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This off-season has been the slowest for Blue Jay news that I can remember.  The Navarro signing was months ago and since then there has been nothing.  Last winter AA was putting in a new waiver claim every week, this year just one.  The Tanaka affair seems to be holding up all free agent pitcher signings and we are just five weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting. 

The Tanaka deadline is January 24th so I assume that Tanaka, Jimenez and Santana will all sign between January 24th and January 27th.  I don't see much happening before then. 

In the meantime it is nice for me, as a Rogers Cable subscriber, to have the MLB network to watch.  It's not exactly groundbreaking TV but at least it is baseball which is nowhere to be found on the regular networks.  It will be interesting to see what the MLB network coverage of spring training will be like.  I think they showed some spring games last season, that would be nice to take our minds off winter.

Anything else going on?

The Waiting Game | 95 comments | Create New Account
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bpoz - Monday, January 13 2014 @ 10:32 AM EST (#281950) #
I have been digging into the low,low minors for my Blue Jay fix. All I can come up with is the same as last year. Lansing will have an incredible rotation.

Will they win and with whom.
finch - Monday, January 13 2014 @ 10:52 AM EST (#281951) #
Trying to think outside the box, do you think it's possible that AA signs Morales and Stephen Drew to 1 year deals? It's a risky game for the Boras clients to take given they have a 50/50 chance to increase their value next season but playing in the Roger's Centre will definitely help with their offensive numbers. In return, the Blue Jays give up a 2nd and 3rd round pick this year in the hopes of gaining 2 first rounders next. Just trying to think outside the box.
Gerry - Monday, January 13 2014 @ 11:57 AM EST (#281952) #

Drew would be an option at second base, but he would have to be willing to play there.  He probably still sees himself as a shortstop.  He can get a shortstop playing position on a short term deal but Boras and he want a longer deal.  Would the Jays offer him a longer deal to play second?

If the Jays were to sign Jimenez or Santana they would lose a pick but then for other free agents signed the pick lost would be of less value so they could sign a Drew or a Morales.  But the issue then would be budget, this isn't TFC we are talking about, it's Rogers.

greenfrog - Monday, January 13 2014 @ 12:45 PM EST (#281953) #
Drew reminds me a bit of Lohse a year ago. Boras might wait a while in an effort to elicit a higher bid. I think Drew would be a nice addition, but obviously someone is going to have to move off of SS, likely making that someone unhappy.

For me, a good off-season would have been Kazmir, Hanigan and Franklin, plus one of Santana/Jimenez, depending on the asking price. Of course, the M's and the Jays don't match up well, which would likely necessitate a third trading partner.

Everyone is assuming the Jays will sign Jimenez or Santana, and this could happen, but I don't think it's a slam dunk. They might not want to come to Toronto, for one thing. Or another team might simply outbid the Jays. There isn't a lot of starting pitching to go around.
Ryan Day - Monday, January 13 2014 @ 12:54 PM EST (#281954) #
The latest on Rotoworld is "The Red Sox would like Drew back on a one-year deal, but Boras is pushing for a second year."

Maybe for a 3yr deal he'd be willing to play 2nd? With Reyes needing rest, he'd still get some time at SS; maybe that would be enough to soothe his pride?

It's tough to say - with Boras, you can't be sure of anything. Next thing you know some other team will come up with a 5-year deal to play short.
whiterasta80 - Monday, January 13 2014 @ 01:27 PM EST (#281955) #
If it is a 1 year deal I don't know why either of them wouldn't just wait until midseason and let the bidding go crazy. More likely we are looking at a Lohse-style 3 year or a Bourne-style 4 year deal.

I suspect every team with a protected pick (or who has already burned their pick) is chomping at the bit for Drew.
I've heard nothing about Drew being willing to move off of SS, which is strange for Boras (who you'd imagine would be doing everything in his power to drum up interest).

If he'd play 2B (or if Reyes would) I'd be inclined to prioritize him on a 3 year deal over pitching.

Morales I suspect has less interest although I bet he would crush at the RC. No fit unless either EE or Lind are moved but if so I'd be willing to take a shot.

85bluejay - Monday, January 13 2014 @ 01:39 PM EST (#281956) #
If it's a 1 yr. pillow contract, Boras will put his client with a team he has great relations with - not the Jays
I would be very surprised if the Jays sign a Scott Boras client as long as Paul Beeston is President.
Gerry - Monday, January 13 2014 @ 02:58 PM EST (#281957) #

The Jays have announced their 2014 minor league staff for the full season teams.  There may have been some last minute juggling required once Marty Brown resigned from the position of manager in Buffalo a few weeks ago.

For the managers Gary Allenson moves up from AA to AAA.  Bobby Meachem moves up from Dunedin to AA.  Omar Malave is Dunedin's new manager.  Malave had been the manager in Dunedin from 2004-2009.  He then spent one year as the Jays major league first base coach before returning to the minor leagues.  John Tamargo Jr. returns as Lansing's manager.

On the hitting coach side Richie Hebner moves up to AAA with Allenson forcing Jon Nunnally down from AAA to AA.  Stubby Clapp returns to Dunedin while Ken Huckabay moves up from short season to be the hitting coach in Lansing.

The new pitching coach in Buffalo is Randy St.Clair who has major league experience both as a player and as a pitching coach.  St. Claire is one of the few players to have played for both the Expos and Jays.  Jim Czajkowski gets the big promotion from Vancouver to New Hampshire.  Tom Signore has left the organization.  Finally Darrold Knowles and Vince Horsman return to Dunedin and Lansing.

Gerry - Monday, January 13 2014 @ 03:04 PM EST (#281958) #
The Jays have announced the full coaching rosters now including the short season teams.  Of note is that Kenny Graham who was the hitting coach in Lansing is now the GCL manager.  Jeff Ware, who pitched for the Jays in 1995 and 1996, will be the pitching coach in Vancouver.  Willie Collazo is making the transition from pitcher to pitching coach in the GCL.  And Clayton McCullough is now the coordinator of instruction, although I am not sure what that means.
Mike Green - Monday, January 13 2014 @ 03:09 PM EST (#281959) #
There is something about "Ken Huckaby-hitting coach" that just seems counter-intuitive.  It is fun seeing the names of ballplayers one remembers from one's relative youth as coaches.

Marty Brown was pretty outspoken last year.  Was there any reason given for his resignation?

Gerry - Monday, January 13 2014 @ 03:38 PM EST (#281960) #
Brown was an "acquaintance" of John Farrell, and although I don't know for sure might have been hired based on a recommendation from Farrell.  The Jays just filled their first base coach position and Brown either did not get an interview or believed he got a "going through the motions' interview.  Based on these facts he came to the conclusion that he had no future in the Jays organization, other than as AAA manager and therefore he quit.
Doom Service - Monday, January 13 2014 @ 03:40 PM EST (#281961) #
It's been published that Brown decided to leave when he didn't get the open first base coach in Toronto.
Mike Green - Monday, January 13 2014 @ 04:20 PM EST (#281962) #
Thanks, Gerry and Doom Service.  It is interesting that Brown would name Gose as a very good friend, while describing him as a talented project. 
Chuck - Monday, January 13 2014 @ 05:42 PM EST (#281963) #
There is something about "Ken Huckaby-hitting coach" that just seems counter-intuitive.

