Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
MLB Trade Rumors is reporting that the Jays have acquired Yunel Escobar and Jo-Jo Reyes for Alex Gonzalez, Tim Collins and Tyler Pastornicky.  This is a high risk trade for the new GM as Escobar is very talented but suggestions of attitude and effort problems have dogged him.  Plus there is this question, why would the Braves give up on a young premium position player for a rental and prospects?

Alex Gonzalez has been a tremendous addition to the Blue Jays but he was a rental, a one year player here who presumably wanted to get traded to a contender.  From that perspective well played AA.

Tim Collins is a favourite here at Da Box and should be a major league reliever but again he is high risk due to his size and relievers do not have huge value in trades.

Tyler Pastornicky is also a good prospect but the Jays are well stocked at shortstop now and between Justin Jackson and Ryan Goins they have a replacement of sorts.

Jo-Jo reyes is only 25 years old and has been hanging around the major leagues for a few years now.  He is currently back in AAA and has a 5.70 ERA there.  He is left handed but hopefully the Jays new and improved scouting department has seen some potemtial in him.

Yunel Escobar is key to the deal.  Escobar is 27 years old, born in Cuba, and is having a down year after two good seasons.  His three year OPS is .766; .812; and .618.  Shortstops are hard to find and the Jays have been looking for a while.  which Escobar are the Jays getting?  Hopefully the good one.

Jays acquire Yunel Escobar and Jo-Jo Reyes for Alex Gonzalez, Tim Collins and Tyler Pastornicky | 218 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Kasi - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 12:27 PM EDT (#218319) #
Kinda sad to lose Collins here. But then again he is only a reliever, so not that sad. Pastornicky with Hech, Goins, Jackson and Pierre around was definitely expendable, so definitely no loss there. AGon was a rental, but I'm guessing Escobar should be better over the long term. How much better I don't know though. I'll have to wait to see what the experts think about the deal. Curious what Atlanta thinks too.
Kasi - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 12:30 PM EDT (#218320) #
Well the Braves fans seem to hate the deal. So I guess that is good!
Moe - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 12:31 PM EDT (#218322) #
This is the type of move that JP never did but that you have to do to win in the AL East. If Escobar works out, this would be a steal. But if he already had his career year last year and one of the prospects works out nicely, this would be bad. High risk, high reward. But since the chance of the Braves looking bad is much higher, I like it.
Gerry - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 12:33 PM EDT (#218323) #
John Heyman of SI just called Escobar an underachieving space cadet, not that that means anything other than there might have been communication problems with Escobar..
Denoit - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 12:34 PM EDT (#218324) #
The Jays got the best player right now in Escobar, I was also a little dissapointed to see Collins go but he is the only piece that I would really miss. Hopefully Escobar can get back to his 2008-2009 numbers cause he can be a really good player.
Glevin - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 12:34 PM EDT (#218325) #
Fabulous trade. They sold high on Gonzalez and bought low on Escobar. The three years before this terrible one, Escobar has had OBPs of .385, .366, and .377 and is under team control for another few years. Really don't get this from the Braves' POV.
85bluejay - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 12:35 PM EDT (#218326) #

Agree with Moe

This is the type of deal JP would never make - Selling high on Gonzo & Collins, Buying low on Escobar &

Reyes and trusting your scouts did their job - It's a gamble I like.

AWeb - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 12:36 PM EDT (#218327) #
Seems like a "selling high, buying low" type of trade, given how the players have done this year. The risk with those trades is of course that the highs and lows are the actual performance levels of the players involved, in which case it looks stupid...

Escobar has been rated as a plus defender, seems to know how to take a walk, and his power has completely vanished this year. I think maybe that the hitting coaches here might have a few ideas...hopefully without removing his ability to get on base.

Sad to see Collins go...he's been fun to follow.

westcoast dude - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 12:36 PM EDT (#218328) #
Is today April first?  This is a joke, right?  I just watched Idiocracy and I must be feeling somewhat disoriented, because I don't know whether to laugh or cry. After hearing Wilner talk basketball to Romero, nothing should surprise me anymore. Dumb, meet dumber.
Vic Parker - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 12:37 PM EDT (#218329) #

Not sure I like this trade. What did the Jays gain? A ? at SS for the next few years. I guess that is what we already had, but Gonzalez was having a good year, Escobar is not.

The Jays are in need of bullpen stability and it would have been interesting to see how Collins would have faired. His K/9 #'s are eye popping. Pastornicky was a average prospect, though I recall someone stating that JP mentioned him specifically on a radio interview as the Jays future SS? Collins was a well documented JP sign as well.

Mike Green - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 12:38 PM EDT (#218330) #
The Braves have a terrific record at evaluating their own highly-regarded position players.  Most of this was Schuerholz, but I would be inclined to accept the implicit judgment of the organization that Schuerholz left behind- what ails Escobar with the bat is not likely to be fixed. 

I also do not understand the impetus for this trade.  Escobar and Hecchevarria fill the same niche over the next 3 years, and it doesn't really make sense to move either to another position given the balance between their defensive and offensive games.  It seemed to me that the Jays' middle infield situation was very good prior to the trade. Gonzalez' option for 2011 provided the perfect insurance, in my mind, for the possibility that Hecchevarria requires additional development time.  Pastornicky provided a further long-term option at shortstop or second base (with Hill sliding over to third where the organization definitely does need help). 

I hope the rumour is just that.

raptorsaddict - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 12:43 PM EDT (#218331) #
I was happy when it was Gonzo for the other two, not so happy with the addition of Tiny Tim and Pastornicky. Like others have said, with where Escobar is at in his arb/free agency, and with where we are at as a team, it just doesn't make sense to me. Particularly since Collins and Pastornicky both seemed like real players to me, particularly Tiny Tim - his K numbers are absurd, in a good way. And the fact that he was still whiffing guys at higher levels and not getting "figured out" makes me wonder if he doesn't have a future int MLB down the road.
Gerry - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 12:44 PM EDT (#218332) #

The Braves Blog Capital Avenue Club discussed trading Escobar a couple of weeks ago:

Some people in the organization wish he was a bit less flashy. OK, the same is probably true for someone in every organization. It isnít a good enough reason to trade a player. Or even exert psychic energy being infuriated, in my opinion.

Trading a player out of frustration is likely a bad baseball move and almost certainly a bad business move. Things like Kelly Johnson getting away for nothing happen when frustration enters the picture. Letting frustration influence your decisions is a mistake. Rational and thorough examination is necessary for every business decision.

ayjackson - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 12:47 PM EDT (#218333) #

I don't think it's a rumour, Mike.  Bastian has confirmed it via twitter and is preparing his official site piece as we speak.

I think this is all about turning around Escobar and flipping him when Heche is ready.  I don't think it's as great a deal as teams are making it out to be, but if Escobar returns to a .800 OPS slick-fielding shortstop by this time next year, his value goes way up.

TimberLee - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 12:50 PM EDT (#218334) #
RotoWorld says this is a "worthwhile gamble" for the Jays and thinks the Braves sold "incredibly low" on Escobar.  They also think JoJo has the potential to be a No.4-type starter  -  for whatever that's worth.
Mark - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 12:51 PM EDT (#218335) #
Amazing trade. Exactly the kind of moves they should be making. Escobar has superstar potential (at 50%) according to BP coming into the year. He is a plus plus defender who can put up a .800 + ops. He is 27 and should be entering his best years of his career, and we control for three years after this one, at which time Hech might be ready to take over.
Greg - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 12:53 PM EDT (#218336) #

I don't think Escobar and Hechavarria fill the same role for the next three years at all.

Escobar is a SS who has been a very good player 3 of his 4 years in the majors.  Hechavarria is a 21 year old who isn't hitting much in his first year of pro ball. 
I see thos move as vastly improving the Jays SS situation for 2011 and 2012.  After that we can see where Justin Jackson and Hechavarria are.

92-93 - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 12:57 PM EDT (#218337) #

Mike, that's ridiculous. You're going to assume every trade the Braves make is to their benefit because of a previous regime? How about when they gave up Elvis Andrus (made redundant by Escobar himself), Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia for 1.5 years of Mark Teixeira, which turned into only 1 season and Steve Marek?

Escobar and Hechevarria do not fill the same niche over the next 3 years, unless you continue to take the view that the Jays can't compete until 2013, which we've heard you say more than once. Escobar is a fantastic defensive SS who is putting up a .334 OBP in a down year with the sort of K zone control everyone here loves, a perfect #2 hitter. Hechevarria is a kid who still needs A LOT of polish before he can be considered a MLB regular. Their timelines don't conflict, and I'd venture further to say that come summer 2012 if Hechevarria is ready having a Cuban SS around might help the transition to the bigs. Escobar has a .270 BABIP this year which was probably over .320 entering the season, and if you add 50 points to his slash stats you get .288/.384/.334 - not unreasonable considering his LD% is consistent with where it should be.

If the Blue Jays MI situation was very good prior to the trade, it just got a heck of a lot better, especially in light of Doug Davis' tempered enthusiasm towards Pastornicky in the interview posted here last night.

I hope the rumour is more than just that.

ayjackson - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 12:59 PM EDT (#218338) #

He is 27 and should be entering his best years of his career, and we control for three years after this one, at which time Hech might be ready to take over.

I think that team control over Heche and Escobar ends at the same time.  I thought it was a term in Heche's contract that he becomes a FA at the end of it - yes, no?

Matthew E - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 12:59 PM EDT (#218339) #
I was looking forward to seeing what Collins and Pastornicky turned out to be. But come on; if Escobar can be all that he can be, it's obviously a good trade.

If.

85bluejay - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 01:02 PM EDT (#218340) #

Just read that Escobar doesn't become a FA until after the 2013 season - love this deal even more

Great for our pitching staff & a potential lead-off hitter who has a good OBP(prior yrs.)

Chris DH - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 01:04 PM EDT (#218341) #

Trade is posted at mlb.com.

Even with a career type year for Alex Gonzalez and struggles for Yunel Escobar, kind of interesting to look at the on-base percentages.

2010 - 0.296 vs. 0.334

Career - 0.294 vs 0.368

Shi Davidi also tweeted that Escobar has 20+ home run potential - reasonable when you consider he hit 14 last year.

Moe - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 01:06 PM EDT (#218342) #
"I think that team control over Heche and Escobar ends at the same time. I thought it was a term in Heche's contract that he becomes a FA at the end of it - yes, no?"


Heche is on the 40 men roster, meaning he can't stay in the minors for years. But once his is called up, he is still under control for 6 years.
slitheringslider - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 01:06 PM EDT (#218343) #
My man-love for Tim Collins is as big as the next guy at BB, but c'mon, it is a bit silly to get upset over losing a reliever prospect for a in his prime premium position player. It doesn't matter if Collins becomes the next Mariano Rivera. Also, Pastronicky projects to be no more than a utility infielder. There's a chance he could become a major league regular but that's not a sure thing. He is basically a spare interchangable part on a ballclub, nothing to worry too much about.

I would not worry too much about the Escobar-Hechevarria situation. Escobar's trade value was enormous this past winter. If AA deemed Hechevarria ready for next year, and if Escobar rebounds to career norms, AA can easily flip him again at market value. This really is a textbook example of buy-low, sell-him. Great job AA, keep it up!

Forkball - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 01:08 PM EDT (#218344) #
For a stop gap player who's having a out-of-line (fluke?) power year and a couple of C+ prospects (one of which is a reliever and the other a MI where they have a few other prospects) the Jays got a potentially above average SS for the next few years and take a flier on a potential LOOGY.

It's disappointing to see Collins go because he was a unique prospect, but this feels like a major win to me.

Sell high, buy low.  Well played AA.
85bluejay - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 01:11 PM EDT (#218345) #

Here's a prediction nobody on BB will agree with - Jo Jo Reyes will have a more successful ML career

than Tim Collins.

ayjackson - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 01:14 PM EDT (#218346) #

Heche is on the 40 men roster, meaning he can't stay in the minors for years. But once his is called up, he is still under control for 6 years.

There has been suggestions/reports that Heche has several clauses in his contract that insures he is promoted regularly and perhaps granted full free agency after the four year term.

Lylemcr - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 01:15 PM EDT (#218347) #

It is a sell high, buy low. 

Gonzo is not in the future plans.  In fact, if we look at past logs, people were outraged they they signed him. 

The prospects have potential, but are not "key" players in the Jays future.

This is high risk, but could really pay off.

Best scenario - he makes his projection of 20HR+ with good defense.  We are pretty solid in MI for a couple years.

Worst Scenario - He continues to bust.  We lost Gonzo for 1.5 years and a couple marginal prospects.  Gonzo might be hitting well this year, but his career stats show that we are not going to miss much.

Helpmates - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 01:15 PM EDT (#218348) #
I'm wondering if, perhaps, this may have the same affect on Escobar that it had on Alex Rios, after being claimed on waivers by the White Sox:  namely, a kick in the rear that benefits a talented but spacey baseball player. 
MatO - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 01:17 PM EDT (#218349) #

Hechavarria is on his first option out of 3 which would mean he would have to be on the 25 man roster by 2013 I believe.

I'm sad that Collins has been traded.  Couldn't they have sent them Magnusson instead?  (AA:Didn't you hear that short people have no reason to live?  I'm sure you'd rather have the tall guy!)

Sano - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 01:18 PM EDT (#218350) #
First reaction was not good, I suppose I had drunk the Kool-Aid JP was selling on Pastornicky.  Of all our SS prospects, he's the only one who's consistently hit well in the minors.  Losing Collins is not such a big deal (relievers are much easier to find). 

But after reading all of your comments, I suppose I'm okay with it.  The biggest thing is that this team has power already, what we need right now are some table-setters to get on base and be driven in.  So in light of that, I suppose I'm okay with it.  Good trade AA.  Let's see what you can get for Buck.

Magpie - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 01:19 PM EDT (#218351) #
Hey, if Hecchevarria does develop, they can just slide Escobar over to 2b. He played all over the infield as a rookie, filling in for Chipper and Renteria and Johnson.
92-93 - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 01:20 PM EDT (#218352) #

Worst Scenario - He continues to bust. 

And by bust Lyle means getting on base at a solid rate while providing exceptional defense for the young SP staff.

Mike Green - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 01:21 PM EDT (#218353) #
If Escobar hits for 2011-13 the way he did prior to 2010, he's obviously a very, very valuable player.  That leaves you with two choices:

- try to trade him, but forced trades of very valuable players in mid-career do not usually result in fair value coming back
- keep Hechevarria down in the minors or working through a long apprenticeship

Ordinarily, I'd suggest option 2, but my understanding is that a good part of the reason Hechevarria came to Toronto was because he was given to understand that he would be afforded a reasonably clear path to the shortstop job (unlike in New York).  If my understanding is correct, keeping Hechevarria down for a prolonged period might affect the Jays' long-term international recruitment efforts.

And that's the positive scenario with respect to Escobar's development. 

Moe - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 01:23 PM EDT (#218354) #
There has been suggestions/reports that Heche has several clauses in his contract that insures he is promoted regularly and perhaps granted full free agency after the four year term.

But there have been no confirmations of these rumors and at least the second part seems very unlikely. I believe Matsui had such a clause but he was a star in Japan.
Matthew E - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 01:25 PM EDT (#218355) #
This is all assuming that Hechevarria is actually going to turn into a major-league-caliber player.

If he doesn't, then there's no problem with Escobar.

If he does, then it's a good problem to have. Two big-league shortstops? There have been lots of times in recent years when this team didn't have one.

Marc Hulet - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 01:25 PM EDT (#218356) #

I personally dislike the trade quite a bit. 1.5 years of Gonzalez for 2.5 of Escobar. Both pretty good fielders, Gonzo looks like a better hitter (as sad as that sounds).  The Jays had a reasonable option on Gonzo and would have gotten a supplemental 1st rounder even if they let him go. Now they gave up two B-level prospects to get a worse hitter with a .291 wOBA (right now) who is already 27 and supposedly in his prime. Reyes has pretty much shown nothing over parts of four seasons and has little value and no options left for next year. With limited power and no speed, his offensive value is tied almost entirely in his ability to hit for average, which he has not shown the ability to do on a consistent basis.

Mike Green - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 01:26 PM EDT (#218357) #
It's true what Magpie says.  If Escobar returns to pre-2010 offensive levels, you could slide him over to second. We'll see whether the money is there to afford all this. 



92-93 - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 01:28 PM EDT (#218358) #

Worrying about this trade because of its implications on a player who is very raw, struggled heavily in Dunedin, and needs a ton of development is silly. How about 2 more choices:

- move Hill to 3B, as has long been speculated.

- move Hechevarria to an OF spot vacated by Lewis' departure.

