Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine

This should be the week that the Tanaka saga reaches the end. Tanaka must sign by Friday and there are suggestions today that his destination might be known by Wednesday so all the medicals and documentation can be completed in time.

There are several stories around the interwebs that claim to know what is happening. A couple of these stories have come from Japan. The Blue Jays have not been mentioned as being in the race, is that true or is it AA operating in secret? The stories suggest that Tanaka will sign a six year deal at $20M per season. Is that in the Jays budget and are the years do-able? Another story suggests that Tanaka s looking to play in a big city and/or for a winner. With a lot og big clubs bidding it seems like a long shot that Tanaka will come to Toronto. It would seem that the Jays would have to add a 7th year or go to say $22M per season (not couting the $3M per season going to Tanaka's club) to sign him. I am very doubtful that the Jays would do that.

A resolution of the Tanaka sweepstakes should clear the field for Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Sanatana. AA suggested last week that he was waiting for the prices to come down, will they?

There has been very little notable baseball news since before Christmas, this week should get baseball back in the news.

At the start of the off-season the Jays had a surplus of bullpen arms. AA said back in 2013 that those bullpen arms should get more valuable as the off-season progressed. Well there is just a month left before spring training, if AA is going to deal he should be doing that soon.

Tanaka Week, Finally | 122 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike Green - Sunday, January 19 2014 @ 09:22 PM EST (#282045) #
Signs from the off-season so far suggest that bullpen arms are not appreciating in value.  That ship may have sailed at last year's deadline...
greenfrog - Sunday, January 19 2014 @ 10:10 PM EST (#282046) #
Among starting pitchers, middle infielders, center fielders, catchers, corner outfielders, third basemen, first basemen, DHs, and bullpen arms, the latter two are probably the least valuable types of assets to have a surplus of - unfortunately for the Jays and Anthopoulos.

Front offices have gotten smarter when it comes to valuing relievers. Especially under the new CBA (no more Type A / Type B compensation), teams generally don't trade elite talent for bullpen arms, although occasionally an astute GM will nab an under-the-radar talent like Yan Gomes or Mike Napoli for a reliever.
ComebyDeanChance - Monday, January 20 2014 @ 09:42 AM EST (#282047) #
So I'm disappointed and I disagree with the Jays decision

As much as I love Canada, I never for a moment thought that Tanaka was leaving Japan to play in Canada. I highly doubt that the Jays had anything to do with the decision about whether he'd be playing in the USA or Canada.
92-93 - Monday, January 20 2014 @ 10:08 AM EST (#282048) #
At this point, we have no reason to assume anything other than Tanaka is chasing the highest dollar figure. We'll have to see if other motivations factored into his decision.
Mike Green - Monday, January 20 2014 @ 10:14 AM EST (#282049) #
Fangraphs fan projections are open.  Most of mine are right around the fan average, except for Brett Lawrie.  I have him playing 150 games plus and playing as he can (i.e. an 8 WAR player).  I am not laying money on that, of course.
John Northey - Monday, January 20 2014 @ 12:48 PM EST (#282050) #
92-93, I agree that Tanaka will be going for the most cash and years with marginal consideration to contention.  So, given they claim 5 teams bid, who would they be?  The Cubs, Yankees, Dodgers and Diamondbacks made it clear they were bidding at various times.  The Cubs were not just a last place team though, they were a 96 loss last place lots and lots of rebuilding needed.  Arizona is nicely located but just a 500 team but one with a young pitching staff (26.8 years old on average last year) which might be appealing to a younger pitcher (guys his own age). 

I figure if all else is equal it would be Dodgers, Yankees, Diamondbacks, someone else, Cubs.  Cubs have to be near the bottom (ie: needing extra year and/or more cash) due to being such a long term poor club.  The Cubs have reached 90+ wins twice since 1990 (made playoffs 4 times due to weak division), 4 times with 90+ since 1970, last WS in 1945, last WS win in 1908 (won back-to-back and those are their only two titles...hrm...hope the Jays don't take that long).  Of course, it could be sold to him as a chance to become a major hero in Chicago and part of baseball lore by leading the Cubs to the promised land.

Yeah, in the end it will be dollars and years I suspect.  Teams will try to market themselves in different ways from Yankee mystique to Cub hero, from warm weather comfort in the desert to movie star LA.  Jays could use 'only non-US based MLB team' as a selling point to a non-US player (might be some appeal in being outside the land of the gun), other clubs could come up with a story as well but in the end it is probably going to be (from my reading of the tea leaves) $23 mil a year for 7 years plus $20 mil to the old team $181 over 7 or just shy of $26 mil a year.  Up it to $25 mil a year for the player and you get just under $28 mil a year overall which would be a bit too much I suspect ($195 mil overall).  A scary commitment for a guy who has never pitched in the majors.  Don't see the Jays going that far, and only see a few clubs willing to even think about it.  Cubs would be interesting and the one I'd like to get him if it cannot be the Jays.
92-93 - Monday, January 20 2014 @ 12:52 PM EST (#282052) #
The most important aspect of Lawrie for this team is his glove; 3B was an absolute train wreck without him last year. It'd be great if he could make slight improvements on the .265/.320/.401 line he has produced the last 2 seasons, but it's really the defense that the Jays need most from him and I'd take an offensive repeat if it came with a full, healthy season. That being said, .330/.440+ would be swell.
Chuck - Monday, January 20 2014 @ 01:22 PM EST (#282053) #
So, given they claim 5 teams bid, who would they be?

