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This is the last week of activity before the winter meetings begin on the ninth. GM's are seeing if they can get something done before the meetings or if it will have to wait.

Today, Monday, is the non-tender deadline whereby teams have to decide if they are willing to offer arbitration to their eligible players. Some players will be non-tendered but there may not be many decent starting pitchers or catchers among the non-tendered. The Jays biggest decision is whether to offer arbitration to JP Arencibia, I assume they will.

Ken Rosenthal is reporting the Jays have agreed to sign Dioner Navarro on a two year deal.  I believe the reports on him are good bat, less than good defense.  We will see.

The Jays might or might not be interested in some of the free agent pitchers on the market. Will any of them sign this week or is Tanaka holding them all up? Will somebody break and say they just want to get paid? Will anything happen this week or will it be a snooze fest? We shall see.
The Calm Before the Storm....change that Navarro!! | 223 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Richard S.S. - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 01:39 AM EST (#281051) #
Mashiro Tanaka (25) is the cream of the Pitching Crop available. He might not be available at all this year, or at the earliest, available late December. I find it hard to believe nothing moves until then.

Tanaka, Ervin Santana, Matt Garza and Ubaldo Jimenez are the only Front of the Rotation Starters available. They might be 2s and 3s on other teams. All the other Starters are a long step down.

Robinson Cano, Jacob Ellsbury and Shin-Soo Choo will all get their price whenever some G.M. talks themselves into making a deal.

Others with a Q.O. tied to them will wait until much later in the month or even next to get signed. The less than sterling Free Agents will get signed in dribs and drabs as they have been.

I'm just waiting for the first big Trade or the first big Signing, hopefully that kick-starts the Market.
Thomas - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 08:59 AM EST (#281052) #

I'd characterize the largest AAV ever given to a free agent catcher a big signing, but maybe that's just me.

I don't anticipate a particularly active week, but AA can occasionally surprise us.

Chuck - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 09:24 AM EST (#281053) #
Was Kinsler For Fielder Not A Big Trade?
DH - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 09:32 AM EST (#281055) #
Navarro is the Jays new catcher as per Rosenthal. Two year deal.
85bluejay - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 09:37 AM EST (#281056) #
If true, I like this deal - Marlins would be a good destination for JP
PeteMoss - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 09:50 AM EST (#281057) #
I hope this isn't big bucks. Navarro has had a ton of horrible years and is bad defensively. Now allegedly he spent time with Joey Votto last off-season and he hit for a ton more power than he ever has before... so who knows.
SK in NJ - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 09:50 AM EST (#281058) #

Navarro had three consecutive seasons where he hit .218 (.583 OPS), .194 (.528 OPS), and .193 (.600 OPS) from 2009-11. He was pretty good last season in 240 AB, but I don't think he is a guarantee to be much better than JPA offensively, unless 2013 was some sort of breakout for him. Not sure about his defensive value.

Meh. Could be better or worse depending on the cost (two years is good), but the Jays needed to move on from JPA, so that alone is a positive.

Ryan Day - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 09:56 AM EST (#281059) #
This is an odd move. Navarro has had some very good seasons - 2013, 2008 - but also some lousy ones where he was basically JPA without the power. He spent most of 2012 in the minors.

Interesting that he set a career-high in homers in 2013 in only 89 games. If the power is a positive development, then he could be a very good player.
85bluejay - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 09:58 AM EST (#281060) #
2 yrs. is good - his fitness level (weight) is a concern - I'm not sold that we must keep Thole because of dickey - Team Navarro up with Hanigan and I'll be okay with that - it's not premium,but solid,
PeteMoss - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 09:59 AM EST (#281061) #
Anxiously awaiting Arencibia trashing the organization when he gets traded.
China fan - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 10:09 AM EST (#281062) #
Navarro is reportedly getting $8-million over two years. That's not a very risky contract for the Jays. Only marginally more than JPA would probably have received. Now JPA will be traded, so the net cost to the Jays is not very much. Key question is whether he'll be paired with Josh Thole or whether the Jays can upgrade in the backup department as well.
China fan - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 10:12 AM EST (#281063) #
If you take the latest three-year period (2011 to 2013) and assume that this is the most relevant indicator for Navarro's future: he had an OPS of .755 and an OBP of .324 in that three-year period. Those are solid numbers, and much better than JPA was likely to produce in 2014. And since his 2013 numbers are the best of his career, it is possible to argue that he's hitting his peak, improving his hitting, etc, which should bode well.
Beyonder - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 10:20 AM EST (#281064) #
Why do the Jays have to move on from JP Arencibia? Last year was spectacularly bad, but that was almost certainly the nadir of his career. More than anyone else, he will likely benefit from some regression to the mean next season. If we do trade him, he's a good bet to be next season's Yunel Escobar.

He is a 27 year-old catcher with power who previously had two season that were offensively above average for a catcher (OPS's of 720 and 710). I don't have enough faith in any of the metrics that evaluate catchers to draw any strong conclusions about his defence one way or the other.
Beyonder - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 10:26 AM EST (#281065) #
"If you take the latest three-year period (2011 to 2013) and assume that this is the most relevant indicator for Navarro's future: he had an OPS of .755 and an OBP of .324 in that three-year period. Those are solid numbers, and much better than JPA was likely to produce in 2014."

You just averaged the averages there didn't you CF?
Richard S.S. - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 10:31 AM EST (#281066) #
Is it possible A.A. will send Arencibia down to AAA until he learns how to be a BETTER catcher and hitter and learn how to walk?
China fan - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 10:34 AM EST (#281067) #
"...You just averaged the averages there didn't you CF?..."

Absolutely not. It's the three-year total from Baseball Reference, therefore it is weighted appropriately by PAs.
Beyonder - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 10:35 AM EST (#281068) #
Apologies then CF.
China fan - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 10:39 AM EST (#281069) #
Here is the three-year line on Navarro from BR:

2011-2013 LAD, CIN, CHC

177 games
541 PAs
126 hits
20 home runs
45 walks
83 strikeouts
hitting line: .260/.324/.425
OPS: .749
OPS+: 104
Beyonder - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 10:43 AM EST (#281070) #
The last full season Navarro played was in 2009 (in the AL East for TB), and in that year he had a worse OPS than Arencibia put up this year. Seems to me we signed someone at their peak in order to get rid of someone at the lowest point of their value.

By acquiring Navarro first, you also undercut your bargaining position because teams know you are set on moving JP.
Thomas - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 10:44 AM EST (#281071) #

The Jays have to move on from JP because he cannot catch a knuckleball, which has become a mandatory requirement of the team's backup catcher with Dickey on the staff. I don't know if Navarro can catch a knuckler, but I think the Jays would have to be quite confident in his ability to do so if they were to keep JP around as a backup. Secondly, from everything we all know about JP's personality, he's not going to adjust well to the role of backup. Reality may eventually force him to recognize his limitations, but it appears as if this may be a case where the player needs to be in a new environment in order to make that adjustment.

My initial reaction is that I'm a little underwhelmed with the contract given to Navarro, but maybe I have to adjust to the new normal.

China fan - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 10:49 AM EST (#281072) #
"...By acquiring Navarro first, you also undercut your bargaining position because teams know you are set on moving JP...."

I disagree. What the Jays actually did is give themselves a lot of flexibility. Depending on the trade market and free-agent market, they can acquire another catcher and make Navarro the back-up, or make him one-half of a tandem pair with Thole or a new acquisition. They can trade JPA now, or they can keep him until spring training and trade him to any team that suffers a catcher injury in the spring. They can even send JPA to Buffalo if they have to, although that's unlikely because they won't want the expense of his contract. I think the Jays have lots of options at this point. And regardless of his final role on the team, Navarro is a useful guy to have around. The Jays went into 2013 with (in hindsight) a very weak batch of catchers. They've begun the task of upgrading now.
Mike Green - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 10:52 AM EST (#281073) #
As the knave who bet Aaron Gleeman that Quiroz and Navarro would do better than Mathis and Mauer, I should reflexively hate this deal.  I don't.  Indeed, I give it two thumbs up. 

Navarro is a switch-hitter with an unusual platoon split over his career.  He is .245/.304/.346 against RHP and .267/.337/.441 against LHP.  You want to make sure that he gets at least half his at-bats against LHP (over his career he has had almost 3 times as many at-bats against RHP).  He seems to be adequate defensively. It would be nice if he could handle the knuckleball well enough so that he would make the start when a lefty faced Dickey.

China fan - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 11:00 AM EST (#281074) #
According to Fangraphs, Navarro had a 1.8 WAR in 177 games over the past three years, while JPA had a lower WAR (just 1.1) in that same period, despite playing in more than twice as many games.
Forkball - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 11:07 AM EST (#281075) #
The Jays are buying high on Navarro in the sense he is coming off a career year, but at $4 million / year they're paying less than the cost of a win for it. BR had him at 2 wins last year. That salary doesn't even assure that he's going to be a 100+ game catcher this year (although given the available players it probably does). The key is whether this is a new level of performance or a fluke. That's why you have scouts.

In terms of Arencibia I'd be surprised if he's still with the Jays 24 hours from now. But in terms of leverage their position is essentially the same. No one paying attention would have thought he was coming back. There's a big need at catcher across baseball and someone with power will be wanted. I don't think it will be for anything especially useful (a C prospect in A ball) but I think it will be for more than nothing.
Beyonder - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 11:36 AM EST (#281076) #
"That's why you have scouts."

I think you'd need a hell of a scouting report to be confident that a guy whose cumulative OPS over the prior 4 years was .594, ascended at age 29 to a new level of performance for an OPS of .856 (or anything close to that).

SK in NJ - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 11:45 AM EST (#281077) #

The key is whether this is a new level of performance or a fluke. That's why you have scouts.

Well, I guess you can never say never with the way Bautista and Encarnacion panned out suddenly in Toronto, but I'm going to lean forwards "fluke" until Navarro proves otherwise. Granted, his minor league numbers in 2012, mixed with his MLB numbers in 2012-13 do show signs of improvement, but that doesn't necessarily mean he has turned the corner.

It wouldn't shock me at all if JPA has a better season than Navarro next year. Maybe JPA needs to get out of Toronto to get his act together (ala Aaron Hill), but I don't think buying high on Navarro and selling low on JPA is going to accomplish much of anything, except mediocrity at higher cost.

I hope I'm wrong and Navarro (2012-13) is legit.

Gerry - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 11:45 AM EST (#281078) #
Are we realling going to head into 2014 with Josh Thole as our backup catcher.? Thole looked terrible at the plate in 2013.  Now 2013 was a low point for his offense so there might be a better performance in there somewhere but if Thole is Dickey's catcher he could end up with 50 starts.  It's not a good idea to have that level of offense for 50 starts.
Wildrose - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 11:49 AM EST (#281079) #
Well the start of an interesting week let's hope. Navarro has had a very odd career. He was the Yankee's top prospect in 2004  (by Baseball America) and an all star in 2008 with Tampa, but he's also bounced around and had seasons where he's been quite bad, such as in 2007 and 2009 ( I suppose it should be noted he was a very young catcher in Tampa relatively speaking).

He's a guy who almost defies projection. Still because the bar was set very low with the incumbent I imagine most Bauxites are happy. The AAV is reasonable and so is the term. I imagine this gives them a base to work with, and if a a deal for someone else comes up, good, if not they are somewhat covered. I just hope they keep spending money as opposed to trading prospect capital for short term gain.

Wildrose - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 12:04 PM EST (#281080) #
As a side note , Canadian Netflix has added the documentary Knuckleball. It really is quite good ( 93% Rotten Tomatoes ) , Dickey and even Thole are seen quite frequently. It's a good fix for winter baseball blues.

Parker - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 12:07 PM EST (#281081) #
Another defense-last player - that's great. Sure, he's an upgrade over Arencibia, but almost every backup catcher in the league is an upgrade over Arencibia.

I hope they send Arencibia to the farm to teach him how to hit and catch. Eating the $2.8M he'll "earn" through arbitration next season makes a lot more sense to me than just dumping him. Trading him at the nadir of his value makes no sense for a team with pockets this deep, and maybe sending him down will break through his idiotic mentality enough that he's ready to actually learn something.

Hopefully someone can teach Arencibia that yes, he has the natural tools to hit a ton of home runs, but until he learns to lay off pitches two feet outside the strike zone and how to stop swinging for the fences in 0-2 counts, his power isn't going to be enough to keep him employed. I'm not exactly confident that this can happen (due to both Arencibia's personality and the Jays questionable player development) but I still think it's a better option than giving him away and possibly watching him blossom into an All-Star for another team.
Mike Green - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 12:22 PM EST (#281082) #
I don't know that the "defence last" label is fair.  His SB/CS numbers appear to be fair.  Fangraphs has him as an average catcher the last 3 years.  His catcher's ERA has been better than the other catchers on his club over 2011-13.  I guess we will have to see. 

Beyonder - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 12:23 PM EST (#281083) #
Apparently JPA is getting non-tendered .. or not being tendered, per Steve Simmons.
Mylegacy - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 12:28 PM EST (#281084) #
Just how much was JPA injured last year? How long were his injuries bothering him? I see Rasmus at age 27 starting to blossom - I'm terrified that JPA at age 27(ish) will become a beast - at least with the bat. AND - we give up that (admittedly slim) hope for a guy we know can barely play the position. Sigh.

Fortunately, I've quite high on Jimenez - who will be entering his age 24 year (May 1st 1990) and just might force his way onto the scene by June(ish).

