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Hereís a thread to discuss all the latest spring training developments from Dunedin and around the majors while we all anxiously await Canadaís opening match in the World Baseball Classic on Friday afternoon.

Spring Training Chatter | 181 comments | Create New Account
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Thomas - Wednesday, March 06 2013 @ 12:38 PM EST (#269031) #
Gibbons reportedly told the media today that if Janssen is healthy there is only one spot in the bullpen up for competition this spring. If Janssen, Santos, Delabar, Oliver and Rogers are givens, there is one more guaranteed spot which isn't immediately apparent. I'd guess the spot is perhaps most likely Loup's, but I don't recall a comment that noted he (or Lincoln or Cecil or Schwimmer) a spot.
China fan - Wednesday, March 06 2013 @ 01:36 PM EST (#269032) #
Thomas, you listed only 5 names, so there's room for two additional relievers. (Or, if Janssen isn't ready for opening day, there's room for three additional relievers.)

At this point, I think Cecil and Loup are the two favorites for those two open spots, but Lincoln is practically a co-favorite. Those three are basically competing for two spots at this point, but the problem is temporarily solved if Janssen isn't ready for opening day.

The next two relievers on the depth chart are Jeffress and Schwimer, but they are longer shots at this point. McGowan could force his way into consideration, but nobody is counting on that.
China fan - Wednesday, March 06 2013 @ 01:44 PM EST (#269033) #
I should have also mentioned Happ. I don't necessarily believe that he is definitely ticketed for the Buffalo rotation. If the Jays feel there is any weakness in the bullpen, he could certainly be added to the major-league roster. It's hard to calculate his chances of making the bullpen, since it also depends on the Jays assessment of the starting 5 in the rotation, and whether they think Happ should be stretched-out fully so that he is immediately ready to step into the rotation at a moment's notice. But I can definitely see a scenario where he starts the season in the bullpen. For example, if both Janssen and Santos have nagging injuries (as they do now), it would be better to have Happ on the major-league team.
Moe - Wednesday, March 06 2013 @ 01:46 PM EST (#269034) #
I think Thomas point was that we know of 5 set names there should be 2 open slots. However, Gibbons said there was only one, which means either (1) six men pen (yeah right) or (2) someone else (Loup?) has a spot already.
John Northey - Wednesday, March 06 2013 @ 02:07 PM EST (#269035) #
Loup did fantastic last year - 2 BB vs 21 SO in 30 2/3 IP while not giving up any home runs.  This spring he gave up a home run, 0 walks, 1 K in 3 IP.  At this point I don't see how you could say he doesn't belong in the majors.
92-93 - Wednesday, March 06 2013 @ 02:18 PM EST (#269036) #
Loup can "belong in the majors" and still not be the Jays best option to bring north. When choosing between the 6th and 7th relievers it's just as important to identify who becomes your 8th and 9th guys based on the decision you make. I don't think the difference between any of these guys is large enough for it to make sense to lose a Cecil on waivers so you can keep a Loup where he belongs. The Jays should bring north the setup of relievers that enhances their ability to make it through the season without having to dip down into guys with little MLB experience. If that means guys like Lincoln & Loup have to wait in AAA for injuries, so be it; the team will be better off for it.
China fan - Wednesday, March 06 2013 @ 02:23 PM EST (#269037) #
Who would you choose for the bullpen at this point, 92-93?
92-93 - Wednesday, March 06 2013 @ 02:34 PM EST (#269038) #
I think you're asking me that question assuming Janssen & Santos can answer the bell, so I'd add in Oliver, Cecil, Delabar, Rogers, and Jeffress. It doesn't make sense to me to choose Loup over Cecil and/or Lincoln over Jeffress and to then find yourself calling up Chad Jenkins when a reliever goes down in April.

However, Santos had an MRI and Janssen is scared to step on a mound, so it's a pretty big stretch to be penciling either of them into the Opening Day bullpen at this stage of spring training. We'll have a much better picture of things 2 weeks from now.
John Northey - Wednesday, March 06 2013 @ 03:00 PM EST (#269039) #
True enough 92-93 but I think the Jays are at a point in time where losing Jeffress or Cecil might be needed.  Cecil has not looked good in awhile and might never be anything.  Loup right now looks like a solid guy in the pen to me and I'd rather see him than Cecil in the pen.  If it means our 8th/9th guy is a bit weaker so be it.    Relievers generally are easy to find, especially guys who are mediocre and Cecil seems to be no better than a decent long man at this point.  Jeffress seems like a guy who needs a lot more work to be effective - a few months in AAA to see if he can figure out how to hit the strikezone without giving up home runs is what he needs I think.  Still, who knows?  Lets hope the Jays figure out who is best/not best correctly.
greenfrog - Wednesday, March 06 2013 @ 04:03 PM EST (#269040) #
Interesting discussion but I don't see how spring performance should carry much, if any, weight in the final decision about bullpen composition.

I've never been a big Cecil guy but he does have a very solid career line against LHB (232/288/369). If used mostly in that role, he should have value. But there will always be the temptation to use him for multiple batters/innings, given his background as a starting pitcher and the need for innings when the bullpen gets depleted.

I'm probably more with 92-93 at this point. It's a long season, and you want to have options when the inevitable attrition hits. But the Jays still have a lot of time to figure things out.
China fan - Wednesday, March 06 2013 @ 04:09 PM EST (#269041) #
I think 92-93 makes a good point about the need for strong back-ups in the minors, who can be brought up immediately in the event of injury. It would make sense to stash away a Lincoln or a Loup or a Happ in the minors for that eventuality. But I don't think the Jays need to leave all three of them in Buffalo -- especially if it means gambling on someone like Jeffress, who is a very risky bet and far from proven at this point. Taking a chance on Jeffress in a major-league situation, just to ensure that 2 or 3 high-quality backups are available at Buffalo, seems excessively risky to me. (Unless he really wows all the coaches and managers in spring training, which seems unlikely to me.)
dan gordon - Wednesday, March 06 2013 @ 04:49 PM EST (#269042) #
The Yankees have now lost Tiexiera for 8-10 weeks with a wrist injury.  They're going to have a lot of salary in the infirmary for the start of the season.
92-93 - Wednesday, March 06 2013 @ 05:24 PM EST (#269043) #
Jeffress isn't any riskier to me than Lincoln and Cecil isn't any riskier than Loup. People are pretending like the relievers with options have been proving for seasons they are bona fide major leaguers, when in reality many of us in here had never heard of either at this time last year.

Remember Jesse Carlson? Or last year's spring darling, Evan Crawford? That could easily be Aaron Loup, forgotten by May.

Hopefully Stroman, Perez, Drabek, and Hutchison can contribute down the stretch, and the bullpen should be fine.
Thomas - Wednesday, March 06 2013 @ 05:46 PM EST (#269044) #
Moe has my point exactly right. If Gibbons was quoted correctly, it means that the 6th spot in the pen has already beeen decided, which means, as my comment suggested, that someone who we didn't think was a lock to make the club out of spring training is now a lock. We have all been operating on the assumption there are essentially two open spots (as China Fan did in his post right below mine) and it doesn't appear as if that's the case.
John Northey - Wednesday, March 06 2013 @ 06:16 PM EST (#269045) #
Each piece of bad news for the Yankees just makes AA look smarter and smarter for going for it this year even though he had no way of knowing Granderson and Tiexiera would miss the first few weeks of the season.  Mix in A-Rod being gone for a big chunk and one wonders just how many pieces they can be missing before it weighs them down.  Of course, the flip side is if the Jays don't get a lot of breathing room then the Yankees have a lot of talent coming back as the season progresses without doing any trades.
PeterG - Wednesday, March 06 2013 @ 06:31 PM EST (#269046) #
Loup is on the Gibbons list as tweeted by Mike Wilner. There is one open spot.
BlueJayWay - Wednesday, March 06 2013 @ 06:51 PM EST (#269047) #
About the Teixeira thing, I saw a tweet saying Cashman was told it's a similar injury to Bautista's last year.  And we know what happened with that.
greenfrog - Wednesday, March 06 2013 @ 07:11 PM EST (#269048) #
My read of Wilner's twitter feed is that Loup is a candidate for the bullpen, but not a sure thing. Am I missing something?
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, March 06 2013 @ 07:18 PM EST (#269049) #

This Team may be important, but for the first time in a long time AAA is just as important.   Having an AAA Team in Buffalo is just too convenient not to do everything possible to keep it for more than two years.   Anthony Gose, Moises Sierra and Chad Jenkins headline a small cast of top-ish prospects and quality AAAA players.   Adding true MLB quality like Happ, Lincoln and Loup, to name a few, increases that value. 

Rogers, Cecil, Delabar, Jeffress, Santos, Janssen, Oliver may not all be ready for season start.  I can see this Team really not needing more than 5 relievers on a regular-ishly basis as the season progresses.   Juan Perez (LHP) and Michael Schwimer (RHP) are interesting acquisitions that might be considered if needed.

Dave Rutt - Wednesday, March 06 2013 @ 08:37 PM EST (#269050) #
Josť did an AMA on Reddit today.
zeppelinkm - Thursday, March 07 2013 @ 08:20 AM EST (#269051) #
Bah humbug. I pretty much live on Reddit during the work day (whoops), but was out of the office yesterday of course.

Here's one tibit I found interesting, about EE. Question was asking what contributed to EE's transformation last year:

"I don't think Edwin really had much of a transformation so much as he was given an opportunity to play every day. His talent and work ethic took over from there. The defensive switch also seemed to make him much more comfortable."

I know a few posters on here postulated that his offensive success was influenced by his being moved off 3B.

He also said Brett Lawrie is the funniest guy in the clubhouse. Not intentionally, either.
greenfrog - Thursday, March 07 2013 @ 08:40 AM EST (#269052) #
I had a dream last night that the Jays acquired another SP and a #2 hitter from Oakland. The pitcher was named Oakland Ross (which happens to be the name of a Toronto writer). The trade emptied out the Jays' farm system. They also fired Gibbons and replaced him with Pat Hentgen.

Does this qualify as spring training chatter?
Geoff - Thursday, March 07 2013 @ 09:45 AM EST (#269053) #
If by spring training chatter you mean group therapy session, then yes. I think you've come to the right place.
Gerry - Thursday, March 07 2013 @ 09:49 AM EST (#269054) #
Brett Lawrie was taken out of Canada's exhibition game last night with a slight tweak in his side.  He is day-to-day, same as all of us.
Gerry - Thursday, March 07 2013 @ 11:41 AM EST (#269056) #

Sergio Santos has a sore tricep, he is out until Saturday.  Now he is out until next week.

Colby Rasmus has a sore shoulder, out until Thursday.  Now he is out until Saturday.

Dustin McGowan threw off a mound today and didn't break.  Breaths will be bated until tomorrow.  It appears that he is feeling fine.

Brett Lawrie will be checked out for his side "tweak".

Chad Jenkins has a sore shoulder and is shut down for now.

 

Gibbons said that while Loup is not a "lock" to make the 25 man roster, the powers that be really like him.

greenfrog - Thursday, March 07 2013 @ 12:17 PM EST (#269057) #
The Mets reportedly could have acquired d'Arnaud and Syndergaard for Niese and kept Dickey, at least if you believe the rumours:

http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/baseballinsider/2013/03/ny-mets-could-have-moved-jon-niese-instead-of-ra-dickey-yankees-hal-steinbre
Ryan Day - Thursday, March 07 2013 @ 01:31 PM EST (#269058) #
Bizarre. Niese is young and pretty good, and maybe the Jays think he has untapped potential... but I can't imagine them giving up the same package they gave up for Dickey. Dickey's been fantastic for 3 years, and signed a very reasonable extension.

I suspect this is Mets-oriented spin: "Yes, we traded the Cy Young winner, but the Jays thought this guy was just as good!"
Gerry - Thursday, March 07 2013 @ 01:59 PM EST (#269059) #

And... Lawrie has a rib strain and will miss WBC.

 

 

The Jays have been rumoured to like Niese for a couple of years now.  He is younger and cheaper than Dickey and that would help his value.

bpoz - Thursday, March 07 2013 @ 02:39 PM EST (#269060) #
The 25 man roster construction is going to be the 1st test of the FOs smartness IMO.
Maybe 2nd. Spending the money to upgrade the talent is the 1st.
AA & Gibbons will have to make adjustments throughout the season IMO. 1 or 2 Bauxites suspected that Romero was hiding an injury last year. They were correct. It scares me that the team management was unable to also figure this out.

I listened to Santos pitching last Sat. 6 pitches to get the job done and he looked great according to the announcers if I remember correctly. I hope he did not over do it. It could be minor. We may be able to tell when ST ends.

I cannot say that I am right on much because as stuff was happening I was wrong too often. I thought Janssen could do well in any bullpen role. IMO I was right.
I was wrong on many other opinions. Fortunately I do not have a say in running the team. My worst wrong opinion was thinking that we had enough SP depth, I counted on McGowan & Cecil, then Litsch for #4 & #5. There were a couple of Bauxites who strongly felt that the depth was very shallow. I still discount the Bauxites who suggested that those 2 spots should be filled by acquiring expensive or talented SPs. Latos & the guy Texas got from Japan. I thought that was dreaming because we were building through the farm. Maybe we did put in competitive offers but were rejected as not good enough. Latos & other trades I mean.

If I remember correctly I used to be right much more often from 1984 to 1993.
John Northey - Thursday, March 07 2013 @ 03:05 PM EST (#269061) #
Might be best to say the 25 man roster for April is the next big challenge/test.  Do you keep guys who are out of options but talented (such as Cecil) or do you keep guys who are talented but have options (Loup) or guys who might be best suited for a starting role but would be valuable out of the pen (Happ).  Do you keep Thole or Blanco as your backup catcher, knowing that Blanco might be gone as an option if you don't keep him but Thole is here like it or not as he has options.  Do they platoon Lind or Rasmus, and if not how long until one or both get platooned with Davis or someone else?

