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Now that the 25 man roster is pretty much set (save for 1-3 bullpen slots)  the question becomes who is likely to slump and need replacing and who are the replacements should a player get hurt/be ineffective.

Going through the 40 man roster and all the Non-Roster Invitees (NRI's) here is what we see.

Catcher: J.P. Arencibia/Henry Blanco start it seems with Josh Thole an expensive AAA backup.  A.J. Jimenez is probably the closest to the major of the prospects but is at least a year away from a short term call up I'd think.  NRI's are Jack Murphy (8 games in AA, not ready for a call-up obviously 235/321/384 lifetime in minors), Mike Nickeas (73 ML games 180/241/238 another ex-2012 Met), and Sean Ochinko (reached AA last year, lifetime 289/343/459 in the minors). Of those only Nickeas is a likely call-up this year. Thus Thole/Nickeas are the ML backups and AAA catchers while Ochinko & Murphy are likely in AA with Jimenez (one might be in AAA or A+ depending).

First Base/DH: Edwin Encarnacion is the starter, Adam Lind the DH starter, David Cooper the injury replacement, Bautista an emergency replacement.  The easiest position to find a replacement at as most players can play it well enough to get by.  The only NRI is Luis Jimenez (7 ML games, 290/374/477 lifetime in minors).  Could see Rajai Davis, Emilio Bonifacio or Mark DeRosa in the mix as well at DH.

Maicer Izturis/Brett Lawrie/Jose Reyes starters, Emilio Bonifacio the #1 backup and Mark DeRosa secondary backup with Ryan Goins on 40 man (277/335/378 lifetime in minors at SS/2B highest level AA for 136 games last year) so could be called up in the event of injuries. NRI's are Mike McCoy, Jim Negrych, Ryan Schimpf, Eugenio Velez, and Lance Zawadzki. No hotshot prospects that are close unless you view Goins or Schimpf that way.

Outfield: Melky Cabrera, Colby Rasmus, Jose Bautista starters, Rajai Davis, Emilio Bonifacio ML backups, Anthony Gose & Moises Sierra are the top prospect backups, NRI's are Ryan Langerhans & Ricardo Nanita & Adam Loewen (listed as an infielder on the Jays site for some reason).  Tons of depth here although if Bautista goes down 2013 will be another frustrating year I suspect.

Clearly AA has gained some backups in the outfield, first base, catcher,  and infield but the prospect base is thin with Gose, Sierra and Jimenez the only ones remotely close to the majors who are viewed as being likely starters at some point (and that is being generous to Sierra).

Starting pitching: R.A. Dickey, Brandon Morrow, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, Ricky Romero are the big 5, J.A. Happ, Brad Lincoln, Chad Jenkins are the next 3 in line, Dustin McGowan if healthy is in the mix (please hold your laughter, he could be healthy and I could win the lottery), and assorted kids are going to fight to make it as well (such as NRI Sean Nolin, John Stilson) and don't forget NRI's Dave Bush, Chad Beck, Justin Germano, Ramon Ortiz, and Claudio Vargas who all have starting experience and will be fighting for a role in AAA.

Bullpen: Casey Janssen, Sergio Santos, Darren Oliver, Esmil Rogers are locks, Brett Cecil, Steve Delabar, Aaron Loup, Jeremy Jeffress are on the 40 man fighting for a ML role,all the non-big 5 starters will fight for a slot here as well, plus other 40 man guy Evan Crawford, and the NRI reliever crowd: Alex Hinshaw, Tommy Hottovy, Juan Perez, Rich Thompson, Neil Wagner.  Those last 3 slots will be a dog fight but I'd bet on Cecil, Delabar & Loup right now with Happ and Lincoln possibly forcing themselves into a role other than AAA backup starter.

Phew.  That is a lot of pitchers to go through.  The Jays have 11 backup starting pitchers in spring plus 10 more fighting for 3 relief slots.  And that isn't factoring in prospects like Deck McGuire and Casey Lawrence. There will be a need for more catchers in spring than are currently listed I suspect with guys who are now coaches doing tons of catching in the early spring I suspect.  So if you are going to any early spring games bring a catchers mitt and they might call on you :)

There was talk of the need for backups and boy do we see them here.  The question is 1) are any of them any good and 2) will any of them be needed.  Odds are someone will impress in spring and force the Jays to reconsider them for the ML roster.  Ramon Ortiz catches my eye as he has started 214 games in the majors over 11 seasons for 7 teams with a 90 ERA+, while getting time in the pen the last 2 years.  He gives up too many HR (1.4 HR/9 lifetime) but with that experience and a determination to keep going at 39 who knows?  He'll be a good influence on the kids, showing that even guys with a lifetime pension (maxed out after 10 years experience) want to keep trying.
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92-93 - Sunday, January 27 2013 @ 01:19 PM EST (#268330) #
I consider Cecil & Rogers to be in the same boat and I wouldn't assume Santos makes the team out of spring training, there's still a lot to prove there. Outside of Janssen & Oliver I don't think anybody in the bullpen is in the "guaranteed an MLB bullpen job barring injury" club.

I don't know what's available but it'd be nice if they found a left-handed AAAA OF to stash away for some depth.
DRising - Sunday, January 27 2013 @ 02:42 PM EST (#268333) #
You really think Thole will be the odd catcher out? I'd guess it's JP and him, as Dickey's personal catcher, with Blanco in the AAA wings. Have you heard otherwise?
TamRa - Sunday, January 27 2013 @ 02:50 PM EST (#268334) #
Those last 3 slots will be a dog fight but I'd bet on Cecil, Delabar & Loup right now with Happ and Lincoln possibly forcing themselves into a role other than AAA backup starter.

Alex's pattern in the past has been to manage assets by respecting the "out of options" situation. Loup certainly had an impressive debut, but if Alex is willing to publicly all but guarantee Rogers a spot for that reason, I'm inclined to expect the last spot will go to Jeffress for the same reason, unless he totally sucks in ST.
China fan - Sunday, January 27 2013 @ 03:06 PM EST (#268335) #
"....Have you heard otherwise?...."

Yes. Anthopoulos has hinted pretty strongly that Blanco will be the major-league backup, while Thole will start in the minors. Of course it depends on what happens in spring training, to some extent, but the Jays beat reporters such as Shi Davidi have reported that Blanco is most likely to get the major-league backup job, to start the season at least.

Thole, of course, now has a multi-year contract with the Jays, so he is likely to play for the Jays for much of the year. But Anthopoulos clearly wants depth at every position, and Thole seems to be the 3rd catcher at this point.
greenfrog - Sunday, January 27 2013 @ 03:18 PM EST (#268337) #
I could see Nolin sneaking up the SP depth chart, perhaps vaulting ahead of Lincoln and Jenkins before too long. By midseason the depth chart could be Happ 6 / Nolin 7.

Career minor-league lines:

Nolin: 231 IP, 1.199 WHIP, per 9 IP: 0.6 HR, 2.6 BB, 9.6 K

Jenkins: 423 IP, 1.350 WHIP, per 9 IP: 0.8 HR, 2.2 BB, 6.0 K

To date, Jenkins has shown a bit better control but he's allowed a lot more hits and his K rate is much lower than Nolin's. Also, Nolin throws left, which gives him some extra value as a SP prospect. Lastly, Nolin progressed nicely in 2012 while Jenkins took a step back (at least in AA, where his numbers were decidedly uninspiring).
DRising - Sunday, January 27 2013 @ 03:31 PM EST (#268338) #
Thanks China Fan, I live overseas and it's not always easy to keep track of what AA's been saying/hinting and was just wondering. A little bit of a surprise - given, like you say, the contract that Thole signed - but I guess we'll see how it plays out...
China fan - Sunday, January 27 2013 @ 05:27 PM EST (#268339) #
"....Alex's pattern in the past has been to manage assets by respecting the "out of options" situation...."

He certainly managed that way in the past, when he favored out-of-options players such as Jo Jo Reyes, for example. But to be fair, that tendency was during the rebuilding phase, when he didn't want to lose any potential assets. Today he's in a much different phase: the "win now" phase. I really wonder if he will keep Cecil or Rogers in the bullpen, for example, if they are pitching badly and Loup or Lincoln are available in the minors. I suspect the "out of options" players will have a much shorter leash this year.
Mylegacy - Sunday, January 27 2013 @ 06:06 PM EST (#268340) #
DRising - Apparently, RA has said that Blanco is the "only" catcher that seemed a "natural" at catching the knuckler. It now appears that AA has secured us Thole, Nickeas and Blanco to catch Dickey - hopefully at least one of them can keep at least every second pitch from hitting the backstop.

John - I STRONGLY AGREE with how you've aligned the starting pitchers - (bold and caps how's that for emphasis) :)

Dickey (KB) has to be given every chance to prove he's the Ace we all think he is and will be.

Morrow (R) has, without a doubt, the best stuff on the staff (excluding 82 mph knuckleballs) and is clearly the #2 and Ace in waiting (stuff wise).

Buehrle (L) is a 200 inning machine and classic mid-rotation horse,

Josh J. (R) at this point is more than likely a #4 pitcher - last year he was just barely keeping his head above water when he discovered his curve (which he ended up throwing 20% of the time - up from near 0% of the time previously) he has a weakened shoulder that is sapping his fastball, and is desperately searching for some combination of his remaining stuff that will keep him effective. He's no sure thing - even if his shoulder doesn't get worse.

Romero - to totally bastardize the Bard (Shakespeare for the uncultured among us): "Romero oh Romero wherefore art thy pitches gone?" Indeed. Watching him last year It seemed to me his stuff was still moving all over but for some reason Ricky seemed to have completely lost control of where they were going. IF - this continues in the spring I really would like to see Happ become happy as he's elevated to the #5 spot.

With Hutchison and Drabek back by 2014 and with Nolin beginning to circle the pack even if JJ and RR both don't look like they'll manage to make the longer term cut I'll be content watching Happ, Hutch, Drabek, Nolin and others fight for the #4 and #5 spots in 2014.

