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It's time for the 2012 Jays to receive their grades.

This won't be pretty.

Before I get to the moaning and complaining - and one of the worst seasons in franchise history surely calls for some moaning and complaining - I begin as always with a heartfelt salute to the great Dave Till. Dave used to provide this very service on a monthly basis. Monthly!  They don't make 'em like that anymore.

Here's what the grades mean to me:

A - Outstanding
B - Good
C - Average
D - Below Average
E - Fail
F - Epic Fail

You may recall that I amused myself in September by asking all of you what type of grades you'd hand out to this year's crew. I have tallied them all up, and I'll report the Bauxite consensus where it strays from my own Final Judgement

As always a great many players tried on the uniform briefly this season. I'm pretty sure that no one likes the small sample more than I do, but even I see little point in grading a pitcher on 5 innings or so. I'm giving an INC for Incomplete to Travis Snider, Yorvit Torrealba, Sergio Santos, Andrew Carpenter, Evan Crawford, Chad Beck, David Pauley, Scott Richmond, Sam Dyson, Ryota Igarashi, Shawn Hill, Bobby Korecky, and David Carpenter. (Good news for Pauley and Igarashi, who ought to get an F anyway.)  Everyone else is fair game.

We'll begin with the front office...

John Farrell D (Box grade: C-)

Do you realize that only two of the men who have managed the Blue Jays had ever managed in the major leagues before? And those two men - Bobby Cox and Jim Fregosi - had managed just three winning seasons between them (out of thirteen full seasons) before they took the Toronto job? Cox's Braves went 81-80 in 1980; Fregosi's Angels won the AL West in 1979, his Phillies went to the WS in 1993... they had losing teams every other year before they came here. Odd.

Anyway. Judgement and decisiveness are two qualities I especially want to see from the team's manager. I believe the manager must have confidence in his own judgement (and it goes without saying that this confidence should be warranted!) and he then needs to be decisive in acting upon those judgements. Consider Farrell's predecessor. Before becoming a manager, Cito Gaston was a very successful hitting coach. He first worked for Bobby Cox, whose confidence and decisiveness were pretty much off the charts. Gaston then worked for Jimy Williams, who was the exact opposite of Cox in almost every way, a manager who changed his mind about things every week. For the most part, Gaston took the appropriate lesson from this experience.  But this was especially true in Gaston's handling of his pitching staff, which was always his real strength as a manager. Gaston's judgement of what an individual pitcher could do to help the team, and his decisiveness in acting upon those judgements, had an awful lot to do with his success. (Plus his ability to help young arms develop into actual major league pitchers, a skill that hasn't been seen around here since Gaston went back to the golf course.)  However in managing the lineup Gaston was utterly conventional, and often too slow to respond to changing situations. Too often, rather than being decisive, he was merely stubborn. Maybe this had something to do with the job he'd had before, and his own playing career. I think Gaston identified with the hitters and their issues. He'd been one of them. Gaston looked upon his pitchers with a much colder, and a much clearer, eye. Well, John Farrell used to be a pitching coach and before that he was a pitcher. I think we've seen the exact opposite thing from him - I think Farrell's been much more decisive, and on the whole his judgement has been better, when it comes to assessing the men in the lineup than it has with his pitchers. So I wonder if a similar dynamic is in play. I'm sure Gaston would have stuck with a struggling Escobar at the top of the lineup and Lind in the heart of it much longer than Farrell did, and that's one for Farrell. But I also think Gaston would have done something about Ricky Romero a long time ago.

What does the team have in John Farrell? He seems to have the respect and support of his players, which is always Job One, without which nothing else is possible. But it's hard to see that it's done him much good. We all see him taking the young player aside after yet another brain cramp, for a nice fatherly heart-to-heart. But we haven't seen his players stop making the same dumb plays, which they've done again and again, all year long. It's always a fine line for any manager. His fate is in the hands of a bunch of... kids, who make way more money than he does and don't care nearly as much. The manager can not be your buddy. (Well, he can try and he might even get away with it for a year, but after that - forget about it. It's over.) And while the manager doesn't need to be a cold, heartless s.o.b. (although there've been no shortage of managers who've made that work for them), it's always the case that the only card the manager has at his disposal is playing time. It's probably fair to say that all the injuries probably made it difficult for Farrell to make much use of that this season. But the composition of this roster didn't help much either.  Brett Lawrie, for example, really did deserve to be benched for being an idiot on several occasions this past season. Farrell couldn't bring himself to actually do so. After all - it would have meant playing Omar Vizquel in Lawrie's place. And then looking your starting pitcher in the eye.

As a game manager.... like most of you, I'm not particularly impressed. In fact, I think Farrell is the worst in-game manager to run a Toronto team since Bobby Mattick. On the other hand, I doubt if anyone cares less about a manager's in-game moves than I do. I like to think of it as the most visible and least significant part of the job, so it's hard for me to penalize him too harshly on that score. I'm not sure we even have a good handle on what type of game manager he is. But on the other other hand - it surely does count for something, and it's certainly been a negative something. I know everyone has complained about his management of the bullpen. I don't want to join that chorus just yet, at least not without further investigation. I'm all too aware that every team's fans - all of them, even Tampa's - complain incessantly about how their manager runs the pen. What do we know about Farrell the Game Manager? We do know he does not like handing out intentional walks. We can see that his offense is not built on speed (because how would you do that anyway?). His team does run the bases very aggressively, and while in 2011 that was generally a positive, this past year it hurt the team as much as it helped, if not more. Between Encarnacion and Rasmus running into outs, and Davis getting picked off, his players made a lot of outs on the base paths. Not to mention all the times his baserunners took the bats out of their hitters hands with ill-considered aggressiveness. Nor was Farrell's offense based on getting people on base. His leadoff hitter had an OBP of .324, and his no 2 hitter couldn't even crack .300. His offense was built around power in general and hitting home runs in particular. Obviously this was largely dictated by the personnel he has on hand. His two best hitters (Bautista and Encarnacion) are big time power hitters, and some of his complementary bats (Rasmus and Arencibia) don't really do anything except hit home runs.

On the other other other hand, it's not clear what any manager could have done in the face of the avalanche of injuries that afflicted this year's squad, a point I'm sure Bobby Valentine is happy to hear someone make. Some might say Farrell should get some credit for not losing the team, because they didn't give up, because they generally kept hustling. (I know there are some who disagree, but I always thought they were doing their best. They just weren't very good.) Even so, I tend to regard those things as the absolute minimum required by the job anyway. No bonus for achieving them, only demerits if you don't (like Gaston in 1995.) I would like to cut Farrell slack for the circumstances quite beyond his control,  and at least award him a gentleman's C... but I really can't point to much of anything Farrell's tried in response to these circumstances that's actually helped.

Alex Anthopoulos  E (Box grade: C)

I'm sorry. Your team, after bravely talking about contending, went out and lost 89 games. Who are you fooling? That's failure. You flunked.

My focus, as always, is on the major league team and admit it, everyone - the Boy Wonder did not have a good year. Going into the season, the team had an obvious need for starting pitching. I know I was pretty tiresome on the subject. Anthopoulos was unable to land a quality starting pitcher, by trade or free agency, in the off-season. Okay, that's going to happen sometimes. Free agents aren't always interested in coming to a team in a foreign country that hasn't been a contender in two decades. You can't always make the trades you'd like to make. The other teams have their own agendas as well. That's life. But Anthopoulos did not have anything resembling a credible Plan B. He chose instead to force a bunch of unproven youngsters into service, in the major leagues. I thought the disaster that ensured was inevitable, and should have been seen coming a mile away. The youngsters either failed to rise to the occasion (Alvarez, Cecil) or suffered serious injury (Drabek, Hutchison). And my Lord - Anthopoulos' belief that Dustin McGowan (who would probably hurt himself watching baseball on television) would be able to fill one of the rotation holes warrants an F grade all by itself. And Anthopoulos must have believed it - he gave the man a new contract. The failures in the rotation put enormous pressure on the relievers, who were shorthanded to start with because of the injury to Santos and the ineptitude of Cordero. Anthopoulos responded to that circumstance by attempting to acquire all the relief pitchers there were. In the world. And then carrying them all on the roster. Which made for a rather short bench. And speaking of the bench...

Many of you out there were complaining from Day One about this year's bench and upon further consideration - that was very well said! What was the team's plan, anyway? Did they have one? Different managers have different philosophies regarding the bench. Some managers - Earl Weaver, say - have a bench filled with players who have roles within the game. Pinch hitters, defensive replacements, platoon bats, the kind of guys who make in game moves possible. Some managers - Cito Gaston, say - have players who have roles within the season - basically they sit and watch, give the regulars a day off when required, and fill in if there's an injury. (Mostly they sit and watch.) The Anthopoulos-Farrell regime doesn't seem to know what it wants from its bench. Make a decision! Of course, the decision to carry Omar Vizquel as the one backup infielder was clearly a Bad Decision. It might have been defensible in the spring, and some years it might not have even mattered. But this year it mattered, and it hurt the team. It's pretty clear now that Kelly Johnson probably needed to go on the DL for 3 weeks in mid season and get healthy. (Something else a lot of you guys were right about.) Doing that would have meant playing Vizquel fairly regularly, a task that quite obviously is far beyond his current capacities. Whether or not that was the reason, Johnson played - and played quite badly - through his injury.

On the trade front -  I had no problem with the deal for Happ. He's got a chance to be useful, and even if he doesn't amount to much, clearing Francisco and Cordero off the team was worth doing all by itself. (Which leaves of course the question of what they were doing here in the first place.) I wasn't keen on the Snider and Thames trades, especially the Snider deal. Not because of what Anthopoulos gave up - as everyone knows, I was never a big Snider fan - but if all you're going to get for him is a relief pitcher, I simply wouldn't bother. That might be me - I wouldn't trade anyone that at least had a chance to be a useful regular for a relief pitcher, just on general principle. I absolutely don't believe there's a shortage of pitchers, not at all. (There's always a shortage of quality starting pitchers, but I really do believe that useful relief pitchers grow on trees.) I would have had the same general objection to the Thames deal, but it's mitigated on the grounds that I don't think Thames is as likely as Snider to be a useful regular. That said, there was a kind of symmetry to those trades. They complete the circle begun with Rasmus deal from 2011. Anthopoulos traded a bunch of relief pitchers to get Rasmus, and this year he traded Snider and Thames to get some relief pitchers.

In the end, much more than anything else, what bothered me enormously was the handling of the young pitchers. I do not like green eggs and ham - who does? - but I really don't like seeing 22 year old kids in a major league rotation. The fact that Alvarez and Hutchison were in the rotation was an organizational decision. I hold Anthopoulos responsible; I don't believe it happened because John Farrell insisted that it happen. Farrell actually said that he believed a young pitcher needed upwards of 450 professional IP to be prepared for the major leagues. It's simply a different game, he said. Well, Drew Hutchison had roughly half that amount to get ready to throw in the major leagues. Quod erat demonstrandum, here endeth the lesson This year was a good year for my side of that argument, which means it was a bad year for Anthopoulos and his side. Maybe Anthopoulos thought that throwing his young arms to the tender mercies of the AL East would be less stressful than having them endure Las Vegas and the Pacific Coast League. I sure hope that's not what he was thinking because that would have been really, really dumb, and that's something you never want to see from the GM.

But what the hell. Anthopoulos is a very young man - much younger than me, anyway! - and this was still just his third year on the job. Let's hope this was a learning experience and let's hope he learned something from it. He's done a lot of things right so far. And certainly those dreamers who gaze at prospects and imagine bright shiny objects and ponies for everyone speak very highly of his work in accumulating a quantity of young talent. I'm not one of them because I don't take anyone seriously until they're at least in Double A. Until then, they don't even exist to me. But I absolutely believe that quantity is what's required to get the job done. You need to send out millions of sperm to fertilize just one egg, and I think you need roughly the same number of prospects to grow one quality major leaguer. So I trust he's on the right track.

The Players

Edwin Encarnacion A

Obviously he was the team's MVP this season. He was always capable of having this type of season with the bat - I certainly thought so anyway - and while he did make some changes to his swing, I believe the biggest factor was getting him away from third base and all the grief it brought him. He's one of the strongest, most powerful hitters to ever wear the uniform, and it's kind of interesting to me. Just where does his raw power come from? Brute force. The team's great power hitters have generally come in two shapes: the big, strong guys like Delgado and McGriff, who took big, mighty whacks at the ball; and the smaller men like Bautista and Bell who generated their power with a swift and violent whip of the bat through the hitting zone.  Encarnacion's not like either. He's one of the big men but he generates his power from a much shorter stroke. Encarnacion doesn't seem to load up his swing at all, he just overpowers the ball with raw strength.  Incidentally, he's not a good first baseman by any stretch of the imagination, not even close, and don't let anyone tell you different. He's not Adam Lind, but he's still pretty bad. But at first base his shortcomings don't bother anyone.

Darren Oliver A
He was only a LOOGY, and it goes without saying that there's no way a guy who pitched 60 innings is more valuable than some of the guys whose grades are lower... that said, it's hard to see how Oliver could have been better than he was. Since returning to the AL at age 36, his ERAs have gone as follows: 3.78, 2.88, 2.71, 2.48, 2.29, 2.06; his ERA+ has gone 120, 155, 162, 181, 194, and 207. I mean... GOSH! What's he going to be doing when he's 45? Going out and tossing 50 perfect innings?

Casey Janssen A
As you might recall, I wrote him off three years ago. I actually thought Scott Richmond would turn out to be more useful. I couldn't have been more wrong, and I couldn't be happier.

