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It has been a strange season for the Toronto Blue Jays.  They have been hovering around the 500 mark for much of the season despite losing a lot of key players to injuries and despite some notable poor performances.  The list of the bad things that have happened to the team is lengthy:

1. Brandon Morrow, Kyle Drabek, Sergio Santos, Drew Hutchison, Jesse Litsch, Dustin McGowan and Luis Perez are all on the 60 day disabled list.

2. More recently Jose Bautista, Adam Lind and JP Arencibia are on the 15 day DL.



3. JP Arencibia hasn't developed into the top tier catcher that many hoped he would

4. His future replacement, Travis d'Arnaud, will miss half the season and cannot be groomed to take over in 2013.

5. Kelly Johnson and Yunel Escobar are not playing as well as they did last year

6. Brett Lawrie is playing well but not at the superstar level that was hoped for after last season, his OPS is 200 points less than 2011

7. Left field has been a semi disaster with none of Eric Thames, Rajai Davis or Travis Snider grabbing the job and keeping it

8.  Colby Rasmus has had an up and down season but he is hitting under 250 with an OBP that is barely over 300

9. This team has given 100 at-bats to 45 year old Omar Vizquel and his 500 OPS

10. Ricky Romero has been a disaster

11. The rotation includes Aaron Laffey and Carlos Villanueva

12. Henderson Alvarez has spent a good part of the year looking like he should be back in the minors, he can't strike anyone out for pete's sake

13. Brett Cecil had to go to the minors to sort himself out but now that he is back he is walking a tight rope every start and he gives up too many home runs

14. Don't even mention Co-co Cordero, or Ben Francisco

15. Anthony Gose was promoted too quickly and should really be back in AAA

16. Adam Lind had to go the minors and now that he is back he is injured

17. With all the pitcher injuries the Jays have had to use a lot of minor league pitchers.  The following pitchers have ERA's over 5 in the major leagues: Sam Dyson; Ryota Igarashi; Scott Richmond; David Pauley; Robert Coelle; Chad Beck; Evan Crawford; Joel Carreno and Jesse Chavez

18.  Chad Jenkins and Deck Mcguire were expected to help the team in 2012.  Now it looks like they will never make it


So who has lived up the expectations with this team in 2012?

1. Jose Bautista

2. Edwin Encarnacion

3. Casey Janssen

4. Darren Oliver

 

Someone who is impartial could look at these lists and say it is surprising that the Jays are doing as well as they have with so many bad things happening.

 


What does it all mean?  It could mean some or all of the following:

1. This team has done well to be around 500 despite all the things that have gone wrong

2. The front office has done a bad job putting this roster together

3. The coaching staff has done a great job to keep this team around 500 despite the problems

4. The coaching staff have done a bad job at getting players to play up to their potential

5. The training staff must have messed up somewhere

6. As fans we expected too much from this team

7. The front office is promoting kids too quickly to hype the future and to get fans to ignore the present

8. This team is no closer to contending now than it was at the start of 2012

9. The arrival of Alvarez, Hutchison, Gose, Gomes and Loup fill holes that set the team up for success in 2013

10. The front office that filled holes that will help us in 2013

11. If the Jays hadn't had so many injuries they could have been on their way to the playoffs

12. We all know nothing

 


So Bauxites, what does it all mean?

What Does It All Mean? | 111 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
China fan - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 10:58 AM EDT (#261642) #
Time to declare this a rebuilding season. This team was never strong enough to overcome a series of injuries to key pitchers and hitters, plus the mysterious decline of their top pitcher. Let's hope the owners (and Beeston and Anthopoulos) have finally learned the importance of spending a bit more money in the off-season, especially when the 2nd wild card has clearly created an opportunity for fan interest and late-season contention.

Anthopoulos recognized at the beginning of the off-season that the Jays needed another good pitcher and a big bat. He was unable to acquire either. We can debate forever whether the fault was his, or whether his hands were tied by the owners (I tend to think it was the latter), but he knew what the team needed, and the team didn't get what it needed.

If it's a rebuilding season, it hasn't been a total waste. The Jays have created a potentially monster combination at the top of their lineup: Lawrie, Rasmus, Bautista and EE. That's a great foundation for 2013. If they can acquire a DH and a pitcher, and if they get bounce-back seasons from Romero and Escobar, the rest could fall into place. They need Hutchison and Santos to recover from injury, and they need Alvarez to take it up a notch. None of those things are impossible. They have the rest of this season to work on some pieces of the puzzle (especially LF and the pitchers). And they have to hope for fewer injuries next year.
Spicol - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 11:17 AM EDT (#261643) #

I'd suggest EE has far exceeded expectations to offset some of the poor performances elsewhere and maybe Jeff Mathis has as well in a benchy, largely  inconsequential way, but they are the only ones to do so. Usually a team would have more overachievers than this.

Baseball is fluky.

Paul D - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 11:27 AM EDT (#261645) #
There is a huge need to acquire at least one, possibly two, starters for next year. Also, anything McGowan gives you must be considered a bonus, and not something to count on.

Honestly, I think that's the biggest lesson for this year - you can't enter the year with the rotation the Jays had and expect to compete. So, don't do that again.
China fan - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 11:28 AM EDT (#261646) #
And thanks to Gerry for his valuable summary of the long list of things that went wrong in 2012 -- and the relatively short list of things that went well. Looking at those lists, it's difficult to avoid an obvious conclusion: the Jays had a lot of bad luck in 2012. Some of it could have been prevented with the off-season acquisition of a pitcher or big bat, but a lot of it was sheer bad luck. If you're not the Yankees or Angels with a huge payroll, you need some things to line up properly -- as happened, for example, with the Oakland A's this year.

The Jays need a few things to go well in 2013, starting with Romero. It's not unreasonable to hope for a Romero recovery and an injury-free season from Morrow. That would be 40 per cent of a great rotation, and they can find the rest from some combination of Alvarez/Hutchison/Villanueva/Happ/Cecil/new-acquisition. It won't take a lot of new money. The offense has been among the best in the league this season, and the pitching is far from hopeless.
Ryan Day - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 11:31 AM EDT (#261647) #
Expecting Brett Lawrie to be a superstar was unreasonable. Yes, he was fantastic last year... but this year looks like a natural fit with his 2009 & 2010 seasons. He's got a solid all-around offensive game, a fantastic glove, no major holes, and he's 22. Nothing to be disappointed about there.
92-93 - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 11:32 AM EDT (#261648) #
I'd love to understand why Lyon, Johnson, and Villanueva were not traded by the deadline. If the team didn't extend them, as they did with Encarnacion, it was imperative to derive whatever value they could from their expiring contracts before their impending free agency.

Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.

92-93 - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 11:39 AM EDT (#261650) #
So who has lived up the expectations with this team in 2012?

1. Jose Bautista

2. Edwin Encarnacion

3. Casey Janssen

4. Darren Oliver

Let me finish this list for you.

5. JP Arencibia

6. Dustin McGowan

7. Adam Lind

8. Rajai Davis

9. Eric Thames

10. Omar Vizquel

11. Jeff Mathis

12. Ben Francisco

13. David Cooper

14. Henderson Alvarez

15. Brandon Morrow

16. Brett Cecil

17. Jason Frasor

18. Francisco Cordero

19. Carlos Villanueva

20. Aaron Laffey

21. All the RP that have been a part of the shuffle

22. Brett Lawrie

23. Colby Rasmus

Drabek, Hutchison, and Perez have had their seasons derailed by injury, but they too were living up to expectations.

If you were expecting anything more out of any of the above players you were being unreasonable.

