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Can the Jays win another series to make it four straight?  They gave a good chance against the Twins.  The matchups are:


Friday - RA Dickey vs. Mike Pelfrey

Saturday - JA Happ vs. Kevin Correia

Sunday - Esmil Rogers vs. Andrew Albers

At this point there is not much to say about this series.  The four outfielders will rotate through their positions.  Goins will probably get two or all three starts, DeRosa might start Sunday against the lefty.  Thole will catch tonight, I assume JPA will get the other two although Sunday is a day game after a night game.

The most interesting part could be who gets to come out of the pen.  Will Drabek or Romero get in a game?


On the Fan590 I heard an interesting fact about Wednesday's loss in Arizona.  The Jays did not leave a runner on base in an extra inning game.  That hasn't happened since 1970 I believe.  Rajai Davis homered to clear the bases in the first.  After that the Jays had two singles, by Reyes and Lawrie, both erased on double plays.

Game thread - 9/06 - 9/08 in Minnesota | 79 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike Green - Friday, September 06 2013 @ 03:51 PM EDT (#278780) #
If Gibbons does decide to split the catching duties for the night game/day game combination, wouldn't it make sense to have Thole catch Saturday night and face a RHP with Arencibia back Sunday afternoon facing the lefty?

John Northey - Friday, September 06 2013 @ 04:58 PM EDT (#278784) #
Wonder if Mike Nickeas will get into a game.  Probably just going to sit around gathering dust all September, but who knows. 

Generally prospects are what we want to see at this point. By age we see...
22: Gose
23: Lawrie
24: Sierra, Pillar (yes, both older than Lawrie)
25: Goins, Jenkins, Loup, Drabek, Jeffress
26: Thole, Cecil

After that I figure what you see is what you get...even at 26 is pretty much is that.  Always interesting to see just how young Lawrie was when first given a full-time ML job as rookies come up with promise who are older than he is.  The 24 and under crew should be in there everyday pretty much, as should Goins.  Of the pitchers Drabek is the one I'd like to see in games.
Eephus - Friday, September 06 2013 @ 11:06 PM EDT (#278793) #
I seriously hate when the Jays play in Minnesota. Nothing against the Twins, it's just that awful camera angle they always use. The pitch could be at the hitter's ankles or at his hips and it looks the same.
Eephus - Friday, September 06 2013 @ 11:07 PM EDT (#278794) #
Damn fine throw by Arencibia there, too.
BlueJayWay - Friday, September 06 2013 @ 11:13 PM EDT (#278795) #
I hate that I can't judge how well a ball is hit there coming off the bat
ayjackson - Saturday, September 07 2013 @ 12:39 PM EDT (#278810) #
I like that I can get a good idea of the corners though. Don't mind it at all one series a year...kinda growing on me.
uglyone - Saturday, September 07 2013 @ 04:47 PM EDT (#278822) #
Gregor Chisholm @gregorMLB
#BlueJays discovered a benign tumor near the spine of Melky Cabrera's lower back. It has since been removed.

Gregor Chisholm @gregorMLB
The benign tumor helps explain why Cabrera had so many leg issues this season. It put a lot of pressure on the spine. #BlueJays
CeeBee - Saturday, September 07 2013 @ 05:37 PM EDT (#278823) #
While that does seem to help explain some of Melky's issues it really does make the Jays appear more snakebitten than ever.
greenfrog - Saturday, September 07 2013 @ 08:59 PM EDT (#278835) #
Adam Lind really is having a fine offensive season.
92-93 - Saturday, September 07 2013 @ 09:20 PM EDT (#278837) #
Lind has 50 RBI hitting 4th or 5th all year behind Bautista and Encarnacion. I know we aren't allowed to put any stock into RBIs anymore, but that's just bad. If AA is looking for ways to cut corners so he can have some cash to spend on pitching then getting someone to cough up some value for Lind's pretty .280/.351/.476 line would be a great start. It shouldn't be too difficult finding a lefty who can't run or field but can handle RHP for much cheaper.
greenfrog - Saturday, September 07 2013 @ 10:00 PM EDT (#278838) #
After three seasons in which Lind's OPS+ was 90, 95 and 97 (oWAR -0.4, 0.6, 0.2), he's up to 123 (oWAR 1.9) this year...and you're complaining? Not to mention that against RHP - whom he should be facing almost exclusively, as you well know - he's hitting 294/374/503.

92-93 - Saturday, September 07 2013 @ 10:11 PM EDT (#278839) #
Actually, I wasn't complaining. I stated two facts and then an opinion, which you seem to take issue with.

92-93 - Saturday, September 07 2013 @ 10:19 PM EDT (#278840) #
Keep polishing that trade value, Lindy.
uglyone - Saturday, September 07 2013 @ 10:27 PM EDT (#278841) #
"I know we aren't allowed to put any stock into RBIs anymore, but that's just bad."

fluke is fluke.

not including tonight's game:

Adam Lind

None On: .826ops
Men On: .819ops
RISP: .856ops
RISP/2out: .843ops

Overall, he's now 13th in the AL in ops.
ayjackson - Saturday, September 07 2013 @ 11:57 PM EDT (#278842) #
If I have a choice for next year between Melky and Lind as DH versus RHP, I'll take Lind.

Not sure where that leaves Melky though.

We've got to get Bautista more games at DH. Lind/Bautista should probably be our DH platoon, which is great, except it leaves Melky and Pillar in the corners.
ayjackson - Sunday, September 08 2013 @ 12:06 AM EDT (#278843) #
Also, if I may, great atmosphere at the ballpark tonight as 8-10k Jays fans made the trip. Beautiful night and a great ball park, in a great city.
greenfrog - Sunday, September 08 2013 @ 07:37 AM EDT (#278845) #
I stated two facts and then an opinion, which you seem to take issue with

Sure, I take issue with the opinion that because Lind's RBI total is "bad," he's a prime candidate to be moved. Trading Lind isn't the worst idea, as he could well slump back into mediocrity next year. But he's been having a great year - in 378 PA against RHP, he's now hitting 294/373/509 (882 OPS) against RHP with 16 HR, 49 runs and 46 RBI. His overall wRC+ is 126 (fangraphs defines anything over 120 as "excellent").

