Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
Brandon Morrow gets the start today in the rubber match.  This will be his first start back in Safeco since he was traded, hopefully the mound is to his liking.  Morrow looks to pitch better than Brad Mills last night.  The Jays comeback in that game helped obscure Mills inability to hold a six run lead.

While Morrow has been a very good pitcher this year, he seems to have an inning or two in every game where he loses it.  Some pitchers give up a run here and maybe two there, but Morrow is more likely to give up four runs in one inning and pitch shutout ball for the other six.  Can anyone explain why?

I assume Jose Molina will be behind the plate for Morrow today.  The personal catcher role is back for Morrow, even if Farrell had tried to get away from it earlier in the year.  It will be interesting to see if the Jays bring back Molina next year or if they use either Brian Jeroloman or another free agent and how that impacts Morrow.

As an aside John Farrell tried to break the personal catcher role earlier in the season but he seems to have acquisced to Morrow's wishes.  The Jays also ran a lot more earlier in the season.  It seems as though Farrell has evolved, changed or developed a lot in his managerial tendencies as the season has progressed.  Hopefully that makes him a better manager in 2012.

Brad Mills had a rough start last night and on the TV Buck Martinez and Alan Ashby were all over Mills.  Ashby calls it like he sees it and that seemed to bring the same out of Buck which was a nice change from the Buck, Tabler, "let me tell you about when I played" style.  Ashby was saying that Mills should not pitch up in the zone, not a surprise there.  But he added that it was harder for pitchers who throw more over the top, like Mills does, to throw down in the zone.  Mills does have deception in his delivery but I wonder if that same deception causes enough movement in Mills' body that it impacts his control.  In any event Mills has serving them up, belt high, last night and that can't continue.  I am sure one of the topics of conversation with the manager today will be who starts on Sunday in Oakland.  If I was to guess I would say Luis Perez but the Jays have options.

Eric Thames has his bat back in good form and he looks like he can hit major league pitching.  His fielding however is not as good.  Thames does appear to be relatively speedy so he should be able to be passable in left field, but the Jays will have to decide if the can be passable enough to play left or if he is a DH in waiting.

Richard Griffin has a story in todays Star about Aaron Hill's chance to return in 2012.  Hill seems to be very willing to come back, even on a different deal.  Here are some excerpts from the story:

ďItís something Iíve been part of for a long time and itís something I believe in,Ē Hill said of his realistic desire to return. ďWhat Alex has done, and especially this last year, has been huge for us. Obviously when it comes to the contract situation, you just have to keep going. Whatever they may decide it doesnít mean that I canít be back there. You know, we may be able to work something out."

.......................................

However, the catch is that in order to secure the pick, the Jays would need to offer Hill salary arbitration. If they do, thereís a good chance he would accept it, the way Jason Frasor did last winter, rather than throw himself on an ice-cold open market. If thatís the case, why not tear up the two options and, instead, in October negotiate a one-year deal closer to the $5 million heís earning now, maybe with another option for 2013 that would make him easier to trade next summer. Back to win-win again.

.......................................

"Honestly, salary has never been an issue,Ē Hill said. ďMy wife and I both live very simply. We know the value of a dollar. Thatís never been an issue. I wasnít thinking about the three options to get by. Thatís never been an issue. When we signed it was obviously, if you play great youíve got the options. If you donít, they donít and youíll be a free agent anyway.Ē

.......................................

ďItís very rare that you can play your whole career in one place nowadays,Ē Hill reflected. ďIt would be pretty neat to see it through. From what theyíve done since I started here to be a part of that when they do win, because they are going to win. I think to be a part of that would be pretty special. But I know youíve got to perform. Thatís the way the game is.Ē

........................................

But Anthopoulos insists that the set-in-stone plan is to send Hechavarria back to Las Vegas for a full Triple-A season as a shortstop and there is no second base in his future. Weíve all seen plans change, but if thatís the short-term plan then there is room for Hill ó but at a reduced rate.

 

It is a good story by Griffin and worth the read.

 

Is there anything else bubbling?

 

On To Morrow Day | 168 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
China fan - Wednesday, August 17 2011 @ 02:51 PM EDT (#241291) #

...."Honestly, salary has never been an issue,Ē Hill said. ďMy wife and I both live very simply. We know the value of a dollar....."

That's an unusual quote from a professional athlete, and an unusual level of humility.  I suppose a cynic might say, "He's got a lot to be humble about these days."  But that's a bit too cynical.   I think the Jays generally don't have a lot of huge egos in the club house, and that's a good thing.   I was struck by a quote from Colby Rasmus last night, after his good game and his 4 RBIs.  Instead of expressing satisfaction with his three-run double and his sac fly, Rasmus said this:  "My swing definitely still needs some work, itís not where it needs to be."  Sounds like he's determined to keep working and improve, and that kind of attitude keeps me optimistic for the future of this club.

Paul D - Wednesday, August 17 2011 @ 02:55 PM EDT (#241292) #

Would you trade Snider straight up for Gordon Beckham?

Would the White Sox?

92-93 - Wednesday, August 17 2011 @ 03:04 PM EDT (#241295) #
I just hope Hill doesn't lead any more mutinies once he starts batting 9th.
stevieboy22 - Wednesday, August 17 2011 @ 03:18 PM EDT (#241296) #

Would you trade Snider straight up for Gordon Beckham?

Would the White Sox?

I don't see the need to trade Snider unless you get something of higher potential in return. I guess it all boils down to how you value Beckham and how you view the chances of Snider being the guy we all thought he would be. I think Beckham would be an upgrade, but with too low of a ceiling to exchange for a guy who has a shot of being a monster. Ultimately, the potential of Snider being traded boils down to how the jays view Snider. If they have soured on his chances of being that guy, then I think they deal him for any value you they can get... It's sort of like when the Rays traded Delmon Young... (Except they recognized Young was a lemon earlier on)...

I kind of view Snider as similar to Encarnacion, in that both used to have a loopy swing, which we're converted to a more "level through the zone" type swing. Encarnacion took a while to adjust, but it kind of feels like it has now clicked. And he might be the guy the Reds once dreamt of. And I'm hoping for the same out of Snider, though at times he looks like a bad Ichiro impersonator, trading such a potential bat with so much service time left could have disastrous consequences.

China fan - Wednesday, August 17 2011 @ 03:24 PM EDT (#241299) #
I think it's fairly well-established by now that it was Kevin Millar, not Hill, who led the mutiny against Gaston in 2009.  Yes, Hill was a friend of Millar, but so were Halladay and Wells and others who allegedly participated in the mutiny.  I don't think any of them were the "leader of the mutiny."  And is there any actual evidence that Hill would mutiny against a 9th slot in the lineup, any more than John McDonald would?
Jonny German - Wednesday, August 17 2011 @ 03:42 PM EDT (#241304) #
"Encarnacion took a while to adjust, but it kind of feels like it has now clicked. And he might be the guy the Reds once dreamt of."

Encarnacion has a career OPS split of .756 in the first half and .827 in the second half. I don't think he's become a substantially different hitter this year from what he's always been.
Ron - Wednesday, August 17 2011 @ 03:52 PM EDT (#241307) #
I think it's time for Sportsnet to ease up on the TV time for the Lawrie family.

- Lawrie's Sister was in the booth for Brett's first home game
- Lawrie's Dad was interviewed during the past 2 games
- Lawrie's Mother was interviewed 2 days ago during the game
- Lawrie's Grandfather was interviewed during the game yesterday
- Lawrie's Dad was mic'ed up yesterday. We saw several crowd reaction shots of him after Lawrie's  AB's.
- The announcers mentioned Lawrie's Cousin was in the crowd yesterday



greenfrog - Wednesday, August 17 2011 @ 04:05 PM EDT (#241310) #
Jays on Rogers Sportsnet, aka Everybody Loves Lawrie.

Hey, I'm not complaining. I love Lawrie too.
hypobole - Wednesday, August 17 2011 @ 04:06 PM EDT (#241311) #
I believe Encarnacion is OPS'ing over 1.000 in the second half this year. That is substantially better than .827.
TheBunk - Wednesday, August 17 2011 @ 04:25 PM EDT (#241321) #
Hill has made similar comments in the past. The year he was out with post concussion syndrome, he said he was sick to his stomach that he was getting money and not earning it(paraphrasing).
hypobole - Wednesday, August 17 2011 @ 04:26 PM EDT (#241322) #
Lawriemania - It is a bit much, but Sportsnet is trying to win over casual fans; they already have us. And as far as scale goes, the fawning is still less annoying than listening to Buck's love affair with pitchers W's and hitters RBI's.
Dave Rutt - Wednesday, August 17 2011 @ 04:29 PM EDT (#241323) #
Eddie has a .993 OPS since July 2. That's 38 games, or less than a quarter of a season. It's a little disingenuous to say "in the second half", as that implies half a season.

On the other hand, he's 28, has been an above-average hitter for his career, and is having his best year to date. It's not out of the question to think he might have a modest three or four year peak in which he OPS+s something like 120-130, and that would be a pretty good player to have for the next few years. But at this point the numbers don't suggest that will happen.
Mike Green - Wednesday, August 17 2011 @ 04:39 PM EDT (#241326) #
FWIW, Encarnacion's career splits actually pretty strongly support the hot weather hitter theory.  He has been a poor hitter in April and May, a good one in June, July and August and an average one in September.  It takes a real optimist to believe that what he has done in the last 6 weeks is anything more than typical random variation for a hot weather hitter. 
Dave Rutt - Wednesday, August 17 2011 @ 04:40 PM EDT (#241327) #
Hill has made similar comments in the past. The year he was out with post concussion syndrome, he said he was sick to his stomach that he was getting money and not earning it(paraphrasing).

If anything, Hill's lost season represents a legitimate argument in favour of athletes' exorbitant salaries - the long-term health risks involved. He does indeed seem like a humble dude.
smcs - Wednesday, August 17 2011 @ 04:43 PM EDT (#241330) #
I think it's fairly well-established by now that it was Kevin Millar, not Hill, who led the mutiny against Gaston in 2009.

Hey, remember when Gaston put Millar at 3B? Ya, that was mutiny-worthy.
hypobole - Wednesday, August 17 2011 @ 05:00 PM EDT (#241332) #
re: Edwin. Looking at Bautista's career numbers would have suggested last year was an impossibility and this year would be a profound regression. Just as Jose made a fundamental change, so has Edwin. He can basically concentrate on hitting and not worry about all the peripherals. Edwin will, barring a return to the field, OPS over .900 the balance of the season and even that I think that is pessimistic.
Jonny German - Wednesday, August 17 2011 @ 05:13 PM EDT (#241334) #
Good point, guys make transitions like Bautista's all the time.

Sometimes Eddie E goes cold. Sometimes Eddie E comes unstuck in time. Sometimes Eddie E goes on a tear, and when he does it generally features a lot of power. It has always been thus. He's a good guy to have around, but he is no .900 OPS hitter for a sustained period.
Kelekin - Wednesday, August 17 2011 @ 05:15 PM EDT (#241335) #
@Mike Green - I kept commenting on that a bunch early in the year.  Rivera is the same type of player.  They can't hit anything in April or May, but I kept telling people to calm down because their numbers would be better after that (and, they have).
uglyone - Wednesday, August 17 2011 @ 06:07 PM EDT (#241339) #
I like EE, but I would never bet on him being consistent good going forward. I think he'll always run hot and cold.
BlueJayWay - Wednesday, August 17 2011 @ 06:21 PM EDT (#241340) #
And as far as scale goes, the fawning is still less annoying than listening to Buck's love affair with pitchers W's and hitters RBI's.

You're saying you don't like Buck "on base percentage is meaningless unless you can steal bases" Martinez?
hypobole - Wednesday, August 17 2011 @ 06:31 PM EDT (#241341) #

You're saying you don't like Buck "on base percentage is meaningless unless you can steal bases" Martinez?


Yeah, I heard him say that about a week ago and it almost floored me. What kind of organization would have hired  this guy to manage their ballclub?

stevieboy22 - Wednesday, August 17 2011 @ 07:22 PM EDT (#241344) #
FWIW, Encarnacion's career splits actually pretty strongly support the hot weather hitter theory.  He has been a poor hitter in April and May, a good one in June, July and August and an average one in September.  It takes a real optimist to believe that what he has done in the last 6 weeks is anything more than typical random variation for a hot weather hitter.

He plays more than half of his games in those months either indoors or in nice climates.

From watching games, I notice a big change in the swing from his hot streaks of this year vs. last year: the amount of loop in his swing. It would make sense his current swing seems to give a larger point of intersection which leads to more doubles, a higher average, less strikeouts, but at a cost of less homeruns. Kind of like going from an Adam Dunn swing to a slap hitter type swing.

His first half/second half splits only represent 5 full seasons, 1 of which he did better in the second half and another with insignificant splits. The last couple of seasons, Encarnacion has been totally inconsistent, and I don't think you can conclude much from the last 2 seasons of his career...

I'm arguing that Edwin may have turned the corner for real this time. It's probably a symptom of watching Jose, but I wanna believe it!


Mylegacy - Wednesday, August 17 2011 @ 07:25 PM EDT (#241345) #
When Hech forces the Jay's to make him their everyday SS (I suggest by this time next year - at the latest) and we (notice the "royal" we) move Escobar (and his increasing girth and diminishing range) to 2nd - is there any realistic chance we can keep Hill as the new JMac? Personally - I don't think so - but - Aaron is a "gritty" "good club house" "grinder" and you can never have too many of those, eh?

