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Batters Box recently caught up with Alex Anthopoulos as he returned from the general manager meetings in Orlando.  As Alex has mentioned in other interviews, and specifically around the Rajai Davis trade, he is still working on the roster for 2011 and he doesn't yet know how it will all come together and who will play where.  So given that, I did not ask Alex about things such as playing time for JP Arencibia, who plays third, who plays first, etc.  Alex either doesn't yet know the answer to these questions or, if he does, he doesn't want to share it with us yet. 

So given that Alex has just finished his first year on the job I asked him to answer more philosophical type questions so that we, as fans, know where the team is headed and what we should expect over the upcoming winter.

Alex last joined us in Da Box last February.  Prior to that Alex explained his background  and how he came to the Blue Jays in May 2009.



As mentioned the interview was conducted last week before news broke about Emaus and Loewen.  If I did ask about Emaus or Loewen I am sure the answer would be that the Jays value both players but they have too many players they need to protect and they have to protect players they think have the best chance to be drafted by other clubs.  I am sure he wouldn't get into comparing players like why keep Mike McCoy but not Brad Emaus?  The most I would get out of that is that they like McCoy a little better and he has more flexibility than Emaus.

So here are those more general questions........................

 

BB:  You have said you look at progress from an organizational perspective.  Fans look at progress from a wins perspective.  What do you say to fans who expect more wins in 2011 based on the teams progress in 2010?  Are you worried that 2010 has set the bar too high for 2011?
 
AA:  I think as long as we- as an organization- stay consistent and transparent with our fan base, we'll be fine. I don't think you can ever be "worried" about having too many wins. From an organizational standpoint we have to continue to stay the course, do what we feel is best and the rest will take care of itself.

 

BB:  How do you move from 85 wins to 95 wins from an on the major league field perspective?  Is it as simple as saying get some better players?

AA:  I don't think there's any way to really answer this. So many things need to go right to win at the major league level, that's why depth is so important. I guess in a way it is as simple as just trying to continue adding quality players. If we focus solely on that, the wins should follow eventually.

 

BB:  Assuming you are looking for better players, and leaving aside the farm system for a moment, are you therefore trying to essentially get a better player than you one you have today in every trade?
 
AA: Not necessarily. From my standpoint, you're just trying to constantly improve your talent base. Improve your inventory of assets. Even if that means having some duplication, that gives you more flexibility to continue to try and improve your team. We need to exhaust all avenues in our roster construction. If we think it can be done solely through the draft, the process will be never ending because you won't be able to "time" all of your players arriving and performing at the major league level at the same time for a sustained period.

 

BB:  You have to give up something to get something.  You have said, and shown, you are willing to trade prospects.  Are you willing to trade starting pitchers or can you never have enough starting pitching?
 
AA:  We have to be willing to trade anyone if it makes sense for us. That being said, there's no doubt that you can never have enough pitching but at the same time, we have to be open minded to anything that can make us better.

 

BB:  This years team had good pitching and power but was below average in hitting for average and on base percentage.  You and your new manager have said you would like the team to be more unpredictable, and to add more speed and athleticism to the line-up.  As you look at changes to the line-up are you looking to add better players period, or do you focus on skills such as on base percentage?
 
AA:  Ideally, we focus on those things, but it's imperative that we don't try to "force" it. Though it's clear we need to improve in our batting average, on base percentage and team speed, we still have to stay disciplined enough to do the right deals- whether they're free agents or trades.

 

BB:  If you want better players, and if one is available on the free-agent market but he requires a three year contract, why not sign him?  I had read that you were reluctant to sign free agents to longer term deals this winter.
 
AA:  Completely agree. If it's the right player for the right dollars and the right years, we won't hesitate. Unfortunately, in free agency it doesn't always work out that way. Last off season we were very particular about who we signed. It all came down to value and potential upside. It continues to be the model for us today.

 

BB:  At what stage is it a good idea to sign a free agent to a longer term deal?

AA:  Hard to say. There are so many variables. Current Major League roster, years of control of those players, depth in the minor league system, trade alternatives, and ultimately what the contract terms need to be to get the deal done.


BB:  While developing the organization is important, at some stage do you not have to say I will sacrifice the long term for the short term so I can compete this year?  Or do you want to be a strong team every year and if the playoffs happen they happen because enough players have career type years?

AA:  There's no question that you always weigh the short and the long term. That's what makes trades, free agent signings, etc so challenging. There really isn't a specific template or formula to follow. By the same token, the goal is to build the organization up to the point that we can be competitive year in and year out. 


BB:  Is there anything we haven’t touched on that you would like to say directly to the fans of the Blue Jays?
 
AA:  I'd say thank you for your passion and thank you for your belief in what we're doing as an organization. It's energizing to know how much people care about this organization and the excitement that exists in this city and country for the Blue Jays. It's a huge responsibility for all of the employees of the organization and one that no one takes lightly.

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Batters Box thanks Alex Anthopoulos for taking some time out of his very busy schedule to talk with us.

An Interview with Alex Anthopoulos - November 2010 | 134 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike Green - Monday, November 22 2010 @ 09:21 AM EST (#225975) #
"Transparent" isn't exactly how I would describe Anthopoulos.  And that may be a good thing.

Thanks, Gerry.

Ryan Day - Monday, November 22 2010 @ 09:57 AM EST (#225976) #
I miss JP Ricciardi. His interviews were more fun.

(Not intended at all as a slight to Gerry - Anthoploulos never seems to give much away to anyone.)
Mick Doherty - Monday, November 22 2010 @ 10:44 AM EST (#225979) #
Ryan, I think that last sentence of yours is an enormous compliment to AA. Mike suggested it and I'd say it more starkly. It IS a good thing.
Gerry - Monday, November 22 2010 @ 11:02 AM EST (#225980) #

The main point I got in the interview was that AA sees his role as being a continual acquirer of talent.  He gave no indication that the Jays would "go for it" at any stage.  Instead he wants to continually make the organization stronger.  I also believe, reading through the lines, that he may never "go for it".  In the 85-95 wins question, and in the later when do you sign a free agent question, he suggested that team performance is hard to predict and if you get enough talent they will have years where they exceed expectations and years when they don't.  Look at Tampa Bay.  Many of their players had strong seasons in 2008 and in 2010 so they made the playoffs in those years.  Some players had down years in 2009 so they didn't make it.  But they haven't broken the bank on free agents.  And they have prospects on the way to support their major league team and cover departures.

I believe that is the model AA is following.  Build up your talent, trade surpluses, but be in a position to win 90 games every year.  Some years you will win 95 and some 85, that part is tough to predict.

I also thought his answer to the free agent question was interesting.  If a team signs an in-demand free agent they have a good chance of suffering buyers remorse as you will have to pay more than anyone else to get him.  A targeted free agent acquisition of a player who is not in heavy demand will give you the opportunity to get a decent return on your investment.

Those were the main points I got out of the interview.

China fan - Monday, November 22 2010 @ 11:03 AM EST (#225981) #
For me, the key takeaway from this interview is: Anthopolous has no rigid rules. Don't assume that he only wants young controllable players, don't assume that he won't do a multi-year deal for a marquee player, don't assume that he won't sign a veteran, don't assume that 2011 is automatically a rebuilding year, don't assume that he is solely interested in stockpiling draft picks. He might have preferences, but he has no rules. He'll do whatever seems to make sense at each moment and each opportunity. I like that about him.
BalzacChieftain - Monday, November 22 2010 @ 11:24 AM EST (#225983) #

The Toronto Kaizen Blue Jays.

Helpmates - Monday, November 22 2010 @ 11:27 AM EST (#225984) #

I miss JP Ricciardi. His interviews were more fun.

Yeah...smug, smarmy and deeply arrogant subterfuge is a gas.

 





 

Mike Green - Monday, November 22 2010 @ 11:49 AM EST (#225987) #
Gerry, I hope that your assessment that AA might never "go for it" is incorrect.  I hope that the true answer to that one is: "if you never go for it, it means that you have failed, but the manner in which you go for it depends on off-field as well as on-field matters".  So, for instance, when Gillick went for it in the early 90s, it involved spending money which the organization had courtesy of the sold-out dome.  But, when Tampa went for it in 08, it was in a much smaller way.  AA is realisitically looking at a situation in the middle, but perhaps closer to the Gillick situation in a few years. 

bpoz - Monday, November 22 2010 @ 12:27 PM EST (#225990) #
Thanks Gerry. Good stuff !!

I just read and re-read all 3 interviews of AA's.

The May 09 showed that he has a lot of experience in the financial area. Preparing those arbitration cases. Zaun being non tendered because of the previous years $4mil, he then agreed to $2mil. This explains why certain players were let go in certain ways. Gregg for example is due $4.5mil in 2011 for the option. So now arbitration is based on $2mil even though the buyout gave Gregg $.75mil.

In all 3 interviews he certainly valued depth and was not bothered by duplication. Pitching does not count in the duplication view hard throwers like Morrow/Nolan Ryan or soft throwers like Marcum/G Maddux can easily co-exist. Position players like Catcher duplication is different. JPA has no duplicate but IMO d'Arnaud, Jimenez & Perez are close enough to be triplicates if d'Arnaud has trouble with the big AA jump, where as Jimenez & Perez should have a smaller jump. Perez may have practically no jump because it was stated that Auburn & Lansing are practically equal. AA also will add to that crowd if he has the opportunity, is my understanding. 4 is good but 7-8 is better.

He does not believe in forcing anything.... Interesting. 1st base could be a forceful situation.

Lots of mental challenges and in layers.
Mylegacy - Monday, November 22 2010 @ 12:31 PM EST (#225991) #
Because players aren't mathematical robots and performance and injury can so seriously affect outcomes - AA is correct. Year round you look to increase your stable of talent. Be it in Latin America, Asia (which to this point we really aren't - but will be some day soon I assume), the Draft, Trades, Rule 5, etc.

However - it is almost impossible to get a team ready for the start of the season that can win the WS - to win the WS you need to have your team DEMONSTRATE on the field that they are close - and then at/or near the trading deadline you need to acquire the piece(s) you need to get you over the hump. The real test for AA is going to be making the hard decisions when he can smell victory but knows the price for that last piece will be painful. His record in those circumstances will be what decides his final grade with us fans - will he have the guts to pull the trigger when the call is tough? At that time "the hard decisions" are no longer measured in any other metric than "Victory."

And - "Victory" can be a capricious bitch.

katman - Monday, November 22 2010 @ 12:35 PM EST (#225992) #
RE: JP's interviews...

Putting yourself out there to take questions from fans regularly, as JP did... I enjoyed that, and respected it. That isn't arrogance. Nor is having a point of view you believe in smug. What do you want, a wishy-washy general manager? I'd hope he'd believe strongly in anything he did or didn't do. Otherwise, I'd worry. That's why JP's interviews were in fact more fun - he did what he did for a reason, and you got a pretty good picture of what that was. Which is rare.

JP stumbled when he didn't tell the truth about some things like injuries - which is common in sports, esp. hockey. But it would have been better not to comment, and remain congruent. Likewise, opinions about players etc. would have been much improved by a refusal to comment. "We look at a lot of stuff, and have some sources not available to the public, and sometimes we make decisions using that information. But you never know what you'll need, and options have a value of their own. So we don't want to say anything that closes options down."

I think with those 2 rules, he could have made his style work a lot better. AA is much more of a "cards close" kind of guy, and you won't really get much out of him. That's a more traditional style, and there may be a good reason why it is more common. But I'm not going to bash a guy who has the guts to get out and talk directly with fans on a regular basis.

Forkball - Monday, November 22 2010 @ 01:00 PM EST (#225993) #
I hope that your assessment that AA might never "go for it" is incorrect

My interpretation is that he won't 'go for it' when it doesn't make sense.  Like sacrificing prospects this offseason and/or signing players to bad contracts in an attempt to try win in 2011 at the expense of more wins down the road.  (That's essentially what happened with the BJ Ryan / AJ Burnett offseason - throw money at players, give up draft picks and cross your fingers).

There'll certainly be times where it makes sense to go for it, especially if AA continues to improve the farm system.
John Northey - Monday, November 22 2010 @ 01:07 PM EST (#225994) #
This reads a lot like what I'd expect an interview with Gillick in the early 80's would've been like. No specifics, plans for the long run, willing to trade anyone to get better.

Gillick, even in his stand Pat years, still was willing to deal anyone - Doyle Alexander being traded 1/2 way through '86 after being key to the '85 playoff team was a great example, then trading Garcia, Upshaw, Barfield over the next few years.

The big question is when do you go for it. Right now is NOT the time - you wait until you are a regular in the playoff race first, then watch for when your system is showing signs of age/stress thus knowing you only have a couple more years before a full rebuild is needed.

Glad that AA was willing to be interviewed, would've enjoyed a few more tidbits of info but I do understand why he didn't provide any. Hopefully the long term view sticks as I do intend to follow this team for many years to come.
Dewey - Monday, November 22 2010 @ 01:10 PM EST (#225995) #
AA:  Hard to say. There are so many variables. ...

There really isn't a specific template or formula to follow.


Agree with CF.   I like that AA respects the fog, too.  He’s a pragmatist; and won’t get himself boxed in by formulas.  Neither did Gillick at his best.  I like him, so far.  A lot.


