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Jeff Blair gets things going in the Globe and Mail today with a column questioning Cito Gaston.  "Cito should have done better" is the headline.  JP Riccardi has been the target of the scribes up to now but Blair is the first one to take on Gaston.  Blair does credit the blogosphere for discussing this over the last few weeks.

With the Jays touch and go to win 70 games this is likely the first of many such columns. 



The Jays lost 6-3 yesterday in a somewhat listless contest.  Scott Richmond looks to be headed to the bullpen for 2009 unless he can show more consistency. 

With Aaron Hill gone for a few days for the birth of his first child, Johnny Mac and Joe Inglett will get some second base reps which will not help the drive for 70 wins.

Las Vegas finished their season yesterday so we should hear of additional call-ups today.  David Purcey, Jeremy Accardo, Brian Dopirak and possibly Kyle Phillips appear to have the best chance.

Let the Second Guessing Begin | 90 comments | Create New Account
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Jdog - Tuesday, September 08 2009 @ 09:15 AM EDT (#205920) #
What we need is Arizona, SD, Cleveland, and Oakland to start winning some games. With some wins from those teams and more losses for the Jays we could end up with as a high as the 5th pick in next years draft. Keep playing Millar please. Maybe call up Randy Boone to give him a look as well. Right now we are tied for the 8th worst record with Oakland.
Mike Green - Tuesday, September 08 2009 @ 09:30 AM EDT (#205921) #
An old Maltese friend of mine was fond of the saying, "when a fish stinks, it stinks from the head".  Most of my brickbats are reserved for ownership this year.
Chuck - Tuesday, September 08 2009 @ 09:55 AM EDT (#205922) #

Richmond took it on the chin from the LH batters yesterday. If my math is correct, the lefties (7 of the 9 starters) went 350/435/450.

For his career, his L/R OPS split is 937/577. It was 1191/313 last year. This year, the gap has narrowed to 880/643.

Notwithstanding his brilliant performance against the lefty-heavy Phillies earlier in the season, his achilles heel seems clear and problematic for a starter. On a team loaded with lefty starting pitchers, Richmond could have a valuable role as a long man, facing long strings of RH batters that the team's lefty starters will invite.

timpinder - Tuesday, September 08 2009 @ 11:03 AM EDT (#205926) #

I'm with you Jdog.  I'm actually hoping the Jays lose games now so that they can get higher draft picks (assuming they'll actually sign more than 25% of their picks in the top 3 rounds this time). 

Where do they select the supplementary and 2nd round picks that they missed in in this years draft?  Is it another supplementary pick and the same 2nd round slot as this year's terrible draft?  If so, they could be looking at a 5th - 10th overall pick, a 16th - 30th overall pick, 2 supplementary first round picks, and 3 second round picks (assuming Barajas walks and Scutaro goes to a team that finished in the top half of the standings in 2009).

 

Ducey - Tuesday, September 08 2009 @ 11:45 AM EDT (#205927) #

Can't agree with Blair.  He says Cito has to take the heat, then goes on to point out all the reasons the year wasn't his fault.

BJ Ryan, injuries to the starters, the Halladay saga, the Rios saga, Wells sucking, the trade of Rolen, the lack of a bat once Snider was sent down.  Are these Cito's fault? 

Hell, before the season, management announced they were aiming for 2010!

John Northey - Tuesday, September 08 2009 @ 12:33 PM EDT (#205928) #
An FYI on Tim Collins - more and more press, now an interview at Baseball Prospectus.

As to Cito and responsibility - I think CIto has a lot of it, but he is also sending strong messages to upper management for 2010.  Get a backup outfielder who is actually an outfielder, get a backup 1B who can actually hit, clear out guys who are not with the program (such as Rios), and provide relievers who can go more than one inning.  If they don't give him those he'll keep putting in whoever he has to fill those roles (McDonald/Bautista/Inglett in the OF, Millar at 1B, stretch out everyone in the pen).  Given this was a rebuilding year (with a fun start) it is good to send those messages.

What is funny though is I just checked the pen to see if it matches what I listed above.
Guys below 1 IP/G
BJ Ryan, Jesse Carlson, Jeremy Accardo, and Jason Frasor
Guys at 1IP/G
Downs
1 to 1 1/4 IP/G
Brandon League, Brian Wolfe
Over 1 1/4 IP/G (stretched out)
Dirk Hayhurst, Josh Roenicke, Bill Murphy, Shawn Camp, Bryan Bullington

Janssen is under 1 IP per game since being moved to the pen as well.

Huh.  A lot more below an IP per game than I thought.   In 2007 (last full year without Cito) only Scott Downs and Brandon League (among guys with 10+ IP and League just makes that list) were below 1 IP/G.  In 2008 Ryan, Carlson, Frasor, Camp and Accardo did it.  Weird.  Totally against what I expected to see.  In 2006 we get (non-Cito) Speier/Frasor/Schoeneweis, still less than Cito.

Funny how that works out.  Sure would've bet it was the other way, more sub-1IP pre-Cito than during Cito. 
LouisvilleJayFan - Tuesday, September 08 2009 @ 12:34 PM EDT (#205929) #
I'm curious about "Snider's stubbornness", I remember someone mentioning Snider telling Cito and the coaches not to give him advice in-game after ABs earlier in the years because it was just too much to process, but have there been other accounts of his stubbornness?
jgadfly - Tuesday, September 08 2009 @ 12:36 PM EDT (#205930) #
Accardo, Purcey and Kyle Phillips are now appearing on the Jays active roster ... however Phillips is still not listed on the '40 man' ...  somebody needs to be subtracted
John Northey - Tuesday, September 08 2009 @ 12:53 PM EDT (#205931) #
It is official - three more called up.

Makes sense to have Accardo, Purcey, and Phillips up.  A starter to fill in for Cecil/Rzep, another reliever to eat a few of those innings that Tallet and Purcey will be leaving out there, and Phillips to backup the plate (a third catcher is always a nice to have).  Hopefully Phillips gets a bit of time at third/LF as well over McDonald.

I guess no 4th outfielder for September though.  Ruiz is sort of an outfielder, while the assorted infielders can play out there.  I guess Wells gets to play every inning in CF.
TamRa - Tuesday, September 08 2009 @ 01:37 PM EDT (#205933) #
What we need is Arizona, SD, Cleveland, and Oakland to start winning some games. With some wins from those teams and more losses for the Jays we could end up with as a high as the 5th pick in next years draft.

If all under .900 teams win over the rest of the season at the same pace as they have won since May 18, the Jays will indeed reach pick #5 but the margin between #4 (I think) and #8 is only 3 games or less so it's close enough that "thangs can happen"

the "good" news for the Jays is still in the fact that most of the remaining games are against teams with better records.

zeppelinkm - Tuesday, September 08 2009 @ 01:50 PM EDT (#205934) #
In a perfect world Doc would throw complete game shutouts for the rest of his starts and the Jays would lose every other game.

Well actually, in a perfect world it never would have come to this, but I digress...

Mike Green - Tuesday, September 08 2009 @ 02:14 PM EDT (#205935) #
No Dopirak, eh?  I guess the bonus for Millar is offset by the increased chance of a higher draft pick...
TamRa - Tuesday, September 08 2009 @ 02:54 PM EDT (#205936) #
I do fault Cito because this team, for most of the year, was getting significantly under their abilities and significant;y under what their individual performances should have dictated collectively.

I don't mean not contending, I'm not arguing they are THAT good, but since May 18, only KC has a (slightly) worse winning percentage.

There's simply no way, even with all the excuses about Wells and Rios, that this team should be among the three worst in baseball.