Guys, you see what I'm doing? You hear what I'm saying? Don't do that. Do the opposite.

sweat - Monday, January 13 2014 @ 07:40 PM EST (#281964) #
I think that could be something for AA to think about. I also could see AA using the picks to his advantage to sign Ubaldo, Santana or Drew, by offering 1 year deals with player options. Player leaves after 1 year (maybe after a big season), jays can qualify them. Player leaves after 2, Jays aren't allowed to qualify.
Advantage for the Jays, cheaper short term deals, maybe getting 1st round picks.
Advantage for the player, can leave early if they feel FA will go better for them without Tanaka, or stay a little longer to get true value without the draft pick holding them back.
92-93 - Monday, January 13 2014 @ 07:58 PM EST (#281965) #
I certainly am not assuming the Jays sign Jimenez or Santana; I'd be fairly surprised if they did.
greenfrog - Monday, January 13 2014 @ 08:32 PM EST (#281966) #
There seems to be a range of expectations out there, from "unlikely" to "reasonably possible" to "very good chance." Buster Olney, for example, falls in the latter category:

I still think the Jays will wind up with Ubaldo Jimenez or Ervin Santana, given that the Blue Jays’ first-round pick is protected.

Meanwhile, Rosenthal calls the Jays a "leading candidate" to sign Santana or Jimenez:

I'm probably more in the "unlikely" category (past performance being the best predictor of future results), but who the heck knows.
Original Ryan - Monday, January 13 2014 @ 08:38 PM EST (#281967) #
This is technically St. Claire's second stint as Toronto's AAA pitching coach. The Jays hired him to be the pitching coach in Syracuse in 2003 after he had been the Expos' AAA pitching coach. He wound up leaving before the start of the season as the Expos named him their major league pitching coach. The Expos were in chaos at the time, and were slow to get their coaching staff finalized.
John Northey - Tuesday, January 14 2014 @ 07:04 AM EST (#281968) #
Glad that the AAA pitching coach has ML coaching experience as I figure that would be a plus given how many in AAA will already have ML experience this year. AAA will purely be a 'back up' level this year as that staff will pretty much all have ML experience with one or two exceptions.

As to know the old rule - those who can't do, teach. Thus he should be a _very_ good teacher as he really couldn't (41 OPS+, 222/256/281 lifetime, 651 OPS in minors). Hmmm.... wonder if that means JPA will be a good hitting instructor someday? Probably will teach how important walks are and knock down swinging for the fences :)
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 14 2014 @ 09:43 AM EST (#281969) #
Does anyone else find the headline "O's interested in Delmon Young, Jack Cust and Mark Reynolds" amusing?  Cust and Young would have made a good platoon DH combo 5 years ago...I also like the counterbalancing of the sweetness of Cust and Reynolds three true outcomes inclinations with the tartness of Young's lack of plate discipline and his earthy power and personality tones.
Chuck - Tuesday, January 14 2014 @ 10:33 AM EST (#281970) #
The O's lost-in-time behaviour was well mocked at BBTF.
Lylemcr - Tuesday, January 14 2014 @ 11:52 AM EST (#281971) #

With what happened with our starting staff last year, if you were a free agent, would you want to come to Toronto?  I wouldn't, unless it was exceptionally good contract.  I can't see that happening.

Unless the Jays make a trade, the pitching staff will be as is.

John Northey - Tuesday, January 14 2014 @ 12:53 PM EST (#281972) #
Free agents are always a money talks, bs walks.  If the Jays offer the most cash/years they get the pitcher.  If not they don't.  Exceptions do exist, but normally those are based on location (near family) or competitiveness.  Jays lose on both, thus the cash becomes the only weapon.
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 14 2014 @ 01:49 PM EST (#281973) #
Sometimes it's location (although I imagine Russ Martin might have preferred Toronto to Pittsburgh); sometimes it's competitiveness and sometimes it's cash.  I would guess that cash is the most important consideration most of the time.
BlueJayWay - Wednesday, January 15 2014 @ 11:13 AM EST (#281974) #
Ah, the waiting game sucks. Let's play Hungry Hungry Hippos!
Gerry - Wednesday, January 15 2014 @ 03:49 PM EST (#281976) #
On his blog Peter Gammons suggest the Jays will only sign Jimenez or Santana if the players "fall to them".  That suggest they will sign the player for a reasonable contract but won't overbid.  They feel the risk is too big.  Otherwise it's all hands on deck.
Parker - Wednesday, January 15 2014 @ 04:38 PM EST (#281977) #
I feel this is actually good news. I don't see any of the free agent options being any better than league-average, and the cost to acquire them would be pretty ridiculous for the Jays. I think there's a pretty good chance that the Jays can get equivalent or better performance from in-system options (at least, I hope they can.) If they're not going after Tanaka, I don't see a clear upgrade for the rotation in the dregs available at this point.
Mike Green - Wednesday, January 15 2014 @ 04:57 PM EST (#281978) #
I am fine with that approach, too.  Too bad about Mark Ellis.
ISLAND BOY - Wednesday, January 15 2014 @ 05:13 PM EST (#281979) #
I dunno. While I'm against overpaying for mediocrity, I also remember that we seemed to have a boatload of starters and potential starters last spring, and then saw them whittled down by injuries and general suckitude. When our top two pitchers are older, and the rest either have question marks in the area of durability and/or competency, I think we have to add at least one more starting arm. This is just not to be competitive, but also to give the pitchers recovering from surgery and the young,upcoming prospects more time in the minors. Maybe I'm just stating the obvious, but there seems to be more than a little sentiment towards going with what we have, and I just don't think it's enough.
92-93 - Wednesday, January 15 2014 @ 06:42 PM EST (#281980) #
"On his blog Peter Gammons suggest the Jays will only sign Jimenez or Santana if the players "fall to them". That suggest they will sign the player for a reasonable contract but won't overbid. They feel the risk is too big"

Thanks for that Gerry. If Gammons is right, the Jays have no shot at Jimenez or Santana.
92-93 - Wednesday, January 15 2014 @ 06:46 PM EST (#281981) #
The problem with being fine with not overpaying for talent is that it comes with an assumption you'll eventually get other talent for a reasonable price with that same money, and that's an unreasonable expectation for the Jays and the AA regime. Look what it cost to bring in talent here last offseason.
eudaimon - Wednesday, January 15 2014 @ 08:00 PM EST (#281982) #
Boras is apparently now marketing Stephen Drew as someone who could potentially play other positions. If true maybe the Jays could sign him. If I had to choose between giving a rotation spot to someone like Stroman or Redmond (as opposed to Jiminez/Santana) and having Drew over Goins I'd probably go with the latter. I still think the Jays will pick up a starter before the next season, however.
SK in NJ - Wednesday, January 15 2014 @ 10:25 PM EST (#281983) #
If the Jays are going to add a starter like everyone says they will, and it won't be Santana, Jimenez, or presumably Garza due to cost, then what else is left? Unless AA plans on caving in to Chicago's demands for Samardzija, which at last rumor was pretty unreasonable (Stroman, Sanchez, plus).

i haven't heard a peep about Garza in a while. If he is healthy, then he is the logical choice since he has proven he can pitch in the AL East and won't cost a draft pick (even if he did cost a pick it shouldn't be a deterrent since the Jays won't lose a 1st regardless). But if he is healthy, then he will be expensive, and that's apparently a bad thing for the Jays.

