Monday, August 30, 2010

The Highly Movable Object

When pining for Fred Lewis lo those many months ago, I hoped he'd provide league average to above average play at nominal rate. I hoped he'd walk and steal a bag or two and maybe rope some doubles. As 2010 progresses, it is clear to see that Fred Lewis can do all those things, with his walk rate increasing. (Though all his other rates decrease.)

Remember, going into 2010 league average play out of the left fielder was far from a foregone conclusion. The Menchersons of the world were fresh in our heads; and the difference between league average and replacement level is much larger than we realize. And into this fray stepped Fred Lewis, doing an admirable1 job. He hasn't set the world on fire, but he did a job very few Blue Jays were qualified to do. Until now.

At this juncture of the season, with all the moving parts at play, Clarence needs to sit Fred Lewis so Travis Snider can play every day. Not a popular choice — especially with Lewis, who seems to believe himself an everyday kinda guy — but this is the only piece that fits both a) the Jays future plans for their young players and b) the ideology of the current skipper.

Lyle Overbay is playing for a contract, meaning Clarence must do right by his veteran. Jose Bautista fills in at third base but The Manager loves him in right field. When healthy, Clarence can't get away from E5. Even without EE, Clarence often finds ways to keep Bautista in the outfield and one of the young outfielders on the bench.

Foolish as it might be to assume The Manager is in tune with the contract status of all his players, he has to know Lewis is due but a modest raise next year. If something has to give, it must be Lewis. League average is nice but this team has bigger fish to fry, as I'm sure I've said a million times. Travis Snider is a special talent and his at bats should be paramount.

Hardly breaking new ground, but this seems like the only way to work it. If Overbay must play every day, let him DH a bunch with Lind at first. If Bautista isn't playing right field, plug John MacDonald or McCoy or whomever in a third. Just leave Snider in left. Every night, every day. Tough lefty or shitballing righty. All Snider, all the time.

1 - Admirable is a relative thing. Over his last 200 PAs, Lewis has an OPS a hair over .725. He's a streaky dude but that ain't too hot. Walks are good but the doubles have all but disappeared.

Reuters picture from Daylife


  1. All Snider, all the time.

    Preach on. I believe all of us, to a man, would agree with what you've written. While one month of regular at-bats for Snider in 2010 won't define his career, all I keep telling myself is: only one more month of Cito.

  2. What will there be to write about next year when there is a comprehensible manager in place.

    There will be one, right?

  3. I guess you could always write about positives, nah.

  4. Well said, and though I'm not the biggest Snider fan, the kid deserves to play.

  5. Snider batting 9th tonight behind McCoy (2), Wise (7) and McDonald (8). I can't take it anymore!

  6. Completely agree with the core point. Snider needs to play.

    Clarence doesn't have to play Overbay every day, but he will, whether it's the right move or not.

  7. All Snider, all day, all the time.

  8. Give me Snider or give me death!

    On the positive side of things, look at the way Morrow was misused in Seattle and how quickly he has recovered through proper use here in Toronto. Snider missing 200 PAs or so isn't the end of the world.

  9. "Clarence often finds ways to keep Bautista in the outfield and one of the young outfielders on the bench."

    Lewis is 30 (or turning 30??) he's essentially the same age as Bautista (few months). He can't play right, questionable in center and his only fit is left or DH. Obviously he's not the prototypical DH but a few starts here and there are fine but if the Jays are serious about Lind at first they need to go out in the offseason and get a legitimate threat for the DH role. Snider is our future LF, he can play right but in my opinion Fred Lewis isn't a good enough player to push him over there. It also boggles his mind when he's not in the lineup (with him, the future and the HR leader fightin for 2 OF spots, and it boggles his mind), can't see him being a good 4th outfielder.

    AA needs to non-tender him this offseason.

  10. It's not the at-bats that Snider needs, it's fielding. He was very sloppy on Sunday from my perspective behind home plate. The Hill error looked like it was Snider's ball and there was another hit he didn't charge hard. Malave had a long chat with him after the first misplay.

  11. At bats, fielding, whatever. Travis Snider needs more experience, and more time to adjust his burly frame to the grind of playing every day.


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