Eephus - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 12:28 PM EST (#281085) #
I like this deal in that it sure beats the heck out of throwing a truck of money at Jarrod Saltalamacchia's only above-average season. Would've preferred Hanigan but who knows what the Reds want for him (hopefully they get a lot, heh heh.) That the Navarro signing likely brings about the end of Arencibia's time here is also nice I suppose. (I'm going to say this right here: if JP goes off to another team and excels, I frankly don't care. Good for him, these things happen.)

As for Navarro, I don't know a whole lot about him (the reports on his defense are really all over the place) but a couple things seem obvious. 1: he loved hitting at Wrigley. 2: The dude is a good contact hitter (his career high in strikeouts is 67, and he's played over 100 games multiple times) 3: He sure is young (29) for a guy who has seemingly been around forever.

So yeah, if he can be at least average-ish defensively, I approve. You know, If Josh Thole can hit better than an NL pitcher next year, we might have the makings of a passable platoon...

China fan - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 12:39 PM EST (#281086) #
For what it's worth, an analysis by Fangraphs last June suggested that Navarro had turned the corner and taken his hitting to a new level because .... he had spent four weeks training (and studying hitting) with Joey Votto, one of the greatest hitters in baseball. That sounds like an over-simplistic and over-optimistic theory, but -- what the heck -- let's raise it as a possibility anyway. Here's the article:
China fan - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 12:56 PM EST (#281087) #
"....Apparently JPA is getting non-tendered .. or not being tendered, per Steve Simmons..."

This might be true, but it's also quite possibly false. We'll know in a few hours, but keep in mind that Simmons does not have a great record as a Jays analyst, and I'd be surprised if he has inside sources that other reporters don't have. Some of the Jays beat reporters are already saying that they expect JPA to be tendered tonight. ("I highly doubt that he'll be non-tendered," says Gregor Chisholm.) Anyway, both scenarios are possible at this point.

If JPA is tendered, get ready for Anthopoulos to say a lot of positive things about him, including the possibility that JPA could play a lot of games for the Jays this season. And if he says that, of course a lot of fans will erupt with outrage. But that doesn't mean AA has a high opinion of JPA -- it would merely mean that AA is trying to preserve his trade value. If you're trying to trade the guy, you have to pretend that he could be the starting catcher for the Jays in 2014. Don't assume it is true -- it would merely be mandatory rhetoric. Also remember that the Jays could tender a contract to JPA and then cut him after spring training for one-sixth of his salary.

There is also a slightly possible scenario in which JPA does stay with the Jays for the opening of this season. If they can't trade him, and if they can't acquire another catcher, they could keep JPA on the roster for a month or two, as a way of rebuilding his value, and perhaps even hoping for some kind of recovery in his hitting abilities. (Unlikely though that would be.) He could also be injury depth for the opening of the season if Thole or Navarro is injured. Of course this is presuming that Navarro can catch the knuckleball, which is unclear at this point. In any event, it is very unlikely that JPA will stay on the roster for the whole season for $2.8-million or whatever he gets in his contract. But there's a scenario in which he could stick around for a little while, anyway.
PeterG - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 12:59 PM EST (#281088) #
Rosenthal suggests that JPA will be on the move today.......I see no scenario in which he will remain with Jays......AA has already said that he would not be here as a back up....
Parker - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 01:00 PM EST (#281089) #
I suppose when Arencibia signs on somewhere and becomes a league-average (or better) catcher, that'll be the last nail in Anthopoulos' coffin, assuming he's still employed at that point.

I hope I'm wrong and that this is the beginning of the end for Arencibia. As bad as I feel wishing ill on anyone, I can't think of a single Blue Jay player (expect maybe for Jose Canseco) that I hate more than Arencibia with his spoiled brat "I'm a victim" mentality. I suspect he'll catch on somewhere with good coaches and show yet again that the front office has no idea what it is doing.
Ryan Day - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 01:06 PM EST (#281090) #
I think you'd need a hell of a scouting report to be confident that ... ascended at age 29 to a new level of performance

So far, it seems like the Jays scouts have a pretty good track record in that department.
greenfrog - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 01:14 PM EST (#281091) #
To me, it mostly comes down to Navarro's defense (framing, pitch-calling, throwing, blocking, etc.). Getting some offense from your catcher is nice, but excellent catcher defense is what seems to really make your team better. There was a BP podcast recently in which the value of framing was discussed - it sounds as though it can potentially save a lot of runs over the course of the season, which explains the Jose Molina signing.

I suppose the positives from this signing are:

- Navarro's age (29)

- "Solid walk rates, average pop, and above-average throwing" (per Keith Law)

- Defensive and offensive upgrade over Arencibia

- No draft pick or prospects relinquished

- While possibly a bit of an overpay, the AAV and years don't add up to a lot of risk

We'll see how it plays out.
Ryan Day - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 01:32 PM EST (#281092) #
I suspect he'll catch on somewhere with good coaches and show yet again that the front office has no idea what it is doing.

I'm not sure Arencibia would recognize a good coach. Based on all of his interviews, he doesn't think there's anything wrong with his offence or his defence. I don't know how much of that has been reinforced by the Jays' coaching staff, but I suspect he may have to suffer through some minor league contracts before he finally realizes he has to adapt.
soupman - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 01:34 PM EST (#281093) #
if i'm the red sox, i'm probably salivating over getting a guy that you can reasonably expect to be better than navarro and saltalamacchia for a fraction of the cost of either.

as i've said elsewhere today - i don't get jpa's terrible batted ball luck. it screams to me that he's a minor adjustment away from being not just passable as a hitter, but excellent.

i'm not a huge fan of jpa. but i'm also, in general, not a fan of throwing a guy that came up through your org. under the bus when there are a lot of fingers to be pointed elsewhere. combine that with the fact that we're putting a LOT of emphasis on getting offense from the 8/9 hole, when the real problem with JPA is and always will be that he isn't good behind the dish. i don't see navarro as a major upgrade, either.

i'm having a hard time seeing this as being a good move. i hope i'm wrong.
China fan - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 01:36 PM EST (#281094) #
Shi Davidi, quoting three sources, is now saying that JPA will be non-tendered tonight if he is not traded before the tender deadline. So it appears that Simmons and Rosenthal are correct and JPA is gone by tonight. It also suggests that the Jays may have concluded that A. J. Jimenez may be nearly ready for the majors.
Gerry - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 01:39 PM EST (#281095) #
Two weeks ago some media reports suggested the Jays were getting a lot of interest in JPA.  What happened that?
katman - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 01:58 PM EST (#281097) #
Interesting. In the last thread, I said that I was settling on Navarro and Colon, or possibly Kazmir instead of Colon, as reasonable options within a limited budget. Let's see if another shoe drops.
Parker - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 02:06 PM EST (#281098) #
I'm not sure Arencibia would recognize a good coach. Based on all of his interviews, he doesn't think there's anything wrong with his offence or his defence.

I agree. I think Arencibia needs a rude awakening before he'll start listening to anyone. Banishing him to the minors might do that; dumping him entirely might as well, but if any positives come from it they'll be reaped by another organization. Then again, he blames the awful year he's had on playing through injury and fighting with the media; I'd say there's a pretty good chance he'll always have an excuse.

Is Toronto really this desperate to save $2.8M when they're willing to guarantee $9M to a utility player? This team's see-saw behavior between inexplicable frugality and even more inexplicable waste makes no sense to me.

I don't know if I'd call this a trend yet, but that's two very hyped prospects from Toronto's system who've come charging out of the gate as rookies, only to get worse and worse as time goes on. Lawrie looks like he might be turning things around (if his power comes back) but both these players worry me; it's as if the organization doesn't know what to do with them once they can't figure things out on their own.
Wildrose - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 02:11 PM EST (#281099) #
Kazmir on the verge of signing with Oakland per reports.....
Hodgie - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 02:19 PM EST (#281100) #
So we are back to the Jays lacking good coaches? You will have to excuse me, it is hard to keep up. JPA is average and unappreciated, get off his back. JPA is horrible, Jays coaches/FO are idiots for letting him play. JPA is uncoachable, he has to go. Jays coaches and can't teach, they need to go. {Insert smarter organization here} steals/hires Jays coaches, how could the Jays let them go? JPA is one of the worst regulars in MLB, let's get him! What do you mean the FO can't get anything of value for one of the worst regulars in MLB, let's get them!

And here I thought the season was exhausting...

Mike Green - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 02:21 PM EST (#281101) #
...which would come as no great shock. 
Parker - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 02:24 PM EST (#281102) #
Hodgie, that's one of the great things about a community: not everyone has to share the same opinion.

Or was it one person who said all those things?
Thomas - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 02:26 PM EST (#281103) #
Kazmir is reportedly getting a two-year deal. Financial terms not known yet. I think that's a solid signing for Oakland, particularly given they can afford a little uncertainty health-wise in their rotation given their depth. Rumours are that they don't expect to be able to resign Colon.
China fan - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 02:35 PM EST (#281104) #
Are people really blaming the Jays coaches for failing to get good results from JPA and Lawrie? This reminds me of all the people who blamed the Jays for screwing up Travis Snider and failing to help him achieve his potential, until Snider was traded to the Pirates who finally turned him into the brilliant all-star hitter that the Jays were stupidly unable to achieve....
Chuck - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 02:35 PM EST (#281105) #
I see Rasmus at age 27 starting to blossom

I know you've expressed your new found enthusiasm for Rasmus more than a few times, but it's important to bear in mind his .356 BABIP this past season. He did that once before, in his big in year in St. Louis, and he posted virtually the same slash line then.

Steamer is splitting the difference on his 2012 and 2013 seasons for its 2014 projection and I agree that this seems reasonable. He'd be a solid player, but not a star.

eudaimon - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 02:36 PM EST (#281106) #
"charging out of the gate as rookies"

I wouldn't say JPA charged out of anything, unless you count how he hit 2 HR in his first game.
Chuck - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 02:43 PM EST (#281107) #
it screams to me that he's a minor adjustment away from being not just passable as a hitter, but excellent.

An OBP over .300 would be a nice step on the road to passable. I think we can safely leave excellent out of the conversation for the time being.

Chuck - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 02:47 PM EST (#281108) #
Kazmir is reportedly getting a two-year deal. Financial terms not known yet.

I'm reading 2/22. Two things:
* Good on Kamir for resurrecting a career that looked dead in the water.
* Wow. Wow. Wow. Further confirmation that the market has indeed changed.

SK in NJ - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 02:48 PM EST (#281109) #
I wonder if the Jays trade for Anderson now that the A's have signed Kazmir. AA has been said to like him for a few years now.
Wildrose - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 02:57 PM EST (#281110) #
Navarro 3 million in 2014, 5 million in 2015 per Heyman.

Why not split it evenly? They seem to have some sort of budget limit.....

Thomas - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 02:59 PM EST (#281111) #

I think that's a good signing by Oakland. Kazmir had the fifth-lowest xFIP in amongst all starters in the second half of the year, behind only Cliff Lee, Kershaw, Burnett and Strasburg. Over the course of the season, he posted the 18th lowest xFIP in baseball among starters with at least 150 innings.

As I said, given that the A's don't need the certainty of innings that a team like the Twins does, I quite like the signing.

Hodgie - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 03:00 PM EST (#281112) #
There certainly seems to be a new market reality. There are some suggestions that WAR is now valuing a win on the open market at $7M+.
Mike Green - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 03:02 PM EST (#281113) #
Kazmir at 2/22 would indeed reflect a change in the market.  The A's payroll has averaged $66 million over the last 3 years.  It looks like they'll be at around $75 million next year.  Which I guess makes sense once you factor in the additional cash coming to every team. 

The A's made a decision that Kazmir is a better bet than Colon to be very good in 2014.  That is the right call, in my view. 

Chuck - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 03:08 PM EST (#281114) #
Oh let the sun beat down upon my face, stars to fill my dream.
Hodgie - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 03:18 PM EST (#281115) #
What I find most interesting about the signing is not the actual dollars of the contract but the expected value as I can't imagine that the A's are counting on 180 innings from Kazmir in either season.
Parker - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 03:48 PM EST (#281116) #
"I wouldn't say JPA charged out of anything, unless you count how he hit 2 HR in his first game."

That's kind of what I was talking about, though that sample is obviously on a smaller scale. After succeeding in his first few at-bats with his "two true outcomes" approach, I think he decided that it worked for him, and nobody was going to convince him otherwise. Someone probably told him when he got to the majors to not expect to be a star right off the bat (no pun intended) and after his initial success, he decided that he'd be damned if he was going to let some nobody coach who never made a single All-Star team tell him how to hit after he clobbered 2 HR in his debut.

On the larger scale, his results have been worse each year, as pitchers adjust to him and he doesn't counter-adjust.

Snider, yeah... he actually got worse each year as well, but in his case I don't know if it's a technical coaching thing so much as a psychological one. He's a very intense individual who clearly didn't take well to failure, and the damage done to his ego in Toronto might not be easily fixable, even by the best coaches in the world. In Snider's case, a change of scenery might have done more harm than good, as it served as a confirmation that he'd been given up on. There obviously isn't a single catch-all approach to player development. Or maybe Snider never was that good, and the majority of scouts in the league were wrong about him.

I hold by my view that Arencibia needs to be broken before he can be fixed, and a no-confidence decision like sending him to the minors seems like the best way to do it. This approach does seem to have somewhat positive early returns on Lawrie.
Chuck - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 03:51 PM EST (#281117) #
Daniel Bard was non-tendered. So who tries to fix him, Oakland or TB?
CeeBee - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 03:52 PM EST (#281118) #
Since his original call-up I think Lawrie has only been in the minors on injury rehabs.
CeeBee - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 03:54 PM EST (#281119) #
Will be a Bard's tale no doubt.
China fan - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 03:59 PM EST (#281120) #
"....Or maybe Snider never was that good, and the majority of scouts in the league were wrong about him...."