Jose Bautista B+ (Box grade: A-)
His grade is docked quite a bit because he missed 70 games, which constitutes a significant Absence of Value. But that's the only reason. He had a lousy month of April, which doesn't mean much in itself - he had a lousy month in 2011 and a lousy month in 2010 - but in his shortened 2012, it constitutes a much larger portion of his overall season. It doesn't mean anything else. I think we learned this year that Jose Bautista is the living, breathing heart and soul of this team. Without him on the field and in the middle of the lineup they are simply lost. Utterly, hopelessly, totally lost. They didn't go 28-44 after he was hurt by coincidence.

Brandon Morrow B+
Appeared to be fulfilling all of his considerable promise when an injury put him on the shelf for two months. It's true that he's had hot streaks before and we really need to see him do this for a whole season. But this performance was exactly what we've been expecting, hoping, waiting for from him. Like Bautista, he's docked for missing two months. Absence of Value rears its ugly head.

Brandon Lyon B+ (Box grade: A-)
I don't know about you, but I've long thought of Lyon as an up-and-down, injury prone sort of fellow. I've been quite wrong on both counts. In the last seven years, he's pitched in at least 60 games each year except 2011. And in those six seasons, his ERA+ has been 120 or better each year except 2008, when he was still roughly league average. I'd be fine with bringing him back, if they can.

Steve Delabar B+ (Box grade: B-)
Interesting. It appears the Jays told Delabar to stop screwing around with his other pitches and attack the hitters with a fastball-splitter combo. The old Tom Henke formula. Delabar was 28 years old this season, which happens to be the same age Henke was in 1986, his first full year in the majors. I think they might have found something special here. Delabar struck out 46 hitters in just 29.1 IP as a Blue Jay, which is shockingly close to Kimbrel-Chapman territory.

Carlos Villanueva B
No one really knows if he can pitch effectively in the rotation for a full season. I don't think he can, myself. I think the wear and tear, and minor hurts, will be enough to take him out of the rotation, just as it has the last two years. But Villanueva himself certainly believes he can, and he's going to be looking for a chance to prove it. I think the Jays might as well find out. This team is not exactly awash in starting pitchers. If it doesn't work out he can go back to the pen.

Aaron Loup B-

I wouldn't want him as my only LH in the pen. Pitchers who come at the hitter from extreme arm angles often have enormous platoon splits, and Loup is no exception. But there's certainly room in the modern plus-sized bullpen for a guy who completely destroys LH batters.

Luis Perez B- 
(Box grade: C+)
Was having a solid, useful first full season in the majors until the termites got him.

Brett Lawrie C+ (Box grade: B-)
On the one hand, is that all there is? Because honestly folks, .273/.324./405 from your third baseman is nothing to get too excited about. Plus his famous hyper aggressiveness hurt the team as least as much as it helped. There were baserunning blunders galore, a suspension for hot-headed foolishness... and of course he got hurt and took himself right out of the lineup for a lengthy stretch. These complaints notwithstanding, he's a legitimate major leaguer, a far better defender than anyone had a right to even dream of him being, a very promising bat - and he's still only 22 years old. Not everybody grows from that point, but Lawrie's possibilities are still more or less limitless. Limitless. And we can surely hope that he will grow out of the dumb stuff.

David Cooper C+  (Box grade: C-)
The Rodney Dangerfield of Blue Jays prospects, and indeed it's possible that Cooper's really not much more than the new Terry Crowley. This would be very bad news for Cooper because Earl Weaver retired almost thirty years ago, leaving very little room for a Crowley type in today's game. (Eric Thames, I think, has a similar problem.) By now everybody should know that I like Cooper quite a lot, that I think he's a bit better than that. So it's too bad he became the team's third first baseman to hurt his back (what the hell is up with that, anyway?) It means that he remains stuck behind the Memory of Adam Lind - just as he was in the midst of demonstrating that he's a) better than the Reality of Adam Lind, and b) better than the starting first baseman of about a dozen major league teams. You'd think that could have drawn some interest over the winter. I don't think it will now. Fun fact: 17 different players had more than 100 plate appearances for the 2012 Jays, and just three of them - the fewest of any AL team - managed an OPS+ better than 100: Edwin Encarnacion (150), Jose Bautista (136), and David Cooper (110).

J.P. Arencibia C
Went and hurt himself at the very moment when he seemed to be making enough progress as a hitter to lift him a level beyond Rod Barajas and his ilk. It was probably just a mirage, just a random hot streak. He's more likely to make real progress as a defender than as a hitter. There's certainly plenty of room for improvement. While Arencibia's defensive skill set may never be that good, he should continue to develop his abilities to handle his pitcher and call the game. Catchers generally don't develop a whole lot as hitters - the position just beats the crap out of them too much. In fact, they're even more likely to simply stop hitting altogether. The ones who last do so on the strength of their defense.  Anyway, I would assume that Arencibia will be the Number One trade chip being offered in exchange for pitching this winter.

Jason Frasor C
(Box grade: C+)
A very strange year from Jason - it was like he wasn't even here. Yes, he was on the shelf for almost two months. But he still appeared in 50 games. He pitched decently enough, but he did it like a ghost. Didn't leave a trace. No footprints, nothing. All I remember is the grand slam Ibanez hit. Weird.

Chad Jenkins C  (Box grade: D+)
Everyone says he'd be marginal, at best, as a starter. But failed and marginal starters regularly turn into effective relievers. You just have to put up with a lot of failure before they submit to their fate. So what I found most interesting about Jenkins was how much he seemed to enjoy being a relief pitcher. He was positively enthusiastic about the whole concept; about the chance that he could pitch any day, as opposed to going to the park four days out of five knowing that he was going to be a spectator.

Yunel Escobar C (Box grade: C-)
He's a strange one. Remember all the flash and pizzazz he had when he arrived, the spectacular plays he made? It's almost completely disappeared, and been replaced by a ruthlessly efficient machine in the field. He's just an outstanding defensive player, and at one of the most important defensive spots on the diamond. And I think that much of what went wrong with his bat this season was a case of simple bad luck. His BABiP dropped by 43 points, by more than 30 points below his career average, and he may have started pressing as a result. He wasn't really swinging at bad pitches, but he did start hacking at the first decent pitch he saw. He didn't draw nearly as many walks as he has in the past as a consequence. I would expect him to bounce back in 2013. Ideally, he'll re-establish his market value (which just took a hit) and bring back something useful in mid-season. The heir apparent is banging on the door.

J.A. Happ C (Box grade: C+)
It's hard to be sure from the little we saw of him, but the team might have found something here. The Astros are such an awful team that all their players look bad.

Aaron Laffey C-
Exactly the type of pitcher Anthopoulos should have been scooping up by the truckload before the season started. Fringe major leaguers, signed to minor league contracts - throw a bunch of them at the wall and hope you get lucky with a couple. Instead he threw the kids into the Valley of Death, like the Light Brigade at Balaclava, like Pickett at Gettysburg. Ask Robert E. Lee how that worked out.

Brad Lincoln C-
(Box grade: C)
Neal Huntington may have pulled one on Anthopoulos here, cashing in a guy who got hot for half a season for someone with at least a chance to be a solid regular. You never know. Lincoln might be a decent bullpen part going forward. Or he might not.

Drew Hutchison C- (Box grade: C+)
Pitched far better than anyone had a right to expect, and suffered a serious injury in the process. I just don't see how you can put a 21 year old kid with exactly 31.2 IP above A ball in your rotation and not expect something bad to happen.

Kyle Drabek C- (Box grade: D)
I was kind of impressed, in a weird sort of way. It's pretty much impossible for a pitcher to be effective if he walks almost 6 batters per 9 innings. But Drabek came about as close as you can come. He hung in there, and kept battling. He battled until his arm fell off. Again. Hard to be optimistic about his future as a starter after a second Tommy John operation. I don't think Jason Frasor's career has any relevance in this case.

Colby Rasmus D+ (Box grade: C)
Played quite well for three months, and then turned into a pumpkin. He was probably playing through injury as well, and it worked just as well for him as it did for Johnson. And like Johnson, that makes it hard to know what to make of his year as a whole, and hard to know exactly what the team has in him. I still think Rasmus is basically the next Lloyd Moseby if all goes well. A little better than Moseby in the field, not quite as effective at the plate or on the bases. That's if all goes well, and I have some concerns. Rasmus is four seasons into his career, and he's hit .243/.313/.424 with 76 HRs in 569 games. Four seasons into his career, Moseby had hit .258/.313/.405 with 45 HRs in 512 games. Each had had one outstanding season (at age 23) and three seasons that weren't very impressive. But Moseby was more than two years younger at this stage of his career, and his three lousy seasons were at ages 20, 21, and 22 - he took a big step forward in his fourth season at age 23, and remained productive in the following years. Rasmus had an outstanding sophomore season at age 23, but he's spent the two following years going backwards. You'd have to be a fool not to be concerned about him.

Jeff Mathis D+ (Box grade: C-)
For a while there, his offense was a total surprise. Completely out of the blue, he wasn't embarrassing himself with the bat. Far from it - for the first half of the season, the team didn't lose any offense when he replaced Arencibia (who is only in the major leagues because of his bat.) But then Arencibia got hurt. Within a week, Mathis' bat, such as it is, fell right off the face of the earth and explored new and previously uncharted depths of futility. From July 29 until Arencibia's return in early September, Mathis hit .146/.170/.260. Not even Mike Scioscia would have tolerated that. But as for his defense - yet again, his team's pitchers shaved nearly half a run off their ERA when working with Mathis. I realize everybody regards Catcher ERA as a flawed and unreliable stat, subject to massive illusions and outside influences. Unlike those utterly perfect and illuminating stats, like... well, none of them seem to be coming to my mind. Anyway, it really appears that there may be catchers who persist in posting the same random flukey thing year after year after year - Jose Molina! - so you might just consider the possibility that behind this flawed and illusory statistic lurks a genuine ability. The root of that ability? Who knows. Is he a master psychologist? Does he receive and frame pitches nicely? Does he slip the umpire a handful of bills at the start of the game? I sure as hell don't know. But just because you can't explain why something happens doesn't mean it's not happening. Half a run a game is a huge freaking deal. On offense, that would be roughly the same as the difference between the 2012 versions of Edwin Encarnacion and Yunel Escobar.

Kelly Johnson D
I believe that this guy is normally a good baseball player. Certainly, he was one in April and May. He was what he's always been, a guy who takes his walks, provides some pop, and plays quite a bit better in the field than you expect him to, for some reason. But it all went sideways and I think we know why at this point. Towards the end of the season, Johnson finally acknowledged how much trouble his hamstring had caused him, especially at the plate. The player is always going to want to play, and sometimes the team has to step in and say "No. You need to get healthy." That didn't happen, which hurt the 2012 team. It also didn't do Johnson any favours as he looks for a new contract this winter. In the absence of a better alternative, I'd certainly bring him back, but I'd like a qualified backup on hand this time. Just in case.

Rajai Davis D (Box grade: C+)
I've reached the stage with Davis where everything he does bothers me and you probably need to take that into account. I especially think of the way he stalks defiantly away from the batter's box after whiffing on a fastball two feet out of the zone. Or the way he stands there proudly at second base after stealing successfully, and setting up the... intentional walk to the team's only good hitter. He makes me crazy, absolutely crazy. Like a really fast Corey Patterson.  Davis brings outstanding speed and an extremely aggressive mindset to the basepaths and the outfield. But he also brings pretty bad judgement and an excessive amount of what can only be described as carelessness. While he will occasionally shock you with an utterly amazing play in the outfield, overall he is simply a bad outfielder. His speed does allow him to outrun many of his mistakes; unfortunately he makes so many mistakes that there's no way he can outrun them all. Every throw is an adventure, every decision is a risk, every judgement is a bad one. He made many more dumb plays than Brett Lawrie, and Davis ain't no rookie.

Henderson Alvarez D-

Alvarez had - and probably still has - a chance to develop into a really good major league pitcher. But in order to do so he needs to develop a third pitch that he can use to strike out the occasional hitter. This is not negotiable. It's also not a particularly easy thing to do - there are plenty of pitchers who spent their entire careers trying to develop a good third pitch. Unfortunately, this organization has decided that the American League is just the place for Alvarez to attempt this difficult task.  He was 21 years when they made that judgement. Here's more good news - by the time he does develop this essential skill, if he ever does, he'll probably be just a year or two away from free agency. So I think that was a pretty bad idea.

Adam Lind D-
(Box grade: F)
We'll always have 2009, although it's pretty clear by now that it was a fluke. He simply got hot and stayed hot for a whole year. He's actually had streaks in each of the last three seasons where's he hit just as well as he did in 2009. Unfortunately, he's mixed them up with plenty of stretches that Jeff Mathis would be reluctant to acknowledge. His contract was one of the first moves Anthopoulos made that impressed anyone. Now, even though it's not particularly onerous, I think we're all waiting for it to run out. One more year...

Adeiny Hechevarria D- (Box grade: D)
I'm impressed. Really impressed. I don't think he's quite there yet, but he's really close. Looked completely overmatched at the plate when he came up, but he didn't seem to get discouraged, kept plugging away, and by September he was showing clear signs of Figuring It Out. And even if he never amounts to much with the bat, I would point out that the Blue Jays won a championship with Manuel Lee at shortstop and I'm pretty sure Hechevarria can provide that level of offense. Defensively there's no comparison. At shortstop - and he's a shortstop, not a second baseman - he's just a friggin' natural. He actually  reminds me - just a little - of young Tony Fernandez in the field. Hechevarria is built quite differently and he doesn't have Tony's wide assortment of idiosyncratic throwing methods - who does? - but he's that smooth, that slick, that completely self-assured in the field. Nothing a batted baseball does will ever surprise him. He's going to be a lot of fun to watch.

