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It's still only November, but recent events have us already thinking about 2013, right?

In my own head at this moment, my expectations for the division sort of involve the Yankees at the top of the heap; Toronto and Tampa fighting it out for second place, with the Orioles falling back to somewhere in vicinity of .500, possibly a little better; and the Red Sox along for the ride. Naturally, all this is Extremely Tentative and subject to Further Developments. For further developments there most assuredly shall be.

I wanted to take a fairly narrow look at two of the Jays' competitors: the Orioles and the Yankees

Much of what's been said about the 2012 Orioles has focused on their freakish and flukey record in one-run games. As it should - it was a fluke, it's not sustainable, their good luck is extremely unlikely to stay with them. They were a much improved team nevertheless. Their improvement in 2012 came entirely in the area of preventing the other team from scoring runs - they reduced their runs allowed by 155 (0.96 per game.) Which is a lot.

My instinctive reaction is to think that so drastic an improvement in run prevention is not sustainable either. And that therefore the Orioles are very likely to allow more runs in 2013 than they did in 2012. So I went crawling through the Big Honking Database and identified the 100 greatest improvements in Run Prevention since 1961. The 2012 Orioles are among them, in the middle of the pack (41st place). At the top of the list are the 1997 Tigers, who allowed 1.93 fewer runs per game than the 1996 team, and the 100th team are the 1968 A's, who allowed 0.74 fewer runs than the 1967 team.

Of those 100 teams, 74 of them allowed more runs in the second year; the 100 teams as a group allowed on average about 50 more runs the following season. So that may indeed be something else working against the 2013 Orioles. The tendency of things to bounce back to somewhere in the vicinity of where they were before.

As for the Yankees... I think, as we watch their stars get older and older, that we're all kind of waiting for what happened to the Yankees in 1965 to happen to this group - that they'll get old all at once and fall off a cliff.

I've decided not to expect that to ever happen, at least not until I actually see it happening right in front of me. They're the freaking Yankees, the ordinary laws of space and time may not apply. But I wondered - what actually happened to the Yankees in 1965, when they went from 99-63 and playing in the World Series all the way to 77-85 and sixth place.

I knew 1965 was the year Jim Bouton's arm fell off - after winning 21 and 18 games in 1963-64, Bouton went 4-15, 4.82; but even so... it wasn't the pitching. Bouton's breakdown was pretty much offset by Mel Stottlemyre's first full season in the majors - he went 20-9, 2.63 and gave them 291 IP.  Whitey Ford, at age 36 fell off almost as much as Bouton, but Ford still went 16-13, 3.24 in 1965. The Yankees only allowed 27 more runs in 1965 than they had in 1964.

It was the bats that collapsed. Two men in particular. Accounts of the season often point out that Roger Maris missed 116 games, and that his replacements (Hector Lopez and Roger Repoz) were barely league average. True, but Tom Tresh who had been league average in 1964 had the best year of his career, and made up for the missing Maris. Tony Kubek went off the cliff, and was forced into retirement at the end of the year; but Clete Boyer stepped up and had the best offensive season of his career. Joe Pepitone and Bobby Richardson were actually slightly better in 1965 than they had been in 1964.

So it came down to two players. Elston Howard had been the league MVP in 1963. In 1964 he had hit .313/.371/.455. But he was 36 years old in 1965, and he simply crashed and burned, hitting .233//278/.345  - he also missed 52 games, and neither of his backups (Doc Edwards and Jake Gibbs) could manage even a .600 OPS.

And the Mick. Mantle was only 33 in 1965, and he was still a hell of a hitter. But he was breaking down. Johnny Keane played Mantle exclusively in left field in 1965, but he was only able to play 108 games in the field. And at age 33, he began to slip at the plate. A lifetime .309 hitter with an OPS+ of 172 through 1964, Mantle hit just .255 in 1965, by far the lowest BAVG of his career to that point. Granted, his power and his enormous walk totals still gave him an OPS+ of 137, meaning he was still the best hitter on the team. It's just that he'd been the best hitter in the major leagues only one year earlier.
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Richard S.S. - Friday, November 23 2012 @ 01:59 AM EST (#266137) #
Pitching will always determine how good a team becomes. And while New York's pitching is still a "work in progress", Toronto can determine it's fate this off season. How?
1) Does Darren Oliver retire or return in 2013? Brad Lincoln and Aaron Loup have options left, so should provide needed depth in AAA. That leaves Jeremy Jeffress as his replacement. A.A. may have to acquire another reliever, if Oliver retires.
2) The caliber of Starter A.A. acquires is paramount. A # 1 Starter gives Toronto one of the best Rotations in Baseball, while a # 2 Starter makes this Rotation good enough to be in the Postseason. A #3 Starter should increase the depth as it moves J.A. Happ in the Bullpen, while a #4/#5 Starter might not be better than Happ, which makes a poor acquisition.

With NY Yankees desperate to get under the Luxury Tax Ceiling for just 1 year (CBA determines the year) to reset their Tax Level at $ for $, not 2$ for $ or 3$ for $ or more, it gives Toronto a "window of opportunity".

Boston can only suck for so long (the GM might not be up to the task) before it's competitive again.

Tampa will always have finance issues, even with the new TV deal (although some figures - still in negotiations - suggest $40 MM not $ 25 MM). Even then they must be very good and just as lucky to compete.

Baltimore has real good players, unbelievable luck, and "issues". I just don't know how good they can be.

Offense usually determines how good your pitching can be. Toronto has "issues" there. You can trade or waive Adam Lind, or platoon him with a 1B who bats right (Mark Reynolds?), which solves the DH assignment (EE) and fills a bench position (1B/3B/OF).
John Northey - Friday, November 23 2012 @ 07:34 AM EST (#266139) #
Mark Reynolds is interesting for a platoon partner as he covers 1B/3B/DH which is ideal for the RH power hitter. However, he probably needs more than platoon time and expects something in the $8 million range. He might be a wait and see guy - where AA inquires on him and keeps an eye on him as time goes by and his demands drop.

The TV deal is for all teams, so if all teams get $25, $40, or $0 from it the difference is minimal as all have it. Its what you bring in beyond the shared money that matters. Toronto has a 1/2 decent base, but also has scary high potential - far more than Tampa or Baltimore. Meanwhile the spread from winner to loser for Jays TV/gate revenues is more than the Yankees or Red Sox I suspect thus increasing incentive to win, but also increasing risk of what to do if contracts are high and results are not.

The Yankees determination to get below the luxury tax, and the Red Sox rebuilding is perfect timing for a run. The Orioles are due for a drop after that giant climb, and the Rays are always on the razors edge with the tight budget. AA is right to go for it now as this is the window.
lexomatic - Friday, November 23 2012 @ 09:37 AM EST (#266140) #
Is anyone else having problems wiht the site?
When I try to load I get a message saying "No site configured at this address."
I have an old post bookmarked, and I get load the site through that url, and see the new posts under the Hot Topics section. It's been about 2 days.

bpoz - Friday, November 23 2012 @ 10:46 AM EST (#266141) #
What is the luxury tax figure for 2013? How close are the Jays to it?

I would appreciate the details of what it is. Amounts broken & the relevant penalties.
JB21 - Friday, November 23 2012 @ 12:51 PM EST (#266145) #

Instead of a salary cap, Major League Baseball implements a luxury tax, an arrangement in which teams whose total payroll exceeds a certain figure (determined annually) are taxed on the excess amount. The tax is paid to the league, which then puts the money into its industry-growth fund.

A team that goes over the luxury tax cap for the first time in a five-year period pays a penalty of 22.5% of the amount they were over the cap, second-time violators pay a 30% penalty, and teams that exceed the limit three or more times pay a 40% penalty. The cap limit for 2010 is $170 million, and the cap for 2011 is $178 million.

As of the 2009 season[update], only the Boston Red Sox, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the Detroit Tigers, and the New York Yankees have paid any luxury tax; the Yankees have contributed to over 95% ($164.1 million) of tax payments, and have been subject to six of the eleven occasions the tax has been implemented.

Money collected under the MLB luxury tax are apportioned as follows: The first $5m is held in reserve, to pay for possible luxury tax refunds. Once it is clear that there are no refunds to be issued, this money is then earmarked for the Industry Growth Fund (IGF). 50% of the remaining money is used to fund player benefits, 25% is used to fund baseball programs in developing countries with no high-school baseball, and 25% is put into the Industry Growth Fund (IGF).

JB21 - Friday, November 23 2012 @ 12:52 PM EST (#266146) #
The limit stays at $178 million through the 2013 season, then rises to $189 million for the three seasons after that.
AWeb - Friday, November 23 2012 @ 01:05 PM EST (#266147) #

It's been widley reported that the Yankees are trying to get under the tax level at least for one year to "reset" the penalties and maybe avoid them going forward, although I'll believe it when I see it - the Yankees are massively profitable even at the 40% tax level. As a Jays fan, if they want to get under the threshold, I say go for it. For the Jays, the tax just isn't a concern unless another team trades us 3 players on big contracts, and the Red Sox already dumped their guys (although wouldn't a guy for 1B, another starter, and a LFer work for the Jays too? Call the Dodgers!). I seem to recall the Dodgers are already projected over the cap next year, which may mean that for the first time in a decade, the top spenders won't be the Yankees.

Gerry - Friday, November 23 2012 @ 02:01 PM EST (#266148) #
Fangraphs has posted an interview with Bruce Walton wherein he discusses Romero, Janssen, Alvarez, Cecil and closers.
Gerry - Friday, November 23 2012 @ 03:01 PM EST (#266149) #

AA gave a long interview to WEEI in Boston.  There is a transcript and an audio link here.

I think two key players for us are Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista, they’re two guys that are 30 and 31 years old. They’re in the prime of their career. I don’t know the next time if ever that as a GM I’m going to have two 40-home run hitters in the middle of a lineup,” said Anthopoulos of Encarnacion, who is coming off a 42-homer campaign and who is signed through 2015 (with an option for 2016) and Bautista, who has averaged 41 homers a year over the last three seasons and remains under contract through 2015 with an option for 2016. “They’re both under control for the next four years in the prime of their careers. We have to take advantage of that. As great as some of these young players are, I don’t know that they’re going to get up here and be impactful big league players in time to take advantage of those guys being in their primes. If it’s three or four years from now, they’re already gone. We’ve got to take advantage of having two premium middle-of-the-order power hitters. They’re so hard to find. I think of obviously Manny and Ortiz all those years in the AL East. That was an incredible combo, and I think Bautista and Encarnacion have a chance to be comparable to those two.

whiterasta80 - Friday, November 23 2012 @ 03:10 PM EST (#266150) #
That interview gives even more confidence in AA.
mathesond - Friday, November 23 2012 @ 04:43 PM EST (#266151) #
Mike Napoli could make for a decent RH power bat. Mind you, he's looking for a 4-year deal (rumour has it Seattle will give him 4, Boston's holding out for 3)
Richard S.S. - Friday, November 23 2012 @ 07:39 PM EST (#266153) #
It's possible a platoon-partner for Adam Lind could get 250+ AB at 1B.  They could get another 150+ at their second position and another 150+ at DH for a 550+ AB total - a nice number.
John Northey - Friday, November 23 2012 @ 10:00 PM EST (#266154) #
Interesting at - they list Swisher's demands as 4 years, $60 mil to a guaranteed $65-70 (maybe 5th year). That'd be in the $15 million a year range, well shy of the $20 mil level for sure.

Would he be worth that to the Jays at 1B/backup OF/part time DH? 120+ OPS+ for 4 straight years and 6 of the past 7. 148+ games for 7 straight years. Switch hitter is always a plus. But entering age 32 season, traditionally the start of the decline stage. FanGraphs has the Bill James projection at .256/.362/.458 which is around his career average. They also have him worth $14+ mil a year for 6 of the past 7 years and as a positive fielder. Could go to RF and move Bautista to 1B even.