That sort of collapse HAS to involve some culpability on the part of the manager, partuicularly when he's shown no evident inclination to address it.

It's not so much the lack of winning as the apparent coasting.

TamRa - Tuesday, September 08 2009 @ 02:56 PM EDT (#205937) #
no idea why I said "under .900" above instead of "under .500"

that's not your ordinary typo.

I figure at this rate I'll be unable to type at all by the end of the year.
Matthew E - Tuesday, September 08 2009 @ 02:58 PM EDT (#205938) #

I've been trying to keep out of threads like this because I can't believe how pessimistic I've gotten, and I don't want to bring everyone else down with me. One of the effects of this pessimism is that it leaves me with no opinion about, for instance, Dopirak vs. Millar. The way I see it, it doesn't make any difference what the Jays do about Dopirak and Millar because it's not going to help anyway. It could be years before the Jays finish above .500 again and they may not contend for anything more interesting than third place for decades. (Or longer!) I just don't see any basis for hope. I almost wish I wasn't a fan of this team.

Of course, that's just me; I don't insist that anyone agree with me about this. And in fact I hope I'm wrong.

TamRa - Tuesday, September 08 2009 @ 02:58 PM EDT (#205939) #
No Dopirak, eh?

*sigh*

If he were going to the AFL it would be understandable.

Mike Green - Tuesday, September 08 2009 @ 03:12 PM EDT (#205940) #
MatthewE,

I see no structural reason why the Jays are condemned to finish no better than third for decades.  They play in a much larger market than the Rays, and could very well have made the playoffs in 2008.

On the other hand, there is plenty of reason for pessimism/realism in the short and medium term. 

Matthew E - Tuesday, September 08 2009 @ 03:19 PM EDT (#205941) #
Are you assuming that ownership has ambitions any higher than just keeping the doors open? I'm willing to entertain the idea, but I don't regard it as proven.
TamRa - Tuesday, September 08 2009 @ 03:34 PM EDT (#205942) #
It could be years before the Jays finish above .500 again and they may not contend for anything more interesting than third place for decades. (Or longer!) I just don't see any basis for hope. I almost wish I wasn't a fan of this team.

I assume you are aware at what a staggering over-reaction that is.

You can no more forecast what will happen even 5 or 10 years in the future than you could have forecast in October 1993 that the jays would spend the next (almost) two decades as a non-factor.

Sports is simply not remotely that predictable. Take Snider for instance - he could be the next Russell Branyan or he could be the best slugger in the league or anything in between. There are easily 30 or 40 other variables just like that which make absolutist pessimism OR optimism totally unsupportable with anything except emotion.

I AM more concerned about the future than I have been since 2001, I don't wish to minimize the potential ways they could continue going over the cliff on their way to being the Royals.

But by no means is such an outcome certain. I could describe a future where they spent $120 million and contended in 2010-2011...I could describe one where they cut back to $60 and the kids developed well and the team was a 2012 incarnation of the 2008 Rays - and I could also imagine a scenario in which either $120 mil or $60 mil resulted in a train wreck, or simple mediocrity.

None of them grossly more likely than the other.

I do confess to a sense of declining interest that I fear may become permanent though.

Matthew E - Tuesday, September 08 2009 @ 03:56 PM EDT (#205943) #

I assume you are aware at what a staggering over-reaction that is.

You can no more forecast what will happen even 5 or 10 years in the future than you could have forecast in October 1993 that the jays would spend the next (almost) two decades as a non-factor.

Sports is simply not remotely that predictable. Take Snider for instance - he could be the next Russell Branyan or he could be the best slugger in the league or anything in between. There are easily 30 or 40 other variables just like that which make absolutist pessimism OR optimism totally unsupportable with anything except emotion.

As I said, I'm not trying to persuade anybody to start thinking like me. And one of my baseball-fan axioms is, "never is a really long time."

But you haven't persuaded me either. Sure, Snider looks good. So do Hill and Lind and Romero. I have no doubt that they're the kind of guys who will be able to keep the Jays closer to 70 wins than 40 over the next few years, just as Halladay and Delgado and Wells have done over the past decade. But you need quite a few players of that quality to put together a really *good* team, and where are they all going to come from? I don't see a source, or combination of sources, that will be up to the job now or in the future.

It's a long list of questions to which I'm pessimistic about the answers. Will ownership be willing to pony up enough dough to pay what a good team in this division costs? Will the GM and his people draft astutely, trade shrewdly, sign free agents intelligently, and let their own free agents walk away when appropriate, with enough success to staff a championship-quality team? Will the players ever rise to the occasion? Are there circumstances under which the fans will ever support the team in quantity again?

I'd like to be able to say 'yes' to any of those. But, as Dennis Miller once said, I'm just not getting that vibe.

krose - Tuesday, September 08 2009 @ 04:09 PM EDT (#205944) #
Very well put Matthew! I believe there is some evidence to indicate that the BJ organization (Riccardi and senior management) do not intend to field a competitive team in the near future. The most glaring evidence is the playing time given to Millar this year. Millar's "time" has been taken from younger players (i.e. Diporak). That indication is further supported with the failure to sign top draft choices. Perhaps the organization lacks competence or is oblivious to the situation; perhaps top level management sees a way to use the BJs to generate a profit without fielding a winning team; or perhaps they are preparing to sell the team.
Mike Green - Tuesday, September 08 2009 @ 04:42 PM EDT (#205945) #
Matthew,

I am not sure that Rogers will be the owner of the Jays by the end of 2010, let alone the end of 2015.  The long-term payroll of the club ought to be the function primarily of the local and regional markets (for attendance reasons) and national market (due to TV and internet exclusivity).  There is no reason that the payroll would not be in the upper quartile over the long-term. 

Further, I do not take this year's failures of ownership as conclusive with respect to Rogers as an owner.  The passing of Ted Rogers would understandably result in difficulties for the corporation. It is most unfortunate that these difficulties would occur in a season when the club started so well. 

jgadfly - Tuesday, September 08 2009 @ 04:42 PM EDT (#205946) #
Does anyone know whether Dopirak and Loewen have to go on the 40 man list to be protected this winter ?    Who else has to be protected this year ?
Chuck - Tuesday, September 08 2009 @ 04:56 PM EDT (#205947) #

One of the effects of this pessimism is that it leaves me with no opinion about, for instance, Dopirak vs. Millar. The way I see it, it doesn't make any difference what the Jays do about Dopirak and Millar because it's not going to help anyway. It could be years before the Jays finish above .500 again 

Your pessimism may well be founded, but sometimes the longview has to be ignored. Sometimes (my Zen friends tell me)  what's of interest is only today's game. Do the team's chances improve on winning today with Dopirak over Millar? Perhaps, and maybe only very, very slightly. It's hard to imagine Dopirak being a drop-off from Millar.

The Dopirak non-callup aside, Millar is a kind of lightning rod for the fans right now. Ricciardi refuses to drop him. Gaston refuses to bury him. And Millar will be $50K richer any day now. All of these can be construed as the organization flaunting its indifference towards the fans. When the organization says "we don't care", they should not be surprised to hear the same thing back from the fans in the form of empty seats and lower TV ratings.

TamRa - Tuesday, September 08 2009 @ 04:58 PM EDT (#205948) #
Dopirak will have to go on the 40 or be, I believe, a minor league free agent.

It was well reported that Loewen signed a two year deal so he's safe.
tstaddon - Tuesday, September 08 2009 @ 05:37 PM EDT (#205949) #
i believe the only prospects even approaching the radar that need to be added in the offseason are Dopirak, Jeroloman, Campbell, Dials and perhaps Kyle Ginley, unless the Jays are somehow able to generate an injury exception for him.

