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The local nine are off to Tampa Bay, and does everyone else remember those heady days in June when the Jays had drawn even with Tampa Bay and were just five games off the division lead? Also known as "The Kawasaki Era?" Or maybe you blinked and missed it.

Anyway, it's R.A. Dickey (9-11, 4.46) vs Jeremy Hellickson (10-6, 4.93) in tonight's opener. Dickey's coming off three solid starts in a row and is 2-1, 2.48 in 4 starts against the Devil Fishies this year, including a two-hit shutout on his last appearance at the Trop. Hellickson's lost his last three starts, but he's 2-0, 2.52 in four starts against the Jays this year.

Tomorrow night it'll be J.A. Happ (2-2, 5.11) against the artist formerly known as Fausto Carmona but who is now just another Roberto Hernandez (6-12, 4.95). Happ has faced the Rays once this year, and was knocked out - literally - in the second inning. Hernandez has pitched well in both starts against Toronto (0-1, 2.57), but lack of support has been the story of his season.

In Sunday afternoon's finale, Todd Redmond (1-1, 3.62) matches up with Chris Archer (6-5, 3.10). Archer out-pitched Dickey to win his earlier start against the Jays less than a month ago. Redmond has never faced the Rays.

Munenori Kawasaki won't be around this weekend - he's on paternity leave, which clears a spot for J.A. Happ, returning from bereavement leave. But a little Moonie is coming into the world!
Game Thread - A Weekend in Florida | 72 comments | Create New Account
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greenfrog - Friday, August 16 2013 @ 07:05 PM EDT (#278142) #
TB's career line against Dickey at the Trop:

136 PA, 22 hits (6 doubles, 1 triple, 1 HR), 11 BB, 31 K / total: 177/244/266
Magpie - Friday, August 16 2013 @ 07:48 PM EDT (#278143) #
A very good piece here by Rob Bradford, talking with John Farrell about all that goes into Running the Bullpen. Recommended.
greenfrog - Friday, August 16 2013 @ 07:56 PM EDT (#278144) #
After the Rays signed Yunel I wondered whether he might actually surpass Reyes in WAR this year. Here are the results to date:

Escobar (111 games): fWAR 3.1, bWAR 2.6

Reyes (55 games): fWAR 1.3, bWAR 1.3

One hopes that a healthy Reyes will be somewhat better in 2014, but defence matters...
uglyone - Friday, August 16 2013 @ 10:00 PM EDT (#278146) #
I love loup.
uglyone - Friday, August 16 2013 @ 10:07 PM EDT (#278147) #
greenfrog - the WAR comp only works if you believe that suddenly Escobar has become a super elite defensive SS for the first time in his career.

UZR/150, career:

2007: 1.7
2008: 3.5
2009: 1.6
2010: 4.0
2011: 0.6
2012: 5.0
2013: 15.1

That's most likely an outlier - plug in his career average uzr/150 into the war calculation and he's nowhere near as valuable.

IMO what we're seeing here is the Maddon effect - Maddon and his coaches are geniuses at defensive positioning. they make decent defenders like Yunel Escobar and Corey Crawford look like super elite defenders.
Richard S.S. - Friday, August 16 2013 @ 10:18 PM EDT (#278148) #
Jose Reyes is a better defender when healthy. If, at the same time, he's got Brett Lawrie as his third baseman he becomes a just average S.S. (barely). If I had the chance of reacquiring both shortstops we traded away for $1.00, I'd keep the money.
BlueJayWay - Friday, August 16 2013 @ 10:35 PM EDT (#278149) #
I remember, three years ago, thinking how ridiculous it was how the Jays hadn't won a series in Tampa since April 2007.
greenfrog - Friday, August 16 2013 @ 10:41 PM EDT (#278150) #
uglyone, fangraphs' Fld stat indicates a significant leap ahead for Escobar this year (perhaps reflecting the phenomenon you describe, although that's a very large gain to attribute to managerial genius at positioning)

BRef, on the other hand, has Escobar's dWAR at 1.4 (so far) this year, actually behind his 2.3 dWAR last year. His offence has improved, however (1.9 WAR so far versus 1.2 last year), resulting in a better overall bWAR this year (prorated).

Big picture, both systems like Escobar on defense. Neither likes Reyes's defensive performance, especially in recent seasons. Subjectively, Reyes's mobility seems to be hampered by his ankle. It remains to be seen whether he recovers to 100% by next year - that was a nasty-looking injury and a prolonged recovery.

It's interesting that Friedman, one of the best GMs in the game, has stacked the Rays with very good defensive players, including Longo/Yunel/Zobrist/Loney in the infield. Strong pitching and good two-way position players is a pretty good formula for winning ballgames.

Based on his performance to date, fangraphs has Escobar's 2013 value at $15.7M.
Richard S.S. - Friday, August 16 2013 @ 10:41 PM EDT (#278151) #
I'll look this up if I can, much later this month, but how many times have the Jays scored 4 runs or more and lost. Then look at how many times the Starter gave up 3 or more runs in an inning or 4 or more total in a game.
James W - Friday, August 16 2013 @ 10:57 PM EDT (#278152) #
Tonight was the 27th loss when scoring 4 runs or more.

