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Reading some of the "Who to Trade?" articles of the past few weeks got me thinking hypothetically, a very fun but dangerous method of thinking...

Anyhow, I've had a trade idea kicking around in my head since the season ended and I'm curious to hear what some of you think about it. I'm not going to argue for or against it, I will only provide facts and evidence to illuminate the discussion.

Here is my proposal:

Toronto trades CF Colby Rasmus to Cincinnati for SP Homer Bailey.

Cincinnati's Perspective

The Reds are extremely likely to lose All-Star CF Shin-Soo Choo to free agency and with the best in-house options being phenom speedster Billy Hamilton and Derrick Robinson, they might be in the market for somebody with a bit more major league experience. Cincinnati also has a surplus of ML starting pitching with Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Bronson Arroyo (free agent), Tony Cingrani, Mike Leake and Bailey. While the Reds would surely prefer a right-handed power hitter to complement Votto and Bruce, Colby Rasmus would be a solid offensive replacement for Choo and a definite defensive upgrade.

Toronto's Perspective

We need starting pitching, bad. Let me rephrase that, we need good starting pitching. Bailey may not be anyone's idea of an ace but he would easily slide in as the Blue Jays third best starting pitcher, possibly second best. Outfield depth also is something Toronto does have, with Anthony Gose and possibly Kevin Pillar able to fill in for a departed Rasmus.

A Closer Look At Rasmus

Colby finally had a productive and consistent season for the Blue Jays. While his counting numbers (HR, RBI etc.) were on par with previous years, he posted by far his highest batting average (.276), on-base percentage (.338) and slugging percentage (.501) as a Jay. Combined with his terrific defense and excellent baserunning, Rasmus was a 5 win player in under 120 games according to WAR (If you're into that kind of thing.) Skeptics will point to Rasmus' especially high batting average on balls hit in play and say he can't repeat what he did in 2013, but even with some offensive regression he is still an above average major league centrefielder and is still young enough to improve upon that.

A Closer Look At Bailey

Best known for throwing two no-hitters in the past two seasons, that achievement has perhaps overshadowed the significant improvement Bailey has made the past few years. A high draft pick (7th overall in 2004), Homer Bailey has logged 200+ innings each of the last two years while his ERA and WHIP has steadily dropped each of the last four, all while pitching in one of the better hitters parks in baseball. Bailey also has good command for a power pitcher (his BB/9 has been exactly 2.3 the past three seasons) and at 27 still has time to keep progressing.


Both are slated to be free agents at the end of next season so one would think a contract extension would have to be worked out with either player before such a deal could take place.

So, what do you think? Is this a move that makes sense for either team? Also, please feel free to realistically add to the trade as you see fit. (as in, no Romero for Cingrani or Thole for Votto ideas)
Hypothetical Trade I | 55 comments | Create New Account
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Mike Green - Friday, November 01 2013 @ 12:14 PM EDT (#280230) #
as in, no Romero for Cingrani or Thole for Votto ideas

Can we throw in JPA for Ryan Hanigan into the deal?

Seriously, no deal.  I do not perceive this club as having any significant outfield depth.  Bautista is great when healthy but cannot be counted on for more than 120 games in the outfield, and even that may be pushing it.  Melky is a big unknown, but again counting on him for more than 120 games of above-replacement production in the outfield is not a good idea.  Anthony Gose has done nothing the last 2 years which shows he is ready for a full-time job as a major league centerfielder.  I like Kevin Pillar but counting on him to be any more than a platoon corner outfielder is unreasonable.  Nothing Moises Sierra has done suggests that he is ready to be an above-replacement player in any capacity.

I think that there is a better chance that Drew Hutchison makes a good recovery and that one of Nolin or Stroman makes a significant contribution than one of the outfield prospects taking a significant step forward. The club could use another starting pitcher for the start of the year, but it is a bad idea to move Rasmus for pitching unless the return is simply a better player. 
whiterasta80 - Friday, November 01 2013 @ 12:49 PM EDT (#280231) #
Sign me up in a heartbeat (even if it means Davis/Gose in center). Unfortunately I don't see Rasmus getting us Bailey.