John Northey - Sunday, January 27 2013 @ 06:07 PM EST (#268341) #
It is a good question - how to manage assets when you are in a 'win now' phase.  Blanco has to clear waivers to get to the minors, I don't think Thole does though.  The back end of the pen generally is full of fungable players - ones who are easily replaced, so does it make sense to have Lincoln & Happ stretch out in AAA as reserves (thus if a starter flops or is hurt they are ready to go 7 innings right away vs being in the pen and being limited to 3-5 innings at first) while using weaker pitchers to fill those last two slots, which mainly will be used when there is a big spread in score.  Which will maximize potential wins?  Tough to say.
earlweaverfan - Sunday, January 27 2013 @ 08:49 PM EST (#268343) #
to totally bastardize the Bard (Shakespeare for the uncultured among us)

Mylegacy, you surely will remember what the Bard had to say about how AA, under the scenario that Johnson or Romero fall short of his expectations, and he is kicking himself about STILL not having the backups he requires to have five strong starting pitchers (in Sonnet #29):

Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Hap(p)ly I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate

Shakespeare knew away back then that Happ was the answer to any pitching weakness
John Northey - Sunday, January 27 2013 @ 09:27 PM EST (#268344) #
The rotation is in part due to a Griffin article at the Star - - where he talks with Gibbons and Gibbons seems to feel it should be DIckey/Morrow at the top right now too.  Then logic dictates a mix of L/R/L for the rest of the rotation.
Richard S.S. - Sunday, January 27 2013 @ 10:35 PM EST (#268345) #
Thanks John

When Location and/or Life gets in the way of following the Jays, there are sites that catch you up. Drunk jays fans site; Sportnet has Fan590 and MLB mashup available. There is a Rogers Radio App available to listen to 590 live.
Dr B - Monday, January 28 2013 @ 12:04 AM EST (#268346) #
Shakespeare knew away back then that Happ was the answer to any pitching weakness

Actually I think he meant Happ would be called up when the Hurler-Buerle's done, when the game is lost and won.
Oceanbound - Monday, January 28 2013 @ 01:01 AM EST (#268347) #
Standing ovation for Dr B. Bravissimo.
Richard S.S. - Monday, January 28 2013 @ 01:38 AM EST (#268348) #
All indications from the Blue Jays/A.A. say Sergio Santos will be ready to start the season. He'll join Casey Janssen, Darren Oliver and Esmil Rogers as top four in the Bullpen. From everything that's out there, it still appears the A.A. seeking a reliever rumour is still valid - someone who could pitch late innings. So for what it's worth, I don't understand why. Does A.A. think the pen isn't good enough yet? Or is it another depth thing? I fully expect Steve Delabar, Brett Cecil and Jeremy Jeffress to fill out the 'Pen. I just don't know whether the Team carries 6 or 7 relievers.
DRising - Monday, January 28 2013 @ 03:58 AM EST (#268349) #
Thanks for the details Mylegacy. From what I've read Blanco is by far the better defensive catcher over Thole so I guess it would likely stand to reason he's better at catching the knuckleball. Wonder how Arencibia does with it...
Richard S.S. - Monday, January 28 2013 @ 05:37 AM EST (#268350) #
When deciding on who's the number two Starter, you must first decide on who's going to be the most effective in the # 4 hole. Anyone could follow a knuckleballer and have a good year. The pitcher who can half a good year between two lefthandlers is more significant.
John Northey - Monday, January 28 2013 @ 07:20 AM EST (#268351) #
I don't think maximizing #4 is the key, it is maximizing all 5.  None have followed a knuckleballer before (afaik) so whoever has that slot will have it for the first time.  The Star article pointed out how it might be deflating to the 'old Jays' to have the returning 2 starters slotted in the 4/5 hole, while having one of them in the #2 hole will say 'we believe you were good'.  I think that is overstated, but worth thinking about as a tiebreaker.  Johnson being a free agent after the season while Morrow is signed long term also should be a consideration - if following Dickey helps then you want it to help the guy you already have signed, not the one you don't.  Being jammed between 2 lefties also is a plus for a pitcher as it puts him between guys who throw differently than he does, even if it isn't as extreme as a knuckleball pitcher. 

This year will be a tough one for managing - various decisions will be more difficult than in the past with stronger implications.  With a contender everything is amplified - for those of you who are under 30 and cannot remember 1993 and earlier trust me, it is tons of fun but very stressful as every pitch counts, every play counts, every dumb move (or smart move) counts.  The manager will be second guessed more than ever before - the players will be too.  Dickey comes out, who do you put in to relieve him?  What should you do if/when an injury occurs?  What about Lind vs LH?  What about Rasmus?  Do you do a double platoon - Davis in CF vs LHP and DeRosa or Bonifacio vs LHP at DH?  How do you know when Dickey is having troubles and won't come out of it?  Will Johnson be 100%?  Who will AA trade for mid-season?

85bluejay - Monday, January 28 2013 @ 07:40 AM EST (#268352) #
Having a BP with the most questions marks in the division is not usually a recipe for success - AA's tenure has been marked by  BP's that look good on paper, but are more "Gasoline Alley' in practice - while hoping for the best, I'm thinking this BP may bring back memories of Joey McLaughlin/Roy Lee Jackson and company.
John Northey - Monday, January 28 2013 @ 08:05 AM EST (#268353) #
Bullpens are tricky things.  Ideally you have a Tom Henke/Duane Ward/Mark Eichhorn situation (3 extremely good relievers) but that's rare.  Janssen and Santos could be a very good 1-2 punch though if Santos is healthy, while Oliver is strong as a setup man.  Lots of live arms in the pen this year and no more Frasor to fall back on.  We also have a manager who has shown he is good with the bullpen in the past.

Gibbons full seasons as Jays manager...
2005: 7 most used relievers all had a 100+ ERA+, converted Downs into a reliever and left Walker & Batista there as well (4 starts for Walker)
2006: Schoeneweis fell apart, but 6 of top 7 had ERA+'s over 100 including Downs (full time reliever), Brandon League (after poor rookie campaign given full shot), and others.
2007: Lost $10 mil closer (Ryan) but moved Accardo there after Frasor flopped (moved quickly) and mixed in Janssen as well - 3 of top 4 relievers over 190 for ERA+, 5 of top 6 at 130+. 
2008: dumped for Gaston

So his 3 full years saw very high ERA+'s for his primary relievers even though he had to deal with a closer being hurt and his backup closer flopping.  He converted starters into relievers and didn't hesitate to shift roles if someone couldn't do the job.  Mix in rookies where needed too.

Gibbons certainly has his strength and that appears to be the pen.  Might just be what is needed in 2013 as that is the most variable part of the team at the moment.
JohnL - Monday, January 28 2013 @ 08:22 AM EST (#268354) #

Tossing in an unrelated item...

The Globe & Mail has a couple of stories around the likelihood of the Blue Jays getting grass installed in a baseball-only (no football) Rogers Centre.

The story claims the Jays "have every intention of eventually laying down sod. But the organization is now saying it will likely be at least five years before grass will replace artificial turf".

Beeston is quoted, "I guess at some point in time, we’re going to have to work with them, to tell them we’d like a baseball-only stadium [...] That’s the only way it works for grass, and we clearly want grass.”

Some points from the stories

 - Argos have lots of trouble scheduling around Jays' games & need two days to convert after a Jays game to be ready for football
 - Obvious need to get a "right-sized" (20-25,000) seat stadium for Argos. Where?
 - Unlikely to get any govt money without a big "event" (eg PanAm money for TiCats stadium
 - Discussion of the challenges putting in grass

See the stories here:

Argos left in limbo as Blue Jays look to install grass at Rogers Centre

In terms of cost, the grass is always greener for Blue Jays

John Northey - Monday, January 28 2013 @ 09:15 AM EST (#268355) #
I think there was a lot of talk of the Argos sharing a stadium with a university in town, plus having soccer out of that park too.  But then soccer went it alone as the football team was trying for too much control iirc.  So lost opportunity for the football team who now has to take whatever the Jays offer.
whiterasta80 - Monday, January 28 2013 @ 11:11 AM EST (#268356) #
I have no real problem with that list, other than the fact that I see Bonifacio taking someone's job. 2B is the logical position, but I suspect AA promised Maicer a certain number of ABs. Its also possible that Bonifacio takes an OF job with someone shifting to DH.

Regarding catcher, I'm pretty sure Blanco gets the call as our backup catcher. My read is that we are looking at a fluid situation here. I think that AA made the deal with Thole to ensure he had a personal catcher for Dickey.

Once he talked to Dickey things changed. Dickey probably said something along the lines of "oh, if I had known you wanted to get me a personal catcher I would have suggested Blanco". Then AA sees an opportunity to add blanco and trade Thole at a later date.
John Northey - Monday, January 28 2013 @ 12:07 PM EST (#268357) #
It is interesting that the Jays now have 3 ex-Met catchers who could've caught Dickey (didn't check if Nickeas caught him or not).  Makes sense that AA would be an overkill type with something like that though. 

As to Bonifacio, I suspect platooning and then extra PA from Lind is likely, plus we all know Lawrie will have a 2 week DL vacation at some point or at least need rest from minor hurts as he smashes into walls and the like.  If Bonifacio hits well he'll find playing time I'm sure.  If not, well, there is always someone else around.
Chuck - Monday, January 28 2013 @ 12:16 PM EST (#268358) #

I have no real problem with that list, other than the fact that I see Bonifacio taking someone's job.

Bonifacio has a career OPS+ of 81 and 694/647 OPS splits. These numbers don't suggest he's a threat for even a guaranteed platoon role let alone a starting job. What is the basis of your highly favourable assessment of his potential?

whiterasta80 - Monday, January 28 2013 @ 12:37 PM EST (#268359) #
greenfrog - Monday, January 28 2013 @ 12:58 PM EST (#268360) #
I'm glad the Jays have moved on from Escobar and KJ, but I'm curious to see whether they experience a resurgence with the Rays. Tampa has several veteran positional players who could be pretty decent, pretty bad, or somewhere in between (Loney, Scott, Escobar, Johnson).

Quite the collection of ex-Jays over there: Escobar, KJ, Molina, Roberts...
whiterasta80 - Monday, January 28 2013 @ 01:02 PM EST (#268361) #
Oh I would say that Escobar and KJ will almost certainly have a bit of a rebound in performance. Of course if the Jays had Ben Zobrist to move around and spell them from minor injuries and slumps then I suspect they would have done better last season as well.
John Northey - Monday, January 28 2013 @ 01:08 PM EST (#268362) #
Kind of funny to see ex-Jays in Tampa given Tampa seems to pound the Jays year in year out since they first formed. 
CA: Jose Molina
2B: Kelly Johnson
SS: Yunel Escobar

Funny how at MLBTradeRumors they are all in favor of the signing of Johnson.  I mean, the guy looked washed up last year and they are debating using him in the outfield (!)  I think I prefer Izturis.  Still, should be interesting to see how 2013 goes - would suck if Johnson/Escobar out do Izturis/Reyes though.
perlhack - Monday, January 28 2013 @ 01:30 PM EST (#268363) #
Carl Pavano injured himself while out in the snow several weeks ago. After a poor workout a few days later, he was admitted to hospital, where they found he had lacerated his spleen. He had to have a splenectomy, and is still in hospital recovering.
BlueJayWay - Monday, January 28 2013 @ 01:38 PM EST (#268364) #
So now Tampa has our middle infield of last year.  They'll probably perform great, because that's just how these things go.
John Northey - Monday, January 28 2013 @ 01:42 PM EST (#268365) #
Now we just need to trade Rasmus to them so they can do a full Jay up the middle thing.  Well, might need to send a backup starting pitcher too.  Now _that_ would be getting very weird.  Especially if it was another back door method (trade to one team, they trade player to Rays).
Magpie - Monday, January 28 2013 @ 01:51 PM EST (#268366) #
Ideally you have a Tom Henke/Duane Ward/Mark Eichhorn situation (3 extremely good relievers) but that's rare.

