McCoy vs Gathright

The spring training season started in 2010 with lots of guys vying for spots in the lineup. I had a feeling that some of the battles would get my blood flowing and would make an impression on the club’s direction under Cito Gaston. On the one hand, he is giving every opportunity for both Randy Ruiz and Brian Dopirak to show us what they can do. Rany has received 17 AB while Brian has received 14. Just to show how tight and tough this battle is, Randy is hitting .529 while Brian is hitting .357. I guess the edge goes to Randy for average and the fact that he has 1 HR to go along with it. In the case of the other bench spots, however, I don’t feel as though the battle is fairly squared off. Joey Gathright has had 16 ABs so far this spring, while Mike McCoy has had only 9. So how’s the battle going (in its short start)?

McCoy has 6 hits, Gathright has 3
McCoy has 3 walks, Gathright has 1
McCoy has 1 extra base hit, Gathright has none
McCoy has a .750 OBP, Gathright has a .235 OBP
MCCoy has .778 SLG, Gathright has .188 SLG
McCoy has .667 AVG, Gathright has .188
Both have been caught stealing once, while Gathright has stolen 1 base.

Knowing all of this, and also realizing that the battle is there between Jeremy Reed, Joey Gathright, and Mike McCoy for a bench spot, what does the Jays blogger Jordan Bastien write about? How great Joey Gathright’s chances are of making the club. Why? Because he is getting the feeling, from Gaston and the playing time, that Gathright has a real shot at making the team. The subtitle of his Gathright article even says “Veteran competing for Jays’ left-field job with Snider, Reed”….really? Wow. Should I be excited to go to the game and watch a LF that couldn’t make any starting roster in 2009 and was dumped by Kansas City? Shouldn’t I get some sort of discount on my tickets if that happens? Please tell me it’s not going to happen. Please tell me that Travis Snider will not be replaced in LF by Joey 1 tool Gathright. Put Chris Lubanski in there, Jeremy Reed, Mike McCoy, anyone, just not Gathright. He is not a starter and has no potential to grow into one. None. My argument and desperation don’t end there, however.

Jordan Bastien does make the point that in the fight for the bench spot, it comes down to Reed, Gathright, and he specifies McCoy as a utility man. That, to me, is the most important point. If you’re already getting a better performance from a guy who is just as speedy, if not speedier than the others, and he can play 2B, SS, 3B, LF, CF, RF, C, and pitch the odd inning, while the others can only play LF, CF, RF….which one do you keep? Yet, who is the article based on? Joey Gathright. Who is getting the attention and playing time? Joey Gathright. Why? Is it because he’s made some nice catches against the Jays in the past or because he used to be with the Red Sox? I have no idea, and no answers, just questions.

I don’t get it. I just don’t get it. I don’t get why Mike McCoy isn’t getting more playing time even after performing a ton better in a limited role. I don’t get why Travis Snider continues to hit in the 9th hole since it’s not working for him. I don’t get why Joey Gathright is still the leader for the bench spot in the OF when all he has to play with is speed and he’s played as his history suggests thus far. No hitting, just speed. Newsflash – you need to be on base to use your speed! And that’s exactly what McCoy does, he gets on base!

I’ll update this battle next week or so, but it better start shifting towards more playing time for McCoy, or it’s going to be one long season under Cito Gaston folks, I can guarantee you that.

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Tags: Chris Lubanski Jeremy Reed Joey Gathright Mike McCoy

  • Yeah

    Sounds very cool. Do you think the new puffle game is sweet?

  • wbruyea

    Take it easy Mat, it’s early yet. We have a couple of weeks before some of the hard decisions about backup and bench players need to be made.

    I love your passion for the Jays and I echo your sentiments about McCoy. On the surface he appears to be the perfect bench player for the Jays – can play multiple positions which provides flexibility, has speed which we are woefully short of, could bat leadoff in the event the Bautista experiement fails. I believe the battles will play themselves out naturally by the end of March.

    I would be happy with either Ruiz or Dopirak as the DH/backup at 1st base. I have this sense that Dopirak just needs a chance and someone to believe in him before he puts it all together the Linda did last year. He certainly has the talent and the minor league stats to support. If you compare him to Lars Anderson who BA rates as the Red Sox 4th best prospect, other than age, they compare favorably, but Dopirak’s stats blow him away. In spite of the love for Ruiz and pending arrival of Wallace, I would give Dopirak a chance to be the DH/backup at 1st. He has a higher upside than Ruiz and could be great trade material if he succeeds, even if we are committed to a future with Wallace at 1st. Ruiz would continue to be a great alternate option if it doesn’t work out.

    My bigger concern is Travis Snider. I know it’s only spring but he has yet to get it going and is hitting under .200. If he doesn’t improve over the next couple of weeks, I believe he could start the year in AAA. Right now the only one of the outfielders fighting for a roster spot, who is hitting is Reed. Could he start the season in the OF while he is hot while Snider gets more seasoning with less pressure in the minors to be recalled later. I see Snider experiencing the same issues Lind did getting established at the major league level. One day it will just “click” and he’ll have a monster year.

