Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine

Darren Oliver is coming back.  Here is the Blue Jays announcement:

LHP DARREN OLIVER will return to the TORONTO BLUE JAYS for a 20th Major League season and second in a Blue Jays uniform after his US $3.0 million was exercised for the 2013 season.

OLIVER, 42, posted the lowest ERA of his career in 2012 with a 2.06 mark, which was the 3rd lowest mark in the AL with a minimum of 50 innings pitched. The Kansas City, Missouri native has now held opponents to a .237 average over his past seven seasons to go with a 2.86 ERA over that span. The left-hander has not posted a single season ERA above 3.00 since the 2007 season. The former 3rd round pick of the Texas Rangers in 1988, Oliver has played for nine teams in his career, including Texas on three separate occasions. In 716 career games, including 229 starts, the 19-year veteran has posted a 115-94 record with a 4.53 ERA



Did the Jays call Oliver's bluff?  Is there an agreement in the background somewhere?  Did Oliver see the roster and decide he wanted one more shot at the playoffs?  Who knows?  Just a few people........

 

Feel free to speculate away....

 

p.s. I don't care about the payroll position, as long as this doesn't force another move. 

p.s. 2 - The 25th man, the extra RH bat, will probably have to be a major league minimum guy

Guess Who Just Got Back Today? That Wild-Eyed Boy that Had Been Away. | 142 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mylegacy - Wednesday, January 16 2013 @ 03:44 PM EST (#267998) #
Great news for everyone but Rogers - 3 mill more - that has to put 2013's payroll at 130 million(ish).

Does that mean Happ to AAA and Cecil getting the final spot? Does that mean since Blanco is cheaper and Thole has options the big T starts in AAA?



greenfrog - Wednesday, January 16 2013 @ 03:45 PM EST (#267999) #
Great! I think Oliver has a good chance to be very effective in 2013, especially with a deeper pitching staff. He doesn't need to have a heavy workload. The bullpen now looks pretty good on paper, and Oliver's veteran presence is a nice bonus. The team just got that much better.
Mike Green - Wednesday, January 16 2013 @ 03:49 PM EST (#268000) #
Geoff - Wednesday, January 16 2013 @ 03:55 PM EST (#268001) #
My concern all along is that the guy comes back and has a chip on his shoulder and a score to settle. Which would speak really badly of him as a person, and I don't have much with which to judge the man's character.

But the guy did demand a raise and threaten that he would retire if he didn't get that or a trade he wanted (if the media is to be trusted for accuracy). Not the right amount of accountability to start with when you want to convince your employers, colleagues, or me that you are going to be prepared and focused on success. I've feared he was going to come to the conclusion that he should just show up and get paid.

Damn these high hopes for the season. I am going to worry about every little thing that can go wrong.
Geoff - Wednesday, January 16 2013 @ 03:58 PM EST (#268002) #
p.s. by "score to settle", I mean with management about how he (apparently) feels mistreated by management and not given his due.

p.p.s. "p.s. 2"'s are either p.p.s.'s or the second generation of PlayStation.
jjdynomite - Wednesday, January 16 2013 @ 04:02 PM EST (#268003) #
Geoff, I think that's being a bit alarmist. It was Oliver's agent Frye who made the trade-me-(to-Texas)-or-pay-me-($1.5-million-more) pronouncement public, not Oliver himself. Given that, I'm sure he'll be a pro. He seemed pretty laconic throughout the crappy 2012 season; I assume he won't upset the 2013 playoffs-or-bust cart.

Does a Bauxite more authoritative than I want to provide the (un)official 25 man for analysis, pretty please?

Lylemcr - Wednesday, January 16 2013 @ 04:04 PM EST (#268004) #

I think AA told him that he is not going to get a raise and he would trade him to Texas, but he won't be "demanded" of it.  He didn't want to set a precident.

There are all sorts of rumors linking the Jays to one more arm in the pen. (Farnsworth,Lyon, K-rod, etc).  Personally, I would like to.  I know what will happen if they don't.  The season goes on and a couple injuries happen and we trade a couple top prospects for another arm.  Let's stock up now and put some of the young guys in Buffalo (we will need them).  And if the season is a disaster, they could help restock the minor league system.

Gerry - Wednesday, January 16 2013 @ 04:14 PM EST (#268005) #
Oliver is scheduled to talk to the media at 6pm tonight.  That Q&A will give some insight into the last few weeks activities.
John Northey - Wednesday, January 16 2013 @ 04:17 PM EST (#268006) #
Hmm... 25 man roster.... worth a shot.

CA: JPA, Thole
1B: Encarnacion
2B: Izturis
3B: Lawrie
SS: Jose Reyes
LF: Melky Cabrera
CF: Colby Rasmus
RF: Jose Bautista
DH: Adam Lind
IF: Emilio Bonifacio
OF: Rajai Davis
Open slot for RH platoon mate for Lind most likely, ideally able to play 1B/3B/LF

Rotation...
R.A. Dickey
Josh Johnson
Mark Buehrle
Brandon Morrow
Ricky Romero

Bullpen...
Sergio Santos
Casey Janssen
Darren Oliver
J.A. Happ
Esmil Rogers
-----above safe, below in dogfight for 2 slots
Brad Lincoln
Steve Delabar
Jeremy Jeffress
Aaron Loup
Tommy Hottovy
Brett Cecil
and more I'm sure



Paul D - Wednesday, January 16 2013 @ 04:21 PM EST (#268007) #
John, are you sure Happ's safe? I could see him starting in AAA.
Subversive - Wednesday, January 16 2013 @ 04:30 PM EST (#268008) #
Careful Paul, you don't want to get called a short sighted nitwit.
Mike Green - Wednesday, January 16 2013 @ 04:38 PM EST (#268009) #
Myopiphobia is a dangerous trend in modern society.

It's not what I would do, but I anticipate that the 25th man will be a middle infielder and that Davis will semi-platoon with Lind. 

China fan - Wednesday, January 16 2013 @ 04:41 PM EST (#268010) #
I think Santos starts the season in Buffalo. He's been out of action for a year, and he's recovering from injury. He needs to get comfortable, and that could be in Buffalo. If all goes well, he comes up to replace the first reliever who is injured or performs poorly.
John Northey - Wednesday, January 16 2013 @ 05:26 PM EST (#268011) #
I think the Happ stuff is to give him incentive - remind him he doesn't have a slot guaranteed.  Santos I expect to start the season - he has had winter to rehab and gets spring to get up to speed.  Its possible both go down, but I doubt it.  If they do there are lots of options - such as Cecil (out of options I think) as long man, and Brad Lincoln, Steve Delabar, Aaron Loup all fighting for 2 slots.  Plus, of course, the potential of another guy coming in such as Brandon Lyon or someone from the assortment listed at MLBTradeRumors (Francisco Rodriguez, Matt Lindstrom, Matt Capps, Juan Carlos Oviedo, Jose Valverde and Kyle Farnsworth).  Rodriguez I see as a low possibility as he wants to close I'm sure and Toronto already has 2 guys for that role (Janssen, Santos).
melondough - Wednesday, January 16 2013 @ 05:31 PM EST (#268012) #
Are both Cecil and Rogers out of options? Are there any others?

If Cecil and Rogers are out of options then I would like to see the 7 bullpen arms as follows: Santos, Janssen, Oliver, Delabar, Lincoln, Rogers, and Cecil.

I would have Happ start in Buffalo and be ready for a call upon the first injury/lack of performance by a starter. You know Happ is going to be an important member of this team at some point. No way the rotation stays injury free. I would like our depth with Jeffress, Loup, Hottovy, and Happ in AAA.

Lylemcr - Wednesday, January 16 2013 @ 06:13 PM EST (#268013) #

I see Loup making it because it would be nice to have 2 LHP in the bullpen.  So, if they get another reliever, the roster is pretty well set.

greenfrog - Wednesday, January 16 2013 @ 06:43 PM EST (#268014) #
AA says Lincoln could start the year in Buffalo, preparing to fill the role of starting pitcher, as the team is still a bit light on SP depth. Interesting. That makes sense.
jerjapan - Wednesday, January 16 2013 @ 06:55 PM EST (#268015) #
Cecil, Jeffress and Rogers are all out of options.

My predicted bullpen is Santos, Janssen, Oliver, Delabar, Rogers and Cecil, with a dogfight in spring training for the 7th spot.  Since AA traded for him, I imagine Rogers is safe, and Cecil has a long track record with the club and likely deserves a final shot at reinventing himself as a lefty specialist.  He had plenty of experience in college as a closer, not to mention the .570 OPS lefties have posted against him in the last 3 years.  I've got Delabar ahead of Lincoln due to his dominance in TO.  Can't imagine Santos not breaking with the big club, given his contract, unless he struggles badly due to his lost year. 