I think it was revealed that the teams were Yankees, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Cubs and White Sox. The latter was surprising.

Lylemcr - Monday, January 20 2014 @ 01:56 PM EST (#282054) #

I don't see the Jays signing any of the major free agent arms.  With what happened last year (how our "established starters" imploded), I wouldn't want to pitch here, unless it was for crazy money and years.  A trade is going to have to happen or they try to get this years Liriano.  Other than that, this staff is what it is. 

Bull Pen arms will have more value when the free-agent market is more clear.  Stand-pat is the best stance right now.

For good news, all free agents are signed and the budget is set. 

China fan - Monday, January 20 2014 @ 03:02 PM EST (#282055) #
"....I think it was revealed that the teams were Yankees, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Cubs and White Sox. The latter was surprising...."

You're right. And if the Chicago teams are bidding, while the Jays refuse to bid, it would be disappointing. (We won't know for sure until Friday, of course, and I'm still hoping that this is just Anthopoulos secrecy, rather than a refusal to bid.)

The Chicago teams don't have as big of a budget as the Yankees and Dodgers, and they don't have the natural connections to Japan that might benefit a team in California and New York. If the Chicago teams can bid, why not the Jays?
China fan - Monday, January 20 2014 @ 03:08 PM EST (#282056) #
"...With what happened last year (how our 'established starters' imploded)..."

Morrow and Romero might have imploded, but neither case can be blamed on Toronto's stadium or playing conditions. And it's fair to say that Dickey and Buehrle did not implode -- both seem happy to be in Toronto, despite some struggles in the first half of the season. Josh Johnson is the only pitcher who really imploded -- but his injury record suggests that his implosion would have happened anywhere. So I don't see how any free agents would be deterred by what happened in Toronto last season. They might be deterred by the fact that Rogers Centre is a hitters park, and they might not like playing for a "foreign" team in a difficult division. But I don't see how any "implosions" would deter a free agent.
92-93 - Monday, January 20 2014 @ 03:30 PM EST (#282057) #
John, I wouldn't underestimate the reputation of a Theo Epstein-led front office. Tanaka is very young and looking for a long term deal, so the immediate contention ability of the team isn't necessarily as much of a concern as its long term sustainability, and I'm guessing a team with Epstein at the helm and the Cubs' resources can go a long way towards making a good impression on a free agent.
smcs - Monday, January 20 2014 @ 05:00 PM EST (#282058) #
They might be deterred by the fact that Rogers Centre is a hitters park, and they might not like playing for a "foreign" team in a difficult division. But I don't see how any "implosions" would deter a free agent.

The Jays can't trot out a track record of success when trying to convince a pitcher that he should come to Toronto to re-build his value.
greenfrog - Monday, January 20 2014 @ 06:32 PM EST (#282059) #
I'm guessing Tanaka signs with the Yankees or Dodgers, with the Cubs as the third-likeliest destination.
greenfrog - Monday, January 20 2014 @ 06:41 PM EST (#282060) #
Re Lawrie. The Jays need their team as a whole, not just Lawrie, to be healthy in 2014. Personally, I don't think the current roster is anything to write home about (winning more than 85 games seems unlikely), but they will need to be healthy to be somewhat competitive. There isn't much depth in the organization if players start going down to injury again.
greenfrog - Monday, January 20 2014 @ 07:57 PM EST (#282061) #
In addition to his sizzling defense, two things that propelled Mike Schmidt to his multiple 7-10 WAR seasons were his tremendous power (career ISO .260) and BB% (15.0) - roughly comparable to Mike Trout's equivalent stats in 2013.

Lawrie's career ISO is .158 and his career BB% is 6.9, so he clearly has some work to do before ascending to the lofty heights of Schmidt. Right now it's not close.
Parker - Monday, January 20 2014 @ 08:00 PM EST (#282062) #
If the Jays don't sign Tanaka (and it looks like they won't) then I don't see the point in signing any other free agent pitchers; they all have their warts: injury prone, inconsistent, homer-prone, or really just not that good... none would be a good fit for Toronto and they'd likely end up as financial millstones... the team will already have enough of those for Anothopoulos' successor to somehow unload without adding more of them.

I also don't believe the money is even there; it might have been there if 2013 wasn't such an unqualified disaster, but the organization's talent evaluation probably doesn't have much credibility left with ownership at this point, and Rogers execs would probably see any more payroll-adding moves as throwing bad money after bad.
Mike Green - Monday, January 20 2014 @ 08:41 PM EST (#282063) #
For his major league career (per 162 games), Lawrie has hit .269  with 31 doubles, 6 triples and 18 homers.  He has a career BABIP of .300.  My projection was simply based on him pushing things up a little bit from his career norms at age 24, 33-35 doubles, 7-8 triples and 21-22 homers and a BABIP of .325 which would be consistent with his speed.  The main thing is staying healthy. 

He has pretty much 0 chance of being something like Mike Schmidt, but then he also isn't going to strike out 140-180 times per season, as Schmidt did when he was in mid 20s.  Lawrie's skill set is more like Paul Molitor's. Lawrie has less pure hitting ability, a little more power and a more explosive first step. 
greenfrog - Monday, January 20 2014 @ 08:56 PM EST (#282064) #
Lawrie has less pure hitting ability, a little more power and a more explosive first step

And less speed, presumably? Molitor stole 504 bases in his career, with four 40+ SB seasons (30 SB per 162 games).