The Jays are currently at the 40-man limit, though they could easily transfer McGowan, Litsch, Marcum or Barrett to the 60-day DL if they really wanted a look at Dopirak or Arencibia.

Hard to imagine that all of Murphy, D. Romero, Wolfe, Barrett and Millar survive the winter, while Barajas, Chavez, McDonald and Scutaro are free agents. Management will have to make decisions on others, too, be they arbtiration calls (Camp, Tallet, Bautista) or roster filler/AAAA types (Hayhurst, Phillips, Inglett and Ruiz). Still, hard to believe there'll be a real crunch for roster spots. Remember, this is the only team that didn't sign a major league free agent last winter.
Dave Till - Tuesday, September 08 2009 @ 06:04 PM EDT (#205950) #
I'm not sure why there's any fuss being made about Dopirak. He has a decent average in AAA, but he will be 26 in December, he doesn't have much power for a first baseman, and he virtually never walks. He's the new Robert Perez. He's marginally better than Millar, but it's not enough of a difference to make much of a difference.

I'm not quite as pessimistic as Matthew, but I think that the next three years or so are likely to be a very dark time in Blue Jays history, unless somebody with really deep pockets buys the team and goes nuts. (If you want to be really pessimistic, there's always the possiblity that someone could buy the Jays and relocate them. But I'm not going to go that far.) The problem is bats: the Jays have no hitting talent in the minors (except for people who are already here, such as Snider). Their best remaining hitters in AAA are old warhorses such as Russ Adams and Howie Clark. And they have nobody hitting above .271 in AA, except for Dopirak (who is now in AAA).

The classic saying about a championship quality team is that they are strong up the middle. The Jays, while they have Hill at second, have soon-to-be-free agents at SS and C, and nothing in the system to replace them. (Arencibia is striking out one-fourth of the time in AAA; that suggests huge holes in his swing, which suggests non-prospect.) And, in center field, there is Vernon Wells, about whom enough has been said.

If Rogers doesn't sink any money into the team, and if they trade Halladay for prospects, they could easily lose 110 games next year. And they will continue to lose until they have a good draft and those youngsters start to make it to the majors. They'll have enough pitching to keep from becoming the 1962 Mets, but that's about as far as I'd be willing to go.

As for Cito: he's not the best manager for a young team, as his approach is to pick the players and leave them alone. This didn't help Rios, who tended to wander off into his own star system, or Wells, who feels the weight of the world on his shoulders. But it's not as if Rios has suddenly blossomed in Comiskey, is it? And it's not as if the Jays could be expected to win with that talent: they really only have five major league quality players on the roster - Doc, Hill, Scutaro, Lind and Romero - and only one young hitter with any significant upside (Snider). It also should be pointed out that the Jays lost four-fifths of their 2008 starting rotation due to injury or Yankee dollars; there aren't many teams that can survive that. I wouldn't necessarily keep Cito on, but I don't think changing managers really makes that much of a difference.

Jim - Tuesday, September 08 2009 @ 06:09 PM EDT (#205951) #
Cito was certainly all over not resting Scutaro.  How could you ever sit him down the way he was playing?

What's that?  SInce August 10th he's hitting 206/325/245?  How could it be a bad idea for a 33 year old who plays up the middle to lead the league in plate appearances? 

 

Dave Till - Tuesday, September 08 2009 @ 06:34 PM EDT (#205952) #
What's that?  SInce August 10th he's hitting 206/325/245?  How could it be a bad idea for a 33 year old who plays up the middle to lead the league in plate appearances?

The alternative is John McDonald, who might not even hit that well.
Jim - Tuesday, September 08 2009 @ 06:39 PM EDT (#205953) #
Wouldn't the alternative be keeping him fresh and still having him hitting?  Instead of 2 months of McDonald, a few days scattered through the season?
Spifficus - Tuesday, September 08 2009 @ 06:40 PM EDT (#205954) #
That seems to be overstating it - it's really more of a bad 14 game slump. He's done similar a few times this summer, so it seems a bit premature for sarcastic certitude. I'm not saying he isn't tired, just that it's far from a certainty. Interesting that most of those 14 games were after he took a a day off after getting hit in Boston. Maybe he needed one or two more, or maybe it's just a slump.
Jim - Tuesday, September 08 2009 @ 06:41 PM EDT (#205955) #
Maybe playing Scutaro until he stopped hitting was another one of their forward looking strategies:

A.  Stop signing draft picks
B.  23 man roster
C.  Run your best free agents into ground so they are easier to resign.

Jim - Tuesday, September 08 2009 @ 07:23 PM EDT (#205956) #
Wow, the fans have spoken tonight.  RC is empty.
ayjackson - Tuesday, September 08 2009 @ 07:53 PM EDT (#205957) #
People have to get a grip.  The rhetoric being spewed is getting unbearable.
scottt - Tuesday, September 08 2009 @ 09:13 PM EDT (#205958) #
Ownership  has  to get a grip.  The actions being taken are getting unbearable.
TamRa - Tuesday, September 08 2009 @ 09:47 PM EDT (#205960) #
regarding the 40 man roster:

ESPN lists 39 names on the 40.

Out of those, the following are major league free agents-
Barajas, Chavez, Scutaro, McDonald, Millar.

That leaves 34 spots occupied. The following players could very easily be outrighted and become minor league free agents or be waived/cut-
Ruiz, Murphy, Wolfe, D.Romero, Hayhurst,

Murphy in particular is not a loss worth noticing.

Then tbere's the potential of players being traded (Tallet, Frasor) or non-tendered (Bautista)

In short, there's no excess crowding on the 40 man roster.
VBF - Tuesday, September 08 2009 @ 09:50 PM EDT (#205961) #

Overbay has wild platoon splits. All you had to do was find a guy who crushes lefties, a Craig Wilson/Kevin Mench type and platoon him with Overbay. They would have cost no more than Millar and would represent better options than a guy with no platoon splits and worse defense than the regular guy.

I also really hope the empty Dome tonight is viewed as the opportunity cost of giving the fans such a craptastic team.

Spifficus - Tuesday, September 08 2009 @ 10:26 PM EDT (#205962) #
Is everyone talking about the attendance of 13,488? Unfotunately, this crowd size is just as remeniscent of the weekday 'crowds' in April, when they were on top. "Win or lose the attendance will remain the same" is probably not the message people want sent.
Ozzieball - Tuesday, September 08 2009 @ 11:16 PM EDT (#205963) #
The alternative is John McDonald, who might not even hit that well.

I think John McDonald heard you, man.

Also tonight's crowd of 13 000 was greatly inflated by a platoon of UofT and York frosh students who wouldn't be there otherwise. I can't wait until the frosh crowd disappears, the Jays might actually break the 10 000 barrier at some point.
Jays2010 - Tuesday, September 08 2009 @ 11:23 PM EDT (#205964) #

In short, there's no excess crowding on the 40 man roster.

In other words, there is no excess of talent on the major or minor league rosters...

If the Jays are going semi-cheap and want to move Doc, I hope they address their dire need for positional players. All of these guys are on different teams, but I would gladly take this return for Doc AND Downs AND Frasor.

Carlos Gonzalez, Brandon Wood, JJ Hardy and Chris Snyder.

I'm thinking Downs and Frasor is not too far off Hardy and Snyder (heck, teams may balk at Snyder and the 10+ mill left on his contract for all I know).