The elephant in the room though is Romero.  What if he isn't as good an option as Happ to start the year (not just based on spring stats but also how they are throwing and how they threw last year...no question Happ was the better pitcher in 2012)?  Then what?  Does AA and crew have the guts to tell Romero that he is going to AAA to be the emergency backup instead of Happ?  Now that would be hard to do.  Davey Johnson would do it, but he is one of the few managers who I could see doing that easily.
Alex Obal - Thursday, March 07 2013 @ 03:16 PM EST (#269062) #
Statistically-minded Mets fans think Niese is the second coming (of 2012 Gio Gonzalez or something, I guess). I don't. He did start featuring a cutter last year, which probably made it harder for hitters to zero in on his fastball with conviction and almost certainly contributed to his increase in "luck." That was a giant leap forward which the K, BB, HR and GB don't indicate. But he's always going to have longball issues as long as he relies on his 12-6er so heavily, which would make me hesitate to invest in him, in this division, in this park, with offense tacking downward. I think the right guy to target was clearly Dickey, but head over to Amazin' Avenue and some might disagree.
Jevant - Thursday, March 07 2013 @ 03:40 PM EST (#269063) #
Absolutely.  You are going to need the ability to bring up arms throughout the year, and simply taking the top 25 names to Toronto because they are the top 25 doesn't necessarily make sense.  Asset management is an important part of a successful ballclub.
Alex Obal - Thursday, March 07 2013 @ 03:45 PM EST (#269064) #
Do you even consider keeping an extra lefty (Cecil?) around for the first three games simply because Cleveland leans way left (Kipnis Brantley Bourn Chisenhall + 3 switch hitters) and a third LHP might prove useful in a shootout?
92-93 - Thursday, March 07 2013 @ 03:54 PM EST (#269065) #
It'd be silly not to. Toronto complained about the Vegas situation for long enough, it's vital that AA take advantage of Buffalo's proximity and player options to shuffle through the bottom of the roster and give the team the best chance to win on a nightly basis. If that means hurting someone's feelings by giving them a 10 day AAA assignment, so be it. I'm sure Janssen didn't like being sent down in April 2011 so the team could keep guys like Camp & Purcey, but he sucked up the demotion, pitched like a man all year at both levels and eventually earned himself an 8m guaranteed contract the next offseason.
Richard S.S. - Thursday, March 07 2013 @ 04:40 PM EST (#269066) #

Jon Niese http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/n/niesejo01.shtml wouldn't be more than a 4/5 Starter on this Team, while R.A. Dickey http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/d/dicker.01.shtml?utm_campaign=Linker&utm_source=direct&utm_medium=linker-www.typepad.com has shown he's a 1/2 Starter on this Team.

Chances are good Cecil and Jeffress make this Team.  We aren't that deep in real quality relievers to be able to release them and then face two relief injuries.

bpoz - Thursday, March 07 2013 @ 07:31 PM EST (#269067) #
IMO the 2012 version of Romero has no place on a winning team. 2011 Romero is a lock. I think that this years team is built to win. All the experts are saying that this team is a strong contender, so AA does not have to say anything. His job IMO is to make in season adjustments towards reaching that goal.

25 & 40 man rosters plus guys like J Stilson whom I believe Buck Martinez was impressed with in ST are available.

I remember the manager not using Arccardo & M Valdez because I think he had no faith in them. Maybe he was being unfair. Another manager was patient with Rauch, F Francisco & Cordero. Different styles. Maybe different goals.

I am taking the stand that if your top relievers cannot deliver then their roles must be changed. I cannot prove it but IMO a bad month can cost you a playoff spot.
John Northey - Friday, March 08 2013 @ 08:56 AM EST (#269069) #
As has been said, a manager cannot add or lose many wins via in-game strategy even though many obsess on it.  The area they (and the GM) make a big difference is in deciding who plays and who doesn't.

If Romero is going to be as he was in 2012 then letting him start the season instead of Happ could cost the team a few wins which could be the difference between October baseball and another season of 'aargh'.  In 1985 the Jays won the division on the 2nd last day of the season, in 1987 they lost it on the last day of the season.  In both cases changing who started 2 or 3 games might have made all the difference in the world (well, that and playing a 1B with an 87 OPS+ while platooning two who hit for a 130+ OPS+ each). 

Right now the killer choices could be...
Romero over Happ - if Romero is back to 2011 woohoo, if he is 2012 version while Happ is the 10k/9 IP guy who started here last year this could look really bad
Lind over anyone vs LHP - not as much playing time thus shouldn't be a killer but could easily cost a few games
Rasmus over Gose - if Gose really is ready and Rasmus plays like he has so far here then this could cost a few games - I don't see the Jays doing a change here but Gose might force it by mid-season like Henke did in 1985 over 'proven closer' Caudill.

No other choices jump out at this point as having the potential to be major game changers, with 2B being the only sorta-competition right now along with backup catcher and back end of the bullpen.  Janssen, Santos, Oliver are a solid trio at the end of games if all are healthy regardless of who is used as the official closer so the others shouldn't be used in critical situations (hopefully).
MrPurple - Friday, March 08 2013 @ 09:06 AM EST (#269070) #
In 1991 the Jays came into the season with a 5th Starter by the name of Denis Boucher (admittedly a top prospect) who lost his first 7 games, then Steib went down and got replaced by someone no one had heard of who also lost his first few games( Juan Guzman). In 1992 our 5th was David Wells, in 1992 Dave was pretty much a washed up bum and no longer a prospect. Point being we have a much stronger pitching staff going into this season then I have ever seen.
dan gordon - Friday, March 08 2013 @ 10:54 AM EST (#269071) #
They're now saying Lawrie is out 2-3 weeks.  I hope this doesn't drag on like last year.  It looks like Lawrie is going to end up being one of those guys who is regularly going to miss a lot of games.  Tendancy to get injured and time to heal only get worse as you get older.
Richard S.S. - Friday, March 08 2013 @ 01:23 PM EST (#269072) #

Brett Lawrie will always being going on the very edge of control, the extreme limit of control trying to do everything he does.   This is the area of risk where injuries exists, where it is merely a time of when, not if.   As such, he's not the 3rd Baseman of the present and future.   If you take a 162 game season and allow a stay on the D.L., plus another 5 games for minor tweaks, you're left with a respectable 142 games (approximately 568 ABs) any player should be available for.   Anything less in games played is bad luck through 1 season; a problem through 2 seasons; and Injury-Prone through 3 or more.   Checking his stats: http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/l/lawribr01.shtml , tends to agree, although pre-draft numbers aren't significant (because they're too young to know better).   A.A. has to "get tough" with him soon, rather than letting Gibbons do it.

In 1992 our 5th was David Wells, in 1992 Dave was pretty much a washed up bum and no longer a prospect.   Are you talking about the right pitcher: http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/w/wellsda01.shtml because he had a great career after '92.  

Although it is very early, Romero looks good, he's throwing easier than before.  Morrow has reminded him of a pitch he's ignored.   Buehrle has shown an improved way to throw another pitch.   He won't always pitch in pain from his knee issues (they've been a problem for how long?), but he'll pitch better than last year when they do hurt.   Right now he's probably better than some teams #2 and #3 starters, so until Spring Training is over we can't be totally sure what will happen.   I believe Romero will be better than Niese.

It will be interesting how the battle for the Bullpen plays out, even with Janssen likely to start the season on the D.L.   As Relievers work into shape, we should see who will make the Team.  Jeffress has always had a live arm with control issues, perhaps created by throwing too hard.   While they may not be able to change how he pitches, can they make changes to what he pitches?   After all, don't some pitches move more than others?

Attendance will matter a lot.  Anything less than 200K attending the first homestand verses Cleveland and Boston will be noticed.   Selling out Opening Day and then 30K over then next two is unacceptable.   Every game matters and fans are as important as wins.

sweat - Friday, March 08 2013 @ 02:00 PM EST (#269073) #
Cecil is the 6th guy.  He has no options left, was effective as lefty reliever last year and has regained a few MPH on his fastball this spring.  I think he makes the team as the long man, with the remaining spot a fight among Loup, Jeffres and McGowan.  Loup obviously deserves the spot, but his option is the only reason it's not a sure thing.  I feel like the combination of Lincolns option, and his performance means he will be headed to AAA.
sweat - Friday, March 08 2013 @ 02:03 PM EST (#269074) #
I feel like this is the smartest option available to AA, but I'm not sure Jeffres is valued that highly.  The difference between Loup and Jeffres is pretty significant, and may not be worth keeping around.  Jeffres might even clear waivers.
John Northey - Friday, March 08 2013 @ 02:29 PM EST (#269075) #
Think Gose really, really, really wants to be in the majors this year?  3-3 with 3 runs and 2 RBI's so far today with a home run and 2 stolen bases.  The announcers (I forget which one) said that Gose was 'embarrassed' that he was ticketed for AAA for 2013.  This is a good thing as the better he plays the more pressure on Rasmus to perform.  Lets hope for good things.
Richard S.S. - Friday, March 08 2013 @ 04:06 PM EST (#269077) #
Listening to my iPhone MLB App, Gameday Audio (MLB.com) with Wilner and Hayhurst, Jeffress (Long Relief) pitched quite well in his 3.1 IP (1 unearned run).   Before Spring Training ends, we'll get a better read on who makes this Team.   If someone's figured it out, more power to them.   Sportnet still has games 10, 23, 29 and 30 March on TV, not counting any on FX Canada.  Any Blue Jay fan show get all Spring Training games - T.V.; MLB.com (computer or mobile app) or Radio (if channel's received or Roger's Radio app) basically free.   
Gerry - Friday, March 08 2013 @ 04:18 PM EST (#269078) #
I don't think Jeffress pitched all those innings, even though gameday said so.  On Twitter Wilner said Esmil Rogers looked good but he hasn't shown up on gameday yet.
jester00 - Friday, March 08 2013 @ 04:22 PM EST (#269079) #
Thought it went Johnson 3.2, Jeffress 3.1, Delabar 1, Rogers 1
hypobole - Friday, March 08 2013 @ 05:26 PM EST (#269080) #
Just read an eye opening column dealing with the disturbing death of a 16 year old Dominican Washington Nationals prospect. He took ill at their academy and was sent home. His family couldn't afford the needed health care and by the time they finally were able to admit him to a hospital, it was too late.

Part of the problem was the fact the Nats had no certified trainer at their facility - only 9 teams do (I am glad the Jays are among the 9).

There is also a link to the original Mother Jones story; both are well worth the read.

http://camdendepot.blogspot.ca/2013/03/more-on-death-of-prospect-yewri-guillen.html
Geoff - Friday, March 08 2013 @ 07:11 PM EST (#269081) #
Box score I see has Johnson 3.2, Jeffress 2.1, Rogers 1, Delabar 1, Brummett 1.

Also appears that Canada fell to the mercy of Italy today, dropping the contest by a score of 14-4. Italy made a stunning upset over Mexico 6-5 yesterday and then slaughtered Canada today. What have they got for the USA? Is this the Nick Punto and Anthony Rizzo show? Who are these guys?

Alex Obal - Friday, March 08 2013 @ 07:20 PM EST (#269082) #
Thanks for the links, hypobole.

I was surprised by how decent the "Italia" lineup looked. Liddi, Denorfia and Butera aren't stiffs. With Lawrie and Martin out, it wasn't an offensive mismatch on paper at all. The starting pitcher Maestri was impressive, too, I thought. Pretty good moving fastball with which he frontdoored Votto for a strikeout once, pretty good slurve or whatever. Maybe he's on the Scott Atchison track.
JohnL - Friday, March 08 2013 @ 10:35 PM EST (#269083) #

Think Gose really, really, really wants to be in the majors this year?...The announcers (I forget which one) said that Gose was 'embarrassed' that he was ticketed for AAA for 2013.

I remember someone talking about Gose last year, sometime after he came up to the Jays. On radio... may have been Ashby, don't remember. The gist was, that this guy was determined to be the best he could be, the best/a star, something like that. Have to like ambition, if it's combined with determination and skill. Would love to see him really make it.
JB21 - Saturday, March 09 2013 @ 08:55 AM EST (#269084) #
Gose may start the season in RF, Joey at third, Lawrie on the DL, who knows.

I'm not experienced in watching Dickie or Knucklers pitch, but he's not looking too good from what I've seen so far (2 appearances = SMALL sample size I realize).
smcs - Saturday, March 09 2013 @ 10:47 AM EST (#269085) #
Gose may start the season in RF, Joey at third, Lawrie on the DL, who knows.

Please no. It's more likely Izturis, Bonifacio and DeRosa will cover 2B and 3B than Bautista being asked to move. Bautista didn't like being asked to move back in 2011, I don't think he would like it now. My hope is Bautista is willing to take 1B late in games for defensive purposes, but no more Bautista-to-3B hysteria.
Magpie - Saturday, March 09 2013 @ 11:40 AM EST (#269086) #
In 1991 the Jays came into the season with a 5th Starter by the name of Denis Boucher (admittedly a top prospect) who lost his first 7 games

Not exactly - the Jays won two of Boucher's 7 starts (he went 0-3, 4.58) and it was actually a little surprising when Gaston pulled the plug on him as quickly as he did. Not that Boucher would go on to suggest Gaston had misjudged him...

In 1992 our 5th was David Wells, in 1992 Dave was pretty much a washed up bum and no longer a prospect.

That washed up bum had gone 15-10 3.72 the previous season (and then provided excellent work out of the bullpen in the post-season). Wells did open 1992 as the fifth starter (behind Morris, Key, Guzman, and Stottlemyre) and was expected to return permanently to the bullpen as soon as Dave Stieb returned to the rotation.

It seems to me that when your rotation doesn't have room for a 28 year old LH who just won 15 games for you, you're in pretty decent shape. The 2013 Jays have exactly one guy who managed as much last year. David Wells going into 1992 looks a much better option to me than J.A. Happ this year. And Ricky Romero. And maybe even Mark Buehrle.

Granted, you do have to put up with him being David Wells.
John Northey - Saturday, March 09 2013 @ 12:41 PM EST (#269087) #
Could always put EE at 3B... of course that would send everyone running and screaming in terror from the ballpark so probably not.
Parker - Saturday, March 09 2013 @ 01:42 PM EST (#269088) #
Not everyone, John - just everyone on or near the 1st base side of the SkyDome.
TamRa - Saturday, March 09 2013 @ 02:45 PM EST (#269089) #
Do you even consider keeping an extra lefty (Cecil?) around for the first three games simply because Cleveland leans way left (Kipnis Brantley Bourn Chisenhall + 3 switch hitters) and a third LHP might prove useful in a shootout?

Logically, to me, Cecil would have to completely flop for them to let him get away so...

If we assume Santos, Janssen, Oliver, and Delenbar as givens
Rogers as presumptive

and they are implying that six of seven are set...I would think that sixth spot is already Cecil's and they just don't want to say so.

There's a lot of buzz around Loup, though I'm still puzzled that you'd push a guy that young into the mix ...so if you assume that Loup is in the Six, then the odds are good that one or more of Cecil, Jefress, and Rogers will be traded at the end of March.

All that said, I figure Cecil is #6...and McGowan would be #7 if he were ready (you have to assume he won't be) with Jefress given the chance next in line and if he's not good enough then it comes to Lincoln and Loup.