An interesting possibility, plus it would keep him away from both NYY and Boston (rumoured to be after him). Of course, if anyone goes for 5+ years on him I'd say stay away but 4 years sounds workable.
hypobole - Saturday, November 24 2012 @ 12:09 AM EST (#266156) #
Let me preface this by saying I know little of the Padres, but they seem to have an outfield redundancy in Jesus Guzman and Chris Denorfia, both of whom have been excellent vs left hand pitching.

Guzman is younger, more versatile and cheaper, while 32 yr old Denorfia (136 OPS+ vs LHP in both 2011 and 2012) is only owed $4.25 million total for 2013 and 2014.

hypobole - Saturday, November 24 2012 @ 12:31 AM EST (#266157) #
"Interesting at - they list Swisher's demands as 4 years, $60 mil to a guaranteed $65-70 (maybe 5th year}"

John, those aren't Swishers demands. Here, Mark Polishuk of MLBTR discusses George King's NY Post story:

"King hears from an industry source who believes Swisher could find a four-year, $60MM contract, though with that many teams and big markets in the running, it wouldn't surprise me to see that number jump to between $65-$70MM in guaranteed money."

Here, an earlier MLBTR article on Swisher's demands:

"Swisher was reportedly looking for a Jayson Werth-esque seven-year/$126MM contract, a number that might be hard to find unless it were to come from a team that may need to overpay to attract a top free agent hitter."
John Northey - Saturday, November 24 2012 @ 01:06 AM EST (#266158) #
Thanks hypobole... bad check on my part as I remember now seeing that demand from Swisher - a level that would make no sense for any sane team.

Another interesting player, perhaps, is Ichiro. LH hitter so he'd replace Lind but unlike Lind he can play defense, he has speed, and showed signs of life with the Yankees as being in a pennant race pushed him back to his old self. Stick him in RF, move Bautista to 1B, Encarnacion to DH and the team would be better off than with Bautista in RF, Encarnacion at 1B and Lind at DH. Easy to mix in Davis vs tough LHP. Of course, part of the issue is Ichiro is an everyday player by any definition given he has played 161/162 games each of the past 3 seasons and 8 of his 12 seasons. He just doesn't take days off unless forced. 394 hits from 3000 so odds are he'd want assurances of an everyday job which I doubt the Jays would be able to give him, but playing on a contender is always exciting for players.

Boy would that make this team a lot like the 80's Cardinals - speed all over the place except this team would have more than 1 power hitter.
China fan - Saturday, November 24 2012 @ 10:12 AM EST (#266160) #
Gerry, thanks for the link to the Anthopoulos interview. One of the most interesting things in the interview is AA's comment that Reyes, Cabrera and Bonifacio will bring a "high energy" type of play to the Jays. Then he said this: "We really wanted to try to get more high-energy players on this roster.”

I think this is an implicit criticism of players such as Yunel Escobar and probably Kelly Johnson and Colby Rasmus. Of course Escobar has been notorious for years for his tendency to fall into lackadaisical habits. Rasmus, for his part, doesn't seem to lack focus, and he probably works hard, but he's a low-key player -- which is fine, but you perhaps don't want too many players like that in lineup.

Someone like Brett Lawrie, of course, can be too far in the other direction, making aggressive blunders on the base paths. But AA clearly feels that he prefers a Lawrie rather than an Escobar. Too many Escobars and it can breed habits of laziness and complacency. Maybe if there's just one or two, they won't affect the others, but too many low-energy players can perhaps hurt a team.

Anyway the lineup now is shifted to the high-energy players, so we'll see if it's the right combination now.
bpoz - Saturday, November 24 2012 @ 10:47 AM EST (#266161) #
The high energy talk is really inspiring. Gibbons mentioned that he does not want a lot of stupid outs. Balancing that philosophy will be hard but maybe he can do it.
Shaker - Saturday, November 24 2012 @ 12:16 PM EST (#266162) #
Why would we drop Lind?

He is guaranteed $7M if released. Any signing that forces out Lind therefore needs to add $7M. So Ichiro at $6M actually costs us $13M.

Did you know that Lind had a higher OPS vs RHP in 2012 than Ichiro (.795 vs .724)? Lind was also higher than Kendrys, Thome, Reynolds and Teixeira. He was 3rd on the Jays vs RHP in both 2011 and 2012. In 2011, Lind was even better. He was ahead of EE, Swisher and Ichiro!

It's very clear to all of us that Lind should never face a LHP and with 10 batters in our lineup who are RHB that should never be an issue in a critical situation.

Can we stop the Lind bashing? The guy is about the 50th best hitter vs RHP in the AL. There are 100 players in the AL who are worse than Lind at that all-important skill.

adrianveidt - Saturday, November 24 2012 @ 12:43 PM EST (#266164) #
Zaun was saying the team needs to find a lefty power bat, because it would make them impossible to pitch against when included in the rest of the lineup.
John Northey - Saturday, November 24 2012 @ 02:38 PM EST (#266165) #
The problems with Lind...
1) poor defensive player at 1B or LF - basically he is a DH. Lifetime his UZR/150 at 1B: -0.3, LF: -11.3.

2) no speed - lifetime his base running gets a -8.0 runs rating from FanGraphs, -3.5 last year alone

3) can't hit LH pitching at all - 220/264/343 lifetime for a 607 OPS

4) just once in a year with 100+ PA has he had an OPS+ over 101.

5) is turning 29 thus should be in his prime but hasn't had a 100 OPS+ seasons since 2009.

Really, this is a guy who brings just one thing to the table - he can hit RHP most of the time. He is prone to extreme slumps though which is a nightmare to deal with. Mix in that last year his sOPS+ vs RHP was just 112 and I have serious trouble seeing a reason to keep him here.

In the old days of 15 hitters and 10 pitchers he'd have had a spot easily. But with 12 pitchers / 13 hitters suddenly a no-field, no-run player has extremely limited value unless he hits for at least a 120+ OPS+.

Why would I take Ichiro? You get defense, speed, plus a bat that has been over 100 for OPS+ more recently (2010). He'd allow a defensive improvement in RF (takes over from Bautista), 1B (Bautista over EE), while producing at a level that should be in eyeshot of Lind or better.

Lind is a sunk cost - the $7 million will be paid to him no matter what. The question is can the Jays do better?
Cynicalguy - Saturday, November 24 2012 @ 03:37 PM EST (#266167) #
What the Jays need at 1B/DH is a young, stud prospect like Anthony Rizzo or Yonder Alonso who won't cost the payroll to go up but still offer enough promise to impact the lineup in a big way. I would like to see AA make a pure prospect for prospect trade to achieve this.
greenfrog - Saturday, November 24 2012 @ 04:00 PM EST (#266168) #
Nice to see the Jays land a respected bench coach in DeMarlo Hale - people seem to speak highly of him. It will be interesting to see who the other coaches are in 2013. I have a hunch that a new hitting and/or pitching coach may be in the works.
whiterasta80 - Saturday, November 24 2012 @ 04:01 PM EST (#266169) #
Rizzo and Alonso haven't exactly dominated David Cooper at the major league level, nor do they provide any additional real positional flexibility. Rizzo's swing is waaaay too long and Alonso looks like Lyle Overbay to me. Besides, Cooper actually does have some pedigree (1st rounder, a batting title at AAA). I would prefer to try Cooper rather than give up assets for Rizzo/Alonso. If we're giving up assets I need the 1B to be in the next tier (i.e. Freeman, Hosmer etc...).
Original Ryan - Saturday, November 24 2012 @ 04:27 PM EST (#266170) #
I think Murphy as the hitting coach and Mottola as the first base/extra coach would be a good combination. Murphy seems like a miracle worker with certain players, so I'd like to keep him around somehow.
Hodgie - Saturday, November 24 2012 @ 05:12 PM EST (#266171) #
"If we're giving up assets I need the 1B to be in the next tier (i.e. Freeman, Hosmer etc...)."

The next level in what? Mediocrity? I have never been a fan of Alonso but Rizzo's waaaay too long swing provided offence that was every bit as good as Freeman's last season and dwarfed Hosmer's nightmarish campaign. Don't even get me started on the difference in their defence. Hosmer would be an interesting buy low acquisition, our reverse Snider if you please, but he is hardly a sure thing to even approach what was once considered a substantial ceiling. Maybe the Royals would be interested in Brad Lincoln?

Richard S.S. - Saturday, November 24 2012 @ 07:20 PM EST (#266172) #

Adam Lind hits RHP well, but not great, and he gives barely average offense at 1B.   He is so less than desirable against LHP that he needs to be platooned.   He gets paid $7.0 MM this coming season no matter what.   Trading him would be more A.A. magic.   Platooning Lind with someone who hits LHP well, or better, would be best.  As the platoon-partner would get limited ABs, they would need to play a second position and get a little time at DH (possibly 550+ ABs).   With an open Bench roster spot, that would work.   It might be possible to get 25-30 HR, 90-100 RBI, with a .275+ average and a .790 + OPS from this combination.

With J.P. Arencibia (and possibly a break-out year) as our main Catcher, Travis d'Arnaud will re-establish his Stud prospect value in Buffalo until September of 2013.  That's when A.A. has a decision to make, unlikely before.   John Buck will be our bBackup Catcher and 2nd year Arbby Bobby Wilson will be depth Contract non-guaranteed).   If Buck gets traded however, Wilson stays.  J.P. only moves if a monster offer is made.

hypobole - Sunday, November 25 2012 @ 04:34 AM EST (#266173) #
Lind, if kept, isn't the only Jay that should have a platoon partner. Colby Rasmus had a 72 OPS+ vs lefties last year, which also happens to be his career OPS+ as well.
Shaker - Sunday, November 25 2012 @ 08:40 AM EST (#266174) #

You list Lind's faults. Why not focus on what he can do? Every Blue Jay has faults or issues and every Blue Jay could be replaced by a superior player. We do not have an unlimited budget to execute this ideal.

Prior to the Marlin Melky actions, I found Ichiro as a Jay an interesting idea. That is no longer the case. What Ichiro brings to the table we already have in spades. (I base this assumption on an opinion that Bautista does not want to play 1B. If Bautista is happy to move to 1B though, there are plenty of better options than Ichiro to join our OF.)

Back to Lind. I believe you and many others are biased against Lind. I am asking you (all) to view him in the context of our current roster and finite payroll. His stats are there for all to see, his stats vs RHP are pretty good, against LHP they are wretched and they drag down his overall stats.

We now have enormous flexibility given the four switch-hitters and the numerous multi-position players. Lind does not need to face LHP, so criticizing him for an inability to hit LHP is a red herring. Criticizing him for a weak/mediocre glove when he is a backup defender is fine, but he's really a DH. He has no speed but many players lack speed and as a team we are not shy on speed. Again, this roster can support Lind.

Lind's contract is not a sunk cost. It is a future operating expense. It becomes a sunk cost only if he is released. Are there better players than Lind? Of course, there are many (Swisher and Hamilton are just 2 that jump to mind) but I would not pay $7M to release Lind because I don't believe there is a player who could be signed at market rates who would be worth that additional $7M. Again, signing Ichiro for $6M to bump Lind is a $13M expense and a poor decision in the context of a $125M payroll and our current roster.

He is owed $5M and has an option/buyout for $2M. At the time of signing that option/buyout had significant value. Like most options, the closer you get to option exercise day the less value it has. Today that option is worth little but by the end of 2013 it could have significant value, meaning it still has value. His 2013 salary accounts for about 4% of our budget, not unreasonable for a 29 year old veteran.

Lind is fine in the same way that Happ is fine. Let's stop piling on.

bpoz - Sunday, November 25 2012 @ 10:25 AM EST (#266176) #
Nobody has unlimited depth.

Gibbons has to keep his team/players happy. Pat Hentgen said that in the case of Cito, the guys playing regularly loved him and the guys not playing regularly were unhappy with him. That made sense to me. Elite athletes have to believe in themselves. I do not know who the unhappy players were. David Wells is the only one I can think of from that team. He played great but wanted more.

For this team, Happ may be unhappy if he is not in the rotation. I think he will not be publicly critical. He should get opportunities in the pen & also as the 6th SP if someone is added. The big problem would be Romero if the 2012 version is back. He has not used any options so I would solve that problem by demoting him.