But, at least the team would fill it's major position player holes. Lets say that Overbay is gone too...your 2010 Blue Jays:

Wells (21), Hardy (5), Encarnacion (4.75), Snyder, (4.75) Hill (4) & Lind, Snider, Gonzalez, Wood, Ruiz, Chavez, Coats and Inglett (4) = $44.5 million

Romero/Richmond/Zep/Marcum/Cecil/McGowan/Litsch (3.5) = $3.5 million

Ryan (10), Tallet/Camp/Accardo/Janssen/League/Carlson/Roenicke (7) = $17 million

Total: $65 million

I think that is selling low on Doc/Downs/Frasor (Overbay is probably tradable but won't fetch much back) but I think it is a more interesting mix than the current team, other than the fact that Doc is gone. But at least there is some offensive potential in Gonzalez and Wood and guys who have had decent careers that are at a good age to bounce back (Hardy/Snyder). I say that team wins 75 games (though it is hard as hell to predict with so many volatile players). Heck, if Snider, Wood and Gonzalez break out that team could be an ace and a closer away from contention. I don't really think that is much to ask for Doc and friends...I am just sick of having a bunch of pitching that blocks other pitching (before breaking down) while there are some major position needs...this team is frustrating...underwhelming...

Signed

A bored Blue Jays fan

 

Ozzieball - Tuesday, September 08 2009 @ 11:59 PM EDT (#205965) #
While the Jays are trading for CarGo from the Rockies, maybe they should also pick up Feliz and Holland from the Rangers. those kids are pretty good. And what about that Joey Votto in Cinci, wouldn't he look good replacing Overbay at first?
Jays2010 - Wednesday, September 09 2009 @ 12:06 AM EDT (#205966) #

While the Jays are trading for CarGo from the Rockies, maybe they should also pick up Feliz and Holland from the Rangers. those kids are pretty good. And what about that Joey Votto in Cinci, wouldn't he look good replacing Overbay at first?

If this is sarcasm...are you saying CarGo is too much as the centrepiece for Halladay? I'm not necessarily disagreeing...I mean, this is just a random fantasy...basically, for once, would rather the Jays address their holes instead of "stockpiling pitching"...unless it is someone like Feliz...Gonzalez has less value to the Rockies as they have Fowler as their CF...and it's not like Gonzalez has received a ton of ABs this year...it's not that long ago that he was merely a piece for Matt Holliday, who was presumably worth less than Halladay is now...

Dave Till - Wednesday, September 09 2009 @ 07:21 AM EDT (#205967) #
I think John McDonald heard you, man.

I saw that box score. Maybe I do have an effect on Johnny Mac's hitting! Let's try an experiment:

"Yo, John! Sure, that was nice. But anybody can have one good game. Let's see you do that again. Better still, let's see you do that for a whole season. I double-dare you."

:-)
greenfrog - Wednesday, September 09 2009 @ 08:05 AM EDT (#205968) #
Jays2010: why would the Rockies want to trade Carlos Gonzalez? The 23-year-old is hitting 296/368/544. Those are superstar-level numbers (admittedly based on a small sample size, and modestly inflated by Coors Field, but he's not even in his prime). It's like asking for Neftali Feliz or Clayton Kershaw (or Lincecum for Rios). It never hurts to ask, but it seems unlikely. Better to take intelligent risks, as the Marlins did when they traded for Hanley Ramirez, who was 21 and coming off a 720 OPS season in AA. A year or two later, he would have been untouchable--just as Gonzalez likely is untouchable now.
Chuck - Wednesday, September 09 2009 @ 08:08 AM EDT (#205969) #

Dave, you are clearly not issuing your challenge with the severity it demands or you would have opted for the double-dog-dare.

BTW, you made mention of Russ Adams earlier. He is now in the Padres organization.

lexomatic - Wednesday, September 09 2009 @ 10:27 AM EDT (#205972) #
I'm not sure why there's any fuss being made about Dopirak. He has a decent average in AAA, but he will be 26 in December, he doesn't have much power for a first baseman, and he virtually never walks. He's the new Robert Perez. He's marginally better than Millar, but it's not enough of a difference to make much of a difference.

OK Dave, as nicely as possible, I don't know what planet you're on with the above comment. Even if you're not optimistic, it's just wrong.
1-26 is not that old.. if he's finally ready it means the Jays would have his services cost-controlled during his prime. then they can let him go.. what's bad about that? 26 isn't that old... when did Ryan Howard finally get called up? (ok that's a bad comparison too because Howard went ape-shit on AA-AAA...and I thought it was 25 he got caleld up for his half season.. but whatever.
2-No power? he has as much power potential as anyone on the Jays...How many players hit 39 home runs in the midwest league? this year he put up a 950 ops in New Hampshire a really tough place to hit. he was on pace for over 30 home runs and about 60 walks over a full season.
3- he doesn't walk a ton but he could easily walk more than Rios or Wells. I'd say he has average plate discipline.
4-except for that one year at Lansing, Dopirak has struggled since he got to the Jays (and apparently made a few mechanical adjustments). Since then he's had a 920 ops and advanced higher than he previously has.
4- Robert Perez is a horrendously innacurate comparison. Perez waws a completely different kind of hitter (his top 3 home run seasons were 19 at AA at 31, 14 in AAA at 33 and 12 at AAA at 24 . His big year when he hit 343.. he only hit 9 home runs and walked 13 times to his 60 strikeouts (on base of 359). Unless you include the Mexican league when Perez was 39, his career high in walks is  HALF of the 48 or so that Dopirak has averaged. HALF.
5-Millar is toast. he's been horrible since the first month or so. Maybe Dopirak is only marginally better, he does have the potential to be MUCH MUCH better than Millar. And oh, he's also waaaaaaay cheaper. For a team whose decisions seem to be based more on budget that has value.
6- he may not be a star, but he COULD be a league average hitter for his position at the minimum...which has tons of value (especially considering Wells.) He could also suck, but theoretically 1b is the easiest position to fill...and even if he's slightly below average... his salary will make that a more worthwhile use of roster space than Millar will ever be.
lexomatic - Wednesday, September 09 2009 @ 10:32 AM EDT (#205973) #
4-except for that one year at Lansing, Dopirak has struggled since he got to the Jays (and apparently made a few mechanical adjustments). Since then he's had a 920 ops and advanced higher than he previously has.

was supposed to be... except for that one year at Lansing, Dopirak has struggled UNTIL getting to the Jays.

oops.
John Northey - Wednesday, September 09 2009 @ 12:39 PM EDT (#205975) #
While Dopirak isn't 'the answer' neither is Ruiz or any other single player (even Snider).  What the Jays need is solid guys at all positions (within eyeshot of average) plus decent backups.  Dopirak and Ruiz land into the 'decent backup' category with the potential of being solid DH/1B types.  Guys like Millar are just filler who really have no place on a ML roster - in the coaching ranks maybe, but not playing.

That is what has been most frustrating to me about 2009.  A rebuilding year where a few vets were left in to play far more than they should've - Jose Bautista, Kevin Millar, etc.  Checking the stats for non-pitchers we have seen 2364 PA to guys 32+ (past prime), 2192 to guys 27-31 (in prime), and just 842 to the 3 guys who are pre-prime (26 and under - Lind, Snider, Edwin Encarnacion).  Now that is not a good thing.

Of course, looking at the minors we don't see a lot of other options do we?  And one of those past prime guys was traded for a pre-prime guy (Rolen for Encarnacion). 

