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Casey Blake was cut by the Rockies on Tuesday. Suffering from nagging injuries and nearing 40, it might be the end of the line for him. So, itís time to pay a little bit of appreciation to a man who deserves to be known as the man who was traded for Carlos Santana

A 7th round draft for the Blue Jays in 1996, Blake had two unremarkable seasons and then burst onto the scene with a .995 OPS in 1998 between Single and Double-A and then put up an .829 OPS for Triple-A Syracuse in 1999. He also debuted for the Jays that season, putting up a .256/.293/.385 line in 41 plate appearances. He was lost to waivers to the Twins, who lost him on waivers to the Orioles who subsequently lost him back to the Twins.

At the end of 2002, Blake had amassed 125 major league plate appearances for a .232/.304/.339 line for a 67 OPS+. He was 28, turning 29 during the next season, and had just had two seasons putting up a mid-800 OPS for Edmonton, but looked like he might become a Triple-A veteran who would serve as injury backup. He signed a minor league contract with Cleveland for the 2003 season.

And then I donít know what happened. Ricky Gutierrez was Clevelandís primary third basemen in 2002 and, although he struggled, he was coming off two seasons for the Cubs where he had put up a mid-700s OPS. He played infrequently for Cleveland during the 2003 season, only during June and July, so I assume he got hurt at the beginning and end of the season. Credit should be given to Mark Shapiro, who is a bright executive, and he had several SABR-savvy personnel in his front office at the time, so they probably identified Blake as a key Triple-A talent who could aid the team.

In any case, pressed into starting duty, Blake showed what he can do. He posted an unremarkable .257/.312/.411 line for a 93 OPS. On a major league minimum, it was good enough for Blake to earn the starting job the next year, where he hit 38 doubles and 28 homers for a .271/.354/.486 line for a .839 OPS and 122 OPS+. In 2005, Blake put up a 99 OPS+ on the strength of 32 doubles and 23 homers.

He then started four straight years of posting OPS+ of over 100. After posting a 115 and 103 for Cleveland, he had a 121 OPS+ at the trade deadline in 2008 when Cleveland swapped him to the Dodgers for Carlos Santana. Blake filled Los Angelesí weakness at 3B and helped the Dodgers to the playoffs. He signed a new three-year deal with Los Angeles and had a great 2009, when the Dodgers also made the postseason, with an .832 OPS and 122 OPS+. In 2010 and 2011, Blake posted a 98 and 99 OPS+, respectively. Blake struggled with injuries in 2011, amassing only 202 at-bats, which was just the second time that he didnít have at least 500 at-bats since becoming a regular.

For his career, Blake racked up 1,186 hits, 167 homers and made enough money to last the rest of his life. Thatís quite unexpected for a player who had 26 hits and 2 homers, a career .637 OPS and a solid, but unremarkable, Triple-A career at 28.

What else is going on in the world of baseball, Bauxites?

This Day in Baseball: The Casey Blake Edition | 67 comments | Create New Account
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ColiverPhD - Thursday, March 29 2012 @ 10:06 AM EDT (#253411) #

One of the few St. Catherines Stompers that were left in the bigs (V. Wells  1997), a salute to Casey Blake is fitting.  I know that Blake only played one game with the Stompers in 1999 on a rehab assignment, but that still makes him a member of the St. Catherines alumni.

Blake, Andy Thompson (didn't play for St. Kitts but I know his family from Buffalo), Kevin Witt, Jossephang Bernhardt, Franklyn Gracesqui, Joe Lawrence...goodbye to an era...not really productive, not entertaining regardless.

Mike Green - Thursday, March 29 2012 @ 10:08 AM EDT (#253412) #
Thanks, Thomas, for that excellent summary of Casey Blake's career.  I wonder if there is anyone else with his career path in modern times.  When I run play indexes, I get hints of minor league stars of the 20s like Del Bissonette and Smead Jolley, players who arrived late to the majors due to the colour bar and late arrivals from Japan like Iwamura.  The closest I can think of from memory is Gary Ward, who was also a corner outfielder with a fairly similar skill set to Blake's. 
Super Bluto - Thursday, March 29 2012 @ 10:16 AM EDT (#253413) #
This has nothing to do with this post, but given the invitation at the bottom of it, I'm going for it:

A protracted bar discussion the other night had me thinking all the next day and so I'm hoping to get some further discussion going on it. The question is this: what would happen if baseball, like football, abandoned two-way players and went with 9 designated hitters and 8 designated fielders. Would the all-bat, no-field guys make for that many more runs? Or would an infield comprised of Ozzie Smiths and an outfield of cannon arms and a catcher who never let a ball pass and threw out 75% of base stealers reduce run totals? Or would it be a wash because in so many cases the best fielders ARE the best hitters, too?