Ryan Day - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 11:40 AM EDT (#261651) #
What possible value could you get for Kelly Johnson at this point? He's been horrible for the last 2 months. The trade deadline barely applies to him, for that matter - he should pass through waivers pretty easily.
92-93 - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 11:45 AM EDT (#261652) #
I see 4-6 contenders for whom Kelly Johnson would be an upgrade at 2B. Getting two arms in Low-A would be preferable to watching him leave for nothing.
Chuck - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 12:14 PM EDT (#261654) #

Expecting Brett Lawrie to be a superstar was unreasonable. Yes, he was fantastic last year...

I agree with this. We should all remember that his rookie "year" was all of 150 AB long. It wasn't a full season of 950 OPS from which he is now seemingly regressing. Rather, he is now going through the league a second and third time and having to deal with opposition adjustments and, not unpredictably, struggling a little in the process.

Combining his 2011 and 2012, he has now logged close to a season's worth of AB and his line is 287/341/464 for a 114 OPS+. Those numbers are very good and especially so for a 22-year old.

He has a broad range of skills to build on. There's every reason for optimism, but no reason to believe he will be a superstar tomorrow. It may take time.

Oceanbound - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 12:28 PM EDT (#261659) #
Francisco Cordero certainly didn't live up to expectations. Even last season he had a FIP and xFIP around 4, expecting him to be a mediocre bullpen arm was reasonable. Him becoming a name mothers invoke to scare their children was unlikely.
Ryan Day - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 12:39 PM EDT (#261661) #
There were people who expected Adam Lind to get worse?
Denoit - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 12:47 PM EDT (#261663) #
It means they have had bad luck with injuries and it has exposed their pitching depth. Needs to get fixed for next year. They can't do much about the injuries they just need to get the depth there to weather the storm.
92-93 - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 12:50 PM EDT (#261664) #
I knew people were going to quibble with a name here and there and ignore the larger point.

Francisco Cordero posted those above 4 FIPs in the NL Central last year with a 5.43 K/9. He got a year closer to 40 and joined the AL East. His xFIP jumping from 4.14 to 4.69 doesn't surprise me at all.

Adam Lind took a .239/.314/.418 line into the game on July 21st, 4 games before his DL stint. He hit .251/.295/.439 last year.





jerjapan - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 12:57 PM EDT (#261665) #
It's not unreasonable to hope for a Romero recovery and an injury-free season from Morrow. That would be 40 per cent of a great rotation, and they can find the rest from some combination of Alvarez/Hutchison/Villanueva/Happ/Cecil/new-acquisition.

Villanueva is a free agent at the end of the year - if he finishes strongly in the rotation he will likely cost a fair bit more than he did this year.  Same thing for Mathis, who is currently having something of a career year.
Oceanbound - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 01:03 PM EDT (#261667) #
No, I agree with your main point. But moving leagues is much less relevant for a reliever than for a starter. Also you might have expected that mid 4s xFIP but not a FIP over 6.
China fan - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 01:07 PM EDT (#261668) #
Just to continue the quibbling: it's a little odd to suggest that Morrow and Hutchison were performing "as expected" before their injuries. Morrow was having the best season of his career, by a considerable margin, and was leading the league in shutouts. (In fact he still is, which is quite remarkable.) As for Hutchison, you explicitly criticized his promotion to the major leagues, saying he wasn't ready. Yet at the age of 21, he held his own in the majors and was steadily improving, before his injury. How does that constitute "as expected"? Was there anyone who predicted that?
Ryan Day - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 01:09 PM EDT (#261669) #
Villanueva is a free agent at the end of the year - if he finishes strongly in the rotation he will likely cost a fair bit more than he did this year.

That's kind of the question with Villanueva - can he be a starter? Last year, his first few starts were great, but then he tailed off. That doesn't mean he can't start - who knows what the results would have been like if he came to camp expecting to start?

Villanueva will be getting a raise one way or another, but he shouldn't be unaffordable. Given the Jays' horrible luck with pitching, I might start 2013 with him in the rotation, then move him to the pen if and when a better starter asserts himself.
92-93 - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 01:16 PM EDT (#261671) #
It's odd that you don't understand what "living up to expectations" means. In general when people say that they include the players that have gone far and beyond those expectations, hence the inclusion of Encarnacion on Gerry's list.

It's even weirder when you continue to fabricate quotes to try and make a point. Please show me where I "suggest that Morrow and Hutchison were performing "as expected" before their injuries." And if you can't, do us (and the rest of the site) a favour and please stop responding to my comments.



ayjackson - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 01:18 PM EDT (#261672) #

"Expectations" for Morrow are about perception.  His DIPS for the past three years haven't really changed.  He's kind of the same pitcher.  Actual results have been better, and they were predicted by DIPS.  They're actually better than DIPS predicted.  Expectations were about how much faith you have in DIPS, and even then, there's the context around the more subjective changes he made coming into this year.

But if you really believe in DIPS, you expected a really good year from Morrow.

China fan - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 01:22 PM EDT (#261673) #
Fabricating quotes? There is no English dictionary that says "living up to expectations" is the same as "doing better than expected." It's plain English and simple dictionary definitions. And yes, Encarnacion did better than expected too, so I'd quibble with Gerry's list for the exact same reason.

ayjackson - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 01:22 PM EDT (#261674) #

it's a little odd to suggest that Morrow and Hutchison were performing "as expected" before their injuries.

See now you went and put "as expected" in quotes when responding to 92-93 as if to suggest you were quoting him.

ayjackson - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 01:24 PM EDT (#261675) #

There is no English dictionary that says "living up to expectations" is the same as "doing better than expected." It's plain English and simple dictionary definitions

you're either living up to expectations or you aren't.  92-93 said Morrow/Hutch were.  You are disagreeing?

92-93 - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 01:26 PM EDT (#261676) #
Holy hell. I never suggested that "living up to expectations" and "doing better than expected" are the same thing. I said that when one exceeds expectations, he's generally considered to have lived up to them.

The fabricated quotes come when you claim I said certain players are performing "as expected", when of course I said nothing of the sort.

China fan - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 01:29 PM EDT (#261678) #
"Expectations" depends on who is doing the expecting. Players like Morrow and Rasmus have performed better than the average fan was expecting this year, but they performed as well as some of the smarter analysts were predicting. I don't think anyone predicted that Hutchison and Encarnacion would have the kinds of seasons that they had.
China fan - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 01:30 PM EDT (#261679) #
"...I said that when one exceeds expectations, he's generally considered to have lived up to them...."

Someone really needs to consult a dictionary. "Up to" and "exceeds" are not the same.
Richard S.S. - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 01:33 PM EDT (#261680) #

Left Field may be a problem going forward, as Gose looks over-matched and Sierra hasn't played enough yet.  If Anthony Gose is to maintain Trade Value and Rookie Status (rookie of the year potential for 2013), then he needs to go down very soon, keeping him here is unneedful.  Moises Sierra needs to finish the season up here, to see if and where he belongs.

Finding a front-line Starter is and will be an ongoing problem for A.A.  With the Kids still 2-3 or more years away, time is of the essense.  This Rotation, as it can be constituted, is not sufficient for Post-Season play.   Drew Hutchison will most probably need Tommy John surgery before this time next year.  He will heal well enough to pitch well, however the damage is still there as healing is never total.   Romero will recover or he will never return, there's is no in-between on mind problems (the yips or whatever it's called).   An upgrade here may mean fewer Relievers needed.

The Bullpen may need some help.  Darren Oliver may very well retire this offseason, and J.A. Happ might be in the Rotation.  Decisions on keeping Brandon Lyon and Carlos Villanueva need to be made soonest.   Sergio Santos should make it back by season start, but until someone reworks his delivery, problems will reoccur.  With a Pen this possibly good, six relievers may be enough, allowing for a larger bench.

Whomever they decide will be the Designated Hitter must be able to play a position in the field, otherwise it's just a wasted roster space.   Preferably a Big Bad Bat is required, unless the Bench is really strong, or the Bench needs to be rotated through this spot to stay fresh.