Checking the minors quickly I see the following for OPS over 800...
CA: Liuzza, Matthew (25 in A+), Gomes, Yan (21 in rookie ball) with Perez, Carlos on the edge at 797 (18 in rookie ball)
1B/DH: Ruiz, Randy, Dopirak, Brian, Ochinko, Sean (CA as well, 21 in short season) are 900+, Vasquez, Simon (21 in rookie), McDade, Michael (20 low A) also cracked 800
Infield: Schwartz, Randy (10 games, short season age 23 over 1000), Howard, Kevin (28 in AA/AAA), Schimpf, Ryan (21 rookie/SS)
Outfield: Snider, Travis, Thames, Eric (22, A+/SS), Ramirez, Welinton (22, SS/A-), Chavez, Johermyn (20, A-), Lane, Jason (32, AAA), Van Kirk, Brian (A-,A+,AA)

That's it for guys who impressed with the bats.  Just 5 guys at 900+ (Snider, Schwartz over 10 games, Ochinko in short season, and Ruiz/Dopirak). 

Checking the Yankees quickly for comparison I get 4 catchers over 900, 6 infielders over 800, 3 outfielders over 900 plus 7 more over 800, 1 first baseman over 900 plus 5 more over 800.  Yikes.
Boston? 2 catchers (1 over 900), 1 IF (over 900), 5 outfielders (one over 900), 2 at 1B/DH
Tampa? 1 catcher, 6 infielders, 9 outfielders (3 over 900), 5 1B/DH (1 over 1000)

This isn't looking good.  Sigh.  Lets hope the pitching keeps improving so at least we can see a lot of 3-2 games which the Jays will have a shot at.
TamRa - Wednesday, September 09 2009 @ 01:29 PM EDT (#205976) #
It's interesting to me that there are so many trying so hard to prove they are too wise to be on the Dopirak bandwagon.

Especially in the same year that Garret Jones comes out of nowhere at 28.

Not that Jones might not well be a total fluke, but it's that kind of success that the Jays will need to overcome the odds against them.

There's often a guy out there that people didn't see coming.

Ryan Ludwick is another example. Carlos Pena was considered a failure for the most part before he got to Tampa, Ben Zobrist did make it to the majors by 25 but was an empty bat until 27. Nelson Cruz is just not breaking out at 28. Dan Uggla came pretty much out of nowhere at 26.

Just off the top of my head. I for one am not going to try to be too clever when it comes to Dopirak. I'm not going to declare confidently that he's the next Uggla, but I'm sure as heck not going to assume he's "just awful" either.

And yes, I think it's a mistake to screw around with Ruiz while Dopirak needs a shot.

We have very little to lose by putting Dopirak into a platoon with Overbay next year (at least) and seeing how he adjusts.

It's not like anyone else we'd put in that role would be a sure thing either or he would be a platoon player.
Mike D - Wednesday, September 09 2009 @ 01:34 PM EDT (#205977) #

It could be years before the Jays finish above .500 again and they may not contend for anything more interesting than third place for decades. (Or longer!)

Perspective check:  The Jays finished second in the AL East in 2006 (A.D.).  They finished ahead of the Red Sox three years ago, which happened to be two years after and one year before the Red Sox won titles.

The Jays were a brutal 67-win team in 2004 that drew 1.9 million fans and had the following pitchers age 25 or under appear in big league games:  Bush, Chulk, Douglass, Chacin, League, Peterson.

The '09 Jays have played the following pitchers age 25 or under:  Romero, Cecil, Zep, Litsch, Ray and Mills.  (Position players are more comparable -- '04 had Wells and Rios; '09 has Lind and Snider.)

The '04 Jays went into the offseason and promptly lost their only legitimate offensive threat for nothing, not even compensatory draft picks.  They were 12th in HR and 11th in OPS and lost their only known source of either, purely for financial reasons.  And yet, they won 80 games in '05 and the following offseason, they spent money on Glaus, Molina, AJ, BJ and hope (such as it was).  What kind of odds would you have gotten in October 2004 that the Blue Jays would finish ahead of the Red Sox within two years?

Youneverknow. 

Mike Green - Wednesday, September 09 2009 @ 01:50 PM EDT (#205978) #
The difference, Mike, is that in 2004, the Jays had at the major league level and in the system, Hill, Hudson and Wells. Doc had had a mediocre season in 2004, but almost everybody was confident that he would bounce back.  I felt back then that the Jays had the core of a good club at hand, with young and improving players at the key positions. 

Now, the club needs a shortstop, a centerfielder and a third baseman, and there are no answers likely at hand for years unless the club is willing to spend gobs of money.  I like Cecil and Zep a lot, but I worry that development may be impeded by a poor defence behind them.

Matthew E - Wednesday, September 09 2009 @ 01:57 PM EDT (#205979) #
Apropos of nothing, I'd like to offer a prediction. Today is September 9th, 2009, and I predict that the next general manager of the Blue Jays will be Pat Gillick (although it's possible that Anthopoulos or LaCava or Gaston or somebody will hold the job on an interim basis in between). I don't say that this is a good thing or a bad thing; I just think it's what's going to happen. I don't know when (and I don't know Gillick's current contract status); probably in the next couple of years sometime.
Mike D - Wednesday, September 09 2009 @ 02:02 PM EDT (#205980) #

Mike G, did Hill and Hudson play more than 10 games together up the middle?  And haven't they been reasonably competitive with a parade of Adams, Johnny Mac, Eckstein and Scutaro at short?

And don't they still have Hill?  (And Wells, but I get your point there.)

They don't have much in the way of third base now, but in the 2004-05 offseason, in which they came off a last-place finish and lowered payroll from $50 to $45 million and jettisoned Delgado, they signed Koskie.  Then they traded for Glaus, and then for Rolen. 

Mike Green - Wednesday, September 09 2009 @ 02:23 PM EDT (#205983) #
The way I saw it at the end of 2004 was that they had a shortstop (Hill), a second baseman (Hudson) and two centerfielders (Wells and Rios).  I was skeptical that Hinske would be a decent every day third baseman. 

The club saw it a little differently, and moved Hill to second and traded Hudson for Glaus.  In either event, they had one major hole rather than three, as this club does. 

ramone - Wednesday, September 09 2009 @ 02:24 PM EDT (#205984) #

Today on sportsnet they said that not only is JP's job security in question this offseason but there are now rumblings that Cito could be on the firing block again.

Also as far as a new GM this out of nowhere candidate was mentioned on Yahoo sports (at the bottom of the article under Fungo Hitting):

"A name that could potentially surface as a GM candidate in Toronto if the Blue Jays decide not to keep J.P. Ricciardi, as is widely speculated, is Rob Ducey, one of the teamís pro scouts. Ducey is a Toronto native and former big-league outfielder who spent the first five-plus seasons of a 13-year playing career with the Jays. Ö"

I would have never thought of Ducey, I always assumed Alex A was next up.

Mike D - Wednesday, September 09 2009 @ 02:42 PM EDT (#205988) #

The club saw it a little differently, and moved Hill to second and traded Hudson for Glaus.  In either event, they had one major hole rather than three, as this club does. 

If you weren't sold on Hinske, who had a very poor year in 2004, then that's two major holes (1B and 3B).  2004 Hinske had a lower OPS than 2009 Wells!  Phelps also had a poor 2004 at DH, although I guess that may not have qualified as a major hole.

And as for shortstop, if the team has been able to win 86-87 games with Johnny Mac, Eckstein and Scutaro, why be pessimistic that they can't find a similarly adequate short-term fix?

