Wednesday, November 11, 2009

HumandChuck's thoughts on Arnsberg

So now that some time has passed, and some perspective has been granted, I thought it would be a good time to go back and see what Blue Jays fans thought about losing Brad Arnsberg to the Astros. As mentioned before, Astros County is a part of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, as is the Blue Jays blog Hum and Chuck. So, Joanna, now how do you feel about losing Arnsberg?

Arnie, as he is known, is insanely popular with most pitchers. One of the reasons he was originally hired by JP Riccardi was because Arnie had a very personal relationship with AJ Burnett from his Marlins days and JP wanted AJ. To the point of obsession.

Arnie was more or less used as a lure to get AJ in a Jays uni. They tried to do the same thing with Matt Clement the year before, when he was still a decent pitcher, and apparently that was a consideration for Clement before he ultimately chose Boston.

I'm not sure you know all that much about Jays pitching, but the last five seasons or so, our pitching, when healthy, has been downright filthy.

A healthy Roy Halladay, AJ Burnett, Dustin McGowan, Shaun Marcum is more than enough to get any team outside the AL East deep into the playoffs. How much of that was Arnsberg, I dunno, but AJ Burnett did say his time in Toronto (under Doc and Arnsberg) changed him as a pitcher. That's nice, I guess. But he looks more or less the same pitcher in pinstripes. Except he's richer. And more obnoxious. Post game cream pies were stolen flat out from the Jays. So he should be writing a cheque every time he pies Jeter or CC or ARod.

We also had a great bullpen, anchored by BJ Ryan, Scott Downs and Jason Frasor. Again, I don't know how much of that is Arnsberg.

He, for sure, took Ricky Romero under his wing this season, and Romero posted very decent numbers in his rookie season.

One season, the Jays the first team in 50 years to have the best ERA in baseball from both their starters and relievers in the same season. Our hitting was for shit, so it didn't do us much good, but it's nice anyway.

Now, for the down sides. He and Ted Lilly used to butt heads. A Jays starting 3 of Doc, AJ and Lilly was what Joe Torre answered while still in New York about which team he wouldn't want to face in the playoffs. Arnsberg publicly said that Lilly was uncoachable. They apparently had a disagreement over Lilly's position on the rubber. Lilly was a quiet dude, but apparently very stubborn. So that might be all Lilly.

And now for the thing that concerns me about Arnsberg. I probably don't pay enough attention to other teams, but there seemed to be an excessive amount of guys going under the knife and being generally injured. And not old, broken down guys. But I'm talking about kids. Off the top of my head, Shawn Marcum, BJ Ryan and Jesse Litsch had TJ under Arnsberg's watch. Dustin McGowan, who is insanely talented, has been injury plagued. He is diabetic, which contributes to his frailty. Ryan was released from the Jays this season after coming back from TJ as a shadow of his former self.

All of this might just be coincidence or just the guys, but it might also be conditioning. I can't find the data to back it up, but it seems a lot of guys were injured under his watch on the Marlins. I know for sure AJ had his Tommy John surgery in that time. So again, young guy breaking down.

So maybe you should expect a lot of brilliant pitching when/if the dudes are healthy.

He seems a very affable guy and Roy Halladay really likes him. And if you know anything about Roy Halladay, you would understand what a compliment that is.

Read more of Joanna's work at Hum and Chuck.