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More than 60 Ks from the Farm’s hurlers, including  8 for Ybarra and 7 for Bongiavanni, could only achieve a W/L split.  Talley slammed a Slam for Dunedin.

Las Vegas 5  Salt Lake City 3

Starting pitcher Brad Mills (10-3) took the win with an impressive 7.0 IP allowing 3 runs, but had the fortune of 8 hits from his offence.  Jayson Nix booted his second error, but he had already been redeemed with an earlier 2 run homer in the 3 run first inning for the 51s. David Cooper took the RBI crown for the evening with 3 hits including a double, batting in the other three for Las Vegas.  A- Hech managed a pair of singles and a BB.

New Hampshire 0  Harrisburg 3

In the first of a twin bill that resulted from moving up Sunday’s game ahead of the approaching hurricane, New Hampshire was on the receiving in of a brilliant No Hitter from Harrisburg’s starter Martis (8-5).  Without any lumber at the plate, New Hampshire’s starter in rehab, Dustin McGowen (0-2), did his best in 4.2 IP to keep it close, allowing 2 runs and striking out 4.

New Hampshire 6  Harrisburg 8

In the second installment of Friday’s twin bill, the Fisher Cats managed 8 hits, but fell prey to Harrisburg’s 10 hits.  Starter Willie Collazo had a rocky start, going 2.1 IP and allowing 5 ER, but was not the pitcher of record.  That dubious distinction went to Bobby Korecky (3-3) who took the loss with 2.0 IP and 2 ER and managing the only strikeout from Fisher Cats’ pitching.

Anthony Gose went long in the first inning, leading off with a solo homer.  Danny Perales, Moises Sierra and Yan Gomes each smacked an RBI.  Gomes’ RBI came on one of the two doubles he smacked.  Callix Crabbe also added a double.

Dunedin 16  Daytona 3

Winning pitcher, recently returned Vince Bongiovanni (1-0), had a solid night with 6.0 IP and 7 Ks, while allowing just 2 runs on 4 hits.  Ryan Schimpf booted one, his 5th of the year.

But the real story on the evening was the 19 hits and 16 runs from Dunedin bats, including four dingers, one each from Sean Ochinko (2 run), Brad Glenn (3 run), Justin Jackson (solo) and a Slam by John Talley, who batted in 6 and went 2 for 3.  Schimpf redeemed his error going 3 for 5.  Also going 3 for 5 was A.J. Jiminez with an RBI.

Lansing 3  Bowling Green 7

Marcu Walden (5-5) went 5.0 IP and took the loss allowing 7 hits and 4 runs (all in the 4th inning).  Interestingly, Lugnut pitchers had 12 total Ks on the evening, but the disasterous 4th inning sealed their fate.  Jake Marisnick had a throwing error and Bryson Namba had a pair of errors, a bad throw and a missed catch.  K.C. Hobson made his 25th error on the year with a fielding miscue.

At the plate Lansing’s RBIs came from Marisnick’s 13th homer(he went 3 for 4 with a double as well), a solo blast in the 6th, a single by Hobson in the 4th and a single by Jonathan Jones in the 9th.

Vancouver 2  Tri-City 0

A pitchers dual came out for Vancouver with Jesse Hernandez (4-3) taking the shut out win with 5.0 IP and 6 Ks.  Shane Opitz had a bad throw for his 15th error on the year.

The Canadians iced the game in the first, scoring 2 runs, one on a 3B hit by Kevin Patterson scoring Opitz who had singled and a double by Stephen McQuail that plated Patterson.

Bluefield 4  Elizabethton 11

Bluefield was more than bested by Elizabethton at the hands of a 7 run rout in the 8th inning off losing pitcher Jonathan Lucas (3-3) who in just 1 IP allowed the seven runs on 5 hits and 3 BB.  Starter Tyler Ybarra had a brilliant scoreless 5.0 IP with just 3 hits and a more than fierce 8 Ks.  Andy Fermin booted a fielding opportunity, his 12th error on the year.

The B Jays four runs came in the 2nd and the 3 run 7th inning.  In the second, Kevin Pillar sent a sac fly to right scoring Art Charles who had tripled.  The 3 runs in the 7th came from a pitch hit triple by Leo Hernandez plating Christopher Hawkins who had singled and Daniel Arcila who had walked. 