Ben Francisco D- (Box grade: E)
He's a guy who could have some use as a bench player on some teams. This wasn't that team, and it was obvious as far back as back in March that this wasn't going to be that team. The obvious question from the start was always "What exactly is this guy doing here?"

Moises Sierra D-
(Box grade: D+)
Not sure what to make of him. Some days he reminded me of George Bell, some days he reminded me of Robert Perez. Well, he's more of a George Bell type - just a lesser version. A smaller talent and (obviously!) a smaller personality.

Brett Cecil D- (Box grade: D)
I assume his days as a starter are over, but you never know. Right now, I think Cecil's best chance to make the team in 2013 would be if Darren Oliver retires. The type of LHP Loup is mandates that the team have at least one other southpaw in the pen. Luis Perez won't be around, and if  Oliver decides he's seen enough hotel rooms, there's a an opening for Cecil.

Anthony Gose D- (Box grade: C-)
I was going to give him an E before he started to hit a little in September. I do like him, whatever the grade. He's really raw, but he obviously has impressive tools. He can simply fly, on the bases and in the outfield; he's also got one of those big Ellis Valentine-type long distance artillery arms (as opposed to the low flying laser beams of Barfield or Suzuki.) Unfortunately, the rockets Gose's arm sends into orbit haven't quite worked out the kinks in the guidance system, and seldom hit their intended target. At the plate, he was generally overmatched by major league pitchers. I do like the looks of him as a hitter, and I do think he's going to hit major league pitching enough to hold a job. It might not happen for a while, maybe not until 2014 and right now, I think if you gave gave him 150 games in the AL, he'd be a threat to strike out 230 times. But he looks like a keeper.

Eric Thames D-
(Box grade: F)
Didn't play very well here, but he's a better player than that. I like him, but he's a man out of time. He's a defensively challenged outfielder, whose bat isn't quite good enough to justify him being a regular LF or DH. He'd probably be a fine platoon outfielder, or a bat off the bench - but in the modern game, there's simply no roster room available for this type of player. He's been squeezed out of work by the seven man bullpen.

Ricky Romero E
Romero's been a good player in the past, and I expect he'll be a good player in the future. He's hardly the first good player to have a terrible year - just this year, he was joined by Tim Lincecum and Jon Lester, among others - and it's not like his ability suddenly and totally vanished. What happened, I think, is that Ricky forgot what his job was. As you may recall, Romero won eight of his first nine decisions. But he wasn't pitching particularly well, and he wasn't very happy about his performance. His teammates told him not to worry about it. "Take the wins!" they told him. Because the baseball player's job is not to play well. His job is to win. Playing the game well is certainly the most reliable way to win, but playing well is not the point of the enterprise. The point is to win that day's game. And so if you pitch well, or if you have four hits and drive in three, and the team loses - the enterprise was a failure. Well, winning wasn't good enough for Romero, and he couldn't leave it alone. He wanted to pitch better, and he tried to fix whatever was wrong. In the process, everything got totally messed up. He lost a bit of his fastball command, which created problems in setting up his other pitches, and everything spiraled out of control. And while on one level, he dealt with it like a pro and took his punishment like a man - on another level he didn't deal with it very well at all. Professional athletes usually respond to failure with defiance - they don't believe it, they don't accept it, they don't expect it to happen again. This is often highly delusional, but it's pretty much a necessary trick of the mind for most of them. I'll get them tomorrow. After a while, Romero seemed unable to summon that up. He was merely depressed and frustrated. And his frustration, which reached about 137 on a scale of 10, ended up exacerbating the situation. He lost his mind, his focus, his confidence, his trust, his belief, his reason to live, and the key to the secret kingdom. Man, he was lost.  I'm sure this was bewildering and painful for him but coping with failure is a pretty big part of the game. Deal with it.

Yan Gomes E
Here's a guy who was practically invented to fill a role on a modern league bench. He's a catcher who can also fill in at both infield corners and in left field. What a concept! But once again, it's just not going to work if he struggles to crack the Mendoza Line.

Mike McCoy E
He'd also be a nice bench part, with his ability to play all over the diamond and provide some speed off the bench. Except he can't play a passable major league shortstop, and we know he can't crack the Mendoza Line.

Francisco Cordero E (Box grade: F)
He really did have stretches when he pitched...  well? Let's not go that far. Better to say stretches when nothing totally disastrous happened while he was out there. Maybe he'd load the bases, but manage to escape without anyone scoring. That's the sort of thing would make up his 2012 highlight reel. That Coco didn't actually descend to F level until he arrived in Houston was probably just a matter of dumb luck on his part. We can say that he generally dealt with his failures with class and professionalism. He certainly had no shortage of opportunities to work on his mea culpas. It's an old story - the game leaves us before we're ready to leave the game. He's had a fine career. I can't imagine it continuing, but sometimes they surprise you.

Joel Carreno E
I liked him a year ago. Damned if I can remember why. Which means I probably never actually saw him pitch, and just looked at his numbers. That's usually a mistake (for me anyway!)

Omar Vizquel E
Seems like a really interesting guy - athletes with genuine artistic talent are uncommon. But he's no longer a major league ballplayer. So does anyone care how interesting a guy he is? Well, I do. But I don't want him on my baseball team.

Jesse Chavez F
(Box grade: E)
I suppose there was no harm in finding out why he was having so much success in the PCL. Based on what happened to Chavez in the AL, one suspects that  PCL hitters aren't all that good. I guess he was better than Igarashi. And Dyson. And me.

Blue Jays Report Card: The Reckoning | 112 comments | Create New Account
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China fan - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 08:29 AM EDT (#264245) #
So AA gets a "fail" grade because he didn't build a contender in 3 years? I'd give a "fail" to the grader on that one.

And your benchmark is that he promised a contender in 2012? I think you need to revisit your sources on that one. He never promised a contender in 2012. He might have repeated the same old rhetoric that every GM makes -- "we think we can win." Well, what do you expect him to say? Did you actually think that he would give an honest answer such as, "we expect another year of developing our young core players and we're unlikely to be in the playoffs this season"? Because that's obviously what AA thought and believed, but no GM can ever tell the truth on that question. You're judging AA on a false benchmark.

The truth is that the Jays were completely sabotaged by an extraordinary wave of injuries and the unexpected failures of key players such as Romero, Rasmus and Escobar. If you think AA failed on those questions, you have to argue that he was wrong to expect good seasons from Romero, Rasmus and Escobar, and you have to argue that he should have had a complete lineup of top-quality players available to replace the injured Bautista, Lawrie, Morrow, Drabek, Hutchison, Santos, etc. But you didn't make that argument, and instead you're implying that the 89 losses were because of a poor-quality bench and an over-reliance on Dustin McGowan. Fail.
John Northey - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 08:54 AM EDT (#264246) #
AA did have a lot of issues to deal with this year, but he also said he needed a strong starting pitcher and a big bat and failed to get either. Well, a big bat did show up but EE wasn't who he was talking about at that time.

AA also picked the manager & coaching staff & training staff as well as deciding to keep Adam Lind around, signing Vizquel as a veteran presence (who then complained about the lack of same), and other stuff. Agreed those should've been highlighted more but I can see an argument for giving AA a poor grade for this year.

This winter is big though - AA, Beeston have both said this is it, time to contend. The fans came out in bigger numbers to a team that was in eyeshot for 1/2 a season then fell apart so they know the support exists and just hype got the fans out to some degree. Now imagine if this team actually played well all season. We need to see at least one, ideally 2 strong starters added (very expensive and hard to do). We should see another hitter brought in for LF or DH or even 2B (if such a creature is there and affordable). If AA goes into spring without adding at least one 110+ ERA+ starter then a big 'fail' is possible and likely in 2013.
Mike Green - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 09:00 AM EDT (#264247) #
You need to send out millions of sperm to fertilize just one egg, and I think you need roughly the same number of prospects to grow one quality major leaguer. So I trust he's on the right track.

Thanks for that one, Magpie.  It was, um, different.

My reaction to Gose changed over the course of his stay here.  He's a fine defensive centerfielder right now, a great baserunner, and will hit enough to make a decent everyday player.  He struck out 31% of the time, which isn't great but he puts the ball in play enough and with enough occasional authority to keep pitchers honest.  Subjectively, he was more focused and controlled than I expected.  I will have no problem if the club decides that he is fit to be the starting centerfielder in 2013.  Playing a 22 year old centerfielder who potentially may benefit from another half-season of minor league offensive preparation is not the same thing as bringing up a starter too early.
China fan - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 09:03 AM EDT (#264248) #
"....I can see an argument for giving AA a poor grade for this year...."

I too can see a lot of valid criticisms of AA for various inadequacies in the Jays major-league roster in 2012. But the grade wasn't merely a "below average" grade -- it was a "fail." And I don't see the evidence for that one.
greenfrog - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 09:12 AM EDT (#264249) #
It's too bad the Jays weren't able to nab Latos last off-season. But he did cost the Reds a lot, as Grandal had an excellent rookie debut, Alonso and Boxberger were decent, and Volquez was a nice fill-in. It would be interesting to know what AA offered San Diego, as the Jays were reportedly a finalist in the trade talks.

I imagine it will take a comparable package to obtain this year's version of Latos (assuming he's out there).
China fan - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 09:14 AM EDT (#264250) #
"....If AA goes into spring without adding at least one 110+ ERA+ starter then a big 'fail' is possible and likely in 2013...."

Yet some fans aren't willing to wait for 2013. They're already declaring that AA is a miser who will never acquire big-ticket players. Interestingly, AA is willing to accept the challenge on that. In his season-end press conference last night, he made the following statements (via Shi Davidi's report):

1) The starting rotation "needs major additions" and the Blue Jays are intent on doing that.

2) They have more money to spend and "we’ll be able to look at players we wouldn’t have been as serious about" in the past.

3) The Blue Jays are willing to outbid their rivals since for the right player, "the overpay makes a lot of sense."

He also stated that the higher revenue from 2012 (attendance up 15 per cent, plus TV revenue etc) will be reinvested in payroll in 2013.

To me, this all sounds very specific and credible. I seriously doubt he would be so specific about his off-season intentions if he had zero intention of doing any of it.

Now, I know that some Bauxites are dismissing all of this as "spin." But it's interesting that Shi Davidi, probably the best reporter on the Jays beat, and the best-connected, and certainly no naive cheerleader, is taking AA at face value on these comments. His conclusions, from his analysis last night:

"Expect the Blue Jays to target at least one, if not two starters via free agency. They’ve scouted arms bound for the open market heavily, and someone steady under the age of 30 like Edwin Jackson or Anibal Sanchez makes sense.
Francisco Liriano and Brandon McCarthy come with a bit more uncertainty but could represent significant upgrades. Dan Haren and Ervin Santana, the latter should his option not be picked up by the Los Angeles Angels, are also possibilities.
A second starter may very well arrive via trade.
Whispers are Justin Masterson of the Cleveland Indians will be shopped and the Blue Jays now have enough big-league ready prospects to better entice teams looking to deal a starter of such stature.
Teams seeking to shed some salary or swap their mix – like, say, the Miami Marlins with Josh Johnson – will be targeted, too.
From a positional standpoint, there are needs in left field and second base, particularly with Anthopoulos essentially saying that Gose and Hechavarria are bound for triple-A Buffalo if the off-season plays out the way he’d like.
Both manager and GM say they’d like to add some contact and on-base percentage to a lineup that has enough power, and two ideal free agent options would be outfielder/first baseman Nick Swisher and either Marco Scutaro or Jeff Keppinger for second base."
Chuck - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 09:16 AM EDT (#264251) #

First off, bravo. Setting aside that I agree with you on most everything, this was extremely lucid, devoid of sentimentality, and very well written. From where I sit, I'd sooner read Magpie's take on the baseball world than that of almost any of today's prominent writers. If ESPN hasn't come knocking yet, they should.

I absolutely don't believe there's a shortage of pitchers, not at all. (There's always a shortage of quality starting pitchers, but I really do believe that useful relief pitchers grow on trees.)

I strongly agree with this. For kicks, check out the list of relief pitchers on every team's roster. A bunch of people that no one has heard of had really good seasons. And this happens every year. Where do all these guys come from? They're not all Ed-Wade 3-million-per-year signings. Most are internal reclamation projects.

[re Lawrie] a far better defender than anyone had a right to even dream of him being

When Lawrie came up, the talk was that he'd probably not be a strong enough defender at third base and would eventually have to move to an outfield corner. That this has turned out to not be the case is huge since competent third basemen are not especially plentiful. This defensive development has been very fortuitious for the organization.

[re Hechevarria] and by September he was showing clear signs of Figuring It Out.

So many players who fit his profile -- young wizards with the glove whose offensive philosphy is hack hack hack -- never show signs of figuring it out. And that probably has less to do with baseball smarts than with physical ability. So I agree that it is encouraging to witness Hechevarria showing tangible signs of improvement in a very short period. Now, his bat may go back into the crapper as pitchers adjust, but at least there appears to be a basis for optimism.

[re Gose]  But he looks like a keeper.

The batting average will always be a challenge given his K rate. But given what he does do well, which is most everything else, I can easily envision him as the starting CF in 2014 after a year in the minors working on swing, increasing his contact rate even if at the expense of power.