I like the Drew/2B idea. He would be an improvement over Goins, a short-term signing (2 or 3 years tops) and also a legit back-up SS in the event that Reyes gets hurt or needs a day off. Not sure the Jays will deal with Boras, though.
John Northey - Wednesday, January 15 2014 @ 10:37 PM EST (#281984) #
Well, the cost for free agent pitching probably just jumped with the Kershaw signing.  Not a free agent, but he got $215 mil over 7 years with an opt out after 5/$150 if he wants to.  That is the richest contract ever in terms of dollars per season, beating the partial season contracts Clemens signed and ahead of both of A-Rod's deals.  It also beats Verlander's deal by $5 mil a year.  Ouch.  I'm sure Tanaka's agent is grinning ear to ear over this.
R Romero Vaughan - Thursday, January 16 2014 @ 04:14 AM EST (#281985) #

If true I fundamentally disagree with the organisation's perception of risk.

As others have said trades involve giving up assets - the worst that can happen with these is the Jays give up 10 pc of their payroll and it doesnt work out.

In comparison - trading 12 cost controlled years of D'Arnaud and Syndergaard and $30m for 3 years of Dickey really is risky. If that one doesn't work out you set back your franchise for years (one with a huge need at C and SP) 

It also flies in the face of recent evidence of what you can trade away in the current market. AA himself got rid of Wells and when you see what som eof the salary dumps involved, the general pain threshold has been pretty light.

Paying Reyes a ton of money for a relatively small upgrade over Escobar's overall contribution was again very risky when it involved giving up a lot of prospect capital as well.

This is not the Pirates with a 70m payroll - 10m/year for a FA over 4 or 5 years is not prohibitively risky.

What is risky is making alot of trades giving away your young pipeline when there is not a core of solid controlled players in the prime of their careers (25 - 30).  Paying FA rates for Bueherle, Reyes, Dickey (in years 2 and 3) and also giving away the prospect capital (and cheap salaries to counteract the expensive older roster) seems like a poor strategy and not one the best run organisations choose. Contrast Phillies and Red Sox. 

Trading for The Shark and giving away the prospect capital would seem to be far risikier than the FA option for this organisation given what an extension is going to cost anyway.







christaylor - Thursday, January 16 2014 @ 06:21 AM EST (#281986) #
It is only money is a very limited perception -- dishing out on contracts has several times in recent history set this franchise back.

Delgado, Ryan, Wells... the list goes on. With trading prospects you might be trading away value (more often than not, you're not) but with spending money you are always committing resources.

This is the climate in Toronto -- I enjoy for what the team is, but Rogers doesn't want to spend like the Yankees, because there is just no evidence that the fan-base is there. The days of a sold-out dome are gone. There's a ceiling on level of baseball interest in Toronto and I would be surprised to see it raise anytime soon.
BlueJayWay - Thursday, January 16 2014 @ 08:09 AM EST (#281987) #
There's a ceiling on interest in everything, everywhere. I don't think we're particularly close to that for baseball in Toronto, considering the TV ratings and the increase in attendance for a team that still hasn't even become a playoff contender.
greenfrog - Thursday, January 16 2014 @ 08:44 AM EST (#281988) #
Where does Gammons get his Jays rumours? I wonder if the organizaition is strategically leaking to prepare the fans for the lack of a major signing.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 16 2014 @ 10:48 AM EST (#281989) #
Peter Gammons provides some statistical benchmarks for Clayton Kershaw, but they don't quite capture what he has done.  He has made 99 starts between age 23 and 25 at a very, very high level of performance, with excellent control of the strike zone to go with the stuff.  Almost all of the great power lefties struggled with their control at that age- from Lefty Grove to Randy Johnson to Sam McDowell to Sandy Koufax.  I guess Frank Tanana would be the most worrisome precedent for the Dodgers- Tanana was very good (but not at Kershaw's level) at ages 21-23, but after arm problems had a long but so-so career.  I had not realized how many innings Grove threw in the IL before Jack Dunn sold him.

There is obviously a significant risk that Kershaw's arm will not last for long, but I like the Dodgers' chances of getting more than contract value at least for the first 5 years- at which point Kershaw may opt out.

Personally, I don't see that the Kershaw contract offers much guidance in the Tanaka situation.  Tanaka may turn out to be great, but his longer-term record of performance (in context) is sufficiently inferior to Kershaw's that Kershaw's contract is not really germane to the negotiations. Verlander signed his contract which provided for a number of years at $28 million after his very good but not outstanding 2009 and a rough 2008.  Kershaw has a good argument for being a significantly  more valuable property now than Verlander was then. 
Gerry - Thursday, January 16 2014 @ 11:30 AM EST (#281990) #
We have our second base solution, the Jays have signed Chris Getz to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 16 2014 @ 11:39 AM EST (#281991) #
Well, that's a relief.  More seriously, I think that I missed Chris Getz on the jazz Hall of Names team. 
Gerry - Thursday, January 16 2014 @ 11:51 AM EST (#281992) #
Getz was in KC with Seitzer and had better numbers when Seitzer was the hitting coach there. 
John Northey - Thursday, January 16 2014 @ 11:55 AM EST (#281993) #
Getz... 68 OPS+ lifetime over 1546 PA, peak was 429 PA in 2011.  Has 26 innings at SS, 9 at 3B.  2.1 UZR/150 at 2B lifetime. His 5 years projections show him to be about a 1/2 a win player going forward.  Not a bad idea to sign him and stick him in AAA or as the ML backup if Goins isn't ready for that role.  Solid AAA signing imo as he could be useful.
ogator - Thursday, January 16 2014 @ 12:01 PM EST (#281994) #
Call me cynical but if your team has decided that Ryan Goins is going to be your second baseman, then you sign Chris Getz and let them go head to head in the spring. Ryan Goins turns out to be a better defensive and offensive player than Chris Getz, with more position flexibility. You hand the job to Goins and say that he won it fair and square. I can't think of any other reason to believe that Chris Getz can help your team in a serious way.
eudaimon - Thursday, January 16 2014 @ 12:35 PM EST (#281995) #
I like Getz more than Goins at this point. Getz is a good fielder, Goins is a good-very good fielder. Neither has any power, but at least Gets has proven he can occasionally take a walk and doesn't strike out much.

Maybe Goins and Kawasaki could platoon at 2b, seeing as Goins is hits lefties slightly better than he does righties. That sounds pretty uninspiring but if there's really no other good options...

lexomatic - Thursday, January 16 2014 @ 12:37 PM EST (#281996) #
I agree with ogator. It's sad that his replacement-level production would've been a huge improvement last year.
I'm hoping there's no thought of him being the "strong" part of a platoon, what with his lefty bat. That would be depressing.

eudaimon - Thursday, January 16 2014 @ 12:39 PM EST (#281997) #
Getz also has a bit of speed. 25 stolen bases vs only 2 CS in 2009, overall 87 SB vs 18 CS career - a very good %. 16 vs 3 in only about 230 PA last year.
eudaimon - Thursday, January 16 2014 @ 12:40 PM EST (#281998) #
Sorry, I meant a Getz / Kawasaki platoon above
greenfrog - Thursday, January 16 2014 @ 12:44 PM EST (#281999) #
Per MLBTR: "Last year, in 237 plate appearances, Getz put up a .220/.288/.273 triple-slash."