So rare that it never happened!

Not with those guys anyway. Eichhorn had three very good years in Toronto (186-87, 1993), but Ward spent most of 1986 and 1987 in AAA and Henke was gone by 1993. The three were together for parts of 1988 and 1992, but Eichhorn wasn't particularly good either year. They actually sent him to the minors before the ASB in 1988 and didn't bring him back until September.
John Northey - Monday, January 28 2013 @ 02:31 PM EST (#268367) #
Wow, forgot about Eichhorn having issues in '88.  From July 10th to September 3rd he was in the minors (or just not used).  3.86 ERA going into July with 32% of inherited runners scoring.  His WPA was -0.881 which is poor (cost the team 88% of a win to that point).  Then he had 3 very, very poor games to start July with a 6.75 ERA over 9 1/3 IP, another -0..216 WPA putting him over 1 loss on the season.  This was back in the day of 5 man bullpens, 6 was rare and 7 unheard of.  Henke, Cerutti, and Ward were having very good years in the pen (Cerutti a swing man), Clancy & Stottlemyre had turns in the pen, David Wells was ineffective, others were mix and matched in (Jose Nunez, Frank Wills, Tony Castillo (LH), Doug Bair & Mark Ross) but none had much time (Nunez at 29 IP was highest).  Before the 1989 season the Jays sold Eichhorn to Atlanta (very odd).

It is interesting to see how things evolved in the pen.  For 92 it was probably its strongest at the end with Henke/Ward closing but after that the names are good but results weren't (Wells, Hentgen, Timlin, Eichhorn all in there for 20+ games but 3.68 ERA for Wells was the only one under 4 in the pre-steroid era).  For 1993 Ward/Eichhorn did pretty much as Henke/Ward did in 92, Danny Cox a solid long man (almost 2 IP per game, 3.12 ERA), Timlin/Castillo decent middle guys, Woody Williams and Al Leiter also getting 20+ games in relief.

Fun to dig into that stuff again.  Lets hope future fans like to dig into 2013's pen for good reasons :)
Geoff - Monday, January 28 2013 @ 04:11 PM EST (#268368) #
- Obvious need to get a "right-sized" (20-25,000) seat stadium for Argos. Where?

I just had an awesome idea: build an enormous raft and have a floating football stadium on it; then toss it on Lake Ontario. Argos on the water!

Mike Green - Monday, January 28 2013 @ 04:26 PM EST (#268369) #
The Argos' lease of the RC expired at the end of 2012.  Rogers owed them nothing, but obviously wants to keep them as tenants for financial reasons. I wonder how much money they make off the Argos lease per season.  You wouldn't think that it was very much. 
MatO - Monday, January 28 2013 @ 04:43 PM EST (#268370) #
I don't think keeping the Argo at the Rogers Centre has anything to do with making more money.  I think it's all to do with public relations because the Argos would have nowhere to play and no near-term prospects like the Ti-Cats have with new stadium coming.  The Jays would look like they just tossed them out and possibly put them out of business.  I see this as giving the Argos 5 years notice to find a new arrangement somewhere else.  I just don't understand why they didn't give this notice a couple of years ago especially when the Pan-Am stadium was still being discussed and a potential stadium sharing arrangement in Oakville or Burlington with the Ti-Cats was still a possibility.
dan gordon - Monday, January 28 2013 @ 04:53 PM EST (#268371) #

I'm another one who thinks that Bonifacio is going to be better than most people think.  He turned pro at 17, and was young for his level throughout the minors, then was promoted to the majors from AA in his age 21/22 season, far ahead of when he should have been in the majors. 

In his age 20/21 season, in high A ball, he hit .321, with 35 doubles, 7 triples, 7 homers, and 61 SB, putting up an OPS of .824.  That is a tremendous season for somebody at that age in high A ball.  He was hitting .285 in AA the next season, but the power had dropped considerably, and he probably needed another half season or so at AA, but, instead, he was promoted to the big leages for a few games, and spent the majority of the next year in AAA where he hit .314 with a .758 OPS, plus some time in the majors.  From that point on, he was in the majors, getting pretty much full time play in his age 23/24 season. 

I think he was clearly rushed to the big leagues, and wasn't ready to hit major league pitching.  He had a breakthrough in 2011, in his age 25/26 season, and was the team's offensive catalyst in the 2nd half, hitting over .300 and stealing a bunch of bases.  It looked like his hitting potential had finally crystalized, but then he was injured off and on last season, and never really got untracked.  I think the Jays picked up a real jem for themselves when they got Bonifacio, and I expect him to be a very good player.

James W - Monday, January 28 2013 @ 05:33 PM EST (#268372) #
Point of fact: It only takes -0.5 WPA for one loss, since each team starts the game with a 50% chance of winning, and then the losing team ends with a 0% chance. So Eichhorn's -1.097 is over 2 losses that he gets the WPA-blame for.
Thomas - Monday, January 28 2013 @ 07:12 PM EST (#268374) #
Off topic, but John Sickels came out with his annual ranking of all 30 farm systems in baseball.

The Jays clocked in at 22nd. It didn't strike me as unreasonable.
92-93 - Monday, January 28 2013 @ 11:25 PM EST (#268375) #
On May 25th KJ pulled his hamstring and he sat out the next couple of games. He returned on the 28th, smashed a HR, and was hitting .263/.360/.446. It's my opinion that from that point forward he was severely limited by the injury, and I was pointing it out as I happened that I thought it was Farrell's mistake to keep allowing KJ to say he's fine when it was so visibly obvious to me he was playing at nowhere near full capacity.

KJ hit an abysmal .205/.288/.322 the rest of the way and sometimes looks like he can't make contact with a beach ball but there's something about him that I enjoyed watching and I won't be the least bit surprised if he posts a solid year for the Rays and Mr. Maddon, who will figure out a way to use him brilliantly I'm sure. But ya, it's going to suck if Yunel/KJ post some ridiculous .375OBP in TB, something entirely in their skill set.
jerjapan - Tuesday, January 29 2013 @ 12:00 AM EST (#268377) #
Off topic, but John Sickels came out with his annual ranking of all 30 farm systems in baseball.

The Jays clocked in at 22nd. It didn't strike me as unreasonable.

Sickels also called the Jays system one of the best in 2012, and pointed out that if their toolsy, yet underperforming position players can show improvement that the system should move up the rankings quickly.  Given how quickly AA built 'one of the best' systems in the game, I'm bullish on our system rebounding quickly.   
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, January 29 2013 @ 12:01 AM EST (#268378) #
Reading Sickels' comments, it is apparent the overall "suckiness" of the 2012 draft class dropped the Jays ranking possibly a fair bit.
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, January 29 2013 @ 12:39 AM EST (#268379) #

If this Team goes to 6-man Bullpen, who makes it? You'd need 5 power arms - who can pitch late innings; and a long reliever. Makes a person think doesn't it?

hypobole - Tuesday, January 29 2013 @ 01:36 AM EST (#268381) #
Nothing wrong with the Jays 2012 draft class; it's the 2011 class that has hurt the Jays rankings. It's hitters Anderson, Smith jr., Dean and pitchers Musgrove, Comer, Norris that ranged from mild to extreme disappointments in pro ball.
cybercavalier - Tuesday, January 29 2013 @ 02:53 AM EST (#268382) #
Maicer Izturis/Brett Lawrie/Jose Reyes starters, Emilio Bonifacio the #1 backup and Mark DeRosa secondary backup with Ryan Goins on 40 man (277/335/378 lifetime in minors at SS/2B highest level AA for 136 games last year) so could be called up in the event of injuries. NRI's are Mike McCoy, Jim Negrych, Ryan Schimpf, Eugenio Velez, and Lance Zawadzki. No hotshot prospects that are close unless you view Goins or Schimpf that way.

As the Jays signed a bunch (6) of Infield NRIs, would they consider Brad Emaus as one also ?
John Northey - Tuesday, January 29 2013 @ 05:57 AM EST (#268383) #
If the Jays signed him I guess he'd be in the mix too.  Boy did Emaus flop as a Met.  22 OPS+ in 42 PA, then sent back here and traded to Colorado in 2011 and tore it up in Colorado Springs (313/389/564) but that is an extreme hitters park iirc thus knocking down those stats drastically (ala Vegas).  In 2012 he played in Buffalo for the Mets and 'hit' 212/297/315 - ugh.  In between he was briefly a Red Sox (winter of 2011/2012, released in April).  From a guy many felt the Jays made a mistake not keeping to someone who might be out of baseball soon as guys entering their age 27 season after a 612 OPS in AAA tend not to have a big market.  Still, he'd be worth a flyer on as a minor league free agent as he did hit reasonably well in A+ (843 OPS) and AA (739) and AAA overall (822) depending how much you have to deflate it for Vegas/CS stats.  If his defense is good he is worthwhile, if not then his career might be over.
John Northey - Tuesday, January 29 2013 @ 10:43 AM EST (#268384) #
Btw, an interesting online chat with Anthopolis at the Toronto Sun site.  His favorite GM to talk with was Kenny Williams since he'd chat anytime about anything and could be counted on to call him back.  Rogers covers his cell bill and he'd be scared to see the minutes.  The stats guys give them tons of info that leads to interesting debates.  Stroman is a starter for now, but could shift.  Not looking for more relievers but always willing to listen to offers.  Feels Tampa is the best run organization in sports.  Seems to really enjoy doing the chats.

So, anyone here able to chase him down for a series of Batter Box Q&A?  :)
cybercavalier - Tuesday, January 29 2013 @ 12:25 PM EST (#268385) #
McGowan was signed to a two year contracts; by the same token, Emaus can be given the chance so the Jays could justify their reasoning to followers on keeping faith with former Jays prospects who was on the verge to stay in the MLB but flopped.

Thank John for providing a nice name for (online or virtual community) the discussion of AA: AAnthopolis; no pun intended.

hypobole - Tuesday, January 29 2013 @ 12:33 PM EST (#268386) #
Why the Emaus fixation? The only tool he had/has is the ability to take a walk.
Geoff - Tuesday, January 29 2013 @ 12:43 PM EST (#268387) #
There are some who invested in mouse ears, looking forward to their profits in souvenir sales when Emaus became a regular.

The real trick was outfitting them with computer mouse earrings. Thus, e-mouse.

That was $50,000 I will never see again.
Chuck - Tuesday, January 29 2013 @ 01:24 PM EST (#268388) #
There are some who invested in mouse ears, looking forward to their profits in souvenir sales when Emaus became a regular.

Perhaps some cross-promotionial activities with Art Spiegelman can be pursued to help the affected recoup their investments.
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, January 29 2013 @ 01:48 PM EST (#268389) #

Nothing wrong with the Jays 2012 draft class; it's the 2011 class that has hurt the Jays rankings. It's hitters Anderson, Smith jr., Dean and pitchers Musgrove, Comer, Norris that ranged from mild to extreme disappointments in pro ball

Does that explain why Musgrove and Comer were traded? 