There is room on the bench & pen for a few poor performers. And Gibbons has a past of standing up for himself.

There are other potential problems. Buck as a backup in 2013 does not look promising for his 2014 prospects. Lind has to earn 400-500ABs in 2013.

Cito in 2010 did not use M Valdez & J Accardo because... D Eveland however was well treated. But the talent was thin then.
I cannot really fault Cito but those 2 could have developed because one had a big arm & the other had a recent history of success.
Farrell however did treat Rauch, FF & Coco much better.
John Northey - Sunday, November 25 2012 @ 11:01 AM EST (#266177) #
It isn't so much piling on as seeing how little use he has on this team. Unless his bat improves significantly it is hard to make use of a DH/1B who has just one real asset, and isn't amazing at that one asset.

As I said, with larger rosters he has more value - if the bench had 6 guys or even 5 (ie: 10 or 11 man pitching staff) he is more useful. But now with a 4 man bench it is hard to carry a guy who hits only one type of pitcher and cannot do anything else.

If he hit RHP to the tune of a 140 OPS+ I'd say great, keep him even with his horrid bat vs LHP. But he is closer to the 110-120 range, which can be beat by various free agents (Eric Chavez had a 140 vs RH, 22 vs LH last year for example). Heck, Alex Gonzalez had a higher OPS last year vs RHP than Lind (!) as did Raul Ibanez and switch hitting CF Angel Pagan.

I thought the deal with Lind looked decent at the time, but feared him turning into a Josh Phelps - IE: able to hit one type of pitcher but no value outside of that. Sadly, that is what happened but since he hits RHP instead of LHP he still has a chance. Is he useless? No. Is he the best option? I don't think so.

Now, all that said, lets look closer at the team and see if we can see how he'd be useful. As hypobole said, Rasmus also has issues with LHP thus Davis might be platooned with him (or sorta platooned) thus we'd need another RH bat on the bench. There is one open slot, and if the Jays can find a RH bat who can play 1B/3B to mix with him then it might work. Also, he could hit for JPA, Izturis, Davis or Bonifacio late in a game (Izturis & Bonifacio hit RHP better than LHP but don't hit either type that well).

His $7 million owed is a sunk cost though - it is a cost you are paying no matter what. When deciding on a replacement you don't factor in the $7 million, you factor in if the replacement is worth whatever you pay the replacement over what you'd get from Lind. IE: If Lind provides $1 million of value and the replacement would provide, say, $5 million then you shouldn't do it unless you can get the replacement for $4 million or less. This is a concept that is hard for many GM's to accept, but keeping a guy on the roster because you owe him money isn't a good idea. Keeping him on if he provides value is.

Given the extra flexibility Izturis and Bonifacio provide, can Lind be useful? Yes. But make sure we have someone to mix with him other than Davis as Davis will be needed in CF often. Cody Ross might be a good fit but would expect to play everyday more or less and would probably cost $7-8 million I'm guessing.
John Northey - Sunday, November 25 2012 @ 11:26 AM EST (#266178) #
On a different note...
Dodgers getting $6-7 billion for TV rights. A 25 year deal, works out to $240 to $280 million a year. Probably a lot lower in the early years, but even at 1/2 it would be a 'wow' figure. The Dodgers exclusive TV region is much, much smaller than the Jays who have all of Canada (California is 37 million people split between 5 teams, Canada is 34 million with just one team). Now, they do have the ability to sell subscriptions nation wide, to 314 million people, but then they are competing with 28 other ML teams.

Still, no matter how you cut it the Jays clearly have a potential TV audience in the same ballpark as the Dodgers, larger or smaller depends on how you factor in the regional and national stuff with competition. The Jays should be worth at least $75-100 million in TV rights alone to Rogers, and it could be a lot more. Factor in that they make all the profit off of increases in ratings (as they own the TV station) and the incentive to perform is very high.
TamRa - Sunday, November 25 2012 @ 12:02 PM EST (#266180) #
to me the "problem" with Lind is processed exactly like any other spot on the roster: you objectively note the strength and weakness of the player, put the best internal option at each position and keep your eyes on all potentially available replacements so that you are aware of an opportunity to upgrade.

Lind is not sub-standard at the thing he does well, but it goes without explanation that you must have a platoon partner and that you be vigilant for a potential replacement who's reliably better.

In other words, Lind's your guy until a better option is available and then he's not....really, a lot like Escobar. Yunel wasn't a BAD shortstop on either side of the ball, it was not a "position of need" - but when a clear upgrade is available, you move.

Under the circumstances, I'm reasonably confident that if Lind is on the opening day roster, no better option presented itself. The only real variable is whether or not you actively pursue a Jhony Gomes-type on a guranteed deal and then potentially have him underfoot if you find a guy you want to play every day as a DH(1B)

Richard S.S. - Sunday, November 25 2012 @ 12:11 PM EST (#266181) #

Adam Lind hits RHP well.   Three out of every four Starters are RHP.   Adam would get 466-ish ABs over 162 Games just verses RH Starters.   Pitch-hit opportunities will abound this year.   In 466 AB:  .269 .320 .479 with 26 - 2B, 22 - HR and 74 RBI.   Those are very good numbers.   A platoon-partner for Lind would get 150-ish AB plus pinch-hits.  Ideally he'd get 150 AB at his second position and 150 ABs at DH / Pinch Hit for about the same number of ABs as Adam LInd.   THis would be an economical use of Lind's assets.

Emilio Bonifacio played very good CF (reportedly his best position) in KC.   When he is not playing 2B (his next best position) he can platoon with Colby Rasmus to maximize Colby's assets.   Alternatively, Melky Cabrera can play CF, giving Rajai Davis time in Left.

We have options with our new acquisitions.  Melky Cabrera plays CF and LF much better than RF.   Emilio Bonifacio plays 3B, SS, CF, 2B better than LF and RF.   Maicer Izturis plays 2B, SS and 3B.   We now have more options than we've had in a long time, with good hitters.

Most people are down on Lind as a full time 1B.   As a platoon-player, with EE playing some 1B, Adam Lind's an asset - he hits RHP very well (.282, .335, .502 verses all RHP).   If he becomes that effective, I'd pick up an option.  

There are still major Pitching concerns to deal with first.   Worrying about Lind and Rasmus to this extent is rather OCD-ish (trying to say anal nicely). 

BlueJayWay - Sunday, November 25 2012 @ 05:41 PM EST (#266188) #
You list Lind's faults. Why not focus on what he can do?

The things Adam Lind can do well on a baseball field:

1) hit with decent power against RHP


Uh, that's it pretty much.  He'll have a low obp against righties, never has hit lefties well at all, is slow so speed on the basepaths isn't a weapon, and he's a first baseman (and not a particularly good one) so there isn't any defensive value.
earlweaverfan - Sunday, November 25 2012 @ 07:29 PM EST (#266189) #
There are still major Pitching concerns to deal with first.   Worrying about Lind and Rasmus to this extent is rather OCD-ish

What should we have learned over this breathtaking offseason so far?  The following lessons loom largest for me:
  • AA is willing to be pretty comprehensive in the breadth of team improvement opportunities he is willing to tackle
  • AA can walk and chew gum at the same time:  in re-building the club and finding a new manager in the first few weeks of the off-season, he has made more progress than just about all the other clubs in MLB put together
  • He is willing to fill deep and obvious gaps (like building up the rotation), but also to improve in areas where others might leave good enough alone (short-stop)
  • He is prepared to take on evident risks (e.g., the health of Reyes and Johnson) in order to capture the biggest upside potential (getting to the post-season)
  • He sees this stage in the team's development as a critical time to invest, due to the Jays having Bautista and Encarnacion both peaking and under team control for the next few years, and has been able to get Rogers to agree
  • He is able to get the ownership to spend much more right now than almost everyone had given them - or him - credit for
  • If Beeston and AA are to be believed, there were at least a couple of other opportunities for acquiring game-changing players, where Rogers was willing to pull the trigger, if those deals had come to fruition

At a time like this, it sure doesn't seem to me that AA is either constrained on what he can do by Rogers' money (if the value for money is attractive enough, they will still act) or by worrying about what problem he has to deal with first in what sequence.  It would not surprise me at all to discover that he is working on all of the club's remaining shortcomings with several different moves in parallel. 

What will cause him to pull the trigger on any one of these possible deals sooner than on another?  Consider these factors:

  • The price he has to pay vs. the scale of the improvement he can achieve (or $ per WAR to us)
  • The greater willingness of one club to pull the trigger on a particular deal (see Marlins, Miami), compared to other clubs' willingness on other deals
  • A deal for player X where a competing club that also wants X has to wait for other shoes to fall, while AA can act now (e.g., Texas may need to wait for Hamilton either to sign or not sign with them before they can act on other priorities)
  • A better fit between our needs and their needs with club Y for player Z than we can put together on any of our other needs, no matter their higher priority
  • A desire to avoid sending the signal to other teams that we must do this kind of deal (e.g., if he had kept Escobar out of the Marlins trade, while still acquiring Reyes, then he would have had to trade Escobar to some other club while dealing from a weak hand.)
  • And many more

For all these reasons, I do not see AA going down a list from highest priority/biggest gap to lowest priority/smallest gap, to do deals in that sequence.  I also do not see him stopping half way down that list, if a great deal that will push up his current budget comes available. 

A great time to be a Jays fan!

uglyone - Sunday, November 25 2012 @ 08:37 PM EST (#266190) #
"Adam Lind hits RHP well."

people have to stop saying this.

Hitting posting a SLG-heavy sub-.800ops vs. RHP is not "hitting well" for a 1B/DH.
uglyone - Sunday, November 25 2012 @ 08:41 PM EST (#266191) #
I like what AA's done this offseason, but if we're all in we might as well go all the way - one more quality SP and a quality fulltime 1B - and I'll stack this team up against anyone.

As of now, though, they're not quite good enough to be considered favorites in any sense, not even for the division.
Shaker - Sunday, November 25 2012 @ 11:16 PM EST (#266192) #
If hitting >.800 OPS vs RHP is so easy why didn't Ryan Howard, Adrian Gonzalez or Mark Teixeira do it this year?

Why is Papi the only DH to have done it both of the last 2 seasons?
TamRa - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 12:29 AM EST (#266194) #
As of now, though, they're not quite good enough to be considered favorites in any sense, not even for the division.

Why not? Laying aside the "gel" factor, I don't see why they aren't as good or better than any team in the AL.
TamRa - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 05:14 AM EST (#266195) #
okay, upon a closer look at the numbers I'll concede an edge to Detroit, but i still think they are as good as the Yankees and Rays....and not THAT far from Detroit
John Northey - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 06:18 AM EST (#266196) #
Ryan Howard missed over 1/2 the season and had his worst season ever, so that might be why he didn't. Adrian Gonzalez & Mark Teixeira had OPS over 800 overall but each had weird splits.

For guys with 200+ PA vs RHP (Lind had 257) he ranked #106 in OPS. 6 guys were over 1000, 25 over 900 including a couple of Canadians (Votto and Morneau) and Bautista. Encarnacion was just shy of 900 (892).

If what Lind does best cannot get him into the top 100 in MLB then he will have trouble sticking around.
Magpie - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 06:27 AM EST (#266197) #
I don't think too much of Detroit, who would have been a fourth place team in the AL East. I don't even regard the Tigers as the best team in their own division.

But New York... the Yankees scored 88 more runs than Toronto in 2012, and they allowed 116 fewer runs. They won 95 games last year, exactly as many as you would have expected, and 95 wins is generally the minimum that's required to win the AL East. An awful lot of things have to go right to make up a difference of 204 runs.
John Northey - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 07:07 AM EST (#266198) #
204 eh? Lets say Alvarez has been replaced by Johnson and Drabek/Hutchison/Cecil by Buehrle (33 starts). That is 110 runs (Alvarez) + 41 (Drabek) + 31 (Hutchison) + 39 (Cecil) = 221 over 187.1 + 71.1 + 58.2 + 61.1 = 378 2/3 IP (including some relief for Cecil) vs 172 over 393 2/3 IP or a savings of 49 runs and 15 IP saved over the pen (saving another 3-5 runs). Thus the starting staff change takes up 1/4 of the savings needed. If Ricky Romero improves to his next worst season for runs allowed that would save another 24 runs. We'll say Morrow regressing will compensate equally for the runs he would've saved over Laffey over the starts he would've made instead.

