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Well, the original trade thread filled up faster than the Skydome on a Tuesday in August. Wait...

Anyway, here's a new one for your AA venerating pleasure.

Many posters have been speculating about what Juan Rivera's role will be with the 2011 team. Others think it will be non-existent. I'm in the latter camp. He's in the trade because the Angels don't need him and don't want to pay his salary. This doesn't necessarily mean the Jays don't want him, but I just can't see why they would. I think they're committed to Bautista staying in right, obviously Snider needs to play every day, and, well, Juan Rivera is not a center fielder.

Speaking of which, there isn't really a backup CF on the team right now, which puts a damper on the notion that Rivera might be even the fourth outfielder.

So as several Bauxites have already opined, I think another move is coming in order to solve the third base issue. It'll probably be a short-term move, as Lawrie is being groomed to be the Third Baseman of the Future, but with the team's preference to keep JB in right and EE off of third I just think something else is coming.

If that's true, the roster will feature: an extra C/1B/DH in the Lind/EE/Napoli/Arencibia rotation, presumably a back-up CF, and John McDonald. That leaves one more spot on the roster, so Rivera could make the team, but I really could see him just being released. (Plus, there's a chance Molina stays with the team.) The type-B free agent thing is moot if he isn't playing every day, since he won't qualify. A decent bat with poor defense in an outfield corner? They're a dime a dozen.

---

MLB Trade Rumours has details and reactions from the trade. Not surprisingly, the reactions are at worst "good for both teams" and at best a great deal for the Jays.

By the way, here's the 2012 free agent list. The big names: Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols, Jose Reyes.
What Does Juan Rivera Mean? | 93 comments | Create New Account
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ayjackson - Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 11:50 AM EST (#229227) #
I think I agree with most of that Dave.  Think the next shoe to drop will be Eric Chavez.
China fan - Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 12:02 PM EST (#229229) #

For what it's worth, in today's Star, Richard Griffin predicts that CF will become a "platoon" between Rajai Davis and Corey Patterson.  I think that's probably wrong -- Patterson's offensive numbers are just too dismal -- but Patterson might make the team as the 4th OF.  He's the logical in-house guy to serve as CF backup.

As for the acquisition of Juan Rivera, it strikes me as remarkably similar to the acquisition of Encarnacion in the Scott Rolen trade.  Both trades were essentially salary dumps, and the Jays were obliged to take the inferior player who was rendered redundant by the arrival of Rolen/Wells.   The Jays had no particular desire for these players -- in fact the Jays were fully aware that EE and Rivera don't provide anything close to the value of their contracts at the time of the trade -- but the Jays had to take them or else those trades wouldn't have worked.  In the case of the Rolen trade, the Jays still kept EE around for a couple seasons -- and now a third season -- because they had nobody better available.  Rivera will stay on the roster if the Jays don't find anyone better, but certainly AA must be looking for ways to get rid of that contract.

The most likely outfield in 2011 is Davis-Snider-Bautista.  (Unless Bautista, too, gets traded in another blockbuster deal.)  In that scenario, the Jays need someone for 3B, whether it's Chavez or Lawrie or someone else, and I'm sure AA is busily on the case.

Thomas - Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 12:07 PM EST (#229231) #
Dave, I just wrote half of a more detailed entry on this point, but I think you summed it up well. So, I'll condense my thoughts:

If you take the following 12 players: Arencibia, Lind, Hill, Escobar, Bautista, Rivera, Davis, Snider, Napoli, Molina, McDonald and Encarnacion, then it is clear the team needs a backup CF on the roster (probably Patterson or maybe Mastroianni). With that collection of 12 players, they have nobody who can possibly play CF except for Bautista and I don't think there's any way the Jays want Bautista as anything but the third-choice CF. There were short periods of time last year when he was the main CF backup, but Wells was an everyday player in a way that Davis wasn't and for most of the year the team had one or both of DeWayne Wise or Mike McCoy on the roster.

In the other thread, I explained my thoughts as to why I think Molina will be on the team. I don't know what AA and Farrell's thoughts on the matter are, but I don't see the team going with just Arencibia and Napoli behind the plate if they intend to use Napoli several times a week at DH (or 1B).

The bench as hypothetically constituted (Molina, Encarnacion, McDonald and Patterson) isn't a problem in theory. However, it becomes a problem if a) the Jays want to play Bautista in RF (as this lineup would have Rivera in the OF and Bautista at 3B) and b) if the Jays are truthful in wanting to limit Encarnacion to 1B/DH.

In theory, maybe the Jays could have Encarnacion at 3B, Bautista in RF and Rivera on the bench. While the Jays could have amended their plans to keep Encarnacion away from 3B in light of this trade, I don't think this really fixes the problems of Encarnacion, Lind, Napoli and Rivera serving largely duplicate roles.

As Dave said, the team would be better served replacing one of Encarnacion or Rivera with a player who could add some different versatility to the roster.
Gerry - Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 12:19 PM EST (#229232) #
Is position flexibility the new mantra in Toronto?
earlweaverfan - Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 12:21 PM EST (#229234) #
it is clear the team needs a backup CF on the roster (probably Patterson or maybe Mastroianni).

Can anyone help me see in what way Patterson could be a better bet than Mastroianni?  In fact, isn't it possible that Mastro is already a superior player to Patterson (with much more potential for further growth)?

It seemed over this winter that the Jays weren't exactly sounding enthusiastic about DM, but then he went out and had a wonderful winter ball (small sample size noted).

I see him bringing the potential for all the speed and ability to cover CF that Davis does, with even a greater likelihood for a high OBP - still a shortcoming of this team.

What is the rap against him, except of course he hasn't proven himself at a major league level - a charge that could be leveled at Patterson?

In the same vein, if AA does not find the LF solution he is looking for this year out of Juan Rivera (nor a 3B solution that would send JB back to the outfield), is there a chance that either Eric Thames or Loewen could emerge out of the Vegas club, say in June?  Loewen, in particular, just seems to be coming on stronger and stronger.  I have a hunch about that guy.
China fan - Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 12:22 PM EST (#229235) #

By trading Vernon Wells, AA has found himself saddled with a $5.25-million problem (Rivera) and a $2.5-million problem (Encarnacion).  Both, as noted above, are somewhat redundant.  I suppose AA said to himself:  even if we have to dump both of those players, the waste of $8-million is nothing compared to the savings of $86-million on the Wells contract.  He might just bite the bullet and get rid of both of them.

On the other hand, as I argued in the other thread, AA might decide to keep EE in a full-time or platoon role for DH or 1B, while Napoli splits time between Catcher and DH.  Ultimately it probably depends on how fast JPA can adjust to the majors.  If he's ready, then Napoli switches full-time to the DH/1B role, while EE is benched or dumped.  Still a small price to pay for unloading the Wells contract.

Magpie - Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 12:25 PM EST (#229236) #
Think the next shoe to drop will be Eric Chavez.

I was a huge Eric Chavez fan, and I would be unbelievably happy if somehow he was able to resume what should have been an outstanding career.

But I gotta tell ya - I think there's a better chance of my hair growing back.
ayjackson - Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 12:32 PM EST (#229237) #
I think it makes more sense when Napoli isn't catching to have him play first base and Lind DH (or EE for the platoon spot).  Napoli right now is likely a better option at first.  There's really no reason for him to DH is there?  This strategy would make Molina pretty much redundant.
China fan - Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 12:32 PM EST (#229238) #

Can anyone help me see in what way Patterson could be a better bet than Mastroianni? 

I agree with your point that Mastroianni is improving fast -- he had an excellent season last year, he looked good in winter ball, and he won an invitation to the Jays mini-camp in Toronto with the other top prospects this month.  He certainly has potential.  But look at it from Anthopolous' perspective.  He's not hiring a back-up CF to play a lot of games this year, so it's better to choose a veteran who can ride the bench (like DeWayne Wise last year).  Patterson has played 970 major-league games at CF, while Mastroianni has never played a single game above the AA level.  If Mastroianni was to be promoted to the majors this year, he would ride the bench and stagnate.  That's not the best role for a young prospect.  Better to give the job to a reliable veteran, while allowing the young prospect to get lots of playing time in Las Vegas, which would still be a step forward for Mastroianni.

ayjackson - Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 12:34 PM EST (#229239) #
I agree, but still think they'll bring him in on a minor league deal and make the decision on Rivera and Chavez mid-March.
ayjackson - Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 12:35 PM EST (#229240) #
Sorry, I was replying to Magpie.
Magpie - Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 12:39 PM EST (#229241) #
Can anyone help me see in what way Patterson could be a better bet than Mastroianni?