Seriously, you can't offer Hill arbitration - he'll just accept it and get over 6 big. SO - instead sign him immediately after the season to a one year contract in the range of this years and just trade him, let him go or keep him for back-up when Hech SMASHES the doors down as our new SS and FORCES Escobar to 2nd by this time next year - if not sooner.
Mylegacy - Wednesday, August 17 2011 @ 07:33 PM EDT (#241346) #
About batters running "hot and cold."

MAN - it's bad enough we want a guy to hit .300 - AND - not hit .300 by hitting .200 one month and .400 the next - no - we want NO hot and NO cold. Well - IT DON'T WORK THAT WAY!!

Never has, never will....

That is why CONTENDERS HAVE at least 8 REALLY GOOD hitters (out of the 9) - AND hopefully at least 2 or 3 of them are "hot" at the same time and carry the club while the others are getting ready to get "hot." Baseball is a marathon - a 162 mile, 6 month, freakin' mind numbing, marathon - lay the f*ck off guys who are streaky - like Lind for instance. When he's hot - he smokes.

Time for a wee dram.

TamRa - Wednesday, August 17 2011 @ 07:46 PM EDT (#241347) #
Eddie has a .993 OPS since July 2. That's 38 games, or less than a quarter of a season. It's a little disingenuous to say "in the second half", as that implies half a season.

That's because people are stuck on pegging their AEP's to the start of a month for no logical reason.

for the record, EE bottomed out on may 28 with a .582 OPS

Since then, in 63 games (still not quite half a season, but closing on twice as many games as he'd played up to that point) his OPS is .961
greenfrog - Wednesday, August 17 2011 @ 07:59 PM EDT (#241349) #
Re-signing EE to a $2.5M contract (with a $3.5M club option for 2012) was a solid underrated move by AA. He's hitting 286/346/466 (119 OPS+), has shown some unexpected versatility on defense, and currently rates as a Type B FA.

Interesting dilemma for AA in the off-season. Is he still looking to collect draft picks (in which case, offer EE arb and take the supplemental pick), or is he trying to build a contender for 2012 (in which case, exercise the option and keep EE as a useful DH/1B/3B/LF)?
Moe - Wednesday, August 17 2011 @ 08:31 PM EDT (#241351) #
Interesting dilemma for AA in the off-season. Is he still looking to collect draft picks (in which case, offer EE arb and take the supplemental pick), or is he trying to build a contender for 2012 (in which case, exercise the option and keep EE as a useful DH/1B/3B/LF)?

I think that less depends on whether the Jays see themselves as contender for next year but rather whether they believe that (a) the new EE is for real and (b) that Thames/Snider/Cooper/Loewen all need to be up next year.  If they believe he is for real, you take the option because he would be drastically underpaid at $3.5m.  If all the guys are ready, the Jays need the roster spot since none of them have a lot of trade value right now.

 
Jonny German - Wednesday, August 17 2011 @ 08:55 PM EDT (#241352) #
To me EE's option is a no-brainer to pick up. He gives you insurance on all of Snider, Thames, Lind, and Lawrie. Those 4 have more upside, but none is a safer bet to put up a 110 OPS+.
subculture - Wednesday, August 17 2011 @ 09:26 PM EDT (#241355) #
I think with EE and Hill, it will come down to how AA perceives their "value".

EE will be here again bc of his production relative to his contract.. which makes him either a contributing part of your team, or a tradeable asset.

Hill will NOT be here next year at 8M per year.. but if AA can sign him to say a 3 year/14M contract (which it sounds like Hill might take), then he could be back again, and with luck/perseverance have 1 great year within the 3, which would make him a bargain.

At those types of contracts, AA is not forced in a tough spot if they do not perform at a high level... they can earn that money in a platoon or as bench players and still be valuable to a contending club.  In fact these are the exact types of players that tend to have small but key roles on playoff teams.

Jonny German - Wednesday, August 17 2011 @ 09:39 PM EDT (#241356) #
Can Hill still play shortstop?
dan gordon - Wednesday, August 17 2011 @ 10:22 PM EDT (#241357) #

Hill played some SS earlier in his career, including 63 games there for the Jays in 2006.  His results there were not great, and he looked terrific at 2B.  No way can you move him back there now - he'd be in over his head.  It's pretty obvious the Jays will decline his option years, and I highly doubt they would offer him a multiyear deal.  I expect he'll be offered something a bit less than what he's making this year if they can't work out a deal to acquire somebody else.  One last chance to return to form.

If Encarnacion continues to hit well the rest of this year, it seems a no brainer they will pick up the option year.  Even if it turns out that they need to make room for a young player or 2 next year, they could always trade him at that price, unless he regresses significantly, and in that case, they could always just dump him.  The cost isn't that high. 

Sano - Wednesday, August 17 2011 @ 11:02 PM EDT (#241358) #
What are people's thoughts on Lind for next year? He's had a streaky year. Just looking at his numbers, he's not really showing a lot of patience either. IF EE has turned the corner and is now a legit hitter, I would consider making him our regular first baseman with Loewen brought up to back him up. Lind's name and HR/RBI numbers might fetch us something nice in the trade market.
TJ Caino - Wednesday, August 17 2011 @ 11:07 PM EDT (#241359) #
currently rates as a Type B FA.

Better keep playing him at 3B so he qualifies in that category!


That would be a dilemma. I could see AA taking the picks. But then again, what if EE is for real?... On the other hand, draft picks are so awesome.

Big dilemma.
AWeb - Wednesday, August 17 2011 @ 11:20 PM EDT (#241360) #

While Morrow has been a very good pitcher this year, he seems to have an inning or two in every game where he loses it.  Some pitchers give up a run here and maybe two there, but Morrow is more likely to give up four runs in one inning and pitch shutout ball for the other six.  Can anyone explain why?

So far so good, but I really think Morrow loses a lot out of the stretch. His regular delivery appears to be kind of deceptive, with the "turn back to hitter and uncoil" motion. With runners on, he obviously can't do this and hitters feast (relatively) on him. First hit as I type, hopefully he won't unravel before I post.

greenfrog - Wednesday, August 17 2011 @ 11:43 PM EDT (#241362) #
Interesting reliever stat line from the White Sox - Indians game tonight (the AL Central is one of the best races going):

Z Stewart 1.2 0 0 0 1 5
TamRa - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 01:00 AM EDT (#241363) #
. With runners on, he obviously can't do this and hitters feast

Showing my ignorance: why CAN'T a dominant pitcher continue to pitch out of the wind-up with runners on? if almost no one gets a hit, how's the guy on base going to score regardless?
TamRa - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 01:03 AM EDT (#241364) #
Lind's name and HR/RBI numbers might fetch us something nice in the trade market.

I don't disbelieve in Lind as a quality hitter over the next few years, but if somehow he could be turned into an excellent young 2B via trade, you'd haveto consider it.

that said - don't overlook how good he's been on defense.
92-93 - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 01:07 AM EDT (#241365) #
He can, and in Morrow's case he probably should. It's not like he all of a sudden becomes quick to the plate helping his C out of the stretch.
brent - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 04:21 AM EDT (#241366) #
http://m.mlb.com/cws/news/article/2011081723354910/

temporarily in the bullpen maybe.
TamRa - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 04:45 AM EDT (#241367) #
on the occasion of Morrow spanking the M's, I glance at Baseball Reference and notice that while Brandon league is having a fine season, Johermyn Chavez (who was huge last year) is struggling mightily in AA - .218/.306/.365/.671
raptorsaddict - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 07:32 AM EDT (#241368) #
Yeah TamRa, I've been keeping an eye on Yo,Herman! since that trade - glad to see he's flaming out!

As for Lind, I would trade him in a heartbeat. Given his counting numbers, proven ability to play first and relatively decent contract, now would be a perfect "sell high" moment. Between EE/Loewen/Thames/etc, it wouldn't hurt us to have another open spot for a hitter someday. If it gets us a decent 2b, all the better.

Paul D - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 07:52 AM EDT (#241369) #
that said - don't overlook how good he's been on defense.

Interesting.  I think he's been a bit of a liability on defence, and that it's not a positive for him
Mike Green - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 08:30 AM EDT (#241370) #
In honour of Brandon Morrow's gem in Seattle, a better song of the day.
John Northey - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 09:20 AM EDT (#241371) #
Lind has been better than expected, but based on UZR he is a net negative still on defense - costing the Jays 1.7 runs with his defense (3 runs per 150 games). Of course, that is better than his outfield figures (lifetime 11.3 runs to the bad per 150 games).

What is funny is that Overbay was a positive in all but one season with the Jays but this year is fielding at a -8.9 pace, or a lot worse than Lind. Go figure.
Jonny German - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 09:30 AM EDT (#241373) #
Go figure indeed. Why do people continually quote these numbers as carrying significant weight when they so often fail the smell test?
brent - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 09:52 AM EDT (#241374) #
If you could get something nice for Lind, you'd have to take that deal.
Mike Green - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 09:56 AM EDT (#241375) #
The proponent of UZR, MGL, would insist on using 3 year UZRs because of fielding sample size issues.  The sample for Lind so far in his career at first base is 125 plays.  You wouldn't put much weight on whether a batter hit .250 or .270 in 125 at-bats, nor should you place much weight on whether a first baseman makes 103 or 97 plays on 125 balls in his zone.  Defining zones is necessarily imprecise, and so even on a larger sample, you need a healthy error bar.
BalzacChieftain - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 10:00 AM EDT (#241376) #
Even though Lind's performed better than last season, he's still in the bottom quarter for offensive production for first basemen in MLB. I don't think many teams would consider him much of an upgrade over what they currently trot out on the field.
Lylemcr - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 10:37 AM EDT (#241377) #

1. I see Molina back next year.  A solid veteran is a good idea in case Arencebia struggles

2. The Lawrie stuff is a bit crazy, but in the same breath Seattle had 10,000 more fans than normal.  The Jays are getting some buzz around them and that has a lot to do with Lawrie.  I have had a couple people tell me how they are getting excited about the Jays again.  If Lawrie assembled something modestly good, the skydome will be full again.

3. I like the idea of Beckham for Snider trade except that I sense the Jays are strong at SS2nd in the minors.

Magpie - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 11:02 AM EDT (#241380) #
The proponent of UZR, MGL, would insist on using 3 year UZRs because of fielding sample size issues.

Which is an enormous problem, because defensive ability does not stay constant. Players hit their defensive peaks and begin to decline much quicker than they do as offensive players (and defensive performance is, of course, equally subject to the random vagaries of performance - you know, slumps.) You need the three years to have a large enough data sample, but by then the sample is actually too large.

It would be a little like using Jose Bautista's or Aaron Hill's career hitting numbers in order to forecast what either might have done this year.
MatO - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 11:09 AM EDT (#241381) #

Players hit their defensive peaks and begin to decline much quicker than they do as offensive players

Except for Jeter whose ratings were atrocious and then majically turned respectable when he hit 30!

sam - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 11:13 AM EDT (#241382) #
I don't see the Jays making any major additions or subtractions this offseason. I think the lineup is set. They probably re-work Aaron Hill's contract. Have Travis Snider, Rajai Davis, and Eric Thames compete for the LF position, with one of Thames or Snider making the team and the other going down to AAA. I think the Jays partake in the usual bullpen merry-go-round. Molina stays and they pick up Encarnacion's option. They go into the season with a rotation of Romero, Morrow, Cecil, Litsch, and Drabek. In fact, I could see them acquiring via free agency someone to eat innings at the back end of the rotation. I they're thin pitching wise at the ML level, but guys like Alvarez, McGuire, Molina, Jenkins, and Carreno see time with the big club at some point next year.

I just don't see them bringing a bat in unless it's big name like Fielder. And I don't see them bidding for Darvish, although it would be a nice addition.
MatO - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 11:17 AM EDT (#241383) #

The Brewers are going to need a 1st baseman after this season.  How about Lind for Marcum.

sam - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 11:26 AM EDT (#241384) #
Felix Hernandez would look mighty good in just about any rotation in baseball. It'll be interesting to see if the Jays get involved in those trade talks. I mean they have the prospects to be competitive with any package another team could offer. In a perfect world they trade some of their prospects who could be "blocked," while retaining guys like Gose, d'Arnaud, and Hutchison.
Jonny German - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 11:34 AM EDT (#241385) #
In fact, I could see them acquiring via free agency someone to eat innings at the back end of the rotation.

Like a Steve Parris or Esteban Loaiza or Tanyon Sturtze or Steve Tracshel?

Utterly pointless.
sam - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 11:39 AM EDT (#241386) #
It's not pointless at all. None of the guys in Double A are ready to pitch a full season at the ML level. Brad Mills is not an option, Kyle Drabek is a mess right now... Who else would you put in the rotation? I have a hard time seeing John Farrell put up with Jesse Litsch for a full season, and what about injuries?

They need a veteran back there.
greenfrog - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 11:39 AM EDT (#241387) #
Was it Steve Parris or Steve Trachsel who was the world's slowest pitcher? I can't remember.
sam - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 11:41 AM EDT (#241388) #
Steve Trachsel, but ya I just think they're going to have to go outside the organization to fill some sort of spot in their rotation.
Jonny German - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 11:46 AM EDT (#241389) #
They need a veteran back there.