Jeffress still has legit upside and, given his lack of options, may have the inside track on the 7th spot.  Loup and Lincoln are 8 and 9 depending on whether we need a lefty or a righty, with Crawford and Dyson next in line, although I imagine that there will be plenty of AAAA guys shuffling back and forth from Buffalo depending on who we are playing. 

China fan - Wednesday, January 16 2013 @ 07:25 PM EST (#268016) #
"....AA says Lincoln could start the year in Buffalo, preparing to fill the role of starting pitcher, as the team is still a bit light on SP depth. Interesting. That makes sense...."

Except that Lincoln has been much better as a reliever than a starter. The Pirates spent years trying to make him a successful starter, and it didn't work. That experiment has failed -- unless the Jays coaches can figure something out that the Pirates could not figure out.

I agree that Cecil has the inside track on a bullpen job because he is out of options. I can see Loup beginning in the minors because of his options, and I think Jeffress has very little chance of cracking the team. And I can see Happ being stretched out as the 6th starter in Buffalo.

So, if Santos is healthy (as some here are convinced), the bullpen would be: Janssen, Santos, Oliver, Delabar, Rogers, Lincoln, Cecil. Not bad. But who would be the multi-inning reliever in that scenario, if Happ is in Buffalo?
China fan - Wednesday, January 16 2013 @ 07:28 PM EST (#268017) #
John -- by the way: Hottovy was DFA'd a few days ago.
greenfrog - Wednesday, January 16 2013 @ 07:42 PM EST (#268018) #
CF, I'd heard that about Lincoln, but maybe the Jays think that he still has a chance to be successful as a starter. Or that having him on standby as a potentially decent, potentially just-OK starter is more valuable (at least in 2013) than having another bullpen arm.

Plus, AA said that even if Lincoln starts in Buffalo, there would be nothing preventing the team from recalling him to pitch in relief if need be.
whiterasta80 - Wednesday, January 16 2013 @ 07:58 PM EST (#268019) #
In fact, isn't that exactly the recipe that led to Lincoln's success in Pittsburgh last season?
grjas - Wednesday, January 16 2013 @ 08:07 PM EST (#268020) #
Suspect they'll think long and hard before dropping the 6 year veteran Happ into the minors. He's likely not happy being dumped from the rotation, and demoting a 30 year old veteran with reasonable numbers may not go over too well. Maybe AA can sell it; guess it depends on Happ's maturity/ego.

Would rather see Lincoln stretched as a potential 7th or 8th option if needed, and if Happ moves to the rotation, Lincoln could fill his BP slot
whiterasta80 - Wednesday, January 16 2013 @ 09:50 PM EST (#268021) #
I am more than confident that Happ has at least 15 starts by years end... Unfortunately.
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, January 16 2013 @ 10:20 PM EST (#268022) #
If Oliver is League average or worse, Toronto loses value in his return. Anything better from him, Toronto wins with his return. It's that simple.

A.A. ideally wants five people (power arms) to pitch late innings and two to pitch Long Relief/Spot Start. The five are easy to pick, the two can be the hardest.

The pen is likely to pitch 2-3 innings per night early in the season. So losing a Starter in the 2nd inning to a blister popping (blood showing) will destroy a bullpen without someone to go 4-6 innings.
vw_fan17 - Wednesday, January 16 2013 @ 10:26 PM EST (#268023) #
A's just DFAed George Kottaras in favor of John Jaso - any interest in his services over the other options?
Craig B - Wednesday, January 16 2013 @ 10:29 PM EST (#268024) #
John Lott has the definitive story.

There's no way Rogers is "safe". He throws hard but is terrible. He's a pauper's Steve Delabar.

92-93 - Wednesday, January 16 2013 @ 10:39 PM EST (#268025) #
"I didnt say those things, Oliver said. That was coming from Jeff Frye, my agent. Obviously, if I had something to say, I would have said it a long time ago. Not once did I ever demand anything from the Blue Jays or Alex."

If Oliver had fired Frye I'd believe his story. Maybe.



John Northey - Wednesday, January 16 2013 @ 10:39 PM EST (#268026) #
Weird, Kottaras has hit for over a 100 OPS+ each of the last two years.  A LH hitting catcher who hits that well should be buried in playing time but instead has 332 PA the past two years.  Last year he hit 211/351/415 - solid power, solid patience just can't hit for average.  Baseball Info Solutions has him at -12 runs on defense last year so that might be why.  Really a first baseman/DH who can catch.  If he could be stashed in AAA he'd be useful but otherwise no point right now.
92-93 - Wednesday, January 16 2013 @ 10:46 PM EST (#268027) #
I like to swim with playing time and bury benches.
Doom Service - Wednesday, January 16 2013 @ 11:40 PM EST (#268028) #

Unrelated to the current thread, but BA is reporting Alan Farina just caught a 50 game suspension for twice testing positive for a drug of abuse.

http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/2013/01/blue-jays-prospect-garners-50-game-suspension/

 

Geoff - Thursday, January 17 2013 @ 12:06 AM EST (#268029) #
Hooray! We can blame the media, or better yet: agents!

The fun of agency and truth. Who said what? To whom? Under what circumstances?

Have fun being hung out to dry, Jeff Frye. It's going to take a while to get that smell off you.
Craig B - Thursday, January 17 2013 @ 12:34 AM EST (#268030) #
Nah, getting hung out to dry is what agents are for.
John Northey - Thursday, January 17 2013 @ 01:18 AM EST (#268031) #
Sucks for Farina.  Tommy John surgery then this.  Obviously not steroids or any of the powerful stuff, probably marijuana or something along those lines.  One of the reasons the players didn't want to just let the owners decide what the penalties and drugs on the list should be.
TamRa - Thursday, January 17 2013 @ 04:35 AM EST (#268032) #
Great news for everyone but Rogers - 3 mill more - that has to put 2013's payroll at 130 million(ish).

Does that mean Happ to AAA and Cecil getting the final spot? Does that mean since Blanco is cheaper and Thole has options the big T starts in AAA?



not that high, by my estimate.

the total of guaranteed contracts, with the Rasmus deal, is $112.575 million for 17 players (one of whom is McGowan)
Three arbs - something like $7.5 mil between them.
that leaves five pre-arb deals totaling something around 3 mil.
There needs to be one more hitter and we can reasonably assume McGowan to the DL again so there's another half-mil at least, depending on the choice them make for that spot.

Total, about $123.5

Assumed roster:

Dickey, Johnson, Buehrle, Morrow, Romero
Janssen, Santos, Oliver, Delenbar, Cecil, Happ and one of Rogers, Lincoln, Jefresss

Arencibia, Thole
Encarnacion, Lind
Izturus, Bonfacio
Reyeys
Lawrie
Bautista, Rasmus, Cabrera, Davis
(unknown)

DL: McGowan

Cooper can in theory take Lind's job but we still have to pay Lind unless we find a taker
Ditto Loup or Crawford pushing Cecil out.
Happ might be in AAA in theory but he still gets paid his major league salary
Absolutely NO chance they compromise on Thole to save less than one million difference between him and Blanco.

My guess is that AA had penciled Oliver into his budget all along and don't need to save this money elsewhere, OTOH i think you won't hear anything else said about signing another reliever.


Oh, and by the by...if I'm Brett Cecil, Daren Oliver is like unto a GOD to me and i worship every bit of advice that falls from his lips.


John Northey - Thursday, January 17 2013 @ 04:54 AM EST (#268033) #
Heh.  I suspect the Jays will have a minor offer on the table ($2 mil or something) for any reliever they feel is high quality but desperate for a job come February.  Trying to think of who the Jays could trade to free up salary but no one coming to mind outside of Lind and maybe Rasmus if Gose is ready (won't know until well into the spring and probably not until well into the season).  No one is over $14 mil for 2013 (Bautista) but in 2014 ... oh boy ... Buehrle is $18, Reyes $16, Bautista still $14, $12 to Dickey.  Coming off the books is Lind ($2 mil buyout $7 mil in 2013), Janssen ($3.9 mil in 2013 but team option for 2014 at $4 mil), Johnson ($13.75 mil this year), Davis ($2.5 mil), and Oliver ($3 mil).

Post 2014 we lose Cabrera ($8 mil a year), Rasmus, Bonifacio, Happ.  McGowan, Santos, Happ, Morrow, Lind all have 2015 options.