GCL Blue Jays 7  GCL Phillies 4

A dozen runs from the Jays bats helped their four pitchers prevail over the Phillies in an extra innings contest.  In total, Blue Jays pitchers threw no less than 14 Ks on the evening.  In the end, Luis Mendez got the win with 3 IP, striking out three and allowing just one hit and a BB. 

Santiago Nessy went went 2 for 6 and batted in 3 while Yudelmis Hernandez batted in a pair with a double in the 11th.  Substitute SS Chris Peters doubled in Christian Frias who was hit by a pitch in the 11th.

Three Stars

Third Star            Tyler Ybarra                       5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 8 Ks

Second Star        David Cooper                    3 for 5, 2B, 3 RBIs

First Star              John Talley                         2 for 3, 2B, Grand Slam, 6 RBIs

The Farm Goes Four and Four on Friday | 39 comments | Create New Account
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bball12 - Saturday, August 27 2011 @ 11:03 AM EDT (#242505) #
It's amazing what real support can do for a young player.

I don't know exactly who has been working with Hech - but he looks fantastic at the plate - and totally different from his prior year and a half.

His pitch selection is outstanding - and he isnt trying to do too much.

Great to see him blossom offensively.
Defensively - he has to be one of the top the minor leagues. Incredible hand eye - and release - regardless of body position.

Go Hech Go!

Richard S.S. - Saturday, August 27 2011 @ 12:43 PM EDT (#242508) #
Is it possible Adeiny Hechavarria will be traded, this off season?   Yunel Escobar's (team friendly) contract can keep him with the team through 2014.   Are any of the Shortstop Prospects ready for the Show by late 2014?   I can't see Yunel being moved this offseason, Hech is to be 2013-ready, not 2012.
Ryan Day - Saturday, August 27 2011 @ 12:57 PM EDT (#242510) #
AJ Jimenez' season looks like a dead ringer for Alex Rios' age-21 season in Dunedin:

Jimenez: 302/354/413, 28/57 bb/k, 4 hr, 26 2b, 11 sb (97 games)
Rios: 305/344/408, 27/55 bb/k, 3 hr, 22 2b, 14 sb (111 games)

It'd be nice if Jimenez managed to duplicate Rios' breakout season in AA next year.
Dave Rutt - Saturday, August 27 2011 @ 12:57 PM EDT (#242511) #
I wouldn't trade Hech. His value isn't particularly high but it seems like it might get higher based on his recent play, so now would be the wrong time. Also, remember that Hech still has 3.5 mil remaining on his contract. It's not much, but it's 3.5 mil more than almost every other minor league player.
Mylegacy - Saturday, August 27 2011 @ 01:05 PM EDT (#242513) #
Richard - read - my - lips ---

Hech (the SPLIT SECOND he is ready) to SS and Escobar (he of the daily diminishing range) to 2nd. Problem solved - above average SS above average 2nd baseman.

bball12 - Saturday, August 27 2011 @ 01:09 PM EDT (#242514) #
Agree - he is a click or two away from being a "lights out" SS in MLB.

Isnt costing an arm and a leg - and is showing this all at a very young age in a new cultural environment to boot.

Unless it was some type of Blockbuster trade - I wouldnt even consider moving Hech now.

TheBunk - Saturday, August 27 2011 @ 01:12 PM EDT (#242515) #
Anyone have an updated scouting report on Ybarra? I know he's old for Bluefield but he did miss a year of development.
Mike B - Saturday, August 27 2011 @ 01:13 PM EDT (#242516) #
Two doubles and a home run is not enough for Marisnick to get a star?
Richard S.S. - Saturday, August 27 2011 @ 07:45 PM EDT (#242532) #

A) Who do you trade to Seattle for Felix Hernandez?     B) Or would you rather sign C.C. Sabathia?      I'd rather do both.      We are possibly 2-3 years from having a good enough pitching Staff to get deep into the post-season, and I don't want to wait that long.      Of course, show me how we get A), and keep Hech, and I'll be happier.