Depends on the job description - on whether you want a guy to actually play, or whether you want a guy to sit around and watch. If the job is mainly to sit on the bench, pinch run occasionally, and start a game every ten days or so - you know, what Dewayne Wise did last season - then I give that job to the fringe major leaguer, in this case Patterson, and let the younger guy actually play every day in the minors. (Not that Mastroianni's all that young, but seeing as how he hasn't even played a game at AAA...)

But if the job is more substantial, and actually involves semi-regular play - then I'd be inclined to give a much more serious look to Mastroianni.

Anyway, things are way too fluid at the moment to know how this is going to shake out...
Magpie - Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 12:49 PM EST (#229243) #
your AA venerating pleasure.

Well, I think it's safe to say that with the Halladay and Wells trades that the book is now closed on the Gord Ash era...

But now comes the hard part. Anthopoulos thinks he has a plan, he's trying to stick with it... and so he should. But it's going to get harder. In ten months, this team may be wrapping up up a 74-88 season and Shaun Marcum and Vernon Wells may be joining Roy Halladay in the post-season. There will be grumbling. (There's always grumbling, that's just baseball.) So I just hope he and his manager - not to mention all of us! - are properly prepared to cope...
TJ Caino - Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 01:11 PM EST (#229244) #
But it's going to get harder. In ten months, this team may be wrapping up up a 74-88 season and Shaun Marcum and Vernon Wells may be joining Roy Halladay in the post-season.

Payroll flexibility and first round pick protection anyone?

I really hope each of those guys do well. (Their teams, not necessarily.)
Forkball - Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 01:14 PM EST (#229246) #
Well, I think it's safe to say that with the Halladay and Wells trades that the book is now closed on the Gord Ash era...

At this rate, it's going to be getting pretty close to closing the book on the JP era in a couple years.

Shedding money is the easy part - JP was pretty good at that when he started out.  But AA has been more impressive in that regard, and money isn't easier to get rid of these days as it was in the early to mid 2000s. 

When you're spending money on FAs you're going to make mistakes, but at least AA will have the opportunity to make his own mistakes and not work with the handicap of being handed two big mistakes.  Every dollar he spends going forward is a dollar that he chose to spend himself.

Right now, the Jays essentially just have commitments to Lind and Romero beyond 2011 so there's going to be a lot of flexibility.  Throw in a top quarter minor league system, lots of draft picks, a willingness to spend on amateurs (both draft and international) and a bold GM and there's real potential to put something together similar to what the Rays have done. It'll certainly be interesting how it plays out over the next year or two.

Cot's spreadsheet
TJ Caino - Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 01:28 PM EST (#229249) #
From the article linked in the other thread:

The Blue Jays are now blessed with tremendous financial flexibility moving forward. In fact, according Cots Contracts, the Blue Jays have only $17.4 million in payroll commitments for 2012. This includes contracts for Adam Lind, Ricky Romero, Rajai Davis and prospect shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria and buyouts for Octavio Dotel, Jon Rauch, Edwin Encarnacion. Aaron Hill still has a series of club options from 2012-2014 and the club will have potential arbitration cases with several players, including Mike Napoli, Yunel Escobar and Brandon Morrow. There’s also the matter of whether they sign the arbitration-eligible Jose Bautista to a multi-year contract.

http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/01/22/the-blue-jays-have-next-to-nothing-in-payroll-obligations-for-2012/

DaveB - Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 01:38 PM EST (#229251) #
Anyway, things are way too fluid at the moment to know how this is going to shake out...

Exactly, Magpie. I think Dave's OP summed up the situation very well. AA might still be making moves on April 1st, depending on how Spring Training plays out. The best thing for the franchise would be for Lind and Arencibia to develop positional value as everyday players and that won't be known for a while. Napoli is great insurance either way. The way things stand right now, my guess is that the team will go with three catchers and a fourth OF who can play CF (Patterson, possibly Mastroianni). The bench projection of Molina, McDonald, EE and Patterson seems spot on considering the current options. A combination of defense, power, speed and a much-needed lefty bat on the bench. Rivera is no better than 50/50 IMO to be with the team on Opening Day.

The one final move I expect AA to make is to add a glove at 3B. Sanchez would be fine, but the options are as unlimited now as they were in November. Heck, it could still be Hill. While I love the idea of Lawrie moving to third base, I don't think it would stop AA from adding a young 3B if the opportunity presents itself.  Lawrie needs a full year in the Minors and is just as likely to end up as a ML outfielder. The Rockies might be willing to trade Ian Stewart. They've added two guys in the off-season who can play 3B and also gave Joe Crede a Spring Training invite. Stewart's in arbitration mode and the Rockies' off-season doesn't show a lot of confidence in their once highly-regarded prospect.
uglyone - Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 01:45 PM EST (#229254) #
I think there's far too many balls still up in the air to make a call on this either way, but if the roster stays as is, I'd say it makes most sense to use Rivera as the primary pinch hitter off the bench, even maybe doing a semi platoon with Lind, while EE plays 3B and Patterson becomes the 4th OF.

Though not only are there moves left to be made IMO, but also how quickly the likes of Lawrie, Thames, and Mastroianni develop plays directly into this decision.
TJ Caino - Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 01:46 PM EST (#229256) #
Leading up to the 2010 recent draft, there was a lot of speculation as to whether AA really had the financial backing to invest in the draft. The 2009 draft saw the Jays fail to sign 3 of their 4 tops picks. The Rolen and Rios trades fit well into a narrative that suggested the Rogers Corporation would never spend the money necessary to compete.

While it remains to be seen whether AA will splurge on a star free agent, the past year has demonstrated that AA can afford to invest aggressively in lots top talent. Him and his scouting staff also have lots of high picks.

The discussion leading up to the 2011 draft will be very excited and optimistic. I know I am super pumped.
Mylegacy - Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 01:55 PM EST (#229259) #
Tremendous Financial Flexibility (TFF).

Now, the hard part. How do you meld TFF with building from within and eventually being a perpetual contender. In other words - the hard part starts now. Note - I said - STARTS now. The overwhelming majority of our high end minor league guys are between 1.5 and 3 years from making an appearance in the bigs - NOT 1.5 to 3 years from being REGULARS. Guys like: Hech, Gose, Marisnaick, Thames, Sierra, D'arnaud, Perez, etc., etc. will not be MLB Stars (IF they are EVER MLB stars) until 2014 at the VERY earliest.

Why is that important? Jose "Da Beast of Blue Jay Way" Bautista. Jose will be 33 the first year I expect our "kids" will be gelling. Which Jose will he be? How much will he be worth then? Would we be better off to use Jose (and some others) in a trade for a younger stud like Upton or Rasmus who will be able to age with our kids or go "long" (as my friends in the stock market say) with Da Beast?

IF I'm AA - and I have no illusions I'm good enough to carry his jock - I say sign Jose for one year. IF - he becomes the guy we all desperately hope he might be - we try to sign him long term after the season knowing what he's worth - not guessing what he's worth. OR - (what I would do IF he's real is) at the trade deadline we package him in an Upton/Rasmus/Wright deal. We build with YOUNG STUDS - later when we've wall to wall young studs we overpay for a guy like Bautista - now - now - we just keep adding young studs. Worse case is two draft choices.

Magpie - Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 02:04 PM EST (#229262) #
to use Rivera as the primary pinch hitter off the bench

There's no such role anymore, certainly not in the AL. Pinch hitting itself is becoming a thing of the past. It's modern roster construction. You've got 2 guys who almost certainly can't hit - your backup catcher and your backup middle infielder. Which leaves 11 guys for the 9 regular spots and reserve duty at approximately five different positions. Can't carry any floaters, or specialists in there. Not anymore.
Matthew E - Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 02:10 PM EST (#229265) #
Well, I think it's safe to say that with the Halladay and Wells trades that the book is now closed on the Gord Ash era...

Don't forget Dustin McGowan!
uglyone - Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 02:13 PM EST (#229266) #
sorry, I guess I shouldn't have said "PINCH" hitter.

I'll reword that to say he should be used as our primary BENCH BAT, period.

his ability to play both corner OF spots and 1B can give him plenty of chances to get at bats. In fact I see both him and EE fighting over the final starting spot and primary bench bat roles most of the year (with JBau moving between 3B/RF as needs be), with both getting 300-400ab in the process.