Right now B-R estimates the Jays at $113 mil this year, $138 next year, $143 in 2015, and $147 in 2016 and that is without resigning anyone who's contract runs out.  It does assume all options are picked up which they won't be (most likely).

So next winter is the bloodbath if the Jays don't make the playoffs.  Johnson is a goner I figure, and the Jays probably look at finding a new home for Buehrle.
China fan - Thursday, January 17 2013 @ 05:39 AM EST (#268034) #
It's becoming increasingly clear that Anthopoulos has been smartly accumulating players with options to allow the Jays to have much greater depth in the future. Last year was a wake-up call: you need a lot of depth to survive a whole season, and that requires players with options. So who has AA acquired in the past six months? Players like Happ, Lincoln and Delabar who can be sent to the minors if necessary. If there are key injuries in 2013, the Jays should be able to promote someone from Buffalo without missing a beat.

Of course if the Jays have as many injuries as last year, there's very little that anyone can do.
JB21 - Thursday, January 17 2013 @ 05:41 AM EST (#268035) #
John Northy, getting ahead of ourselves a little aren't we? Let's try to enjoy 2013 before calling any blood bath's.
TamRa - Thursday, January 17 2013 @ 05:58 AM EST (#268036) #
about my salary speculation - forgot to add 1.5 mil for the three young guys who will start the season on the DL - so amend it to $124-125 mil
John Northey - Thursday, January 17 2013 @ 08:46 AM EST (#268037) #
Heh.  Good point JB21 - just looking at salaries made me go 'uh oh...could be an issue'.  However, if the Jays make the playoffs I'm good with whatever.

Post 2013, pre 2014 I expect Johnson to go and be replaced by a kid (Drabek, Hutchison, whoever), Rasmus to go (Gose), Lind to go (warm body), thus freeing up around $20 million.  A bit of a downgrade rotation wise, but could be an improvement at the other two slots.  The 2014/2015 offseason could be an interesting one when Cabrera is a free agent (does well here he is in line for a monster contract), Santos starts into his option years, Janssen, Rasmus, Happ and Bonifacio are free agents.

Yeah, looking a loooong way out but fun to speculate on who AA will look to sign long term before then and who might be charging up the minors to replace these guys.

Richard S.S. - Thursday, January 17 2013 @ 09:26 AM EST (#268038) #
In as much as I recommend checking out other sites, it keeps most people (except the lazy) from asking where you find stuff. Wilner tweets/twits (or what ever you call it) that A.A. said Sergio Santos, Casey Janssen, Darren Oliver and Esmil Rogers are locks for the Bullpen.
Dave Till - Thursday, January 17 2013 @ 09:28 AM EST (#268039) #
That experiment has failed -- unless the Jays coaches can figure something out that the Pirates could not figure out.

Hey, it's happened before - the Pirates used to own Jose Bautista. You never know.

As for Oliver - he (or his agent) tried to get a raise, and failed. It never hurts to ask.
92-93 - Thursday, January 17 2013 @ 09:45 AM EST (#268040) #
The payroll projection basically hasn't changed since the 117-118m it was hanging around after the Marlins/Melky movement.
Geoff - Thursday, January 17 2013 @ 10:38 AM EST (#268041) #
he (or his agent) tried to get a raise, and failed. It never hurts to ask.

It looks foolish. This isn't one of your jobs where you seek a raise on your hourly rate. If Oliver was in a position to seek an extension, he could do that. He could say, "I'm a valuable employee. I think we should talk about investing more into my future." Been done many times. Yet saying, "Give me a million dollars or I am not going to fulfill the last year of my contract" is dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb. Wouldn't have happened and never going to happen. There has to be a negotiation where both sides are getting something. What was Oliver offering under this supposedly harmless request for a raise? If he said, "I want to be extended for another year at $6 million to be happy" that would have been a request that never hurts to ask. But "give me more money or I am walking away" makes you look like an idiot.

Kudos to Jeff Frye for having balls. Unfortunately sometimes courage ends up looking like idiocy.

bpoz - Thursday, January 17 2013 @ 11:52 AM EST (#268042) #
I like the word bloodbath to describe the Jays not making the playoffs. Sort of very disappointed, crushed type of feeling for me.

But all 5 playoff teams from last year have a decent chance of making the playoffs again. I am sure all 5 will not repeat because that does not happen often. I add Toronto, TB & LAA as teams that should compete based on talent. There will be 1 or 2 surprises positive & negative.

So John N has a point IMO in speculating on post 2013. More in a lazy, chatty frame of mind as a successful 2013 unfolds. That opposed to a sweaty, panicky 2013.
jerjapan - Thursday, January 17 2013 @ 12:21 PM EST (#268043) #

Wilner tweets/twits (or what ever you call it) that A.A. said Sergio Santos, Casey Janssen, Darren Oliver and Esmil Rogers are locks for the Bullpen.

No mention of Cecil or Jeffress, so it looks like they will need to win a spot out of spring training.  I would imagine Cecil was a lock before Oliver announced his return. 

More tweets:

AA Lincoln will be stretched out a little bit in Spring Training and will be 7th starter, but that could change as ST moves on. #Bluejays Mike Wilner (@Wilnerness590) January 16, 2013

AA: If Lincoln doesnt make #Bluejays as a reliever, he will be a starter in Buffalo. Mind changed because of organizational need. #Bluejays

 

jerjapan - Thursday, January 17 2013 @ 12:32 PM EST (#268044) #

Speaking of options, according to Bluebird Banter, Cooper, Happ, Lincoln, Sierra, Carreno, and Nickeas are all in their final option year.  Lind, with 5 years of service time, apparently can't be optioned. 

Question for the box - Dyson has been optioned once, but if he's not promoted to the bigs this year, he still has two options yet?  Calling him up last year still makes no sense to me ... 

John Northey - Thursday, January 17 2013 @ 12:33 PM EST (#268045) #
Makes sense - if a guy can be a starter then you see if you can make him one as starters are more valuable than relievers.  The challenge is figuring out who is best to stretch and who is best to leave alone. The good thing is a guy who is stretched out can cut back to relieve but a guy who isn't stretched out needs time before he can start.

The more I look at it the easier it is to see Happ and Lincoln in AAA starting for Buffalo, baring injury of course.  I imagine about 10 seconds after being sent down Happ would request a trade though.

MatO - Thursday, January 17 2013 @ 12:59 PM EST (#268046) #

Question for the box - Dyson has been optioned once, but if he's not promoted to the bigs this year, he still has two options yet? Calling him up last year still makes no sense to me ...

Dyson comes to spring training on the 40 man roster.  If he doesn't make the team he has to be optioned out thus using an option year and leaving him with one.  Yes, calling him up made no sense considering how he was used.  If he had been kept in the majors for the rest of the season then they wouldn't have used an option year in 2012.

China fan - Thursday, January 17 2013 @ 02:46 PM EST (#268047) #
I don't see the problem with Dyson. He can be optioned in 2013 and 2014. The Jays don't have to make a decision about him until 2015. By then, the Jays should know if they want to keep him or not. Two more years is plenty of time to make a decision on a pitcher who's already at the AA level. He's already almost 25 years old. If the Jays can't decide about Dyson by the time he is 27, he's probably never going to make the team.
MatO - Thursday, January 17 2013 @ 02:57 PM EST (#268048) #
Dyson was called up (not particualrly on merit), pitched to 2 batters, got one of them out and then sat on the bench for 12 days.  He then came in and got knocked around (surprise, surprise) and was sent down.  That's the very definition of a wasted option.
China fan - Thursday, January 17 2013 @ 03:00 PM EST (#268049) #
But it's not a meaningful problem because Dyson is 24 years old and won't run out of options until he is 26 (nearly 27) -- by which time he'll have been at the AA or AAA level for three full seasons and won't be a prospect any more if he hasn't made the majors.
China fan - Thursday, January 17 2013 @ 03:05 PM EST (#268050) #
On the subject of the "locks" in the bullpen: Wilner actually tweeted that Anthopoulos had described Santos as a lock "assuming health." That's still the question mark that hangs over Santos. Every report now says he is fully healthy, but we won't know for sure until he's had a few weeks of spring training. I suspect he might need to build up his stamina and fine-tune his control and command, after a year of not playing baseball. That's why I wonder if he might start the season on a rehab assignment -- which would be a convenient way to help solve the bullpen surplus for a few weeks anyway.
John Northey - Thursday, January 17 2013 @ 03:12 PM EST (#268051) #
That is a good question, was Dyson's option being used a waste or was there a purpose?  Same with Gose being sent down for a brief period - if he wasn't sent down for that time he would've had one more option.