I can't decipher the second sentence, but if you mean what I think you mean: To lose when scoring 4 or more, you must allow 5 or more. Chances are the starters gives up the majority of those runs.
smcs - Saturday, August 17 2013 @ 02:27 AM EDT (#278153) #
It's interesting that Friedman, one of the best GMs in the game, has stacked the Rays with very good defensive players, including Longo/Yunel/Zobrist/Loney in the infield. Strong pitching and good two-way position players is a pretty good formula for winning ballgames.

Also, they have embraced defensive shifts more than any other team. I think this kind of messes with UZR because the positioning of the players is so different that they can't generate a lot of non-Rays data. I know last year, Lawrie was grading out as the greatest defensive 3rd baseman ever because he was making so many plays in short right field. Eventually, Fangraphs changed how they collected their data to exclude any play that involved a gigantic shift. However, I'm not sure how the data handles more subtle shifts, like Escobar playing halfway between 2B and 3B when Encarnacion is up.
scottt - Saturday, August 17 2013 @ 06:06 AM EDT (#278154) #
I'd be curious to see the various defense ratings broken down for each starting pitchers. In theory a shortstop defense is the same regardless of who is pitching. In practice?
Magpie - Saturday, August 17 2013 @ 08:43 AM EDT (#278155) #
In theory a shortstop defense is the same regardless of who is pitching. In practice?

One wouldn't expect it to be. Two obvious reasons for this, although one of them may be highly anecdotal. One would expect someone like Mark Buehrle, who works as quickly as anyone in the game, to have more alert defenders behind him than someone like Jason Frasor (who tries to hold on to the ball until the hitter loses interest.)

The other factor, which I believe is much more significant, is all about how much an infielder trusts his pitcher to make a pitch. When Cliff Lee is planning to throw a fastball away to RH batter, Chase Utley can trust that Lee will execute that pitch, and start cheating to his left. But he can't feel nearly as confident about some of the other pitchers he's playing behind.
greenfrog - Saturday, August 17 2013 @ 09:47 AM EDT (#278156) #
I imagine having Lawrie to his right helps mitigate Reyes's defensive shortcomings to some extent. But I don't think it's as significant a factor as some like to think. Shortstop is a 360-degree position requiring a range of skills. At the major-league level, relying on a good defensive third baseman to prop up your shortstop defensively seems to be asking for trouble. Plus, so far in his career Lawrie has been prone to injury. What happens when he's unavailable? Then you have DeRosa, Izturis or Encarnacion covering for Reyes.

In any event, the Rays have done the Jays one better, by having both a good defensive third baseman and a good defensive shortstop (and a respectable right side of the infield to boot).
ogator - Saturday, August 17 2013 @ 09:55 AM EDT (#278157) #
Much has been made of the weakness in the Blue Jays starting pitching and much has been made of Arencibia's weakness as a catcher. Reyes lacks range because of his injury and 2B have been very weak defensively. Maybe more emphasis needs to be placed on the departure of Lovullo and more importantly, Butterfield. All of that defensive shifting in Tampa probably does help but it is very hard to measure to what extent coaches play in improved defence. Maybe incremental improvements in defense at shortstop, 2B, catcher and coaching might result in significant improvements in starting pitching.
Wildrose - Saturday, August 17 2013 @ 10:56 AM EDT (#278158) #
Teams are certainly shifting more;

 ( from BIS - http://www.actasports.com/stats_detail
/?StatId=374)

Shifts have increased from 2465 in 2010 to a projected 7586 this year.

"These teams shift the most;

Team Number of Shifts Shift Runs Saved Orioles 344 10 Pirates 335 7 Yankees 302 0 Rays 299 9 Red Sox 291 8

Overall, BIS estimates that teams have saved themselves 89 runs by using The Shift this season."

Toronto is not amongst the leaders, nor are they at the bottom. They are not ranked in this story. How much to poach Butter back from Boston? Would it upset the apple cart too much?


 



















 




greenfrog - Saturday, August 17 2013 @ 11:22 AM EDT (#278159) #
I think the Red Sox would agree that most things taste better in poached Butter.
Magpie - Saturday, August 17 2013 @ 01:40 PM EDT (#278163) #
I imagine having Lawrie to his right helps mitigate Reyes's defensive shortcomings to some extent.

Graig Nettles believed that he helped Bucky Dent - not because he, Nettles, made more plays at 3b than just about any third baseman who ever lived. But because Nettles believed in playing further away from the 3b line than anybody else. Which in turn allowed Dent to play further up the middle, "which is where most balls get hit."
Thomas - Saturday, August 17 2013 @ 03:44 PM EDT (#278165) #
Left-handed batters have hit Hernandez better than right-handed batters by 125 points over the course of his career. I'm guessing Pillar gets a rest today and Kawasaki will return to the lineup.
Thomas - Saturday, August 17 2013 @ 03:57 PM EDT (#278168) #
Nevermind, Kawasaki's on paternity leave.
92-93 - Saturday, August 17 2013 @ 05:13 PM EDT (#278169) #
So now I see Jose Reyes got injured by trying to compensate for a different injury while playing through it. This team's training staff is horrendous.
greenfrog - Saturday, August 17 2013 @ 06:26 PM EDT (#278170) #
Right now the Jays have the eleventh-worst record in baseball, but are only three games back of the fourth-worst team (and a #4 draft pick next year). I feel conflicted. Truth be told, I'm not a big fan of the 2013 Jays. I don't particularly care for its brand of baseball, which is good enough to win some games but not good enough to be really good. I also don't care about meaningless wins. A high draft pick to go along with the #11 selection (compensation for the non-signing of Bickford) would be nice. On the other hand, losing is depleting and numbing, just as it was last summer.