    The pitching is even more exciting with so many great arms in camp. I believe this too will play itself out before the end of the March. With all the pitchers out of otpions, I believe the Jays will trade one or more of their middle relievers to make room for some of the up and coming talent, perhaps even keeping Zinicola on the roster. Dana Eveland has done a great job so far and makes more sense as a 5th starter to me than Tallet. Tallet’s highest value is as a long reliever and “spot” starter. What we saw last year is what we’ll get again if we try to make him a permanent starter – a mediocre record with an ERA near 5. We will get the same or better from Eveland if you look at his history. Whoever it is will only be a placeholder for McGowan anyway, who will start on the disabled list to build his arm strength before he gets a chance to prove he is finally healthy. We need a new #1 starter, and McGowan has the stuff and potential to be that, if he can come back to full health. I believe the Jays will give him every opportunity to do so. Being out of options, someone will claim him as a low risk/high reward player if they try to waive him anyway. Jays need to know once and for all if he is going to make their rotation.

    So by May imagine a rotation of McGowan, Marcum, Romero, Morrow, Rzep. Great balance, great talent, lots of potential and upside.

    One or more of the middle relievers will be gone by opening day. They have too many without options, such as Camp, Valdez, Eveland, and Tallet who would be claimed if the Jays tried to waive them. I believe one of the rumors about Frasor will be fulfilled. Middle relief is the part of our team which could be easily replaced with one or several of the players in camp.

    Now sit back a enjoy the spring and remember – injuries – on our team or another, can dramatically change the roster makeup and player movement. Enjoy the next 3 weeks.

  • wbruyea

    Postscript to earlier blog:

    Today’s pitching line for Eveland against the Braves

    3.0 IP 2 Hits 0 Runs 0 Walks 4 SO

    Is he starting to grow on you yet?

    I picked up this post on the rumor wire while reviewing the boxscore: ” Both the Diamondbacks and Mariners had interest in Dana Eveland before he was acquired by the Blue Jays, tweets’s Alden Gonzalez.”

    D’backs interest in Eveland is understandable as he was part of a 2006 trade in which they initially acquired him. They had to include him in the Dan Haren deal but obviously would be glad to have him back.

    Eveland’s trade history

    June 4, 2002: Drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 16th round of the 2002 amateur draft. Player signed May 26, 2003.

    November 25, 2006: Traded by the Milwaukee Brewers with Doug Davis and Dave Krynzel to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Greg Aquino, Johnny Estrada and Claudio Vargas.

    December 14, 2007: Traded by the Arizona Diamondbacks with Chris Carter (minors), Brett Anderson, Aaron Cunningham, Carlos Gonzalez and Greg Smith to the Oakland Athletics for Dan Haren and Connor Robertson.

  • Mat Germain

    wbruyea, love the comment and I will definitely heed the advice! I agree with all your points and do believe that he should get it together by mid-season. Whether that happens in AAA or MLB remains to be seen.

    It seems like Cito heard my thoughts, as he had McCoy leading off today and Gathright following him up. Do you think he way sizing them up one against the other? I would think so. McCoy went 2 for 4 and Gathright went 0 for 3. Cito may also have listened to my thoughts on hitting Snider at the bottom of the lineup because he hit 6th today. It seems to have worked a little since he hit a double off of Tim Hudson in his first AB. Many hitters will tell you that they feel more comfortable in certain parts of the lineup – Adam Lind, for example, wants nothing to do with being in the 4th spot. If Cito puts Snider in the 6 hole, I think that he’ll come around a little more quickly.

    I posted something about Eveland once before (last week I believe) in that he was the one pitcher that surprised me a lot because his performances were so dominating. I wasn’t expecting much from him and thought he was going to take the long relief role and spot start. However, with McGowan being on a tight leash for innings and Tallet and Cecil struggling so far, Eveland actually looks like he’s in the lead for the 5th spot in my books.

    It’s funny you should mention the trade he had along with Davis, since it does seem that once a team has made up its mind to scout a guy and like his makeup enough to draft or sign him, they seem to gravitate to them again in the future if the opportunity is right. Doug Davis is back with the Brewers, and Eveland almost ended up in Arizona once again. The Jays picked up 2 guys they had drafted in Brett Wallace and Zach Jackson. I guess that when an organization likes a player, they really commit to liking him.

    I like Eveland a lot, and if he does pan out to be nearly as good as he has been this spring, the Jays could have a very strong 5 indeed. I think that if we expect McGowan to jump in with 120+ innings as a starter this season we may end up injuring him again. I’d rather see him build up arm strength in the pen and get extended as the season goes on. If they need him in July onwards as a starter, then he’d be stronger and able to step in for the rest of the year, we hope!

  • wbruyea

    Nice follow up Mat. Add Brad Mills to your list of guys that the Blue Jays fell in love with enough to draft two years in a row even though he is likely only 4th or 5th starter material.

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  • thebball

    Watch out for the Mastroinni kid.

    He can run – has an excellent eye at the plate – covers more ground in center than anyone they have – and contrary to the nonsense in the media – is a gap to gap hitter – not a slapster like Gathright