Molitor was also a disciplined hitter, averaging 66:75 BB:K per 162 games. Lawrie's 162-game averages: 17 SB, 47 BB, 109 K.

Molly was a wonderful player, but he never approached an eight-win season. His highest-fWAR seasons were in the 5-6 range (accomplished six times in a 20-odd-year career).
John Northey - Monday, January 20 2014 @ 09:41 PM EST (#282065) #
Tanaka is the only guy I'd go to 5 years with of all the options out there.  Ubaldo Jimenez with the high K rate entering age 30 I could see doing something close to a 5 year (3 plus 2 options that vest extremely easily) due to his high K rate and low HR rate.  His walks are scary but the rest suggests a live arm that wouldn't be hurt by the dome.  Matt Garza is good but makes me nervous with the HR rate.  The rest I would not make a competitive offer with, just saying 'if no one gives you a good deal call us' as a backup in case a great deal is possible.  Ervin Santana just does not excite me in the least and if the Jays get him I'll be worried it was a 'gotta sign someone' deal.
greenfrog - Monday, January 20 2014 @ 10:11 PM EST (#282066) #
Another prospect list to help offset the January doldrums:

It will be interesting to see how the farm system looks next winter, after the two high 2014 draft picks and another year of development for the low-minors prospects. Given the apparent stalling out at the ML level, it would be nice to see the Jays return to the ranks of the elite farm systems in baseball.
dalimon5 - Tuesday, January 21 2014 @ 02:53 AM EST (#282067) #
A member of the industry who may have some knowledge of the Tanaka hunt mentions the JAYS as definite players in the bidding.
John Northey - Tuesday, January 21 2014 @ 06:33 AM EST (#282068) #
It would be nice to have the Jays make that major splash. It would certainly jump the excitement level around here although we all seriously doubt it will happen. However, everyone doubted the Jays could sign Clemens back in 1997 too. 

The Mariners are an interesting one. They have deep connections to Japan, including a strong pitcher in Hisashi Iwakuma to go with Felix Hernandez.  After those 2 the rest of the starters with 5+ starts sucked for them (ERA+'s of 75 or less for 5 guys) while they have 2 kids who did well in limited debuts (James Paxton and Taijuan Walker). Their rotation could be scary good if they added Tanaka to that crew and the kids do anything at all next year. Plus that could be appealing to Tanaka to pitch with a fellow Japanese player and one of the best in baseball in Hernandez while being able to mentor the 2 kids as well.  Y'know, if the Jays don't get Tanaka it might be fun to see him in Seattle just due to how insane that rotation could be.  Poor Houston if that happens as the AL West could become 4 powerhouses and a bug on a windshield.
China fan - Tuesday, January 21 2014 @ 01:59 PM EST (#282069) #
Not sure how much stock to place in this, but I was just reading that Esmil Rogers has thrown 26 consecutive scoreless innings in the Dominican winter league over his past 5 games, including 3 playoff games. Over that stretch, he has 22 strikeouts and just 6 walks. He claims he has made big progress on his changeup, which could be a key to his future as a starter.

I know that we always have to be very skeptical about claims of off-season progress, new wonder pitches, "best shape of my life" and all that. Still, given that Rogers is still learning how to transition from the bullpen to the rotation, it's plausible that he could be learning some new stuff. Would be very nice if he could be added to the serious competition for rotation spots in spring training.
greenfrog - Tuesday, January 21 2014 @ 02:21 PM EST (#282070) #
"[T]he Blue Jays are not among the teams in consideration [for Tanaka]....But fear not, Jays fans, whenever it is the 25-year-old right-hander does finally choose from among the Yankees, Dodgers, Diamondbacks and Cubs, that announcement will unblock the logjam he had created for the next tier of starters that are seeking a new home in 2014. In conversation with Blue Jays front office personnel, the club appears quietly confident it can land one from that next group."
dalimon5 - Tuesday, January 21 2014 @ 02:41 PM EST (#282071) #

Griffin's article is from Monday morning, a day and a half ago. I've referenced a more recent article from Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily dish above who mentions hearing the Jays as being in on Tanaka.
John Northey - Tuesday, January 21 2014 @ 02:44 PM EST (#282072) #
Different reporters have different sources. AA is well known for being dead silent on all things up until the final 48 hours when stuff starts leaking out due to the difficulty in keeping it dead quiet.  Could be a good sign, could be nothing. Guess we'll see tomorrow.  Just please don't be going to the Yankees.  Well, unless he blows up real good of course :)
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 21 2014 @ 02:47 PM EST (#282073) #
Rogers making progress on his changeup is indeed a very good sign.  Last year, he had a very significant platoon split.  An effective changeup will help him particularly against LHBs. 
Ryan Day - Tuesday, January 21 2014 @ 02:55 PM EST (#282074) #
Rogers is interesting. He hadn't started regularly since 2011 before he became the emergency starter, and he did ok. It's possible, with an off-season to dedicate to being a full-time starter, he could improve. He was erratic, but looked pretty good at times.

Or he might break down, or just demonstrate why people thought he should be moved to the pen in the first place.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, January 21 2014 @ 08:45 PM EST (#282075) #
McGowan has been given the "go-ahead" to work as a starter now.