I think this happens more often than we realize. We become so fixated on the seemingly brilliant potential of our own prospects -- the first-round draft pick who tears apart the minor leagues and reaches the majors at the age of 20, or the power-hitting catcher who becomes the MVP of the Pacific Coast League at the age of 23 -- that we find it difficult to accept that they never really were quite so brilliant. It's not necessarily the fault of the coaches.
whiterasta80 - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 04:26 PM EST (#281122) #
I think that Snider and JPA were also both victims of our "relationship" with Las Vegas. Their numbers were inflated and hid flaws in their games before the reached the majors.
John Northey - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 04:57 PM EST (#281123) #
A major issue with Snider was the rushing.  2008 should've been A+ with maybe a promo to AA for August - instead he was in the majors.  2009 should've been AA or AAA with promotion in September but instead had 276 ML PA with a 95 OPS+.  Every year since he has bounced up and down.  This year just 10 games in AAA, probably an injury rehab as he was out of options I think.  77 OPS+ in Pittsburgh, 95 in Toronto.

Now, if he is non-tendered would you sign him if you were AA?  Would you put him ahead of Gose/Sierra/Pillar?  I wouldn't bother at this point, but who knows eh?
Parker - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 05:03 PM EST (#281124) #
CeeBee, I suspect you're right about Lawrie because I can't find anything that says he was sent down for performance issues. My bad.

Nice old-school RPG reference, too.
CeeBee - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 05:44 PM EST (#281125) #
hmmmmmm Snider as the 4th outfielder? At times he looked like a star in the making. I still think he will have a career maybe off the bench anyway.
Richard S.S. - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 05:45 PM EST (#281126) #
Josh Thole caught 117 G, 389 AB in 2007; 111 G, 347 AB in 2008; 120 G, 427 AB in 2009; 121 G, 367 AB in 2010; 114 G, 340 AB in 2011; 106 G, 326 AB in 2012.

In 2013, Josh Thole caught 86 G, 269 AB, mostly once a week. I think he gets more consistent playing time this year. In signing Dioner Navarro, there will be more balance, which I think will be good.

BlueJayWay - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 06:42 PM EST (#281128) #
I really, REALLY like Dioner Navarro.

Main reason being he's not Arencibia.

Parker - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 06:47 PM EST (#281129) #
Gregg Zaun seems to agree with my thoughts that Arencibia should be sent down to learn how to hit and catch.

I guess the saying is true - even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while.
Gerry - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 07:22 PM EST (#281130) #
If I was running the Jays I would tender JPA, send him to AAA and tell him to rebuild his value. It would cost me $2M but I would hope to get that investment back through a later trade.

The catch is that JPA would have to play better in AAA.
CeeBee - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 07:57 PM EST (#281131) #
Doug Fister to the Nats it seems.
sam - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 08:05 PM EST (#281133) #
I'm a little late to the party here, but in response to Beyonder's point about bargaining position--I don't think there is a bargaining position for Arencibia. He's just a bad player. It's a fact many seem to deny in these parts, or have denied for many years. He's not a good baseball player at a position where you really do need a good baseball player. The position does not lend itself as neatly as other positions to advanced metrics. To the eye he is a bad player who lacks the fundamental nuance of the position. The shine came off this season for many, but today's events are not a surprise.

As an aside, the Jays professional scouting network is really poor. Not enough has been mentioned in the Toronto media and on this site about how bad the pro scouts for the Jays are. It would have been pro scouts, in combination with the coaching staff, who said Arencibia could have turned it around.

It would have been pro scouts who scouted Josh Johnson, RA Dickey, Melky Cabrera, JA Happ, etc. Go down the list, all disappointments. They miss a ton. Granted you have Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion doing incredibly well, but there are way too many high profile misses there. You look at the Orioles and they have a fantastic pro scouting department, which has essentially propelled them to the club they are right now.
greenfrog - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 08:21 PM EST (#281134) #
I would still like to see the Jays find an excellent defensive catcher, either as a backup or half-time player.

Moving on: who is going to play second base? Who is going to play the outfield when one or more of Melky/Rasmus/Bautista needs a rest or gets injured? How will AA strengthen the rotation?

Also, I know this is relatively low on the team's list of needs, but I like the Yankees' signing of Brendan Ryan. Something tells me the Jays are going to need another shortstop in 2014 (hopefully just as a late-inning replacement and occasional backup). It's handy to have a defensive wizard at SS in your back pocket (someone like John McDonald c. 2007).

In general, I think the Jays could use a couple of more versatile, two-way players to kick the team's defense up a notch and provide a buffer against injuries.
Thomas - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 08:36 PM EST (#281135) #
I'll wait to hear what the final package for Fister was, but I'm underwhelmed at the reports of Ian Krol, Lombardozzi and a prospect. Maybe Dombrowski and his staff like those players specifically, but AA should have been all over Fister trade talk at that price (as I have to assume he was).
Thomas - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 08:40 PM EST (#281136) #
Apparently the prospect is Robbie Ray.

Again, maybe Detroit liked those players specifically or wanted Lombardozzi and the Jays couldn't find a match, but I don't see how AA should't have been all over Fister at such a low price.
Parker - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 09:27 PM EST (#281137) #
You can't really blame the scouts, Sam. They did their jobs:

Good face, good body. Hot girlfriend. Passes the eye test. The ball jumps off his bat - you can hear it all over the stadium.

Based on that, I can't understand how they missed the mark on Arencibia.
christaylor - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 09:36 PM EST (#281139) #
"It would have been pro scouts who scouted Josh Johnson, RA Dickey, Melky Cabrera, JA Happ, etc. Go down the list, all disappointments."

I don't necessarily disagree about AA not living up to his scouting promise, especially professionally, but can the scouts be blamed for health issues... especially when they involve balls off the head?

greenfrog - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 09:49 PM EST (#281140) #
The Tigers must really like Robbie Ray. He did have a very strong season in A+/AA this year, and he just turned 22.

R.A. Dickey was very good in 2013 -- on the road (where opponents hit 237/302/375 (12 HR) in 448 PA). That amounts to quality starting pitching, in my book. Oh, and he pitched a total of 224.2 IP.

Unfortunately, at the RC, opponents hit 247/310/463 (23 HR) in 495 PA. He did seem to improve at home later in the season.

Home runs at the RC -- that's what made Dickey's overall year just OK, instead of extremely solid. I'm not sure how much of his home numbers can be attributed to a failure on the part of the team's pro scouts. Had he ever even pitched in the RC before 2013?
Jake W - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 10:25 PM EST (#281141) #
I wonder if Jays already have a deal with the A's and are just waiting for the Kazmir deal to be officially announced (Anderson, Anderson, Anderson... for cheap, please).  It seems un-Oakland to pay 11 million for a lefty while having another lefty for 8 million.  Perhaps the Jays take Anderson and pay for all of Oakland's batting practice balls for a year.  Then again, with Kazmir's injury history, perhaps Oakland now tries having Kazmir piggybacking on Anderson.
SK in NJ - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 10:27 PM EST (#281142) #
My goodness, the Jays could have topped that Nats package for Fister. Horrible trade by the Tigers.
Richard S.S. - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 10:41 PM EST (#281143) #
I heard during a game (when?) that R.A.Dickey had given up throwing a rising pitch he'd had success with in 2012. Something was said about the pitch being responsible for 11 HR and multiple extra base hits here.

Now he did improve at home later in the season. Was it this? Was it just better health? Was it finally figuring out how to pitch at home?

I thought Happ was pitching very well before his injury. It felt like he was struggling afterward. I don 't know if anyone else thought that.
BlueJayWay - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 11:43 PM EST (#281145) #
Arencibia non tendered.
Thomas - Monday, December 02 2013 @ 11:44 PM EST (#281146) #
Arencibia has been non-tendered.
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 12:19 AM EST (#281147) #
Apparently hitting HRs is not the guarantee of a job that it used to be. It also indicates how little value Arencibia has.

dan gordon - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 12:43 AM EST (#281148) #
Really like the signing of Navarro. Pretty good chance he does better than his contract value. Won't miss Arencebia at all.

Yah, the return for Fister seems light to me. Surprising the Jays couldn't have beaten that. He would have been a really nice add.
Dave Till - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 07:17 AM EST (#281149) #
I like Navarro, but his injury history troubles me - the Jays tend to be injury-prone enough as it is. He'll probably be on the DL by June (he said, excessively pessimistically). But catcher was a horrible black hole for the Jays in 2013, and this fills it (or helps fill it).

For what it's worth, I don't think Arencibia's problem was that he wasn't listening to coaches. His problem is that he is among the 99.9% of human beings who can't hit major league breaking pitches thrown in good locations in the strike zone. He was among the 0.7% of humans who can launch a major-league fastball a long way, and that hid his deficiencies for long enough to allow him to earn a fair bit of money playing major league baseball. (Note: all percentages in this paragraph are woefully inaccurate.)

John Northey - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 07:57 AM EST (#281150) #
It'll be interesting to see who JPA ends up with in 2014.  Someone will sign him and give him a shot I'm sure.  If not, he has shown enough of an opinion to become a broadcaster I'm sure.

Fangraphs says "Blue Jays Make Small Addition, Big Upgrade".  They made a good point that JPA was expected to be close to $3 mil via arbitration next year while Navarro is guaranteed $3 mil in 2014 and $5 mil in 2015. I suspect that is what the Jays budgeted for JPA via arbitration before these moves. 

As to pitch framing, JPA was very, very confusing on that one. As I recall he was among the leaders is getting balls called strikes, but also in strikes called balls even though he only caught Dickey once.  Sort of like a shortstop who had amazing range but also boots routine grounders.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 08:36 AM EST (#281151) #
Pierzynski signs with the Red Sox. I was hoping the Jays would sign him, but I'm guessing the Red Sox are a tad more appealing than the Blue Jays.
China fan - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 08:56 AM EST (#281152) #
In other news: Marc Hulet has posted his list of top-10 prospects in the Jays system. Biggest surprise: he has Mitch Nay as the 3rd-best prospect in the organization. He sees Nay as a potential middle-of-the-lineup hitter in the majors. In another mild surprise, Hulet sees Alberto Tirado as the 6th-best prospect in the organization. On the catcher front: he sees A. J. Jimenez as the 7th-best prospect: "a defense-first catcher who has strong receiving skills, good blocking abilities and has a reputation for controlling the running game, when healthy." He says Jimenez has a chance to be a "second-division" everyday catcher in the majors. Here's his list:
Beyonder - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 09:08 AM EST (#281153) #
Sam. Well as it turns out, there was no market for JPA, but I think everyone was shocked that you couldn't get at least some return for him. To me this is Yunel Escobar redux. We see a guy who struggles and all of a sudden has personality issues, and we attribute the performance to a shift in attitude and stubbornness. In my experience the arrow of causality usually runs the other way -- guys struggle and they can't hide it on their faces or in their dealings with media. Put me in the small camp of people who think this is a move AA will regret.

It would not shock me in the least if JPA went on to at least have a couple of John Buck-type seasons, and at 27, he still has considerable upside.

I think it is partly because of the squishiness of catching defensive metrics that catchers become the sop for fans discontent. That and the fact that they are the single most visible player during a televised broadcast. It seems to me that the dislike for JPA on this board is disproportionate to his (admittedly poor) performance this past year.

As an aside, does anyone else see the match between JPA's and Navarro's salary and wonder whether the Jays have any sort of budget at all to play with this year?

China fan - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 09:36 AM EST (#281154) #
"....does anyone else see the match between JPA's and Navarro's salary and wonder whether the Jays have any sort of budget at all to play with this year?..."

No. I think the Jays have wisely decided to focus most their spending on the pitching rotation, and possibly on 2B. If they can pick up a useful catcher, for the same money that they would have paid JPA this year, the decision is a no-brainer. Navarro is likely to be better than Arencibia in 2014 (according to Steamer and other projections) so why not give the $3-million to Navarro rather than Arencibia? And the Jays aren't necessarily finished with the catcher position -- there's still time for them to find another catcher, and use Navarro as a platoon or back-up, or give Navarro half of the PAs rather than 70 per cent of the PAs. They could also promote Jimenez at some point in the season. It's a bit too early to conclude that the Jays are done with the C position.

"...I think everyone was shocked that you couldn't get at least some return for him. To me this is Yunel Escobar redux..."

Just because one ex-Jay did better in 2013 on a different team, it doesn't logically follow that every ex-Jay will do better in 2014 on a different team. And I don't think anyone was "shocked" at the lack of a return for Arencibia. After all, the contract price for a better catcher (Navarro) was virtually the same as Arencibia's likely price in arbitration over the next two seasons. Why would you expect any team to trade a prospect to the Jays to acquire an inferior catcher, when they could have gotten a better catcher (Navarro or others) for the same money and without giving up any prospects? The market has clearly determined that Arencibia isn't worth nearly $3-million plus a trade prospect as his acquisition price. That's what the major-league GMs have determined. They think he's worth a lower price. It's not shocking that they might be right.
Beyonder - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 10:10 AM EST (#281155) #
"And I don't think anyone was "shocked" at the lack of a return for Arencibia."

"Gregor Chisholm ‏@gregorMLB 10h
Have to admit, I'm rather surprised the #BlueJays couldn't at least find a minor deal. Obviously wasn't a market for him around $2.7 mil."

"Just because one ex-Jay did better in 2013 on a different team, it doesn't logically follow that every ex-Jay will do better in 2014 on a different team."

Straw man much?

