Jose Reyes injury. The worst.

I did not watch tonight’s game. Of course, the Jays won.

Of course, this also happened:

(GIF via Paul Sporer)

As of this writing, nobody knows exactly how long Reyes will be out, but here’s what we do know, via the numerous beat reporters (let’s give credit today to non-Rogers man Scott MacArthur) and just some plain basic facts:

  • Reyes heard something “pop”
  • Best case scenario, Reyes is out for a month. Worst case, three months.
  • General manager Alex Anthopoulos has already been talking with other GMs about trading for some infield help
  • Reyes is the best. Him getting hurt is the worst.
  • Mike McCoy is likely to get called up and see too much playing time.
  • Brett Lawrie can’t come back fast enough.
  • Reyes, usually an outstanding baserunner, slid late because he thought the pitch had been fouled off

I know I haven’t been active on the blog or on Twitter much lately, but I’m all too aware of the panic a lot of fans have been feeling because of the team’s slow start. I’ve been doing my best to talk sense into as many people as possible. “The Giants started 2-8 last year and won the World Series,” I say.

But right now, I feel the panic. It’s ridiculous, especially since there’s no real word on what’s wrong with Reyes, but this could hurt. Losing Reyes for three months could be a lot worse than a slow start. And seeing him cry? That’s worst of all.

Here’s hoping it’s not that bad.

And a quick update because the man himself tweets

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No such thing as too many options

The news broke late last night: The Toronto Blue Jays have optioned Travis Snider to Triple A Las Vegas. My initial reaction was one of frustration. Snider has the highest upside! Snider’s been jerked around so much, he deserves a real shot! If Snider was on any other team, Alex Anthopoulos would trade three relievers and a bag of popcorn for him and then let him play every day! TRAVIS SNIDER HAS LIGHT-TOWER POWER, DAMN IT.

I’m sure most of you have seen it already, but if not, check the 40-second mark in the above video. That was 2008. Snider was 20. He’s still only 24 (math!) and anybody ready to write him off is, well… foolish is probably the nicest word to describe those people.

So yes, I’m frustrated that Snider’s not going to get his much-deserved shot at the start of this season, but maybe it’s not such a bad thing.

Eric Thames is not a bad player. Not even close. If you can against root against Eric Thames, I don’t know that we can be friends. He works hard, he plays hard, he always looks like he’s having fun AND he can hit. He’s not Snider, but he doesn’t have to be.

Thames put a .262/.313/.456 (batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage) slash line last year and he did that over nearly 400 at-bats. He could learn to take a few more walks, but the power certainly seems real. If he can improve at getting on without sacrificing the power, he could be something special — or at least above average.

But where does that leave Snider? If he goes down to Vegas and mashes the minor-league pitching as he usually does, he’ll certainly be deserving of another shot in the bigs, but what position will he play?

I have a lot of hope for the 2012 Blue Jays, but there are a lot of question marks surrounding them. Particularly at first base. If Adam Lind and/or Edwin Encarnacion struggle at the plate again, the team can’t afford to give them endless opportunities.

It pains me to say it, but Lind’s been one of the worst hitters in MLB over the past two seasons. Sure, maybe he can regain something of his 2009 form but, without some form of improvement, he no longer deserves an everyday spot in the lineup.

Encarnacion, when he’s on his game, he’s one of the best hitters going. But when he’s off? It’s ugly. Maybe the DH/1B role will lift the weight of 3B and the E5 moniker and allow him to focus on hitting well. Or maybe he’s just another streaky player who’s a better fit for a bench role.

Both Lind and Encarnacion are going to get a shot to prove themselves worthy, but if either struggles and the team does something about it (as it should) that will open up the DH spot. Snider’s a better fielder than Thames, so it’d be a natural fit for Thames to DH while Snider patrols left.

And if everyone comes out swinging and no spots open up for Snider? That’s not a bad problem to have, especially for a GM who seems interested in adding pitching.

Employee relations

Choose your own adventure: You own a business in a competitive field. You want to, one day, be the absolute best in your field, but you know you’ve got a lot of work to do to get there. You’re striving to create a great working environment so that the top minds in your chosen industry will be attracted to your organization — not only by the potential your company shows, but also because they know they’ll be treated better working for you than if they worked for anybody else.

Now let’s say you’ve managed to hire someone from a rival. This someone is a little lacking in experience at the position you hire him for, but there’s a consensus in the industry that he’s going to be great once he gets some practice.

A year passes. The guy you’ve hired has made some questionable moves, but damn it, he’s showing the potential everybody knows he has.

Meanwhile, the rival from which you hired the employee suddenly has an opening and they want your man. They’ve got a chance to conquer the industry as early as next year and they want him to help lead them to the top.

If he wants to leave, do you stop him?

Keep in mind that if he wants to go, and you don’t let him, the atmosphere in your workplace is going to take a dive. The guy doesn’t want to be there — and everybody knows it.

What do you do?

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Is John Farrell going to leave the Blue Jays to manage the Red Sox? Only John Farrell knows.

If I’m Alex Anthopoulos, and if Farrell wants to go, I absolutely let him. Why poison the clubhouse like that? Why risk a big, big dent in the reputation of being a great place to work?