As opposed to our other (at the moment) bench players, who would be there purely for their defensive abilities in Patterson, McDonald, and Molina.
Mike D - Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 02:36 PM EST (#229269) #
Backup CF is certainly an issue on this roster, but given the youth of the pitching staff, I would keep Molina and McDonald on the bench ahead of Patterson.  Assuming Napoli is the regular DH, and assuming a 3B or OF is added, a Molina/McDonald/Encarnacion/Rivera bench is very, very solid.  Rosenthal is reporting that Podsednik is still in play for the Jays, but I'd rather bring a 3B on board and keep Bautista in RF and Snider in LF.
Mike D - Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 02:39 PM EST (#229270) #
a 74-88 season

I suppose that's possible, Mags, but I think even without Marcum, there's too much starting pitching here for 88 losses.

jerjapan - Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 02:44 PM EST (#229271) #
Is position flexibility the new mantra in Toronto?

Great call Gerry, it does seem to be an excellent way to maximize value on players who, while talented in some apsects, have holes in their game - Lind, Davis, EE, Napoli, Hill, even Rivera.  Aside from Hill, all these guys show pretty significant platoon splits over their careers, so mixing a lefty bat like Chavez in their simply increases your platoon options.  To increase the flexibility, I'd love to see a 6 man pen at times, but not sure who we'd demote without exposing them to waivers? 

I foresee a ton of different lineups this year, and think these look reasonable as a start.  Not saying they are LIKELY, but I have a feeling Farrell will be a lot more creative with his lineups than Cito.   

VS LHP

Davis CF

Escobar SS

Bautista 3B

Napoli 1B

EE DH

Rivera RF

Hill 2B

Snider LF

JPA C


VS. RHP

Davis CF

Escobar SS

Bautista RF

Snider LF

Lind 1B

Napoli DH

Chavez 3B

Hill 2B

Molina C (he of the significant reverse splits over the last three years)

TamRa - Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 03:18 PM EST (#229274) #
someone may have already pointed this out - I'm in a bit of a rush - but AA pretty much said in the interview on MLB.com that he had no idea how napoli and rivera would be used. The strong impression i got was that he was seizing the moment to move the contract and get players with value - even if they don't necessarily have roles on our team.

I wouldn't be remotely shocked to see Rivera flipped/"dumped" and one of Napoli or EE also if the return filled a need.

Also, I'm now down with the upthread discussion regarding mastro making the team. Certainly if the only alternative is Patterson. However, it has crossed my mind to wonder how Lastings Millidge plays in CF?


uglyone - Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 03:28 PM EST (#229276) #
think Colby Rasmus!
bpoz - Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 04:40 PM EST (#229280) #
TB signed Manny Ramirez for 1yr $2mil. IMO it is a great acquisition for TB but I find this low cost very strange.
Maybe there are incentives involved.
aaforpm - Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 04:58 PM EST (#229281) #
I think Rivera plays the outfield while Bautista plays third.  I think AA likes the idea of Rivera turning into a type B free agent (and draft pick) by taking advantage of hitting at the dome.  I don't like Rivera or his hitting style but I would rather watch him hit than what's left of Eric Chavez (was a big fan of his but he's just had too many injuries to come back at this point).  I know Bautista wants to play RF but I don't think the team is that obsessed with making him happy since he's probably gone after this year anyways.  Richard Griffin writes that the Wells deal means that a long term Bautista deal is coming, but based on the fact that Griffin is ALWAYS COMPLETELY wrong about what AA is doing I say Bautista is gone after this year.  I think Bautista will want 6 to 7 years and even if he's good for the next 3 years AA does not want to sign a stupid contract immediately after getting rid of one.  This team will be ready to compete in 2014 at which point Bautista will no longer be an elite player due to his age.

If anything I think the Wells move proves that the team is looking at 2013 and beyond (when Wells was more certain to slow down) - meaning that they will not be signing any high priced free agents in 2012.  I think it would be more interesting to look at the free agents for 2014/15 (perhaps Votto: if Boras doesn't demand a stupid # of years and Lind hasn't proven himself at first by that point, thereby causing the Jays to exercise his options)

The only guy I want to see moved at this point is EE, since that allows Napoli to do EE's job without cutting into JP's playing time too much...and I'd be more curious to see Rivera get a chance than EE just because I'm not a big fan of his (who should be easier to trade than Rivera because he has a more reasonable salary) 

TamRa - Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 06:54 PM EST (#229283) #
More and more I come to the opinion that I really shouldn't be saying what I would do as a defininitive statement.

Eric Chavez is a perfect example. From the outside, everyone seems to fall into one of two categories: Either "It costs us nothing to find out" or ""no way he has anything left"

But here's what i think: if Alex thinks he has something left, he'll sign him (how good do you have to be to be better than Cory Patterson anyway?) and if he doesn't sign him, we're not missing anything valuable. He and his staff are far better positioned to know if there's something there. So, essentially, by definition if Alex makes a deal, it's highly likely to be a smart move. My pet peaee this year is Dotel. But for the  mmost part, i'm biting my tongue. At least until Alex boots one.


TamRa - Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 07:22 PM EST (#229284) #
MLBTR reports that the Rangers would still like to add a hitter and Vlad doesn't fit because he wants to play every day...

They might be interested in Rivera...


Per a thought from Parkes on Twitter, a musical interlude, with apologies to Randy Newman:

Everybody hated JP,
He was a smart-ass
every move he made caused bitchin'
And don''t get me started on Gord Ash, son
Estiban Loaiza is enough said
but there's a whole lot more

But now we got a bright young man
with ideas and plans for years to come
gonna take us back to the glory days
Man it's been too long

Rolled up his sleves and got to work
Traded Doc and got a mint
hired a thousand scouts
he's always thinkin', always five moves ahead

From the draft picks, to the Cuban,
Getting Morrow, Dealing Vernon
Everybody's very happy
'Cause the man can't lose, got a golden touch
Wonder what he'll do today?

I love AA (We love him!)
I love AA! (We love him!)

Look over at Drabek
Take a look at Lawrie
Look at the flamethrower,
racking up 17 k's
Look at those prospects
Ain't nothing like them anywhere

I love AA (We love him!)
I love AA! (We love him!)




Lylemcr - Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 08:04 PM EST (#229285) #

I like the idea of aquiring assets that can maybe be traded for something later.  Vlady would come at a good price right now.  Now that is a bat off the bench!  But they have to be valuable assets.  I am not sure what Chavez does but pushes out a bat that we could be grooming in AAA.  Actually, he just makes the training staff busier.... 

On the other end of the scale, we do need to move some of the AAA assets up to see what they can do and make room for the next generation.  I have always hated it when people talk about these strong farm systems and they do nothing with them.  If you are not going to contend, then lets see what we have in AAA!

dan gordon - Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 09:37 PM EST (#229286) #

I think Rivera is going to play pretty regularly in the OF.  He's a better hitter than a lot of people think.  Just looking at some career numbers for the 3 players involved in the trade.  Career OPS - Wells .804, Rivera .789 and Napoli .831. 

I always like to look at career numbers on the road to eliminate park factors as much as possible.  Particularly in a case like this where 1 player has played his whole career in a pretty good hitters' park and the other 2 have played in a pretty bad hitters' park.  Career road OPS - Wells .767, Rivera .802, Napoli .837.  I'm not convinced Wells is going to hit much, if any, better than Rivera did for Anaheim.  Wells is faster and a better outfielder, but in the batter's box, there's not much difference between them.  If they give Napoli regular work by not catching him too much, I wouldn't be surprised to see him hit 30 HR's. 

Still can't believe the Jays actually pulled this off.  The Giants should call the Angels and see if they want Barry Zito.

Glevin - Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 10:04 PM EST (#229287) #
Would people please stop bringing Eric Chavez up. I love bargain players as much as anyone, but the guy is just done. He can't play the field anymore and he can't stay healthy. Even if he could, there is no reason to believe he'd be able to hit at all. He hasn't been an impact hitter since 2004 and he's now 33. Encarnacion is already a decent enough player to fill in at 3B for the time being.

Mylegacy - Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 10:13 PM EST (#229288) #
Just for the sheer joy and thrill of it I've just re-read everything I can find on the Great Wells Anaheim Express Robbery er trade.