By all means, roll the dice on someone a bit cheaper than Lind and his $7M, one-year obligation for 2014, if you can find someone you think can deliver a similar level of production for less money on a one-year deal whom you think will sign in Toronto.

Remember that there are no guarantees with FA signings. The Jays thought they were getting reasonable production at 2B and in LF from Izturis and Melky (both on multiyear deals), and we know how that worked out. The Rangers thought they would be getting some reliable LH DH production from Berkman ($10M) this year.
92-93 - Sunday, September 08 2013 @ 08:51 AM EDT (#278846) #
It's convenient to point to some FA busts to counter what I said, but there's a flip side of players who bolster my point.

Nate Schierholz .264/.303/.511 19hr 61rbi
Kelly Johnson .226/.298/.451 16hr 43rbi
James Loney .294/.351/.429 8hr 41rbi
Raul Ibanez .258/.316/.516 19hr 44rbi
Eric Chavez .288/.343/.511 9hr 38rbi
Lyle Overbay .275/.332/.456 12hr 42rbi

Adam Lind .294/.373/.509 16hr 46rbi

There's no question Lind is having the best season out of all those guys, but it took me about 5 minutes to find 6 guys who were FAs this past winter, have more defensive value than Lind (except Ibanez), and signed a one year deal for under 3m. This quick research also ignores the plethora of similar players that you can acquire via trade. Considering that it's going to take 130m+ just to bring back the same roster without Josh Johnson corners are going to need to be cut somewhere, and the DH spot vs. RHP is a smart place to look, a spot where you can save millions without really downgrading in expected overall production.
Magpie - Sunday, September 08 2013 @ 09:05 AM EDT (#278847) #
Lind has 50 RBI hitting 4th or 5th all year behind Bautista and Encarnacion. I know we aren't allowed to put any stock into RBIs anymore

But he's hitting just fine with men on base (.295/.366/.494) and with men on scoring position (.276/.362/.586), which suggests that 4th or 5th, he's still not getting all that many opportunities.
krose - Sunday, September 08 2013 @ 09:22 AM EDT (#278848) #
Looks to me like Lind has a different and consistently more successful approach at the plate. It has everything to do with laying off pitches out of the zone. This team is what it is. Lind and his salary are not in the top three problems that should be solved.
greenfrog - Sunday, September 08 2013 @ 09:41 AM EDT (#278849) #
So, let's be clear: you're recommending that the Jays pick up Lind's option, then trade him for whatever they can get for him (perhaps a reliever or two or a back-end starter or an OK prospect or two), then sign someone like Ibanez, Chavez or Overbay on a one-year deal to more or less replace his production, and use the $4M or so saved towards other needs?

That's your strategy for improving the team next year?
Mike Green - Sunday, September 08 2013 @ 09:45 AM EDT (#278850) #
I too would be trading Lind.  There are two issues.  Using a platoon DH means that you are a unnecessarily squeezed in terms of options at other positions unless you go with an 11 man pitching staff (not happening). Secondly, if you are going to keep Reyes at shortstop, you do not want to continue with Encarnacion/Lind at first base for cumulative defensive reasons.
92-93 - Sunday, September 08 2013 @ 09:56 AM EDT (#278851) #
It's where I'd start, yes. Not sure why you're trying to paint that as my only move, but continue being combative if you wish.
Wildrose - Sunday, September 08 2013 @ 09:59 AM EDT (#278852) #
This team is what it is. Lind and his salary are not in the top three problems that should be solved.

Amen. The chronic Adam Lind bashing by some really perplexes me. As of this morning among qualified A.L. hitters as measured by the rather definitive wRC +,  poor old Adam is the 17 best hitter in the entire league. For me that's pretty damn good.

I think there is many more valid areas of concern on this team that need to be addressed.
ayjackson - Sunday, September 08 2013 @ 10:00 AM EDT (#278853) #
We do need to get Bautista out of RF, if we're going to keep him healthy. Making him 1B is an option, though I'm not convinced he's any better the EE there. But another one year option is bringing back Davis to play RF and face lefties while Bautista DHs and picking up the option on Lind's contract.

That would be excellent DH production as Davis is a career .346 wOBA against lefties and Lind is a career .361 wOBA against righties.
Mike Green - Sunday, September 08 2013 @ 10:52 AM EDT (#278854) #
But another one year option is bringing back Davis to play RF and face lefties while Bautista DHs and picking up the option on Lind's contract.

...which means that Encarnacion is the first baseman.  You can't simply look at the offensive side of a strict platoon arrangement with Lind, even assuming that a manager could stick with it when Lind gets hot.  The temptation to play him against lefties after a hot streak is so powerful- it reminds me of the "shave and a haircut, two bits" scene from Who Framed Roger Rabbit (unfortunately, I cannot access it from youtube for the uninitiated).  I guess managers are just drawn that way.
greenfrog - Sunday, September 08 2013 @ 11:11 AM EDT (#278855) #
Here are my concerns with the strategy 92-93 advocates:

First, the Jays would have to identify a quality DH who can provide comparable production at little cost. Some teams (like the Rays) have been able to do this sort of thing very well, but the Jays have not. Given the misses with Cabrera and Izturis (the latter is one of the worst position players in the league this year), I have some concerns regarding the probability that the team can successfully execute this strategy.

Second, the team has to convince the sought-after player (assuming we're talking about a free agent) to choose Toronto. The Jays failed to do so with Beltran, and they had to give Melky a two-year deal and Izturis a three-year deal to head north.

Third, I doubt Lind will have a ton of trade value, given his poor production from 2010-12 and other limitations (defensive, baserunning, can't hit lefties). The return isn't likely to be particularly high.

Fourth, the Jays are running the risk that Lind has in fact turned a corner, perhaps with the help of Mottola. As a 30-year-old, he's a lot closer to his prime than end-of-career veterans like Overbay, Ibanez, Chavez and Berkman. The structure of his contract allows the Jays to go year-by-year in the $7-8M range with decreasing buyout costs as the contract progresses. Basically, this is the Aaron Hill argument - you swap this piece for that piece, trying to get everything lined up just so, saving a bit of money in the bargain, but it doesn't always work out.
Wildrose - Sunday, September 08 2013 @ 12:15 PM EDT (#278856) #
Secondly, if you are going to keep Reyes at shortstop, you do not want to continue with Encarnacion/Lind at first base for cumulative defensive reasons.