Seems that, last year at least, saving option years wasn't a priority but getting guys a taste of the majors was.  I recall an interview AA did at some point where he said that most guys need to come up and see what they need to do to succeed before they can succeed.  That most need a brief up then down thing to get their butts in gear basically.  I wonder if that is what happened in the case of Dyson?  That he was cruising but wasn't working on what the Jays needed him to work on so they called him up, gave him a quick taste, spent time on the bench learning from vets, then a short outting to remind him that he needs to learn stuff then back to the minors.  While an option was lost, if it produces a better player in 2013 it would be well worth it.

92-93 - Thursday, January 17 2013 @ 03:18 PM EST (#268052) #
There's always a way to justify every move any front office makes, like John just did. But I like the thought process here, if that indeed was the case. AA may have combined what CF and JN just said, actually - the necessity for a 2015 option on a 27 year old Dyson may have been deemed as far less valuable than giving Dyson a quick cup of coffee to help boost his development.

MatO, I'd prefer not to think that AA was stupid enough to waste an asset (the option) on 2 outs over 2 weeks.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 17 2013 @ 03:29 PM EST (#268053) #
I have always loved Satchel Paige.  Finding out that he pitched for both the Blue Jays and the House of David team is an unexpected bonus. 
MatO - Thursday, January 17 2013 @ 04:39 PM EST (#268055) #

Well my reply just blew up again.  Let's try a second time.

I said from practically the start of the 2012 season that AA and his braintrust were treating the roster and the relievers, in particular, as if they were in a rotisserie league.  I know the Dyson issue is not that big a deal but it's stupid roster management nonetheless.  If they wanted to give Dyson some experience then let him pitch.  Don't leave him just sitting there.  Last season sort of reminds me of this off-season.  Player claimed on waivers and then put on waivers.  Player claimed on waivers and then put on waivers.  Repeat over and over again.

bpoz - Thursday, January 17 2013 @ 05:04 PM EST (#268056) #
Gose did not burn an option. He was sent down & recalled within 2 weeks. An option is used only if 20 days or more in total for a single season is spent in the minors. DL time does not count.
Dyson used 1 option. However the Jays & AA were desperate due to injuries. When he was called up we were 2.5 back of a WC spot. Dyson & Loup IMO replaced S Richmond & C Beck in the pen who were sent down. On July 20 we acquired JA Happ etc..., Dyson was sent down the day before. July 20 we were 3.5 games back of a WC.
So IMO the pen was weak at that time. Maybe AA thought that our other strengths were being over taxed by the weak pen.

AA could have recalled Dyson by Aug 10 or so and saved the option. With the Jays only now 7.5 games back of a WC berth, saving the option was a luxury that we could not afford.
jerjapan - Thursday, January 17 2013 @ 05:39 PM EST (#268057) #
I said from practically the start of the 2012 season that AA and his braintrust were treating the roster and the relievers, in particular, as if they were in a rotisserie league.

I actually like using the 7th spot in the pen or the last spot on the bench on a rotating, needs-based basis, and think a lot of teams could benefit from this approach - I just hated it the Dyson move.  Three lefty starters in a row in a weekend series?  Call up Sierra.  A murderers row of lefty sluggers?  Get Crawford or Loup up.  Burn out your long man in extra innings?  Dave Bush can soak up a few innings.  I also think a policy like this makes the team appealing to AAAA talent - just so long as you aren't burning options on guys that might have a real future with the team.  Pretty easy to get back and forth from Buffalo as well. 

Last season sort of reminds me of this off-season.  Player claimed on waivers and then put on waivers.  Player claimed on waivers and then put on waivers.  Repeat over and over again.


All this off season juggling just seems like smart resource management to me - let's get the best team we can in Buffalo and build a long-term relationship with them, rather than alienating fans and management like we did with Syracuse.  Not to mention the chance that a Tommy Hottovy or a Mickey Storey might end up contributing a few quality innings.
China fan - Thursday, January 17 2013 @ 06:29 PM EST (#268058) #
In other news: Anthopoulos said today that his 6th, 7th and 8th starters on the depth chart are Happ, Lincoln and Germano. This is interesting to me for two reasons:

1) Brett Cecil's transition to the bullpen is apparently final and irreversible. I'm a little surprised that he's not even deemed the 8th starter in the depth chart, after four seasons as a starter (and a 15-win season under his belt). Shows how far he's fallen; the Jays have totally given up on his starter potential, at the age of 26, while they're still giving another chance to the 27-year-old Lincoln.

2) Germano, I guess, is the new Laffey. But one thing puzzles me: he's not on the 40-man roster. Does this mean that he passed through waivers and was assigned to Buffalo already? So many of AA's recent acquisitions did NOT get through waivers that I must have missed the few that did pass through.
Geoff - Thursday, January 17 2013 @ 07:50 PM EST (#268059) #
Regarding Germano, I believe the situation is that because the Jays brought him in on a minor league deal, there is no necessity to include him on the 40-man roster until they want to bring him to the majors. Same would be for the case of Adam Loewen, recently signed to a minor league deal. They aren't already on a 40-man from another team, so when they are acquired they don't need to be put on the Jays' 40-man roster, nor put on waivers to be moved off the 40-man roster (I think, according to my rudimentary understanding). Directly to AA's treasure chest they go. Perhaps never heard from again. Nice work, but not nearly as nice as being nearer to the major league roster.

In other news, yahoo! I received some flex pack tickets in the mail. Looking forward to the season a great deal now; how long till Spring Training gets here? Bring on the summer!
Geoff - Thursday, January 17 2013 @ 07:55 PM EST (#268060) #
And if anyone needs help feeling giddy about the season, see this report on the recent press conference with Reyes.
Richard S.S. - Thursday, January 17 2013 @ 08:30 PM EST (#268062) #
I've been reading John's comments and changing my opinion on some things. Happ filled for Arby so A.A. doesn't negotiate unless extending. So give Happ a 3-year extention and pay him well this year to start in minors.
SJE - Thursday, January 17 2013 @ 08:48 PM EST (#268063) #
Since Cecil will never clear waiver, he can not be consider as a depth starter for the Jays. Its Bullpen or trade.
Geoff - Thursday, January 17 2013 @ 11:01 PM EST (#268064) #
Plus: video
Mike Green - Friday, January 18 2013 @ 08:56 AM EST (#268065) #
If Cecil starts the season as the left-handed long man in the pen, he does provide depth for the rotation (perhaps as the 7th or 8th man).  ZIPS has his projection as the sixth best among the starters on hand.  I know that not many here would accept the projection as a reasonable one. 
Chuck - Friday, January 18 2013 @ 09:09 AM EST (#268066) #

 I know that not many here would accept the projection as a reasonable one. 

Bob McClure.

Mike Green - Friday, January 18 2013 @ 09:41 AM EST (#268067) #
McClure, for those too young to remember, was a soft-tossing lefty in the Milwaukee bullpen who did move into the rotation for 26 passable starts for the pennant-winning 1982 Brewers (aka Harvey's Wallbangers), and continued mostly in the rotation for 2 more years. Mind you, the Brewers didn't have much of a rotation with a "big three" of Vuckovich, Caldwell and Moose Haas. They won the pennant by battering opponents into submission. 
MatO - Friday, January 18 2013 @ 09:45 AM EST (#268068) #

They won the pennant by battering opponents into submission.

How is that possible?  Didn't they know that baseball is 90% pitching and defense.

Chuck - Friday, January 18 2013 @ 09:54 AM EST (#268069) #

Mike and I have historically been at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to Cecil. I think Cecil's future, if there is one to be had, is as a 50-inning per year LOOGY, a role afforded by a 7-man bullpen. Mike has historically seen Cecil's ceiling as a fair bit higher, and perhaps(?) still does.

While seeing someone as a potential longterm LOOGY might be considered a less than flattering assessment (particularly when the player in question is a one-time 15 game winner), it is not meant to be disparaging. There is no shame in being a LOOGY if this means you get to be a major league pitcher.

Now, LOOGYs are fungible, so that career path comes with a lot of travel, but at least it's a major league career. Five to ten years of that sure beats slinging burgers.