I think some of of our fans are putting the cart before the horse. This trade gives AA FLEXIBILITY - this trade - per se - does not make the Jays a better team in 2011. Napoli in 2011 should be a platoon 1st with Lind. Napoli will give us a serious improvement over Lind against "lefties." That difference - while very sweet - will not be anywhere as positive as the SERIOUS drop off of going from Wells to Davis in CF.  Remember, Wells "bad" defense was only 6 runs a year below the average. Davis' better defense is not going to come anywhere near making up for Wells seriously better bat.

What I'm so giddy about is that AA now has the financial room to start the long term payroll planning necessary if we are to continually contend. While the pitching - on hand - and in the minors - shows enough strength to show an on-going continuing of contending quality players - the same cannot be said for the position players. Most of the really good ones are far away and or have serious questions about them.  Forinstance: Will Hech, or Gose, or Marisnick (among others) ever hit at a major league level? None are really close now. Are Thames or Sierra good enough to make it - let alone excel if they do? Will Arencibia's isolated power make up for his low batting average and OBP? Is D'arnaud's back done? Will Perez be able to hit for reasonable power? Almost every prospect we have still has lots to prove. Is Lawrie anywhere near as good as he thinks he is? How well will his super ego handle having to actually LEARN how to play a position - any position!?

I would not be surprised to see us finish 5th this year. I would also not be surprised to see us finish 4th. I would be surprised to see us finish about 4th.

Clearly, we can now sit back and watch AA perform more magic - he has shown us he can hypnotize GM's - now he must show us he can keep it up. I don't see us as serious - continual contenders - till 2013 IF everything breaks right - but more likely not until 2014 or even 2015. However it plays out - I'm hyped that we're moving not only in a direction - but in the right direction, with a coherent philosophy and demonstrated skills in implementing the strategy. I'm bullish on the Jays!

sam - Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 10:40 PM EST (#229289) #
I agree with all those points Mylegacy. Another thing AA and co. have done and this is subtle but makes a big difference for the development of players is he's promoted minor league players a month before the end of the season to give them a taste of what they'll experience the upcoming year. I'm thinking of what they did promoting guys to Lansing last year and Dunedin. Those few months could mean a huge difference for young prospects. They allow them to acclimatize with very little pressure. I think next year you could see huge years from a lot of our guys in the minors. It's going to be fun following the minor league updates next year, and as a student at UBC I'll be sure to try to get as many reports, photos, and videos of prospects up as possible.
uglyone - Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 11:01 PM EST (#229291) #
Napoli and his career .796ops/.344wOBA vs. RHP should not be platooning with anyone.
Flex - Sunday, January 23 2011 @ 12:02 AM EST (#229293) #
I am a big Anthopoulos fan and I think he did great work with this trade, but I'm starting to think that people have the view that he can walk on water, and that he conjured this trade from thin air. We shouldn't forget the fact that the Angels came to him first. It was their need, or more accurately their perception of their need, that drove this deal. I agree that Anthopoulos seems to have been able to make the most of it. And it's possible that his very decency and ability to work with people was a factor in convincing Wells to waive his no-trade clause.

But if the Angels hadn't come calling, Wells would still be a Jay, and we'd still have that contract on the books.
christaylor - Sunday, January 23 2011 @ 12:09 AM EST (#229294) #
"I think Rivera is going to play pretty regularly in the OF. He's a better hitter than a lot of people think. Career OPS - Wells .804, Rivera .789"

I hope not. A Rivera-Davis-Snider outfield would be begging for 70-ish wins and not being helpful in developing the young pitchers.

Comparing Wells and Rivera's career OPS is about as relevant as comparing their '03, 06 and '10. OPS numbers.

"Wells is faster and a better outfielder, but in the batter's box, there's not much difference between them."

Doubt there's a single scout in all of MLB baseball that would agree with you. I understand being giddy about dumping the salary, but this strange attitude of "look, woah, Rivera is almost as good as Wells" is non-sense. Look at their peak value. Look at their peak value in the past 3 years... or watch them hit.

Napoli is another story -- he's been used in a very specific way. Sure, he can catch, but do we really want to see that? JPA needs a shot. Napoli's stats last year show what he could do with a full season of playing time at 1B. There's no way that line ought to be blocking giving Lind a shot of obtaining defensive value and regaining 2009 form.

Look, I get the jubilation, but to paraphrase AA -- this trade is all about the salary relief. The odds are even that Rivera is released. Farrell should take a cue from perhaps the smartest manager in baseball and limit Napoli's AB. If the Jays get the exact 08-09 lines (in the same playing time) from Napoli and zilch, that's great. There's no need to be trying to polishing turds here, if neither Rivera or Napoli play a single game for the Jays, this is a deal AA needed to do.
Original Ryan - Sunday, January 23 2011 @ 12:30 AM EST (#229296) #
I am a big Anthopoulos fan and I think he did great work with this trade, but I'm starting to think that people have the view that he can walk on water

Same here.  I'm extremely happy with AA's performance in his first year on the job, but I was also very happy with J.P. Ricciardi in his first couple of seasons as G.M.  J.P. ultimately proved to be a disappointment, and I've tried to keep that in mind so that I don't get carried away when discussing AA.  One year isn't enough to properly judge or rank AA's abilities as a G.M.
dan gordon - Sunday, January 23 2011 @ 01:08 AM EST (#229298) #

Comparing Wells and Rivera's career OPS is about as relevant as comparing their '03, 06 and '10. OPS numbers

Actually, comparing two players career OPS when they are the same age and have been in the big leagues for roughly the same period of time is a VERY relevant comparison.  Certainly FAR more relevant than picking out 3 years at random as you have suggested.  Yikes.

Doubt there's a single scout in all of MLB baseball that would agree with you.

Oh, have you asked them.  Nice of you to speak on their behalf.   

Look at their peak value

Again, you are picking out a smaller item out of the larger sample.  That doesn't improve the comparison, it lessens it.

but do we really want to see that?

Uh, that would be a yes.  The guy has a career better OPS than Wells.  By quite a margin.  Playing in a tougher park.  And he's only 29.  The chance the Arencibia becomes as good a major league hitter as Napoli is pretty small. 

TamRa - Sunday, January 23 2011 @ 01:31 AM EST (#229299) #
Napoli and his career .796ops/.344wOBA vs. RHP should not be platooning with anyone.

Career numbers are not trends.

year by year, v. RHP:

'06 - .241 - .365 - .468 - .833
'07 - .232 - .344 - .439 - .783
'08 - .270 - .364 - .590 - .954
'09 - .251 - .325 - .453 - .778
'10 - .208 - .277 - .423 - .700

That's a disturbing trend. I'll grant it is inconclusive because one can argue that both '08 and '10 are outliers.

By the way, here's Lind against lefties, over the same period (coincidentally):

'06 - only 6 games, why bother?
'07 - .194 - .243 - .299 - .542
'08 - .253 - .303 - .385 - .688
'09 - .275 - .318 - .461 - .780
'10 - .117 - .159 - .182 - .341

The thing that worries me about a straight platoon at 1B is that it concedes, too early IMO, that Lind is never going to hit LHP. I think the Jays need to know whether '09 or '10 is a better representation of his ability in that regard.

Though I have to say that I think those who say "platoon" are more worried about Lind hitting lefties than Napoli hitting righties.

A deeper look, though, shows that EE can handle bailing out Lind vs LH if it becomes apparent he's not going to figure it out.

But there's a  conundrum with the current group as I see it. Here are the likely 13 players if we were breaking camp tomorrow:

Arencibia, Napoli, Molina
Lind, Encarnacion
Hill, Escobar, McDonald
Snider, Davis, Bautista, Rivera and...

either Patterson/Mastroianni or McCoy.. If the resign themselves to Bautista at 3B then it's the CF, then if not it's probably McCoy. but i don't thik they will break camp like that, so let's assume they are going to add a 3B who could be any number of people but I'll call him "Chavez" for ease of reference, but it could be Lawrie or some other.

So, the 13th man is Chavez and that roster has no obvious backup CF. That presumes then that Rivera departs via some means to make room for a 4th OF who can play CF. That's not a huge deal, frankly.

But here's the potential question - some will argue that Molina wastes a roster spot. But if Napoli will DH very often (as you'd expect if you take the position that he ought not platoon) then you have to have Molina since you can't practically DH your only other catcher.

It's THAT necessity - the need to carry Molina - which means that you have to dismiss Rivera in order to have a backup CF.

Again, assuming Bautista isn't the regular 3B.

