Friday 28 February 2014

Needs More Muni

I should note that I've previously been pro-Goins at 2B, and have made posts defending the idea of handing him the job until he proves that he can't handle it.  If I remember correctly, those posts also assumed that the Jays would be devoting their offseason to finding pitching help, not standing there holding their dicks.

I know it's fucking spring training, but Munenori Kawasaki had two hits today against Pittsburgh, and that's entirely enough for me.

It's time to hand Munenori Kawasaki the starting 2nd base job.

In fact, there really shouldn't be a question here.  I mean, yeah, find a real 2nd baseman.  But if not, Muni.  Here's what we know:

  • Ryan Goins is good at defense, and not good at offense.
  • Maicer Izturis is not good at defense, and, well, isn't good at offense either.  I understand, given his contract situation, if the Jays want to make sure he isn't at least somewhat useful before they DFA him to the depths of hell, so he can have the bench role.
  • Munenori Kawasaki is good at defense, and at least offers some sort of positive, respectable contribution with the bat.  He walks a lot, and sees a lot of pitches, which is more than you can say about Goins or Izturis.
Simply, Munenori Kawasaki is the best option at 2B, and the more I think about it, the clearer it gets.  That's all fine and good, but then you read the money quote from John Gibbons today:
I said this all last year, when he's on the field, good things usually happen.  When he's at-bat, he gives you a good at-bat, fundamentally, he's a sound defensive player.  On the bases, he's got real good instincts.  Just a good all-around player.
By gum, he's right.  And if Gibby likes him, I likes him.  Walks, basically.

From a projection standpoint, all three stand to offer right around the same value-- in the area of 0.7 WAR (though given how awful Izturis looked last year, I question how they have him being a + defender)-- so it probably isn't going to be a huge difference, no matter who gets the job.  It's the same destination, there are just three different routes we can take to get there.

But isn't part of baseball-- the non-sabermetric part, I suppose-- about the journey, and not the destination?  I mean, I can't make a sabermetric argument that says Muni should be the guy over either Goins or Izturis without having some sort of bias or conveniently neglecting some info somewhere.  I can't see in to the future or anything, so if we had this season take place in three separate parallel universes, where each guy got the job in their own respective one, I can't honestly tell you which is the best and which is the worst.  But dammit, if they're all projecting to offer the same value, how is this

 the odd man out?

Can't be.

I mean, I understand that Ryan Goins is 25 or something, and that the other guys are in their 30's.  I get it.  You want a guy who can be the 2B for years to come, and Goins is the only one who has a shot at improving, given age and typical aging curves or whatever.  They want to give him the job just in case he turns in to something, or let him fail before he goes to Korea to play, a la Eric Thames.

But come on.  It's Ryan Goins.  28 strikeouts, 2 walks, .092 iso.  It's not like he's 20 and struggled against big league pitching the first time he came up either-- he had a .311 wOBA in AAA last year, and a .336 wOBA in AA in 2012.  That's not all that good, so it shouldn't be a surprise that he sucks at hitting against big league pitching, in the AL East no less.

I'm not really a big believer in intangibles, mostly because there's no way to measure them.  I won't argue that they don't exist, or that some guy being really funny and fan-favoritey doesn't have some sort of effect on a team, because it probably does.  I'd way rather, though, have a guy who is good at baseball and a solid hitter than have someone who stretches upside-down and keeps everybody loose with his antics.  Unfortunately, the former isn't really an option right now, which makes Muni the best of a bad situation.

Speaking of options, I think Goins has options.  Send him down.

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