All of which leads me to say that if Loup is not one of the Seven, and ANYONE starts the year on the DL, then you can carry him as an Eigth as you suggest .
Alex Obal - Saturday, March 09 2013 @ 07:30 PM EST (#269090) #
With his velocity and arm angle, Loup strikes me as someone who could become extreme, BJ Ryan-level death on lefties... if he isn't already. I'd honestly be happy to watch him develop at the big-league level as a LOOGY. Maybe it'd be in his best long-term interest to spend a few months throwing changeups to RHBs with nobody watching. I want to win now.
greenfrog - Sunday, March 10 2013 @ 12:25 PM EDT (#269092) #
It would be great if Canada were to upset the US in this afternoon's game (a long shot, but you never know). For one thing, it would mean two fewer Jays risking injury in the WBC.
John Northey - Sunday, March 10 2013 @ 05:02 PM EDT (#269094) #
It would be fun to see the US pushed out in round one.  Either the US or Mexico would then be the team that has to qualify for the next WBC.  Mexico has the tie-breaker vs the US as they beat the US, Canada has it against Mexico as we beat Mexico.  So if Canada wins then the US will be in last place in this pool thus have to qualify for the next tournament I think (if I understand the rules correctly).  If Canada loses then Mexico will have to qualify next time.

Of course, if the US is last I wouldn't be shocked if they adjust the rules and make it so all teams who failed to qualify for round 2 have to re-qualify for 2017 thus opening up more slots.  If they go by the 'didn't win a game thus have to re-qualify' rule then the US is safe and Brazil, Spain, and Australia have to re-qualify.  I'd prefer making everyone who failed to get out of round 1 having to re-qualify myself, or having it be that everyone has to qualify each time.  Could open up a few surprising countries and create a few fun tournaments between WBC's during November (I'd have them shortly after the playoffs are done in Japan & MLB).

Chuck - Sunday, March 10 2013 @ 08:55 PM EDT (#269096) #
Disappointingly, Jose Bautista talks nonsense.
greenfrog - Monday, March 11 2013 @ 09:31 AM EDT (#269097) #
If Romero's control issues continue this spring, would it be feasible to send him to Buffalo and insert Happ into the rotation?

I hope I'm wrong, but I think Romero is dealing with some significant issues (physical and/or mental). Right now I think Happ is the more dependable starter.
John Northey - Monday, March 11 2013 @ 10:15 AM EDT (#269098) #
Just a quick look at http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/TOR/2013.shtml to see spring stats and quality of opponent (10=ML, 8=AAA, 7=AA, 5=high A, 4=full season A, 1.5-3 = rookie ball to short season, 1 = pitcher hitter or hitter pitching)

Catcher: JPA was hitting very well before sent to team USA 1.037 OPS, while Blanco seems determined to make it hitting 316/300/526 (yes, lower OBP than Avg, you don't walk onto a team I guess) while Thole has 'hit' 118/211/176.  Thole has also faced weaker opponents (8.0 vs Blanco's 8.7).  Nickeas has also had a fair amount of playing time and has 'hit' 118/250/118 vs 7.6 quality pitchers (AA to AAA level).

1B/DH: Lind seems to want the job full-time hitting 435/483/696 vs 8.8 quality. 

OF: Gose really wants to be here hitting 375/483/583 with 5 SB vs 1 CS.  Meanwhile Rasmus is at 143/455/143...showing patience but nothing else. Davis isn't pushing for that platoon we thought he'd be part of hitting just 238/238/381 and not trying for a SB yet.

#5 starter: Romero in 5 2/3 IP has allowed 2 HR, 5 BB and K's just 2 with 2 wild pitches.  Happ in 6 IP has allowed 1 HR, 0 BB, 3 SO while facing slightly better hitters (9.2 vs 8.9 for Romero).  Buehrle has done worse for ERA while allowing 2 HR, 5 BB, 3 SO in 5 1/3 IP.  Not a good sign from 2 LHP we are counting on, but Happ is determined to make a statement.

Relief: Cecil has a poor ERA (7.50) but just 2 BB vs 7 SO and 1 HR in 6 IP.  Jeffress in 6 1/3 IP has 2 BB and 8 SO vs 1 HR.  Both are actually pitching decently, just a bit of poor luck leading to poor ERA's it seems.  Cecil facing 9.2 quality, Jeffress 8.2

Gerry - Monday, March 11 2013 @ 11:09 AM EDT (#269099) #
I think Romero's issues might be as least as much mental as physical.  I was listening to the game on the radio on Saturday and my impression was that Romero would get to two strikes quickly but couldn't then finish off the hitter.  That sounds like a mental issue to me.
Mylegacy - Monday, March 11 2013 @ 11:55 AM EDT (#269100) #
The problem with being a "contender" is that one of the first victims is the loss of patience. Two old rules: Forget September and Spring Training results.

Are we really ready to give up on Romero? Even if at this point it might seem the thing to do?
Are we ready to buy into Jeffress great upside? Despite only a few ST innings on non awful control?
Are we ready to concede that Lawrie is a train wreck waiting to happen? Will he ever be able to exercise enough emotional maturity to be long term contributor?
Are we ready to give up on Rasmus? Is Gose going to be the amazing spark plug it is beginning to look like he might be?
Are we ready to give Cecil another go at it?
Are Santos and Janssen going to be ready for prime time?
Is Boni looking as explosively great as I think he is? Does it trump Izzy's proven stability at 2nd?

What a series of questions that Boston or New York would KILL to have. With Buchholz and Big Daddy out (maybe for quite a while ) and with everyone over 45 (ie half their lineup) out with injuries NY must be eying our brain testers with envy.

Lets just chill - let spring unfold and remember - at least our AAA team is only a taxi ride away.

Oh goddy, goddy, this is gonna be such a sweet (sometimes bitter sweet) year - lets just savor every second of it - and - please - be patient.

electric carrot - Monday, March 11 2013 @ 12:02 PM EDT (#269101) #
I'm with Mylegacy. on this.  I think last year the jays were like 26-8 in Spring Training.  I don't think it actually meant as much as I thought at the time. 
ComebyDeanChance - Monday, March 11 2013 @ 12:17 PM EDT (#269102) #
I think Romero's issues might be as least as much mental as physical. I was listening to the game on the radio on Saturday and my impression was that Romero would get to two strikes quickly but couldn't then finish off the hitter.

Gerry, i was at the game Saturday and may have missed the two-strike issue. I did however, notice the getting bashed by lefthanded hitters issue, and the walks issue, the two hallmarks of his 2012 season.

it may be very hard to start Romero over Happ,and Rasmus over Gose this year. If Romero can't retire lefthanded hitters, he'll see more stacked lineups this year than last. Gose made a great catch yesterday, to go with his great throw the prior home game, and he's hitting and walking.

John Lennon was once asked if Ringo Starr was the best drummer in the world and replied that he wasn't even the best drummer in the Beatles. Romero as a fifth and Colby in center may be in the same type of spot.
greenfrog - Monday, March 11 2013 @ 12:43 PM EDT (#269103) #
I'm not giving up on Romero, but I also don't think he should be run out there every five days if he's dealing with major issues, as was the case with Drabek in 2011. Both Drabek in 2011 and Romero in 2012 seemed to be going through agony on the mound as a result of control issues.

If in fact he's dealing with a loss of confidence or Steve Blass disease he might be more likely to overcome it away from the spotlight. In the meantime, Happ can give the Jays decent starts (he's now 30 and has a track record of 590 IP and a 97 ERA+). On balance, you would expect this to translate into more wins (especially with a robust offense) and less wear and tear on the bullpen.

I would be inclined to have Romero head north with the team if he's physically healthy *and* is showing signs of surmounting any mental issues he may have been having. However, I would send him to Buffalo initially if by late March he's still having real issues.
John Northey - Monday, March 11 2013 @ 01:15 PM EDT (#269104) #
Good questions Mylegacy.  Spring stats should always be taken with massive quantities of salt.  However, it is worthwhile to watch the guys on the bubble or who are trying to recover from something.  The 'safe' guys (ie: Reyes, Bautista, Cabrera, Johnson, Buehrle, ...) use spring to work on certain things, thus might have horrid stats.  Others though are trying to impress and if they fail to impress statistically one has to wonder what is up.  Romero might feel safe for the 5th slot, thus explaining his wildness. 

So on to the questions...
Romero: sending to AAA isn't 'giving up' so much as saying 'show us what you got'.  He got a free ride last year based on 2011/2010/2009 but this year another stretch of sub-replacement level pitching could kill the season.  Can the Jays risk that when they have a league average pitcher in Happ waiting for a shot?  Might it be best to give Romero a month in AAA to re-learn how to throw quality strikes with no pressure?  Happ can always be sent down in May instead of March and that extra month might be the kick Ricky needs.

Jeffress: Has been viewed as great potential for awhile.  Is he finally here?  Is he good enough for the 7th slot in the pen?  Or do we risk losing him for nothing?  This is a harder one as a real potential cost exists.  I'd be checking pitch F/X and scouting reports on him to see if he has improved enough to say 'lets take him north'.

Lawrie: I wouldn't worry too much...just make sure there is a decent backup for him at all times.  The Royals went through this with George Brett for years as he was like Lawrie - high intensity, non-stop, must win at all costs at all times type of guy.  With rare exceptions (Pete Rose) this type of guy will get hurt often.  Look at Brett - 3 full seasons to start (at 21 he played a bit in the minors as well) then 2 shortened seasons, then a full, then 5 short, full, 2 short, full, 3 short, 2 full to end it.   I can easily see that happening with Lawrie - a few full seasons here and there but generally in the 130-140 range for games in a season (ie: 1 or 2 trips to the DL). 

Rasmus vs Gose: If a decent offer comes in for Rasmus take it I'd say.  Gose looked ready at the end of last year, and this spring has done nothing to dampen that viewpoint.  Sadly Rasmus seems to have forgotten which end of the bat to use this spring thus making it even harder to get value for him.  I expect a mid-season trade (June/July) of Rasmus for whatever so Gose can take over. 

Cecil: His stats are actually not bad - more hits than anything else which tend to even out over time.  I'd keep him.

Santos & Janssen: lets hope they both are healthy then whoever does 8th/9th won't matter too much, just have them healthy and doing well.

Boni vs Izzy: Go with Izzy as all reports I've heard say Boni is a nightmare at 2B defensively.  He'll get lots of time at 3B I'm sure (sadly enough) and probably some time elsewhere as well.

So much more fun to have positive potential at every slot rather than hoping for the best of the worst.

Magpie - Monday, March 11 2013 @ 01:51 PM EDT (#269105) #
John Lennon was once asked if Ringo Starr was the best drummer in the world and replied that he wasn't even the best drummer in the Beatles.

Johnny said many very silly things, and this was yet another. No one like him!
jjdynomite - Monday, March 11 2013 @ 03:14 PM EDT (#269106) #
Magpie, well, if John was referring to the past tense as well as the then-present, Pete Best >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Ringo (as well as pretty much every other British Invasion drummer out there). Unsurprising he was turfed, though, because John liked him but Paul & George didn't (prelude to the end of the band?) Go Jays.
Chuck - Monday, March 11 2013 @ 03:21 PM EDT (#269107) #
Beatles. Jays. No one has mentioned Blue Jay Way?
92-93 - Monday, March 11 2013 @ 04:06 PM EDT (#269108) #
Gose is still striking out like it's going out of style. Until that changes, Rasmus has nothing to worry about. Of course with Lawrie hurting the team has a great chance to get both Rasmus & Gose in the lineup, but we don't expect that to even be an option. I do wish Gibby would consider it, though.
Chuck - Monday, March 11 2013 @ 04:13 PM EDT (#269109) #

the team has a great chance to get both Rasmus & Gose in the lineup, but we don't expect that to even be an option. I do wish Gibby would consider it, though.

I presume you are concluding that Bautista won't play 3B? If so, I concur given Bautista's attitude about playing the position last year. I imagine Izturis would play 3B and Bonifacio 2B in a Lawrie-less lineup.

Gerry - Monday, March 11 2013 @ 04:46 PM EDT (#269110) #
Don't form opinions based on performances early in spring training.  Form your opinion based on performances over the last ten days.  By then the pitchers are throwing all their pitches, starting pitchers are throwing five or six innings, and the scrubs are back in minor league camp.
China fan - Monday, March 11 2013 @ 06:00 PM EDT (#269111) #
I agree that the Jays shouldn't demote Romero on the basis of spring training numbers, even if Happ seems better at this point. It makes sense to give Romero at least a few weeks or couple months of the 2013 regular season to see if he is improving.

But on the other hand, I hope that the Jays have figured out a good strategy for placating Happ. It's not enough to say, "you're under contract, you have to accept Buffalo, tough luck, suck it up." Happ is an established major-leaguer who has done nothing to warrant demotion, and he knows it. I hope Anthopoulos and Gibbons are assuring him that he'll have a major-league job by May if he keeps pitching well and can stay patient.

We all agree that the Jays need depth, and they need a strong 6th starter. But if that's what we want, there has to be some strategy for dealing with Happ's morale. An unhappy major-leaguer who finds himself in the minors, even though he could have a starting job on 20 other teams, is a recipe for serious dissent and trade demands. Sure, the Jays don't have to respond to trade demands. They could just ignore it. But if they do, the word will get around the league, and it will damage their reputation for fairness with players.
92-93 - Monday, March 11 2013 @ 06:07 PM EDT (#269112) #
"Happ is an established major-leaguer who has done nothing to warrant demotion, and he knows it"

The "and he knows it" part is really scary. In 2011-2012, JA Happ threw 301 innings with a 5.08era and 1.47whip. He should open his eyes.
John Northey - Monday, March 11 2013 @ 06:46 PM EDT (#269113) #
Romero vs Happ...
2012 as starters...
Romero: 5.2 BB/9, 6.2 K/9, 1.0 HR/9 5.77 ERA, 5.14 FIP, 4.86 xFIP
Happ: 3.3 BB/9, 9.0 K/9, 1.2 HR/9, 4.77 ERA, 4.01 FIP, 3.92 xFIP

So based on 2012 numbers it is pretty clear that Romero is a full run per 9 IP worse than Happ.  That is one heck of a big spread.

2011 as starters...
Romero: 3.2 BB/9, 7.1 K/9, 1.0 HR/9, 2.92 ERA, 4.20 FIP, 3.80 xFIP
Happ: 4.8 BB/9, 7.7 K/9, 1.2 HR/9, 5.35 ERA, 4.69 FIP, 4.59 xFIP

So in Romero's best year the big positive spreads are BB/9 (1.6), HR/9 (0.2) and ERA (2.43). However, Happ in his worst year was 0.49 away from Romero's best in FIP.  This suggests that Romero has been very lucky in 2011 with balls in play vs the rest of his career (lifetime ERA 4.09 FIP 4.29).  Happ?  4.19 ERA vs 4.39 FIP.  So in FIP the two of them are just 0.10 apart. 

