It’s rare that a utility player gets so much attention. It usually happens when they play very well or very poorly. Kawasaki not only played well, but he became very popular with teammates and fans alike.
Our poll of several days ago reflected our thoughts and desires regarding the Mune question, but the Jays took another route. Checking our poll, 60% of us wanted the Jays to keep him and shift him to 2B, 28% of us wanted to keep him as a bench player, 8% of us thought he would be optioned to Buffalo, while 4% of us didn’t know what to do with him. The 8% were in line with the Jays’ thinking, as he was optioned to Buffalo.
This is the best move for now as it allows the braintrust to continue to evaluate the team moving forward without forfeiting assets. Munenori still has options; the other players (Perez, McGowan, Bonifacio, etc.) would have to be exposed to waivers. Wisely, the Jays weren’t prepared to lose any of them, or to back themselves into a position of making a premature trade.
While it’s an intelligent move, it’s also an unpopular move as backlash from the fanbase has already begun. We’ll need to wait and see what the effect is on the team. If the Jays begin another win streak or begin winning regularly, Mune’s departure will sting less. If they continue to lose, the brass will be vilified for removing the wrong guy from the roster. In a largely-disappointing season, the perception of incompetence is something management may want to avoid.
PS: One of our regular features, Chasing the 1930 Phillies, has included frequent glimpses of a relatively obscure player: utility guy Monk Sherlock. I don’t know how many of you are history buffs but John Clinton “Monk” Sherlock is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, New York. A little more info about him is available here.
Anyways, if you head over to see Kawasaki and the Bisons play, it might prove to be an interesting (but hopefully not morbid!) side trip. Monk Sherlock interests me in a manner similar to Archibald “Moonlight” Graham, the character from the movie “Field of Dreams”. I’d appreciate hearing about any discoveries that you make because I am most assuredly a history buff.