Magpie - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 09:17 AM EDT (#264252) #
So AA gets a "fail" grade because he didn't build a contender in 3 years?

That's not why. (I gave him a B for his work last year and I didn't think that team resembled a contender.) Mainly, I thought the stuff he did with the major league team this season didn't work. And in some cases, actually set the franchise back.
China fan - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 09:20 AM EDT (#264253) #
"....he also said he needed a strong starting pitcher and a big bat and failed to get either...."

When he talked about those targets last year, he was answering questions from the media about what he would like to acquire. He didn't express it as a specific plan or a promise or a "need." His comments last night were far more specific and far more of a statement of definite intention, rather than a vague list of what he would ideally like to get.

If he fails to achieve his goals in the upcoming off-season, I think we can all bash him mightily. Until then, I'm going to withhold judgment.
China fan - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 09:22 AM EDT (#264255) #
"....Mainly, I thought the stuff he did with the major league team this season didn't work...."

Except that the first sentence of your grade said differently. It said AA talked of contention, and the Jays lost 89 games, and so he failed.
Parker - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 09:33 AM EDT (#264256) #
Hopefully this year will serve as an object lesson to those of us who thought that having 11 guys vying for 5 starting rotation spots was a good thing. It's not depth if none of them can pitch effectively in a major league rotation, but the games still had to be played to figure that out.

I have to agree with Anthopoulos' grade. A big part of his job is to have a Plan B in place for when Plan A goes south, and in this case the Plan B either didn't exist or it was a massive failure. The circular nature of his trades really bothered me a great deal, too.
Magpie - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 09:49 AM EDT (#264258) #
It said AA talked of contention

Actually, no. It said the team talked of contention. But losing 89 games? Fail. Whether they talked about contending or not. There's no putting a happy face on losing 89 games. This is the major leagues. It's not how you play the game. It's whether you win or lose.

That said, I freely acknowledge that I'm examining a small window of what Anthopoulos' job entails. I do this on the grounds that we simply don't know - and we won't know for years and years - how many of the things he did this year actually worked out.

For example - I think we're more or less all agreed that the Encarnacion contract was a good idea. That doesn't make it a good thing. Not yet. The GM has to trust his process. But there's never any guarantee that a good idea actually leads to a good thing. I know I thought the Adam Lind contract was a good idea, and I'm pretty sure Alex and I weren't alone on that one.
Dave Till - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 09:53 AM EDT (#264259) #
Thanks for the shoutout, Magpie, but you give me more credit than I deserve - you've done way more with this than I ever did.

One thing that strikes me about the 2012 season is that the Jays' marketing team may have overpromised a bit much. Bringing back the old unifoms (slightly modified) sent a clear signal to the fan base - the Jays were about to return to the glory days of 1992 and 1993. And their advertising gave the impression that they were *this close* to making it all the way.

But I don't think it has ever been the Jays' intention to try to launch themselves into contention right away. AA seems to be following exactly the same plan that the Jays did when they first started out:
  • Max out on scouting and player development.
  • Don't try to sign expensive free agents (Beeston believes that they won't want to come to Toronto anyway, and aren't normally worth it).
  • Spend to keep homegrown talent if it's worth keeping.
Using this model, you have to expect that it will be several years before a few genuine prospects emerge from the list of possibles. The question becomes: are the Jays willing to spend money to help the current ballclub while they wait for this to happen? Will the Jays be able to meet the fans' expectations?

Another question that has been on my mind lately: is the goal of putting together a winning ballclub even compatible with the goal of maximizing profits? Rogers isn't a bad owner, really, but they're a business. Unlike clubs that are run by rich owners who buy a baseball team as a hobby, Rogers wants to make money off the Jays. If they spend more on the team, will the increased return on revenue be great enough for their bean counters to justify the expense? My guess is that it is: the Jays could sell out the Rogers Centre if they put a good enough team on the field. The fans are out there, and they are waiting.

More later (have to actually work today :-)).

Mike Green - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 09:59 AM EDT (#264262) #
I personally wouldn't grade a general manager for a season based on the results of the team.  Billy Beane wouldn't have gotten a string of Ds and Es followed by an A+ this year.  The parameters placed on the GM matter, and those are unseen.  The ownership/GM team does deserve an E, but I would probably allocate it F for Rogers and C- (or maybe D) for Anthopoulos. 
MatO - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 10:39 AM EDT (#264264) #

This season marked the worst roster management I've ever seen by the Blue Jays.  The incessant revolving door of pitchers leading to 8 and 9 man relief staffs and short benches populated by the likes of Vizquel was crazy.  This had nothing to do with the injuries.  I was complaining a week or two into the season that the brass was acting like it was participating in a rotisserie league with all the roster maneuvers and then it got even worse.  The strangest decision was to add Sam Dyson to the 40 man roster, have him pitch 1/3 of an inning, sit him for 12 days, have him pitch badly (surprise surprise) and then send him down.  What the hell was that?  That seemed to be the mantra.  We'll call you up but if you pitch poorly you're out of here.

On a side note.  I'm listening to Blair yesterday and he says Santos was hurt in spring training.  Maybe he misspoke, but it would explain why Santos basically disappeared for a big chunk of spring training with the excuse that he was "too ready" and they had to hold him back.  He certainly didn't look ready when he started the season.  It's not possible that the Blue Jays lied is it?  If this was JP I'm sure the media would have been all over it.

budgell - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 10:49 AM EDT (#264266) #

Well done Magpie, good read!

Only disagreement is with the Snider/Thames trades.  Don't think you can lump all position player for reliever trades as bad ideas.  I think both Lincoln and Delabar will add more value than Thames and Snider would have.  Lincoln represents the type of player that AA covets/acquires.  First round, controllable talent that may just need a change of scenery/coach to figure it out (like Snider probably needed).  And Delabar,  well,  your comments describe my excitement better than I could (as per usual).

China fan - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 11:04 AM EDT (#264267) #
On the Santos question: virtually guaranteed that Blair misspoke on that one. The Jays have a long history of being cautious with injuries. To imagine that Santos was injured in spring training -- and then was allowed to play 6 games in the regular season despite his injury -- really beggars belief. Santos is under team control until 2017, and so the Jays have a lot invested in his career. Would they behave so recklessly with a prized asset? Not plausible.
Gerry - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 11:35 AM EDT (#264268) #

Yunel Escobar C (Box grade: C-)
He's a strange one. Remember all the flash and pizzazz he had when he arrived, the spectacular plays he made? It's almost completely disappeared, and been replaced by a ruthlessly efficient machine in the field. He's just an outstanding defensive player, and at one of the most important defensive spots on the diamond.

You forget the "except".  He is excellent except when he is on the back end of a double play.  He is gun shy, runner shy, and he missed quite a few double plays this year that he should have completed.

MatO - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 12:14 PM EDT (#264269) #

Not plausible

I know that you think that AA actually telling a lie is not plausible.  That goes without saying.  But what's not plausible about this scenario:

Santos pitches at the beginning of spring training.  Complains about a sore shoulder.  Disappears for a few weeks.  Says his shoulder is now OK and and reappears right at the end of spring training.  The velocity is there so it appears he's OK but he's pitching like crap.  6 games into the season he complains about his shoulder again and they shut him down.

China fan - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 12:20 PM EDT (#264270) #
Sure, that scenario is perfectly plausible. But what part of it is a lie by Anthopoulos? You're outlining a lie by the player, not the GM. And what part of it is even wrong or unusual? Players routinely claim to be healthy. Brett Lawrie did it repeatedly this year -- and then got chastised by Farrell for lying.

As for Anthopoulos: of course he is quite capable of lying, and I've often said it. Even in this thread, I said he lied when he made the boilerplate claim that the Jays could contend this year. Managers and GMs routinely dissemble to the media and the public. They have to do it. It's their job. I'll never understand why people on this site get so outraged at it.
SK in NJ - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 12:25 PM EDT (#264272) #

In regards to the rotation, AA wanted to be the Rays, and it failed miserably. The Rays don't sign veteran starters. They simply take starters from their minor leagues and put them in the rotation. It works for the Rays as none of their starters ever get hurt and all of them seem to pan out immediately, but it was a huge gamble by AA to think the same could hold true in Toronto. Different pitching coach, different minor league development plan, etc. The only way the Jays can maintain a strong rotation on a small payroll is by developing their own starters (and subsequently locking up the good ones long-term). If Drabek and Alvarez panned out, then we'd have an entirely different outlook about the Jays going forward than we do now. It was a gamble that failed about as bad as possible and it set both pitchers back. Hutchison was doing reasonably well before he got hurt, but getting hurt due to an increased workload is on AA as well. 

Ultimately, the main problem with AA was his fear of exposing his top pitching prospects to Las Vegas, which prompted him to promote pitchers from Double-A straight to the Majors. To put in perspective how foolish that was, David Price pitched more innings in AA and AAA (109.1) than Hutchison (31.2 in AA, not AAA IP) and Alvarez (88 in AA, no AAA IP), and Price was a can't miss stud, whereas Alvarez and Hutchison were both 21 when called up. Hopefully moving the AAA team to Buffalo changes the team's development pattern with starters, but it's too late to turn back the clock on the wasted development of Alvarez and Hutchison. Even Drabek who threw 258 innings above A+ never pitched in AAA until he failed in the Majors, although using him in the rotation was at least more justifiable than the other two.

As far as Snider/Thames, not sure I can see those as negative. Certainly not the Thames trade, as I see Thames being a fringe MLB platoon player at best while Delabar (assuming he stays healthy) looks like a potential lights out closer candidate. The Snider deal is a bit more of a risk, unless they plan on using Lincoln in the rotation (which I doubt), but given Snider's recent tell-all interview, it seemed like a Rasmus/STL situation where both parties just wanted a fresh start from one another. Not a good deal on the surface, but looking deeper into it I don't think Snider had a chance in hell of ever developing in Toronto (whether he develops elsewhere is what we have to wait and see).

The J.A. Happ deal is interesting. On paper, giving up first round picks that the team spent significant money on and a good catching prospect for Happ and Lyon seems a bit suspect, but a few factors come into play. The first being, AA had to give the Astros some incentive to take Francisco and Cordero's salaries while giving up clearly superior talent (Happ and Lyon), and that came in the form of 4-5 prospects. The other thing being, Happ's ratios in 2012 were incredibly encouraging. Improved K rates, increased GB rates, improved walk rates, and two more years of control. Even after coming to the AL East and facing a slew of playoff teams/contenders (Yankees, Rays, Tigers, Orioles, etc) his numbers across the board actually improved - K/9 jumped to 10.3, HR/9 dropped to 0.4, and BB/9 only increased slightly but still well below his usual. It wouldn't surprise me if Happ flamed out, but at the same time, if his numbers continue in the direction they went in 2012, to borrow a phrase from AA, he may have another gear in him. Remains to be seen.

Ultimately, I think AA deserves a poor grade due to the pitching staff alone. That doesn't mean he is a bad GM, as his intentions may have been in the right place due to the situation Rogers has put him in, but that's just reality. You don't pencil in Cecil, McGowan, and Alvarez in the rotation without any back-up options. Good luck happens organically, you can't expect it to happen.

MatO - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 12:25 PM EDT (#264273) #

 But what part of it is a lie by Anthopoulos?

That would be the part where they said that Santos "too ready" and that's why he hadn't appeared in so long in a game if in fact he was nursing a injury instead.

Gerry - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 12:26 PM EDT (#264274) #

I said it yesterday in another thread but I believe there will be a lot of pressure on AA to deliver a winning, if not contending, team next season.  Beeston has promised playoffs and I assume he has sold Rogers on the plan.  Rogers have taken some of the flak that could have been directed at AA but that will change without a winning team.  Attendance has gone up this year and no-one wants it to go back down in 2013.  The Jays need a competitive team.

AA still has a good reputation with the media and the fans because he is a local boy made good and because of the success of some of his early deals, such as the Vernon Wells and Brett Lawrie trades.  But baseball is a game of what have you done for me lately and the answer to that is not much.  Magpie's "E" essentially says that in a grade, or should I say a vowel.  AA needs Lawrie to blossom into a league leading player, he also needs Colby Rasmus to show more than he has so far.  And he also needs to get over the stand-pat reputation he has from the last off-season. 

The bad scenario for AA is that he signs a couple of lower tier (cheaper) free agent pitchers and a couple of hitters.  They don't excite the fan base, they don't produce and Lawrie and Rasmus deliver the same value as they did this year, all while Travis Snider hits well in Pittsburgh. 

There are acknowleged holes in the Jays lineup.  AA needs to fill them with guys he can have strong confidence in, whether that be by trade or by free-agency.

Two years ago AA was the Ninja.  That verbiage has gone this season.  He needs to get back to being a Ninja before next season.

China fan - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 12:32 PM EDT (#264275) #
"....That would be the part where they said that Santos "too ready" and that's why he hadn't appeared in so long in a game if in fact he was nursing a injury instead...."

Of course it's possible that the Jays were lying. What I disagree with is your notion that Santos "wasn't ready" at the beginning of the season, but the Jays knowingly ignored it and allowed him to pitch anyway -- and with Blair's throwaway comment as the only source. I don't see any evidence that the Jays would recklessly endanger a prized asset like that.
Mike Green - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 12:32 PM EDT (#264276) #
Maybe it's just me, but if a pitcher tells management in spring training "my shoulder is a little sore", and management decides that it is no big deal and to give him some time off, I would rather that they tell the truth about that.  I just don't see  the strategic purpose for a lie.  I have no idea what actually happened with Santos, and I wonder in particular about what role Farrell and Walton played in making decisions about him. 
robertdudek - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 12:37 PM EDT (#264277) #

I'm just curious - do you ever NOT defend AA?

robertdudek - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 12:42 PM EDT (#264278) #
If he fails to achieve his goals in the upcoming off-season, I think we can all bash him mightily. Until then, I'm going to withhold judgment.