 Recent "forced" trades of Glaus, Rolen, and Halladay resulted in pretty fair value coming back for the Blue Jays.

85bluejay - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 01:30 PM EDT (#218359) #

But forced trades of very valuable players in mid-career do not usually rsult in fair value coming back.

 

I think if Escobar rebounds & Hech is ready, there will be a long line waiting to bid - I have absolutely

no worries regarding that situation 

Mylegacy - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 01:31 PM EDT (#218360) #
To quote the singer: "Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I."

I would also add, I'm gonna cry. Almost every day I check out the minor league stats to see how Tiny Tim is doing. I love the guy. Absolutely, love the guy. S - H - double i - T!

Gonzo has been, at WORSE - our second best bat. His defense is WONDERFUL - I love the guy. He's practically free and is next year too.

Tyler I won't miss so much. A bit of a tweener methinks. However, a very fast tweener.

So, we get a Cuban head case with electric defense and who sometimes brings his bat and other times leaves it in his locker. This year mostly it's been in his locker. Could be he forgot the combination. As to Jo JO Binks or Jo Jo Reyes - or whatever Star Wars guy he is - yawn. Looks like a power lefty with little control - can anyone say Dave Purcey? I would have given my right testicle to see Tiny Tim pitch in the Bigs (er sorry Tim didn't mean to insult you) I already gave my "left" to my ex-wife in our divorce settlement - MAN she had a good lawyer.

Time will tell - it always does. The bottom line is Hech gets three more years to turn into a Prince instead of just one year after this one. The absolutely disgusting thing about this trade is that it just might work out. Sigh. Man - am I gonna miss the little guy! Time for a scotch, double malt natch.

Mylegacy - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 01:38 PM EDT (#218361) #
Did I say "double malt" - Saints preserve us "SINGLE malt" is what I meant. The loss of the Tiny One must never come between a man and his scotch!
Greg - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 01:38 PM EDT (#218362) #
I think this is the kind of gamble the Jays have to take.
Gonzalez is having a great year, but he's been a worthwhile player I'd say...in 2003, 2007 and 2010

Whereas Escobar has had better seasons than Gonzalez has ever had in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

The absolute best case scenario you can hope for from Gonzalez is that he keeps up his good defence and HRs, with a .300 OBP.

The best case scenario for Escobar is All-Star level play.  I think it's a gamble you have to make.
Greg - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 01:40 PM EDT (#218363) #

Ah excellent, I can partake then.  I have a bottle of single malt 12 year Glenfiddich somewhere around here.

I'll gladly drink to The Departed Tim any time.

Gerry - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 01:40 PM EDT (#218364) #
I wondered why Gonzalez agreed to the option year when he signed and I also wonder if there was some "understanding" with what the Jays would do with him.  Would Gonzalez have been happy sticking with the Jays for a second, somewhat rebuilding, year?  These are questions we dont know the answer to now but which might come to light later (think Rolen, Glaus, etc.).
AWeb - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 01:50 PM EDT (#218365) #
Gonzalez is having a career year right now, and when a guy is 33, that's a great time to trade him if someone values his current in-year production. Escobar this year, despite not hitting a lick for the first time in his career, has been worth about an average Gonzalez season over his career, and is still a reasonable major league hitter (not a good one) thanks to his OBP. This move gives the best upside for next year (Gonzalez seems very unlikely to be even better, and even this year has only been as good as Escobar was last year). If Escobar is flaming out at age 27 (it happens to some), that's the only way this move looks terrible looking back, barring a huge contribution from the minor league guys.

I think I like this trade.  I'll be interested to see if Gonzalez can translate his Jays learnings (HRs are good, there is nothing else) to another team, and if Escobar can pick up some of that magic power dust the team is on this year, without sacrificing his ability to walk.

Leigh - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 01:55 PM EDT (#218366) #
On August 14, 2009, Alex Gonzalez was traded from the Reds to the Red Sox for Kris Negron, 24, who is hitting .243/.348/.363 in AA.

lol
Magpie - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 01:55 PM EDT (#218367) #
I suspect the Braves really, really want to win in 2010 and send Bobby Cox out in a blaze of glory. And somewhat to their surprise, the Phillies have said `Here, let us get out of your way.
uglyone - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 02:06 PM EDT (#218368) #

In terms of "Trade Theory", this trade works well on 2 fronts:

  1. Buying Low, Selling High
  2. Trading from positions of strength (young pitching, young SS prospects), to fill a position of weakness (MLB-ready SS).

So on those fronts, the deal is probably a good one.

Escobar is one of the more talented young-ish SS in the game, and if this year is just an abberration, then the Jays come out looking real good in this one, with a young-ish two-way top-of-the-order SS for years to come. But if this year isn't just an abberration, and the rumours of his attitude problems are true and relevant, than we might have just given up two promising prospects for nothing.

Tough one for me to call - I love Collins and Pastornicky, and think they are two of the brighter prospects in the system, both challenging to be in our suddenly impressive top-10 prospect rankings. Still, Collins is just a reliever prospect, and Pastornicky is somewhat redundant with Hech/Goins/Jackson/Pierre in there (even if he was arguably the best of all of them), so we can't cry too much about losing them. That doesn't change the fact that I love both these kids and think that both have an excellent chance at being quality MLBers.

 

"The Braves have a terrific record at evaluating their own highly-regarded position players." 

I think the Braves have traded away many top-quality youngsters over the last few years, for questionable return. I hardly think their evaluations of their own talent has been flawless.


"I also do not understand the impetus for this trade.  Escobar and Hecchevarria fill the same niche over the next 3 years,"

Whoa, that's not true. Escobar fills the "Quality MLB SS" niche for the next 3 years, while Hech fills the "Decent AA/AAA/MLB-backup" niche for the next 3 years.

Those are vastly different niches.

Ducey - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 02:16 PM EDT (#218369) #

I agree with  the majority.  Escobar's "bad" year is only half way over and you would expect him to improve to closer to his norms.  Gonzalez is having the career season by a mile (at least in boxcars) and you would expect he will return to lower numbers.  Plus he usually gets hurt.

I expect that a trade of Hill or Lind would be ill advised right now as they they would be expected to return to better numbers at some point.  Escobar will too.

Even at this point, Escobar's OBP is quite a bit better than Gonzo's.

If I am going to the Series this year I would want Gonzo.  But looking forward the Jays are likely to be breaking in a catcher or two, a first baseman among other young players.  Escobar being a "space cadet" is a little more acceptable in this context.

In looking at Jo-Jo's numbers.  He looks like a Purcey clone but with a cooler name.  Good stuff, no idea where it is going.

Sad to see Pastonicky go.  He was one of the guys I was keeping an eye on.

I look forward to seeing what AA can turn Buck and a few relivers into.

christaylor - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 02:16 PM EDT (#218370) #
I think this is one of the safer predictions that has been made on here...
Greg - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 02:18 PM EDT (#218371) #
Also, not to bring back any bad memories, but what I'm reading from Braves fans on Escobar sounds awfully familiar to what Jays fans were saying about Rios around this time last year.

Not saying he's going to rebound like Rios has so far, but I think it's easy to get frustrated with a player over a season and forget that he's not that far removed from, not just great potential, but great results.
Dave Till - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 02:18 PM EDT (#218372) #
Thoughts on the trade:
  • How happy is Escobar about the trade? Is he going to sulk, or is he going to work to prove the Braves wrong?
  • Cito Gaston has a track record of achieving success with Latin-born players that other managers had trouble working with (see "Bell, G.")
  • Escobar's OBP is better than Gonzo's.
  • Escobar is capable of hitting for more power than he is at the moment, and the Toronto environment is the perfect place to bring it out. Gonzo's wondrous totals are affected somewhat by his playing here.
  • On the other hand: if Gonzo has made an adjustment, and is hitting for more power as a consequence, the National League won't have figured that out yet.
On the whole, I'm okay with the trade. Gonzo was a rental, and wasn't going to be part of the Eventual Contending Team Of The Future, Maybe. So there's not that much downside.

ZekeBella - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 02:21 PM EDT (#218373) #
I too love the "buy low, sell high" philosphy. I think AA has struck gold with his stopgap FA signings this year. They have made the team competitve with their career years and now it is time to reap further dividends.  i would not mind one bit if Bautista and Buck were dealt next as long as they can bring back something similar. Also, has anybody noticed Overbay is up to ,250 now, perhaps a tradeable commodity after all?  Go get 'em AA!. Such a refreshing change after JP and the losers running the Leafs. Final comment on the trade:  What would everybody have said if this trade was made back in spring training?  Exactly!
whiterasta80 - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 02:22 PM EDT (#218374) #

We just happened upon the perfect storm of A-Gonz having a career year while Escobar has a down one.  That's the only reason that this deal has ANY chance of happening. 

We threw in 2 B- prospects to get this done.  Sure one of them was the unofficial BB mascot, but still 2 B- prospects!

This is FANTASTIC, absolutely fantastic.  No need to worry about clearing logjams that are 3 years away from happening, just savour the fact that we have a .360 OBP guy who doesn't play 1B. 

whiterasta80 - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 02:24 PM EDT (#218375) #

Incidentally people are forgetting Dickie Thon on their lists of SS prospects.

TamRa - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 02:24 PM EDT (#218376) #
The ideal timeline for Adeiny was pretty much always to spend a year or so in the "good enviornment" AA described in NH, then move up mid-season next year to AAA and from there be promoted based on how ready the team thinks he is - not before September 2011 at the earliest and as a full-time starter, not before spring 2012.

IF Escobar bounces back, then if the team want's to go to Adeiny in 2012, then they are sitting on a big gold coin to sell at the 2011 Winter meetings.

for that they traded an older guy who was having an abborational first half, a reliever with great potential, and a guy who has a low ceiling and is four years or more away from starting to try to reach it.

I will DEEPLY miss Collins - but from an objective point of view, how can i not approve?

By the way - Marc said "2.5 years of Escobar"....if he hasn't been to arbitration yet, shouldn't that be 3.5?


TamRa - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 02:30 PM EDT (#218377) #
Goins to Dunedin i suppose? or Jackson?

My guess is the older and more settled Goins, though my heart says Jackson.


TamRa - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 02:32 PM EDT (#218378) #
On the whole, I'm okay with the trade. Gonzo was a rental, and wasn't going to be part of the Eventual Contending Team Of The Future, Maybe. So there's not that much downside.

HA!

From henceforth when i speak of the plan for future contention i shall use the term CTF (i.e. "Contending Team of the Future")



TamRa - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 02:38 PM EDT (#218379) #
and Pastornicky is somewhat redundant with Hech/Goins/Jackson/Pierre in there (even if he was arguably the best of all of them)

Don't forget Thon.

and, while I like Pastornicky ok, I see him as basically Ryan Freel with a better SS glove.

If i were assigned a role in a debate, i'd MUCH rather try to prove the argument that TP had the lowest ceiling among those six guys than that he had the highest.

Chuck - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 02:40 PM EDT (#218380) #

Ignoring the minor leaguers in the deal, who in these parts would have approved a Gonzalez for Escobar swap on April 1? Absolutely everybody, I'm thinking.

Since then:
* Escobar, at age 27, has had 260 crummy ABs after 1300 really good ones
* Gonzalez, at age 33, has had 320 really good ABs (for a SS) after 4400 at an OPS+ level of below 80

The Braves are presumably gambling on Gonzalez staying in his divinely inspired groove and overperforming his way into the post-season.

Or they know about a serious condition that has befallen Escobar that explains his poor first half, that they feel is not addressable and that they are not divulging.

Considering only the principals in the deal, I can't see not taking the risk that Escobar bounces back. The upside potential of a shortstop who can legitimately bat leadoff outweighs the downside risk that he underperforms Gonzalez for the next 1.5 years. But so what if the risk fails? Were the Jays planning any ticker tape parades in that timeframe?

 Add me to the list of people seeing this as selling high, buying low.

uglyone - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 02:41 PM EDT (#218381) #

I'd have to disagree.

Pastornicky's Glove + OBP + Speed combo is the best of the bunch, IMO.

Hech is the only one that I think could be rated higher than him at this point, and even that's debatable.

But I don't think Pastornicky was so much better than the others that it's a killer to lose him.

Spifficus - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 02:47 PM EDT (#218382) #
Personally, I love this deal. I see it as a great consolidation trade, akin to the Morrow deal.

Setting aside the obvious underdog appeal for both Collins and Pastornicky, they are two decent-but-not-great prospects (top #15-20 range for the team would be my guess). Gonzalez is 33 years old, only under control for 1 1/2 years, and is having a career year. Escobar is still 3 1/2 years away from free agency, 27, and has shown an above-average bat while manning a premium defensive position about as capably as Gonzalez. I'm not sure what to think of Jo-Jo; is he a trade chit, or is he a fill-in for another trade chit, or does the organization see something in him that made them want him? This is a great medium-term move for the team. If Hech or someone else is ready in a year or two to displace Escobar, Yunel should have significant trade value given the current state of SS.

All that said, I get why Atlanta made the trade - they're contending this year. The team was looking for RH power, and Gonzalez brings that without costing them one of their prized pitching prospects. Given the imminent retirements of Cox, Jones and Wagner, it looks like a worthwhile move, even though it was costly.
whiterasta80 - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 02:47 PM EDT (#218383) #

Funny how SS has become an organizational strength in the span of like 15 months. 

Re: the Braves knowing about something (injury?) causing his play this season.

I'm wondering if he's playing hurt and the Braves DID tell the Jays. With only 12 Extra base hits (after 42 last season) it certainly seems that something's sapping his power.

Perhaps the Braves just decided they can't afford to wait until next season when he's healthy.  The Jays, on the other hand, have no race to worry about and can wait it out.

Moe - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 02:54 PM EDT (#218384) #
uglyone, this is what Doug Davis said yesterday in response to the question what Pastornicky's best position is:

"I think that from an everyday standpoint it probably is second base. But the great thing about Tyler is he is a very versatile kid, I don't discount he could play in the outfield, he has the speed to do that. Certainly he has shown he can play shortstop, I think second base plays a little better into his abilities. As an everyday player maybe second base is better but he could be a super utility player who moves around, plays up the middle and can play in the outfield at some point."

Doesn't sound like the Jays thought as highly of him as you do. And when it comes to guys this far away from the majors that I have never seen play, I have to trust AA.
Matthew E - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 02:57 PM EDT (#218385) #
As long as we're discussing trades for Alex Gonzalez I'll make this prediction:

Escobar and Reyes will do a lot more for the Jays than James Deschaines ever did.

Mike Green - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 03:00 PM EDT (#218386) #
From the Braves' point of view, there is a good chance that Pastornicky will be a more valuable property (but not a better player) than Escobar in 2 years.  This does not necessarily mean that the deal is a bad one for the Jays, provided that they are willing and able to pay the piper. 
uglyone - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 03:02 PM EDT (#218387) #

Huh, all I've heard on Pastornicky is that his glove is a definite plus at SS.

If he can't field the SS spot at the MLB level, then his value as a prospect definitely tumbles a huge amount.

TamRa - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 03:08 PM EDT (#218388) #
From the Braves' point of view, there is a good chance that Pastornicky will be a more valuable property (but not a better player) than Escobar in 2 years.

I'd be stunned if he's in the majors at all at 22, let alone considered a very valuable chip.


whiterasta80 - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 03:25 PM EDT (#218389) #

Technically you don't have to be in the majors to be a very valuable chip.  But I agree, I doubt Pastornicky is more valuable than Escobar in 2 years.

Lylemcr - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 03:26 PM EDT (#218390) #

Come on.  Gonzo, Collins,etc were not key peices of any future puzzle.  They could be small parts, but not key peices.  Escobar could be.  If you get a chance to get your hands on a player like this, you do it.

Don't forget Gonzo, Gregg, Buck, and Bautista were all considered horrible signings in spring signing.  If he can parlay them all into Escobars, we are doing fairly well.

Also, don't let the first half fool you.  The team is not that good and probably won't be next year either.  But if Escobar, Arrencbia, Wallace, Hech, and Drabek are who we think they are, 2012 could be a very interesting year.

Maybe AA could parlay Overbay, Gregg, Buck, Fasor,Downs, and Bautista into a future closer, 3bagger(maybe Hill goes there) and an outfielder. 

Also, we have a glut of quality starters.  If Drabek is ready for next year, maybe we need to think about including one of the current starters in the package.

2012 team -

1st - Wallace

2nd - Hech or one of those young shortstops....

SS - Escobar

3rd - Hill?

DH - Lind

OF - Wells, Snider and ?

C - JPA + ?

Bench - Players like McCoy,etc

Starters - Marcum, Romero, Drabek, Rzep and some other minor league stud

Closer - ?

Pen - Lots to chose from.