Mike Green - Wednesday, September 09 2009 @ 03:01 PM EDT (#205990) #
Hunting for a first baseman is not the same thing as going after a centerfielder or third baseman.  For instance, in 2004, the Jays could reasonably see that Hinske would be an adequate platoon first baseman (and back-up at third) if another cheap option could not be found, despite Hinske's poor offensive year in 2004.  
lexomatic - Wednesday, September 09 2009 @ 03:04 PM EDT (#205991) #
i would think this would be a horrible move..based only on hoped for goodwill and PR with a canadian. I think it's unwise to bump someone without front office experience from the scouting ranks. i think this would lead to some serious kc/pittsburgh territory here. i wouldn't feel horrible if that's a long-term plan. slowly promoting him and giving him more responsibility. but as a straight-up replacement for jpr it's a disaster waiting to happen and a serious insult to the qualified guys ahead of him, who might very well leave. potentially setting the organization even further back.
i seriously hope this is just wild speculation.
Chuck - Wednesday, September 09 2009 @ 03:27 PM EDT (#205992) #

Carlos Pena was considered a failure for the most part before he got to Tampa,

If anyone did so, they were being unfair. From ages 24-28, the years prior to joining TB, his OPS+s were 106, 108, 113, 112, 96 (in just a handful of AB). He may have underachieved expectations, but he was hardly a failure.

By the end of his age-25 season, Pena had logged over 1000 PAs with an OPS+ around 108. This year is Dopirak's age-25 season and he has yet to log a single major league AB. So while Dopirak may yet defy the odds and achieve something with a late career start, Pena is not really a good comp.

Ducey - Wednesday, September 09 2009 @ 03:38 PM EDT (#205993) #

I would have never thought of Ducey, I always assumed Alex A was next up.

Man, was I ahead of the curve picking my handle or what?

Mike Green - Wednesday, September 09 2009 @ 04:04 PM EDT (#205994) #
Pena had obviously better plate control at age 24-25 than Dopirak has, with significantly better W/K in the major leagues than Dopirak has had in the upper minors.  My preference for Dopirak over Millar is not built on the expectation that he is likely to be a solid everyday contributor to a pennant contender. 
Chuck - Wednesday, September 09 2009 @ 04:27 PM EDT (#205995) #
My preference for Dopirak over Millar is not built on the expectation that he is likely to be a solid everyday contributor to a pennant contender. 

Nor mine. At worst, however, he figures to outperform Millar. The $50K bonus that Millar just received could have paid Dopirak's freight.
John Northey - Wednesday, September 09 2009 @ 04:58 PM EDT (#205996) #
Now that would be weird.  Rob Ducey was the first ML ballplayer I met (worked at McDonald's and he came through the drive through and I was the only one who knew who he was - got a napkin signed 'Rob Ducey-#40').  I loved following him as, like me, he was born in Toronto and raised in Cambridge and didn't get into baseball until a teenager.  Sadly, my skills were of the no-hit, no-field, no-throw type. 

Ducey was rumoured to have had issues with Cito when he first came up - a bit of an attitude which cost him a lot later on (Cito isn't a quick one to forgive).  Then he finally was getting a shot in '89 when he ran into the wall during batting practice and was injured which screwed him up again.  His very brief return to Toronto late in his career was an odd one - I think it was for less than a week before being traded back to the team he came from.

I'd love to see him involved with the team but another rookie GM would be an odd thing.  Of course, if you feel the Jays are directionless right now why would you want to see anyone who is in the front office take over? 

TamRa - Wednesday, September 09 2009 @ 06:30 PM EDT (#205997) #
Interesting comparison between the 2004 roster and the 2009 roster
(OPS+ and ERA+)

Zaun - 96
Barajas - 79

Delgado - 129
Overbay - 125

Hudson - 98
Hill - 113

Gomez - 76
Scutaro - 108

Hinske - 76
Encarnacion - 64

Johnson - 79
Lind - 138

Wells - 105
Wells - 82

Rios - 85
Snider - 81

Phelps - 80
Bautista - 81 (not technically the DH but the next most busy hitter)

Since Delgado was leaving, that 2004 offseason saw the need to fill a hole at 1B and SS and poor work at 3B and DH and arguably LF.

Five needs in the field. The 2009 squad needs to replace or upgrade SS, C, DH/LF and, possibly, 3B (CF needs to improve but there's no possibility the same player won't be out there so that's just hoping for a rebound)

Total team OPS+
2004 - 87
2009 - 100


Pitching looks like this-


Halladay - 115
Halladay - 147

Lilly - 119
Romero - 106

Bautista - 100
Tallet - 83

Towers - 94
Richmond - 92

Hemtgen - 69
Cecil - 80

Bush - 131
Rzep - 119

On the surface here, the #3 starter looks to be at issue for the current club but Marcum's return answers that concern well. Chacin had a couple of starts and was the "promising youngster" as the team looked ahead to 2005. This year, that might be Mills or Ray or a return from McGowan but the most obvious depth consideration is the return of Jesse Litsch.

Frasor - 118
Frasor - 196

Speier - 123
Downs - 146

Chulk - 103
Camp - 125

Lightenberg - 76
League - 86

Adams - 121
Carlson - 96

Douglass - 77
Janssen - 69

File - 100
Accardo - 175

For both team, all the important relievers are under the teams control for the upcoming season.

Totals-
2004 - 98
2009 - 99

So the primary distinction between the two is on offense.

I think the point is well made that this team is somewhat better than that one was, and somewhat better situated going forward. And thus pointing out that the 2006 team won 20 more games that the depressing 2004 team did is a valid point.
TamRa - Wednesday, September 09 2009 @ 06:36 PM EDT (#205998) #
Pena is not really a good comp.

Point conceded. I have to modify my opinion of the Tigers downward a good bit for letting him leave. My foggy memory had assumed he was much worse for them at the end than he actually was.

cybercavalier - Wednesday, September 09 2009 @ 06:52 PM EDT (#205999) #

Now, the club needs a shortstop, a centerfielder and a third baseman, and there are no answers likely at hand for years unless the club is willing to spend gobs of money.  I like Cecil and Zep a lot, but I worry that development may be impeded by a poor defence behind them. The problem is bats: the Jays have no hitting talent in the minors (except for people who are already here, such as Snider). Their best remaining hitters in AAA are old warhorses such as Russ Adams and Howie Clark. And they have nobody hitting above .271 in AA, except for Dopirak (who is now in AAA). The classic saying about a championship quality team is that they are strong up the middle. The Jays, while they have Hill at second, have soon-to-be-free agents at SS and C, and nothing in the system to replace them.

Suggestion for next season: can Jose Bautista play shortstop? If so, Jose can be the next guy at short if Marco Scutaro declines with age.  Inglett will be the go-to-guy for utility. The lack of hitting talents is not easy to be solved: how many Randy Ruiz of late can be called from AAAA veterans? Still, for next season they need a shortstop a catcher, an outfielder and a third baseman.

Frank Markotich - Wednesday, September 09 2009 @ 06:55 PM EDT (#206000) #

Hopefully that Ducey rumour is just someone desperate for a column idea who happened to notice that Ducey is a Canadian and works for the Blue Jays.

If they change general managers, fine. But what you do is look at as many qualified candidates as possible, interview them and make an informed decision. I don't know how qualified Alex Anthopoulos is, and I doubt anyone here really knows either. But giving the most important job in the baseball operations department to somebody just because he happens to be here already is the height of folly.

Of course, that's assuming that the idea is to try to build a winner.

greenfrog - Wednesday, September 09 2009 @ 06:56 PM EDT (#206001) #
"A name that could potentially surface as a GM candidate in Toronto if the Blue Jays decide not to keep J.P. Ricciardi, as is widely speculated, is Rob Ducey, one of the teamís pro scouts. Ducey is a Toronto native and former big-league outfielder who spent the first five-plus seasons of a 13-year playing career with the Jays. Ö"

This sounds like a bogus rumour to me. What would make Ducey even remotely qualified for the job? That he's a Toronto native? A "former big-league outfielder"? A pro scout?