Just curious... What are his goals for the off-season? I'd like to know so that I can judge if he has met them or not.
greenfrog - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 12:48 PM EDT (#264279) #
I think there is a good chance the 2013-14 Jays look back on last off-season as a missed opportunity to add talent.

If the situation unfolds as Gerry anticipates, it will be reminiscent of the Ricciardi era. JP went cheap, cheap, cheap (as he was undoubtedly required to do) then made a desperate push to spend his way into contention, as overseen by Godfrey. Eventually the whole thing blew up and the Jays were left with a bad team and a bad farm system.

I agree with the early-era AA who said, "you can't force contention." Look at what happened with Boston towards the end of Epstein's tenure. It happened with Miami last off-season. It's not easy to buy a bunch of core players on the free agent market overnight, but lately Beeston and AA are making it sound like a piece of cake.
MatO - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 12:50 PM EDT (#264280) #
You seem to have skipped the part of the scenario where I say that Santos tells them he feels OK.  I'm not implicating management at that point.  What I do question is the explanation that Santos was too good or too ready and that's why he wasn't appearing in spring training games but then starts the season pitching like crap.
Mike Green - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 01:05 PM EDT (#264283) #
Of course, the decision to carry Omar Vizquel as the one backup infielder was clearly a Bad Decision. It might have been defensible in the spring, and some years it might not have even mattered. But this year it mattered, and it hurt the team. It's pretty clear now that Kelly Johnson probably needed to go on the DL for 3 weeks in mid season and get healthy. (Something else a lot of you guys were right about.) Doing that would have meant playing Vizquel fairly regularly, a task that quite obviously is far beyond his current capacities. Whether or not that was the reason, Johnson played - and played quite badly - through his injury.

I felt at the outset of the season that if one of the middle infielders was hurt, Hechavarria could be called up, and that if Rasmus was hurt, Gose could be called up and platooned with Davis, and that if Arencibia was hurt, d'Arnaud could be called up.  I considered that acceptable depth down the middle of the diamond. It may be that the organization did not see it that way (at least in regard to Hechavarria in May).  If that is so, the club has to acquire a player (who doesn't necessarily have to be in Toronto) who the club is comfortable with as a starting middle infielder for 3 weeks.  It's not an expensive proposition. 
John Northey - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 01:14 PM EDT (#264286) #
Gotta say, if you felt this year was bad for management I hate to imagine how nuts you'd have gone between 85 and 89. The Jimy Williams years were a whole world of horrid decisions. Cecil Fielder getting under 200 PA a year so older 1B/DH's who couldn't hit could play, Garth Iorg playing everyday with a 44 OPS+, duds like Joe Johnson starting, a young Stottlemyre starting regularly while getting lit up on a contender forcing John Cerutti (a decent end of rotation guy) in the pen along with David Wells (who would win 230 more games in the majors). Not to mention the non-stop drama between the manager and the guy who won the league MVP just to make room for a kid who couldn't hit. And don't get me started on the nightmare that was the Ash years.

AA has his issues, as does Farrell. But compared to Ash and Williams they are Branch Rickey and Walter Alston.
John Northey - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 01:16 PM EDT (#264287) #
The big issue with Vizquel is he was to be the vet who taught the kids the right way to play and instead he complained about the lack of leadership. That is like having the team's closer complain about 9th inning leads being lost when he is the one blowing them.
92-93 - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 01:39 PM EDT (#264289) #
I remember calling last year's off season a failure in January and being told it's still too early to judge it, because who knows what the ninja might have up his sleeve. Getting actual parameters from China Fan is impossible; he prefers to sit back and wait for people to say mostly true things about the state of the franchise and then nitpicks on the parts that may not be 100% factually correct. I commend his spinning ability, it's remarkable.

MG - It's reasonable to suggest the Jays had that player in Luis Valbuena and/or Mike McCoy. AA clearly decided that the intangibles were more important to the team than skill (I sure hope Vizquel wasn't kept because of talent) and it's fairly easy to assert, especially in light of the last week's press clippings, that the Vizquel decision was a horrible one. I was very happy to be attendance for Vizquel's swan song last night but if I were Farrell/AA I'd have seriously considered releasing him the day after he made the comments to the media. Omar wants leadership? Show it to him, since he clearly didn't bring it.

Magpie - I didn't like the Lind deal, but I've been pretty alone in being willing to criticize the extensions AA hands out like they're candy. Every time the team does one we hear about how comfortable AA was in giving the extension to that specific player, but when those guys turn out to show zero work ethic like Lind or incredible immaturity like Yunel it seems there's a lack of critics willing to take AA to task for locking himself in to contracts with them.
MatO - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 01:58 PM EDT (#264290) #

I've been critical of Cito in a lot of the things he does but I've always liked that he never pandered to the "we're going to go out there and be aggressive" type of nonsense you hear out there, particularly from newly appointed managers like Farrell.  Cito was more than happy to give good intelligent baserunners, like Alomar, Molitor, White and even Carter, free reign.  The rest of the guys weren't supposed do anything stupid.  I can't imagine he would have tolerated the stuff that went on this year from Davis, Rasmus, Encarnacion and Lawrie.

robertdudek - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 03:01 PM EDT (#264291) #
Gotta say, if you felt this year was bad for management I hate to imagine how nuts you'd have gone between 85 and 89.

Believe me - I was there - and there was plenty of howling. The difference was that there was much more talent on those teams.

But also, it seems to me that some of the newer GMs are at least familiar with contemporary ideas about the value of various players. Quite simply - the bar has been raised.
China fan - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 03:02 PM EDT (#264292) #
It's typical of a few people on this site that they prefer to personalize the attacks and toss around ad-hominens against anyone they disagree with. What's wrong with debating the facts and giving reasoned opinions? Why must people resort to attacking the person that they disagree with? I suppose it's because they're insecure about their own ability to defend their points. They prefer to attack the person, rather than debating the point.

As for parameters: I've laid them out very clearly in this thread. Anthopoulos announced last night what he intends to do. How could anyone be unclear on it? If he does it, good. If he fails, I'll be the first to criticize him.

As for criticism of Anthopoulos: I've done it often, even within this thread, and anyone who doesn't notice that is failing to pay attention. I criticized him in the last off-season for not acquiring enough pitching.

Personally I'd say AA deserves a C-minus or even a D for failing to acquire more pitchers last off-season. My point was that he doesn't deserve an E. But some people on this site won't be satisfied unless everyone is baying for AA's blood. Sorry.
ayjackson - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 03:38 PM EDT (#264294) #
I must agree with robertdudek that CF comes across as a significant AA apologist. I don't mean to disrespect, CF, but his impressions are the same as mine.
MatO - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 03:42 PM EDT (#264295) #

So AA gets a "fail" grade because he didn't build a contender in 3 years? I'd give a "fail" to the grader on that one.

So you accuse people of attacks yet that's the first thing you do in this thread?  Over what?  Splitting hairs between a D and an E?

Mike Green - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 03:53 PM EDT (#264296) #
MG - It's reasonable to suggest the Jays had that player in Luis Valbuena and/or Mike McCoy. AA clearly decided that the intangibles were more important to the team than skill (I sure hope Vizquel wasn't kept because of talent) and it's fairly easy to assert, especially in light of the last week's press clippings, that the Vizquel decision was a horrible one.

Probably not McCoy, because of his inability to play shortstop adequately.  I didn't mind the decision to sign Vizquel; it was the failure to have anyone else in Las Vegas or New Hampshire who the organization was prepared to call on, that was the problem for me.  Either way you slice it, I agree that the handling of the backup middle infielder role was poorly handled. 
China fan - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 04:24 PM EDT (#264297) #
".... Splitting hairs between a D and an E...."

Am I splitting hairs, or am I an apologist? People can't seem to decide which it is. If I'm just "splitting hairs" over a poor mark for Anthopoulos, then I'm obviously not an apologist for the guy.

Surely it's possible to disagree on AA's positives and negatives without being called an apologist. My position is that AA didn't "fail" in 2012 -- but there are legitimate grounds for criticism of his record. Am I not allowed to express this reasonable viewpoint here? If someone says that AA hasn't failed, does he become an "apologist" for the guy?

And yes, I used the word "fail" to disagree with Magpie's grading of Anthopoulos. But please note that I didn't make any sweeping generalizations about his tendencies or biases. I criticized his conclusion about AA, but not his character, and I didn't accuse him of being "slippery" or whatever.
MatO - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 04:38 PM EDT (#264298) #
You see I'm confused.  First you go apoplectic when anyone criticiizes AA and then you give him a D.
Dewey - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 04:45 PM EDT (#264299) #
What's wrong with debating the facts and giving reasoned opinions?

So, CF, how do you feel about shunning?

I am one of a few bauxites currently being shunned (or “ignored” in CF’s euphemism) by at least three prominent bauxites,  including CF himself.  I have even addressed them directly in posts over the past several months, but got no response to any queries or comments.  CF has actually advised bauxites to adopt this policy (#262898) #) with regard to Richard S.S.,  whose comments "annoy" him.  I can't believe people actually do this, let alone advise others to do so.  I find the practice to be fundamentally anti-social, among other things . . . anti-human,  if you think man is a social animal.  It’s a mode of intolerance, not unrelated to censorship.  An effort to gradually silence the “ignored” party.  It's uncivilized, disrespectful,  even cowardly to some degree.  Would you sit in a room with other people and consciously refuse to speak to, or even acknowledge the presence of,  someone else in the room who had spoken, perhaps directly to you?  If you disagree with a post ("ignorant opinions"  (#261526) #,  say why.  (And don't use the 'don't feed the trolls' argument:  there are no trolls here.)

I have had collisions from time to time with fellow posters.  That’s life.  They may not have liked something I said perhaps, or the way in which I said it; but I’ve still managed to co-exist with them and even to respond to them occasionally.  (Tamra and I,  for example, had a very heated spat long ago; but she has seen fit to ‘speak’ to me subsequently on Da Box.   I admire that.)  Have opinions here become so polarized that bauxites cannot even acknowledge the presence of  those with whom they disagree or who "annoy" them?  It reminds me of contemporary politics in much of our world.  So are we bauxites now  a zero-tolerance group, too?  When otherwise intelligent people are willing to adopt such a practice as this, it’s very sad.  And very wrong.  More than a little scary, too.

Dave Till - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 04:46 PM EDT (#264300) #
Want to see something interesting? Compare the stats for Player A and Player B below.

Player A:  .253 AVG, .300 OBP, .344 SLG
Player B: .254 AVG, .280 OBP, .365 SLG

Player A is Yunel Escobar, and Player B is Adeiny Hechavarria. The future may very well be now.

Of course, Escobar is hitting a bit below his career norm, and Hechavarria's numbers are a smaller sample size - plus, opposing pitchers haven't seen him enough to attack his weaknesses. And Yunel wouldn't command much in a trade, as his eyeblack incident and his problems in Atlanta make him seem like more of a problem than he actually is. But I wouldn't mind seeing Hechavarria at shortstop. Forcing him to play second is a bit like asking Glenn Gould to play "Chopsticks".

And I want to see Anthony Gose win an outfield job just because he's so much fun to watch on the bases. He's not only fast but disruptive. Baseball is supposed to be fun to watch, dontcha know.

MatO - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 04:50 PM EDT (#264301) #
AA was on the FAN last night and said that Farrell would be back.
MatO - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 05:01 PM EDT (#264302) #


If you haven't noticed, CF's comments quite often annoy me.  Richard's comments annoy me as well but on numerous occasions he's added pointless insults to the discussion.  That's the difference for me.

China fan - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 05:02 PM EDT (#264303) #
Dewey, I would never shun you. You asked me a question once, about the source of some Beeston quotes, and I fully intended to answer, but I wasn't on the Internet for a couple of days because of foreign travel. That's the only reason that I didn't respond to your question. (By the time I was back on the Internet, the thread had moved far on, to many other questions, and I didn't think it was helpful to go back to old questions.)

If you were offended by my failure to answer your question, I apologize. I certainly wasn't "shunning" you -- I was simply not on the Internet for a couple of days.
Mike Green - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 05:05 PM EDT (#264304) #
Really?  Farrell's delivery seems strained and the velo isn't there, and you know what that means!
China fan - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 05:07 PM EDT (#264305) #
And please, Dewey, don't misinterpret my earlier comment about Richard. I wasn't advocating "shunning" of anyone -- I was just saying that it's sometimes better to ignore than to argue. Sometimes I wish I could follow that advice myself!

Personally I like the spirited and vigorous debate on Batters Box. Inevitably some of us will be annoyed by others. That's completely normal in the course of any debate, I think.
Ryan Day - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 05:16 PM EDT (#264306) #
And I want to see Anthony Gose win an outfield job just because he's so much fun to watch on the bases. He's not only fast but disruptive. Baseball is supposed to be fun to watch, dontcha know.

Gose definitely has the talent to be one of the most exciting players in the league. But he also might be prone to spending several weeks at a time flailing wildly at breaking balls, which is less fun.

I'd like to see Gose to to Buffalo for at least half a season, make sure he has his swing under control, and post some star-prospect type numbers that demand the team call him up.
Richard S.S. - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 05:16 PM EDT (#264307) #

Santos was MLB game ready at the start of Spring Training or very close to it.   I firmly believe his delivery, coupled with his overwork in the offseason, caused his injury.   And this injury, caused the Season from Hell.   The initial Bullpen problems caused extra pressure for the rest of the Team (overachieving / trying to be perfect).