What I am saying is that last year the team made a decision to give away a valuable asset in Escobar, largely due to the eyeblack incident and the fact that Escobar had a down year by his standards. I am saying that this year there is a good chance we have run JPA out of town in a similar rush to judgment. If JPA manages to get a full time catching position this coming year, I would bet that he outperforms Navarro.
Paul D - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 10:14 AM EST (#281156) #
The Jays got Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, and Josh Johnson in the Escobar deal. Yeah, that didn't work out, but they didn't 'give away' Escobar.
Mike Green - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 10:20 AM EST (#281157) #
I am not surprised by the non-tendering of JPA.  The comparisons with Yunel Escobar don't make sense to me.  Escobar was a good offensive and defensive player for many years who had an off-year and (shall we call them) non-baseball-related issues.  He was included in a trade that saw very good players coming to Toronto and ended up in Tampa.  I'll be very surprised if JPA ends up in Tampa, Oakland, or St. Louis next year.

This is not to say that JPA could not be a decent player some day, but you don't want to pay $2.5 million to a player to go to the minors to see if he can become Rod Barajas or John Buck. 

On another topic, David Laurilia has an interview with Andy Burns.  I did not know that Burns was voted the best defensive third baseman in the FSL and that Mike Barnett was the hitting co-ordinator for Salt River.  Burns seems to be smart guy, and that may give him a bit of a push on the road to the majors. 

Beyonder - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 10:22 AM EST (#281158) #
Yes. And then to show how heavily he was valued by Florida, he was immediately flipped to Tampa Bay for a middling infield prospect.
China fan - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 10:23 AM EST (#281159) #
Gregor Chisholm says the same thing that I said: there is no market for JPA at $2.7-million. Chisholm was mildly surprised by this, but it's far from shocking.

It's ridiculous to suggest that the Jays "gave away" Escobar. They included him in a trade that netted them a bunch of players, including Buehrle and Reyes, two of the team's most important players in 2014. There's no evidence at all that Escobar was "given away" because of the eyeblack incident. It's much more likely that the Jays traded him because they felt he was surplus when they had a chance to acquire Reyes. (Their mistake was to think that 2B was solved with Izturis and Bonifacio, when perhaps they could have switched Escobar to 2B, but that's a separate issue. And quite possibly the trade could not have been finalized without Escobar's inclusion anyway.)

To suggest that JPA was "run out of town" in a "rush to judgement" is rather absurd. The Jays have waited patiently for three seasons, hoping that Arencibia would improve. He did not improve, he got worse. It was hardly a "rush to judgement."

You're free to predict that JPA will hit better than Navarro in 2014. But most projection systems disagree with you.
Parker - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 10:41 AM EST (#281160) #
I'll address the unusual level of Arencibia hate from my own perspective:

I'm overly critical as compensation for his inexplicably dedicated cadre of cleat chasers supporting him, claiming that he's a great person and all-around nice guy, as if that should somehow excuse his awful performance on the field. His whining in the media also doesn't exactly paint him as a saint, and going over his boss's head to snitch on sports analysts he feels are treating him unfairly just makes me sick. I don't understand all the love for him based on charity work that he himself promotes, like that story he tells about stopping to feed and converse with a homeless man. Arencibia is promoting himself with that story, and to me, that is not a true charitable gesture. It's as if he does those things because he wants people to see him as a great person, rather than because he IS a great person.

La Rochefoucauld once said, "La parfaite valeur, c'est de faire sans témoin ce qu'on serais capable de faire devant tout le monde."

Arencibia seems incapable of doing good deeds in private, he has to advertise them to the world. That bothers me a great deal, and definitely affects my criticism of him.
Beyonder - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 10:43 AM EST (#281161) #
"Chisholm was mildly surprised by this, but it's far from shocking."

Well I suppose it's fortunate that we have you here on the board so that you can clarify Chisolm's intentions for us by using words that he didn't.

Surprised/shocked = semantics. If you think there is a big difference between the two, I didn't.

I think I've already explained why I think we can safely say that Yunel was given away. You say there is no evidence that it had anything to do with the eyeblack incident, but I think it stands to reason that it played a big role. I also think you are holding me to an evidentiary standard that is almost never met when players are traded away for personality/team chemistry reasons.

Oceanbound - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 10:45 AM EST (#281162) #
He is a 27 year-old catcher with power who previously had two season that were offensively above average for a catcher (OPS's of 720 and 710).

You're underestimating catching offense in the league. In both those seasons he was near the bottom of the pile for starting catchers.
Mike Green - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 10:53 AM EST (#281163) #
Well, let's put it this way.  When Tampa acquired Escobar, I felt that it was an excellent move and said so here.  If Arencibia could play his position half as well as Escobar plays his, I would feel very differently about his non-tender.

Arencibia has excellent power and a good throwing arm, but these are just a couple of important raw tools for a major league ballplayer.  He has not, to this date, developed any of the other parts of a game.  I am sure that he has tried and I am also sure that another organization will give him the opportunity to try some more (but with much less financial commitment).

John Northey - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 11:32 AM EST (#281164) #
Since defensive measures are a bit of a crapshoot (especially for catchers)...  wOBA from FanGraphs for all ML catchers with 250+ PA...
2013: JPA #36 of 38 (311), Navarro #2 (374)
2012: JPA #24 of 35 (304), Navarro not ranked (317 would've been 18th)
2011: JPA #20 of 33 (259), Navarro not ranked (262 would've been 31st)

Yeah, JPA really hasn't shown much with the bat in his 3 years and he isn't seen as any great shakes with the glove.  His best wOBA is 311. In his first callup he showed just a 233 in 37 PA.  Steamer projects a 291.  Generally speaking think of wOBA as OBP - a sub 300 is really bad, 330 is acceptable for most players.  Navarro in each of the last 2 years had a higher wOBA than JPA has ever reached.  Lifetime Navarro has a 301 which isn't good, but certainly better than JPA's 288.

I see it as a good trade, Navarro for JPA - as that is what it works out to for all intents and purposes.  Navarro is locked in at about what JPA would've made, JPA released to sign Navarro and no compensation to be paid.  Could be a break even, could be an improvement. Hard to say without knowing defensive measures offhand.  Any good sites for pitch framing numbers?  FanGraphs has JPA as a -2.0/+5.2/+3.6 over his 3 years while Navarro is 2.9/1.4/2.5 over those same years in far less playing time.
Mike Green - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 12:04 PM EST (#281165) #
I wondered about Josh Thole's batting approach pre- and post- concussion.  Here's a table of his batted ball locations in terms of pulling from 2010 to 2013 (he was much more effective pulling the ball than going the opposite way in 2010 and 2011 and vice versa in 2012 and 2013):

Year Pull Up Middle Opp Field
2010 35 107 35
2011 56 180 57
2012 46 163 59
2013 12 60 19
China fan - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 12:15 PM EST (#281166) #
"....we can safely say that Yunel was given away. You say there is no evidence that it had anything to do with the eyeblack incident, but I think it stands to reason that it played a big role..."

How does it "stand to reason" that the Jays would "give away" a valuable player at a premium position because of a single disciplinary issue that had already been addressed and resolved? If you can find a single comment to support this theory by anyone (a Jays manager, a coach, even a well-connected journalist on the Jays beat), please provide it. Without that kind of evidence, it's pure speculation, and ill-founded speculation at that. You haven't even provided a plausible rationale for why it would benefit Anthopoulos to give away a valuable player for nothing. There are plenty of examples of baseball players remaining on their teams after disciplinary issues far worse than what Escobar did. Heck, we all remember how Ted Lilly got into a fist-fight with John Gibbons, and the Jays still kept him on the team and offered him a $40-million four-year contract (which he rejected). If the Jays can forgive a player for a fist-fight with the manager, they can forgive another player for writing a stupid comment on his hat.
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 12:19 PM EST (#281167) #
Prospects are valued as: Now, Next Year and "You're Joking Right?". I think G.M.'s operate that way. Reading the tenor of the comments, I can see a comparison.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia and J.P. Arencibia are the last of the Starting Catchers left on the Free Agent list. Everyone else is pretty much Backup Catchers.

I consider the Miami deal a success. Jose Reyes is everything he's supposed to be, an All Star Short Shop. Mark Buehrle is exactly what everyone said he would be - consistent. $8.0 MM of the $8.5MM got us Melky Cabrera, who I believe will be very good this season. John Buck's Salary gots us R.A. Dickey, Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas. That was a great acquisition. The unspent money let us sign Mark DeRosa. That Miami Deal was a success.
Mike Green - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 12:27 PM EST (#281168) #
Unfortunately, I couldn't complete my comment after Thole's table.  I don't know if Thole's problem is a residual from the concussion or not.  I do know that I'd certainly try to persuade him to turn on the inside pitch and drive it as he was able to do previously.  It is a nice project for Seitzer.  It would also be good if the club had another left-handed catcher around in case he cannot make the adjustment.

Incidentally, Navarro hits lefties well enough that he could spot start as DH if the club needed someone from time to time for that role.  He'd certainly be better than Lind against LHPs. 

China fan - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 12:32 PM EST (#281169) #
"...Surprised/shocked = semantics...."

Your original claim was that "everyone was shocked" by AA's failure to obtain a trade return for Arencibia. As evidence, you've provided one person who was mildly surprised. The reality is that most people were not particularly shocked, because everyone knew JPA had very little value after his mediocre 2011-12 performance and his truly horrible 2013.

In his conference call today, Anthopoulos said he made every effort to trade JPA before the midnight tender deadline last night, but couldn't make a deal. He also said he doubted that he could have traded JPA before the start of the season if he had tendered a contract to him. So he decided it was better for everyone if he let JPA find his own deal on the open market. All of this sounds very plausible to me, and not particularly shocking at all.
85bluejay - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 12:41 PM EST (#281170) #
According to MLB Trade Rumors, Rays getting Ryan Hanigan - Well Done
SK in NJ - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 12:43 PM EST (#281171) #
Hanigan traded to the Rays, according to Rosenthal.

Another catcher I would have preferred over Navarro. No word on the players going the other way as of yet.
greenfrog - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 12:48 PM EST (#281172) #
Pretty much exactly the complementary move I've been saying the Jays should make (adding another good part- or half-time catcher). This may prove to have been a missed opportunity for the Jays. Kazmir, Navarro and Hanigan together would have been close to a successful off-season for Toronto.
Ryan Day - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 12:51 PM EST (#281173) #
... a single disciplinary issue that had already been addressed and resolved?

This undersells the problem - it's not like he refused to lay down a bunt. Even the Lily-Gibbons fight was a largely internal matter. Escobar wrote "faggot" on his face, and defended himself by saying his hairdresser was gay. That's not great for a team that's trying to market itself to a diverse crowd.

I wouldn't suggest that's the only reason the Jays dumped him, but it was certainly a big factor. And it's not like the Jays were the first team to give up on Escobar - Atlanta, who is not stupid, also had enough.
CeeBee - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 12:53 PM EST (#281174) #
Not to be picky or anything but until I know what the Rays gave up to get Hannigan I'm not overly excited either way.
greenfrog - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 12:54 PM EST (#281175) #
Also, in adding DeJesus, Hanigan and Molina, the Rays are up to their usual off-season tricks. And Price could still be moved, producing yet another infusion of young talent.
China fan - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 01:03 PM EST (#281176) #
I agree that Toronto's diverse community was offended by the Escobar incident, but I disagree that it was one of the reasons for trading him. Having suspended him and sent him to sensitivity training, the Jays had done everything they needed to do to resolve the incident. There was no further need to trade him, and it wasn't something the fans were demanding. Now, if Escobar had been completely unrepentant and had refused to apologize and refused to accept any education measures, the Jays would have had a reason to trade him. But none of that was true, and Escobar did accept all of the educational steps that the Jays suggested. To say that Escobar "defended himself by saying his hairdresser is gay" is a very inaccurate summary of what happened. Escobar's tone, in the article below, is quite different from that of an unrepentant person. This article is from Sept. 27, 2012:

Representatives from You Can Play earlier today met with Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar to discuss the September 15 incident in which Mr. Escobar appeared on the field with a homophobic slur written on his eye black.
Patrick Burke, co-founder of You Can Play, and Jose Estevez, a Boston College runner, were invited by the Blue Jays to meet with Mr. Escobar and their management team. Estevez, a native of Miami, is fluent in English and Spanish. "I thought the meeting was very productive," said Burke. "Yunel seemed genuinely interested in what Jose had to say, and appeared to really take it to heart. I think Jose did a tremendous job of making Yunel fully grasp the implications behind his actions."
Burke, Estevez, and Escobar met for roughly 45 minutes in the Blue Jays front office. Estevez spoke about the issues faced by LGBT athletes, both in the locker room and at home. Escobar expressed appreciation for Estevez's willingness to work with him, and spoke about his desire to be a leader in the fight against homophobia to make up for his previous actions.
Burke and Estevez also met with Blue Jays management, including GM Alex Anthopolous and president and CEO Paul Beeston.
Said Estevez on the meeting, "I think we really reached him (Escobar) today. I think he's had a change of heart and I believe that he's learned from this."
Chuck - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 01:12 PM EST (#281177) #
in adding DeJesus, Hanigan and Molina, the Rays are up to their usual off-season tricks.

I wonder if they now try to flip the seemingly fungible Lobaton? He's coming off a decent year and there are definitely teams out there looking for catchers. Maybe they can get a useful part in return.

whiterasta80 - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 01:33 PM EST (#281178) #
Re: Hanigan.

I'm always nervous about extrapolating walks from national league catchers. Is AJ Ellis really that patient, or does he just hit ahead of the pitcher? Probably a bit of both but I wonder how much the on base skills will translate to the AL East (assuming we don't hit him in front of Ryan Goins).