Pretty good team in my estimation....

LouisvilleJayFan - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 03:37 PM EDT (#218391) #
I actually saw Reyes pitch last month in Gwinnett. He struggled that day letting up 4 runs and 6 hits in 4 innings. My fiance's dad was really excited to see him pitch (as he's a Braves fan), but I wasn't that impressed...but, what do I know. Escobar I like.

Any time the Jays trade a middle infield prospect I get Michael Young flashbacks, let's hope Tyler is successful enough, but doesn't quite achieve that height.

Collins I will miss greatly. I'll continue to root for him. The good news is that Atlanta is a huge market and that more people will see him pitch and buy into that story. Disney movie in three years anyone?

Greg - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 03:42 PM EDT (#218392) #
I wouldn't get TOO far ahead of ourselves planning the future.  A glut of starting pitchers can turn into a desperate shortage at the snap of a finger. (Or an elbow ligament)
SJE - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 04:07 PM EDT (#218393) #
I thinks AA makes  trades like he makes selections in this past June amateur draft. Best available talent at best available price. It does not seem to matter that this trade might strengthen a position that is an all ready strong position SS. AA is fearless in the trading market and would have no trouble trading Escobar if his value returns.
Mike Green - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 04:29 PM EDT (#218394) #
As for the assertion that Pastornicky is a #15-20 prospect, hmm.  That would be one helluva farm system, if it were true.  The only real knock on him prior to this year was his total absence of HR power.  That has been answered.  People don't appreciate how rare it is to have a player with a broad base of skills who succeeds in the FSL at age 20.  It doesn't look to me like there are any others than Pastornicky this year. 
seeyou - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 04:40 PM EDT (#218395) #
Prediction: Jo-Jo Reyes 2011 = Ricky Romero 2009
Magpie - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 04:49 PM EDT (#218396) #
Bobby Cox is, famously, a players manager - but he`s also a yeller and a screamer. Some guys just tune it out after a while. A change of scenery can be enough.

If Hechevarria turns into a major leaguer, I see no reason why Escobar can`t become an upgrade at second base. Which is something this team needs.
Mylegacy - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 04:55 PM EDT (#218397) #
Apparently, the scotch is working (it usually does for some strange reason) or I'm actually coming around on this trade.

I think AA has done the RIGHT THING with this trade, even though he is well aware of my man-crush on Tiny Tim. AA has taken the specific risk of angering ME in order to get a classic "Buy low, sell high" deal. Probably, AA thinks my righteous rage is worth it to collect a possible all star defensive, conventional lead-off man. Be it on his head!

With Hech at SS or second and Escobar at SS or second and Pierre at SS or second and Hill or Emaus or Pierre at 3rd - looks like a solid group.

Snider, Thames, Marisnick and Loewen look to challenge very shortly for full time spots in the out field and Wallace and Arencibia look to be very very near.

We just have to kiss all the young starting pitching frogs and hope at least five of: Romero, Cecil, Morrow, Scrabble, Mills, Drabek, Jemkins, McDeck, Asher W., and a hoard of others turn into princes. IF not - well I just won't forgive AA for losing my little Timmy - real - I just can't bear it. Sigh. Man - did I ever want to see that guy make it!

uglyone - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 05:25 PM EDT (#218398) #

As for the assertion that Pastornicky is a #15-20 prospect, hmm.  That would be one helluva farm system, if it were true.  The only real knock on him prior to this year was his total absence of HR power.  That has been answered.  People don't appreciate how rare it is to have a player with a broad base of skills who succeeds in the FSL at age 20.  It doesn't look to me like there are any others than Pastornicky this year. 

I think I'd have pegged both Pastornicky and Collins in the #11-15 range (and yes, it IS starting to look like one helluva farm system right now).

With a top-5 of (no order): Drabek, D'Arnaud, Wallace, Jenkins, McGuire; and a 5-10 of (no order): Hech, JPA, Stewart, Mills, Wojciechowski;...

....I'd probably have Collins and Pastornicky grouped in with Marisnick, Perez, and Alvarez as the 11-15 guys....although really, I could see some people personally preferring any (or all) of these 5 to some of the guys I listed in the top-10.   Then again, there's guys like Sanchez, Emaus, Thames, Jiminez that some might like in the top-10 to 15 as well.

"Borderline top-10" is probably the best description for both, IMO. (and again, yeah, it's starting to look like one helluva farm system).

 

Forkball - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 05:28 PM EDT (#218399) #
I realize one's a HS draftee and the other is a college draftee, but I feel like Pastornicky is similar to Ryan Klosterman - similar builds and almost identical draft positions.  Pastornicky obviously is at A+ well before Klosterman was, but can he keep up a good walk rate with a low average or will pitchers not be afraid to throw him strikes at higher levels and make him earn his way on?  I'm skeptical, especially given the comments that Doug Davis made recently.  He certainly seemed to be lower on the totem pole than a few other SS prospects.

It's refreshing to see a GM willing to pull the trigger on these types of trades and not clutching onto their own players.  Morrow was a nice example which looks to be paying off and hopefully this is another with a similar result.

Spifficus - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 05:44 PM EDT (#218400) #

As for the assertion that Pastornicky is a #15-20 prospect, hmm. That would be one helluva farm system, if it were true.

It's funny, it's actually Collins I feel I shorted a bit by saying he was #15-20 as opposed to Pastornicky. I mean, I see why you like him; as you said, he has displayed a breadth of skills at 20 in high-A. When I re-read some of the lines from the Doug Davis interview (which echoed previous comments by people inside and outside of the organization), though, I get the impression that the organization didn't see as much projection as his age-vs-level would normally imply. The stats and scouting profiles combine to read to me like someone who probably projects to be a utility infielder or a bit more. Looking at the other prospects in the organization, I still feel comfortable saying I see him as a #15-20 prospect. Keep in mind, however, that prospect-ranking can be a matter of taste (upside vs probability), and that I don't regard labeling him a 15-20 as pejorative.

Thomas - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 10:36 PM EDT (#218401) #
Alex Gonzalez was a lot of fun to watch during the first six weeks of the season, as improbable as I would have thought that sounded in February.

I didn't criticize the signing of Gonzalez at the time (I don't believe), but I hope those who did are going to admit their mistake. It's not often you can turn a one-year or two-year stopgap into a young, talented and controllable asset.

I'm not pleased that Collins was included in the trade, but if your sole hesitation on a trade involves a middle relief prospect, you should probably make the deal.

I think Pastornicky is a good prospect and has a good chance to reach the majors in some form, but I think it is more likely to be as a version of Cliff Pennington than the pre-injury Bobby Crosby.
Thomas - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 10:50 PM EDT (#218402) #
I've been trying to figure out why I felt the need to reference Cliff Pennington and I think it's because I've just remembered that Pastornicky's dad is named Cliff. I must have remembered that subconsciously. But, to the heart of my new thoughts, I think Mike Green is right that Pastornicky's display so far is a good sign that he may have taken a step forward from last year.

Whether or not it's enough to change my opinion of the trade, I don't know, but I don't think this is a case of giving up C+ prospects.
Jdog - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 11:00 PM EDT (#218403) #
Love the deal for the Jays. Would have enjoyed seeing Tim in the Jays pen as soon as next season some time, but Escobar as a SS who can be a top of the line-up guy fills a huge hole for us. I couldn't stand seeing AGon and his sub 300 OBP batting 2nd.
greenfrog - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 11:12 PM EDT (#218404) #
I like the trade, although it hurts to give up A-Gon, Collins and Pastornicky - three players I like a lot. I think any assessment of the trade comes down to the risks/rewards associated with Escobar. Who is Yunel, exactly? A prime-time talent? A declining asset with attitude problems? A power-hitting, high-OBP, gold glove-calibre SS? Or a mediocre hitter with disappearing power who makes mental errors and alienates his teammates?

I tend to have faith that AA and his scouting staff have done their due diligence and that in all the circumstances, the risk/reward ratio justifies the trade. But I also think the Braves pulled off a good trade that bolsters their playoff chances, solidifies their clubhouse, and provides a modest but significant boost to their farm system.
brent - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 11:18 PM EDT (#218405) #

Everytime a Jays transaction happens, I hate being shut out of battersbox for hours. Are others unable to connect to the site because there are too many people on it?

 

Does anyone have the links to previous Jays' prospect rankings?

 

Last, I think this is a definite win-win trade. I think Atlanta has some options as they can keep Gonzalez for another year on the cheap or take the picks. I think the Jays were extremely fortunate to get 2.5 excellent seasons from Scutaro and Gonzalez. I think they have something special (but it'll be next year till he shines).

Mylegacy - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 11:45 PM EDT (#218406) #
OFF TOPIC

I haven't been able to get to DaBox for over three hours! I tried on Firefox and Safari - have you guys been having technical issues?

stevieboy22 - Wednesday, July 14 2010 @ 11:48 PM EDT (#218407) #
I love this trade.

If I had the pick the over under on A Gonz's homerun numbers in the second half, I wouldn't go much higher than 8.

Pastonicky is a long ways away from being a major league shortstop. His lack of power makes me suspect he will succeed at higher levels. And Collins a reliever. They are fun prospects to have, but Yunel Escobar has had two very good seasons at the major league level and is controllable for 3 more years.  As AA said, he would have been considered one of the top  shortstops in the game just three months ago. It would be like trading away Aaron Hill or Adam Lind for a rental player and a couple of B-/C+ prospects. I would never do that.

I was a little concerned when AA first got the job. But the guy has balls. He isn't afraid of "what if." And I think JP spent too much his tenure fearing "what if player X turns out to be the next Michael Young." It is going to take some balls to build a winner a here.

And how can you be concerned with trading away Collins and Pastornicky, when you look at the rate AA is adding prospects?
williams_5 - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 12:39 AM EDT (#218408) #
You can see JP himself give a brief take on the trade at ESPN.com (link). It's the video following the commercial.
jgadfly - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 01:02 AM EDT (#218409) #

This time last year ... MLBTR ... http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/atlanta_braves/page/34/ 

       ..."    By Mike Axisa [July 16, 2009 at 9:18pm CST]

A gaggle of links for your Thursday evening reading pleasure...

  • In response to someone mentioning the Yunel Escobar-Matt Holliday rumors, MLB.com's Mark Bowman says "There is zero truth to those Escobar rumors. The Braves have NO and I repeat no intention to move him. Believe me, if they move him, it will simply be a deal that they simply can't refuse and that wouldn't include anything involving Holliday."      "...

   I guess alot can happen in a year !!!

TamRa - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 01:43 AM EDT (#218410) #
I didn't criticize the signing of Gonzalez at the time (I don't believe), but I hope those who did are going to admit their mistake. It's not often you can turn a one-year or two-year stopgap into a young, talented and controllable asset.

I didn't complain about gonzo but i was very much of the opinion that he - and buck - were just the kind of crap that you sign to patch over until the good times get here. i didn't expect much and said so, but i didn't expect anything from any of the available options so there was no reason to complain.

He HAS hit more homers than I would have guessed (obviously) but that sort of fluky thing isn't the sort of thing you apologize for. If you had been doing an analysis of Jason Bartlett prior to 2009 and saidf "he doesn't hit much" you are not oblidged to apologize when out of the friggin Gamma Quadrant he suddenly turns into a contender for the batting title.

As for this trade leading to an apology...frankly, this trade is WAY more about the Excellence that is Anthopoulos than it is the goodness of Gonzalez.

As for the assertion that Pastornicky is a #15-20 prospect, hmm.  That would be one helluva farm system, if it were true.

Well, I admittedly don't have as high an opinion of Pastornicky as you do (ceiling is Hudson, most likely outcome is someone like Ryan Freel, IMO)

But that said, i don't think that is a hard case to make.

I think these guys are pretty much consensus top 10 prospects:

Drabek, Wallace, Alvarez, Arencibia, d'Arnaud, Jenkins, Hechavarria, and Stewart

That's eight right there, Easy.

In the next group which would be consistantly ranked behind those guys but usually well regarded in terms of being mentioned as top 10 or close to it:

Jake Marisnick, Carlos Perez, AJ Jimenez, Eric Thames, Brad Emaus (older than TP, but doing everything he's doing except the steals, doing it better and doing it at a higher level), Moises Sierra (unless you penalize him for his injury), Gus Pierre, Brad Mills and now, if things like KLaw suggesting he's an upper-1st-round talent are to be believed, Adonis Cardona. you can also potentially add 
2010 draftees like Sanchez, Woj, and Thon.

Some other guys who might be on the fringes of this argument are Roenicke, Loewen, Mastorianni, Jeroloman, and maybe McDade - but let's just assume for the sake of the discussion you like TP better than any of these.

if you take the first two groups, that's 19 guys who would likely be in the top 20 with Pastornicky and while we can all quibble about the specific ranking, it is not remotely irrational or unfair to find 15 or more of them who are potentially better than TP.

whether or not you choose to consider it a helluva farm system or not (I do, by the way) is up to you
TamRa - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 01:45 AM EDT (#218411) #
and damn if I didn't forget to mention Collins in that potential top 20 group - where he belongs/belonged
Hodgie - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 03:01 AM EDT (#218412) #

Like many others I am sad to see Collins and Pastornicky go but I fully understand the trade and completely support it. The Jays obviously feel that there are things about both Escobar and Reyes that can be corrected and I would imagine that trades like this will become the norm for the organization. This is after all one of the reasons why they placed such an emphasis on the structure and expansion of their scouting staff this past season. In fact, while JP can be unfairly castigated at times, I never felt comfortable with what appeared to be (at least in my estimation) a lack of a discernable and cohesive plan during his tenure. Anthopoulos on the other hand, has demonstrated in his first season not only a well thought out plan but that he is proactive in executing it. Case in point:

  • Expanded efforts (and $) in International scouting leading to more significant international signings - (Hechavarria, Cardonis, Cenas)
  • Expanded pro-scouting to evaluate MLB free agent and trade opportunities Ė (Morrow, Gonzalez, Buck, Lewis, Gregg, Escobar)
  • Expanded amateur scouting to allow for better evaluations/decisions on prospects both currently in the system and those in other systems/undrafted (2010 draft class, the Halladay bounty, Wallace vs. Taylor)

It will be years before it can be determined if Anthopoulos is successful, but if he isnít it obviously wonít be because of a lack of direction or a fear of execution. Count me one of the impressed. FWIW, here is what Anthopoulos had to say about the trade in an article on TSN.ca:

 "We think there could be some mechanical things that can be addressed in his swing, and I think he may need a fresh start and a new organization and a city like Toronto that embraces Latin players," said Anthopoulos. "The biggest concern for us was the lack of power and we really had our scouts focus on batting practice and make sure the raw power was there and we were pretty diligent about examining his health. The raw power is still there, and we think it's just a matter of making some tweaks."

In the article Anthopoulos indicates that in addition to his scouts he relied heavily on Jose Bautista's knowlegde of Escobar to assess the reported character issues and will seemingly look to Bautista to help Escobar integrate into the organization. His comments were intereting in that they seem to indicate the Jays have decided to hold onto Bautista for the foreseeable future. Perhaps they believe his performance over the last 400+ ABs is his new talent level.

Kelekin - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 03:26 AM EDT (#218413) #
i think my only issues with this trade come out of the Collins vs Reyes debacle.  Reyes, first-off, is getting sent to AA.  Likely, he'll end up a reliever, because his career as a starter is in the toilet.  If it would've been possible to swing a deal of Yunel Escobar for A-Gon and Pastornicky, I would've taken that in a heartbeat.  I just don't understand the Reyes and Collins portion.  But I'm glad to have Escobar on board.
Mudie - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 04:28 AM EDT (#218415) #

Here's a prediction nobody on BB will agree with - Jo Jo Reyes will have a more successful ML career than Tim Collins.

You're wrong!

'Cause I agree.

Reyes MiLB #'s: 119G, 112GS, 579IP(261IP at AA &AAA), 8.2H/9, 0.7HR/9, 3.3BB/9, 8.4K/9

Collins MiLB #'s:130G, 0GS, 194IP(55IP at AA), 5.9H/9, 0.5HR/9, 3.9BB/9, 13.6K/9

Both throw left handed, Collins is 5 year younger but he's pitched exclusively as a reliever. This is a large gulf that hasn't really been looked at by most Collins fanboys. Steve Treder examined this on THT a few years ago and found that the gap between the performance of a pitcher who has both started and relieved in the major leagues shows approximately 10% improvement on all rate stats and their ERA from when they started to when they relieved.