My compromise? I hope the players who are going to be here in 2014 stay healthy and play well. I hope those with nagging injuries (like Reyes) get properly rehabbed. I hope the team starts to figure out how to play well consistently together. *And* I hope that they finish with one of the nine worst records in baseball.

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, I guess...or so I tell myself.
Gerry - Saturday, August 17 2013 @ 06:50 PM EDT (#278171) #
I know JA Happ is returning to where he was hit on the head but I was just watching Connected on Sportsnet. In the first 7 minutes of the show they showed Happ getting hit 4 times, Alex Cobb getting hit once, and Happ with his neck in a brace and being carted off the field twice.

Enough already.
Dewey - Saturday, August 17 2013 @ 07:36 PM EDT (#278172) #

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, I guess...or so I tell myself.


Well done, greenfrog.  Emersonís maxim is misquoted far more often than not. 
Richard S.S. - Saturday, August 17 2013 @ 08:24 PM EDT (#278173) #
As it's possible we've not seen Reyes totally healthy (I have my doubts about early April) so any opinion of Reyes' defensive abilities should be tempered by that possibility. Reyes' range may not be big (being charitable) but anything beyond his abilities to his right would never get to him before Lawrie scoups it up.

To make my second sentence in my prior post intelligible, I'll make it simpler. Starter who gives up three or more runs in one inning is a BAD Starter. Starter who gives up four or more runs in a game is a BAD Starter.

Relievers will average around about approximately in the neighbourhood of close to .5 runs per game. Good Starting pitching should do their bit with 2.5 runs per game. If being really good means a run less, then being bad should be a run more. Average pitching would put the team well into contention. Unfortunately the Starting Staff haven't even been mediocre.
Magpie - Saturday, August 17 2013 @ 08:29 PM EDT (#278174) #
Starter who gives up three or more runs in one inning is a BAD Starter.

Seeing as how his ERA would be 27.00, that seems pretty non-controversial. Don't get dizzy out there on that limb.
Magpie - Saturday, August 17 2013 @ 08:49 PM EDT (#278175) #
Dodgers are up 2-0 in Philadelphia, with Kershaw pitching. Have to like their chances to pull this one out, and that would mean they've won 42 of 50 since June 22. Seriously, 42-8? And Matt Kemp is finally starting to heat up?
greenfrog - Saturday, August 17 2013 @ 08:55 PM EDT (#278176) #
Here's a question: Does a team need an identity? I mean, we have a pretty good idea what the Rays' identity is. Strong starting pitching, solid defense, versatile position players, extensive preparation, sound player development, good execution, disciplined team play, advanced use of defensive shifts / platoons / splits, rigorous financial discipline, etc.

Do the Jays have an identity? The main things I can think of in recent years are: good track record of developing pitchers (although there have been some injury and performance issues in the last couple of years), reliance on the long ball (via home run cuts), rolling the dice on high-ceiling players (Escobar, Rasmus, Morrow, Jeffress, etc.), and hitting excellence from Bautista and Encarnacion. I don't really see any of the Rays' hallmarks as applying to the Jays.

I wonder whether it would make sense for the Jays to decide what kind of team they want to be, or whether this is even possible. Did the Rays make a conscious decision to create a certain type of team, or was it largely happenstance (i.e., flowing from a lucky bounty of starting pitching)?
Magpie - Saturday, August 17 2013 @ 09:10 PM EDT (#278177) #
there have been some injury and performance issues

Some? OK, but in the same way that there's some bloodshed in your average Tarantino movie.

Regarding the question of team identity - I think it just happens. Winning teams make their identity. As for teams that have success focusing on building in a certain way, specifically targeting certain types of players - you will almost always find that they are responding to one of two forces: 1) the demands of their home park, or 2) the nature of their budget. I don't know where the Jays fit in - their two best players, the two guys who best define their team, are a couple of RH sluggers that they got very lucky with after picking them up off the scrap heap.

Good Starting pitching should do their bit with 2.5 runs per game.

You do realize that definition of "good starting pitching" translates as "better than Verlander?"
ISLAND BOY - Saturday, August 17 2013 @ 09:11 PM EDT (#278178) #
Travis D'Arnaud has been called up by the Mets. It will be interesting ( and maybe painful for Jays fans ) to see how he does.
greenfrog - Saturday, August 17 2013 @ 09:45 PM EDT (#278179) #
It's conceivable that AA's tenure through 2013 will be viewed as having been very solid, except for:

(a) Deck McGuire

(b) not bidding aggressively for Darvish (and, to a lesser extent, other "free" (no draft compensation; no spending cap) IFAs like Soler, Cespedes and Puig)

(c) trading Syndergaard, d'Arnaud and Becerra for Dickey

Three failures that, in combination, debilitated the franchise, or prudent decisions / minor missed opportunities? Time will tell.
greenfrog - Saturday, August 17 2013 @ 10:43 PM EDT (#278180) #
Not sure why almost 20% of Lind's PAs this year have come against LHP. In what must come as shocking news to Gibbons and Anthopoulos, Lind has roughly a 900 OPS against righties in 2013, and a 550 OPS against lefties.