I don't see Gillick returning, either. He always seems to have a knack for joining teams already on the cusp of contention. Which would seem to rule out the Jays, even assuming he wants another GM job. Besides, being the GM of the Jays doesn't seem particularly enjoyable (the major job criteria seem to be slashing payroll and making excuses).
John Northey - Wednesday, September 09 2009 @ 07:11 PM EDT (#206002) #
Last thing you want is a GM who has never been more than a guy involved in scouting so far... oops, that was Gillick's qualifications when he took over. :)

Just a reminder that tons of front office experience winner (Gord Ash) nor does having a guy who would eventually be viewed as a great GM mean you are going to win right away (Gillick at first with Toronto and the last place every year Jays from birth through 1982 and just one playoff appearance in his first decade).
Gwyn - Wednesday, September 09 2009 @ 08:24 PM EDT (#206005) #
Suggestion for next season: can Jose Bautista play shortstop?

Looking at bbref shortstop and cactcher are the only positions he's never played.
Dave Till - Wednesday, September 09 2009 @ 08:32 PM EDT (#206006) #
OK Dave, as nicely as possible, I don't know what planet you're on with the above comment.

I've been accused of being on my own planet before :-) And I'm a lousy scout, as any of my Roto opponents would agree. After looking at Dopirak's minor league record in more detail (I was just looking at the AAA stuff earlier), I agree that Robert Perez is a bad comparison. My bad there.

One quick-and-dirty way of judging whether a class-AAA ballplayer can help a team is by comparing him to any former major leaguers who are now his teammates. Dopirak is currently hitting .330 at Las Vegas - but Russ Adams is hitting .319, and David Dellucci hit .317. Of course, Randy Ruiz hit .320 in Vegas, but with more power.

Given Dopirak's age, his relatively low walk totals, and the seeming fact that Vegas inflates hitting stats a bit, I don't expect much from Dopirak. I like him better than Millar, though, and you never know - he could take another step forward. (It seems to take him a season to adjust to each level. Whether that's a good sign or not, I don't know.) That's why they play the games, after all - we're always constantly surprised.

(As for Rob Ducey as GM - that would be extremely ironic, given that he once successfully sued SkyDome's management for a freak knee injury he incurred in 1989. My own guess: if Rogers is running the Jays on the cheap, they'll keep J.P. until his contract expires, then promote one of his assistants.)
Dave Till - Wednesday, September 09 2009 @ 08:33 PM EDT (#206007) #
Addendum to my last post: I keep forgetting that Russ Adams is no longer in the Jays' system. Egad.
greenfrog - Wednesday, September 09 2009 @ 08:40 PM EDT (#206008) #
"Last thing you want is a GM who has never been more than a guy involved in scouting so far... oops, that was Gillick's qualifications when he took over. :)"

Point taken, but this is just a wee bit disingenuous. Gillick was the Director of Scouting with the Astros and the Yankees' Coordinator of Player Development before he signed on with the Jays.

Ducey, on the other hand, is a scout with the Jays. That's it. This is not to say that he won't be qualified for the job someday. But there is absolutely nothing in that Yahoo quote to substantiate the rumour or suggest that Ducey has thus far achieved anything of note as a potential GM candidate (unlike, say, LaCava or Anthopoulos).
Jim - Wednesday, September 09 2009 @ 08:40 PM EDT (#206009) #
Dopriak should have gotten a chance this season because there is nothing at risk.  You have to at least pretend in April that you are going to compete, that illusion doesn't exist if you wait until then to give Dopriak a chance in the major leagues. 

Personally I don't think he's a major league player, but the one thing being 27 games back affords you is a chance to give marginal prospects a chance.





ramone - Wednesday, September 09 2009 @ 11:19 PM EDT (#206011) #

Smallest crowd in the Dome's history tonight 11,400 and  change.  Hopefully this is a message to Rogers to wake up as opposed to things going the way of the Expos.

cybercavalier - Thursday, September 10 2009 @ 09:18 AM EDT (#206013) #

Given Dopirak's age, his relatively low walk totals, and the seeming fact that Vegas inflates hitting stats a bit, I don't expect much from Dopirak. I like him better than Millar, though, and you never know - he could take another step forward. (It seems to take him a season to adjust to each level. Whether that's a good sign or not, I don't know.) That's why they play the games, after all - we're always constantly surprised.

For now, Dopirak is not expected; if he was, he would not have been substracted from the Cubs minor league system. Probably his learning curve for baseball is flatter than those of prospects. 

One quick-and-dirty way of judging whether a class-AAA ballplayer can help a team is by comparing him to any former major leaguers who are now his teammates. Dopirak is currently hitting .330 at Las Vegas - but Russ Adams is hitting .319, and David Dellucci hit .317. Of course, Randy Ruiz hit .320 in Vegas, but with more power.

How about comparing these players in Quality Plate Appearances? By the way, is there a sabermetrical relationship between a batter's QPA and OPS?

John Northey - Thursday, September 10 2009 @ 09:22 AM EDT (#206014) #
True enough greenfrog.  Gillick was far more qualified in the late 70's than Ducey is now.  However, my main point is that we really don't know when it comes to guys (or gals - Ng is still out there) who have never been GM's.  We hear that so-and-so is very qualified and viewed as a future GM but who knows really?  Unless you spend time with them and know what their opinions were that were listened to and not listened to it is just impossible for us to know.

For the Jays immediate future a veteran GM would probably be best (no learning curve), for the long term a rookie who has new ideas would probably be best (need new ideas to beat out the Yankees/Red Sox/Rays and even the Orioles).

Mike Green - Thursday, September 10 2009 @ 10:31 AM EDT (#206015) #
New ideas?  How about trying revamped pitcher usage?  On a staff with so many lefties and with no likely ace if Halladay is traded, tandem starters and a 3 or 4 day rotation could be quite effective.  The idea is simple.  You pair up 3 or 4 righty/lefty sets, e.g. Cecil/Richmond, Zep/Marcum, Romero/Frasor.  On any particular day, each pitcher goes 2-5 innings depending on the opponents' platoon vulnerabilities and the pitcher's effectiveness in the manager's discretion. 

My own view is that there is not a huge difference in the true talent of any of these pitchers, and that there is something to be gained by having pitchers generally out for 3-4 innings every 3-4 days, rather than 6-7 innings every 5 days (for the starters) and irregular work for all the others. I would hope for some modest increase in pitcher effectiveness due to pitching less when tired, and some increased number of platoon advantages in the middle innings.

China fan - Thursday, September 10 2009 @ 03:47 PM EDT (#206027) #

Okay (deep breath):  here's an attempt to be optimistic about the Jays in September 2009.   Consider their win over the Twins tonight.  Does it perhaps demonstrate a way for the Jays to win games in 2010?   Even with an inconsistent and inexperienced starter, even without much hitting, even with a lineup composed almost entirely of has-beens and never-wills, the Jays managed to scratch out a win.  And they used a formula that just might possibly work next season: a decent six innings from the starter, followed by a cobbled-together 7th inning from three relievers, followed by an inning from their natural set-up man (Downs), followed by an inning from their new closer (Frasor).   The optimist in me is suggesting that Downs-Frasor might be a very strong combo in the bullpen next season.  The bullpen, arguably, was thrown into disarray and confusion in 2009 by an unlucky series of events:  Ryan's implosion, the freak injury to Downs, the shifting of Tallet to the rotation, and the overworking of Carlson and League.  A more stable bullpen in 2010, anchored by Downs and Frasor, might just do it.  Meanwhile, the raw youngsters in the rotation, a year older and a year wiser, might offer the consistency that the Jays need.  If you've got a strong rotation and a solid bullpen, is it possible that the Jays could prosper with a lineup anchored by Lind, Hill, Snider, Overbay, maybe Scutaro, and (dare I dream) a bit of a rebound from Wells?

