One: The Blue Jays are in the middle of a pennant race, and they just sacrificed their most experienced bat on the bench. Contenders aren’t in the habit of dumping .300 hitters in the middle of pennant races.
Two: Hillenbrand was a very popular player in the clubhouse. Seeing him cold-cut could further impair the team’s morale, which began to crack in the wake of GM J.P. Ricciardi’s pre-All-Star Game criticism of the heart of the lineup.
Three: By all accounts, Ricciardi was engaged in trade talks with the Angels that could have brought Adam Kennedy and a high-upside pitching prospect for Hillebrand. The Angels can now have Hillenbrand for a plane ticket. Has a short fuse — either by Ricciardi or manager John Gibbons — cost the Jays valuable stretch help?
But the whole affair is stupefyingly ridiculous. Where do you want me to start? Hillenbrand griped about not being played enough — yet his 296 at-bats were fifth highest on the team. He also went TO, whining about no one from the front office congratulating him on his recently successful adoption of a baby girl.
Excuse me? Perhaps the Jays should add Dr. Phil to their coaching staff. I haven’t been in Rogers Centre’s home clubhouse in a while, but are the walls now padded?
Hillenbrand essentially cut himself before Ricciardi got to it by refusing to sit with his teammates on the bench during tonight’s game against Texas. If you’re Manny Ramirez, you can occasionally get away with that. Anyone else … don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
If the Blue Jays make the playoffs, how big a share do you think Hillenbrand will be voted? That’s not an idle question — since the players do the voting.