He was reasonably healthy (by McGowan's standards) last season. I doubt he will make it a month as a starter, but I guess it is worth a shot. In a best case scenario, if he makes the team as the 5th starter, then that opens up a bullpen spot for Jeffress, Redmond, or Perez. Having a McGowan/Redmond tandem as the 5th starter might be an interesting experiment. Each goes three innings to avoid facing a lineup twice, and then the pen comes in as normal.
John Northey - Wednesday, January 22 2014 @ 08:44 AM EST (#282076) #
With the depth in the pen I'd say doing a tandem starter is a good idea.  I'd probably go McGowan with a LHP just to mess up the other team (Happ if he doesn't get a full rotation slot or Nolin or one of the Perez guys).  I like the idea of it being Nolin so he could be broken into the majors a little easier.  Who knows, maybe even Romero if he can show he figured out stuff but I think Romero will be in AAA most of 2014.
Mike Green - Wednesday, January 22 2014 @ 09:21 AM EST (#282077) #
For what it's worth, if the club opened the season with a 4 day rotation of Dickey, Morrow/Happ, Buehrle/Rogers, McGowan or Hutchsion or Redmond/Nolin, I'd be very happy.  Dickey goes 6, Morrow goes 3-5, Buehrle goes 5-6 and McGowan et. al. go 3-5.  It's not going to happen.

But, yes, a tandem of McGowan and a lefty would make sense.
Ryan Day - Wednesday, January 22 2014 @ 09:35 AM EST (#282078) #
My initial impression was that starting McGowan was a bad idea, but I've come around a bit. For one thing, this is the last guaranteed year under contract. More importantly, they have a lot of relievers and not enough starters; if McGowan can't relieve, you can probably find someone to take his place. And he could, in a totally theoretical, best-case-scenario, be one of the best starters on the team. If McGowan's willing to roll the dice on his shoulder staying together, they may as well go for it. There's not a lot to lose, but potentially a huge gain.

(Personally, my bet is on Morrow 2.0 - a few starts of brilliance, some blowout losses, and a month or two on the DL)
Paul D - Wednesday, January 22 2014 @ 09:53 AM EST (#282079) #
Looks like Tanaka to the Yankees, 7 years, $155 million.
Gerry - Wednesday, January 22 2014 @ 09:59 AM EST (#282080) #
If we add the posting fee the Yankees will pay $175M for 7 years of Tanaka or $25M per season.  I don't think the Jays play in those price and contract length ranges. 
China fan - Wednesday, January 22 2014 @ 10:01 AM EST (#282081) #
Yep, that Tanaka deal is far beyond the Jays price range. I retract any criticism that I earlier made. I presume the Jays inquired and maybe even bid -- or they might not have bothered to bid if they had solid information about the likely scale of the Yankee offer.

I just hope he doesn't beat the Jays too often this year.
John Northey - Wednesday, January 22 2014 @ 10:07 AM EST (#282082) #
Interesting deal. Opt-out for Tanaka after 4 years, total of $155 over 7 years or $175 over 7 depending if you add in the $20 mil posting fee.  So $22.1 a year for Tanaka and $2.9 to the old club (although his old club is actually paid in 4 installments over 2014/2015 as I understand it).  It'll be interesting to see the details about the opt-out clause and how much he is paid year one.  Odds are the Yankees are trying to find a way to minimize year one if at all possible.
Ryan Day - Wednesday, January 22 2014 @ 10:13 AM EST (#282083) #
I wasn't too emotionally invested in Tanaka, so this is fine; I'd have preferred he go to the NL, or anywhere but the Yankees, but whatever.

It'll be interesting to see how quickly the dominoes fall now. Got my fingers crossed for Jimenez, with Garza an acceptable consolation prize.
Mike Green - Wednesday, January 22 2014 @ 10:24 AM EST (#282084) #
It's the contract length that would bother me.  I did some checking on Tanaka's predecessor pitchers; his record was better than any of them with the exception of Darvish and really about equivalent to Darvish's.  His stock-in-trade is exceptional control.  If Darvish was the Randy Johnson of the JPPL, Tanaka would be the Greg Maddux. Tanaka is a huge gamble, but at least there is the reasonable possibility that you get a great pitcher in his prime.  

If the club goes for Garza, Jiminez or Santana at 5 years at $17-$20 million per annum, I will not be impressed.  None of them has any decent chance of being worth more than that and a great risk of being worth much, much less.

SK in NJ - Wednesday, January 22 2014 @ 10:26 AM EST (#282085) #
Not surprising. The moment they made the bidding process open to any team that was willing to bid $20M, it pretty much sealed the fate of all but the huge market American teams when it comes to signing Japanese talent. The Jays had no shot to begin with (due to Paul Beeston's ever-so-market-friendly five year policy) but trying to convince any Japanese talent to choose Toronto over New York or Los Angeles, even putting money aside, is pretty unlikely.

Now we just have to hope Tanaka pulls a Dice-K instead of a Darvish.

How do the Jays counter this? On one hand, guys like Rosenthal and Griffin are saying that the Jays are confident that they could sign one of the other free agent starters (presumably Jimenez or Santana), while AA and recently Peter Gammons are trying to downplay expectations by saying the prices are too high and they will go internal.