Of course it was only the Twins tonight, and it's September when not much matters.  But I need a reason to care about 2010, and this -- for now -- might have to be it.

FisherCat - Thursday, September 10 2009 @ 04:02 PM EDT (#206029) #

...Of course it was only the Twins tonight, and it's September when not much matters.  But I need a reason to care about 2010, and this -- for now -- might have to be it.

Unfortunately China Fan, this is the same line of thinking that has gotten us in trouble each of the last 3 years.

I'm of the mind that the Jays have to reload/rebuild because there are just too many holes at the key positions (SS; C; CF; 3B & closer).  Other than seriously bumping up  the payroll, the only way to plug most of these holes in short order is via trading one Roy Halladay.  Last night was the final evidence to this fact.  I mean only 11,000+ show up to watch arguably THE greatest pitcher in the franchise history, and maybe the most consistant RH the AL has seen since Pedro!  If the paying fans won't come out for him, then turn him into 3 near MLB ready players for those holes mentioned above!

China fan - Thursday, September 10 2009 @ 04:21 PM EDT (#206030) #
Good points, Fisher Cat.   But, again in an optimistic vein, let me argue that the holes are not quite as numerous as you suggest.  Closer?  I'm arguing that Frasor is quite capable of it.  He has posted a 2009 season that demonstrates a new Frasor, a step beyond the old Frasor, and I think he can do the job.  Catcher?  Few teams are going to get much from this slot in the lineup, and there are plenty of free-agents who can be adequate for 2010.  Shortstop?  I haven't given up hope that the Jays can sign Scutaro in the offseason.  (There's at least a chance of it.)  Centre field and 3rd base?  Those are big problems, I agree.  If Wells is as dismal in 2010 as he was in 2009, and if Scutaro departs, I agree that 2010 looks pretty hopeless.  But I was trying to outline an optimistic scenario, with a mild degree of plausibility, just for a change of pace.
John Northey - Thursday, September 10 2009 @ 05:38 PM EDT (#206031) #
Different thinking is what is needed, but how much can really be done?  The paired up pitchers would work potentially but would the Jays do it?  It would take a lot of guts for any GM/Manager combo to do something that radical.  Given how bullpens have lower ERA's than starters as a rule it probably would work well, but if it didn't work right away oh boy would it be a media mess.

Cecil/Richmond, Zep/Janssen, Romero/Marcum (probably the strongest combo) would probably be what I'd go for, mixing kids with older pitchers and the old left/right combos.  Keep Halladay as a full starter and you'd have something interesting on a 4 day rotation (keep Halladay on a lower pitch count but with extra starts, 40 in a year, he might go for it to get a shot at 30 wins).  With a 12 man pitching staff that leaves 5 guys for any relief work still needed (Frasor/Downs/League/Carlson/Camp).  The 2 man teams could go 4 innings per game, perhaps even 5.  It takes care of the high pitch count issue we see with Cecil and Rzep right now.  Alternate start and relief for the 2 man teams and you avoid any one guy getting all the wins.  The Jays really are in a unique situation with so many mediocre starters, some of whom could be solid very soon, and a great left/right mix (even in the pen with this mix and match). 

Sheesh, the more I look the more I like but have to remind myself that no ML team would take the risk of looking foolish that it would carry.  But it just makes so much sense when you think about it, if players would just buy into it, and given the fact these guys are either near rookies (lost status this year) or coming off injuries one would think they'd go for anything to stay in the majors (with Halladay getting the big prize of a shot at 30 wins or at least a better Cy shot with extra starts = extra wins and voters going for wins over pretty much anything else). 

::Shakes head:: no, it won't happen.  It can't happen.  If only it didn't make so much sense.
CeeBee - Thursday, September 10 2009 @ 08:49 PM EDT (#206035) #

 

 

 

Get a grip John ;)   It makes way too much sense for any of the 30 conservative management teams, let alone the Jays. I'm sure J.P. or his replacement will follow the tried and true....... but then again you never know. It sure would be interesting if someone had the balls to try it and especially so if it worked.... OMG  we might have a whole new way of thinking. :)

Jim - Thursday, September 10 2009 @ 09:46 PM EDT (#206037) #
if players would just buy into it

They won't.  Even for the simple fact it will hurt them in arbitration.

Frasor and Downs could be a very good combo, problem is that they could cost 10% of the payroll, keeping them both makes filling the other positions that much harder.  If you spend the marginal dollars in the bullpen the lineup is going to be disgusting.
Frank Markotich - Thursday, September 10 2009 @ 10:02 PM EDT (#206038) #
If the Blue Jays are serious about contending in the AL East, then they need to develop good players in their organization plus spend money (free agents, trades, retaining their own players). They're not going to do it with smoke and mirrors.
christaylor - Thursday, September 10 2009 @ 10:07 PM EDT (#206039) #
I can't see Halladay going for being part of 4-man rotation. If memory serves it was tried once during the Gibbons (or perhaps Tosca) era for a brief period and then dropped. Not much was made of the about face at the time but I wouldn't be surprised if Halladay tried it (he was, according to his comments in the media at the time, game) and found his arm didn't bounce back.

Overwork (and throwing too many cutters) were blamed for his arm issues in 2004 and at the end of 2006. Halladay is a horse but I doubt a 4 man rotation would work in today's game; it is nice to challenge the conventional wisdom but sometimes the conventional wisdom is the conventional wisdom because it works. It might not show up in the stats even but if pitchers in a 5 man say their arms feel better, that's reason enough. Measuring wear and tear on an arm is far from an exact science and like anything in medicine most of the treatment is dictated by the patient's subjective reports.
John Northey - Thursday, September 10 2009 @ 11:21 PM EDT (#206043) #
As I recall Halladay was one of the guys who wanted the Jays to go to a 4 man rotation - probably due to his 'horse' mentality. In truth, it could be good for him if the Jays put a tighter leash on his inning count. He is an economical pitcher and should have no problem if limited to 80-100 pitches per game (he has been below 100 just 5 times this year in 28 starts, but also below 7 innings just 5 times).
lexomatic - Friday, September 11 2009 @ 12:55 AM EDT (#206044) #
John I recall that Halladay was fine with this, and that the numbers supported his opinion of feeling sharper in that he had excellent results. But i'll leave it to someone else to put togetehr the numbers to back it up.
christaylor - Friday, September 11 2009 @ 07:54 PM EDT (#206051) #
Halladay started 3 times on short rest in 2003, in 2004 once (and I think this was the one experiment I was thinking of), 0 times in each of 2005-2007, twice last year and zero again this year.

At any rate, there's no way a sample size of 6 starts on short rest will tell anything about Halladay's ability to go on short rest. However the fact that he's rarely gone on short rest since 2003 is telling in and of itself; if he truly was game and wanted to do go on short rest regularly, I doubt (although not strongly, I can see the team not wanting to risk wearing him down) the team would prevent him from at least an extended experiment of short rest.
Chuck - Sunday, September 13 2009 @ 07:39 AM EDT (#206061) #
Guillen is getting frustrated with Rios.
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