Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Gobbobons À Gogo
It is September 10th and the Toronto Blue Jays season is not technically dead. The contact high from "not technically dead" is enough to make a very green fanbase going full "post this salvia trip on Youtube!" up and down Blue Jays Way. "Not technically dead" is all we can ever really hope for in this life.
It is curious that the current state of "not technically dead" runs concurrent to the benching of Colby Rasmus and all but kicking Casey Janssen to touch. The Jays were close enough that presumably better players would help their cause but, in the mind of John Gibbons and Alex Anthopoulos and just about everybody in between, it doesn't matter who's "better" as much as who's better for the team.
Gibbons and the Jays feel that Rasmus isn't their best option to win games. Despite his numbers on the season being downright respectable, watching him (in non-pinch hit appearances) was painful at times, such is the dark cloud of misery following the rueful motherfucker around at every turn. It looks counter-intuitive on its face but minds are made up and Rasmus is on the bench for the duration.
Decisions such as these make the Blue Jays manager is an easy target for those desperate for someone to blame for something. Benching Rasmus, when the Jays are this close, is a sign of his pettiness or an inability to see the forest for the trees, I assume. I don't even really know what they're mad about and frankly I don't think they do either. But the manager seems to believe Rasmus' swing is a mess and his mind is likely worse, what with his pending free agency and meddling dad and all other Rasmus-sized factors contributing to his walk year downfall. So he's out by official decree.
Say what you want about John Gibbons but he dragged an oft-injured mess of a team and its "not technically dead" carcass this far. For that he surely deserves mockery and scorn? His willingness to dump Rasmus is viewed as incompetence or he's a puppet to the front office's wishes. Either way, there are lazy points to score so dig in! Fyre Gobbobobons!
Here's the thing you've probably noticed about Gibby: from Ted Lilly to Shea Hillenbrand to a mopey Eeyore hating his life and baseball's role within it so much that showing up as late as possible is his only respite and finally to a slop-tossing closer whining about a lack of reinforcements, John Gibbons doesn't suffer fools gladly. Far all his laid-back Texan affability, he has a line. Once crossed, there is no going back. All smirking and grinning and shit-talking in the world doesn't change his disdain for those on the wrong side of his law.
At some point, Rasmus planted his foot on the wrong side of the line, far enough over that Gibbons is fine with the perceived drop in production if it means defending his turf and stating "enough is enough" in a voice everyone can hear. Janssen's bellyaching toed the same line, once his command slipped and he lost his razor-thin margin for error on the mound, Gobboobboz sent him crashing down the side of a mountain before coming to rest in low-leverage hell.
The questions about Rasmus' production are still fair to ask, especially with less than inspiring options taking over. The biggest issue with platoons concerns the scarcity of roster spots. To ask two people to do the work of one isn't an efficient use of the 25-man roster. But it's September now, so the roster can grow to 40 and there isn't anything anyone can do about it.
So Gibby plays Anthony Gose and Kevin Pillar and lets Rasmus twist in the wind, allowing for the odd pinch hit heroics but really just waiting until he's officially someone else's problem.
And that's okay, frankly. The extra roster breathing room makes this move, putting an ostensibly better player on the bench, easier to stomach. Any and all wins make everything easier to stomach.
"Easy to stomach" is good thing, as being "not technically dead" on September 10th is going to test us. It could act like high-test vindaloo racing through a belly weaned on quarter chicken dinners. I sure hope to have an iron stomach by October. Not technically dead is a hell of a way to live.