In Part I, we introduced ourselves and generally discuss the offseason. In Part 2, we discussed the Marcum for Lawrie trade. In Part 3 we discussed the 2011 pitching staff, while in Part 4 we discussed the catching situation. In Part 5 we discussed the Jays' farm system, and in Part 6 we took a look at breakout and fallback candidates. In Part 7 we talked about rebound candidates, and whether the Jays are short one position player. Most recently, Part 8 looked at Ricky Romero becoming the leader of the pitching staff and the minor leaguers who could make an impact in 2011. And now for the final installment.
Hugo: Great question. I do think there will be some changes, if only because Cito was such an idiosyncratic manager. But with Farrell being new to the job, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where.
In terms of steals, it’s no secret I’m a big fan of the straight steal - but only when the team has the personnel to pull it off. With Rajai Davis set to be an everyday player I sure hope we see more steals. Even though he was a poor hitter in 2010 (.321 wOBA), Davis was so successful on the basepaths (50 of 61) that he was a slightly above-average offensive player (103 wRC+). No point in having that sort of player in the lineup if we don’t make the most of his abilities. For the rest of the team, though, they just don’t have the speed to pull it off. Snider and Bautista could probably swipe 10 bags a piece.
In terms of small ball, I actually think and hope we’ll see less. While certainly he will leave the day-to-day managing to Farrell, AA is coming into his own and has strong opinions and will make his preferences known. I, for one, look forward to seeing Yunel Escobar, who gave away 7 good outs with Toronto in 2010, bunt less. Yunie isn’t John McDonald, he’s too good a hitter (.364 lifetime OBP) to be giving away outs, particularly hitting in front of the Jays’ big bats.
I’m also hoping that Farrell uses the bullpen a little better, and doesn’t bury guys in the back of it, never to be used unless we are down by 10 or more. I think it is one of those self fulfilling things, Cito wouldn’t like a pitcher, so he would use him for 2 weeks, then the pitcher wouldn’t pitch well. Surprise.