No doubt. Ricky Romero looks awfully uncomfortable as the leader of the staff.
Jonny German - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 11:48 AM EDT (#241390) #
For the record I'm not against the concept of bringing in another starter. I'm just against the Gordashian idea of bringing in a "proven vet" whose best-case scenario is 200 innings of 90 ERA+.
subculture - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 11:54 AM EDT (#241391) #
Interesting that there seems to be shared sentiment to trade Lind for a good asset... I agree that if the right trade came about, AA would do it, but consider this:

- On our current roster, there is a reason that Lind is hitting 4th (or multiple reasons).  Who would replace him (unlikely that a 2b you could get in the trade would be in this spot) ?
- Lind might not be a consistently big scary bat in the clean-up spot (he was for a good stretch earlier this season), but imagine his bat in the 5th or 6th spot!
- Unlike some prospects who have upside.. Lind has already shown his substantial upside, and is not too old to return to that form.
- While I like Murphy and you can't argue with team offensive numbers, Lind might do better when there is an inevitable coaching change

So my preference would not be to trade Lind, but to acquire (trade/draft/sign) a huge bat that gives you the option to move Lind down in the order if he struggles.

We might already have that in place and just need time for guys like Rasmus, Thames and Lawrie to develop further... by this time next year, the lineup could be:

Escobar
Rasmus
Lawrie
Bautista
Lind
Encarnacion
Thames
Arencibia
Hill

Bench/platoon:
Davis
Snyder
McDonald/McCoy
Loewen or..

Of course a Pujols or Fielder would be awesome in any lineup... but if I had to choose, I'd be adding an ACE to the staff, a la David Cone or Jack Morris when I thought my team was ready to make it's run (2013 imo).  Your pitching can't just be above average, it needs to be stacked!

This is the winning rotation in my 'fantasy' world:
Ace (Josh Johnson perhaps?)
Romero
Morrow
McGowan (healthy as a horse of course)
Alvarez/Drabek

Bullpen would include: Litsch and Janssen from current crop.  If getting a proven closer becomes difficult, I'd consider Drabek there.

Dewey - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 11:54 AM EDT (#241392) #
They go into the [2012] season with a rotation of Romero, Morrow, Cecil, Litsch, and Drabek.  11:13

Kyle Drabek is a mess right now.   11:39 



I donít get this, Sam.  Has Drabek really demonstrated, ever, that heís going to be a ML pitcher?  (In my view, his biggest asset has been his surname.)   I have no confidence that he will be in the Jays rotation next year.   I hope Iím wrong;  but heís done little as yet to instill confidence.  
sam - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 11:55 AM EDT (#241393) #
I think you're emphasizing the wrong word. "Proven" is the important word to look at it. They need someone with a track record of logging innings. Inherent in that, would be someone with experience pitching in the MLs, thereby being a veteran.

I think you've mistaken my assertion to mean that the Jays lack leadership, or need leadership. I think Ricky Romero is excellent and has done well in leading this rotation. Hopefully that clarifies my remarks.
Paul D - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 11:56 AM EDT (#241394) #

Here's what I think the Jays need for next year.

A 2b.  That's what got me thinking about Snider for Beckham.  I'd have Thames or Thames/Davis in LF.

I'd love to get Dustin Ackley but I can't figure out a way to get him from Seattle.  I'd start by offering D'Arnaud though.

Relief - you know, this might not be as bad as we think.  IF the bullpen has Jannsen, Perez, Mills, Villianeuava and Litsch in it, then I'd really only want them to go out and get a nice closer.  I think the rest of the bullpen should be alriight.   Not sure that I love giving up a draft pick for Papelbon, so I think I'd like to try to trade for Leo Nunez.

SP - this team is thin.   They have 3 guys right now, and how confident are you in Cecil?  I think they need at least one guy of CJ Wilson's or Wandy Rodriguez quality, but ideally better.   Now, personally, I'd take a flyer at Carlos Zambrano, but I don't imagine most here would agree with me (nor would the team) so I'd try to trade or sign a quality SP.  My dream is for them to sign CC as a free agent this year, but that's also not going to happen.   I think a starting rotation of Romero, Morrow, Cecil, Wandy/Wilson, Rookie (Drabek, Alvarez someone) is much stronger than one with 2 question marks.

China fan - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 11:57 AM EDT (#241395) #

....For the record I'm not against the concept of bringing in another starter. I'm just against the Gordashian idea of bringing in a "proven vet" whose best-case scenario is 200 innings of 90 ERA+.....

In fact, the Jays recently acquired a veteran pitcher who regularly throws 200 innings a year and currently has an ERA+  of 101.   His name was Edwin Jackson.  Rather than keep him, AA immediately flipped him to the Cardinals for Colby Rasmus.  Which suggests that Jonny is correct and AA isn't obsessed with acquiring a veteran pitcher of that calibre.  If he's going to acquire a veteran pitcher, he probably wants a higher quality guy, not a replacement-level innings-eater.

hypobole - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 11:57 AM EDT (#241396) #

Felix Hernandez would look mighty good in just about any rotation in baseball. It'll be interesting to see if the Jays get involved in those trade talks.

Enen though there are no Felix Hernandez trade talks?

Sam, you are right that we have prospects to make a deal when the next Grienke/Ubaldo is actually put on the block. At some point the Jays will have to start dealing some, because they won't be able to protect them all. And trading for a solid #1, 2 or 3 makes more sense than a back of the rotation guy.

As far as Litsch, I believe the Jays will try to keep him in the pen; he's become much too injury prone as a starter.

Paul D - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 11:57 AM EDT (#241397) #

I forgot about McGowan.  I would LOVE it if he could be counted on again, but at this point I don't think you can budget for it.  I think you still get that new starter, and if McGowan works out, you see what you can get for Drabek.

Kasi - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 11:58 AM EDT (#241398) #
I'd not be against a starting pitcher.

Either an ace who would cost a lot or a solid vet we could ink to a 1/2 year deal would be ideal. I'd be not unhappy if we could get something like what the Yankees got out of Colon this year. Of course the issue is getting the right pitcher. I don't want a Rauch like SP for example.
sam - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 11:59 AM EDT (#241399) #
Re: Dewey

I agree, and that's why I think they're going to have to acquire someone. Right now, based on depth, Drabek has to be considered for a rotation spot. I think he should be in AAA for another year. Same with Litsch, until he commands his pitches reduces his walks I don't see him pitching for John Farrell.
sam - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 12:02 PM EDT (#241400) #
I think Felix talks will pick up this summer as will Josh Johnson talks. I'd prefer the Jays to be in on those talks, but ya someone like CJ Wilson or Wandu would be good additions to a rather thin rotation. A player like Jake Westbrook comes to mind from last offseason as someone who would ideally fill a void in our rotation.
sam - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 12:07 PM EDT (#241401) #
Lind does seem to be an ideal person to be traded this offseason as part of a package for pitching.

Perfect world.

Jays sign one of the marquee first basemen.

Adam Lind, bless his soul, is traded with prospects for a Josh Johnson, Felix Hernandez-type pitcher.

I mean that's got to be a perfect world situation for Jays fans this offseason.
adrianveidt - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 12:09 PM EDT (#241402) #
They go into the [2012] season with a rotation of Romero, Morrow, Cecil, Litsch, and Drabek. In other words, they have one guy who can start for a winning team. I think a winning team would need 4 starters who can deliver an era of not more than 3.5x, and other than Romero, none of the other guys have shown they can do that. Neither have Mills, Alvarez et al. This team need 3 new starters. To my way of thinking, if you need to score 5 runs per night to win a lot of ball games, you won't be winning a lot of ball games. Hoping for Cecil, Alvarez, Morrow, and Drabek to have ace-like seasons is all well and good, but hope is not a plan.
China fan - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 12:10 PM EDT (#241403) #
The status quo of the current Jays roster (or the current roster plus a few cheap bullpen guys) isn't likely to evolve into a contender.  Even with the addition of Lawrie and Rasmus, the Jays are barely above .500 in their recent games against lesser teams such as Oakland and Seattle.   In order for the Jays to contend, they will need significant improvements from several positions -- probably from 1B, 2B, LF and maybe catcher.  They would also need a closer and another starting pitcher.  Could all of this evolve from within the organization?  It's conceivable -- if Hill and Lind improve, if Thames or Snider improve, if JPA improves, if Drabek and Cecil improve, if McGowan is healthy, and if Litsch or Janssen can turn into a closer.  All of that could happen, but it's a lot to ask.  Even if they get two-thirds of those improvements, the Jays might be contenders, but it's unlikely (since some of the current good hitters are likely to decline).  Anthopolous needs to acquire several new players at key positions.  Otherwise there's little chance of contending in 2012 or even 2013.
sam - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 12:10 PM EDT (#241404) #
I mean, this looks really good:

Escobar
Thames/Snider
Bautista
Fielder
Encarnacion
Rasmus
Lawrie
Hill
Arencibia

Romero
Johnson/Hernandez
Morrow
Cecil
Alverez/Drabek/Villanueva/Litsch etc.

With some additions and subtractions to the bullpen, is an incredibly competitive team.
dan gordon - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 12:11 PM EDT (#241405) #

I think you will see the Jays pick up 2 or 3 relievers this offseason.  It looks like they want Litsch in the bullpen, Janssen looks solid, and I expect Perez to be back.  Other than that it's wide open.  I'd prefer Villanueva in the 'pen, but I think they intend to at least look at him as a starter again.  If he's in the pen, that gives you 4 and you still need 3 more.  Farquhar may be a possibility.  I don't think Ledezma or Lewis are good enough, and I doubt they bring back Francisco or Camp, so I think they go and get 2 or 3, one being a legit closer, 1 being a lefty, and preferably another guy who can pitch in the late innings.

I think they also get a starter.  Morrow, Romero and Cecil seem pretty sure things to be there, and after that, it's a bunch of candidates who may or may not be ready (Drabek, Alvarez), may or may not be healthy (McGowan) and may be in the pen (Villanueva, Litsch).

The Beckham/Snider trade suggestion is interesting.  Not sure I know Beckham well enough to have an opinion.  He only had about 250 AB's in the minors, so it's hard to evaluate his potential.  Pretty obvious he was brought to the majors before he was ready, given his struggles on and off for much of 3 seasons now.  If the Jays didn't want to give up Snider, I wonder if Thames and a prospect or two might interest them.  I don't know the Sox personnel well enough to know if they have candidates in house to replace Beckham at 2B.  If not, they probably wouldn't deal him without getting a 2B in return, and the Jays can't fill that need.

Milwaukee might take Lind, but no way do you get Marcum for him unless you add a very significant pitching prospect or two.  Lind is an OK 1st baseman, but Marcum is a terrific pitcher.  I would love to get him back.

One 2B the Jays might be able to get is Jeff Keppinger of the Giants.  SF picked him up to replace Freddy Sanchez, who is out with an injury.  Sanchez is still under contract next year, and at $6 million, he's not going anywhere.  Keppinger is arb eligible next year and a F.A. after that.  I wouldn't imagine he would be too costly - the Giants didn't give up much for him.  If the Jays bring Hill back, Keppinger would be good insurance in case Hill can't find his bat next year.  Keppinger has a career OPS of .729.  Not a great fielder, but I don't believe he's regarded as being a real liability with the glove, as long as you don't put him at SS.

Paul D - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 12:15 PM EDT (#241406) #

I think Josh Johnson is a bad idea.  YOu need guys who can give you innings, and he hasn't proved to be that.

greenfrog - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 12:21 PM EDT (#241407) #
I would be shocked to see Felix dealt this off-season. Ackley and Felix have to be virtually untouchable for that franchise. However, I could see the temptation to deal Felix increasing as he gets closer to the end of his contract (it ends in 2014, at which point he'll be 28 and in line for a massive, possibly unaffordable, contract). The rumours could really get going after next season or in 2013. Some team might still be willing to empty out its farm system for him at that point.

Of course, ownership could bite the bullet and offer him a Sabathia-like extension before then.
Kasi - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 12:21 PM EDT (#241408) #
Are you really sure that we have only one starter who can start for a winning team? You're saying that Morrow and Romero wouldn't both be starters on the Yankees (who are running Colon and Garcia and Burnett out there?) or even the Sox (over Lackey and Buchholz and Wakefield?)

I think you're vastly overestimating what pitchers teams go out there with. Not every team is the Phillies. By that logic the Phillies are the only team who can be a winning team, because other than them no one matches that criteria of 4 starters with a sub 3.5 era. Well the Giants too I guess, but they both play in the weaker league anyway. Their pitching numbers would rise if they had to play AL teams more often.
DaveB - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 12:26 PM EDT (#241409) #
The Jays have the money to sign Fielder. They have the prospect depth and extra parts to trade for a top of the rotation starter. There are a number of ways to find a closer. If they want to, the Jays can compete next year.

I mean, this looks really good:


Escobar
Thames/Snider
Bautista
Fielder
Encarnacion
Rasmus
Lawrie
Hill
Arencibia

Romero
Johnson/Hernandez
Morrow
Cecil
Alverez/Drabek/Villanueva/Litsch etc.

Sam, this is do-able.


Mike Green - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 12:31 PM EDT (#241410) #
Magpie, 3 year defensive numbers are a piece of evidence about a player and the weight that one attaches to that vs. subjective impressions is a matter of reasonable argument.  So, if you look at Colby Rasmus, you get one-year numbers suggesting he's a below average defensive centerfielder and three-year numbers which suggest that he is an average to slightly above average centerfielder.  Subjectively, he's at least average with fine instincts generally and decent but not great speed.  He may have lost 1/4 of a step, or something, over the last few years.  The numbers and the subjective impressions together would suggest that he is about average now, and that is what I would go with.

