Scapegoating the wrist

Hola amigos. It’s been a long time since I rapped at ya, but I’ve been kinda overdosing on the Olympics lately. As great as those two weeks were, it’s over now and baseball and warm weather are here to save the day.

I’d been making a small effort to stay on top of any big news from the Jays’ camp, but I obviously missed some things. Some things like this interview that Alex Anthopoulos gave to the Fan 590 last Friday. Speaking about Vernon Wells and his new role as “team leader,” Anthopoulos said the following:

I talked to him about it (VW’s wrist) and he said it’s fine, he feels great. I said how does it compare to last spring and he said ‘oh you know, it’s night and day.’ You know, last spring, it was bothering him and our trainers had to inject him to take the pain away and he had to take anti-inflammatories the entire year and, uh, obviously once he was done playing and he was off the anti-inflammatories, the pain started to come back. Again, he won’t complain about it and he certainly won’t point to it as a reason for him not having as strong as a year as he would have hoped for, but I certainly believe that it certainly did impact the year that he did have and he certainly feels good about it. I expect Vernon to bounce back and have a strong year for us.

I like Anthopoulos, I really do, but I have a problem with what he said there.


Seriously, I thought that had been covered enough and accepted as fact. Why is it still being trotted out as an excuse for his poor performance last year, and trotted out by the general manager no less!

Now I’m not going to accuse VW or the team of lying about a wrist injury — you’d have to be insane to undergo unnecessary wrist surgery — surely there was something wrong there. But, if there’s anyone reading this who believes that the wrist was the cause of the poor stats, could you please explain to me why it only really seemed to bother him in the Dome?

Just take a look at VW’s home and away splits last season. He was, offensively, well above league average on the road.

Did his wrist magically stop bothering him when he left Canada? Is there something about the Dome, perhaps lighting or some sort of colour scheme in the stadium, that makes it hard for him to pick up pitches there? Was he actually affected by all the negativity flowing his way from the team’s “fans”?

Unless Wells himself comes out and explains it, I guess we’ll never know the reason. But we can say this: His poor performances at the Dome were not because of his wrist injury.

9 thoughts on “Scapegoating the wrist

  1. Wells did not have a good year home or away. His home stats were scary bad, and his road stats were hardly average at best. While I agree his wrist isn’t the sole reason, I don’t think its far to say it wasn’t a big reason.

    For me the biggest reason Wells cannot succeed in the Jays lineup is because of his supporting cast. He can only be a good player on a good team. With Delgado hitting behind him he can succeed. He is not a leader, he is not a cleanup hitter. He is a good supporting member that can hit the 3 hole on a good team. The Jays lack anything really to protect him with (unless Lind would hit 4). Having a 2-3-4 of Hill, Wells, Lind would get my a little excited.

    I want SO BADLY to be a Wells fan, but I don’t think he can succeed on the Jays. Wells, prove me wrong buddy. Be a leader, play like you should.

    • While a quick scan of Vernon’s road stats might result in a “hardly average at best” verdict, that’s not the case. Without going into the ridiculously complex stats, the key one to look at is OPS+ which compares a given player’s production to the league average (full explanation here:,204667 )

      At home, Vernon’s OPS+ clocked in at 79 (21 per cent below league average). On the road it clocked in at 119, or 19 per cent above league average.

      I think we can all agree that 19 per cent above the average is pretty solid. But beyond that, the 40 percentage point swing between home and away points to something other than a sore wrist. Although, I admit, the wrist may be responsible for the low home run numbers.

      A 2-3-4 of Hill, Wells, Lind would be great, but I’d like to see Wells earn it first. I’d hit him in the bottom half of the order until he shows he can hack it on a regular basis.

      Too bad Cito’s setting the lineup.

  2. A little off-topic here but I also wonder about hitting Wells 6, and allowing Ruiz to sink or swim at 1B/DH and hitting cleanup. Along the same line as you, it would allow Wells to earn hitting higher will not totally sewering his self-confidence (should he have any?!) and who knows… in such a bleak-looking season coming up, why not see if we have a David Ortizesque player we can use for a couple years. If Ruiz is a total bust, well let’s just say it wouldn’t mean he pushed us out of contention.

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  3. i would bat vw 6th and snider 7th, providing some protection and allowing both to succeed lower in the order before being moved up.

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