I'm not advocating for such a change. But I'd be interested to hear thoughts.

AWeb - Thursday, March 29 2012 @ 10:57 AM EDT (#253414) #

A Blake-style late career was the realistic upside for Bautista, when the Jays got ahold of him, with similar ages, positions, MLB results, etc. What Bautista actually did was unrealistic, oddly.

DH's and Fielders - the best fielders would be able to negate some of the newfound offense, since the best fielders are probably not in the majors at nearly the rates of hitters. OF defense has been said to peak very early (21-25), so there would be a huge demographic shift there. IF defense I'm not so sure of. Overall the hitters would win (i.e., offense goes up some), but most of the best hitters are playing somewhere already. Long-term, I think hitters gain the more ground.

Oakland and Seattle split the opening games, the Jays rampage through Spring continues (22-5 or something like that?). Just one regular season hot stretch like this one in the Spring and the Jays contend by reverting to ~.500 the rest of the year. Fingers crossed.

Mike Green - Thursday, March 29 2012 @ 11:08 AM EDT (#253417) #
They are 21-4.  Since 1984, there have been 8 teams with spring training winning percentages over .700: the 2009 Angels and Yankees, the 2010 Rays, the 1999 Royals and Dodgers, the 1998 Red Sox, the 1997 Marlins and the 1987 Cardinals.  The Marlins went 26-5 to be the only team to go over .800 during that span, and we all know what happened in the regular seasons and afterward for them.  Six of the eight clubs were very good, with the exceptions being the 1999 clubs. 

You would guess that at the extreme, spring training performance probably meant something significant.  I doubt that many good teams have posted a winning percentage of .300  in spring training either. 

Thomas - Thursday, March 29 2012 @ 11:41 AM EDT (#253419) #
You would guess that at the extreme, spring training performance probably meant something significant.

That's worth noting. I was one of many voices saying the 7 (or 8?)-2 record wasn't very meaningful or predictive. The fact the team may go on to put up a 14-2 in their next 16 games is something we probably (and I certainly wasn't) contemplating at the time.

bpoz - Thursday, March 29 2012 @ 12:24 PM EDT (#253423) #
This business of streaks is interesting.

I observed many things about my fellow Bauxites. These are only my opinions.

1) Quite a few are great at data gathering & presentations.
2) A few may have a knack for causing distress.
3) The team's play itself can cause distress.

Assuming the team was mostly good from 1983 to the present. The bad years would be .500 & under records.

Using your skills with data, can a case be made that the bad teams had a key bad streak and the good teams had a key or significant winning streak.

Magpie's Pythogaras studies could identify if the teams really deserved their good/bad title, with a +/- factor.

If a good streak or 2 meant something on a consistent basis then an early good streak may relieve some stress. We could feel good until a bad streak negated our positive outlook.

Winning teams like NYY & losing teams like the Pirates could help prove some of this stuff. Boston in 2011 had 2 losing streaks but still won 90 games, they confuse things.
Chuck - Thursday, March 29 2012 @ 02:56 PM EDT (#253431) #

If a good streak or 2 meant something on a consistent basis then an early good streak may relieve some stress.

The thing about streaks is that there is often a great deal of chance at their core. Unfortunately, it is a human tendency to seek out causation and "reasons" are offered willy nilly as would be explanations, entirely ignoring the component of the explanation that is mere chance.

Flip a penny 162 times. You'll likely have a run of 6 heads in a row at some point. Looking at those 6 flips in isolation (which is what we do when we look at streaks), 6 straight heads seems very unlikely. And it is. The probability of 6 heads in 6 flips is about 1.5%. Was the penny seeing the ball well? Was it playing with confidence? Did it trust its teammates? Was it in the zone? Or could it be that runs of 6 straight heads just sometimes randomly occur when you flip a coin often enough?

Magpie's Pythogaras studies could identify if the teams really deserved their good/bad title, with a +/- factor.

I agree with this. Examining runs for and allowed looks at a season in its totality and removes the peril of emotionally measuring the significance of streaks within the season.

PeteMoss - Thursday, March 29 2012 @ 03:59 PM EDT (#253441) #

Anthony Gose just stole home on Salty's throw back to the pitcher, his fourth of the day, third of the inning. #Jays up 3-2 in top 8th.