So, for me, you start the year (pending the results of ST of course) with Napoli as your primary DH and Lind as your primary 1B and pay attention to whether both can handle the sort of pitching they struggled with last year, and you plug EE into either role against the tougher pitchers (i.s. if you are playing against Sabathia, EE plays 1B - if you are going up against Felix, EE will DH) and as te season goes on if Lind demonstrates continued weakness, platoon EE at 1B - if Napoli also fails, move him into the platoon and let EE play DH everyday. If napoli fails and Lind doesn't, platoon EE and Napoli.

And along the way, let Napoli get that day-game-after-a-night-game start behind the plate (with Molina at the ready as a defensive relief).


If Napoli started ONLY vs LHP and DGANG that alone would amount to probably 75 games. Giving him six or eight weeks or so to sort out how he's going to play as a full timer should run that up over 100 games easily and if he earns more than that cool.

I'm a lot more interested in how Lind handles playing most every day myself. Maybe I'm just prejudice to the home grown players.
Ryan C - Sunday, January 23 2011 @ 02:03 AM EST (#229300) #

Molina, McDonald, Encarnacion, Rivera, Patterson.  As the team is currently constructed that seems to be the most likely bench IMO.  It assumes an unknown person playing 3B (could be Lawrie or Chavez or someone else) because I assume Bautista is serious when he says he doesn't want to play 3rd and the club would not want to put him there unless they have no other alternative.  He can still be the backup.  It also gives the team 14 hitters.  After the trade yesterday I'm not going to make any guesses about who on the team is next most likely to move anytime soon.

Magpie - Sunday, January 23 2011 @ 03:18 AM EST (#229301) #
year by year, v. RHP:

'06 - .241 - .365 - .468 - .833
'07 - .232 - .344 - .439 - .783
'08 - .270 - .364 - .590 - .954
'09 - .251 - .325 - .453 - .778
'10 - .208 - .277 - .423 - .700


You're probably wondering about 2008...

On September 20, Napoli was hitting .220/.337/.485 - the BAVG was lousy, but he'd had himself a very productive season. But over his final 8 games, he went Absolutely Raving Berserk - 18-27 with 4 HR, 11 RBI - raising his BAVG a whopping 53 points. All but one of these games were against Seattle and Texas, it was mostly against RHP, and it wasn't all scrubs and call-ups. While we see people like Feirabend and Outman, we also see Felix Hernandez and Vicente Padilla.

For those interested, Bill James was asked his opinion of Napoli, and replied:

Napoli certainly has upside as a hitter, and there have been times in the past when I liked him a lot. He's a frustrating player; he's an awful defensive catcher, and it's not really clear that he can stay at that position, so then he HAS to hit to stay in the lineup.
Chuck - Sunday, January 23 2011 @ 07:46 AM EST (#229302) #

Molina, McDonald, Encarnacion, Rivera, Patterson. 

That's one too many bench players.

DH - Sunday, January 23 2011 @ 07:56 AM EST (#229303) #
Re: Chavez, while some here are happy to write him off due to past performance, here's what scouts are saying:

From Chronicle Staff Writer Susan Slusser

I heard from a scout who works for another NL team that the Dodgers were raving about Eric Chavez's tryout today; he swung the bat well and apparently looked healthy after being put through his paces. Also from the scouting grapevine, it sounds as if there is some pretty strong interest in Chavez elsewhere, but I know that Chavez is really excited about the Dodgers, so I hope that's where he lands.


Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/athletics/index#ixzz1BrXerk4L




85bluejay - Sunday, January 23 2011 @ 10:07 AM EST (#229305) #

Coming late to the party, but let me say another feather in AA's cap -moving that  contract - remember these moves when some things don't work out - as big a fan of AA as I am - he will make his share of mistakes but so far he is getting straight A's from me.

I think that Napoli is a very movable asset - With EE already in tow as DH/1B - Napoli is likely to be moved - I'm thinking KC who need RH power, have Meche money and no quality catcher - for perhaps Alex Gordon who can play 3rd and give the Jays a 3rd LH bat (Replacing Overbay) and is 4 yrs away from FA and has upside - perhaps AA can expand the deal to include 1 of KC's young LH pitchers.

The Jays are probably stuck with Rivera unless they want to pay a significant part of his contract and I don't see them releasing him and eating that money - If I'm AA , I would be working very hard to move Bautista - this would be very bold because it would upset the fanbase and draw criticism from the media - play Rivera in right and hope that a combination of the friendly confines of Rogers centre,out of Scioscia's doghouse and in a contract year results in a productive season as he had a few yrs. ago.

Now these moves would likely mean the Jays are competing with KC for the #1 pick in 2012, but I'm okay with that if the young talent gets to play and we receive young high upside talent for Bautista.

 

david wang - Sunday, January 23 2011 @ 10:39 AM EST (#229306) #
I have a feeling neither Napoli or Rivera will be Jays by the trade deadline.

Napoli because JPA is nearly a copy of him, except hopefully better defensively.

Rivera because well...poorly defending corner outfielders who are average hitters aren't very useful.
Chuck - Sunday, January 23 2011 @ 10:47 AM EST (#229307) #

Napoli is likely to be moved - I'm thinking KC who need RH power, have Meche money and no quality catcher

Recall that Dayton Moore looked at his catching after the 2009 season and decided that he had no quality, despite Olivo's 103 OPS+ and Buck's 104 (albeit in limited AB). His solution to this "problem" was Kendall, who rewarded the team with a predictable 71 OPS+ in 2010 and is going to be paid $3.75M in 2011 for more of the same.

So I guess I'm saying that the world might be inclined to diagnose the Royals' problems differently than would Mr. "Trust the Process" Moore, who might not see Napoli as a good fit.

Chuck - Sunday, January 23 2011 @ 10:58 AM EST (#229308) #

Napoli because JPA is nearly a copy of him

I disagree with this. Napoli and JPA profile quite differently.

Napoli's career isolated OBP (OBP minus AVG) is 95, meaning that he derives a great deal of value from his ability to draw walks. Arencibia's career minor league isolated OBP is only 44.

If JPA succeeds in the majors, he figures to profile much like Buck, Olivo and their ilk: poor OBP, good SLG. I'd be very surprised to see him coming anywhere remotely close to Napoli's career OPS+ of 118.

Chuck - Sunday, January 23 2011 @ 11:03 AM EST (#229309) #

I heard from a scout who works for another NL team that the Dodgers were raving about Eric Chavez's tryout today; he swung the bat well and apparently looked healthy after being put through his paces.

This level of unfettered optimism is generally reserved for the first sign of springtime or the first sign of single malt chez Mylegacy.

No mention was made of how Chavez felt the next morning, or if he could even get out of bed.

85bluejay - Sunday, January 23 2011 @ 11:12 AM EST (#229310) #

Chuck,

Can't argue with your comments about Moore and catchers but I'm hoping that he's seen the errors of his way and that Napoli's ability to play 1B (platoon with Kila until Hosmer) will entice him.

I can see Eric Chavez as a DH/LH bench bat - but teams looking at him to play 3rd defensively are looking at fool's gold and almost certain disappointment - I won't take that gamble (maybe a minor league deal) especially on a team playing on artificial surface.

bpoz - Sunday, January 23 2011 @ 11:39 AM EST (#229311) #
Magpie, I have always thought of you as very smart and still do. But it took me a while to fully interpret your statement of grumbling & a 74-88 record.

I don't grumble but I do put my hands over my eyes & ears. You are right, grumbling is a baseball given. But the 74-88 induced panic in me. But I am OK now because you & AA are both smart and my optimism always comes through.

My optimistic interpretation is 85 wins per season. Over 3 seasons that is 255 wins. Since we already have 85 wins for 2010, then that is a reasonable focal number. 74 wins in 2011 & 96 wins in 2012 gives us our 255 total, which is also the goal of AA. I have not done the math for 4 years or more because the focal number may change to 90 wins very soon.

To analyse this further the 2011 decline will be led by the 2011 OF construction, as stated by many. The OF will then lead the 2012 resurgence as I see it.
whiterasta80 - Sunday, January 23 2011 @ 11:41 AM EST (#229312) #

Re: the CF situation on our bench. 

I still maintain what I said in the other thread, which is that Jose Bautista can be the plan B in CF with John Mcdonald as the plan C. Bautista has 72 games (54 starts) there in his career while Johnny Mac is versatile enough to cover us in a pinch. We don't necessarily have to carry a Patterson or Mastroianni just for the sake of having someone who is a "true CF".