(BTW, the cheap shots at JP are just that.  katman is right.)
Magpie - Monday, November 22 2010 @ 01:16 PM EST (#225996) #
Yikes. This was like listening to a professional politician. Someone determined to never say anything that could ever come back to bite him...

I can't say I blame him - Ricciardi didn't have a particularly effective censor in place between his brain and his mouth. This got him into trouble frequently, did not make his job easier, and did not help the ball club. We always applaud the idea of candour, but but we regularly beat the crap out of anyone who actually says anything...
sweat - Monday, November 22 2010 @ 01:30 PM EST (#225997) #
I think most of us recognize that being to open and honest could cost the Jays money (mainly regarding FA's) or talent (other GM's increasing demands in trades)
92-93 - Monday, November 22 2010 @ 02:27 PM EST (#226001) #

The big question is when do you go for it. Right now is NOT the time - you wait until you are a regular in the playoff race first, then watch for when your system is showing signs of age/stress thus knowing you only have a couple more years before a full rebuild is needed.

This seems like the completely wrong approach to me. You want to wait until your a perennial contender and then try extending that success with patchwork "go for it" moves before your self-perceived decline? AA has used the term "building" as opposed to a "full rebuild", and I would hope that's the plan going forward. There's no reason a team in Toronto can't operate like the big market team that is and have sustainable success, especially once that 5th playoff spot is introduced. The Yankees didn't add Sabathia, Teixeira, and Burnett (and you can even add ARod if you look at it from the early 00s Yankees perspective) because of an impending full-rebuild - they did it to maintain their success. That's the model to follow.

John Northey - Monday, November 22 2010 @ 05:00 PM EST (#226002) #
First though you need to get close. Right now the Jays are not on the edge, they are back a bit. In 1984/85 offseason the Jays gave up a few to get a few (Collins/Griffin for Caudill among other trades) as they were in 2nd and any slip by the Tigers would put them into contention. Right now the Jays are close to the '83 Jays - getting close, having a few weeks of excitement, but not close enough to trade for major parts (Lamp was signed as a free agent, didn't cost anything but cash iirc).

Once there you trade and try to hold on. But there always comes a time when you see your team getting old and the cost of lower draft picks starts to wear on your system. The Jays were reaching that point in 92 and so you saw more trades where future stars (such as Jeff Kent) were traded for short term solutions (David Cone) and a few extra free agent signings (Molitor, Stewart) the next year to try to hold on as long as possible. Then the 2nd Cone trade as a last gasp before the rebuild was (sort of) accepted.
Original Ryan - Monday, November 22 2010 @ 06:01 PM EST (#226004) #
Lamp was signed as a free agent, didn't cost anything but cash iirc

Toronto lost its first round draft pick in 1984 for signing Lamp.  The team reportedly had its eye on Tom Glavine that year, but he was selected by the Braves in the second round in the spot immediately ahead of Toronto's first pick of the draft.  The Blue Jays wound up with Dane Johnson instead.
ComebyDeanChance - Monday, November 22 2010 @ 06:18 PM EST (#226006) #
We always applaud the idea of candour

I don't think the issue is one of 'candour', which implies truthfulness, as much as discretion, which implies carefulness in considering the potential impact of your comments.

I don't think Ricciardi was being candid in any way, when he claimed that he and Adam Dunn had spoken, and when he was called out on that particular bit of dishonesty when he claimed he had somehow 'deleted' Dunn's number from his blackberry (which for anyone who has owned one is known to be a considerable feat given the number of logs) and later made it worse by claiming that someone had called him and 'impersonated' Adam Dunn.

In the course of a season-ticket holder event several years ago, an acquaintance of mine asked Ricciardi why he had drafted Russ Adams rather than Scott Kazmir. Rather than saying that he avoided using top picks ( the top 8 in 2002 and the top ten thereafter until BP roasted him following the 2006 draft) on collegians, Ricciardi blamed Kazmir's 'head'. This seemed not only unkind but untruthful, given that Ricciardi had also passed that year on Brian McCann, Cole Hamels, Loney, Lester, Matt Cain etc when they were all available for his first (and sometimes second) pick. Had he simply said his experience led him to prefer collegians I wouldn't have walked away with the feeling that he was blaming someone else's character for his own decisions. I didn't take his unkind comments about Kazmir as 'candour'.

Similarly, the 'it's not lying if we know the truth' comment seemed to me to be unfortunately revealing. Ricciardi hadn't been asked whether the team knew the truth, but why he hadn't told it. He could have simply said that he didn't want to publicly reveal something that was damaging to the club. Instead, his answer revealed what some might call a distant relationship to the truth, that is, an unease in defining what a 'lie' and ' the truth' actually are.

Finally, Ricciardi's parting attempt to undermine Gaston when Ricciardi was on the brink of being fired, assuming he was the source of Rosenthal's story (which Beeston presumably thought he was), struck me as a classless and childish, (as opposed to candid) act for someone in a GM position. Trying to undermine someone else in what was then an organization paying him as General Manager, struck me as an act of little character. I suspect Beeston rightly felt the same way. Nor did trashing Jason Frasor, when an organization that was in the course of paying him 1.5 per was likely trying to move him, an act which changed my view of Ricciardi in any way

Contrast Ricciardi's 'the cupboard is bare' claim (while he was inheriting a young Roy Halladay, Vernon Wells, Orlando Hudson, Cruz Jr., Brandon League, Kelvim Escobar, along with Carlos Delgado, Chris Carpenter, nameless, etc) with Anthopolous' laudatory statements about his predecessor when he inherited a farm system that Dan Szymborski said recently is only separated from barnacle scraping by the Halladay haul. That's not an issue of candour, but instead is an issue of respectfulness and discretion along with avoiding self-aggrandizement.

It seems to me that a GM's job, as the face of a franchise's front office, is less about saying something controversial than it is about holding one's cards close to one's chest, balancing the feelings and views of others who may be affected by his comments, while trying to be positive. It's not to have guys on the internet posting 'Well done JP!" as much as it is having paying fans interested in the positive moves you've made and their positive results on the field. Anthopolous' maturity and elegance in this regard is laudable, and I'll take that any day. He does sound like a politician, not because he's interested in politics, but because there are numerous reasons for his discretion.
TJ Caino - Monday, November 22 2010 @ 06:27 PM EST (#226007) #
"Finally, Ricciardi's parting attempt to undermine Gaston when Ricciardi was on the brink of being fired, assuming he was the source of Rosenthal's story (which Beeston presumably thought he was)"

What is the basis of this?

Out of curiosity
brent - Monday, November 22 2010 @ 06:36 PM EST (#226008) #

Having a gander at Sickels minorleagueball list of Jays' prospects, it seems there has been a greater infusion of talent than I believed since GM AA took over. After a strong draft (so far), it gives him a lot more flexibility to make moves by being able to sweeten the pot and entice other GM's to make a move. Some GM's want more prospects or to have a greater number of players sent the other way (Escobar and Rajai Davis deals). He had two mlb players and one minor (Jojo Reyes) come and sent one mlb player and 4 minor league players out.

I guess if you are a Jays' prospect, you better not get too comfortable where you are. I just hope that fans now start coming out to the park because the team sure is exciting to watch. The press really needs to talk up the team's play rather than just GM or coach focus to reach out to new fans or fans that would like to return.

Jonny German - Monday, November 22 2010 @ 06:54 PM EST (#226009) #
Excellent post ComebyDeanChance.
Magpie - Monday, November 22 2010 @ 06:57 PM EST (#226010) #
Candour

I was thinking as much about George Bell as Ricciardi when it comes to "candour" - I always remember how he took an awful lot of heat for his "kiss my purple butt" suggestion to fans who were booing him. Trust me, almost every player feels that way about being booed. George just said it out loud...

I'm certainly not interested in defending the lies about BJ Ryan, but I will note that Pat Gillick and Cito Gaston spent two whole months in the spring of 1994 claiming that Duane Ward had a problem with bicep tendinitis, right up until the day Ward had surgery on another part of his arm. I suppose two titles buys you some tolerance. And Ricciardi had a real gift for rubbing people the wrong way. Among other things, many of which you've pointed out.
92-93 - Monday, November 22 2010 @ 07:08 PM EST (#226011) #

Trying to undermine someone else in what was then an organization paying him as General Manager, struck me as an act of little character. I suspect Beeston rightly felt the same way.

I suspect Ricciardi felt the same way when Beeston usurped his power to hire the manager, and I don't blame him for allowing his outlet to the US media know that significant players of the team were unhappy with how things were being run. This is something the Canadian media instantly acknowledged was a reality and had chosen to keep under the wraps, and I'm glad it was exposed to perhaps shed some light on why Gaston's magic ran out 17 years ago.

Mike Green - Monday, November 22 2010 @ 07:28 PM EST (#226012) #
You can have both candour and discretion.  There is nothing untruthful about refusing any (or further) comment. GMs need not take an oath to tell the whole truth prior to taking on the position. 

As a fan, I can say that I would be happy if AA felt comfortable enough to realize that there are certain things he can speak freely about without being indiscreet.  To pull back the curtain, if you will.  This will undoubtedly take a few years, and that is fine.

Thomas - Monday, November 22 2010 @ 08:19 PM EST (#226013) #
I suspect Ricciardi felt the same way when Beeston usurped his power to hire the manager, and I don't blame him for allowing his outlet to the US media know that significant players of the team were unhappy with how things were being run.

I would be surprised if any GM, or more than a few GMs, in baseball make every transaction and hiring without any influence from ownership and the President. Most don't air pieces of their dirty laundry upon being fired.

I second the praise of ComebyDeanChance's post.

JohnL - Monday, November 22 2010 @ 09:54 PM EST (#226014) #
I suspect Ricciardi felt the same way when Beeston usurped his power to hire the manager

Cito?  Wasn't Godfrey President when Cito was re-hired in 2008? Now Godfrey might have made the call rather than Ricciardi, just as many suspect he was behind the Buck Martinez hiring.  However, I'm sure that these kinds of hires, as in most organizations, will have some input and approval from "higher up the chain", but no doubt the GM is usually the prime decider.
Dewey - Monday, November 22 2010 @ 10:17 PM EST (#226016) #
Yes, an excellent post, CDBC.  (You’ve made me reconsider my willingness to overlook some of JP’s shortcomings.) 
Richard S.S. - Monday, November 22 2010 @ 10:19 PM EST (#226017) #

     The 2010 / 2011 off-season will be the most significant, the most important and the most critical of Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Alex Anthopoulos' career, Past, Present and Future.   This off-season will have far-reaching ramifications into all aspects of the operation, the development and creation of the face, the heart and the soul of this team, now and forever.

     With this team, we've had a massive re-organization of the deveolpment and scouting of both amateur and professional players world-wide.   We've had a huge change in philosophy and the aspects of the Draft and of the international signings, resulting in serious money being involved in both.   This and many other changes make this off-season a season of destiny and of hope.

     The development of staff started with tenacity and foresight, and an exhaustive search was conducted for Alex Anthopoulos' most significant acquision of the new Manager and decisions made on the Coaching Staff.

     Next came the season were it all changed.   Projected by most experts to lose 100+ games in 2010.   The team confounded those same experts by winning 85 games with only 77 loses.   This team might win in 2011; this team could win in 2012; this team should win in 2013; this team must win in 2014.

     Then came the announcement that dwarfed the managerial hirings.   MLB top honcho Bud "Light" Selig announced he was considering adding two teams to the post-season in 2012.   Bud Selig rarely makes a statement like this unless it's a given.   (MLB will discuss this at the Winter Meetings, 6-9 Dec. '10, Lake Buena Viata, FLA. - TSN).   This will make this off-season the most important ever.   Everything Alex Anthopoulos does this off-season will, as a result, be examined under a microscope, with an eye to 2012.

     Toronto had an 85 win season without an Ace; with a revolving door on the 5th Starter; with a Bullpen that finished 10th out of 14 AL teams; with a Closer who couldn't pitch in back-to-back games, nor twice in a 3-game series; with Cito Gaston's strange managing habits; with Adam Lind no longer hitting to all fields, nor walking as much as usual; with Aaron Hill's batting and defensive woes; with a team that finished 23/24 in bases on balls, 7th in striking out, 28/29 in stolen bases but 10th in runs scored; and more.

 

    

stevieboy22 - Monday, November 22 2010 @ 10:20 PM EST (#226018) #
Yawn...

I wish we could make a board ban on people bringing up their problems Riccardi`s attitude..Or how Mike Wilner is condescending... The only repetitive thing I enjoy hearing about on this board is Mylegacy`s drinking problem..

Gerry - Monday, November 22 2010 @ 10:32 PM EST (#226019) #

Mylegacy`s drinking problem

 

Problem?  For who?  Not Mylegacy I am sure.

Mark - Monday, November 22 2010 @ 10:51 PM EST (#226021) #
CBDC, I hear you on a lot of points you bring up, but unless I am reading it wrong you suggest that Ricciardi said "the cupboard was bare" when he came to Toronto. That is in fact opposite of what he said. He said there were a lot of good pieces already in place, unlike Oakland where they had to start from scratch. This is where the whole 5 year plan came about. Ricciardi actually gave a lot of credit for the talent already in place and was the one who jettisoned vets to give these young guys a chance.