As for Loewen, Snider and Thames, only one makes the team next year and it's possible none of the 3 will.      Our best Outfield Prospect is possibly two+ years away.     And the present team has gone 2-6 since August 18; so what happened after the 18th's game and before the 19th's game?

Gerry - Saturday, August 27 2011 @ 08:22 PM EDT (#242533) #

Here is Marc Hulet's scouting report:

Ybarra was signed to an over-slot deal in ’08 based largely on the potential of his developing fastball. He was considered by Baseball America as the best left-handed prep pitcher in the state and the third best high school pitcher overall. He was known, though, for having below-average command and control. He held his own during his pro debut in ’09 but missed all of last season after being suspended. The organization swept him away from the University of Oklahoma

Kelekin - Saturday, August 27 2011 @ 09:17 PM EDT (#242536) #
I don't understand how minds change on a daily basis.  Hech is having a hot streak in AAA and suddenly that erases his 2 years of horrid offensive performance? That isn't a single "step" away from a lights out MLB shortstop, that's an entire staircase. 

Give him his time to develop.  If he doesn't, he would be a dandy back-up infielder.
bball12 - Saturday, August 27 2011 @ 09:43 PM EDT (#242538) #

When I used the term "lights out" - I was referring to his defensive ability.

He is really really good with the glove.

He is also quite young - hopefully his offense will continue to progress like we have seen recently.

John Northey - Saturday, August 27 2011 @ 10:10 PM EDT (#242539) #
One wonders how it affected the pitching prospects in AA this year having two ML ready fielders out there in Gose and Hech. Mix in Sierra's strong defense and there might be a problem if you don't factor in how that affects their ERA/hits allowed.

Estimating defensive efficiency (outs on balls in play, figured out via 1 - (Hits - Home Runs) / (batters faced - walks - strikeouts - hbp - home runs) we get in descending order (higher = better defense)...

DSL Jays: 726
Blue Jays: 710
New Hampshire AA: 702
Vancouver: 694
Dunedin: 691
GCL Jays: 683
Bluefield: 681
Lansing: 680
Las Vegas AAA: 663 (ugh)

Quite shocked at how well the Dominican Summer League Jays are doing in the field. I figured fields down there would not be well maintained and the kids raw thus would be in the Vegas territory. Guess the Jays are signing defensive wiz kids or something. But what a shift from AA to AAA - from getting 70% of the balls in play made into outs to having 66% made into outs. That would mean if you allowed 20 balls in play you'd have one more hit allowed. Doesn't sound like much, but one more baserunner per game would add up very, very quickly.
hypobole - Sunday, August 28 2011 @ 01:10 AM EDT (#242541) #
John, maybe there just aren't as many hard hit balls in the DSL. SLG% ranges from .369 to .263 in the DSL, with the median at .317.  In the PCL it's .502 to .381 with a .450 median. Excluding pitchers, the DSL Jays have committed 134 errors in 69 games. In Vegas, it's 118 errors in 135 games. Also more than a third pf the runs givn up by the DSL Jays were unearned (316 R's, 204 ER's) which doesn't suggest lockdown defense.
John Northey - Sunday, August 28 2011 @ 01:20 AM EDT (#242542) #
Excellent point hypobole. Just odd how the DSL is so much ahead of the other rookie and A ball teams. It'd be interesting to know if anyone there is a defensive wiz (shortstop or CF for example). Given how at one time middle infielders were coming out of the Dominican at a high pace one wonders if strong defensive infields (even if they commit a ton of errors, strong range fixes that) could be a common thing.
Lylemcr - Sunday, August 28 2011 @ 01:34 AM EDT (#242544) #

There is a reason why Hech made big bucks to sign.  The scouts see a stud.

I am not a professional GM, but when I play fantasy baseball, I read the scouting reports.  I always believe the cream rises to the top.  I get those players on my roster right away.  They might flop, but they are more likely to succeed... and succeed in a big way.  When they saw Hech,... well... they paid him 3.5 million.Yes, he had a poor first two years, but he is prime meat and when he gets it, he is going to be good. (assuming he is).