I love the idea of flipping Napoli for Gordon, sign me up for that if it is on the table. 

joeblow - Sunday, January 23 2011 @ 12:05 PM EST (#229314) #
With the loss of Wells, another outfield position is wide open in the coming years. Any thoughts on the depth of the organization at these positions? This seems like a big gap they need to fill through the draft and signing of young players.

As for this year's team, the veteran depth at most positions is better than it has been for quite a while. If the starting pitchers perform to expectations, and Farrell manages to keep players happy through multiple lineup experiments, this team will surprise people. A lot of these guys will be playing for contracts after this year.

Cito would be trying to squeeze 90 wins out of this group, but I'm not sure many here would like how. Farrell will be more conscious of developing players for the future and may also get 90 wins out of this team.

christaylor - Sunday, January 23 2011 @ 12:47 PM EST (#229315) #
"Actually, comparing two players career OPS when they are the same age and have been in the big leagues for roughly the same period of time is a VERY relevant comparison."

Really? Might there not be other factors lurking in the data that make a career OPS comparison not informative? More data, doesn't mean better data and it is best to make relevant comparisons.

"Look at their peak value

Again, you are picking out a smaller item out of the larger sample. That doesn't improve the comparison, it lessens it."

No, comparing peak value, tells one something entirely different. For example, Wells' 2010, which is not that close to his peak season, produced a higher WAR than Rivera's peak season.
Ryan C - Sunday, January 23 2011 @ 02:31 PM EST (#229321) #

That's one too many bench players.

It's one too many according to the currently accepted standard, which I mentioned.  It's debated whether it's actually a good idea or not, and some teams do choose not to follow it for stretches.

 

Dave Rutt - Sunday, January 23 2011 @ 02:41 PM EST (#229322) #
I still maintain what I said in the other thread, which is that Jose Bautista can be the plan B in CF with John Mcdonald as the plan C

Bautista has somehow gained the reputation as a good defender, probably because of his "versatility" (read: experience playing different positions. Not necessarily successful experience.)

The numbers simply don't back up Jose as being a good right-fielder, this despite the fact that we know he has a great arm. Leading me to believe his range is severely limited, which is in fact backed up in the stats. In ~2500 career innings in the outfield, Jose has compiled -17.5 UZR (-11.2 UZR/150), based primarily on -30.5 on range and +14.0 on arm. His lack of range would only be magnified in center.

I'm sure people will argue that he'll start to improve now that he's finally been given a consistent position to focus on, but I'm not sure it'll be by much, so I'm not comfortable with him as the back-up CF.
CaramonLS - Sunday, January 23 2011 @ 03:05 PM EST (#229323) #
I'm actually kind of surprised at the move to the corner for Bautista - he wasn't a bad defensive 3B and it is harder to find a masher at 3B than it is in the corner OF.
Thomas - Sunday, January 23 2011 @ 03:29 PM EST (#229324) #
I still maintain what I said in the other thread, which is that Jose Bautista can be the plan B in CF with John Mcdonald as the plan C. Bautista has 72 games (54 starts) there in his career while Johnny Mac is versatile enough to cover us in a pinch. We don't necessarily have to carry a Patterson or Mastroianni just for the sake of having someone who is a "true CF".

I'm fine with Bautista at 3B or at a corner outfield position. I disagree strongly that he is a serviceable CF in anything but an emergency. And, given Davis' productivity and the fact he started a career-high 133 games last year, the Jays will need a backup CF far more often than only in emergencies.

If Bautista is the CF, the other outfielders would likely be Rivera and Snider. That is a very poor defensive outfield. The team needs a fourth outfielder who is a competent CF.

TamRa - Sunday, January 23 2011 @ 04:15 PM EST (#229325) #
With the loss of Wells, another outfield position is wide open in the coming years. Any thoughts on the depth of the organization at these positions? This seems like a big gap they need to fill through the draft and signing of young players.

Thinking positively here:

Brett Lawrie - apparently going to be tried at 3B (which i approve of) but many think RF is a better option, under the right circumstances he could be out there before the end of the year - for now i think they wil try hard to keep him at 3B

Eric Thames - starts the year at Vegas and not improbably could be able to try the majors by mid-season, restricted to LF field however and would require moving Snider to RF (which I personally have no problem with)

Darin Mastorianni - Upside is Brett Gardner type, has been moved slowly and even though he hasn't been to AAA yt might translate right now to the majors. Not necessarily a future all-star but a Reed-Johnson-level contributor seems not unreasonable

Adam Loewen - opinions are still mixed but he's old enough, and he;s out of options. Can play a respectable RF and might be a dark horse to break camp if the right dominoes fell

Anthony Gose - will either start at AA or arrive there as soon as things warm up. Potential to arrive in late 2012 if things go well, but might not until 2013. When he takes over in CF the expectation is he'll own it for years to come

Moises Sierra - if he rebounds quickly from lost season he could spend the year (or the huge majority of it) at AA. A good RF with a monster arm, rationally 2013 at the earliest.

The rest are too far away to worry about right now.
uglyone - Sunday, January 23 2011 @ 04:55 PM EST (#229326) #
"'06 - .241 - .365 - .468 - .833
'07 - .232 - .344 - .439 - .783
'08 - .270 - .364 - .590 - .954
'09 - .251 - .325 - .453 - .778
'10 - .208 - .277 - .423 - .700

That's a disturbing trend. I'll grant it is inconclusive because one can argue that both '08 and '10 are outliers."

not only one COULD argue that, but one SHOULD argue that.

there is no "trend" there, and certainly nothing "disturbing". That's a normal expected distribution for any player with a career total .796ops split.
uglyone - Sunday, January 23 2011 @ 05:00 PM EST (#229327) #
"I'm actually kind of surprised at the move to the corner for Bautista - he wasn't a bad defensive 3B and it is harder to find a masher at 3B than it is in the corner OF."

I'm not surprised at all - Bautista is a competent RF, but IMO he's an awful 3B - worse even than EE (or at least the EE we saw last year).

Bautista gets eaten up by hard ground balls to the hot corner with frightening regularity. They just go right through him. He just doesn't have the glove to play the infield, IMO. Even if his arm allows him to make some nice play, and his athleticism makes him look good out there on the balls he actually gets to.

Meanwhile, he's a solid average-ish defensive RFer.
Gerry - Sunday, January 23 2011 @ 09:32 PM EST (#229328) #

Jeff Blair's Monday story on the Well's trade is up on the web now.  Here is the key passage:

There is another element to this trade that Anthopoulos won't discuss, yet was the subject of internal discussions as far back as J.P. Ricciardi's final year as GM and even referred to obliquely by some veteran players who passed through the Blue Jays' clubhouse. To understand it, look back to one of the moves Pat Gillick made in 2006, when he took over as Philadelphia Phillies GM and traded Bobby Abreu, one of the team's longest tenured and most productive players.

Of course, finances were a component. But as Gillick reflected on the move in an interview in the Philadelphia Inquirer a few years and one World Series ring later, he noted that, although Abreu was “a good player,” he was also comfortable.

Said Gillick: “He played at a certain level. He looked like he didn't want to make a mistake, like he didn't want to look bad. He just played at that level, and I think he kind of pushed the guys down a little. I think Jimmy [Rollins] and Chase [Utley] were respectful, if that's the word, of Bobby, and when he got out of here, it set a different tone. After the trade, they were the kind of guys who had tenure.”

It is no slight to say that moving Wells now opens the way for players such as Aaron Hill and Romero to leave their imprimatur on this clubhouse. Hill has been painfully deferential to Wells and he needs to have a big year this season.

 

Flex - Sunday, January 23 2011 @ 09:46 PM EST (#229329) #
Absolutely. It's always been my biggest beef with Wells that he seemed to be coasting through his existence as a Blue Jay. His was always a personality that struck me as being comfortable with coming third. I'm sure it drove Halladay up the wall.
Geoff - Sunday, January 23 2011 @ 11:37 PM EST (#229330) #
I just had a clever idea : Put Tony Reagins and Arte Moreno on the Batter's Box banner.
Magpie - Monday, January 24 2011 @ 08:18 AM EST (#229331) #
when he got out of here, it set a different tone.

Hey, that's exactly what we said at the time. From back in March 2007:

people close to the team think that the removal of Lieberthal and Abreu did a great deal to change the team's culture and intensity level. Abreu and Lieberthal are both reserved and rather laid back individuals. But they were long-serving veterans, and hence team leaders by default. In their absence, other players stepped up to fill that role, especially Jimmy Rollins. It's a very different clubhouse this year.