Same story every year. Lind gets hot, and the manager just has to find out whether this is the year the magic might continue against LHP.
92-93 - Saturday, August 17 2013 @ 11:25 PM EDT (#278181) #
That's the dilemma for me when considering whether the team should pick up Lind's option for 2014. On the one hand there's a 2m buyout and he's well worth the additional 5m as a DH vs. RHP, but on the other hand having him around seems to inevitably lead to a refusal to shield him from LHP and also limits the club's defensive flexibility. It would be nice to see him used correctly but I'm leaning towards wanting to see him let go so the team can pick up a different left-handed bat, one that is even more obviously a platoon candidate and a clearly superior defender than Encarnacion at first.
John Northey - Sunday, August 18 2013 @ 12:05 AM EDT (#278182) #
What is saddest is that the Jays have an ideal platoon partner for Lind in Davis. Could put Davis in RF and let Bautista DH sometimes. Davis has issues vs RHP while Lind has issues vs LHP. That is the type of thing that can be annoying.
mathesond - Sunday, August 18 2013 @ 01:12 AM EDT (#278183) #
It's conceivable that AA's tenure through 2013 will be viewed as having been very solid, except for:

(a) Deck McGuire

(b) not bidding aggressively for Darvish (and, to a lesser extent, other "free" (no draft compensation; no spending cap) IFAs like Soler, Cespedes and Puig)

(c) trading Syndergaard, d'Arnaud and Becerra for Dickey


I can almost hear Marge Schott now..."AA had some good ideas in the beginning, but in the end he didn't go far enough"
scottt - Sunday, August 18 2013 @ 07:17 AM EDT (#278184) #
I don't see Darvish as an issue. The issue I see is not signing free agents and instead trading a bunch of prospects for players that were signed as free agents. Doing that when you have a protected draft pick boggles my mind.

It's as if nobody wanted to play for Toronto. Well, maybe that explain why they can't sign their draft picks either.
pooks137 - Sunday, August 18 2013 @ 07:50 AM EDT (#278185) #
Losing breeds so much negativity...sigh

Losing also seems to change make hindsight seem so much more obvious.

I would assume that AA choose to acquire Reyes, Buehrle, Bonifacio, Buck and Johnson based on:

1) an unexpected, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (Miami firesale) and likely a limited window, possibly only days, to say yea/nay
2) certainty - both in that the assets he was acquiring were available immediately for a certain price and that the ongoing financial costs of the assets were known and fixed.

It's easy to say "acquiring free agents doesn't cost you prospects", which is true. But it comes with lots of other costs, namely opportunity costs, unknown and sometimes uncontrollable/undesirable financial costs/terms and possibly most importantly, free agents decide whom to sign with on their own timetable, which can be quite unpalatable when you are working on your own team's timetable with lots of balls up in the air.

The danger of the free agent market is always that you don't get the final say, and can be left with nothing since the decision is not ultimately yours. Or I suppose get what you want for prices that you were not really willing to pay.

How much time/resources/money/other opportunities would it have cost the team to acquire players of similar calibre - at the time (whom also need to be freely available either by trade or free agency) all individually? Certainly a lot more than pulling the trigger on one trade.

There's no doubt that the results have fallen flat on their face but this does not necessarily mean that the original process/reasoning was not sound or rationale.

I suppose more qualms could be made with the Dickey trade, but once the Marlins trade was made, I guess you are "in for a dime, in for a dollar". The pitching staff at the time was deemed to be not quite good enough to contend without Dickey, and that assumption has certainly been proven correct, lol.

It certainly is painful to watch Mets fans and prospect watchers swoon over D'Arnaud and Syndergaard (and TDA would have likely eventually been a nice long-term replacement for JPA), but neither those two prospects, nor the prospects/players dealt in the Marlins deal were going to make any significant contributions great enough to get this team into the playoffs in the next two years, which was kind of the point.

Didn't work out, but I think I can appreciate the thought process. One of the risks of "going for it", is not getting it. But I appreciate the attempt.
dawgatc - Sunday, August 18 2013 @ 08:11 AM EDT (#278186) #
The deals didn,t work out.So it goes.What bothers me is that they seem to have no plan at this stage.A host of good Cuban prospects have signed with other teams.We lead the league in unsigned draft picks.We have lots of scouts but few results.No presence in Japan,Korea etc..AA says this team was built to contend for the next 3 years.ummmmmm I don,t think so.
greenfrog - Sunday, August 18 2013 @ 08:24 AM EDT (#278187) #
I supported the Miami and Mets deals (I did not expect Arencibia to be this bad in 2013). I still think the Miami trade was a good one. The Dickey trade seems to be tilting in the Mets' favour, in part because the Jays have been so disappointing, but it's too early to assess it definitively.