92-93 - Tuesday, November 23 2010 @ 01:48 AM EST (#226024) #
You can find the cupboard quote in the same article where Ricciardi said the team has a five-year plan. Perpetuated myths in Richard Griffin's head have a tendency to become reality around here...
MatO - Tuesday, November 23 2010 @ 04:04 AM EST (#226027) #
 The usual JP bashing nonsense from CBDC.  When JP was hired the best minor league pitching prospect was Mike Smith.  Brandon League and Dustin McGowan hadn't pitched above short season yet.  So yeah, the pitching cupboard was bare.  As a result, JP's emphasis went heavily into pitching and improved the pitching depth to the extent that AA was able to trade off a few pieces. 
BumWino - Tuesday, November 23 2010 @ 04:33 AM EST (#226028) #

This is my first post on this outstanding baseball blog.  Just joined a few hours ago. 

Really enjoyed the comments, especially the one which alluded to another fellow's drinking problem.  As an aficionado of juicy gossip, the antics of unfortunate alcoholics while under the influence provide a constant source of interest, amusement and coversational topics especially dear to an old-age pensioner who needs to get a life, such as myself.

However, it saddened me to read so many posts which include the phrase, "when to go for it."  Don't the Yankees go for it every year?  Of course, the Yankees' GM, Brian Cashman, has the necessary financial resources provided by the brothers Steinbrenner.  And the financial resouces of the Rogers Corporation certainly pale in comparison.  Don't they?

Well, actually they don't.  Rogers reported a gross profit of $4.09 billion last year.  That figure is exactly twenty times the Yankees' opening day payroll of $205 million and over sixty-five times the Blue Jays 2010 operational payroll of about $62 million.  Yet Alex Anthopoulos continues to throw nickels around like manhole covers.

Nobody is suggesting that the team should spend gratuitously on expensive free agents.  But I would have liked to have seen the services of Gregg and Downs and Buck retained until replaced by players of equal or better talent.

 

 

Matthew E - Tuesday, November 23 2010 @ 09:02 AM EST (#226030) #
The 2010 / 2011 off-season will be the most significant, the most important and the most critical of Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Alex Anthopoulos' career, Past, Present and Future.

Yeah, until the next one, anyway.

Alex Anthopoulos continues to throw nickels around like manhole covers.

Not true at all; the Jays have been quite obviously willing to spend big money on value. Look at their most recent draft picks; look at Hechevarria and Cardona. If Anthopoulos isn't retaining Gregg and Downs and Buck, it must be because he thinks it's a better idea not to, and I can certainly see how that could be true.

As for the financial comparison between the Yankees and Jays, the problem is that the money of the teams is not the same as the money of the owners. Sure, Rogers could buy and sell the Steinbrenners from pocket change, but that's not the point; the point is that the Yankees are profitable at a high payroll and the Blue Jays are not. These owners aren't hobbyists; they want a return on their investment. Rogers is not going to run the Jays at a loss indefinitely out of the goodness of their hearts or to make us happy or out of sportsmanship or for any other reason; every dollar they spend is spent with the idea that they'll make it back one way or another. And the Yankees are the same. Difference is, the Yankees take in more money from their gigantic and various revenue streams than the Jays do from their more modest ones. That Rogers has moneymaking enterprises other than the Jays, while the Steinbrenners don't have much beside the Yankees, is neither here nor there.
Chuck - Tuesday, November 23 2010 @ 09:15 AM EST (#226031) #

The 2010 / 2011 off-season will be the most significant, the most important and the most critical of Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Alex Anthopoulos' career, Past, Present and Future.

Yeah, until the next one, anyway.

What, you can't hear La Forza del Destino playing in the background?

John Northey - Tuesday, November 23 2010 @ 11:10 AM EST (#226041) #
Chapman is the best example of how the Jays do have cash. What you say, the Jays didn't sign him? Well, according to this link Anthopoulos has stated he regrets that. He didn't have enough scouting on Chapman to feel safe spending the big money on him, but after the fact felt he should've. Hopefully that will be the 'Ron Guidry' moment for AA's time and he'll push hard for these guys in the future.

For those who don't know, the Jays had a shot at trading a used up starter (Bill Singer) in pre-1977 season for Ron Guidry but Gillick was overruled by Peter Bavasi as the team was putting some marketing behind Bill Singer (Gillick has confirmed this story in the past). Boy did they regret that a year later when Guidry was 25-3 for the Yankees.

Years later Gord Ash would have his moment, but in a bad way - he traded David Cone for Marty Janzen, a hot prospect at the time. Janzen would throw less than 100 innings in the majors with a 77 ERA+. Ash then was scared to trade for prospects (I recall a few interviews where he said something to that effect) and stuck with 'proven major leaguers' such as Raul Mondesi and David Wells in future trades. We all know how well that worked out.
Magpie - Tuesday, November 23 2010 @ 11:42 AM EST (#226045) #
For those who don't know, the Jays had a shot at trading a used up starter (Bill Singer) in pre-1977 season for Ron Guidry

Shoulda woulda coulda. I think Gillick is still unhappy about it. It never bothered me all that much. After all... what exactly could Ron Guidry have done for those incredibly awful teams? He sure wouldn't have gone 25-3, 1.74. It's doubtful that he would have even have become Ron Guidry, as Billy Martin had an awful lot to do with that. And on the remote chance he did, he would have fled after 1982, when his six years were up, for the chance to play with a real team...
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 23 2010 @ 11:47 AM EST (#226046) #
And on the remote chance he did, he would have fled after 1982, when his six years were up, for the chance to play with a real team...

...
for $825,000 per annum.  Man, we're old.
Magpie - Tuesday, November 23 2010 @ 11:59 AM EST (#226048) #
David Cone for Marty Janzen was one of those pivotal moments in the history of the team. It made all kinds of logical sense - the team was 10 games under .500, and 10.5 games out of first place, and Cone was a free agent at the end of the year - but the guys on the team, veterans from the WS years, expected something to be done that would improve their immediate prospects. Trading David Cone wasn't what they were looking to see, and they just gave up. September was particularly gruesome (7-21), and that winter Alomar, White, Molitor, and Leiter all took the road out of town as fast as their feet could carry them.

And poor Marty Janzen, who had indeed pitched quite well in A ball and in a very brief stint at AA in 1995, was promoted to the majors for no apparent reason the next season (having posted a sterling 3-4, 7.76 mark at Syracuse). He wasn't quite ready for prime time...
bpoz - Tuesday, November 23 2010 @ 12:40 PM EST (#226050) #
Magpie I think I understand. Cone was good and M Jansen was a pitcher with good stuff. Coming up before he was ready probably hurt him. SO don't rush Drabek, right?
Mylegacy - Tuesday, November 23 2010 @ 12:48 PM EST (#226051) #
As to Mylegacy's alleged drinking problem...

18 year old single malt can be pricey - the "problem," which will be financial in nature, will only occur when I'm spilling more than I swallow - so far - no problem.
Magpie - Tuesday, November 23 2010 @ 01:06 PM EST (#226052) #
SO don't rush Drabek, right?

Well yeah! But I think Drabek is a whole lot closer right now than Janzen ever was. And while you don't want to waste the six year window, almost every young pitcher - far more than young hitters in my view - needs some time to adjust to the major leagues, during which the results may not be that pretty. In other words, I have no problem with Drabek opening next season on the 25 man roster....
smcs - Tuesday, November 23 2010 @ 01:20 PM EST (#226053) #
And Ricciardi had a real gift for rubbing people the wrong way.

I think this had a lot to do with his glasses.  People really don't take kindly to those that wear tinted shades in-doors.

As for the candor/discretion conversation, I am for whatever strategy will make this team better.  If it helps the team for the GM to say little and be invisible, I am for it.  If it helps the team for the GM to act like Anthopolous (lots of interviews, a real and true voice behind the face of the front office) and say lots, but nothing truly substantive, I am for it.  By saying what he is saying, and speaking in the generalities that he has, it makes me believe him even more when he says that his biggest regret of season one is letting Chapman slip away.  If it helps that the GM is very vocal, sometimes brutally honest (Adam Dunn) and sometimes not (BJ Ryan), I am for it.  I really did enjoy Wednesday's With JP, but also completely understand why Ricciardi did not want to do it in his final year (Dunn-gate + a caller once said that when Ricciardi gets fired by the Jays, he should never work in the Major Leagues again because nobody would hire him).

Having said that, it is much easier to root for a team and a person when they are likable.  The fact that he has been willing to sit down and respond to e-mails from a blog (as Ricciardi did one upon a time) makes me like him even more.


Mike Green - Tuesday, November 23 2010 @ 01:24 PM EST (#226056) #
Drabek has made 41 double A starts.  It's really a difficult judgment call whether he is ready.  Personally, given that he won't be happy spending time in the bullpen, I might prefer to give starts to Zep at the start of next year but you never know who will be healthy and who will not when the bell rings.  Knock on wood.
Original Ryan - Tuesday, November 23 2010 @ 01:29 PM EST (#226059) #
At the time of the Cone-for-Janzen trade in 1995, I seem to remember some baseball people saying Ash didn't get a particularly good deal and that he could've done a lot better.  I don't have any scouting reports from back then (most of my baseball news came from Baseball Weekly in those days), but Janzen was an undrafted free agent in 1991, Gordon was an 11th rounder in 1992 and Jarvis was a 13th rounder in 1994.  At the time Janzen had just three starts in AA and the other two guys were still in A-ball.  Toronto was desperate for pitching at the time, so Ash might have opted quantity over quality with the Cone trade.
Magpie - Tuesday, November 23 2010 @ 01:44 PM EST (#226062) #
People really don't take kindly to those that wear tinted shades in-doors.

Seriously? Because I never saw him do that. Not once. And I saw him pretty well every time I was at the Dome.
BumWino - Tuesday, November 23 2010 @ 02:02 PM EST (#226065) #

Mylegacy, I am a newbie on this blog, so I certainly wouldn't presume to lecture you on your personal habits, simply share my experience. 

Like yourself, I, too, was at one time most appreciative of a fine, single-malt scotch.   Nevertheless, my retirement and subsequent subsistance-level fixed income has reduced my consuption of adult beverages primarily to domestic reds.  Happily, after imbibing  several bottles, even domestic gros rouge begins to go down well, indeed, rather akin to a reasonable facsimile of Baron Rothchild's finest. 

Yes, the oft-cloudy clarity, provocative nose and amusing, nay, hilarious aftertaste of many a non-vintage domestic red, combined with its ability to smoothe the sharp edges of reality and, best of all, its economy of purchase, tend to make life much more agreeable right up to the bitter end.

Cheers!

smcs - Tuesday, November 23 2010 @ 02:52 PM EST (#226071) #
Seriously? Because I never saw him do that. Not once. And I saw him pretty well every time I was at the Dome.

I'm almost certain he wore the glasses that change their darkness based on the amount of light.  Of course, I can't find a photo of this.  Besides, my comment was meant as a jest toward how Ricciardi just rubbed people the wrong way no matter how insignificant the thing was.
John Northey - Tuesday, November 23 2010 @ 03:00 PM EST (#226073) #
Ran into JP once on an elevator at the dome and got a great laugh when some fan-boy there (over 20) started to yak at him (it was obvious it was going to be a very silly chat) and JP 'answered' his cell phone and pretended it was a real call (it was obvious it was to avoid the person and not a real call given the lack of ringing and the look on his face).

Now, if it was Godfrey in the elevator instead of JP odds are it would've been a full bs session. I wonder if JP pulled that one often to avoid talking?
BumWino - Tuesday, November 23 2010 @ 03:14 PM EST (#226077) #

John N.

I didn't say that the Jays are impecunious, I said that Alex Anthopoulos, who I worship much as I do God (except that Alex is quite a bit more important), throws nickels around like manhole covers.

However, I really did appreciate the proof positive that you provided to refute the statement which I didn't make.   In fact, the argument that the Jays could have, should have, would have signed Aroldis Chapman as proof of the team's salubrious finances (but didn't and saved $30 million) is perfect logic, similar to the uber-logic which wins coveted Supreme Court Decisions.  On Fantasy Island.

P.S.  Please forgive me for tossing around the 64-cent words.  Can't help it.  Former publisher.  Occupational hazzard.  Know it makes me look a fool.  Worse yet, I'm an old-age pensioner; no fool like an old fool. 

BumWino - Tuesday, November 23 2010 @ 04:25 PM EST (#226087) #

Matthew E., many thanks for your remarks regarding my post.  Most appreciated.

As an economics major and former publisher of business magazines, it gives an old man comfort to know that there are other Toronto Blue Jays' fans who equally appreciate the dynamics of micro-economics, the vagaries of the capitalist economic system and, most importantly, read baseball features about revenue streams and the like in Forbes magazine.

A special thank you for informing me that Rogers Communications could buy Hal and Hank Steinbrenner for chump change.  I was apparently laboring under the mistaken opinion that dearly departed George S. was the major shareholder in the American Shipbuilding Company.   

One of ASC's subsidiarys, Tampa Shipbuilders, in partnership with Bethlehem Steel, builds dozens and dozens of ships for the U.S. Defense Department.  Then there's ASC's fleet of transport ships operating out of Chicago.  The list goes on.  Quite an impressive group of holdings.

The money spent on the acquisition and development of amateur prospects that you noted is somethng that all MLB clubs do.  The Jays do nothing dramatically out of the ordinary in this area.  That wasn't the issue that concerned me.