Reyes rates:  8.2H/9, 0.7HR/9, 3.3BB/9, 8.4K/9

Collins rates equalized: 6.5H/9, 0.5HR/9, 4.3BB/9, 12.2K/9

The numbers still favour Collins by a fair margin, but they are closer and Reyes has pitched a greater number of his innings at AA & AAA, where as Collins has only thrown 55 of his 194 career innings at AA.

scottt - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 06:32 AM EDT (#218417) #
Escobar seems a natural #2 hitter and could hit behind Lewis, but what do you do when Snider comes back?

Escobar, Overbay, and then Bautista? I can't imagine moving Hill back to the #2 unless he stop hitting fly balls.

Kelekin - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 07:24 AM EDT (#218418) #
I'd prefer Escobar be the #1 hitter, to be honest.  Fred Lewis doesn't have the OBP skills.  And it doesn't really matter for an extra few stolen bases a year.  But maybe I'm a little new-fashioned like that.
Mudie - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 07:27 AM EDT (#218419) #
Scottt, are you implying that Overbay will hit 2nd?

Going by Gaston's lineups of late I'd expect:

Vs RHP
1 Lewis    LF
2 Escobar  SS  - slot the new SS right in where the old SS was
3 Bautista  3B
4 Wells    CF
5 Lind    DH
6 Hill     2B
7 Overbay 1B
8 Buck  C
9 Snider RF  - I know it's going to happen & you know it's going to happen!

That lineup is probably be what Gaston will do, regardless of how much sense it makes.
Gerry - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 09:06 AM EDT (#218421) #

Guys:

Our server crashed last night so you can see there were no postings from around 6pm until 10:30pm.  Bad timing, I know.

Previously we have had issues with traffic hitting up against our server capacity generating "too many connections" type messages.  Our technical guru, Joe, has been tweaking our database to try and avoid those errors and it seemed to work well yesterday until the server crash.  Our traffic spikes when there is a major event such as yesterdays trade and through the afternoon yesterday our server worked fine and people were able to get on and post their opinions.

So we will keep our fingers crossed that we avoid server crashes for a while.

You can find old prospect rankings by clicking on the minor league update link on the lower left pane and then working your way back through the dates.  Here is a link to last years top thirty. 

Gerry - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 09:14 AM EDT (#218422) #

Jeff Blair doesn't like the deal.

Blair talked with Keith Law about the deal last night.  Law didn't like it.  Law feels that Escobar is going backwards, he is getting heavier, not running as much, losing a bit defensively, and generally headed in the wrong direction.  He also felt the Jays did not get Escobar at a bargain price.

Marc Hulet - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 09:22 AM EDT (#218425) #

I'm right there with Mr. Law.

I like AA's other moves, and this is the first one I would really disagree with do to the "sleeper" values for Collins and Pastornicky. They don't have high ceilings but they should be useful MLB players.

whiterasta80 - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 09:32 AM EDT (#218427) #

Seriously, what is Law's definition of a bargain price?  We gave up someone off the scrap heap and 2 B- prospects.  That is essentially nothing.  Jo Jo Reyes isn't that far removed from being considered a B+ prospect himself.

I know why the Braves wanted to make the deal (win-now) but can't Law recognize a down year?  With his thinking we could have added David Wright, Rafael Furcal, Alex Rios, Tim Hudson, Vladdy, Konerko, Chris Young, and Aubrey Huff (to name a few) to our team this past offseason.  You just don't give up on Talent THIS quickly.

Ryan Day - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 09:50 AM EDT (#218428) #
A down year is one thing. But if you believe Law and others, it's more than that; if it's an issue of attitude or a lack of preparedness, then fixing Escobar could be a bigger project than tweaking his swing and being patient. And having a guy with a bad attitude might not be a great idea when you're bringing up a bunch of young players.

I have no idea if it's true or not. But while many "character issues" seem overblown by the media, it would be foolish to assume they don't exist or can't be a problem.

Matthew E - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 09:54 AM EDT (#218430) #
Well, I remember a part from Bill James's 1991 Baseball Book. He was talking about some Seattle player who was talented but wasn't playing hard, and how the Mariners benched him and played a bench guy instead. James said that he sympathized, but: (I paraphrase from memory)

Billy Martin used to say that you've got your mules and you've got your racehorses, and you can kick a mule in the ass all you want and he's still not going to win the Kentucky Derby. Part of a manager's job - a part Billy Martin excelled at - is setting fire to the tails of lazy racehorses. The Mariners have decided to play the mule instead.

--

So I don't know if it's going to work out with Escobar. But it's certainly worth trying. Not that Gonzalez is a mule, exactly, but...

Chuck - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 09:58 AM EDT (#218432) #

Law feels that Escobar is going backwards

This hasn't been a year-over-year demise. Escobar has had a poor half-season, that's all. He had a 116 OPS+ last year!

Ricciardi commented on the upside of Pastornicky and Collins. But wouldn't he? Is he not suffering from some of the same sort of bias that is perhaps taking place at this site, where those who follow the minor leaguers closely feel a connection to them and are perhaps overvaluing them due to this bias?

I would really disagree with do to the "sleeper" values for Collins and Pastornicky. They don't have high ceilings but they should be useful MLB players.

Isn't this damning with feint praise? While useful major league players are not exactly falling from trees, they are not the types of players who will propel this organization to loftier heights. Turning around, and reaping some high ceiling benefits, of a shortstop who has recorded OPS+s of 118, 103 and 116 before, apparently, becoming a pariah of dimensions incalculable would seem like a worthwhile gamble.

Kasi - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 10:06 AM EDT (#218433) #
Law sort of responded to this last night on his twitter, but in his mind he had Yunel's woba numbers mixed up. He transposed 2008 and 2009s numbers. 2009 by most metrics was Escobar's best major league season. You can say that 2007 was his best, but it was held up by an unrealistically high BABIP of .370 (compared to a more healthy .315-.320 the next two years) Defensive numbers from all metrics out there show he is still a plus glove. I've come to learn to not trust Law anymore on Toronto prospects/matters due to his bias with the team. Or at the least not trust him anymore then any other "expert" or "scout" out there.

Escobar's problems this year are sort of the same as Hill. He is popping up way more then before, which is hurting his BABIP. He still is walking the same, still is running the same, still is playing defense the same, still is striking out at the same rate, it is just the BABIP and pop up rate that have changed this year, not to mention his ISO has dropped. Given how people complained about Lewis and what he's done since he got here, I'm guessing Yunel does the same thing. His average will go up, his power will go up, but at the cost of some of his OBP given Murphy and Cito's hitting philosophy.

I don't think I'm going to miss Pastornicky much. Good guy for sure, but I don't see him being any better then maybe 4 or 5th option for SS we have. Behind Yunel, Hech, Goins and Pierre for sure in my mind. Collins I will miss though, since I think he can be an effective major league reliever plus a great story to follow. But then again he is just going to be a 6-8 inning guy, so no huge loss I suppose. I'm sure the Jays are going to have to turn one or two of the many pitching prospects they have into a reliever at some point anyway.

Flex - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 10:10 AM EDT (#218434) #
I don't know what to make of Blair's piece. The headline suggests he doesn't like the deal, but writers don't usually write their own headlines, and I don't think that in the piece itself Blair actually takes a real stand one way or another. He seems to focus a lot of attention on the fact that the Jays have had terrible luck with shortstops over the last decade and, because of that, if Escobar sticks it will be surprising, as if that's any reason to dislike the trade.

He says the Jays weren't going to the playoffs this year before the trade, and they aren't any closer now, which no one would disagree with. But again, that's not why they made the deal.

He says the Jays gave up a lot in the deal, and that the Braves should be happy. And they should be. He says Toronto is a train wreck of a sports city, and that's why people would hate to see Gonzalez go. Huh? Nobody who knows baseball would suggest a rebuilding team hold on to its aging stopgap player because he's having a good year.

Then he says if the minor leaguers the Jays gave up make the majors, well, that's the price of doing business.

Honestly, I don't think even he knows what he thinks.
Hodgie - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 10:13 AM EDT (#218435) #

"They don't have high ceilings but they should be useful MLB players."

That and a bag of baseballs gets the Jays an annual membership to 4th place in the AL East, with Baltimore knocking on the door in a couple of years as well. Don't get me wrong, I really, REALLY like Collins and Pastornicky but this is a trade the Jays have to make when the opportunity arises. If the farm system cannot withstand losing 2 potentially useful MLB players then the Jays are in bigger trouble than I thought. This team needs high end talent to compete in this division, plain and simple. Bagwell for Anderson this is not.

As for the references to the declining skill set of Escobar, I have to wonder how many times Law has actually seen Escobar over the last 3+ seasons when drawing that conclusion? I doubt it would be nearly as often as the Jays scouts and if the team isn't going to trust their scouts, why bother emphasizing the expanded scouting in the first place. Oh, and Escobar's WAR totals for his first 4 seasons in the majors: 2.4, 3.3, 4.3, 1.0, quite the steady decline. Obviously one of these things is not like the other (sorry Sesame Street) so we are to believe that this last 300 ABs, at 27 years of age, is Escobar's new skill set or just a bad first half being experienced by a still young and talented player? 

Gerry - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 10:22 AM EDT (#218436) #

One of the biggest issues a GM has to face is falling in love with your own prospects.  I think that applies to me too, and probably many others here at Batters Box.  I look at the Escobar for Gonzalez swap and I say, OK, that's a reasonable deal.  But when Collins and Pastornicky are thrown in you hate to lose the prospects.

But prospects have a 50% failure rate, at least, so probably one of Collins or Pastornicky will fail.  For this deal to really hurt Collins needs to turn into a closer and Pastornicky to an everyday major league player.  If Timmy is just another reliever, those guys are a dime a dozen, and if Pastornicky is a utility guy, the same comment applies.

So I wince when I look at this deal but rational thought says don't overvalue or fall in love with the prospects.  So I am OK with this deal based on my trust in the Blue Jays scouting system.

I just hope I don't lose that trust.

SK in NJ - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 10:55 AM EDT (#218437) #

"They don't have high ceilings but they should be useful MLB players."

That statement right there is why I like AA and think he is much better than Ricciardi.

Useful MLB players do not win in the AL East. The Jays need front-end talent. From 2007-09, Escobar hit .301/.375/.426 in 1546 plate appearances. That is almost identical to what he did in his minor league career (.297/.370/.414). He can draw walks, he can hit for average, he has decent pop, and he can defend a critical position. He is an all-star calibre player at a position this team has sucked at for over a decade. And people are crying over losing a reliever, a single-A SS with a .695 career minor league OPS, and an aging vet?

Look, Collins might turn into a good reliever/closer. Pastornicky might turn into a good SS/2B. Ultimately, who cares? Neither one has the upside that Escobar does. People were down on Rios last season for being lazy, hitting poorly, etc. Change of scenary, and bam, he is right back to being the old Rios. Escobar might be in the same mold.

It is refreshing to have AA as GM. Even if this risk fails, it was a calculated risk. Buying low on a damn good player at a critical position, and not overvaluing prospects with questionable ceilings.

Ryan Day - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 11:01 AM EDT (#218438) #
The problem with just looking at the stats is that statistically speaking, the trade is pretty dumb for Atlanta - even in a down year, Escobar is an okay player, and he has the potential to be a lot better.  He's young, cheap, and under control for several years. Alex Gonzalez is older, not a huge amount better, and will probably be worse going forward.

Atlanta's not dumb, though. They're not infallible, but it's a pretty well-run organization, and it's not a team built on safe, adequate MLB regulars. There's obviously something beyond the numbers that the Braves don't like about Escobar. So the questions become:
  • Are the Braves wrong about Escobar?
  • If the Braves are right, can the Jays fix it?
Lylemcr - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 11:04 AM EDT (#218439) #

Blair's piece just sounded like a guy who didn't like the trade.  There was a lot of garbage that he had to really reach for.  "ie.  Toronto is a train wreck of a sports city". 

Bottom line:  Escobar has the highest ceiling.  That is what we are after right now.  Acquiring quality assets that can turn into something is AA's MO.  Kind of like the Chicago Blackhawks.  If you have lots of quality peices, putting a complete puzzle together is easier.

MatO - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 11:17 AM EDT (#218440) #

Law was on the FAN last night with Blair and he didn't make a lot of sense.  He said that Escobar was in decline since his MLB debut which is not true.  He acknowledged that Escobar would probably bounce back but that he had make-up issues and losing athleticism.  On the other hand, Collins might be in the majors later this year.  He didn't really care for Pastornicky whom he categorized as a the "scrappy white guy".  He said on the scouting scale he was a "35".  A David Eckstein type and it wasn't meant as a compliment.  I think he has more athleticism than Law gives him credit for.  Again, if he thinks Escobasr will bounce back and doesn't like Pastornicky then his views don't make much sense.

Spifficus - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 11:23 AM EDT (#218441) #
I read the 'train wreck' paragraphs as the opposite - fans are predisposed to view Gonzalez as more than he is because of it. To me, it was more of a "Don't worry, trading Gonzalez is not the sign of the apocalypse."
Chris DH - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 11:26 AM EDT (#218442) #

Bit of topic - but it appears BA thinks the Jays have a top 10 organization in terms of prospects.  From Sunday:

Haven't broken them all down, but feels like yes. @DK_I_AM: jays a top 10 system next season?

 

http://twitter.com/jimcallisBA/status/18313272417

 

whiterasta80 - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 11:41 AM EDT (#218443) #
The other thing I would add is that moving Alex (and hopefully Buck...) is actually good for our organization because it will likely encourage FA to sign here in the future knowing that if things don't work out for the team they'll still get another shot at the playoffs.  So even if this isn't a win trade for the Jays, it really only has to be an even trade to be a good thing.
Maldoff - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 11:46 AM EDT (#218444) #

Why are people so worked up about trading away an over-his-head shortstop, a prospect who is being projected to be a utility player with a below-average bat, and an intreguing potential reliever for a 27-year old shortstop who is struggling but has shown he can hit? So what if you block Hech for now? You can always trade an asset later (or move someone to third base ala Jhonny Peralta).

uglyone - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 12:35 PM EDT (#218445) #

"I didn't complain about gonzo but i was very much of the opinion that he - and buck - were just the kind of crap that you sign to patch over until the good times get here."

I understood anyone who wasn't excited by the Gonzo/Buck signings, but I always had a hard time understanding anyone who thought they were "crap", and who thought they wouldn't be at least average-ish players for their positions.

 

"That lineup is probably be what Gaston will do, regardless of how much sense it makes."

Given Cito's prediliction for L/R/L/R lineups, I wouldn't be surprised in the least to see Cito swap Escobar and lewis at the top of your order there, going with:

1) SS Escobar RH, 2) LF Lewis LH, 3) 3B Bautista RH, 4) CF Wells RH, 5) DH Lind LH, 6) 2B Hill RH, 7) 1B Overbay LH, 8) C Buck RH, 9) RF Snider LH

I also think, though, that Cito will likely be moving Snider quickly up the order this time, as long as he comes back hitting like he did when he left. I know some people think that Cito irrationally hates Snider and will keep him down at the bottom of the order no matter what, but I don't think that's the case.

On a personal preference, I wouldn't mind us experimenting with Snider at 1B in the short term, with JBau in RF and EE at 3B, with Overbay on the bench even now.....and even if (when) Overbay is traded, I wouldn't mind seeing that, and wait on Wallace until he's destroying AAA again.

 

"This hasn't been a year-over-year demise. Escobar has had a poor half-season, that's all. He had a 116 OPS+ last year!"

Agreed 100% - it's ridiculous to suggest that Escobar is on some sort of "steady decline".

Escobar was the Braves' TEAM MVP last year, at age 26. Not only was he voted the teams MVP, but Bobby Cox flat out said he was their MVP that year prior to the vote.

Hell, he even got NL MVP votes last year (6.0 MVP vote points last year).

 

"His comments were intereting in that they seem to indicate the Jays have decided to hold onto Bautista for the foreseeable future. Perhaps they believe his performance over the last 400+ ABs is his new talent level."

I think I like this - while I am eager to see AA trade high on Buck, Gregg, and Camp, and to move Downs, Overbay, Frasor and Tallet - I think Bautista might be a different case, and that he might have legitimately reached a new talent level .

joeblow - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 12:37 PM EDT (#218446) #
AA is going to prove himself not on this or any other trade, but on the coaching staff he builds for next year. They are going to have a bunch of young guys who are coming off down seasons, for whatever reasons. Hill, Lind, Escobar, Snider are going to have to return to form and this is going to take mental and physical coaching.
Rich - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 12:40 PM EDT (#218447) #
Flex, you are bang on about Blair's article - good analysis.

SK, I agree with you too.  The Jays don't have the resources of the Sox or Yanks and need to maximize their opportunities to acquire high-upside, relatively low-cost players.  Morrow, and now Escobar both fit this description.  There are risks with both and not all of these types of moves will work out by I think it's the best possible strategy for the organization.

