Big League Chew: Is Kevin Seitzer a Keeper?


For this installment of Big League Chew, Ryan (@MuellerRyan11) and I (@JaysFromCouch) are going to use a piece from Tom Dakers at Bluebird Banter. In it, Dakers looks at individual players to see how many positives or negatives Seitzer has induced. My boy, Mueller and I decided to debate the issue ourselves. Should Kevin Seitzer be shown the door?

SD: Should Kevin Seitzer go? Yes. What has he done that couldn’t have been done by some one else? Considering the Blue Jays’ results, would it have made a difference if there were no coach at all? They are a home run happy team. That has not changed this year, or in any other. Seitzer was supposed to change that; to turn them into a situational, productive team. How’d that work out? When they hit bombs, they win. When they don’t, they don’t. Jose Bautista is still trying to launch every pitch. Yes, he’s gone the other way a bit more. But, are you telling me it is enough to say there has been a change in his approach? No. He’s looking to the LF seats. Edwin Encarnacion too.

Maybe Munenori Kawasaki should be the hitting coach. He knows how to work the count. Kevin Seitzer has been unable to change the hitters’ approach. He certainly has not been able to cut down on the number of strike outs. I do think a coach can, and should, have an impact in that area. Seitzer has not been able to change the hitters’ minds. A coach needs the buy in from players. Seitzer has’t been able to get that.

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RM: The Jays, as a whole, need to take a different approach to hitting. This organization needs to make up its mind what philosophy it wants to adopt. Home run team or small ball team or some sort of mix. Looking at the strength of this system, I would go with small ball. That makes Kevin the right man for the job. Alex Anthopoulos has done a good job of drafting D.J. Davis, Dalton Pompey and Anthony Alford types, while acquiring Jose Reyes and Anthony Gose– athletic players. Their legs and hitting attributes are their claim to fame, not the long ball.  They need to develop players that have a good idea of the strike zone and display a keen understanding of the strike zone.

I was against promoting Juan Francisco because I felt that Dan Johnson was a better choice. Juan stood for everything that is wrong with the makeup of this team…..high strike out, all or nothing bat, and suspect defence. Dan Johnson is, like Kawasaki, everything that this team needs, good pitch recognition, good defence, and decent power. Over the course of a season, I truly believe that Dan Johnson would have provided more value to the Blue Jays.  

SD: Don’t get me started on J-Frank. A commenter ripped into me about him. He loved Big Juan. Me, not so much. Striking out 40% of the time is ridiculous. Which is what concerns me about Seitzer. Shouldn’t a coach have some sort of ability to convince his players to follow the advice he is giving? If he is delivering the “use the whole field, up the middle, or whatever” approach, a good coach gets them to buy in. It seems the Blue Jays try it, but then revert back to their own comfort zone.

Colby Rasmus is a perfect example. He practically came out and said that the coach is asking him to do something but he is not comfortable, so he is not going to do it. That probably contributed to his benching. A coach can’t be responsible for a player being stubborn, but he should be able to impact their approach. How many good approaches did we see? Kawasaki. And then who? And, I would argue that Kawasaki’s approach has nothing to do with Seitzer.

RM: Melky Cabrera, Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista all have good approaches. One could argue that Dioner Navarro has a decent approach. As for Seitzer being able to influence the likes of Colby Rasmus and J-Frank, well you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. Seitzer can only do so much. A change in philosophy can not be accomplished in one year. It needs to be cultivated in the minor leagues and will trickle through the system. Guys like Anthony Gose and Kevin Pillar will always be players that strike out too much, but if Seitzer can get to Dalton Pompey at this stage in his development, then maybe he can have enough of an influence to make a difference.

SD: A hitting coach’s job is to get the message across in one year. More time is not a guarantee. If his philosophy doesn’t match the organization, then he’ll be gone. Which means he shouldn’t have been hired in the first place. As for the BlueJays, I think they don’t have an organizational philosophy. It’s hard to do when you just get whatever guys you can get. Maybe that’ll change with the new draftees that are coming up. But as of right now, the MLB hitting coach doesn’t impact that. He may have a good philosophy, but I don’t think he’s had a positive impact on the players you mention. And then to say “you can lead a horse to water… ” is just a cop out. IT’S HIS JOB!  If the horses don’t drink, you have to ask “why”.

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  • RM: If they don’t drink….maybe they aren’t thirsty? It is always easier to fire one guy than to trade a bunch of problems…uh… I mean players. We can’t just keep on firing guys. Maybe Gibby and Seitzer aren’t the guys to lead us, but neither was John ‘Dream Job’ Farrell or Cito Gaston 2.0. As for the Jays not having a philosophy…sure they do. It is and has been the same for years.

    Grip it and rip it.  

    Final Word:

    SD: If that is their philosophy, then they can hire anyone. In which case, the “Kevin Seitzer is good for this team because he brings a good approach” argument is garbage. They don’t need him to preach using the whole field or going up the middle if they just want guys to “grip it and rip it”. I win. Seitzer was supposed to come in and fix Ryan Goins and bring a new approach. He failed on both accounts. You’re right, it is easier to fire the shepherd than the sheep. So, fire him.

    RM: Are you sure you don’t live in Toronto? Maybe Goins wasn’t broken. Maybe he lacks the talent to take the next step. If you are right about anyone being able to be the hitting coach for this team then why hire one at all? Take the money and put it towards another year of Kawasaki.

    Does anyone else remember the chatter about having two hitting coaches? Whatever happened with that?