I did, however, lobby hard for Darvish and Soler. I never understood the Jays' decision to look those gift horses in the mouth. The teams that went hard after the leading IFAs are benefitting greatly from doing so.
pooks137 - Sunday, August 18 2013 @ 08:41 AM EDT (#278188) #
Re: IFAs - Maybe AA got sheepish after signing Hechavarria? That one didn't turn out too well. I'm glad Hechavarria got included in the Marlins trade so that the signing is now an afterthought. Depends how much you value defense, but that signing has to be considered a bust.

I don't mean to just direct this at you greenfrog, I'm being more rhetorical, but I'm so puzzled how people can blame AA for "missing out" on IFAs. Once again, these players are up for auction, with untested skills sets, open to all 30 teams for bidding with the highest bids often being astounding, almost similar to proven MLB free agents.

There have certainly been some sucesses - Puig, Darvish - but most of these IFAs are wildcards that you are playing MLB-regular salary/fees to acquire. I see it more like a high-stakes gambling with hefty minimums. At this point, I'm happy that the Jays have invested resources in more conventional means, though once again, results this year haven't been great.
greenfrog - Sunday, August 18 2013 @ 09:19 AM EDT (#278189) #
There was risk involved with the IFAs, to be sure, but that's why you have scouts.

As for the requisite outlays, it's part of the business. The five teams that chased down the best of the "open market" IFAs (Chapman, Cespedes, Darvish, Soler and Puig) are all in playoff contention or (in the Cubs' case) moving aggressively to get their house in order. They're receiving good value from these players without paying Greinke- or Fielder-type rates.

There were a number of other advantages to bidding on these players. First, consider how young they are. Unlike most pricey free agents (a large percentage of whom are busts, in any case), the signing teams have them for their prime years. Second, the acquiring teams didn't have to forego any draft picks. Third, they didn't have to give up any high-value prospects. The last two points were and are critical under the new CBA, which circumscribed several of AA's chosen means of adding talent: extra draft picks for Type A/B free agents; extra spending on lower-round picks; and spending on conventional IFAs (like Osuna).
Wildrose - Sunday, August 18 2013 @ 11:20 AM EDT (#278190) #
I did, however, lobby hard for Darvish and Soler. I never understood the Jays' decision to look those gift horses in the mouth. The teams that went hard after the leading IFAs are benefitting greatly from doing so.

I wonder if AA had the financial clout to pull this off though? Darvish and Soler where available during the winter of " payroll parameters " , as expressed by Beeston. I'm not really sure Rogers at that point was willing to spend money as they are now. That would be the one question I would like to ask AA if I ever had a private moment with him. Did you have the financial resources to go get these guys?
greenfrog - Sunday, August 18 2013 @ 12:13 PM EDT (#278192) #
Agreed - but if AA didn't have the financial resources to go after these players, the question is, why not? Texas ended up winning the bidding for Darvish, they're currently in first place (following three seasons of on-field success), and they have a lower payroll than that of the Jays. Oakland finished first last year with Cespedes and competing for the wild card this year.

If the Jays had wanted to contend from 2012-16, the then 25-year-old Darvish (now roughly a top-ten AL starter) was the perfect acquisition. No trading the farm for some other team's starting pitcher. No relinquishing of draft picks. No opt-out clause (a la Greinke). They didn't even need to persuade him to choose Toronto. They just had to submit the highest posting fee.

Alternatively, if the Jays' scouts didn't think Darvish was good enough, but liked JJ and Buehrle instead, the team has another problem altogether.
hypobole - Sunday, August 18 2013 @ 12:23 PM EDT (#278193) #
"There was risk involved with the IFAs, to be sure, but that's why you have scouts."

Except we don't know what the Jays' scouts' evaluations were on any of the IFA's mentioned. In the case of Puig, there was a lot of chatter that the Dodgers vastly overpaid. I remember reading a second hand comment from a scout that he could get someone just as good for far less than what the Dodgers paid.

One of the biggest problems IMO, is that when AA took over, there was very little infrastructure in place. The scouting ranks were thin, the coaching staff had no Don Cooper/Jim Hickey types. A large number of scouts were hired, but as in all cases when this happens some work out and some show why they were out of work in the first place.
Hodgie - Sunday, August 18 2013 @ 12:47 PM EDT (#278194) #
Is Cespedes the whirlwind of last season or the barely replacement level player of this season? Is Chapman the new Mariano or a hard throwing lefty that has issues staying healthy and is incapable of starting at the ripe old age of 22? Is Puig one of the best players in MLB or is he having 300+ AB that many others before him have had before the league adjusts - is that Mr. Cespedes with his hand up in the back of the room? And is the 21 year old Soler already ticketed for stardom or should we maybe wait for him to advance past A+ before anointing him? Darvish is the only one I have confidence in AFTER seeing him compete at the MLB level, and you can't tell me the ghosts of Daiske and most every other Japanese import up to him didn't affect the willingness of teams to bid more aggressively.

Perhaps it would be prudent to tap the brakes on the judgements and see what actually becomes of these players before excoriating the Jays for not signing them, something that 28 other teams were unable to do as well I might add.

greenfrog - Sunday, August 18 2013 @ 01:11 PM EDT (#278195) #
Sure, one or more may flame out, just as Josh Johnson and Melky Cabrera flamed out this year. But while you're congratulating yourself on avoiding such risky international players, four of the five teams are in the thick of the playoff hunt.

