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John Farrell's Red Sox are the first AL team to clinch a spot in the post-season, so this could be a relaxing weekend for all concerned.



Toronto vs Boston | 38 comments | Create New Account
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John Northey - Friday, September 20 2013 @ 11:03 PM EDT (#279257) #
OK - now this is getting silly.  Rasmus running onto the field gets hit by a ball someone (Gose is who the article suggests, but it seems to have been a reliever or someone in the pen) was throwing to him and is pulled from the game.  How nuts is that?

So if Rasmus is out then the outfield is down to the 3 kids and Davis with probably DeRosa as the emergency backup (or Kawasaki or..gulp..Lind) with all 3 starters (Cabrera/Rasmus/Bautista) hurt.  Sheesh.
greenfrog - Friday, September 20 2013 @ 11:27 PM EDT (#279258) #
Heck of a wild card race going on in the AL this year. Texas, TB, Cleveland, KC, and Baltimore are all right there, and the Yankees are still hanging on.

It's a bit early in the fall for Lind to be doing so much raking, but I'm not complaining. I've enjoyed watching him breathe life back into his career.
John Northey - Saturday, September 21 2013 @ 09:30 AM EDT (#279259) #
Just took at look at B-R and saw Lind now has a 133 OPS+, the same as Bautista and just ahead of Rasmus (128).  I think Lind really wants his option picked up.

Just for interests sake... who are the sOPS+ (OPS+ vs league at that position) leaders for the Jays?  100 PA minimum (or you get a 424 for Bautista at 1B for his 1-1 performance) A few notes if a notable player did better in very few PA.
CA: JPA 71
1B: Encarnacion 129
2B: Bonifacio 66 (83 for DeRosa in 65 PA)
3B: Izturis 104 (Encarnacion 166 in 42 PA, Lawrie is at 97)
SS: Reyes 129
LF: Cabrera 81 (Gose at 228 in 29 PA)
CF: Rasmus 128 (Davis at 134 in 56 PA)
RF: Bautista 126 (Sierra at 152 in 77 PA)
DH: Encarnacion 148 (Lind is at 112)

The top PH has been Adam Lind who has a 338 sOPS+ as a PH in 20 PA, DeRosa has a 196 sOPS+ as a PH in 27 PA.  For depression JPA has a 9 sOPS+ as a PH in 16 PA (why do you do that Gibbons?), and Kawasaki a 2 in 10 PA (1 for 9 with a walk).

Boy do Sierra and Gose look like they want jobs in 2014 here. 2B meanwhile has been a black hole no matter who has played there as has CA.  Every bit of evidence screams to find a new 2B and a new CA but will AA deliver? Guess we'll see.
bpoz - Saturday, September 21 2013 @ 11:04 AM EDT (#279261) #
If the Jays can win 74 games this year then the trend to lose more games each succeeding year of AA's term will have ended.

PLEASE !!!
greenfrog - Saturday, September 21 2013 @ 11:05 AM EDT (#279262) #
The media keeps calling Rasmus's injury a "freak injury," but why was Gose throwing at a teammate who wasn't looking at him? Alternatively, why wasn't Rasmus aware that a throw might come his way?
jerjapan - Saturday, September 21 2013 @ 11:18 AM EDT (#279263) #
Ah jeez Greenfrog, what are you implying?  Freak injuries do happen, regardless of whatever personal axe you have to grind with the management of this team.

Here's Gose on the injury: I thought he was looking at me, said Gose, who was visibly shaken tears welling in his eyes after the game. I was just trying to give him the ball to play catch with Rajai.

jerjapan - Saturday, September 21 2013 @ 11:31 AM EDT (#279264) #
On another note, what's the Menodoza line for OBP?  229 in honour of JP's number 9?  He's only one point away from that benchmark.