He might get us Cueto however and I'd be interested in that as well.
Chuck - Friday, November 01 2013 @ 12:57 PM EDT (#280232) #
I think the trade proposal is moot since the Reds are going to be so tempted by Hamilton's "game changing" base stealing skills that they will want to give him every chance to succeed before deciding that they need to look for CF alternatives. I do think that Hamilton will ultimately fail (the troublesome "you can't steal first" problem).
Mike Green - Friday, November 01 2013 @ 01:56 PM EDT (#280234) #
I agree with that.  This is not a trade that will happen unless Billy Hamilton is injured significantly in the off-season.
92-93 - Friday, November 01 2013 @ 02:21 PM EDT (#280237) #
I'm with MG here. The chances they can get Bailey's production from within the system are much higher than the chances they can get Rasmus'.
vw_fan17 - Friday, November 01 2013 @ 02:56 PM EDT (#280240) #
I'm with MG here. The chances they can get Bailey's production from within the system are much higher than the chances they can get Rasmus'.

Agree here as well - we a have a LOT of pitchers with potential, or who were good at one point and possibly could be again. Anthony Gose, at this point, probably has less potential than Billy Hamilton. And if Melky falters again, heck, Lind might just go back to LF at some point.. (I'm only half kidding....). No way we trade Rasmus at this point for anything but a very, very good starter, not someone with a career OPS+ of 96. We already have that guy - his name is JA Happ. Lifetime OPS+ of... 96.
Eephus - Friday, November 01 2013 @ 03:27 PM EDT (#280241) #
Can we throw in JPA for Ryan Hanigan into the deal?

Please! Heck, I'll take Corky Miller instead of Hanigan if Cincinnati offers that...

Agreed that it would be much easier to find a pitcher who can replicate Bailey's performance than it would be to find a centrefielder who can replicate that of Rasmus. None of these are sure things, of course. Also, what the Reds really need is a left-fielder, unless they plan to count on a breaking down, 35 year old Ryan Ludwick again.

Eephus - Friday, November 01 2013 @ 03:35 PM EDT (#280243) #
Scratch that. Seeing as the Reds are on the hook for 8 million to Ludwick next year (and at least 4.5 million in 2015), I'm guessing it's a Melky Cabrera situation. Put him out there, hope he's healthy and see what happens.
Parker - Friday, November 01 2013 @ 06:38 PM EDT (#280251) #
The A's declined Kurt Suzuki's option. He might not hit any better than Arencibia, but he's miles ahead on defense.
Richard S.S. - Friday, November 01 2013 @ 06:49 PM EDT (#280252) #
Melky Cabrera is (crossed fingers) healthier than he's been in a long time. He's being reunited with the Hitting Coach he had a breakout season with. He'll be OK.

Jose Bautista is no longer a top Trade Asset due to his injury history, He is however still a very good Asset, of possible diminishing value. He might up the anty on any return. Either internally or a Free Agent could replace him.

I don't want to trade Colby Rasmus. Not because of who replaces him, but because we won't get enough value back. Rasmus for Scherzer works for me.
John Northey - Friday, November 01 2013 @ 07:21 PM EDT (#280253) #
Suzuki career 86 OPS+, 73 last year, 94 games with that being the lowest since 2007 when he played in 68 as a rookie.  Entering age 30 season
JPA career 78 OPS+, 59 last year, 138 games last year his peak, 100+ a year outside of his September callup.  Entering age 28 season.

Suzuki defensive bWAR 6.8 lifetime, 16 DRS
JPA's bWAR 2.4, 0 DRS

Hard to measure catchers defense, but overall I'd say might as well see if Suzuki will sign and then try to get rid of JPA if McCann isn't willing to come here at a reasonable price.
Hodgie - Friday, November 01 2013 @ 07:58 PM EDT (#280256) #
If looking to add a SP, I wonder what it would take to get the Cardinals to part with Shelby Miller? Assuming he wasn't abducted by aliens during the playoffs....
katman - Friday, November 01 2013 @ 10:40 PM EDT (#280258) #

Colby Rasmus to the Aliens, where he becomes the driver of their interstellar monster truck. They abduct Shelby Miller and alter his identity. We sign Fausto Ahlienis as a non-drafted Free Agent, and add him to our roster.