My own approach is to not reject any evidence but to weigh it on a case-by-case basis.  You would not normally attach much, if any, weight to subjective impressions of a player's batting ability as compared with the numbers.  It is not the same for defence, and the use of one year UZRs in WAR calculations is what is especially problematic.
Paul D - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 12:31 PM EDT (#241411) #

I think Josh Johnson is a bad idea.  YOu need guys who can give you innings, and he hasn't proved to be that.

Okay, it's probably bad form to quote yourself, but after posting this I got to thinking... maybe that's exactly why you target Johnson, because he might be cheaper than other top starters due to his injury history?  Then you cross your fingers and hope he stays healthy.
Magpie - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 12:35 PM EDT (#241412) #
Except for Jeter whose ratings were atrocious and then magically turned respectable when he hit 30!

Speaking of Jeter... since the day he got his 3000th hit out of the way, he's turned back into Derek Jeter.

 G   PA  AB   R   H  2B 3B  HR  RBI  BB  SO HBP  SH  SF  GDP  SB  CS  BAVG   OBP   SLG   OPS     
32 146 131  23  47   7  2   2   23  10  22   2   2   1   3    6   3  .359  .410  .489  .898   

The obituaries might have been premature.
Ryan Day - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 12:39 PM EDT (#241413) #
By that logic the Phillies are the only team who can be a winning team, because other than them no one matches that criteria of 4 starters with a sub 3.5 era.

Tampa Bay also qualifies, though I'm not sure it makes them a "winning team", since they're 8.5 games away from a playoff spot.
Magpie - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 12:41 PM EDT (#241414) #
I think Felix talks will pick up this summer

And when Seattle asks for Lawrie and Snider, they'll probably cool off.


Ryan Day - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 12:41 PM EDT (#241415) #
Speaking of pitching, take a gander at what is possibly the worst pitching performance of all time.
sam - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 12:44 PM EDT (#241416) #
I think you're right to say Hernandez probably won't be dealt and I think the package to tempt the Mariners-who have both a solid fan base and good ownership-would have to be enormous and maybe beyond rationalization.

Johnson would be the ideal candidate though. Someone with enormous talent, but some question marks. Coupled with the soap opera-type situation in Florida, Johnson and the Marlins could be an ideal trade partner. I would imagine due to his roots in the area, Arencibia would likely be part of that package.
Magpie - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 12:45 PM EDT (#241417) #
3 year defensive numbers are a piece of evidence about a player and the weight that one attaches to that vs. subjective impressions is a matter of reasonable argument.

I agree completely. M y concern is that if you need three years to get a large enough sample, sometimes you're talking about two quite different players.

What do you think of Escobar's defense this season? My subjective impression is that he's beginning to lose a half-step, but it's possible that he's maintaining his overall effectiveness - mainly with better positioning and overall judgement.
Mike Green - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 01:12 PM EDT (#241419) #
Sure, Magpie.  If you look at a centerfielder, like say Bernie Williams, at age 30, using 3 year defensive numbers can be very deceptive in masking changes over that period.

Subjectively, I feel that Escobar is off a little bit defensively, but still a little above-average with the glove.  He can probably play at the position for another 5 years. 

stevieboy22 - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 01:21 PM EDT (#241421) #
And when Seattle asks for Lawrie and Snider, they'll probably cool off.

I doubt it stops there... I would probably bet at this point Snider doesn't bring back much value... So you are probably looking at giving up 2 more of the systems better prospects. I wouldn't exactly say we are gonna get the King for a few spare parts...


92-93 - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 01:27 PM EDT (#241422) #
I wish people would use DRS instead of UZR when they find the need to go to a defensive test. It holds up to the smell test in one year samples far better.
Jonny German - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 01:31 PM EDT (#241424) #
"I think a winning team would need 4 starters who can deliver an era of not more than 3.5x"

You may think that, but the fact is only 1 of the 8 playoff teams in 2010 actually had that.
hypobole - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 01:47 PM EDT (#241426) #
As far as the speculation about trades with the Marlins are concerned, I thought the general consensus is that the Marlins will be holding on to their talent with the advent of their new ballpark opening up. Hard to draw the fans needed to pay for the thing if you've traded off your stars.
Matthew E - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 02:09 PM EDT (#241429) #
Think about the Jays this way. How many games are they going to win this year? Maybe 83? Would everyone say that's reasonable?

Now. How many games do they have to win to be a legitimate contender? 95? Can we agree that that's a good number to start with?

95 - 83 = 12. There are six months in a baseball season. 12/6 = 2.

So, to contend, the Jays have to do basically what they're doing now, but with two extra wins per month.

Doesn't sound like a lot, does it?

uglyone - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 02:22 PM EDT (#241430) #
Top-4 Teams in the AL 2011, and their SP ERAs:

NYY: 1) Sabathia 2.93, 2) Garcia 3.16, 3) Colon 3.54, 4) Nova 4.21, 5) Burnett 4.61
BOS: 1) Beckett 2.40, 2) Lester 3.22, 3) Buchholz 3.48, 4) Wakefield 4.90, 5) Lackey 6.02
TEX: 1) Harrison 3.19, 2) Wilson 3.20, 3) Ogando 3.33, 4) Lewis 4.01, 5) Holland 4.23
TBR: 1) Shields 2.83, 2) Hellickson 3.22, 3) Niemann 3.29, 4) Price 3.59, 5) Davis 4.60
*TOR: 1) Romero 2.87, 2) Villanueva 4.24, 3) Cecil 4.38, 4) Morrow 4.41, 5) Litsch 4.66


2010

TBR: 1) Price 2.72, 2) Garza 3.91, 3) Davis 4.07, 4) Niemann 4.39, 5) Shields 5.18
NYY: 1) Sabathia 3.18, 2) Pettitte 3.28, 3) Hughes 4.19, 4) Burnett 5.26, 5) Vazquez 5.32
MIN: 1) Liriano 3.62, 2) Pavano 3.75, 3) Slowey 4.45, 4) Baker 4.49, 5) Blackburn 5.42
TEX: 1) Wilson 3.35, 2) Lewis 3.72, 3) Hunter 3.73, 4) Lee 3.98, 5) Feldman 5.48
*TOR: 1) Marcum 3.64, 2) Romero 3.73, 3) Cecil 4.22, 4) Morrow 4.49, 5) Rzep 4.95
uglyone - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 02:30 PM EDT (#241431) #
In general I agree that while I would love to add a legit frontline starter to the mix next year, I'd be totally against adding some crappy "veteran innings eater" to fill out the rotation instead of the kids. That makes very little sense to me.

Romero/Morrow/Cecil are obviously locks. Right now we have a crop of guys in the high minors that will likely be deserving some sort of look next year - Drabek, Alvarez, McGowan, McGuire, Molina, Carreno all seem to me to be very likely to be pushing for MLB duty next year...or at least most of them.

Now if they're held back because we go get ourselves a legit #1/#2 guy to join Ricky at the top of the rotation that's fine, but I'd much rather have that group of talent battling over the bottom 2 spots than some crappy "veteran innings eater".....especially since Villy and Litsch can fill in those spots as well or better than most of those "veteran innings eaters" in a pinch anyways.

Though someone mentioned to me one interesting possibility of a "veteran innings eater" that actually piqued my interest (though probably for all the wrong reasons)....and that would be CHRIS CARPENTER, in the case where STL decides not to pick up his $15m option for next year....which might depend on whether they can re-sign Pujols or not.
sam - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 02:42 PM EDT (#241433) #
Matthew, that reminds me a bit of the famous scene in Bull Durham about the differences between a .300 hitter and potential Hall of Famer and someone who is a career minor leaguer. Something like ten of fifteen hits over the course of a season. Or two extra hits a month.

92-93 - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 02:52 PM EDT (#241435) #
Mark Buehrle is exactly what you are looking for in an innings-eater and signing him could allow the club to explore moving an arm or two in a prospect package for another legitimate stud bat. The team's best offseason acquisition is probably more likely to come via trade than the FA route, but signing a FA can help.

It's worrisome to see Rasmus have only 2 BBs in 74 PAs as a Jay. Hopefully Murphy doesn't screw up his approach and he bounces back next year like Yunel did.
uglyone - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 03:13 PM EDT (#241436) #
The status quo of the current Jays roster (or the current roster plus a few cheap bullpen guys) isn't likely to evolve into a contender. Even with the addition of Lawrie and Rasmus, the Jays are barely above .500 in their recent games against lesser teams such as Oakland and Seattle.

For the record, since the Rasmus trade, the Jays are 11-8 for a .579 winning percentage. Since Lawrie's callup they're 7-5 for a .583 winning percentage. They're 12-8 in their last 20 for a .600 winning percentage.

In order for the Jays to contend, they will need significant improvements from several positions -- probably from 1B, 2B, LF and maybe catcher.

That's overstating the case quite a bit. The Jays have the 4th best offense in the AL this year, and that's with 2/3 of the year having the likes of Nix, Rivera, Patterson, and Davis hitting instead of Lawrie, Thames, and Rasmus. Since the most recent addition - Lawrie - the Jays have scored 5.5 runs per game, which is as good as any offense in baseball. They don't need anywhere near the improvement offensively that you're suggesting...they're already a good enough offense to contend, and adding even one big bat brings them level with any offense in baseball.

For the record, here's how the Jays' current position players compare to the league average at their position:

  • DH: EE .821ops, AL AVG: .763ops - +.058
  • C: JPA .709ops, AL AVG: .684ops - +.025
  • 1B: Lind .776ops, AL AVG: .792ops - -.016
  • 2B: Hill .591ops, AL AVG: .709ops - -.118
  • SS: Yunel .798ops, AL AVG: .701ops - +.097
  • 3B: Lawrie 1.104ops, AL AVG: .682ops - +.322
  • LF: Thames .796ops, AL AVG: .697ops - +.099
  • CF: Rasmus .734ops, AL AVG: .731ops - +.003
  • RF: Bautista 1.092ops, AL AVG: .764ops - +.328


  • The Jays right now have about 5 positions WELL above average offensively, another 3 around average, and one awful weak spot.

    They would also need a closer and another starting pitcher.

    This is true - they definitely need at least one more reliable starter and at least a serviceable closer. They may have the guys in the system to fill those roles, but maybe not.

    Could all of this evolve from within the organization? It's conceivable -- if Hill and Lind improve, if Thames or Snider improve, if JPA improves, if Drabek and Cecil improve, if McGowan is healthy, and if Litsch or Janssen can turn into a closer. All of that could happen, but it's a lot to ask. Even if they get two-thirds of those improvements, the Jays might be contenders, but it's unlikely (since some of the current good hitters are likely to decline). Anthopolous needs to acquire several new players at key positions. Otherwise there's little chance of contending in 2012 or even 2013.

    "All that" is really nowhere near as much as you're implying. You're making the mistake of confusing the word "contender" with the "perfect team".

    "Contenders" aren't anywhere near as good as you're suggesting they are - even contenders have a good number of "holes". And even then, you're describing Jays players as "holes" who "need to improve" that clearly aren't - Thames for example has been one of the best hitting LF in the AL this year, JPA has been about a dead average offensive catcher, Lind an average 1B. These aren't holes in the Jays lineup - and all contenders have plenty of "just ok" parts to their team.
    Kelekin - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 03:15 PM EDT (#241437) #
    Carpenter is a very interesting idea.  Harden is the only other one that interests me, but chances of that happening with his injury history are quite low. 

    On second thought, I'd probably want Kuroda more than either of them, but he wants to stay on the west coast.

    Lylemcr - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 03:19 PM EDT (#241438) #

    Why isn't Romero considered a # 1 starter

    NYY: 1) Sabathia 2.93,

    BOS: 1) Beckett 2.40,

    TEX: 1) Harrison 3.19,

    TBR: 1) Shields 2.83,

    *TOR: 1) Romero 2.87

    If you compare them to the other top team, he is a top starter IMO...

    Jonny German - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 03:22 PM EDT (#241439) #
    +1 to uglyone, that's a great summary.

    Do you have a handy place for looking up league averages by position? I've looked for that with no luck.
    uglyone - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 03:24 PM EDT (#241440) #
    Just go to ESPN's Team Batting stats page, and toggle it by position. It'll give you the averages at the bottom.
    Magpie - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 03:24 PM EDT (#241441) #
    Mark Buehrle is exactly what you are looking for in an innings-eater

    I like Buehrle a whole lot myself - he's basically Tom Glavine all over again (not quite that good, but pretty close). I wonder what the market will bring him this winter? His last deal was four years, $56 million. And if he stays with the White Sox, he keeps his 10 and 5 rights.
    Kelekin - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 03:26 PM EDT (#241442) #
    So if we assume Romero, Morrow, and Cecil are the likely 3 to be in the rotation next year, that left us with (as stated above):

    - Mills, Drabek, Beck, Carreno, Alvarez, Jenkins, McGuire, McGowan, Molina

    Mills is unlikely to be in the rotation, with his current struggles.  Drabek as well, because he has a long way to go to become who he was last year and they aren't going to throw him right into the majors.  Beck is highly unlikely, but we should figure out what to do with him (quality season, really).  Carreno most would argue has more of a reliever's ceiling.  He can strike people out, but is his command good enough to be a starter? It's doubtful. 