And, really, if Cespedes or Chapman fades into oblivion next year, is it really the end of the world for those franchises?

You might think it was a safer strategy to stay close to home and skip the sought-after IFAs by relying on "proven" American players. How's that working out for the Jays?
Eephus - Sunday, August 18 2013 @ 02:05 PM EDT (#278196) #
Is Chapman the new Mariano or a hard throwing lefty that has issues staying healthy and is incapable of starting at the ripe old age of 22?

Aroldis Chapman has only been on the DL once in his major league career and it was back in 2011. He isn't a starter because he's much more valuable to the team in the bullpen (the Reds rotation has been ridiculously good this year.) His only real problems are walking people and (this year) allowing home runs.
Richard S.S. - Sunday, August 18 2013 @ 02:42 PM EDT (#278198) #
When A.A. took over the Free Agent market was an after-thought for him, he was NOT going there so following it closely was not even considered.

Trades were his Big Thing for the future. But there's a problem with that, they cost future assets. Signing top Free Agents costs money and draft picks. Signing IFAs just cost cash.

A.A. did not "see" T.V. deals skyrocketing. He didn't see Teams locking up all their talents much younger than before. He's missed out on too many IFAs for it not to be a major Money Issue. Missing Chapman, Darvish, Cepedes and others suggest maybe A.A. and Rogers are the problem, not the solution.
Richard S.S. - Sunday, August 18 2013 @ 02:59 PM EDT (#278200) #
Acquiring Free Agents invariably cost more than just cash.
1) Performance has fallen off, enough for former Team not re-signing.
2) Age issue in whether to keep Player means he's losing effective by being to old, or if not too old, never was that effective to start with.
3) Never stopped being a problem despite all the talent.
greenfrog - Sunday, August 18 2013 @ 04:27 PM EDT (#278204) #
The baseball gods continue to make it tough for the Jays in Tampa. For those not following the game, with the score 1-1 with two outs in the top of the ninth, EE scorched a liner to left that missed being a HR by a couple of centimetres...millimetres, maybe. It hit the very top edge of the fence and ricocheted back onto the field for a double. Edwin was stranded at second.

Heading to the bottom of the ninth.

Great start by Redmond, who seems like an option for rotational depth next year, if not a possible role as a #5.
JB21 - Sunday, August 18 2013 @ 04:47 PM EDT (#278206) #
Fitting.
greenfrog - Sunday, August 18 2013 @ 04:57 PM EDT (#278207) #
Indeed.

I thought the other key play for the Jays came in the fourth inning. Leading off, Gose singled and stole second. But instead of advancing the runner, Izturis (having a very tough season at 235/288/310) weakly flied out to left. Gose later advanced on Bautista's fly ball but was stranded at third when EE flied out.

To be fair, the Rays also failed to execute later in the game (7th inning, runners at first and third, none out), but had the Jays scored that run, they would have been in a position to win in regulation.
China fan - Sunday, August 18 2013 @ 05:47 PM EDT (#278208) #
For what it's worth, I thought there was pretty blatant fan interference on the Longoria fly ball which was ruled a home run. The fan seemed to be reaching into the outfield when he grabbed the ball. But the Jays didn't object as much as I thought they would, so perhaps it was legit.
Hodgie - Sunday, August 18 2013 @ 05:59 PM EDT (#278210) #
Greenfrog, exactly who is congratulating themselves on avoiding IFAs? Choosing to not continually lambaste the Jays for not signing those five players mentioned hardly is advocating anything, beyond what should be obvious in that no-one has a clue how successful these signings will eventually end up and it was not a simple case of the Jays deciding whether or not to sign them.

It is also disingenuous to hint signing those players is responsible for their teams' success. Last I looked, Cespedes just cracked 100 wRc+ recently, Chapman has contributed a whole 49 IP this season and while Puig has been great, he is the difference between 42-9 and 39-12? in the Dodgers last 50+

electric carrot - Sunday, August 18 2013 @ 06:46 PM EDT (#278211) #
no-one has a clue how successful these signings will eventually end up

And so much else about baseball is easily predictable?  I don't see these free agents as being any more or less certain than many other prospects we debate about endlessly.  I agree with Greenfrog and would add that those opportunities were especially enticing to the Jays because so many American born players don't seem to want to play in Canada -- and I personally believe the international focus has been a locus where past Jay teams have thrived.
greenfrog - Sunday, August 18 2013 @ 07:14 PM EDT (#278212) #
Agreed that Cespedes has fallen off a bit this year, but isn't that common among second-year players? It will be interesting to see how he adjusts in year three. Besides, I'm sure the Jays would love to have him (2013 stats: 1.3 bWAR / 2.0 fWAR) in LF over Melky (-0.1 bWAR / -0.8 fWAR). You could argue that last year Cespedes (3.7 bWAR / 2.9 fWAR) was the difference-maker for the A's, who won the AL West by one game over Texas.

Even if Yoenis flames out over the next year or two, he's only signed through 2015 ($10.5M per year in 2014 and 2015). It's not like he's Fielder, Hamilton or Pujols.
greenfrog - Sunday, August 18 2013 @ 07:34 PM EDT (#278213) #
You know who else belongs on the short list of astute "open market" (no cap) recent IFA signings? Hisashi Iwakuma. He's been dynamite for the Mariners (so far this year he is 4.8 bWAR / 3.9 fWAR), and his contract is an absolute bargain.

