The Mockingbird

Twist the Knife

with 28 comments

Not to lump myself in with the lowbrow grit lovers, but after his game winning home run against the Pirates yesterday, Reed Johnson now has an OPS better than any Jay not named Adam Lind.

Now that’s not saying much. He’s still just a 4th outfielder who can only hit lefties. But coincidentally, the Jays have used three of the worst 4th outfielders in the league, and can’t hit lefties.  And all said, saved a little under a million dollars for the privilege…


Written by halejon

August 4, 2008 at 2:54 pm

Posted in Seriousness

28 Responses

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  1. like seinfeld when he went to the dry cleaner and asked the guy to admit that he shrunk his shirt, i’d like it for JP to admit that he made a big mistake in releasing reed, keepin shannon, and bringing in mencherson…

    mistakes happen, you know? i’m not mad. we’ve got lind, so all is cool. but i just want an admission of guilt…


    August 5, 2008 at 1:57 am

  2. Yeah, exactly. Every time I mention this to someone I always get “well, Lind is still better”, or “it wouldn’t have made a difference to the season”, or “he was still too expensive coming off surgery”. All true- but bottom line is it hasn’t worked out (and well, that wasn’t entirely impossible to predict) and we/they may as well admit that and move on.

    Part of me is happy, though. Reading Reed’s comments further down that game recap about how it was the best moment of his baseball career and he’d always wondered what it was like to get a curtain call like the big boys and if he hadn’t had surgery he would still be in Toronto and maybe it “all happened for a reason” (gag), leave me kinda warm and fuzzy that he’s gone to a better place (and a better baseball town) instead of suffering through this season.


    August 5, 2008 at 2:13 am

  3. Honestly guys, I don’t get this big fuss. It’s quite obvious that JP and the brass knew they didn’t want to have Thomas locked in for 2009 and would try to get out of that contract. That meant that Stairs was likely to become the DH this year, and the team needed a LF that would have been able to handle an everyday job. That was more likely to be Lind or Stewart than Reed (who still isn’t hitting RHP in Chicago, so his #s are protected by a platoon). Had JP had faith in Thomas he would have recognized Stairs as the LF vs RHP and then been inclined to keep Reed to hit vs LHP as a great 4th OF. Basically it’s the Thomas signing/quick dumpage that deserves the real scrutiny here, I think.


    August 5, 2008 at 2:52 am

  4. Just because Reed is hitting lefties in the second city doesn’t mean his splits wouldn’t have been Denboized here.


    August 5, 2008 at 12:32 pm

  5. You know of all people, I think Reed might be immune to the “never swing” approach. 🙂

    Anyway, there’s a post coming on this eventually but I think we might be giving Denbo too much, errr…credit. While they have been hacking more, as a team the Jays results haven’t gotten any better under Tenace except for a little slugging (read: Lind) and RISP (read: luck).

    I know Cito has spread the theory that it takes time to deprogram hitters, but I can’t help feeling this is just another Brantley hate session for an offense that just isn’t very good.


    August 5, 2008 at 1:06 pm

  6. Isn’t this moot because Stewart has been injured?


    August 5, 2008 at 4:47 pm

  7. I could see if he had been injured the whole season you could say who could have guessed and it’s out of their control — but he was healthy enough to spew out almost 200 at-bats and be mind-bogglingly (thinking of the DP’s) terrible for them.

    I don’t even know if Stewart is really injured any more. He’s been rehabbing for over two weeks, first in the GCL and now Dunedin (where he’s 2-11 in 4 games). I think it might be a case of just telling him to fake it until the rosters expand.


    August 5, 2008 at 5:00 pm

  8. But would Reed have been immune to the ‘hit poorly against LHP’ approach?


    August 5, 2008 at 5:48 pm

  9. Ha! Can’t even play Denbo’s advocate here since they’ve been hitting .304 against them since July…But then Tenace must be using the “suck even worse against RHP to balance things out” school of thought…

    Say, does anyone know if Denbo ever officially turned that job and/or they found someone else?


    August 5, 2008 at 7:15 pm

  10. Heyyy…..

    “In a lot of ways, (Inglett) gives us an upgrade in a lot of areas in that super-utility role,” Ricciardi said. “We look at him and we say, ‘We lost Reed and we liked Reed. But, we think Joe gives us a few more options that help us fill in that utility role.’ He’s done a good job. He’s taken the ball and run with it.”

    That’s probably as close as it’s ever going to get! I like how he went for our full-time 2B as the replacement instead of Lind in LF.


    August 5, 2008 at 8:16 pm

  11. Johnson’s hit way better against righties than Stewart has this year (i.e., OK vs. awful), in pretty close to the same number of PAs. Johnson actually has substantially more PAs against RHP than against LHP this year.

    I was inclined to discount Johnson’s numbers as being inflated by Wrigley, but looking at his splits, his home/road numbers are virtually identical. Still, I kinda feel like comparisons between AL and NL numbers are apples and, oh, I don’t know, crab apples.

    Cincinnatus C.

    August 5, 2008 at 8:26 pm

  12. Reed Johnson’s WPA: 0.58
    Joe Inglett’s WPA: 1.00


    August 5, 2008 at 10:32 pm

  13. Must….resist….clutch….bashing….


    August 6, 2008 at 4:05 am

  14. I think the rest of the Jays have resisted clutch bashing for too long.


    August 6, 2008 at 2:22 pm

  15. Zing!


    August 6, 2008 at 3:29 pm

  16. As Mike Wilner says, it was the right move at the time it happened and that’s all that matters when it comes to judging a move. A healthy Shannon Stewart in any other offense would be his usual self, which is to say, a lot better than Reed Johnson.

    Plus, Joe Inglett > Reed Johnson anyway, so this is all moot.