That is like Gose.  He has a 97 mile hour arm and runs like its nobody's business.  Yes, he is only hitting 256...  But damn that kid is an athlete! He has skills you cannot teach and if that kid gets it, you have a player like Devon White, Eric Davis,  ...Ken Griffey Jr.

The thought of 2013 having Hech, Escobar and Gose up the middle just makes me beam. 



Lylemcr - Sunday, August 28 2011 @ 01:45 AM EDT (#242545) #

On another note today, I was reading the paper this morning and it talked about how AA does not like to sign the big name free agent closers.  It stated that he thinks closers are the most volatile position.  With our history of signing free agent closers, I would agree (i.e. BJ Ryan, RauchDotel, Bill Claudill,etc)

So...  If we don't sign a big name closer next year, what are we left with?  Frank Francisco?  Casey Janssen?

Also..... a year later after trading for Greinke and Marcuum, if you were Milwalkee, would you do it again?  If yes, should the Jays try to do something simular?

dan gordon - Sunday, August 28 2011 @ 03:06 AM EDT (#242547) #

There is virtually zero chance the Jays do not sign or trade for at least 1 back of the bullpen guy this offseason.  I have heard AA mention it as a priority a few times when he has been interviewed.  Sure, it might not be Heath Bell, or somebody like that, maybe more like a guy who has been a very good setup man for a couple of years.  I think he brings in a couple of guys who will have a shot at the closer's role.

Milwaukee has a chance to win right now - you've got to give them credit for going for it, but man, this Lawrie kid looks like he could be a beast.  I think he's better than they realized.  A LOT better.  Knowing what I know now, I would have tried to acquire a pitcher by trading some other prospect(s) instead.  Actually, knowing what I know now, I would have signed Ryan Vogelsong.  Glad my Giants got him instead.  Should the Jays do what Milwaukee did?  I say no, if they don't add another playoff team to the post season.  If they do, well then I would be awfully tempted to trade a couple of top prospects for a really good SP if you could do that.  It would be very hard to trade D'Arnaud, though.  He looks like he could be another Buster Posey (hopefully without the broken leg).  It's very hard to find catchers who can do a good job defensively and really whack the ball.


smcs - Sunday, August 28 2011 @ 04:02 AM EDT (#242548) #
I don't understand how minds change on a daily basis.

Fandom can do crazy things to the mind,

Hech is having a hot streak in AAA and suddenly that erases his 2 years of horrid offensive performance? That isn't a single "step" away from a lights out MLB shortstop, that's an entire staircase.

A player is not as good as his hot streak and not as bad as his cold streak. Many a bauxite should keep that in mind.
Dave Till - Sunday, August 28 2011 @ 10:30 AM EDT (#242552) #
Re Hechavarria: patience is required. It's a good sign that he doesn't look overmatched in AAA, but he's a year away even so. (Relaxen und watchen das blinkenlights.)

I hope he gets a September callup, though: I want to see this otherwordly defense of which I've heard so much. (I doubly want to see him play defense after Brian Butterfield, The Best Infield Coach In The Universe, gets a hold of him.) With Hech and Lawrie out there, nothing would get through between second and third.

uglyone - Sunday, August 28 2011 @ 11:54 AM EDT (#242553) #
With our history of signing free agent closers, I would agree (i.e. BJ Ryan, RauchDotel, Bill Claudill,etc)

I would sign BJ to that deal again in a heartbeat. Ryan was awesome for us. It sucks that he suffered a career ending injury so soon after signing, but he was a fantastic closer for us before that, for a price which was hardly a killer ($10m/yr).

Any player could suffer a career ending injury at any time, it's no reason to be scared of signing a quality free agent to a big but reasonable contract like BJ's.
Mark - Sunday, August 28 2011 @ 12:25 PM EDT (#242560) #
9 million a year was not the problem, 5 years was the problem. It is not smart to sign a FA pitcher for that long, especially a reliever.

I'm sure if you look at all free agent pitchers who have signed for 5 years or more, it rarely works out for the team.
jerjapan - Sunday, August 28 2011 @ 12:30 PM EDT (#242561) #
Uglyone, I agree that not ALL closers should be avoided for long term contracts, but even at the time Ryan signed the then highest ever deal for a reliever, some people were predicting injury problems due to his mechanics.  He'd had precisely one dominant year of relieving but was being paid more than Mariano Rivera.  He went on to have one great year for us, one good one, and was released during his second injury marred season with $15 million still owed to him.  He never pitched in the majors again.