Perhaps. Essentially you're arguing that the team needs to find a better first baseman who can hit better than Lind ( the 17th best hitter in the A.L., the 13 best hitter against right-handed batters ), who is a superior fielder, doesn't have the same platoon issues and can be obtained easily and cheaper than the incumbents. Does this mythical beast exist and as Green frog points out, is he willing to come here?

Another issue is that you'd be sentencing Encarnacion, your best hitter to full time D.H. duties. How does he feel about this? It's easy for us to sit by our computers Sunday morning and toss ideas around, but there is real life implications that have to be considered. Also Tango and Lichtman have discovered through their research that the D.H. penalty exists. Meaning that most players when they become full time designated hitters see their hitting numbers decline significantly. I mean since they were kids, most players enjoy the rhythm of hitting and playing in the field, when you stick them solely on the bench the entire game, they stew and obsess about their last at bat and see a decline in hitting. Now this is not true for all players, Frank Thomas adjusted rather well, but any marginal defensive games may be off set by a decline in full time D.H. hitting values.

Mike and 92/93 raise legitimate issues about Lind, I'm just not sure fixing them though may be all that easy. Personally I'd pour most of my energies into upgrading at catcher, second and with the starters.
John Northey - Sunday, September 08 2013 @ 12:23 PM EDT (#278857) #
Lind has to be looked at as a $6 million cost this winter - he has a $2 mil buyout, but if not bought out then his buyout next winter is $1 mil.  So is he worth $6 mil to the Jays or $7 mil to another club (what they'd pay if he is traded to them)?  If not then you release him but this year he almost certainly has produced $6 mil of value.  Checking FanGraphs though his solid year this year is worth $7.9 mil and is the 2nd time in his career he has produced over $2 mil of value.  3 times he has produced negative value (IE: a AAAA player should out perform him those years).

It would've been a lot easier this winter if Lind hit like he did in the past 3 years before this one - then there would be no question about releasing him - or if he kept hitting like he did in the first half.  But at $7 mil for salary in 2014 I don't see anyone trading for him unless the Jays eat some of that. At $6 mil marginal cost for the Jays I don't see them releasing him either due to the thought process that he could hit this well next year.  Realistically he is more likely to be worse and any worse = worth less than $6 mil. 

So, what are the alternatives?
1) Play Cabrera at DH and platoon Gose with Sierra or Pillar in LF - the platoon wouldn't be strict, you mix and match them to give others a day off
2) Leave kids in AAA and sign a LF or DH or 1B - be it a Japanese league guy, a AAAA vet, or trade for someone as no really good hitters look close in the system
3) Make a trade, but trade options are limited as other needs are bigger

Lind's low dollar value (FanGraphs traditionally seems high in value) suggests it takes a LOT for a DH to be worth much.  David Ortiz is at $16.7 this year with a 155 OPS+ so that gives you an idea of what it takes.  Justin Morneau was mentioned by a few people this winter, but a 103 OPS+ just isn't inspiring. If he came super-cheap great but odds are he'd be in the marginal cost of keeping Lind range mixed with being older. Of course, his peaks are far higher than anything Lind can dream of.  Free agents include Mike Napoli (123 OPS+ this year), Kevin Youkilis (total disaster 28 games 77 OPS+ so would be cheap), James Loney (much like Lind, a few really good years including this one and a lot of 'blech' including 2012 and 2010). Lots of options, few that go 'wow' and Lind fits right in with them.  Guys who might be really good DH's but might also be disasters.
92-93 - Sunday, September 08 2013 @ 12:27 PM EDT (#278858) #
My counters to your concerns:

1. Irrelevant, unless you don't want the Jays to make any moves and you want them to return with this same team. We are going to be skeptical of anybody the scouting staff deems worthy based on this year's results. Not having full trust in them is not a reason to endorse the team sitting back and hoping for the best.

2. If you're trying to save money by trading Lind, the guy you are replacing him with is somebody from the scrap heap looking for work. We don't know whether extra years were tacked on to Melky & Izturis' offers (as opposed to just more $), but I'm very confident the team can find a functional LH bat without having to break the bank. My expectations are not that high either, I'm really just looking for somebody capable of a .350/.450 line.

3. I'm not looking for a ton of value back in return. A reliever in the Lincoln/Delabar mold would be more than enough for me because I'm really just looking to cut costs so I have money to spend on my primary holes (SP, C).

4. I don't see any risk whatsoever here. When Lind was given his extension I was one of the lone dissenting voices, and I continue to stand by that. You mention Lance Berkman, and I see that he hit .295/.408/.533 from 2011-2012. Granted, he was an injury risk coming off so few games in 2012, but even with that elite production he cost 10m on a 1 year deal. I don't see much value in Lind's options, and if you do then your 3rd point is a bit contradictory.
Chuck - Sunday, September 08 2013 @ 12:36 PM EDT (#278859) #
Assessing how Lind performed in 2013 and forecasting how he will perform in 2014 are two separate things. Connected, but separate. Simply assuming that he'll repeat 2013 would be optimistic given the three prior subpar seasons. He may well have resurrected his career. It's been done before. But to count on that would be foolhardy.

Of course, being able to gaze into a crystal ball, especially where Lind is concerned, is not so easy (at least not any more now that he's broken his pattern). Is a Lind who is somewhere between 2012 and 2013 worth 7M? I think that is a fairer question to ask than is Lind v2013 worth 7M?
John Northey - Sunday, September 08 2013 @ 12:41 PM EDT (#278860) #
Checking stats Lind is (AL Only)...
oWAR: 48th
OPS+: 19th (3rd on Jays)
OPS: 14th
OPS vs RHP: 10th (100 PA minimum, shift to 300 and he is 9th)
OPS vs LHP: 645 = 124th (50 PA minimum) which is better than JPA (138th) and Izturis (141) and Cabrera (144) and Bonifacio (172 of 177).