Decisions need to be made about the Bench, as it needs to improve.  Does Jeff Mathis return?  Unless they can do better, I see no reason why not.  By all reports, Yan Gomes plays 1B, 3B and C well enough, and he hits well enough to stay.  He just needs enough playing time to stay as good.  Whomever becomes the Middle Infielder(s) on this team needs to be a major upgrade on what's usually here. 

Brandon Morrow and Jose Bautista look to be returning mid- to mid-late August.  With Jason Frasor likely back in 7-10 days, and J.P. Arencibia returning in September, the Team might be able to put together enough of a run to make it interesting, if not rewarding.  All they need to do is WIN now, especially not losing to the Teams ahead of them in the Standings.

Drabek and Santos have delivery problems.  Bautista, Morrow and Arencibia was bad freaking luck.  The rests is kind of normal stuff, unlikely to reoccur.   It just totally gives another meaning to the word "depth".  This team will be healthier next season, or a major re-think will be mandatory.  The ebb and flow, cycle of life, kharma stuff suggests next season will be better.  Post Season here we come.

ayjackson - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 01:35 PM EDT (#261683) #

"Up to" and "exceeds" are not the same.

not the same thing, but something can be both...you can't exceed an expectation without living up to it first.  "living up to expectations" is used as a threshold phrase in the English language, I believe, same with "up to par".

Mike Green - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 01:38 PM EDT (#261684) #
Up until a few days ago, the offence was leading the league in runs per game.  That surely was in excess of expectations.  The defence has been very good. The pitching has been on the whole pretty poor, and that reflects (probably) some degree of performance below expectation and certainly a few more injuries than one hopes for, but mostly inadequate pitching depth entering the season and a slow response to the problem during the season.

Unfortunately, the issues for 2013 are not necessarily the same as those of 2012.  There is a good power core to the club.  We will see how d'Arnaud and Arencibia heal, but that issue may need to be addressed during the off-season (and this can be a positive thing). 

Richard S.S. - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 01:41 PM EDT (#261685) #

Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.

Great lyric for a song, this Team?

China fan - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 01:46 PM EDT (#261686) #
Mike touches on a good point about d'Arnaud's injury, which could have significant implications for 2013, if only because it delays his major-league debut. Even if he's recovered by October, it means that he didn't get any major-league development time in 2012, and the Jays won't really know if he can provide an improvement on JPA next year.

As long as we're debating expectations, a reasonable question is: how many injuries do you expect per season? Some injuries are normal, but not the loss of 60% of your rotation, plus your closer, two of your other top relievers, your top hitter (for a few weeks), and your top prospect.
Gerry - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 01:51 PM EDT (#261687) #

92-93 and china fan:

I am sorry to have to do this publicly but I don't believe I have an updated e-mail address for both of you.

It is obvious to me that the two of you have a different perspective on many, if not most most, issues relating to the Jays.  It is also obvious to me that you talk past each other a lot of the time. 

Can we take it as a given that you do not agree with each other and can you please engage with other bauxites and ignore each other?  If every major league thread becomes a repeat argument between the two of you I don't think many of us would enjoy that.

Finally, can you check your account information to make sure your e-mail address is current?  In that case I will be able to e-mail you directly rather than have to post like this.

Gerry - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 02:01 PM EDT (#261688) #

As amateur GM's we do not know what are the business pressures on the real GM?  

As amateur GM's it is easy for us to say "lets give up on the season" and trade everyone of value who won't be here next year.  But the real GM has to consider TV ratings and gate receipts and marketing campaigns. 

I don't know if there is a direct correlation but let's say AA did trade several good players.  Does he think then that team might fall way back in the standings, that the media will say the Jays have given up, that attendance will drop by say 8,000 per game over the last 25 home games?  That is 200,000 fans, at say $30 per ticket, and that is $6M.  Could it be that AA wants to stay decent this year to give himself a shot at $6M more payroll next year?

When AA goes to meet Rogers at the end of the season does he talk about the big increase in the gate as well as the record on the field?  AA may not but you can bet Beeston does.  Does Beeston, or AA, have a bonus payout based on attendance or TV ratings?  It is a business after all and TV ratings and gate receipts are key to the parent company.

I am not saying any of this is true, but the real GM has to think of these things before he can make a deal.  We don't.

China fan - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 02:05 PM EDT (#261689) #
My email hasn't changed. But as long as we're doing this publicly, can we consult other Bauxites? There is a broader question, which goes back years, and that's the question of how this site is defined. Is it a place for vigorous debate, with occasionally strong opinions? Is it a site where two members can disagree strongly with each other, with follow-up points? Or is it a site where we have to bite our tongues when ordered to do so?

I think everyone would agree that the debate should be polite, without profanity or personal insult. I've never stooped to profanity or personal insult. I also think that sarcasm and snark are unhelpful, and I've tried (with occasional less success) to do that too. Beyond that, I'm not sure if it's proper to tell people to stop defending themselves when attacked.

Another point: the broader disagreement between me and 92-93 is simply whether the Jays are heading in the wrong direction or the right direction. That's a debate that we all have an interest in, surely?

Of course the Roster are ultimately the deciders on these questions. It's their site, not mine. If ordered to shut up, I will do so. But it might be worth having a larger debate about the rules and guidelines of this site, and what should be allowed and not allowed.
uglyone - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 02:13 PM EDT (#261690) #
IMO...

CF Rasmus - within reasonable expectations
RF Bautista - within reasonable expectations
LF Thames/Snider - below expectations
3B Lawrie - within reasonable expectations
SS Escobar - below expectations
2B Johnson - within reasonable expectations
1B Lind - within reasonable expectations
C Arencibia - within reasonable expectations
DH Encarnacion - above expectations

UT Francisco - below expecations
OF Davis - within reasonable expectations
IF Vizquel - within reasonable expectations
C Mathis - above expectations

UT Cooper/Gomes - within reasonable expectations
OF Thames/Snider/Gose - within reasonable expectations
IF McCoy/Hech - N/A
C D'Arnaud - N/A

Overall the position players have performed generally as expected overall.


SP1 Romero - below expectations
SP2 Morrow - within reasonable expectations
SP3 Alvarez - within reasonable expectations
SP4 Cecil - below expectations
SP5 Drabek - within reasonable expectations
SP6 Hutchison - above expectations
SP7 Laffey/Villy/Carreno/Chavez - within reasonable expectations

Romero himself has made the rotation perform below expecations. (Morrow and Alvarez have been within expecations, while there's been the expected good and bad from all the guys that have filled in the 4/5 slots this year.)

CL Santos - below expectations
SU Oliver - within reasonable expectations
SU Janssen - within reasonable expectations
MR Cordero - below expectations
MR Frasor - within reasonable expectations
MR Villy - within reasonable expectations
MR Perez - within reasonable expectations
MR Extras - within reasonable expectations

The bullpen I'd say has underachieved this year. Mostly because of the Santos injury, but also because Cordero absolutely blew up. (note: I think the bullpen has been badly mismanaged but in terms of the player performances themselves I think the depth guys have performed within expectations).
Magpie - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 02:19 PM EDT (#261691) #
how many injuries do you expect per season?

Ask the Red Sox.

This team escaping the .500 treadmill has been for some time a matter of upgrading the starting rotation. They went into the season with exactly one proven, quality MLB starter - and that guy had a lousy year. (They broke even because Morrow-Villanueva stepped up to provide the team with one quality MLB starter.)

I think it's reasonable to say there was far, far too much optimism in the front office about young and unproven pitchers being able to solve that problem. (Young pitchers will break your heart! It's what they do.) But it's a difficult problem to solve any other way.
Dave Till - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 02:22 PM EDT (#261692) #
The relationship between the 2012 Blue Jays and pennant contention has been roughly similar to that of greyhounds to a mechanical rabbit - tantalizingly close, but ultimately out of reach. Just when it looked like the team was irretrievably out of the race, they would go and do something like sweep the Red Sox in Fenway, and the wild card would come just close enough to be almost catchable. Then the rabbit would zoom forward again.

