There's a heaping sackful of tweeted questions sent along by our devoted followers (and some people who just spammed us with tomfoolery), so let's get to answering them straightaway. We wouldn't want to induce boredom and dazed admiration of distant construction equipment in anyone...again.
Leading off, @SteveASchneider asks: If you had to overpay for one free agent, is it Prince, C.J. Wilson, or Jose Reyes? (Assuming Pujols is not an option.)
The key here is the word "overpay". We'd love to bring Wilson or Prince or Reyes into the fold, but the market for these scarce premium players means that teams will have to blow their minds out with longer terms and more money. Given everything that's going right with the way that the Jays are deliberately building from the foundation of the organization towards long-term and sustained success, we wouldn't want the broken down version of any of those players weighing down the team's flexibility seven or eight years down the road.
Having sucked all the fun out of your question, we'll say that as the days grow colder and the wind begins to offer reminders of the long, cold offseason ahead, we hear it whisper a name..."Prince"...
Onward, before the poetry gets too adolescent in here. The always dependable @sporkless asks: Worried about Lind for next year. Is he good enough to play daily for a contending team, or maybe a platoon player?
Four weeks ago, we might not even have cast a second thought towards Prince Fielder, because the notion of paying him $20 million (or more) seven or eight years down the road seems like lunacy. But the more that one watches Adam Lind struggle, the more that we realize that the hot month that he had earlier this season is the aberration, and that he's likely not the long-term option at first. In his last 253 games with the Blue Jays over the past two seasons, Lind has an fWAR of -0.1, and an OPS of .728. (For the sake of reference: Lyle Overbay's numbers over the same two seasons are +0.5 and .715.)
It pains us to say this as someone who roots for him to succeed, but Adam Lind is not good enough to play daily for an AL East team with notions of contending. (Though we're reasonably sure that he'd rake for the D-Backs, if they still have a need next season.)
Smores! @coolhead2010 asks: Would you change up the hitting coach in the offseason, if you were in John Farrell's chair? The pitching coach?
If you were to dig back through our blog, you'd probably find a few "fire the hitting coach!" posts. "The hitters are too timid! They're not patient enough! They're failing at a rate of 70%...toss the bum that makes them strike out!"
These days, we're not even so sure of the extent to which the hitting coach or pitching coach really help. Maybe a lot, or maybe not much at all. But given that admitted lack of insight, we'd feel uncomfortable campaigning to hurl someone out the door. We'd certainly like to see the Jays work the count more often, because we have a notion sometimes that the hitters basically walk to the plate looking for a fastball they can pull. Is that strategy coming from Dwayne Murphy? Or is that the team that's been assembled? And why is it that the Jays' lineup is like a Snackables pack for left-handed junkballers?
Chad Mottola, the hitting coach of the Jays' Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas, has earned rave reviews from the farmhands for his work on their swing mechanics. (He's apparently transformed Adeiny Hechevarria from Dave Concepcion to Alex Rodriguez overnight.) If there was a perceived need for change, the Jays have a decent candidate in the wings. But will it matter?
He is the eggman! @izzjr2010 asks: if the jays offer serious money to pujols or fielder do you think they would turn it down bec of T.O. Not being a great market?
Okay, we could start by accosting you for the lack of an avatar on Twitter...because,really? It's that hard to find a photo of yourself, or something funny or clever to represent you?
But on the other hand, we could just as well give you the gears over the substance of your question, because this constant poormouthing of Toronto drives us nuts. The city is essentially the third biggest media market in baseball, has TV ratings that are the envy of most other teams, and a base of corporate support in the community that provides the franchise with strong fundamentals, regardless of the vagaries of attendance or the team's fortunes.
(And, as Maury Brown from The Biz of Baseball reported yesterday, the Jays' attendance is up so far 11.5% over last season, with Yankees and Red Sox series remaining.)
People need to stop thinking that players don't want to play here. It's a false assumption. The truth is that when the Jays have wanted a top free agent and were willing to pay the market price for them (B.J. Ryan, A.J. Burnett, Frank Thomas), they got them. There's nothing wrong with the market, and frankly, there's a lot that's going right.
Briefly, more tweets from the tweeters!
@Brochenski asks: who has cooler sideburns, Cecil or Thames?
Thames, and it's not close. Cecil's facial hair and ridiculous fauxhawks have gotten way out of hand.
@EthanDR asks: WIll Kelly Johnson be wooed to re-sign with Jays by Bautista/Lawrie dance moves?
I'll be square with you, son. Kelly Johnson doesn't strike me as the kind of guy who gets wooed by dance moves. Unless J.P. Arencibia and Colby Rasmus were to engage in some celebratory boot-scoot-boogeying. Kickin' up mud!
@RustyArmy asks: I was trying 2 decide which position player 2 buy a jersey 4 last night when Lawrie hit a homer...was that a sign?
The universe speaks to you so clearly, and you need me to translate for you? Of course it was! Also, since we're acting as your go-between, the universe is telling you to get a number 13 jersey with "Gordie Dougie" on the back.
@Indie102 asks: what is a greater need for next years jays: starting pitching or bats?
Pitching. It's always pitching. You can stumble your way into a halfway decent lineup, but the mechanics of the game dictate that you have to have someone go out and throw 100 pitches and keep you in the game night in and night out. Also, pitchers come and go and flame out quickly, so you always need more stockpiled.
@dave_church asks: Crystall ball time: 5 years from now, who's most likely to still be with the Jays? Snider, Escobar, Lawrie, or Rasmus?
We've said it before. We're not a soothsayer. Or an empath, or a vampire or a faerie or were-panther. (Clearly, we're watching too much True Blood. Groan.) But the answer is Lawrie, because he's the youngest, and likely has the highest ceiling of the four.
@Tammy_Beth asks: How good is Kenen Bailli and why can't I find an answer to that question anywhere?
We honestly had no idea what you meant until we looked it up. We're not about to make a judgment based on four games in the Florida State League, but he's 26 years old, so we're not about to put a ton of stock into his future.
And that's about all the time we have for this week. Hopefully, you're still awake. Our apologies to those whose questions we didn't get around to answering, but please keep sending those cards and letters, and we'll get around to them sooner or later.