Mylegacy - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 12:57 PM EDT (#218448) #
My brain is starting to hurt. Happens to me a lot.

First and foremost, I'm a big AA fan. AA and I BOTH know he's going to be fired (some day), we BOTH know a GREAT GM will have the vision and the guts to make the moves he believes he needs to make to take his team forward and that his "vision" will be right quite a bit more than it's wrong. I'm positive AA believes the "profit" on this deal will outweigh the "loss." And - IF he is wrong on this trade - I'm not down on him for making it. BUT I LOVE Tiny Tim.

I would trade 27 year old Escobar STRAIGHT UP for 33 year old Gonzales in a HEART BEAT. Alex had another year and then - so long.

In the BA 2006 Prospect Handbook Yunel Escobar was a 2005 draft chioce (2nd round) who had the "Best Pro Debut". He is a "Cuban defector, (WHO) was a fairly unknown commodity when he entered the draft in mid-May." Despite only 228 bat bats in Danville (R) and Rome (SAL) he was named Atlanta's number 3 prospect and number 2 SS prospect. SS Elvis Andrus was Atlanta's number 2 prospect. They describe him as being the most "coveted" of 5 Cuban defectors in the 2005 draft. He was also a childhood friend of Braves catcher Brayan Pena. He had "no problem handling low Class A...solid all round tools...steady glove...strong arm...potent bat with budding power...large athletic frame...play(s) physical brand of baseball...strong hands and wrists...above average arm...made just 6 errors in 48 games...range isn't remarkable...not as fast as most shortstops...average speed and fluid actions...

In the BA 2007 Prospect handbook Yunel is now the number 10 prospect (Elvis Andrus is still the number 2 prospect). BA says, he spent his first year at AA shifting between SS, 2nd and 3rd, he has solid tools across the board...smoth swing produces line drives with gap tools...though agressive at plate has good plate discipline and pitch recognition...consistent hands and a strong arm that's a plus at any infield position...hasn't shown the ability to drive the ball that many scouts projected...modest range could prevent him from playing SS in the majors...just average speed and is a tick below-average for a middle infielder...A year ago, Escobar figured to be in a tight battle with Elvis Andrus as the Braves long-term answer at SS. Because 2nd Marcu Giles was not tendered Escobar's best shot will probably come at that position or as a utilityman. He's ready for AAA.

So he is what he is. A 27 year old, slick, strong armed, thickening SS with a good eye, can hit for average and no pop. Basically a tick better than 20 year old Tyler Pastornicky with much less speed. Tyler is however SEVEN years younger!

Tiny Tim - picture a 20 year old tiny little itty bitty Scott Downs with 10 or 11 SO's per 9 innings who KLaw says may be ready for the Show later this year. Jo Jo Reyes - a 25 year old Dave Purcey.

CONCLUSION: I'd have traded Alex and Tyler for Yunel (maybe even thrown in another scrap) - BUT I want my 20 year old PHENOM RELIEF PITCHER Tiny Tim. I don't want no part, no way, no how of Jo Jo Binks - not if it costs me any part of Tim Horton's collection of tiny sugared goodies.

This is my final word on these matters. Now - time for an early morning (here in the West) single malt scotch. A smooth double - on the rocks (it's hot today).

ayjackson - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 01:09 PM EDT (#218449) #

Basically a tick better than 20 year old Tyler Pastornicky with much less speed.

A tick better?  That's a big tick.  Do you mean that given another seven years of development, Pastornicky should be a tick worse than what Escobar is now?  Those seven years are worth an awful lot on the trade market.

Chuck - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 01:49 PM EDT (#218450) #
Now - time for an early morning (here in the West) single malt scotch. A smooth double - on the rocks (it's hot today).

Switching over from the Koolaid?
CSHunt68 - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 01:52 PM EDT (#218451) #
"A tick better"?!?!
If Pastornicky ends up within a tick of Escobar's offensive or defensive production over the first four years of his MLB career, I will be flabbergasted.
Come on! Talk about overrating your prospects!
And, enough about KLaw, folks. Seriously. He doesn't know anything you don't. Make up your own mind. You've got all the information right in front of you, same as he does.

CSHunt68 - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 01:56 PM EDT (#218452) #
Oh, and I love how mylegacy jumps from pre-season 2007 to the present - ignoring three years of All-Star production from a shortstop at the major league level.
He goes from being a mediocre, perhaps declining prospect, to a fat, over-the-hill player in one fell swoop.
Nice.
92-93 - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 01:59 PM EDT (#218453) #

The problem with just looking at the stats is that statistically speaking, the trade is pretty dumb for Atlanta - even in a down year, Escobar is an okay player, and he has the potential to be a lot better.

Actually, it's pretty easy to see exactly what Atlanta is doing here. They have a 4g lead in the NL East right now, and a lineup that gets on base very well (1/16 in NL) but lacks in the power department (13/16 in NL). When you have a SS who is causing problems in the clubhouse and can pick up a veteran SS having a career season who fits your team needs perfectly, along with 2 decent prospects, why hesitate? Furthermore, Gonzalez's salary is set for next year, which makes your planning easier, and it's quite likely that Escobar will cost a bit more in Arb1 next year. Atlanta has depth at SS in their system, and sees an opportunity to improve themselves this year as Philadelphia lags behind with injuries without really sacrificing much of their future, other than the difference between Escobar and Gonzalez in 2011 (and SS for 2012 if they don't find anybody else by then and their wealth of prospects don't pan out). It's easy for me to see how this trade makes perfect sense for both sides, considering how untenable a situation all the Braves writers make the Braves-Escobar relationship out to be.

On a personal preference, I wouldn't mind us experimenting with Snider at 1B in the short term, with JBau in RF and EE at 3B, with Overbay on the bench even now.

Terrible idea. Snider is an OF and needs the work out there, and Overbay has been the team's best hitter save for JoBau over the last 2 months while providing his usual solid defense. Why would you hinder the development of the team's best prospect and depress the trade value of Overbay just to get E5 more ABs?!

Mike Green - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 01:59 PM EDT (#218454) #
To clarify my view of the prospects.  Tim Collins is right now a fine reliever.  He's got maybe a 5% chance of being converted to starting and succeeding at the major league level.  He's got maybe a 20% chance of being a decent middle guy and a 25% chance of being an ace reliever.  Tyler Pastornicky has about a 25% chance of being a utility infielder/fringe starter and about a 25% chance of being a good middle infielder somewhere between David Eckstein and Dustin Pedroia.  It's the value of those 25% chances of Collins being an ace and Pastornicky being a good middle infielder in their pre-arb years that is worth a considerable amount to the Braves. 

If Yunel recovers to where he was prior to 2010, he ends up as a good middle infielder somewhere between Eckstein and Pedroia, but at arb prices.  The chances of that happening are probably much more than 25%, but not necessarily over 50%. 

lexomatic - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 02:13 PM EDT (#218455) #
mike i think the odds of pastornicky and collins being great are much lower than 25%, as much as i like them. there's too many players who just don't pan out, don't get a break, get hurt, etc.
uglyone - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 02:17 PM EDT (#218456) #

When you have a SS who is causing problems in the clubhouse and can pick up a veteran SS having a career season who fits your team needs perfectly, along with 2 decent prospects, why hesitate?

Why hesitate to trade your Team MVP from last season, a 27 year old slick fielding SS?

Why hesitate to trade one of the best SS in baseball for a 33 year who's had a clear outlier few months?

Do I even need to answer?

Atlanta has depth at SS in their system,

No they don't. They did before they traded Andrus and Escobar for rentals, but they don't anymore.

Terrible idea. Snider is an OF and needs the work out there, and Overbay has been the team's best hitter save for JoBau over the last 2 months while providing his usual solid defense. Why would you hinder the development of the team's best prospect and depress the trade value of Overbay just to get E5 more ABs?!

  1. There is no hindering Snider's development by giving him experience at a new position.
  2. Overbay has no trade value worth worrying about.
  3. Overbay can't hit lefties, period. And even with his recent better performance is no clear upgrade on EE.
  4. Overbay will be moved one way or another, and Wallace is arguably not quite ready to come up.

 

uglyone - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 02:23 PM EDT (#218457) #

If Yunel recovers to where he was prior to 2010, he ends up as a good middle infielder somewhere between Eckstein and Pedroia, but at arb prices.  The chances of that happening are probably much more than 25%, but not necessarily over 50%. 

If Yunel recovers to where he was prior to a bad couple of months this year, then he ends up as much more than a "good middle infielder" - he ends up as one of the top-5 SS in baseball.

And the chances of him recovering to his normal levels are, of course, pretty dang high - much, much higher than the chances of both Collins and Pastornicky turning into quality MLB regulars.

Mike Green - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 03:06 PM EDT (#218458) #
Yunel was a 3.5-4.5 WAR player in the weaker league, prior to 2010.  That's noticeably less than Marco Scutaro, 2008-09, in the AL East, for instance.  Of course, Yunel is young and might be better in the AL East in 2011 than he was in 2008-09, but that seems to me to be somewhat less probable than Tim Collins being an effective ace reliever.

As for Pastornicky's odds of being a good regular middle infielder, i went through the FSL 1998-2000 to see how young players with his broad skill set ended up.  It's a small sample, but it was enough to persuade me that his chances of being more than a fringe player objectively are maybe 15% (Brent Abernathy and Anderson Machado were useful reminders).  Subjectively, I think it's better than that, with the little things (the scout father, the uniformly excellent reports about his baseball instincts and drive, and his career path to date) being the key factors. 



metafour - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 03:17 PM EDT (#218459) #
Mike, you are very off on Escobar.  2 years ago the Braves wouldn't trade him for Peavy (back when Peavy actually had value).  Last year he was their team MVP.  His upside is as a true Top 5 SS.  Pastornicky's skills come nowhere near Escobar, and that is coming from someone who always liked Pastornicky.
Rich - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 03:28 PM EDT (#218460) #
Of course, Yunel is young and might be better in the AL East in 2011 than he was in 2008-09, but that seems to me to be somewhat less probable than Tim Collins being an effective ace reliever

I wholeheartedly disagree.  I like Collins a lot and wish there had been a way to keep him.  But you're trying to tell us that projecting a double A pitcher's success in the bigs, especially one who has always been a reliever, is more of a sure thing than having a player in his prime repeat what he did at the big league level 12 months ago?  That is complete and utter nonsense.  Can Collins succeed in the bigs?  Very possibly.  Can Escobar?  Absolutely 100% without a shadow of a doubt.  Because he's already done it and no one, even now, is suggesting that was a fluke.

On top of all that is the fact that the Jays haven't had even a potential long-term solution at short for oh, a decade or so now.
christaylor - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 03:55 PM EDT (#218461) #
I know Collins been shown a lot of love on this site, but I'm not really sure why this trade is even being debated. It is such a clear win for the Jays.

I feel comfortable making the prediction that Escobar will be better than Gonzalez for the rest of this year (even without adjusting for the more difficult league). Even if not, I'm down right certain he'll be better over the next three years.
uglyone - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 04:04 PM EDT (#218462) #

Yunel was a 3.5-4.5 WAR player in the weaker league, prior to 2010.  That's noticeably less than Marco Scutaro, 2008-09, in the AL East, for instance. 

Well, wait a sec - that's not true.

Yunel and Scoots tied at 4.3 WAR last year. They both tied for 5th in MLB behind Jeter, Hanley, Tulo, and Bartlett. Of course, Scutaro had 80 more plate appearances than Yunel, so that gave him a pretty big advantage.

If we adjust WAR to plate appearances (let's say per-700pa), these are the SS last year:

  1. Hanley: 7.7
  2. Jeter: 7.2
  3. Tulo: 6.5
  4. Bartlett: 5.9
  5. Escobar: 5.0
  6. Scutaro: 4.4
  7. Aybar: 4.3
  8. Andurs: 4.0

And of course, Scutaro was pretty dang good last year, earning himself a 3yr contract at $6+ mil per year out of that one good season. If he could have been at all counted on to continue that level of performance, he would have received much more than even that.

 

Mike Green - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 04:09 PM EDT (#218463) #
Fangraphs has the top shortstops in baseball (without league adjustment) by value in 2009 as Jeter, Hanley, Tulowitzki, Bartlett and Scutaro/Yunel.  In 2008, it was Hanley, Reyes, Rollins, Hardy, Peralta, Jeter, Cabrera, Yunel. 

Yunel was a very good player and improving player entering 2010, but not a great one.  It would be completely understandable for a team to not want to trade a very good shortstop entering his age 27 season.  It may be that Yunel's upside is closer to Dustin Pedroia, and that Pastornicky's is closer to David Eckstein, and that Yunel is much more likely to reach his. But, when you add in the monetary side, and Collins' chance of reaching his reasonable upside, and the fact that Gonzalez while unlikely to keep hitting the way he has been, still has considerable value especially at his contract price and the 2011 option, it's hard to make the case for the trade unless the team plans to greatly expand payroll in the next 3 years.  We'll see if they do. 

Anders - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 04:10 PM EDT (#218464) #

Yunel was a 3.5-4.5 WAR player in the weaker league, prior to 2010.  That's noticeably less than Marco Scutaro, 2008-09, in the AL East, for instance.  Of course, Yunel is young and might be better in the AL East in 2011 than he was in 2008-09, but that seems to me to be somewhat less probable than Tim Collins being an effective ace reliever.

Well Scutaro was a great player the last two years so on the face of it this isn't a bad thing. Secondly, I don't really get where you are getting this from. Fangraphs has Yunel at 3.3 and 4.3 in 2008 and 2009 while Scutaro is at 3.1 and 4.3. Baseball Reference has Yunel at 2.9 and 5.5 (side note, I love that not everyone agree on WAR, really gives you confidence in the stat) and Scutaro at 4.1 and 5.5. To me that's essentially a wash, maybe a slight point for Scutaro, which Escobar's youth more than makes up for. Last year they were both top 6 shortstops to boot. We don't have Scutaro anymore, so I don't see what is so terrible about trading for his replacement who we will have for the next 3 years.

In addition, if we are going with WAR, top-10 relievers have WARs that generally slot in just over 2. Even if Collins becomes a star, the potential value of Escobar, as a 5 win shortstop, far surpasses this, especially given the lack of decent shortstops available and the difficulty that exists in acquiring them. Of the top 10 shortstops in baseball last year, 5 were with the teams tha drafted them (4 now without Yunel), 3 were traded in what were essentially blockbuster trades or close to it (Hanley, Andrus, Bartlett) and 2 were free agents (Scutaro, Furcal). You just can't get players as good as Escobar has been.

To me this trade is a big win for the Jays unless Pastornicky becomes a better player than Escobar is in 2010-2013. I don't think this is particularly likely, but even if it is it is worth the risk.  If Pastornicky becomes a 1.5-2 WAR player and Collins a 1 WAR reliever, those are useful things, but not nearly as useful as 3 years of a 4 WAR shortstop in the AL East for a team trying to compete, which is certainly a possibility for Escobar. (I really hate using WAR this way, but it simplifies things to be certain)

Mike Green - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 04:15 PM EDT (#218465) #
I might add that this deal is the flipside of the Rios' sale.  If your intention is to spend more money and to try to compete quickly, why would you have sold Rios at the low point?  I guess the club has more confidence now that it can turn Escobar around than it had last fall that it could turn Rios around. 
TamRa - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 04:19 PM EDT (#218466) #
I understood anyone who wasn't excited by the Gonzo/Buck signings, but I always had a hard time understanding anyone who thought they were "crap", and who thought they wouldn't be at least average-ish players for their positions.

I don't mean to call them "crap" in a deragatory sense, as if they are not competent - i mean it in the sense that they are not the players you sign to leap into the race...they are fungible...what BP or whoever calls "replacement level" guys although admittedly they are somewhat better than RLPs

Basically "crap" means "guys you don't get excited about."




As for the remarks that TP and Collins are likely to be "decent major leaguers" or whatever....put faces on that.

Brian Tallet is, or was until this year, a "decent major leaguer"...Jesse Carlson was, the last two years, at least decent if not moreso (and I'm not convinced that if he were called up now, wouldn't be again)...Scott downs has been considerably more than decent.

Now - answer this: what was the total cost in talent that the Jays paid to acquire those three solid left-handed relief pitchers?

Collins, VERY likely, isn't going to be better than Downs - and Downs was free.

for TP, the examples come a bit harder because there's a reasonable range of potential outcomes, from Orlando Hudson down to...Ryan Freel? Less than that and hes likely not in the Majors at all.

But in any case, if you are one of those who thinks Freel is a reasonable range of comparison - look around the league at similar players and see what kind of value they have as free agents or potential trade targets.

look at what various teams paid for Graffaninno over the years, for example, or Infante.