As for What It All Means:

- Successful player development requires a smidgen of luck. As does pennant contention.

- Minor league pitchers have to overcome two hurdles to become successful in the majors: is their command good enough, and can they pitch without injury? The latter is as important as the former, but is sometimes overlooked.

- Not many teams can survive losing three starting pitchers in one week.
Richard S.S. - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 02:28 PM EDT (#261693) #

The d'Arnaud injury creates many questions, first of most is: is he injury-prone?  Which of Arencibia and d'Arnaud has the most trade value, when healthy? is the next question.  There are more, but best left for a later time.

Some injuries are normal, but not the loss of 60% of your rotation, plus your closer, two of your other top relievers, your top hitter (for a few weeks), and your top prospect.

This can never be imagined, let alone ever be considered.  However, the Rotation was Romero, Morrow and basically 3 guys named Who?  The depth was less experienced and even lesser experienced guys named Who?  Some of this was A.A. trying to do it "on the cheap".   Some of this was thinking prospects were much better than they actually are.  Some was this was un-imaginable bad luck.  The only redeeming value to all this is: the odds say it will get better.

To go off topic and back to the trades: Richard Justice, on an MLB.com Broadcast said, "...they got five pitchers for one top prospect...".   And some people can't see the forest for the trees.   Gose or Sierra, who plays Left Field?   Does that sound familiar.

PeteMoss - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 02:32 PM EDT (#261694) #
Its all about timing with a thread like this. If you write this on Monday after taking 2 of 3 from the Tigers you get a different response. While the discussion is welcome, I don't think you can get a ton of reasonable non-emotion fueled responses in the middle of the season, particularly after a brutal three game series.
uglyone - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 02:37 PM EDT (#261695) #
So basically to sum up that list I'd say the offense has been as expected, while the pitching has been unlucky as while the depth pitchers have pitched to expectations overall, the #1 SP and the #1 RP have had disastrous years.
Ryan Day - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 02:42 PM EDT (#261696) #
They went into the season with exactly one proven, quality MLB starter - and that guy had a lousy year

I guess we can quibble about definitions, but I'd say Morrow was a proven, quality starter. Not the great one many people thought he could be, but two seasons of average-ish performance and an increasing workload looked solid.
Mike Green - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 02:51 PM EDT (#261697) #
I think it's reasonable to say there was far, far too much optimism in the front office about young and unproven pitchers being able to solve that problem. (Young pitchers will break your heart! It's what they do.) But it's a difficult problem to solve any other way.

At times, judicious application of green will help.  If Yu Darvish would not have been judicious, Edwin Jackson surely would have been. 

I did think that the excessive optimism expressed by the front office about young and unproven pitchers was a function of the payroll parameters provided to the front office.  Did I mention that I love Rogers as much as Wilco loves its label?
Magpie - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 03:37 PM EDT (#261701) #
I'd say Morrow was a proven, quality starter.

This is quibbling, but he hadn't proven any such thing to me. In both of his two years in the rotation his ERA had been higher than that of the average AL starter, which was been in the 4.20 range those years.

Darvish would have been nice, C.J. Wilson would have been better. But, really both would have been required. I don't think there was ever a chance of that happening.
Mike Green - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 03:47 PM EDT (#261702) #
I don't agree at all that both Wilson and Darvish would have been required for this team to be very competitive for a wild card berth. 
Beyonder - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 04:41 PM EDT (#261704) #
Quaere whether the addition of Darvish and his 4.38 ERA would have enhanced the team's competitiveness very much this year. CJ Wilson is another story.
fozzy - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 04:56 PM EDT (#261705) #
This team has certainly underperformed but at the same time it was going to take a lot to break right to even bust into 3rd in the division. Texas thought they had so many starters at the beginning of the year they stuck a few of them in the bullpen, and even they had to go out and get Dempster and Oswalt. They started with Lewis, Darvish, Holland, Harrison and Feliz, and had Feldman and Ogando in the pen.
Hodgie - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 05:56 PM EDT (#261707) #
What it really means is that Anthopoulos, in an attempt to compensate certain unnamed Jays fans that travelled to witness the debacle in Seattle first hand, will shock the baseball establishment and claim Cliff Lee off waivers. In a moment of panic and spite, forgetting why he placed Lee on waivers to begin with, Phillies GM Rueben Amaro will threaten to revoke Lee from waivers before eventually agreeing to allow him to pass with a gentleman's understanding that come November Toronto will trade the rights to Phil Kessel and Andrea Bargnani in exchange for some pitcher with a 4+ ERA named Leroy.

Many will be despondent at giving up too high a price for a couple of aging innings eaters who obviously don't know how to win or maintain a respectable ERA in the NL and will insist that Toronto should have been able to get Mike Scmhidt and Steve Carlton included in the deal. Others will profess it a ridiculously stupid transaction, citing there is already no room for stalwarts Laffey or Happ in the rotation and that this year's performance only goes to prove that Cliff and Leroy would likely end up as middle relievers, just edging out Dustin McGowan's dismembered arm for the role. Not to be forgotten, another faction will simply be left to roam Younge Street dazed and confused, trying to reconcile Roger's previously miserly financial management with the belief there isn't a pitcher alive worth the money these two aging pitchers will command and while acknowledging that flags fly forever, no transaction is worth jeopardizing the arrival of the Fabulous Five Prospects the Pitching Prophesies foretell will lead Toronto into a dynasty not seen since early China.

Almost unnoticed, the Jays proceed to lose every game left in the regular season just as many predicted after devastating series loses in NY and Seattle. Too sadened by their change in fortune, the Jays forget to place anyone on waivers which saves their season after Arte Moreno decides after the Lee transaction to take advantage of the fact that everyone apparently goes on waivers and proceeds to sign every remaining professional baseball player alive. While happy to make the playoffs for the first time since 1993, the fan base is crushed after losing game seven of the World Series to LAA after new Jays closer Anthony Gose gives up consecutive 9th inning home runs to Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, Giancarlo Stanton, Matt Kemp, Troy Tulowitzki, Joe Mauer, Robinson Cano and pinch hitter Ryan Braun.

This is simply the last straw and to the delight of Robert Kirkman Toronto descends into a disaster of biblical proportions. The dead rise from the grave, fire and brimstone fall from the skies. Rivers and Great Lakes boil. Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!

This has been a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming...
Chuck - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 05:59 PM EDT (#261708) #

Quaere whether the addition of Darvish and his 4.38 ERA would have enhanced the team's competitiveness very much this year.

I was going to bloviate how 127 IP of a 102 ERA+ should not be sneezed at as it would certainly have been a help, even if Darvish has not been worth his paycheque or coming close to pitching to expectations. But my back of the napkin analysis suggests that Darvish instead of Cecil/Laffey/Chavez/Carreno would only be worth about 2 wins, making the team 53-51 rather than 51-53. So not a huge help.

"Analysis": Darvish 127 IP, 62 ER; C/L/C/C 122 IP, 80 ER; 10 runs per win; 2 wins

Jdog - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 07:11 PM EDT (#261709) #
Darvish and Wilson are different animals. We could have had Darvish with the highest bid, the same is not true of Wilson who took less to go to LA
ComebyDeanChance - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 07:11 PM EDT (#261710) #
Yu Darvish had a great first run through the league. In his first 8 starts he posted a 2.60 ERA and some were loud about the alleged mistake of not forking over $50+ million just to negotiate with him.

Since his first time through the league though, Yu has been Yuck. In his next 10 starts against AL opponents, all but one of whom had faced him before, Yu has posted a 7.17 ERA. Now he did have 2 good starts in that time against powerhouses San Diego and Houston leading one to believe that all the Rangers need to do is continuously find teams in leagues that have never faced him.