So that is a start, around 75 of the 204 runs needed. Offense might regain some, especially if Bautista (add about 15 runs) & Lawrie (add about 10) are healthy. Reyes/Izturis vs Escobar/Johnson is probably a wash. Misc. LF vs Cabrera should be a big gain, up to 30 runs (our LF was pathetic last year) which would then push it to over 1/2 way there (up to 130 runs now). So we need to find 74 more runs via other places in the lineup. Rasmus, the assorted DH/1B outside of Encarnacion, and the bullpen are the spots to find it I think. An ace added to the rotation would do wonders as well, but we'll see what AA has up his sleeve.
Magpie - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 07:46 AM EST (#266199) #
We might want to bear in mind that improving by 204 runs - or by 22 wins - is a great big freaking deal. Neither of these things has ever happened in team history.

The biggest improvement in wins is actually obscured by the 1981 strike. But the 1981 team played at a pace that would have seen them finish with a 57-105 record. They were 21 games better than that in 1982 (78-84.)

The next biggest single season improvement was 14 games, between 1979 and 1980. Again, the first year's team was so awful (53-109) that the second team didn't even have to reach .500 (67-95).

The third team is probably more relevant to the current situation. The Jays improved by 13 wins coming off the Season From Hell (67 wins to 80.) While yet again the second year team didn't even crack .500, that required under-achieving on a historic scale. The 2005 Jays were one of the very few teams in history to post a losing record despite outscoring the opposition by 70 runs over the season.

The improvement between the 2004-2005 seasons also represents the greatest improvement in run differential in franchise history: the 2005 team scored 56 more runs than the 2004 squad and allowed 118 fewer - an overall improvement of 174 runs.

Next best is the improvement between 1981 and 1982 (approximately 159 runs, almost all on offense), and the further improvement between 1982 and 1983 (144 runs, again almost all on offense.)
Jevant - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 08:18 AM EST (#266200) #

53rd last year, by RC+.  Well behind Cooper (36th!) of all people.  The main problem, as noted, is that he has no other skills that are an asset to the Jays.

From my perch, I'd want better than a .795 OPS against RHP out of my DH/1B, to say nothing of the fact that he is completely and utterly useless against LHP.


Jevant - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 08:32 AM EST (#266201) #

Well said.

Jevant - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 08:34 AM EST (#266202) #
OPS isn't perfect either - Lind's trends towards a higher SLG portion than OBP portion (or in other words, in my mind, the "wrong" portion).
John Northey - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 11:10 AM EST (#266203) #
I guess a good question with Lind is... would you sign him if he was a free agent for the ML minimum? If not, then releasing him makes sense. If so, then keeping him makes sense.

OPS does overstate his value, but that is an attempt to be as generous as possible to him. I'd love it if he suddenly became the 2009 version again, but I don't see it. There clearly are holes in his swing and unless a new hitting coach in 2013 can fix those he'll never be of much value.

Of course, until the Jays get a better hitter signed this is a moot point. Who'd be the DH if Lind was released right now? There really isn't a good choice on the roster. Guys like Ichiro are fun to think about, but not really a good fit here. Someone like Swisher or Hamilton would be sweet, but probably out of range. Justin Morneau is still a target in my mind as he is on the last year of his contract and is playing for a team that won't contend. He could hit for a 130+ OPS+ or a 110 OPS+ but either way he'd be an improvement. Is that worth $14 million? Depends which end you expect. If they'd take Lind then it becomes a $7 mil risk and that is worth it imo.
Kelekin - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 11:14 AM EST (#266204) #
Toronto had the 2nd worst OBP in the AL in 2012. I complained about this in 2011 too, when Bautista's .447 OBP inflated the fact that only 4 regulars posted above .300 OBP. In 2012, our team OBP was worse, but almost all our regulars had a .300 OBP. The problem is .300 is mediocre. On the plus side, we now have Reyes, who has a career .342 OBP and stolen base potential - but the OBP itself is lower than Escobar's career OBP. Reyes is one heck of an acquisition, but in terms of OBP, he is not exclusively better than Escobar. Bonifacio probably needs to put up an OBP of .330 to be worth his weight. Cabrera should also put up a .330 OBP.

We can make an argument for Lind all we want - and for years, I was one of his biggest supporters - but there is only so many chances you can get. An .800 OPS for a DH to hit RHP is not ideal, because DH should not be a platoon position as it is a waste of a roster spot. At this point, I think you give David Cooper the shot, because he performed well enough to earn another chance this year.

The ultimate problem is going to be if we can hit for OBP. I believe Bonifacio and Cabrera are solid hitters for average (with shaky power depending on the year), and with Reyes, that is three new players who hit for average. The question is whether or not our team OBP goes up this year - and I think that fully depends on Rasmus and Arencibia.

For all the arguments in OPS, I'll take a .350 OBP and a .450 SLG over a .300 OBP and a .500 SLG any day of the week. Any sabermetric analysis could tell you that OBP has a higher weight than SLG. And it's our team's inability to get on base that prevents us from being a top-tier lineup. I am excited for the improvements, but it'll take a lot to go right to have the best. (Keep in mind that even during Bautista's two amazing seasons, our team was weak in AVG and OBP).

One plus: If there was one thing Gibbons did right, it was usually in line-up utilization. Boy do I miss Catalanoto.
Kelekin - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 11:18 AM EST (#266205) #
*Ignore the part where I haven't slept yet and thus wrote "Hit for OBP".
Shaker - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 11:20 AM EST (#266206) #
Your Honours,

In an effort to avoid the "OCD" tag I will terminate my spirited (and apparently failing) defense of Adam Lind with the following points:

1.  Of the 12 current hitters on our roster, Lind would rank in the bottom 3, alongside Buck and Izturis in both my "fanclub" and assessment of contribution.
2.  As currently constructed our roster can support Adam Lind as a LHB 1B/DH.  (In fact I believe it could support LHB PH/DH Jim Thome and Lind.)
3.  David Ortiz is the only DH with an OPS over .800 vs RHP in both the last 2 seasons.
4.  If David Cooper demonstrates some non-PCL hitting stats in AAA that appear superior to Lind's, I fully support Cooper taking Lind's job.
5.  In both 2010 and 2011, Lind's OPS vs RHP was superior to EE's.  Over the last 3 seasons (which includes EE's career year and excludes Lind's) in the same # of ABs, EE has hit one more HR (54 vs 53) and has an OPS of .814 vs .801 vs RHP.  Does Lind occasionally spelling EE vs RHP damage the team?
6.  John McDonald brought a singular skill to the team as well but was never pilloried the way Lind is here and now.
7.  Aaron Hill: 2009 (2010, 2011) and 2012.  I too look forward to a 2nd hitting coach in 2013.

I'm done defending Lind, you are free to spend that $7M as you wish.  Let's get on to (more) pitching and the last man on the bench.

Jevant - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 11:21 AM EST (#266207) #
I don't think I'd release Lind (simply for lack of better options, I think), although I'd certainly have a very short leash with Cooper behind him.  And if the opportunity presented itself to reinvest that $7m elsewhere, I'd be all over that as well.  I think the Morneau idea is a great one, provided that Swisher (my real target if I'm AA) is too expensive.  I'd definitely chip in a C+ or B- prospect to Minny for a Lind-Morneau swap.
China fan - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 11:23 AM EST (#266208) #
".....Reyes/Izturis vs Escobar/Johnson is probably a wash...."

I disagree with this, mostly because Reyes is likely to be a much better hitter and base-runner than Escobar. I admit they looked similar by WAR in 2012 but I think that's an exaggeration of the defensive differences between them, which I don't think are so great.

uglyone - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 11:30 AM EST (#266209) #
"Why not? Laying aside the "gel" factor, I don't see why they aren't as good or better than any team in the AL."

well, let's look at the Yanks, for example.

Here's how the starting staffs compare over the last 2yrs:

SP) RH J.Johnson (29): 40gs, 6.3ip/gs, 7.9k/0, 3.0bb/9, 47.2gb%, .288babip, 1.21whip, 3.29era, 3.22fip, 3.63xfip, 3.74siera
SP) LH C.Sabathia (31): 61gs, 7.2ip/gs, 8.8k/9, 2.2bb/9, 47.3gb%, .304babip, 1.19whip, 3.17era, 3.09fip, 3.10xfip, 3.15siera

SP) LH M.Buerhle (34): 62gs, 6.6ip/gs, 5.2k/9, 1.9bb/9, 43.2gb%, .282babip, 1.23whip, 3.66era, 4.08fip, 4.16xfip, 4.33siera
SP) RH H.Kuroda (38): 65gs, 6.5ip/gs, 7.0k/9, 2.1bb/9, 47.9gb%, .284babip, 1.19whip, 3.20era, 3.82fip, 3.62xfip, 3.67siera

SP) RH B.Morrow (28): 51gs, 6.0ip/gs, 9.2k/9, 3.3bb/9, 38.1gb%, .279babip, 1.22whip, 4.00era, 3.64fip, 3.74xfip, 3.54siera
SP) RH M.Pineda (24): 28gs, 6.1ip/gs, 9.1k/9, 2.9bb/9, 36.3gb%, .258babip, 1.10whip, 3.74era, 3.42fip, 3.53xfip, 3.36siera

SP) LH R.Romero (28): 64gs, 6.3ip/gs, 6.7k/9, 4.1bb/9, 54.1gb%, .285babip, 1.38whip, 4.19era, 4.62fip, 4.27xfip, 4.33siera
SP) RH I.Nova (26): 55gs, 6.1ip/gs, 6.7k/9, 3.0bb/9, 49.1gb%, .306babip, 1.40whip, 4.35era, 4.31fip, 4.03xfip, 4.06siera

SP) LH J.A.Happ (30): 52gs, 5.7ip/gs, 8.3k/9, 4.1bb/9, 38.2gb%, .306babip, 1.47whip, 5.08era, 4.39fip, 4.26xfip, 4.18siera
SP) RH P.Hughes (27): 46gs, 5.7ip/gs, 7.2k/9, 2.4bb/9, 32.6gb%, .291babip, 1.32whip, 4.69era, 4.55fip, 4.46xfip, 4.15siera

Similar depth on each, but the Jays don't have an elite horse like Sabathia, so advantage to the Yanks.

The yanks can also match bullpens with the Jays.

So on offense:

SS J.Reyes (30): 1302pa, 79/97sb, 8.1bb%, 7.5k%, .323babip, .310/.364/.461/.825, .354woba, 124wRC+
SS D.Jeter (39): 1347pa, 25/35sb, 6.8bb%, 12.7k%, .342babip, .308/.359/.411/.770, .340woba, 111wRC+

LF M.Cabrera (28): 1207pa, 33/48sb, 5.9bb%, 13.0k%, .352babip, .322/.360/.489/.849, .365woba, 131wRC+
CF C.Granderson (32): 1375pa, 35/48sb, 11.6bb%, 26.5k%, .278babip, .247/.342/.522/.864, .369woba, 131wRC+

RF J.Bautista (32): 1054pa, 14/21sb, 18.1bb%, 16.5k%, .271babip, .278/.414/.576/.990, .417woba, 166wRC+
2B R.Cano (30): 1378pa, 11/15sb, 7.2bb%, 13.9k%, .321babip, .307/.364/.542/.906, .384woba, 142wRC+

DH E.Enc'cion (30): 1174pa, 21/26sb, 10.8bb%, 14.6k%, .279babip, .277/.361/.508/.869, .372woba, 135wRC+
1B M.Teixeira (33): 1208pa, 6/8sb, 10.8bb%, 16.0k%, .244babip, .249/.337/.486/.823, .354woba, 121wRC+

3B B.Lawrie (23): 707pa, 20/29sb, 6.9bb%, 16.5k%, .312babip, .278/.336/.446/.782, .340woba, 114wRC+
3B A.Rodriguez (37): 957pa, 17/19sb, 10.2bb%, 20.5k%, .318babip, .274/.357/.444/.801, .351woba, 119wRC+

2B E.Bonifacio (28): 915pa, 70/84sb, 9.2bb%, 19.8k%, .357babip, .284/.351/.370/.721, .321woba, 100wRC+
LF B.Gardner (29): 625pa, 51/66sb, 10.4bb%, 16.0k%, .310babip, .262/.349/.370/.719, .323woba, 99wRC+

Jays have a slight advantage in terms of recent offensive performance, but the only Jay who's been reliably this good over the longhaul is Reyes - every other guy, including Joey, is a guy with only a year or two of this kind of performance under his belt. Meanwhile, while the Yanks are aging, their guys all have nice long track records of success to back up those numbers. I might give the Jays the edge there, but I might not.

