riccardi went entirely too public with this whole thing.  It became a HUGE distraction to Halladay and his teammates, which is really unfair.  Does Roy deserve to be traded to a place where he could win a World Series?  Absolutely!  Does he deserve to be given the run-around right as he’s preparing to start the All-Star Game and preparing for the stretch run?  Absolutely not! 

    Not only that, but J.P. threw Roy under the bus by going public in saying that he had indicated he wasn’t going to come back after 2010.  Given that Halladay is such a class act and has done nothing but praise the city of Toronto and the fans, was it really fair to announce something that could potentially turn the fans against him?  I mean, come on J.P.  Luckily, Jays fans have a head about them and they don’t blame Roy for considering another team to try and win on.  I mean, the Jays aren’t going to be World Series contenders any time soon.  Not with bone-head in charge anyway.  The problem here is that J.P. like to be the star of his own melodrama and he doesn’t much like being a mediocre GM in a middle-market city such as Toronto.  Please Blue Jays…fire numbnuts before he does something really stupid: Like trade Roy Halladay for a package of peanuts and a Heathcliff Slocumb trading card.

  • Vernon Wells and Alex Rios:  What can I say here.  These guys just plain haven’t delivered.  Rios has always been a good hitter, but I’m not sure he ever really warranted all this “star-player” talk.  I mean he’s never been much more than a decent player, capable of some great hot streaks.  As for Wells, I don’t know what to say.  I did notice that he dropped a lot of weight and his bat-speed seems to have decreased considerably.  With all the recent talk about steroids; I wouldn’t be totally surprised.  Remember how quickly Wells used to be able to come back from fairly severe injuries?  Isn’t that one of the wonders of PEDs?  Forgive me for being pessimistic, but I think we all have a right to be these days.
  • B.J. Blown-Save: We saw this one coming, didn’t we?  Of course B.J. Ryan was awful this year.  Of course his velocity was down.  Like Wells, Ryan looked CONSIDERABLY smaller than he had in past years, and although he’s never lit up the radar gun, Ryan’s velocity was curiously down from 88-91 mph to 84-86 mph.  Hmmm…I wonder what could have happened.  Probably the best move J.P. has made in recent years was releasing him when he did.

The Sweet

  • King Hill:  Everyone in Toronto has known how good Aaron Hill is for years now.  But the outside baseball world is just now figuring it out.  Even the proverbial psychics of the game, Baseball Prospectus, seemed to be completely misguided about the Jays star aaron hill.jpgsecond baseman, “there’s no telling where he’ll pick up, now that he’s a year removed from his 2007 power surge.  Sometimes a lost season can completely derail a player’s progress, particularly when that player was a late-bloomer to begin with.”

    First of all, how is Hill a late bloomer?  He was a 1st round draft pick and was in the majors within two years after solid minor-league numbers.  Secondly, Hill was projected by the Prospectus to hit .260 with 8 HR and 50 RBI.  Currently, with two months left in the season, Hill is sitting at a .291 average with 26 HR and 76 RBI.  Yeah…WRONG!!!  Hill has become the franchise player this team needs for the long-term future.  I like him…even if he is a Republican.

  • Adam Lind:  Cito was right when he said this kid could hit and would eventually become a 30 homer guy.  Lind has put up a fantastic year and has become a true power and average threat.  I can’t wait to see where his ceiling is.
  • The Doctor: Whether or not he’s Jay for much past the end of this season, Roy Halladay is still the best pitcher in baseball.  He proves it every time he take the mound.  Now that the distraction of almost being traded is behind him for now, Roy can get on with winning his second Cy Young Award.  Enjoy it while we have it Jays fans.

Major League Baseball has definitely seen its ups and downs this year as well.  The Ups: Buehrle’s perfect game, the myriad of cycles being hit, Jonathan Sanchez’s no-hitter, and Bronson Arroyo’s plain admission to using PEDs in the early 2000s, something more players should do.  The Downs: Manny and David Ortiz and steroids.  It’s getting to the point where players who were/are clean have the burden to prove their innocence.  No one is clean until proven that way.  Thats the bed Major League players have made for themselves, they must now lay in it.  No more excuses.  And if you are naive enough to believe that steroids are out of the game, than be sure write that list to Santa Claus, because Christmas is less than half a year
away.  I say from now on, if you get caught…full season suspension.  If you get caught again…lifetime ban.

I’ve been hesitant to do it because in the past I have believed that we need to give players the benefit of the doubt when it comes to steroid use, but now, after all of this crap, I will be making a list of players who I suspect were or are on steroids who have yet to be caught.  Stay tuned.