Oswalt, who told Toronto he wasn't interested according to reports, has stunk it up too, with a slightly better 6.49 ERA.
grjas - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 08:32 PM EDT (#261711) #
I hope one of the things AA takes away from both the pre-season and recent trade deadlines is how difficult it is to acquire a young, controllable SP with strong quals....by trading prospects. In a sellers market, the price in prospects is huge and to date neither the Jays or other wanting teams have been willing to pull the trigger.

This is a powerful argument as to why the vault needs to open for an FA SP as it's doubtful they'll get it done otherwise. Whether our "friends" at Rogers buy it, is another story.
Magpie - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 08:45 PM EDT (#261712) #
I don't think we have a consensus! Darvish and Wilson would not have been enough... Darvish and Wilson are actually more than was required? I think I'd go with the first of those.

But the point that Wilson was never actually available - he's a California guy, who took less money to play for a California contender - is certainly important. Josh Johnson wasn't really available. Ryan Dempster wasn't. Matt Garza's injury situation scared off everyone at the last minute. Round here, you just gotta grow your own.
Mike Green - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 09:11 PM EDT (#261713) #
Luck is the residue of design.  If you sign Edwin Jackson with his 126 innings of 3.57 ERA, he's worth 2.5-3 wins to the club directly.  And your bullpen would be stronger, so you would not feel the necessity to make moves like Snider/Lincoln.  You would be a couple of games out now, with Morrow and Bautista coming back, and the team underperforming its Pythagorean.  All for a measly $12 million (he signed for 11). 

I said at the outset of the season that I would have been happy had they signed Jackson, and I was not alone. 
Chuck - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 09:55 PM EDT (#261714) #
I, too, would have been happy to see Jackson. The rotation just seemed to need a reliable 200 innings of buttressing.

Tonight, Wilson and Dempster are both getting shelled. Nasty business this starting pitching.
Ryan C - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 10:16 PM EDT (#261715) #
your bullpen would be stronger, so you would not feel the necessity to make moves like Snider/Lincoln.

I would contend that AA would have gone ahead with that trade regardless.  The Happ trade, yes, I think was a bit of desperation to get some warm bodies that can pitch.  But the Snider/Lincoln trade wasn't done out of desperation or because we needed even more bullpen help, it happened because the front office likes Lincoln and wants him in a Jays' uniform for the next 4+ years.
Mike Green - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 10:19 PM EDT (#261716) #
When the deal was made, the Jays were on the fringe of contention.  If they had been squarely in contention, AA surely would not have made that trade with the immediate prospect of having no LF other than Rajai Davis and Snider clearly a better option against RHP. 
Richard S.S. - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 10:24 PM EDT (#261717) #
A.A. was (he admitted it) in negotiations to acquire a Starter before the deadline and also a Bat at that time with the deals falling through.  He also told the GM's of Pittsburgh and Seattle, who were undecided at the time, to make up their minds as he had another way to go - the deals went quickly after that.  Considering all the dialog he admitted had, I expect a deal to occur before August 31st.  Chances are he can stiil do a deal at season's end if he moves fast enough.   I look at the Free Agent Starter list and wonder who A.A. will go after, because he's not going into the season with just Morrow and Romero as proven 200+ IP Starters.
ComebyDeanChance - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 10:26 PM EDT (#261718) #
Luck is the residue of design..........I said at the outset of the season that I would have been happy had they signed Jackson, and I was not alone.

I don't know Mike, sounds like a pretty tricky 'design'. 'A lot of people' were clambering for Yu Darvish at 110-120 million, who gets regularly hammered now by AL teams, with a double-down of a quarter billion of Prince Fielder. Prince's 16 home runs may make up part of the games that Darvish would lose you by the end of the year at the rate he's pitching, plus we'd get to have a GBNF thread for Prince in 4 or 5 years while he's still collecting his $25 per to sit home. Roy Oswalt was another that was supposed to be signed (even though he apparently ruled out Toronto). This 'design' sounds a lot like you wait til August or September, then say who ought to have been signed.

Not a lot of teams design their seasons around 3 of their 5 starters going down in one week, with their 'ace' getting clobbered every time out. If they did, it's really hard to explain why 28 teams other than the Blue Jays didn't do what you're suggesting. I don't know if Jackson preferred to stay in the NL (the unreliable rumor mill had the Red Sox making him an offer), if his less than stellar AL East numbers were a factor, or even if the team made a strong pitch to get him. I don't know (nor do you) what the FO did or thought about Jackson, but I do know that every other team but one didn't offer him the extra million that you say it would have taken to sign him. And if every other team in baseball missed this design based on 3 of their 5 starters on the DL with their 'ace' tanking, it might not be as simple or obvious as picking in August who 'should have' been signed.
Chuck - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 10:34 PM EDT (#261719) #

with just Morrow and Romero as proven 200+ IP Starters

When exactly did Morrow prove himself to be a 200 IP starter?

Mike Green - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 10:36 PM EDT (#261720) #
Point being that the club had any number of choices.  If Darvish was too expensive, and Wilson and Kuroda weren't willing to come to Toronto, Jackson was what was left.  Those were the 4 names that I heard regularly bandied about here.  My own view is that ownership was too cheap to fork over the money for Jackson.  That view of the situation is entirely without evidence.  It might have been that Anthopoulos had no interest, because he thought that Jackson wasn't worth much.

I don't have much patience with "there's nothing that could have been done" when there pretty obviously was something that could have been.  It's much better to admit that ownership/GM made a pretty clear mistake which came back to bite them.  Unfortunately, that mistake may very well have effects for a few years,  but to be clear, I am not suggesting in any way that Anthopoulos has done less than a good job overall. 

Paul D - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 10:36 PM EDT (#261721) #
If the Jays can't get quality free agents, which some here seem to be suggesting, they need to be all over players like Chapman, Cespedes, and Darvish. 
Richard S.S. - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 11:46 PM EDT (#261722) #
On the same A.A. appearance on PTS, it was said that there were only 6 Aces in MLB and Romero wasn't one.  R.R. was just our #1 Pitcher, a distinction he ignores thinking #1 means Ace.
Oceanbound - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 11:55 PM EDT (#261723) #
Paul D, the trouble of course is that MLB has destroyed the international market with the IFA cap, and impact players that get posted from Japan are extremely rare.
Richard S.S. - Thursday, August 02 2012 @ 11:58 PM EDT (#261724) #
When did you, Chuck, decide he couldn't pitch 200+ innings?   Prior to this year, he was under inning limitations.  This year, until he got hurt, he was well on his way to 200+ IP.  And by the way, who makes next season's Rotation?
Ron - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 12:02 AM EDT (#261725) #
I'm interested to see what ownership does in the off-season. Beeston basically said the fans have to buy more tickets before ownership can really boost the payroll. The Blue Jays will most likely finish the season with an increase in attendance but it might not be enough to satisfy ownership.

After those comments, I've stayed true to my word and really cut back on buying tickets. I believe I went to 8-9 games last season and this year I will probably finish with 2 games. Outside of ownership issues, the Jays record under AA is around the same ballpark as Ricciardi. The strange thing about AA is that I like most of the moves he has made but it doesn't show in the standings.

Oceanbound - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 12:09 AM EDT (#261726) #
This year, until he got hurt, he was well on his way to 200+ IP.

Everyone's on their way to 200+ IP until they get hurt. I like how you define "proven 200+ IP pitcher" as "pitcher who you can't prove can't pitch 200+ IP", rather than "pitcher who's proved that he can pitch 200+ IP by, you know, pitching 200+ IP".
Ryan C - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 12:10 AM EDT (#261727) #
While I don't think anyone could have expected how badly their rotation has been destroyed this year, I do agree that they should (or at least could) have realized that they didn't have a lot of starting depth, and they could have done something to shore it up.  I remember having the discussion here before the season started about whether they could use a guy like Gavin Floyd or some other veteran as insurance.  So it wasn't a completely unknown risk.  Whether or not it would have been worth it for whatever gains they could have made this year is another question.
Richard S.S. - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 12:29 AM EDT (#261728) #

If I have to keep one pitcher or another I take Morrow.  If one pitcher is my #1 it's Morrow.  If I need one pitcher to start a "must-win" post-season game, I pick Morrow.  If I have a choice of keeping Romero and Syndergaard or just keeping Morrow, I keep Morrow,

Why?