    Alvarez needs more time in the minors, in my opinion.  Give him more time to work on his secondary stuff.  Jenkins as well needs a bit more polish on his secondary pitches, and McGuire and Molina definitely need more time in the high minors.

    So really, that leaves us with McGowan as a possibility, and he's the most injury prone.

    It isn't meant to be cynical, but I am a very patient person - and I don't want to see us rush these players at AA just because we have holes in our rotation.  Realistically, we might very well need a stop-gap starter or two for 2012.  I imagine by mid-2012 some of those guys might be ready.

    Shaker - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 03:38 PM EDT (#241443) #

    Acquiring a high risk, high upside starter this off-season makes sense for the Jays and meets AA's philosophy of trying to compete in the AL East.

    Examples would be Harden, Bedard and Carpenter.  McGowan is also an (in-house) example.

    We have quite a few #6 starter types, such as Carlos V, Litsch, Mills, etc that can spot start for their expected DL stints.  If the fragile ace puts up a great year then we'd be in the hunt, if they flame out then we have lots of replacements as well as upcoming prospects such as Alvarez, Drabek, Deck, Carreno to break-in to the bigs.

    I would try to sign Harden.  You'd then have Romero, Cecil, Morrow, "Harden/McG/Alvarez"  and a 5th starter that could come from any of the leftover pitchers named in the paragraph above.

    uglyone - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 03:40 PM EDT (#241444) #
    Why isn't Romero considered a # 1 starter

    With a good outing tonight vs. the A's, he might be able to crack the AL Top-5 in ERA....which should get him some attention. Current Top-10 ERA (with some other stats):

  • 1) J.Weaver (28): 25gs, 7.3ip/gs, 7.6k/9, 0.97whip, 2.13era
  • 2) J.Verlander (28): 27gs, 7.5ip/gs, 9.1k/9, 0.88whip, 2.31era
  • 3) J.Beckett (31): 23gs, 6.5ip/gs, 8.0k/9, 0.97whip, 2.40era
  • 4) J.Masterson (26): 25gs, 6.6ip/gs, 6.8k/9, 1.17whip, 2.69era
  • 5) J.Shields (29): 25gsm 7.4ip/gs, 8.4k/9, 1.03whip, 2.83era
  • 6) R.Romero (26): 24gs, 6.9ip/gs, 7.7k/9, 1.14whip, 2.87era
  • 7) C.Sabathia (31): 26gs, 7.3ip/gs, 8.3k/9, 1.14whip, 2.93era
  • 8) D.Haren (30): 26gs, 7.0ip/gs, 7.3k/9, 0.97whip, 2.95era
  • 9) E.Santana (28): 26gs, 7.0ip/gs, 7.3k/9, 1.17whip, 3.12era
  • 10) M.Buerhle (32): 24gs, 6.8ip/gs, 4.7k/9, 1.23whip, 3.14era
  • Kasi - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 03:44 PM EDT (#241445) #
    To me the reason Romero is not a number one is

    1) Stats other than ERA (although he has improved his peripherals this year)
    2) His performance against top teams, especially Boston. Until his ERA+ comes down from the lofty 180+ he has against them he's not a number one.
    uglyone - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 03:48 PM EDT (#241446) #
    It isn't meant to be cynical, but I am a very patient person - and I don't want to see us rush these players at AA just because we have holes in our rotation. Realistically, we might very well need a stop-gap starter or two for 2012. I imagine by mid-2012 some of those guys might be ready.

    We have a pretty sweet group of young pitching talent in the high minors and even majors right now this year (Alvarez MLB, Drabek AAA, McGuire/Molina/Carreno AA) - and to dismiss ALL of them from even being in the picture next year can't be anything but cynical, I don't think.

    I don't think we have to be that cynical looking at a group of pitchers this talented, especially when they've all had very good success at AA already.
    Lylemcr - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 03:48 PM EDT (#241447) #

    To get Felix, you are going to have to do a simular or better trade than what we got for Halladay. (Because Felix does have a very favorable contract and Philly was the only real option for Halladay)  If we trade let's say ....Alvarez, McGuire, Drabek, D'arnard and Snider everyone is going to freak out.  I don't see AA doing that.  He has invested alot in his minor league system and I think he is going to stand by these guys.

    Here is what I know

    1. We are shoulder deep in starters in the minors as well as middle infielders.  I don't see any need to acquire either one of these positions.  In fact, I see the need to trade these positions to acquire other positions.

    2. Our bullpen stinks.  If we had a decent closer this year(and a setup man), we could have had at least 7 more wins.  That would make us 70-52, 4 GB of Boston.  And that is half the season without Thames, Rasmus and Lawrie, as well as many players(ie. EE,Cecil and Morrow) stinking it up for the first half.  To top it off, there are alot of good bullpen arms available in the offseason.  This offseason, get me a bullpen and let some of those studs mature in the minors. 

    3. We are not the Yankees.  We need to have good young talent coming up to fill the roster.  We can't afford to have too many 20+ million$ guys on the roster.

    Bottom line for me, is don't freak out.  Believe in your scouting system.  If a trade can be made to get a top talent without mortgaging the future, do it.  Other than that, stick to the plan and get high ceiling players and have them prosper as Blue Jays.

     

     

    uglyone - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 03:50 PM EDT (#241448) #
    His performance against top teams, especially Boston. Until his ERA+ comes down from the lofty 180+ he has against them he's not a number one.

    Imagine what his numbers would look like if he DIDN'T have to face BOS and NYY more times every year than any other pitcher in baseball.
    Jonny German - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 03:58 PM EDT (#241449) #
    "His performance against top teams, especially Boston."

    BS. You're talking about 2 starts versus Boston and 1 against Detroit. His worst ERA against anyone else is 3.52. Versus the Yankees he's at an even 3 in 3 starts, and against the Rays 1.64 in 3 starts. Against all teams that are above .500 he's at 3.46.
    Jonny German - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 04:04 PM EDT (#241450) #
    I suspect the main reason Romero isn't generally viewed as a #1 is that he's in the middle of his 3rd straight season of dramatic improvement. He's gone from a 4-year minor league career that universally labelled him "Bad overdraft" to "Okay he lucked into a good rookie season" to "Hey, he's repeating the rookie season but with good peripherals" to "This guy is pitching like an ace!". It's an unusually steep and linear development that we're not used to seeing.
    Matthew E - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 04:13 PM EDT (#241451) #
    "Bad overdraft" to "Okay he lucked into a good rookie season" to "Hey, he's repeating the rookie season but with good peripherals" to "This guy is pitching like an ace!". It's an unusually steep and linear development that we're not used to seeing.

    Well, I hope he can keep up this pattern for a few more years.
    Kasi - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 04:20 PM EDT (#241452) #
    His lifetime ERA in 11 starts (second most to Baltimore against which he has 12) is 8.08. His WHIP against them is 2.178. Their OPS against him is 1.030. Their OPS+ against him is 192 (Barry Bond's career OPS+ is 181 in comparison). He has a mental issue with them. It was even discussed before and after his last disastrous start versus them. Until he gets over his issues against them he's not a number one.
    Kasi - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 04:22 PM EDT (#241453) #
    And by mental issue I mean that he's let them get in his head.
    Moe - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 04:26 PM EDT (#241454) #
    2. Our bullpen stinks.  If we had a decent closer this year(and a setup man), we could have had at least 7 more wins.  That would make us 70-52, 4 GB of Boston.  And that is half the season without Thames, Rasmus and Lawrie, as well as many players(ie. EE,Cecil and Morrow) stinking it up for the first half.  To top it off, there are alot of good bullpen arms available in the offseason.  This offseason, get me a bullpen and let some of those studs mature in the minors.

    While popular, this reasoning is flawed.  You can't just add all bad outings of the pen and get the total number of wins.  Every team, even the ones with the best bullpens have bad pen outings.  Furthermore, the Jays have equally benefited from other teams unlucky breaks.  Could the team have more wins with a stud closer and another stud closer as a set-up man? Yes, but probably not as many as you think.

    And the last thing I would want is the Jays to go out and sign a "proven closer".  The list of failures in that department is too long, almost every team giving a FA reliever 20m+ regrets it.  In fact, I have a hard time thinking of one successful case outside of Rivera re-signing with NYY.

    Kasi - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 04:30 PM EDT (#241456) #
    On bullpens they are easy to fix. Just look at Arizona this year. Some wise spending on cheaper Free Agents can net positive results. Of course you need to get the right ones, as our lovely FA closers have shown us this year. Regardless some of our failed prospect starters are going to turn into relievers. Maybe even good ones at that. I wouldn't worry overly much about that. 2B and solidifying SP should be top priority. If AA can fleece someone else that's good too.
    Mike Green - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 04:34 PM EDT (#241457) #
    Ricky is having a terrific year, but his BABIP is under .250 with a very low LD rate contributing.  HIs FIP and xFIP for the year are right near where they have always been (between 3.5 and 3.8).  I don't put much stock in #1 and #2 labels, but it would be nice if Morrow and Cecil took a little step forward to join Romero at the top of a good rotation.  That could easily happen.  Alternatively, the club could attempt to upgrade the position through the free agency or trade markets. 
    sam - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 04:45 PM EDT (#241458) #
    I agree we have a solid group of guys hovering around AA. However, I think they all come with significant question marks. Most, just haven't pitched very many innings in the minors, others don't have that necessary third pitch, and in other cases, some just don't have the command to pitch at the ML level. To assume that these guy will be significant contributors at the ML level would be foolish IMO. You may disagree, however, I think it's in the best long term interests to have these guys figure it out at the Minor League level before getting shelled at the Major League level and having their confidence completely destroyed.

    Kyle Drabek has to be a prime example. I mean everyone, including myself, thought, "hey!" Fantastic season at AA, we could use him in Toronto, promote him. Conventional wisdom among baseball people would say, well he probably needs some more seasoning at the AAA-level and maybe a cup of coffee the following season. The Rays have employed such a strategy with almost all of their starters and all have stepped rather seamlessly into the rotation. Drabek has effectively lost a season. His confidence is shot and he's lost any resemblance of command he once had.

    I think it would be a mistake for any of those guys to be pencilled in as rotation candidates next year. If anything, a guy like Joel Carreno might look good in the bullpen, but those other guys need more time.
    Landomar - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 04:52 PM EDT (#241459) #

    I think that with the players we have right now, our offense is in great shape for next season (although I would like to replace Hill with a better option at 2B if possible).

    I do think that career averages are useful for setting expectations about what our team is likely to do, although some common sense adjustments / notes are also worthwhile. Here is some career data:

    • Escobar - .290/.366/.402 .768
    • Thames - (.308/.383/.535 .918 in 922 ABs in minors); I trust him for at least a .750 OPS next season
    • Bautista -  .254/.359/.480 .838; his recent level is much higher, of course, and I'll count on him for .950
    • Lind - .270/.320/.472 .792
    • Lawrie - (.296/.356/.492 .848 in 1278 ABs in minors); given his talent, I'll just use those numbers
    • Rasmus - .257/.329/.441 .770
    • Hill - .265/.319/.414 .733; given Hill's recent play, I'd prefer to acquire a different 2B that is around this level
    • Snider - .249/.308/.426 .734
    • Arencibia - .210/.274/.435 .706; I think his rookie numbers reflect his talents, and in a good year, the BA would just be up
    • ----key bench players-----
    • Molina - .242/.287/.345 .632
    • McDonald - .240/.276/.330 .607
    • Encarnacion - .262/.338/.456/ .796 
    • Davis - .273/.319/.377 .696

    If Encarnacion gets worked in as the 10th regular guy (to fill in for injuries, and possible underperformance from some of the the young guys), and the other three bench guys + replacement level guys from the minors (McCoy etc.) add up to a de facto 11th guy, then you get the following expected team line:

    .260/.327/.444 .771

    That projection is only a rough one, but I do think it gives a good idea of the talent level we have with some of the new additions (Lawrie, Thames, Rasmus mainly).  Like all seasons, some guys will put up monster years, and some guys will disappoint, but with average luck, and no excessive injury problems, we should be capable of the above numbers.

    To compare, this season we are at:  .256/.321/.421 .742

    So, to summarize, if our current guys play around as expected, then our offense should be better next year.  To compare, this season, the top three offenses have been Texas, Boston, and the Yankees, with OPS numbers of .785, .794, .802.  With some slight good luck, our current players could definitely compete with those performances next season.  Bringing in a guy like Prince Fielder would be great, but it isn't required for us to be really good, and we likely would be better off spending some money on pitching (perhaps a #2 starter, a closer, and a setup guy).

    Paul D - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 05:05 PM EDT (#241462) #

    Who are the great Jay middle infield prospects other than Hech?  (And this isn't meant to be snark).

    China fan - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 05:30 PM EDT (#241463) #

    .....Since the most recent addition -- Lawrie -- the Jays have scored 5.5 runs per game, which is as good as any offense in baseball....

    Since the addition of Lawrie, the Jays have played only against Baltimore, Seattle, Oakland and the Angels. Three of those teams are among the five worst in the entire league. Only one of those teams is above .500. This is what someone earlier described as the "puffball" portion of the 2011 schedule. In order to contend, the Jays need to do better than a 7-5 record against the worst teams in the league. If they're 7-5 against the bad teams, they'll probably be 5-7 against the good teams, and that doesn't create a contender. And having an above-average offence is not good enough to create a contender if their pitching is below average (as it currently is).