Sounds like he'll fit right in with Goins and Izturis at 2B.
Eephus - Thursday, January 16 2014 @ 01:24 PM EST (#282000) #
Phew. I was worried for a while that we weren't Goins to Getz anybody else this off-season...

Thank you, thank you! I'm here all week! Don't try the striploin.

Actually, the coolest thing about Getz is probably this: (please excuse my link-making inability)

Parker - Thursday, January 16 2014 @ 01:42 PM EST (#282001) #
Oh that is awesome. I hope he makes the team for that reason alone.

Getz also seems to control the strike zone fairly well; he's miles ahead of Goins in that regard.
SK in NJ - Thursday, January 16 2014 @ 01:45 PM EST (#282002) #
Start Kawasaki at 2B.

The other options are that bad.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 16 2014 @ 02:15 PM EST (#282003) #
Getz is a left-handed hitter.  For his career,  he has a minimal reverse platoon split driven by a much higher BABIP against LHPs.  His W/K/HR data fits normal platoon patterns.  There is nothing wrong with having Kawasaki and Goins and Getz, but they all fill the same role. 
China fan - Thursday, January 16 2014 @ 02:33 PM EST (#282004) #
"... I wonder if the organization is strategically leaking to prepare the fans for the lack of a major signing..."

If the Jays are strategically leaking, I'd guess it's more of an attempt to improve their bargaining position by implying that they don't really NEED to sign a major free agent. If the free agents believe that the Jays are desperate to sign a top pitcher, the price will rapidly escalate. If you signal publicly that you don't really need or expect to sign anyone, there's a chance that you might reduce (or contain) the price somewhat. Desperation and eagerness are the worst things to convey in any negotiation. Cool calm and apparent indifference are what you need. I'm not saying that this will make a big difference in a competitive situation where several teams are trying to acquire the same free agent, but still the Jays are presumably trying to signal to the free agents that they aren't desperate.
John Northey - Thursday, January 16 2014 @ 02:50 PM EST (#282005) #
I figure the Jays have a price for each player, be it free agent or trade, and are getting close to their limit on both in negotiations and know that it will be tough to sign/trade for any of the key ones.  So now they are talking with each free agent and trade partner and setting themselves up as the 'last resort' location, letting all know that whoever takes the Jays deal will be the only signing they do unless the player/team comes down drastically.  Come late February we'll see who is left on the sidelines and if they are desperate enough to come down to the Jays price.

Our best hope now is that 2 of the kids emerge in 2014 and take the world by storm while Dickey & Buehrle soak up 200+ innings with 100 or better ERA+'s and Morrow stays healthy.  Not a great hope, but the most likely case right now.  2B looks to be a mess of guys who either can't hit but field well (Goins, Getz), guys who can't do either (Izturis) or a fun guy who sorta hits and sorta fields (Kawasaki).  Not ideal, but at least it isn't Bonifacio (no hit, no field) vs Izturis (no hit, no field).  No one got 200 PA at 2B last year, hopefully someone pulls through and earns twice that many this year.

katman - Thursday, January 16 2014 @ 03:22 PM EST (#282006) #
John Northey:
"Our best hope now is that 2 of the kids emerge in 2014 and take the world by storm while Dickey & Buehrle soak up 200+ innings with 100 or better ERA+'s and Morrow stays healthy.  Not a great hope, but the most likely case right now.  2B looks to be a mess of guys who either can't hit but field well (Goins, Getz), guys who can't do either (Izturis) or a fun guy who sorta hits and sorta fields (Kawasaki).  Not ideal, but at least it isn't Bonifacio (no hit, no field) vs Izturis (no hit, no field).  No one got 200 PA at 2B last year, hopefully someone pulls through and earns twice that many this year."
2 young pitchers emerge as major forces, in the same season, given progress shown to date? No. Not going to happen. If that's true, then AA's best approach would be to declare failure, sell veterans, and make the system strong enough to win at some point in the future. Eternal anemia is not a recipe for success in the AL East. You can do this mid-season, too, of course, which might be where the Jays are forced to go if the record is as bad as many expect. Mid-season puts more pressure in your negotiating favor, pre-season advantage is other teams can be more creative because they have time to address any holes a trade may open up.

And yes, it burns to see the Dickey trade's other side as the #1 pitching prospect and #1 catching prospect in baseball. Though D'Arnaud's actual MLB performance and injury history makes me wonder if they might be overestimating him. Guess we'll see.
Gerry - Thursday, January 16 2014 @ 04:45 PM EST (#282007) #

Instant replay is here and there are a few interesting aspects:

1. Managers get just one challenge per game, two if the first one used is upheld.  Originally it was suggested there would be three

2. I had thought that instant replay would eliminate on field arguments.  Not so, the manager can ask the umpire to review a play after the seventh inning even if the manager has used his challenge.  Expect some arguments trying to get the umpire to review a play

3. The phantom tag play at second base is not reviewable

4. Reviews will be carried out by MLB head office.  The on field crew chief will just have a headset, no video

5. The manager can use his dugout phone to ask someone in the clubhouse if a play should be reviewed

SK in NJ - Thursday, January 16 2014 @ 04:52 PM EST (#282008) #
I think the goal should be to extend the "window", now that reinforcements from outside the organization won't be coming (allegedly). See if the Mariners are serious about winning and agree to trade Miller and Franklin for Reyes; a move that would give the M's a Cano/Reyes middle infield for at least five years, and the Jays a young cost effective middle infield for the next six. Then you start to use the saved money on other areas. Not saying that is realistic or anything, but the type of move the team should be considering if they are going to sit back and let prospects decide the fate of the rotation in 2014.

I was afraid of this happening. If you're going to spend money, then don't stop spending it because it didn't work after a year.
John Northey - Thursday, January 16 2014 @ 04:56 PM EST (#282009) #
Well, emerge as #1's isn't what I'm hoping for (well, I'd love it but not realistic). More hoping 2 emerge as solid starters from the massive backlog (Drabek, Drew Hutchison, Deck McGuire, Sean Nolin, Stroman, Sanchez, etc.) .  At least one has to be in the rotation for a big chunk of 2014 I'd think.  You need the kids to both get chances and to succeed.  Hutchison is my favorite, but who knows.

As to the #1 pitching and catching prospects in baseball...I somehow doubt those are Noah Syndergaard and Travis d'Arnaud.  d'Arnaud in 112 PA had a 58 OPS+ last year, while hitting for a 1.041 OPS in Vegas which is good but still Vegas inflated at age 24.  Syndergaard is an excellent prospect, age 20 in AA with a 3.00 ERA 11.5 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9...if he was still here we'd be very excited.  Syndergaard is in the battle for top pitching prospect in baseball, but I doubt he is #1 while d'Arnaud isn't the top catching prospect I'm sure as he is entering his age 25 season with injury issues and a very poor performance when he got a shot in 2013.  d'Arnaud isn't in the PCL BA top 20 prospects while Syndergaard is #6 in the Florida State League and #3 in the Eastern League (top pitcher in both...Stroman #10 in the Eastern, Sanchez #10 in the FSL).