1) For all the hype of the 2012 Draft Class, small samples aside, very few showed why the hype.

2) A fair potion of the 2011 Draft Class signed too late to pitch in 2011 so could be classed with the 2012's - why the hype.

3) The balance of the 2011's, that started in 2011, were not as highly ranked.

4) Trading Nestor Molina, Carlos Perez, Asher Wojciechowski, Joe Musgrove, David Rollins, Kevin Comer, Eric Thames, Adeiny Hechavarria, Justin Nicolino, Jacob Marisnik, Anthony Deslafani, Travis d'Arnaud, Noah Syndergaard and Wuilmer Becerra in one year might knock the farm standing down a tad.

wacker - Tuesday, January 29 2013 @ 02:04 PM EST (#268390) #
Sucks for cooper to go back to AAA. Why don't they do him a favor and get rid of him? That is if anyone would want him.
John Northey - Tuesday, January 29 2013 @ 02:21 PM EST (#268391) #
Not a big market for first basemen who are poor defensively who are likely to hit for a 110 range OPS+.  I suspect he'd outhit Lind given a chance but that is a low bar to set.
hypobole - Tuesday, January 29 2013 @ 02:55 PM EST (#268392) #
Richard, this was your original comment:
"Reading Sickels' comments, it is apparent the overall "suckiness" of the 2012 draft class dropped the Jays ranking possibly a fair bit."

There is no apparent "suckiness" of the 2012 class, other than in your mind.

Musgrove experienced shoulder issues and Comer lost his fastball velocity. Yes, that is why they were traded for so little.

1. Which 2012 draftees disappointed to the point of "suckiness"?

2. This makes no sense. You could class 2011's with 2012's, but no one else does. And what do you mean by "why the hype"?

3. Correct

4. Yes, the trades were the major cause of the farm standing drop, although the Thames trade had nothing to do with this years drop as he was not part of the previous years rankings.

TamRa - Tuesday, January 29 2013 @ 03:22 PM EST (#268393) #
Why the Emaus fixation? The only tool he had/has is the ability to take a walk.

Most baseball fans have a bit of a soft spot for undertalented "gritty" bench guys (think Joe Inglett for instance) and Emaus looked like he might fit that mold.

No one was thinking he was the next big thing, just that he'd have been potentially a nice little fan-favorite role-player type.

Mike Green - Tuesday, January 29 2013 @ 03:37 PM EST (#268394) #
Emaus did a lot of things well offensively (in the minor leagues) for a second baseman.  He would take a walk.  He didn't strike out much.  He hit for medium range pop.  His minor league record was closer to Jeff Kent's than to Joe Inglett's. 

However, he was oldish for his league when he had the big year in Dunedin at age 22, and he took steps backward rather than forward after that.  Actually, if he could have maintained his performance level, he would have probably had a decent major league career.  It did not happen.

Richard S.S. - Tuesday, January 29 2013 @ 04:01 PM EST (#268395) #


Until 2012, any draft pick signing late prior to 2012 didn't start his MiLB career until the next year.  Therefore some of the 2011 draft picks did not start until most of the 2012's did.   Most draft picks have "hype" accompanying them from the pre-draft period.   Not living up to this "hype" is expected, but very disappointing, as some are really good.   Therefore they are very good or they suck - thus suckiness applies.   Who are they?   Are you too lazy to look them up yourself?   Try: .

vw_fan17 - Tuesday, January 29 2013 @ 04:24 PM EST (#268396) #
Thank John for providing a nice name for (online or virtual community) the discussion of AA: AAnthopolis; no pun intended.

Maybe his memoirs could be called AAnthology?
Mick Doherty - Tuesday, January 29 2013 @ 05:35 PM EST (#268397) #
That, sir -- there's no other way to say this -- was an AAbsolutely AAtrocious AAptonym.
hypobole - Tuesday, January 29 2013 @ 09:03 PM EST (#268398) #
Melky's former drug "doctor" has been outed. Over and above clients already caught and suspended (Grandal, Colon as well as Melky), there are some interesting names - Nelson Cruz, Gio Gonzalez and !surprise! ARod.

MLBTR also has a story on the Yankees supposedly trying to void ARods contract due to these allegations.
JohnL - Tuesday, January 29 2013 @ 09:26 PM EST (#268399) #
Don't know what the big deal is.

You'd think if a player had extensive treatment at an "anti-aging" clinic, it would add years to his career :-)
JohnL - Tuesday, January 29 2013 @ 09:34 PM EST (#268400) #
Great Cuban baseball story from Sportsnet magazine posted online. Strangely, the web page doesn't actually credit their own writer, who (I Googled) is Shannon Proudfoot, one of their writers.

Spying at a baseball game?...
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 29 2013 @ 09:36 PM EST (#268401) #
I wonder if they do cataract surgery in addition to wrinkle creams.  It is true that nothing turns me off a ballgame more than watching a batter with wrinkles on his forehead...
JohnL - Tuesday, January 29 2013 @ 09:38 PM EST (#268402) #
Send R.A. there.

A knuckleballer, with no UCL and anti-aging treatment? He might be able to go to 50. Unwrinkled too
John Northey - Tuesday, January 29 2013 @ 10:02 PM EST (#268403) #
Funny how much coverage a few guys using a doctor known for PED's gets but how little RA Dickey's efforts to draw attention to child prostitution gets.  Sad statement on priorities in this world when you think about it...guys cheating on a sports field? Front page and tons of anguish.  Guys putting little kids into slavery?  Ignored.  Kind of sad really, but that is how it is.
JohnL - Tuesday, January 29 2013 @ 10:08 PM EST (#268404) #
The way of the world, but I did see him getting decent coverage on the Star website.

He does impress. In particular, that he took his daughters (8 and 11 I think) to Mumbai with him to encourage them to get involved with the world and people who need help.

Last night, I watched, and really enjoyed, "Knuckleball" that NFH recommended. It had great stories to tell, including the stars (Dickey & Wakefield), plus a bunch of old knucklers.
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, January 29 2013 @ 11:39 PM EST (#268405) #
Starting pitching: R.A. Dickey, Brandon Morrow, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, Ricky Romero are the big 5, J.A. Happ, Brad Lincoln, Chad Jenkins are the next 3 in line, Dustin McGowan if healthy is in the mix (please hold your laughter, he could be healthy and I could win the lottery), and assorted kids are going to fight to make it as well (such as NRI Sean Nolin, John Stilson) and don't forget NRI's Dave Bush, Chad Beck, Justin Germano, Ramon Ortiz, and Claudio Vargas who all have starting experience and will be fighting for a role in AAA.

I agree with Dickey, Buehrle and Romero as #1, #3 and #5.  I still think there is a decision to be made as which Starter, Morrow or Johnson, would be #2 and which would be #4.   I believe Happ, Lincoln, Jenkins and Bush as #6, #7, #8 and #9.   If we need more, this team is in deep doo-doo.   The #4, #5 and #6 Starters for AAA will come from Bush and the rest, with those who can go to AA, will.
hypobole - Wednesday, January 30 2013 @ 12:53 AM EST (#268406) #
Dickey's work in India shows a good man bringing hope to children where too often no hope exists. But the topic is uncomfortable for most of us; it's mind-numbing how many children throughout the world are sexually exploited. It's a brutal, ugly reality that too many prefer to ignore, even when it happens in their own back yards as the Penn State scandal showed.
greenfrog - Wednesday, January 30 2013 @ 06:02 AM EST (#268408) #
No idea what the Bourn Identity will be this year, but I'm still wondering whether a pillow contract in Toronto might be a possibility. Probably not - some team will likely step up and give him a multiyear deal, and playing on turf might not be the best place for a speed-and-defence player to bide his time before reentering the market. And the Jays' player payroll has apparently hit its limit, more or less.

Still, a sabbatical in Canada and a WS ring wouldn't be a bad way to spend April to October 2013.
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, January 30 2013 @ 12:27 PM EST (#268413) #

Blue Jays 1st round pick (#10) is Protected.   Their 2nd round pick (#46) is of considerable value (plus 4.999%).   To sign Bourn would cost them this pick - not a good decision.   Their 3rd pick (#72) isn't sufficiently high enough to make up the difference.


John Northey - Wednesday, January 30 2013 @ 12:29 PM EST (#268414) #
I suspect the next CBA will adjust the rules again so signing a top free agent doesn't cost a pick but will provide one to the team losing said player.  This Bourn situation is getting silly - a guy worth 6 wins last year cannot seem to get a deal because a team would lose a draft pick.  Just seems crazy.
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, January 30 2013 @ 12:42 PM EST (#268415) #
MLB's top 100 prospects list is out with Sanchez and Osuna making the list.  Traded players d'Arnaud, Syndergaard, Marisnick, Nicolino and Hechavarria did also.   Without the trades A.A. made, do all these players still make the list - I think not?
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, January 30 2013 @ 12:49 PM EST (#268416) #

This is the most definitive answer to natural grass in Rogers Center/SkyDome yet.  

Lylemcr - Wednesday, January 30 2013 @ 12:52 PM EST (#268417) #
personally, I hope Romero has a great spring and they give him the #1.  He was one of the faces of the franchise(Look at the top of this web page).  Putting him to #5 is a slap in the face.  I would like to see him as #1 to give him a vote of confidence...but he has to earn it.....
hypobole - Wednesday, January 30 2013 @ 01:08 PM EST (#268421) #
"Putting him to #5 is a slap in the face."

After the way he pitched last year, he doesn't deserve to be anything other than #5. If he considers it a slap in the face, maybe he could use one to bring him back to reality.
greenfrog - Wednesday, January 30 2013 @ 01:10 PM EST (#268422) #
If Bourn represents the difference between winning the division and finishing as one of the two wild card teams (or missing the playoffs altogether), then signing him to a pillow contract is a no-brainer. The division is likely to be quite competitive this year and a couple of extra wins could be the margin of difference between playoffs and no playoffs (or advancing or not advancing).

I doubt Bourn is available on a one-year deal, but if he is, Rogers should be thinking long and hard about it. The Jays are no longer in "let's see what we have" mode, endlessly waiting for players like Snider or Rasmus to bloom. I'm all in favour of amassing draft picks, but right now it's time to compete.
92-93 - Wednesday, January 30 2013 @ 01:15 PM EST (#268424) #
I disagree, hypobole. He deserves to be optioned down to Buffalo with Happ taking his spot!
92-93 - Wednesday, January 30 2013 @ 01:19 PM EST (#268426) #
I'm fairly certain the decision of whether to target Bourn has nothing to do with the draft pick attachment.
greenfrog - Wednesday, January 30 2013 @ 01:31 PM EST (#268428) #
I like the revamped Jays' chances in 2013, but I see three main potential risks with the roster:

1. Rotation depth in case of injuries/underperformance (although the addition of Dickey helps a lot in this regard)

2. Lineup weakness 5-9 (Lind, Lawrie, Rasmus, Arencibia, Izturis), especially if one of the 1-4 hitters gets hurt or has a down year

3. Bullpen issues (injuries, unproven players, etc)

#2 is the one that concerns me the most. While those five players could be solid enough, they also have a lot of out-making potential -- it wouldn't shock me to see them collectively post an OBP in the .300 - .310 range.
greenfrog - Wednesday, January 30 2013 @ 01:40 PM EST (#268430) #
I guess I should add the "elephant in the room" risk:

4. Whether Bautista's wrist is healthy and capable of holding up for a full season.
92-93 - Wednesday, January 30 2013 @ 01:46 PM EST (#268431) #
That range sounds good for your 5-9 hitters. Are there teams that were significantly better than that last year, other than maybe Texas? I doubt it.
greenfrog - Wednesday, January 30 2013 @ 02:31 PM EST (#268438) #
Well, those five players combined for 6.5 fWAR in 2012 (with Lawrie providing nearly half of that value).