Anthony Gose is fast.
Ron - Thursday, March 29 2012 @ 04:11 PM EDT (#253442) #
I wonder if Gose just set a new Jays record. I can't think of any other Jay that walked and than stole 2nd Base, 3rd Base, and Home within the same plate appearance. It's a shame Sportsnet would rather air Yankee Spring Training games than Blue Jays games. You would never see the reverse on YES or NESN.
Ryan Day - Thursday, March 29 2012 @ 04:16 PM EDT (#253443) #
Gose could be a hell of a player to watch, if he figures out how to hit above .250.
Original Ryan - Thursday, March 29 2012 @ 04:18 PM EDT (#253444) #
If I was an opposing manager, my first instinct would be to plunk Gose in his next at-bat. The only problem is that Gose would probably just do it all over again.

He's going to be a fun player to watch.
Mike Green - Thursday, March 29 2012 @ 04:46 PM EDT (#253447) #
One thing to remember about Gose at this stage of his career is that he reaches on errors an awful lot.  So, today, he went 0-3 with a walk, but actually reached base twice.  Even OBP doesn't capture ROEs, but they are a significant part of Gose's game.  The things to watch with him are his K rate, W rate and his IsoP, rather than the batting average. 

katman - Thursday, March 29 2012 @ 05:42 PM EDT (#253450) #
We had Gose AND Davis on the bases, together, today. Seems almost unfair.
bpoz - Thursday, March 29 2012 @ 05:56 PM EDT (#253452) #
Chuck, Just for the heck of it, any thoughts on I think Colorado & Oakland a few years ago. They seemed to practically never lose, for a really long stretch.
Oakland was dumping Mulder, Zito & Hudson and the new guys were doing the job. Colorado was more recent maybe 4 years ago.
smcs - Thursday, March 29 2012 @ 05:56 PM EDT (#253453) #
You would guess that at the extreme, spring training performance probably meant something significant.

It's significant unless it's not. I mean, if the Jays exceed expectations or get out to a really hot start, I'm guessing you would see lots of chatter about how 'the tone was set in spring training.' If the Jays stumble out of the gate, or are mediocre, or finish with 85 wins (about what I expect), their spring training will be a part of stories about how spring training records are meaningless.
robertdudek - Thursday, March 29 2012 @ 06:15 PM EDT (#253454) #
According to MLBRumors.com:

A National League scout doesn't think the Phillies are that scary once you get past Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels. "Other than those three pitchers, they're not very good," the scout told Andy Martino of the New York Daily New.

This is a bit like saying that, other than the tsunami, not much went wrong in Japan in 2011.
Mike Green - Thursday, March 29 2012 @ 06:15 PM EDT (#253455) #
I learned something this spring.  ZIPS has Brett Lawrie's projected OBP at .333.  It was a reasonable projection at the time, but now I think I'll take the over on that one.  ZIPS has Kyle Drabek's projected ERA at 5.80.  That was reasonable at the time, but now I think I'd take the under.  Brett Lawrie and Kyle Drabek are part of the reason that the club is 22-4 during the spring, but they are obviously not the only or even most important part of it.


85bluejay - Thursday, March 29 2012 @ 06:45 PM EDT (#253457) #
The Phillies offence is very mediocre especially with Howard & Utley missing - Those 3 Aces better stay healthy & on top of their game - I see the Phillies as a very vulnerable team.
James W - Thursday, March 29 2012 @ 07:34 PM EDT (#253460) #
Sportsnet would rather air Yankees games because YES invested the money to broadcast the games, and it's easier and cheaper for Rogers to just re-broadcast their games, than to send their own crew down to show Jays games.
Ron - Thursday, March 29 2012 @ 11:42 PM EDT (#253466) #
"Sportsnet would rather air Yankees games because YES invested the money to broadcast the games, and it's easier and cheaper for Rogers to just re-broadcast their games, than to send their own crew down to show Jays games."

A lot of the Sportsnet guys are already down there. You would think Rogers would want to market the Jays and build up hype for the regular season.

As a Jays fan in the year 2012, I actually want Rogers to show their own team on their own channel during Spring Training (2 games isn't enough). Is this too much to ask? I can't believe I actually had to type that.
92-93 - Friday, March 30 2012 @ 01:06 AM EDT (#253469) #
ZIPS is useless in predicting young talent that hasn't established itself at the big league level.
ColiverPhD - Friday, March 30 2012 @ 08:05 AM EDT (#253471) #

Just as a side note...I hope that everyone in "The Box" had the opportunity to watch the Toronto Blue Jays version of "30 Clubs in 30 Days" last evening on the MLB Network.  The team seems confident and appears ready to have an exciting and a productive season.