The BJ Ryan contract is EXACTLY the wrong kind of reliever contract and was from the moment it was signed.

bpoz - Sunday, August 28 2011 @ 12:51 PM EDT (#242562) #
I liked the 1 year wonders like Darren Hall & Accardo. Gregg's success rate was also good. Was BJ Ryans good season much better, results wise.

J Axeford of the Brewers is having good results. That has to be a big factor in their success.

I wonder how AA will handle the closer part.

Which legitimate/proven closer is having a bad year and how do you determine that? What level of failure is still decent?
uglyone - Sunday, August 28 2011 @ 01:16 PM EDT (#242565) #
I don't even think 5 years was a problem.

If he had been injured after year 3 instead of year 1, we would have still got great value for that contract, IMO.

No doubt that Ryan was an injury risk, but a career ender after just one season was still a near worst-case scenario result.

The kind of closing we got from Ryan was great to have, and I wouldn't hesitate to give that contract to a guy likely to perform at that kind of level.

I accept that with any significant free agent contract we sign, we will not get much value from the last couple of years on any of them.

That's just a basic assumption I have with any major free agent signing.
John Northey - Sunday, August 28 2011 @ 01:19 PM EDT (#242566) #
When it comes to closers I say follow the Gillick method. Henke came up after proving himself in AAA. Ward was a failed starter who found hit grove in the pen. Eichhorn was a great setup guy who was, again, a failed starter.

Go through our current crop of starters, see who is having issues, and see if it works as a closer. Litsch looks like he could be good in the pen. Janssen was also a starter at one time. Not to mention ex-Jays Downs, Quantrill, etc. Lets keep going in that direction. Far more likely to find success at a reasonable price than by chasing Papelbon and the like.
Richard S.S. - Sunday, August 28 2011 @ 10:26 PM EDT (#242593) #

Respectfully John, I must disagree.   The problems with your proposal are twofold.   First, A.A. and the Jays don't give up on any Starter good enough to be a Top Closer until almost forever.   Secondly, how long does it take to be successful your way, not next year, nor the year after.  

A Three-Year Contract (2012, 2013, 2014), with two option years (2015, 2016) for a "proven" stud is not unreasonable.   We can compete for a postseason berth with a Top Closer, while awaiting the hopefully early arrival of the Stud from within.   Jonathan Papelbon and Francisco Rodriguez are "proven" studs a.k.a. Top Free Agent Closers, and basically healthy.   The money needed ($10.0 -$12.5 Million per year) isn`t  my money, and in three years it disappears if needed.   Because if we don`t have someone good enough to take over by that time, paying $10.0 - $12.5 million for a Closer will be the least of our worries.

greenfrog - Sunday, August 28 2011 @ 10:51 PM EDT (#242594) #
It will be interesting to see how much K-Rod and Papelbon sign for this off-season. I don't love either pitcher, but both are very good relievers. I could see Papelbon garnering somewhere around 4 years/$48M (to pick a somewhat-random number).

An alternative approach would be to emulate the Rangers, who gave up some solid-but-not-elite prospect talent for Mike Adams (salary: $2.5M), an outstanding setup man who won't be a free agent until 2013. That way you save some money, minimize your risk, and hang on to your draft picks (K-Rod and Paps are both Type A FAs). Bright guy, that Jon Daniels.
Mylegacy - Sunday, August 28 2011 @ 11:16 PM EDT (#242595) #
Unfortunately, I think talk of the importance of a closer may be premature.

Of late our starting pitching looks more than half a bubble off of being adequate. While I'm very impressed with Alvarez (especially with his "new" very pretty slider) he's still a season or two of Major League ball away from being an "Ace" - if indeed he every climbs that mountain. Perez is at least interesting. Morrow has decended into a circle of Hades not dreamed of in Dante's devilish mind. Romero seems Herculean against all foes not from Boston or New York. Cecil seems solidly middlin'. 