My complaint was the refusal of the Jays to retain league-average or better players, who are due a substantial salary increase, until replacements were either developed from within or acquired through free agency.   I'm not refering to core players like Hill, Lind, Wells and Romero.  Other than the latter group and Jose Bautista, I believe John McDonald is the highest paid of all those remaining with the team at this writing.  If Wells could be moved, Jays would instantly have the lowest payroll in major-league baseball.

You mentioned that you know why Buck, Gregg and Downs weren't retained.  Please let my know the reason, if its anything other than the nonsensical notion that they stand in the way of younger players' development at the major-league level.

If you have any hard financial information regarding the Jays financial losses--which you indicate Roger Communications has been subsidizing--please let me know.  I was under the mistaken impression that despite a shrinking fan base, equalization payments more than made up the shortfall.

You didn't mention the many millions of dollars of promotional benefits at the consumer level that Rogers receives by having it's name closely associated with the team and the renaming of Skydome.  Rather like the team subsidizing Rogers, don't you think?

There is also the multi-million dollar gain on equity investment in terms of the rapid appreciation of the value of the franchise over the years despite a consistently mediocre on-field product and playing to 39% stadium capacity this past year.

Doesn't seem to me that Rogers is losing money on the Jays, but without the necessary financial information forthcoming, only the Rogers bean counters know for sure.

ComebyDeanChance - Tuesday, November 23 2010 @ 04:48 PM EST (#226088) #
You can find the cupboard quote in the same article where Ricciardi said the team has a five-year plan. Perpetuated myths in Richard Griffin's head have a tendency to become reality around here

It is certainly true that Griffin has reported on a number of occasions that Ricciardi described the farm system he was left by Gord Ash (and not just in the pitching dept. as one revision has it), as a 'bare cupboard'. I take it from the above quote from 92-93, that because Richard Griffin has reported it, it is therefore untrue and thus a 'myth'. Griffin of course, was a frequent and outspoken critic of Ricciardi, and a number of internet posters, myself included, who were excited at the outset of the early Ricciardi years, thought his criticism was excessive, if not personalized.

Not only has Griffin reported this statement of Ricciardi's, he has also reported on more than one occasion that Ricciardi later apologized for it and Griffin has credited Ricciardi for that apology. Here are some of those occasions:

http://www.thestar.com/article/270012

http://www.thestar.com/printArticle/242056

http://thestar.blogs.com/baseball/2010/06/mail-bag.html

Ricciardi has to my knowledge never denied making these statements. Now of course it's theoretically possible that Griffin, writing in a newspaper with the largest circulation in Canada, told bald lies in writing and 'made up' Ricciardi's original statement and similarly (though for what reason it's hard to imagine) again lied and 'made up' Ricciardi's apology for statements Ricciardi never made. Unlike Ricciardi, Griffin has no known track record for difficulty in defining the truth. Moreover, putting these allegedly bare-faced 'lies' in print would be at best a very risky venture given that the Star is his source of income and it would be an odd thing to give up someone's employment, if not expose the Star's considerable assets to a claim, in order only to write that JP Ricciardi described the farm system Gord Ash left him as a 'bare cupboard'. I don't have any trouble believing, on the balance of probabilities, that Ricciardi made the statement about the 'bare cupboard' and later thought better of it and apologized. This seems a much more likely scenario than the reporter putting into print on numerous occasions completely fabricated statements, and for unknown reasons a completely fabricated apology, and is also completely consistent with Ricciardi's conduct. Indeed, the 'myth' scenario seems highly unlikely.

I note that I am not the only one to draw this conclusion. For example, in a fangraphs.com column last year, the fangraphs author reported a conversation with Keith Law in which Law confirmed being present when Ricciardi turned down a straight-up, David Wright for Cruz Jr. (who he then non-tendered) trade. (Once again of course, it's theoretically possible that the fangraphs writer simply put a complete lie into print and that he had no such conversation with Law, or it could again in theory be the case that Law simply lied and there was no such proposal. I'll leave that to others to suggest.) What was interesting for the present discussion though, was an impassioned post from someone posting as '92-93'. Now, the internet (unlike phone calls to the private numbers of major league General Managers) is famous for impostors, and I make no suggestion that the '92-'93' who wrote the following comment, was the same '92-93' who now accuses Griffin of manufacturing the same statement which was printed on several occasions in the Star. But that '92-92' (perhaps the Adam Dunn impostor?) concluded the same as me, that the Ricciardi statements were fact when he wrote in a spirited defence of Ricciardi's Wright/Cruz decision:

92-93 says: October 23, 2009 at 7:53 pm JP had just gotten the job, ripped apart the front office, lambasted the bare cupboard of a farm system to the media, and was going to give away Raul Mondesi for nothing. Now, you can blast him for not trying to rebuild that system, but Cruz Jr. was a fan favorite and it’s quite possible at the trade deadline JP didn’t want to move 2/3 of his starting OF and further piss off an already alienated fan base.

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/the-wright-cruz-rumor/

I point to this not to suggest of course, that it is the same 92-93 who is now claiming that what he once asserted was fact (when used in defence of Ricciardi) is now a 'myth', but instead to note that I find comfort in someone with the good taste to lift 92-93's excellent moniker, while possessing our own 92-93's steadfast pro-Ricciardi views, also agrees with me.
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 23 2010 @ 04:53 PM EST (#226090) #
Personally, I'd rather not debate what Ricciardi might or might not have said more than five years ago.  Too much for work for my liking. Or as we say around our house when some visitor brings up an awkward or uncomfortable topic, "how 'bout those Blue Jays?"
John Northey - Tuesday, November 23 2010 @ 04:55 PM EST (#226091) #
Rogers shouldn't be losing money on the Jays at this point, if ever. However, making or losing money isn't the issue, but best use of money is.

Once a player cracks 32 their value drops drastically - this has been shown many times by many studies. I was debating doing a new study on it once the new Lahman database comes out with 2010 figures.

So, who did/will the Jays lose?
John Buck: entering age 30 season, coming off what was his best year by a good margin by any measure

Gregg: entering his age 33 season, highest save total he has ever had and some of his best/better numbers elsewhere

Downs: entering his age 35 season, again had some of his best numbers ever

Those 3 could cost $10+ mil a year total. All 3 were free agents who were pretty much given up on by their old teams (Downs was released by Washington[!], Gregg by the Cubs, and Buck was taken from KC). For $10 million a year over the next 3 years I'm sure we could fill a bigger hole or get a higher end player. One high end is worth more than 3 good players if you have reasonable substitutes.

Given the Jays are planning long term signing post-30 year old guys is not a good idea except on bargain deals (such as Man-Ram might be) or for true stars. Unless you assume Rogers really has an unlimited budget.

In the end Rogers is a profit based company. It doesn't matter how rich they are. They want to make as much profit off the Jays as possible. They know that Toronto can put 4 million fans into the seats under ideal conditions with sky-high TV ratings, and nearly 3 million in a horrid park (Exhibition Stadium) for a contender.
bpoz - Tuesday, November 23 2010 @ 05:03 PM EST (#226092) #
This is a good discussion Gillick,Ash,JP & AA.

Gillick got to keep all his players, that is a big advantage.

Ash got in at the start of the $ Era. I believe he was told by management how much he could spend. I sort of remember $6mil for Alomar, but am not sure and it was deemed too expensive. Olerud was traded for R Person, IMO that was to get rid of the contract, possible the Mets also received cash.
So is this conclusion overly wrong:-
1) The good youngish players were too expensive and had to be given away ie traded for nothing or let walk as FAs probably non-tendered.
2) Aging vets were retiring or let go, sort of normal and young players were coming up. Rebuilding, which means you should expect to not contend.

Ash also made trades more than once for injured players that did not play for the Jays at all.

JP:- I think he had great success in drafting college pitchers, but poor success with position players. But a lot of the bright lights on the farm are still his players, pitchers & position players, his talent is still on the way. So I HAVE no problem with the talent he acquired through the draft and reclamation projects like S Downs and also the minor deals like J Bautista & M Scutaro. But the expensive FAs & bad luck hurt him a lot. IMO the money was his to spend and he chose FAs rather than draft picks. Some of his luck was good, like that FA pitcher that BOS outbid him for. I give JP a lot of credit for the success of the 2010 team, a lot of players arrived on his watch.
To me one of his best decisions was rehiring Cito, IMO Cito performed better than the managers between his 2 stints.

Managers get 2nd guessed and complained about everywhere and Cito got his share but to me he had success in HIS 2ND STINT with the Jays. Good 2008 taking over a struggling team. Bad 2009 was excusable IMO because of injuries. NYY in 2008, TB in 2009 & BOS in 2010 did badly and their managers are still considered good. As 2009 was starting for Cito, I remember JP saying that they were going to run out the kid SPs and see what they could do. Richmond, Romero, Cecil, Ray, Mills & Zep were all rookies. His veterans were Halladay, Janssen & Tallet and the pen took the biggest hit with the loss of BJ Ryan. 75 losses in 2009 and he got swept by Baltimore to end the season, well Baltimore repaid us by going 0-15 in the 1st 15 games VS the Jays in 2010. However Hill & Lind in 2010 were bad and that was on Cito's watch. YUP Cito was not easy to figure out, but I enjoyed his teams.

AA:- In 2010 he made some good moves that did not cost much $. He did not pick a # wins figure for 2010 but called it a building year. After 75 wins it sounds like a good description. 85 wins was a pleasant surprise and he gave Cito & his staff plenty of credit and that was correct of him IMO.
BUT IMO his relationship with Cito in 2010 probably was difficult, I mean Cito was on the way out, wins were less important than player development, and wins had to be important to Cito. Cito played Tallet a lot, Tallet got more opportunity than maybe he deserved, he got to start his 1st 2 games back from his injury and then pitched out of the pen quite regularly. I don't know why, maybe a reward for the good job he did for Cito in 2009.
BUT MAYBE the 2010 pre-season was AA's least crucial/important off season. He was in asset gathering mode, I could be wrong but other than Escobar he made no significant moves to help the team win in 2010.Dealing Halladay was forced but certainly weakened the team. So it is possible that Cito and AA had opposing agendas. If AA had success in his asset gathering agenda then IMO Cito had even more success in his agenda to win as many games as possible. WE don't know but IMO its possible. AND just to be clear I don't think AA was held back in making any trades he wanted to.
But now the off season stage belongs totally to AA and he has impressive ML assets. He is now in a position to both acquire raw assets and improve the 2011 ML team to possible near contender status.
I don't think he will shy away from trading prospects or making the really big deal like the Alomar deal.He said that he would prefer to get pieces that will "develop" into the impact players but he said it a different way. And he said "you always hope that you know what you are giving up", which all implies SCOUTING.
I think his biggest fear is optimizing the use of his $. His regrets over the Chapman lost opportunity hints at that. He admitted that he should have scouted him more starting a year earlier (I believe) but that would have been JP's watch. Then he signed A Heck 4yrs $10mil which means that his calculations are, that within 4 years he should get $10mil value. After all for A Heck you don't wait your turn to pick, like in a draft, you just bid like in an auction. Drop out if the price does not make sense for the value you are getting.

Matthew E - Tuesday, November 23 2010 @ 09:47 PM EST (#226104) #
BumWino:  No, I knew about American Shipbuilding; I just thought I recalled reading that it wasn't so much of a big thing these days. If that's not true, and if the Steinbrenner empire is too big to be swallowed by Rogers, I withdraw it; it doesn't change the rest of what I wrote.

I don't think that Rogers is losing money on the Jays. I don't think they ever will. They may invest money in the Jays that goes beyond the current year's profits, but that's more of a calculated risk than it is having their heads below sea level. All I'm saying is that they won't do that without being pretty sure that the money will come back to them, and they won't do it continuously/forever.

Are there still equalization payments? I thought I had heard that there were not. And even when there were, they were, what, five million?

As for this:

You didn't mention the many millions of dollars of promotional benefits at the consumer level that Rogers receives by having it's name closely associated with the team and the renaming of Skydome.  Rather like the team subsidizing Rogers, don't you think?

There is also the multi-million dollar gain on equity investment in terms of the rapid appreciation of the value of the franchise over the years despite a consistently mediocre on-field product and playing to 39% stadium capacity this past year.


...it's not really real money, is it? I mean, they can say it's money, but it's just handwaving. I don't doubt that you know more about how it works than I do, but I do know Paul Beeston's famous quote.

Here I feel on firmer ground:

You mentioned that you know why Buck, Gregg and Downs weren't retained.  Please let my know the reason, if its anything other than the nonsensical notion that they stand in the way of younger players' development at the major-league level.

My take on it is that they weren't retained because the Jays aren't going to win anything interesting in the foreseeable future, and therefore there's no reason to shell out for aging role-players. The Jays aren't a mediocre team; they're a good team. But they're going to get mediocre results, and mediocrity shouldn't be expensive. The Jays can finish a strong fourth with cheap young players just as easily as they can with Buck and Gregg and Downs, and the young players, or whoever they get, may actually turn out to be better than, well, than Buck and Gregg, anyway. Plus the draft picks are nice.

Another thing I think is that the good is the enemy of the great. Too often in the past I don't know how many years the Jays have committed themselves to a decent player at this position or thatun, and by so doing blocked themselves from getting a great player to play that position. I don't know if Arencibia is going to be a great player (he probably isn't), but we won't know if Buck gets the job again.
Magpie - Tuesday, November 23 2010 @ 10:48 PM EST (#226110) #
the nonsensical notion that they stand in the way of younger players' development at the major-league level.