Michael Bourn's 2012 fWAR: 6.4 (previous three seasons: 4.1, 4.7, 4.9)

I'm not saying that Bourn is the answer (he's probably not available on terms acceptable to the Jays), but it's OK to aim high.
hypobole - Wednesday, January 30 2013 @ 02:32 PM EST (#268439) #
Sam Dyson has been claimed by the Marlins.
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, January 30 2013 @ 02:51 PM EST (#268440) #

If you have a star Player making $20.0 MM, who's comparible to a star Player making $10.0 MM, who's comparible to a star Player making $5.0 MM, who's comparible to a star Player making $.500 K, he's just older.   That's just a normal progression for the GOOD Players.   The #1 - #4 in our lineup makes $40.0 MM, while #5 - #9 makes $13.725 MM.   It's possible, but not that likely the offense will be comparable.  If it's not even close, that's still a lot of offense.  

Lawrie and Rasmus were #1 and #2 / #2 and #1 or whatever last year and were not too bad.   At #6, Lawrie just becomes a leadoff hitter once again.   With this lineup, I expect him to be leading off a lot of innings next year (particularly the 2nd).   Rasmus starts the season healthy so should do well until he gets hurt.   With Bonifacio's best position being CF, DL-ing Rasmus should be easier.   Just imagine how often J.P. comes up to bat with runner(s) on base.   And Izturis will have fun. 

greenfrog - Wednesday, January 30 2013 @ 02:57 PM EST (#268441) #
If you have a star Player making $20.0 MM, who's comparible to a star Player making $10.0 MM, who's comparible to a star Player making $5.0 MM, who's comparible to a star Player making $.500 K, he's just older.

I have no idea what this sentence means.
China fan - Wednesday, January 30 2013 @ 03:10 PM EST (#268443) #
"....I see three main potential risks with the roster...."

Here's how I would define this. There are three key players on the roster whose performance in 2013 is highly unpredictable. They could range from "very bad" to "very good" because of the imponderable nature of their injuries and slumps. If these players are very bad or plagued by lingering injuries, the Jays will have trouble making the playoffs. And if these three players are very good, the Jays will be in the World Series. Their names are: Bautista, Romero, and Rasmus.

I'm not saying that the rest of the roster doesn't matter. I'm saying that the rest of the roster is more predictable than those three. We know which ones will probably perform well. We know which ones will be roughly average or replacement level. But the three players that I mentioned are the ones who could range from very bad to very good -- and a lot will hinge on their performance.
Lylemcr - Wednesday, January 30 2013 @ 03:19 PM EST (#268444) #

This blog can be funny....  It clammers over losing players like Dyson, but is ready to send Romero to Buffalo.  Before this year, Romero has had a couple good years with the Jays.  If he does NOT have a good spring training, he does not deserve to be the #1.  It could be argued that he should be sent to Buffalo.  (Probably, never to be seen again). 

But... IF he has a good spring, why not give him the #1.  Why not say to him.  You were our ace the last couple years, and you are still our ace. 

In fact, the 5 pitchers should be battling for the #1 spot.  It can't be given to Dickey because he won the cy young.  So if Romero pitches well in spring(better than the others), he should get the #1.  And that is what I am hoping for....


Richard S.S. - Wednesday, January 30 2013 @ 03:36 PM EST (#268446) #

I have no idea what this sentence means.

You just have to think a little harder.  It just means he's older, not better.  

Lawrie will earn (baring a Longoria-type deal) roughly $2.0 MM through his Pre-Arb years.   He will earn $10.0 - $12.5 MM through his Arb years.   At age 28, the start of his Free Agent years, he will make $6.0 - &10.0 MM per year.   He can do all this by not being worse than last year, and he's merely good, and not yet GOOD. 

greenfrog - Wednesday, January 30 2013 @ 04:07 PM EST (#268449) #
You just have to think a little harder.

A resounding defence.

Btw, it's "barring" not "baring," unless you were thinking of something to do with Lawrie's tattoos.
Magpie - Wednesday, January 30 2013 @ 04:16 PM EST (#268451) #
Putting him to #5 is a slap in the face.

This whole #1, #2 only exists during the first week of the season. By mid-April, it's gone. For the next five and a half months it's just this day's pitcher. This is one of those molehills that get turned into mountains, probably because it's January.
Chuck - Wednesday, January 30 2013 @ 06:09 PM EST (#268460) #

It can't be given to Dickey because he won the cy young. 

As reasons go, that's not a bad one. Gibbons has already said that Dickey will be the opening day starter and I imagine this will be the case even if Dickey's spring training ERA is 9.00.

dan gordon - Wednesday, January 30 2013 @ 06:16 PM EST (#268461) #
I see the Jays have signed Andy LaRoche to a minor league deal.  More Buffalo depth.
hypobole - Wednesday, January 30 2013 @ 07:14 PM EST (#268462) #
"This blog can be funny.... It clammers over losing players like Dyson, but is ready to send Romero to Buffalo. Before this year, Romero has had a couple good years with the Jays. If he does NOT have a good spring training, he does not deserve to be the #1. It could be argued that he should be sent to Buffalo. (Probably, never to be seen again)."

It can be funny - I took the Romero to Buffalo remark as a joke.

As far as clamouring over Dyson, his upside is probably Brad Ziegler, but he was an asset nonetheless. The way he was squandered seems bizarre and very out of character for AA.

As Chuck alluded to, spring training results mean little (compare last years ST and regular season records).
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, January 30 2013 @ 09:09 PM EST (#268463) #
The Rotation goes: Knuckleball, RHP, LHP, RHP, LHP, Knuckleball, RHP, LHP, RHP, LHP, Knuckleball, RHP, LHP, RHP, LHP, Knuckleball, RHP, LHP, RHP, LHP, Knuckleball, RHP, LHP, RHP, LHP,Knuckleball, RHP, LHP, RHP, LHP, and at some point early in the season who's number one doesn't matter.   The chance that your number one will continue to face their number one throughout the season is very small.   All that matters is making your rotation as hard to face as possible.
John Northey - Wednesday, January 30 2013 @ 10:53 PM EST (#268464) #
Always good to see more guys signed to AAA deals.  LaRoche was a top 100 prospect for 4 years (2005-2008) and in 06 and 07 was a top 20.  But in the majors his best was a 258/330/401 94 OPS+ effort in 2009 at age 25 for Pittsburgh.  Overall he has hit 226/305/337 72 OPS+ in the majors.  In 2012 he was purely in AAA and hit 251/335/422 for two teams in the International League.  He played 10+ games at 3B/1B/SS and 6 at 2B to go with his 12 DH...he also has played 7 games in his minor league career in LF.  In the majors he has 316 games at 3B, 17 at 2B, 9 at SS, 4 at 1B and 1 in LF.  He also got a win in relief (1 IP) last year, his second win in 2 years and in 2 games - 2 IP, 3 H 1 R (earned) 1 BB 0 SO.  Always nice to have a guy like that around.

Basically he is now a killer backup - can play all infield positions, has played a tiny bit in the outfield, and can pitch if needed.  If he could hit just a little bit more he'd probably be making $1-2 mil a year in the majors instead of riding the buses.  Useful to have around though as I'd put him above McCoy in the backup callup category. 

Geoff - Wednesday, January 30 2013 @ 11:17 PM EST (#268465) #
Between writers writing better and readers thinking harder, there can never be a victor. The exchange of ideas is being lost and we can only mourn its passing. Every other action is just an invitation to generate fresh slander.

Geoff - Wednesday, January 30 2013 @ 11:21 PM EST (#268466) #
There are plenty more minor league signings this year than last or the year before that. You'd think that management is approaching this season with a greater sense of purpose?
hypobole - Thursday, January 31 2013 @ 12:56 AM EST (#268467) #
Omar Visquel has been hired as a roving infield instructor. Shockingly, it was not the Jays who did the hire.

John Northey - Thursday, January 31 2013 @ 08:38 AM EST (#268469) #
I think a key element is getting Buffalo and feeling a need to impress there, plus having 4 top prospects (among other) traded this past winter.  That opens a lot of holes.  Also of note is the ML experience of some of these guys... Just 5 of the most recent signings...
Andy LaRoche: 1332 PA 72 OPS+ 3B/2B/SS/1B/LF
Adam Loewen: 39 PA 66 OPS+, 164 IP 85 ERA+
David Bush: 1141 IP in majors, 93 ERA+
Ramon Ortiz: 1423 IP in majors, 90 ERA+
Ryan Langerhans:593 ML games (86 OPS+, OF/1B)

That is a lot of ML experience there.  I'm sure that will help in AAA, a couple of vet starters and 2 OF plus an infielder who have ML pensions coming their way.  I wonder if AA promised any of them September call-ups if they last that long, or suggested it was a strong possibility. 

bpoz - Thursday, January 31 2013 @ 10:42 AM EST (#268476) #
A blanket statement would be something like "you want all your teams major & minor to win but also have good advancement by your prospects"

However it definitely looks like the ML team & Buffalo winning in 2013 is more urgent. So with winning in mind, I think some mid season moves could look odd. Like if a struggling player is to be sent down from Toronto, then you may want to send him to AA to work it out rather than Buffalo where his brushing up could harm the team. My thinking could be completely wrong but I think it is sensible.
hypobole - Thursday, January 31 2013 @ 10:45 AM EST (#268478) #
Don't forget 3 TJ guys have to be replaced as well. At this time last year, i don't remember anyone on the 40 man expected out for an extended period. Last year, I think the Jays managed to sneak more than 2 guys through waivers also, plus last years list seems to be missing Woodward who was a FA signing.
John Northey - Thursday, January 31 2013 @ 11:33 AM EST (#268489) #
Might be that more are getting reported this year than last.  Still, nice to see some guys with lots of experience in the majors signing AAA deals.  Cheap backups for the #8 and beyond starting slots and for emergency callups as utility players/back end of bullpen.