His platoon spread is so extreme that it makes him hard to use late in a game.  Any manager with 1/2 a brain would be bringing in any LHP he has that is able to get a ball over a plate.  And that 645 is one of his better years vs LHP. Does Lind have value? Yes. As long as he keeps hitting at a high level and doesn't go into one of his infamous month+ long slumps.

I'd probably hold Lind for 2014 as the alternatives aren't inspiring. If one or two of the 3 kids in the outfield tore the cover off the ball then you could look at it but with Cabrera an unknown (at $8 mil) and the kids still in progress it is hard to say no to keeping Lind at a marginal cost of $6 mil unless someone makes a 1/2 decent offer.  Free agents aren't inspiring, kids aren't inspiring, nothing suggests there is a better cheaper alternative and cash is needed for 2B and an ace for the rotation.
ayjackson - Sunday, September 08 2013 @ 12:50 PM EDT (#278861) #
Chuck, Lind's 2013 numbers versus RHP are completely in line with his career numbers versus RHP. Nobody's proposing he face LHP.
greenfrog - Sunday, September 08 2013 @ 01:11 PM EDT (#278862) #
Berkman actually cost $11M for 2013, if you include the buyout cost for the 2014 option year.

If the plan is to scrap Lind, use the few million dollars saved by replacing him with someone like Overbay, Ibanez or someone similar in the hope that those few million dollars could play a significant role in addressing the team's starting pitching and catching needs (I assume you believe Goins, career minor-league OPS 706, should be the starting 2B in 2013), then the team has a much bigger problem than the one under discussion here.
Chuck - Sunday, September 08 2013 @ 01:48 PM EDT (#278863) #

Lind's 2013 numbers versus RHP are completely in line with his career numbers 

True, his 2013 numbers vs RHP are not insanely out of line (OPS vs. RHP since 2010: 829, 771, 795, 882), but are a vast improvement over his three previous years, to be sure. Is anyone truly comfortable with banking on a repeat of 882 next year? What if he's only good for an 830, say? Then all his shortcomings (defense, speed, LHP) are maybe a little more difficult to absorb.

Gerry - Sunday, September 08 2013 @ 06:40 PM EDT (#278866) #
I am in the trade Lind camp. Lind's batting numbers vs RHP are very good. And that is his only value...his defense is poor, his running is bad and he is an injury risk.

Plus I wouldn't be signing Ibanez, who puts you in the same position as Lind. I am not looking for another DH, I am looking for a position player who can DH, or maybe not. I think Jose Bautista could be a sometime first baseman and sometime DH. I think Melky should be a sometime DH. Lind removes your ability to use them as DH except against LHP.

I just think DH is the easiest position to fill and if you can get a guy with some flexibility who can run you are in better shape.

I say all this without knowledge of the free agent market.

greenfrog - Sunday, September 08 2013 @ 09:53 PM EDT (#278869) #
One thing to keep in mind is the number of games Lind, Bautista, EE and Melky will all be healthy at the same time next year. It would be useful to have some true depth at 1B/DH/LF/RF for when one or more of them is hurt. Not easy to simultaneously get offense, defence and depth from that group. It sure would be nice to have someone like Zobrist on the team. That, or a more robust farm system.
92-93 - Sunday, September 08 2013 @ 10:10 PM EDT (#278870) #
I think Gose, Sierra, and Pillar is decent enough depth if you add a LH bat and some minor league signings to the mix.

5m is not a trivial amount of money to be saving when Rogers has already upped payroll higher than it's ever been and when this squad sans Johnson, Oliver, and Rajai will cost over 130m. It makes it a lot easier to acquire somebody via trade without having to part with more prospects so the other team can eat some salary. I wish I could advocate trading Buehrle to save a whole whack of dough but with the confidence I have in Happ, Morrow, Romero, Drabek, Hutchison, and Nolin I'd be very hesitant to move Buehrle if they intend on competing.
greenfrog - Sunday, September 08 2013 @ 10:43 PM EDT (#278871) #
Saving 5M would actually be more consequential to a low-payroll team like the Rays or A's, for whom the money represents a bigger proportion of payroll. You can flip Lind and try to get next year's Schierholtz (roughly equivalent WAR, but more versatile), assuming you can find him (you also seem to assume that this will be feasible for $2M in 2014 dollars). Maybe you hit with the player you target, maybe you miss.

Maybe this gets you an extra win or two. Maybe. At that point, your credit card is still more or less maxed out and you've got a lot of money tied up in Buehrle, Reyes, Romero, Dickey, Bautista, EE, Rasmus, Cabrera, Morrow, Arencibia,'s an expensive (and aging) roster for the on-field production, and there aren't a lot of reinforcements in the high minors.

Maybe the GM can make this work for a playoff run in 2014 or 2015, but it won't be an easy task. And it's going to take some luck.
92-93 - Sunday, September 08 2013 @ 10:55 PM EDT (#278872) #
In my scenario you're trading Lind to setup the acquisition of a player that's worth a lot more than 1-2 wins, and when you consider the cascading effect of opening up the DH to give Bautista/Encarnacion/Cabrera half days off it could turn out to be quite a few "wins".

Obviously I want the Jays to bump payroll to 160m and keep Lind, but I raise the suggestion assuming this isn't happening.
Richard S.S. - Sunday, September 08 2013 @ 11:10 PM EDT (#278873) #
What did we figure out this Season?
1) Brett Lawrie is a 3rd Base Stud, who is growing up, becoming a very good hitter. There were doubts, but most of them are solved.
2) J.P. Arencibia is not the answer for this Team at Catcher. Whether or not he can get better is very doubtful. There are options available if A.A. needs to make the change.
3) Colby Rasmus will get extended, he's figured out his problems and is better than expected.
4) Surprises like Ryan Goins at 2nd Base and Kevin Pillar in the OF show there's still talent available.