    I do agree with your point that a contending team can afford to carry a few average hitters and even a bad hitter. That's why I said that the Jays don't need to improve in ALL of their weak areas. (I suggested that maybe the Jays could improve in two-thirds of their weak areas, which is a very crude way of saying that the Jays need to improve their hitting and pitching in several areas. Simply adding one starting pitcher and one closer will not create a contender.)

    The Jays are currently 11.5 games out of a wild-card slot. Your argument is that the Jays now have a good enough offence to be a contender, if only they improve their pitching. You seem to feel that Anthopoulos can take a laissez-faire approach to the offence and simply work on the pitching. I would seriously question that. To overcome a deficit of 11.5 games will take more than improved pitching. A team with a 7-5 record against bad teams is unlikely to contend, even if a couple of pitchers are added.

    One final point: every year, some hitters regress. Two or three of the current Jays hitters are likely to do worse in 2012. That happens every year. (This year, it was Sinder, Hill and the centrefield position that regressed from last season, although Rasmus might eventually reverse some of that.) So, since we know that two or three hitters will regress, you need improvements from several hitters to improve the offence. Who will improve? The 3B and CF positions will almost certainly improve, but will there be any improvement in any other position to counterbalance the inevitable regression in two or three other positions? That's why I suggested that Anthopoulos needs to keep working on improving the offence, not simply accept the status quo.

    Kasi - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 05:53 PM EDT (#241464) #
    AA is improving the offense. Drastically so. Most of his non Draft moves in the last year have been towards that. Acquiring Lawrie for Marcum. Getting Rasmus from the pitching depth we have. Escobar last year and the Bautista extension are that as well. Can even lump in EE's signing. AA has done a ton of things to improve the offense, and often at the expense of our pitching. Which is why so many of us think the main area to improve is our pitching staff.

    Yes we could improve 2B, but catcher and 1B are hard to improve right now from FA unless we spend a ton. Plus we have a strong C coming up through the minors. There is really no upgrades for SS, 3B, RF and CF out there over what we got. And while we could get better at LF and DH, the gains gotten would be marginal.
    China fan - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 06:12 PM EDT (#241466) #

    Given the extreme difficulty of the AL East, it would be a mistake to be complacent about the offence.  It's certainly possible to improve at some positions (especially 2B), and the solutions are not always in-house.   The Jays shouldn't simply assume that everything is fine at 1B and DH and LF.  All of those positions are vulnerable to decline.  You can't simply extrapolate from 213 at-bats by Eric Thames and assume that he'll do the same next season.  You can't assume that Encarnacion and Lind will do the same -- they could both decline. 

    I think the error made by some Jays fans is over-optimism:  assuming that every Jays player is as good as his peak. 

    Kasi - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 06:24 PM EDT (#241467) #
    Well sure, its likely at some point Bautista will drop below his 1.0 OPS he's maintained the last couple years. Escobar could decline as well too. I don't think AA thinks that everything is fine inhouse at those positions, or any position. He's constantly upgraded the O with high upside trades and I expect him to continue to do so.

    But right now the main issue is SP, and that is an area that there is no major league ready arms in our org to bring up. Maybe Drabek or Alvarez will be ready sometime next year, but I don't think they'll be ready at the start of the year. Hence why I think a decent 4th/5th guy would not be the worst thing we could get.
    Anders - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 07:21 PM EDT (#241469) #
    Since the addition of Lawrie, the Jays have played only against Baltimore, Seattle, Oakland and the Angels. Three of those teams are among the five worst in the entire league.

    A couple points - a 20 game sample isn't really worth much of anything. Second, the M's, A's and Angels are 3 of the top 5 pitching teams in the AL, so I don't think pointing out how much suck especially negates the comment about how the Jays have been scoring plenty of runs against them.

    As was also mentioned, it's a bit foolish to say we need to be X good at position Y. The goal of a successful team should be to achieve the maximum possible results at all positions, within the limits of whatever resources it has to spend. There aren't any great pitchers available this offseason, but if for argument's sake the Jays signed Fielder and Pujols and scored 1000 runs next year, they could run out this pitching and make the playoffs. This is a hypothetical of course, and probably not an efficient use of resources, but it does illustrate the point.
    Dave Rutt - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 07:28 PM EDT (#241470) #
    The Jays are currently 11.5 games out of a wild-card slot. Your argument is that the Jays now have a good enough offence to be a contender, if only they improve their pitching. You seem to feel that Anthopoulos can take a laissez-faire approach to the offence and simply work on the pitching. I would seriously question that. To overcome a deficit of 11.5 games will take more than improved pitching. A team with a 7-5 record against bad teams is unlikely to contend, even if a couple of pitchers are added.

    You're assuming the wild card will be as difficult to win in future years. Currently, New York and Boston are on pace to win 99 and 98 games, respectively. In the past six years, the wild card has won 95 games five times and 94 once. Three games isn't a huge difference, but it's not quite as steep a mountain as you're making it out to be.

    (And can we please stop judging the strength of the current team based on 12 game samples?)
    BlueJayWay - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 08:16 PM EDT (#241478) #
    Not to mention there could be another wildcard added soon, which would only take in the high 80s to be in the mix for.
    TamRa - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 09:17 PM EDT (#241481) #
    Interesting.  I think he's been a bit of a liability on defence, and that it's not a positive for him

    I'm going mostly by the reviews of others who's savvy I trust and highlight reel plays - I don't get to watch a big enough sample to have an opinion of my own.

    but based on UZR he...

    I thought the standard meme was (defensive metrics are useless for a one year sample"?

    Even though Lind's performed better than last season, he's still in the bottom quarter for offensive production for first basemen in MLB.

    By what measure? According to Fangraphs wOBA he's 19 out of 28 (18 of 27 when you note that Carlos Santana isn't really a 1B); on good old fashioned OPS he's 17 of the 29 with at least 225 PA; He's 8th among 1B with homers and if he had as many at-bats as Tex he'd be tied with Ryan Howard for fifth. He's no Overbay at the plate, even if he does have frustrating lengthy slumps (he also has lengthy streaks when he's on fire too)

    1. I see Molina back next year.  A solid veteran is a good idea in case Arencebia struggles

    Be aware - Molina is worth a draft pick. there will be a veteran reserve but it likely won't be Molina.

    The Brewers are going to need a 1st baseman after this season.  How about Lind for Marcum.


    Aren't they planning to move Braun there?

    acquiring via free agency someone to eat innings  > Utterly pointless.

    Absolutely agree.

    They need a veteran back there.

    I've waxed verbose on this before so i won't know. But briefly:

    Romero > Morrow > Cecil > McGowan...
    Need spots. YES mcgowan might fall apart again but if he doesn't, there needs to be room for him and you don't need a modern day Trachsel in the way. Beyond that, Drabek would be even more screwed up if he got right and there wasn't a spot open for him. Listch is the fallback plan if either McGowan or Drabek fails to answer the bell and Vilanueva is the second reserve in that regard.

    Yes, Alvarez and McGuire are not fully polished yet but they think enough of Alvarez to be giving him a trial so he's likely much closer than you think he is.

    now, if by "sign a veteran" you mean keeping someone on ice in AAA in case there's a need, or having a couple of options with the ability but not the profile (like Villanueva) in the system, then yeah - I think that's wise. if you mean spending 7 or 8 million on the Jason Marquises of the world - I can;'t see the sense in that at all. 

    I'd be adding an ACE to the staff, a la David Cone or Jack Morris

    Cone? Yes. (that's probably Brandon Morrow, by the way)
    Morris? GOD NO!

    how confident are you in Cecil?

    Very, actually.

    His name was Edwin Jackson.

    you know - IF Toronto did want to go down that road, Jackson would be a pretty good choice.

    I would LOVE it if he could be counted on again, but at this point I don't think you can budget for it.  I think you still get that new starter, and if McGowan works out, you see what you can get for Drabek.

    So ultimately you throw away the long term potential (six years of Drabek) for the marginal improvement of, say, Jason Marquis or Jeff Francis - and that not being remotely sure they will even pitch better in 2012 than Drabek might? Maybe it's me but i just don't follow the logic. the one thing I could see doing is brigning in Rich harden knowing he's probably going to get hurt and that will re-open a door. but otherwise, it just makes no sense to me.

    My view is "I have five guys i WANT to end up in the rotation, but knowing how attrition works i'll cover my behind with some more reliable fall-back plans" rather than "sure I'd love for it to be these five guys but since I KNOW a couple of them will fail i'm going to go ahead and block them."

    (cut here for excessive length)
    TamRa - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 09:18 PM EDT (#241482) #

    I don't want a Rauch like SP for example.


    but that's the risk. Even signing a "reliable" guy often ends badly (just ask Milwaukee about years past)

    Same with Litsch, until he commands his pitches reduces his walks I don't see him pitching for John Farrell.

    Huh?

    BB/9 in 2011:

    Romero - 3.3
    Morrow - 3.4
    Listch - 3.3

    and that 3.3 mark is the highest of his career in the majors.

    A player like Jake Westbrook comes to mind from last offseason as someone who would ideally fill a void in our rotation.

    Go look at Westbrook's numbers in St. Louis. Them explain to me how he makes more sense that Litsch (for example). The truth is, if we were having this discussion as, say, Cardinal fans - Listch is exactly the kind of guy you are thinking of.

    I think a winning team would need 4 starters who can deliver an era of not more than 3.5x


    Wildly unrealistic. No contending team in the AL can claim that as we speak. and those who do are often getting it from some unexpected sources - you you have guessed Colon and Garcia could be counted on for that on April 1?

    Or do you mean "can" as in "capeable of" rather than "reliably"?

    The status quo of the current Jays roster (or the current roster plus a few cheap bullpen guys) isn't likely to evolve into a contender.

    I disagree. That's pretty much exaclty what i expect to happen. If Snider, Rasmus, and Lawrie play up to their potential...and the rotation does likewise - no quantum leaps just playing like scouts expect they should at their peak - this team already has the talent to contend. Now sure, young players can and do fail, it might happen. but "it might fail" isn't the same as "unlikely to succeed"

    I think you're vastly overestimating what pitchers teams go out there with.

    This seems to be what Jays fans (baseball fans?) do. Many don't see the glass as half empty, they see it half full - of cynide.

    Tampa Bay also qualifies...

    if you count the guy with nine starts.

    and that would be CHRIS CARPENTER

    At the right price and terms, if you think he'll hold together (he'll be 37 next year). He's got the right sort of results but how much longer can he produce like that?

    Mark Buehrle is exactly what you are looking for

    As I understand it, he's pretty obsessed with pitching in St. Louis.

    They're 12-8 in their last 20 for a .600 winning percentage.


    Even better, they're 21-13 in the last 34 games - that's .618 (good for 100 wins over a full season)

    Why isn't Romero considered a # 1 starter


    He is - outside Toronto.

    Drabek as well, because he has a long way to go to become who he was last year

    How so? I mean yeah, he's apparently out of sorts right now - but he got from where he was last year to where he is now in one off-season, why can't he go back that quickly? Fixing Drabek, when it happens, will be pretty much like fixing Cecil was - find one key, turn it, and watch things click.It might not happen of course, but people are FAR too pessimistic about Drabek right now. When (if) he gets right, it will happen all at once, and within a month of figuring it out he'll be pitching in the majors and pitching well.

    His performance against top teams, especially Boston. Until his ERA+ comes down from the lofty 180+ he has against them he's not a number one.

    Please. Josh Beckett has a career ERA of 6.57 against the Blue Jays - is he clearly not an ace on that basis?

    Bottom line for me, is don't freak out.  Believe in your scouting system.  If a trade can be made to get a top talent without mortgaging the future, do it.  Other than that, stick to the plan and get high ceiling players and have them prosper as Blue Jays.

    Bravo. Thank you.

    uglyone - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 11:05 PM EDT (#241490) #
    Kyle Drabek has to be a prime example. I mean everyone, including myself, thought, "hey!" Fantastic season at AA, we could use him in Toronto, promote him. Conventional wisdom among baseball people would say, well he probably needs some more seasoning at the AAA-level and maybe a cup of coffee the following season.

    Thing is, Drabek's year lsat year wasn't even all that "fantastic", and in fact there's a bunch of guys this year in AA putting up at least much better peripherals than Drabek did last year, and some with just flat out better lines overall.

  • Drabek '10 (22): 162.0ip, 7.3k/9, 1.9k/bb, 1.20whip, 2.94era
  • Alvarez '11 (21): 88.0ip, 6.8k/9, 3.9k/bb, 1.11whip, 2.86era
  • Carreno '11 (24): 134.2ip, 10.2k/9, 2.2k/bb, 1.25whip, 3.41era
  • McGuire '11 (22): 18.2ip, 9.2k/9, 2.7k/bb, 1.39whip, 4.82era
  • Molina '11 (22): 11.0ip, 13.9k/9, 17.0k/bb, 0.64whip, 0.82era


  • And consider that Drabek actually looked pretty good to start the season until his control troubles blew up so badly....and that K/BB last year was a pretty decent indication that that might be an issue going forward.
    Paul D - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 11:05 PM EDT (#241492) #

    So ultimately you throw away the long term potential (six years of Drabek) for the marginal improvement of, say, Jason Marquis or Jeff Francis - and that not being remotely sure they will even pitch better in 2012 than Drabek might?