For good measure, they abduct Ivan Rodriguez, upload a copy of his mind, and swap it with JPA's while crowding around the lab and wearing pink cheerleader outfits supplied by the Jays. No-one ever, ever believes Ivan or JPA's stories of this incident, with even Fox Mulder going "Now you're just being an asshole and pulling my leg." JPA does, however, suddenly begin hitting .300 and throwing out 40% of baserunners. Even then, no-one ever believes his stories, but fans do start appearing in the stands wearing pink cheerleader outfits - after word gets out on Twitter.
katman - Friday, November 01 2013 @ 11:12 PM EDT (#280259) #
On a serious note, while discussing trade options:

"The Toronto Blue Jays have exercised the 2014 contract options on Casey Janssen, Adam Lind and Mark DeRosa while declining the ($1 million) option on Munenori Kawasaki,"

I think I would have DFA'ed Izturis and kept Kawasaki.

They also hired Seitzer as hitting coach. KC's comment that the guy worked hard, but they just thought there was more offense in the team than it was showing does not fill me with confidence.

McNulty - Friday, November 01 2013 @ 11:22 PM EDT (#280260) #
I still think a trade with Detroit would be a win-win for both sides. Detroit needs bullpen help, Jays need a good starter.

To Detroit
Casey Janssen
Steve Delabar

To Toronto

Doug Fister

Why it makes sense: Detroit already has two Cy Youngs, plus Anibal Sanchez and Rick Porcello. The loss of Fister would be offset because they have Drew Smyly waiting in the wings. The move would instantly give them a top tier bullpen, something that the lack thereof cost them another World Series appearance.

For Toronto, they need a starter that can give them 200 quality innings. Regardless of what stats you look at, Fister's numbers speak for themselves; he's a solid, if not spectacular mid roatation starter. The loss of Janssen and Delabar are offset by the emergence of Brett Cecil as a reliable high leverage pitcher, and the return to health of Sergio Santos. Fister also has two years remaining until he is a free agent, which fits the window of opportunity the Jays are looking at. They also would get pitching help without having to trade an everyday player.

cybercavalier - Saturday, November 02 2013 @ 12:36 AM EDT (#280261) #
I agree with McNulty.

Rasmus' value to the Jays is hard to be replaced. The value of Jays' bullpen is a strength and can more easily be re-charged by waiver claim, sudden appearance of pitching strength from AAA Buffalo or conversion of former staring pitching, than that of centerfield. Also pitching is more fragile value than to hitting. Last but not least, I believe I read somewhere on this site that Rasmus has started to show some of his prospected value of an all-star during 2013 season; why not let the Jays ride his prospect rise. Is the price of increasing salary that unbearable so a centerfielder has to be traded to create salary room ?

Excuse my bluntness if I was, but I think I need to agree this time.

Richard S.S. - Saturday, November 02 2013 @ 03:41 AM EDT (#280262) #
Listening to John Lott and Shi Davidi on a Primetime Sports podcast, heard that A.A. had $105.0 MM to work with last offseason. All indications this offseason are $145.0 MM this offseason (Jeff Blair podcast) but , I think it might be OK to go to $150.0 MM.