Well, that was why they traded Dave Collins and Alfredo Griffin in the winter of 1984-85. That turned out OK. So maybe not completely nonsensical.
Matthew E - Tuesday, November 23 2010 @ 10:57 PM EST (#226111) #
Right, but who are the Tony Fernandez and Jesse Barfield of today? Arencibia, okay, that's one, we hope. Any good young relief pitchers coming up? Who would otherwise be blocked?
Magpie - Tuesday, November 23 2010 @ 10:58 PM EST (#226112) #
I don't know if Arencibia is going to be a great player (he probably isn't), but we won't know if Buck gets the job again.

Buck signed for three years and $20 million, right? There's a pretty decent chance - no guarantees - that Buck will indeed be better than Arencibia in 2011. But in 2012? And 2013? I think the team didn't mind Buck signing elsewhere because they're confident they're going to have a better player taking his place.

As for Downs - he's a very good reliever and he may still be good when he's 37, and it may be worth paying him $5 million for 60 IP to find out. But he certainly wasn't as good (or as durable) at age 33 and 34 as he was at age 31 and 32...
92-93 - Wednesday, November 24 2010 @ 01:24 AM EST (#226125) #
Richard Griffin quoting himself about bare cupboards and five-year plans isn't really proof of anything. Ricciardi went on 590's Wednesdays With JP and scoffed at the notion he ever mentioned anything about a five-year plan, and claimed he has a framed article in his office from when he got the job where he specifically refused to get caught up in a precise time frame for success, but to rather build it.

The cupboard WAS bare.
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 24 2010 @ 08:47 AM EST (#226127) #
Buck signed for three years and $20 million, right? There's a pretty decent chance - no guarantees - that Buck will indeed be better than Arencibia in 2011. But in 2012? And 2013? I think the team didn't mind Buck signing elsewhere because they're confident they're going to have a better player taking his place.

...but it may or may not be Arencibia.  The organization is very deep in catchers.  The real question, to my mind, is whether the club would have been able to get the equivalent of a sandwich pick (or better) at the deadline for Buck, given that Arencibia sat on the bench for that period.  I suspect that AA couldn't get much for Buck then, and also wanted to keep his options open.
BumWino - Wednesday, November 24 2010 @ 03:35 PM EST (#226165) #

Thanks for the gentle comment on my feeble opinions, gentlemen.  We're apparently all in complete agreement; Rogers Communications views its baseball operation as just another one of the empire's profit centers. 

Or put another way, when Gyro Cutter tosses those nickel-plated manhole covers around, the Boss--whose name can be literally translated to the marvellously oxymoronic "Rock-Bottom Highest-Ever Islamic Prophet Guy"--is right there to catch everyone of  'em. 

The Canadian communications industry is characterized as one of misleading promotional offers, unethical representation, and sharp and illegal business practices.  Rogers Communications and Bell Ontario lead the way.   Bell specializes in illegal overbilling (browse: Bell Class Action) and the government recently charged Rogers with false advertising.  The fine could exceed $10 million.  But those little speedbumps hardly scratch the surface.

Ever wonder how the communications industry "culture" ultimately affects the Blue Jays on-field performance?  Interesting to speculate.

The Jays are now the only MLB team which plays to over 60% empty seats.  But how to induce warm bums into those chairs?  Winning?  But how? Through creative payroll dumps? 

I'm interested in your opinions. 

P.S. Those nicknames are NOT ethnic slurs.  The only people I can't tolerate are the Irish, because they spend their entire wretched existences carrying around enormous crosses and acting silly.  I know,  as I am Irish.  

     

 

John Northey - Wednesday, November 24 2010 @ 03:53 PM EST (#226170) #
The % of empty seats isn't the concern as much as the raw number buying tickets imo. For example, for a Yankee series the Jays roped off a big portion of the upper deck, stuffing people into fewer seats so the capacity was only around 40k with around 37k in the park (I was there, it was horribly crowded in the upper deck when it didn't need to be and made my daughter not want to go again but that is beside the point here). If the Jays went the Tampa route they could declare capacity of 40k then had a 48% filled park vs Tampa's 51% (if you use 45k instead of their claim of 37k seats = 62% full).

Lots of tricks used by these clubs for different purposes. In the end though the Jays know they can fill the park (Tampa has proven they can't, getting 12,446 for a mid-week game in the final week of the regular season - for comparison in 1988 with a terrible park and a team that wasn't going to win after being darn good for a few years the Jays still got 30k to weeknight games at the end of September) if they have a winner. If AA sticks to his guns and keeps building the farm while adding pieces that cost nothing but cash whenever possible then we should be seeing a solid long term team again. Lets just hope Rogers remembers that an investment in the right players is well worth it once the Jays start winning 90 again.
Matthew E - Wednesday, November 24 2010 @ 04:03 PM EST (#226171) #
I've said all this before, but...

I don't think it's going to work. It can be made to work, but I don't think it's going to.

A smart GM like Anthopoulos nevertheless needs some resources to put a winner on the field. In the AL East, he needs more than he might need elsewhere. I don't believe that Rogers is willing to provide the money it would take given the level of fan support the Jays can expect. If Rogers were to be more interested in on-field success, that would help. If Anthopoulos were a soooper-genius, that would help. If the players overachieved, that would help. And if the fans decided to pay attention to what is already a decent ballclub, that would help. But just one of those things isn't enough; you need most of them or all of them.

And I don't really think we'll get any of them: Rogers will remain an evil empire, Anthopoulos will remain a pretty bright guy, the players will do what we've seen them do for years, and the fans will never come back. And this team will bounce back and forth between 75 and 87 wins in perpetuity.

Mike Green - Wednesday, November 24 2010 @ 04:18 PM EST (#226175) #
I did read something interesting on a related point in the business section of the Globe the other day.  Cable subscriptions were down for the first time ever in the last few months, as people (particularly the young) get their television content off the interwebs (which Rogers of course has a piece of).  It was mentioned that sports broadcasting rights might slow the decline of the cable giants.

Even as an evil empire, Rogers has an interest in developing the video market for the club.  The acquisition of the Vancouver Canadians is the first step in that.  And it will be no use to try and promote the Jays as "Canada's team" in a few years, if they are perpetually mediocre.  The perpetually mediocre approach might work with the Leafs in Toronto, but it won't work with the Jays in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg and Halifax.
Magpie - Wednesday, November 24 2010 @ 04:35 PM EST (#226176) #
The only people I can't tolerate are the Irish

Man, I live to bring the Yeats. Any excuse will do...

Out of Ireland have we come.
Great hatred, little room,
Maimed us at the start.
I carry from my mother's womb
A fanatic heart.
BumWino - Wednesday, November 24 2010 @ 07:29 PM EST (#226193) #

HOLY BLESSED VIRGIN MARY MITHER O' GOD!  It's HIMSELF!!  Mr. Magpie, ye darlin' man. 

Now on about the Yeats, and don't ye be bringin' a tear to me eye, boyo.  Longin' to set sight on the auld sod again, I am.  And if any of these heathen utter a single word agin Yeats' dreary verse, sure 'n I'll blatter that ignorant creature from here to the High Street.  And take great pleasure in the doin' of it. 

I promise ye that, Mr. Magpie.

bpoz - Wednesday, November 24 2010 @ 07:54 PM EST (#226195) #
Bum Wino & Magpie allow me to toast you with a spot of red wine. You too Mylegacy, I hope you are well.
BumWino - Wednesday, November 24 2010 @ 08:50 PM EST (#226197) #

Liftin' a glass to you, too, Mr. Bpoz.   And to Magpie and MyLegacy, too.  Be well. 

Yes, a toast!  To all me dear cronies, be they Irish or heathen.

And if, like our poet the dreary Yeats, any of ye lived a wretched childhood full of privation and want, think none o' your misery.  As we Irish have always held that a happy childhood isn't really very much of a childhood at all.

 

BumWino - Wednesday, November 24 2010 @ 10:32 PM EST (#226203) #

Matthew, you've got a point.  At times I feel the same way, but there does seem to be a small ray of sunlight.

Last Sept. 15, the Blue Jays were 73-73 and fading pretty badly.  However, the team turned it around and won 12 of its last 16 games.  Ten of these games were against the Yankees, Twins and Rays, three vs. the resurgent Orioles, and three with the horrible Mariners.  Why the turnabout?

On Sept. 15th, Jays parade of "5th" starters were 6-19 on the year, but ended the season at 10-22.  Rzepczynski--his broken finger ruined most of his year--was 3-1 with a 2.31 ERA, in his last four starts, then he dominated the AFL.  A solid fifth starter can make a massive difference.  Hardly any of the teams have a good one.  If Drabek beats out Zep, then by definition, the Jays should have a very good starting staff. 

The bullpen was weak in 2010 and at this time it basically stinks.  Carlson, Roenicke, Arcardo, et al, have more than proven themselves not good enough for the team to contend.  Camp, Janssen and Purcey should be okay for the 7th and 8th innings, Rzepczynski may be able to handle a middle-relief/innings-eater role, and Richmond is a possibility for long relief-spot starter.  He's finally healthy now, and he went 4-0 with an ERA under 1.50 in his rehab starts at the end of the season. 

There's a reasonably good chance that Frasor will return (or equal acquired), and if he turns out to be 7th best reliever, then that could be a pretty good relief corps--with the addition of a very good closer, expensive or not.

If all this was to come to pass, then a one-year fairly low-cost, incentive-laden deal with Manny Ramirez starts to make sense.  He could have a major impact as a DH, batting 3rd in the order--followed by Bautista and Wells--to take advantage of his great OBP.

Doesn't seem all that far-fetched to me.  Jays' payroll would remain roughly $40-$50 million below the major league average of $112 million.  What's your take?     

Richard S.S. - Thursday, November 25 2010 @ 06:33 AM EST (#226209) #

Who is better, Jason Frasor or Kevin Gregg (two of the top three pitchers of a team that finished 10th out of 14 AL teams)?   I don't care.   I don't want either back.   They do not make this team better.   We keep Shawn Camp (35), (RHP), (4-3, 2.99, 2SV, 72.1)  because he can do the job.   We keep David Purcey (28), (LHP), (1-1, 3.71, 1SV, 34.0) because he's learning how to do the job.   We keep Casey Janssen (29), (RHP), 5-2, 3.67, 68.2) because he's better than what's left.

Jesse Carlson (30), (LHP), (0-0, 4.61, 1SV, 13.2); Josh Roenicke (28), (RHP), (1-0, 5.68, 19.0); Jeremy Accardo (29), (RHP), (0-1,8.10, 6.2) and Rommie Lewis (28), (LHP), (0-0, 6.75, 18.2) can be traded, sent to AAA, non-tendered or just waived for release.   They no longer have value in this Bullpen.

We can either sign a Top Closer, and / or not, a good Reliever or stay in-house.   We can try Brad Mills (25), (LHP), Robert Ray (26), (RHP), Michael Hinckley (28), (LHP) and others.

WHY?

IF IT PASSES, that two more teams make the post-season in 2012, it might be impossible to acquire the pieces you need next season.   Every team will be after pieces of their own, which might coincide with pieces we fail to get this off season.   This is why I become annoyed / pissed / angry with those near-sighted people who insist we aren't ready to compete yet.   We need to get nearer now, because it gets much harder very soon.   (All expletives pre-deleted).

Matthew E - Thursday, November 25 2010 @ 09:21 AM EST (#226214) #
What's your take?

Well, there's talent here, certainly, and what with that talent and Anthopoulos and (giving him the benefit of the doubt) Farrell, I'm reasonably confident that the Jays can stay north of .500 for a while. Most years, anyway.

But it's hard to improve beyond that, because you're also working against regular entropy, injuries, and the gradient of competition that shows up the farther you get from .500 in either direction (and it's worse in the AL East). I don't think the Jays are going to be in a position to overcome those things, and even if they did, it's far from clear that the players would not spit the bit.

I become annoyed / pissed / angry with those near-sighted people who insist we aren't ready to compete yet.   We need to get nearer now, because it gets much harder very soon.

I've never heard that argument before. I don't buy it, either.

1. There will be one World Series winner in every season; no more but also no fewer.
2. If you define 'making the playoffs' as success, then we can also say that there will be eight playoff teams in every season, no more but also no fewer; if this is expanded to ten, then we say instead that there will be ten playoff teams in every season, no more but also no fewer. The change from eight to ten obviously makes it easier to make the playoffs; nothing else affects the odds.
3. This is because whether everybody competes more furiously or less furiously, the same number of teams are still going to make it to the finish line. If it's "harder", it's "harder" for everybody, and therefore it's no harder.
bpoz - Thursday, November 25 2010 @ 10:12 AM EST (#226216) #
This business of competing or lets call it concept of competing. Lets break it down.

There is absolute and relative, as terminology. Also everyone has differing opinions.Please express them. Also any win numbers are made up to make an example.

1) The pennant/playoff race starts on Sept 1st. To be in it how close do you have to be.
2) July 31st trade deadline, how close?
3) Other than the AL East you won it with 85 wins or lost to the 85 game winner by 1 game, because this is a weak division.
4) You won 96 games and still lost out. Adding a little salt last year 94 wins got a team in. Obviously that was a good team, who went on to win the WS.