Last night has to be the utter nadir of his career, no?  3 crucial Ks, 6 LOB and his batting average has sunk to a buck 95. 

greenfrog - Saturday, September 21 2013 @ 11:46 AM EDT (#279265) #
J, I'm not implying anything. I'm wondering how this type of incident can happen at the major-league level. Getting hit in the face by a Gose long toss is no joke. Don't teams / outfielders have some sort of system to ensure that this sort of thing doesn't happen?
katman - Saturday, September 21 2013 @ 12:02 PM EDT (#279266) #
The one time someone on the Jays hits the cutoff man...

smcs - Saturday, September 21 2013 @ 12:10 PM EDT (#279267) #
I'm just shocked Gose was able to hit where he was aiming.
AWeb - Saturday, September 21 2013 @ 12:17 PM EDT (#279268) #
ah, gallows humour...this season sure has gone well.
Dewey - Saturday, September 21 2013 @ 12:59 PM EDT (#279269) #
Does anyone know how serious Rasmus's injury is?  Anything broken?  A concussion?  How's his vision?
Chuck - Saturday, September 21 2013 @ 01:30 PM EDT (#279270) #
I'm not implying anything. I'm wondering how this type of incident can happen at the major-league level.

Frankly, for all the jillions of times that players throw the ball around, I'm surprised somebody getting clunked doesn't happen more.

Chuck - Saturday, September 21 2013 @ 03:05 PM EDT (#279271) #
Last night has to be the utter nadir of his career, no? 3 crucial Ks, 6 LOB and his batting average has sunk to a buck 95.

I'm sure the season can't end soon enough for JPA. Aside from his issues at the plate, he also channeled Dick Stuart late in the game, having balls bounce off his glove on a Middlebrooks steal attempt and when Pedroia ran to second, after singling, on a throw home.

JPA's slash line is not too far off Bonifacio's (as a Jay, not the HoF version currently playing in KC): 195/230/364 vs. 218/258/321.

John Northey - Saturday, September 21 2013 @ 04:45 PM EDT (#279272) #
How is this for the 'bench JPA' argument...
Since (and including) September 11th he has hit into more double plays (1) than he has hits plus walks (0).  Yes, he is 0 for his last 22 without a single walk.  Overall for September he is now at 044/085/044 for a 130 OPS in 47 very sad PA.

C'mon Gibbons, shoot this dead horse already and just put in Thole (16 PA in September with a 250 OPS - nearly double JPA's this month...how sad is that?) everyday from here on out with a sympathy start for Mike Nickeas on a weekend.  Of course, maybe the Jays are shooting for as good a draft pick as possible thus should keep JPA out there everyday/every inning.

Btw, Jays now 9th worst in MLB with Colorado in a virtual tie (Colorado has a tiny bit better winning percentage) with SF 1/2 a game back, Philly 1 game, SD 2 games.  In the other direction (to get a better pick) you have the Mets 1 game up, Milwaukee 2 games, and Seattle 3 1/2 up.  6th best draft pick is available if they keep 'trying' for it.

FYI: the Jays are #1 in number of pitchers used, #2 in oldest pitchers while #28 for runs allowed per game (gulp).

Chuck - Saturday, September 21 2013 @ 05:09 PM EDT (#279273) #
Sox going with the "we won our division" lineup. Johnny Mac starts at 2B.
Gerry - Saturday, September 21 2013 @ 05:22 PM EDT (#279274) #
The Jays have one complication in the "get a new catcher" issue, namely who will catch Dickey? It seems like the best option is to have the "new guy" catch Dickey. Thole hasn't shown that he is worthy of a 25 man spot and while JPA as a backup could catch Dickey he doesn't seem to have the adaptable catching skills to be good enough to catch RAD.

The new guy will have to do it. AA will have to consider that requirement before he decides who to target.
92-93 - Saturday, September 21 2013 @ 06:19 PM EDT (#279275) #
If AA indeed gets a catcher that supplants Arencibia I'd be pretty surprised if they kept JP around to be the backup. His ego can't handle that, he's going to cost millions of dollars, and he's likely more valuable as trade bait than as a 2.5m backup C.
Richard S.S. - Saturday, September 21 2013 @ 07:17 PM EDT (#279276) #
If you could D.L. Arencibia, you might be stuck with Thole and the other guy who's worse than both. Of course, just going healthier might be better.
John Northey - Saturday, September 21 2013 @ 07:59 PM EDT (#279277) #
Make it 0 for 23 now (no walks either).  There are slumps then there are cases where it looks like even I could do better.  I mean, how much worse could it get than 0-23 with 10 K's and 1 GIDP.
greenfrog - Sunday, September 22 2013 @ 06:09 PM EDT (#279278) #
After today's games (including Tampa's third straight win over the O's, and the Indians' fourth straight win over the Astros), here are the AL wild card standings:

TB 86-69
Cleveland 86-70
Texas 84-71 / 1.5 GB
KC 82-73 / 3.5 GB
NYY 82-74 / 4 GB
Baltimore 81-74 / 4.5 GB

So, it's looking likely (not certain) that two of TB, Cleveland and Texas will claim the WC spots. What do their remaining schedules look like?

Tampa has seven games left: Baltimore (1), @NYY (3), @Tor (3)

Cleveland has six: Chicago WS (2), @Minn (4)

Texas has seven: Houston (3), LAA (4)

Clearly, TB and Cleveland are playing red-hot baseball at the right time, while Texas is 3-7 in its last ten. However, Cleveland and Texas have the softest schedules, both in terms of strength of opponent and home/road splits. As a result, the Jays (including Buehrle and Dickey) could have a chance to knock TB out of the WC race in the final weekend of the season. Stay tuned...
Richard S.S. - Sunday, September 22 2013 @ 07:21 PM EDT (#279279) #
To eliminated Tampa from the postseason, this team might need to sweep them with Lawrie, Reyes and basically a AAA/AAAA lineup. Good luck with that.
John Northey - Sunday, September 22 2013 @ 10:09 PM EDT (#279280) #
I remember the Raptors in their first or second year beating the Michael Jordan/Scott Pippen Chicago Bulls. The impossible can happen.

In baseball, Houston (a AAA team playing in the majors all year) won 2 of 3 from Oakland in August.  Last year we saw two very weird collapses at the end and who can forget the 1987 Jays losing every game in the last week to just miss the playoffs (geez did that hurt, and I worked with a guy who was a die hard Tiger fan to make it worse).

The rotation right now has Buehrle's final start against Baltimore on Thursday, then Dickey on Friday against Tampa Bay.  Happ and Redmond would get the other two starts.  For Tampa they better watch out as Redmond has been red hot and if that final game means anything he would not be the guy they'd want to face I'd think.

greenfrog - Sunday, September 22 2013 @ 10:35 PM EDT (#279281) #
Ah, I forgot about the makeup game against the ChiSox. Yes, Buehrle is slated to start against Baltimore, not TB.

I imagine LAA is looking forward to playing spoiler, too (in its case, against Texas to close out the season).
adrianveidt - Monday, September 23 2013 @ 11:42 AM EDT (#279282) #
Northey, don't you understand that it's hard to play catcher? Maybe you should go out there and play catcher, if you think you can do the job better than JPA. Nobody can criticize JPA without going out and playing 5 years as a major league starting catcher. Then you'll know what it's like. All these "statistics" you endlessly reference don't prove anything because catching a major league game is difficult.


Why bother with walks? JPA isn't out there to "get on base". He's out there to hit home runs and win ball games. And that's what he does, is win ball games. If it's not a home run, there's no point in even making contact. Besides which, it's too difficult to hit for contact and take pitches. Why don't you go out there and try to hit if you think it's easy!
Mike Green - Monday, September 23 2013 @ 12:00 PM EDT (#279283) #
The Jays have one complication in the "get a new catcher" issue, namely who will catch Dickey? It seems like the best option is to have the "new guy" catch Dickey. Thole hasn't shown that he is worthy of a 25 man spot and while JPA as a backup could catch Dickey he doesn't seem to have the adaptable catching skills to be good enough to catch RAD.

The new guy will have to do it. AA will have to consider that requirement before he decides who to target.