Adam Lind has earned his option getting picked up, but roster issues may complicate that. With his Back problems, I don't know how often he should play. Why is it when the entire Starting outfield is on the D.L. This Team starts winning?
John Northey - Monday, September 09 2013 @ 01:01 AM EDT (#278875) #
Agreed on a few things.  What do I think the Jays saw this year?
  • Lawrie & Rasmus are solid guys, worth keeping around long term
  • Encarnacion is as good as hoped, ala Bautista, not just a one year wonder
  • Lind has talent still, but is not an everyday player as he has issues (to put it mildly) vs LHP and needs rest regularly - which actually works well together as then a RH power hitter hanging around solves both issues
  • Buehrle and DIckey are solid pitchers but not aces, while Johnson & Romero both land under the 'what happened' category
  • Cecil & Delabar are keepers in the pen, as is the method they used to build up for 2013. Janssen also is solid but do you extend him further? Loup also is solid in the pen giving you 4 very solid options  in 2014
  • McGowan & Santos are very solid options in the pen if healthy - which will always be the two words added to their names
  • Wagner & Juan Perez were sweet scrap heap pick-ups, but Lincoln needs a map of the strike zone (6.3 BB/9)
  • Luis Perez, Drabek, Hutchison, Romero are all under the 'prove you deserve it' category and will see lots of time in Buffalo next year (most likely) although options might be an issue with Perez
  • Redmond, Happ, Rogers, and Jenkins are nice to have in AAA for backup, but I wouldn't want any in the opening day rotation and with the pen depth none are needed there either
  • JPA, Izturis, and Thole were all disasters this year (in the majors, Thole helped Buffalo a lot) and none should be regulars in 2014 unless something drastic happens.
  • DeRosa, Kawasaki, and Davis are nice backups but ideally are not your first backups but 2nd or 3rd choices.  Davis sure is fun though (40-5 in SB-CS now) as is Mr. Personality Kawasaki.
  • The kids are NOT ready - Sierra 234/302/426, Gose 232/267/341, Pillar 172/238/259 - at the moment none have shown enough to start 2014 in Toronto.  Goins has been nice at 314/327/373 but should not be more than a backup

So what does that mean?

  • NEEDS: 2B & CA - both are disaster zones, with 2B having a sOPS+ (OPS+ vs league at that position) of 56 and CA at 70.  LF is at 80 but hopefully Cabrera can recover to a 100+ OPS+ in 2014, or mixed with others can do well.  All other positions have a 108 or better sOPS+ meaning all others are above average.  Well, P is at 91 but I don't think pitchers hitting factors one iota into the plans.
  • NEEDS: Ace - we have 2 proven solid ML starters in Dickey & Buehrle then it is 'oh no'. An ace mixed with the assorted masses (Redmond, Happ, Rogers, Morrow, Romero, Nolin, Drabek, Hutchison, plus assorted kids) should do the trick for one or two slots at the back end.  Two top flight pitchers would be sweet but so would winning the lottery.
  • Likes: LF - weak but livable with 3 kids mixed with $8 mil Cabrera. DH - a RH power hitter to go with Lind (could be a AAAA or Japanese import).
  • Perfect world: dump Izturis on someone and get a backup infielder who can play defense and hit better than Kawasaki, resign Davis as the #4/5 outfielder/pinch runner extraordinare.

I suspect AA will go sign a dozen or so AAAA relievers again, hopefully will find some power hitters to sign and leave in Buffalo as backups for Lind (ideally a LH and RH so if Lind goes down you have a LH hitter ready to step in and not suck).  If he has any money I expect it to go to starting pitching with a slim shot at doing something to blow our minds at 2B (trade for a kid someone sells low on, sign a star as Rogers really opens the vault, or something else).  Could the Jays shock and get Masahiro Tanaka - a top Japanese pitcher who is just 24 and going into the posting system this winter? Who knows, bet against it but one never can say for certain (who saw last winter coming?)

jerjapan - Monday, September 09 2013 @ 08:15 AM EDT (#278880) #
I know it makes me a bad, petty fan ... but am I the only one hoping JPA slips below the Mendoza line?  Hard to argue that the position doesn't need an upgrade from that area code. 
John Northey - Monday, September 09 2013 @ 08:52 AM EDT (#278881) #
Can't blame you on that jerjapan. It lands under the desire for Lind to either tear it up or to suck completely as a 1/2 way measure just makes it tough to know if the Jays will keep or dump.

JPA is now 5 games shy of his career high, 34 PA shy.  His 17 walks is his lowest full-season total, one less than last year despite having 80 PA more this year.  He has more K's than ever before, despite 34 PA less than his peak season.  His RBI and R totals are his worst in his 3 seasons, but his 2B are inbetween his 2 previous and his HR total is also inbetween.  His singles are 51 this year, 47 last year (in 84 AB fewer), 50 the year before (in 12 AB more).  So singles are fine, but power, despite appearances on the surface, is down as are his walks.

JPA at best is John Buck. A decent guy, reasonable backup but as your #1 is just too risky as he needs to be at his best to be valuable.  A new catcher would be nice, and a drop at the end to a 199 Avg might help push the Jays a bit more than a 204 will (sadly enough).

92-93 - Monday, September 09 2013 @ 09:11 AM EDT (#278882) #
Not even sure that matters, jerjapan. The people who understand value already know Arencibia sucks, and the more casual fans will respond to his BA with "Ya but he leads all of MLB in HRs by a catcher and he picks up ribbies". It might be a good kick in the ass for JP himself, though, because he sure doesn't seem to give a flying fadoo about his on base percentage.
BlueJayWay - Monday, September 09 2013 @ 10:12 AM EDT (#278884) #

Arencibia's terrible.  Just god awful.  I've wanted him off this team since at least the middle of last year.  IMO a team in the AL East will not contend with him as their starting catcher.

The question is, does Jays management know that? 


ayjackson - Monday, September 09 2013 @ 10:36 AM EDT (#278886) #

Agreed on Arencibia. I'd prefer not to sell at the bottom of his value, because I think he can regain some.  But I'd prefer not having him on our team to that.

The big issue is how do the Jays fill the holes. IF, and it's a big "if", the Jays spend additional dollars this offseason, I think it'll be on Garza or Tanaka, who won't cost a draft pick.

I'd prefer to let Jimenez continue to develop in Buffalo for a full year before forcing ML pitching on him. But it would be a lot easier to stomach a weak bat if the defense was good.

ayjackson - Monday, September 09 2013 @ 11:04 AM EDT (#278887) #

In contrast to the starting lineup, which has some elite hitters along with some historically awful holes, the starting rotation has a whole lot of blah competing for jobs.  While, Garza and Tanaka, are no guarantees, I don't see other options for potential #2 production.