85bluejay - Friday, January 18 2013 @ 10:08 AM EST (#268070) #
Intrigued with AA's comments regarding potential big deal that fell apart before the Marlins deal - would have eaten up the budget increase for 2013, so it's probably with a team that had some potential FA's after the 2013 season - Perhaps Cleveland (Choo/Jiminez/Sipp/Perez) or Cubs (Garza/Soriano/Marmol) - It's a fun scenario to speculate about - (Note, not all of these players are potential FA,only some)
Chuck - Friday, January 18 2013 @ 10:23 AM EST (#268071) #

Intrigued with AA's comments regarding potential big deal that fell apart before the Marlins deal

AA is a strange cat. As we all know, he's extremely secretive when it comes to negotiations (which is a good thing). Mum's the word. Say nuffink. But when you see him interviewed, when he can speak, he's a Chatty Cathy doll. He's extremely articulate, of course, but an absolute volcano of verbosity.

Semi-divulging the big deal that fell apart is clearly both halves of his personality trying to have their way. I want to talk, but I can't say anything. Here's hoping that he doesn't burst any blood vessels with his Jekyl and Hyde routine.

Mike Green - Friday, January 18 2013 @ 10:38 AM EST (#268072) #
I do think that Cecil's ceiling (pickled pepper alert) is a bit higher, but I'll grant that McClure is the most likely outcome.  McClure faced more than twice as many RHBs than LHBs in his career, was hit pretty hard by them but fared well enough to be a serviceable middle reliever and rotation addition as the need arose.  In his career, he posted a 4.41 ERA in the rotation (73 starts).  ZIPS says that Cecil would be good for an ERA of about 4.8 if he were in the rotation (or pretty comparable to McClure's mark once the era/park adjustments are made).  That is what Cecil has done so far in his career, and he has faced almost three times as many RHBs as LHBs. McClure wasn't a LOOGY until his late 30s.

Anyways, my point is that rotation depth can be found either starting in Buffalo or in long-relief in Toronto.  I think that Cecil would be absolutely fine in long-relief.  If you use him when Johnson, Dickey, Morrow or Romero (due to reverse platooning) start and falter,  his RHB/LHB rate will almost surely be under 2 to 1 and that will make all the difference.  With this rotation, the ideal bullpen would probably have 3 lefties (as the A's pen of the early 70s did). Loup in the LOOGY role (if that is what you are doing) would make sense. 



John Northey - Friday, January 18 2013 @ 10:40 AM EST (#268073) #
So Hottovy is Buffalo bound as he cleared waivers - http://www.rotoworld.com/teams/mlb/tor/?r=1 - also shows that Farina is missing 50 games due to marijuana use.  Another note is Lyon in deep talks with the Giants on a deal so no luck getting him back here, ah well.
bpoz - Friday, January 18 2013 @ 11:39 AM EST (#268074) #
I am very excited by M Buehrle because he is so consistent, 200IP always. He had great success IMO.

I believe the scouting reports say that he is not overpowering. That means to me that his FB is not 95+. That is my understanding of overpowering. My guess is that he will throw 87,88. If so then IMO he is a control pitcher that is smart, which is a compliment to him not an insult to others.
The other LH SPs we have potentially are Romero & Happ who I believe throw about 92mph, Cecil 86-88 & the departed Laffey 86mph.
I honestly believe that our guys will be impressed with him as a very good pitcher, maybe a past AS. I hope they learn from his methods.
Geoff - Friday, January 18 2013 @ 12:00 PM EST (#268075) #
So where would you conceive of Cecil's ceiling sitting in this, his seventh season as a professional? Will his fate be like Mark Hendrickson's, a sidearmer, soft-tossing specialist with ceding skills and salary, or an all-star starter who soon signs an extension soon after a string of success this season?

Speaking of Buehrle, I hope nobody jinxes his health this year by counting his success in consistency before it hatches.
Mike Green - Friday, January 18 2013 @ 12:20 PM EST (#268076) #
Late-blooming soft-tossing lefties with good K rates?  Jeff Fassero, David Wells...Cecil will probably have to sharpen his control some, as Wells did.  He is likely to be always vulnerable to the home run, especially pitching in this park and in this division.
Mike Green - Friday, January 18 2013 @ 12:27 PM EST (#268077) #
The club came to terms with Happ and Bonifacio.
hypobole - Friday, January 18 2013 @ 01:11 PM EST (#268078) #
Thole as well per Wilner

https://twitter.com/Wilnerness590/status/292329490405785600
hypobole - Friday, January 18 2013 @ 01:20 PM EST (#268079) #
Due to extreme lack of savviness, I have no idea how to post links the way Mike posted the Happ/Bonifacio announcement.

Could someone help, please and thanks.
John Northey - Friday, January 18 2013 @ 01:35 PM EST (#268080) #
Good to see the signings.
Happ: $3.7 mil - B-R estimate was $3.8
Bonifacio: $2.6 mil - B-R estimate was $2.5
Thole: unknown at present. B-R estimate was $1.2

So the deals are landing close to what B-R expected to see.  Not bad.  Always nice to get things resolved ASAP - I think AA's rule was once figures are exchanged he won't do a one year deal.
Mike Green - Friday, January 18 2013 @ 01:54 PM EST (#268081) #
To post a link.  Copy the URL from the link.  Click on the chain link icon above the comment screen.  Paste in the URL where indicated.  Click on OK.  Click on Cancel. Change Post type under comment screen from HTML formatted to Plain Old Text.  You'll see  something that includes "javascript void" within quotation marks where the URL should be.  Delete everthing between the quotation marks and paste in the URL again.  Return to the HTML formatted post type and continue your comment.  Voila. 
hypobole - Friday, January 18 2013 @ 03:36 PM EST (#268082) #
Thanks Mike.

I guess part of my problem is that I have no no comment box icons with Chrome and even with Explorer, I can't find a chain link icon.
Mike Green - Friday, January 18 2013 @ 04:09 PM EST (#268083) #
OK.  I use Firefox where the chainlink icon is activated, and I see that in IE, the chain link icon is unlit. 
Chuck - Friday, January 18 2013 @ 04:34 PM EST (#268084) #
I use IE (shame, shame, yes I know) and up until very recently, the chain link icon used to be lit.
Dewey - Friday, January 18 2013 @ 05:30 PM EST (#268085) #
AA is a strange cat.  . . . Semi-divulging the big deal that fell apart is clearly both halves of his personality trying to have their way.

What an astute post, Chuck.  (And humerously expressed, too.  Nice.)  The sort of stuff that makes Da Box Da Box.
JohnL - Friday, January 18 2013 @ 05:54 PM EST (#268086) #

But when you see him interviewed, when he can speak, he's a Chatty Cathy doll. He's extremely articulate, of course, but an absolute volcano of verbosity.

At the end of the Reyes press conference, as people were getting up to go, someone (I guess whoever MC'd it) said "At last we have someone who talks faster than Alex" 

 



 

Thomas - Friday, January 18 2013 @ 06:33 PM EST (#268087) #
Absolutely NO chance they compromise on Thole to save less than one million difference between him and Blanco.

AA's comments in today's National Post story on the Thole contract suggest there's a lot more than "absolutely NO chance" that Blanco makes the team and Thole doesn't.

John Northey - Friday, January 18 2013 @ 09:06 PM EST (#268088) #
 Given Thole just got a 2 year deal with an option one would think he is on the team, although it is for a relatively small amount - $2.5 mil over 2 years with the 3rd year being an option for $1.75 mil.  So odds are sending him down would save nothing.

I'm wondering if they are considering 3 catchers to start, and having JP DH against some LH pitching while Blanco catches someone other than Dickey.  Vs RHP you'd see a mix of JPA and Thole.  Not ideal, but certainly an option which would mean more running for the catcher late in the game.

John Northey - Friday, January 18 2013 @ 11:43 PM EST (#268090) #
Well, guess I was wrong.  That is an expensive AAA player but I can see where AA is coming from.  For $2 mil he has a pure defense guy in the majors, giving JPA another guy to learn from, and a solid defense/offense guy in AAA ready to step in at a moments notice.  A bit odd, but if it works great.  JPA also gets something sub-$1 mil so 3 catchers for under $3 mil is a good deal overall.
Mylegacy - Friday, January 18 2013 @ 11:49 PM EST (#268091) #
As I said in an earlier post - Dickey says that Blanco is the "only" guy who could catch the knuckler and make it look "natural."

I believe AA thinks (and he's said as much) that RAD is going to "get better." AA is going to give RAD whatever he really needs to excel - including the "only" guy that has a "natural" ability to catch him. Obviously, RAD must have told him privately - after he joined the team - that Thole can't handle the knuckler well enough.