Mike Green - Monday, January 24 2011 @ 09:18 AM EST (#229332) #
The "clubhouse chemistry" issue seems to me to be overblown.  The Jays of 2010 did not underperform in the least.  Some players had better years than anyone had a right to expect and others had worse year.  On average, they probably did a little better.  To suggest that Wells' absence will help a player like Aaron Hill take a step forward seems to me to be silly.  Jose Bautista took a pretty big step forward last year and Vernon Wells' "casual attitude" didn't hold him back. 

As for the club on the field, what they really need is Rance Mulliniks.  They need a left-handed third baseman who can play the position acceptably well and get on base 35% of the time as a platoon player.  They run out an outfield of Snider, Davis and Bautista, an infield of "Mulliniks", Escobar, Hill, Lind and Arencibia and Napoli DHing.  The bench is Mastroianni, Encarnacion, McDonald and Molina.  Encarnacion starts at 3B against LHP.  Molina plays once a week against LHP with Arencibia DHing and Napoli playing first base.  Mastroianni backs up in the outfield, plays occasionally in left for Snider against LHP and pinch-runs as needed (he might get 15 starts in left and 25 in center (with Davis moving to right when Bautista gets the day off).  McDonald is McDonald.  Everyone has a role, you have a fairly well-balanced offence and a half-decent team defence.  Ideally, you'd have one less relief pitcher and a left-handed bat with some pop off the bench, but changing the modern roles seems not likely to occur.





#2JBrumfield - Monday, January 24 2011 @ 10:21 AM EST (#229333) #

Anyway, here's a new one for your AA venerating pleasure.

Well done, Dave, on the use of the word venerating and using it in a complete sentence.  Speaking of AA (see what I'm doing here?), here's a piece of news out of Portland that should mean the New Hampshire Fisher Cats and Toronto Blue Jays affiliation will continue into 2014. 

JohnL - Monday, January 24 2011 @ 10:48 AM EST (#229334) #

To suggest that Wells' absence will help a player like Aaron Hill take a step forward seems to me to be silly.

I caught a bit of Blair's phone-in segment this morning. Sounds like his comments in today's paper originated with Halladay. He said he talked to Halladay at the 2009 All Star game, who said that when (or "if") he left, it would become Wells' and Hill's team (whatever that means), but suggested that Hill tended to look up (too much) to his "elders" as Blair put it, and in fact that Hill was "deferential" to Wells. (again, Halladay's comments).

Now if that's true, what it actually means to on-field performance of Hill and/or the team as a whole is a question, but it at least seemed signfiicant from Blair's intepretation of Halladay's comments.

In unrelated comments, Blair spoke about how much Anthopolous (and other young GM's) study ("and I do mean literally study", he said) more experiened GM's. And he said that Anthopolous frequently talks/consults with Gillick, both "through" Beeston and directly.

Mentioned that Anthopolous also attends non-Blue Jay arbitration hearings to learn from them.

TamRa - Monday, January 24 2011 @ 02:33 PM EST (#229338) #
I don't think there has to be anything WRONG with Wells or his intensity or whatever for a culture shift to happen in the wake of the departure of a long-time "face of the franchise"

Certainly there was nothing "wrong" with Doc's intensity or attitude and yet the culture of the pitching staff took a positive turn (by all reports) in 2010.

I wouldn't be surprised at all to see something similar among the offensive players, and Hill does seem well suited to play the role of Marcum this year (I believe it's been said Bautista has leadership qualities as well, but that probably depends on his anticipated tenure)


RickJay - Monday, January 24 2011 @ 02:59 PM EST (#229342) #

Ex post facto comments on a guy's leadership skills are always pretty dubious.  Not that I've got the time to do so but if you put together a list of all the claims of "leadership" made about various players over the years, I'd bet dollars to dimes they turn out to be little more than guesses.  Vernon Wells didn't make Adam Lind hit .117 against lefties anymore than he made Jose Bautista hit like Mike Schmidt.  Players are what they are and given that the 2010 Jays pretty obviously OVER-acheived - I challenge anyone to find one major publication that called them to play as well as they did - where is the evidence Wells held anyone back?

I remember when Paul Lo Duca was traded from the Dodgers to the Marlins everyone talked about how "Mr. Heart and Soul" would help boost the Marlins win  and leave a black hole in the LA clubhouse.  The Dodgers made the playoffs and the Marlins piddled away the rest of their season.

Anyone who's ever worked in any sort of an organization - which means all of us - should know that stuff like "leadership" is so chaotic and vague that except for the most poisonous of jerks, it's impossible to tell what the effect of a person leaving or arriving will have.  It's hard enough to measure the leadership skills of a manager, much less a colleague.

Mike Green - Monday, January 24 2011 @ 03:25 PM EST (#229343) #
In answer to the question posed by the title of this thread, Babelfish weighs in with "Juan Creek".  Creek is not a fortuitous name to have when joining the Blue Jays. 
bpoz - Monday, January 24 2011 @ 06:16 PM EST (#229347) #
Someone was talking about drinks on Friday, I am a little late but let me join you now. Cheers everyone!!!

With V Wells gone I was analyzing the Jays team from a long term point of view. I am isolating SP, Bullpen, Offense & Defense.

SP: IMO it is almost perfect. The top 3 are good & young. There is enough depth & talent ML ready & in the farm (Z Stewart & H Alvarez) for the probability of 2-3 equal or close, to the current top 3 SPs. Any injuries to the top 3 will provide greater opportunity to the waiting list.

Bullpen: We have a large quantity of experienced & young arms.IMO with nobody considered an elite RP, it means that a huge opportunity is available for everyone. So 3-4 J Fraser type Right handers & 1-2 good left handers IMO is not asking too much. 2 elite RPs remains a wish still.

Offense: I am probably wrong, but I think it is a problem. In 2010 it was good & 2011 should be just as good IMO (we had power & power produces). The $ factor has been solved with V Wells being traded. L Overbay has left so now I fully expect a lot more 1st base offense. I am unable to correctly value L Overbay's defense but IMO 25Hr for him is a career year and I want more from 1st base. The problem I see is that some positions will have defense that is unacceptable to a good team long term. So those players will leave for better defensive players, but their good offense will be lost too.

Defense: After reading opinions over the last 2 days, it seems our defense is bad. IMO if the personnel we how have are not good enough then AA will change that. 2011 will be bad to start but not 2012, I hope.
brent - Monday, January 24 2011 @ 06:29 PM EST (#229350) #

I love how GM AA DIDN'T say how he agonized over this trade. <snicker>

I think Vernon should have focused his game by becoming a better defender, baserunner or bulked up and took a corner outfield position. That's just my opinion, though.

GM AA on the Fan- interesting about preliminary trade dialogue and maybe a trade 4-5 months later. I honestly didn't think it took that long to get things done like that. Maybe that's only for "targeted" players rather than we need this part to our club soon.

Dave Rutt - Monday, January 24 2011 @ 07:13 PM EST (#229351) #
Defense: After reading opinions over the last 2 days, it seems our defense is bad.

With Hill, Escobar and Davis up the middle it can't be that bad. Sure, there are some slugs in the corners, but up-the-middle defense should have a bigger weight when considering the overall defense of the team.
uglyone - Monday, January 24 2011 @ 11:15 PM EST (#229357) #
while there aren't many huge pluses defensively for these Jays, for the most part they look average to above average defensively all over the park, aside from 3B.

christaylor - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 01:31 AM EST (#229359) #
I thought I'd check the data to see how good/bad the defense will be if the possible 2011 pieces put up their 2011 numbers. With +/-...

C Molina 3 Adj ER Saved, 3 SB Runs Saved
C Napoli -7 Adj ER Saved, SB Runs Saved 0
1B Napoli +7
1B Lind +2
2B Hill +8
SS Escobar +22
3B Bautista +2
3B Encarnacion +4
LF Snider +10
LF Rivera -16
CF Davis -3
CF Patterson +2
RF Bautista -5
RF Snider +6

Yes, it seems that the team grades out as average defensively, with one true plus defender in Escobar -- perhaps Hill and Davis are too if they revert to 2009 (Hill 2008 wasn't good, but his other seasons have been great) form but watching Hill last year he wasn't what he was in the past (a flashbulb memory is that he gets to and perhaps makes an out on Morrow's one hit).