I will take any playoff appearance now.
I will also be happy with 90+ wins for now.
But I remember that from 1985-92 I wanted very badly a WS championship, just making the playoffs was not enough.

Mike Green - Thursday, November 25 2010 @ 10:30 AM EST (#226218) #
Incidentally, the repeated use of "evil empire" by MatthewE and myself to describe Rogers not only prompted Rogers to consult its lawyers about the obvious libel but also prompted the Steinbrenners to consult their lawyers about a possible infringement of trade mark rights.  At the bottom of a ticket stub for a Yankees' home game, the fine print reads: "the New York Yankees", "The Evil Empire" and "Derek Jeter" are registered trademarks of the New York Yankees Baseball Club."
Jonny German - Thursday, November 25 2010 @ 11:16 AM EST (#226222) #
Who is better, Jason Frasor or Kevin Gregg (two of the top three pitchers of a team that finished 10th out of 14 AL teams)?   I don't care.   I don't want either back.   They do not make this team better.   We keep Shawn Camp (35), (RHP), (4-3, 2.99, 2SV, 72.1)  because he can do the job.

Shawn Camp and Jason Frasor, on the surface, are the same guy.

Shawn Camp, currently 34 years of age, over the last 3 seasons:
169 games, 46 games finished, 191 IP, 135-58 K-BB, 1.26 WHIP, 3.43 ERA for a 125 ERA+, opponents hit .254/.317/.395

Jason Frasor, currently 32 years of age, over the last 3 seasons:
179 games, 75 games finished, 168 IP, 163-75 K-BB, 1.27 WHIP, 3.42 ERA for a 126 ERA+, opponents hit .224/.312/.332

One can do the job but the other is a liability? Must be buried very very deep in the peripheral stats.
Thomas - Thursday, November 25 2010 @ 11:27 AM EST (#226224) #
One can do the job but the other is a liability? Must be buried very very deep in the peripheral stats.

Better yet is preferring Michael Hinckley to either of them. The hate some people have for Jason Frasor is beyond me.

ayjackson - Thursday, November 25 2010 @ 12:14 PM EST (#226229) #
Frasor takes a lot of time between pitches, sweats and takes deep breaths on the mound - therefore he must not be very effective.  Or some such logic.
Chuck - Thursday, November 25 2010 @ 07:07 PM EST (#226261) #
Frasor takes a lot of time between pitches, sweats and takes deep breaths on the mound - therefore he must not be very effective.  Or some such logic.   Exactly. When making an assessment, why on earth would anyone let a silly little thing like numbers trump all that? Logic? Reason? That's for suckers. Emotion is what sound decision-making should be based on!
Gerry - Thursday, November 25 2010 @ 07:49 PM EST (#226264) #

Shi Davidi talked with AA and he extracted some information from him:

Arencibia looks like the catcher:

“You might be able to not place as much importance on it (ed - experience) because (the young pitchers) have been through it more and they may not need as much help. I still think you'd like to have somebody back there (at catcher) who can handle a staff and run a game, but with the year of experience, I think you can take the reins off a little bit with those guys."

Lind could be the first baseman:

Anthopoulos praised Lind's hands while adding that his footwork needed to improve, and conceded that he's more willing to take a chance on a permanent move.

“If you would have done something like that last off-season, it would have been a total guess. Even though it's a small sample size, you've (now) seen something to grab hold of,” said Anthopoulos. “I don't think anyone can definitively say Adam Lind can play first base over the course of a full season, there's an unknown there.

“And maybe there is a component where you say we're going to take that chance, we're going to roll him out there and see what we have. We haven't made that determination, but I wouldn't rule it out.”

And as of now the Jays are out of the Justin Upton trade talks:

Justin Upton is not on the team's radar any more, as the Arizona Diamondbacks want too much for the outfielder.

BumWino - Friday, November 26 2010 @ 12:37 AM EST (#226269) #

Yes, I couldn't agree more, Chuck.  No question A.Y.'s fully realized impression of the basic texture of the subject matter definitely painted the most meaningful mental picture of that group of seven opinions offered on Frasor's shortcomings.  I've long held that an observer's emotional reaction to baseball stimuli outweighs mundane statistics.  Anybody can wade through the latter.

Unfortunately, knowledge of this phenomenon has failed to improve my baseball pronostications to any significant degree.  This could be the result of watching a movie a number of years ago, entitled, "The Silence of the Lambs."  I fould myself relating so closely with one of the main characters, Hannibal Lecter, that I decided to become a psychopath.  Now I really don't posses much in the way of emotions at all.

As a matter of fact, there is only one individual on this blog, Mylegacy, who so far has deigned to do lunch with me.  I don't really consider Mylegacy any more courageous than the rest of you, it's just that he knows that I know that due to his many years of alcohol abuse, his liver has the consistency of an old army boot. 

 

Mylegacy - Friday, November 26 2010 @ 12:52 AM EST (#226270) #
An old "polished" army boot, sir!
BumWino - Friday, November 26 2010 @ 01:44 AM EST (#226271) #

"Anybody can play first base," Tabby once allowed.  So I'm far less concerned about Lind handling first base than Arencibia's ability to maximize the effectiveness of the pitching staff. 

Of course, the decision to go with JPA instead of John Buck represents a payroll savings of more than $16 million over the next three seasons.  That puts Alex Anthopoulos in an enviable financial position when considering any deal which represents "real baseball value".  (What's that text-message acronym?  Oh, yeah...LOL)

Regarding the three non-acquisitions--Greinke, Uggla and Upton--few insiders believed that Anthopoulos had any intention of going through with any of these major trades.  They assumed that AA was just using these potential deals to find out the level at which other general managers evaluated Jays' personnel.

My insiders also informed me that the guy who traded to Morrow to the Jays has sent around an e-mail to all the general managers except Anthopoulos, drawing their attention to a quotation which was set down over 2,500 years ago.  "Beware of Greeks who come bearing gifts."

Damned if I know why.

 

BumWino - Friday, November 26 2010 @ 01:51 AM EST (#226272) #
Sorry, Sir.  In future, I shall endeavor to be more precise whenever I comment on the deteriorating condition of your liver.  No offense meant, but not even Hannibal would attempt to consume that sucker.
Magpie - Friday, November 26 2010 @ 02:40 AM EST (#226273) #
"Anybody can play first base," Tabby once allowed.

Clearly, Tabler is not familiar with the legendary Dick Stuart (also known as Dr Strangeglove.)
Magpie - Friday, November 26 2010 @ 02:47 AM EST (#226274) #
Seriously, though, Tabler is out of his freaking mind if he believes that. The player is still required to handle a few hundred ground balls every season. He's required to try to scoop some 70 or 80 throws that skip off the ground just before they reach him. Every now and then, he's supposed to make a quick and accurate throw to a moving target near second base, with a baserunner directly in his path...

Well, Tabler started out as a middle infielder - it may have seemed easy to him.
BumWino - Friday, November 26 2010 @ 04:33 PM EST (#226290) #

Hi Mag, thought you might enjoy this quote from Wiki (attributed to a couple of guys who wrote a book about baseball cards or something) about Dr. Strangeglove.

 "Every play hit his way was an adventure, the most routine play a challenge to his artlessness. It is hard to describe this to anyone who has not seen it, just as it is hard to describe Xavier Cugat or Allen Ludden. Stuart once picked up a hot dog wrapper that was blowing toward his first base position. He received a standing ovation from the crowd. It was the first thing he had managed to pick up all day, and the fans realized it could very well be the last."

One other thing.  I pitched and played first base in amateur ball and, believe me, anybody can play first base. 

While attempting to field dribblers and swingin' bunts up the line, I got kneed in the head quite a few times.  This could explain away a lifetime of somewhat dysfuntional cognitive activity.

John Northey - Friday, November 26 2010 @ 05:10 PM EST (#226292) #
For 'anyone can do it' - back in the early days of baseball a strong fielder at 1B was vital. But that was probably due to the condition of the field, gloves, and raw skill level (which would've been lower as guys couldn't practice to the degree they can today).

However, given I am a terrible player (I've tried, it is ugly) I have found I can play first whenever needed fairly easily. The ball is thrown to you, you don't have to move around _that_ much, and most of the time you have to stand at the bag anyways (runners on first).

If Cecil Fielder & Frank Thomas could do it, I'm certain Lind can.
Magpie - Friday, November 26 2010 @ 05:24 PM EST (#226293) #
If Cecil Fielder & Frank Thomas could do it

I hope you're not describing what they did as "playing first base."

I've seen too many bad ones to believe it. The essential difference between first and third are the throwing requirements. (You can get away, sort of, with playing a good defender with a lousy arm - hello, Steve Garvey - at first.) No one ever says "anyone with a decent arm can play third base." Defense at both positions are almost entirely a matter of quick reflexes and a quick first step, which is why people with no foot speed whatsoever sometimes have the best range at the positions (Brooks Robinson and John Olerud.) And good hands are obviously essential at first base - it's non-negotiable - which is one reason former catchers can cope with that part of the job requirement. Apparently catching 88 mph sliders and moving fastballs is good job preparation.
Magpie - Friday, November 26 2010 @ 05:29 PM EST (#226294) #
And no, I was not a first baseman in my - oh, let's say - more active days. (Second base, generally. Or wherever they could hide my arm. But too small for 1b....)
bpoz - Friday, November 26 2010 @ 06:49 PM EST (#226295) #
A 30-40 Hr 100 Rbi 1st baseman and DH would be great. I am OK with a weak bat at 3rd for 2011, but I want Very good defense to make up for that.
The off season is still very young.
John Northey - Friday, November 26 2010 @ 10:33 PM EST (#226300) #
One thing to keep in mind at 1B is that we have fairly good fielders elsewhere (depending on who ends up at third).

Checking FanGraphs...

Hill: At 2B has been a positive in UZR/150 every year but 2009, 4.8 runs of value per year. In 2005 he played a bit at 3B and was at 3.8 UZR/150.

Escobar: At SS has been a positive every year, 4.2/150 last year, 3.2 lifetime. At 3B (2007, 159 IP) he is at -12.2.

Bautista: At 3B has been poor overall, -9.6 lifetime.

McDonald: At 3B has been poor, -7.9 lifetime vs his +6.4 at SS and 18.9 at 2B (a horrid -20.3 in the outfield but just 37 innings).

Lind: At 1B last year was +20.4 UZR/150 (!). Of note though is he was a +18 and +14 in 2006/2007 in LF before dropping badly and settling at -10.9 lifetime (-43.3 last year).

All of this suggests the Jays are very weak at third unless Hill takes it over. Defensively the Jays would be best with 2B: McDonald, SS: Escobar, 3B: Hill but the idea of McDonald playing everyday is scary (he was -1.4 batting runs last year, -102.7 lifetime).
BumWino - Saturday, November 27 2010 @ 11:20 PM EST (#226308) #

Alex Anthopoulos has us all brainwashed when it comes to superior fielding.  This has been one of his constant themes in addition to youth, athleticism, player development and a more "balanced" offense.  The package has a nice ring to it.  Best of all, it can all be done relatively cheaply and can be stretched out over a period of years while begging for both fan support and more importantly, fan patience.

If we can get away from the advanced stats for a minute, in practical terms (wins), what's the difference between great fielding and good fielding.

Not much, according to a lengthy research project I took on at the end of the 2009 season.  Took me five minutes, but that seemed like quite a long period of time, as I have a micro-short attention span.

In 2009, Jays fielding was 1st and the team was 10th in wins.  Yankees were 1st in wins, 5th in fielding.  Texas 4th in wins, 13th in fielding.  Orioles 14th in wins, 8th in fielding.  Only correlation I could find was over in the NL; Nationals last in wins, last in fielding.

That's why I always cringe when baseball observers suggest playing a good-field, no-hit player over a good-hit, not-so-good field player, especially in a power position like 3B, 1B, LF or RF. 

If 100% of the Jays' success is the result of starting pitching, relief pitching, hitting, base running and fielding, what "weight" or percentage over the course of the entire season do you attach to each?

My guess:  SP - 40%, RP -15%, H - 35%, BR - 2%, F - 8%.  What's your opinion?         

 

electric carrot - Saturday, November 27 2010 @ 11:49 PM EST (#226309) #
BW I like those percentages as a rough estimate -- except I'd add "stone blind luck" at about 34% and redo the figures from there.
Magpie - Sunday, November 28 2010 @ 02:14 AM EST (#226310) #
My guess: SP - 40%, RP -15%, H - 35%, BR - 2%, F - 8%.

Well, I don't think it's likely to be 63% defense and 37% offense. Somehow I think it's going to be closer to 50-50.
Mylegacy - Sunday, November 28 2010 @ 02:22 AM EST (#226311) #
Scissors, rock, paper...

My intuition tells me the criteria are very interdependent. While SP at 40 seems OK at first blush - on closer examination SP is directly related to defense - without one your pitchers seem to not do as well as they might. If a starter gets good defense and goes 8 innings - less stress on the pen. Don't forget - good pitching stops good hitting - BUT really good hitting can get that rare extra double off a brilliant pitcher that makes all the difference.