There's the most likely outome for pastornicky assuming he at least makes it to the majors and has a decent little career.

Now, in that context - at least in my opinion - the cost of adding those two guys gets a lot more acceptable. if you think those two are Orlando Hudson and Billy Wagner, you have a right to dislike the deal, but i doubt that's what we let go.

Gerry - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 04:22 PM EDT (#218467) #

You have tried everything possible to fix your problems, so they are not fixable.

The other guys don't know what they are doing, we can do a better job fixing that guy.

I think with Rios the kick in the pants gave him some motivation to improve, let's hope the same applies with Escobar.

Mike Green - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 04:25 PM EDT (#218468) #
Eckstein was a 2-3 WAR player, Anders.  Even those who don't have a high opinion of Pastornicky acknowledge that this is where he can reasonably end up. 

As for WAR and relievers, that's a very controversial topic.  To give you a flavour, Mariano Rivera would be clearly out of the Hall of Merit if one uses WAR.  Most analysts treat this as one of WAR's areas of needed improvement, and almost every GM acts as if a good ace reliever is worth more than 2 WAR. 

It is certainly possible that in 2012, Escobar delivers a 5 WAR season for $5 million as the Jays attempt to compete with the big boys and spend a wad of dough doing so, and that this outstrips all the other possibilities.  We shall see.

Rich - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 04:35 PM EDT (#218469) #
If your intention is to spend more money and to try to compete quickly, why would you have sold Rios at the low point?

Because Rios was traded by a GM who bought high and sold low and that GM has been replaced by someone who tries to do the opposite.   And the intention isn't necessarily to try and compete quickly - it's to acquire high-upside players that the team can afford at least in the short to mid term.
uglyone - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 04:37 PM EDT (#218470) #

Fangraphs has the top shortstops in baseball (without league adjustment) by value in 2009 as Jeter, Hanley, Tulowitzki, Bartlett and Scutaro/Yunel.  In 2008, it was Hanley, Reyes, Rollins, Hardy, Peralta, Jeter, Cabrera, Yunel. 

And, as I kindly showed you, the only reason Scutaro was on par with Yunel in terms of WAR was that he received many more plate appearances. (about 10-15% more).

The only SS better than Yunel last year were Jeter, Hanley, Tulo, and Bartlett. And Bartlett was a fluke of epic proportions.

Going forward, the only SS that can be counted on to be better than  what Yunel has done over his career so far, are Hanley and Jeter and Tulo.....and Jeter is 36, so that might take him out of the running pretty soon.

 

Anders - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 04:40 PM EDT (#218471) #

Yunel was a very good player and improving player entering 2010, but not a great one.  It would be completely understandable for a team to not want to trade a very good shortstop entering his age 27 season.  It may be that Yunel's upside is closer to Dustin Pedroia, and that Pastornicky's is closer to David Eckstein, and that Yunel is much more likely to reach his. But, when you add in the monetary side, and Collins' chance of reaching his reasonable upside, and the fact that Gonzalez while unlikely to keep hitting the way he has been, still has considerable value especially at his contract price and the 2011 option, it's hard to make the case for the trade unless the team plans to greatly expand payroll in the next 3 years.  We'll see if they do. 

Well no, its not hard to make the case. Rob Neyer likes it for the Jays, as do two different writers at Fangraphs.

If the crux of the argument against the trade is that two prospects, ranked (pre 2010) 17th and 19th in the system by Baseball America, and 20th and unranked (both grade C) by John Sickels, was too high of a price to pay to get a potential all-star shortstop for the next (at least) 3 years then I don't even know what to say. Star players are so much more valuable than utility players, and star shortstops so exceptionally difficult to acquire that even the chance to get one is worth the risk. I made this point about 2009, but in 2010 of the top 15 shortstops in baseball who qualify for the batting title, 4 were free agents - Scutaro, Gonzalez, Jerry Hairston and Juan Uribe (throw in Furcal there too I suppose). There is almost no way to acquire good shortstops other than developing them or trading for them, and since Hanley was traded 5 years ago the only notable young shortstops to be traded have been Elvis Andrus (for Mark Fricking Teixeira) and Jason Bartlett, all of which makes this trade even more of a coup.

uglyone - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 04:43 PM EDT (#218473) #

I might add that this deal is the flipside of the Rios' sale.  If your intention is to spend more money and to try to compete quickly, why would you have sold Rios at the low point? 

There is the "minor" issue of $64 milion dollars being owed to Rios, and $0 million dollars being owed to Escobar, that you might be overlooking.

Anders - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 04:55 PM EDT (#218474) #

Eckstein was a 2-3 WAR player, Anders.  Even those who don't have a high opinion of Pastornicky acknowledge that this is where he can reasonably end up. 

The difference between my saying 1.5-2 WAR and you saying 2-3 WAR is not of particular consequence, As it happens in the first 6 years of his career, according to Fangraphs, Eckstein averaged 2.3 WAR. As for the second point, yes, Pastornicky has a chance of being a reasonably effective player. He also has a chance of never having an at bat in the majors. I would lean towards the later, as I believe would most people objectively analyzing the situation. If you are of the opinion that the former is more likely there seems to be little point in arguing over something so speculative. I think tend to think that if Escobar turns out alright then Pastornicky is essentially irrelevant unless he becomes Michael Young, in any event.

Mike Green - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 04:58 PM EDT (#218475) #
I don't see it Neyer's way at all.  It is not essentially a challenge trade.  Gonzalez for Escobar would be easy to defend for the Jays, as a pure present for future trade with all of Escobar's upside. 

If you believe that Tyler Pastornicky and Tim Collins are C prospects with a 5% chance of being significant major league players, then it is essentially a challenge trade.  I don't think that respected minor league evaluators will have them as this now; they'll be B to B- prospects. 

Moe - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 05:04 PM EDT (#218476) #
I don't get Law. Just the other day he was low on Collins in a chat (can't find the link but I think it was posted here) and now he criticizes the Jays for trading him. Seems to me he just has an issue with the Jays.
ayjackson - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 05:08 PM EDT (#218477) #
Rios and Escobar are completely different kettles of fish.  Rios was guaranteed $40m whether he sucked or not.  Escobar is guaranteed next to nothing if he sucks.  The Jays had an opportunity to walk away from a very high investment with a very uncertain return.  It's a lot easier to not sell low on a guy like Escobar whose salary depends on performance.
ayjackson - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 05:21 PM EDT (#218478) #

If you believe that Tyler Pastornicky and Tim Collins are C prospects with a 5% chance of being significant major league players, then it is essentially a challenge trade.

Do you think they have greater than a 5-10% chance?  Look at historical top 10 lists - teams have maybe 2 or 3 prospects that become significant major league players.  Now that must drop for prospects in the 10-20 range. 

parrot11 - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 05:22 PM EDT (#218479) #
I think that it's a solid gamble, although my hopes are that Escobar improves and get flipped for a very good prospect. Nothing really critical was given up. I guess my opinion is coloured by my belief that this team is still very far away from legit contention (4yrs or more) and that there's a lack of elite potential on this team. I don't think that you can legitimately compete without elite players in the AL East. The Jays might have a whole bunch of above average players, but they need to convert that into elite young players/prospects.

So from my POV, this was the absolute best one could have hoped to get from a guy who won't be there when it will matter and a couple of prospects projected to be role players. I think that this team is in a very dangerous spot. They're experiencing a much better season (so far) than expected and could easily regress back next season. The danger is that AA over-values his roster and thinks that it's closer than it actually is. JP fell in that very trap. I like the organization's re-dedication to scouting, the draft, and intl signings. Those are areas that the Jays can make up significant ground at very modest costs. But, I fear the trap of buying in too much to the unexpected better season.
TheBunk - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 05:44 PM EDT (#218480) #
I'm confused, what exactly is so exciting about Pastornicky? He has the upside of a utility player and he doesn't exactly have electric tools to compensate for his weak showing this year. Somewhere between Eckstein and Pedroia? That's hyperbole if i've ever heard it.
TheBunk - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 05:46 PM EDT (#218481) #
If Sickels rates Pastornicky as anything higher than a c+ comes seasons end, i'll eat my hat.
uglyone - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 06:42 PM EDT (#218482) #

I'm going to try something here, and feel free to rip it apart.....but I'm going to look at career WAR, per-700pa.

 

  1. FLA H.Ramirez (26): 6.1 (3126pa, 27.1war)
  2. NYY D.Jeter (36): 4.8 (10213pa, 70.0war)
  3. COL T.Tulowitzki (25): 4.7 (2104pa, 14.1war)
  4. NYM J.Reyes (27): 4.3 (4000pa, 24.4war)
  5. TOR Y.Escobar (27): 4.2 (1847pa, 11.1war) 
  6. SEA J.J.Hardy (27): 3.9  (2467pa, 13.9war)
  7. PHI J.Rollins (31): 3.8  (6651pa, 35.6war)
  8. TB J.Bartlett (30): 3.8  (2550pa, 14.0war)
  9. LAD R.Furcal (32): 3.6  (6139pa, 31.8war)
  10. TEX E.Andrus (21): 3.6  (923pa, 4.8war)
  11. SF E.Renteria (34): 3.0  (8628pa, 37.1war)
  12. CLE A.Cabrera (24): 2.7  (1334pa, 5.2war)
  13. STL B.Ryan (28): 2.6  (1089pa, 4.1war)
  14. CHC S.Castro (20): 2.5  (221pa, 0.8war)
  15. CIN O.Cabrera (35): 2.4  (7618pa, 26.6war)
  16. BOS M.Scutaro (34): 2.4 (3503pa, 12.1war)
  17. LAA E.Aybar (26): 2.4 (1541pa, 5.3war)
  18. CHX A.Ramirez (28): 2.4 (1432pa, 4.9war)
  19. OAK C.Pennington (26): 2.3 (672pa, 2.2war)
  20. SD J.Hairston (34): 2.1  (3935pa, 12.0war)
  21. ARI S.Drew (27): 2.0 (2438pa, 7.0war)
  22. WAS I.Desmond (24): 2.0  (383pa, 1.1war)
  23. ATL A.Gonzalez (33): 1.7  (5124pa, 12.1war)
  24. DET R.Santiago (30): 1.1  (1646pa, 2.6war)
  25. MIL A.Escobar (23): 1.1  (450ab, 0.7war)
  26. BAL C.Izturis (30): 1.0 (4091pa, 5.8war)
  27. KCR Y.Betencourt (28): 0.5  (2787pa, 1.8war)
  28. SEA J.Wilson (29): -0.4  (736pa, -0.4war)
  29. PIT R.Cedeno (27): -0.5  (1610pa, -1.2war)
  30. HOU T.Manzella (27): -3.3  (214pa, -1.0war)
James W - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 06:54 PM EDT (#218483) #

2 comments:  Uglyone, you can't just prorate Escobar's PAs and then claim him to be more valuable than Scutaro.  Escobar's missing PAs had to be replaced by someone.  It's fair to say Escobar was better than Scutaro while he played.

Anders:  the difference in the two values for WAR comes because Fangraphs and BB-Ref use two different defensive metrics to compute WAR.

cascando - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 06:59 PM EDT (#218484) #

Anthopoulos managed to convert a free-agent scrap heap pickup from the offseason, a 5th round pick from 2008 and an undrafted free agent signing from 2007 into a guy that has been one of the top SS in baseball for three years.  A potential all-star calibre young SS under team control from age 27-30.  I couldn't be more pleased with this move. 

The Jays are not going to contend by sitting on their hands waiting for all of their C+ prospects to bust through.  Its just as easy for these young players to take several steps back as it is for them to take another five steps forward, and if that happens their value as trade pieces has disappeared.  Would anyone really be surprised if at this time next year, Collins was injured or being hit hard in Vegas and Pastornicky was posting a sub-.700 OPS in NH?  It is a risk, but a worthwhile risk and even if Escobar turns out to be washed up at age 27, what have the Jays really sacrificed?  Their 4th or 5th best SS prospect, an intriguing but unprojectable reliever and 70 games of Alex Gonzalez.  That is easily worth a very good shot at a top-10 SS.

Sano - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 08:34 PM EDT (#218485) #
Has Thon actually signed? A few of the posters above have mentioned him as if he should be taken into account in an analysis of the Jay's SS prospects.
Anders - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 08:43 PM EDT (#218486) #
Anders:  the difference in the two values for WAR comes because Fangraphs and BB-Ref use two different defensive metrics to compute WAR.

Yeah I know, it just doesn't really increase my confidence in the stat.

And yes, Thon has signed.
Mike Green - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 09:26 PM EDT (#218487) #
AYJ, I think the odds that one of Collins and Pastornicky put up 2 average or better major league seasons (that would be 2 WAR for Pastornicky and let's say a couple of typical Scott Downs years for Collins) would be a lot more than one in 5.  I look back at the players I liked early in their careers with the Blue Jays from Aaron Hill, Jesse Litsch, Adam Lind, Alex Rios, Travis Snider and Shaun Marcum to Joel Collins, Davis Romero, Dave Bush, Guillermo Quiroz and Jamie Vermilyea.  Some hits, some misses. 

Is Pastornicky any more of a longshot now than Lind was the day he was drafted?  No, he has a better chance actually.  Does Collins have as good a chance as Litsch did in mid 2006 when he was in Dunedin or Marcum did when he was in Auburn or Charleston? Yes. 

Incidentally, Yunel Escobar's BBRef comps (pre-2010) are quite amusing: Luke Appling, Alex Cintron, Dickie Thon, Snuffy Stirnweiss, Neifi Perez, Angel Berroa, Specs Toporcer and two 19th century players.  Thon is, by far, the best comp of the lot...



Mick Doherty - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 10:40 PM EDT (#218491) #

Elvis Andrus (for Mark Fricking Teixeira)

Well, that's true -- sort of. The Teixeira deal is actually going to be seen as one of the great trade heists in baseball history before it's all over.

On July 31, 2007, Teixeira was traded by the Texas Rangers with Ron Mahay to the Atlanta Braves for Beau Jones (minors), Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison and Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Mahay was a throw-in. Jones has a chance to be a solid bench guy. So throw those two out of the equation.

 Andrus is already an All-Star and getting better. Feliz will either be a #1/#2 starter or a dominant closer, whichever the Rangers end up needing more. He's electric. Salty started the year as the team's starting catcher but has backpedaled, true; we'll see how long Bengie of the Molina Brothers can hold him off. Harrison is a fine, if injury-prone lefty who will be back in the Ranger rotation as soon as he can be.

It's not quite Robinson-for-Pappas level, but every "many prospects for one short-term star rental" trade ever made again will be measured against this one.

scottt - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 11:29 PM EDT (#218492) #
This looks like an excellent trade to me.

The Jays are not drafting in the top 5 like Tampa Bay was. They must trade severals mid level prospects to acquire All-Star players. There's no other way.

Gonzalez was just a placeholder and he was already regressing to his average level. Pastornicky was never going to be a starter with the Jays. Collins is a guy that I would have liked to watch in Toronto, but he was a long shot. I have no idea why AA picked up Jo-Jo Reyes. Does that save Atlanta some of his $400k salary?



metafour - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 11:41 PM EDT (#218493) #
Has Thon actually signed? A few of the posters above have mentioned him as if he should be taken into account in an analysis of the Jay's SS prospects.

Agreed to a $1.5 mil deal.  Because MLB is anal about over-slot deals the contract wont be finalized and officially announced until August, but if he's agreed to sign then the deal is pretty much done.
TJ Caino - Thursday, July 15 2010 @ 11:55 PM EDT (#218495) #

Is Pastornicky any more of a longshot now than Lind was the day he was drafted?  No, he has a better chance actually.