Thus I'd say that based on career mixed with recent (2012) results one has to think it is more of a coin toss or slightly in favour of Happ getting to start over Romero.  And that is not factoring in spring or what scouts have to say at the moment.

whiterasta80 - Monday, March 11 2013 @ 08:20 PM EDT (#269114) #
John I would argue that is apples to oranges given that Romero was pitching in the AL East and as our ace during most of those years.
1990Jays - Monday, March 11 2013 @ 10:15 PM EDT (#269115) #
are we still using ERA like it means anything in terms of projecting for future performance? Even when handing out contracts, team don't take ERA seriously
http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/francisco-liriano-and-the-slow-death-of-era/

Every defence and batted ball neutral pitching stat suggests that Ricky Romero is thoroughly mediocre over his career and Happ has shown some marked improvements especially in his K rate that has 6.45K/9 in 2009 to 9K/9! in 2012. SEIRA which has been proven to have the most predictive value should be taken seriously, Happ ranked 32nd out of a 100 pitchers last season, Romero dead last!
Dave Till - Monday, March 11 2013 @ 10:21 PM EDT (#269116) #
Before I pass judgement on Romero, I would need to know what the club's plan is for him this spring. Spring training is the perfect time to try out a new pitch or experiment with changes in delivery, foot position on the rubber, or any of a number of other things. If something doesn't work, and he is wild or gets hit, he can file that away as useful information. By the end of the spring, if he is still getting dinged and Happ is looking good, the Jays might consider a change. But spring performance doesn't mean much - remember when Jo-Jo Reyes had a good spring?

As for Happ, perhaps he should be reminded of what most adults have already come to realize: life isn't always fair. Sure, Happ might be good enough to start for many teams. But before he complains about it too much, he should perhaps remember that he is about to be paid $3.7 million to throw a baseball. That's enough to live on for the rest of his life, if he doesn't spend too much. So perhaps he should count his blessings. (And it would be cool if, someday, J. A. Happ were to pitch against A. J. Burnett.)

As for the Beatles: Paul could play drums too. Though probably not as well as Ringo. I always thought Ringo was a good drummer.

And it's great that Jose Bautista has hit a home run every now and again this spring. He's still got his bat speed. Much is still well with this world.

electric carrot - Tuesday, March 12 2013 @ 12:05 AM EDT (#269117) #
And without Ringo would have sung Octopus' Garden?  Paul would have made it too sappy.  John would have tried to give it an edge.  George might have been ok but I think he was only allowed to sing his own songs.  Now THAT'S a lost opportunity.  And Ringo's drumming is just fine.  A flashier drummer would have made those carefully orchestrated arrangements too busy.

As for Romero and Happ, I'm inclined to give the 5th starter position to Romero unless he's completely lost up there.  Then, what's the point?  Let's give him some time to sort things out and then check in again in about two weeks. 



92-93 - Tuesday, March 12 2013 @ 02:24 AM EDT (#269118) #
The uniqueness of Ringo's voice helps form a nice balance on the Beatles' albums; his songs are comic relief.
MatO - Tuesday, March 12 2013 @ 10:00 AM EDT (#269120) #

And without Ringo would have sung Octopus' Garden?

Actually Ringo got sole writing credit for this song so he was singing his own song.

My IPod randomly spit out two Beatle songs last night.  Ticket to Ride and Tomorrow Never Knows.  Two examples of Ringo's fine drumming.

Mike Green - Tuesday, March 12 2013 @ 11:28 AM EDT (#269122) #
From what I've heard, any credit for Ringo's fine drumming on recordings ought to be shared with George Martin.  Richard Starkey, incidentally, would have been a helluva name for a crime villain.

I am hoping that Gose turns out to be more like Stewart Copeland or Martin Chambers, one of those relatively few pop drummers who can do a bunch of things very well. 

MatO - Tuesday, March 12 2013 @ 11:44 AM EDT (#269123) #
I'm not sure what Martin could have possibly done with the drums with only four tracks and the lack of Pro Tools or drum machines.
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, March 12 2013 @ 11:52 AM EDT (#269124) #

Anyone who thinks Happ is a better pitcher than Romero needs to use a better class of drugs or a better choice of tipple.

Disregard this spring from consideration.  Anyone can pick and choose numbers to support their theories.   Romero has pitched 794.0 inings over the last 4 years (198.5 IP avg.).   All 4 years were with Toronto. 

Happ has pitched 554.1 innings over the last 4 years (138.6 IP avg.).   Happ pitched 2012 with Houston (where he was a Starter, 104.1 IP - 18 starts, because they had no one else) then Toronto,40.1 IP - just 6 starts.  In 2011, he was with Houston, 156.1 IP, and hurt/ineffective in AAA, 18.0 IP.   In 2010, Happ was with Houston, 72.0 IP, and with Philadelphia, 15.1 IP, and hurt/ineffective in minors 37.2 IP.   In 2009, he was with Philadelphia, 166.0 IP.   In 2007 (4.0 IP) and 2008 (31.2 IP), he had cups of coffee with Philadelphia.

When you consider all the other stats including wins (very significant stat, determines who's in the Postseason), it suggests Romero might be a Starter on most of all 30 teams, while Happ might not be consider as such by more than a few.   Romero could/should/would have gone on the D.L. in 2012, possibly late July, although I can understand why not.   He would then leave with a 8-8 record, a 5.69 ERA and an expectation he'd be back as good as new. 

In 2011, Romero's worst Spring Training, he was 1-2, 7.91 ERA, 19.1 IP, 24 Hits.  His Regular Seaon was 15 -9, 2.92 ERA, 225.0 IP, 176 Hits.  He preceded that with 2 good seasons.   Romero is only 1 year away from his best season.   RIcky Romero needs to have confidence in his stuff and throw his slider more.

In 2012, Happ's worst Spring Training, he was 1-1, 5.79 ERA, 18.2 IP, 28 Hits.  His Regular Season was 10-11, 4.79 ERA, 144.2 IP, 147 Hits.   He preceded that with 1 bad season, one good season and one very good season.   Happ is 3 years away fron his best season.   J.A. Happ needs to shut up and think.   Someone will get hurt.   Romero's on a short lease.   Being a disgruntled player hurts future contracts.

Mike Green - Tuesday, March 12 2013 @ 12:13 PM EDT (#269125) #
I'm not sure what Martin could have possibly done with the drums with only four tracks and the lack of Pro Tools or drum machines.

Repetition until he got it basically right.  At times, Ringo's drumming drove even McCartney batty.

Perhaps Martin did some splicing.  Before there was autotune and all that fancy modern crap, there was layering of vocals...
bpoz - Tuesday, March 12 2013 @ 12:25 PM EDT (#269126) #
I tried to determine who our #5 starter was last year based on what actually happened. I do not believe that can be answered, so I looked to see who was our #1.

Alvarez & Romero would have been #1 & 2 based on IP. But poor overall performance disqualified them. I gave it to Morrow because of great results in 21 games pitched but only 124IP. If Carlos V had pitched 190 innings instead of 125 with a 4.16 ERA who knows. But Morrow was awesome.

#5, maybe Laffey because he managed to stay healthy. So I am wondering who our best # 5 pitcher was in the last few years. I only checked 2008 because we were trying to win that year. McGowan 19 starts, 111 IP, 4.37 ERA. I think someone already said that was a great staff. I agree. McGowan had the fewest games started & IP and the highest ERA.
Jonny German - Tuesday, March 12 2013 @ 12:35 PM EDT (#269127) #
Romero's on a short lease.

3 more years to be precise, with an option for a 4th. Not that short really, in terms of cars or baseball players.
Named For Hank - Tuesday, March 12 2013 @ 12:39 PM EDT (#269129) #
Does Ringo's bad rap come from the fact that he's self-taught and therefore doesn't play like a "proper" drummer?

The single funniest moment in Concert For George is when Jim Keltner, a technically magnificent drummer, sees Ringo looking over at him during a song -- Keltner immediately straightens up in his seat and starts making huge, wild, Ringo-style arm movements with a big goofy grin on his face, a perfect Ringo impression. Ringo nearly cracks up during the song.

If you haven't seen it, George Harrison's friends held a benefit concert one year after his death. They played his songs and songs that he loved. The documentary (which I linked to above) is good, but the full concert -- nearly three hours long -- is even better, and is available on home video and iTunes. Notable performers: Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Billy Preston, Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, Harrison's entire 1970s era backing band, Monty Python (with Tom Hanks subbing for John Cleese) and more. I got goosebumps during Isn't It a Pity, which starts out sung by Clapton, then Billy Preston takes over, then the whole band does the nah-nah-nahs from Hey Jude to end it. And where else will you see Clapton on guitar, McCartney on piano and Starr on drums for While My Guitar Gently Weeps?

Delightful, sly moment: Sir Paul remains on stage and playing piano for Wah Wah, a song about him. A not very nice song about him.

John Northey - Tuesday, March 12 2013 @ 12:39 PM EDT (#269130) #
Ah, good old selective end points.

Lets play with a few...

Age 24-27 seasons (the years Romero has been in the majors)...
Romero: 0.9 HR/9 3.9 BB/9 7.0 K/9 4.09 ERA 105 ERA+ FIP: 4.29 xFIP: 4.06
Happ: 1.1 HR/9 3.7 BB/9 6.9 K/9 3.27 ERA 128 ERA+ FIP: 4.41 xFIP: 4.51

Romero has a much worse ERA / ERA+ but the 3 key components are comparable.  Interesting that FIP and xFIP do favor Romero, especially xFIP suggesting Happ was giving up a lot of flyballs but they were being caught.

Past 2 years (Happ's post age 27 seasons, Romero's most recent performance accounted for above as well)
Romero: 1.0 HR/9 4.1 BB/9 6.7 K/9 4.19 ERA 102 ERA+ FIP: 4.61 xFIP: 4.27
Happ: 1.2 HR/9 4.2 BB/9 8.3 K/9 5.08 ERA 77 ERA+ FIP: 4.36  xFIP: 4.27

In this case Happ has far more K's, comparable BB, and a bit more of a HR problem but the balls in play gods shifted away from him and over to Romero's column. In fact, their xFIP worked out to be the same and FIP to favor Happ.  These include both Romero's best and his worst season (based on ERA) while for Happ they were his 'stuck in Houston, then in the Jays pen' years.

Projections?  FanGraphs has 4 plus a 'fans' one.  They say for Happ a range for ERA of 3.92 to 5.16 (4.42 is highest other than ZIPS).  Romero's range is 3.56 to 4.50 (next lowest other than Oliver is 4.16).  A lot of crossover there.  Remove high and low for each and you get ranges of 4.16 to 4.43 and 4.25 to 4.42 - so close that no one can say one is better than the other.

So, from that what do I see?  I see two guys who are remarkably similar but one is coming off his worst season and hasn't shown signs of recovery yet (Romero) while the other is ticketed for AAA or the back end of the bullpen despite having a strong comeback here last year (2.80 FIP, 3.75 xFIP in Toronto) and appearing to feel he has something to prove even while he says he doesn't.

Romero we all have watched grow here and I've been caught up in the hype like everyone else.  However, realistically there really isn't much of a spread between them outside of age and performance in 2012.  Age favours Romero, 2012 performance favours Happ.  Sadly, I suspect we'll see a Luis Leal 1985 situation - the guy who has been here gets to start the season but eventually shows he really isn't all here anymore.  We just hope he doesn't cost the team a lot of games in the meantime.  Of course, this all goes out the window if Romero shows control and velocity more in line with 2010/2011 than 2012.  Those 2 years were better than anything Happ has done and if Romero can duplicate them (vs 2009 and 2012) then he is the better choice unless of course Happ can do what he did in Toronto last year over a full season.
Parker - Tuesday, March 12 2013 @ 12:51 PM EDT (#269131) #
Richard Starkey, incidentally, would have been a helluva name for a crime villain. Or a crime novelist! (especially if you delete the last two letters of his surname...)
MatO - Tuesday, March 12 2013 @ 01:00 PM EDT (#269132) #

Ringo's drumming drove even McCartney batty.

McCartney drove everyone batty himself.

McCartney should have performed Lennon's "How do you Sleep" along with Harrison's "Wah Wah".

Oceanbound - Tuesday, March 12 2013 @ 01:21 PM EDT (#269133) #
Or a crime novelist! (especially if you delete the last two letters of his surname...)

Less crime novelist, more lord of ancient house
Parker - Tuesday, March 12 2013 @ 01:27 PM EDT (#269134) #
Anyone who thinks Happ is a better pitcher than Romero needs to use a better class of drugs or a better choice of tipple.

Richard, these ad hominem attacks need to stop. Not only do you undermine your own credibility, you also appear juvenile and there's no reason for it here. Just because you disagree with someone's opinion does not give you any right to insinuate that the person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

(except maybe for Mylegacy - sorry man) ;)

When you consider all the other stats including wins (very significant stat, determines who's in the Postseason), it suggests Romero might be a Starter on most of all 30 teams, while Happ might not be consider as such by more than a few. Romero could/should/would have gone on the D.L. in 2012, possibly late July, although I can understand why not. He would then leave with a 8-8 record, a 5.69 ERA and an expectation he'd be back as good as new.

Wins are important, but they're not a measure of a pitcher's success, they're a measure of the TEAM's success. Or do you believe that Ivan Nova is a better pitcher than Felix Hernandez?

It would be fantastic if all of Romero's struggles last year could be attributed to his injury, but:

RIcky Romero needs to have confidence in his stuff and throw his slider more.

You undermine your own argument here, unless I am misunderstanding you. Romero was no good in 2012 because he was hiding an injury, but you believe the solution to be that he should throw his slider more? Wouldn't the solution be for him to get healthy if he was pitching injured? Or is it your position that if he wasn't hurt he would've thrown his slider more?

You also say to ignore Spring Training stats, and then you quote a bunch of them.

All the statistics you quote only tell me that Romero has had more success in the past. You should spend more time reading others' posts here; if you did you would realize that ERA for pitchers is not a reliable yardstick for pitching performance because it depends on the defense playing behind that pitcher, as well as the ballparks in which he pitches.

Do a little homework before you start trying to get pedantic and insultingly dismissive of opinions that don't agree with yours. This can be valuable advice in the prevention of future cases of foot-in-mouth disease.
Mike Green - Tuesday, March 12 2013 @ 01:43 PM EDT (#269135) #
Less crime novelist, more lord of ancient house

It's George Martin day at the Box.  Strangely enough, there has never been a MLB player named George Martin but you could probably make a team of Martins. 


greenfrog - Tuesday, March 12 2013 @ 01:58 PM EDT (#269136) #
While it may be comforting to review Romero's last four years instead of focusing on 2012, past performance is not necessarily a reliable predictor of future performance once significant injuries and/or mental/confidence issues are in play.

For example, Rick Ankiel was a superb 20-year-old pitcher before his control deserted him in a couple of calamitous postseason starts, and that was all she wrote.

Last year, Romero walked more batters than any pitcher in the AL (and was tied for most walks in the majors), posting the highest BB/9 IP ratio (5.2) of any SP in baseball. His season got worse as it progressed. This spring, he's walked 5 in 5.2 innings. Dirk Hayhurst said his delivery looks somewhat off. I think there is objective cause for some concern (not panic).
China fan - Tuesday, March 12 2013 @ 02:17 PM EDT (#269137) #
I admit that this is pure speculation, but I wonder if the Jays are privately very worried about Romero, and this is why they feel it's so important to keep Happ stretched out and ready to step into the rotation at any moment.