That being said, a major piece (plus extras) gets moved from the roster in a trade, or A.A. will have trouble filling more than one hole. That means Rasmus will stay as his value is not replaceable.
Chuck - Saturday, November 02 2013 @ 09:39 AM EDT (#280265) #
To Detroit: Casey Janssen, Steve Delabar
To Toronto: Doug Fister

I can't see 110 innings of reliever fetching 200 innings of starter. The Tigers do need bullpen help but there are free agents out there like Balfour and Rodney.

greenfrog - Saturday, November 02 2013 @ 10:45 AM EDT (#280266) #
I think someone researched this a while back, but I can't remember the answer. If this off-season the Jays sign a FA who received a qualifying offer (Ervin Santana, let's say), will they lose their eleventh overall pick (i.e., despite the fact that as a tenth overall selection in 2013, it was protected)?
whiterasta80 - Saturday, November 02 2013 @ 12:08 PM EDT (#280268) #
We lose our second rounder. Not that losing a first round pick under this regime should be a major deterrent for signing a free agent.
Thomas - Saturday, November 02 2013 @ 12:19 PM EDT (#280270) #
I can't see 110 innings of reliever fetching 200 innings of starter. The Tigers do need bullpen help but there are free agents out there like Balfour and Rodney.

Exactly. It's a nice idea to trade two bullpen arms for a starter, but it's unrealistic. Detroit could probably sign Joe Nathan and Balfour for less than what Fister would make as a free agent. Also, Detroit's depth at starting pitcher may be temporary, as they to have significant worries they'll lose Scherzer to free agency at the end of the year.

John Northey - Saturday, November 02 2013 @ 08:30 PM EDT (#280277) #
I think the question is what does Detroit want?  Their window is short as who knows with Fielder how long they have before he is a (very) big liability.  Now, maybe if you sent Cecil, Delabar, and Janssen thus giving them a solid closer plus 2 setup men it might make some sense.  Fister also has a lower K/9 rate than their other starters so maybe they'd consider it.  Eh, fun to speculate.
whiterasta80 - Saturday, November 02 2013 @ 08:35 PM EDT (#280278) #
I just don't think the Detroit deal is realistic. You can't trade 2 nickels for a five dollar bill.
John Northey - Saturday, November 02 2013 @ 11:05 PM EDT (#280279) #
I think it is more 2 dollar coins for a 5 (or 3 in my proposal).  Why would they do that?  Well, if you have to use a coin operated machine then 3 $1 coins are worth more to you than a $5 bill.  This applies to Detroit when it hits the playoffs - they feel confident they can make it with what they have but in the playoffs a #5 (and even a #4) starter become irrelevant.  Suddenly bullpen depth becomes critical.  So to win adding 3 solid relievers to the 2 they already have would make their team a lot stronger for those games vs a starter who would be sitting in the pen waiting for extra innings or long relief situations.

For example, this year in the playoffs Fister got in 12 innings.  The pen in the ALDS got 9 2/3 IP, in the ALCS 12 2/3.  Peak relievers got 3 to 4 innings in each.  4 starters were used in each.  Verlander 3 starts, Scherzer 3 and Sanchez 3 while Fister got 2.  One reliever was used in 6 games in the ALCS (Al Alburquerque who was mediocre in the regular season due to crazy wildness & K ability).  Now, maybe it is too soon for the Tigers to try addition by subtraction ala the Cardinals a few years ago with their Jays trade.  I feel the Tigers should've looked at something like that mid-season this year instead so they get value from the starter to help get closer to the playoffs then relievers to push through the playoffs.
whiterasta80 - Sunday, November 03 2013 @ 08:03 AM EST (#280280) #
The value of relievers notwithstanding, the other problem with that model is that every team in the league will offer the same 2x$2 for $5 that we do.if we were going after Tigers pitching we should have done Dela, Cecil, and CJ for Porcello or smyly at the deadline (which i would have supported). They may have moved a younger starter but I just can't see Fister without something more substantial.
Chuck - Sunday, November 03 2013 @ 09:16 AM EST (#280281) #
It's one thing for the Tigers to consider overpaying (Fister for relievers) if it's late in the season and they are looking to optimize their roster for the playoffs, rather than for an attempt to make the playoffs.

It's quite another matter to do that overpaying before a season has even started, when the focus is simply on assembling a roster that can make the playoffs.

There is a truism that the team that gets the single best player in a trade usually wins the trade. And I tend to agree. If I'm offered a bunch of little pieces for a big piece, I'd sooner keep the big piece.