Darvish, Cespedes, Puig, Soler, Chapman, Iwakuma...that is a ton of productive talent* that the Jays appear to have completely yawned at.

* Chapman is of course a reliever, which limits his value, while Soler is still in the minors (#20 on Keith Law's top 50 midseason prospects - "a high-ceiling player, with a quick bat, easy power and running speed")
Richard S.S. - Monday, August 19 2013 @ 03:42 AM EDT (#278215) #
R.A. Dockey is a better Pitcher than people take him for.
Four excellent Starts: 29.1 IP, 0.00 ERA.
Three very good Starts: 19.2 IP, 1.37 ERA.
Five good Starts: 33.0 IP, 2.72 ERA.
Three average Starts: 20.0 IP, 4.05 ERA.
Four below average Starts: 25.0 IP, 6.12 ERA.
Seven very bad Starts: 51.1 IP, 9.80 ERA.
He just hasn't been as good as we wanted him to be. Just take two bad Starts and make them good or better. Add average or better Offense in 6 of his losses of his 11 loses and three of his 6 N.D.s. Chances are Dickey's 14-6 with an ERA in the low threes.

Dickey's had his problems, but Offense blew 9 of his games - either losses or N.D.s
April: 6 Starts, 2-4, 36.0 IP, 4.50 ERA.
May: 6 Starts, 2-3, 38.2 IP, 5.82 ERA.
June: 5 Starts, 3-1, 34.0 IP, 3.71 ERA.
July: 6 Starts, 1-3, 38.0 IP, 4.50 ERA.
August: 3 Starts, 1-0, 21.2 IP, 3.32 ERA.
It's highly possible he's much better next year. But if Offense doesn't prove drastically, I'll have my doubts.
Magpie - Monday, August 19 2013 @ 03:53 AM EDT (#278216) #
Just take two bad Starts and make them good or better.... Chances are Dickey's [got] an ERA in the low threes.

If Dickey had allowed zero runs in his two worst starts, he'd still have a 3.74 ERA. This stuff is easy enough to figure out, you know.
Richard S.S. - Monday, August 19 2013 @ 04:34 AM EDT (#278218) #
That's still quite decent in the A.L. East for Dickey (not Dockey - sorry).

Mark Buehrle can't pitch in the A.L. East? Who cares.
Four excellent Starts: 30.0 IP, 0.00 ERA.
Four very good Starts: 27.0 IP, 1.33 ERA.
Four good Starts: 25.1 IP, 2.84 ERA.
Three average Starts: 19.0 IP, 4.26 ERA.
Two below average Starts: 11.0, 6.54 ERA.
Six very bad Starts: 33.2 IP, 9.62 ERA.
Mark Buehrle's been as good or better as advertised. His Offensive output was somewhat better, just usually occurring after he's left the game. Otherwise he'd have 12 wins by now,

Mark Buehrle's problem is his habitual slow start to the season.
April 04 - May 06: 7 Starts, 1-2, 41.0 IP, 7.02 ERA.
May 11 - August 15: 18 Starts, 8-5, 116.1, 3.33 ERA.
Indications so far have him holding his own verses A.L. East teams. Perhaps not a decent record but a reasonable ratio of good starts to bad.
whiterasta80 - Monday, August 19 2013 @ 11:48 AM EDT (#278220) #
Of all the problems we have had this season, neither RA Dickey nor Mark Buerhle are one of them.

They have taken the ball every turn in the rotation and more often than not given their team a chance to win. They have provided stability in an otherwise trainwreck of a rotation.

I would argue that we are getting more than anyone reasonably expected out of Buerhle in the AL East. I've said this before but his durability is well worth overpaying him.

As for Dickey, he could have pitched a little more like an ace, but its not like he's the difference between a playoff appearance and a protected draft pick. For one thing, we've heard that he may have pitched hurt for a little while. For another: if we had any kind of sustained performance out of Johnson, Morrow, Romero, or Happ behind him then I don't think we'd call it anything other than a down year.
adrianveidt - Monday, August 19 2013 @ 12:46 PM EDT (#278221) #
I did not expect Arencibia to be this bad in 2013
Why not? How bad did you expect him to be? He's been a disaster the whole way through. Why did you think this year would be different?
ayjackson - Monday, August 19 2013 @ 12:52 PM EDT (#278222) #
Dickey may have given the Jays a chance to win, but two elite prospects and a top international signee were dealt for him to be considerably more than that.
ayjackson - Monday, August 19 2013 @ 12:54 PM EDT (#278223) #
Arencibia has been considerably worse in 2013 (wRC+ 70) than in 2011 and 2012 (wRC+ 91, 88).
adrianveidt - Monday, August 19 2013 @ 01:35 PM EDT (#278224) #
Well, 2012 was a smaller sample size. Defensively, he's been slightly better than 2011, when he cost them 8 runs. This year he's only cost them 3 (Rtot). True, he's been horrendous at the plate, but that's what I expected. I would think that the league would adjust to a bad hitter's weaknesses and for the hitter to be unable to respond.
smcs - Monday, August 19 2013 @ 02:33 PM EDT (#278225) #
Darvish, Cespedes, Puig, Soler, Chapman, Iwakuma...that is a ton of productive talent* that the Jays appear to have completely yawned at.