And then for the last 3 spots, the Jays have these 2yr performances:

1B A.Lind (29): 895pa, 1/2sb, 6.8bb%, 18.8k%, .272babip, .252/.303/.429/.732, .316woba, 96wRC+
C J.Arencibia (27): 858pa, 2/3sb, 6.3bb%, 28.1k%, .267babip, .225/.279/.437/.716, .308woba, 91wRC+
CF C.Rasmus (26): 1151pa, 9/14sb, 8.4bb%, 23.0k%, .263babip, .224/.293/.396/.689, .300woba, 87wRC+

While the Yanks are going to be filling their 3 holes - RF, C, DH - on the FA market, and shouldn't have much problem beating the jays' production there.

Given the 95 wins last year, the individual player track records, and the resources they have to fill their remaining holes, I have a very hard time ranking the jays above or even alongside the yanks right now.

then we can look at the Rays - we have a large edge in batting lineup, but our starting staff still doesn't really compare to theirs.

And then teams like the Rangers, Angels and Detroit still could all arguably still be better than us on paper.

We're at least in the argument now, but we're a legit addition or two away from being a clear top-tier team, IMO.

uglyone - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 11:38 AM EST (#266210) #
"Of course, until the Jays get a better hitter signed this is a moot point. Who'd be the DH if Lind was released right now?"

IMO, Cooper should have been playing ahead of him already last year, and should be in the starting lineup this year ahead of Lind if we don't add anyone else.
Jevant - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 11:43 AM EST (#266211) #
The more I think about Cooper vs. Lind, I'm leaning towards simply hoping Gibbons says "whoever makes fewer outs will play", and let them battle it out over ST and through April (provided no other additions to the club, of course).
Jevant - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 11:56 AM EST (#266212) #

All over Twitter, but the coaching staff now looks like:

Bench: Demarlo Hale

Hitting: Chad Mottola

1B/OF: Dwayne Murphy

3B: Luis Rivera

Pitching: Pete Walker

Still need a bullpen coach.  Wak and Walton out.

Oceanbound - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 12:00 PM EST (#266213) #
The full time DH is increasingly becoming a rarity in today's game, most teams are starting to rotate players through the position. Lind's lack of versatility would hurt him in the grand scheme of things.
John Northey - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 12:30 PM EST (#266214) #
Pete Walker as pitching coach? Interesting. He was the bullpen coach last year, so he is familiar with the team. Rivera getting 3B coach rather than 'roving coach', Mottola the ML hitting coahc. Nice to see promotions from within. Interesting that Murphy accepted 1B/OF coach - a bit of a demotion from hitting coach but I guess if the pay is the same he wouldn't have cared too much.
whiterasta80 - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 12:33 PM EST (#266215) #
In fairness Cooper doesn't offer any more versatility than Lind, nor is he a significantly better defender at 1B.

That being said I really think we were scratching the surface with his bat. I agree that he should be in a competition in spring training with Lind. I don't see a problem with dropping the loser down to Buffalo and letting them play their way back.
Oceanbound - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 12:43 PM EST (#266216) #
As I mentioned in another thread(or this one?), I believe Lind can refuse any assignment to the minors, as they outrighted him last year without his consent.
Gerry - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 12:48 PM EST (#266217) #

That coaching staff is a bit of a surprise.  I don't see Rivera as a surprise, they needed a latino coach and he had been the seventh coach for a couple of years now.  Murphy's change is a surprise, I assume they well sell it as a sort of second hitting coach but the teams offense has generally been good.  Why does Murph step aside for Mottola, why not make Mottola first base coach?

Walton is a surprise although when you can't get your star pitcher fixed it probably does count against you.  But Pete Walker was part of last years staff too.

As always we don't know what goes on behind closed doors and how that factored into these decisions.

We also don't know if these are Gibbon's or the front office choices.

Wakamatsu going is not a huge surprise.

I wonder if Walton will be offered a minor league job.


Richard S.S. - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 12:59 PM EST (#266218) #
Lind still had an option left, but I think Lind's service-time made outrighting necessary.   I could be wrong.   I heard or read somewhere about the Blue Jays going with two Hitting Coaches, which could explain the Murphy move.  Of course his age (Gibbons (50), Hale (51), Murphy (57), Rivera (48), Walker (43)) could be a reason to stay working.   The Bullpen Coach position has not been filled.   Is it possible A.A. and Gibbons are looking for a second Pitching Coach?   I didn't expect Bruce Walton to stay on after all the pitching injuries last season.   That could also be one of the reason the Farrell move was "made".
Richard S.S. - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 01:15 PM EST (#266220) #
I'm surprised we don't have a Post for this.  Manager - replaced; Bench - replaced; Pitching Coach - replaced; 1st Base Coach - replaced; 3rd base Coach - replaced, Bullpen Coach - vacant and Hitting Coach - transferred.   It may or may not be important, but someone's sleeping.   Feel free to mooch any of my stuff if needed.
hypobole - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 01:30 PM EST (#266221) #
Walton had to go. Romero regressed massively under his watch. Alvarez seemed to show little if any improvement from when he arrived in the majors, ditto for pre-injury Drabek and Cecil will be lucky to be a LOOGY.

A lot of the blame lies with the players, but a good coach gets the best out of his personnel, and overall success has to outweigh failure. Can't say that happened under his recent tenure.
uglyone - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 01:38 PM EST (#266222) #
I like the idea of pretty much having two hitting coaches. I think Murphy's approach can be useful for some players, but it's an extreme style that can't work for everyone. In this case, I'm guessing he's pretty much just Jose's (and maybe EE's) caddy.

I'm also glad we've done a full houseclean. Not only did the team underperform last year, but it underperformed in highly coachable ways across the board - most importantly, IMO, neither the pitchers nor the hitters on the team last year seemed to place any value at all on walks. The pitchers gave them freely (and above career norms) while the hitters took them rarely (and below career norms) - this tells me there was a fundamental coaching problem that failed to emphasize a massively important element of winning baseball games.
John Northey - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 01:51 PM EST (#266223) #
I wonder for the pen if there are coaches who could specialize in that area. IE: guys who are great at picking up quickly if a guy is going to be effective or not from how he is going out there, thus able to avoid sending out a reliever who doesn't have it that day. Also if there are certain skills needed to keep a bullpen happy/effective vs keeping starters that way. Logically there would be differences (starters have a regular schedule plus 3-4 pitches, relievers never know when they'll go and focus on 1-2 pitches) thus different coaching styles would make sense.

Hard to say, hard to know.
Magpie - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 01:56 PM EST (#266225) #
Walton had to go. Romero regressed massively under his watch.

On the other hand, Romero spent three years steadily improving under Walton's watch, which ought to count for something, too. Nobody really knows anything. I've often suspected that pitching (and hitting) coaches often get either the blame or the credit for much that would be best laid at the manager's door.

But hey, I'm as guilty as anyone. For example, it may have been the various managers who broke all those arms that Brad Arnsberg was coaching, but I've always pointed my bony finger at Arnsberg.
Original Ryan - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 02:12 PM EST (#266226) #
Why does Murph step aside for Mottola, why not make Mottola first base coach?

Murphy is also the outfield coach now (taking over Lovullo's role), so it sounds like he'll only be a part-time hitting coach. In that case it makes sense to have Mottola as the primary hitting coach and allow him to talk to hitters in the dugout between at-bats.

Original Ryan - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 02:19 PM EST (#266227) #
John Lott has some quotes from Mottola about how things will work next year:

“The priority for Murph is outfield and baserunning,” Mottola said. “But I’ll definitely lean on him whenever needed. If guys need his language or what he’s been doing the last couple of years, he’ll be available.”

eldarion - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 02:57 PM EST (#266228) #
"...If guys need his language or what he’s been doing the last couple of years, he’ll be available.”

That statement alone gives me a world of comfort that these coaching decisions were the right ones. It recognizes that every player learns differently/has different needs and that having multiple coaches to deliver those messages is a good thing.
Marc Hulet - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 03:00 PM EST (#266229) #

I'm not sure that I agree with Gerry that the offense has been OK... the team with Murphy as hitting coach has been very one dimensional -- all pull all the time, and his attempts to turn everyone into a pull hitter - even spray hitters like Rajai -- has been questionable to say the least.

He's basically survived thus far because he helped Bautista develop and tweak Edwin, although Encarnacion gave credit to an off-season coach back in the Dominican for fixing his swing...

Other than that almost all the hitters have gone backwards, including guys like Aaron Hill who got better once they left Toronto.

TamRa - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 03:36 PM EST (#266231) #
I don't think too much of Detroit, who would have been a fourth place team in the AL East. I don't even regard the Tigers as the best team in their own division.

But New York... the Yankees scored 88 more runs than Toronto in 2012, and they allowed 116 fewer runs. They won 95 games last year, exactly as many as you would have expected, and 95 wins is generally the minimum that's required to win the AL East. An awful lot of things have to go right to make up a difference of 204 runs.

So, last night I did some figuring. Admittedly WAR is not the perfect stat and there might be more complex (i.e. beyond my depth) ways to measure this but i think it's a reasonable rule of thumb.

What I did was compare the 2012 seasons of the projected Blue jays roster to the Yankees, Rays, and Tigers. (I meant to add the Rangers but i got too sleepy to focus)

In examining the Jays i pro-rated the players who missed significant time to a full season (Bautista, Cabrera, Lawrie, Arencibia, Bonafacio, and Morrow) and downgraded Buck by half since he would have been a reserve here.

for the Yankees, I assumed they would resign Petitte, Rivera, Martin, Suzuki and Chavez. I pro-rated Petite, Gardner Tex, and A-Rod to full seasons. I didn't do anythign with Suzuki, because it's too complex to sort out the split between sucking for Seattle and going crazy in NY. i also didn't boost Rivera but in a normal season, you can add about 1.5 to his 2012 total.

For the Tigers i have no way to assume what number to use for Martinez, but you may feel free to tack on 2 or so WAR for his return if you wish.

The Rays have no projected 1B so there's a potential increase there over the total i came up with.

All that in mind, here's how they ranked in total WAR for the projected roster as it stands now):

Detroit - 51.7
NY - 50.3
Tampa - 48.5
Toronto - 48.4

And the Yankees have by far the biggest age-related-decline risk of the four.

To me, being within 2 WAR is easily within the margin of being able to say "as good as"

(and yes, i too was rather surprised Detroit totaled up that high)

TamRa - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 03:41 PM EST (#266232) #
We might want to bear in mind that improving by 204 runs - or by 22 wins - is a great big freaking deal. Neither of these things has ever happened in team history.

A. you are not allowing for ANY regression by the Yankees which, given the age factor, is not sensible.

B. something that's "never been done before" happens every year

C. none of your previous examples saw so many high end players added in one off season (although the Burnett/Ryan winter was close)

Bottom line - there's more than one way to measure relative strength of competing teams. None of us should get too focused on any particular one to the exclusion of others.
TamRa - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 03:57 PM EST (#266233) #

We're at least in the argument now, but we're a legit addition or two away from being a clear top-tier team, IMO.