TamRa - Saturday, January 19 2013 @ 12:26 AM EST (#268092) #
I remain skeptical. Good offense or no, I find it hard to accept you are just going to give away one offensive position every fifth game. I'll reserve my disapproval until i see it actually happen.
TamRa - Saturday, January 19 2013 @ 12:29 AM EST (#268093) #
AA's comments in today's National Post story on the Thole contract suggest there's a lot more than "absolutely NO chance" that Blanco makes the team and Thole doesn't.

And I find that strikingly hard to believe but even if so, Thole got his money so it's not financially motivated which was the context to which i was replying.

Richard S.S. - Saturday, January 19 2013 @ 12:36 AM EST (#268094) #
If Blanco (41), a no-hit catcher, who last caught the knuckleball in 2010 makes this team, we'll have problems. Mike Nickeas (29), another no-hit catcher filled in for Thole in 2012, catching Dickey. Josh Thole (26), hits well and has caught Dickey in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Some of A.A.'s decision are puzzling, this one more than most.
TamRa - Saturday, January 19 2013 @ 12:38 AM EST (#268095) #
I do think that Cecil's ceiling...

I think in such a conversation we have to distinguish carefully between "ceiling" and "most likely outcome"

Laying aside an unexpected return to starting, my thinking is his ceiling is something like Scott Downs. Or Jeremy Affeldt. I've no clue how likely that is other than to note that lefty set-up men of that caliber are fairly rare.
hypobole - Saturday, January 19 2013 @ 01:54 AM EST (#268097) #
People keep talking of Blanco as if he's an auto-out and yes his 33 OPS+ last year was pretty awful to put it nicely, but:

When we acquired him I did a John Northey and checked him out on BBRef. Other than 5 PA's at age 25, he didn't become an MLB semi-regular player until age 27. From that time until age 35, 81 OPS+ was the best he would hit.

But in the past 5 years he's bettered that mark 3 times - 83 in '08, 93 in '09 and an awesome 132 OPS+ 2 years ago at age 39.

Yeah, his stick might be dead, but I'm not as sure of it as the rest of you seem to be.
John Northey - Saturday, January 19 2013 @ 08:21 AM EST (#268099) #
From what i've seen Blanco hits like JPA lite - a bit worse than JPA but the same type of hitter - low average, sub 300 OBP, bit of power.  Less power than JPA but otherwise similar.  However, he is entering his age 41 season and not many catchers are effective at that point. 

Blanco has caught 867 games in the majors and 236 in the minors to go along with 589 games at 3B in the minors. Just 13 games at any other position in the majors though.
bpoz - Saturday, January 19 2013 @ 10:17 AM EST (#268101) #
RAD needs a special catcher. As the catchers change from best to 2nd or 3rd best his results may diminish slightly. If so you have a way to make your Ace or one of your Aces hopefully unbeatable.
When we won the 2 WS it was Guzman that was unbeatable IMO, but I cannot be sure. As time passes I am probably giving more glitter to him than he deserves.
If we make the playoffs & 2 SPs are similarly unbeatable ....
sweat - Saturday, January 19 2013 @ 10:43 AM EST (#268102) #
I think its more about creating depth, and making Buffalo better. Now Thole can get full time at bats, and possibly return to pre-concussion form, and Blanco handles RA dickey starts while JP plays pretty much every other game.
It's not like the difference between Blanco and Thole at 1 to 2 starts a week is that significant.
China fan - Saturday, January 19 2013 @ 11:38 AM EST (#268106) #
It's also a reflection of the trading of d'Arnaud (and Yan Gomes) and the lack of catching depth in the organization. With the uncertainty about Thole's recovery from injury, he'll benefit from some time in Buffalo, and the Jays won't have to worry if Blanco goes down with injury. Jimenez is not close to being ready, although he might become a factor in 2014 or 2015.
Dewey - Saturday, January 19 2013 @ 01:21 PM EST (#268108) #
One of the greats has died--Earl Weaver.  This obit from the NYT is definitely worth a read:

https://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/20/sports/baseball/earl-weaver-volatile-and-visionary-manager-of-the-orioles-dies-at-82.html?hpw&_r=0&pagewanted=all

Richard S.S. - Saturday, January 19 2013 @ 01:23 PM EST (#268109) #

What concussion? The facts only please - google/bing/etc Josh Thole injury. Thole should know, the Mets should know. After being hit, while on the Bench September 30, he had 5 ABs in October.

He might not be more than R.A. Dickey's personal catcher, and spot catcher, but he's better than anyone not named Arencibia. OBP can always be important, but if you can't hit OPS is meaningless.

Chuck - Saturday, January 19 2013 @ 01:59 PM EST (#268111) #

One of the greats has died--Earl Weaver. 

Indeed.

The memories... cobbling an all-star out of Lowenstein/Roenicke... smoking nervously in the dugout hallway, hiding because he couldn't bear to look while Stan the Man Unusual was making every save more adventurous than was reasonable (Stanhouse walked 103 men in 147 IP as an Oriole)... the temper tantrums that evoked a petulant schoolboy... his ongoing fued with ace Jim Palmer... and, most significantly of course, his adoption of sabermetric thinking long before it was even called that.

His closest modern day parallel in aptitude, I'd say, is Joe Maddon. Extremely different temperaments, of course.

Richard S.S. - Saturday, January 19 2013 @ 03:29 PM EST (#268116) #

With a Guaranteed spot (4): Sergio Santos (RHP), Casey Janssen (RHP), Darren Oliver (LHP) and Esmil Rogers (RHP). Bullpen spots open: three.

With options left: Steve Delabar (RHP) and Aaron Loup (LHP). Without options left: Brett Cecil (LHP) and Jeremy Jeffress (RHP).

Starting in AAA: J.A. Happ (LHP) and Brad Lincoln (RHP). That much is known.

Cecil, Jeffress and Delabar occupy the three Bullpen openings and Loup joins Happ and Lincoln in AAA. Baring injury, this shouldn't change.

Mike Green - Saturday, January 19 2013 @ 04:30 PM EST (#268118) #
Earl Weaver. 

Lateral thinker.  There are so many examples of it.  One not yet recounted was his decision to move Cal Ripken from third base to shortstop.  The conventional wisdom held that Ripken was too slow to be an adequate defender at shortstop.  Um, wrong.  Score another one for Earl the Pearl over CW.  When you add in the humour and the skepticism, you have my favourite manager ever. 

grjas - Saturday, January 19 2013 @ 04:55 PM EST (#268119) #
Would rather have lincoln and happ than jeffries and cecil. Can't say i have tons of faith in the latter two. I guess the others are just a call and a border crossing away if that's how it plays out. But suspect final call will depend on ST success and injuries
greenfrog - Saturday, January 19 2013 @ 05:11 PM EST (#268120) #
I really enjoyed the Reyes press conference -- love the attitude. One thing I liked was his straightforward team-first approach: "The one thing I'm going to do is try to get on base and score a lot of runs." When was the last time you heard that from a Blue Jays position player?
greenfrog - Saturday, January 19 2013 @ 08:20 PM EST (#268122) #
I'm very curious about the blockbuster deal that fell through. Shi Davidi reported that the Jays would have taken on $44M in short-term commitments, primarily or exclusively in 2013 only. So, whom were the Jays targeting? Here are some conceivable sellers (those under contract or controllable beyond 2013 listed in parentheses):

- White Sox: Peavy, Floyd, Konerko, Thornton (Danks)

- Cleveland: Choo (Masterson, Jimenez, Perez, Santana, Cabrera)

- Cubs: Garza (Samardzija, Soriano)

- Philly: Doc, Utley (Lee, Howard)

- Mets: Santana, Dickey, Wright (Davis, Niese, Parnell)

It's fun to speculate. I would guess the White Sox (maybe the Mets) as the most likely trading partner, but who knows. But given the reported parameters of the deal ($44M, not a lot in commitments beyond 2013), there really aren't that many possibilities.
Thomas - Saturday, January 19 2013 @ 08:51 PM EST (#268125) #
Starting in AAA: J.A. Happ (LHP) and Brad Lincoln (RHP). That much is known.

Short-sighted nitwits know all, apparently.

Richard S.S. - Saturday, January 19 2013 @ 10:07 PM EST (#268128) #
Yes, A.A. said so, and now you know.
JohnL - Saturday, January 19 2013 @ 10:11 PM EST (#268129) #

This seems to be the "general" thread at the moment so...

Interested in taking over Alan Ashby's old job? Here's the job posting

Some excerpts below. This doesn't seem designed to encourage an Ashby-quality applicant; just someone who is "Able to execute the sports entertainment format."