He's that much better.  He has better stuff and still has upside.

Mike D - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 12:43 AM EDT (#261729) #
I think it's reasonable to say there was far, far too much optimism in the front office about young and unproven pitchers being able to solve that problem. (Young pitchers will break your heart! It's what they do.) But it's a difficult problem to solve any other way.

I hope ownership has learned its lesson about skimping financially on starting pitching, but fear that they haven't. The team was prepared to live with young pitchers breaking its heart in terms of inconsistent performance, and that's understandable in a vacuum. But relying on young and unproven pitchers has led to even younger and less proven pitchers being rushed to the majors, with the (in my view) foreseeable effect of giving many relievers very heavy workloads. We can call it bad luck that a wave of arm injuries followed to both starters and relievers, but I'm not sure the team can or should attribute it to bad luck.

I don't think anyone should be disappointed that the team, as constructed, isn't contending in 2012. If you have any doubt that payroll parameters are by far the most important part of a Jays GM's job, you haven't been paying attention. Rogers will spend on a guaranteed winner, but won't take chances until then. I had hoped that the Rays' emergence would motivate ownership to realize that contention was not a lost cause and invest in the team, but it's had a different effect -- because you can win in the East on the cheap, the Jays must try to do so. Looked at another way, Rogers would find a reasonably expensive winning team or a cheap losing team perfectly acceptable, but an expensive losing team grounds for firing. How aggressive would you be as GM under those circumstances? Anthopoulos is doing what he can, which is buying as many lottery tickets as he can in the draft and international free agency. Of course, the more likely the odds of stardom, the higher the price, which knocks him out of the conversation.

Ultimately, cheap, unlucky and long-suffering is no way to build a model franchise, and of the three, only one is really within the team's control; but they won't address it. Please, for your own health, don't get caught up in free agency rumours. Don't bookmark MLBTR in November and don't start drafting mock lineups with Josh Hamilton in it. I assure you, it will be another cost-controlled offseason.
R Romero Vaughan - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 01:43 AM EDT (#261730) #

To my mind, the mis-conception that needs to be addressed is that the Jays lost 3/5 of their rotation and that's that. No-one can deal with that.

It's hard to argue that Kyle Drabek and Drew Hutchinson could be safely relied on to produce more than the guys that replaced them CV and the combination of duck tape that is being used in the 5 spot. Using age and past performance and lack of innings pitched as pretty reliable guides.

Morrow going down hurt - but he'll be gone half the season and hopefully back shortly.

We are competing with inter alia, NYY, BOS and BAL and they have had injuries almost as bad. Pineda for the whole season. CC was down. Hammel is injured now.

You can mention 8 guys on the 60 day DL but does it really matter much that Macgowan, Coello, Litsch etc. are on this list. Could we reasonably expect anything out of these guys?

The honest truth is the team's not good enough. And it's not that close either, on the pitching side especially. Have we been much more unlucky re injuries that actually matter than other contending teams in the AL East? I'd argue marginally if at all.

I'd rather hear an acceptance that the team as constructed, is not good enough rather than just talking about injuries.

As stated above we need a star level LF,DH and 2 SPs. Not easy - not with the amount of money flying around the league right now. We're talking a huge prospect cost to make it happen, if it's even possible. That's the unfortunate reality.

 

 

 

smcs - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 02:15 AM EDT (#261731) #
Did anyone see the game tonight, or was watching close enough to notice if Alvarez shook off Gomes before giving up the home run to Reddick? Because I think he is tipping his two-seamer -- especially to lefties -- by shaking off the sign until he gets what he wants.
TamRa - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 02:21 AM EDT (#261732) #
Luck is the residue of design.  If you sign Edwin Jackson with his 126 innings of 3.57 ERA...

Can we just assume that would have been the results had he been pitching for us instead of Washington?
katman - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 02:56 AM EDT (#261733) #
I think R Romero Vaughan is basically right.
Paul D - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 06:15 AM EDT (#261736) #
Paul D, the trouble of course is that MLB has destroyed the international market with the IFA cap, and impact players that get posted from Japan are extremely rare.

I don't believe thatthe changes would have impacted Chapman, Cespedes, or Darvish.

And the rarity with which they areposted is another reason Torontoshould have been in on those.
Mike Green - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 07:46 AM EDT (#261737) #
Mike D, there is a problem with Rogers' logic (if you have it right, and I think you do).  If you plan to spend only when you perceive that you have a guaranteed winner, you'll likely miss equally good chances to win.  I doubt very much that Tampa's window for success began in 2008 (they didn't start the season with Longoria as their third baseman for financial reasons), but they did put themselves in a position to win during the off-season by judicious signings as they saw that there was an opening.  That opening was present in 2012 as well, and many of us saw that this was the situation when the 2nd wildcard was added. 

The Blue Jays' year seems to be 2015, but it might be that 95 wins will be required that year, or that Encarnacion and Bautista are both ineffective in that year for some reason. 

Chuck - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 07:57 AM EDT (#261738) #

When did you, Chuck, decide he couldn't pitch 200+ innings?  

I did nothing of the sort. I "decided" that he has not yet proven the ability to do so.

Magpie - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 08:30 AM EDT (#261739) #
Seems reasonable to me. It would be strange to describe a guy who's never, ever done something as someone who's proven he can do it.

While on the one hand, I was screaming my head off before this thing got started that the Blue Jays didn't have any proven MLB starting pitching beyond Romero, I must also admit I was decidedly cool on Jackson. I thought of him as a league average innings-eater, and I just wanted something better. I always figure there's no point throwing around FA money unless you're getting, if not a Hall of Famer, at least an all-star. And while he surely would have helped this season - to what end? So they win 83 games instead of 80? There's value in that, in winning 83 games, but on the whole I'm kind of indifferent to the distinction.
Mike Green - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 08:57 AM EDT (#261740) #
This was not an 80 win team at the start of the season.  Up until the deadline, they had had an above-average number of injuries and were an 85 win team regardless, and the extra few wins would have put them right there. 

This team could have competed with an expenditure of an additional $12 million.  There is no guarantee that they will be in this good a position in 2013, 2014 or (for that matter) 2015.    When the chances appear, you have to take them. 
Mike Green - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 09:15 AM EDT (#261741) #
The other thing that Jackson would have done is to allow the club to bring along some of the younger pitchers more slowly.  They did need the development time, either in the high minors or in the bullpen. 

This might have improved the club's chances in 2013 and 2014.
Ryan Day - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 09:59 AM EDT (#261743) #
Jackson seemed to be all over the place in the offseason - he was looking for a big 5-year deal early on. And he apparently turned down several 3-year deals before signing with the Nationals for one year in February.

Jackson's one-year deal looks pretty good, but that doesn't seem to have been an option early in the offseason. It appears that a lot of teams were interested, but almost universally turned off by his asking price.

Of note: Jackson switched agents this month.
Richard S.S. - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 10:04 AM EDT (#261744) #
Does A.A. put in a claim on Cliff Lee?  Money isn't supposed to be a problem - right?  Or is there a better Starter available?   For all his problems, Cliff Lee is the best pitcher available this year, until after next year, or longer - maybe even 2015. 
hypobole - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 10:11 AM EDT (#261745) #
"I always figure there's no point throwing around FA money unless you're getting, if not a Hall of Famer, at least an all-star."

However, because of the Jays policies, these are exactly the types of players they won't be able to sign, unless they're on the extreme downward side of their career, or are an all-star closer(and we know how those deals work out 90% of the time).