They've been watching Romero struggle for most of the past 12 months, and they know the status of his physical ailments over the past year (knees, elbow). They might feel that there's at least a 50 per cent chance that Romero will continue to perform at his 2012 level. In that case, Happ becomes pretty essential to the team. The Jays have got to give Romero a chance in April and maybe May, but they can't allow their playoff chances to be sabotaged by the lack of alternatives to Romero. If they don't have Happ, they don't have anyone who can step into the rotation in a reliable way. He could be crucial to the team.

You can't base any decisions on spring numbers, but those numbers (and observation of bullpen sessions) could reinforce an existing concern. Last year, the spring numbers helped to doom Brett Cecil to the minors for the beginning of the season, because there were already concerns about him. Of course Romero is not in that category, because he pitched so well in 2010 and 2011, but I think his leash is shorter than we might assume.

In an interview today, Gibbons said that Romero "deserves a shot." It didn't sound exactly like a ringing endorsement. It sounds like they'll give him a few weeks.

China fan - Tuesday, March 12 2013 @ 02:19 PM EDT (#269138) #
I wrote my last comments before seeing Greenfrog's comments, but I agree with his points. The assessment by Hayhurst is potentially significant too.
Magpie - Tuesday, March 12 2013 @ 03:07 PM EDT (#269139) #
Ooh, now you're all playing on my turf...

Pete Best >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Ringo

Pete Best was much better looking, and the girls liked him, but he could barely play at all. He had trouble keeping time, and he had exactly one fill. McCartney was definitely a better drummer than poor Pete. Macca's a pretty decent drummer (for a guitar player, anyway) but he could struggle holding a tempo together without a click track, as as a careful listening to "Dear Prudence" will show you. Of course that was a Lennon song, and playing along with John Lennon posed a unique set of challenges for any drummer. Starr's technical ability is often disparaged, but there are very few drummers who could have successfully worked with the 1960s Lennon. Anyone who doubts that needs to try negotiating the time and tempo shifts of "Happiness is a Warm Gun." John thought nothing of dropping beats at random, and his sense of time was notoriously shaky.

George might have been ok but I think he was only allowed to sing his own songs.

Not at all. Harrison sang lead on some of the early covers: "Chains," "Devil in Her Heart," "Everybody's Trying to be My Baby." Plus "Roll Over Beethoven," which Lennon had always sung on stage until they recorded it. They also wrote a a couple of songs for him to sing so his voice, limited but distinctive, would be represented on an album: "Do You Want to Know a Secret," "I'm Happy Just to Dance With You."

I'm not sure what Martin could have possibly done with the drums with only four tracks and the lack of Pro Tools or drum machines.

Some of the early stuff is actually two tracks, and they had moved on to eight tracks by the end of their run. Anyway, American drummers, with their far, far better equipped studios, did spend most of the 1960s wondering how on earth George Martin got some of the sounds he got. Basically, with a serious shortage of sonic resources at their disposal, Martin and the Beatles just messed around and tried stuff. They tried everything. All the standard things - damping, compression, reverb, mic placement - and all kinds of things they just dreamed up, necessity being the mother of invention. A lot of things were achieved by messing around with the speed the tape was running (e.g. the haunting fills in "Day in the Life" are not tympani - they're slack tuned toms, recorded with the tape running fast so on playback the fills are slower than what Ringo played and the sound is deeper and bigger. (And playing around with the speed of the recording changes all kinds of things, all the harmonic overtones end up with different properties... it simply changes the entire character of the noise.) They would also just run the tape backward, which is how they got the weird reverse cymbal sound that features so strongly in "Strawberry Fields Forever," (a famously bizarre feat of recording, as it was made in two different keys in two different tempi - the first part is speeded up and the second half is slowed down so they more or less cohere at the same general tempo and in the same general key (somewhere in between G# and A.)

It was the 1960s. No one had the tools, so they just tried stuff to see what would happen. You wouldn't do it now, because it would never occur to anyone to try it. No one would ever feel the need. But the Beatles didn't need a drum machine anyway. They had one. Starr's sense of time is pretty well flawless, and he was always one of those musicians who simply doesn't screw up and blow the take. Breakdowns because of drumming miscues are astonishingly rare in the Beatles EMI archive. Even McCartney messed up more often.
Mike Green - Tuesday, March 12 2013 @ 03:55 PM EDT (#269140) #
Starr's sense of time is pretty well flawless, and he was always one of those musicians who simply doesn't screw up and blow the take

If it was simple, yes.  With respect to anything complicated, that's not what I've heard (not that I know much about the recording process of Can't Buy Me Love, say).  My take was that he was a workmanlike drummer who worked really hard to get the most out of his abilities.   What Ricciardi would have called a dirtbag. 


grjas - Tuesday, March 12 2013 @ 03:58 PM EDT (#269141) #
It's interesting in this thread how often i see the comment "you can't make decisions on ST stats", yet how many posters appear decided on Romero vs Happ based on their combined pitch count to date of...104. Not even one game between them...early in ST.

It's impossible to tell at this point which one will shine or if both will. AA is going to be hard pressed to option down a guy that has been a big contributor to the Jays for most of the last 4 years unless he clearly has significant mechanical or mental issues to pitch through, and chances are that won't be clear even by the end of ST. Much as i hate to see Happ in Buffalo, this uncertainty will require both pitchers to get stretched out till its clear which is the right horse to ride. (Or which of the 5 starters drops first).
Mike Green - Tuesday, March 12 2013 @ 04:03 PM EDT (#269142) #
One more thing.  BB might be the only baseball website where the plural of tempo is "tempi" rather than "tempos".  Thanks for the educational bit, Magpie.
1990Jays - Tuesday, March 12 2013 @ 04:06 PM EDT (#269143) #
The spring training stats don't matter argument is a red herring, no one is using them to argue for Happ over Romero, we don't have to when one of those players was THE worst starting pitcher in all of baseball last season
jjdynomite - Tuesday, March 12 2013 @ 04:53 PM EDT (#269144) #
Magpie, you're obviously an avid Beatles fan (who isn't, really) and a music aficionado, but speaking from the perspective of a once semi-professional drummer, Starr was weak in terms of *both* technique and swing. Sure, Ringo could provide a decent backbeat behind John's shenanigans -- although is his sloppiness in "In My Life" really exhibiting a "flawless sense of time"? And who is to say that his infinitely more talented British Invasion contemporaries like (in alphabetic order) Ginger Baker, John Bonham, Bill Bruford, Keith Moon, even Charlie Watts, couldn't do the same, if not better, and without George Martin's help? As for Best, well, he was kicked out of the group before he even turned 21, so we'll never really know how he would have matured as a drummer.
John Northey - Tuesday, March 12 2013 @ 05:28 PM EDT (#269145) #
Spring does matter, but not in the stats we see.  The Jays, I'm sure, are tracking pitch speed, movement, accuracy, and who knows what else.  If Romero in the last week is still unable to find the strike zone with a map while Happ is in full control then one hopes the Jays send Romero down and give Happ the 5th slot.  I can understand there are other issues to consider - how the players (who were here pre-2013) react is a big one.  Romero did push through last year although it might have been better for the team if he didn't. 

Romero in...
July: 31 1/3 IP in 6 G, 18 BB vs 22 SO, 4 HR, 8.04 ERA
August: 32 1/3 IP in 5 G, 19 BB vs 18 SO, 1 HR, 4.73 ERA
September: 19 IP in 5 G, 16 BB vs 14 SO, 3 HR, 8.05 ERA

Over those final 3 months the team was 3-13 when Romero started (6.75 ERA).  For April/May/June he seemed off with the 4.94 ERA but the team was 11-5 in those 16 starts.  I don't think Romero was helping much those last 3 months, outside of getting the Jays a top 10 draft pick.

In those first 3 months his BB-SO ratio was 52-70 with 13 HR given up in 98 1/3 IP.  Not great, but livable.  The 2nd half 53-54 BB-SO and 8 HR in 82 2/3 IP was a killer.  Better for HR/9 but worse for BB/9 and SO/9 and fewer IP  per start by nearly a full inning per game.  Of course, by then the Jays were into desperation for starters it seemed (Jenkins getting starts, Laffey & Villanueva 'mainstays' by then.

I suspect someone on the farm could've matched the 6.75 ERA Romero provided in the 2nd half.  Only Jesse Chavez and Joel Carreno had worse ERA's as starters for the Jays in 2012 than Romero (yes, even Brett Cecil was slightly better).  Yes, ERA isn't everything but when you use 12 guys and only 2 are worse (with a total of 4 starts between them) than your 'ace' there is something seriously wrong.  For the Jays to go into 2013 without a plan for how long to hang onto Romero or when to dump him for Happ (or someone else) ... well ... that would just be a major error in judgement.
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, March 12 2013 @ 06:59 PM EDT (#269146) #

I find that for everything someone writes, it's usually for someone else to read.   For very 10 people who read an article/piece, there might be as many as 10 differing opinions on what is written.   The solution is simple, never write or never read, or someone might be offended.

I find I am shocked!   I always thought the people on this site toked/snorted/doped/tiplled/imbied/overindulged.   I was informed you're boring, average, normal, goody-goodies that I face every day.   And that sucks, I thought I'd met a better class of people here.

Spring Training stats only tell what the player was trying to work on is actually working or not.   I can understand having a bad Spring (like Romero in 2011, his worst Spring) and then having a very good Regular Season (like Romero in 2011).   Apparently what they were working on was a success or dropped.   I find I can't understand having a very good Spring (like Happ in 2011) and then having their worst Regular Season ever (like Happ in 2011).   What was he working on?   For all that people are throwing Ricky Romero under the Bus, he is one year (2011) away from his best season ever.   The annointed 5th Starter, J.A. Happ, is three years (2009) away from his best season ever, and it's been downhill ever since.   Why is it that Ricky Romero averages 200.0 IP, while the most Happ has ever pitched is 166.0 IP, back in 2009.   Is he injury-prone?

I contend that J.A. Happ is just Carlos Villanueva revisited.

Dewey - Tuesday, March 12 2013 @ 07:32 PM EDT (#269147) #
Once again (it has popped up many, many times in the past several months), the heading ďJays Struggle to Draw FansĒ from the June 1, 2012 issue of the Globe and Mail appears on their website today!   With photos of empty seats.  Why?  What exactly is their point?   Itís absolutely nonsensical.
Magpie - Tuesday, March 12 2013 @ 08:08 PM EDT (#269148) #
not that I know much about the recording process of Can't Buy Me Love, say

That's why I'm here. It was recorded in Paris, of all places, on 29 January 1964. The band had been asked to provide German versions of "She Loves You" and "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and after some coaxing and pleading, they complied like the showbiz professionals they thought they were supposed to be and booked two recording dates in Paris where they happened to be playing at the time. They redid the two hits in German and then turned to Paul's brand new tune. Which required four takes, the first two sounding rather like "She's a Woman," before assuming the form we all know today. Work done, they cancelled the second session.
China fan - Tuesday, March 12 2013 @ 08:33 PM EDT (#269149) #
Dewey, are you sure that it's not perhaps some technical issue in your computer or the browser cache or something? I've checked the Globe website a couple of times in the past hour, and I don't see that 2012 story anywhere on the site.
Dewey - Tuesday, March 12 2013 @ 08:43 PM EDT (#269150) #
Well, I suppose that is possible, CF; though I do run a cache-cleaner (Cocktail) every few days.  I really have no idea; but itís very odd.  Iíve seen it several times.

I did write to them once, lamenting the lack of Jaysí coverage compared to hockey and such things as car racing and soccer and such.  Maybe itís a vendetta!  The Globe strikes back!
Dewey - Tuesday, March 12 2013 @ 08:47 PM EDT (#269151) #
I should point out that the item appears in the row under "photos" on the webpage I'm looking at.  (Mac and Firefox).
grjas - Tuesday, March 12 2013 @ 09:01 PM EDT (#269152) #
Yeah i've seen this article in G&M multiple times in the last few months too. Suspect they're going to look pretty daft in May if it's not deleted...there should be a few more bums in seats this year, methinks
hypobole - Wednesday, March 13 2013 @ 12:03 AM EDT (#269153) #
Parker, I've had similar thoughts, and made some comments, but it got to the point where I realized it is but a tale....full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
TJ Caino - Wednesday, March 13 2013 @ 01:05 AM EDT (#269154) #
Speaking of The Beatles, Sir Paul is playing Bonnaroo.
electric carrot - Wednesday, March 13 2013 @ 01:25 AM EDT (#269155) #
I have a suggested topic for Batter's Box ( a little more specific than Spring Training Chatter) that might spur some interesting debates.  Lots of change this year and lots of unknowns.  How about people writing about the five things that concern them the most about the Jays' upcoming season and five things that don't worry them as much overall. May be fun to check back on this in 2014.

In case this helps to get things started, here are mine:

My Five Biggest Concerns in Rank Order Are:

1. Injuries
2. Romero coming back to decent form
3. Gibbons' managing the running game.  (He struggled in that regard his last time out.)
4. PED scandal enveloping a Jays player. 
5. Izturius' hitting.

Not So Concerned About in Rank Order:

1. The Yanks, The Sox, Tampa or Baltimore.  The Blue Jays are the best team.  If they stay healthy and don't beat themselves, I don't think any of those teams are good enough to beat them. None of those teams are going to win 90 games. If the Jays stay healthy and play to their potential they'll win 90 easy.
2. Dickey and the new league.  I think he'll be comparable to his last three years if not better.  Hardly anyone in the AL knows his knuckleball.  Advantage Dickey.
3. JPA, Rasmus, Lawrie, Morrow. If they stay healthy, I think each of these guys is going to be better than last year.
4. Bautista, Cabrera, Encarnacion, Reyes, Johnson, Buerhle. I think each of these guys will decline a little from recent (3 year or so) career averages, but not too much. Cabrera won't be as good as last year but he'll still be a good player.
5.  Adam Lind.  I think Gibbons will platoon him and not play him in the field much and he'll respond by being a decent, maybe even above average DH.



Richard S.S. - Wednesday, March 13 2013 @ 06:30 AM EDT (#269156) #
China fan - Wednesday, March 13 2013 @ 07:02 AM EDT (#269157) #
That article on Sportsnet certainly does not end the debate about Happ and Romero. It's simply an opinion piece by Mike Wilner, saying (obviously) that Romero will begin the season as the 5th starter. It doesn't address the question of what happens if Romero is still pitching terribly by May -- which is the issue that everyone here is debating.
John Northey - Wednesday, March 13 2013 @ 07:18 AM EDT (#269158) #
Richard, that is very possible that Happ will wear down quick while Romero doesn't.  However, last year Romero was spent by the time July hit (his August ERA was livable but the rest wasn't suggesting it was more luck than skill) so his innings total isn't too much of a plus that season.