Strong up the middle - from behind the plate to CF combined with strong on the four corners - to me that can really help keep you in the game. I see it as 40% SP, 35%H, 15% RP, 2% B and 8% F - with the other 100% being the influence of the dark matter/dark energy side of the universe. Put it all together and - well - you just have to play the games and see who threw what to, or past, whom and if whom hit it to whom did it go - simple - did I mention sometimes scotch helps in these quests for knowledge?

Magpie - Sunday, November 28 2010 @ 02:22 AM EST (#226312) #
And in that case - we'll proceed with the idea that one-third of preventing runs is defense, and two-thirds is pitching. Starters work two thirds of the innings, relievers work one-third. So....

Starters - 22%
Relievers - 11%
Defenders - 17%
Hitters - 49%
BaseRunners - 1%

If Frank Thomas or Bengie Molina is on your team, reduce BaseRunners to 0.5%
Magpie - Sunday, November 28 2010 @ 02:31 AM EST (#226313) #
good pitching stops good hitting

And vice versa, as a wise man once said. It occurs to me to point out that one of the most important things to understand about the game is that the identity of the hitter is far more important than the identity of the pitcher. It is the hitter's tendencies that are more likely to shape the result of an at bat than the pitcher's. No pitcher - not even Brian Tallet - allows home runs as frequently as Jose Bautista hits them. No pitcher walks hitters as frequently as Jose Bautista walks. No pitcher strikes out hitters as frequently as Adam Lind strikes out. And so on and so on....
BumWino - Sunday, November 28 2010 @ 03:06 AM EST (#226314) #

Hi, pal

Yeah, you're right.  As usual.  I completely neglected the metaphysical aspect of the game.

When Travis Snider shows up at ST weighing 340 lbs., I going to have to utter the magic phrase in order to transmute him around the bases whenever he gets a hit.  Save a lot of wear and tear on his heart.  He'll thank me for it someday.

Is that single-malt only, or will just any scotch do?

BumWino - Sunday, November 28 2010 @ 03:14 AM EST (#226315) #

I read somewhere that all it takes to win is money, baseball entrepreneurship and luck.  Luck is the only thing that can't be bought.

So you'll get no agrument from me.

BumWino - Sunday, November 28 2010 @ 03:18 AM EST (#226316) #
Hi, Mag.  I'd agree with you if there were more 9-8 games than 4-3 games, but there isn't, so I won't.
BumWino - Sunday, November 28 2010 @ 03:57 AM EST (#226317) #

Once through the rotation, the 5 starters typically pitch 30 innings and the 7 relievers pitch the other 15.  This is why I have the a bigger gap between starters and relievers.  Only the 8th and 9th inning RP's have jobs remotely as important as all five starters'.

Good teams are generally built around starting pitching.  So over the 162-game schedule, how can only 22% of, say, a 100-victory season be credited to the starters?  Look at Pittsburg's 2010 season.  They had 55-57 wins or something.  Their very poor starting staff certainly deserve more than 22% of the blame.

I think you're giving fielding too much credit.  Typically, fielding percentages range from  around .950  to 1.000.  Batting averages average what?  .250?  There is no comparison between the degree of difficulty of the two.  Games generally average two or three highlight-reel fielding plays.  The rest of the fielding is pretty well routine.  Occassionally somebody makes an error.

BumWino - Sunday, November 28 2010 @ 05:45 AM EST (#226318) #

What you're saying obviously has some validity due to the different talent levels of the various players.  Add to this the fact that the least talented players are benched or gone and the most talented players get the most OPA's and the most innings pitched.  So it has to all come out in the wash.  Bautista had 100 walks and someone had to issue them. 

Besides, the parameter for the requested opinion was a full season, not an individual at bat, although individual at bats eventually make up the full season. 

Even more important to understand with regard to the contentious pitching versus hitting dynamic is the fact that starting pitchers rarely have their best stuff and pinpoint location more frequently than once every five starts.  Another one in five starts, they are out-and-out horrible.  Three starts in five, they can't locate their curve, for example, or some other part(s) of their arsenal is ineffective. 

Considering all of latter and including much of the former, I remain largely unswayed in my contention that the quality of a pitcher's individual pitches in terms of velocity, location and stuff will, in the majority of outcomes, trump both the batter's hitting plan or strategy and his subsequent flailings at said pitches irrespective of his particular talent level, which in turn renders my rationale not so much a capricious stab in the dark in the faint hope that I might maintain at least a modicum of self-esteem and peer-group respect as a baseball observer, as, indeed, it appears to be the other side of the page of your own well-considered logic--or at least it could be viewed in that light by a hand-picked, blue-ribbon panel of reasonably astute baseball observers who were cognitive of both theories encompassing these two most important facets of the Great American Pastime--always bearing in mind, and preferably at the forefront, that wonderful old adage which so readily lends itself to baseball commentary, "Bullsh!t baffles brains."

So you see, Mag, we're in complete agreement.   

bpoz - Sunday, November 28 2010 @ 11:37 AM EST (#226321) #
Today Nov 28th seems to be quite educational to me.

BW's initiation of the conversation about most aspects of winning baseball and JN's (other thread) about the Closer not being as crucial as we thought, in that he could come into a clean inning where as a Setup man quite often comes into a difficult situation in the 6,7,8th inning.

Let me add the factor of an ACE eg assume Halladay with 22wins and 230IP as contributing big win numbers and saving the pen's usage + anything else. How valuable is an Ace to a contender or non contender. Well a weak team can always trade him for very good prospects. Should they, Seattle & KC?

Any general additional factors not mentioned? Experience?

So AA is working on stacking the team in all areas for the 2011 and future seasons. $ will play a role.

We will know the team's makeup as the off season progresses. So where do we need to improve piece by piece for 2011 to be considered possible contenders?

My new opinion is:-
1) AA will put some pieces together to improve the 2011 team and I will conclude that we are a contender but a weak contender still behind NYY,TB & BOS.
2) Optimistically I site 41-32 W-L after the All Star break & 16-14 against NYY,TB & BOS also post All Star. Much better Hill/Lind and 5th starter.
3) Pessimistically Inter League 7-11 W-L is bad. Someone will probably under perform. Will the injury situation be better or worse?
4) Inexperienced players learning is another negative factor. Morrow improved greatly after Apr & May. If JPA is our catcher, how long does he need to improve? At what cost? Who else is going to be inexperienced at a regular position? Inexperience will hurt but IMO it is a necessary & unavoidable cost. Eg Drabek should be better after his rookie year, but we have to endure any learning negatives.

For 2011, we should have 5 V Good SPs with 4 reasonably established and a lot of depth. Top 4SP's each flirted with NoNos often enough for me to label them V Good in 2011 as a realistic possibility.
The pen is unknown. It was stated that we are 10th of 14 but I have not seen how much worse 10th was to 9th or 1st. JN's link to the Closer & Set up roles article seems to say that the Closer is not as crucial as generally thought, it is the set up men that often enter in dangerous situations. These tough situations can happen in the 6-8th inning when the Closer is not usually used. With 5 V Good SPs (#5 spot must succeed), then they should get into the 7-8th inning more often, there by helping out the pen. It looks like the pen will be different with our top 3RP most likely leaving, will they be better or worse? So if we don't need to fight for 1 of the available established closers... IMO we need 3-4 good reliable RPs and they don't have to be experienced ie Henke & Feliz. We have Camp and someone we already have may be the 2nd, so get 2 more good arms and what we have in our vast quantity may still deliver. That is HOPE but with a reasonable probability.

As the off season advances my opinion will change. I am sure that there will be lots of debate a few weeks before opening day.


Mylegacy - Sunday, November 28 2010 @ 12:37 PM EST (#226326) #
I L-O-V-E talking baseball in November - seriously, talking baseball in November. Yummy.

2011 looks to be a challenging year - the NY Spankies may very well have Jesus as their catcher. Don't tell Sarah Palin or she'll be thinking it's the other guy with the self-confessed, multiple-occasion, mass-murdering maniac for a father. Ya I know - every family has one!

But, think about it; the Jays get a new rookie pitcher named Arencibia and the Yanks - the freakin' Yanks when they have to get a new pitcher - his name is Jesus. They don't call it the Big Apple for nothin'.

I think we might be competitive and catch lightening in a bottle in 2011 - but to me the sure indicator that 2011 is definitely a building year is the the fact that at this time it looks like Mylegacy, Bum Wino, Magpie, Gerry, China Fan, Mike Green and Mick are the bullpen - that 'otta give the AL East shivers of glee.

Magpie - Sunday, November 28 2010 @ 01:15 PM EST (#226329) #
I think you're giving fielding too much credit.

I think defense is always, always underestimated. Consider: the difference between the best shortstop and the worst is what? Probably about 80 plays - 80 hits that are turned into outs, or vice versa. Consider what that number of plays does to a hitter's numbers. Aaron Hill hit .205 last season. If you take 80 of his outs and turn them into singles (we're talking about a shortstop's defense, so they'd all be singles), he hits .356. Even on the team level, you can see the impact - the Jays hit .248 last seaon, and that number of extra hits would kick them up to .259. That's one position in the field.

Second baseman have the same type of impact, if not quite as large. And while the quantitative differences between corner infielders aren't anywhere near as large, a goodly number of the hits they prevent go for extra bases. It's a big deal.
Magpie - Sunday, November 28 2010 @ 01:29 PM EST (#226332) #
the quality of a pitcher's individual pitches in terms of velocity, location and stuff will, in the majority of outcomes, trump both the batter's hitting plan or strategy and his subsequent flailings at said pitches irrespective of his particular talent level

But most at bats end in failure anyway, whether the pitcher is Felix Hernandez or Brian Tallet. That's a given - even Tallet succeeded in getting 232 outs last season, from the 356 hitters he faced. The biggest swings in results, the biggest variations, are provided mainly by the hitter.
bpoz - Sunday, November 28 2010 @ 02:18 PM EST (#226337) #
I too love talking baseball in Nov.

Is it closer by committee or has one guy earned the job.
BumWino - Sunday, November 28 2010 @ 04:06 PM EST (#226340) #

Depends on how it's being looked at, Mag.  I still say that the difference in the quality of pitching, in your example Tallet vs. Hernandez, makes virtually all the difference in the individual batting outcomes. 

This feels like an apples/oranges discussion where neither one of us is completely right and neither one of us is completely wrong.  We're just looking at the same thing from two differenct perspectives.

BumWino - Sunday, November 28 2010 @ 04:36 PM EST (#226341) #

Thank you so much for your inspiring spiritual message this glorious Sunday afternoon, Mylegacy.  Your words from On High have given me the hope, faith and fortitude to face yet another week of my arduous lifelong journey.  

Thank you again, dear friend.

BumWino

P.S.  Regarding the revamped bullpen, please don't pencil me in as the set-up person or the closer.  Whatever you do.   I know my nerves just aren't up for it.  I couldn't take it.  It could destroy my fragile equilibrium.  Besides, I don't possess the necessary chutzpa.   I don't even know how to properly stand around, spit and scratch myself.  Since the 1994 strike, these have been the first duties and responsibilities listed on a relief pitcher's job description. 

Hey, I've got it!  I can handle the innings-eater role.  You know, when we're eight runs behind or ten runs ahead.  Then, I'll be lights-out!  You'll see.

Magpie - Sunday, November 28 2010 @ 05:49 PM EST (#226342) #
I still say that the difference in the quality of pitching

Why then, are there hitters who hit home runs more frequently than any pitcher, even Brian Tallet, gives them up? Why are there hitters, guys who play regularly, who hit singles less often than any pitcher, even Felix Hernandez, gives them up? Why does this happen? Because the most significant variations in performance, at both ends of the scale, always come from the hitters.
Magpie - Sunday, November 28 2010 @ 06:38 PM EST (#226344) #
To amuse myself and because I don't much like football, I've just crunched the numbers for the 70 AL hitters and 43 AL pitchers who qualified on BBRef's leaderboards. I calculated the frequency of singles, doubles, triples, home runs, walks, and strikeouts as a percentage of plate appearance/batter faced for all 113 of these players.

To my surprise, there's actually one category we can give to a pitcher. No AL hitter drew a walk as infrequently as Cliff Lee issued one. All it took was an historic level of performance (only five pitchers in the last 100 years have walked batters as seldom as Lee did this past season.)

Otherwise, the top and bottom of every category is mainly populated by the guys with the bats.

Singles Per PApp/Batter Faced

  1. Ichiro Suzuki  23.9
  2. Juan Pierre    21.4
  3. Elvis Andrus   20.5
  4. Rick Porcello   20.4
  5. Rajai Davis     20.1
...
109. B.J. Upton     11.0
110. Carlos Quentin 10.8
111. Aaron Hill     10.3
112. Carlos Pena     8.4
113. Jose Bautista   8.2

Highest Pitcher: Porcello
Lowest Pitcher: Jeremy Guthrie (13.1, 100th)

Doubles Per PApp/Batter Faced

1. Adrian Beltre 7.6
2. Delmon Young 7.5
 3. Joe Mauer 7.4
4. Brad Bergesen 7.1
5. Josh Hamilton 7.0
...
109. Chone Figgins 3.0
110. Trevor Cahill 2.6
111. Cesar Izturis 2.5
112. Juan Pierre 2.5
113. Elvis Andrus 2.2

Highest Pitcher: Bergesen
Lowest Pitcher: Cahill


Triples are so rare (and so heavily park dependent) that we probably shouldn't include them: if we did, we'd find Crawford, Jackson, Span, Pennington, Granderson at the top of the list. Eight hitters and three pitchers weren't involved in any triples at all in 2010.

