Managers get measured by every word they speak into a mic, and sometimes you have to give a guy the benefit of the doubt when he’s thinking out loud. When Walt said “I’m still trying to figure out what to do with him”, I don’t think he meant with Jose Reyes – he meant with everyone else in the lineup.
I’m a big advocate of a regular batting order. Yeah, there’s that Sunday lineup thing, but over time if the ‘A’ lineup is jostled around too much it hurts everyone. While I get that a Blackmon platoon might help against left handers like Lester, the problem with that is there hasn’t been another leadoffish hitter on this roster. So, they play Blackmon every day to minimize the disruption to the rest of the batting order. (Does anyone really, seriously, want Drew Stubbs leading off?)
Until now. Reyes is a proven leadoff hitter.
If Walt jams Reyes in the leadoff spot, the risk is that Blackmon regresses from any progress he has made. Putting Reyes #2 sends DJ way down the order, but that we’re going to have to live with – and today, DJ is protecting CarGo while Dickerson sits.
I just realized that I won’t be writing “Tulowitzki” in a Rockies lineup ever again.
On a happier note, looking at that Eddie Butler name leads to the biggest positive factor from this trade. Now, I’d rather have Nolan Ryan walk in a room and say if you can’t pitch at least 7 innings, we’ll help you find another city to pitch in. (Rangers staff surges. Ryan leaves. Rangers staff regresses. Ryan shows up in Houston. Astros staff surges.)
The next best thing to issuing an edict is acquiring minor league arms, meaning Eddie Butler and Jon Gray have guys breathing up their tailpipes.
I really think folks are seriously underestimating how good Jeff Hoffman could be. Maybe it’s the TJ. Maybe it’s trepidation over the last time we missed with two can’t miss guys in a trade (who were overrated and overdrafted, but that’s another story). Maybe it’s we almost always miss in acquiring pitching via trades or free agency, most of the limited success has been via the draft or Latin signings. Hoffman is not Alex White, not by a longshot.
But let’s go back to the purpose of the minor leagues: development. I’ve watched more than a few Pioneer League games in recent years and I can tell you firsthand what happens. Kid who was big man on campus gets drafted. Kid thinks he can cruise. Kid gets knocked around. Some other kid who didn’t get the big bonus starts to pitch well and takes innings away. Kid either gets the idea and starts to compete, or doesn’t and gets left behind.
The strength of a great pitching staff – maybe the best example being Maddux/Glavine/Smoltz – is they compete on EVERYTHING. Wins. Strikeouts. ERA. Shutouts. CGs. Even how many longballs they hit at the plate. Every day is a competition.
More and better arms in the minors means more motivation to pitch well and be promoted.
The idea is not to just develop a guy, it’s to develop a four-tier wave with two or three guys in each one. That’s how the Mets completely reload a rotation in relatively short order. The way to do that is to instill more competition at lower levels.
There has been way too much chuck-and-duck in the Rockies system. You can see it right now at Albuquerque. There is one guy – Gray – and two journeyman who aren’t really pushing him or trying to crack the big club, and then there are a pile of desperation spot starters. WHIPs are criminal. Insanely bad. Not only can’t they help the big club, they can’t help themselves by giving Gray a compelling reason to pitch better.
The guys at New Britain suddenly have a big reason to pitch better, because Hoffman could easily blow all their doors off and get to Albuquerque before any of them.
When we have two or three guys in ABQ pounding the door trying to get to Denver, and two or three more guys somewhere in Connecticut looking to move up, we’ll have something.
Look for Blackmon and Reyes to run on Lester early.
CF Dexter Fowler (S)
LF Kyle Schwarber (L)
3B Kris Bryant (R)
1B Anthony Rizzo (L)
RF Chris Coghlan (L)
SS Addison Russell (R)
C David Ross (R)
P Jon Lester (L)
2B Jonathan Herrera (S)
CF Charlie Blackmon (L)
SS Jose Reyes (S)
3B Nolan Arenado (R)
RF Carlos Gonzalez (L)
2B DJ LeMahieu (R)
LF Drew Stubbs (R)
1B Ben Paulsen (L)
C Nick Hundley (R)
P Eddie Butler (R)