We are a personality-driven radio station that uses sports as a foundation to create an entertaining, compelling, engaging and interactive forum for sports fan

[looking for]... intelligent personalities who know and understand sports, life beyond sports, and life experience for a 25-54 year old Toronto guy. The characteristics of our personalities include but are not limited to witty, genuine, self-deprecating, informative, thought-provoking, positive, insightful, observant, curious, well-rounded, instinctive, and opinionated. Show hosts must 'play the hits' which are the topics and issues that appeal to the broadest segment of the audience. Show hosts must be able to execute sound fundamentals including tease, plot and pay-off to maximize ratings. They must create a sense of urgency, a sense of anticipation, back up opinions with facts, be a fan and embrace the fan experience. They must be proficient with all aspects of social networking and be able to integrate the use of twitter, facebook, text messaging in all shows. Personalities are also required to write a daily blog. All this in order to further audience growth and loyalty for the radio station and themselves.

I follow the Jays on radio. I don't know if I'm really looking forward to 2013...

Mike Green - Saturday, January 19 2013 @ 10:19 PM EST (#268130) #
intelligent personalities who know and understand sports, life beyond sports, and life experience for a 25-54 year old Toronto guy.

Hey, I fit into the target market.  Who knew?  And would-be Ashby's, if you know and understand my life experience, could you please give me a clue about it...
JohnL - Saturday, January 19 2013 @ 11:22 PM EST (#268131) #
Really, who writes this crap?

The characteristics of our personalities include but are not limited to witty, genuine, self-deprecating, informative, thought-provoking, positive, insightful, observant, curious, well-rounded, instinctive, and opinionated

"Not limited to"??? Thank god. Otherwise, anyone who had any other characteristic would be elliminated.

Boy, am I going to miss Ashby.

TamRa - Sunday, January 20 2013 @ 12:36 AM EST (#268134) #
I'm willing to concede that Thole's concussion might be a factor until success is demonstrated, but they can't be TOO worried about it or they wouldn't have extended him.
Chuck - Sunday, January 20 2013 @ 12:46 AM EST (#268135) #

The job posting reads like parody (and a grammatically challenged parody at that). I wonder if they had an intern write it. A drunk intern. Who dropped out of high school.

Must be able to sufficiently prepare for each game and deliver a fresh product to the listeners each day.

Fiber in your diet. Always a good idea.

sweat - Sunday, January 20 2013 @ 10:05 AM EST (#268139) #
There is some thought that Thole wasn't the same all season after getting a concussion in May.
I agree that Thole is better than Blanco, and it isn't close, I'm just saying that difference is not that substantial when you factor 1 or 2 starts a week.

China fan - Sunday, January 20 2013 @ 10:24 AM EST (#268141) #
Actually I think the job posting is a very revealing glimpse at the reality of Toronto's sports broadcasters, especially the hosts and "expert" commentators. They're not journalists -- they are "personalities" whose assigned task is to boost ratings, regardless of accuracy or balance.

The most revealing sentences are these: "Show hosts must be able to execute sound fundamentals including tease, plot and pay-off to maximize ratings. They must create a sense of urgency, a sense of anticipation, back up opinions with facts, be a fan and embrace the fan experience."

So the strategy is clearly revealed: "facts" are primarily limited to those that "back up opinions" and "maximize ratings." The main tactics are to manipulate the audience by provoking them, stirring them up, and creating "a sense of urgency" by using the artificial tactics of "tease" and "plot."

Notice that none of this has anything to do with good journalism, proper investigation, digging deeper beneath the conventional narrative, challenging stereotypes or revealing the truth behind the corporate propaganda.

So if you're getting riled up by McCown or Zaun, don't bother to challenge their opinions here, because you're only being blatantly manipulated in a ratings-maximizing tactic.

If you want real journalism, don't bother with the radio guys. Read articles by Shi Davidi or John Lott instead.
JohnL - Sunday, January 20 2013 @ 10:43 AM EST (#268142) #
Yup. It sure does describe what Rogers is after. No way somebody like Ashby matches that job description.
Dewey - Sunday, January 20 2013 @ 12:50 PM EST (#268146) #
Thanks for this JohnL.  Its superb.  Im really going to miss Ashby.  (Im with Dan Gordon and maybe a few others here:  I cannot stand Jerry Howarth.)  And I agree with CF about these people being mere shill-'personalities'.  

Love to hear the explanation for "Show hosts must be able to execute sound fundamentals . . .
hypobole - Sunday, January 20 2013 @ 01:07 PM EST (#268147) #
It's easy to mock the job posting, but the individual who has the most attributes described in the posting is exactly the correct person for the job.

This board has a tremendous amount of baseball knowledge, but how many people post here? About a hundred at most? The Fan could hire a Dave Cameron type, which would please most of us, but we are not the target audience.

Ratings demand them pulling in as many casual and semi-casual fans as possible in the age group with the most discretionary spending. Maybe Davidi could work in a best-of-both-worlds scenario, but what we want and what's best for ratings probably has less confluence than we believe.

And to put a positive spin on this, the better the ratings, the more money can be made available to the Jays ballclub, which is a good thing for fans of all types.
Chuck - Sunday, January 20 2013 @ 01:16 PM EST (#268148) #

Love to hear the explanation for "Show hosts must be able to execute sound fundamentals . . .

The real reason Ashby is gone? Refused to hit behind the runner and make "productive" outs.

I am with a few others here (seemingly a minority) in that I, too, am no Howarth fan. I'm sure he's an extremely pleasant person, but his broadcast style is way too pollyanna for my tastes. Ashby served as a reality-based foil, making the radio broadcasts listenable and will be extremely difficult to replace. This could easily go sideways.

I'd like to think that when Ashby expressed an interest in returning to Houston and doing television that Rogers gave serious thought to offering him Tabler's job.

92-93 - Monday, January 21 2013 @ 11:16 AM EST (#268166) #
Couldn't agree more, Chuck. I don't mind Howarth when he's sharing the booth with somebody like Ashby, who is both smarter and more knowledgeable about the game than he is, but Jerry is an absolute disaster when paired with somebody like Sawkiw or Hayhurst. As somebody who is listening to the game if he's watching/paying attention, I'm paying close attention to the search for Ashby's replacement and would be really disappointed if it's Hayhurst or somebody of that ilk. I actually think Wilner does a decent job of calling the game and can see him working with Howarth if he's allowed to question Jerry eventhough he didn't play the game like Ashby did. Many people have problems with Wilner's personality but when he's calling the game he's very professional and it would be nice having a lifetime Blue Jay fan call their games with a dash of homerism. Not to Hawk Harrelson levels, obviously, but Wilner brings objectivity to the job that he can combine with actually rooting for the Jays to do well without sounding like a cheerleader.

I had been hoping that Wilner would start taking shifts from Howarth away over the next few years as he got integrated into the booth with Ashby, but now that Ashby's gone I think Wilner won't get his fair shake and that he'll have to wait until Jerry is finished before he has a chance. It's likely that Rogers wouldn't want to ever have 2 broadcasters with zero professional sports experience calling the games.
fozzy - Monday, January 21 2013 @ 11:47 AM EST (#268167) #
I wouldn't be shocked if it's someone like Rance Mullinicks, whose style lends itself better to radio than it did to the TV; doesn't mind being critical of a player or calling it like it is.

Wild card guess: Jamie Campbell. Seems wasted on short TV segments and has come a long way since his play by play days. Like Wilner, a lifelong fan.
Mike Green - Monday, January 21 2013 @ 12:05 PM EST (#268168) #
What do I want from a radio broadcast team?

I want the play-by-play person to be my eyes and ears at the park.  Tell me everything- where the outfield and infield are playing, where the pitcher's pitching and what he is throwing and then what happens when the ball is hit (and everything else about the game like "the crowd is on its feet for Janssen's 2-2 pitch to Jeter") .  I want the colour person to fill in, with the occasional insight (you can tell Pedro is tiring because..., or Maddon doesn't have a true shortstop on his bench to fill in for Brignac tonight now that he has pinch-hit for him; he could move Zobrist in but...).  Numbers don't work really well on the radio, so I don't expect sabermetric analysis (although some occasional sabermetric thinking from the colour guy would be nice).  If you can deliver all of this with humour, be it dry or warm, so much the better.

TV is very different.  Pitch f/x, numbers and everything else, can work if done right.  And I don't need the play-by-play guy to tell as much because I can see a lot of it.  In fact, I'd rather have the camera show me where the defence is (for instance) than to have the play-by-play guy tell me. And the colour guy can show me that Pedro is tiring with a John Madden style demonstration. 