Well Pastornicky has success at high A, while someone just drafted doesn't have that data to aid prediction. So I would certainly agree he has a better chance.
metafour - Friday, July 16 2010 @ 12:22 AM EDT (#218496) #
I have no idea why AA picked up Jo-Jo Reyes

Reyes is a throw-in in a trade like this, but the important thing here is that we chose a throw in who actually has a plus arm.  BA compared Reyes to the before-2009 version of Romero in their analysis of the trade: a LHP with plus stuff who just couldn't produce for whatever reason.  Atlanta had given up on him, but we've had an excellent track-record in developing pitchers (especially lefties), so this may be a reclamation project to actually follow.  I think its kind of funny that everyone trying to break-down the WARs of the pieces moving seems to be completely writing off Reyes like he wasn't even part of the deal.....the likelihood of him reverting back to form probably isn't that high, but its probably as realistic as some of Mike's outlandish outcomes (like Pastornicky becoming a 3.0 WAR MLB player).
China fan - Friday, July 16 2010 @ 05:11 AM EDT (#218501) #
Mike Green, it's completely illogical to compare Collins and Pastornicky to regular major-league players like Lind and Marcum.  If your point is that a prospect sometimes does better than expected -- well, sure, but usually they don't.  Of course there's a possibility that Collins and Pastornicky will become major-league regulars, but there's a greater chance that they will be fringe players or not successful at the major-league level.  If you want a more logical comparison, take the Jays top-prospect list for 2004 or 2005 and find out how many of the mid-ranked prospects (ranked between 10 and 15, as Collins and Pastornicky are) actually reached the major leagues and became regulars.  I haven't checked, but I'd expect that less than one-in-five of those mid-ranked prospects got more than a cup of coffee at the major-league level.   In fact, someone like Reyes -- who has actually played in the majors -- probably has a better chance of returning to the majors than a young prospect like Collins or Pastornicky who has not played at a higher level than Dunedin or New Hampshire.   If you want to argue that Collins and Pastornicky have a good chance of reaching the majors, you should be loudly challenging the current prospect rankings in the Jays system.  You should be arguing that Collins and Pastornicky are among the top-five prospects in the Jays system, not the top 15.  Even the top-ranked prospects often fail to achieve success in the majors, but the odds are a lot worse for a 10th-ranked or 15th-ranked prospect in a team's system.
China fan - Friday, July 16 2010 @ 05:35 AM EDT (#218502) #
....and when I refer to Collins and Pastornicky as being ranked 10th to 15th in the Jays system, I'm using the more generous estimation of Batters Box, rather than the lower assessment of Sickels and BA.   In the last Batters Box prospect list, Collins was ranked 10th and Pastornicky was ranked 7th, but that was before the Halladay trade, so both would presumably be ranked 10th to 15th after the arrival of Wallace, Drabek and d'Arnaud.   They are ranked much lower by BA and Sickels, as noted in an earlier post in this thread.
brent - Friday, July 16 2010 @ 05:46 AM EDT (#218503) #

Most lefties don't even get their careers really going until they turn 29 ^^

Guys like Sabathia are the extreme exception.

China fan - Friday, July 16 2010 @ 05:56 AM EDT (#218504) #

Okay, I've found the Batters Box list of top prospects for 2004.  Of the entire list of top 10 prospects in 2004,  a total of 7 have reached the major leagues -- but that includes Purcey, Banks, McGowan and Chacin whose major-league stints have been sporadic or limited by injury.  Only 3 of the top 10 (Hill, League and Marcum) have established themselves as clear major-league regulars today.

Anyway, that's the top 10, but what about the mid-ranked prospects?  Those who were ranked 11th to 15th in 2004 were the following:  Adam Peterson, Vito Chiaravalloti, Raul Tablado, Robinson Diaz and Vince Perkins.  As you can see, there's a sharp drop in the success level below the top 10.  Of the entire list below the top 10, only Adam Lind has become a regular in the major leagues, unless I'm missing someone.

So, for mid-ranked prospects such as Collins and Pastornicky, the odds are a lot worse than one-in-five for reaching the majors (unless the 2004 list was abnormal in some way).

By the way:  Adam Lind, rather than being an encouraging example for Collins or Pastornicky, was actually a total fluke.  He was ranked 28th in the Jays system and he reached the majors.  The odds were very, very heavily stacked against him.   Marcum is not a comparable for Collins and Pastornicky either because he was 5th-ranked in the Jays system and therefore had much better odds of making it.

China fan - Friday, July 16 2010 @ 06:15 AM EDT (#218505) #

Of the prospects who were ranked 11th to 20th by Batters Box in 2004:  Robinson Diaz managed to play in 41 games for the Pirates last year as a backup catcher, but he doesn't seem to be playing anywhere this season.   Ryan Roberts finally reached the majors last year for Arizona at the age of 28 -- he got 351 plate appearances as a utility guy, posting an OPS of .783.  But he has only had 17 plate appearances this season, so I'm not sure if you can call him a regular major-leaguer.   The vast majority of these mid-ranked guys are like Peterson, Perkins, Thigpen, Davis Romero -- they never really made it.

China fan - Friday, July 16 2010 @ 06:28 AM EDT (#218506) #

For anyone who wants to read the brave words of praise for our mid-ranked prospects in 2004 (many of whom were wrongly projected as future major-leaguers), here is the link:

http://www.battersbox.ca/article.php?story=20040923034445999

Kelekin - Friday, July 16 2010 @ 06:31 AM EDT (#218507) #
Adam Lind was only drafted in 2004, so I'm not really sure his prospect ranking really matters at that point in time...
China fan - Friday, July 16 2010 @ 06:55 AM EDT (#218508) #
Adam Lind had a full season of minor-league play by October 2004 when those rankings were made.  If he shouldn't be considered a prospect in 2004, then would you argue that Chad Jenkins is not a prospect today?
raptorsaddict - Friday, July 16 2010 @ 07:27 AM EDT (#218509) #
Just for posterity's sake, I"m going to change my opinion: I now love this trade. I overrated Collins and Pastornicky, and had no idea Escobar was as good as he's been. At the end of the day, like others have said, in the AL East you have to swing for the fences, and that's what this is.

And, in response to Parrot, I don't think AA is going to pull a JP and suddenly think we're on the cusp - he's clearly a guy who is going to go full rebuild. Also, this is something I've never understood: why do so many GM's care about winning right now? As a GM, wouldn't it be more fun to sell older assets for younger ones?

Kelekin - Friday, July 16 2010 @ 08:42 AM EDT (#218511) #
China: I'm not sure what you're smoking.  Adam Lind was ranked #4 by BaseballAmerica going into the 2005 season.  He wouldn't have been on any 2004 rankings, since he started playing in late June-early July. 

Kelekin - Friday, July 16 2010 @ 08:53 AM EDT (#218512) #
^^^ And as a note to the above, I realized you were referring to Batter's Box, but I think my point is that Batter's Box is not the end all be all of prospect opinions, it's one group.  Coming into the season, I wouldn't have ranked Henderson Alvarez anywhere near where we do.  And then you have to consider it's a matter of whose outlook we're looking at, whether it's Marc or Gerry or whomever else.  After 2009, Collins and Pastornicky with both in Gerry's Top 10 but both in the 11-20 range for Marc.

I think it's stupid to argue a prospect's success based on how they are perceived as a top prospect or not.  Some players develop, some players are more well known, some are more respected because they are 1st rounders even when they flounder.  It's about as ridiculous as the random percentages I've seen spewed on comments above.

No matter how we look at this deal, no matter what we think we gave up, their "rankings" don't matter.  It's about what we got back.  I'm not going to talk about my love for Collins, there's no point and he's no longer a Jay.  You just move forward and focus on who you still have and hope you gave away two players who are not worth what you got in return (and an elite reliever from a statistical perspective and an okay shortstop with a good eye) for a potentially elite shortstop is a good trade no matter how you look at it, because it's an SS.
Mike Green - Friday, July 16 2010 @ 09:07 AM EDT (#218513) #
CF, I was not talking about consensus selections of any kind, BA, BB or anything else, but rather my own publicly expressed opinions.  I had probably higher opinions of Jamie Vermilyea and Joel Collins than anyone on the planet save for their parents, and those opinions turned out to be entirely wrong.  I had much higher opinions of Shaun Marcum, Adam Lind, Dave Bush and (for that matter) Dustin Pedroia than most.  I do tend to value position players with a broad base of skills and pitchers who don't throw 95, but who are able to strike out batters with offspeed stuff or with deception, more than is typical; that is why I think Tim Collins and Pastornicky are B prospects with perhaps a 25% chance of making it than C prospects whose chances of making it are small.



China fan - Friday, July 16 2010 @ 09:44 AM EDT (#218514) #

Kelekin, did you bother to read what I wrote?  Or even to click on the link?  The BB rankings are published in October every year.  So the 2004 rankings were published in October 2004, after Lind had a full season at Auburn under his belt.  You should do a tiny amount of research before you accuse people of using drugs....

Your other posting, which is rather incoherent, appears to argue that rankings are "stupid" and therefore irrelevant.  Of course the future can't be predicted in precise percentages, but rankings do have some relevance.  Most of us would agree that Drabek is likely to have a stronger career than Collins, and that's reflected in the prospect rankings.  There's a consensus, across the board, that Collins and Pastornicky are lower-ranked than Drabek, Wallace, and other top-five prospects, and that's probably a rough indication of AA's thinking too. 

And in response to Mike Green -- thanks for the explanation, you've clarified that you would rank Collins and Pastornicky higher than the consensus of most rankings, and that nicely explains your critique of this trade.  As for me, I'm going to stick with the consensus on those two prospects, and based on history, I would argue that each of them has perhaps a 10 per cent chance of becoming a regular in the major leagues.  Not a high enough chance to warrant killing a trade for one of the top shortstops in the major leagues last year.

budgell - Friday, July 16 2010 @ 09:48 AM EDT (#218515) #

Think they were ready for a change?  From Buster Olney's tweet...

When Alex Gonzalez walked into the Atlanta clubhouse for the first time, the Braves' players gave him a standing ovation

85bluejay - Friday, July 16 2010 @ 09:57 AM EDT (#218517) #

For those posters that are attached to Blue Jays prospects like Collins & Pastornicky, I've  bad news as I expect

that AA will probably be trading away more of them -  Seems AA  has decided (correctly I believe) that the Jays

need elite young talent to compete in the AL east and not the average talent so many Jays prospects are likely

to be - So, I think that he will likely package some of those B&C type prospects with some veterans to acquire

high ceiling talent - secondly, when there is regime change, the new regime almost always is less enamoured

with the old regime prospects and are more willing to trade them (besides, does new regime want a team to

become winners using the old regime talent - unless who are supremely confident & have a long track record

like a Pat Gillick with Phila. the answer is usually no)

 

TamRa - Friday, July 16 2010 @ 10:22 AM EDT (#218518) #
About those 2004 rankings - particularly re Lind.

In retrospect that was a pretty messed up ranking. Lind was a supplemental 3rd rounder from the previous draft, the closest analog in our system now would probably be Jake marisnick, in terms of draft position. And while i understand marisnick was considered quite the steal in the third round, he has (not necessarily in error) been showered with praise since that draft. And that the first time around without ever even having actually played a game for us in his draft year.

On thoe other hand, if you take someone from this year's draft to compare him to that would be Marcus Kenect and i can easily imagine him being on the fringes of the top 30 this fall if he's ranked at all.

I suppose it comes down to the strength of the system in that regard but there are a lot of guys on that 2004 list ahead of lind that i just don't remember ever being much hopeful for (and yes, i do remember the failed prospects i had a crush on - Clayton Andrews being high on that list.

that said - looking back I just shake my head - BANKS at #2? Vermillyea in the top 10? (there's your career reliever who's over-ranked!), Carlos Cota? I can't even remember him. Ron Davenport? Bubbie?

Not that I'm a genius - I'm sure I thought a lot more of JFG than that. But I'd suggest Da Box crew has gotten a lot better at prospect evaluation over the last six years.

Oh, and by the way - anyone else notice that Lind is listed as a 1B?


TamRa - Friday, July 16 2010 @ 10:25 AM EDT (#218519) #
Oh wait, there's one more thing - after you read the list check the last paragraph:

You should expect a fair degree of movement on this list before next April. Some of these prospects will almost certainly disappear in trades Ė the Jays have clear needs at the major-league level and, for the first time in a long time, have the wherewithal to help acquire it. Prospects also get hurt, especially those who pitch for a living, so itís a good thing the Jays have a surfeit of them. Thereís also minor-league free agency and the Rule 5 Draft to consider. The Jays have a lot of players of interest and only 40 spots with which to protect them; some of these guys will be snatched up by other teams. But thatís the price of a healthy farm system, something that the Blue Jays unquestionably now possess.

I know i know - hindsight and all that. but i can't believe that we could have thought the players on that list represented an enviable collection of talent. Improved from 2002 sure, but still.


Kelekin - Friday, July 16 2010 @ 10:38 AM EDT (#218520) #
CF: I'm not going to get into fights on the internet.  I do think you're incorrect in saying I'm incoherent which I think crosses a line in the first place.  My only issue was that you're using opinions to generate facts and statistics.  So saying that you would argue that each of them has a 10% chance of being a regular in the majors...I don't see that as quantifyable evidence.  I see that as someone who is pulling stats out of thin air.  If you were to say "I believe there is a low chance of them becoming MLB regulars", this is true as it's a generalized statement.  But to actually give a number is an irresponsible take when you're trying to present "facts".
Kelekin - Friday, July 16 2010 @ 10:46 AM EDT (#218521) #
Banks being #2 is not surprising, because he was absolutely dominant before hitting AA.  Josh Banks was a great lesson for me though in how to evaluate control pitchers.  It's quite evident this list was based off of projectability at the time though.  Rosario had been terrible but still ranked #4.  I would actually have agreed on Vermilyea at the time, at least for top 10 consideration.  The Jays badly mishandled him, and he was rather good at times.  But looking at a list like that does prove you never know how anyone will pan out.  Pastornicky might be having a good season at A+, but he's certainly not stellar.  Tim Collins may become an elite closer.  But no matter how we look at it, we traded for someone who has shown dominance at times in the most important league of all: the MLB.
Mike Green - Friday, July 16 2010 @ 11:04 AM EDT (#218522) #
I am not sure what the consensus is on Brett Wallace now.  Prior to this year, some of us had concerns about his overall offensive performance in the minor leagues as a first baseman (his OBP was driven by HBPs).   This year has not been good, but has been disguised by the environment.  He will be 24 years old next month, and at this point his performance this year is almost exactly that of a team average hitter in the PCL.  Obviously he could turn it on at any time, but at some point the luster of potential wears off. 
bpoz - Friday, July 16 2010 @ 11:22 AM EDT (#218524) #
In 2007 Atlanta traded for M Tex and did not make the post season (Jul31..3.5 gm out, 5 gm out @ end). Expos traded for Mark Langston(did not make it?), gave up Randy Johnston.
Well do YOU think this is a bad philosophy? Both ATL & MTL were close enough. Langston was an ace & A Gon's 2010 performance is outstanding thereby giving ATL a strong spot in the order to replace a weak spot.
IMO 17 teams are in contention today.
IMO (small sample size alert) AA only trades for what he wants ie: Drabek, Morrow & Escobar (high ceiling).
Did AA want LAA ss Aybar? If so how does his ceiling compare to Escobar's?
Flex - Friday, July 16 2010 @ 11:38 AM EDT (#218526) #
Just looking at the stats, I'm not sure I understand the concern over Brett Wallace. His line this year is .296/.360/.494 which is very similar to last year. Is it the fact he's doing this in Las Vegas where it was expected that his stats would inflate? Just wondering.
Mike Green - Friday, July 16 2010 @ 11:42 AM EDT (#218527) #
Flex, check out the team batting stats for Las Vegas.  You'll see that Wallace's stats are almost exactly team average.  You have to apply a huge adjustment because of context.
Kelekin - Friday, July 16 2010 @ 11:48 AM EDT (#218528) #
Flex: Unfortunately, you have to judge first basemen by first basemen metrics. Those numbers might be good for an SS or 2B or tolerable for a 3B, but not a 1B. The red flags so far this year have been a high strikeout rate and a low walk rate.  I'm sure they would like to see those improve before calling him up.  But right now, he's playing like an average 1B in AAA.  We'll have to be patient.
whiterasta80 - Friday, July 16 2010 @ 12:22 PM EDT (#218534) #

Just one more reason I can't understand us not trying him at 3B.  I'm not even sure he's a top 20 1B prospect right now... We need top 5-10 if we're going to compete in the AL East.

christaylor - Friday, July 16 2010 @ 12:44 PM EDT (#218535) #
"Also, this is something I've never understood: why do so many GM's care about winning right now?"

I think the answer is that the legitimate opportunities to win are (the obvious exceptions are the Yanks and recently, the Red Sox) are few and far between. The only problem is that it is really easy to misjudge (even in weak divisions) when a team is in win now mode, Ash in 2000 or SEA recently.

Personally, if I truly thought the team was in the hunt, I think fans expect the team to try and push themselves over the top. The situation in ATL seems to be unique though, the move was made to appease the manager and give ATL one last kick at the can before the team will truly need to rebuild.

I think the chance that they don't make the playoffs (even with Gonzalez) is greater than they do. PHI has really underperformed, which is unlikely to continue in the second half.
uglyone - Friday, July 16 2010 @ 12:55 PM EDT (#218536) #

What's strange about Wallace is that he showed excellent and fairly steady improvement over his first few months in AAA, even through the start of this year, but then fell off considerably.

