Welcome to the first of many ‘Hot Takes’, which is a series that I will try to do every now and then during the season – or whenever there’s a ‘hot take’ worth taking a ‘take’ on.
Last night, I was in and out of Twitter while I was rewatching Season 6 of Game Thrones because I am currently doing the rewatch thing-y before the whole, ya know, final season of nerd begins. What a time to be alive, eh? Anywho…
While I was scrolling through Twitter, I noticed this:
Wait. What media people think this is a service time thing?
— Ryan D (@RyanDifrancesco) March 20, 2019
(Tip of the cap to Clint!) So, of course, then I had to go and listen to this:
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) March 20, 2019
And you should take the time and give ‘er an ol’ listen, too.
Here’s what ol’ man Bobcat had to say to start the segue:
Here’s what we know: we know it’s not going to be a good team. We know it’s not even a development year. It’s kind of a transition-er year.
The 2019 Jays might not be a ‘good’ team, but they will definitely be a fun team. This year will not be as bad as 2017 or ’18 – I’d bet Bobcat’s salary on that. Maybe I’m still drunk on that optimistic piece I wrote on the weekend, but I’m excited about 2019. I’m excited about Vlad.
Ol’ Bobcat continues:
And yet we are going to see Vladdy Jr. assuming he’s healthy. He’s going to play probably in the third week of April.
Blah, blah, Bobcat, blah – here comes the hot take gold…
But, Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio – neither one of them – I don’t think failed to earn a spot on the 25-man roster based on their performance in the spring.
Bo and Biggio were absolutely terrific in spring, but what logical Jays fan actually thought that either of these two would be on the Opening Day roster. I get every howl and glare at the mothership over the bullshit ‘service time Vlad’ thing. Those howls and glares have their goddamn rightful place in all things right and just. But, this – c’mon.
Bobcat then says that he loves the idea of taking it (the Jays roster) down to the core and wants to see a Jays infield of Vladdy Jr. Bichette, Biggio, and Rowdy. The good news is that he can see this infield in Buffalo this April (maybe even into May) depending on how long the organization keeps Vlad down.
Now, only if it were as easy as firing Smoak, Galvis and Drury to the sun. Who gives a shit about how awesome Drury has been this spring anyway? That’s not a hot take. Instead let’s talk about how it makes complete sense to rush the development of the aforementioned prospects, specifically Bichette and Biggio. There’s no better way to learn and develop than throwing the youth into the fire. Maybe they transform into a Phoenix and light up the baseball sky, or maybe they turn into Travis Snider.
Let’s not forget that Bo struggled early on in Double-A last season (Biggio took some hard swings, too). At one point in time for the ‘Cats, Bo’s average dropped to .250. He had an OPS of .699. He had struck out 38 times (the second highest on the team next to Biggio’s 41). And, at that time, he had a 20.8% K rate, which was the highest in his young MiLB career. His GB% was up, which is never good because ground balls are usually outs. But, he got straight and didn’t go sideways. It’s one thing to be in a slump in New Hampshire or Buffalo, it’s another to be in one in the show.
So the reason I’m digging into Bo’s slump numbers is because Bobcat’s wingman Deitsch takes the worst hot take of all the hottest takes for the sake of the take. He says that Bo and Biggio are being held down because of ‘service time’. Now, that’s one sizzling hot take. Thankfully, Arden and Ben do a great job of logically answering this nonsensical horseshit because that’s exactly what it is.
In December, I asked Mark about holding down Vlad. Here’s what he had to say:
So, there’s a thirst and a desire: the nature of being a fan is immediacy. It’s right now, this moment. We are trying to ensure that he has the best foundation for him to be the best player possible because once you get to the Major Leagues it’s extremely difficult to develop. It’s not about development. It’s about survival. It’s about production and it’s about your earnings, putting up numbers for arbitration and not about development.
I get that he has to say these things, especially when it comes to Vlad, but there is truth between these lines. Once prospects set foot on MLB turf, they know that they don’t get paid to hit ground balls – just ask Josh:
There is no doubt that Vlad is MLB ready. But, Bo and Biggio aren’t there yet. To suggest that both of these players should skip Double-A and develop their tools at the MLB level is crazy drunk talk – like I just hit a bong talk. It’s just dumb talk. What are these two up to in that studio?
There’s a big difference between setting foot in the batter’s box in Leigh Valley against Cole Irvin and setting foot in the batter’s box at Fenway and staring at Chris Sale. Cole Irvin, the Phillies prospect, was one of the best pitchers in Triple-A last year, but he’s not Chris Sale.
Bo and Biggio are not being held down because of service time. They are going to play in Buffalo to continue their development. Hopefully, we see them in Toronto come late July. If we fast forward to a year from now and both of these players are coming off great springs and terrific 2019 campaigns in Triple-A and are sent to Buffalo to start the 2020 season, howl away at the service time sun. And glare at the mothership while you’re at it. But, we’re not there yet.
The real hot take that Bobcat and Deitsch should have taken is: How the hell is Pillar still a Jay when they can move handsome Randy to center and use Teoscar, Billy, Alford, or Pompey in the corners?