Now, checking they do list d'Arnaud as the #1 catching prospect.  Bit of a surprise but going through their top 10 I don't see anyone too impressive.  They haven't gotten to the pitchers yet.
scottt - Thursday, January 16 2014 @ 05:47 PM EST (#282010) #
There's little risk in signing a free agent because you can trade him after a year and all you've lost is a second round pick.

Considering that other teams will lose a free agent, the Jays should be able to top any offer.

greenfrog - Thursday, January 16 2014 @ 06:45 PM EST (#282011) #
If the Jays are strategically leaking, I'd guess it's more of an attempt to improve their bargaining position by implying that they don't really NEED to sign a major free agent

CF, why would you guess this, as opposed to the explanation I suggested? Particularly in light of what happened in the wake of the Darvish non-signing, it seems highly plausible that the Jays are trying to get out front of the fan disappointment issue, should the team not make any significant acquisitions this off-season. And why does he need to publicly negotiate with Santana and Jimenez in this fashion? It doesn't make a lot of sense.

In fact, AA himself is now addressing the media on the issue, and he specifically mentions both FAs *and* trade targets:

greenfrog - Thursday, January 16 2014 @ 06:53 PM EST (#282012) #
Anyway, I can't say that I'm surprised as to how all this is going down. This is what I wrote on November 3 and 6:

Anthopoulos is in an unenviable position, in that other GMs know he's desperate to win, and win now. They know he needs a catcher, a second baseman, a starting pitcher (or two), and possibly an outfielder. Maybe even a shortstop, depending on how much of a defensive upgrade the Jays need. I think teams are going to hold out for a lot in return, just as Alderson did in the Dickey negotiations. I think Anthopoulos is going to have a hard time building the kind of deep, competitive, versatile, two-way team required to make the playoffs next year.


The issue as I see it is that the Jays are betwixt and between. They aren't likely to be major players in free agency, and the major-league foundation arguably isn't strong enough to justify trading away more top prospects.
greenfrog - Thursday, January 16 2014 @ 07:04 PM EST (#282013) #
And lastly: if AA is experiencing sticker shock at starting pitcher FA prices (which seems questionable, given the current state of revenues in baseball) and other teams' trade demands (which also seems dubious, given the supply and demand of good ML starting pitching) why didn't he go after someone like Kazmir or Colon?

I believe the answer is basically that he has relatively little financial leeway to work with, but he won't admit it because of the potential for fan backlash (and the inevitable questions about why he went "all in" last off-season).
greenfrog - Thursday, January 16 2014 @ 07:06 PM EST (#282014) #
Sorry, that last post was meant to be italics-free.
lexomatic - Thursday, January 16 2014 @ 07:16 PM EST (#282015) #
greenfrog - that totally makes sense.
But I think it's compounded by the desire not to be embarrassed by AA. Those first moves got a lot of press.
In the case of Detroit, the Fister trade has been roundly criticized for a poor return. At a certain point GMs are  going to realize they're just hurting themselves and ease off a bit, as long as they still feel like they have some leverage. That won't help, the team in the short-term.

China fan - Thursday, January 16 2014 @ 09:04 PM EST (#282016) #
"....Anthopoulos is in an unenviable position, in that other GMs know he's desperate to win, and win now...."

I think you're contradicting yourself here. On the one hand, you're saying that Anthopoulos is desperate because he HAS to acquire a bunch of players to fill holes on the team. On the other hand, you're saying that he probably won't make any more acquisitions because of a lack of financial capacity, and he's trying to signal this to the fans. So which is it? Is he so desperate that he will pay anything to acquire players, or is he actually unlikely to acquire any more players for financial reasons? Both statements cannot be true at the same time.

I'm not suggesting that AA is "publicly" negotiating with the free agents. That would be absurd. What I'm suggesting is that AA is being careful with his public statements, because any public admission that he MUST acquire players, or that he fully expects to acquire players, could drive up the price. He has to signal his willingness to go with the zero option if necessary.

As for financial capacity: it's clear that Anthopoulos can add at least $15-million to the 2014 payroll if he wants to do so. And beyond that, he could probably go to the owners and request additional money if he felt that he had a justifiable acquisition. But the potential problem is the 4th and 5th years of a $80-million or $100-million contract, which could handcuff the team's flexibility in the future. So he is seeing whether the price will drop if he is patient -- for example, whether he can get a player for 4 years instead of 5 or 6 years. Of course it's a risky strategy, but I think he has to be slightly more prudent than the highest-spending teams.

As for the disappointed fans: they will be disappointed if the Jays don't make any big acquisitions between now and spring training, and it doesn't really matter if they get any early signals from the Jays. Whether they find out now or later, the fans will be disappointed. There's no way to "break it to them gently" or "leak out the information slowly" to defuse the reaction. If there are no acquisitions, the fans will find out within a few weeks anyway. I don't think it matters hugely whether they find out now or later.

Basically every GM in baseball has always tried to manage the expectations of the fans. Nobody goes to the media and promises lots of great acquisitions. No GM would ever make a guarantee or a prediction that a top player will probably be acquired. Why raise expectations that way? So I don't think it is particularly significant that Anthopoulos hasn't promised any acquisitions this month -- that's what every GM does.
92-93 - Thursday, January 16 2014 @ 09:51 PM EST (#282017) #
"Cool calm and apparent indifference are what you need."

Yep, free agents always want to hear that you don't actually need them, and that you're only going to sign them if their price matches exactly with your belief in their value. That's exactly how the big fish of the market are landed. So while the Cubs go all out on Tanaka, watch AA reel him in.
greenfrog - Thursday, January 16 2014 @ 10:05 PM EST (#282018) #
I think you're contradicting yourself here. On the one hand, you're saying that Anthopoulos is desperate because he HAS to acquire a bunch of players to fill holes on the team. On the other hand, you're saying that he probably won't make any more acquisitions because of a lack of financial capacity, and he's trying to signal this to the fans. So which is it? Is he so desperate that he will pay anything to acquire players, or is he actually unlikely to acquire any more players for financial reasons? Both statements cannot be true at the same time.

In what post did I write or even imply that AA is "so desperate that he will pay anything to acquire players"? My point is that Anthopoulos is in a bind. First, he badly needs to win now, but potential trading partners, sensing this (and having lots of other suitors), are going to demand a lot in return, making it hard to trade for a player - like Samardzija - who could help the team. Second, the team is unlikely to be a major player in free agency, at least in part for financial reasons. This could be because AA essentially has no money to work with, or just not enough to land the type of players who could put the team squarely back in the playoff mix. My position really isn't as complicated as you suggest it is.

As for sending signals to the fans, this is what John Lott wrote about AA well into the aftermath of Darvish's signing with Texas:

As for the local fans, he understands why they were disappointed when Darvish went to Texas. Perhaps, he said, he should have made more of an effort to emphasize the “payroll parameters” theme.

I think it's entirely logical to speculate that AA is now making an effort to forestall the anticipated disappointment when Tanaka, Santana and Jimenez sign elsewhere.

greenfrog - Thursday, January 16 2014 @ 10:31 PM EST (#282019) #
I think what bothers me about this off-season isn't missing out on Tanaka (who will cost a ton) and possibly Santana and Jimenez.