I'm going to guess Santana and Ubaldo will sign elsewhere, but we'll see.
BlueJayWay - Wednesday, January 22 2014 @ 11:32 AM EST (#282086) #
I knew we weren't getting him, so I hoped he'd land anywhere but the AL East.
greenfrog - Wednesday, January 22 2014 @ 12:08 PM EST (#282088) #
I like the deal for the Yankees. Good for Cashman. I would rather give a seven-year deal to a strong 25-year-old starting pitcher than a five- or six-year (maybe even a four-year) deal to a middling 31-year-old one.

Again, this confirms my longstanding view that the Jays royally screwed up by not bidding aggressively on Darvish a couple of years ago.

Is it now fair to say that the AL teams should be ranked as follows (pending further moves)?

1. Boston
2. TB
3. NYY

with Toronto and Baltimore fighting it out for fourth place?
greenfrog - Wednesday, January 22 2014 @ 12:12 PM EST (#282089) #
AL East
christaylor - Wednesday, January 22 2014 @ 12:18 PM EST (#282090) #
Good. The rumors that the Jays were in on Tanka terrified me.

My guess is that AA makes two moves before pitchers and catchers report.

Two upgrades, health, and regression (or in this case progression to the mean) are all this team needs to be in the thick of it. No one in the AL East looks like a lock.

Why people are moaning about fourth place is beyond me. The 2012 offseason wasn't a one-year build -- the moves were for two+ years. Baseball is a funny game, "you've got a round ball that comes in a square box"... 2013s happen.
greenfrog - Wednesday, January 22 2014 @ 12:28 PM EST (#282091) #
2013s happen

You mean the way that 1994-2012 happened?
finch - Wednesday, January 22 2014 @ 12:42 PM EST (#282092) #
I was disappointed we didn't get Darvish, not disappointed we didn't get Tanaka. Maybe the Jays were never part of the negotiations or maybe they were; maybe AA was trying to drive up the price on the Yankees, who knows. It's all speculation. One thing for sure, NY and Toronto compare in market size because remember, the Jays are Canada's team. If that's the pitch to FAs, then Toronto does match up with NY. That being said, I will be disappointed if we don't get Jimanez or Garza. GO JAYS!
whiterasta80 - Wednesday, January 22 2014 @ 12:50 PM EST (#282093) #
I could have done without it being the Yanks, but that's alot of money for someone who hasn't thrown a pitch stateside. With Kuroda and Sabathia both not getting any younger they needed an infusion pretty badly.

I still want Garza, who I think slots in nicely for us and has AL East experience. I'd settle for Jiminez on a reasonable deal and want no part of Ervin Santana. I also still think Paul Maholm is going to go somewhere and throw 200 useful innings, although he's probably not a better option than Happ at this point.

Regardless of the moves we make between now and the spring I'm not counting the Jays out just yet. It wouldn't take much for us to contend (the emergence of a Sanchez/Stroman, Lawrie or Rasums taking that next step, etc..., Dickey resurrection). Everything broke wrong for us last year so we are due a bit of luck right?
finch - Wednesday, January 22 2014 @ 01:06 PM EST (#282094) #
What if MLB didn't suspend ARoid for this year? Does this deal still get done?
Ryan Day - Wednesday, January 22 2014 @ 01:22 PM EST (#282095) #
What if MLB didn't suspend ARoid for this year? Does this deal still get done?

I don't see why not. The Yankees are off the hook for A-Rod's $25 milllion 2014 salary, but he's still owed another $60 million for 2015-2017 - unless he retires, or the Yankees find some way to void his contract.

Ultimately, I don't see a mere $25 million dollars preventing the Yankees from doing anything. It's just money.
christaylor - Wednesday, January 22 2014 @ 02:06 PM EST (#282096) #
You mean the way that 1994-2012 happened? Uh, no because I just mentioned a single year not a whole mess of years and all but two of those years (2006, 2008) the Jays weren't built to try to contend. I find a comp of the 2008 and a (slightly) upgraded 2014 team interesting... Remember the hype and hope of last off-season? Over-blown sure, misplaced, no. The Jays might be the most under-rated team going into 2014, even without upgrades.
John Northey - Wednesday, January 22 2014 @ 02:26 PM EST (#282097) #
Well, 1997/8 were supposed to be contending years too and Ash thought 99/00/01 would be too given the moves he made. 
Pre-1997: traded 6 prospects for Plesac, Garcia, Merced (LHP relief, 2B, OF), signed Benito Santiago (CA), Roger Clemens, traded John Olerud and cash to the New York Mets for Robert Person (ugh).
Pre-1998: showing his 'genius' he let Omar Daal go in the expansion draft (two years of 120+ ERA+'s in Arizona as a starter after that), signed Randy Myers as a free agent (had a miracle occur to get rid of his contract late in the season), signed Darrin Fletcher, Craig Grebeck, Tony Fernandez, and Mike Stanley as free agents (good signings), Also signed Jose Canseco, and the big surprise Dave Stieb that winter (Stieb went to camp as an instructor and did so well he decided to try playing again).
Pre-1999: traded Carlos Almanzar and Woody Williams for Joey Hamilton who he promptly gave a crazy deal to (sigh), signed Mike Matheny as a free agent, traded Roger Clemens to the New York Yankees. Received Homer Bush, Graeme Lloyd and David Wells (didn't want prospects as he felt the team was a contender still).
Pre-2000: traded Shawn Green to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Received Pedro Borbon and Raul Mondesi (see the Clemens for Wells deal), traded David Segui for Brad Fullmer
Pre-2001: traded David Wells for Mike Sirotka (aka Mr. DL as he was hurt when traded for and the Jays didn't do a good enough physical first - also cost $6.8 mil over two years).