Plus it is always fun to see the AAA team do well - gives a false sense of hope for the future :)  Last time the AAA team of the Jays won their division appears to be 1989 but the key players were Glenallen Hill, Francisco Cabrera, and Stu Pederson* for guys with 750+ OPS, and Jose Nunez (2.21 ERA), Alex Sanchez and Steve Cummings for starters with 100+ IP and ERA's under 3.50.  Hill is the only one of those guys to have much of a ML career although Cabrera had a big hit for Atlanta in 1992 (drove in winning run in bottom of the 9th of game 7 of the NLCS).  Its a shame B-R doesn't have a franchise list for AAA teams as that would help for seeing which ones were best/worst.  Btw, that 1989 team had a 3.13 ERA and a 706 OPS. 

Btw, Syracuse also won in 1985 - OPS over 750 list: Dave Stegman, Willie Aikens (both over 900 - this was Aikens swan song), Dale Holman*, Ron Shepherd (over 800), Mark Poole and Rick Leach.  ERA sub 3.50 and 100+ IP: Don Gordon (2.07), John Cerutti*, and Stan Clarke.  Not a single guy who would go to an All-Star game among that list.  Of all the pitchers only Tom Henke and Mark Eichhorn would do anything of note outside of Cerutti, although the hitters had a few good ones who hit poorly that year in Kelly Gruber, Mitch Webster, and Fred McGriff

Success at AAA (or failure) doesn't always mean the same will occur in the majors.
Richard S.S. - Thursday, January 31 2013 @ 08:38 PM EST (#268500) #
AAA will have very few quality prospects. Anthony Gose, Moises Sierra, Chad Jenkins are some of the few. Happ, Lincoln and Loup will be guys who should be up. Everyone else is a good a player as A.A. could acquire. The AAA Team must get into the playoffs or last game of season to it. For the convenience of Buffalo to Toronto, playoff must happen at least once every two years. With that in mind, I don't think A.A. is finished yet. After all, most minor league contract cost so little, releasing people isn't that hard.
John Northey - Thursday, January 31 2013 @ 11:17 PM EST (#268504) #
Good point Richard.  What kind of team do we have there now I wonder...
CA: Thole/Nickeas/Ochinko - Thole should be in the majors but will be in AAA it looks like
1B: Cooper
2B: McCoy/Negrych/Velez/Zawadzki
3B: Andy LaRoche (could be 2B)
SS: Goines
LF: Langerhans
CF: Gose
RF: Sierra
OF: Loewen
DH: Jimenez

Rotation: Happ, Lincoln, Jenkins, McGowan, Bush, Oritz, Vargas, Germano, Beck, maybe Nolin and Stilson at some point
Bullpen: losers of rotation plus Crawford, Hinshaw, Hottovy, Perez, Thomson, Wagner and at least one of Loup/Cecil/Delabar/Jeffress assuming the loser of the pen battle can be sent down.

An interesting team.

ramone - Friday, February 01 2013 @ 09:55 AM EST (#268505) #
I think John that Hoffpauir was signed as well, so he can be added to the list, which is starting to look somewhat crowded.

In other news Heyman tweeted this morning that the Jays are still looking for bullpen help as well.
Richard S.S. - Friday, February 01 2013 @ 08:05 PM EST (#268506) #
Brandon Lyon is still available, but A.A. wants quality and value without spending any money. I don't know what A.A. could still spend so speculating is almost useless. I know he'll have money for mid-season acquisitions, but I don't know what he can do now.

Blue Jay Pitchers and Catcher report Feb. 12th with games starting the 23rd. I think A.A. Is waiting to see who gets free this spring.
John Northey - Friday, February 01 2013 @ 08:56 PM EST (#268507) #
If Lyon would take $1-3 mil for a year with an option I suspect AA could do it.  I'd figure $3 mil has to be about as far as he could go though at this point, maybe less.
Richard S.S. - Friday, February 01 2013 @ 09:03 PM EST (#268508) #
If A.A. acquires someone for the 25-man or 40-man, who gets DFAed?
John Northey - Friday, February 01 2013 @ 10:56 PM EST (#268509) #
Good question Richard.  Depends on who is likely to be sent to the minors anyways and who can sneak through waivers, or who the team doesn't care enough about to avoid losing him.

Pitchers: bubble: Cecil, Crawford, Jeffress - any of these 3 could fail to make the team in spring and I think only Crawford has options left.  Crawford would probably be the easiest to cut, followed by Jeffress.  Cecil they might be able to trade for a low level prospect (#15-20 on a teams depth chart).

Hitters: Goins is the only one I see as having any shot of being cut, and that is a low chance I suspect.  Lind could be possible I guess as who'd take on his salary, but I think he'd have to agree to the AAA assignment.

Going over the 21 pitchers...
On staff if healthy (9): Dickey, Morrow, Buerhle, Johnson, Romero, Janssen, Santos, Oliver, Rogers
DL (3): Drabek, Perez, Hutchison
Earmarked for minors (4): Crawford, Jenkins, Lincoln, McGowan (no options I think but he'd agree to it I suspect and with another year on his contract I doubt anyone would take him)
Fighting for one of 3 slots (5): Cecil, Jeffress, Delabar, Happ, Loup - betting on Loup/Delabar with the rest battling for the last slot.

So the last two groups (9) is where you'd find your cuts from.  McGowan might be able to be cut from the 40 man, but I doubt the Jays would risk it just because they've put so much time and effort into him.  Crawford was an 8th round pick who hasn't shown enough to make him a 'cannot afford to lose' guy.  Jenkins/Lincoln are both viewed as having potential still.  Happ/Loup/Delabar are all key 2013/2014 pieces as backups if nothing else.  Jeffress has been super-wild in his career (5.4 BB/9 in minors, 7.0 in majors) so he might be able to slip through.  Cecil would be picked up by someone so he'd be a high risk to cut.

Thus my bet is Crawford, Jeffress, McGowan, Cecil in that order with a slim shot of Perez being dumped while on the DL and Goins being the surprise option.  Lyon I'd take over Crawford or Jeffress easily if he'd come here at a reasonable price, same with most experienced relievers who are still on the market.  A few of them will be getting very anxious now so who knows?  Maybe AA has one more ace up his sleeve pre-spring training.

Richard S.S. - Saturday, February 02 2013 @ 11:58 AM EST (#268510) #

It would be so easy to just slip Kyle Drabek, Luis Perez and Drew Hutchison on the 60-Day D.L., but that can't happen anytime soon.   As far as I know, the D.L. doesn't start until first day of the Season (when 25-man rosters are official), with D.L. stints being retroactive to a short period (7-10 days?) into Spring Training. 

I don't think any Hitter will go, everyone has value.   Ryan Goins is our most advanced SS prospect.   He's not setting the world on fire, but as a SS he should be exempt.  Adam Lind has value, it's just that no other G.M. sees it.

Evan Crawford (26 - LHP), not a great reliever, has options left.    Luis Perez (28 - LHP) has been very effective (small sample) while with the Team, and has options left.   I can't see that happening as he's going back on D.L. soonest.   Brett Cecil (26 - LHP, without options) is a 4th or 5th Starter on some Teams, just not this one.   He is seen to have Value as a Reliever, possibly in the Scott Downs-mode (2005-2010).   Jeremy Jeffress has a power arm with major control issues.   He is without options, but the Jays see something.   If A.A. acquires another Reliever, he might be the one DFAed, as no longer needed. 

11 days left.

John Northey - Saturday, February 02 2013 @ 12:24 PM EST (#268511) #
One source says once spring training begins guys can move to the 60 day DL but only if the 40 man is full. So I could see one of them going onto it as soon as spring starts, then once the Jays add someone else another will go and so on.  Not an easy thing to find info on I guess because most don't care much about when it starts/stops.  I suspect if the Jays want to sign anyone at this point they could do it with a guarantee of being on the 40 man once spring starts up.  Might explain a few of the recent signings that are known but not official (Kelly Johnson in Tampa for example).
Richard S.S. - Saturday, February 02 2013 @ 05:17 PM EST (#268512) #

Thanks John.   Breaking the most interesting parts of your source into sentences:

  A player placed on the Emergency Disabled List (60-day DL) does not count against his club's Active List or Reserve List.

  A player can be placed on the MLB Emergency Disabled List (60-day DL) during Spring Training or anytime during the MLB regular season (a minor league player can be placed on a minor league club's 60-day DL only during the   regular season), and a player can be transferred from the MLB 15-day DL to the MLB 60-day DL (or minor league 7-day DL to minor league 60-day DL).

  However, a player cannot be moved back to the MLB 15-day DL (and a minor league player cannot be moved back to the 7-day DL) once he is placed on the 60-day DL, and a player cannot be placed on the 60-day DL or transferred to the 60-day DL from the MLB 15-day DL (or minor league 7-day DL) unless his club's Reserve List is full.

As best as I can tell from this Kyle Drabek, Drew Hutchison and Luis Perez can go back on the 60-Day D.L. either the 12th or the 23rd of this month creating three spaces on the 40-Man Roster.  Chances are any moves A.A. makes waits until then.

bpoz - Saturday, February 02 2013 @ 05:43 PM EST (#268513) #
Thanks for the info John. This opens up some ways for players to be rehabbed properly and also stash some injury backup.

I do not know McGowan's future, but Hutch, Drabek & L Perez IMO should be treated slowly like Marcum was.
John Northey - Saturday, February 02 2013 @ 05:50 PM EST (#268514) #
Wonder what quality relievers are still out there?  He has stated Lyon is welcome back, but unsaid is that the price has to be right.  A list of remaining free agents is here.

5 guys with 150+ saves: Jason Isringhausen, Francisco Rodriguez, Jose Valverde, Brian Fuentes, and Brian Wilson - Most probably want another closing job thus Toronto not an option with 2 closers here already, but Wilson was in just 2 games last year so he might be a bit desperate for a team, but the Mets are looking at him and they'd be able to be more patient I suspect.  Fuentes crashed and burned with homeritis last year and might be done.  Valverde saw his K/9 drop drastically last year so I'd be nervous about him.  Rodriguez will be after a closing job.  Isringhausen might be done with a 6.1 K / 9 IP rate and entering his age 40 season.

6 more guys with 500+ games: Kyle Farnsworth, Guillermo Mota, Derek Lowe, Jon Rauch, Brandon Lyon, Livan Hernandez - Livan might finally have retired but who knows? Last year was his first as a reliever and his HR/9 rate was horrid but his BB/9 and K/BB ratio were fine - if he'd take a AAA deal I'd take him in.  Lyon we know about, SF was looking at him a few weeks ago.  Rauch had his worse season here in 2011, doubt either side wants a repeat.  Lowe has been a starter mainly, his ratios are good outside of K/9 which was just 3.5 last year (yikes).  Mota still has a live arm (over 10 K/9 last year) but is wild (3.5 BB/9) and homer prone (1.3 HR/9) - another guy I'd take on a AAA deal but not a ML one.  Farnsworth had an odd year, jumped BB/9 from 1.9 to 4.7 (!) but dropped his HR/9 and upped his K/9 - he is one the scouts opinion would be important on as would checking pitch f/x to see if there was a reason for the wildness, if it looks likely to come back down then take him - remove his first 2 games off the DL and it goes down to 3.24 BB/9 so there is hope there.