It's interesting that hypothetical trades usually involve "our" team giving up little pieces for another team's big piece, and rarely the other way around. That, to me, is very telling.

Mike Green - Sunday, November 03 2013 @ 10:27 AM EST (#280282) #
Ace relievers (perceived or actual) have sometimes been traded for valuable pieces, going back to the 1980s.  Dale Murray.  Larry Anderson.  Frank Francisco.  It does help if the team has a perceived need in mid-season, which makes it all the more puzzling why Anthopoulos did not make a move before the deadline.  Often the key pieces in return are position players in the minors who are some distance away from the majors or blocked by a better or equally good established player.  Players like Kolten Wong.  The trick, of course, is to find a match.

In fairness, some here have suggested trading Bautista for some smaller pieces.

greenfrog - Sunday, November 03 2013 @ 01:32 PM EST (#280283) #
It also depends who you're dealing with on the front office level. Dave Dombrowski is an experienced, very competent GM. He has an excellent track record when it comes to trading for value (Cabrera, Jackson, Sanchez, Fister, Infante, Scherzer, Polanco, among others). He's unlikely to get fleeced in some relievers-for-above-average-SP swap.
katman - Sunday, November 03 2013 @ 06:24 PM EST (#280286) #
In other news, Game starter Sanchez and Stroman were about the only 2 pitching bright spot for the East All-Stars in the AFL's game, which the East lost 2-9. Neither allowed a run, and they were the only Eastern pitchers to achieve that. Sanchez pitched 2 innings, Stroman 1. 3 SO, 2BB, 3H total for those 3 innings.

Richard S.S. - Sunday, November 03 2013 @ 09:15 PM EST (#280287) #
Casey Janssen and Jose Bautista, as a package, should pry loose something very significant. That clears $18.0 MM in financial space and two 25-man roster spots. Both can be replaced, so that deal could work, if the return is right.
greenfrog - Sunday, November 03 2013 @ 09:46 PM EST (#280288) #
Anthopoulos is in an unenviable position, in that other GMs know he's desperate to win, and win now. They know he needs a catcher, a second baseman, a starting pitcher (or two), and possibly an outfielder. Maybe even a shortstop, depending on how much of a defensive upgrade the Jays need. I think teams are going to hold out for a lot in return, just as Alderson did in the Dickey negotiations. I think Anthopoulos is going to have a hard time building the kind of deep, competitive, versatile, two-way team required to make the playoffs next year.

Instead of zigging, as most of us expect him to do, Anthopoulos might be better off zagging, a la Billy Beane, trading away veterans with high market value with a view to overhauling the team and getting younger, leaner and meaner. They might get better faster than people expect.
whiterasta80 - Sunday, November 03 2013 @ 10:34 PM EST (#280289) #
Personally I think there are more than enough options on the free agent market. No need to trade unless we are blown away.

Say jiminez, maholm, ellis, hart, and pierzynzky. Not overly expensive and we double down on last offseason in a year where our pick is protected.

Ron - Sunday, November 03 2013 @ 10:42 PM EST (#280291) #
The Jays need a starting pitcher while the Rangers need a middle of the order bat. Holland for Joey Bats or Encarnacion would be interesting.
McNulty - Monday, November 04 2013 @ 12:18 AM EST (#280293) #
The trade deadline isn't what it was in the past. With the second wildcard, more teams are willing to buy than sell, are they not? Wouldn't this mean that in July, the price for two of the top relief pitchers would still be high because of the amount of offers? I'm not sure I agree with the notion that the asking price is higher in the off-season.

I do grant that the Tigers could flip Fister (or may not be interested in trading him at all) for more value (maybe considerably more) than what the Jays are offering in my proposed trade. Greenfrog is right, Dombrowski doesn't get fleeced often, if it all.

Yet since the Tigers weakness was that they had to turn to the likes of Jose Veras and Al Alberquerque in high leverage situations the post season (which led them to ruin a historically good run by their rotation and end their season), and the fact that they should have little trouble winning that division again, makes it seem a bit plausible does it not? Also, Fister only pitched ONCE in the post season.