The same goes for Ryan Hanigan. I am a little suspicious about him replicating a .306 OBP with a .261 slugging percentage in the AL East. I recognize that his minor league numbers do suggest someone who can take a walk (so do Josh Thole's). The fact of the matter is that you can only take a walk if someone has motivation to not throw it right down the middle to you. In the NL hitting in front of the pitcher may be sufficient, but in the AL East you have to show some threat of hitting the ball yourself.

That being said, Hanigan's defense is legit, so he is probably valuable in the Jeff Mathis/Molina sense. Either way I will be curious to see how he does with the Rays next year.
Chuck - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 01:59 PM EST (#281179) #
but in the AL East you have to show some threat of hitting the ball yourself.

The Blue Jays had two guys who did precious little hitting, Kawasaki and Thole, but who drew their share of walks. I think a little too much is made of life in the AL East. It's a highly competitive environment, to be sure, but still baseball. Players with the ability to take balls are going to draw walks. For some, like Hanigan, that will be their biggest offensive weapon.

The Lance Blankenship story is 20 years old, and it wasn't the AL East. But why on earth did a .222 singles hitter draw so many walks? Because it was the one thing he could do.

China fan - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 02:34 PM EST (#281180) #
Latest rumor from MLBTR (and the San Francisco Chronicle) says the Jays are making a big play for Brett Anderson of Oakland, who could be traded as early as today. Watch this develop in the next few hours and days.

On another front: Baseball Prospectus will release their top-10 Jays prospect list tomorrow, and their writer is already saying that the Jays still have one of the 10 best farm systems in the majors. This might reassure those who claim that Anthopoulos "emptied the system" a year ago. It might also make it easier for AA to trade a couple of good prospects for Brett Anderson without ruining the system. And a trade of that nature wouldn't necessarily be because AA is desperately selling the team's future in order to preserve his job. It could simply be because Anderson (or a similar pitcher) would benefit the Jays greatly in 2014 and 2015, and the cost of a couple of prospects would be affordable if the Jays still have a top-10 farm system.
Thomas - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 02:46 PM EST (#281181) #
It depends on the price, of course, but I'd be quite happy to add Brett Anderson to the rotation. There's some health uncertainty, but presumably that's built into the asking price and Oakland may well be much more motivated to keep him if there wasn't. There's real upside there and I do think that the Jays, with the various options they have at the back end, can afford the trade-off.
whiterasta80 - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 02:55 PM EST (#281182) #
What's most amazing about what Kawasaki did was that he did it hitting BEHIND Arencibia and ahead of our leadoff hitter most of the time. That said, he had contact skills that Thole, Arencibia, and Hanigan simply don't possess. He could foul off 10 pitches in a row to draw his walk. Not likely to happen out of a catcher not named Mauer.

As for Thole, yes he drew walks, but his OBP was still .256 I would say that he largely supported my questioning of Hanigan's putative OBP in the AL. I actually didn't mean to single out the AL East, I think that transitioning to any AL division (and not having the pitcher) would affect OBP for catchers who hit 8th.

In prepping this response I actually was struck as to how similar Josh Thole and Ryan Hanigan really are offensively: both through their minor league profiles and at the major league level. Thole's defense is pretty good too, although his arm isn't quite Hanigan-esque. I have no idea what his pitch framing numbers say (they are likely skewed by Dickey), but we may already have "Ryan Hanigan" on our roster.
christaylor - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 03:05 PM EST (#281183) #
I like Anderson, but looking at his stats one thing jumps out at the late 00s and early 10s A's team -- boy did they ever go young on pitching and just throw lambs to the fire.

None of it worked very well, but in retrospect it seem that Beane was trying something there -- especially in a time when the Verducci rule seemed to be law... anyone else notice this or was my glance at those A's teams too cursory?

It didn't work for Beane but loading up on young pitchers and just throwing them out there to see what happens doesn't seem like a terrible idea for 2-3 spots in a rotation...
Chuck - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 03:11 PM EST (#281184) #
I have no idea what his pitch framing numbers say (they are likely skewed by Dickey)

And how! Watching Dickey's games this year, he seemed to consistently get robbed of strikes that hit the PitchTrax strike zone but fooled the umpire. If those get charged to Thole's framing numbers, he'd not look good at all.

Chuck - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 03:20 PM EST (#281185) #
I concur that batting 8th in the NL will put you in a position to draw walks. That said, Hanigan's career isolated OBP (OBP minus AVG) of 97 is virtually identical to his career "batting 8th" isolated OBP of 96 (per BBRef).
SK in NJ - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 03:24 PM EST (#281186) #
Anderson has age and upside in his favor, but if the Jays plan on contending in 2014, then I'm not sure how smart it is to acquire starter with 163 innings over the last three seasons, especially considering Morrow is a question mark and Happ has trouble going past 5 innings most starts.
greenfrog - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 03:29 PM EST (#281187) #
Rather than ship prospects to the A's for the oft-injured Anderson, wouldn't it have made more sense to pay the 2/22 for Kazmir? AA sure loves his high-upside players, especially when he can acquire them for what he perceives to be a discount.

The Jays should also be asking why Beane signed Kazmir and is looking to trade Anderson, instead of simply slotting Anderson into the rotation. Memories of Rich Harden, perhaps? Caveat emptor.
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 03:29 PM EST (#281188) #
The Ryan Hanigan trade is a very simple trade that developed into a three team trade that has a fourth team involved which now involves Ryan Hanigan, Heath Bell, Jose Lobaton, Justin Coate, David Holmberg and the ever popular player, cash.

I absolutely love it, it's got an A.A. feel to it. When anyone fugues out the deal please let me know.
John Northey - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 03:34 PM EST (#281189) #
Anderson is interesting but I really don't see how he works here... we have, what, a dozen candidates for the rotation now?  Unless AA sees 'ace' potential (and his K/9 in the 6's pre-last year doesn't suggest that) I don't see the point.  Maybe as part of the massive mix-and-match rotation?  So what if each guy is hurt for 1/2 a year, we have so many we'll just rotate them in and out!
Mike Green - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 03:35 PM EST (#281190) #
When anyone fugues out the deal please let me know

I'll fire off a canon for you.
Four Seamer - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 03:52 PM EST (#281191) #

Anderson is interesting but I really don't see how he works here...

Maybe he thinks the Brett Anderson he would be acquiring is the Suede frontman, who is admittedly the Brett Anderson that comes to mind for me every time I hear his name brought up.  The national anthems would be top-notch, at least.

Thomas - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 05:22 PM EST (#281192) #
As the A's have traded for Jim Johnson and Luke Gregerson in the last 24 hours, the idea of flipping a reliever or two to Oakland for Brett Anderson suddenly doesn't seem as realistic a possibility. There are also rumours that the Yankees are pursuing Anderson.
Chuck - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 05:33 PM EST (#281193) #
My guess is Anderson for Betances.
katman - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 05:42 PM EST (#281194) #
Agree with greenfrog: Kazmir FA @ 22/2 > Anderson trade. Or just sign Colon, since the A's seem to have chosen to do something else. I see the bounceback potential for Anderson, but the 2014 Jays aren't a good place for injury risks.

Having said all that, similar Fister trade > Kazmir 22/2. I'm not opposed to all trades, just uneasy about this one.

scottt - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 06:05 PM EST (#281195) #
Random thoughts. No alcohol.

I don't understand why JPA started so many games in 2013 if he had no value. This reminds me of the fixation on keeping Wells in centre field hitting 3rd no matter what.

The Jays have mostly relievers to trade and nobody seems willing to give anything for those.

Used to be that many pitchers would become available at the trade deadline, but with the new format, there's too many buyers and too few sellers.

Reyes should eventually move to second, so moving Lawrie there would just cement a bad infield.

Jake W - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 07:12 PM EST (#281196) #
The appeal of Brett Anderson to me is that he gets lots of groudballs, doesn't walk many batters and has the stuff to get strikeouts when necessary.  Yes, he has injury problems but, when healthy, provides extremely high value.  If the Jays can get him for a mid-level lo-A prospect then it's a good deal in my eyes.  If he gets injured then he still allows the Jays to season Stroman, Nolin, Drabek or Hutchison in AAA for a while.  If he doesn't then he's likely to yield at least #3 output and has a chance of returning #1 output.

I suppose the A's payroll didn't allow them to gamble on Anderson's health given that they are stocked to take a run at the AL West this year.  Comparing Kazmir to Anderson, the A's probably get a lower probability of a superstar season in Kazmir but a higher probability of him staying in the rotation (maybe a bit of a weird call there given Kazmir's recent history).  The A's don't have much depth in AAA pitching so they probably need to make that kind of trade-off.  Perhaps the Jays can risk the high payroll for a smaller probability of a superstar season in Anderson.  Of course, this is conditional on keeping the AAA pitching depth.  After reading Baseball Prospectus, Fangraphs and Baseball America, there seems to be some argument for giving Stroman and Nolin a bit more time in the minors so if the cost of Anderson is something like Osuna or Smoral (players that can be replaced in the draft this year) why not?

It's too bad the Jays missed on Fister.  I would say that he or Porcello would be ideal in the sense that they bring the same qualities as Anderson (low BB%, high GB% and good "stuff").  My favourite Jays squads to watch in recent memory were the 2007 and 2008 Jays when their staff was mainly Halladay, Burnett, McGowan, Marcum and Litsch.  In 2007 the GB% and BB/9 numbers were Halladay (53.1/1.92), Burnett (54.8/3.59), McGowan (53/3.24), Litsch (48.1/2.92).  Downs (59.9/3.72) also contributed 58IP and Accardo (49.2/3.21) in 67.1IP.  In 2008 it was Halladay (53.7/1.43), Burnett (48.5/3.5), McGowan (41.4/3.07) and Litsch (48.5/1.99) with Downs still contributing 70.2IP at the tune of (65.6/3.44).  These years the Jays were #1 or #2 in team ERA rankings for the AL.

Probably Drabek is highly regarded because of his stuff but also because his GB% is typically above 50%.  If he can fix his command then he would be a great backend piece.  I was interested to see that Loup checked in with a GB% of 59.9% and a BB/9 of 1.69 last year.  Also, more surprisingly, with the move to the bullpen, Cecil went from being a flyball pitcher with a GB% of around 37-38% to 51.3% while using mainly a sinker-curveball repertoire (see his Fangraphs Pitch F/X page).

In this sense, perhaps Brandon McCarthy is worth checking in on.  Just a year ago he was great for the A's.  While not the sexiest name, he could effective in the Rogers Centre in comparison to flyball pitching options.
greenfrog - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 07:58 PM EST (#281197) #
The nice thing about signing Kazmir is that it puts the A's in the driver's seat. They have a deep rotation and can deal from a surplus, either now or at the trade deadline. They take on limited risk in dollars/years in Kazmir and can flip a significant injury risk (Anderson) into prospects or another useful part or two, if they so choose.

There are a lot of ways to field a winning baseball team (compare the various approaches of the Rays, A's, Red Sox, Rangers, Tigers, Cardinals and Dodgers). One thing I've noticed is that lately a number of elite teams have been tilting towards improved defense. These teams have been valuing quite highly players with middling or questionable offense. Some examples: Ryan, Iglesias, Bourjos, Hanigan, Molina, DeJesus. The Red Sox will have Bogaerts, Pedroia and JBJ (or Ellsbury) up the middle of the diamond going forward. The Tigers have jettisoned Fielder and added Kinsler, allowing them to move Cabrera to 1B.

The Blue Jays, on the other hand, with a few exceptions (Rasmus, Lawrie) seem to have been settling for mediocre defenders and less positional flexibility: Melky, Bautista, EE, Lind, Reyes, Navarro, Izturis. Personally, I don't like this approach. I guess time will tell whether the Blue Jays are able to break through and find the right mix of pitching, defence and offense to produce a winning ballclub.
85bluejay - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 08:25 PM EST (#281198) #
The Yankees have added McCann & are about to add Ellsbury - the jays have countered with Navarro - seems fair
vw_fan17 - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 09:37 PM EST (#281199) #
According to MLBTR:
To Phillies: Brad Lincoln
To Jays: Erik Kratz and Rob Rasmussen

Gerry - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 09:39 PM EST (#281200) #
Erik Kratz is a quality backup and a real nice guy. He should give Thole a run for his money.
CeeBee - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 09:40 PM EST (#281201) #
Brad Lincoln traded to the Phillies for Kratz and Rasmussen
CeeBee - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 09:43 PM EST (#281202) #
oops... guess I was a little late. Good depth and one less reliever to try to protect.
Gerry - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 09:50 PM EST (#281203) #
Rasmussen is a short left handed pitcher. Rasmussen was the Astros #19 prospect last winter. He has been a pro for 4 season and been part of 5 organizations now, Miami, Houston, Dodgers, Phillies and now Jays.

Per BA Rasmussen has an average FB but two good breaking balls. He could be a back end starter or a LOOGY.
lexomatic - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 09:52 PM EST (#281204) #
I'm in favour of this trade.
Rasmussen I don't know much about, but he's 24, hit (or got hit by) AAA this season, and was good at AA. He COULD turn into what Brad Lincoln became, or not, or more. But Lincoln had no use here.
Kratz is good depth at C.
Definitely a little move, but useful logjam clearing.