The herd of Hutchison, McGuire, Molina, Nicolino and Syndergaard etal is still a bridge too far for next season and only the well scarred shoulder of McGowan - the Prince of Chops - offers any new(?) - immediate 2012 relief. I fear our rose bushes have too few blooms for immediate relief and far too many thorns.

Pity, I like roses.

smcs - Sunday, August 28 2011 @ 11:27 PM EDT (#242597) #
Was BJ Ryans good season much better, results wise.

Not the 100% best way to do this, but during BJ Ryan's outstanding season (2006), the Jays were 80-0 with a lead at the start of the 9th inning. In 2007, with Jeremy Accardo at the back-end, the Jays were 73-7 (.912 win pct). In 2008, with a very good BJ Ryan, the Jays went 76-3 (.962). In 2009, with Frasor, Downs, Carlson and Camp at the back-end, the Jays were 65-4 (.942). In 2010, Kevin Gregg backstopped the Jays to a 74-6 record (.925). This year, the record is 57-6 (.905). League average ranges from about .947 to .957 winning percentage.
hypobole - Monday, August 29 2011 @ 12:09 AM EDT (#242599) #

Giving big money and years to a relief pitcher is usually a mistake. AA aquired a couple of potential closers this year in Rauch and Francisco. It didn't work out, but they were only signed for one year. We could have signed the best closer on the market in Soriano and it wouldn't have worked out any better, but he would have cost a 1st round pick, more $ and more years. On the other hand Tampa also went the cheap route, signed Kyle Farnsworth who was never a proven closer, and it worked out for them, 

I think AA will have some reasonably priced good arms to fight it out for the role, either from our current relief corps, current minor leaguers, or an FA signing or signings.  The odds one will emerge are not much worse than going the "proven closer" route.

Original Ryan - Monday, August 29 2011 @ 01:30 PM EDT (#242624) #
First, A.A. and the Jays don't give up on any Starter good enough to be a Top Closer until almost forever.   Secondly, how long does it take to be successful your way, not next year, nor the year after.

Incorrect on both counts. On the first point, mediocre-to-bad starters can become quality relievers, as we saw with Scott Downs. Other pitchers are simply better suited to the role, and it sounds like the Blue Jays may feel Joel Carreno falls into this category. With only five spots in the rotation, there might not be room for all the major league-ready pitchers the team has, so some guys may have to pitch out of the bullpen for a while, as we saw with Marc Rzepczynski earlier this year.

On your second point, relievers tend to be a bit random. A converted starter may instantly take to the role, and established relievers sometimes manage to become shut-down guys for a season or two. It's not something that takes years -- sometimes it can happen almost literally overnight. Luck plays a big role.

Also, a closer isn't going to instantly turn this team into a contender. You're continuing to overstate the impact closers make.

Personally I wish the Blue Jays would just do away with the save-accumulator role entirely, but that's unlikely to happen.
John Northey - Monday, August 29 2011 @ 01:59 PM EDT (#242629) #
I know my gut says 'sign Pap' but...
Jay leaders in saves...
Henke - called up mid-season 1985 and instantly best closer we've had
Ward - gave up using him as a starter in '88 and he became instantly a great setup man (bit wild for 2 years) before taking over as closer
Koch - climbed up through the system, 1st round pick
---end of 100 save guys---
BJ Ryan - signed as free agent, 2 great years, 1 good, 2 more years of payments
Escobar - came up through system, juggled between starter, closer, setup, whatever
Timlin - came up through system
---end of 50+ save guys---
Gregg - one solid year as free agent
Batista - traded for him, starter, reliever, got Escobar treatment
Frasor - traded for while in minors, decent reliever for years
Accardo - one great year, traded for while setup man
McLaughlin - setup man when acquired, 2 good setup years but never a closer
Roy Lee Jackson - good setup man who was traded for, not a real closer
---end of 30+ save guys---
Randy Myers - lucky to get rid of, free agent signing
Bill Caudill - traded 2 everyday players to get him, ugh.
Dennis Lamp - free agent was to be a closer but failed in that role, became solid middle man in 1985 (11-0 record)

What does this tell us? Bringing guys up through the system or trading for solid setup men is more likely to work out than blowing millions on a closer who might not be. Only Ryan really worked for more than one season as a free agent/traded for closer and 'worked' is debatable due to the number of years he sucked up payroll without doing anything.
Spifficus - Monday, August 29 2011 @ 02:08 PM EDT (#242632) #
John, You overestimate Ryan's level of greatness by a year... Ugh.
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, August 30 2011 @ 07:27 PM EDT (#242739) #

greenfrog  ...hang on to your draft picks (K-Rod and Paps are both Type A FAs).