Sheesh... so many deals where they could've got a few prospects but instead went for 'proven talent' like Mondesi, Wells, Sirotka. Some really dumb ones like the Williams for Hamilton and Olerud for Person deals.  What is amazing is that Ash wasn't fired a lot earlier.

I'd also say the Jays planned to contend in 2006-2009 but things just didn't work out.  So a 5 year window in Ash's era and a 4 year one in JPR's.  We are done year 1 for AA and we'll see what year 2 produces.  Lets hope it isn't as ugly as the last 2 'contending windows'.
whiterasta80 - Wednesday, January 22 2014 @ 03:28 PM EST (#282098) #
Its easy to look back on transactions as ill advised after the fact. I personally remember a number of those moves looking good at the time. For instance I thought Woody Williams would never be more than a 5 2/3 guy and liked Joey Hamilton quite a bit.

Even with all those failures you have listed, with an extra wild card spot in place we could have made a run in both windows (1998 would have been in with 2006/2008 going down to the wire). Who knows what would have happened if we kept it close.

China fan - Wednesday, January 22 2014 @ 04:11 PM EST (#282099) #
Sportsnet is reporting that the Jays were bidding for Tanaka but they dropped out of the bidding race because they wouldn't exceed 5 years on the contract. Here's the link:

Cue the critics who will again say, "The Jays are too dogmatic, it's a stupid rule, too inflexible." But that ignores a couple of points: 1) the Jays have said they will go to 6 years in some circumstances, as Sportsnet notes in its report, so they're not as dogmatic or inflexible as it might appear at first glance; 2) when they say that they don't like to exceed 5 years, they're really saying that they don't want to spend an additional $45-million to cover the 6th and 7th years. It's the $45-million, not the additional years, that makes the real difference, especially because of historical evidence that most free agents are in a serious decline phase by the 6th and 7th years. Which might not be true for Tanaka, but it adds a significant additional risk factor to a hefty contract that would be already $140-million even if it was limited to 5 years.
China fan - Wednesday, January 22 2014 @ 04:20 PM EST (#282100) #
The numbers are slightly wonky in that last post because it depends on whether you include the $20-million fee to the Japanese club as an up-front cost or whether you average it out over the 7 years or a potential 5 years in my scenario. But you get my general point about the huge cost of the 6th and 7th years versus the escalating risk.
John Northey - Wednesday, January 22 2014 @ 05:55 PM EST (#282101) #
Well, yeah, after the fact it is clear that Ash made many ill advised moves but how many really good ones can you see in that list? I tried to include any offseason move that involved a 1/2 decent player (might have missed a couple). 

The 6 prospects for Plesac/Garcia/Merced was in part due to an overcrowded 40 man roster iirc plus the horrid holes in RF/LF and 2B at the time...however, Merced was a 113 OPS+ lifetime R/LF at the time who had one year to free agency, Garcia also was one year to free agency with an 87 OPS+ lifetime. Both were in their primes (30 and 29) but league average was the best the Jays could expect from them.  Joe Carter was still at DH...and they dumped Olerud for virtually nothing (always hated that trade from day one).  That was just plain old dumb.  Shawn Green was around (platooning) and Shannon Stewart was getting his first real shot in the 2nd half of '97 while mid-97 the Jose Cruz Jr trade happened (that was a great one I'll admit even though Timlin had a very long career after it).

After the David Cone trade mid-95 Ash became very prospect fearful which probably helped cause the issues we saw in developing many of the great players who came up during his time (Green, Stewart, Wells, Carpenter, Escobar, Halladay).

greenfrog - Wednesday, January 22 2014 @ 06:33 PM EST (#282102) #
Sportsnet is reporting that the Jays were bidding for Tanaka but they dropped out of the bidding race because they wouldn't exceed 5 years

I think most fans are interested in seeing results on the field, not in ex post facto explanations as to why a particular player wasn't signed or why a season didn't go well (it gets old). As a general proposition, AA's comment that teams are better off in the long run staying away from five-years-or-more contracts might be accurate (at least for teams that are unwilling to spend big), but the Jays haven't exactly been getting results with their "five years or less" policy.

Choose whatever "policy" you like, Blue Jays - just build a competitive team, OK?
John Northey - Wednesday, January 22 2014 @ 09:09 PM EST (#282103) #
Agreed greenfrog.  The plan was to build up with prospects until the team was ready and just missing a piece or two then last winter the Jays went nuts and sent away their top catching prospect and a batch of pitchers.  I can understand why and it certainly jumped the excitement level (to put it mildly). Sadly the results were not there and now we have to feel it would've been better to stick with the 'build first, then trade/free agent/etc.'.  Still... Buehrle and Dickey are a solid pair in the rotation and the cost of pitching is moving higher and higher. It is Reyes who is the potential headache with mediocre defense and a very high contract.  Cabrera I see as a 'meh' as all he cost was cash and he'll be gone after this season most likely. 

