Shea Hey, Good Bye

Now this story is just a little bit unsatisfying, and we’re guessing there’s a bit more to it than can be ascertained from a bunch of random out-of-context quotes, sans expletives at that.  Shea Hillenbrand, he of the .301 average and 24HR, 82RBI pace, has been DFA’d by the Blue Jays in the midst of a pennant race.  It could be because Shea voiced displeasure over not being congratulated for adopting a baby, or it could be because he acted disrespectfully to the manager and front office after not playing for two days, or it could be because he acted disrespectfully to the manager and front office after not playing for two days went to the press and swore incessantly while crapping all over the team paying him nearly six million dollars a year and was generally a selfish jerk around his teammates, who though shocked at the dismissal couldn’t muster up much more than an "it’s just weird".  We’d put money on one of them, and it wouldn’t be either of the first two scenarios, particularly not that adoption thing.

All is not well in the land of the AL East’s pre-season darling, and that makes us feel a bit chipper.

14 comments… add one
  • Sorry to be cynical about this, but while I applaud the Jays’ getting rid of a guy who acted like a jerk, another team is going to benefit mightily from this. Can he play the corner outfield?

    Sam July 20, 2006, 8:28 am
  • He doesn’t play corner outfield, plays corner infield or DH.
    Not bloody likely he stays in AL East. He won’t be to pleased splitting time with:
    Lowell/Youk/Ortiz
    or
    ARod/Phillips/Giambi

    NeffSox July 20, 2006, 9:51 am
  • Vernon Wells hit the nail on the head: “Weird.” It seems to me an organizational/management failure to let this relationship degenerate so far into darkness that it had to end this way. You have to suspect that H’s teammates, not to mention their union, can’t be too thrilled watching anotther player treated so summarily and so publicly by management–even if they’re happy to be rid of him as a teammate. The idea of Gibbons reaming a player in front of his teammates; I wonder if Torre would do that, no matter the situation. And that’s Joe Torre. I’m not sure John Gibbons carries the kind of clubhouse authority to get away with showing up a player in front of his teammates without irreparable harm to his own status. (Is there any other profession where it would be acceptable to publicy ream an employee in front of his colleagues? That would seem to be a management no-no in any situation.) But I guess we’ll find out.
    Meanwhile, we have Shea Hillenbrand, a useful if not spectacular player, there for the taking. Hard to see him fitting in with either the Yanks or the Sox, where he’d be a backup at best (and that seems to be the root of his problem–not playing). Perhaps he’ll be heading over to the NL.

    YF July 20, 2006, 9:54 am
  • Or isn’t that Perez kid on Oakland hitting like .094? Beane and Ricciardi are friends. Did the A’s just find a new third baseman?

    YF July 20, 2006, 9:57 am
  • Even though Chavez’s numbers have been down the last couple of seasons I don’t see Shea coming in a taking his spot. Perez has been more of a utility infielder used when needed. Another team Shea would probably have to split time with a number of different players.

    NeffSox July 20, 2006, 10:03 am
  • Some other reports suggest that Hillenbrand had been making a nuisance of himself for a long time… In other words, that this was a long time coming, and provoked. I highly doubt the Jays would part with him on the spur of the moment because of just one or two incidents.

    Hudson July 20, 2006, 10:27 am
  • Yay for the Sox and Yanks. Now if only the Jays could DFA Vernon Wells…

    Paul SF July 20, 2006, 10:30 am
  • What a d-bag!
    “This had nothing to do with him adopting a baby,” said Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi, who added that the breakup was due to, “irreconcilable differences.”
    It had a lot to do with Hillenbrand writing: “This is a sinking ship” on the chalkboard where batting practice times are written.
    The team was having a players-only meeting, called by Vernon Wells, when in stormed irate manager John Gibbons.
    According to one unnamed Blue Jay: “The manager said: ‘You’re gone! I’ll be gone before you ever play another game in this organization.’
    “It was as hot as I’ve ever seen (Gibbons) and that includes all of his ejections.”
    Hillenbrand was hitting .301 with 12 homers and 39 RBIs in 81 games. How easy is it to replace that?
    “He was a cancer in this clubhouse,” another player said. “Shea’s day went the way the lineup card went. If he was in the lineup, everything was fine. If he wasn’t he’d sulk. Sometimes he wouldn’t even come out to hit.”
    Hillenbrand has a passion for being in the everyday lineup and most managers say there’s nothing wrong with that. He made 17 starts at first base, 15 at third base and 43 as the designated hitter.
    “I got along with him, but his sense of humour rubbed some people the wrong way,” Wells said.
    Hillenbrand’s sense of humour included ripping the Canadian flag crest off the hat that the Jays wore Canada Day in a 5-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies, according to a team official. Hillenbrand had been taken out of that game in the seventh inning.
    Hillenbrand did have his supporters, such as Wells.
    “From an outsider’s view, some things he said could be taken the wrong way,” Wells said. “Everyone in the clubhouse knew it was Shea being Shea.”

    LocklandSF July 20, 2006, 10:32 am
  • Hudson: That only makes the move worse. If he’s been a long-term problem, why haven’t they moved him? By DFA’ing him, they reduced his value on the market. The whole public aspect of this is the thing that’s at issue. Seems like they should have found a way to dump him off without having it blow up in their faces as it has.

    YF July 20, 2006, 10:35 am
  • Wow. So Gibbons storms into a players-only meeting? Sounds like he and Shea deserve nothing less than each other.
    Criticize either of them for their tactics, but it’s worth noting that you don’t see episodes like this under Torre and Tito. And those who question the fitness of these two men as skippers should keep that in mind. Big Time.

    YF July 20, 2006, 10:41 am
  • So true YF, so true. Keeping a level head and being the “adult” with these giant egos is certainly no easy task, and both Torre and Tito do an amazing job of it.

    LocklandSF July 20, 2006, 10:48 am
  • Definitely, YF. As much as we can complain about their various in-game strategies, Francona and Torre are clearly masters of handling clubhouses full of big egos and big contracts — a key facet to maintaining a winning team.
    Likewise, neither Theo nor Cashman would have been so silly as to DFA a player they could have at least gotten prospects for.
    Good-bye, Toronto. It was fun while it lasted.

    Paul SF July 20, 2006, 11:18 am
  • Shea had prior blow-ups with Gibbons and then was pissed that the Jays did nothing to congratulate him and his wife on the adoption of their child. He missed a couple of days to go for the actual adoption and was a day late in returning. Gibbons used this, on top of apparently not having anything pleasant to say about Shea’s new child, to bench him.
    Sounds like Shea is sort of a dick and Gibbons is an asshole. When the best hitter on your team is the one guy supporting the player you should check yourself.
    This reminds me of the issue teams always end up having with Buck Showalter. Great with the kids cause he’s a control freak/task master. As soon as you get some veteran talent, it turns out that the only ego larger than a proven star player is the coach himself.
    Toronto has officially proved that they won’t be able to make it to the next step–that’s my prediction. Gibbons goes, or Toronto stays right behind the division and the wildcard.

    walein July 20, 2006, 2:20 pm
  • “Ricciardi said he wasn’t surprised by Hillenbrand’s behavior — Hillenbrand once called Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein a derogatory term for homosexuals.”
    Seems then Shea went to Ozzie Guillens ettiquette school.

    TJ July 20, 2006, 9:31 pm

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