Hmm... has Romero tended to wear down?  Lets see August/September stats...
2011: 2.63 ERA, 25 BB 52 SO 13 HR in 82 IP (2.7 BB/9, 5.7 K/9, 1.4 HR/9) - sweet ERA but HR/9 and K/9 were poor
2010: 4.25 ERA, 30 BB 50 SO 7 HR in 72 IP (3.75 BB/9, 6.25 K/9, 0.9 HR/9) - not as nice an ERA, high BB total but K & HR figures nice
2009: 5.26 ERA, 38 BB 59 SO 5 HR in 75 1/3 IP (4.5 BB/9, 7.0 K/9, 0.6 HR/9) - ugly ERA, high BB total but his best  late season K and HR figures

So before this year he was improving late in the year, dropping his ERA and BB/9 late in the season but costing himself in K and HR.  Then...
2012: 5.96 ERA, 35 BB 32 SO 4 HR in 51 1/3 IP (6.1 BB/9, 5.6 K/9, 0.7 HR/9)
A drop in HR/9 but everything else was worse than his past, especially the BB/9. 

Clearly Romero lost control late last year vs the past.  He learned before that reducing your BB is how you get results but it just couldn't work late last year.  So, what now?  Clearly control is #1 - if you cannot control the ball you cannot control your fate.  I doubt it was wearing down last year as his ending kick was fine in the 3 years before, although each had its issues (HR in 2011, BB in 2010 and 2009).   This springs 5 walks in 5 2/3 IP is not a good sign but not enough to vote him out - but if the walks don't calm down as he ups to 5-7 IP per start towards the end of spring we have a clear repeat and his traditional ending kick doesn't suggest he will get better as the season wears on.

John Northey - Wednesday, March 13 2013 @ 07:41 AM EDT (#269159) #
Oh yeah, Wilner is the guy who knows all, sees all, etc. :)

He used WAR in the article but doesn't mention which WAR... bWAR is based on ERA, fWAR on FIP - FIP is generally viewed as more useful when projecting the future, ERA for judging what happened in the past.  Obviously our #1 concern is the future.  Wilner used good ol' selective end points and set it at the past 3 years, thus just missing Happ's best year.  But lets stick with that method...
Romero: bWAR 7.4  fWAR: 7.5
Happ: bWAR 0.1  fWAR: 2.9

In a bit of a surprise (OK, a lot of one) Romero was +0.5 last year in fWAR.  So fWAR helps Happ quite a bit but he still isn't in eyeshot of Romero for the past 3 years.  But what if we use a traditional weighting on seasons, making the most recent the strongest?  A simple method is a weighting of 3-2-1 for the 3 most recent seasons (2012=3, 2011=2, 2010=1).

Romero: bWAR: 1.7  fWAR: 1.9
Happ: bWAR: -0.1 fWAR: 1.1

A whole lot closer.  The bottom line is if you feel Romero just 'stubbed his toe' last year (as Wilner puts it) or if you feel it is something more serious. 

In the end I do agree that it would take a lot for the Jays to send Romero down.  He'd have to clearly have gone the way of Rick Ankiel who totally lost it after a bad postseason and even then he'd probably get 3-5 starts just to make sure.  The most recent Jays example of a guy who appeared to be a lock then was sent down (that I can think of) was Luis Leal who was established as a solid #3, maybe a #2 over 4 years.  He pitched well for his first 5 games, 3.13 ERA 6 1/3 IP per start.  Then it fell apart - 8.07 ERA over 10 games (9 starts) never finishing 6 innings and not even doing 5 his last 4 starts.  Luckily the team was 4-6 in those starts (1985 was the best Jays team ever in the regular season) so they survived but just (won by 2 games in the end).

So I suspect Romero has April unless he completely loses it.  Hopefully he gets back to his pre-2012 form and my comments all look silly.  But if he doesn't then Happ becomes critical and needs to be ready come early April.

Thomas - Wednesday, March 13 2013 @ 08:57 AM EDT (#269160) #

Did I miss the announcement of Mike Wilner as Toronto's new GM?

 

On a more serious note, does anyone know what became of Bruce Walton? I heard he was offered a position in the organization but hadn't accepted it and I haven't heard anything since.

John Northey - Wednesday, March 13 2013 @ 09:07 AM EDT (#269161) #
Did an online search but no luck finding out what happened post-November.  This page on the Jays site still has his bio but not his name.  Wikipedia just has his final day as Jays coach listed. Other sites don't have any info either.
rpriske - Wednesday, March 13 2013 @ 10:48 AM EDT (#269162) #
David Cooper was released today, according to MLB Trade Rumors
Ryan Day - Wednesday, March 13 2013 @ 11:08 AM EDT (#269163) #
Strange to see a guy go on the DL and then get released. Does that suggest Cooper's back is a career-ending injury? Or perhaps he didn't do the rehab the team wanted him to do?
Mike Green - Wednesday, March 13 2013 @ 11:23 AM EDT (#269164) #
Apparently, the Jays are willing to sign Cooper to a minor league deal.  Can anyone explain how it is better for the club to have an injured player with a year of major league experience signed to a minor league deal rather than to have him on the 60 day DL?  There must be something I don't get.


Magpie - Wednesday, March 13 2013 @ 11:38 AM EDT (#269165) #
Can anyone explain how it is better for the club to have an injured player with a year of major league experience signed to a minor league deal rather than to have him on the 60 day DL?

It saves a little money. If he's on the DL, he collects at least the major league minimum.
Lylemcr - Wednesday, March 13 2013 @ 11:55 AM EDT (#269166) #

I was reading about Jeffress today.  He could be very interesting if he gets it together.  Same with many of the arms they acquired this offseason. 

The truth is we don't need 12 arms, we need 20 arms.  You have to love the depth of the bullpen this year.  If Rogers stumples, there is an arm in Buffalo to take his place.

I also think, with Buehrle and Dickey, the bullpen won't be as taxed.  They are work horses.  It could be a real good year for the bullpen.

How many days till opening day?

John Northey - Wednesday, March 13 2013 @ 12:09 PM EDT (#269167) #
Weird.  Thought he was worth a 40 man slot.  Wonder if this means someone not on the 40 man is being added.  Would be weird given Hutchison is still not on the 60 day DL 

So that means 2 slots on the 40 man are potentially open.  No one on the NRI list seems likely to be promoted so what is going on?  It would be weird to risk losing a guy who could be an acceptable AAA starter at 1B for nothing.  I guess an advantage if Cooper is likely to miss all of 2013 is you prevent him from getting a year of service time on the ML DL and save probably $300k-400k.  Seems penny pinching, but that is all I can figure.

85bluejay - Wednesday, March 13 2013 @ 12:48 PM EDT (#269168) #
It's not just penny pinching - If you put Cooper on the 60-day DL, not only does he accumulate ML time and salary but at season end, the team has to add him back to the 40 man roster for the winter - also if he's able to resume play this season, you don't need to add him to the 40 man roster - the bar for 1b/dh type is high and he's hasn't shown much power, so I'd be surprised if there is any demand for him. Boy, the 1B drafted high in that 2008 draft have generally sucked - Ike Davis,ironically drafted 1 spot after Cooper has been the only successful guy so far.

 
Mike Green - Wednesday, March 13 2013 @ 12:56 PM EDT (#269169) #
If it's about paying the major league minimum to Cooper, it seems like a cheap move in the context of the McGowan signing and the significant dollars that are making their way into other players pockets this off-season. 
eudaimon - Wednesday, March 13 2013 @ 01:01 PM EDT (#269170) #
According to Rotoworld:

CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports that David Cooper (back) may miss most of 2013. Cooper is currently nursing a serious back injury, so this adds some more context to why he was given his release on Wednesday. The Jays have interest in re-signing him to a minor league deal, but he's a long way from returning.

I don't think it's cheap. He hasn't "proven" he can perform well enough to earn the salary, while McGowan has shown that he has strong potential (which AA took an interesting gamble on).


85bluejay - Wednesday, March 13 2013 @ 01:04 PM EDT (#269171) #
Given his production , the jays probably feel there is no market for an injured,non-power hitting 1b/dh - btw, even though he's fallen off the map as a prospect I like Lars Anderson more than Cooper and I think Anderson will have a very good season in Buffalo and put himself back on the prospect map.
sam - Wednesday, March 13 2013 @ 01:49 PM EDT (#269172) #
Listening to Mike Wilner speak about baseball is like (and I'm borrowing from Charlie Angus and his views on Twitter here) "being badgered by a drunk on a 24-hour bus."  How that man is employed to speak about the sport is beyond comprehension.  He has never played and thinks attending scout school for a month is license to say things like "free and easy," "five-tool talent," or "plus-plus." 

Baseball is a remarkable sport for a number of reasons.  That it is seemingly quantifiable attracts those who see in it as an outlet for becoming more "athletic" despite their physical limitations.  These types have brought to the sport a new fan-base and analysis that is both appreciated and somewhat castigated.  On the other hand, there are those who are born to play, speak, and live the game.  Those that simply understand and can see the subtle nuances that define the game.  These types are both central to the game, yet lacking in their ability to speak to a broader audience.  The sport speaks to many and hence why we love it so much. 

Wilner fits neither of these categories and while I'm sure he would retort he brings the two together in his twitter ramblings or nonsensical articles, he does not.  He is the Jared Diamond of baseball punditry, and I don't mean that in a good way.  He tries to unite the somewhat disparate entities of baseball analysis into one thesis, yet falls short on so many fronts because he simply lacks authority on any of these fronts.  Whereas Diamond ultimately attracts the lay person to the subject, Wilner is so ugly with his words and understanding of the game, people are turned off. 

Geoff - Wednesday, March 13 2013 @ 01:53 PM EDT (#269173) #
Looks to be more about clearing him from the 40-man roster than saving however much money. The team needs able bodies above all else...most else. And Cooper might not recover from this injury to be the player the team can invest in.

However, it may be that the Yankees swoop in and grab Cooper anyway. Their preference seems to be for players whose careers may be ending or have already ended.

Ryan Day - Wednesday, March 13 2013 @ 02:01 PM EDT (#269174) #
I think Wilner's generally a smart guy, and he used to be more moderate & considered in his opinions. But he works in sports radio, where you win arguments by being louder & more assertive than the other guy. He's really not paid to dabble in nuance & ambiguity.
Geoff - Wednesday, March 13 2013 @ 02:23 PM EDT (#269175) #
But he works in sports radio, where you win arguments by being louder & more assertive than the other guy. He's really not paid to dabble in nuance & ambiguity.

In the world of mass entertainment fueled by the dollars of advertising, do the entertainers really need to satisfy the audience, or just hold their attention?

If higher quality discourse is broadcast and fewer people can follow it, will it be heard?

We have a caller, Andy from Barrie, who will share his thoughts on this matter...

Coming up after the break, which of the new Jays' acquisitions will have the most success and how do you feel about ticket prices?

Mike Green - Wednesday, March 13 2013 @ 02:30 PM EDT (#269176) #
We have a caller, Andy from Barrie, who will share his thoughts on this matter...

...but he's interrupted by Matt from Galway.
bpoz - Wednesday, March 13 2013 @ 02:40 PM EDT (#269177) #
Nice idea Electric Carrot about 5 concerns.

My concern is less than 5. How good is the Closer & setup roles. IMO injury concerns make Janssen & Santos uncertain. The Opening day roster will answer that question to a degree and early results will clear up my uncertainty.

Lylemcr mentioned Jeffres, so I looked at his past performance. His usefulness is uncertain but his potential is great. I looked at E Rogers, great in Cleveland. S Delabar, great from June to seasons end. So both were great but I could not tell who was better.
Thanks to anyone who looks into & comments on Delabar & Rogers. Also Santos at his best (past history) looked good but how much better than those 2. I also looked at Janssen, his 07,11 & 12 were clearly much better than the other 3 IMO. But he is recovering from surgery.

As I write this I looked at Lincoln & Loup. Lincoln's numbers are sort of mediocre in Toronto but Loup looks very good. Take away the .1 IP 4 Er against Baltimore and he looks lights out to me.

I have always felt that a few outings for any pitcher should be discounted as being a bad day. My best example is when P Hentgen was left in by Cito to save the pen, that outing did not reflect the quality of pitcher Hentgen was.

So if you do not have any extra inning games early in the season, who cares if the 7 & 8 pen spots are filled by not the best guys.
Chuck - Wednesday, March 13 2013 @ 02:58 PM EDT (#269178) #

...but he's interrupted by Matt from Galway.

CBC puns. Uh, uh, uh... I got nothing. This is Shelagh from Rogers, wondering if you'd consider changing internet providers. No good?

Geoff - Wednesday, March 13 2013 @ 03:17 PM EDT (#269179) #
I'd also add that although he may be stashed on the DL for whatever length of time as he tries to come back from his injury, this may be the best time to leverage him off the 40-man roster.

On the one hand, give him the opportunity to hook on with another club that wants to invest in his future through what may be a lengthy rehab. On the other hand, let him recuperate under the organizational umbrella without worrying about finding roster space for him. The Jays would want to be certain he's ready and able to progress to the majors again (which at this point is in doubt) before adding him to the 40-man. And this may require longer than his DL stint to determine.

If he was stashed on the DL, they would have to make room for him on the roster when he became healthy enough. However when he is healthy, they may not be confident he is destined for major league action. If they try to outright him at that time, they may lose him through waivers after spending all the investment to rehab him.

By removing him from the roster now, he doesn't look as attractive to other clubs to put on their roster just to rehab him. I think back injuries are a scarier beast for a team's front office to predict outcomes. They are more parsimonious with Cooper because they don't know what to expect. Will he ever fully recover? Will he be off and on the DL many times? Is that going to be worth the headache of manipulating the roster space? Far better to have an injury that you know will require set amount of time for recovery and the front office will have confidence that the player will be ready for service when he returns. Otherwise, much better that those questions are played out with the player stashed in the minors.
grjas - Wednesday, March 13 2013 @ 07:24 PM EDT (#269180) #
His usefulness is uncertain but his potential is great.

Great line bpoz. Sums up the dilemma nicely. Must say i am more worried about the BP decision than the second base or SP decisions. For second base, both will make the team and they can interchange bodies if they ride the wrong horse. On SP, unless Happ forces a trade, Buffalo is a short ride if they make the wrong call, no matter who goes down.