It's seeing the Jays miss out on relatively low-cost players like Kazmir, Colon, Hudson and Hanigan. If you're planning to contend in the AL East and need a starting pitcher or two (assuming you'll probably go through eight or more starting pitchers in a season), and you'd rather have Rogers or Happ in the back of the rotation over Kazmir at 2/$22m, then something is wrong.
Hodgie - Thursday, January 16 2014 @ 11:45 PM EST (#282020) #
I wonder what are the odds that if given 150+ innings as a starter Todd Redmond could become a 2-2.5 fWAR pitcher? I only ask as that is likely closer to Kazmir's ceiling now, less if you prefer bWAR for pitchers.
R Romero Vaughan - Friday, January 17 2014 @ 01:41 AM EST (#282021) #

"It is only money is a very limited perception -- dishing out on contracts has several times in recent history set this franchise back.

Delgado, Ryan, Wells... the list goes on. With trading prospects you might be trading away value (more often than not, you're not) but with spending money you are always committing resources."

I think your list illustrates my point perfectly - Delgado was only an issue given the small payroll (and arguably with the production achieved wasn't even an issue but rather a poster child for JPR marketing/spin) - with $150m payroll that probelm goes away. Ryan's contract didn't preclude the Jays doing other things and Wells was dumped effectively before the really expensive and painful years kicked in.

No-one is saying it's only money. I'm saying only money is better than money (and lots of it if you need to extend a pitcher) plus giving up the valuable prospect capital.  

Would you rather have Escobar + an expensive FA pitcher + prospects or Reyes + Redmond - they cost the same and with one you keep the prospects.

The FLA history of salary dumps shows what is achievable here. FA signings really aren't as risky as some like to make out in the majority of cases. They might not give value on a $ per $ basis but when you compare to the alternatives - they can work.





China fan - Friday, January 17 2014 @ 05:22 AM EST (#282022) #
".... That's exactly how the big fish of the market are landed...."

What a moronic post. A complete misreading of everything that I wrote.

All I said was that you don't land the big fish by broadcasting to the entire world that you are desperate to acquire them. But feel free to twist and misquote if you enjoy sarcasm and nastiness.
85bluejay - Friday, January 17 2014 @ 07:03 AM EST (#282023) #
If the Cubs "blow away" everyone and sign Tanaka, I would count that as a big win for the Jays.
greenfrog - Friday, January 17 2014 @ 08:18 AM EST (#282024) #
Hodgie, I like what Redmond did last year a lot, but he pitched 77 innings in what was essentially his first go-around in the majors. Let's see how he does in his second go-around. Kazmir is roughly the same age but has pitched 1180 ML innings (albeit with injury issues prior to 2013).

Besides, given that the Jays are likely going to need to go at least eight deep in the rotation, wouldn't it be better to have both pitchers on the team?

It's possible that AA expressed some interest in Kazmir, but that Oakland was ultimately a better fit (big contract offer, more competitive team, bigger ballpark).
Mike Green - Friday, January 17 2014 @ 08:43 AM EST (#282025) #
I like Kazmir at $22m/2yrs. in this year's market.  The club could use him, and I say that as someone who likes Redmond and Hutchison.  In fact, if the club had signed Kazmir and Mark Ellis, along with Navarro (in combination with Kratz), I would have described the off-season as an unqualified success.  It would have involved an expense of a further $18 million or so.  Perhaps the money just wasn't there for Anthopoulos.  We'll see what happens in the next 6 weeks.

China fan - Friday, January 17 2014 @ 09:01 AM EST (#282026) #
"...We'll see what happens in the next 6 weeks..."

Mike, thanks for your patience and rationality. I'm surprised by the eagerness of some people to rush into panic mode. Just a few weeks ago, a lot of people here were expressing fear that Anthopoulos would "sell the farm" in a desperate bid to save his job by acquiring a raft of costly players. Now we're hearing people panicking because they think Anthopoulos won't acquire anyone at all, due to a lack of money. Both of those extreme interpretations are unlikely to be true. Let's wait, as Mike suggests, to see what happens in the next 6 weeks.
perlhack - Friday, January 17 2014 @ 09:18 AM EST (#282027) #
Meanwhile, the Rays have signed Price to a 1-year, $14 million contract.
John Northey - Friday, January 17 2014 @ 11:27 AM EST (#282028) #
And the Jays have signed Rasmus to a 1 year, $7 million contract.  Yeah, quiet period.
Gerry - Friday, January 17 2014 @ 12:37 PM EST (#282029) #
Cecil and Rogers also sign so the Jays will have no arbitration hearings again this year.
raptorsaddict - Friday, January 17 2014 @ 07:20 PM EST (#282030) #
Add me to the "wait and see" group. I think all the talk about doing nothing else is really just that, talk, and that AA is doing it for all the reasons put forth about negotiating leverage and management of fan expectation (those two positions need not be mutually exclusive!!).

I'm really surprised how fast people have turned on AA. There is every reason to think that last year's splurge was just the beginning of a multi year building effort. As others have noted, he had to have budgeted at least 15 mil more for Johnson. What has lead anyone to think that that money has been removed from the budget? Especially after attendance jumped and tv numbers improved significantly. The fans have always been told that if they come out more, more will be spent. Why would they break that "promise" to the "consumer" now? That's just bad business.

Maybe this is tinged with a certain amount of hopeful naivete, but I still haven't given up hope that we're going to actually add budget. While I know this hasn't happened in the past, Tim Leiweke's presence and actions at MLSE might be an indication that things are changing. I mean, if you're spending 100$ mil on freaking MLS!!!! players (where the TV money is exponentially less, the stadium is not as big, there aren't nearly as many games, etc.), why the heck NOT spend your newfound 25 million per year on players?

I've made this argument before, but from the perspective of Rogers, it would seem to make sense to spend more on its sports properties. Particularly it's one sports property where financial might can actually translate to on-field success due to the lack of a cap, and which also happens to be the one with the most games to broadcast on your TV channels at a drastically below-market rate compared to regional sports deals in the major US markets. Someone else posted the TV numbers, and they are absurd compared to most US markets.

In summary, it makes sense to spend a lot on the budget of the team because it more than pays for itself with increases in attendance, concessions, memorabilia and TV revenue. That's why Tanaka is a good gamble. I'd go 7 years, 180, with an opt out after 5 years for him. I think that's the kind of stupid money he's going to get. Might as well be us who spends it.
TimberLee - Friday, January 17 2014 @ 07:39 PM EST (#282031) #
CBC has a neat little item about the Twins' Matt Albers' off-season job in Saskatchewan.
John Northey - Friday, January 17 2014 @ 09:20 PM EST (#282032) #
So what free agent starters are left and what category are they?
Premium: Tanaka, Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez, Ervin Santana
Cheap but once were good: Roy Oswalt (sky high ERA in limited innings but K/9, BB/9, HR/9 were all good), Freddy Garcia (high HR/9 so stay away Jays), Barry Zito (should just retire), Erik Bedard (bit wild, but K/9 still very good), many others

Guys inbetween (what is left) are really not what the Jays want I'd think.  Either super cheap (easy to dump if lighting in a bottle isn't found) or high end is what they need.  Not sure how high end those top 4 are, but generally they are viewed as the best of what is out there I think (probably missing someone).  Trades are always a crapshoot as you never know for sure who is and is not available.
raptorsaddict - Saturday, January 18 2014 @ 12:03 AM EST (#282033) #

Further to what you said, if we can't get Tanaka, and based on what I guess their respective salaries would demand, I'd prefer to go with:

1) Burnett - either big one year salary or 2 years?
2) Jimenez
3) Santana
4) Bedard
5) Marcum
6) Garza
7) Suk Min Yoon - roll the dice!
8) Johan Santana
9) Daisuke

Ok, that was depressing enough, even though at least one of the re-treads is going to redeem himself. For proof, just look at Ervin Santana. I'd rather we scratch a few lottery tickets than buy high on any of the supposed top-level free agents, unless they came at a far more reasonable deal than what's been rumored.

katman - Saturday, January 18 2014 @ 12:36 AM EST (#282034) #
I'm ok with no trades. The Cubs' asking price for a 100 ERA+ pitcher is stupid. No way I ever give them Sanchez. Not sure I'd even give them Stroman now. So yeah, no likely match.