I think it is key to stick with a plan and have clear parameters for when you'll step out of that plan. The trades last winter were stepping out of it, but if the Jays had gone for Darvish that might have fit into it (right age, no prospect cost) as might have Tanaka (although the $ cost was sky high this time).  If the Jays went for those 2 and didn't make the two trades last winter what would be the situation?  2 young pitchers in the rotation at a cost of (at least) $107 mil for 6 years (Darvish) and $175 for 7 for Tanaka (probably more) = $18 + $25 mil = $43 mil a year plus Escobar at $5 mil a year for this and next year = $48 mil for 2 pitchers and a shortstop.  Instead we have Buehrle ($37 mil for 2 years) + Dickey ($12 mil a year for next 3 years) + Reyes ($21.5 per over 4 years or $20.8 over 5) = $52 mil.  Plus we'd have d'Arnaud, Syndergaard, Alvarez, Adeiny Hechavarria, Jake Marisnick and Jeff Mathis.  Hrm... I think I know which was the better option - stick with youth.  Even with the crazy contracts for those 2 pitchers it would've been cheaper.
SK in NJ - Wednesday, January 22 2014 @ 11:21 PM EST (#282104) #
The Jays would definitely be better off if they never made the two trades last winter. Made sense at the time for what they were trying to accomplish, and would have been looked at more fondly if the team was any good, but in hindsight those two trades set the team back years. Escobar makes $10M over the next two years ($5M option next year). He is insanely cheaper, more durable, and better defensively than Reyes. Then you factor Dickey, Buehrle, and one year of Johnson versus millions in savings, Syndergaard, Alvarez, Nicolino, DeSclafani, d'Arnaud, and Hechavarria, and it's not even close.
eudaimon - Thursday, January 23 2014 @ 12:21 AM EST (#282105) #
Yeah but hindsight is 20/20. I think the fact that so many people (fans, media, players) thought the trade was great makes it hard to criticize it. Things will never ever work out exactly as expected, if they did that would be boring, and things didn't work out last year on a glorious level. So it goes. AA received much applause for his moves and I don't think we can write off 2014 just yet.

I can't wait for something to actually happen so we won't have to constantly fret wondering whether AA has any money to work with, how much people might sign for, why AA didn't sign player X or trade for player Y, etc. This board is really negative right now, which is fine but it's damn annoying to read. In the end this team still has a lot of talent and could make a run as is if things go right. I say we all take a deep breath, stop complaining about what kind of budget Rogers may or may not have given us and try to enjoy the team as is as much as humanly possible. Yeah, 2013 was a let down but let it go. At least we have a good (if maybe not great) team, a still well-regarded farm system, and at the very least a reasonably competent GM and owner (even with the complaints about budget it's still in the upper percentile of MLB teams). In another world we could be Expos, Astros, or Marlins fans instead.

John Northey - Thursday, January 23 2014 @ 08:48 AM EST (#282106) #
Agreed eudaimon, the mood is very negative right now. Last year we were excited as those trades did shift the Jays into contention it seemed. However, even at the time many were worried about losing top prospects who we might need in 2014 and beyond.

For me at least it isn't 100% pure hindsight is 20-20 as I wanted them to go for Darvish and Tanaka (although I'd hesitate at $25 mil a year with that opt out after 4 years) more than doing last winters trades. The Miami trade was the scariest as the Jays took on tons of payroll while the Mets trade was pretty much 2 top prospects for a Cy Young winner which I'd do many times over.  Johnson flopping is what hurt the Miami trade the most imo, as if he was successful and left the Jays would have a draft pick to replace one of the prospects lost.  Dickey at $12 per year for 3 years plus last year at $5 mil was just too good a deal, especially given what pitchers are going for.   Heck, the Mets are paying Colon $20 mil for 2 years and I'd much rather have Dickey (far lower PED risk for one thing) although I also would've thought about Colon at that price.

Still, in the end we have 2 top 11 picks this year to go with 2 solid starters and a solid SS.  If the Jays did better last year (even by one or two games) then one of those top picks could be lost if they somehow sign one of the better pitchers out there.  Sign Garza or Jimenez and I'll be satisfied for now. Ervin Santana I'd be nervous unless it is a short term deal (2 or 3 years at most).  Stephen Drew would be interesting if he moves to 2B (or Reyes does) as he would be an upgrade and allow Goins to be a bench or AAA guy which is how I prefer him (defensive replacement, injury replacement).  So sign Jimenez & Drew and then the last 2 holes are addressed for around $20-30 mil probably. Pushes the budget to $155-$165 though which might be a bit much for Rogers (Boston/Detroit/Phillies/Giants range).  The Yankees and Dodgers are at $195/$216 which is beyond all others.  If the Jays do that then I don't see how we can complain about the budget as it would be as high as all but 2 clubs for all intents and purposes.  Plus the pressure is then extremely high on AA as another sub-500 season would probably cost him his job unless ratings and attendance bumped up again anyways (fans in stands and watching is what Rogers would care about ...revenue vs cost ... as long as revenue climbs faster than costs all is good).
85bluejay - Thursday, January 23 2014 @ 10:08 AM EST (#282107) #
The Jays brass will spin those B.S explanations because unfortunately they work on a portion of the fanbase, just read some of the post on this site.

I am not negative about this offseason (I was about last offseason, I did not like a single transaction) - I'm excited to see the battle for the last 2 rotation spots - While I would have liked to see an improved roster, but not at the exorbitant cost as last offseason acquisitions - want to make me negative? overpay for Samardzija or 1 of the F.A
Mike Green - Thursday, January 23 2014 @ 10:13 AM EST (#282108) #
So sign Jimenez & Drew and then the last 2 holes are addressed for around $20-30 mil probably

How many years for Ubaldo, John?  If it's 2 years/$30 million, that is one thing, but somehow I think he is going to do better than that. 
whiterasta80 - Thursday, January 23 2014 @ 10:31 AM EST (#282109) #
I think he meant 15 mil for Ubaldo and 10 for Drew (roughly). He didn't specify term but we're probably looking at 4-5 for ubaldo and 2-3 for Drew
Ryan Day - Thursday, January 23 2014 @ 10:43 AM EST (#282110) #
... historical evidence that most free agents are in a serious decline phase by the 6th and 7th years...