Whereas signing and yes, probably overpaying, a fairly young, slightly better than league average pitcher, with a track record of health and the ability to chew up 200 innings a year is precisely the type of player the Jays could and should target in free agency, as long as they maintain their present policies.

And if everything works out and they end up with more healthy and effective starters than openings; when has that ever been considered a problem for any team?
Mike Green - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 10:15 AM EDT (#261746) #
If the Jays offered Jackson 3 years/$36 million and he refused, that would be a different story.  My impression is that they did not.  That too may be wrong. 
Richard S.S. - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 10:32 AM EDT (#261747) #
There is a problem with going with an average, "Jackson-type", Starting pitcher.  They don't have much upside, if any, rarely winning more than 10-12 games, occassionally less.  Pitching 200+ innings is all and good, it just doesn't have to be boring (average) doing it.
Mike Green - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 10:42 AM EDT (#261748) #
Over his career, James Shields has a career ERA+ of 105 beginning at age 24.  Jackson got started in the major leagues at age 19 and struggled through age 23.  Since then, he has been almost exactly the same in quality as Shields.  You need this kind of pitcher to win.  If you think that you are going to develop five pitchers (at the same time) who are like David Price or even who have the possibility to be as good as David Price, you are dreaming in technicolour. 
Lylemcr - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 10:47 AM EDT (#261749) #

I think the problem with the Jays is that they didn't want to pick up a Jackson and have him block one of the young pitchers (like Hutchinson, Drabek or McGowan).  Well, it turns out the injury bug bit and bit hard. 

Sometimes management has a theory and constraints, and they have to live within them.  As a GM, you need to live and die on this....

Beyonder - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 10:57 AM EDT (#261750) #
I think that's right Lylemcr, and I thought (and still think) it was the right call. The problem is, barring a reversal of form, we will have all of the same questions about our starting pitching next year -- plus our new questions about Romero.

I would hate for AA to take the wait and see approach next off season. Jose's window will not stay open forever, and there appears to be a bumber crop of potential SP free agents (including MG's favourite, Edwin Jackson -- although he'll cost a lot more this off season).

Would love to see Marcum back.
Mike Green - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 11:12 AM EDT (#261751) #
Edwin Jackson was not my favourite.  He was just a pretty good starting pitcher, as is Kuroda, and the club needed those.  Hutchison had 3 starts in double A ball before this season.  Drabek had been a train wreck last season.  McGowan had a very long injury history.  The idea that you might get 250 good innings out of the three of them would be defensible (if optimistic); the idea that you might get 500-600 good innings out of them would be roughly like hitting the lottery.  Signing Jackson would still have allowed the club to send Hutchison back to the high minors to get much more work, allow McGowan time to recover and still have a spot for Drabek in the rotation if merited. 

If the club still believes that the best way to win is to develop (or sign) high-upside starting pitchers only, it will be an indication that it has learned nothing.  And that would be the most worrisome thing of all. 

Beyonder - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 11:28 AM EDT (#261752) #
Going into the season, I think the hope/plan was roughly this:

1) Morrow and Romero would solidify their places in the rotation;

2) Alvarez would continue along the same trajectory, and seize the number three slot, and;

3) One of Drabek, Hutch, or McGowan would make a claim for the fourth or fifth slots.

While none of these came to pass, the plan wasn't a bad one. Signing Edwin would have made it more difficult for one of Drabek, Hutch, or McGowan to step forward.

Next year though, we don't have a single SP we can pencil in to anchor the rotation. I can't imagine AA doesn't feel an increased urgency to supplement the rotation. If Rogers wants the uptick in attendence (and merchandize sales) to continue, they know they have to add to the rotation. With many of the traditional big spenders out of play, and a large number of above average SP FA's on the market this off season, there will be no bettter time to do it.
Magpie - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 11:30 AM EDT (#261753) #
Yeah, I'm buying in. I think my initial response to Jackson was that I just didn't want to see another Erik Hanson or Cory Lidle (or A.J. Burnett, come to think of it.) Like Bill Veeck, it's not the high price of stardom that bothers me so much as the high price of mediocrity. But this team was in desperate need of starting pitching before the season began. I certainly understood that, and in retrospect I should have been much more interested in Jackson, or someone like him.
Mike Green - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 11:34 AM EDT (#261754) #
3) One of Drabek, Hutch, or McGowan would make a claim for the fourth or fifth slots.

Don't you mean "two"?  I like Brett Cecil better than most, but surely the better plan would have to been to start the season with Romero, Morrow, Alvarez, Jackson and one of Drabek, Cecil or (in the unlikely event he was healthy) McGowan.  Having two pitchers who can be expected to throw 180-200 innings (Romero and Jackson) seems clearly the better approach.
Mike Green - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 11:43 AM EDT (#261755) #
Burnett was sold as a high-upside Morrow-type guy- high K rate, higher ERAs than FIPs ...And actually, he shared the same durability issues as well.  The club paid an awful lot for him because of this upside, and he actually delivered about what could reasonably have been expected.

Hanson was a different story.  He was a good pitcher prior to signing who fell apart.  If you look at his 1995 gamelogs, I suppose that there were signs at the end of the year that this was coming. 

hypobole - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 11:59 AM EDT (#261756) #
How mediocre was Edwin Jackson? From 2008 to 2011 he was in a group of 3 pitchers with 12.5 fWAR, a mark bettered by only 28 pitchers. Divide all those pitchers among the 30 teams in baseball and put Jackson on the bottom. Distributed equally, he was the equivalent of the best #2 starter in baseball.
bpoz - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 12:13 PM EDT (#261758) #
I do not know the real facts. He took a 1 year deal to improve his value so that he could get a big multi year deal, I believe.

In the AL East with the Jays ? Good luck.
Magpie - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 12:21 PM EDT (#261759) #
Distributed equally, he was the equivalent of the best #2 starter in baseball.

Well, seeing as how they've never been distributed equally in the history of the world, I don't see the point of looking at it that way. Of course, I seldom see the point of thinking about #1, #2, #3 etc anyway. It's not like the #1 starter gets to start 60 or 70 games for you.

On the really bad teams, Jackson might have actually been the best starter. But on the really good teams - which is what I assume we'd like to see here - he would be more likely to be the third or even fourth best starter. Which is just fine, by the way.
Beyonder - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 01:24 PM EDT (#261761) #
"Don't you mean "two"?"

I wasn't very clear. At the beginning of the season, I think AA thought he could pencil in three guys for sure (Romero, Morrow, and Alvarez). He would let the other three (Hutch, Drabek, and McGowan) compete for the fourth and fifth spots in the hopes that at least one of them would step up an become a dependable part of the rotation.

I think expecting two of Drabek, Hutch, and McGowan to claim both the 4th and 5th spots would have been dreaming.

Signing Jackson would have made it very dificult to audition all three of those guys.
smcs - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 02:33 PM EDT (#261763) #
I don't believe thatthe changes would have impacted Chapman, Cespedes, or Darvish.

From the CBA:

Attachment 2.II.E.1:
1. International Players (defined as players who are residents of any country or territory other than the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico) will be covered by a Clubs Signing Bonus Pool unless exempted pursuant to subparagraphs E.2 below.

Attachment 2.II.E.2.b:
b. Players who are least 23 years of age and have played as a professional in a league recognized by the Commissioners Office for a minimum of five seasons. During the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 signing periods, Cuban players who are at least 23 years of age and have played as a professional in a Cuban professional league for a minimum of three seasons will be covered by this exemption. In all signing periods following the 2013-2014 signing period, Cuban players only will be exempt if they are 23 years of age and have played as a professional in a Cuban professional league for a minimum of five seasons.

So Darvish wouldn't have been affected, and I'm not sure about how long Chapman and Cespedes were in the Cuban professional league, but I have a feeling they were there for at least 5 years.