Like the others here, it's the unwillingness to offer Kazmir 26/2, or Colon a solid deal, that concerns me. Those were doable, low-duration options that add no long term risk, while giving us upside beyond Happ, Hutch, et. al. And with Ellis turning 2B into something closer to league average, a signing like Hanigan becomes thinkable (as we should acknowledge it is not if 2B is a guaranteed sucking hole).

We can wait and see. But if AA was really blindsided by the Fister deal, he needed to swiftly rethink either his target (needs to be free agency, make the case) or his team (if there isn't any more money while the new deal means everyone else is spending, this is not a competitive core for the next couple of years, draw the conclusions). I think he's kidding himself if he believes the pitchers we need are going to drop in price. If anything, the Tanaka contract will boost them.

Our problem is that we can't see into the inner workings, or know what he's trying. We can only see that nothing is happening, watch options evaporate, and note that time is running out. Which does create the risk that AA's offseason will be a fail.

AA must feel this, too, but he has to stick to whatever strategy the organization has decided on. GMing for real isn't a game for the faint-hearted.
Gerry - Saturday, January 18 2014 @ 10:02 AM EST (#282035) #
John Tolisano has signed with the Reds.
92-93 - Saturday, January 18 2014 @ 11:15 AM EST (#282036) #
"As others have noted, he had to have budgeted at least 15 mil more for Johnson."

"As for financial capacity: it's clear that Anthopoulos can add at least $15-million to the 2014 payroll if he wants to do so."

I'd love to understand how acquiring Josh Johnson last offseason must mean AA has 150m to spend this offseason. Maybe AA made The Trade knowing that unless the Jays have playoff revenues in 2013 he was going to need to find a way to shed salaries for 2014 just to bring back a roster that remotely resembled the previous one? There's also a massive factor everybody seems to be conveniently ignoring - the strength of the dollar. A 100m USD payroll one year ago today would cost under 100m CDN. It's now essentially 110m CDN. Maybe the payroll rise so many of you seem to have think was a foregone conclusion has now evaporated due to the weakness of the CDN dollar? In fact, to get more precise, the 18 players the Jays currently have under contract cost 132.5m. If you add in 7 players at the minimum, that's 136m. If you add in the 10% the dollar has depreciated since last year, that 136m is actually costing the Jays the same 150m many people seem to have expected this year's payroll to be.

I have no idea if AA has any remaining budget room to work with, but can the people who pretend they do please stop? You don't.
John Northey - Saturday, January 18 2014 @ 11:33 AM EST (#282037) #
Part of the reason for assuming a payroll increase is the increase in US TV money every club got - roughly $25 mil each more than the previous contract provided.  Plus with revenue sharing every club gets a piece of all other clubs local TV rights including those insane deals being signed for the Dodgers among others.  In theory the Jays should have at least $30+ million US more coming in this year.  Plus they had the highest attendance jump year over year of any MLB team and that was with a disappointing team.  Imagine if the Jays were actual playoff contenders all year.  Mix in 500k+ TV viewers locally, or more than anyone not named the Yankees, and one has to wonder about how much the Jays are worth to Rogers.

On the negative... the Canadian dollar has dropped significantly, the US revenues are there if they win or lose (thus no incentive to spend them), the crowds and TV ratings locally came with a last place team so big wigs might go 'why spend to climb up higher'. 

Lots of factors we'll never know.  However, the Jays are in one of the top 10 MLB markets without any doubt (population wise, past performance wise, and current TV ratings wise).  Given that they should be in the top 10 for payroll and right now (via B-R) are #8, just ahead of Texas and Washington with no one else over $110 mil right now (Jays listed at $134.8 million) thus unlikely to catch up.  6 clubs are at the $150+ mark (Dodgers, Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers, Phillies, Giants).  The Dodgers are far in the lead at $229.9 vs Yankees $173.5 (factoring in A-Rod suspension).

It'll be interesting to see what happens with Tanaka as I think he is the last one standing who will get $20+ mil a year.  I figure Garza and the other starters will likely be $15-20 range (could be wrong) then the rest of the FA's are 'meh' for cost. I forget any expensive ones left?
China fan - Saturday, January 18 2014 @ 11:45 AM EST (#282038) #
In reply to 92-93: you're right, nobody knows anything for certain. So, yes, nobody should pretend to be certain of payroll numbers. But I doubt that Anthopoulos himself knows the final payroll numbers. He has often said that he has to make the case to the owners if he wants to make a big acquisition. It depends on the value of the player, the value of the deal, and whether it seems like a cost-efficient move that can improve the team and improve its chances of getting playoff revenue and greater ticket sales and television revenue.

But I would suggest that it is logical to predict (based on probabilities, not certainties) that the Jays are unlikely to avoid a $15-million acquisition for financial reasons alone. I think it is very likely that they can afford to add $15-million to the 2014 payroll if it gets them a top pitcher. If they cannot sign a Jimenez or a Santana, it's because they were outbid by a team willing to pay a lot more than $15-million in 2014 (or some unreasonable sum over a 5 or 6 year contract).

As John points out, the Jays have additional TV revenue to play with. They also saw the financial benefits of creating excitement about the Jays in 2013. They know how much additional revenue they could generate with a contending team in 2014. It just makes too much financial sense for the Jays to ignore. I don't see them reverting to penny-pinching mode after their willingness to spend huge bucks on Reyes and Buehrle just a year ago. But to clarify: I'm not saying that we KNOW this for certain. I'm saying that it's logical and likely. Who knows, the Jays could surprise us and revert to ultra-thrifty mode. That would seem a little crazy, and I hope and assume they won't do that.
raptorsaddict - Saturday, January 18 2014 @ 03:16 PM EST (#282039) #
I have no idea if AA has any remaining budget room to work with, but can the people who pretend they do please stop? You don't.

I have never understood why some people feel the need to get snarky about this type of conversation, but can the people who do please stop?

I wasn't claiming with absolute certainty to know anything. I was making a logical business argument based on the always-limited amount of publicly available information. I tried to apply Business 101 to known facts about past public statements, and increases in revenue from TV and attendance. I then tried to incorporate that information into my inference how Rogers might strategically view the organization within the context of the rest of their operations.