Lyon would be my #1 choice of these guys, followed by Farnsworth.  The rest either won't sign here (baring a shock) or would be worth no more than a AAA deal.
greenfrog - Saturday, February 02 2013 @ 08:10 PM EST (#268515) #
John, the Rays are thinking along the same lines. They signed Farnsworth about a week ago:
John Northey - Saturday, February 02 2013 @ 10:14 PM EST (#268516) #
No shock there - seems B-R is a bit behind, probably due to some of these signings being unofficial until teams can shift guys to the DL in a couple of weeks.  Farnsworth getting $1.25 to $3 mil depending on incentives (probably time on ML roster and healthy) seems reasonable but the Jays don't seem to be fans of incentive clauses (probably due to the Frank Thomas mess).

MLB Trade Rumors list seems more up-to-date.  Relievers they list are interesting at times...
Ex-Jays: Miguel Batista, Jeremy Accardo, Francisco Cordero, Kevin Gregg, and Brandon Lyon
Lyon is the only one of those I'd want back.

Other ex-Jays at other positions...
Rod Barajas, Orlando Hudson, Scott Rolen.  I think that is it.  Not as many as I expected to see, but they don't list minor league free agents so that changes it a bit.  None are attractive at this point, Hudson was sub 60 for OPS+ last year, Rolen under 90, Barajas sub 80.  For the positions they play and the level they are at defensively now they'll all have trouble getting work in 2013.  Rolen though seems to have multiple suitors...go figure.

At this point there really isn't much for the Jays out there.  Lyon is about the only reliever left who could fit salary and expectations (both ways) wise (cannot promise a closer role to anyone right now).  I suspect a few more minor league signings will happen but otherwise wait until spring and injuries occur (as they always do).
hypobole - Saturday, February 02 2013 @ 11:06 PM EST (#268517) #
Lyon, Valverde and Rodriguez would be the only remaining relievers who would be an upgrade to the Jays pen, but they would be an upgrade for most pens. They've become big fish in a rapidly diminishing pond. There will be teams that will need them, so they can sit and wait without much worry, unless they expect a closer role. And of the 3, Lyon had the best year, so he may not be as affordable as one might think.
John Northey - Saturday, February 02 2013 @ 11:29 PM EST (#268518) #
I don't expect any to be affordable, but one never knows as spring approaches and desperation for the pitchers sets in.  We can feel confident they'll get jobs, their agents can, but will they? 

Lyon: 2011 he threw just 13 1/3 IP and has yet to get 30 saves in a season, in fact just 3 times has cracked 10.  Entering his age 33 season coming off a sweet 3 year $15 mil deal that Houston must have regretted.  When he was a free agent in 2008/9 he waited until Jan 22nd to sign and got just a one year deal (although for $4.25 mil) coming off his biggest save season (26).  He might find another sucker like Houston was, but I doubt he is getting a multi-year at this stage.

Jose Valverde: He is on a 6 season streak of 25+ saves, with 49 in 2011 and 35 last year.  He expects to close but his K rate has dropped drastically, 12.6 in 2006 and dropped every single year since to a low of 6.3 last year (half of his peak).  He is turning 35 and while his HR/9 is low (0.4 last year) his BB/9 is too high (3.5) for a K rate like he showed.  He made $9 mil last year and can expect a big drop.  Unless someone is desperate for a closer or he accepts far less than he expected I see him waiting until well into March for a deal.

Francisco Rodriguez: The only man to get over 60 saves in a season was reduced to just 3 last year.  His ratios were in line with his career outside of K/9 (9.0 vs 11.0 career) and H/9 (8.1 vs 6.7).  He made $8 mil last year as Milwaukee got dumb with their money, but he won't get that lucky this time.  He'll hunt hard for a closing job and probably would take less for one but odds are he'll be another guy waiting until March to accept a lower deal for a lesser role.

K-Rod, Valverde, or Lyon might get lucky though as the Mets are looking for a closer it seems and might do stupid money to get one.  Still, that'll leave 2 of them hunting for that closer role they dream of.  The asking prices according to MLBTradeRumors is around $7 mil from K-Rod (shouldn't be able to get it) while the Mets are willing to give $4 mil to Valverde plus incentives.  If desperate they say K-Rod would go back to Milwaukee first.  Valverde sounds like he'd love to go back to Detroit given a choice.  Lyon had nibbles from the Giants but no other teams mentioned in MLBTradeRumors this winter for him other than the Jays.

92-93 - Sunday, February 03 2013 @ 11:40 AM EST (#268519) #
If Carlos Zambrano were normal I'd advocate adding an arm like that as your long man.
John Northey - Sunday, February 03 2013 @ 01:10 PM EST (#268520) #
Carlos Zambrano is an interesting one for someone to take a chance on.  A 127 ERA+ as recently as 2010 (his 9th straight 110+ ERA+ season with 100+ IP).  The last two years have been a disaster though, 81 & 88 ERA+'s while his K/9 dropped from an 8.1 in 09/10 to 6.3 over the past two years combined. His BB/9 dropped in 11 but last year jumped over 5 while his HR/9 last year dropped to 0.6.  Weird.  A guy who I suspect most pitching coaches would love to dig into but best on a team fighting for the basement not the playoffs.
Richard S.S. - Sunday, February 03 2013 @ 02:46 PM EST (#268521) #

Watching oil paint dry is more interesting than the NFL.   Especially if you're not that good a painter.

A.A. has done a good job with this offseason.   In the Miami Trade he increased payroll greatly, but got back $8.5 MM in the trade.   He signed Melky Cabrera to a two year contract worth $8.0 MM per year.   In the NY Trade, A.A. moves $6.0 MM (John Buck) in Salary and acquired R.A. Dickey and his $5 .25 MM salary.   He signs Henri Blanco for $750 K and Mark DeRosa for $750 K.   He acquires $14.75 MM in player salaries, while only increasing the overall salary from the Blockbuster Trade just $250K.   He acquired an Ace Pitcher, a middle-of-the-lineup Outfielder, three backup Catchers and a backup Utility Man for $250 K.   GM Of The Year - YES!

greenfrog - Sunday, February 03 2013 @ 05:27 PM EST (#268522) #
The Mets are reportedly close to signing Lyon. They seem to be doing what AA was doing a couple of years ago during the Jays' rebuild - trading veterans for prospects and adding free agents who could eventually be useful trade chips (Marcum, Lyon).
John Northey - Sunday, February 03 2013 @ 09:35 PM EST (#268523) #
Probably smart for both the Mets and Lyon.  He probably has a better shot at a few saves and holds there than he would here just due to the slot he'd probably be in.  Mid-season he'll be traded somewhere in contention.
Richard S.S. - Monday, February 04 2013 @ 04:24 AM EST (#268524) #

When Kyle Drabek and Drew Hutchison are at their best and healthiest (not until 2014) it's very likely they'll start 2014 in AAA.   Unless used as trade bait, it's unlikely they'll be in the 2014 Starting Rotation.   However, the Top Free Agent Starters for 2014 are Tim Lincecum (who's lost a lot on his fastball and his Starter's Job) and Josh Johnson (whom everyone calls injury-prone and less effective).

If you check Josh Johnson's 2012 game logs, you will find a very, very good pitcher playing on a very poor offensive Team.   For most of his time there, he had to be the Ace, had to be the best, and got hurt overperforming.   Toronto is a much superior Team than his last, and he no longer has to be the ace, just a real good pitcher.   I'd like to see him extended before he cost too much.   Because as good as anyone thinks Drabek and Hutchison wil be, the 2013 Rotation is much better and if kept together, will remain better..

John Northey - Monday, February 04 2013 @ 06:28 AM EST (#268525) #
Part of the problem would be that Johnson is as aware of the weak free agent class as anyone thus would know a good year would lead to a massive contract, 5-7 years and $100+ million.  If the Jays are hitting their budget limit then they cannot add a deal like that easily.  For AA the question isn't how good will Johnson be but will Johnson be worth more than a draft pick + $100+ million  + whatever Hutchison/Drabek/whoever would do in the 5th slot. 

Now, in an ideal world he would be resigned and I won't put it past AA to find a way.  However, if I am Johnson it would take a LOT to get me to sign on the dotted line knowing what is coming up next winter. 

Ryan Day - Monday, February 04 2013 @ 02:18 PM EST (#268530) #
Johnson's health remains a big question mark. If he's healthy & productive, he'll surely get a big payday, but what if he hurts himself again and spends the last two months of the season on the DL? He might be a Bird in the Hand kind of guy and take a good deal now instead of a megadeal in a year.

Mind you, that's also a solid reason not to sign him at all. If he manages to put together a healthy 2013, you'd almost be certain he'd break down in 2014, since he's never had more than 2 semi-healthy seasons in a row. Sign him to a 5-year deal and you may not get more than 2 or 3 actual seasons out of him.
92-93 - Monday, February 04 2013 @ 02:26 PM EST (#268531) #
It's really in neither side's best interests to get an extension done until they get some clarity from the 2013 season. Johnson will easily break 100m if he makes 32+ starts at the level he's been pitching at, but he's also a very real risk to be worth nothing more than a one year, incentive laden deal. And from the Jays perspective, it's tough to meet him somewhere in the middle with an extension when you've already committed so much salary to 2014 and aren't yet sure how the additional team spending will play itself out in terms of revenues.
MatO - Monday, February 04 2013 @ 04:33 PM EST (#268532) #

It appears that Anthiny Alford will definitely have to sit out a year of college football after transferring to Mississippi but will still attend spring practice for football.











hypobole - Monday, February 04 2013 @ 04:43 PM EST (#268533) #
Interesting story on John Mozeliak.

Here's a quote somewhat pertaining to our Josh Johnson discussion:

"Now we're able to combine these advanced stats with the ability now to really create a model that gives us sort of recommendations on contracts, salary and length," he said. "When you start thinking about things like the aging curve -- that is something I think 20, 30 years ago when players were signing contracts, they were signing contracts for what they accomplished -- now people are signing contracts for what you expect them to do."
Richard S.S. - Monday, February 04 2013 @ 07:05 PM EST (#268534) #
I was browsing MLB Trade Rumors and saw the details of Gibby's contract. Unless fired, his option vests 1 Jan. and another option year is automatically added, continuously.
John Northey - Monday, February 04 2013 @ 10:00 PM EST (#268535) #
The idea of Gibby's deal is that he never is a 'lame duck' manager - he always has 2 years to go.  Basically the guaranteed extra year is a severance pay thing I suspect (at least the way Rogers accountants would factor it in).  Also an incentive not to do a Tim Johnson (fired during spring training) as then you are paying for 2 years rather than just 1.  Also ensures he cannot pull what Farrell did, knowing he'd be a free agent and put pressure on the team.
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, February 05 2013 @ 08:42 AM EST (#268537) #
As it appears, chances are good Anthony Alford is removed from prospect's lists before the season is over. I am amazed at people's egos. Chances of Alford making the NFL are remote as he's injury-prone and not that good.