HomeRuns Per PApp/Batter Faced
1. Jose Bautista 7.9
2. Paul Konerko 6.2
3. Miguel Cabrera 5.9
4. Josh Hamilton 5.6
5. David Ortiz 5.3
...
109. Denard Span 0.4
110. Cesar Izturis 0.2
111. Chone Figgins 0.1
112. Juan Pierre 0.1
113. Elvis Andrus 0.0

Highest Pitcher: James Shields (3.8, 21st)
Lowest Pitcher: Francisco Liriano (1.1, 100th)

Walks Per PApp/Batter Faced
1. Daric Barton 16.0
2. Carlos Pena 14.9
3. Jose Bautista 14.6
4. Ben Zobrist 14.0
5. Brett Gardner 13.9
...
109. Yuniesky Betancourt 3.9
110. Adam Jones 3.7
111. Jose Lopez 3.0
112. A.J. Pierzynski 3.0
113. Cliff Lee 2.1

Highest Pitcher: C.J. Wilson (10.9, 19th)
Lowest Pitcher: Lee

Strikeouts Per PApp/Batter Faced
1. Carlos Pena 27.1
2. B.J. Upton 26.9
3. Mike Napoli 26.9
4. Jon Lester 26.1
5. Jered Weaver 25.7
...
109. Joe Mauer 9.1
110. Kurt Suzuki 9.0
111. A.J. Pierzynski 7.8
112. Alberto Callaspo 7.0
113. Juan Pierre 6.4

Highest Pitcher: Lester
Lowest Pitcher: Brad Bergesen (10.9, 102nd)

Think of it this way - if you're wondering whether this particular at bat is likely to result in a home run, it's far, far, far more important to know whether the hitter is Carlos Pena or Juan Pierre than knowing who's on the mound.
Jonny German - Sunday, November 28 2010 @ 07:03 PM EST (#226347) #
Excellent illustration of the point Magpie.

It may be obvious to everyone else, but it took me a second to understand that you're talking about "per 100 plate appearances" and "per 100 batters faced". i.e. Bautista hit 7.9 home runs every 100 times he came to the plate and James Shields allowed 3.8 home runs for every 100 batters he faced.

It would be neat to see this sort of date presented as super-imposed curves (belle curves, I assume) to illustrate the typical ranges for hitters and for pitchers.
Alex Obal - Sunday, November 28 2010 @ 07:20 PM EST (#226349) #
Nice post, Magpie, and ... alright! someone else cited pitcher strikeout and walk rates with the correct denominators! We have progress!

Couple more stats, one of which is basically implied in the ones above, and gets at how valuable the good hitters are relative to the not good ones.

OBP

Cabrera .420
Hamilton .411
Mauer .402
Choo .401
Barton .393

Lind .287
Kouzmanoff .283
Izturis .277
Hill .271
Lopez .270

Burnett .366
Davies .354
Masterson .353
Millwood .352
Bonderman .342

Marcum .288
Cahill .287
Hernandez .273
Good Weaver .267
Lee .255

I suppose the truly awful pitchers don't get enough rope to qualify with a .420 OBP against. Still, I think the point stands.

GB% is pretty close, and I think looking at historical GB distributions might reveal that it's a wash. This year, though, the hitters win:

Jeter 65.7
Andrus 61.1
Pierre 58.8
Ichiro 57.4
Span 54.3

Hill 35.3
Konerko 35.1
Peralta 34.3
Granderson 33.0
Bautista 31.1

Masterson 59.9
Cahill 56.0
Carmona 55.6
Romero 55.2
Hernandez 53.9

Hughes 36.1
Good Weaver 36.0
Garza 35.8
Baker 35.6
Ervin Santana 35.2

BumWino - Sunday, November 28 2010 @ 07:46 PM EST (#226351) #

The way you put it this last time, yes, the most significant variations of performance come from the hitters.  But it doesn't mean anything in terms of wins.  No more significant than me saying that fielding averages are about four times as high as batting averages.  It's true, but so what?   

Here's another point to add to what is becoming a rather pointless discussion.  Because the Jays rarely pinch hit, the starting position players have to hang around all game and take their lumps; The 0-fer, The Hat Trick(3 SO), The Golden Sombrero(4 SO), The Platinum Snood (5 strikeouts in one game), and so on.

If you're suggesting that batting results tend to be more extreme than pitching results, I agree entirely.  But again, so what?  The whole issue is about wins.  

Arencibia went 1-30 to end the season.  No Jays pitcher has ever faced 30 batters and allowed 29 hits.  Pitchers are yanked when they run into trouble, so in a way their stats are more artificial than batters'.  "Artificial" batting stats are produced in a platoon situation. 

Another example.  I seem to remember that Wells went over 20 games between homers, maybe late July to mid-August.  During that time Marcum had about five quality starts in a row.  Yet again, so what?

My point is that consistent starting pitching is at least slightly more important than consistent hitting to produce a contending team.  And that the importance of "fielding" is being blown out of proportion by the Jays front office, because good-field, no-hit players come a lot cheaper than the other way around.  We will see a Loney at first base much sooner than a LaRoach or whatever his name is.

Alex Obal - Sunday, November 28 2010 @ 07:52 PM EST (#226352) #
Then you'd be looking at a job for WPA, except WPA isn't up to the job because it considers defense part of pitching.

I dunno...

Unrelated. One annoying thing about being good at defense is you can't really leverage it. You can put your best short reliever in with a one-run lead in the ninth. You can bat your best hitter behind your OBP machines. But the just-barely-in-your-guy's-range miraculous diving plays come whenever they feel like it, and errors come randomly.

Mike Green - Sunday, November 28 2010 @ 08:05 PM EST (#226354) #
There was a similar study in the Hardball Times Annual 2007.  Essentially, 2/3 of outcomes result from the batter's qualities, be they strikeouts, walks, ground balls and fly balls. So, If you have an extreme fly ball hitter facing an extreme ground ball pitcher, you need to weight the rates 2 for the batter, 1 for the pitcher to get the observed GB rate.
BumWino - Sunday, November 28 2010 @ 08:18 PM EST (#226357) #

Excellent stats, Mag, but what are you trying to prove--that hitting is more important than pitching to produce wins? 

Your summation or example at the end is kind of confusing.  On the one hand, of course Pena hits more homers than Pierre.  Nobody has to "wonder" about that. 

On the other hand, the pitching coach and manager know exactly how effective their pitcher has been against every opposition hitter.  They don't have to "wonder" about what the hitter is going to do. 

If Pena clobbers Camp, for example, then pitch around Pena, intentionally walk him, or replace Camp with another reliever who Pena doesn't hit very well.  Everybody knows that.

How do the extremes of hitting vs. pitching help the Blue Jays win games?  Seems to me that maximizing the results of the team's playing personnel, including acquiring and/or developing better players to replace weak sisters is the key to winning.  

Mag, if I'm missing something here, please let me know. 

 

      

BumWino - Sunday, November 28 2010 @ 08:52 PM EST (#226358) #

Mike, thanks for that.  I finally get what Magpie's been saying, because I was only considering the probabilities of positive batting outcomes and not all possible outcomes per se, which is almost like saying the same thing in another way. 

The availability of ever more advanced stats tends to become ponderous vis-a-vis their actual value in terms of helping a team win.  I'm talking about real baseball, not fantasy baseball. 

I don't want the nerds to take over the game, setting up the ludicrous situation in which we all have to check out the advanced stats to determine whether or not a pitcher pitched well, even though he has just pitched a no-hitter.  It's almost getting that silly.

 

Magpie - Sunday, November 28 2010 @ 08:53 PM EST (#226359) #
that hitting is more important than pitching to produce wins?

Not at all - I assume offense/defense is 50/50.
scottt - Monday, November 29 2010 @ 07:51 AM EST (#226362) #
That's because you're charging every hit to the other team's defense.


BalzacChieftain - Monday, November 29 2010 @ 08:45 AM EST (#226363) #

Alas, here is the Jamesian take on offense v. defense:

Do you think there is an over-emphasis on defense these days? More and more teams are moving away from the sluggers who can't field to more dynamic players that can. On one hand, this is a move towards making baseball more athletic. On the other, how important is it for a left fielder to be a good fielder if the tradeoff is a 10-20 home run swing?

Well, I wouldn't generalize about what other teams are doing, and I could not say whether there is or is not an over-emphasis on defense. Baseball is about:

  • 42 percent hitting,
  • 8 percent baserunning,
  • 37 percent pitching and
  • 13 percent fielding.

Which actually is very close to the numbers that John McGraw put out in 1906; McGraw had pitching at 30 percent, but the game has changed since then, and pitching is more central than it was. 
 
But these numbers assume a level of competence. I think if you have pitchers, fielders can do a lot to help them keep the score down. If you don't have pitchers, there isn't much the fielders can do. And if you don't have fielders, then you need really, really good pitching to survive.

Mick Doherty - Monday, November 29 2010 @ 09:52 AM EST (#226364) #

belle curves

Well, a bell curve, anyway .... although considering the curves on a pretty southern girl might bear a chart or two in and of itself!

Magpie - Monday, November 29 2010 @ 10:18 AM EST (#226365) #
That's because you're charging every hit to the other team's defense.

I don't know what that means.

Anyway, I figure there's a top of an inning and a bottom of an inning. So... 50/50.
bpoz - Monday, November 29 2010 @ 12:53 PM EST (#226370) #
BalzacCheiftain thank you for giving me a glimmer of understanding about the 4 inputs of baseball.

I have to admit that that I could not fully understand some of the other peoples explanations, which I will happily admit is a short coming on my part. But I will ask questions in any points I may be interested in. Thanks to all.

So doing BC's addition 42H+8BR=50%, 37P+13F=50%. So 50/50 O & D. Good so far.
Now do we assign values on a scale for the individual inputs so that a weak team like Pittsburg has a low overall score as compared to a strong and Balanced team like TB who will score high. That would make sense as the next step. Possibly even in comparing the competition.
There are many other factors that affect "this" score for each game ie different SP each game,Back up catcher on day after night game,etc...
The running game is different in the NL, the DH increases the AL hitting. And why, Oh why do the Jays consistently do poorly in inter league play.
Chuck - Monday, November 29 2010 @ 03:43 PM EST (#226375) #
It would be neat to see this sort of date presented as super-imposed curves (belle curves, I assume)

Why bell curves? Talent in baseball is not normally distributed.
Jonny German - Monday, November 29 2010 @ 03:56 PM EST (#226377) #
Good point.
Chuck - Monday, November 29 2010 @ 04:17 PM EST (#226379) #

There are many other factors that affect "this" score for each game ie different SP each game,Back up catcher on day after night game,etc...

The 4 figures (42, 8, 37, 13) are meant to capture, at a macro level, the weighings of the four components of team ability. Why would anyone even want to try to "use" them at the game level?

Mike Green - Monday, November 29 2010 @ 04:43 PM EST (#226381) #
It reduces the guesswork for the 6/49?

Obviously, the apportionment between pitching and defence in run prevention is important for player evaluation.  It is, of course, far from constant over time as TTO rates vary considerably. 
scottt - Monday, November 29 2010 @ 06:08 PM EST (#226382) #
Anyway, I figure there's a top of an inning and a bottom of an inning. So... 50/50.

The last inning is not always played.

Corollary: Defense > Offense at home.


bpoz - Monday, November 29 2010 @ 06:55 PM EST (#226384) #
Chuck, looks like I am still working on understanding these concepts.
So back to the Drawing Board for me.

The Jays Marcum,Romero & Cecil I evaluate as 15 win 3.5-4.0 Era pitchers as a reasonable possibility for 2011, because they came close enough to that in 2010. Since Hill & Lind under performed in 2010 compared to 2009, I am fully prepared to accept any other player to under perform and so if one or all underperformed then I accept that. J Beckett of BOS underperformed in 2010, I accept that I even accept AJ Burnett winning the CY in 2011 as a long shot possibility. With Morrow considered close to or equal to the other 3, we now have 4 potential 15 win pitchers. Zep, Litch, Drabek and Mills, Richmond provide quantity and various levels of quality for me to reasonably expect/hope for all 162 games having a quality SP. If we have to dip into the Brian Burres type for Starts then we will have less than 162 games with a quality starter. So if eventually AA can field 5 starters of that quality which he has stated is his plan then how much of the 42/100 marks attributed to SP s do the Jays receive.
As far as SB go. Last year we had F Lewis 17SB as our main SB threat. IF the willingness to steal and run has increased and we have the personnel F Lewis, R Davis, McCoy if he can steal and a back up in AAA ( Mastro), assuming they are all still Jay's property then I am concluding that the SB component of Offense has improved.

If TB can succeed then IMO the Jays also can succeed one day. All 4 areas will get better and worse as the years go by, I am hoping to somehow make a better judgement on our competitiveness. I must admit I over valued the G Ash teams every year, hoping for a repeat of every players best year.
Chuck - Monday, November 29 2010 @ 07:16 PM EST (#226386) #

assuming they are all still Jay's property then I am concluding that the SB component of Offense has improved.

Baserunning is a combination of both stealing bases and taking extra bases on hits (and outs). It's not all about the former.

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