    August 8, 2008 at 12:43 am

  17. Here’s what I don’t get about the Thomas release, which as Ari pointed out earlier, seemed to have been planned as soon as the Hurt showed any signs of a slump. The logic was that Stewart was needed since he could play every day once Stairs moved to DH to replace Thomas….but did nobody realize that this meant you’d have to play Stairs every day? When did this ever seem to be a good idea? Stairs hasn’t been an everyday player in nine years. Even in 2007, Stairs only hit well in a platoon role — in the two months where he had more than 80 ABs, he struggled.

    The Thomas signing might really be JP’s dumbest move, if for no other reason than to get out of it, the 2008 lineup was weakened at more than one position.

    Alex P

    August 8, 2008 at 1:44 am

  18. How so? Even when healthy, Shannon Stewart has not been near as good as Reed has been this season for YEARS now. It was a questionable move at the time, and not entirely unexpectedly hasn’t panned out.

    Inglett has been a nice player, but we could easily have had both (and they fit, since Inglett is a leftie who can’t hit lefties) especially since he’s played mostly the infield. Is Kevin Mench > Reed Johnson? Wilkerson?


    August 8, 2008 at 2:00 am

  19. I dunno….I assumed when Thomas was let go it was to give Lind the full time job because he was obviously ready. All of Stewart/Mencherson getting full-time roles was a travesty.


    August 8, 2008 at 2:02 am

  20. “Even when healthy, Shannon Stewart has not been near as good as Reed has been this season for YEARS now.”

    How about just last year? Stewart OPS+’d 101 at .290/.345/.394. This year Reed is OPS+ing 107 at .299/.363 /.444.

    So Reed’s 2nd best year in his career barely beats out a so-so year from Stewart. So who was the more reliable choice? A guy with a proven track record who can play ever day if needed or a platoon hitter who had one good season among a bunch of crappy ones?


    August 8, 2008 at 12:09 pm

  21. By the way, I promise you Reed will not finish at .299/.363/.444. He’s in an up-swing right now but he’ll come back down to earth just like he did after his hot start to the season. He’ll most likely end up with a worse line than Stewart’s from last year.


    August 8, 2008 at 12:13 pm

  22. Nobody wants to mention that Reed is a non-negligible upgrade defensively over Shannon. Granted, defense in LF isn’t the difference between PLAYOFFS! and not, but there wasn’t a huge difference in projected offense of the two players, either.

    Maybe Reed slept with Shayne Corson’s wife?


    August 8, 2008 at 2:30 pm

  23. SP: Those numbers are just sort of close, and that’s Shanny’s best season over the last three. I don’t get why Stewart gets the “reliable” tag from everyone when he’s been a substantially below-average hitter for three years. That just screams permanent decline to me.

    I understand that Reed was a much riskier option due to his injury and potential fluke status, but unless there were medical reports saying that his back was totally messed, it wasn’t impossible to make rational, statistical arguments that predicted how this was going to play out before the season…I know because I did, so I’m going to toot my own horn. 🙂

    You’re probably right- it’s not really fair to bring this up every time Reed goes on a tear. I would bet the farm that he still manages what we’ve wound up with to replace him to shame, though.


    August 8, 2008 at 5:39 pm

  24. Yaksman: Hey, I do! I do! Back in the day, I estimated that Reed could make up for ~25 points of average and pointed out that we we were going from one of the best arms in left to the worst. And exactly- without much to choose from offensively I think that’s significant (and another reason not to have totally feared Reed having going back to a .270 season.


    August 8, 2008 at 5:44 pm

  25. I’m a little late to the party, but did nobody notice Reed’s splits this year? More specifically, the number of at bats for each split?

    98 at bats vs LHP – 347/427/520 (948 OPS)
    143 AB vs RHP – 266/314/392 (706 OPS).

    The only reason his overall line looks good is because he’s had almost as many AB vs LHP as he has against RHP. This isn’t a real shock, as we all knew that he’d slug lefties and kill righties. But his overall line looks so good because he’s had so few AB vs RHP. Normally he has 150 AB vs LHP and maybe 200-300 AB vs LHP, whereas this year he’s had 98 vs LHP to 143 vs RHP.

    I would have liked to keep Johnson too – even at 3 million. But I wouldn’t worry that his OPS is higher than the Jays OPS, because if you look at the AB splits it’s very misleading.



    August 9, 2008 at 6:48 pm

  26. ^^

    Sorry, that should say GET KILLED by RHP and not kill righties.


    August 9, 2008 at 6:49 pm

  27. Yah, he’s still a one-trick pony for sure.

    I miss my pony.


    August 11, 2008 at 1:22 pm

  28. ELAINE: What about ponies? What kind of abnormal animal is that? And those kids who had their own ponies..

    JERRY: I know, I hated those kids. In fact, I hate anyone that ever had a pony when they were growing up.

    MANYA: ..I had a pony.

    (The room is dead quiet)

    JERRY: ..Well, I didn’t really mean a pony, per se.

    MANYA: (Angry) When I was a little girl in Poland, we all had ponies. My sister had pony, my cousin had pony, ..So, what’s wrong with that?

    JERRY: Nothing. Nothing at all. I was just merely expressting..

    HELEN: Should we have coffee? Who’s having coffee?

    MANYA: He was a beautiful pony! And I loved him.

    JERRY: Well, I’m sure you did. Who wouldn’t love a pony? Who wouldn’t love a person that had a pony?

    MANYA: You! You said so!

    JERRY: No, see, we didn’t have ponies. I’m sure at the time in Poland, they were very common. They were probably like compact cars..

    MANYA: That’s it! I’ve had enough! (She leaves the room)


    August 12, 2008 at 2:00 am

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