Yankees are really going for it. They could still really fall completely flat, but... It's not particularly fun being in the AL East. I'm not predicting this, or even saying that it's likely, but I wouldn't be surprised if every team in the East finished above .500. The Jays really need to improve more than they have, though, to be competitive. A bad start  by the Jays combined with a hot start by anyone else could wipe out fan interest early. That might be equally disastrous for the budget, and hope until  2016ish (#worstcasescenarios)

eudaimon - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 10:02 PM EST (#281205) #
Here's a fangraphs article which praises Kratz' (a former Blue Jays farmhand) defence:

"You may not have heard about Kratz, but any pitcher who has ever thrown to him probably remembers his name. Toronto minor league pitchers used to rave about throwing to the defensive specialist. Kratz excels at game calling and receiving. He also regularly throws out 30-35% of base runners attempting to steal."

He also has a bit of offensive upside. I like this trade a lot. Maybe I'm missing something, but all they wanted was Lincoln?

Ron - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 10:02 PM EST (#281206) #
Erik Hinske is the new 1B Coach for the Cubs. Chris Woodward is now the Mariners minor league infield coordinator. I must be getting old because I remember following both players while they were in the minors.
whiterasta80 - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 10:06 PM EST (#281207) #
Either the Yanks have gotten word that A-Rod suspension is going to be upheld, or they have officially moved on from Cano.

We've upgraded catcher for essentially nothing money wise, we've talked trades for cost-controlled quality pitching, we couldn't possibly be trying to swoop in on Cano could we?

Well a guy can dream- but there's no denying that it would be one way to get the fans interested.

I wouldn't be surprised if the Jays big move of the offseason happens soon. There was a direct correlation between the big ticket bump last season and the Marlins deal being right before Christmas- if that deal happens in the new year I'm not sure the Jays see the same increase in attendance.
greenfrog - Tuesday, December 03 2013 @ 10:06 PM EST (#281208) #
By signing McCann, Ellsbury, and Ryan, the Yankees have really boosted their up-the-middle defence this off-season. And of course McCann and Ellsbury are very good offensive players. I remember a year or two ago Cashman saying that he prefers two-way players. His stated philosophy is reflected in these moves. Tanaka may be next on the Yankees' radar.
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, December 04 2013 @ 12:34 AM EST (#281209) #
Brad Lincoln is a good MLB Pitcher. He'd shown he could pitch in the AL as well as the NL. He can pitch more than one inning and possibly Spot Start. That has Value. His problem is he's the least of many here.

I think we didn't get enough for him. That being said, we have 14 Starters/Relievers and Relievers needing jobs. Three (including Delabar, Loup and Wagner) have an option(s) so they could be sent to the minors. That leaves 11 for 6-7 positions. Well, only 10 now.
China fan - Wednesday, December 04 2013 @ 06:34 AM EST (#281210) #
Arencibia's major-league career hitting line: .212/.258/.408/.666
Kratz's major-league career hitting line: .220/.281/.407/.688

The only real differences are that JPA got a lot more playing time, and Kratz is a lot better defensively. And since JPA is younger, there's still a chance that he could improve. But JPA would have been a lot more expensive than Kratz, and won't accept a back-up job on the Jays. So the Kratz acquisition makes a lot of sense. Same hitting skills as Arencibia, much better defence, much cheaper, and accepts a back-up role. The only outstanding question: can he catch the knuckleball?

Someone might point out that Navarro's career hitting numbers aren't much better than JPA or Kratz. (He has a much higher OBP than those guys, but a lower SLG.) The difference is that the Navarro was so much better last season, and the Jays scouting assessment is that Navarro has legitimately turned the corner and become a better hitter. Projection systems seem to agree. But we'll see, of course. The Jays scouting department has been wrong before, so there are definitely no guarantees that Navarro has reached a new level of hitting.
China fan - Wednesday, December 04 2013 @ 06:37 AM EST (#281211) #
"....JPA would have been a lot more expensive than Kratz, and won't accept a back-up job on the Jays...."

To clarify this, I should have said: JPA wasn't suited to a back-up role on the Jays, can't catch the knuckleball, would have been too expensive for the job, and wouldn't have accepted the role without a lot of seething discontent.
92-93 - Wednesday, December 04 2013 @ 07:50 AM EST (#281212) #
"It's much more likely that the Jays traded him because they felt he was surplus when they had a chance to acquire Reyes."

It's fairly obvious to me that Yunel Escobar was given away as a salary dump because of the maricon incident.
92-93 - Wednesday, December 04 2013 @ 07:54 AM EST (#281213) #
"By signing McCann, Ellsbury, and Ryan, the Yankees have really boosted their up-the-middle defence this off-season."

With the moves the Yankees have made (and with the ones I expect are still to come) it's hard to see any offseason AA can have that will excite me about the prospects of the Jays in 2014. The 85 wins in 2013 should be a one year blip.
cybercavalier - Wednesday, December 04 2013 @ 08:46 AM EST (#281214) #
Brad Lincolon has been traded for backup catcher Erik Kratz and minor league RHP Rob Rasmusson.

Minor league moves: Juan Perez, Mike Nickeas, Dan Johnson, Jonathan Diaz and Andy LaRoche were all signed minor league contract with invitation to spring training.

Kratz was a Jays minor league catcher; he later earned a callup to the Phillies due to Carlos Ruiz' time on the DL and has since become a backup. Given his record of player transaction, LaRoche and Johnson can be backup also. Especially Johnson could play LF besides 1B and getting walks more than striking out, he could split some time on the corner infield and 1B giving rest to Joey Bats and Lind, near the top of the batting order - grinding opponent pitching before JB, Lind and EE come to the plate. Maybe he shall learn more sac-bunt while in spring training camp.

Thomas - Wednesday, December 04 2013 @ 08:57 AM EST (#281215) #
As noted earlier in the thread, Rasmussen is a left-handed pitcher.
Thomas - Wednesday, December 04 2013 @ 09:17 AM EST (#281216) #
I didn't love the trade for Johnson, although I understand Oakland's rationale. However, I really like the team's other three recent moves in signing Kazmir and trading for Luke Gregerson and Craig Gentry.
cybercavalier - Wednesday, December 04 2013 @ 09:48 AM EST (#281217) #
Tidbits on non roster invitees of other MLB teams as of December 04, 2013:

Brewers: 2B/LF or corner OF Eugenio Velez: Recalling (vaguely) from a Bisons broadcast, Velez was said to play defense satisfactorily but his free swinging contributed to his low OBP that hurts his chance advancing into a more rounded player.
C Robinzon Diaz, the catcher traded for Joey Bats is still around.

Cardinals:  3B/1B and 2B in emergency Scott Moore, his best performance so far was Astros' 2012, when he hit 9HR .259/.330/.448. I believe he signed on with the A's for a chance to play 3B or 1B but never got it for the whole 2013 season.

Red Sox: IF/OF Mike McCoy: the former Jays signs on with the Sox, which get sort of an avenge after losing Sox' player and another former Jays Jonathan Diaz to NRI.

Twins NRI: this team signs more than a few players who are either around the age 30 but never get a real chance in MLB due to MLB invisibility or injuries (never play MLB: OFs Chris Rahl, Jermaine Mitchell, Wilkin Ramirez), or MLB vets hoping for return to MLB (Jason Bartlett).

In 2013, the Indians signed Scott Kazmir to risk a chance and he won 10 games with K/IP over 158 IP. He has reportedly signed 22M for 2 seasons with the A's. Similarly in risking MLB veterans, the A's and Indians signed Moore and Jeremy Hermida respectively. The Twins signs Jason Bartlett for 2014 NRI.

Could we guess that the Jays' signing of Dan Johnson following the similar path of low risk high potential reward on MLB vets ?
cybercavalier - Wednesday, December 04 2013 @ 09:52 AM EST (#281218) #
Thank you for pointing out. Also is the A's looking forward to Kazmir's over 1 K/IP in signing him to 22M/2 years contract ? Or is Beane smart enough that Kazmir's salary is on par with his 2013 and prospected performance in 2014 and beyond ?
cybercavalier - Wednesday, December 04 2013 @ 10:31 AM EST (#281219) #
Chris Rahl, Jermaine Mitchell are examples of never played MLB.
Mike Green - Wednesday, December 04 2013 @ 10:38 AM EST (#281220) #
Kratz has a significant reverse platoon split over his career.  Even if you regress the hell out of Kratz's splits, he's at least totally even right vs. left.  He's a very happy complement to Navarro who hit LHPs well.  If you split the job down the middle for them with Kratz facing most of the RHPs and (probably) catching Dickey and Navarro facing all the lefties (save when Dickey is pitching) and some righties, you'll probably get decent performance out of the catching spot.  Another thumbs up from me.  I consider that AA has addressed the catching situation well this off-season, and I am especially delighted to see relief talent converted into position player talent albeit at a modest level on both counts. 

Next up, second base.   You've got Cano, Infante and Mark Ellis on the market at different price points.  Given that Ellsbury signed for 7 years/$153 million, what is a reasonable figure for Cano who is 1 year older but has some things working in his favour (he is a much better hitter and has been much more durable)?  I figure that he's got 20 WAR left in him. His closest comps among second basemen are Tony Lazzeri and Ryne Sandberg, and he's a better hitter than either of them. In fact, he hits well enough that you could move him to first base in a couple of years and probably get 4 years from him there.  It looks to me like 6 years/$140 million would be about the going rate. 

As for the Yankees buying spree, it's important to remember that the Yankees significantly outperformed Pythagoras last year.  They actually had more runs scored against them than they scored (the last time that happened was in 1992).  It is hard to become dominant from that position without some significant contribution from the farm (in the 90s, it was Jeter, Bernie Williams, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera). With McCann and Ellsbury, the Yankees are buying into a significant short-term impact but with likely significant diminishing returns over the next few years.  Their top prospects (Gary Sanchez and Mason Williams) look nothing like the top prospects of the early 90s.
Lylemcr - Wednesday, December 04 2013 @ 10:55 AM EST (#281221) #

With the Ellsbury signing, the rumor is that Cano is probably not a Yankee anymore.  The Red Sox have a 2nd basemen, so they are not in the running and the rumors about the Mariners are just rumors.

So, Cano is just dangling out there. 

In my dream scenario, we sign Cano and trade Bautista or Rasmus to get some starting pitching.  Cano is nice, but offense is not the issue on the team. 

Mike Green - Wednesday, December 04 2013 @ 11:06 AM EST (#281222) #
In my dream scenario, the Blue Jays sign Robinson Cano and do not trade any of their offensive core (Bautista, Rasmus, Lawrie, Reyes and Encarnacion).  I have always been fond of the "bash one's opponents into submission" theory of winning.  I would happily take my chances on the pitchers currently available to the club if the offence was scoring 5 runs per game. 
Parker - Wednesday, December 04 2013 @ 11:07 AM EST (#281223) #
I gotta say that while I'm not overwhelmed by the acquisitions to shore up the catching black hole, they're not bad. At the very least, they are low-cost and won't cripple the team going forward. These are the sorts of trades I wanted to see Anthopoulos make, while hoarding prospects with the hope that some of them break through. The Jays have been ranked as still having a top-ten farm system, so maybe there's still hope for the future after the window closes on the current group of veterans.

I'm also buoyed a little by the fact that the organization seems be figuring out that defense matters, especially behind the plate.
Wildrose - Wednesday, December 04 2013 @ 11:10 AM EST (#281224) #
The Yankees and Cano revolves around the A Rod suspension issue.

If A Rod is suspended they still have about 50 million to spend ( if they desire to stay under the cap as stated). If he comes back and wins his appeal his 26 million remains on the books and getting Cano becomes tough.

85bluejay - Wednesday, December 04 2013 @ 11:23 AM EST (#281225) #
I'm o.k  with how AA has addressed the catching situation - it's a decent improvement especially if Thole also goes. I understand the Cano urges, but I would think a team would have to substantially overpay to pry him away from the Yankees - In my dream scenario, instead of Cano - Dickey & Thole to Seattle for Ackley/Paxton/Victor Sanchez - Sign Garza 5/80-85 , Jimenez 4/56-60 and trade for Brett Anderson.  Rotation of Garza/Jimenez/Buehrle/Morrow/Anderson  with lots of talent at AAA  in case of injuries - Ackley at 2nd improves the defense and is the type of hitter whom I think will benefit from the Kevin Seitzer approach. Also sign Franklin Gutierrez as the RH 4th outfielder and defense par execellence
jerjapan - Wednesday, December 04 2013 @ 11:31 AM EST (#281226) #

Minor moves all, but everything AA has done so far this off season is smart in my books.  Lincoln wasn't going to make the team and thus would be lost on waivers and we turned him into a catcher I like more than JPA and a youngish lefty.  Navarro, Thole and Kratz are virtually guaranteed to be a significant upgrade over this years 'catcher's'.

I was lukewarm on non-tendering JPA at first, but AA adressed catching depth pretty quickly.  Count me in the group pulling for Cano.  What's he likely to sign for?  I've heard he wanted $300 million for 10 years which is nuts, but an Ellsbury type contract would be palatable.




ComebyDeanChance - Wednesday, December 04 2013 @ 11:31 AM EST (#281227) #
So far this looks like a mailed in offseason for the front office. While I wasn't among those with fantasies of Brian McCann, Robbie Cano or any tier 1 free agent playing baseball in Canada, I must say I hoped for more to get excited about than Dioner Navarro, and another year of PED-less Melky Cabrera in a key offensive position.

Brian Cashman's having a smooth sail. With McCann and Ellsbury locked up, the $3 million they invested in Kelly Johnson should be returned many times when Cano signs back with them. KJ is an upgrade on Jayson Nix.