Maybe it's semantics but to me, being "in the conversation" IS being "top tier" - someone is always at the bottom of the top tier if you are ranking teams against each other. I would not make the argument that they are the clear favorite for anything, but i would argue the AL East doesn't HAVE a "clear favorite"

(and i'd also point out that the AL West had a "clear favorite" in 2012 and that apparently no one told Oakland, lol)

In any case, I see from your stats, and from my much simpler exercise, that there's something like a 3 win swing between the teams in the top tier which I make to be Toronto, NY, TB, Detroit, and Texas - maybe Oakland? I am hesitant to include the A's.

If we want to say the Jays are the darkest horse in the top tier, i'm okay with that conclusion. But being within that range is a good place to be- the rest ust flows from the variables of any given season. No team is so very good that those variables can't have them sitting home in October.

uglyone - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 04:13 PM EST (#266235) #
The point is that we finished 11 country miles back of the contenders last year.

Just being "in the conversation" this early in the offseason, and not even clearly edging out the other incomplete contending rosters at this point, is probably not enough to be comfortable.

IMO we add another legit SP and another legit 1B, though, and it's hard to see how any of the other contenders could field a clearly better roster than ours, even considering additions that they haven't yet made.
John Northey - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 04:33 PM EST (#266236) #
It is a tough road the Jays have to travel, 22 games out in the East, 20 from the 2 wild cards. However, that was with the nightmare that was Lind for the first half, sOPS+ of 86, at 1B, a disaster in LF (sOPS+ of 74), and sub-90 sOPS+ at 2B/CF/SS/CA and 3B dead on 90. Those are a lot of easy spots to drastically improve and AA has been doing just that with Cabrera (should result in the biggest positional improvement in LF), Izturis, and Reyes. Lawrie hopefully will hit better in 2013, JPA/Buck probably will be better than JPA/Mathis offensively plus TdA should be here at some point, and the IF backup in Bonifacio should help too.
perlhack - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 05:44 PM EST (#266237) #
The Tampa Bay Rays have signed Evan Longoria to a contract extension. He's signed until 2022, with an option for 2023.
Original Ryan - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 05:58 PM EST (#266238) #
For those who may not have seen it on Twitter, Rivera is also serving as the infield coach, a role he filled when he was in Cleveland. There had been some speculation that Hale would be the infield coach, but it appears he'll be more like an assist in that area (a la Murphy).
sam - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 06:03 PM EST (#266239) #

If anyone is interested in scouting.  People should check this event out.

Mike Green - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 06:06 PM EST (#266240) #
The Yankees are not mythical.  They are merely the best team in baseball over the last 100 years, due to generally good management and to market size.  Their chances of being the best team in baseball in 2012 (as they probably were in 2011) are not looking great.  It's a very old club, without a whole lot of talent ready for 2013.  Pineda is out until June at least; Banuelos for the whole season.  A lot can happen between now and March, but with the talent currently on hand, I see the Yankees as a 90-92 win club.

I put no stock whatsoever in historical trends for the Jays in terms of W/L improvements.  In each case, you have to look at the talent on hand, and changes in it.  Is it possible that this club can now be expected to win 90-92?  Of course.  Will that be enough?  Way too early to even guess at that. 

As for the coaching changes, I approve (save for the unwanted loss of Butter). 

Lylemcr - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 06:09 PM EST (#266241) #

I think the offense is going to be fine (as long as everyone stays healthy...knock on wood).  Everything went wrong last year (except EE) and they still finished 7th in scoring in the AL and were near the top until Bautista was hurt.  The additions this offseason should take them to the top 5, if not higher.

It is pitching that needed the help in the worst way.  JJ and Beurle will help alot and the bullpen looks better.  If some players come back healthy at the all-star break, they could be sitting nice.  They could use one more  vet arm....  But I am hopeful for this season



bpoz - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 06:17 PM EST (#266242) #
Any chance 4 of our SPs win 15 games, ERA under 4.00 and pitch 190-200+ innings. I am not looking for "anything is possible". I am looking at their careers to date and trying to be positive but also realistic. I do not expect Happ to do this. He could have a career year, er anything is possible.
Richard S.S. - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 06:40 PM EST (#266243) #

Emilio Bonifacio has CF and 2B as his top tier positions with LF and SS as top 2nd tier positions with RF and 3B as a distant 3rd tier.   This our best bet for 2B and will be a huge upgrade there.   Jose Reyes is a big upgrade over Yunel Escobar.   To keep this massive investment healthy, this team needs an all dirt infield, to start.   An all grass would be best.   There'd be no place for the Toronto Argos, but one of a kind events could still be possible.  The overall lost of revenue would not be great, but the cost to do so could be big.   I believe the loss of Adeiny Hechavarria was behind the acquisition of Bonifacio.   Brett Lawrie will sulk, but he will be better after a lid is put on his antics.   That's a difference this Staff can make, so I consider an upgrade is possible at 3rd Base.   Melky Cabrera is a huge upgrade at LF over anyone we had there.

Last year, for a time, the Team held a Postseason berth and well into July they were only 2 Games out of a Wild Card berth.  The new acquisitions A.A. made should put this team into the Postseason.   The Rotation is much better than anything we had last year, with possibly less depth.   And Rotations problems cost a lot of games.   The Bullpen is much better, even improved over the good second-half Pen we had last season.   Problems with the Pen cost us games.  The Offense is very much better than anything the Team had on the field last year.   Lack of offense cost us a lot of games.     Even the Bullpen is better with a vacant position - Maicer Izturis instead of Omar Vizquel.   If J.P. or Buck is traded, then Bobby Wilson is Jeff Mathis back again.

Consider who's not here any more, then consider who replaces them.  This Team will be good, if it stays Healthy it will be great.   The first 29 Games of the season should give a glimpse into Toronto's future:  Boston (6), New York (6), Cleveland (3), Detriot (3), K.C. (3), Chicago (4) and Balitimore (3).   15-14 no longer makes the cut.   19-10 is expected.  Less means it's a work in progess, while more means they're on there way.

Richard S.S. - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 06:49 PM EST (#266245) #
Generally you need 70-75 wins from your Starting staff, because the Bullpen is usually involved in 40-50 decisions.   You need the Bullpen to be .500 or better in those decisions.  A real good Pen could win 30 plus games.  I'm sorry I can't be more specific, that's not that helpful.
Magpie - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 06:53 PM EST (#266246) #
you are not allowing for ANY regression by the Yankees which, given the age factor, is not sensible.

They've won at least 95 games in 11 of the last 12 seasons. They've been an old team in every one of those seasons. Anybody actually want to count on them not doing it again? Not me.
Original Ryan - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 07:28 PM EST (#266247) #
They've won at least 95 games in 11 of the last 12 seasons. They've been an old team in every one of those seasons. Anybody actually want to count on them not doing it again? Not me.

That's my thinking as well. I've been predicting the Yankees' demise for much of the last decade, and they've consistently proven me wrong. I've learned my lesson.

It's also worth noting that it's still relatively early in the offseason, so there's plenty of time for them to address their weaknesses. They're not going to stand pat.

Magpie - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 07:31 PM EST (#266248) #
19-10 is expected.

I'm not sure that 19-10 - which is a 106 win pace - should ever be expected. Unless you've got a whole month of losing teams lined up on the schedule.
electric carrot - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 07:44 PM EST (#266249) #
I've been predicting the Yankees' demise for much of the last decade, and they've consistently proven me wrong. I've learned my lesson.

Let me suggest that perhaps the lesson you could learn here is that if you keep predicting it, eventually it will come true. All good doom and gloom prognosticators know this simple rule. 
Mike Green - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 08:23 PM EST (#266250) #
The Yankees have not been as old as this before, and have never suggested a payroll figure comparable to the other biggest spenders in the league before.  In  2006, they had a couple of good young players (Cano and Melky) and nobody over 35.  In 2009, they had three prime age players age 24-26 (Cano, Melky and Brett Gardner), as well as Teixeira and Swisher under 30. Next year, there will be no one 28 or under, Gardner will be 29, Cano and Martin will be 30, Granderson will be 32, Teixeira will be 33 (how did that happen so fast?) and the rest of the lineup will be older than that. 

If someone wants to take the Yankees 94+ with me taking the Yankees 93-, I'll take that even now.  A deluxe cuttlefish will be the prize.

Mick Doherty - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 09:41 PM EST (#266251) #

Michael Green ;;; consider yourself  wagered, sirrah!


Jimbag - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 10:05 PM EST (#266252) #
I don't consider the Jays to be favored at this point, and was saying so to anyone who would listen back when the trade wasn't even official yet (but people were referring to the Jays as favorites in the ALE). How Johnson copes with switching leagues is going to be a big factor, as will be Beurhle's "happiness" here - just going off his initial comments about being lied to in Fla and the pitbull ban and nothing else - and how that impacts his effectiveness. Plus he isn't getting any younger, either. Romero is kind of a coin toss at the moment, too - does he rebound? And if not, what's Plan B? The team is better now than it was a month ago, no question there, and I think they'll be in the mix, but "favorite" just seems waaay too optimistic for now.

As for the Yankees, they have their own issues to address. Rumors of A-Rod going to DH full-time, and a great big unknown as to how Jeter recovers put the whole left side of their infield in flux. Just like others here, I've been trying to throw dirt on their coffin for years now and keep getting kicked in the coins for it, but they're finally at the stage where it seems their real core is starting to age - Jorge's gone, Rivera's a question mark, Jeter still produced last year, but even without the injury I would expect a drop-off, A-Rod has fallen into disfavor...and their starting staff isn't as formidable as it has been so often in the past 14 or 15 years. I don't expect them to fall apart like the Other Evil Empire did this year, but I really don't see them winning 90+.

John Northey - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 10:32 PM EST (#266253) #
What have our current starters done? W-L ERA as simple is the name of the game with this bit...

Pitcher - last year - 3 year average - career average
Johnson - 8-14 3.81 - 12-11 2.87 - 13-9 3.15
Buehrle - 13-13 3.74 - 14-13 3.87 - 15-11 3.82
Morrow - 10-7 2.96 - 14-12 4.16 - 9-9 4.10
Romero - 9-14 5.77 - 13-11 4.03 - 14-12 4.09
Happ - 10-11 4.79 - 11-15 4.70 - 11-11 4.19

Going by 3 year you get Johnson in the lead by a mile, then Buehrle, then Morrow/Romero and Happ far back. Career though you get Johnson, Buehrle, then a 3 way tie for all intents and purposes. The 3 year and career are the '162 game average' via B-R. Clearly Buehrle & Morrow are close enough to 15 game winners to expect it (if healthy) and Romero is right close. Johnson has had horrid support clearly with that ERA and Happ is a 4th/5th starter level.

No question, adding an ace or #2 would help a lot. Of course, Morrow and Romero have both shown that ability before, and Happ had a 144 ERA+ season in 2009 so who knows with him.

So, is there a chance 4 win 14+? Yes, clearly there is as 4 guys past 3 seasons suggest strongly they can if healthy. Happ is unlikely unless everything falls into place as 12 is his peak (in 2009).
uglyone - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 10:58 PM EST (#266254) #
I've tried to put together a WAR smash-up post to roughly judge each team's current roster.

I've decided to use 2yr splits to give a decent sample.

I've decided to use BOTH fangraphs WAR and B/R WAR.

And instead of trying to project health or games played, I've decided to take a simple 2yr average without prorating anything - this IMO is kinda tantamount to building in a "risk factor" for both players who've been injured and youngsters with few games played. I'm not trying to project games played but I don't want to ignore injury and youth risks, and I think this does a decent job of building those risks into the stats.

While looking at the stats, keep in mind that the Jays are the closest team to a 'finished product', and likely have the least chance of making significant upgrades the rest of the offseason in the division. The Yanks have to add a starting RF, DH, and C, the Rays have to add a starting 1B and DH, while the red sox will likely be upgrading all over the place. not so sure what the orioles will be up to, though.

fwar = fangraphs war
bwar = baseball reference war
awar = average war

all numbers are 2yr averages.