But BP decisions are going to be tricky. Ride "potential" and we might get burnt. Drop some of the "optionless" talent, and we might be hunting for experienced relievers if the injuries hit. Guess i'm in the camp of holding on to as many as we can, at least to start the year.
grjas - Wednesday, March 13 2013 @ 09:28 PM EDT (#269181) #
Further to your idea EC:

My biggest concerns:
. The bullpen- is either closer candidate truly healthy, and how many arms should they keep (see post above)?
. Bautista- the wrist seems ok, but...
. Lawrie- if his injuries continue, what will the infield be like without him?
. Morrow- they really need this guy healthy for a year. SP depth is pretty good, but they need a powerful one-two punch to top 90 wins

Not so concerned:
. DH- there's enought bench strength to replace Lind and little patience if he falters again. Plus I think they've learned with his back issues to never give him a glove again
. The fifth starter- one of Happ or Romero will come through, and again the hook will be quickly poised
. CF- Gose is waiting if Rasmus disappears once again
. Catching- I think JP is underrated- the guy works hard, listens and learns. He's a former PCL batting champ...give him time.
John Northey - Thursday, March 14 2013 @ 07:04 AM EDT (#269183) #
Biggest concern: Romero, Lind, Rasmus, releasing the wrong guy(s) from the bullpen.

Smallest concern: Bautista's health (seems OK), 2B (Izturis should be fine), 3B (Lawrie I always expected to miss 2 weeks or so each year).

92-93 - Thursday, March 14 2013 @ 09:25 AM EDT (#269184) #
Catching isn't a concern but Arencibia isn't underrated, except maybe in his own head. He has a career .275 OBP and has to work at being average defensively.
hypobole - Thursday, March 14 2013 @ 10:05 AM EDT (#269185) #
I think JP is underrated- the guy works hard, listens and learns. He's a former PCL batting champ...give him time.

I think you're confusing JPA with David Cooper. JPA won the MVP in 2010 finishing 3rd in HR's and 20th in average. In 2011, Cooper lead the PCL in average.
Mike Green - Thursday, March 14 2013 @ 10:14 AM EDT (#269186) #
I think that the likely 25 man roster is probably the best in the division.  I do not have high expectations for Rasmus, Lind or Arencibia, but I have enough confidence in Gibbons that they will be used appropriately to not greatly hurt the club.  My major concern with the club is depth.  The minors are pretty barren at the top levels.  The middle infield and catching positions particularly are a concern. Even in the outfield, you have Bautista, Cabrera, Rasmus, Gose and Davis and that's pretty much it (and Davis will hopefully be platooning with Lind in the DH role).  You'd also like to have another starter in double A or triple A who you would be comfortable turning to in June or July if there are a couple of injuries in the rotation. 

Depth problems are the easiest to fix, but nonetheless are often overlooked.

China fan - Thursday, March 14 2013 @ 10:55 AM EDT (#269187) #
Mike, you raise some legitimate points about depth, but it's also true that the Jays have much more depth than they did a year ago. The pitching depth is much stronger than a year ago -- with Happ as the 6th starter and with multiple options in the bullpen. At catcher, beyond JPA, they have Blanco, Thole and Nickeas. (The 3rd-stringer is Thole, and he'll be fine as the back-up if Blanco goes down.) In the outfield, there is much more flexibility, since Davis is on the bench and Bonifacio can play the outfield. It's increasingly clear that Gose is nearly ready for the majors, and he's just a short drive away in Buffalo. There's also Sierra available in Buffalo.

As for the middle infield: the Jays have reportedly just signed Munenori Kawasaki, a defence/speed guy who played 61 games for Seattle last year. There are also Goins and Zawadzki, plus of course Bonifacio, so I'm not worried about the middle infield.

Arguably the Jays could use another MLB-ready power bat at Buffalo as depth for the corner infield and DH. They might not have enough depth there, especially since Cooper's injury. But there's room for 2 more players on the 40-man roster (once Hutchison is placed on the 60-day DL), so I suspect Anthopoulos will be picking up a power bat from among the final cuts at the end of spring training.

It's also possible that the Jays need another MLB-ready starter, if Romero flames out, since there's not much beyond Happ, and they might need Happ to step into the rotation by May or so.

And it's possible that the bullpen might still need more depth, since Cecil and Jeffress are out of options and the Jays clearly want to keep Loup on the major league team, rather than stashing him in the minors.

But overall, the Jays have far more depth than they did a year ago.
John Northey - Thursday, March 14 2013 @ 11:27 AM EDT (#269188) #
Wow Mike, to list the outfield as not having depth seems to be pushing for a team to have 3 full outfields of ML ready talent, which no team would have.

CA: JPA/Blanco/Thole - 2 who could be starters, 1 who should only be a backup.  Thole most likely will be in AAA to start the year and will yo-yo between AAA and the majors whenever a catcher is hurt.  Also have A.J. Jimenez on the 40 man but he just reached AA last year and will likely spend most of this year there.  Mike Nickeas is likely the next guy up, a defense first guy.  Jack Murphy (AA) and Sean Ochinko (AA) also were NRI's who likely won't get to the majors.  In Thole & Nickeas we have decent backups, but no prospects are likely to get more than a September call up if that.

Middle IF: Reyes/Izturis/Bonifacio/DeRosa - 4 guys on the ML roster who can cover the SS/2B slots and backup 3B when needed.  McCoy, LaRoche, Schimpf, Velez, and Zawadzki have played 2B at least, most some SS last year.  None are 'wow' to put it mildly but can cover backup slots.  Major injury to 2 of the ML'ers would be an issue, but if one goes down then both Izturis and Bonifacio play and a minor leaguer gets to be a backup. 

OF: Cabrera/Rasmus/Bautista are the starters, Davis/Gose/Sierra the first backups (in order).  Bonifacio has played the OF fairly often too.  All but Sierra I feel safe to say would be close enough to ML average (2 WAR if getting 600 PA) at this point and not a total sinkhole.  Gose might actually be better than Rasmus right now.  That is a pretty good situation, that if all 3 went down we'd have 1/2 decent backups ready to step in.  Not as good of course, but if they were as good this team would need a $200+ million payroll.

Backups are not as big a concern imo as in the past.  AA has gone out and signed a LOT of guys to up the quality in Buffalo and to ensure we don't have sub-replacement level guys playing up here (other than Lind vs LHP).  Last year Sierra was -1 bWAR, Thames -0.8, Vizquel -0.4, and sub 0's also included Gomes, Francisco, Torrealba and McCoy.  McCoy I'd rather not see up again, but Sierra might be getting there.  For pitchers we had -1.7 from Romero, -0.9 from Chavez and -0.7 from Cordero plus 12 others who were sub-0 for bWAR.  Ugh.  Fangraphs WAR was a bit nicer with Carreno -0.5 the worst, then 13 more sub 0 (14 total vs 15 bWAR) with Laffey, Drabek, the only ones over 40 IP and Cordero, Jenkins, Lincoln, Carreno and Chavez the others over 10 IP.  Laffey is now a Met, Drabek had Tommy John, Cordero long gone, Jenkins and Carreno are much further down the depth list, Lincoln likely headed to AAA, and Chavez was sold to the A's. 

So of the negatives only Sierra and Lincoln are likely to have much of a role and both are much further down the depth charts than they were last season. 
China fan - Thursday, March 14 2013 @ 11:50 AM EDT (#269189) #
Just reviewing the issue of bullpen depth, and picking up on the latest straws in the wind from spring training, here's the latest likely version of the bullpen on opening day:

Santos
Oliver
Delabar
Rogers
Loup
Cecil
Jeffress

This is based on the latest indications from Florida, including: Janssen likely not being ready for opening day; Jeffress and Loup continuing to look good; Happ continuing to be considered as a starter, rather than a reliever, and the Jays not being ready to give up on Cecil just yet.

So the depth in Buffalo, in case of a bullpen injury, would include Lincoln, Happ, whomever gets sent down when Janssen is ready, and lesser lights such as Jenkins, Beck, Germano, Bush etc.

Of course if Janssen replaces an out-of-options reliever such as Jeffress or Cecil, he can't be sent to Buffalo. But there still seems to be plenty of depth, unless you expect MLB-calibre relievers in the 10th and 11th spots on the depth chart too.
Mike Green - Thursday, March 14 2013 @ 11:50 AM EDT (#269190) #
In the middle infield, the primary problem is the lack of a decent shortstop option if Reyes is out for an extended period.  As for the catching, I guess it depends on the health of Thole and Jimenez.  If both open the season playing and performing OK, the depth there is not so bad. 
Magpie - Thursday, March 14 2013 @ 11:50 AM EDT (#269191) #
He has a career .275 OBP and has to work at being average defensively.

Yup. Think Pat Borders with twice the home runs and half the defense.
ISLAND BOY - Thursday, March 14 2013 @ 11:53 AM EDT (#269192) #
I'd say the main concern for the Jays this year is the performance of players recovering from injury ( Bautista,Lawrie, Jansen, Santos ) ,  lost time due to suspension ( Cabrera ) ,  or below par performance last year ( Rasmus, Lind, Romero ). If at least half  of these players return to their expected form, I think the increased depth and talent on the ball club will insure a good season . Does anyone have an opinion on whether if the U.S. and Dominican teams go far in the WBC ,  if it will have a good or bad effect on the Jays players involved, or any effect ?  I don't mean injuries, just the effect of getting ramped up playing meaningful ( to them ) games vs. the laid back games of spring training before the regular season.
Mike Green - Thursday, March 14 2013 @ 12:07 PM EDT (#269193) #
I missed the Kawasaki signing.  I actually like him quite a bit.   As I said, depth problems are the easiest to fix and the Kawasaki signing would be a good example why.



John Northey - Thursday, March 14 2013 @ 01:00 PM EDT (#269194) #
I remember talk of it, but just found confirmation of Munenori Kawasaki being signed.  The Mariners, for some reason, barely played him last year - just 246 innings in the field and 115 PA total.  Why sign him if that was all the chance you were going to give a guy coming over from Japan?  B-R only has numbers from 2007-2011 for him in Japan - 295/344/377 - nothing wow there but the 147 SB is nice.  Lots of speed, supposed to be great on defense, horrid on offense.  Basically a John McDonald with speed. 
Mike Green - Thursday, March 14 2013 @ 01:32 PM EDT (#269195) #
Right.  I think he might be a little better than Johnny Mac.  Regardless, I am pleased that there is a viable back-up SS option.  I would rather have him on the roster than DaRosa personally, but even if he is in Buffalo to start the season, he will be close at hand should Reyes get injured.
hypobole - Thursday, March 14 2013 @ 01:36 PM EDT (#269196) #
The Mariners, for some reason, barely played him last year

Maybe because a) they had Ryan and Ackley b) Kawasaki can't hit MLB pitching c) he has no power as the 1 extra base hit in 115 PA's will attest and d) despite his "speed" he only stole 2 bases in attempts.
hypobole - Thursday, March 14 2013 @ 01:38 PM EDT (#269197) #
s/b stole 2 bases in 4 attempts
sam - Thursday, March 14 2013 @ 02:08 PM EDT (#269198) #
I would say Arencibia's handling of the pitching staff this year is a major concern.  Handling veteran pitchers is completely different chore and to the trained eye, Arencibia is quite deficient in the qualities veteran starters look for--i.e. calling a game, blocking pitches in crucial situations, subtle receiving techniques.  Catching the knuckleball too is all about prolonged and increased concentration.  Arencibia can be lazy behind the plate--hence the passed balls, the dropping to one knee to catch pitches.  So I worry about him handling Dickey and the pitching staff. 

At this point of the year, you're more looking for the comments players aren't making than the ones they are.  The lack of effusive praise from Buerhle, Johnson, and Dickey on Arencibia is concerning considering the questions people have on Arencibia and his handling of the pitching staff.  The best I've heard from Dickey is Arencibia is getting "better." 

Concerns:
1. Health and production of returning injured players (Bautista, Romero, Janssen, Santos)
2. Backend of bullpen (Santos and Janssen performing under new pressures)
3. Arencibia

Non-Concerns
1. Second base
2. Overall bullpen performance--I have lots of confidence that the bullpen overall will perform. 
3. Team chemistry

Mike Green - Thursday, March 14 2013 @ 02:10 PM EDT (#269199) #
Kawasaki can't hit MLB pitching

The evidence that Kawasaki cannot hit MLB pitching as well or better than Brendan Ryan (say) is pretty thin.  I guess the Mariners (probably correctly) decided that Ryan was the better fielder and that there was no point platooning them. 

Kawasaki has no pop, pretty good speed, decent control of the strike zone, will hit his share of line drives and puts the ball on the ground most of the time.  He had a BABIP of .233 last year in 115 PAs with this profile, and so his line looks horrible.  If he had a more normal .280-.300, his line would have been consistent with a pretty good backup shortstop.
bpoz - Thursday, March 14 2013 @ 03:59 PM EDT (#269200) #
There is the aspect of "career years". I do not know how to do a calculation on this happening BUT 2009 Hill & Lind, 2010 Bautista & Wells? Cecil & Marcum, maybe J Buck, 2011 Romero & Janssen and 2012 EE & Janssen.

IMO it does seem to happen. Also poor performance seems to happen.

If this is consistently happening every year to some degree, is there a way to maximize the good & minimize the bad?
John Northey - Thursday, March 14 2013 @ 04:22 PM EDT (#269201) #
Kawasaki was an odd case last year.  Normally it costs a bit to bring a guy over from Japan so you normally have a plan for him.  I don't call 115 PA over 61 games in a 162 game season a plan.  I mean, Omar Vizquel could barely hit and his fielding was down quite a bit from his gold glove days and he had 163 PA over 60 games in the 'clubhouse extra coach' role. 

Kawasaki should've been sent to AAA to get used to pro ball on this side of the Pacific rather than left on the far, far end of a bench all year imo.  115 PA tells us next to nothing about his hitting, although his Japanese league stats suggest he would be no better than a low to mid-200 hitter in the majors.  If his defense is high end then he can be useful, but he needs a chance to show if he can hit at all first imo and Buffalo seems a good place to see if he can.

China fan - Thursday, March 14 2013 @ 04:38 PM EDT (#269202) #
To be slightly cautious, I should note that the Kawasaki signing is not officially confirmed yet (as far as I can tell). It seems to be coming only from a Japanese sports site, and poorly translated. I'm a little curious about his contract -- would he agree to a minor-league deal? Last season he didn't play a single game in the minors. I'm a little surprised that he would leave his motherland for the likelihood of an entire season in Buffalo....

Looking into Kawasaki's career, I came across an interesting (and irrelevant) bit of trivia: Kawasaki led the entire major leagues last season in spring-training batting average, with a .455 average. It meant nothing in the regular season, of course.
jgadfly - Thursday, March 14 2013 @ 04:41 PM EDT (#269203) #

2013 Bisons TV schedule on TWC 713  ... 

          48 games on Buffalo cable including opening game ... any Toronto access ?

http://www.milb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130306&content_id=42338604&fext=.jsp&vkey=news_t422&sid=t422

John Northey - Thursday, March 14 2013 @ 05:23 PM EDT (#269204) #
Very odd how Seattle worked with Kawasaki isn't it?  The guy did what he could in spring, they had issues in the middle infield (Ryan on May 1st was hitting 131/280/246 and hit 194/277/278 on the season - obviously a poor hitter but still had 470 PA at age 30).  Meanwhile Kawasaki after as good a spring as you could hope for had just 28 PA in April, 14 in May, 23 in June, 17 in July, 25 in August and 8 in September.  Yes, he hit poorly too but only twice all year did he start in 3+ games - games 4-5-6 (2 for 10 with a walk), and games 110-113 (5 for 16 with a walk).  How the heck is he to get a rhythm with that type of playing time?  If the shortstop was a hotshot kid or a decent hitter I'd understand but he wasn't - Ryan is a lifetime 75 OPS+ hitter with 63 SB over 6 seasons, 4 of which he played in over 120 games.