McNulty - Monday, November 04 2013 @ 12:28 AM EST (#280294) #
Dombrowski has traded starters in the past. 2003 he traded Mark Redman for three minor leaguers (Nate Robertson being the best) with Redman going on to have a fantastic season with the Marlins.

He also traded Jair Jurijens, but that was for an everyday shortstop (Renteria).
Paul D - Monday, November 04 2013 @ 07:26 AM EST (#280296) #
Jose Bautista is not easily replaced. 
Original Ryan - Monday, November 04 2013 @ 09:00 AM EST (#280299) #
Jose Bautista is not easily replaced.

And if he were, it's doubtful another team would be willing to take on Bautista's salary and give up a top player to acquire him. Presumably another team could also "easily acquire" one of these Bautista replacements.

I'm not opposed to trading Bautista if the price is right, but I can't understand why the potential blow to the offence is being downplayed. Bautista ain't Fred Lewis.

Richard S.S. - Monday, November 04 2013 @ 09:13 AM EST (#280301) #
Bautista will always be injured now. Once it starts, it doesn't stop. He's missed the last two Septembers. A .300 average, 40+ HR, 120 RBI are a thing of the past. He's never going to be that good again. He's still arguing with umpires. Anger issues he can't control. Not a good example for others. And defensively, he's lost a step or two. He's always been a barely average defender with a great arm. Defensively he's soon to be a liability.

It other words, he's never getting better. His max trade value is right now, and that's much less than it was last year. If he can't be replaced easily, this team not going anywhere, ever.
Thomas - Monday, November 04 2013 @ 10:09 AM EST (#280306) #
Richard, if all of that is the case, why are you so convinced that Bautista would land someone noticeably better than Doug Fister in a trade?
Mylegacy - Monday, November 04 2013 @ 06:46 PM EST (#280357) #
It has taken me some time to warm to Rasmus. I have however, finally gone from cool to warm to quite excited. Colby played 2013 at ages 26/27 (turned 27 on August 11th 2013) - he will play 2014 at ages 27/28. In other words if he is ever to be a serious stud - this should be the year he breaks out. I strongly suspect this will be the year he turns the "hint" of 2013 into the dominance of 2014 and thereafter.

He is the ONLY guy on the team (who is not a star) who could be a STAR - starting with 2014...I would NOT gamble he fails. I think he'll be a star - seriously - don't trade this guy.

Chuck - Monday, November 04 2013 @ 07:08 PM EST (#280360) #
I think he'll be a star

Hey, that's the unabashed MyLegacy optimism we haven't seen here in some time.

My concern is Rasmus's .356 BABIP. There certainly figures to be some regression there. Both FG and BBR has his WAR at 4.8, and that was in only 75% of a season, so I can see where the star talk is coming from. Still, if Rasmus can slot in as a 4-WAR player, I think that would be a reasonable enough demand. At least for we glass half-empty types. MyLegacy might already by talking to the Rushmore people to make room for a new face.

Richard S.S. - Monday, November 04 2013 @ 08:20 PM EST (#280365) #
If any one thinks Bautista can be a one-for-one trade for a top Pitcher you're wrong. That time was after the 2011. Right now he's just a very good piece in a package with others.

Anyone can be acquired in trade if you can meet the price. A.A. is ready to meet that price.
greenfrog - Monday, November 04 2013 @ 10:11 PM EST (#280369) #
I wonder if Seattle (one or more of Iwakuma, Hultzen, Walker, Franklin) could be a match for a potential blockbuster with the Jays. Bautista would give them the proven middle-of-the-order bat they've been wanting for a while now. It's a long shot, but...
Lylemcr - Tuesday, November 05 2013 @ 10:38 AM EST (#280372) #

I am with Greenfrog.  I think the Mariners could be a great fit for a trade with the Jays.  They have a GM too that needs to take a big swing because the team is no better than it was when he started.   If they were going to trade Walker and Franklin to get Justin Upton, what would they give for Bautista?