The network expects big things from Escobar, believes that Lind will thrive by hitting behind Bautista, and hopes that Rasmus will be productive in the nine-hole.

Hopefully, Rasmus' outside distraction (Daddy) will not affect his play.  Apparently, Mr. Rasmus is supposed to be more "hands-off" this season.

The MLB Network staff has high hopes for our Blue Jays.  At the very least, this club is going to be entertaining.  Hopefully, a wild-card birth is reachable!

 

ogator - Friday, March 30 2012 @ 08:34 AM EDT (#253472) #
  I wanted to reflect on Mike Green's observation about Anthony Gose's ROE stat if that is actually a stat.  There are obviously times when errors are committed regardless of the hitter--pop ups get dropped, routine grounders are myseriously thrown away, routine throws are oddly botched with the glove by other infielders who were supposed to make the catch.  But there are errors that are caused, at least in part, by the person who hit the ball.  The two that I can think of that stand out are lightning quick base runners who cause hurried throws that go astray because the thrower was pressured into an error and guys who hit the ball so hard that infielders simply cannot catch a grounder hit right to them.  Are there other ways that hitters can increase the likelihood that an error will occur?  Does anyone track errors "caused" by hitters?  Is this a significant part of the game or something so esoteric as to not be worthy of statistical observation?
hypobole - Friday, March 30 2012 @ 09:21 AM EDT (#253473) #
The network .....believes that Lind will thrive by hitting behind Bautista

Didn't Lind hit behind Bautista last year??
James W - Friday, March 30 2012 @ 09:50 AM EDT (#253474) #
I agree, I want Rogers to show Jays games in March. And yes, I saw a show where Buck Martinez went fishing with Romero and Bautista, so there definitely are people in Florida.

To answer your question, it's apparent that it IS too much to ask of Rogers.
MatO - Friday, March 30 2012 @ 10:17 AM EDT (#253475) #
I read yesterday that Rogers is laying off something like 60 people at their head office.  How many would they lay off if they didn't make billions in profits.
Mike Green - Friday, March 30 2012 @ 10:21 AM EDT (#253476) #
Didn't Lind hit behind Bautista last year??

No, no.  The network thinks that Lind will hit this year like Vernon Wells did in 2010 when he batted behind Bautista in the order.  Wait...that didn't work so well.

I've got it.  The Bautista curse.  Lesser players simply melt when faced with the challenge of matching up to a Bautista at-bat.  The solution: bat Brett Lawrie behind him.  There are few who can lie in the bed of fire.
Mike Green - Friday, March 30 2012 @ 10:23 AM EDT (#253477) #
I read yesterday that Rogers is laying off something like 60 people at their head office.  How many would they lay off if they didn't make billions in profits.

The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind.
Jonny German - Friday, March 30 2012 @ 10:50 AM EDT (#253478) #
Didn't Lind hit behind Bautista last year??

He batted behind Bautista. There wasn't much hitting to speak of.
John Northey - Friday, March 30 2012 @ 11:03 AM EDT (#253479) #
Well, through June there was.
Bautista April-June: 326/470/659 OPS:1.129
Lind April-June: 312/361/569 OPS: 929

Bautista July-October: 278/424/556 OPS: 980
Lind July-October: 203/242/338 OPS: 580

So a 200 point OPS difference in April-June, a 400 OPS difference from July-October. Neat how it hits dead on a 00 in both cases.
Jonny German - Friday, March 30 2012 @ 11:12 AM EDT (#253480) #
Lind April-June: 312/361/569 OPS: 929

Nice work lumping April and May in with June. In April he was lousy, in May he was hurt (played 6 games). Dude only hit 1 month out of 6.
92-93 - Friday, March 30 2012 @ 12:08 PM EDT (#253482) #
Let's not forget how ridiculous it is that we can't get MLB Network on Rogers.
Chuck - Friday, March 30 2012 @ 12:26 PM EDT (#253483) #
Let's not forget how ridiculous it is that we can't get MLB Network on Rogers.

I've seen some of those "30 in 30" programs. They are beyond terrible.
ColiverPhD - Friday, March 30 2012 @ 12:48 PM EDT (#253484) #

In response to my "30 in 30" posting:

1.  hypobole:  The MLB Network has a high opinion of Lind, they also were raving about his improved defence at First Base.  They are convinced that he will shake his previous hitting woes.  They are also very huge on Rasmus, but they project him hitting ninth.  I am still in a "show me" stage regarding Rasmus.