If you remember back to Spring Training and its amazing result, the Starting 25 wasn't any better then, than it was in April, May and June.   The kids who didn't make the 25 did much of the damage to the opponents.   I think the Team noticed, and tried too much.

The way things avalanched, A.A. didn't have a chance.   Of course he's not going to admit that not acquiring Darvish or Gonzales was a mistake.  Oh well, can't have everything.


Thomas - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 07:33 PM EDT (#264308) #

That is like having the team's closer complain about 9th inning leads being lost when he is the one blowing them.


Not really, IMO. There's only one 9th-inning lead to blow. If you believe in leadership, it's very reasonable to think a 25-man roster filled with players who are tasked with performing a variety of different roles needs several leaders, both in relation to players who play different positions or have different job roles, but also who can assume leadership opportunities at different times. It is possible that Vizquel could have played a leadership role, but recognized that others needed to, as well, and that there were particular other areas where leadership was lacking. Not that I think that that's necessarily the case, but just because one makes a comment about a lack of leadership doesn't exclude the possibility they were trying to be a leader or filling that role at some point.

ayjackson - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 07:38 PM EDT (#264309) #
Sometimes it IS better to ignore than to argue...take my wife...please.
greenfrog - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 08:49 PM EDT (#264310) #
BA has posted a preliminary listing of the 2013 draft order. Among the teams with extra "competitive balance" picks: Baltimore, Cincinnati, Detroit, Oakland...what a ridiculous system.
John Northey - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 09:38 PM EDT (#264312) #
It depends how the competitive balance is supposed to work. The name suggests it should just go to the worst teams each year, but there have been years when teams with cash up the wazoo are near the bottom (cough...Boston...).

The markets that had a shot were the 10 smallest markets and the 10 lowest revenue teams. Lots of cross-over so just 13 teams were in the draft for the 6 picks. The teams for that are the D-backs, Orioles, Cleveland, Royals, A's, Pirates, Padres, Rays, Reds, Rockies, Marlins, Brewers and Cardinals. Not much question that the A's & Rays are very low revenue as both have serious long term attendance problems. Then there was a second lottery for the losers of the first plus teams that received revenue sharing which added just the Tigers (bet other teams love that - a club that outspends many getting revenue sharing). Winners of the first lottery get old style 'sandwich' picks between rounds 1 and 2. Winners of round 2 get picks between rounds 2 and 3.

Of the 13 teams who had a shot, 12 got picks. The loser was the Tampa Bay Rays.

The good thing is this won't reward cheapskate teams who have high revenue/markets, or punish a team for being successful despite being in a terrible market (Rays) unless they get unlucky like the Rays did in the lottery.
Chuck - Thursday, October 04 2012 @ 11:43 PM EDT (#264313) #
A trade idea. Not sure even what I think of it. Escobar for Niemann. Hard to know what either will provide in 2013, and it may be a case of selling Escobar low. But the team needs starting pitching and does have a shortstop in reserve. And starting pitchers will not be falling out of trees.
Richard S.S. - Friday, October 05 2012 @ 01:40 AM EDT (#264314) #
It's possible that this early in Brett Lawrie's career he's un-teachable.   I realized this was probable when Lawrie told reporters (after doing something stupid) "I don't make mistakes".   Considering where he hit in the lineup, he made too many third outs at 3B.   He needs to learn how not to make the mistakes he does make.   He also has to figure out how to be effective while playing more than 125 games.   Or become teachable, or be sent down. 
greenfrog - Friday, October 05 2012 @ 09:09 AM EDT (#264316) #
I'm just trying to get my head around how a team that spends $214M on a free agent in 2012, and whose payroll has ranged from $107M to $138M in each of the last five years, is in need of a "competitive balance" pick in 2013.
Mike Green - Friday, October 05 2012 @ 09:37 AM EDT (#264317) #
Niemann went to see Dr. Andrews about his shoulder after his Sep 1 outing here, and didn't pitch afterwards.  He apparently doesn't need surgery.  He's 2nd year arb eligible.

I'd certainly be interested in him, but you probably could get him for less than Escobar.

Chuck - Friday, October 05 2012 @ 10:21 AM EDT (#264318) #
I wasn't aware of the visit to Dr. Andrews. That certainly changes things.
hypobole - Friday, October 05 2012 @ 11:02 AM EDT (#264319) #
While guys like Neimann, Marcum and McCarthy are decent starters, shouldn't the Jays target guys with a bit more history of health?

Detroit got a bit of revenue sharing money and are not one of the top 15 markets in MLB. They just happen to have an owner who is willing to spend a ton of his money so he can see a winner before he demises.
ayjackson - Friday, October 05 2012 @ 11:05 AM EDT (#264320) #
Marcum should provide excellent value up until the last few weeks of August, at which point Marcum Jr (Hutch) should need some innings.

I say this tongue-in-cheek, of course.

In all seriousness, if Marcum or McCarthy was the second pitcher added in the offseason, it could be palatable.
zeppelinkm - Friday, October 05 2012 @ 11:19 AM EDT (#264321) #
If i'm looking at Brandon McCarthy i'm evaluating him on his road splits over the last 2 years (since he "emerged").

3.99 ERA with a 6.2 K/9 in 85 innings in 2011, and a 3.66 ERA with a 5.7 K/9 in 2012. Certainly a valuable guy if you can keep him on the bump, but not as appealing as his final 3.32 and 3.24 ERA's over the last 2 years would make him if he pitched all year in a more neutral environment.  Also an injury concern. Hmm.

greenfrog - Friday, October 05 2012 @ 11:20 AM EDT (#264322) #
McCarthy is recovering from a brain injury. He might well turn out to be fine, but he's by no means a sure thing (and psychologically how is he going to respond to being back on the mound?).

I've always liked Marcum, but I predict that he's going to go into decline over the next few years. Too much injury/durability risk, unless you can sign him to a one-year deal. Even last year he ran out of fuel in the playoffs.
SK in NJ - Friday, October 05 2012 @ 12:24 PM EDT (#264323) #

Any chance the Rays decline the $9M team option on James Shields this coming year? He is a workhorse with a proven record of success in the AL East. His team options are very reasonable ($9M in 2013 and $12M in 2014), but the Rays can't always afford to keep good players. He would look great in the Jays rotation and provide some much needed stability/innings. Not sure the Rays let him go in 2013 though. That 2014 option on the other hand is a bit more expensive, so maybe then.

greenfrog - Friday, October 05 2012 @ 12:36 PM EDT (#264324) #
I don't see it - Shields is too valuable (if only as a trade chip).
Chuck - Friday, October 05 2012 @ 12:38 PM EDT (#264325) #

Any chance the Rays decline the $9M team option on James Shields this coming year?

I'd think that even if TB were to cheap out even further and consider Shields too expensive (which he ain't), they'd pick up his option if only to trade him.

AWeb - Friday, October 05 2012 @ 12:51 PM EDT (#264328) #

Most of the grades seem fine to me, although I think the coaching staff members need grades - pitching - F. Hitting coach - C- (EE bonus to get there).

I'm just taking a look through the basic stats on BBref for the AL this year and looking to see where Toronto as a team ranked:

Runs - 7th, slightly below average (4.42 vs. 4.45). So Toronto Scored runs. But how? OPS+ - 13th! Ahead of Seattle, but not by much.

Hits 11th, 2B - 12th, 3B- 11th, HR - 5th, SB - 5th CS - 5th, BB - 9th, SO - 5th (most). Frankly, Toronto was lucky on offense this year - the "clutch" hitting was actually good, especially compared to the steaming pile of the rest of the hitting.

Runs given up - 11th, tied with Boston for 11th in ERA+. What went wrong? Well, the most obvious things are sometimes true - Toronto walked too many, last in the league. They combined this with being near the bottom in strikeouts. And last in the league in giving up HRs.

Toronto hitters - they show power, but don't get the walks to go with it that are necessary to make power more useful, unless you were to get BA instead. They also don't get BA, of course. Lucky to be this good, which was true early in the year when they were among the top scoring teams - a full-strength lineup as used by Farrell this year should be a bit above average with average luck.

Toronto pitchers - sucked at the most important things pitchers can do (K, BB, HR). It's kind of amazing they gave up the most walks and HRS and weren't the worst in RA. IT was hardly a hit prevention focused group either. Nothing suggests unlucky results with this crew. Need a new crew...and a new captain. And a new whatever-the-nautical-analogy-for-the-minor-league-approach-is.

Or how using single players to represent the team-wide performance. On offense, it's probably Adam Lind, who I am coming to acssociate with massive failure mixed with occasional teasing promise, so that applies pretty well. Pitching, peripheral-wise, it's probably Brett Cecil. Or Drew Hutchison, to match up ERA numbers instead.

If this wasn't the Season from Hell, it was the Season from Heck instead. AA shouldn't hesistate to trade anyone, coaching staff included if Boston is willing to, for some reason, give Toronto something for Farrell.

SK in NJ - Friday, October 05 2012 @ 12:52 PM EDT (#264329) #

Yeah, I figured even the Rays wouldn't be cheap enough to decline his options. I'm trying to find any SP options that would be appealing to me and I'm drawing a blank here. The mid-tier guys are probably going to get overpaid (Sanchez, Marcum, etc) so I'm not expecting anything to happen there.

Man, the Jays really should have gotten Darvish last year.......

Thomas - Friday, October 05 2012 @ 01:08 PM EDT (#264331) #
I'm a bit surprised the team cut ties with Laffey so quickly.
Chuck - Friday, October 05 2012 @ 01:33 PM EDT (#264334) #

The mid-tier guys are probably going to get overpaid

Not taking a shot here, but I have heard the term overpaid quite a bit recently. If many teams are willing to overpay, perhaps what they are really doing is establishing a new market value. It only seems like an overpay based on the previous market value.

SK in NJ - Friday, October 05 2012 @ 01:47 PM EDT (#264335) #

Not taking a shot here, but I have heard the term overpaid quite a bit recently. If many teams are willing to overpay, perhaps what they are really doing is establishing a new market value. It only seems like an overpay based on the previous market value.

I meant overpaid relative to what the Jays would probably offer.

The market changes year to year. It all depends on demand. I just want the Jays to add good talent. I personally don't care about the cost, but the Jays organization obviously does.

vw_fan17 - Friday, October 05 2012 @ 02:22 PM EDT (#264336) #
I'm a bit surprised the team cut ties with Laffey so quickly.

Me too. Although, perhaps it's just as a way of re-signing him later while having the roster spots free right now? I believe the Jays have a few injured players that need roster spots now that the regular season is over.. (of course, I could be way wrong on this - don't follow the intricacies of roster spots, DL, etc all that often)
JohnL - Friday, October 05 2012 @ 03:29 PM EDT (#264338) #
AA was on the FAN last night and said that Farrell would be back.

I heard him too (Wed night). I was listening closely to see how he worded things when asked if Farrell would definitely be back, and  I think his words fell short of "definite". To me, he sounded careful about how he said things (beyond just the unexpected happening). I think the door was not closed..
ayjackson - Friday, October 05 2012 @ 05:40 PM EDT (#264341) #
Speculation is the Angels will pay $3.5m to Haren to buy out his final year. I wonder if it would be worth throwing a distant prospect at the Angels and picking up the option. Maybe extending him during the season next year if he's pitching well, or maybe just as a one-year stop gap for the bleeding rotation. (As well as trading for a younger starter.)

katman - Friday, October 05 2012 @ 07:53 PM EDT (#264342) #
One quarrel with the ratings. If this sentence is true, you can't give Mathis a D+ even as a regular catcher, let alone as a backup:

"But just because you can't explain why something happens doesn't mean it's not happening. Half a run a game is a huge freaking deal. On offense, that would be roughly the same as the difference between the 2012 versions of Edwin Encarnacion and Yunel Escobar."

As a backup, I give him a B. His exposure as a regular would have made it a C-, but Magpie's sentence makes a compelling case for a much better rating.

John Northey - Friday, October 05 2012 @ 07:55 PM EDT (#264343) #
I don't see the Jays (or anyone) paying Haren $15.5 mil, or $12 mil (the spread between his option and the buyout) when he had an 87 ERA+ last year.

On the other hand... his K/9 was in eyeshot of his career mark (7.2 vs 7.6) while his BB/9 was dead on at 1.9. The killer was HR/9 going up to 1.4 from 0.8 the past year. FanGraphs which doesn't use ERA but instead the components like K/9, BB/9, etc. has his season worth $7.9 mil after a $27.6 the year before, his 4th over $20 mil and 7th straight worth $13.5 or more before this year.

If LA covers the buyout, and if the Jays scouts feel the HR rate was a fluke then he could easily be worth $12 mil+ next year. Maybe see if they'll take Lind's contract in exchange, so the net cost is about $10 mil (no cash changing hands). A guy who has #2 stuff and even #1 ability (if you take FanGraphs numbers) is tempting. It all depends on assumptions and what scouts see his future as.
AWeb - Saturday, October 06 2012 @ 06:53 AM EDT (#264346) #
Haren has lost 2-3 mph off his fastball in the past few  years, as well as the rest of his pitches. He's also mostly stopped throwing his curveball. If the Jays want him, the scouts better be damn sure that he can get his velocity back, or find some compelling reason why he'll be one of the rare pitchers to still be above average after losing their zip. According to the velocity charts at fangraphs (, he didn't have his old velocity at any point this year. Haren might be good to take a chance on, but he's not a good plan A.