  1. RA Dickey
  2. Mark Beurhle
  3. Esmil Rogers
  4. Brandon Morrow
  5. JA Happ
  6. Dustin McGowan
  7. Mark Hutchison
  8. Kyle Drabek
  9. Marcus Stroman
  10. Sean Nolin
  11. Ricky Romero

Putting Garza or Tanaka into the top of that would be the best we could hope for (along with a healthy offense - how about full-body MRIs for everyone to make sure all the tumours are gone).

The #7-11 probably form the Buffalo rotation.

I think if McGowan wants to try to make it work as a starter next year, let him. If his arm falls off, fine - he's got his money and would make a terrific addition to the minor league staff (imagine the motivation speeches to rehabbing youngsters). If he succeeds, imagine the motivational speeches! Our bullpen looks rock solid without him.

  1. Casey Janssen
  2. Steve Delabar
  3. Brett Cecil
  4. Sergio Santos
  5. Aaron Loup
  6. Neil Wagner
  7. Luis Perez
Mike Green - Monday, September 09 2013 @ 11:21 AM EDT (#278888) #
What would I expect from Matt Garza in the AL East?  Well, he's been here.  He had an ERA just under 4 with the Rays with FIP and xFIP between 4.14 and 4.42 over 3 seasons.  The Rays had very good team defence.  I don't see that the expectation for him would be significantly different from Buehrle's or Dickey's.  And you'll have to pay a fortune for it.

What is it with Hutchison's name, anyways?  His first name is Drew.  His last name is Hutchison.  And he looks to me to be a helluva pitcher if he is healthy.  He made 7 high minors starts coming off TJ and the ERA was ugly, but the FIP measures were very good.  In 26 innings, he struck out 30, walked 8 and gave up 2 home runs.  He has succeeded everywhere prior to the surgery.  There is nothing blah about him.  I would like nothing better than for him to come back strong in spring training and win a job. 

If you are short on cash and the Jays certainly are that, marginal wins are rarely found in the medium to high end free-agent starting pitcher market. 

China fan - Monday, September 09 2013 @ 01:01 PM EDT (#278892) #
I agree with AY that the Jays have an excellent bullpen for 2014, and I'd add that they probably even have enough depth to allow one or two relievers to be traded if they need to package talent in exchange for a starter. I'd say that Luis Perez is perhaps still a question mark, but there are plenty of other depth options that AY didn't even mention: Lincoln, Jeffress, Juan Perez, Weber, Stilson, Carreno...

The return to health by Santos is a huge advantage for the bullpen, and it frees up resources to use elsewhere. Given that depth, I'd say that the Jays should at least look at McGowan and Rogers as rotation options in spring training. The bullpen will be strong without them, so why not consider them for the rotation? (Since those three terrible games in late July and early August, Rogers has posted a 2.22 ERA in his past five games. His ERA as a starter before the late July slump was 3.38. If we can consider those three bad games as a glitch, rather than a return to reality, his season in the rotation looks very good.)

But it still seems to me that Brandon Morrow will be crucial to the Jays hopes in 2014. They can perhaps find a decent starter on the free-agent or trade market, and they can hope for a 5th-starter performance from Rogers or Happ or Drabek, but Morrow could spell the difference between an ordinary rotation and a very good rotation if he has the kind of season of which he is capable.
ayjackson - Monday, September 09 2013 @ 01:26 PM EDT (#278893) #

What is it with Hutchison's name, anyways?  His first name is Drew.  His last name is Hutchison.

No kidding!  Who's Mark Hutchison anyway?  And for the record, I have NEVER said Hutchinson.

That list I declared as "blah" is relative to an option for a top two starter.  I have no doubt that Drew can be a quality pitcher in this league, but he won't be a number 2 next year. That is what the rotation lacks.  Plenty of options for #3-5 holes.

greenfrog - Monday, September 09 2013 @ 01:32 PM EDT (#278894) #
If I were a GM of a rebuilding team with a good young starting pitcher like Latos (or a controllable older one), I would see whether I could extract a bunch of the Jays' top young prospects (Barreto, Davis, Nay, Sanchez and so on) for him. The Jays are desperate for quality starting pitching and might make a desperation move in an attempt to stave off irrelevance in 2014/15.
John Northey - Monday, September 09 2013 @ 01:47 PM EDT (#278895) #
Tons of blah in that rotation.  Funny how many have 'potential' for #1 status though...
Best ERA+ over 150+ IP
Dickey: 139 in 2012, 233 2/3 IP
Buehrle: 144 in 2005 236 2/3 IP, another 140+ year in 2001
Happ: 144 in 2009 in 166 IP, other 2 years over 100 IP had ERA+'s in the sub-90 category though
Morrow: 90 in his one year over 150 IP, 143 in 124 2/3 IP in 2012 though
McGowan: 110 in 2007 over 169 2/3 IP
Romero: 146 in 2011 over 225 IP - hard to believe it was that recent

So 3 guys with 140+ ERA+'s in full seasons and a Cy Young winner who just missed the 140 mark. You'd think that would work well but somehow it doesn't.  Tanaka looks good, projected as a #2 guy, the Jays sent 2 top scouts to check him out.  If Rogers is willing he'd be a nice fit being just 24 right now and not costing anything but cash while Garza is a draft pick (either high #1 or high #2 depending where the Jays end up).  Trades would cost more of the farm which may not be ideal.  Hutchison and Nolin I like but the Jays management seems to feel neither is quite ready yet. Drabek, Romero, McGowan all scare me - nice backups but don't count on them.

The pen is crazy deep.  Janssen/Santos closing, Delabar/Cecil/Loup setup, Wagner/two Perez's for other stretches, McGowan being a solid option it seems, Lincoln and many others being good #8's before factoring in guys like Rogers and other losers for the rotation.

With any luck Buffalo will have a very deep rotation and pen in 2014, while the Jays have a batch of #3-5 starters and hopefully find a #1/2 guy in the pile.

