The Mockingbird

The Mysterious Vanishing of Mr. Adams (Or: if you miss the A-train)

with 3 comments

No, no…it’s just a song. Nothing but a Jazz standard. I’m not going that far even if I read a million Adams booster articles. There has been absolutely no mention a possible return this year of the once-promising first round pick Russ Adams, except for Jerry Howarth apparently running his mouth off for no reason during a spring training game:

Also of note, Jerry Howarth said that Toronto’s plan was to have Russ Adams start the season as the regular second baseman at Syracuse and, if all goes well, start at second for Toronto sometime this season, with Hill moving over to SS…

(taken from www.bluebirdbanter.com – you can scroll down to read his equally incredulous comment continue…)

In reality, Russ must have thought the Jays were enacting some sort of twisted revenge on him this year when they signed Clayton to take his place, then Macdonald as a defensive backup, then picked up Jason Smith as a rule 5, and finally, just to make sure that it would take an entire bus crash and not just a handful of freak injuries to give him another shot in the majors this year, picked up Ray Olmedo. Down on the depth chart? Try BURIED.

But as recently as before last year, this was still the party line:

The other big debate last season was whether Russ Adams or Aaron Hill was the Jays shortstop of the future. LaCava says there was no debate inside the organization. “We never considered moving Adams off shortstop. We think they are in the right spots right now, Russ keeps getting better each year, he has come a long way and some of the errors he made last year he won’t make this year.”

So what happened? How were they so wrong? There were rumblings last spring training that maybe he and Hill were in the wrong positions and the team steadfastly refused to consider the idea until a couple months in when he was quietly and unceremoniously shipped to the minors to stay. Now it doesn’t even seem like they’re particularly interested in him, and he’s not even getting another look until 2008. Was it mental? Was his arm just not good enough? And why is J.P. acting like it’s no big deal when our current solution to him choking his way out of our long-weakest position is 1) clearly temporary and 2) a big joke?

Written by halejon

March 18, 2007 at 3:26 am

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  1. I believe this was just an error of philosophy, a result of the whole “shortstop-is-the-key” rhetoric.

    5 shortstops were drafted ahead of Adams in the 2002 draft. They saw a kid who batted .370 and had 45 steals (unbelievable!!) in his 02 college season who played shortstop and said “this guy is our shortstop of the future.” They didn’t want to lose out on the crop of SS.

    They HAD to know that (1) he wasn’t that fast, and (2) he had a terrible arm.

    But the guy could hit, so they said let the defence develop. Still waiting.

    hroman

    March 19, 2007 at 2:58 pm

  2. Well for 1) He’s not really that slow, either…11 steals in his rookie season for the Jays translates to at least 30 if he was on the Dodgers.

    And 2) There were rumblings that it was below average, but he was considered very slick with the glove. He still has a better arm than David Eckstein.

    I can’t fault them for the pick…they did really need a SS and raw talent is always a crap shoot- it’s that it took another 4 years and a season in the bigs to pull the plug and start over at 2b, with Hill who is obviously able to play SS in the wings. If it was just seniority that blinded them, that’s garbage and a total waste.

    Interestingly enough, the other two SS’s who came later in the first raft were Moneyball selection John McCurdy, who hit an even MORE stellar .443 in 2002 and is currently circling the drain in A ball, and….wait for it….Sergio Santos!

    halejon

    March 19, 2007 at 6:04 pm

  3. […] that he could get another shot due to injuries. There were a few positive articles on him and Jerry Howarth shot his mouth off about him coming back in 2008, but all that J.P. would concede was that he could […]


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