Every Friday, Blue Jays Talk host Scott MacArthur will weigh in with his observations on the Blue Jays from the past week.
Quite rightly, we’ve been caught up in the Raptors incredible run to the franchise’s first NBA championship and in being so we missed a pretty good week for the Blue Jays in Baltimore.
And just as the city’s sporting attention, such as it’s likely to be given the state of things, is set to refocus on the boys of summer, the Blue Jays land in Houston to take on the American League’s best team. Reality, it appears, is about to set right back in.
The trip to south Texas will be particularly important to Cavan Biggio, who grew up at Minute Maid Park as his father, Craig, was putting together a Hall-of-Fame career with the Astros. A perfect segue, this, because I’d like to discuss Biggio’s performance with the Blue Jays so far.
When I watch Biggio in the batter’s box the first thing which occurs to me is how he possesses an advanced hitter’s eye, one many of his veteran teammates not named Justin Smoak could only dream of having.
Ignore, for the time being, Biggio’s .178 batting average through his first 15 games in the big leagues. He’s getting on base at a .351 clip, thanks to the 12 walks he’s taken which, alongside just 15 strikeouts, represents a nice strikeout-to-walk ratio. Biggio was known for that as he came up through the minor leagues.
Biggio has looked good at second base, made the plays in right field when manager Charlie Montoyo has put him out there and has filled in at first base. His versatility is useful and helps to ensure he’s playing every day, especially when Eric Sogard is hitting well (as he has been of late) and occupies second base.
Freddy Galvis is exactly who we thought he would be
Freddy Galvis is exactly who we thought he would be. He’s exactly the type of veteran you want around your young players; encourages them and gives them advice, knowing full well one will soon take his position as starting shortstop. Galvis hasn’t hit a lick since the end of April (.188/.240/.333 since May 1); in fact, he was so hot the first month he accrued almost one win above replacement (WAR) but he’s now a sub-WAR player.
Galvis must be treated with respect when Bichette arrives
Galvis must be treated with the utmost respect when Bo Bichette arrives, perhaps soon, to take his place as the regular shortstop. Galvis has a club option for 2020 and he can’t ride the pine in Toronto, in my opinion, even if his offensive numbers suggest he’s best suited to being a bench player. There are teams who would take his defence and hit him at the bottom of a stronger lineup, I’m sure.
On Bichette, I like that word is out he’ll be up to join Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Cavan Biggio shortly if the next weeks at Buffalo go well. Send the kid out there with a level of expectation and see how he handles it.
Bichette suffered a broken hand when he was hit by a pitch in late April. He’s recovered, has played his rehab games at High-A Dunedin and is back with the Triple-A Bisons.
The carrot’s been dangled and I’m confident Bichette will respond. I’ve said this before and I’ll repeat it here: there’s a flair to Bichette’s game that you’ll enjoy.
The Orioles are dreadful
My goodness are the Orioles dreadful. As I sat and watched Wednesday night’s plodding, four-plus hour Blue Jays game in Baltimore, I had two thoughts:
Firstly, I imagined commissioner Rob Manfred being forced to sit there and watch it, without the benefit of fast-forward, from pitch number one to what felt like pitch number six million, and admit his sport would be better served if more teams aspired to better than the rancid dreck which was playing out.
Then, once I slept it off, I realized there’s always more than one clunker in a 162-game season. Then I said to myself, there have been too many clunkers already. At that point I realized I was talking to myself in circles and figured it be best if I just went about my day.
The world is so much smaller than we assume it to be
My thanks to my friend and colleague, Ben Nicholson-Smith, for having me guest-host the At The Letters podcast this week as Arden Zwelling helped to chronicle the thrilling pinnacle of Raptors basketball.
Ben and I first met at the news talk radio station in Ottawa, in 2009, when I was reading the afternoon drive news and Ben, then a student at Carleton University, interned for a week. A few years later my brother alerted me to a relatively new website, MLB Trade Rumors, which I quickly visited. The first byline I saw? Ben’s. We exchanged emails and not long after he was hired by Sportsnet. Now we work together. The world, so often, seems so much smaller than we assume it to be.