Since the Boston-Farrell story continues to pop up, is there anyone on Boston they might give up that might be useful?
Cynicalguy - Saturday, October 06 2012 @ 10:52 AM EDT (#264348) #
"Drew Hutchison C- (Box grade: C+) Pitched far better than anyone had a right to expect, and suffered a serious injury in the process. I just don't see how you can put a 21 year old kid with exactly 31.2 IP above A ball in your rotation and not expect something bad to happen."
As opposed to all the babying of Drabek's arm and the "correct" progression they did. Hutch was starting to be at least adequate at the MLB level, there's no point keeping him down when the big club needed arms.
Magpie - Saturday, October 06 2012 @ 02:20 PM EDT (#264350) #
You can certainly argue against my view that putting 21 year old kids into a major league rotation leads to Bad Things Happening. But if Drew Hutchison is the guy... it's an argument I'm gonna win.

I share the general concern about Dan Haren, but there's one thing that does intrigue me. While all of the Angels' pitchers produced better results with Jeff Mathis, Haren seemed to be the one who benefited most (2.41 ERA in 216 IP with Mathis.) Which makes me think about kicking the tires there.
Mike Green - Saturday, October 06 2012 @ 02:48 PM EDT (#264351) #
I'd definitely kick the tires on Haren.  He pitched pretty well until June, struggled in June and in his first start in July, went on the DL with back problems and missed 3 weeks, then came back and pitched pretty well from the end of July on.  If the Angels kicked in $2 million and the Jays sent a low-level prospect, it would be a win-win. 

Now, do I think Rogers is prepared to spend $13 million for what would likely be a decent year from Haren?  No. 

China fan - Saturday, October 06 2012 @ 03:06 PM EDT (#264353) #
"....You can certainly argue against my view that putting 21 year old kids into a major league rotation leads to Bad Things Happening. But if Drew Hutchison is the guy... it's an argument I'm gonna win...."

I really am baffled by this argument, and I'm struggling to understand it. Are you saying that some 21-year-olds can pitch in the majors, but others cannot? Some 21-year-olds such as Hutchison are statistically more likely to suffer an injury, while others are not? Was Hutchison uniquely prone to injuries in the event of promotions, and the Jays should have known that? Are you saying that he could never have suffered an arm injury at the AA level, because 21-year-olds rarely get injuries at the AA level, but only at the major-league level? Please explain.

I've never seen data to support the argument that promoting a pitcher to the majors is likely to lead to arm injuries. If there is such data, could Magpie share it with us?
greenfrog - Saturday, October 06 2012 @ 04:13 PM EDT (#264357) #
I have no evidence to back me up on this, but I thought Hutch might have been hurt trying to dial it up a notch after it became apparent that big-leaguers could hit his 89-91 FB. He started throwing a bit harder, with success, but then went down with an arm injury.
Magpie - Saturday, October 06 2012 @ 04:15 PM EDT (#264358) #
Are you saying that some 21-year-olds can pitch in the majors, but others cannot?

To be precise, I'm saying that 21 year olds who can pitch in the majors without getting hammered or hurt or both are about as common as Felix Hernandez.
Magpie - Saturday, October 06 2012 @ 04:24 PM EDT (#264359) #
Pitching is bad for you, period. But the real dangerous years seem to be those between 18 and 23 or 24, when the body is still developing and changing. (Not that that's why. Who the hell knows?) But the reason college pitchers are a much safer pick than high school pitchers (a notoriously risky way to spend a first round pick) isn't because they have more upside. It's simply because they've run that gauntlet, and they're still standing. And running that gauntlet in the major leagues, it seems to me, is simply looking for trouble.

A life lesson! I've found that when you look for trouble, trouble gets in touch with you.
Magpie - Saturday, October 06 2012 @ 04:38 PM EDT (#264360) #
Incidentally: when Mathis was signed, Mike Forbes bravely bet "anyone here" that Mathis would hit .200 with a .250 OBP. Thomas gently noted that Mathis had achieved that exactly twice in his major league career. Who wins this argument?

Thomas. By the hair on his chinny-chin-chin. Mathis hit .218 with a .249 OBP.
John Northey - Saturday, October 06 2012 @ 05:17 PM EDT (#264362) #
I'd love to find the article, but it was years ago. It was about pitching injuries and age and showed no real difference based on time in the minors or lack thereof. Basically the conclusion was once a pitcher is able to get ML hitters out get him up here because you only have so many pitches in a kids arm and you don't want to waste any more than you have to in the minors.

Famous example is Dwight Gooden. Up at 19, led league in innings at 20 having one of the best seasons ever, 250 innings the next year, missed about 8 starts the next, 248 the next... over his first 10 seasons he averaged 30 starts/213 IP with a 118 ERA+. He was a disappointment mainly due to not repeating his historic age 20 season. His 11th season major injuries and a lost year after then never healthy & effective at the same time. But it wasn't injuries due to arm issues as much as drug use that killed his career. Here is a kid whose arm was super-abused at a young age yet he was a solid ML starter for a decade.

The 80's saw a lot of these - guys who were abused early (Stieb, Saberhagen, Clemens, off the top of my head) yet were effective for years with injuries no more often or worse than we see with kids today who are babied.

The key thing seems to be pitching when tired. Once the arm motion switches from standard to off slightly then injuries occur. Silly thing is the machines now can track movement via release point/velocity/location/etc. so that should be easy for teams to know and help avoid the spat of injuries that we saw.
eudaimon - Saturday, October 06 2012 @ 06:42 PM EDT (#264364) #
A few things:

1. @ John: I'd like to see that article too. I found this one ( about how young pitchers are more likely to get injured as the body is still maturing and all that. I tend to think that Hutchison's injury is less about his being in the majors and more about being within the "injury nexus."

2. I was thinking about Alvarez too, and feel that his D- is a bit harsh. He wasn't particularly good for a stretch there, but he finished strong with good outings against the Yankees and a nice bump in his K-rate. As well, even with all his struggles he still ended up with a line that I think is acceptable for a #4 or #5 guy in the rotation.

Fangraphs did a little article about his start against the Yankees where he struck out 7, and found that he made some adjustments that seemed to lead to his increased success (

In the end, I think he did pretty well. For a 22 year old kid to put up decent end of rotation numbers in his first year of full-time starting in the majors is pretty good. He seemed to do well mentally too, having managed to pull things together at the end of the year despite a pretty rough stretch. I think he's on track, and I'm not sure he needs to develop a new pitch to be successful.

3. As for AA, I do agree that the rating seems a bit harsh. Not too harsh though. I do think that he could have done better with the bench and the starting rotation going in to the season. Relying on McGowan and such is indeed a recipe for disaster.

However, I think, while AA may have thought that the team could compete, he wasn't really planning the team in that way. If the team got really lucky (like the Orioles or 2002 Angels) and won a lot of 1-run games and had a lot of contributions from unexpected sources, we could have competed. If we didn't have so many injuries we could have competed. We could have at least made it look good. Realistically though, things went quite unluckily on both fronts. Lots of important injuries, and a lot of players unexpectedly underperformed (see: Ricky Romero).

I think this team was realistically 60 games from Bautista, a decent season from Romero, and maybe a true break-out from Lawrie away from at least making things look good. I don't know if anyone remember, but we were actually competing there for a while and playing exciting baseball. In the middle of July we were two games out of the wildcard. That's not bad, and in that position you only really need a good hot-streak to be in a good position for the wildcard. The season got ugly after Bautista went down, and various injuries and disappointing performances let to a lot of losing.

As for the trades: maybe someone will call me a "fan boy," but I liked them all. Delabar for Thames I think was phenomenal. Delabar has been exciting to watch, and he's got a lot of years of control left.

Snider for Lincoln I think was good too, if not quite as good. I think Lincoln is going to be a pretty good reliever. This was his first year relieving, and he was pretty damn good. He had a couple of bad games in one 3 day stretch that makes his numbers with us look bad, but I think his upside is pretty good. I agree that relievers do grow on trees to some extent, but excellent relievers don't, and I think Lincoln has the potential to be quite good. Snider, on the other hand might be good, perhaps great, but I find his injury history troubling (and his very high strikeout rate). We'll see how it goes. The thing with this sort of trade is that it can come and bite you in the ass. But, you need to make these trades sometimes and be willing to make a mistake. I think though, going in, AA has a good chance to end up the "winner." Lincoln also has more years of control left, which is a bonus.

I liked the Happ trade too. He showed some skills here, and we'll see how it goes. It was a lot of prospects, but that's part of the risk too. None of them are "sure things," that's for sure.

Anyways, I'd give him a C. He should have done better with the bench and rotation, but otherwise I like his direction. I think he's learned something too: that the "overpay" is sometimes necessary to make that big step. He had (understandable) misgivings about handing out contracts to Darvish (who costs 20 million / year and, despite a great finish ended up with close to a 4 ERA) and Fielder (who's weight will quite possibly make him quite a payroll burden sometime into his 9 year contract). However, in MLB as it is today you have to take chances on these big contracts and leave the rest up to fate. Judging by what he's said recently he's realized this and is poised to make a splash this offseason.

scottt - Saturday, October 06 2012 @ 10:38 PM EDT (#264369) #
AA made some bad moves in the off-season. Cordero and Vizquel were never likely to put up great numbers. Francisco was installed as the 5th outfielder while there was no backup in the infield. The season started with less than 5 pitchers in the rotation.

I'd rather ignore the midseason moves because those were not made for 2012.

Overall, it was pretty bad, and there's no C in bad.
eudaimon - Sunday, October 07 2012 @ 12:14 AM EDT (#264373) #
Not sure I agree that the midseason trades don't count. They were made in 2012, and I figure it's a year in review thing, not necessarily a "moves made for this season" thing.

I lump Ben Francisco in with the "mediocre bench management." I agree that Coco wasn't a particularly good choice. I think Vizquel was signed more as a mentor than anything. People seem to think his recent speaking out indicated that he wasn't at all a leader, but I tend to think that there's only so much you can do when you don't actually have the power to enforce penalties.
hypobole - Sunday, October 07 2012 @ 01:50 AM EDT (#264375) #
Bob Engle, best known for drafting and/or signing 4 Cy Young winners (Pat Hentgen, Chris Carpenter, Roy Halladay and Felix Hernandez) has parted ways with the Mariners. Probably interconnected is the Mariners subsequent firing of Patrick Guerrero, son of Epy (you can guess who his dad named him after).
Richard S.S. - Sunday, October 07 2012 @ 03:56 AM EDT (#264378) #
I've been reading all the A.A. articles and listening whenever he spoke. I believe he had a budget of approx. $85.0 MM last year and had to ask for any more that was needed. As a result on that, I think his hands were tied in any Darvish bidding, and wouldn't have made any offer to Fielder. This year he's got approx. $100.00 MM in the budget. On again not enough. If A.A. could sign Greinke and trade for another of his caliber, he' d have less trouble filling the roster.
bpoz - Sunday, October 07 2012 @ 10:12 AM EDT (#264380) #
Just to be clear. AA has stated that the SP has to be addressed. I believe that he has said that something MUST be done as opposed to he is looking into it. He has also said that other areas could be improved if something became available.

I think it was August when he said that the offense & pen were fine.

This is just so I know what to follow most closely as the off season talking starts in a few weeks. I would like anything good but would accept another Happ. Nothing against Happ but I see him as someone that I rank between something, then Happ and then Laffey. Again nothing against Laffey but I would not count that type of signing as addressing the SP.
joeblow - Sunday, October 07 2012 @ 01:29 PM EDT (#264386) #
Very well though out final report card.

AA gets a fail for being cheap. Not cheap as in failing to sign $20m/y players. Cheap as in signing a bunch of $2m to $4m bench and bullpen players and expecting to find gold. If you're going to go cheap, shop at Walmart, not Dollarama. At least you don't get some piece of crap that breaks the first time you use it.

The catcher debate is always interesting. The article that praised Jose Molina blew me away because, watching him, he looks like a really poor defensive catcher at times. But he can frame a pitch and seemingly get the umpire on his side. JPA is becoming a decent defensive catcher but it's hard to tell if he is progressing as a game caller and handler of the pitching staff. As for hitting, anything they do with a bat is bonus.
Cynicalguy - Sunday, October 07 2012 @ 02:12 PM EDT (#264388) #
In terms of pitchers and injuries...there's been a lot of babying of the arms in the last 10 years...has this led to any dramatic or significant reduction in young pitchers or pitchers in general getting hurt...I'll be real curious to know any statistics on this...because anecdotally it seems there's more injuries compared to say the 80's and early 90's...when you saw a lot of so called "abusing of the arms" with 5 man bullpens and no one getting alarmed when the starting pitcher hit a 100 pitches...except for Cito and Galen Cisco.