AAA

  • MAY 09: 60ab, .250/.281/.333/.614 (.311babip)
  • JUN 09: 95ab, .316/.365/.516/.881 (.351babip)
  • JUL 09: 60ab, .300/.364/.333/.697 (.353babip) (memphis)
  • JUL 09: 23ab, .304/.360/.435/.795 (.318babip) (sacramento)
  • AUG 09: 127ab, .299/.364/.488/.852 (.348babip)
  • SEP 09: 57ab, .298/.365/.614/.979 (.295babip)
  • APR 10: 81ab, .272/.359/.617/.976 (.280babip)
  • MAY 10: 124ab, .298/.348/.468/.816 (.382babip)
  • JUN 10: 101ab, .327/.384/.465/.849 (.361babip)
  • JUL 10: 22ab, .227/.320/.318/.638 (.278babip)

First time I've really looked at all those numbers together.

a couple of things stick out to me at first glance:

  1. the .300avg / .360obp is remarkably consistent, no matter how his power or babip are doing, it seems. That part of his performance is looking fairlyy projectible.
  2. counterintuitively, his two best months (by far) also feature his worst babip (by far). Not sure exactly what that means, especially since there was no negative effect on his OBP (which might come from just swinging for the fences every at bat).
  3. He showed pretty solid improvement up to the end of last year and through april this year, then stumbled pretty badly in May this year. He recovered somewhat in June, but is scuffling again in July.

 

I think we'd all feel a helluva lot better if he managed to throw up another month or two similar to his SEP/APR stats there.

 

Mike Green - Friday, July 16 2010 @ 01:01 PM EDT (#218537) #
According to milb, Pastornicky will begin his Braves' career in double A.  It will be interesting whether they have him as a shortstop or a second baseman. 
metafour - Friday, July 16 2010 @ 01:06 PM EDT (#218538) #
Wallace will be fine.  Pure hitters of that pedigree usually transcend past whatever struggles they are having.

The most promising thing about him is that he has consistently mashed against left handed pitchers.  The scary thing is that he has a .779 and .795 OPS against RHP over the past two seasons....surely a LHB with plus pure hitting ability will eventually begin to mash against righties as well.

Matthew E - Friday, July 16 2010 @ 01:15 PM EDT (#218540) #
I think the answer is that the legitimate opportunities to win are (the obvious exceptions are the Yanks and recently, the Red Sox) are few and far between.

I don't think this is true at all. I agree that it's perceived as being true, and may be the reason why some decisions are made, but look: the largest division in baseball has six teams in it. Plus there's the wild card. Eight teams of thirty play postseason baseball every year. It's never been so easy to get into the playoffs!

So there's no reason to break the bank and trade away your whole minor league system to try to take an 84-win team and put them over the top. Make smart long-term decisions and win on your own schedule; you won't run out of chances.
christaylor - Friday, July 16 2010 @ 03:22 PM EDT (#218560) #
The assumption in this statement, "Eight teams of thirty play postseason baseball every year. It's never been so easy to get into the playoffs!" is that every team getting into the playoffs has an equal shot of winning when they make the playoffs. I don't think this is true, despite the number of WC winners who seem to squeak through. Acquiring or not acquiring a high quality pitcher at the deadline (i.e., Cliff Lee) can make or break a team's playoffs.

I definitely don't think a GM should break the bank to turn an 84 win team into a team that just squeaks into the WC, but to reject every win now move seems silly, especially given how many prospects just don't pan out (I don't think this point is appreciated enough even when top prospects are hyped). Also, many win now players that acquired bring back draft picks.

A recent example of a good, calculated win now move comes to mind -- LaPorta for CC Sabbathia. LaPorta was surplus to MIL given the players on the roster at the time, seems to have been overvalued (given his performance to date), and MIL already looks like a team whose window for them to win is closing/closed.

There's also the little fact that (most) GMs can't win on their own schedule -- their jobs are on the line, if they don't win within a window, they're gone. It is rational for them to over weight the value of a present opportunity to win than any future opportunities, because if they win, they're likely to extend their term as GM.
Matthew E - Friday, July 16 2010 @ 03:45 PM EDT (#218561) #
The assumption in this statement, "Eight teams of thirty play postseason baseball every year. It's never been so easy to get into the playoffs!" is that every team getting into the playoffs has an equal shot of winning when they make the playoffs. I don't think this is true, despite the number of WC winners who seem to squeak through.

Okay, but every team in the playoffs does have a real chance. Maybe not exactly 12.5%, but not too far from it either. Certainly the worst team in the playoffs has more of a chance to win it all than the worst team at the start of the season has to get into the playoffs.

to reject every win now move seems silly

I don't reject every win-now move. What I'm saying is that teams can afford to be judicious about it. If the team really isn't ready to go over the top this year, then there's no need to force it; chances are there'll be another chance next year, and the year after that.

There's also the little fact that (most) GMs can't win on their own schedule -- their jobs are on the line, if they don't win within a window, they're gone. It is rational for them to over weight the value of a present opportunity to win than any future opportunities, because if they win, they're likely to extend their term as GM.

If the GM's boss forces the GM into irrational decisions, then that's too bad, but we don't have to call the results rational. It's rational to try to win, and it's even rational to throw away your future to do it, since flags fly forever. But you have to have realistic expectations of your team's talent relative to its competition, and I'm just trying to say that anytime someone says, "they'd be a longshot to win it, but they have to go for it anyway because this could be their last chance..." they're wrong, because it's not their last chance. (Barring unusual situations like upcoming mass retirements or upcoming mass free agency.)
uglyone - Friday, July 16 2010 @ 04:03 PM EDT (#218562) #

I don't think you're acknowledging how rare it is to actual have a real shot at a WS title in any given year.

You can literally go decades without having a real shot at it (hello, blue jays!).

When you're lucky enough to have that chance - to have a group of prospects that actually panned out, and came together as a legit contending core, and have all stayed affordable, and you've managed to stay healthy and have most of your guys having good years - when you have that rare chance (and yes, it is VERY rare, unless you're spending $150mil every year), it's your absolute DUTY as a GM to try to add any missing pieces you can, too add impact players at the cost of only lottery tickets (aka prospects).

Your contending team can go to a pretender damn quickly with just an injury here and there, and/or an off year here and there, and/or a player lost to free agency here and there - when you're having a year where the luck has stayed on your side, you gotta make the jump, IMO.

Matthew E - Friday, July 16 2010 @ 04:09 PM EDT (#218563) #
Well, okay, it's more rare in the AL East.

But one of the reasons the Jays have had trouble is that they've had a lot of mediocre teams that they just couldn't bear to disassemble, because they had visions of going on a fifteen-game winning streak and fluking into the playoffs, because this could be their last chance! How long are we going to be able to keep Cory Lidle and Cliff Politte on the same team? We have to go for it this year! So they don't rebuild their team, and next year it could be their last chance again, and they don't rebuild, and...

For a team in any other division, though, how many wins do you typically need to get into the playoffs? Ninety? It's not that rare to be able to do that.

dawgatc - Friday, July 16 2010 @ 04:59 PM EDT (#218566) #
assuming the jays don't add Reyes to their 40man roster -perhaps it opens up 2 spots there by trading 3 players for 1 - in other words if the jays stood to lose mastroianni and farina as their 41 and 42nd players ;now they can keep them - a more knowledgeable fan than me might be able to comment
Mick Doherty - Friday, July 16 2010 @ 06:30 PM EDT (#218571) #

A 200-comment thread! When's the last time we had a one-a them?

:-)

jmoney - Friday, July 16 2010 @ 10:09 PM EDT (#218581) #
I'd say it was a strong first game for the new shortstop.
Mike Green - Friday, July 16 2010 @ 10:14 PM EDT (#218583) #
Not to mention an auspicious New Hampshire debut for the new Jo-Jo.  Pastornicky has tripled and singled in three at-bats in his double A debut for the Braves organization.  Sweetness and light all around.
John Northey - Friday, July 16 2010 @ 10:34 PM EDT (#218588) #
Lets look at Atlanta and see how their playoff odds have been and why they might do anything to win in the final year of their HOF manager and possible final year of their HOF 3B/LF.

Right now they have missed the playoffs for 4 straight years after making it for 14* seasons in a row (1994 had no playoffs, Atlanta was in wild card position that year). Before that the franchise made the playoffs 7 times over 115 years. Just once from 1970 to 1990. Ouch.

Atlanta is at the very tail end of their success cycle by most measures - in fact, they are probably well past it but having a great year where all the stars are aligning. Checking their stats their regular LF/CF/SS (pre-trade) were all hitting horribly. A-Gon2 and Eric Hinske though are hitting better and saving SS/LF respectively. They've used 6 starters only but 4 are sub-100 for ERA+ but the pen has saved them. They have pieces for the future but this is the time to go for it, before the vets stop doing well and the HOF manager goes bye-bye.

That team has years to rebuild if needed - if going for it adds one or two to that total, so be it.
John Northey - Friday, July 16 2010 @ 11:40 PM EDT (#218595) #
Just getting back from vacation thus first chance to respond to 'the trade'.

At first I was 'wha?', as I don't check Atlanta's stats often thus didn't notice how poorly Yunel Escobar was doing. Here was a shortstop with a career 112 OPS+ entering his prime (27-32) with 3 more years after this one under team control being acquired for 2 minor leaguers and a scrap heap guy having a career year at 33? It didn't make sense.

Then I read the comments and saw he was hitting 238/334/284 this season. First thought was 'injury' then wondering if his age was a Junior Felix fantasy. Add 5/6 years to his age and the stat drop-off makes a lot more sense (still drastic though). However, things have tightened up a lot on the age thing over the past 10 years so I doubt it is off by more than 1 or 2 if at all.

I look at this trade and remember the old Bill James rule - would I have done this trade a year ago, and if not why not? That was in response to the Ken Hill for Andres Galarraga trade the Expos/Cardinals did in the winter of 1991. Hill was 26 and coming off his first good ML season (a 103 ERA+ as a starter) while Galarraga was a Gold Glove first baseman coming off his worst season to date at age 30. Galarraga would play just one season for St Louis and hit 243/282/391 before going away as a free agent to become a legend in Colorado (370 average the next season, 125 OPS+ in his Colorado career). Hill on the other hand had 3 years in Montreal with a 130 ERA+ and was a key part of the 1994 team that was soooo good (darn you Selig!). He was traded back to St Louis for 3 'prospects' who never made it (stunk for 1/2 a season, traded for 3 other prospects and did well again for a couple of years).

So, what lesson did that show? That giving up on the formerly productive player after two bad years was a mistake, but that the young prospect can make it. However, in most trades, the team getting the best player wins. Hill ended up that in this case, in both trades.

In this case the Jays could easily win as Escobar was the best pre-2010 by a fair margin. However, the wild cards are the prospects the Jays sent. Collins would have to become a lights out closer (possible) and/or Pastornicky a solid ML regular for it to be a net loss. Jo-Jo is also a wild card as pitchers are bizarre creatures - he has done OK in AAA pre-2010 and was viewed as a strong prospect. As others have stated, he could be another Ricky Romero or he could be done already.

In the end I view it as a good trade since there is no way I could've dreamed the Jays being able to do it 4 months ago.
westcoast dude - Saturday, July 17 2010 @ 01:47 AM EDT (#218600) #
Upon reflection and observation, an opinion change for the better is required.  Escobar looks good, but Toronto is a perfect fit: non-stop flights to Havana and Fidel Castro actually came to Trudeau's funeral.  What's not to like? Less foreign than the Other Country in between.  Plus Reyes had a dominate start in New Hampshire.  Alex Anthopoulos is still a genius.
Dave Till - Saturday, July 17 2010 @ 07:22 AM EDT (#218602) #
I have no idea how Escobar will work out in the long term, but you can't help but like his first two at-bats as a Jay. In the first, he beat out an absolutely perfect swinging bunt to third. In the second, he worked the pitcher for a walk.

And he looked really good on one ground ball hit up the middle - he ranged three or four steps to his left, turned counterclockwise 360 degrees, then threw a perfect strike to first. He does seem to have a certain style - when he caught a liner in the ninth inning, he flipped the ball behind his back to Hill at second. Ole!

It looks like he might be fun to watch, which will make the last half of the season more interesting as the Jays start their slow climb towards 2012 or whenever it is they expect to seriously contend again.

92-93 - Saturday, July 17 2010 @ 01:07 PM EDT (#218608) #

I wonder if Clarence shares your enthusiasm about a guy bunting on his own initiative, as well as swinging at a pitch later in the game without a hit-n-run when Lewis gets a great jump stealing 2nd base.

Edwin Encarnacion has no business playing 3B and I can't wait till Snider's arrival pushes E5 back to where he belongs, riding the pine. It's hilarious that people around here actually think he's been at the least an average 3B since joining TOR.

Dewey - Saturday, July 17 2010 @ 01:54 PM EDT (#218610) #
He does seem to have a certain style - when he caught a liner in the ninth inning, he flipped the ball behind his back to Hill at second. Ole!

Yes, he's a bit of a styler:  did you catch the prolonged single-hand bat-spinning in his late-inning at bat?  Never seen that before; and it looks like it would take considerable practice. (He's in trouble if he smacks the ump.)   I liked A-Gon, but he could seem awfully dour sometimes.  Maybe Escobar's stylin will wear on me, too; but not just yet.  He's a bigger man, physically,  than I had expected.
Magpie - Sunday, July 18 2010 @ 05:03 AM EDT (#218633) #
I wonder if Clarence shares your enthusiasm about a guy bunting on his own initiative, as well as swinging at a pitch later in the game without a hit-n-run when Lewis gets a great jump stealing 2nd base.

What's not to like? Being able to bunt for a hit (which is what he was doing) is a fine thing, for the player and the team. It draws in the infielders, opens up holes for when you swing the bat.

As for swinging when Lewis had the base stolen.... Cito Gaston has always believed that if you see a pitch you want to swing at, swing the bat. Never let it go by because the runner took off.
Mike Green - Sunday, July 18 2010 @ 04:32 PM EDT (#218669) #
Bunting for a hit?  Great  idea.

Magpie commenting at 5 a.m....I never knew that magpies and owls were related.
scottt - Sunday, July 18 2010 @ 04:40 PM EDT (#218670) #
I'd be surprised if anybody was down on Escobar after his first series--except of course Atlanta fans.

He's not going to be this good all the time, but you can't deny he has upside. 

92-93 - Sunday, July 18 2010 @ 04:48 PM EDT (#218672) #

Cito Gaston has always believed that if you see a pitch you want to swing at, swing the bat. Never let it go by because the runner took off.

Interesting. I would have thought that if the 3B coach gives the runner the SB sign with less than 2 strikes and doesn't put the hit-n-run on, it's a message to the batter to not swing the bat. Of course I have no idea that Lewis actually had a steal sign and didn't just go on his own initiative, in which case I'd clearly agree with Clarence's philosophy.

R Romero Vaughan - Sunday, July 18 2010 @ 07:27 PM EDT (#218680) #

It is fairly remarkable that today was the Jays first GS of the season. WIth half of the season gone and the Jays leading the league in HRs.

The odds of that must be absolutely tiny.

Shows what a no OBP/ high SLG team can do.

Can we play Baltimore for the rest of the season?

 

 

scottt - Sunday, July 18 2010 @ 08:37 PM EDT (#218683) #
Well, I would not be surprised if the Jays had the lowest number of at-bats with base loaded.

Anybody knows where to look that up?

scottt - Sunday, July 18 2010 @ 08:49 PM EDT (#218684) #
Bautista is 0 for 3 with a walk, Hill is 0 for 3, Encarnation is 1 for 4 with a walk, Well is 1 for 5 with 3 walks, Lewis is 1 for 7, Lind is 2 for 6 with a walk, etc...

Escobar was 2 for 11 with the Braves.

Spifficus - Sunday, July 18 2010 @ 09:02 PM EDT (#218685) #
As with almost everything else statistically, you want to head to baseball-reference.com, and check under the various team splits.

Prior to today, Toronto was tied for last in the AL with Chicago with 72 plate appearances with the bases loaded. The average was 92.5, and the Yankees topped out at 128.
Flex - Monday, July 19 2010 @ 12:03 AM EDT (#218692) #
I don't dispute the baseball.reference numbers, but Bastien tweeted today that "Jays have had 58 ABs with bases loaded this year - tied with White Sox for second-fewest in MLB. Only the Pirates have fewer."
92-93 - Monday, July 19 2010 @ 12:32 AM EDT (#218694) #

Being at or near the bottom of bases-loaded opportunities makes sense for a team that thrives on the long ball and doesn't get on base all that often.

Jays acquire Yunel Escobar and Jo-Jo Reyes for Alex Gonzalez, Tim Collins and Tyler Pastornicky | 218 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.