I don't agree with this.  Arencibia has proven over 1377 PAs that he simply cannot hit enough to be a regular catcher (.212/.259/.408 is the line of a back-up catcher) and that he cannot receive well enough to be the catcher of a knuckleballer. He ought to have no role in the 2014 Blue Jays unless Dickey is gone, which is highly unlikely.  Whether Thole deserves another shot as a back-up catcher is a more difficult question.  The club needs at least one catcher, and possibly two (if Thole's 2013 major league performance is considered to be indicative of what he is likely to do in 2014).  For myself, given Thole's major league record prior to 2013, his minor league record in 2013, his handling of Dickey and his contract, I would give him another shot.  The advantage is that you then can seek a catcher from among a wider pool (not having to worry about whether the catcher can handle the knuckleball). 
Thomas - Monday, September 23 2013 @ 12:59 PM EDT (#279284) #

For comparsion's sake, Josh Thole's career line in over 1,100 plate appearances is .215/.321/.321. And he can catch the knuckleball. It shouldn't be discounted that his performance has trended downwards in each successive season, although one could argue that his injuries and a small sample size this year provide a partial explanation, at least, for that trend.

I'm with Mike, for the most part. I think the Jays should get the best catcher they can, regardless of whether he can catch the knuckleball. If he can, that's a great bonus and it would keep JP in consideration for the backup job in 2014. If he can't, the Jays will either have to go with Thole as the backup or find another reserve catcher with the skills to catch the pitch. To my mind, the front office would be compounding the problem if they let JP's defensive deficiancies limit the team's options at starting catcher.

I don't think there is definitely not a role in Toronto for JP in 2014 if Dickey's here. However, if the team could make a competitive offer for McCann (for example), I think it'd be a significant error for them to back off from the bidding if they assessed that McCann couldn't catch the knuckleball and therefore couldn't have McCann and JP as the club's catchers.

Mike Green - Monday, September 23 2013 @ 05:11 PM EDT (#279288) #
Thomas is right.  Arencibia potentially has a role on the 2014 Blue Jays.  If the club signs a left-hand hitting catcher who can handle knuckleballs, Arencibia would be all right as a backup catcher instead of Thole. 
John Northey - Monday, September 23 2013 @ 06:29 PM EDT (#279290) #
Heh... thought you were serious at first adrianveidt.  Good job acting like JPA there (and many old school announcers).

Is catching hard? Damn straight it is. That is why even the best of them are often low on the career WAR list due to injuries and the like.  The top bWAR for a catcher is  Johnny Bench at 75.2 (#75 all time) then Gary Carter at 69.8 which comes in #100 all-time. Carlton Fisk  is #109 and tied with Ivan Rodriguez, Craig Biggio  is #134 (mainly at 2B), Yogi Berra  at just 59.3 (#183) just ahead of Mike Piazza.  That's the top 7 unless I missed someone (just eyeballed it on the B-R site).  Bill Dickey is the highest pure catcher (never used at any other position) with 55.9 WAR. 
Joe Mauer's 44.3 puts him at #19 and climbing - with 3 more WAR he would be #14.

FYI: the top WAR7 (peak 7 years of WAR) is Gary Carter - one WAR over Johnny Bench. Nice to see for an old Expos fan.  Carter was always very underrated - crazy it took 6 ballots to get him into the HOF.
Parker - Tuesday, September 24 2013 @ 09:57 AM EDT (#279301) #
Zaun played more than five years as a major league catcher and not even he is allowed to criticize JPA.
CeeBee - Tuesday, September 24 2013 @ 02:32 PM EDT (#279313) #
Thats because he's "one of them" now. That and he's probably forgot how tough it is to be a major league catcher.
ComebyDeanChance - Tuesday, September 24 2013 @ 05:37 PM EDT (#279327) #
However, if the team could make a competitive offer for McCann

I'm curious what is considered a 'competitive offer' for Brian McCann. I suspect that unless McCann has gone completely without a 'no-trade', then he has a no-trade to Toronto. That's not a strategic choice players make, like a no-trade to the Yankees to ply more money out of them, but a choice players make because they don't want to ply their careers in a different country. As much as some hope that American ballplayers look at playing in Canada as an equivalent to playing in the US, it's not a realistic hope. Which is why when Toronto fans read about no-trade clauses, Toronto is inevitably on them. Last year Toronto couldn't even get Uehara, a middle reliever who was left off the Rangers' post-season roster, to waive a no-trade to Toronto.