Mike Green - Wednesday, December 04 2013 @ 11:40 AM EST (#281228) #
If the club ends up with Mark Ellis and an improvement on Melky in left-field, and maybe a pitcher who can give you 100 decent innings in the first half of the season, I will be happy with that. 
CeeBee - Wednesday, December 04 2013 @ 11:51 AM EST (#281229) #
When you say "an improvement on Melky in left field" do you mean a new and improved Melky or someone different? Just curious cause it seems unless we trade or release him we are stuck with Melky and already have Encarnacion and Lind taking up most of the 1B/DH at bats?
Mike Green - Wednesday, December 04 2013 @ 12:10 PM EST (#281230) #
Melky could get 350 PAs as a RH DH and backup OF/pinch-hitter if a better player was brought into the organization.  That would work for me.  I don't see Gose as ready, and if Pillar is ready, it would be as a platoon player only.

If Melky ends up in a platoon with Pillar in left-field and then DHs against LHP, it wouldn't be the end of the world.  I think that there is a decent chance that you get something close to average results from both positions.  On the other hand, if you could find a better outfielder than Melky around at a moderate price, it might be a good investment.

lexomatic - Wednesday, December 04 2013 @ 12:12 PM EST (#281231) #
I imagine the "how" of a LF improvement (Melky or someone else) is less important than the actual improvement. I certainly don't care.
I would be absolutely thrilled for the Jays to get Cano to an Ellsbury type contract, but I imagine a bunch of teams would be too. As long as you think his bat won't be terrible at the end of the deal you can slide him down to 1b for a year or two or move him to DH for the end of his contract. It's not like there's any hot prospects or core players who would be signed in years 5-7 of the deal to block him. I would imagine that approval for a Cano signing would be a straight budget increase, because it would be pointless otherwise. I would then hope for some consolidation of the depth in pitching for something more useful.

greenfrog - Wednesday, December 04 2013 @ 12:26 PM EST (#281232) #
I still think Cano is going to get a huge contract. Remember when people thought Prince Fielder's market was limited and that he might sign for $140-150M or so?
bpoz - Wednesday, December 04 2013 @ 12:53 PM EST (#281233) #
There is hope for any team making the playoffs IMO because Boston did it in 2013 after a bad 2012.

But there seem to be a lot of good AL teams that regularly do well. Oakland, Texas, Detroit, TB & NYY. Then there are surprise teams Baltimore 93 wins & LAA 89 wins in 2012, and Cleveland 92 wins in 2013.

There are also surprise V bad teams but I cannot think of any and they do not count anyway.

I like the Lincoln trade. What ever upside Lincoln had, his chances to prove it here seemed slim. Unless "you cannot have too much pitching" counts. Kratz has value because he does not have to overcome anyone with a great record. He should get his shot.
We need 2 good minor league catchers in AAA & AA to help develop our top prospects there.
lexomatic - Wednesday, December 04 2013 @ 01:07 PM EST (#281234) #
The ZIPS forecast for Kratz is pretty good.

China fan - Wednesday, December 04 2013 @ 01:21 PM EST (#281235) #
The Steamer projection for Kratz is pretty good too. I'm starting to agree with Mike Green's suggestion that the Jays should consider Navarro and Kratz as their catching tandem for 2014. (Mike, why are you abandoning Josh Thole after lionizing him so relentlessly for most of last season?)

In fact, if you consider the defensive skills that Kratz brings, his receiving and framing abilities, his cannon of an arm to 2B, his ability to work with pitchers, and his passable offensive abilities (for a back-up anyway), I'm surprised that the Phillies dumped him in favor of their new acquisition, Wil Nieves, who doesn't seem appreciably better. Can anyone explain why the Phillies decided that Nieves is clearly superior to Kratz?
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, December 04 2013 @ 01:45 PM EST (#281236) #
Pittsburgh Pirates have asked about Adam Lind, Mitch Moreland and look to now be after James Loney. Too bad, that might have been more interesting.
whiterasta80 - Wednesday, December 04 2013 @ 01:52 PM EST (#281237) #
They can have Lind, and our entire farm system, as long as they give us McCutchen.
Mike Green - Wednesday, December 04 2013 @ 02:37 PM EST (#281238) #
"Lionizing" is probably a little strong to describe my advocacy for Thole.  I thought that he was a better bet than Blanco for the back-up role initially (I was far from alone in that).  After he killed it in Buffalo, I thought that he should have been up earlier than he was, and in light of Arencibia's struggles, ought to have been given more opportunities from the outset rather than basically catching Dickey.  I still think that was right.  Nonetheless, Thole did look like he needed fixing at the plate in Toronto.

If Seitzer works with Thole in the spring and has him pulling the ball with authority, as he did prior to the concussion, I would be content if the club decides that Thole is a better bet than Kratz to share the role with Navarro.

It might indeed be that some of the issues with Thole in Toronto were psychological; Thole was competing for time with Arencibia and that might not have been the easiest thing in light of the club's long history with Arencibia.  Thole was hitting the ball hard to right-center and centerfield in Buffalo, and it didn't look like he was ever going to do that in Toronto. Which suggests to me that the issue might not be simply mechanical.

vw_fan17 - Wednesday, December 04 2013 @ 05:06 PM EST (#281239) #
Kratz has a significant reverse platoon split over his career.

Well, yes, but with a significant SSS warning - 100 ABs against LHP, vs 300 ABs against RHP. He doesn't even have a full season of MLB ABs under his belt.

My guess is that (without checking anything), he was often brought in to face "tough lefties" that the regular catcher wasn't going to face, or something. Pretty easy to pile up 20-30 ABs against tough lefties and significantly drag those LHP splits down..

Using just those splits, here are some recommendations I could (totally tongue-in-cheek) come up with for Kratz:
-only play him at home (754 OPS vs 614 on the road), approx 200 PA each
-only let him play in the 1st half (760 OPS vs 642 OPS 2nd half)
-never EVER let him hit in March, April or July (OPS <= 531 for those 3 months)
-play him everyday in May (OPS of 1.002 in May over his career)
-play him when possible in June (OPS 871)
-never let him start a game - OPS of 664 when starting, OPS of 987 as a such
-have him pinch-hit for Navarro whenever possible - OPS of 965 as a pinch hitter
-never EVER let him bat 2nd or 4th - OPS of 250 and 125 in those spots
-bat him 5th if at all possible - career OPS of 5000 (yes, 5000, tOps+ of 1239). He's hit 5th exactly once in his career, and hit a HR.
-he's killer in the 2nd inning (OPS 999 in 64 PAs), and also in Extra innings: OPS 1921 in 9 PA..

This is somewhat interesting: of the two positions he's had more than 100 ABs in, 7th and 8th, he has these OPS: 850 for batting 7th (136 PA), and 551 batting 8th (213 AB). Do NOT put him in the 8th spot. 7th or 9th.
cybercavalier - Wednesday, December 04 2013 @ 05:12 PM EST (#281240) #
Given the understanding that either Kratz or Nieves is backup value to the re-signed Carlos Ruiz, either one would not have lots of chances to play full time barring injuries. If I have to guess on replacing Kratz with Nieves by conspiration, Philadelphia are releasing a higher value catching. The free agent catching market is hence more even while McCann is already off the market. As a result, value of Nieves would drop.

By the way, Dan Johnson plays 1B, part time LF and 3B in rare occasions.

If the Jays are looking for veteran catching for AAA and AA, the calibre of Robinzon Diaz seems to fit the bill. They can play decent AAA ball while getting a callup to Toronto to sustain team  performance after injury, and they can be evaluated in MLB. Would Thole like to play AAA again ? Guessing Nickeas to play AA in 2014 is more prudent.
Mike Green - Wednesday, December 04 2013 @ 05:29 PM EST (#281241) #
VWFan17, that's why I mentioned the "regressing the hell" out of the splits.  Going forward, no one would expect Kratz to hit much better against RHPs than LHPs as he has in the past.  It still looks like he is a good bet to be a better hitter against RHPs than Navarro, and he is also a better defender.
cybercavalier - Wednesday, December 04 2013 @ 06:14 PM EST (#281242) #
Kratz has been a MLB backup catcher so his MLB stats are reflecting that scenario.

The Giants release and re-sign backup Guillermo Quiroz and Torontonian George Kottaras have been traded from the Royals to the Cubs. How about the Jays trading for him as a backup in Toronto or play full time in Buffalo to improve his strike out rate and defense?

I think his track record of journey with different teams are more evident from the stats than his capability. For discussion, how about flipping Thole for Kottaras and let K and K fight for backup in T.O. ? Good D with weak offense against great OBP and power with weak defense and striking out ? 

As I have mentioned Kottaras, the following are a few other Canadian batters in AAA and/or brief moments in MLB: C Lars Davis with Colorado AAA, OF Jim Adduci with the Rangers, and 1B/OF Jamie Romak with the Dodgers AAA.
cybercavalier - Wednesday, December 04 2013 @ 06:17 PM EST (#281243) #
Either Thole, Kratz, Kottaras or Quiroz and other catcher will all be backup in T.O., Kratz is the obvious one with record of journey.
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, December 04 2013 @ 06:54 PM EST (#281244) #
Fortunately both Kratz and Thole have an option left.

Rasmussen should have an opportunity to learn from Stroman in Spring Training, which might make him better.

Now we can wait for A.A.'s next move.
greenfrog - Wednesday, December 04 2013 @ 09:57 PM EST (#281245) #
One bit of positive news: AA says Morrow should be 100% for ST. He recently threw all of his pitches max effort in a bullpen session with no issues.
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, December 04 2013 @ 10:00 PM EST (#281246) #
Check out Drunk Jays Fans site: according to @Brendan Kennedy: Asked how many starters the #bluejays were specifically targeting for trades, A.A. said "three"...then added "ish."

A.A.'s certainly not hiding his needs there, of course never did, there.

I only hope something happens soon.
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, December 04 2013 @ 11:30 PM EST (#281247) #
Texas tried to acquire Arencibia?
Eephus - Thursday, December 05 2013 @ 12:07 AM EST (#281248) #
Kratz is definitely a nice pickup. We might have been an early Thole/Navarro injury away from giving Mike Nickeas semi-regular at-bats otherwise. Nice to hear he has a good defensive reputation but that kind of information is much easier to confirm once we've seen the dude play for a month or so.

Interestingly, I happened to be in New York this summer and caught a game at Citi Field between the Mets and the Phillies. By the way, Citi Field is a spectacular venue for baseball. A true spectacle, friendly staff, fun pre-game diversions (I dunked a clown!), and the beer selection is top notch without being offensively expensive. There are many parks I haven't been to but Citi has got to be a top ten field in all of MLB.

Anyway I mention this because this particular game (which saw Jon Niese pitch a three hit shutout AND hit a three run double) because Erik Kratz was batting cleanup for the Phillies. I don't recall Kratz making much of an impression on me then (checking the boxscore he was 0-3) just that I found it bizarre he was batting cleanup. Probably more a reflection upon the Phillies' issues at the time, really.

China fan - Thursday, December 05 2013 @ 04:58 AM EST (#281249) #
Kratz has batted in the clean-up position on 8 occasions in his career. He's also had 17 PAs batting 2nd, 5th or 6th in the lineup. But he's primarily hit in the 7th or 8th position, for the vast majority of his games.
Jake W - Thursday, December 05 2013 @ 05:52 AM EST (#281250) #
In explaining why the Padres' much ballyhooed top pitching prospects (Casey Kelly, Matt Wisler and Max Fried) were only given ceilings of #2s Baseball America writer Matt Eddy response was

"...a true No. 1 profile requires plus-plus command, which is something that only a very small percentage of the pitching population possesses."

Wonder how many MLB starters you can hang a #1 on given this definition and what the marginal benefit of "plus-plus" versus just plus command is at the MLB level.
greenfrog - Thursday, December 05 2013 @ 07:00 AM EST (#281251) #
It sounds to me as if it will be hard for the Jays to compete under the new NPB posting system, as players like Tanaka will be free to choose any team that submitted the max ($20M?) posting fee. Teams like the NYY should have no problem blowing the Jays out if the water - assuming any of these Japanese players would even consider Toronto. I know Darvish's first choice was to play on the west coast.

The new system is yet another reason why Darvish was a major missed opportunity. And now AA is planning to deal more prospects in an attempt to add another (mid-rotation) starter or two or three?
China fan - Thursday, December 05 2013 @ 07:26 AM EST (#281252) #
"....Asked how many starters the #bluejays were specifically targeting for trades, A.A. said "three"...then added 'ish'...."

I found this a rather ambiguous comment, and I hope it will be clarified at some point. Does this mean that AA has found three starters that he is targeting for acquisition and he is trying to land one of them? Or maybe two of them? Does it mean that he is only trying to trade for starters and won't look at the free-agent market? Does it mean that he thinks the rotation is so weak that it needs to be supplemented by three new starters from the trade market? I suspect the latter two interpretations cannot be correct, since he must also be looking at possible free-agent acquisitions and he cannot really think that the Jays need three new starters when they already have Dickey/Buehrle/Morrow and a range of other nearly-ready options from Stroman and Nolin to Hutchison and Drabek. Would he really shell out a bunch of prospects to trade for three more starters when he has three good ones already and a bunch of near-ready options too?
BlueJayWay - Thursday, December 05 2013 @ 07:52 AM EST (#281253) #
Would he really shell out a bunch of prospects to trade for three more starters when he has three good ones already and a bunch of near-ready options too?

Of course if he did do exactly that, I'm sure we'd get the China Fan spin about how it really is the best thing after all.
perlhack - Thursday, December 05 2013 @ 09:49 AM EST (#281254) #
According to this article, Anthopolous stated that the Jays inquired about Fister but Dombrowski was "apparently not interested in anything the Jays could offer".