Beyonder - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 02:44 PM EDT (#261764) #
From AA's MLB radio interview today per Mike Cormack:

"I don't think we'd rule out the big splash," he offered. "I think at this stage we have the best feel for what we have on this club. I think now when you start looking around the diamond, you look in the bullpen, at least we feel we have the makings of a very competitive team so if you're looking at an area to really tackle in free agency, obviously you're looking at that rotation."

I know many will say you've heard this before, but this is a GM who chooses his sound bites very carefully, and I don't think he utters the words "big splash" unless he means them. I hope he goes hard after McCarthy and Marcum.
TamRa - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 03:18 PM EDT (#261767) #
I think that's right Lylemcr, and I thought (and still think) it was the right call. The problem is, barring a reversal of form, we will have all of the same questions about our starting pitching next year -- plus our new questions about Romero.

Agreed. And I too thought it was the right call. The choice was to sign someone and essentially give up on others, or see what you had.

If what you had was as good as you thought, and stayed injury free, you'd contend - if not as good as you thought, you still need to know that.

Romero was presumed upon which is natural and i don't recall anyone here who didn't.

Morrow talent and upside is self evident and Idon't think a non-arm injury takes away from that assumption.

One can certainly say "McGowan will probably get hurt again" but that's why you have aguy like Villianueva around, not why you sign Jackson and block his spot.

No one here was saying "Watch for Alvarez to such" - yes everyone understood there was a potential for some regression but I don't recall that there was a big contingent hoping he'd start the year back in AA

There's 4 of your five spots right there. and you can't sign guys like Jackson to be the guy on standby if someone falters so if you sign him he has to be in the top five.

There was certainly a credible argument for writing off Cecil and potentially keeping Drabek down all year (as well as those behind him) and I take no exception to that argument, but by the same token I think - and thought then and said so - that there was a perfectly credible argument for saying "I have four spots filled and I need to know what I have with Cecil and Drabek on the major league level" and thereby defaulting to adding guys like Laffey rather than guys like Jackson.

By the time all the free agents were settled, your SP depth chart, including potential  emegency fill-ins, was pretty deep:

Romero
Morrow
McGowan
Alvarez
Cecil
Drabek
Laffey
Villianueva
Litsch
Perez
Carreno
Hutchison
McGuire
Jenkins

In whatever order, AA could not be faulted for assuming he had plenty of options even in the event of injuries and so forth. In short, what I'm saying is that the temptation is to say "Because things played out as I feared/hoped they would, that proves that I was obviously right six months ago and the FO was obviously wrong. I think that's post-hoc reasoning. There was a rational case to be made both ways six months ago.

TamRa - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 03:28 PM EDT (#261769) #
oh and the "bumper crop" of SP includes a lot of really middling guys and hardly any top of the rotation guys.

Not that I'd be against a guy like McCarthy or Marcum since things have been clarified a bit, but I'm thinking the guys who are most likely to really upgrade the team, be it in the outfield or in the rotation, will be added via trade.

Beyonder - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 03:38 PM EDT (#261772) #
Maybe this is a definitional difference, but McCarthy and Marcum are very solid number two guys. So are Greinke, Jackson, Loshe, Colby Lewis, Peavy (if his 22 million option is declined), Shields, Westbrook (if he declines his 8.5 million option) and Joe Saunders. I wouldn't describe any of the guys as middling, and would be happy in varying degrees to add any of them.
uglyone - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 04:06 PM EDT (#261773) #
Just want to note that many of the people who "really wanted a us to get a guy like Jackson" were also the ones who "really wanted us to get a guy like Pena or Scott...to replace EE".
Mike Green - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 04:13 PM EDT (#261775) #
Many people (actually most people, I think) wanted Lind to be replaced.  Some wanted Cooper and some wanted a free agent (like Beltran or Pena). Some thought that Lind ought to be given 6-8 weeks. 
Richard S.S. - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 04:32 PM EDT (#261777) #

Greinke (AL experience) would be challenging Morrow for the #1 (possible Ace) position.  McCarthy (AL experience) would be a solid #2.  Romero would be our #3 Starter.   I'm still undecided on where Jackson (AL experience), Marcum (AL experience) would fit, and I'm uncertain where the others would fit.

If he called the Deadline Deals he was working on Monday night and Early Tuesday that got away as not major, but were bigger than anything else he'd done (PTS), what does Big Splash signify?

Magpie - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 04:58 PM EDT (#261778) #
AA could not be faulted for assuming he had plenty of options

Lots of options, but none of those options looked very good. Morrow was overwhelming promise but decidedly underwhelming performance; McGowan has had roughly one healthy year in the past ten; Alvarez was - hold that thought; Cecil has obvious issues with RH batters and balls flying over the fence; Drabek needs a GPS to find home plate; Villaneuva and Perez both went to hell last year after a few weeks as starters; and so on and so on. Anthopoulos had one good major league starter, Ricky Romero. One. Everything else was rolling the dice four times, and hoping you came up with double sixes. Four times. I'll fault him if he actually thought he could pull that off. He probably didn't.

No one here was saying "Watch for Alvarez to suck"

Not in so many words, but there's this from last season's Report Card:

I have to think that given more exposure, the league will catch up to this kid. It will happen soon, and it probably won't be pretty.

It could have been a whole lot worse, and I was ready for it! In fact, he's shown me something over this past month especially. That said - I hate, hate, hate seeing 21 and 22 year olds in the major league rotation.
Ryan Day - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 05:07 PM EDT (#261779) #
Fun fact: Henderson Alvarez now leads the team in innings pitched. He also leads the team's qualified starters in ERA, but there is only one other qualified starter, so perhaps that's not such a big deal.
JB21 - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 06:59 PM EDT (#261782) #
Dodgers claimed Cliff Lee on waivers, who knows if anything will happen, but the new ownership is committed to spending money, that's for sure.
ayjackson - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 07:18 PM EDT (#261783) #
I wonder if the Phillips placed Halladay on waivers. Given his injury, he might be more likely to be let go for nothing. You'd be betting on a return to format next year.
Chuck - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 07:21 PM EDT (#261784) #

Have a starter and his backup ever been so close statistically?

Arencibia: 242/279/466
Mathis:      243/282/466

 

hypobole - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 07:26 PM EDT (#261785) #
I don't understand all the love for Marcum and McCarthy. Granted, they are good pitchers. However, the former is on the 60-day DL with elbow issues and the latter has had 2 DL stints this year for his shoulder. Do we want something akin to a telephone booth stuffing contest to see how many pitchers we can cram into the DL?

How about the Jays signing someone who's shown a reasonable propensity for health?
Richard S.S. - Friday, August 03 2012 @ 07:26 PM EDT (#261786) #

Starting in 2013 we should be looking at this:

1) New Acquisition: The "Big Splash"?;  2) Brandon Morrow: #1 or #2 Starter, on talent;  3) Ricky Romero: he either conquers his demons and Starts or they consume him and he never gets back - right now it's 50-50;  4) possible New Acquisition: A.A. might decide another Starter is needed;  5) J.A. Happ: Why not, he's as good as any other option.

6) Drew Hutchison: Starts in the pen or in AAA - if he avoids Tommy John;  7) Carlos Villanueva: must be re-signed: 2-3+ years, in the Bullpen until needed;  8) Henderson Alvarez: in AAA or AA working on THREE good pitches; 9) Brett Cecil: in AAA until needed.

Dustin McGowan will probably never pitch for this Team again.   Jesse Litsch may not make this team again, unless injuries bite deep.  Kyle Drabek should not even attempt to return in 2013, just totally recover for 2014.   Aaron Laffey has been amazing, but I don't think he should make this team next year.  Luis Perez might pitch in the pen late in 2013, but not until 2014 is fine.  Carreno, McGuire and Jenkins are way down on this list.

Now this list depends on A.A's offseason moves, on who's acquired and at what cost.  (unless he's claimed Cliff).

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