Take this data for what it is worth, but as long as Rivera is not allowed to play regularly in LF (I'd prefer if he would not be allowed to play at all in a Jays uniform) and EE is really who he was in 2010 -- prior to 2010 he was -13, -16, -21, -10 at 3B.

The one thing that jumps out is that this team needs an average defender at 3B or a corner OF position... but that's been pointed out again and again in these threads, no mystery there.

Just for kicks, BOS probable starters:

1B Gonzalez -2
2B Pedroia +2
SS Scutaro -6
3B Youkilis -2
LF Crawford +22
CF Ellsbury +2 (only 100 innings -15, in 2009)
RF Drew -9
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 01:35 AM EST (#229360) #

Toronto gets extra draft picks for Downs (2), Buck, Gregg and Olivo in the 2011 draft.   Our Free Agents for 2012 are / might be Jon Rauch, Octavio Dotel, Edwin Encarnacion, Juan Rivera and maybe Aaron Hill and Jose Bautista.

1) Jon Rauch should be a Type B.   He might accept arbitration, or he might be good enough to keep another year.

2) Octavio Dotel will turn 38 next off-season.   He might be a Type B, but don't offer arbitration - he will accept.

3) Edwin can hit.   His contract is very friendly.   I don't care if he's a Type B, he stays.

4) If Hill hits as he should in Spring Training, the question of Type A or B status is moot.

5) Does Jose Bautista gain Type A status, or just Type B?   Or does he sign long-term here?

6) Juan Rivera, in this park, with our hitting coach, will have good numbers.   They might be better than his 2009 stats.   He might be our only Type B free agent, lets's not piss this away.   He plays 450 - 500 ABs, mostly in LF.

This gives us an Outfield of Juan Rivera - Left, Rajai Davis - Center, Travis Snider - Right and ????? - 4th OF.   I think Snider can play Right.   Let's see how good he can become.   And Bautista http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/bautijo02.shtml is good enough, with our coaching staff, to play 3B (357 G - 3B; 325 G - OF).   If he comes close to repeating his 2010 season, he'll earn Werth money.  

 

christaylor - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 02:33 AM EST (#229361) #
"Juan Rivera, in this park, with our hitting coach, will have good numbers. They might be better than his 2009 stats. He might be our only Type B free agent, lets's not piss this away. He plays 450 - 500 ABs, "

2009 was Rivera's career year, before that he'd done nothing since 2006. He's 32, a butcher in the OF where the other two positions are questions marks. For a supplemental pick that has, at best a 50% shot at just making the majors, it isn't worth putting Rivera out there everyday, with a young pitching staff. If he picks up a stick and rakes from ST on, give him a shot -- but let's be serious, if the Jays release him tomorrow, the likelihood is that they're just pissing $5M away.

On Dotel -- if he's good enough, offer arbitration. If he accepts, release him prior to the start of the season for (what is it?) $500,000. This offseason AA has shown that that dollar figure on the table for the possibility of a pick is fine with him (Olivo).

Am I the only one who really doesn't want to see Bautista sign long term? If he's good -- trade him at the deadline, if no trade can be had and he's great, take the pick (and hope he signs with a team with an unprotected pick). There's no downside here, there is downside if he's sign long term now, or long term after the season. A one or two year veteran stop-gap of Drew, Beltran or even Ross in 2012 is fine with me, but I have a feeling Lawrie will be in RF, Hill at 3B, Hech at SS and Escobar at 2B.

I like Bautista but I've yet to read a convincing argument why he's a good fit for this team for the next 3-4-5 years (depending on when he's signed). I'd much rather see AA use the Wells money to get some cost certainty with Escobar and Morrow than a big year/dollar deal with Bautista.
brent - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 02:55 AM EST (#229362) #
Chris Taylor, you're also leaving out signing a reasonable contract with the team. If he wants to maximise his earnings, well then I'm with you about trying to get as much talent back as possible. It's also a good reason to be in no hurry to extend him unless he wants to sign cheap.
TamRa - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 03:01 AM EST (#229363) #
I've refrained from comment re re-signing Bautista because i don't have a passionate opinion (i.e. i wouldn't be bothered if Alex thought it was worth it to extend him) but looking in from the outside, i have no great desire to sign him.

the way i see it, assuming various experiments work out, is that Snider, Lind, Hill, Esco, JP, and Lawrie are GOING to be in the lineup over the next few years. Add to that some CF (Davis right now) will stopgap for CF til Gose arrives - and I hope that turns out to be Mastorianni unless is better is added to the organization. That leaves two hiters and i', not unhappy with Thames having a shot at one of those. the other is a younger 3B or RF (wherever Lawrie isn't playing) and just my bias towards not having one older guy in a lineup wit hthe kids, i'd rather get value for JB and that player be someone else.

The only way i'd really enjoy him being here over the next 3-5 years is if he really has turned into a perennial 40+ homer guy and i just can't imagine that is actually the case.


uglyone - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 11:32 AM EST (#229383) #
I like Bautista but I've yet to read a convincing argument why he's a good fit for this team for the next 3-4-5 years (depending on when he's signed).

How about this one?

He has the very real potential for being a 40+hr/.900+ops threat in each of the next 5 years, and we could probably sign him for $10m per year over that time, potentially making him one of the best bargains in the league over that time.

Much like the Red Sox managed to get after signing Youk longterm for about $10m a season after his breakout season at age 29.

convinced?
smcs - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 11:40 AM EST (#229385) #
3B Encarnacion +4

I'm not sure of the methodology behind the numbers, so my issue with this number may be non-existent, but does this take into account quality of throw to first, regardless of outcome?  Is this +4 a reflection of Overbay's ability to scoop balls out of the dirt? 
uglyone - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 11:53 AM EST (#229386) #
or were his previous bad 3B numbers a result of Votto's INABILITY to scoop balls out of the dirt?
Spifficus - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 12:07 PM EST (#229387) #
Well, you'd have to add Hatteberg to that as well. In that case, you have 2 1B unable to make scoops for the past 5 years that don't have any red flags with other fielders vs saying Overbay could pick it.

Of course, I think reality is somewhere in between Overbay saving him and him improving a bit... but with the amount of yips I was getting off his throws (throws in the dirt and throws tailing back into the runner, especially), I lean towards praise for Overbay.
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 12:11 PM EST (#229388) #
A word of praise for Marc Hulet.  Way back in the mists of time, Marc did a review of players available in the Rule 5 draft and specifically tabbed Mike Napoli as a good one.  That counts as a hit in my book. 
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 01:27 PM EST (#229395) #
If you go to the Fan 590 website, go to the Jeff Blair Show, 24 January 9 AM episode, you can hear A.A. speak.   One thing I caught was A.A. basically saying we're done except for the bench.   I'd like someone else to listen and see if what I heard is accurate. 
Magpie - Wednesday, January 26 2011 @ 02:44 PM EST (#229548) #
I lean towards praise for Overbay.

The ability of first baseman to handle throws in the dirt is something we actually track at STATS, and Overbay is indeed very, very good at it.
bpoz - Thursday, January 27 2011 @ 10:21 AM EST (#229603) #
Richard SS, No I did not get the impression that AA was done.

He mentioned Minor League FA & Bench. So that may be small.

He spoke a lot about V Wells interest that was 1.5 months of poking around by very few teams. He did not say and he never says anyway that he has any 1 month old or so conversations going on now. Then he did the Frank Francisco deal and said that he inquired 2 months ago about him, and kept in touch with Texas. So he is being consistent by not saying specifically what he is doing.
He mentioned May & June potential deals being worked on now. What does that mean? Your guess is probably better than mine. I am guessing that those will be "as the season plays out for everyone, teams may have to do something" type deals, sort of like the Y Escobar deal.

The Now & before/around Opening day deals, are the 2-3, 40 man spots that AA mentioned about 2 months ago, deals. R Lewis is 1 40 man spot. JoJo Reyes who is out of options is someone that may not stay on the 40 man roster. But his spot could be a blank.
Mick Doherty - Thursday, January 27 2011 @ 12:36 PM EST (#229615) #
Incidentally, in response to the headline, in English, "John Rivers." Or if the name is feminized, "Joan Rivers," so it means "horrible comedienne."
Matthew E - Thursday, January 27 2011 @ 12:55 PM EST (#229617) #
I think that the only way to find out what Anthopoulos is going to do is to wait until he stops rolling and then go pick him up.
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