Paul D - Monday, September 09 2013 @ 02:08 PM EDT (#278897) #
Pretty sure Garza won't cost a pick - there's no compensation for guys traded mid-season anymore.
John Northey - Monday, September 09 2013 @ 02:56 PM EDT (#278898) #
Forgot that Paul D.  Good point - so Garza should expect a lot of teams to chase him although that HR rate (1.2 HR/9 overall, 1.4 since going to Texas) makes me very nervous about the Jays going after him.  Still, entering his age 30 season with a 100+ ERA+ every season but his rookie one makes him tempting but the injury issues will keep his years down to a reasonable level ones hopes (ie: 3-5 at most).  Hard to say what to expect this winter though.  If Garza has a lights out playoff then his price could soar.
Mike Green - Monday, September 09 2013 @ 04:22 PM EDT (#278899) #
I have no doubt that Drew can be a quality pitcher in this league, but he won't be a number 2 next year

Is there any reason to doubt that Drew Hutchison could next year be as good as Bartolo Colon was this year?  No.  There are no likely ace starters available (no prime-era Halladay or Lincecum or Clemens or Santana or Sabathia).  So, why not just accept the inherent variability of pitching and that Hutchison or Stroman or Nolin might be what the doctor ordered.
ayjackson - Monday, September 09 2013 @ 04:56 PM EDT (#278900) #

Is there any reason to doubt that Drew Hutchison could next year be as good as Bartolo Colon was this year?

Probabilities?  I would have doubted Colon would have been as good as he was this year. Especially throwing 85% fastballs.

ayjackson - Monday, September 09 2013 @ 05:00 PM EDT (#278901) #

I would say, based on probabilities, that one of McGowan, Stroman, Hutchison, Nolin, Drabek and Morrow (maybe even two or three) could pitch to the level of a ML #2 next season.  But I think the odds are against any specific one of them.

So MG, would your preference to roster construction next year be to let the above 6, plus Rogers, battle for the three open spots in the rotation in ST?

Or do you have your eyes on an acquisition?

Mike Green - Monday, September 09 2013 @ 05:14 PM EDT (#278903) #
That is exactly what I would do, ayj.  If there was another cheap and good starting option available, I'd go for it.  I would definitely try to trade a reliever or two, with the idea that at least Nolin and perhaps another potential starter was in the 2014 bullpen to start the year. 

The club has four positions waiting for a possible upgrade.  That ought to be the priority. 

John Northey - Monday, September 09 2013 @ 05:34 PM EDT (#278904) #
4 positions?  2B, CA are the obvious ones.  I guess LF and DH are the others but we have Cabrera and 3 kids for LF so I cannot see the Jays investing further there for 2014 unless a bargain showed up.  DH is probably Lind plus whoever the RH bat on the bench is (DeRosa, Davis if resigned, Sierra or Pillar, or a new guy).

So given the Jays resources aren't infinite I have to figure the focus is in 3 areas with the following priority...
  1. 2B as no one is there right now and it has been a total disaster although Goins has looked nice I cannot imagine AA wants to start 2014 with Goins/Izturis as his only choices. 
  2. Starting pitching - 1000's of guys here but just 2 sure things, thus a need to get a 3rd either sure thing (ala Garza) or potentially strong (ala Tanaka) to go with the many injury rehab (Drabek, Hutchison, Morrow)/recover from suckitude (Romero)/kids (Nolin, Stroman, etc)/just not that good (Happ).  Ideally no more than 2 slots will be fought over in spring with the rest being Buffalo bound hoping for an injury or ineffectiveness (both very likely to happen).
  3. CA - we have two guys signed for next year (well, JPA is 1st year arbitration) but both are cheap thus shouldn't block anyone. Hard to find quality here though as catchers are injury prone, tend to be poor hitters, and their defensive skill is hard to measure. 

I'd put a RH DH, improving LF and backups as secondary to those 3 things.  In theory scrap heap pickups could cover RH DH, LF, utility slots and with Izturis signed (like it or not) for 2 more years plus DeRosa signed for 2014 odds are the Jays will only look for one or two end of the bench guys and they'll probably be Davis and a John McDonald type (but younger). DeRosa might be the RH DH by default, mixed with Davis if he returns.  Not ideal, but 2B/CA/rotation are far bigger issues.

Mike Green - Monday, September 09 2013 @ 06:27 PM EDT (#278905) #
Yep, four positions.  LF, 2B, CA and 1B.  Encarnacion ought to be a DH primarily and the club does need to get a decent glove at first base if it is going to stick with Reyes at shortstop. 

Paul D - Monday, September 09 2013 @ 07:13 PM EDT (#278906) #
Mike, before this season, people on this forum were advocating for more starters.  I thought they were crazy.  They were right. I think not improving the team's starting would be a huge mistake - scoring runs isn't this team's problem. 
ayjackson - Monday, September 09 2013 @ 07:22 PM EDT (#278907) #

Outside of trading a pile of prospects or Bautista, I'm not sure there is an option for a top tier starter.

And how'd that work for us last year?

Richard S.S. - Monday, September 09 2013 @ 07:24 PM EDT (#278908) #
I can see A.A. trading for a Starter and, but not or, going after Mashiro Tanaka. I think he can get money to do both, at least for 2014 and 2015.
I can't imagine A.A. depending on the Posting System for his needs, just bonus acquisitions.

I fully expect Ryan Goins to be the Starting 2nd Baseman for this Team as A.A. must allocate resources to other needs.

I know I'd like more to happen, I don't know if it will.
Mike Green - Monday, September 09 2013 @ 08:47 PM EDT (#278910) #
Paul, run prevention is of course only partly the province of one's starting pitchers. 

As you may recall, you and I were part of a discussion in April about the need for another starter when it was apparent that neither Romero nor Morrow was ready to start the season.  That doesn't mean the off-season planning was poor, but merely that the adjustment to circumstances was too slow.  Esmil Rogers to the rotation took place only after Happ was injured.    With Dickey, Buehrle and Johnson at the top of the rotation, there was good reason to believe before the season began that the club would get close to 600 above-average innings from those three, and there was enough depth to think that you could get a little more than 400 innings from another 5 starting pitchers (including Romero, Morrow, Happ and later a reliever conversion (Cecil, or as it turned out, Rogers) and Nolin).  You do not want to plan for 3 major injuries to your top 5 starters each year- that is a pitching coach problem and if you treat it as a depth problem, you end up with misallocation of resources.  As it stands, the club has got $52 million invested in the rotation already (Buehrle, Dickey, Morrow, Romero and Happ).  That's about 40% of the payroll invested in a role that is 30% or less of the club's value.  If you try to fill that position with a medium level innings eater, you'll probably end up with over 1/2 the payroll in rotation. 

