Before I really begin this post in earnest I’d just like to preface what I’m about to say with the fact that I am not a fan of Gregg Zaun. I’d say he ranks somewhere between Frank D’Angelo and Mike Toth in terms in my books (which for the record is not good). Whether it was his rally killing tendencies, being picked over Bengie Molina as the Jays’ catcher, or just his general aura, I just never could get behind him as a Blue Jay.*
*his walk off grand slam against the Rays was awesome and I think he’d be a rad guy to have a beer or ten with
As a player Zaun was pretty blah, but it’s in his new role as a broadcaster that he seems to be drawing the ire of the most people. While occasionally insightful he is for the most part brash, off-colour, and just generally wrong. In fact his track record as an analyst has earned him the moniker Zaun Cherry, due to the similarities between him and our nations most beloved snappy dressing, racist, sexist TV personality, Don Cherry.
Now as I mentioned before Zaun does have some interesting valid points that he shares from time to time, but usually his analysis is only slightly less nonsensical than his explanation for his name coming up in the Mitchell Report. Which for anybody who doesn’t know or may have forgotten was that he signed a blank check because he lost a poker game, personally if I was him I would have gone with the “I was still terrible” defense. Although the Jays missed the boat on a great promo idea as they could have had, Gregg Zaun autographed check night.
Anyways I have digressed a little too far at this point. Earlier today Michael Wray took Zaun to task for his comments on the Fan 590 yesterday. While Zaun did raise several valid points, there were some things he said such as:
who can’t figure out how to situational hit.
That were right up there with his “Shoulders shoulder width apart” line. He definitely deserved to be called out but I feel the manner in which he was called out fell short.
Wray pointed to Zaun’s lackluster playing career when explaining why his viewpoints were largely wrong, and that he could never earn a job as a General Manager because of this.
This got me curious about the baseball prowess of the 30 GMs currently employed in MLB. Only 7 of the 30 GMs were ever even drafted and less than half of those seven ever made it to The Show. That leaves us with Jerry Dipoto, Billy Beane, and Ruben Amaro Jr. Of this trio Dipoto was far and away the best of the three. Dipoto had 352 strikeouts in 390 appearances had 27 wins and 49 saves and accumulated 6.2 WAR, leaving Amaro 0.4 WAR and Beane -1.6 WAR in his dust.
But towering over those three like Mighty Casey is the 16 year veteran Gregg Zaun. Zaun had a .258 career average, knocked in 88 homes runs, won a World Series with the Marlins in 1997 and accumulated 13.8 WAR on his career. Based on the argument that his merits (or lack thereof) as a player would make him a poor GM, he should in fact be the best GM as he has more major league experience and “success” than any of the other managing generals in the game today.
Now looking past the performance argument I must chime in on some of the thing Zaun said that I agree with. The players Zaun listed that the jays should be willing to move were Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, J.P. Arencibia, Brett Lawrie, Maicer Izturis and Rajai Davis.
I personally would hold on to Buehrle because the chances of you being able to get anything of value for him with that contract are slim, and also even the best teams need back of the rotation starters so moving him would create a hole that would not likely be filled by what the team gets in return.
The rest of the players mentioned with the exception of Brett Lawrie would not be considered core players. Technically Arencibia who is going to be arbitration eligible next season could be considered a long term piece, but he also could be considered atrocious.
I’m not going to go in depth on how the team might look with trading all these pieces as that’s worth of it’s own post. But I will look at the notion I’m sure many would find blasphemous, that is trading Brett Lawrie.
While his passport may have the right flag on it and he has a lot of potential there he has yet to deliver on that promise, seems to be injury prone and then there’s the perceived attitude issues which I’m sure are simply a side effect of being “fully dimed.”
While it’s easy to say Lawrie is at his absolute lowest value Zaun raises a good point about a player of Lawrie’s potential.
Here’s the beauty of guys like Brett, he is pretty to everybody, he’s an athlete he’s a specimen and he could turn the corner at a moments notice… there’s always going to be an organization that looks at that guy and says you know what we can fix him we can corral the attitude we can focus his energy in a positive way.
Now I’m not full on endorsing the idea of trading Lawrie but the point must be taken, this organization has been so focused on potential, and ceiling as of late and it is an approach that has yet to pay any dividends. It may be time for the team to start looking at players with a high floor instead.