It goes without saying that this is an inherently subjective practice, so much so that I don't feel the need to attach the disclaimer that "I am making wild-assed guesses, let's discuss while we wait for something real to happen the doesn't involve Chris Gets, Tomo Ohka or Brent Morel".
SK in NJ - Sunday, January 19 2014 @ 12:49 AM EST (#282040) #
Having looked at the projected salaries in 2015, I think AA not having money to spend is a pretty reasonable assumption.

If the options on everyone (Morrow, Lind, Happ, Santos, Thole, and McGowan) are picked up, then the Jays already have about $128-129M tied up to 14 players. Removing Thole from the equation only drops $1.25M. Basically, that is a $130M team BEFORE factoring Lawrie's 1st year arbitration raise, replacing Rasmus/Cabrera in the outfield, and replacing Janssen in the pen (or re-signing him). Then there is the hole at 2B, and arbitration raises for Delabar, Cecil, Rogers, etc.

Things become even more foggy in 2016 as only Dickey from the current rotation has a contract by that point (a team option for his age 41 season) and Bautista and Encarnacion will be on the last year of their deals (which are also team options for their age 35 and 33 seasons respectively).

Looking at this from an ownership standpoint, would you really allow Alex to spend the money necessary to sign Jimenez, Santana, etc, with the way the salary picture looks from 2014-16? It's entirely possible that even if the Jays make the playoffs in 2014 and 2015 that they will still have to rebuild in 2016-beyond just based on the age of the current group.

Now obviously A LOT can change in one season, nevermind 3 seasons, so the core group of guys can and probably will change organically, but for those who think ownership will pony up money and it's just AA being patient, I'm having my doubts on that theory. I think AA's hands have been tied.

The best hope for this team going forward is developing Stroman, Sanchez, Hutchison, Nolin, and Drabek. They pretty much need a Tampa Bay Rays type of rotation turnover to sustain success long-term. Which is why I am now officially on board with standing pat on the rotation. I'm not a fan of rushing starters, and best case scenario would be someone like Drabek winning a rotation spot out of ST (he is the most seasoned out of the other options) or pie-in-the-sky best case would be Romero remembering how to pitch, but the Jays need to hit home runs with their current pitching prospects. Stroman, Sanchez, and Hutchison probably have the most upside of the current crop, so I'd be more careful with rushing them.
John Northey - Sunday, January 19 2014 @ 12:29 PM EST (#282041) #
My current thought process is much like it was a couple years ago.  There is a young Japanese pitcher who might be a game changer available for cash only, the Jays should try to get him although I wouldn't go to the $25-30 mil area for him as that could be crippling going forward if he has issues.  $20-25 range is OK, but higher is going too far imo if you are doing a 7 year deal.  This is one of those exceptions where a 7 year deal can make sense since you are getting age 25-31 seasons, or in other words virtually his entire prime (generally viewed as age 25 to 32).

All others would be a limit of $15 mil and 3 years at most, ideally $10 mil and 2 not that I think any decent ones can be had for that.  If any of the kids are any good they should produce at a 95-105 ERA+ level and that is all I really expect from the free agents and known trade targets at this point.  Last year Redmond produced at 95, Jenkins at 153 (not that anyone thinks he can keep that level up), while Nolin was pounded in his one game.  Rogers was in the 80's and is decent as an emergency guy.  That's it for age 27 and under pitchers in Toronto last year.  This year they need to break in a kid or two fully - be it Redmond, Nolin, Drabek, Hutchison, whoever.  You cannot keep buying pitchers as the cost for anyone decent is $15+ mil a year (might be $20+ next winter). 

We'll see what happens.  If they go into the season as is I wouldn't be excited but there is hope.  If by July they are at/near 500 and within 5 games of a playoff slot then trading to fill a hole (be it 2B, LF, DH, rotation) makes sense. Right now though I think spending cash is by far the best idea as you cannot keep losing top pitching prospects or treading water is all we'll see (ala the Gord Ash years).  Of course, in those Ash years we also saw a rotation in 1999/2000/2001/2002 (Esc a closer) that included Halladay-Carpenter-Escobar and we all know that produced little.  Sigh.
China fan - Sunday, January 19 2014 @ 01:23 PM EST (#282042) #
There are reports today from Japan suggesting that only 5 teams have submitted bids for Tanaka, and the Jays are not among them. If this is true, I'm disappointed. I've argued in this thread that the Jays should be boosting their payroll to invest in pitching. I've argued that they can afford it, and the owners would probably approve a request from Anthopoulos for a higher payroll if he makes the case. So I'm disappointed and I disagree with the Jays decision.

Still, the Tanaka case is not necessarily a precedent for Jimenez or Santana or other pitchers. If the Japan-sourced report is true, it's significant that only 5 teams are bidding for Tanaka. According to the report, at least 3 of the 5 teams are offering $120-million over 6 years. (I presume that's in addition to the $20-million posting fee, so those teams are budgeting more than $23-million annually over the length of the contract.) Most teams, it seems, knew that they'd have to spend $140-million to acquire Tanaka and just didn't feel that the cost was justified.

This doesn't prevent the Jays from spending $60-million or $70-million to acquire another top pitcher for 4 or 5 years. I'm still hoping that it will happen.
John Northey - Sunday, January 19 2014 @ 03:42 PM EST (#282043) #
My question is what other pitcher on the market is worth a 5 year deal?  I cannot think of any that appeal to me.  Tanaka is scary at $150 for 6-7 years but could be worth it.  For guys sub 30 with 10+ WAR lifetime you have Jair Jurrjens entering his age 28 season with a 112 ERA+ lifetime as a starter but serious issues the past 2 years have (6.63 ERA in 55 2/3 IP) killed his value.  Matt Garza is entering his age 30 season with a 108 ERA+ lifetime but just 103 and 155 innings the past 2 years makes one worry about durability.  Ubaldo Jimenez is also entering age 30 with a 112 ERA+ lifetime with 6 straight years of 31+ starts but has never had less than 3.5 BB/9 in his career for a season while twice leading in wild pitches and 2 of the past 3 years had ERA+'s sub 95 including a 72 in 2012.  Ervin Santana and Carlos Marmol are both entering age 31 seasons but Santana is a lifetime 100 ERA+ guy while Marmol is a reliever now.  Other starters are Paul Maholm (96 ERA+ lifetime), Scott Baker (15 IP in past 2 years combined), Johan Santana (missed 2013 and 2011, 79 ERA+ in 2012 but I'd take a shot at a low salary although entering age 35 season).  The rest are too old or just not that good.

Garza is probably going to get the best deal of all of those due to age and no compensation (traded mid-season thus couldn't cost a draft pick).  Jimenez is probably my favorite, then Garza if a reasonable deal can be made, followed by the Jays getting Santana as a NRI with a reasonable incentive deal (more time on ML roster = more $ with opt-out on his part if not called up by June).  I am really curious what will happen once Tanaka is off the market...should be interesting.
greenfrog - Monday, January 20 2014 @ 12:51 PM EST (#282051) #
If by July they are at/near 500

How the mighty have fallen.
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, January 22 2014 @ 11:55 AM EST (#282087) #
With Tanaka off the table, the Herd turns to Free Agents and Trades. A.A. has said "All I have to do is say Yes" to accept a trade or agree to a signing (Primetime Sports interview late last week-Podcast). Now we wait. At some point something gets said to A.A. about tickets sales being down?
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