C.Sabathia: 219ip, 5.2bwar, 6.0fwar, 5.6awar
H.Kuroda: 211ip, 4.1bwar, 3.1fwar, 3.6awar
I.Nova: 168ip, 1.7bwar, 2.1fwar, 1.9awar
M.Pineda: 86ip, 1.1bwar, 1.6fwar, 1.4awar
P.Hughes: 133ip, 0.7bwar, 1.3fwar, 1.0awar
A.Pettitte: 38ip, 1.1bwar, 0.9fwar, 1.0awar

D.Robertson: 64ip, 2.8bwar, 2.2fwar, 2.5awar
M.Rivera: 38ip, 1.8bwar, 1.9fwar, 1.9awar
D.Phelps: 50ip, 1.0bwar, 0.4fwar, 0.7awar
B.Logan: 49ip, 0.7bwar, 0.7fwar, 0.7awar
J.Chamberlain: 25ip, 0.4bwar, 0.3fwar, 0.4awar
C.Rapada: 28ip, 0.4bwar, 0.3fwar, 0.4awar
M.Storey: 15ip, 0.2bwar, 0.3fwar, 0.3awar
C.Eppley: 28ip, 0.1bwar, 0.0fwar, 0.1awar

R.Cano: 689pa, 6.7bwar, 6.8fwar, 6.8awar
C.Granderson: 688pa, 4.0bwar, 4.8fwar, 4.4awar
M.Teixeira: 604pa, 3.3bwar, 3.6fwar, 3.5awar
A.Rodriguez: 479pa, 2.9bwar, 3.2fwar, 3.1awar
B.Gardner: 313pa, 2.0bwar, 2.8fwar, 2.4awar
D.Jeter: 674pa, 1.5bwar, 2.8fwar, 2.1awar

C.Stewart: 170pa, 1.2bwar, 0.9fwar, 1.1awar
J.Nix: 177pa, 0.4bwar, 0.3fwar, 0.4awar
C.Dickerson: 36pa, 0.3bwar, 0.3fwar, 0.3awar
E.Nunez: 219pa, -0.2bwar, -0.1fwar, -0.2awar

NYY 45.4war

M.Buehrle: 204ip, 2.9fwar, 3.4bwar, 3.2awar
J.Johnson: 126ip, 2.8fwar, 3.0bwar, 2.9awar
B.Morrow: 152ip, 3.0fwar, 2.2bwar, 2.6awar
R.Romero: 203ip, 1.7fwar, 2.3bwar, 2.0awar
J.Happ: 151ip, 1.1fwar, 0.3bwar, 0.7awar
B.Cecil: 93ip, 0.3fwar, 0.4bwar, 0.4awar

C.Janssen: 60ip, 1.3fwar, 1.9bwar, 1.6awar
D.Oliver: 54ip, 1.2fwar, 1.7bwar, 1.5awar
S.Santos: 34ip, 0.8fwar, 0.4bwar, 0.6awar
B.Lincoln: 68ip, 0.5fwar, 0.5bwar, 0.5awar
A.Loup: 15ip, 0.5fwar, 0.3bwar, 0.4awar
E.Rogers: 81ip, 0.4fwar, 0.3bwar, 0.4awar
S.Delabar: 37ip, 0.1fwar, 0.3bwar, 0.2awar
J.Carreno: 19ip, -0.2fwar, 0.4bwar, 0.1awar

J.Bautista: 527pa, 5.8fwar, 5.5bwar, 5.7awar
J.Reyes: 651pa, 5.4fwar, 3.8bwar, 4.6awar
M.Cabrera: 604pa, 4.4fwar, 4.4bwar, 4.4awar
B.Lawrie: 354pa, 2.9fwar, 3.8bwar, 3.4awar
E.Encarnacion: 587pa, 2.9fwar, 2.6bwar, 2.8awar
E.Bonifacio: 458pa, 2.0fwar, 1.5bwar, 1.8awar
J.Arencibia: 429pa, 1.1fwar, 1.2bwar, 1.2awar
C.Rasmus: 576pa, 1.1fwar, 0.2bwar, 0.5awar
A.Lind: 448pa, 0.4fwar, -0.1bwar, 0.2awar

M.Izturis: 407pa, 1.5fwar, 0.8bwar, 1.2awar
J.Buck: 464pa, 1.6fwar, 0.4bwar, 1.0awar
R.Davis: 413pa, 0.2fwar, -0.3bwar, -0.1awar
D.Cooper: 113pa, -0.1fwar, -0.1bwar, -0.1awar

Jays 43.7war

D.Price: 218ip, 4.9fwar, 4.4bwar, 4.7awar
J.Shields: 239ip, 4.6fwar, 3.5bwar, 4.1awar
J.Hellickson: 183ip, 1.2fwar, 3.2bwar, 2.2awar
M.Moore: 93ip, 1.4fwar, 0.8bwar, 1.1awar
A.Cobb: 95ip, 1.6fwar, 0.6bwar, 1.1awar
J.Niemann: 87ip, 1.2fwar, 0.5bwar, 0.9awar

F.Rodney: 53ip, 1.1fwar, 1.7bwar, 1.4awar
J.McGee: 42ip, 0.9fwar, 0.8bwar, 0.9war
J.Peralta: 67ip, 0.9fwar, 0.7bwar, 0.8awar
W.Davis: 127ip, 1.0fwar, 0.4bwar, 0.7awar
B.Badenhop: 63ip, 0.7fwar, 0.7bwar, 0.7awar
C.Ramos: 37ip, 0.0fwar, 0.3bwar, 0.2awar
C.Archer: 15ip, 0.3fwar, -0.1bwar, 0.1awar
B.Gomes: 27ip, 0.0fwar, -0.1bwar, -0.1awar

B.Zobrist: 671pa, 6.3fwar, 7.0bwar, 6.7awar
E.Longoria: 443pa, 4.3fwar, 4.8bwar, 4.6awar
D.Jennings: 425pa, 3.0fwar, 2.7bwar, 2.9awar
M.Joyce: 492pa, 2.8fwar, 2.3bwar, 2.6awar
R.Roberts: 522pa, 2.4fwar, 1.6bwar, 2.0awar
S.Fuld: 227pa, 1.1fwar, 1.2bwar, 1.2awar
J.Molina: 233pa, 1.0fwar, 0.8bwar, 0.9awar

S.Rodriguez: 389pa, 1.5fwar, 1.7bwar, 1.6awar
E.Johnson: 245pa, 0.4fwar, 0.7bwar, 0.6awar
C.Gimenez: 90pa, 0.4fwar, 0.3bwar, 0.4awar
B.Francisco: 250pa, -0.2fwar, -0.5bwar, -0.4awar

Rays 41.9

J.Lester: 199ip, 3.5fwar, 2.3bwar, 2.9awar
C.Buchholz: 136ip, 1.5fwar, 1.3bwar, 1.4awar
F.Doubront: 85ip, 1.0fwar, -0.1bwar, 0.5awar
F.Morales: 66ip, 0.5fwar, 0.5bwar, 0.5awar
J.Lackey: 80ip, 0.8fwar, -0.3bwar, 0.3awar
A.Miller: 53ip, 0.5fwar, 0.1bwar, 0.3awar

S.Atchison: 41ip, 0.8fwar, 1.1bwar, 1.0awar
J.Tawaza: 24ip, 0.7fwar, 0.9bwar, 0.8awar
A.Aceves: 99ip, 0.7fwar, 0.8bwar, 0.8awar
C.Breslow: 61ip, 0.7fwar, 0.8bwar, 0.8awar
D.Bard: 66ip, 0.8fwar, 0.2bwar, 0.5awar
M.Melancon: 60ip, 0.4fwar, 0.1bwar, 0.3awar
C.Mortenson: 50ip, 0.0fwar, 0.5bwar, 0.3awar
A.Bailey: 29ip, 0.5fwar, -0.1bwar, 0.2awar

D.Pedroia: 677pa, 6.2fwar, 6.3bwar, 6.3awar
J.Ellsbury: 525pa, 5.5fwar, 4.4fwar, 5.0awar
D.Ortiz: 494pa, 3.6fwar, 3.3fwar, 3.5awar
J.Saltalamacchia: 417pa, 1.9fwar, 1.0bwar, 1.5awar
J.Gomes: 353pa, 1.8fwar, 1.0bwar, 1.4awar
W.Middlebrooks: 141pa, 1.1fwar, 0.6bwar, 0.9awar
P.Ciriaco: 153pa, 0.6fwar, 0.7bwar, 0.7awar
R.Sweeney: 259pa, 0.4fwar, 0.3bwar, 0.4awar
J.Sands: 126pa, 0.5fwar, 0.0bwar, 0.3awar

D.Ross: 184pa, 1.5fwar, 1.0bwar, 1.3awar
D.Nava: 159pa, 0.6fwar, 0.7bwar, 0.7awar
J.Iglesias: 42pa, 0.1fwar, 0.1bwar, 0.1awar
R.Lavarnway: 105pa, 0.6fwar, -0.7bwar, -0.1awar

Red Sox: 32.6

J.Hammell: 144ip, 1.6bwar, 2.1fwar, 1.9awar
W.Chen: 96ip, 1.2bwar, 1.1fwar, 1.2awar
M.Gonzalez: 53ip, 1.5bwar, 0.6fwar, 1.1awar
C.Tillman: 74ip, 0.6bwar, 1.1fwar, 0.9awar
Z.Britton: 107ip, 0.1bwar, 1.6fwar, 0.8awar
J.Arrietta: 117ip, -0.3bwar, 0.9fwar, 0.3awar

J.Johnson: 80ip, 2.4bwar, 1.6fwar, 2.0awar
P.Strop: 44ip, 1.7bwar, 0.8fwar, 1.3awar
L.Ayala: 66ip, 1.6bwar, 0.5fwar, 1.1awar
T.Patton: 43ip, 1.3bwar, 0.7fwar, 1.0awar
D.O'Day: 42ip, 1.3bwar, 0.5fwar, 0.9awar
S.Johnson: 19ip, 0.7bwar, 0.3fwar, 0.5awar
T.Hunter: 102ip, -0.2bwar, 0.2fwar, 0.0awar
B.Matusz: 74ip, -1.3bwar, -0.1fwar, -0.7awar

M.Wieters: 572pa, 4.0bwar, 4.6fwar, 4.3awar
J.Hardy: 640pa, 3.5bwar, 3.8fwar, 3.7awar
A.Jones: 651pa, 3.1bwar, 3.8fwar, 3.5awar
N.Markakis: 594pa, 2.0bwar, 2.0fwar, 2.0awar
A.Casilla: 346pa, 1.7bwar, 1.3fwar, 1.5awar
N.Reimold: 187pa, 0.6bwar, 1.1fwar, 0.9awar
M.Machado: 101pa, 0.8bwar, 0.7fwar, 0.8awar
C.Davis: 386pa, 0.7bwar, 0.9fwar, 0.8awar
M.Reynolds: 579pa, 0.2bwar, 0.4fwar, 0.3awar

W.Betemit: 368pa, 0.6bwar, 0.9fwar, 0.8awar
O.Quintanilla: 102pa, -0.2bwar, 0.0fwar, -0.1awar
T.Teagarden: 50pa, -0.1bwar, -0.1fwar, -0.1awar
T.Robinson: 160pa, -0.2bwar, -0.3fwar, -0.3awar

Orioles: 30.4

This came out pretty much as I expected it to...

.... the Yanks even now hold a small edge on the Jays, and they still have to add 3 starting position players to that roster.

.... the Rays are slightly behind the Jays, but can catch up by adding a decent 1B and DH. To be fair, they weren't able ot do that last year and it might be hard for them to do it this year.

.... the Sox are actually not in awful shape, and have the payroll to upgrade significantly and get right back up level with the top 3.

.... the Orioles....damn, I still don't know how they did what they did last year. That is not a good team, and they'll likely fall flat this year.