Mike Green - Monday, January 21 2013 @ 12:12 PM EST (#268169) #
Ah, sexist assumptions.  There is no reason that the play-by-play and colour roles have to be filled by a guy; I am sure that there are women out there who could do the jobs as well or better than many/most of the men.  Brenda the Broadcaster, I am waiting.
John Northey - Monday, January 21 2013 @ 01:30 PM EST (#268170) #
Ideally a broadcaster would be entertaining without being distracting.  During the long slow stretches that do occur they should be able to bring up stories that draw you in and make you want to stick by the radio after the commercial even though it is a 10-2 blowout.  We need to hear the score regularly as on the radio you cannot just look in the corner and see it, plus you often are listening on the radio as you are driving thus might have just got back in and missed an inning or two.  You should be able to give a fan an idea of the atmosphere at the park and make us want to go to the park to see the game. 

It would be interesting to mix in a female voice now and then.  See if anyone from the national team is available, see if Lawrie's sister can join in for a game for example.  If you never open that door you'll never know.  Find a regular, but have people like her as the backups as every broadcaster misses a few games every year (with the obvious exception being Tom Cheek).  Although for a change I'd try to get as wide a range of talent for the backup slot, and maybe just backups for a year to see who is best if no single talent who has experience is available.  On the road you would be able to have a local former player do the game, thus get the flavour of the area.  At home various Canadian potentials are out there I'm sure, plus ex-Jays who are up for autograph signings and the like. 

Gerry - Monday, January 21 2013 @ 02:40 PM EST (#268171) #
I want a colour guy who calls it as he, or she, sees it, and who can describe what is happening on the field from a non play by play perspective.  I liked Ashby because I felt he would call it as he saw it and he would criticise players when they deserved it.  Mike Green has covered the second part of my wish list.
92-93 - Monday, January 21 2013 @ 02:45 PM EST (#268172) #
A woman would be fine, but hire her for her broadcasting skills and nothing else then. Suzyn Waldman works with John Sterling on the Yankees broadcasts and she's TERRIBLE; when I lived in NY I'd listen to them call Jays-Yanks while I watched the game on TV and she'd literally make things up that didn't happen.
Chuck - Monday, January 21 2013 @ 03:01 PM EST (#268173) #

 I liked Ashby because I felt he would call it as he saw it and he would criticise players when they deserved it.

Exactly. You'd hear Howarth say "And the pitch gets by Arencibia and rolls to the backstop, and the baserunners all advance." And then Ashby would say something like "Arencibia should have been able to block that pitch; he tried to backhand it instead of sliding his body over."

Howarth, reluctant to disparage anyone, would more or less convey what transpired. Ashby would weigh in with some insight.

Richard S.S. - Monday, January 21 2013 @ 03:39 PM EST (#268174) #

Boring. They will hire whomever they hire.

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2013/01/details-on-arbitration-process.html A.A. is asked to speak.

http://www.sportsnet.ca/baseball/mlb_mashup/ Interesting site.

http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot Another interesing site.

So far it's 23 days to Pitchers and Catchers Reporting. Another 10 days until Toronto at Detriot - Joker Marchant Stadium - 1105 to 14:05.

Thomas - Monday, January 21 2013 @ 03:53 PM EST (#268175) #

"I had been hoping that Wilner would start taking shifts from Howarth away over the next few years as he got integrated into the booth with Ashby, but now that Ashby's gone I think Wilner won't get his fair shake and that he'll have to wait until Jerry is finished before he has a chance."

I appreciate your parsing of the differences between Wilner as broadcaster and Wilner as studio personality, but I wouldn't want him near the Jays radio booth on a regular basis. As much as he may have kept his professionalism before (I've only heard him in very limited doses, so I'll defer to your opinion), I just feel like his smugness and smarter-than-thou attitude would pervade his radio broadcasts before too long. It's much easier to control those in limited exposure than it would be over the course of a couple of weeks or a month or a season.

I quite like Jerry, but I do recognize his weaknesses that others have pointed to here. I thought he and Ashby made a fine pair and it was disappointing that it wasn't a more permanent partnership. One thing I don't want is a carousel of partners for Jerry, as while I didn't mind that on the TV, I feel like it's much more important for a radio partnership to be in sync and develop a rhythm, particularly when you'd like the new party to assume a more critical role. This dynamic can take time to establish, so I wouldn't want to hear a new partner for every series, for example.

hypobole - Monday, January 21 2013 @ 04:47 PM EST (#268177) #
"Boring."

Richard, why do you have to be like this?
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, January 22 2013 @ 12:07 PM EST (#268189) #
This is a boring time in this postseason with not much significant happening. The major news will get covered as usual and those who are interested comment. Sometimes I can comment and sometimes I can't, that's only fair.

To have every possible candidate discussed in detail by so many people, gives nothing new. Rogers needs to make several moves, which depend on other moves, so the Announcement is pending. To think the decision is still pending is foolish, I expect it's already made.

Blue Jays sign an infielder?
PeteMoss - Tuesday, January 22 2013 @ 12:15 PM EST (#268191) #
Well so much for the Dyson option worry... designated for assignment today with the signing of DeRosa.
Ryan Day - Tuesday, January 22 2013 @ 12:25 PM EST (#268192) #
Weird. In July, the Jays were talking about Dyson as a strong setup guy - he seemed to plummet down the depth charts quickly. Granted, most of the gushing praise came from Farrell, so perhaps he was Farrell's guy? He was a high draft by Anthopoulos, too. Wonder if he somehow pissed people off in his brief callup, or if there's some behind-the-scenes issue.

DeRosa's had a solid career, but he's been awful two of the past three seasons. I'd guess he's done, but standards are pretty low for a 25th man who can play almost everywhere.
John Northey - Tuesday, January 22 2013 @ 12:38 PM EST (#268194) #
Weird as Dyson seemed important this summer, but his 4.6 K/9 rate was crazy low for a prospect.

DeRosa  was an everyday player in 2009 with a 99 OPS+ while playing everywhere.  Then from 2010 to now has a total of 302 PA and a 62 OPS+.  Lifetime before 2010 he was at 97.  Did a major injury occur or something?  Just seems odd to go from everyday guy to 100 PA a season.  Some minor league team each of the past 3 seasons, total of 21 games so appears to be injury rehab stuff.

This is a case where if the Jays scouts saw something indicating DeRosa could bounce back to his old form, or close to it, then he'd be well worth the $750k he'll get and the option year would be useful.  If he doesn't recover though hopefully the Jays don't use him more than he has been used the past 3 years (ie: 100 PA).

vw_fan17 - Tuesday, January 22 2013 @ 03:41 PM EST (#268221) #
DeRosa  was an everyday player in 2009 with a 99 OPS+ while playing everywhere.  Then from 2010 to now has a total of 302 PA and a 62 OPS+.  Lifetime before 2010 he was at 97.  Did a major injury occur or something?  Just seems odd to go from everyday guy to 100 PA a season.  Some minor league team each of the past 3 seasons, total of 21 games so appears to be injury rehab stuff.

Looking at the MLBTR comments, it seems he had a wrist injury that has sapped most of his power. Apparently, while a member of the SF Giants, he indicated that he's unable to pull pitches anymore due to loss of power in the wrist (again MLBTR).

The only positive about his offense I can see is that an OBP of 300 isn't abysmal - looks like he'll take a walk or two (SLG of 247).
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, January 22 2013 @ 07:40 PM EST (#268237) #
How many people do we know with an wrist injury that takes two plus years to heal? Then after two unproductive years, how many teams even think he'll be effective? After all, he's replacing Omar Vizquel, being a definite upgrade.

Sam Dyson, for all his hype, should be an 11-15-ish ranked prospect. I don't anyone who had him in their top 20. So I'd like to find out what happened. Does anyone know?
bpoz - Wednesday, January 23 2013 @ 11:09 AM EST (#268256) #
The Dyson story gets me more & more disappointed. He sounds good if you say, fell to the 4th round because of injury concerns. To continue, made it to the majors in his 1st minor league season.

But I get fooled a lot. The Reds hated to part with Z Stewart. And D Carpenter could have the highest potential of the players acquired from Houston in the JA Happ deal. That is what I read.
92-93 - Thursday, January 24 2013 @ 02:58 PM EST (#268277) #
Don't forget how painful it was parting with Nestor Molina for Sergio Santos.
Guess Who Just Got Back Today? That Wild-Eyed Boy that Had Been Away. | 142 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.