2.  92-93:  Luckily I live in the U.S. (albiet minutes from the border), where I can get the MLB Network.  However, I cannot get Rogers.  Luckily my subscription to the MLB Extra Innings package allows me to get most Blue Jays games.  Until a couple years ago, they would never use the Toronto broadcasters, but now they do.  It is a much better experience!

3.  Chuck:  I agree that some of the "30 in 30" telecasts are poor (almost like going thru the motions).  But yesterday's Toronto telecast was full of energy!

On a unrelated note pertaining to "30 in 30". I liked agator's post.  Ichiro's speed plays a role and going back...our own George Bell hit some hard balls to infielders that were hard to field.

John Northey - Friday, March 30 2012 @ 01:03 PM EDT (#253485) #
Jonny - I was more looking for overall stuff, the more endpoints you use the less the data means. Still, for month by month you get...
April: 274 308 434 OPS:742 108 sOPS+
May: just 6 games, 500/522/909 though in those 6 (wow!)
June: 311/385/644 with a 186 sOPS+ aka Bautista land.

He really started to tear the cover off the ball from April 25th on - 457/471/848 over 51 PA before getting hurt. Came back and hit like mad again (see June figures). Then July came and he turned into a pumpkin again. Pre-April 25th he hit 232/270/329 for an OPS of 599. Seems clear something was adjusted from April 25th to June 30th that was lost/forgotten/whatever.

So you have the 599 OPS Lind (early April for 89 PA), the woohoo Lind for late April-June (360/413/713 OPS of 1.126 over 155 PA), and the ugly one again July to end of season (203/242/338 OPS:580 over 298 PA). That just doesn't make sense. He hit like John McDonald for 2 extended stretches and like Bautista for a big stretch in the middle. That goes beyond streaky, that is just obscene.

So the big question is...what was the difference between 'good Lind' and 'bad Lind'? To have such extremes in one year strongly suggests injuries, which Lind did say he had. 2012 is critical for Lind - if he recovers to the May/June version he will be around for a long time. If not his career could end after 2012 for all intents and purposes (guaranteed $5 mil next year and $2 mil buyout after that but Jays can eat that easily if needed).
greenfrog - Friday, March 30 2012 @ 01:09 PM EDT (#253486) #
Here's a question (in the doldrums of late March): what would make 2012 a successful season for the Jays, in your opinion?

While I would love to see the team playing meaningful games in September and/or make the playoffs, for me a successful season essentially means that the team is well positioned to compete in 2013 and beyond. If the organization has the #1 farm system in baseball at this time next year (a reasonable possibility, given the extra draft picks in this year's draft), and the elite talent on the big-league club performs well overall, I'll be ecstatic.
92-93 - Friday, March 30 2012 @ 01:18 PM EDT (#253487) #
Good programming or not, I'd like to at least have the option of watching the MLB Network. It's absurd that Rogers owns a baseball team and doesn't have a baseball channel.
Gerry - Friday, March 30 2012 @ 01:30 PM EDT (#253488) #
Griffin has a Q&A with Alex Anthopoulos posted.  There is nothing "newsy" in there but some might find it interesting.
Ryan Day - Friday, March 30 2012 @ 01:35 PM EDT (#253489) #
Lind was fine in April. Nothing to brag about, but if that was an "off" month for him, he'd be a perfectly good player. But he keeps going into horrible death-spiral slumps - July to Sept 2011, May to June 2010. If he could avoid those, he'd be a good-to-great player.
ColiverPhD - Friday, March 30 2012 @ 01:39 PM EDT (#253491) #

92-23, You would enjoy the MLB Network.  Lots of entertaining stuff (Intentional Talk)...lots of informative programming, (Clubhouse Confidential)...even segments for coaches (Diamond Demos).

I am still waiting for them to broadcast Phil Niekro's 300th win at Exhibition Stadium.  Would like to see Manny Lee, Lou Thornton, Cecil Fielder, and Kelly Gruber play as rookies again.  Toronto fielded all reserves that day.  Also, it would be great to watch a full game from "The Ex" once again!  I have sent e-mails to their website suggesting this game.

I keep my television tuned to the channel pretty much on a regular basis.

BlueJayWay - Friday, March 30 2012 @ 01:41 PM EDT (#253492) #
Here's a question (in the doldrums of late March): what would make 2012 a successful season for the Jays, in your opinion?