If he'd decided on Baseball from the start, he had a chance of being called up (possibly to stay) in his fourth or fifth year of play. As it is now, he's one year behind his peers and falling fast.
CeeBee - Tuesday, February 05 2013 @ 04:29 PM EST (#268539) #
Jack Morris, the new radio and sometime TV colour guy. I'm good with it.
JohnL - Tuesday, February 05 2013 @ 04:40 PM EST (#268540) #
Morris has gotta be better than Warren Sawkiw.

I'm sure I'm still going to miss Ashby. Jerry will have to learn to adjust his "You spent 17 years in the major leagues..." to "You spent 18 years...". Hope he can make the adjustment.
greenfrog - Tuesday, February 05 2013 @ 09:28 PM EST (#268548) #
Keith Law's top 100 prospects list is out (ESPN Insider). Two Jays on the list: Sanchez (#19), Osuna (#87). He really likes Sanchez, whom he sees as an emerging ace.

Some recent ex-Jays:

TdA (#14)
Nicolino (#62)
Marisnick (#82)
Syndergaard (#97)
John Northey - Wednesday, February 06 2013 @ 12:02 AM EST (#268549) #
Wow, Sanchez as the 19th best prospect in baseball?  In eyeshot of TdA?  If Law is right then watch out.  Sure would be nice to see him shoot up and become an ace - could always use another home grown one.
hypobole - Wednesday, February 06 2013 @ 01:48 AM EST (#268550) #
Law isn't the only one high on Sanchez. This is from Mike Newman at Fangraphs:

"In conversations with scouts at the ballpark, no prospect generated more buzz than right-hander Aaron Sanchez. Player comps included Matt Garza on the low end and Justin Verlander, “if everything broke just right.” Another scout mentioned he was shocked he lasted so long in the 2010 draft after seeing him pitch in person."
Ryan Day - Wednesday, February 06 2013 @ 11:29 AM EST (#268557) #
I don't know how you can compare Sanchez to two guys who demonstrated very good control for their whole career. And Garza as the "low end" is just silly. While Sanchez's upside may be tremendous, his "low end" is a guy who never throws enough strikes to be effective, at least as a starter. Maybe Juan Cruz.
Moe - Wednesday, February 06 2013 @ 11:59 AM EST (#268558) #
Law's Jays Top 10:

1. Aaron Sanchez, RHP
2. Robert Osuna, RHP
3. Marcus Stroman, RHP
4. Matt Smoral, LHP
5. Sean Nolin, LHP
6. Anthony Alford, OF
7. D.J. Davis, OF
8. Adonys Cardona, RHP
9. Chase DeJong, RHP
10. Santiago Nessy, C
Moe - Wednesday, February 06 2013 @ 12:03 PM EST (#268559) #
"I don't know how you can compare Sanchez to two guys who demonstrated very good control for their whole career. And Garza as the "low end" is just silly. While Sanchez's upside may be tremendous, his "low end" is a guy who never throws enough strikes to be effective, at least as a starter. Maybe Juan Cruz."

I agree. Law's comments on Sanchez today seem very reasonable though: Sanchez "has the raw stuff and delivery to develop into an ace if he can develop average or better control."

His last comment was on Norris:
"Lefty Daniel Norris' season was a disappointment overall, with his stuff still so inconsistent from start to start, but on the right day you'll see 94 mph with two above-average off-speed pitches."

Mike Green - Wednesday, February 06 2013 @ 12:26 PM EST (#268560) #
Right.  There is also the durability issue.  Verlander and Garza each throw 200+ innings a season.  Sanchez threw a career high 90 innings last year, was lights out at the beginning of the year and was less impressive later on.  This does not mean that Sanchez (who turned 20 in mid-season) cannot do the same as Verlander and Garza, but rather that he has two things to establish- control and durability. 

Verlander and Garza both had decent or better control from the outset.  Better (positive) comparisons would be a somewhat lesser version of Sandy Koufax or Randy Johnson.  It's more likely that Sanchez will establish adequate control at age 25 than at age 22.  I am trying to think of a pitcher who walked 5 per 9IP in the low minors at both age 19 and age 20 and was pitching well in the majors at age 22 or 23.  I am sure several of them exist, but I cannot think of any.  Suggestions?  Ah, found one.  The upside of Aaron Sanchez is Sam McDowell...Now if I could only find a righty.

Ryan Day - Wednesday, February 06 2013 @ 12:49 PM EST (#268561) #
AJ Burnett was walking 7 batters/9 when he was 20, while striking out over 10. He miraculously pulled that down to 3.4 at 21, though it jumped back up in late years - it was a big leap forward, but followed by some stumbling back. He spent parts of his 22 & 23 seasons in the minors before making it to a decent full-time starter at 24.
hypobole - Wednesday, February 06 2013 @ 01:13 PM EST (#268563) #
Scouts and stats guys often have differing opinions. Why is Sanchez walking so many? Pitchers with poor mechanics, who have difficulty repeating their deliveries often have these issues, but that's not Sanchez problem.

So why are Law and scouts so high on Sanchez, even though those of us that just use stat comps can't see it? His "problem" isn't a bad delivery, it's that he has so much natural movement, he hasn't learned to harness it yet. And because his delivery is solid, projections are that he will be able to improve his command and control. His big question is how much improvement?
China fan - Wednesday, February 06 2013 @ 03:06 PM EST (#268565) #
Judging by the Law ranking, and judging by the off-season trades, the famous "Lansing Three" were really just a "Lansing One plus a couple of other pretty good guys."
Mike Green - Wednesday, February 06 2013 @ 03:08 PM EST (#268566) #
Do you know how many times scouts over the decades have said that a young pitcher with good mechanics can be projected to learn control?  It's the flipside of the view expressed by many scouts over the decades that plate discipline for a hitter isn't on the same level as speed, power, swing mechanics and so on, because it is easier to learn.

Burnett is a good comp for Sanchez.  I had forgotten that he had a terrific year at age 21 in the Midwest League, striking out over 14 per 9 IP with decent control. 

greenfrog - Wednesday, February 06 2013 @ 03:58 PM EST (#268571) #
We only have so much information to go on. Law is a bright guy with good connections, and he's observed the predictions game closely over the last few years. I'm not taking his opinion as gospel, but I think a lot more goes into his analysis than your typical fanboy swooning over velocity and "electric stuff."

In any event, I'm happy that at least some scouts and commentators view Sanchez as having such high potential. Few things would be better for the organization than the emergence of a young ace within the system over the next couple of years.
hypobole - Wednesday, February 06 2013 @ 04:02 PM EST (#268572) #
"Do you know how many times scouts over the decades have said that a young pitcher with good mechanics can be projected to learn control?"

Actually, I'd be fascinated if you could dig up any examples.
Mike Green - Wednesday, February 06 2013 @ 04:33 PM EST (#268573) #
Most of them don't even make it to the Show.  Bobby Witt did.  It is true that in recent years, it has been unusual for a prospect with a control record as poor as Sanchez' to be as highly rated by the mainstream scouting enthusiasts, such as BA.  That is so regardless whether the control record is due to a perceived mechanical flaw or inability to harness electric stuff.  In fairness, BA did not rate Sanchez anywhere near as highly as Law did. 
greenfrog - Wednesday, February 06 2013 @ 04:50 PM EST (#268574) #
What Law actually said (after much effusion about his stuff, delivery, and still-maturing body): "Sanchez also has to improve his command and control, something no one seriously doubts he'll do given his makeup, his athleticism and how easily he repeats his delivery."
MatO - Wednesday, February 06 2013 @ 04:58 PM EST (#268575) #
Juan Guzman might be another interesting comparison to Sanchez.  His major league control was better than anything he managed in the minors.  However, he had big swings in his control over his career.  I remember Bill James commenting on him in one of the Abstracts that even though he was having success his control would always plague him.  I'd expect the same from Sanchez if he ever makes the majors.
Mike Green - Wednesday, February 06 2013 @ 04:59 PM EST (#268576) #
No one seriously doubts that a pitcher will improve his control?  Brother. 

I don't care if he has the stuff of Roger Clemens, the delivery of Tom Seaver and the makeup of Loni Anderson.  Improvements of any kind are something one hopes for and strives for, but one also knows that they cannot be counted on. 
Mike Green - Wednesday, February 06 2013 @ 05:01 PM EST (#268577) #
Juan Guzman is also a good comp, and if the Jays get the same thing from Sanchez as they got from Guzman, they should be ecstatic.
MatO - Wednesday, February 06 2013 @ 05:06 PM EST (#268578) #
Guzman also had electric stuff that he couldn't keep in the strike zone.  The solution that was reported at the time was for him to throw the ball down the middle on every pitch.  It would never end up there.
greenfrog - Wednesday, February 06 2013 @ 05:14 PM EST (#268579) #
I wouldn't get too worked up about Law's comments. I would simply take them at face value. He talked to his go-to scouts about Sanchez, and given his age, athleticism, delivery and makeup, none of them seriously doubted that his control/command would improve. That doesn't mean he's going to be the next Greg Maddux. It just means that there is a strong expectation that his control/command will get better over time. Will it improve enough to turn him into the next Guzman, Garza or Verlander? I guess we'll find out.

That's the great thing about the Internet (whether ESPN or Batter's Box). Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. In a few years, we could be saying, gosh, Law was prescient when it came to Sanchez. Or we could be saying, yep, another electric arm bites the dust.
greenfrog - Wednesday, February 06 2013 @ 05:21 PM EST (#268580) #
Also, I don't see how people can be so confident about their comps for a 19.5-year-old who threw 90 innings in low-A ball -- especially when they've never seen him pitch. Kid is just making his way through the low minors, and based on his stats and the limited scouting reports on the Internet, there seem to be a wide range of potential outcomes for him.
hypobole - Wednesday, February 06 2013 @ 05:31 PM EST (#268581) #
FWIW, the Garza and Verlander comments were made by scouts who watched him pitch.
greenfrog - Wednesday, February 06 2013 @ 05:55 PM EST (#268582) #
I read that report a while back about the Verlander and Garza comps. Fair enough, and obviously that's exciting to hear, even if those comps are more about ceiling than likely outcome.

I just find it amusing when fans with access to not much more than BRef or Fangraphs stats (which admittedly are pretty fascinating) suddenly come up with authoritative major-league comps for a player like Sanchez. It's like Moneyball all over again, except that now every fan is Paul DePodesta.
perlhack - Thursday, February 07 2013 @ 04:26 PM EST (#268608) #
The Mariners have apparently torn up King Felix's contract...and signed him to a seven-year contract for $175 million.
ogator - Thursday, February 07 2013 @ 06:11 PM EST (#268611) #
I can't imagine how the Felix contract could go wrong except for injury, bankruptcy and a lack of funds to fill out the rest of the roster.
vw_fan17 - Monday, February 11 2013 @ 04:25 PM EST (#268665) #
Well, there's debate about his elbow having problems now, even before the contract is finalized...
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