Tag Archives: Fire Dwayne Murphy

Dingers are not small ball

Word out of the Blue Jays “Winter Tour” is that the team is planning to play more small ball and manufacture more runs than it did last year when it relied almost entirely on the home run.

Whatever you think of small ball, the underlying philosophy that seems to be behind this new approach is a solid one: Get on base so that someone else can drive you in. Or, as Vernon Wells says in the above-linked article, “If you look at the offensive year that we had, I think if we were able to manufacture a few more runs we could have had a few more wins.”

Get on base, work your way around the bases, score a run, repeat. Do this more times than the other team and you win.

Sounds good, but there is one big glaring flaw with the plan:

That’s right. It’s hitting coach extraordinaire Dwayne Murphy.

Murph did a fine job last year with the Blue Jays. Then-manager Cito Gaston liked saying things like “there’s no defence against the trot” and so Murph did everything he could to teach the Blue Jays how to pull the ball and hit it hard and far. He did this and he did it impressively as the Jays led the majors in home runs by a nautical mile.

The downside of hitting all those home runs is that Murph’s pupils had to change their approach to mash all the taters. The change in approach resulted in some people being really screwed up (see Lind, Adam) and some completely blowing everybody away (JoBau!) but the one thing that happened to nearly everybody on the team? They stopped getting on base.

Now, was this a necessary consequence of hitting the dingers or was it something bigger? Was Murph telling his players that getting on base doesn’t actually matter?

In interview with Yahoo early in the 2010 season, Murph said that “on-base percentage is an overrated stat. Those guys getting on base, most of them aren’t getting them in. Give me somebody who drives them in after that. I need guys who can drive the ball.”

That could indicate his true feelings, or it could be a guy covering his ass and trying to keep his boss happy. It’s hard to say, but one thing’s for sure, if that’s how Murph really feels and the Jays really are going to be playing a version of small ball in this upcoming season, something’s gotta give. You can’t play small ball if you’ve got the hitting coach preaching a boom-or-bust approach at the plate.

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A link dump that’s (mostly) about being unhappy with Cito

Fire Cito

Playing .500 ball over the course of two series against the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees is nothing to sneeze at, but it is frustrating to watch the Jays put up a 3-3 record over those games because they probably should have won at least 5 of the 6. Cito needs to go. Mismanagement of the bullpen costing the team games against those they’re chasing in the A.L. East is one thing, but refusing to help develop players (in a year that was meant to be about developing players) is a whole other level of incompetence.

“I can see sometimes that he needs some work here or there, but I think that’s something that whoever’s here next year will address,” Gaston said. “The only thing we’ve told Fred is that when the ball’s hit right at you, just make sure you go to your strong side.”

Cito is a fine hitting coach, but he’s not a good manager.

Dwayne Murphy is not a good hitting coach

This is a little old, but still warrant mentioning. Speaking to Yahoo’s Tim Brown, Toronto hitting coach Dwayne Murphy dropped this doozy:

“I think on-base percentage is an overrated stat,” Murphy said flatly. “Those guys getting on base, most of them aren’t getting them in. Give me somebody who drives them in after that. I need guys who can drive the ball.”

What I want to know is, if nobody’s getting on base, who are the sluggers going to drive in?

Oh right: Themselves.

And nobody else.

Kevin Gregg is not a good closer

Since (and including) May 12, Gregg’s pitched in 10 games for the Torontos. Over that stretch, he’s been absolutely horrendous.

An ERA of 10, an opponent’s OPS of 1.088, a WPA of -1.106 and that’s just scratching the surface.

The man couldn’t keep a closer’s job in the N.L. Central and is struggling in the A.L., but Cito refuses to take the job from him. Can explain this?

On questioning Cito’s use of the pen

I’m not even going to get into Mike Wilner’s suspension from the FAN for the duration of the Yankees series. Stoeten (here) and Drew (here) have pretty much said everything I’d say about it. Jeremy Sandler’s got a good take on the situation as well.

The Draft

The MLB draft goes tonight. If you’re the type who gets worked up about kids who will probably never amount to anything and, if they do, won’t do so for at least a few years, the draft is for you! Personally, the only thing that interests me about the draft is the approach the team is taking to.

Approach and philosophy is everything — that’s why I get geeked about international free agents when the Jays are involved. If you care about the approach, then Shi Davidi’s got a good piece on the Jays’ strategy you might enjoy.

Into the players? Check out the Drunks or Mop Up Duty. They’re on that ball.

Remembering the GBOAT (via Walkoff Walk)

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