Chuck - Tuesday, November 05 2013 @ 11:12 AM EST (#280373) #
If they were going to trade Walker and Franklin to get Justin Upton, what would they give for Bautista?

You mean someone who is 7 years older and now injury prone at this stage of his career?

Mike Green - Tuesday, November 05 2013 @ 11:39 AM EST (#280374) #
Although when your starting pitchers had the 29th best ERA in the majors, it might be something of an issue.

Sure.  But when you've got a below-average defence and commitments to Dickey/Buehrle combined with more high-level minor and injury rehab talent among the starting pitching than at other positions, the starting pitcher ERA from 2013 overstates the significance of the issue.
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, November 05 2013 @ 11:07 PM EST (#280394) #
This coming year the new MLB TV Contracts kick in giving each team approximately another $30.0 MM to spend. That doesn't include personal Team Deals.

With the need for Starting Pitching so acute, prices will be sky-high as the demand is huge. Anybody too slow will miss out on the best deals. Will A.A. wait too long?
greenfrog - Wednesday, November 06 2013 @ 06:52 AM EST (#280398) #
I believe that to get to the postseason and succeed there, the Jays need to do more than stand pat with the current rotation, even assuming contributions of some sort in 2014 from Nolin, Hutchison and/or Stroman. Look at the front of the rotation of this year's successful playoff teams: Lester, Verlander, Wainwright, Kershaw (and those are just the #1's; many teams had very fine #2 and 3 starters). None of the Jays are at that level. While Dickey and Buehrle are respectable (if aging) starters, I would not want to rely on them to lead my team into and through the playoffs.

It's fine to dwell on allocation of resources, but average-ish pitching will generally only carry you so far.
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 06 2013 @ 10:07 AM EST (#280402) #
There are lots of ways to win.  The Yankees in 2009 won 103 games and a World Series with an overpowering lineup and Sabathia, Burnett, Pettite, Chamberlain, Wang and Mitre.  The Cardinals won in 2011 with a very good lineup, a fair bit of luck and a rotation whose best starter by ERA+ was Kyle Lohse at 109.  The Red Sox won in 2007 with Josh Beckett (still very good but not at his best) and not much else noteworthy in the rotation and a very good lineup.

Pitching is between 30 and 40% of the game.  Starting pitching is roughly 3/4 of this, so between 22 and 30%.  Here is the starting pitcher team FIP chart for 2013.  If a club is one of the first group of four (the Tigers through the Pirates), the starting pitching made a very significant contribution to the team's results during the season.  You will notice that there is a huge group in the middle, some of which were very successful including the World Series champions and some of which were not successful at all.  For the teams at the bottom of the chart, from the Padres down, including your Toronto Blue Jays, success was very hard to achieve. The Blue Jays will likely not win if their pitching is as poor in 2014 as it was in 2013.  That doesn't mean that the club has to spend a gazillion dollars to try to have one of the top four or five starting staffs in the game.

greenfrog - Wednesday, November 06 2013 @ 12:41 PM EST (#280408) #
Who said anything about a gazillion dollars? My latest suggestion involved exploring a trade with Seattle (Iwakuma, Hultzen, Walker). In any event, a "gazillion" dollars on Yu Darvish would have been well worth it. I imagine the Tigers are happy they aggressively pursued Sanchez. Spending money isn't necessarily a bad thing.

My argument is only partly about getting through the 162-game grind of a regular season. It's also about advancing in the playoffs, where having one or more dominant starters often makes the difference, as it did this year.

Lastly, if you're going to have mediocre pitching, you'd better be significantly above-average offensively and/or defensively. The 2013 Jays were neither.
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, November 06 2013 @ 01:11 PM EST (#280409) #
New York in 2009 had, C.C.Sabathia (28) 19-8, 230.0 IP, 7.7 SO/9, 2.94 SO/BB; A.J. Burnett (32), 13-9, 207.0 IP 8.5 SO/9, 2.01 SO/BB; Andy Pettitte (37), 14-8, 194.2 IP, 6.8 SO/9, 1.95 SO/BB; Joba Chamberlin (23) 9-6, 157.1 IP, 7.6 SO/9, 1.75 SO/BB. Phil Hughes, Alfredo Aceves, Sergio Mitre, Chien-Ming Wang and Chad Gaudin also made 31 Starts when not relieving for NY (24-13 by them).