Richard S.S. - Monday, September 09 2013 @ 11:48 PM EDT (#278911) #
If Ryan Goins was our Starting 2nd Baseman this season, how many games could the team win?

If R.A.Dickey is healthy all season long and figures out the problem with his "rising pitch" earlier, how many games could he win?

Consider how many issues 2nd Base has had before Goins arrived. Is better defense at Second worth as many as 10 more games won?

A healthy Dickey not dishing up HRs at home could be worth 5 more Games won at home?

Starting Pitching was a disaster, Defense made it that way.
Mike Green - Tuesday, September 10 2013 @ 09:22 AM EDT (#278915) #
Grass coming to the Rogers Centre in 2018.  Better late than never.
CeeBee - Tuesday, September 10 2013 @ 09:32 AM EDT (#278916) #
2018 at the latest..... maybe sooner if the Argo's relocate before 2018. Finally some great news for the Jays!
BlueJayWay - Tuesday, September 10 2013 @ 10:44 AM EDT (#278919) #
Great news for the Jays.  Hopefully sooner than 2018
AWeb - Tuesday, September 10 2013 @ 11:16 AM EDT (#278920) #

New fan scouting report at Tango's site, and it reminded me of a depressing fact - Arencibia is going to lead this team in games played in the field (non-DH). Blue Jays

Yay for the grass field from me as well. I hope they do a good job, immediately, when they install it. Turf tech is light years ahead of where it was 25 years ago, so they should be able to pull it off. And if you can grow grass in Minnesota, Toronto should be easy.

Chuck - Tuesday, September 10 2013 @ 11:46 AM EDT (#278921) #
Arencibia is going to lead this team in games played in the field

Wow, that does say something, doesn't it? I wonder how many teams have ever been able to make such a claim about their starting catcher?

Plan A for the Jays would have been for Reyes, Lawrie, Cabrera, Rasmus and Bautista to finish ahead of Arencibia (knowing there would be job sharing at 1B and 2B).

ayjackson - Tuesday, September 10 2013 @ 12:11 PM EDT (#278922) #
I think I read somewhere yesterday that JPA is the third greatest of all time at making outs in a season. Congratulations JP!
Mike Green - Tuesday, September 10 2013 @ 12:25 PM EDT (#278924) #
So far, I am the only one to give JPA a "great" for anything defensive.  I rated his throwing strength as "great", but captured the erratic nature of his throwing ability in the release/footwork and throwing accuracy categories.  My guess is if that he was a right-fielder, he would generate a significant number of baserunner kills, along with air-mailing a few.  Much of his problem, in my view, is his erratic transition from the squat into a good throwing position. 

ayjackson - Tuesday, September 10 2013 @ 12:32 PM EDT (#278925) #
I think he's just slow to react from the crouch. He's slow to react to wild pitches and slow to get up to throw out baserunners. He's also slow to move his glove in anticipation of outside pitches, which causes a stabbing at the ball and difficulties with framing (although there may be some improvement shown in this respect).
Mike Green - Tuesday, September 10 2013 @ 01:44 PM EDT (#278927) #
I agree completely, ayj.  Plenty strong, but not quick and not fast. 
Magpie - Tuesday, September 10 2013 @ 02:03 PM EDT (#278928) #
Is better defense at Second worth as many as 10 more games won?

Definitely not. What's the difference between the very worst second baseman and the very best? How many plays? It's going to be 40 or 50, and all the hits prevented are going to be singles. So it's definitely not 10 games, it's probably closer to 3 or 4. And that's also assuming your glove whiz was able to hit as well as the people he's replacing, which in the case of Goins is no sure thing (although Izturis and Bonifacio did set the bar pretty low.)
Chuck - Tuesday, September 10 2013 @ 02:24 PM EDT (#278929) #

Bill Mazeroski's best dWAR, per BBRef, was 3.3. Bobby Grich had a 3.9. I didn't scan other second basemen to see if anyone was able to land in the 4's.

At the other end, the first name that came to mind for poor defense was Dan Uggla. He's at a -1.7 this year. I am guessing that other historically poor second baseman live in that neighbourhood of awful. I am stumped for names to look up.

So it takes historical extremes to even get a swing of between 5 and 6. I would venture to say that Goins vs. Izturis/Bonifacio does not represent a swing of historic magnitude.

And 10, of course, is right off the table.

Mike Green - Tuesday, September 10 2013 @ 02:46 PM EDT (#278930) #
Or to look at it another way, a win is worth roughly 10 runs.  10 wins would be 100 runs.  There is no way that the difference between Bill Mazeroski and a regular second baseman is 100 runs.  It could be 50 runs.  Jorge Cantu was -20 in a couple of years according to BBRef.  Now, if a club played Adam Dunn or Willie Mays Aikens at second base for a whole season, that might be another story.

John Northey - Tuesday, September 10 2013 @ 03:23 PM EDT (#278931) #
The two names that come to mind for Jays are Alomar and Hudson.
Alomar: from -0.9 to +1.4 for dWAR
Hudson: from -0.6 to +2.8 for dWAR

Neither added enough with the glove to reach Grich or Maz, as expected. The best ever is Terry Turner in 1906 at shortstop with a 5.4, followed by Andrelton Simmons this year at SS for Atlanta - he is at 5.2 with a few weeks left...we might be seeing history without knowing it.  Brooks Robinson  is the top non-shortstop (3B for those who don't know their baseball history) with a 4.5 in 1968. Frankie Frisch  with a 4.4 in 1927 is the top at 2B (he did some at SS that year). Devon White in 1992 is the highest Jay with a 3.8.  Gary Carter the top Expo & catcher with a 4.0 in 1983 (#16 overall).

So yeah, to save 10 games with the glove would require replacing a very, very, very bad player defensively.  Like replacing Cecil Fielder at 3B (Jimy Williams tried to put him there...made for a very ugly spring and a few weird regular season games).
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