    I'd be aiming a bit higher than Marquis or Francis, at a Wilson or Wandy. 
    uglyone - Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 11:13 PM EDT (#241493) #
    Since the addition of Lawrie, the Jays have played only against Baltimore, Seattle, Oakland and the Angels. Three of those teams are among the five worst in the entire league. Only one of those teams is above .500. This is what someone earlier described as the "puffball" portion of the 2011 schedule. In order to contend, the Jays need to do better than a 7-5 record against the worst teams in the league. If they're 7-5 against the bad teams, they'll probably be 5-7 against the good teams, and that doesn't create a contender. And having an above-average offence is not good enough to create a contender if their pitching is below average (as it currently is). I do agree with your point that a contending team can afford to carry a few average hitters and even a bad hitter. That's why I said that the Jays don't need to improve in ALL of their weak areas. (I suggested that maybe the Jays could improve in two-thirds of their weak areas, which is a very crude way of saying that the Jays need to improve their hitting and pitching in several areas. Simply adding one starting pitcher and one closer will not create a contender.) The Jays are currently 11.5 games out of a wild-card slot. Your argument is that the Jays now have a good enough offence to be a contender, if only they improve their pitching. You seem to feel that Anthopoulos can take a laissez-faire approach to the offence and simply work on the pitching. I would seriously question that. To overcome a deficit of 11.5 games will take more than improved pitching. A team with a 7-5 record against bad teams is unlikely to contend, even if a couple of pitchers are added. One final point: every year, some hitters regress. Two or three of the current Jays hitters are likely to do worse in 2012. That happens every year. (This year, it was Sinder, Hill and the centrefield position that regressed from last season, although Rasmus might eventually reverse some of that.) So, since we know that two or three hitters will regress, you need improvements from several hitters to improve the offence. Who will improve? The 3B and CF positions will almost certainly improve, but will there be any improvement in any other position to counterbalance the inevitable regression in two or three other positions? That's why I suggested that Anthopoulos needs to keep working on improving the offence, not simply accept the status quo.

    Hey man, I just thought you were overstating how many improvements had to be made for this team to contend, and I thought you were clearly underrating the midseason improvements already made(i.e. lawrie/rasmus/thames >>>>> nix/patterson/rivera/davis) that haven't had time to make huge impacts on the teams season totals yet.

    But I'm all on board the "sign prince fielder" bus.

    But as for your point that "every year, some hitters regress"....IF that is true (which it really isn't, but that's fine)...IF it's true that we should factor in some "automatic" regression from some hitters, then by that same logic we should also factor in some "automatic" PROgression from some hitters to, which can only balance itself out.....which means it's not worth bringing up as a point in the first place. You can't just assume that the hitters on average will be worse next year without any real reason other than "they just will".
    TamRa - Friday, August 19 2011 @ 12:18 AM EDT (#241499) #

    I'd be aiming a bit higher than Marquis or Francis, at a Wilson or Wandy.


    I wouldn't count on Wandy to be a bit better than Jesse Litsch next year in the AL East.

    If you want Wilson, get ready to pony up about $75-90 milion and 5 or 6 years. Only Sabathia is an obviously more desireable FA this winter.
    TamRa - Friday, August 19 2011 @ 12:30 AM EDT (#241500) #
    Ricky is having a terrific year, but his BABIP is under .250 with a very low LD rate contributing.  HIs FIP and xFIP for the year are right near where they have always been (between 3.5 and 3.8).  I don't put much stock in #1 and #2 labels, but it would be nice if Morrow and Cecil took a little step forward to join Romero at the top of a good rotation.

    Seems kinda weird. Romero's ERA is misleading, in that his FIP and xFIP is similar to his career rates, BUT Morrow, who's FIP is sixth in the league (and almost a run and a half higher than his ERA) needs to step up?

    Those two thoughts seem to contradict.
    TamRa - Friday, August 19 2011 @ 12:52 AM EDT (#241501) #
    Since the addition of Lawrie, the Jays have played only against Baltimore, Seattle, Oakland and the Angels. Three of those teams are among the five worst in the entire league. Only one of those teams is above .500. This is what someone earlier described as the "puffball" portion of the 2011 schedule.

    in the last 35 games, the jays are 22-13 - that's a .629 winning pct. (equivilant to 102 wins on a season) and if they kept that up the rest of the year it would result in 88 wins this year.

    Over those 35 games they played  19 games against well regarded teams (NYY, TBR, Cleveland, Texas, LA Angels) and 16 games against "puffballs"
    That's a fairly representitive sample.

    Here's the OPS for the offense during that run (coming into tonight)

    Arencibia - .704
    Lind - .696
    Hill - .494
    Escobar - .761
    Lawrie - 1.104*
    Thames - .772
    Rasmus - .638*
    Bautista - .905
    Encarnacion - 1.101
    Davis - .649
    Snider - .630

    Other than Encarnacion, who among other than the two new guys is remotely a candidate for regression there?
    China fan - Friday, August 19 2011 @ 04:26 AM EDT (#241503) #

    ...Other than Encarnacion, who among other than the two new guys is remotely a candidate for regression there?....

    The point is that these regressions, when they happen, aren't obviously predictable.  How many of us predicted Snider's disastrous 2011 season?  How many of us predicted the dramatic decline by Hill and Lind in 2010?  We all thought, hey, they're young and they're going to improve.  Who on the Braves expected Yunel Escobar to decline as he did in the first half of 2010?  None of them looked like "candidates" for regression but it happens.

    My main point is that I reserve the right to be skeptical (or at least cautious) about the Jays and their shiny new offence until it's had a couple months against the AL East and other decent teams at the beginning of a season.  Yes, I agree that Rasmus and Lawrie are excellent reasons to be optimistic.  But strong performances in the second half of August, against teams that are mostly out of contention, are not entirely the best way to judge a lineup.

    Anyway, arguing about future performance is obviously an unwinnable debate.  Let's wait and see what happens in 2012.  If most of these guys hit to their potential and don't slide backwards, yes, it could be a great year.

    China fan - Friday, August 19 2011 @ 05:56 AM EDT (#241504) #
    I'm also a bit curious about the two prevailing schools of thought these days:   1) the Jays have a great-hitting lineup, ready to contend;  2) get rid of Dwayne Murphy, he's screwing up the hitters, bring up Chad Mottola.   Why are we hearing both?  Personally I think both of these proclamations are a tad exaggerated, but I'm interested to know how people are reconciling the two viewpoints.
    Paul D - Friday, August 19 2011 @ 07:38 AM EDT (#241505) #
    I wouldn't count on Wandy to be a bit better than Jesse Litsch next year in the AL East.

    I seriously disagree with this.
    Jonny German - Friday, August 19 2011 @ 08:53 AM EDT (#241509) #
    Paul D, do you disagree based on expected health or on perceived talent?

    For me, Litsch has the heigher ceiling of the two, the risk is all in whether he can stay healthy.
    Kasi - Friday, August 19 2011 @ 09:17 AM EDT (#241513) #
    Beckett is not Boston's Ace. Lester is. Beckett is good for sure, but at this point in his career he's not a true number one. Lester is the guy for them. Yes Beckett is slightly outperforming Lester this year, but the guy's BABIP against is a good 50-60 points lower. Lester's numbers are sustainable, Beckett's aren't.

    Romero's main step forward this year has been going deeper into games. His FIP/xFIP and other stats are mostly comparable to last year. The question was is Romero an ace, and no he's not thought of by anyone on a level comparable to CC, Lester, Felix, Price, etc. He is what he is, a very strong number 2. To get to number one status, he needs to be more consistent and either K more of BB less.
    Chuck - Friday, August 19 2011 @ 09:26 AM EDT (#241517) #

    BUT Morrow, who's FIP is sixth in the league (and almost a run and a half higher than his ERA) needs to step up?

    If Morrow's drop in performance while pitching from the stretch (i.e., higher leverage situations) is real, and not a random variation, then his ERA and FIP will always be out of sync, and his FIP will overstate his true value. I believe that FIP "assumes" the same level of performance with men on base and with the bases clear, which is not true for Morrow. Morrow is insanely excellent with no one on base, but much less so with men on, where the stakes are higher.

    2011
    bases empty: 551 OPS
    men on: 797
    RISP: 876

    Career
    bases empty: 636
    men on: 771
    RISP: 784

    Paul D - Friday, August 19 2011 @ 09:37 AM EDT (#241520) #
    Paul D, do you disagree based on expected health or on perceived talent?

    For me, Litsch has the heigher ceiling of the two, the risk is all in whether he can stay healthy.

    Both actually.  Wandy gives you consistent league average innings.  It's really easy to forget how valuable that is, but there aren't that many guys who can do that.   I am quite confident that if they're both starters next year, Wandy has the better ERA and pitches more innings.
    Thomas - Friday, August 19 2011 @ 10:24 AM EDT (#241528) #

    Other than Encarnacion, who among other than the two new guys is remotely a candidate for regression there?

    I'm not sure there is an obvious one, but as China Fan said, somebody will. Very possibly multiple individuals, particularly if you include inevitable injuries. The Jays right now are a good and healthy offensive club. However, things will happen.

    uglyone - Friday, August 19 2011 @ 11:01 AM EDT (#241536) #
    But it doesn't make sense to only count on unanticipated regressions, while not counting on unanticipated progressions.

    Yes, we know that players don't perform the same every season, but players improve as much as they regress.

    Snider and Hill and Davis may have regressed this year, but all of Bautista, Lind, Escobar improved.

    Looking forward, you can't just anticipate players getting worse overall for no reason other than "they just do" - if there's a good reason to anticipate regression, that's one thing, but if you're just counting on a random regression for some players, that should always be balanced out with a random progression from others.

    Unless you have a specific reason for thinking that a player will regress or progress, it's best to just assume that on average all things being equal they'll stay about the same overall - knowing that that will include some individuals regressing and some players improving over what they did this year.

    Matthew E - Friday, August 19 2011 @ 11:14 AM EDT (#241539) #
    If you leave a team alone, it will always get worse. A baseball roster requires constant maintenance: you always have to be tweaking and pruning and thinking about upgrades. My father sums it up as, "you don't change, you don't win." Look at what Gillick did between '92 and '93.
    John Northey - Friday, August 19 2011 @ 11:16 AM EDT (#241540) #
    As a general rule, the younger the player the higher the odds of growth and the lower the odds of collapse.

    The Jays lineup (tentative) for 2012 and 2012 ages is...
    CA: JPA: 26
    1B: Lind: 28
    2B: Hill: 30 (until trade/release/whatever)
    3B: Lawrie: 22
    SS: Escobar: 29
    LF: Thames: 25 or Snider: 24
    CF: Rasmus: 25
    RF: Bautista: 31
    DH: Encarnacion: 29

    Only Bautista and Hill are on the wrong side of 30, barely. 25-32 are prime years for career seasons and all but Lawrie and Snider and in that range (both below it). 32 and up are prime ages for collapses, none of the guys are in that bracket.

    The big worry is Bautista - if he collapses (and at 31 it wouldn't be odd, see Adam Dunn for a scary example) then we'd need quite a few guys to breakout. However, given that 3B and 2B were complete black holes most of the year and Lawrie has already shown it won't be that bad at 3B from now on I figure a big jump at some slots will occur naturally.

    Checking league OPS+ we see (among qualifiers) that #80 of 81 is Aaron Hill. The 3 around him are Wells, Dunn, and Rios (#81 of 81).

    Jay ranks are...
    Bautista #1
    Encarnacion #32
    Escobar #37
    Lind #43
    Hill #80

    Given there are 14 AL teams, each team should have 5-6 guys, as the Jays do. 1 in top 14 (check), 1 in 15-28 (nope), 1 in 29-42 (2 guys), 1 in 43-56 (yup), 1 in 57-81 (yup) so for regulars the Jays almost perfectly fit the league averages with an extreme at the top and bottom.

    Interesting if nothing else.
    John Northey - Friday, August 19 2011 @ 11:34 AM EDT (#241548) #
    That was amazing how many changes from 92 to 93...
    SS: Manny Lee vs Tony Fernandez
    3B: Kelly Gruber vs Ed Sprague
    LF: Candy Maldonado vs Rickey Henderson
    DH: Dave Winfield vs Paul Molitor

    Rotation top 5 in starts...
    Jimmy Key vs Pat Hentgen
    Dave Stieb/David Wells (14 each) vs Dave Stewart (26)
    David Cone vs Al Leiter as the extra guy (sub 14 starts)

    Closer...
    Tom Henke vs Duane Ward
    Setup...
    Duane Ward vs Mike Timlin (or Eichhorn or Cox or whoever)

    So in key roles there were tons of changes. Gillick was 'Stand Pat' and lived with a team that was unable to get past the first round from 1985 to 1990, then the winter of 90/91 the big changes started (Alomar/Carter/White) and went nuts in the winter of 92/93. What fun that era was.
    uglyone - Friday, August 19 2011 @ 11:36 AM EDT (#241549) #
    Beckett is not Boston's Ace. Lester is. Beckett is good for sure, but at this point in his career he's not a true number one. Lester is the guy for them. Yes Beckett is slightly outperforming Lester this year, but the guy's BABIP against is a good 50-60 points lower. Lester's numbers are sustainable, Beckett's aren't.

    Romero's main step forward this year has been going deeper into games. His FIP/xFIP and other stats are mostly comparable to last year. The question was is Romero an ace, and no he's not thought of by anyone on a level comparable to CC, Lester, Felix, Price, etc. He is what he is, a very strong number 2. To get to number one status, he needs to be more consistent and either K more of BB less.