While I would love to see the team playing meaningful games in September and/or make the playoffs, for me a successful season essentially means that the team is well positioned to compete in 2013 and beyond. If the organization has the #1 farm system in baseball at this time next year (a reasonable possibility, given the extra draft picks in this year's draft), and the elite talent on the big-league club performs well overall, I'll be ecstatic.


Successful season would mean the young players taking a step forward (both in the majors and minors), and the team continuing to build.  I'm not expecting playoffs, or contending for the division.

I have the Jays winning about 84 games.  If they exceed that by just two or three, that should put them at least on the fringes of the second wildcard race all year.  So I'm hoping to see somewhat meaningful September baseball.
greenfrog - Friday, March 30 2012 @ 02:21 PM EDT (#253494) #
Kevin Goldstein of BP had a positive comment about Drabek (but was pessimistic about Rasmus and Lind) in his recent chat:

Steve (Canada): Of the Jays three failed players in 2011 Travis Snider, Colby Rasmus, Kyle Drabek, and Adam Lind, who do you think will put out the most production in 2012?

Kevin Goldstein: I was surprised to see Snider go down this week, and I was pleasantly surprised to see Drabek this week, as he looked really good. I'll go with Drabek. I see little reason to be optimistic about Rasmus or Lind.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/chat/chat.php?chatId=914
John Northey - Friday, March 30 2012 @ 02:46 PM EDT (#253497) #
Depends...
1) Playoffs - that makes it a great year no matter what else happens

2) Rotation becomes great - seeing Morrow, Alvarez, and another pitcher join Romero as top quality starters, even if the team flops overall (ie: offense tanks) would be a fantastic sign for the future

3) Kids come up and do well - if the team is sub-500 mid-season and some kids come up and do the job (Gose, Hutch, etc.) showing they will join Lawrie on the next great Jays team then that would work as well.

Any of those 3 could make it a successful season. But if no kids step up, if the rotation doesn't stabilize, and the team misses the playoffs (as they'd pretty much have to if the other two happen) then it would be 2004 all over again (ie: feel like a wasted season).
92-93 - Friday, March 30 2012 @ 03:28 PM EDT (#253498) #
On July 1st last year, Rasmus was still hitting .258/.347/.443. Three bad months and the media is done with him.
China fan - Friday, March 30 2012 @ 03:44 PM EDT (#253499) #
It's not "the media." That's far too sweeping. The negativism about Rasmus is coming mostly from fans (who prefer Snider) and from a handful of talk-radio types and a couple of ex-athletes like Zaun. The print media have not been negative about Rasmus at all. If you assess the chatter on Twitter, for example, the attacks on Rasmus are primarily from impatient fans. People like Wilner are defending him.
greenfrog - Friday, March 30 2012 @ 08:16 PM EDT (#253516) #
Fangraphs article on Brett Cecil's prospects in 2012:

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/the-descent-of-brett-cecil/
bpoz - Friday, March 30 2012 @ 08:26 PM EDT (#253517) #
The preview of the AL East is done. The Jays will be next. Great.

The minor leagues start on April 5th as well. I cannot wait to see the player assignments.

I can practically hear PLAY BALL.
Richard S.S. - Friday, March 30 2012 @ 11:43 PM EDT (#253522) #
Colby Rasmus was probably sheltered and touted as special all his life; 2011 was a nightmare to him in comparision.   I don't think he ever understood what was happening to him, or what his value in trade was.   It's possible he was hurt/injured before his trade and told no-one about it, because something happened after May 31.   Looking at his Minors Stats, St.Louis must have been desperate to promote him when they did.   So let's see what he can do, he's about Snider's and Thames' age.
92-93 - Saturday, March 31 2012 @ 02:45 AM EDT (#253530) #

The print media have not been negative about Rasmus at all.

Find me the player the print media HAS been negative about. Outside of the standard "Colby is refreshed after a long winter" article that we've seen from each outlet, there's been very little positive written about Colby Rasmus.

You say they haven't been negative about Rasmus at all, and then I read Jeff Blair slag on Colby for the umpteenth time this winter in his column tonight :

and Tony La Russa could still be proven right about Colby Rasmus: he just may never get it.

And that isn't the first time Blair has questioned Rasmus' intelligence in print.