Now, Ryan was at 17.1 UZR/150 and career is 12.2 which is very good, helping him have a FanGraphs value of $7.7 million.  Kawasaki in limited time was listed at 4.6 UZR/150 (32.4 at 2B in very limited time, just 39 2/3 innings) and a value of -$1.2 million but again, with that little playing time it is hard to say what his true value is.  In a lost season with a guy who might be decent you leave him on the bench despite having 5 more full seasons of control (they released him in October).  That just seems dumb to me.  Of course, Seattle right now isn't viewed as the best run club anyways (3 years sub-500, not in playoffs since 2001 when Pat Gillick ran them with John Olerud, Ed Sprague, Pat Borders  on the team ... hmm, the same as here.  The Orioles before 2012 last reached the playoffs with Gillick and Alomar just like the 93 Jays (add in Jimmy Key for a '92 connection).  In short, when Gillick leaves things can fall apart quick.  Philly has done better but slowly fell apart, from WS champs (no '93 Jay connections) to losing in the WS, to losing in the NLCS, to losing in the division series, to missing the playoffs to whatever they do this year (sub 500 I'm expecting).

Ryan C - Thursday, March 14 2013 @ 07:00 PM EDT (#269205) #
Heard a bit of AA on the FAN590 this afternoon.  He said that when it comes to bullpen spots, the guys who pitched well for them last year are very likely to make the team.  Delabar and Loup specifically were mentioned in this category.   They want to take the best team north and guys being out of options only really matters if there's a "tie".

Janssen will be the closer if he's healthy due to his performance last year and right now he expects both him and Santos to be healthy for opening day.  Happ is slated to start in Buffalo until a spot opens in the rotation. 

AA was very high on McGowan.  He is ready but needs to be stretched out and will probably start the season on the DL so that they can send him to the minors for a 30 day recovery stint.  Said he has the best stuff in the organization and if he's healthy, which he appears to be right now, it sounds like they are planning for him to be the long man in the bullpen or even in the rotation at the end of that 30 days.  The full 30 min interview is up right now on the website.

Magpie - Thursday, March 14 2013 @ 07:15 PM EDT (#269206) #
In short, when Gillick leaves things can fall apart quick.

Gillick changed. After all those early years here gathering prospects (eventually earning the "Stand Pat" nickname), he changed his approach completely around 1989-90. From that time forward, his method - in Toronto, Baltimore, Seattle, and Philadelphia - was always the same: take an established contender and try to put it over the top with trades and free agents. The type of players you bring in pursuing that approach tend to be older, and you tend to give up young players who haven't established themselves in the process. He got the big pay-off here and in Philadelphia, and he came close in Baltimore and Seattle. But there's always a reckoning.
John Northey - Thursday, March 14 2013 @ 08:40 PM EDT (#269207) #
Very true Magpie.  I remember the pain of 85-89 with the team barely changing it seemed.  Alexander traded when he seemed washed up, same for Garcia, Whitt, Upshaw (way past his best before date), Moseby and Barfield.  Whats funny is Barfield actually was a well above average player still at the end here (4.4 WAR is his 'down' 1987 and 2.7 in his 'disaster' 1988 before 0.2 in his brief time here in 1989 thanks to amazing defense, ability to take a walk, and raw power - things that were often overlooked in the 80's) but most wanted him gone badly - he did bring in Al Leiter and that was viewed as the start of the Trader Pat era.  From 1989 to 1990 we saw changes in CA, 2B, 3B, CF, RF, and DH.  From 1990 to 1991 we saw changes at 1B, 2B, SS, LF, CF, RF, and DH.  From 1991 to 1992 we saw changes at CA, LF, RF, and DH.  From 92 to 93 1B (injury reasons), 3B, SS, RF, DH.  That's a lot of changes year to year for a team that made the playoffs in 4 of those 5 years (89-93).  Remember, this was pre-wild card so there was just one playoff slot available for the Jays against the Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers, Orioles, Brewers and Cleveland.

Ah memories.  But boy did Gillick shift things constantly once he got it into his head to do it.  85-86 saw 3 changes (2 due to platoons that were the same both years), 86-87 saw 2 changes, 87-88 saw 5 but a few were due to the silly Campusano CF Bell DH mess - shift guys back to where they'd be for the year and you get just 3 changes (one was from DH to 1B), then 88-89 saw just one new player (Lee vs Campusano) while everyone else was pretty much shifting back where they should be (4 changes otherwise).  Net of 14 changes over 4 off-seasons or 3.5 per year (2.25 if you discount the Campusano mess).  89-90 to 92-93 saw 21 over 4 years (22 if you count Martinez over Olerud in 93) or 5.25 (5.5 with Martinez/Olerud) per year - 2 to 3 more changes per year than before (depending on Campusano counting).  That seems significant to me.

92-93 - Thursday, March 14 2013 @ 08:50 PM EDT (#269208) #
Jerry Howarth seems convinced Happ is going to make the team out of the bullpen. Those might be the vibes he gets from talking to Gibbons.
John Northey - Thursday, March 14 2013 @ 09:06 PM EDT (#269209) #
Interesting note: Barfield in 1990 was worth 5.0 WAR vs Junior Felix's 1.7.  That 3.3 WAR was more than the 2 games the Jays finished behind Boston.  Of course, that was when Oakland was a steroid powered juggernaut in the AL West (Canseco, McGwire) so it might have been like 1989's quick exit.
grjas - Thursday, March 14 2013 @ 09:58 PM EDT (#269210) #
Lord, don't mention the A's and the Jays of that period. Reminds me of Costas' comment "Elvis has a better chance of coming back than the Blue Jays". Bobby ended up with police protection while in Toronto.

Course there was good passion for the Jays back then...hopefully it's returning.

TJ Caino - Friday, March 15 2013 @ 12:21 AM EDT (#269211) #
Bautista, Cabrera, Rasmus, Gose, Davis, Bonifacio and Sierra.

Seems like a passable top 7.
MatO - Friday, March 15 2013 @ 09:30 AM EDT (#269212) #
Saw the first 3 innings of last night's USA-DR game and I didn't notice JPA having much trouble catching Dickey's knuckler.  Dickey was throwing 74-78 with the the knuckler and I didn't see any of the more traditional ones under 70.  He has an excellent pick-off move which explains why he dosn't get run on much.
Mike Green - Friday, March 15 2013 @ 10:35 AM EDT (#269213) #
A Kawasaki signing helps depth in both the middle infield and in the outfield (as Bonifacio can then be seen more readily as a long-term backup in both places). 

As it was, I imagined a situation where Reyes and Cabrera (say) were out for 6 weeks at the same time.  Your infield becomes Lawrie, Izturis, Bonifacio and Encarnacion.  Let's say they call up Gose.  You have Gose, Rasmus and Bautista in the outfield with Lind perhaps being given everyday DH duties so that Davis can be the 4th outfielder and fill in for Gose against LHP. It's not pretty.

JohnL - Friday, March 15 2013 @ 02:00 PM EDT (#269214) #

89-90 to 92-93 saw 21 over 4 years

Just look at the turnover from 1992 to 1993 alone. I once compared their two World Series rosters, and there were 12 or 13 (don't remember) changes between the two, including
- 3 of 4 starters
- the closer
- 4 of 9 everyday players

I wonder what other team in a North American major league sport has won two consecutive championships with such a big turnover.

Admittedly, 3 of those 4 everday guys (Lee, Maldonado, Gruber) weren't key.

John Northey - Friday, March 15 2013 @ 05:10 PM EDT (#269215) #
Who was lost 92 to 93? bWAR to make for easy totaling...
Winfield: 3.8
Key: 3.6
Lee: 3.0
Maldonado: 2.2
Cone: 1.6
Henke: 1.2
Kent: 1.1 (traded in 92 season for Cone)
Gruber: -0.2
Stieb: -0.4
Wells: -2.0

There were others, but those were the key guys I think who were lost.  Some less important than others of course.  Total WAR:16.5 from positive guys, factoring in negative guys you go down to 13.9.  Think about that - they lost players worth 13.9 wins from one year to the next (factoring in Cone & Kent both).

The next year Morris took over Wells role (-1.7 WAR) but Hentgen shifted from -0.3 to 3.1 WAR.  Stewart was a 1.3, Cox 1.2 out of the pen.  But offense really added - Molitor 5.5, Fernandez 2.8, Sprague 1.1, Henderson 0.4, Schofield 0.3, heck even Rob Butler was 0.7 to the good.  Mix in guys like Olerud jumping (7.4 from 2.8) and you can see how they recovered quickly.  Newbies listed adding 16.4 (factoring in Hentgen and Sprague as Hentgen had just 50 mop up innings in 92 vs near ace in 93, Sprague just 50 PA in 92 vs everyday in 93)

Yeah, I'd say Gillick was quite good at his job back then.

Richard S.S. - Friday, March 15 2013 @ 10:33 PM EDT (#269216) #
If I was Pat Gillick, I would have kept (in order of importance) Cone, Henke and Key.   But there's only one problem with that.   Does it changed what happens in '93? 
John Northey - Saturday, March 16 2013 @ 01:33 AM EDT (#269217) #
I remember at the time it was never viewed as the Jays having a shot at keeping Cone - he seemed to want to go back to the US and his home (KC) or NY seemed the likely places.  Henke was viewed as near the end by many, which sure seems strange in retrospect, but Ward was ready to be 'the man'.  Key... I never did get the whole 'must not give a 4th year' thing when he was so much stronger a pitcher at that time than the guy they replaced him with (Stewart) but we all knew it was the end during the World Series and it was nice that Key got to leave here a winner.

Basically if Cone or Key was resigned then Stewart would not have been I suspect.  During the regular season that would've been a plus, but in the ALCS Stewart pitching fantastic - winning both his starts with a 2.03 ERA.  The first game was won 3-1 so there wasn't much margin of error there.  His second was a 6-3 game so Cone or Key probably would've been fine, thus the risk would've been losing that first start and forcing a game 7 in the ALCS that year due to that.   In the World Series he sucked his first start (5 runs in 6 innings in a 6-4 loss) and wasn't good his second (4 runs in 6 innings in game 6 - won by Carter's home run as we all know). Cone or Key might have won that first game or done better in the 2nd thus removing the need for Carter's big home run. 

One wonders if having Cone, Key and/or Henke might have helped the 94, 95, 96 teams but odds are nothing could've helped those messes (and who cares about 94 anyways ... well, outside of Expos fans) get to the playoffs.  The big 'what if' to me is Alomar in 1995 - iirc Ash has said he had a chance to sign him before that season started but felt prices for free agents would go down after the agreement was made, which was foolish of course.  Someone signed a big deal (forget who) shortly after the strike then during the season issues came up and Alomar left in the end.  He would've helped a LOT in 1997/98 (any deal would've covered those years) and might have saved Ash's job for awhile (at least until he collapsed in the early 00's).

bpoz - Saturday, March 16 2013 @ 11:21 AM EDT (#269219) #
In 1993 the Jays won 95 gms. A comfortable spread over the 2nd place NYY at 88. The offense was stacked compared to an offense made great by an incredible duo. Eg Manny & D Ortiz. Stacked is more than 2, lets say 5-7. The NYY have usually been stacked over the last 20 years which has been a big help to them having the best regular season record over that period of time.

I believe :-

1) An Ace can handle any lineup.
2) A stacked lineup will murder not so good SPs like a lot of teams #3 and lower SPs and can destroy a pen. TB pitching vs NYY hitting would be interesting. So the stacked lineup will win a lot of games because they will face pitching that they can destroy most nights in the regular season.

I would like to see AA do something like this for our offense. I do not think that we can afford the great duo. Cabrera & Fielder is expensive. Bautista & EE can produce the same if healthy maybe. They are definitely affordable.

John Northey - Saturday, March 16 2013 @ 01:29 PM EDT (#269223) #
I think you just explained why AA locked up EE and JB early bpoz.  As soon as he felt they'd keep pounding the ball he signed them long term for a lot less than they'd get now I suspect.  Its why he chased Lawrie (potential is up there) and keeps a team of scouts looking for the next EE or JB.  Both were freely available (for all intents and purposes) when the Jays grabbed them, just like Ortiz was once.  If I had the time and resources I'd dig into both and see if there were any signs pre-Jays days statistically that could be used as indicators for others, mixing in Ortiz and any others who had sudden jumps in performance.  If you can determine an indicator of a guy who is likely to shift from 'so what' to 'superstar' then you could win a heck of a lot of games cheaply.
Richard S.S. - Saturday, March 16 2013 @ 02:01 PM EDT (#269224) #

I would like to see AA do something like this for our offense.

I would match Jose Reyes (Sw), Melky Cabrera (Sw), Jose Bautista (R) and Edwin Encarnacion (R) against any Top 4 presently playing.   Logic suggested a Switch-hitter or Left-hand Bat to follow next.  

Left-hand Bats: Adam Lind, Colby Rasmus.     Switch-hitters: Macier Izturis, Emilio Bonifacio.     Right-hand Bats: Brett Lawrie, J.P. Arencibia.     Colby Rasmus and Brett Lawrie spent time last year as #1 or #2 in the Batting Order, so they should be effective in the 5-9 spots in the Batting Order.   A struggling and hurt Adam Lind batted 5th.   Presently he's playing very well - healthier than he usually is and performing better than he usually does in Spring thus far.   I can see Adam Lind (L), Brett Lawrie (R), Colby Rasmus (L), J.P. Arrencibia (R) and Macier Izturis (Sw) as one of our best 5-9 Batting Orders lately.   They just need to be average or better and they will surprise many.   Many Starters, perhaps all, will have trouble with our Batting Order.   It will not matter how many games are won this year, just as long as it's more than the opponents.     

greenfrog - Saturday, March 16 2013 @ 05:08 PM EDT (#269225) #
One of the pleasures of watching the US-Puerto Rico game last night (an outstanding ballgame, for those who missed it) was being able to observe Molina and Mauer behind the plate in the same game. Among other fine plays, Molina beautifully framed a low-and-away slider to Adam Jones that was called strike three (instead of ball four) and gunned down Jimmy Rollins at second (beating the runner by inches with a perfect throw). I have no doubt that Molina also played a role in coaxing an outstanding pitching performance from the modestly-talented Puerto Rican pitching staff, Figueroa in particular.

For my money, Molina is pretty much the best receiver in baseball. I hope Arencibia was paying attention.
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