Boston in 2007 had, Daisuke Matsuzaka (26), 15-12 IP, 204.2 IP, 8.8 SO/9, 2.51 SO/BB; Josh Beckett (27), 20-7, 200.2 IP, 8.7 SO/9, 4.85 SO/BB; Tim Wakefield (40), 17-12, 189.0 IP, 5.2 SO-9, 1.72 SO/BB; Curt Schilling (40), 9-8, 151.0 IP, 6.0 SO/9, 4.39 SO/BB; Julian Tavarez (34), 7-11, 5.1 SO/9, 1.51 SO/BB; Jon Lester (23), 4-0, 63.0 IP, 7.1 SO/9, 1.61 SO/BB. They also had Kason Gabbard, Clay Buchholz and Devern Hansack make 11 Starts when not relieving (7-2).

I'm sorry but these two teams had much better Starting Staff than you make out. Toronto gets the Big Pitcher (ACE) that both NY and Boston had, they'll compete very well with everyone else's Starters.

ACE plus RA Dickey plus Mark Buehrle are still one 200.0 + inning Pitcher away. I just think their depth is much much better than it's been for a long time.
Shaker - Wednesday, November 06 2013 @ 01:19 PM EST (#280410) #

This current Jays team is in no way constructed to do well in the playoffs.  The goal as it stands now is to contend and play meaningful pennant race games in September.

Our batting lineup, while quite good in the regular season would get absolutely shredded by the top staffs in the post-season.  We are not set up to succeed in the playoffs, though we are not far off from contending for the playoffs.  We lack patience, we lack the ability to hit with runners on, we lack hit-and-run contact skills.  What we have is a group of free swingers who hit  a lot of homers.  "Grip it and rip it."  That works well against back of rotation pitchers but does not work against aces.  Our hitters are the anti-Cardinals, or the anti-Red Sox, if you prefer.

Let's just get in a playoff race.  We'll worry about our post season-play after a heartbreaking playoff flop.

Mike Green - Wednesday, November 06 2013 @ 02:33 PM EST (#280411) #
Lastly, if you're going to have mediocre pitching, you'd better be significantly above-average offensively and/or defensively. The 2013 Jays were neither.

Concur.  The issue is how best you can spend limited dollars to improve the club.  The nice thing about the club's position player situation is that they had five position players returning who are likely to be above-average or better.  They just have to eliminate the sinkholes and replace them with average players. That's not easy, but much easier and less expensive to do than to find an ace starting pitcher. 

Hodgie - Wednesday, November 06 2013 @ 05:01 PM EST (#280412) #
"That works well against back of rotation pitchers but does not work against aces. Our hitters are the anti-Cardinals, or the anti-Red Sox, if you prefer."

I'll give you the Red Sox but the Cardinals offensive success was derived by obliterating the MLB mark for hitting with RISP. So unless they have discovered "clutch" I won't mind terribly if the Jays don't bother emulating them. Now if they can find a way to steal the plans to the factory St. Louis uses to churn out flame throwing pitching prospects I'm all in....

greenfrog - Wednesday, November 06 2013 @ 06:21 PM EST (#280414) #
I agree that aces are extremely difficult to acquire. I would settle for a good #2 like Iwakuma, although I imagine they're difficult to acquire, too.

The issue as I see it is that the Jays are betwixt and between. They aren't likely to be major players in free agency, and the major-league foundation arguably isn't strong enough to justify trading away more top prospects. The organization is 24th in ESPN's future rankings. Most of the 2014 budget is already allocated. It will be difficult to make the team championship-calibre with judicious moves around the edges, but the front office appears to be all in, precluding a more creative makeover (a la Billy Beane, perhaps).
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