China fan - Saturday, March 31 2012 @ 09:26 AM EDT (#253532) #
I didn't interpret "may never get it" as a comment on Rasmus's intelligence. I read it as a comment on his swing and his mechanics -- the things that La Russa was trying to tinker with. If you assume that it's a comment on Rasmus's intelligence, you're reading far too much into it. I don't think La Russa ever publicly stated that Rasmus was lacking intelligence, and Blair is clearly quoting La Russa as his source -- not the occasional misguided fans who have suggested that Rasmus is stupid because of his accent or something.

But the operative words were "could" and "may." Blair was listing Rasmus as a question mark -- one of the questions in the lineup. That's reasonable enough. Anyone who lists the question marks in the Jays lineup would certainly have to include Rasmus and Lind (the two hitters that Blair mentioned in his article).

Personally I'm optimistic about Rasmus. He's got a huge amount of talent, and it's quite plausible that he'll bounce back strongly this year.

But you can't ignore the fact that Rasmus has had only one good season in his career, and a lot of people in Toronto have been burned by their experiences with hitters who had one good season (Hill, Lind) and failed to bounce back to those peaks. I'm sure that's one reason for the skepticism about Rasmus. Let's see Rasmus and Lind have a second great season -- and then the skeptics will fall away. (And I'm not comparing Rasmus and Lind in any way except in their offensive numbers.)

Some say Rasmus had a couple of good months at the beginning of 2011 too, but so did Lind. The reality is that it was a poor season overall. And yes, spring training numbers shouldn't mean anything, but I'm sure the poor numbers by Rasmus this spring are having some influence on the skepticism about him, rightly or wrongly.

Jeff Blair apparently said something negative about Rasmus on his radio show once. But even if you count Blair as a critic of Rasmus, it doesn't alter my point. Blair and Zaun and McCown (and even one or two others, if there are others) don't equal "the media." There are plenty of people who are waiting eagerly to see if Rasmus will bounce back this year, and they are refusing to pre-judge him until he has another year under his belt.

bpoz - Saturday, March 31 2012 @ 09:43 AM EDT (#253534) #
The Jays have signed Jonathan Torres LHP DOB 12/31/94, 6'4" 190lb. Also Jonathan Berti was a 2B and is now a Catcher?
Thomas - Saturday, March 31 2012 @ 10:23 AM EDT (#253537) #
China Fan, the comment on Rasmus isn't about his intelligence, per se, but it's about Rasmus' attitude. It's not a case of Colby being stupid, but rather stubborn.

The Jays acquired Ryota Igarashi from the Pirates yesterday. Igarashi spent last year in the Mets' bullpen.
greenfrog - Saturday, March 31 2012 @ 10:37 AM EDT (#253540) #
I've been thinking about Lind's back issues. Why not use EE as the everyday first baseman, and keep Lind as the primary DH? Wouldn't it be worth it to keep Lind healthy and (relatively) productive? I doubt there would be a major drop-off defensively.
bpoz - Saturday, March 31 2012 @ 11:00 AM EDT (#253542) #
That makes a lot of sense Greenfrog.

I expect AA to be correct when he said in the off season that more trades than normal would be made in July due to the needs of contending teams. In his Q&A with R Griffin he repeated that, but said teams would look for salary relief. No FA comp is also a big factor.

Versatile players have more trade value.

If this Jays team is good, 85-92 wins, they will surprise a lot of people because US fans are not following them closely and no really splashy moves were made to convince any non Jays followers.
China fan - Saturday, March 31 2012 @ 11:07 AM EDT (#253543) #
Thomas, I agree that there's been a lot of discussion about whether Rasmus has an attitude issue -- stubbornness or whatever. Quite possibly Blair was alluding to that, although it's unclear from his brief one-sentence thing. (My own comment was in response to 92-93 who said that Blair was criticizing Rasmus as lacking intelligence. I disagree with his interpretation of the Blair comment.)

But even if there's been discussion about Rasmus's attitude or alleged stubbornness in the past, I'm not sure if it's relevant any more. We've already seen that Rasmus spent two days with Dwayne Murphy in the off-season, working on his swing, and we've seen that Rasmus has already made an adjustment (lower leg kick), so I don't think it's fair to say that Rasmus is still being stubborn today. He's been quite open to adjustments and coaching this year. I'm not sure if anyone actually is still saying that.
China fan - Saturday, March 31 2012 @ 11:10 AM EDT (#253544) #
Adjustments by Rasmus this year:

https://twitter.com/#!/gregorMLB/statuses/173100220228448256
Mike Green - Saturday, March 31 2012 @ 11:22 AM EDT (#253545) #
Personally, I think the mechanical points with Rasmus are probably overdone.  Yogi's "90% of baseball is half mental" seems to me to be the appropriate aphorism. 

