Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentiles, and millet, and fitches, and put them in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof, according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon thy side, three hundred and ninety days shalt thou eat thereof. (Ezekiel 4:9)
We begin our assay of Venezuelans in the big leagues with last season’s AL East champion, Toronto. The arrendajos azules have but one criollo prospect for the roster, that being the biblically-named and defensively blessed Ezequiel Carrera. He’s fighting for the fifth outfield spot and may be the odd man out, in fact, due to salaries and such.
Here’s why I believe Toronto should keep him:
He made one of the great catches in recent years in Yankee Stadium in 2014. It reminded an older fan (OK, me!) of a catch the great Gold Glover Paul Blair made in that same outfield during his twilight years with the championship Bombers of ’77 and ’78. In both instances, they both turned their back to home plate and ran like the wind. (Zeke, like an archangel, actually took flight.)
Zeke is like Blair in another regard–he’s not a solid hitter. Last season he played in 90 games for the Jays and hit a career-high .273. Lifetime, he’s a few points lower than that. The mathmo-cyborgs who run beisbol these days don’t always value a great defender as much as I think they should. You WANT Zeke in the outfield, because the chance for an act of wanton nimbleness and swiftness afoot, a miracle in cleated footware, is just around the corner.
One must also appreciate someone from the torrid plains of Venezuela who somehow keeps moving NORTH to keep his pelota dream alive: Philly, Cleveland, Detroit, and Toronto in the past four seasons. Zeke, did you catch a look at Niagara Falls when the Tigers let you go?
And we lefties love Zeke because he fully embraces his southpaw-dom, batting and throwing from the port side. And he’s an outfielder with Babe Ruth’s number! There’s some criollo chutzpah, mon frer.
Zeke might even get the Jays to hold a ‘bread of life’ night in the Great White North, because we’ve got a built-in sponsor for the signboards at Rogers Centre:
So I say to the Toronto management: keep him. Every team needs a Venezuelan, and you’ve got a potential prophet in the outfield.