    So Lester is an "Ace", but Romero is not an "Ace".

    Career

  • J.Lester (27): 146gs, 6.3ip/gs, 8.4k/9, 2.5k/bb, 1.28whip, 3.50era, 3.63fip, 3.69xfip
  • R.Romero (26): 86gs, 6.6ip/gs, 7.4k/9, 2.1k/bb, 1.31whip, 3.60era, 3.92fip, 3.77xfip


  • Last 2 Years (i.e. everything but Ricky's Rookie year)

  • J.Lester (27): 55gs, 6.5ip/gs, 9.3k/9, 2.7k/bb, 1.20whip, 3.24era, 3.40fip, 3.29xfip
  • R.Romero (26): 57gs, 6.8ip/gs, 7.5k/9, 2.2k/bb, 1.21whip, 3.27era, 3.73fip, 3.63xfip


  • Romero and Lester have posted near identical "results" stats (Whip/ERA) post-Ricky's Rookie year, except that Ricky goes deeper into games. Lester has the strikeout edge, which explains his advantage in fip and xfip, but that's made up by Ricky's better groundball rate (55.2% vs. 52.3% 2yr, 54.8% vs. 49.6% career), so I'm not sure it's all that much different.

    One may argue that Ricky is getting "lucky" this season due to his bit improvement in babip, but if you look a bit close you'll there's a good reason for that improvement in babip - while he's getting identical K and GB rates this year as last, he's managed to turn 30% of last year's linedrives into flyballs this year. (LD rate has dropped from 18.3% to 13.0% which have all turned into flyballs as his GB rate is the same). That's a distinct drop in quality of contact, which isn't really taken into account by FIP and xFIP.

    And if many people have already concluded that Morrow will always underperform his FIP numbers, shouldn't we also conclude that Ricky will always outperform his FIP numbers, given that we have an even larger sample to go off with Ricky than with Morrow?

    Lastly, your main argument is that Ricky has performed poorly against the Red Sox, aka the best offense in baseball over all 3 of his seasons. Yet Lester, of course, has had the great luxury of never having to even face that Best Offense in Baseball.....EVER. And he can't even outperform Ricky overall with that rather large advantage. Just for the hell of it, here's how the two pitchers have performed against every other team in baseball other than the team they've played for their whole careers and thus that they've never had to face:

    Career vs. Everyone but BOS and TOR

  • J.Lester (27): 129gs, 6.3ip/gs, 1.30whip, 3.54era
  • R.Romero (26): 75gs, 6.8ip/gs, 1.22whip, 3.14era


  • Now take that set of numbers, and then imagine that Lester and Romero were drafted by each other's teams....i.e. add about 12% more starts for each of them, but make Lester's 17 more starts against Boston's offense, and Ricky's 11 more starts against the Jays' offense....I'd wager that Ricky's advantage there would only get bigger.
    uglyone - Friday, August 19 2011 @ 11:44 AM EDT (#241551) #
    If you leave a team alone, it will always get worse.

    This just isn't true in the least, and there are countless examples that prove the direct opposite. Look at the Rangers this year. Especially on a team with lots of young talent, odds are they improve with no changes made, not that they get worse.

    hell, the Jays actively MOVED major parts of their team in the offseason (top starter, two best relievers, starting C, CF, 1B, and LF) and didn't get worse.
    BlueJayWay - Friday, August 19 2011 @ 11:51 AM EDT (#241554) #
    If you leave a team alone, it will always get worse. A baseball roster requires constant maintenance: you always have to be tweaking and pruning and thinking about upgrades. My father sums it up as, "you don't change, you don't win." Look at what Gillick did between '92 and '93.

    I like this.  Someone should formulate a baseball version of the second law of thermodynamics.
    Kasi - Friday, August 19 2011 @ 12:11 PM EDT (#241559) #
    Those numbers over the last 2 years are pretty decisive really. 1.8K/9 is a huge difference, as is the superior K/BB rate. FIP/xFIP are also significantly lower.

    As for batted ball profiles off of pitchers, it has been shown that other than the Giants it is not something controllable by the pitcher. Like Mike Green said, when that number goes up to the more normal .300ish levels Romero's numbers will drop.

    The fact is that Lester is a better pitcher, and the numbers do back that up. Hence why he is thought of as an ace and Romero isn't. Romero's numbers this year like Becketts aren't sustainable.
    Kasi - Friday, August 19 2011 @ 12:14 PM EDT (#241562) #
    .242 BABIP for batters against Romero is the biggest outlier of a number that won't last. Once that goes up his numbers will drop unless he starts striking out more batters or walking less batters.
    Mike Green - Friday, August 19 2011 @ 12:20 PM EDT (#241564) #
    It is not true in the least that rosters left alone will inevitably lead to immediate decline.  What is true  for most clubs is that change will be required to compete.  The Jays of 2011 are almost certainly one of those clubs.  Fortunately,  the major roster pieces are, in my view, present. 
    uglyone - Friday, August 19 2011 @ 12:24 PM EDT (#241565) #
    Actually, the numbers clearly show that the only edge Lester has over Ricky is in strikeouts, which Ricky makes up with more groundballs compared to Lester giving up more linedrives and flyballs (i.e. Ricky simply gives up less quality contact than lester does), all while Ricky goes deeper into games to boot.

    Last 2yrs:

    Lester 6.5ip/gs
    Romero 6.8ip/gs

    Lester 9.3k/9
    Romero 7.5k/9

    Lester 3.4bb/9
    Romero 3.4bb/9

    Lester 52.3gb%
    Romero 55.2gb%

    Lester 16.5ld%
    Romero 15.9ld%

    Lester 31.1fb%
    Romero 28.9fb%

    Lester 1.20whip
    Romero 1.21whip

    Lester 3.24era
    Romero 3.27era

    All this accomplished with the extreme advantage of Lester never, ever having to pitch to the best offense in baseball, while Ricky has had to face them more than most any other pitcher in baseball.
    James W - Friday, August 19 2011 @ 12:28 PM EDT (#241567) #
    Where has it been shown that only the Giants pitchers can control batted balls?
    92-93 - Friday, August 19 2011 @ 12:37 PM EDT (#241572) #
    "Actually, the numbers clearly show that the only edge Lester has over Ricky is in strikeouts"

    Yes, let's just discount the most important thing a pitcher can do and the fact that Lester does it over 20% better than Romero.
    uglyone - Friday, August 19 2011 @ 12:41 PM EDT (#241573) #
    Who's discounting anything?

    Lester has him beat in strikeouts, Ricky has him beat in all batted ball data, and in ability to pitch deeper into games.

    And, again, this is despite the fact that Lester has the rather huge advantage of never having to pitch to the red sox.
    Spifficus - Friday, August 19 2011 @ 02:12 PM EDT (#241593) #

    I've always liked the theory that there are far fewer than 30 aces in the league, so at this point I'd say neither Lester or Romero are aces. That's not an insult to either, since they're both still front-line starters, and as Uglyone shows, quite comparable once you account for their idiosyncrasies. They're not in the Halladay / Verlander / Sabathia / Lee / Lincecum / Hernandez model, or going to the next tier, Weaver / Grienke / Carpenter (Still debating this one) / pre-TJ Wainwright (doesn't seem fair to not mention him until there's evidence he doesn't bounce back) /Kershaw (fencing on this one, too, because of innings) / Johnson (when he's able to take the ball, which should be concerning enough to knock him off the list) / Strasburg (I know, I went there), and that's probably it, give or take a name or two. The first group is a list that, in their off years pitch like a #2 with a tonne of innings. The second group have more inconsistencies and question marks, but are more often dominant than not (or are young enough to have hope that recent dominance continues). Of course, this is just how I look at an ace, and probably not how most people do... start off with different criteria and you'll get a different list of names.

    On a side note, while looking to see who I consider aces, I came across Craig Kimbrel's season. WOW! I thought he was having a great relief season, but that really doesn't do it justice. He leads the Atlanta staff in WAR with 2.9, with 60.2 dominant innings. Put another way, his WAR is higher than Romero's. I know and concede the previous points of how FIP probably isn't capturing Romero's true value, with the change in LD rate, but that's probably counterbalanced by how WAR doesn't tend to treat relievers too kindly. Again, just for this to even be debatable is WOW!

    Jonny German - Friday, August 19 2011 @ 02:43 PM EDT (#241604) #
    I'm increasingly convinced that WAR is a bad joke. Romero at 2.7 this year vs 4.0 last year? Riiight.

    That's Fangraphs WAR. At BB-Ref, we have Romero at 5.1 and Kimbrel at 2.6. Goofiness. How can you put any confidence in a stat that might doulbe if you go from one site to another, or it might only increase a little? One or both calculations is clearly not at all realistic.
    BalzacChieftain - Friday, August 19 2011 @ 03:01 PM EDT (#241607) #
    Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I think it is generally accepted that WAR isn't quite at the same level of accuracy it's at with pitchers as it is for position players. I'm a little too lazy on a Friday afternoon to find something supporting that claim, however.
    92-93 - Friday, August 19 2011 @ 03:05 PM EDT (#241608) #
    WAR is as useful as OPS : decent for a quick look, but really you are FAR better off examining the individual components on their own.
    BalzacChieftain - Friday, August 19 2011 @ 03:10 PM EDT (#241610) #

    Fangraphs vs. B-R methodology on pitcher WAR:

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/why-our-pitcher-war-uses-fip/

    As to the above comment, I think that WAR is a far better stat than OPS since it takes many things into account instead of just 2 rate stats. I would agree that it is a great stat to look at, but it's always preferable to start there and find out what a player's WAR is actually comprised of - from there you can find a lot about the player and if his WAR is buoyed by defense, baserunnning, and/or batting.

    Mike Green - Friday, August 19 2011 @ 03:13 PM EDT (#241611) #
    Seasonal WAR for starting pitchers is a bit of a mess.  You really cannot use runs allowed or a component measure.  A good system would probably take it 50-50, adjust for defence and context and then take it from there.  None of them do, as far as I know.  Career WAR for starting pitchers is a lot easier- you can just use runs allowed and innings, and then adjust for defence and context.

    So, the first year Brandon Morrow has a much worse runs allowed rate than his components would suggest, you dock him about 1/2 the difference.  After 3 years, you nick him for the whole thing.  As far as I know, Fangraphs uses the component number exclusively.

    Reliever WAR (be it seasonal or career) is a completely different story.  You have to factor in leverage and the relative ease in relief work vis a vis starting, along with the component vs. actual run experience and defence and context adjustment.  It is hellish, and I doubt that any of the numbers, be they season or career, are of significant use.

    TamRa - Friday, August 19 2011 @ 03:14 PM EDT (#241612) #

    ...Other than Encarnacion, who among other than the two new guys is remotely a candidate for regression there?....

    The point is that these regressions, when they happen, aren't obviously predictable.  How many of us predicted Snider's disastrous 2011 season?

    Indeed.

    And others will advance.

    do you argue that, for instance, Thames might well drop 100 points but Lind is unlikely to advance 100 points (on those numbers)?

    The very reason I posted those numbers was to illustrate that there are more candidates for progression there than for regression.

    Looking back, I would think the most likely turn of events would be:

    JPA should marginally improve on .704 next year
    Lind - even a disappointing Lind - will be every bit of 100 points better than .696
    Hill - even a "done" Hill, or whoever replaces him, will better .494 by a considerable margin
    Esco ought to be around .761 even if he doesn't get any better and if this season is any evidence he's capeable of at least 50 points more.
    Lawrie will obviously drop way off, but his sample size is tiny
    Thames (or Snider) should at least match the .770 range - you expect talented young players to get better
    Rasmus - the counterweight to lLawrie - will get as much better as Lawrie gets worse (for both it's a sample size issue here)
    Bautista may well regress, but we can't assume the .900 neighborhood is unrealistic
    EE will drop off considerably but the .800 area is still fine - he and Lind tend to balance each other


    WILL all this happen? probably not. but we CAN'T assume EE, Bautista, and Lawrie will tank without also acknowledging that Lind, and the others are JUST as likely to increase.

    Spifficus - Friday, August 19 2011 @ 11:18 PM EDT (#241615) #
    I'm with everyone on WAR being a first-glance number. My preference is fangraphs WAR (FIP-based) vs BBR WAR (ERA-based), since it's trying to account for the things a pitcher can control by and not ding him for having Yunieski at short, but it's certainly not perfect. On Kimbrel, I was more amused that even WAR (which I see as often being light on relievers) ranks him pretty well. That he has as much value according to WAR (which isn't factoring leverage) speaks as much to me about the year he's had as anything.
    Alex Obal - Saturday, August 20 2011 @ 11:46 PM EDT (#241694) #
    WAR is as useful as OPS : decent for a quick look, but really you are FAR better off examining the individual components on their own.

    I mostly agree, though I'd contend OPS is less problematic because it only confounds two stats (and no constants).
    John Northey - Sunday, August 21 2011 @ 12:24 AM EDT (#241696) #
    I'm a fan of WAR as a method to compare player careers more than individual seasons. A good simple method to quickly compare hitters to pitchers to fielders. Far from perfect, but about as good a method as we have. Which is why I used it a bit in the draft review I just did. Yes, gotta promote my own blog entries :)
    On To Morrow Day | 168 comments | Create New Account
    The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.