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Photo Credit: @_Rallycap

Jays Decide To Cut Down On Their Salt Intake

See what I did there?

But yeah. So, remember the thing the last few years with Josh Thole, when people wanted to rage about how the Jays were stuck with him while others — let’s call them folks who actually had some kind of a fucking grasp on what big league backup catching “talent” looks like — kept trying to explain to them, to no avail, that all backup catchers are bad?

Well, it turns out all backup catchers are bad.

Don’t get me wrong. They’re not magically throw a pitcher so far off his game, just by being out there, that he only lasts 1/3 of an inning bad, you fucking goons. They’re just bad at baseball relative to baseball players that are good!

Case in point: Blue Jays’ backup Jarrod Saltalamacchia! Which is to say: former Blue Jays backup Jarrod Saltalamacchia, as he and the club have “parted ways” according to a report at Sportsnet from Shi Davidi, with the Jays recalling French director Luke Maile as his replacement. At least for now.

Saltalamacchia is a defensive liability, and a pitch-framing liability, which meant he was going to have swing a mean stick to be worth keeping around.  Unfortunately for him, and for the Jays — and for all of us, really — through ten games and 26 plate appearances this season, your boy Salty has slashed .040/.077/.040. He has struck out in 61.5% of his plate appearances. And while 26 plate appearances are not nearly enough to make sweeping judgments, these 26 weren’t much better than the 108 PA he took in the second half of last season, in which he slashed .130/.230/.241.

He was also a player who we’d heard the Jays were trying to upgrade on all the way up to the point where they had to finalize their Opening Day roster, and guarantee him some money.

Seemed like a likable enough guy, and I have no issues with his game-calling skills — for whatever little my interpretation of that is worth — but a no-defence, no-bat backup catcher doesn’t do anything for anybody. If you’re going to have a catcher that can’t hit for shit, he might as well be good at something, which brings us to Maile.

A former Rays catcher, Maile can’t hit for shit — .195/.214/.195 in 42 plate appearances for the Bisons so far, .227/.252/.361 for the Rays in 126 PA in 2016 — but his defensive reputation is solid, and… well… y’know… it’s not like poor Salty could hit for shit either.

So… this is fine. It’s not going to fix what’s wrong with the Jays right now, obviously, but Salty probably wasn’t getting any better, and at least this new guy can offer something.

We also saw last weekend, and early this week, that Jays Spring Training castoff Juan “Vitamin G” Graterol is actually seeing some action behind the plate for the Angels, despite also being, y’know… about as terrible a hitter as one can be and still be called a big leaguer.

Which is… y’know… precisely the thing.

Suck hard on it, Thole truthing motherfuckers! Backup catchers are bad.

      • Flash McLennan

        Come on Andrew, Rusty just trying to start some kind of discussion. It’s not like your article was heavy on insight other than being Salty news posted everywhere as segue into your umpteenth “backup catchers suck” piece. We do get it, all of us.

        Here’s a question: do backup catchers suck more now than they did at some point in the past? Do catchers suck more overall? That could be interesting. Might involve actual research, Googling perhaps, and if if no one at BP has done it already, might even require actual data analysis.

        Definitely easier to just to rip on Rusty though.

  • Teddy Ballgame

    Oh, this one again, Stoeten? Thole still sucked even by backup catcher standards, as his only real skill was knuckleball catching, which had value to exactly one pitcher on the roster. Damn straight I’d take a guy like Maile ahead of him.

    • DAKINS

      Sucked offensively, sure.

      Not having Martin catch every day and having him deal with more injuries due to having to catch Dickey made Thole serviceable as a back up. He actually brought a worthwhile skill to the table, which is something most back ups cannot do.

      The Jays tired multiple times to cut ties with Thole, but nobody seemed to be able to handle the knuckleball as well as he did, so they kept having to bring him back.

  • Carl Jung

    So if all backup catchers suck, what exactly was the point of guaranteeing Salty money and cutting him 4 weeks later?

    Shatkins’ “raise the floor” moves have been awful.

    Although it would be easier to forgive if they had acquired a star or two to supplement the core they inherited.