The same article states that Moises Sierra has been training for a move to first base, and the Jays may use platoon him with Lind.
China fan - Thursday, December 05 2013 @ 10:02 AM EST (#281255) #
"....the China Fan spin...."

Facts, rather than personal attacks, are usually a stronger debating point. I try to stick to facts. You're free to choose the other approach if you prefer.
cybercavalier - Thursday, December 05 2013 @ 10:40 AM EST (#281256) #
Regarding catching, how about signing John Buck to an economical contract. His best season so far has been with the Jays and he is still young enough (33-34) to re-ignite his .AVG. Also his performance at his first season in Single A more than 10 seasons ago shows that his body is initially capable of hitting for less power (about 10HR) but better K/BB. With the signing of Navarro, and presence of Kratz and Thole, Buck would not be counted on for hitting for power regardless of his role in Toronto (or Buffalo).

As a backup, ~10 HR is usually enough and he could play part time 1B as a RHB for resting Lind.

whiterasta80 - Thursday, December 05 2013 @ 10:42 AM EST (#281257) #
I actually quite like the new posting system- the money goes more to the player than the team.

My understanding is that any team that meets the 20 million gets an opportunity to bid on the player like free agency. So yes the Yanks can outbid everyone, but it'll be as if they did so in free agency. If the max bid is less than 20 million than I gather that the team gets exclusive rights (although we would be talking about the Aoki's and Kawasaki's of the world rather than the Darvish's).

Actually I think this new system hurts the Yankees this season. Basically teams have always treated the posting fee and the contract as one in the same. Using Darvish as an example, the Rangers signed him for 111 million total, but only 60 of that counts towards the luxury tax. Under the new system he's likely to still get 111 million, but now 91 million counts towards the tax.
whiterasta80 - Thursday, December 05 2013 @ 10:45 AM EST (#281258) #
I always assumed that John Buck was our fallback plan this offseason. I'm still not sure that he wasn't a better move than Navarro given our history with him but at this point I don't see the need. I think that stockpiling good defensive catchers is the best approach and I like the Kratz move for this reason.

Ryan Day - Thursday, December 05 2013 @ 10:49 AM EST (#281259) #
he cannot really think that the Jays need three new starters when they already have Dickey/Buehrle/Morrow and a range of other nearly-ready options

Well, counting on Morrow in the rotation necessitates a 6th starter, because there's no way he makes it all the way through the season. And the "nearly ready" options are somewhat unpredictable - how "nearly ready" are they? Personally, I'm quite optimistic about Hutchison and Stroman, and to a lesser extent Nolin (and pretty skeptical about Drabek's ability to stay healthy and find the strike zone). It's probably best to be prudent, and perhaps start the year with one in the rotation, and the others available in AAA when injury strikes.

If we want to finely interpret AA's words, we might suggest that "three-ish" could mean that he's looking for another Esmil Rogers or Carlos Villanueva type who can start or relieve when needed. (I still feel like the team was missing a true long man for much of 2013 - it seemed like the bullpen had 6 or 7 guys who only pitched one inning at a time.)
Mike Green - Thursday, December 05 2013 @ 11:05 AM EST (#281260) #
I sure hope that he is not looking to acquire three starters for the major league rotation by trade.  If you are after starters with better projections than (say) Esmil Rogers, you will pay for that.  It's not as though this club has a Pierzynski/Mauer situation where it can trade an established position player (for two starters and an ace reliever!) because of a prospect beating down the door.

Is there any downside to Sean Nolin spending half a season with a low leverage role in the major league bullpen, Jimmy Key style?  Would it be that bad to have Rogers in the rotation to start the season?

John Northey - Thursday, December 05 2013 @ 11:20 AM EST (#281261) #
I like the new posting system (if it happens) too as it certainly makes it possible for the Jays to be in it rather than on the sidelines as they always have been to date.  Unlikely they will win for any major players, but at least it puts them in the conversation and we'll probably know if they are when the teams allowed to negotiate are known. If AA refuses to big $20 mil for Tanaka then major questions need to be asked.
Paul D - Thursday, December 05 2013 @ 11:29 AM EST (#281262) #
Saying that the Jays are targeting 3ish pitchers could mean that they have a list of 3 or 4 guys that they're looking into, and that they hope to land 1 or 2 of them, not that they want to sign 3 more SPs.
greenfrog - Thursday, December 05 2013 @ 11:59 AM EST (#281263) #
John, I don't think the posting fee is the issue. It's what happens after the $20M posting bids are made that matters. It's easy to post $20M when you know other teams are likely to significantly oubid you at the "free agent" stage of the process. Darvish didn't come cheap, but Texas had exclusive bidding rights, no matter how strongly Darvish might have preferred pitching in another part of North America. That's a significant advantage that a geographically-challenged city like Toronto no longer has in the bidding process.
John Northey - Thursday, December 05 2013 @ 12:03 PM EST (#281264) #
True greenfrog, but first the Jays would have to be willing to make the posting fee.  To date they have not.  The Jays instead claimed they had interest but never said what they bid and no one officially knows what they bid vs other clubs.  Now, if there is a $20 mil cap everyone will know who bid that much at least and if the Jays don't bid $20 mil for a shot at Darvish, Tanaka or whoever the next big thing is the media will be all over AA I'd suspect.
Chuck - Thursday, December 05 2013 @ 12:04 PM EST (#281265) #
Parsing AA's intentionally semi-conveyed messages is probably a fruitless exercise.
Ryan Day - Thursday, December 05 2013 @ 12:15 PM EST (#281266) #
But those exercises are the most fun, as they have no consequences whatsoever.
greenfrog - Thursday, December 05 2013 @ 12:24 PM EST (#281267) #
John, my point is that the GM can easily bid $20M and then say, gosh, it just didn't work out (or the player preferred another city, or whatever), when the Japanese player heads to New York or Boston or LA.
Landomar - Thursday, December 05 2013 @ 12:27 PM EST (#281268) #
Norichika Aoki just got moved to KC for Will Smith, who is a young left handed pitcher of dubious quality. Aoki is only going to make $2 million this year, and I think he would have been a great acquisition for us if we could have got him for one or two of our "Will Smith" types. Then perhaps we could have put Aoki in LF, Cabrera at DH, sent Lind to Pittsburg (or somewhere) for prospects, and freed up at least $5 million in the process. Oh well.
whiterasta80 - Thursday, December 05 2013 @ 12:34 PM EST (#281269) #
Beat me to it Landomar. Aoki is positionally flexible, has a high OBP, good contact skills and is a smart base runner. Maybe that just doesn't fit the Blue Jays mold? Or perhaps Milwaukee simply said that "we were not a match, and hung up the phone"? I still find that explanation of Fister dubious.
Mike Green - Thursday, December 05 2013 @ 02:25 PM EST (#281270) #
Aoki seems to be a good fielder also.  I don't know who would be the equivalent of Will Smith in the Toronto organization- Sean Nolin maybe?

He was the kind of player I had in mind up-thread when talking about upgrades on Cabrera in left-field.
Chuck - Thursday, December 05 2013 @ 02:50 PM EST (#281271) #
Aoki is the kind of player TB or Oakland would have picked up were they not swimming in outfielders already. He's not a world beater, but will easily outperform his humble contract and is useful in many different ways. Can't believe Dayton Moore is the guy who got him. Maybe he's changing his Process. Less Francoeur, more useful players.

As for Milwaukee, anyone's guess what is going on there these days. Yuniesky Betancourt, first baseman, is a very telling indictment.
greenfrog - Thursday, December 05 2013 @ 07:12 PM EST (#281272) #
Idea for a thread: what should be the Jays' next big (or small) move?

Splurge on Tanaka? Semi-splurge on Jimenez? Make AJ Burnett an offer he can't refuse? Trade Stroman or Sanchez for the Shark? Trade Hutchison and Tirado for Kendrick? Keep the prospects and cash and aim lower (Feldman, Ellis)?

Maybe we can come up with a possibility or two for our embattled GM...
cybercavalier - Thursday, December 05 2013 @ 08:31 PM EST (#281274) #
Idea for a thread: what should be the Jays' next big (or small) move?

I agree.
I shall start on small moves:
1) stashing catchers who play good defense or above. Besides Kratz, get another catcher (age 30 or above) who can contribute right away in Toronto as the 2014 season starts.
Either 2a) sign a reclamation project catcher to play. My choice is Jesus Flores. His purpose is to act at least as a trade value.
or 2b) if Thole was to be traded, get a catcher who play good offense, say George Kottaras from the Royals.
So in a nutshell, barring further moves for catching:
Toronto: Navarro, Kratz
Buffalo: 1st choice and 1st callup: Kottaras role in Buffalo, improve his performance in hitting for average and defense. Flores: catch as much as possible with veteran pitchers. Thole catch to keep his conditioning and performance.
NH: 1st callup to Buffalo: A.J. Jimenez, 2nd: Sean Ochinko, 3rd: Jack Murphy,  4th: Jon Talley

As the players progresses as expected or normally during 2014 season,
1) Jimenez hit near .800 OPS while starts his season in NH, keep performing his defensive game, and hence promoted to Buffalo for good (in late April or early May). In NH and Buffalo, he would be assigned with pitching prospects. Once in Buffalo, he shall catch pitcher stashed for use in Toronto.
2a) Kottaras hit near 1.000 OPS in Buffalo while keep polishing his defense and less striking out. He would be assigned with veteran pitchers.
2b) Flores will be given lots of PA or playing time behind the plate, either or both in Buffalo or NH. He would be assigned with veteran pitchers.
3) Ochinko hit near .850 OPS in NH while improving his defense. He would be given the bulk of catcher PAs.
4) Talley hit near .700 OPS in NH. He would play C, DH and 1B.
5) Murphy hit over .700 OPS in NH. He would be given the bulk of catching duties in NH, especially after Jimenez has gone to Buffalo.

Injury substituion:
Kottaras/Flores/Thole for Navarro
Jimenez for Kratz

Promotion sub:
Murphy for Jimenez
A late season Ochinko promotion to Buffalo, for good.
promotion from Dunedin ?

Outlook for 2015:

Buffalo: Jimenez knocking the door to Toronto, Ochinko
NH: Murphy, Talley,
cybercavalier - Thursday, December 05 2013 @ 08:49 PM EST (#281275) #
small question, why Navarro's contract is back loaded ? Would 2014 for 5M and 2015 for 3M better ?
JB21 - Thursday, December 05 2013 @ 08:53 PM EST (#281276) #
I believe Kottaras was already traded to the Cubs this offseason.
cybercavalier - Thursday, December 05 2013 @ 08:56 PM EST (#281277) #
O, Nickeas also play in Buffalo. His emphasis shall be his hitting as a starting catcher, or pitch hit and sub
whiterasta80 - Thursday, December 05 2013 @ 09:08 PM EST (#281278) #
If we can get Kendrick for Hutchinson and Tirado we should do it now.

I agree with stockpiling defensive catchers- I'd love to somehow get Mathis back here.

My thoughts on the next SMALL move: Sign Paul Maholm to 2/13 or 3/18- pending a physical. He's not a world beater, but he isn't on anyone's radar right now and he's got 8 straight seasons of throwing 150+ usually useful innings.

The kind of money required to sign him will, much like the Navarro signing, not prevent us from making other moves. At the same time, having another established innings eater would make me much more confident going into next season.
cybercavalier - Thursday, December 05 2013 @ 09:20 PM EST (#281279) #
I believe Kottaras was already traded to the Cubs this offseason.
yes, his 2013 triple line was .180/.349/.370 with 5 HR..... Given what Thole perform in offense in Toronto, they could just be of the same backup value to the Jays. So once Navarro and Kratz' roles as starter and backup are set, Kottaras who hit better during minor league is more accountable for a offense surge. Also the Cubs likely use Kottaras as a backup, which sap his PAs and game time chance in improving his defense and strike-out rate. In Buffalo, he would be the starting catcher with many game time chances and PAs to improve; he would also be the injury backup to Navarro.

Being a Torontonian is a bonus.
Parker - Thursday, December 05 2013 @ 10:19 PM EST (#281280) #

Whether Kotteras would prefer to be a starter in AAA rather than a backup in MLB isn't relevant (although he wouldn't; I'd be willing to bet that any player would rather ride the bench at the ML level than play every day in the minors) since he doesn't get to decide what team he plays for. He's Cubs property, not a free agent, and since the Cubs just acquired him it makes no sense that they'd want to trade him. The Cubs are going to do what's best for the Cubs, not what's best for George Kotteras.
cybercavalier - Thursday, December 05 2013 @ 10:35 PM EST (#281281) #
At first,

or 2b) if Thole was to be traded, get a catcher who play good offense, say George Kottaras from the Royals.
He's Cubs property, not a free agent, and since the Cubs just acquired him it makes no sense that they'd want to trade him. The Cubs are going to do what's best for the Cubs, not what's best for George Kotteras.
Any team is going to do what's the best for the club, no doubt. My original point was to get a catcher to play good offense as a injury sub for Navarro; Thole did not hit well in T.O. Players like Kottaras has a higher potential for offense and his value is low enough to acquire. Not knowing what Kottaras role will be as a Cubs, will he be yet another backup who would hit .180 with 5 HR in 2014?
My point is to take advantage of this low tide of value from players like Kottaras and stash him in Buffalo. Since he doesn't get to decide what team he plays for, the Jays will decide what his role is in Toronto or Buffalo. From the Jays' perspective, this low tide, high potential player transaction is a way of stashing values when no big trade is happening at the moment. Trading values for values is a prudent way of team trading because each team in the mix of trade decide what is valuable and get it; this reasoning goes back to the meaning of my first sentence.
The Calm Before the Storm....change that Navarro!! | 223 comments | Create New Account
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