It’d definitely be tempting to prevent Boston from poaching the manager, if the Red Sox do indeed want to do that, but that’s an urge that’s got to be resisted.

Maybe offering Farrell some more money would get him to stay if he’s considering leaving. Maybe improving the team would get him to stay if he’s considering leaving. Those moves would be fine. Simply saying “you can’t go because I say so”? That’s not good enough. Not if you’re trying to build something real.

Why Blue Jays fans should be cheering for the Cardinals

It would be very easy right now to label the St. Louis Cardinals a “team of destiny.” They snuck into the postseason on the last possible day and only because the Atlanta Braves completed a collapse that was nearly as legendary as that of the Boston Red Sox. Since then they’ve knocked off the Philadelphia HalladayLeeHamelsOswalts and the Milwaukee Prince Fielders.

Now all that stands in the Cardinals’ way is the Texas Rangers, a team which has no trouble defeating destiny. In the ALDS, they dispatched the Tampa Bay Rays rather handily. Not enough proof? Why, just last year, they won the World Series when they beat a team that made it that far despite not knowing how to score runs! (What? They didn’t beat the Giants? Oh…)

Anyway, look. The Rangers are pretty huge favourites to win the whole thing this year. I believe the odds are such that if you bet on the Rangers in Vegas, you’ve got to put down about $1.50 to win a dollar.

But you, dear Jays fan, should be cheering for the Cardinals to overcome the odds again. Not only because it’s more fun to cheer for an underdog, but because the better the Cardinals do, the better off our real favourite team is.

Tony La Russa is a Questionable Man who thinks Questionable Things

You know how so many Blue Jays fans go around calling Alex Anthopoulos a “silent assassin”? Maybe a ninja? I don’t like it, but the sentiment is justified. Anthopoulos earns the title because he does things like trade (essentially) Marc Rzepcynski, Octavio Dotel and Corey Patterson for Colby Rasmus.

(I know the deal was more complicated than that, but come on.)

Judging by the reactions of most Jays fans, Anthopoulos had reached the Billy-Beane-in-Moneyball level of trading. That is to say that other GMs should be afraid when Anthopoulos gives them a call. That reaction is and was justified. And it’s exactly why we should all be cheering for the Cardinals right now.

For all the fleecing of St. Louis that took place back in July, the Cardinals still made it to the World Series. On top of that, Tony La Russa is saying that his team getting ripped off in the deal is the REASON the Cardinals are in the World Series. Seriously. I’m not making this up.

“I’ll tell you if that trade had not been made, I believe we probably would have been an under .500 club. That’s how important it was to us.” —Tony La Russa, genius

The more the Cards win, and the more the more their people make Toronto’s front office sound stupid for trading with them, the better is for Toronto.

If you’re a competing GM and Anthopoulos gives you a call, would you rather be afraid that he’s going to rip you off or would you like to think that “hey, maybe he’ll help me win the World Series, too!”

If the Cardinals win, it will make Anthopoulos look, in the eyes of many people, a little bit dumb. We know that’s not true in the least, but it’s a damn good thing for other teams to think.

So, Go Cards. Win it for the good people of Toronto.

Backup of the future

Watching last night’s Jays game, I was a little surprised to see both Jose Molina and J.P. Arencibia in the starting lineup. “What happens if Molina goes down?” I thought to myself. “Is John Farrell really OK with giving up the DH spot that easily?”

“Wait… isn’t Brian Jeroloman on the bench? He can’t be, can he? I mean, he’d have to have played by now, and I’m sure I’d have heard about that.”

The head cold I’ve been dealing with was enough to keep me on the couch and keep me from looking it up, but waiting over night saved me from doing any research. John Lott answered my questions for me.

Yes, Brian Jeroloman was on the bench. He has been since Aug. 23. And no, he hasn’t seen any game action yet.

Normally, when a young player gets a call to the majors and spends a lot of time on the bench, there’s a call for him to get some playing time to “see what we’ve got in him.” Jeroloman is different though.

Alex Anthopoulos said at the time of his call-up that Jeroloman wouldn’t play. Farrell has said that Molina and Arencibia have earned the little playing time that remains. The coach and GM have stuck to their word — so much so that it’s sometimes hard to remember that Jeroloman is in fact in the major leagues right now.

So, if he’s not playing, why are the Jays paying Jeroloman a major-league salary to sit on the bench? The guy is almost definitely not Toronto’s catcher of the future, after all.

But that may be the exact reason he’s with the big club right now.

With Arencibia holding his own to the point that there’s some minor rookie-of-the-year movement behind him and with the steam train that is Travis D’arnaud making his way through Toronto’s farm system, it would seem that the best possible outcome for Jeroloman — in a Jays uniform, anyway — is the role of backup catcher.

What better way to prepare for that role than riding the pine? Well, playing would obviously be better. But if the options are going home or travelling with and learning the art of calling a game from Molina, a guy who’s pretty good at catching, then travelling, learning and enjoy the post-game spread is probably the way to go.

And with Molina’s expiring contract and Type-B status, there’s a chance Jeroloman may even be the backup catcher as soon as next season.

So, as the Jays get ready for their final game of the season this afternoon, it’d be nice if Jeroloman got a little playing time to, you know, see what we’ve got in him.