As of August 28th we had a protected #15 pick to go with our untouchable #22 pick, so losing games isn't all bad.

Mylegacy Unfortunately, I think talk of the importance of a closer may be premature. 

Another person who doesn't think this team can contend in the next 3 years.

hypobole Giving big money and years to a relief pitcher is usually a mistake. AA aquired a couple of potential closers this year in Rauch and Francisco. It didn't work out...

When it comes to Jon Rauch and Frank Francisco , just calling someone a Closer does not make him one.   You need to repeat a successful-ish year before it's true.

Original Ryan Incorrect on both counts.

The evidence you have that A.A. has done this is?

We need a proven Closer For the next three to four years: 1). .  He says it better than I.  2). This team needs Starters the next two years, much more than turning one into a possible closer.  Time is drawing near for a quicker turnover, at this level, of pitchers who don't cut it, too many are coming up.  3). A.A. must make a big move or moves (Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols, C.C. Sabathia or Felix Hernandez, Jonathan Papelbon or Francisco Rodriguez), or he will lose people starting with ticket sales.

Original Ryan - Tuesday, August 30 2011 @ 10:49 PM EDT (#242750) #
The evidence you have that A.A. has done this is?

I assume you’re referring to the team converting starters into relievers, and I cited two such examples in my last post – Rzepczynski and Carreno. Luis Perez would also qualify since he spent much of the season working out of the bullpen, and his long-term role doesn’t appear to have been determined yet.

I should also point out that teams may identify certain prospects as future relievers, but use them as starters in the minors so they can gain experience. That’s what the Blue Jays did with Billy Koch.

We need a proven Closer For the next three to four years: 1). .  He says it better than I.  2). This team needs Starters the next two years, much more than turning one into a possible closer.  Time is drawing near for a quicker turnover, at this level, of pitchers who don't cut it, too many are coming up.  3). A.A. must make a big move or moves (Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols, C.C. Sabathia or Felix Hernandez, Jonathan Papelbon or Francisco Rodriguez), or he will lose people starting with ticket sales.

Why is there this need for a “proven” closer? Since when has having a proven closer been a requirement for a team that wants to contend? And why is it so necessary to acquire one this offseason?

There have been numerous examples of teams going with an “unproven” guy and succeeding. To use the two closers in your list, the Angels won the A.L. West in Rodriguez’s first year as a closer, and the Red Sox won the World Series in Papelbon’s second year as closer. Back in the offseason you wanted to sign Bobby Jenks, the guy who helped the White Sox to a World Series victory in his rookie year. Other examples of competitive teams with “unproven” closers:

1985 Blue Jays (Tom Henke)
1993 Blue Jays (Duane Ward)
1997 Yankees (Mariano Rivera)
2000 Athletics (Jason Isringhausen)
2002 Dodgers (Eric Gagne)
2003 Marlins (Braden Looper)
2004 Twins (Joe Nathan)
2006 Athletics (Huston Street)
2008 Dodgers (Jonathan Broxton)
2010 Rangers (Neftali Feliz)

And there are numerous other examples. Setup guys slide into the closer role all the time without any difficulty, and sometimes a pitcher will seemingly come out of nowhere and be a shutdown closer. Other teams have done just fine without going out and acquiring a "proven" closer, so why is it necessary for the Blue Jays to get one, particularly this offseason?

On your second point, Romero and Morrow are locks for the rotation going forward barring injury, and Cecil is probably going to continue getting chances for a while. Anyone who is ready for the majors and not filling the remaining spots in the rotation is a potential candidate for the bullpen, at least on a short-term basis.