For someone who is probably going to pull at least 75 on the market, I think the only kind of offer that would be 'competitive' is one that is completely disproportionate to anything else that's out there. If there is 5x15, then you'd perhaps interest McCann in playing in Canada with something like 7x18 or 20 with an opt-out, because he views it as a last chance for a big payday. But it's not going to be 5x15 plus a 1 million/year bonus. That doesn't even cover the federal tax difference let alone going to play in a foreign country. It'll be a difference like BJ Ryan, where he scored 5/47 when the next offer was apparently around 3/21.

These are the considerations that made the Marlin trade, where no Marlins players had no trades, and the Dickey trade, where only one club could offer an extension, so appealing to the front office. They could get players at prices others pay, as opposed to dealing with players with good choices in the US.

Toronto had its shot at McCann when Chris Buckley had him targeted in 2002. Instead, the FO scooped up Russ Adams and David Bush. To quote Seth Rogen's character in Sarah Polley's film, "sometimes the things you do in life stick."
Thomas - Tuesday, September 24 2013 @ 05:54 PM EDT (#279328) #

CBDC, good quote, but can you explain Dickey's extension from Dickey's perspective, if all players view Canada like you claim?

Dickey signed what was nearly essentially a free-agent contract in Toronto in that he had never played here before. He was going to be a free agent after 2013 and had a pretty good chance at a decent payday given his 2010-2012 record and his 2012 Cy Young Award even if he was as thoroughly mediocre as he was this year.

You might suggest that Dickey took the guaranteed money, but would you argue that Dickey, if he was a free agent this offseason, wouldn't get at least $25 million over 2 years? Based on, for example, the contract of Ryan Dempster, I don't think he'd have trouble with that amount coming off an average 2013 season.

ComebyDeanChance - Tuesday, September 24 2013 @ 08:55 PM EDT (#279331) #
Hi Thomas. That's what I was referring to when I said 'the only team that could extend him'. Dickey wanted an extension, that NYM were unprepared to give, to assure him of money based on 2012, without seeing whether he could repeat in 2013. He wanted the extension for obvious reasons - so that he wouldn't hit free agency off a mediocre 2013. When the Jays traded for him they had the advantage of being the only team able to offer him that extension.

To be honest, it's a bit surprising that some folks think Toronto is an equal choice to a US-based team.
John Northey - Tuesday, September 24 2013 @ 11:41 PM EDT (#279337) #
I think Toronto is equal to a lot of US teams in drawing free agents.  Don't see tons going to Milwaukee or Cleveland for example without a premium or when desperate.  The Yankees, Marlins, and Texas & California based teams have a big advantage each - Yankees with the legend and cash, and California/Texas/Marlins with players being from the area.
Thomas - Wednesday, September 25 2013 @ 09:04 AM EDT (#279338) #

I don't think Dickey explicitly wanted an extension. I think he was amenable to one, but that the teams were the driving force behind it.

I think the Mets and he couldn't agree on a price for an extension and given that the Mets were in danger of losing him after the 2013 season to free agency, they chose to maximize his value based on his 2012 season. The Jays wanted an extension to be sure they weren't trading d'Arnaud and Syndergaard for only one year of Dickey.

And I'm still not convinced that Dickey wouldn't have gotten a relatively similar contract this offseason coming off a mediocre 2013.

John Northey - Wednesday, September 25 2013 @ 09:13 AM EDT (#279339) #
The deal at the time seemed awfully low for a Cy Young winner, even an old one who uses the knuckleball.  2 years, $25 mil guaranteed with the 3rd year being a $12 mil option or $1 mil buyout (buyout factored into the $25).  FanGraphs puts Dickey's poor 2013 as a $10.2 million value while his Cy year is listed at $20.2.  But they base it on FIP which isn't fair to knuckleballers as they are the one group shown to consistently get a lower BABIP.  Not sure how much off it would be, but they'd underestimate the value.  Still, I agree that a 2 year $25 mil deal would've been out there for Dickey had he been a free agent most likely even coming off a 'meh' year with 200+ IP and a near 100 ERA+.
bpoz - Thursday, September 26 2013 @ 11:11 AM EDT (#279356) #
Dickey was obtained after the big trade. Maybe he like us thought that he could win or at least be on a winning team.
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