Jerry Howarth had some rather harsh things to say about Jose Reyes on the Dean Blundell show this morning. Jerry seems to be getting grumpier in his old age. I can understand that, following a middling team, for several years, can do that to a guy. But let's look at some of the things he said.
I feel sorry for John Gibbons, the coaches that work so hard, the pitchers that were on the mound when I made those comments (during Sunday's game Howarth said 'we are watching Jose Reyes' ability degrade in from of our eyes), the teammates that are on the field with him. When you have a SS who has been hurt every year in April, a former All-Star SS, who is getting older and I see the plays not made by him and I see the porous defense and just everything involved. I feel badly for the team. Especially when I've Ryan Goins play SS, he's a natural SS. He did that when Reyes was hurt, it's black and white, it's very clear who can play and who can't.
When I see the team in decline at 23-28 and see plays not made, what does it come down to: Defense. And plays not made and errors. It is very disappointing to see for me having covered this team for 34 years.
And he goes on:
Last year Jose Reyes led the AL in errors, that's first and foremost. I saw the decline last year. This year, I saw a number of routine plays not made and it just boiled over and I had enough. This is a tough situation for the Blue Jays with the contract. So there they are with a SS that's not going to get better, this goes back to a full season last year. This is an overall thing that doesn't go back to one game, this is an overall thing that just gets worse and worse and worse. When you have other people who can play better at that position that's a tough situation for the organization, because SS is just an important position on the team.
You know, Jerry is great and all....but he's saying we aren't winning because of Reyes' defense....and yet, with Ryan Goins playing SS, we weren't winning. Blaming one guy for their record, that's not fair.
I will note that the team is 16-23 in games Ryan Goins plays in and 14-20 in games Goins starts. Clearly, Reyes isn't the only reason we lose games. In games Reyes has played we are 11-11. It doesn't look to me like Reyes is the only reason we are losing.
And, of course, there is an offensive and defensive side to everything, Yeah Reyes made an error Sunday. He's also hit .345/.345/.483 since coming back from the injury. I wouldn't mind if he took a pitch, every now and then but I'll take that sort of line any day. I think Goins is a fine defensive replacement, a good guy to fill in for injuries, but I don't want him as my everyday shortstop.
Jerry goes on to complain that Reyes is having too much fun, too many smiles. This is my least favorite type of baseball analysis. You hear it way too much. Body language. If Reyes was grumpy on the bench, people would complain he's bringing down the team. A player can't win, there is no right way to be when things go bad, so why comment on it. I like happy players, they are playing a kids game, enjoy it.
Jerry is speaking out of frustration, which I can understand. I'm frustrated with the season too. But, let's not blame all the team's troubles on one guy.
I do think Reyes ultimately will end up in the outfield, but it isn't going to happen mid-season. And, when it does happen, I hope it isn;t Ryan Goins that pushes him off the position.