But they didn't just 'yawn' at these guys. AA said that not getting Chapman was the biggest disappointment of his first year. He was negotiating with Chapman's agent in the limo on the way to his wedding, and had to give his phone to his brother so that he wouldn't be tempted to look at it during the ceremony. They were in on Darvish and Soler, to some degree. Puig was given an absurd amount of money by the Dodgers before any team (including the Dodgers) had any idea what he was and right before the spending cap kicked in. I have no idea how interested the Jays were in Cespedes or Iwakuma (or Chen or Ryu or Nakajima or Aoki or Gonzalez or Concepcion or...), but I'm sure they did their due diligence and had a number they were comfortable with that wasn't enough.

Does AA get no credit for signing Adeiny Hechavarria? One signing shouldn't cause you to completely flip your views, but there is enough evidence that the Jays haven't simply ignored the foreign talent markets.
whiterasta80 - Monday, August 19 2013 @ 03:27 PM EDT (#278226) #
AY: That's true, but its not like we were acquiring Verlander, Kershaw, or Felix. We knew we were getting something much riskier. That's why he "only" cost what he did.

Personally Dickey is only slightly worse than I expected. I had him down for about 3.80, 12-20 wins (depending on the team), and 200 K's. I knew that he'd have some trouble adjusting to the AL East and wondered about the RC (Candiotti was much worse at the RC). Fortunately we paid for more than one year of Dickey and I'm betting on improvement next year as he adjusts.
vw_fan17 - Monday, August 19 2013 @ 04:30 PM EDT (#278227) #
It's highly possible he's much better next year. But if Offense doesn't prove drastically, I'll have my doubts.

I don't know if you've checked recently, but the Jays are #6 overall (entire league) for Runs Scored (RS), and have been around there for the last 2-3 months, IIRC. If Reyes and Lawrie had been healthy all season, and 1 or 2 of Cabrera, Izturis, Bonifacio had hit similarly to years past, it wouldn't be inconceivable (IMHO - someone please correct me if I'm being too generous) that we'd have 20-30 more RS and be challenging for #3 overall in RS.

On the other hand, all 5 teams ahead of the Jays in RS are in the playoffs, or in the hunt (Red Sox, Tigers, Cardinals, Orioles, Indians). What's the difference? They have all given up at least 54 RA LESS than Toronto. In the case of the Cardinals, 144 LESS RA than the Jays.

THAT's the problem. The pitching/defense. And of that, probably mostly the starting pitching. Which includes RA Dickey. And I'm a fan of his, but this year, it's been HIS fault (and maybe some bad defense), NOT the fault of the offense.

Add average or better Offense in 6 of his losses of his 11 loses and three of his 6 N.D.s. Chances are Dickey's 14-6 with an ERA in the low threes.


Wait, you want to "correct" his stats to be BETTER by making his run support WORSE? The Jays already represent an above-average offense, possibly even significantly above "average". Only 5 of the remaining 29 teams are any better than the Jays. Giving him an "average" offense would only make his losses less close (and maybe take some of his wins away).
Magpie - Monday, August 19 2013 @ 04:34 PM EDT (#278228) #
Candiotti was much worse at the RC

Yes, but... he was still pretty good. As a Jay, Candiotti went 3-3, 3.04 in his 10 starts at the Dome in 1991 (he made one start there before the trade and lost 3-1.) On the road, he was 3-4, 2.94 as a Jay. He'd had a tremendous first half with Cleveland, however, pitching the best baseball of his career. So his overall numbers in 1991 were indeed quite a bit better away from the Dome: 10-9, 2.48.

The difference between Candiotti's performance at the Dome and elsewhere in 1991 doesn't really resemble Dickey, though. Dickey has seen his HRs at home go right through the roof, (whether it's opened or closed!) while keeping the rest of his game intact. Candiotti gave up quite a few more hits in general at the Dome, but it didn't affect his HRs allowed, or the other components of his game, much at all.
Magpie - Monday, August 19 2013 @ 04:45 PM EDT (#278229) #
THAT's the problem. The pitching/defense.

Sing it, brother! Only one team in the majors (Houston) has allowed more runs than Toronto this year. Only one team (Houston) allowed more runs in the first half of the season; only one team (Angels) have allowed more in the second half. They've been consistently awful. Only two teams in the majors (Boston and Detroit) have scored more runs than the Jays have allowed. Well, only five teams in the majors have scored more runs than the Jays have scored. The offense has not been the problem.
whiterasta80 - Monday, August 19 2013 @ 07:17 PM EDT (#278230) #
Wow, my memory of candiotti was much worse. i think its because i saw his playoff start. Still, it must have been nice to play in front of that defense. Alomar, white, gruber, lee, white,with myers and borders catching. You damn sure better have a low era. Jesus we have a long easy to go from a playoff team.
whiterasta80 - Tuesday, August 20 2013 @ 02:29 PM EDT (#278240) #
White was so good I mentioned him twice. Apologies...Olerud was supposed to be in there.
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