Lastly, a big move, or a lack of one, will not affect the public’s perceptions of the team. That's been demonstrated in the past.
hypobole - Tuesday, August 30 2011 @ 10:53 PM EDT (#242751) #
Very well said, Ryan, however insufficient links.
smcs - Tuesday, August 30 2011 @ 11:46 PM EDT (#242760) #
Personally I wish the Blue Jays would just do away with the save-accumulator role entirely, but that's unlikely to happen.

Well, they kind of did in 2009. Only 25 saves all year in 75 wins. Frasor led with 11, Downs had 9, Ryan had 2 (before flaming out spectacularly), and Camp, Accardo and Janssen had 1 apiece. Leverage-wise, Downs had the highest, and Frasor was second. There was something of an order like Camp or Carlson takes the 7th, League takes the 8th, Downs or Frasor take the 9th, with Carlson and Downs handling lefties and Camp and Frasor handling righties. Janssen eventually came back as a reliever that year, and was tossed into the mix. Tallet, Hayhurst, Wolfe and Bullington were used as long-men, but it is difficult to say that there was a closer.

Regardless, the Jays don't need that proven closer to have a good bullpen. A bullpen isn't even made or destroyed by its closer. What made the 2006 bullpen so good was that there were 3 or 4 quality arms (Downs, Speier (but only while trailing), League, Schoewenweis (but only against lefties)) in front of one great arm in BJ Ryan. Shawn Camp was the team's best reliever last year and he was never close to being the closer. Look at the Braves bullpen this year. Yes, Craig Kimbrel has been deadly at the end of games, but what makes their bullpen incredible is Venters, O'Flaherty, Sherrill and Martinez.

For this year's team, how many relievers would you say are having good years? Janssen for sure. Frasor, Rzep and Dotel were doing pretty well until they got traded. Litsch has been really good. Francisco has come around, but appears to keep on getting injured. The problem has been that Rauch and Camp have really not been good, and it seems like one of these guys is being run out there every night because they are still the best options. Tallet was only out there in the 10th because Camp, Carreno and Janssen had all been used, Francisco was hurt (or something), Litsch was used yesterday, Rauch and Villaneuva were hurt (removing Perez from the argument), Miller and Ledezma weren't good enough, and Tallet is better than Rommie Lewis. How many of the Jays current relievers do you expect back next year? Janssen and Litsch for sure. Maybe Camp. Maybe Rauch and Francisco. Perez, Villaneuva and Carreno will probably be given a shot to start first, but probably 1 of those guys will be shifted to the bullpen. In all likelihood, Anthopoulos will have to fill at least 3 spots. The 2 spots (or more) that aren't the closer are far more likely to have a greater impact and importance than the one that is the closer.
bpoz - Wednesday, August 31 2011 @ 10:54 AM EDT (#242781) #
Not sure if this has been mentioned/considered. This season IMO is DISTINCTLY 2 different teams.

1) Proven fringe/4th OF types were a big part of the 1st Patterson, Nix. Young & in many cases unproven players are making up a big part of the 2nd team...Lawrie, Thames, Alvarez etc.
2) We had to wait for a few to get some AAA/AA experience before bringing/rushing them to the Majors.
3) Some young players had to be given a chance from opening day for various reasons by the FO...JPA, Drabek & Reyes.
4) To get Rasmus AA gutted the pen & took on salary. We are seeing the effect on the pen now.

The line up against the Orioles last night is locked up for 2012, except for 2B, Rasmus is the 2012 regular CF. EE had 2 cruial opportunities last night but did not deliver. In the pen Litsch may have been overused recently or just had a bad night against TB with the 2 walks followed by the HR. Litch & Janssen have been very reliable in doing their jobs, but others like FF & Rauch just have not been able to produce at expected levels. Mediocre pitchers like Tallet & Miller have been forced to Close for us instead of pitching in thier usual roles.
I wanted Tallet up, but after a longer rehab, I still like the guy. There had to be someone on the 40 man that could have come up in his place.

Clearly IMO we have to stick with the current youth in the everyday lineup for now & 2012 and take our lumps. The rotation for 2012 IMO would be Romero and 4-7 others getting a chance to prove what they can do. AA will definitely rebuild the pen.
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