If the jays don't make another significant upgrade or two, IMO they'll be behind the Yanks going into the season, and with some smart additions the Rays and Sox could pass us too.

TamRa - Monday, November 26 2012 @ 11:09 PM EST (#266255) #
They've won at least 95 games in 11 of the last 12 seasons. They've been an old team in every one of those seasons. Anybody actually want to count on them not doing it again? Not me.

Average age of the Yankees nine primary starters (per B-R), five busiest SP and five busiest relievers for 2013 (projected) and the previous 12 seasons:

2013 - 32.8
2012 - 31
2011 - 31.6
2010 - 29.8
2009 - 30
2008 - 31.2
2007 - 32
2006 - 31.5
2005 - 32.9
2004 - 32.8
2003 - 31
2002 - 31.6
2001 - 31.1

So i guess that point is kind of made in your favor, but i still think it's relevant as an element of increased risk, even if they have dodged the bullet this long. one of the reasons they have not been so subject to the age-regression factor has to do with the depth of their resources in terms of addressing needs but objectively, I think they have been very fortunate. I can't dismiss the possibility the odds catch up with even them eventually. Each season is a discrete entity and must be judged on it's own merits.

Shane - Tuesday, November 27 2012 @ 12:27 AM EST (#266256) #

"I'm not sure that I agree with Gerry that the offense has been OK... the team with Murphy as hitting coach has been very one dimensional -- all pull all the time, and his attempts to turn everyone into a pull hitter - even spray hitters like Rajai -- has been questionable to say the least.

He's basically survived thus far because he helped Bautista develop and tweak Edwin, although Encarnacion gave credit to an off-season coach back in the Dominican for fixing his swing...

Other than that almost all the hitters have gone backwards, including guys like Aaron Hill who got better once they left Toronto."

To tack on to what Marc said earlier, this was Chad Mottola today:

“Everybody has their own approach and their own strengths, and I like to use those rather than one blanket philosophy. It’s more working on guys’ strengths rather than a blueprint of one general approach for everybody.”

Thomas - Tuesday, November 27 2012 @ 07:30 AM EST (#266257) #
On the other hand, Romero spent three years steadily improving under Walton's watch, which ought to count for something, too. Nobody really knows anything. I've often suspected that pitching (and hitting) coaches often get either the blame or the credit for much that would be best laid at the manager's door.

This. I don't think it's fair to mention the failures of the pitching staff last year without mentioning the success of some of the pitchers during the previous seasons where Walton was at the helm. It's really hard to evaluate the successes and failures of the pitching coach from the outside. I'm a little surprised Walton was let go entirely; given what happened with Murphy I could have seen him returning to the bullpen, as he's apparently quite popular with the players. However, Gibby mentioned that the bullpen coach should get along with Walker, so maybe Walton and Walker didn't see eye to eye and one of them had to go.

John Northey - Tuesday, November 27 2012 @ 08:09 AM EST (#266258) #
Coaches are funny things. Sometimes they get viewed as amazing then cannot find a job after they are let go. For example, Arnsburg was let go in Houston in June 2011 and afaik hasn't had a coaching job in the majors since. Others who were viewed as top pitching coaches vanished as well, such as Phil Regan, and Leo Mazzone (viewed as a genius in Atlanta, fired after 2 seasons in Baltimore and not seen since).
John Northey - Tuesday, November 27 2012 @ 09:05 AM EST (#266259) #
The 22 games the Jays were back - how hard would it be to gain that? Well, last year just 2 teams gained 20 games and just 2 fell back 20 - see this article by Magpie for details.

Philly & Boston went the wrong way, Baltimore & Oakland the right way. Baltimore is well known for being helped by a great record in 1 run games but also did it by skyrocking improvements in pitching (155 runs) vs nothing in offense (4 runs). Oaklands improvement, on the other hand, was split almost even between pitching and offensive improvements.

So, what are the Jays doing? It seems pitching is the #1 goal to improve with the 2 new starters and Happ instead of the mess of #5's last year. It is quite easy to see the Jays staff jumping up a lot. The offense? Not hard to see drastic improvements either with the hole in LF filled, SS going from ugly (75 OPS+) to all-star, and a (hopefully) full year of Bautista. With those changes could a 160+ run improvement ala Baltimore happen? Sure. Mix in some good luck and we'd have 95 wins.

For old snakes and ladders...
bpoz - Tuesday, November 27 2012 @ 09:13 AM EST (#266260) #
Good point John N. I remember in the 80s Detroit had Morris and another fairly good pitcher. IMO Morris abused his arm and stayed healthy but the other guy was just OK health wise.
So who knows.
melondough - Tuesday, November 27 2012 @ 09:42 AM EST (#266261) #
Rotoworld is saying that T.R. Sullivan from is reporting that Darren Oliver may come back IF traded to Texas which is where he lives. While I would be dissapointed to not have Oliver back I wonder what AA could get in return (assuming for now they want to work on a one for one).
John Northey - Tuesday, November 27 2012 @ 10:01 AM EST (#266262) #
Probably not a lot... if Oliver wants to go to Texas and Texas knows that then they have all the leverage. Of course, this is AA we are talking about so who knows?

Texas on offense is amazing, their weakest slot is DH (Michael Young 78 OPS+) and RF (Nelson Cruz 101) - 2B and SS were weaker offensively but in the 90's for OPS+ which is perfectly acceptable.

Their big problem is Josh Hamilton might go elsewhere, leaving a big hole in the middle of their lineup and in CF. Might they be thinking that they could get Rasmus to 'reach his potential'? Don't know who they have that the Jays would chase after though, that is who Texas would give up. Darvish would be funny and nice to get but I doubt he is up for a trade. Their pen was deep last year, with their 8 most used relievers having an ERA+ above 100. So a one for one reliever swap might work.

He might also go for Houston, although not a contender it would be closer for him. Houston needs help pretty much everywhere and has little to trade though.
Jevant - Tuesday, November 27 2012 @ 10:02 AM EST (#266263) #

I would guess it probably wouldn't be a one for one deal.  The fact that Texas needs catching and we have excess catching would present an opportunity for AA.  If true (and I'm hoping that Oliver simply stays and we just deal a catcher to Texas for something else), I would hope this could be an avenue for dealing with either the 1B/DH issue or for an SP.

It would also mean the bullpen is going to need a significant additional piece. 

Chuck - Tuesday, November 27 2012 @ 11:22 AM EST (#266264) #

I missed this. Perhaps others did as well. Casey Janssen had surgery.

John Northey - Tuesday, November 27 2012 @ 12:19 PM EST (#266265) #
Forgot about that. What a year for injuries. 2012 will always be remembered as the MASH year.

Hopefully that is all out of the Jays system and we'll have a healthy and happy 2013.

On a sad note, Marvin Miller passed away this morning.
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, November 27 2012 @ 02:44 PM EST (#266270) #
The report says 10 days ago for the surgery making that the 17th, the day after the Melky Cabrera signing and only 4 days after the Blockbuster was reported. I can see how this slipped under the radar.
greenfrog - Tuesday, November 27 2012 @ 03:23 PM EST (#266271) #
Prospect junkies will want to check out Kiley McDaniel's latest "report from instructs," which includes writeups on Stroman and Tirado (both very positive):
Shaker - Tuesday, November 27 2012 @ 05:06 PM EST (#266272) #
Does Oliver + JPA + Happ get you Derek Holland?
Gerry - Tuesday, November 27 2012 @ 05:10 PM EST (#266273) #
krose - Tuesday, November 27 2012 @ 05:14 PM EST (#266274) #
Phillies catcher Ruiz has been suspended for 25 games. Report on Sportsnet.
grjas - Tuesday, November 27 2012 @ 07:53 PM EST (#266275) #
In a Star interview, Butter said his dream job would be managing the Jays. Wouldn't it be hilarious some time in the future if.....

Of course after Gibbons gets bored collecting rings.
Magpie - Tuesday, November 27 2012 @ 08:36 PM EST (#266276) #
Marvin Miller.

The only men in the history of the game as important as Miller were named Ruth and Robinson. He didn't just bring the game into the twentieth century - he had to skip over half a millennium to get there, because relations between owners and players resembled something out of the early Middle Ages, rather like the landlord and his indentured serfs.
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 27 2012 @ 09:00 PM EST (#266277) #
relations between owners and players resembled something out of the early Middle Ages, rather like the landlord and his indentured serfs.

resting on the fiction that baseball was not a business.  Miller's skill and patience were instrumental in the remaking of the rules.

Magpie - Tuesday, November 27 2012 @ 09:13 PM EST (#266278) #
Tango directs us to a great Miller quote, from a 2002 interview with Posnanski:

"When people tell me that fans are against the players now, I say, 'Who cares?' “They have never given a damn about the players. As is their right. But they didn't care when the players were getting paid peanuts. They didn't care when the players were pieces of property the owners could throw around. Nor was there any fan movement whatsoever when baseball, for I don't know how long, wouldn't hire non-white players, no matter their ability. Where was the fan anger then?"
whiterasta80 - Wednesday, November 28 2012 @ 08:44 AM EST (#266279) #
Interesting to put that quote into the context of the current NHL lockout.
John Northey - Wednesday, November 28 2012 @ 09:46 AM EST (#266280) #
Interesting to also note that this lockout is probably the first time I'm seeing real anger towards the owners. For once the media noticed it isn't a strike, but a lockout - the players would love to play under the old rules (obviously given their pay will be cut after this contract is done) but the owners won't let them. The owners have been demonized a lot lately thanks to their own weird choices such as a team in Phoenix when various other cities would love to have a team, which looks even dumber when you see how well Winnipeg has done.

Still some who complain that the players should be happy to be playing at all. I say to those who are hockey deprived go to a local game instead - AHL, OHL, OHA, university, your kids games, whatever. If you really are a hockey fan that'll be just as good as NHL to you.
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, November 28 2012 @ 02:11 PM EST (#266291) #
MLB-ready/MLB Starting Catchers will be extremely valuable at the Winter Meetings. A.A.'s asking price is a Mid - / Front-of- Rotation Starter. Who bites the bullet and makes the deal?
Marc Hulet - Wednesday, November 28 2012 @ 02:21 PM EST (#266292) #
I highly doubt JP Arencibia would bring back a mid-rotation starter on his own. Especially one with multiple years of control left.
earlweaverfan - Wednesday, November 28 2012 @ 09:43 PM EST (#266296) #
Would Ogando rate as a starter in considering your above comment, given that he has succeeded at it, and has that potential, or as a reliever, given that the pen is where he spent last year ?

Would you see him as an appealing and doable target for AA?  I know Daniels has said he is not interested in moving him, but what if he is still short a catcher, if Martin and Napoli were to sign elsewhere?

John Northey - Thursday, November 29 2012 @ 09:00 AM EST (#266305) #
Alexi Ogando would be wonderful to have, but I don't see it. Texas is a fairly smart organization and it would take a lot to get a guy who was an all-star starting pitcher in 2011 and a very effective reliever in 2010 and 2012 who is not to be a free agent until the 2016/2017 off season.
greenfrog - Thursday, November 29 2012 @ 09:17 AM EST (#266311) #
I would avoid dealing with Texas if possible. They know their stuff. If they are "reluctantly" offering to part with a young player (Justin Smoak) or take a surplus piece off your hands (Napoli), it might be wise to think twice before agreeing.
Richard S.S. - Thursday, November 29 2012 @ 02:42 PM EST (#266354) #
Chances are the Teams needing Catchers will be passive, waiting for "something for nothing" to be available.   Arencibia Is a power-hitting (20+ HRs), decently defensive, 26 year-old Catcher with good size (6'0" 205), and 4 years of control.   If today's Russell Martin is "reportedly" getting $22.5 MM -$24.0 MM over 3 years, then J.P. is worth anything A.A. wants for him.
Richard S.S. - Friday, November 30 2012 @ 12:41 AM EST (#266375) #
Russell Martin gets $8.5 MM per year (2), Buck gets 6.0 MM this year,  The starting Catcher market is done to Napoli and A.J. Pierzynski.   J.P.'s value increases.
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