As for AA...last offseason I don't think any of the big free would be seen as a good investment in a couple of Fielder, Darvish or even Pujols. I know how excited everyone was when we first signed Wells in 2006...even though everyone denies it now. It takes patience to build a longterm winner and sometimes the trades you don't make or free agents you don't sign are the best decisions for the longterm.
Magpie - Sunday, October 07 2012 @ 07:30 PM EDT (#264393) #
anecdotally it seems there's more injuries compared to say the 80's and early 90's

I think what happens is that we simply forget the careers that never got off the ground and the ones who were broken before they even made it to the majors. We might remember an obvious case of abuse, like Mark Fidrych. But everyone who wasn't a Jays fan at the time has completely forgotten Jerry Garvin.
AWeb - Sunday, October 07 2012 @ 11:06 PM EDT (#264397) #
Pitchers are throwing way harder (2-3 mph?) than they used to, or at least it seems that way. Perhaps it's just a new generation of radar guns, but I think pitchers are trading off the advances in health and injury control that have been made for an extra few mph of effort while pitching. It's netting out about the same for injuries though.
Richard S.S. - Monday, October 08 2012 @ 03:48 AM EDT (#264400) #
By any definition of a Number One Starter, Roy Halladay was ours. At any one time there are probably only 6-8 in all of Baseball. Brandon Morrow might be almost that good, possibly a very good Two, borderline One. Of everyone else who has pitched for the Blue Jays, no one else is that good - no one. Henderson Alvarez might become that good, in time (2+years). In time (3-4 years), we might have one come up from the minors. This Team needs at least one more like Roy or like Brandon. Greinke is the only one of that caliber available in Free Agency, but I can't say that about Trades. One thing I've noticed is that they're relatively durable, seldom any arm / elbow / shoulder injuries. Now, why is that?

I believe A.A. must acquire a pitcher of that caliber, 3-6+ years in Team control. Just look at durability before making a move. Any 2nd acquisition should be good enough to religate Romero to be the 4th Starter, if we're going to make the postseason. Durability would be needed here too.
Cynicalguy - Monday, October 08 2012 @ 02:48 PM EDT (#264402) #
"I think what happens is that we simply forget the careers that never got off the ground and the ones who were broken before they even made it to the majors. We might remember an obvious case of abuse, like Mark Fidrych. But everyone who wasn't a Jays fan at the time has completely forgotten Jerry Garvin."

People would remember if 3 of their starters get injured in 4 starts with two of them requiring Tommy John surgery.

As for true aces rarely getting injured, maybe the fact they pitch more innnings than most other pitchers has something to do with their durability. Maybe letting pitchers throw more pitches will lead to less injury...crazy thought I know.
Magpie - Monday, October 08 2012 @ 05:55 PM EDT (#264404) #
People would remember if 3 of their starters get injured in 4 starts with two of them requiring Tommy John surgery.

I'm not sure about that. I think they wouldn't remember - I think they might not even notice - unless it was their team. I know I've only noticed other teams losing four of their five starters at once when I had a particular reason to be paying attention to that team. Maybe that's just me.
hypobole - Monday, October 08 2012 @ 07:06 PM EDT (#264405) #
It's not that "true aces" don't get injured as often, it's because these pitchers don't get injured that they become true aces. Pitchers with equal or better skillsets who do get injured no longer are thought of when people mention "true aces". Just recently Hanson, Johnson and Wainright off the top of my head. Mark Prior and Kerry Wood had as much "true ace" potential as anyone in their heyday.

As far as the Jays injuries, Drabek last year was noted as one of 3 young MLB pitchers primed for a TJ due to his arm lag. When he struggled with his control, I had an e-mail exchange with Marc Hulet in which I asked him if his struggles were because the Jays coaches had tried to change his mechanics to remove his delivery flaw. Marc replied that most baseball people really didn't buy into the arm lag study, which seemed to imply that changing his delivery to remove his arm lag wasn't the cause of Drabek's command issues.

I mentioned a while ago about Rick Peterson sending 40 O's pitchers to James Andrew's Clinic for precise measurements to aid the club in refining their deliveries. All I got was more or less an ad hominem rebuttal (his dumb "Zambrano in 15" remark from years ago). The Jays org can muddle along as they've always done with some years of pitching health interspersed with a rash a major injuries every few years.
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, October 10 2012 @ 06:25 PM EDT (#264430) #
Jesse Litsch is a Free Agent .
uglyone - Thursday, October 11 2012 @ 06:12 PM EDT (#264451) #

"By any definition of a Number One Starter, Roy Halladay was ours. At any one time there are probably only 6-8 in all of Baseball. Brandon Morrow might be almost that good, possibly a very good Two, borderline One. Of everyone else who has pitched for the Blue Jays, no one else is that good - no one. Henderson Alvarez might become that good, in time (2+years). In time (3-4 years), we might have one come up from the minors. This Team needs at least one more like Roy or like Brandon. Greinke is the only one of that caliber available in Free Agency, but I can't say that about Trades. One thing I've noticed is that they're relatively durable, seldom any arm / elbow / shoulder injuries. Now, why is that?"

seems like you're setting the bar for #1 Starter at "perennial Cy Young candidate", which is probably a bit high.

"I believe A.A. must acquire a pitcher of that caliber, 3-6+ years in Team control. Just look at durability before making a move. Any 2nd acquisition should be good enough to religate Romero to be the 4th Starter, if we're going to make the postseason. Durability would be needed here too."

There's some guy named Roy Halladay that might be available.
Magpie - Thursday, October 11 2012 @ 11:20 PM EDT (#264457) #
Just like the Jays, the Orioles had only one pitcher hit double figures in wins and that guy went 12-11, 4.02. They went and won 93 games anyway. Oakland won 94 games behind a staff that featured two 13 game winners, no one who pitched 200 IP, and just one guy who made 30 starts. Obviously one would prefer a horse who'll give you 220 IP and challenge for the Cy Young. But there are lots of ways to win.
greenfrog - Friday, October 12 2012 @ 07:48 AM EDT (#264459) #
Obviously one would prefer a horse who'll give you 220 IP and challenge for the Cy Young

Obviously Oakland would have preferred one of those last night.
John Northey - Friday, October 12 2012 @ 08:15 AM EDT (#264460) #
It is interesting to think of true aces - how many have the Jays had in their history, guys who regularly compete for the Cy Young?

Cy Young Votes for Jays and percent they got (100%=all 1st place votes)...
2011: Romero 1%
2009: Halladay 8%
2008: Halladay 51%
2007: Halladay 1%
2006: Halladay 34%
2003: Halladay 97% won it
2000: David Wells 33%
1998: Clemens 100% won it
1997: Clemens 96% won it
1996: Hentgen 79% first Jays win
1995: Cone 13% (part here, part in NY)
1993: Ward 4%, Hentgen 2%, Guzman 1%
1992: Morris 7%
1991: Ward 2%
1990: Stieb 1% (more than double the WAR of the winner)
1987: Key 46%
1986: Eichhorn 1%
1985: Alexander 4%, Stieb 1% (2nd in WAR)
1984: Stieb 1% (led in WAR by a lot)
1983: 0% - Stieb led in WAR though
1982: Stieb 26% (yup, led in WAR)

So totals plus ballots in brackets...
Clemens: 196% (2)
Halladay: 191% (6)
Hentgen: 81% (2)
Key: 46% (1)
Wells: 33% (1)
Stieb: 29% (4)
Cone: 13% (1)
Morris: 7% (1)
Ward: 6% (2)
Alexander: 4% (1)
Guzman 1% (1)
Eichhorn 1% (1)

Clearly Stieb was in Halladay's class just not recognized for it (could've had 3-4 Cy Youngs easily if voters were not hung up on W-L, instead has fewer raw points than Wells, Key & Hentgen). Bit surprised that Key only got votes once while here. Halladay, Stieb, Hentgen, Clemens and Ward the only ones getting votes in multiple years (so far).

Clearly true aces are rare and few have been here. Just 2 pitchers in Jays history got votes more than twice and one is a HOF lock while the other made the Hall of Merit (BBTF) but not the HOF.
John Northey - Friday, October 12 2012 @ 09:51 AM EDT (#264461) #
Further to this, Stieb was the Sporting News pitcher of the year in 1982. Juan Guzman won the ERA title in 1996 but received 0 Cy Young votes (3rd in WAR for pitchers behind Hentgen & Clemens). Some oddities over the years by those voters I'd say - well, OK, addiction to W-L record is more what it was.

For lifetime leaderboard for all of MLB...
WAR: Halladay #36, Stieb #66, Wells #81, Key #101, Alexander #230, Guzman #375, Henke #392, Eichhorn #515, Ward #990. Clemens is #3, Cone #50, Morris #145.

Wins: Wells #57, Halladay #112, Key #148, Stieb #166.

Amazing how high Wells is on these lists. He was a lot better pitcher than people knew, largely because of his body type and attitude I guess - it was hard to believe a guy like that could be that good. Be surprised if he gets many, if any, HOF votes though as he is on the 'ballot of death' this winter (vs Clemens, Schilling, Morris, Lee Smith on the pitching side and Bonds, Bagwell, Walker, Trammell, Raines, Palmeiro, Lofton, Edgar Martinez, Biggio, McGwire, Piazza, Sosa, McGriff, Bernie Williams, Dale Murphy, Don Mattingly on the hitting side, all of whom should get at least a handful of votes. Sheesh - 20 guys (at least) who normally would get decent support if not sneak in on a weak year all against each other. With the steroid witch hunt going on it will be a royal mess, then we get Maddux, Mussina, Glavine, Frank Thomas, Jeff Kent (all time leader in HR for 2B), and Kenny Rogers (219 wins normally draws a few votes) next year. Guys who would've been locks pre-steroids would be Clemens, Bonds, Bagwell, Biggio, McGwire, Piazza, Sosa, Palmeiro, Maddux, Glavine, Thomas. 11 former locks in 2 years and we know the HOF voters won't put most of them in anytime soon. 2015 adds Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, Gary Scheffield (509 HR would've been a lock pre-steroids), and Carlos Delgado (473 HR, but might not get the 5% needed). 2016 adds Griffey Jr and 2017 will add guys who retire after this season (such as Omar Vizquel).

Sad that Stieb only got 7 votes (1.4%) his one time on the ballot while lesser pitchers such as Sutter, Lee Smith, Jack Morris, Dennis Martinez got more. Interesting that that ballot had Stieb, Key, Joe Carter, and Cecil Fielder on it for the one and only time.
Mike Green - Friday, October 12 2012 @ 10:04 AM EDT (#264462) #
True horses who challenge for the Cy Young- a la Stieb, Halladay and Clemens, are Hall of Famers or (if not) miss by a hair.  It would also be great if the club had the next Robbie Alomar at second base, the next Tony Fernandez at shortstop, the next Paul Molitor DHing, but sometimes you have to make do with just a competent useful contributor for a couple of years (like an Allen Craig or Jon Jay). 
Hodgie - Friday, October 12 2012 @ 11:48 AM EDT (#264468) #
"All I got was more or less an ad hominem rebuttal (his dumb "Zambrano in 15" remark from years ago)"

As the author of said comment, I think it is fair to expect some modicrum of proof of the miracle of Rick before beginning my pilgrimage to the holy lands of bio-mechanics. I do not dispute that it is at least proactive, however I have still yet to see any evidence that supports the claims being made. It could hold great promise or be another in a long line of industry snake oil. I don't know and one season of relative health for the Baltimore staff is hardly proof positive.

As for the man himself, Peterson's "foolish" remark was no doubt borne out of a professional arrogance that is common, however he had a tangible opportunity to demonstrate his expertise in that matter and the results spoke for themselves. It was only one example and I do not hold up that incident as a total indictment, but rather as a cautionary tale. After all, Grandma told me to believe nothing I hear and only half of what I see for good reason.

hypobole - Saturday, October 13 2012 @ 02:13 AM EDT (#264481) #
Maybe Rick Peterson and Dr. James Andrews are selling snake oil, because it's the work of Dr. James Andrew's American Sports Medicine Institute that he uses. I don't know of any comprehensive studies, but Petersons biomechanical ideas were continued by Oakland after he left and this article seems to show some very positive results on their young pitcher health front during his tenure and beyond.
bpoz - Saturday, October 13 2012 @ 10:33 AM EDT (#264485) #
I believe when AA took over as GM he said his goal was an All Star at every position & a rotation comprised of #2s & #3s. I assume a strong pen is also a possible goal.

This is an ambitious plan. IMO it will take time to achieve these goals.

I assume a possible 1st step would be identifying this type of talent. What came instantly to my mind without proper investigation ie due diligence, is R Cano for 2nd base. But payroll parameters IMO will prevent this from happening. So there is the high $, but injury can happen to anyone eg J Bautista/full recovery. Poor performance even without an injury can happen but you have to accept this factor regarding your players eg R Romero & V Wells.

So drafting the talented players is a big part, probably biggest, in both drafts. Good development at all levels, extra coaches & ageing All Stars.
AA likes depth ie versatility, but IMO it should not be at the expense of big talent. I mean a non versatile great hitter compared to a not as good hitter that can fill in elsewhere.

I cannot think deeper into this concept/plan but I believe AA has thought deeper.

Hodgie - Saturday, October 13 2012 @ 11:20 AM EDT (#264487) #
That study also shows the same results 3 years before Peterson arrived. If Peterson is to get credit for the year after he left, should he not accept culpability for the serious injuries Hudson, Mulder and Harden experienced shortly after?

The study is interesting but uses such a small sample size due to selection bias that I don't see how it can be used to draw any conclusions about a single organization's ability to affect its own injury rates, much less one individual that was there for only 60% of the time.

Richard S.S. - Saturday, October 13 2012 @ 06:18 PM EDT (#264490) #

I was looking at Ricky Romero's game logs for this season.   It is highly probable, with better offense, Romero finishes the season with a 14-12 record, and Toronto is 78- 84.   I ignored instances where his overall record, and thusly the Team, was affected by relievers, because it's much harder to do.  

Depending on whether or not A.A. fills the 1B hole or the DH hole, Edwin Encarnacion will fill the one left making Adam Lind's days numbered.   I think this might be the hardest acquisition.  

Ricky Romero will get better or he won't.   Nothing can be done about that.   Adam Lind's value is if he's worth keeping on the bench, then if he has trade value or, just be released. 

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