John Farrell has an interesting challenge in front of him this year, in getting the most of from young talented players.  From what I have seen and heard from Rasmus, the message that I would be sending to him as a manager would be: "You are very talented and 25 years old.  There are things that you could do to get better, but I am not going to tinker with anything unless you ask.  I will however be here if you need me."  And then you show him what you can do with other young players.  Rasmus does not need, from what I have seen, an "in-your-face manager".  The best managers are able to get the most of players with varying talent levels and makeup by adjusting the approach to each player. 

LaRussa was a fine manager overall, but had some players who he did not work with well.  Almost every manager is like that. 

greenfrog - Saturday, March 31 2012 @ 12:14 PM EDT (#253547) #
I agree that the mental side of baseball is very important, but mechanical adjustments can make a huge difference (Bautista and Halladay come to mind; Drabek's consistently staying on line to the plate is another recent example).
Mike Green - Saturday, March 31 2012 @ 12:19 PM EDT (#253548) #
It is a judgment call whether the player has the focus to apply the mechanical adjustments.  With Halladay, there was a long sequence of change (both mental and physical) which played out very, very well.  It is these kinds of judgments that are the manager's key and most difficult tasks.
ogator - Saturday, March 31 2012 @ 12:32 PM EDT (#253549) #
But all of this Rasmus discussion is kind of hypothetical i.e. what might help him improve. But at some point the question becomes, how much patience does the organization show? Does he get all of April? Does he get all of April and all of May? The Jays have some fairly attractive alternatives. While the question of what would best help Rasmus is a fair one, at some point, the question becomes what will best help the team. The team made the trade so they obviously believe in him but at some point that belief may be severely tested.
92-93 - Saturday, March 31 2012 @ 12:33 PM EDT (#253550) #
Only China fan can read that "a player doesn't get it" and refuse to accept that as a negative after he's made the claim that nobody in the print media has been negative about Rasmus.

Anybody who listens to Blair knows he was not referring to his mechanics when he slagged him in print. Your attempt to downplay the sentiment about Rasmus when you live in Beijing is quite strange to me. And yes, listening to all these guys on the radio is a big part of that, whether you decide to accept that or not.

"AA talked recently about the reason for acquiring Rasmus being that it's tough to find 25-year-old quality starting outfielders and that he had to take the opportunity when presented since his own young outfielders weren't ready yet. Not a ringing endorsement for a long future in Toronto."

More praise from Richard Griffin in print.
92-93 - Saturday, March 31 2012 @ 12:34 PM EDT (#253551) #
The defensive metrics think EE was a train wreck at 1B last year, even compared to Lind.
greenfrog - Saturday, March 31 2012 @ 01:04 PM EDT (#253553) #
"It is a judgment call whether the player has the focus to apply the mechanical adjustments"

Maybe, but that's not quite the same thing as saying that mechanical adjustments are vastly overrated (although I agree that the mental and physical are intertwined). In some cases I imagine it's a case of "you need to make an adjustment or you're not going to last in the majors / on this team." Which may have been what La Russa and the Cardinals' staff told Rasmus (the Jays are likely taking a gentler approach).
greenfrog - Saturday, March 31 2012 @ 03:14 PM EDT (#253555) #
It's hard to say how EE would do over a full season, as he really hasn't had much experience at 1B yet. I guess I would rather have EE and Lind healthy and productive (even if it means somewhat of a defensive downgrade at first) than a healthy EE and a semi-injured Lind hitting 197/233/356 (as he did in the second half last year). And if Lind has to sit out for an extended period, EE is going to play first anyway.

Right now Carlos Pena (career .838 OPS with strong defense) is looking like a pretty good option - chances are the Rays are going to substantially outclass the Jays at 1B this year.
China fan - Saturday, March 31 2012 @ 04:29 PM EDT (#253556) #
"....Only China fan can read that "a player doesn't get it" and refuse to accept that as a negative...."

Please work on your reading comprehension, which sucks. I absolutely never said that it wasn't a negative. Go back and read what I wrote. Of course it's a negative. What I clearly said was that it was NOT a comment on his intelligence.

"....when you live in Beijing...."

Wrong on that too.
China fan - Saturday, March 31 2012 @ 04:34 PM EDT (#253557) #
"....listening to all these guys on the radio is a big part of that..."

But you didn't say "these guys on the radio." You said "the media." Look up the word in the dictionary. Especially in these days of blogging and tweeting, "the media" does not mean a few guys on the radio.
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