Sure, but that's largely because most players are hitting free agency when they're 27-29; it's not that players necessarily decline after 7 years, it's that they decline in their mid-30s. Tanaka's only 25; at the end of a 7yr contract, he'll be younger than Ubaldo Jimenez will at the end of a 4yr contract.

This is why the 5-year rule feels more dogmatic than practical.
China fan - Thursday, January 23 2014 @ 11:12 AM EST (#282111) #
"...This is why the 5-year rule feels more dogmatic than practical..."

Yeah, but ultimately the 5-year rule was irrelevant in the Tanaka case (and probably almost every case). In this case, the Yankees could afford to throw another $50-million into the pot, in addition to the $125-million for the first 5 years. Most teams, including the Jays, just cannot do that.

Let's be realistic: the Yankees have splurged nearly $500-million on just 4 players in the past few weeks. Who else on this planet can do that? (And they still have another $60-million on the books for A-Rod contract after this year.) They are in their own stratosphere.
China fan - Thursday, January 23 2014 @ 11:16 AM EST (#282112) #
"...The Jays would definitely be better off if they never made the two trades last winter..."

I don't see how you can make any definitive statement at all about those two trades until we see how the Jays perform in 2014 and 2015.
Beyonder - Thursday, January 23 2014 @ 11:39 AM EST (#282113) #
On the bright side, the Yankees have taken on a ton of risk in this Tanaka deal. They are paying him like one of the top five pitchers in baseball, and will do so one way or another for at least 7 years. Unless he exceeds expectations, in whcih case he opts out after year four and tests the market again, forcing the Yanks to pay him even more, or risk losing him.

So if Tanaka turns out to not be as good as advertised, that deal could be a real millstone for the Yankees.
jerjapan - Thursday, January 23 2014 @ 11:42 AM EST (#282114) #
The Jays brass will spin those B.S explanations because unfortunately they work on a portion of the fanbase, just read some of the post on this site.

Ah, good old ad hominem. 
bpoz - Thursday, January 23 2014 @ 11:54 AM EST (#282115) #
Anyone willing to guess how many wins it takes to win the AL East? How about the WC?
IMO 96 to win. 95 for 1st WC any division, because the 1st WC will be V strong. Weak 2nd WC at 90 wins.

How will the Jays do:
If 80-85 weak.
If 85-90 Mediocre.
If 91+ fairly strong.

I wonder what AA would do in each of those situations. Say if the winning percentage at the trade deadline was similar.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 23 2014 @ 12:13 PM EST (#282116) #
ZIPS projections are available for your 2014 Blue Jays. The pitching projections make an eloquent implicit case for tandem starters.
Beyonder - Thursday, January 23 2014 @ 12:25 PM EST (#282117) #
Not to get pedantic, but it is not an ad hominem fallacy every time you say something negative about someone. Disagree with it or not, that claim actually has a logical structure that holds together.
Ryan Day - Thursday, January 23 2014 @ 12:34 PM EST (#282118) #
Yeah, but ultimately the 5-year rule was irrelevant in the Tanaka case

It wasn't "ultimately" irrelevant - it's specifically cited as the reason the Jays dropped out of the bidding. Yes, the Yankees could probably have outbid the Jays at any contract length, but by that rationale there was no reason for the Jays to get involved in the first place.

The thing is, I don't even think I'd have wanted to sign Tanaka to a 7-year deal at that amount. But this 5-year business makes it seem like the Jays have an unrealistic approach to the free agent market. If teams believe a player is an elite talent, five years isn't going to get a deal done - just look at the last few years of free agent signings.

Heck, if you aren't confident in Tanaka's abilities, then a 5-year, $100 million contract is pretty awful, too.
Gerry - Thursday, January 23 2014 @ 01:02 PM EST (#282119) #

I tabulated the WAR totals for all the teams in the AL East using the Zips projections.

The numbers here are WAR for offense, starters and bullpen.


        Off  SP  BP  Total
Tampa    26  14   2   42
Boston   23  15   4   42
Balt     20  11   3   34
NYY      18  13   2   33
Jays     21   9   3   33

I assumed 3 WAR for Tanaka as it will be his first year in North America.

With Navarro in the lineup the Jays will have 8 above average hitters, based on OPS+.  The Jays weakness is second base.


The Jays are projected to have the worst starting pitching in the division, they need a free agent or for a couple of guys to over-achieve their projection.

Gerry - Thursday, January 23 2014 @ 01:13 PM EST (#282120) #

And here are the projected ERA's for the starting pitcher candidates for SP4 and SP5.


McGowan   4.29
Stroman   4.41
Nolin     4.51
Hutchison 4.55
Happ      4.68
Rogers    4.82
Redmond   5.49
McGuire   5.58
Romero    5.65
Drabek    5.86
Jenkins   6.00

In summary, use whoever is hot. I am not sure how Zips works for pitchers like Hutchison and Drabek, if it considers their TJ comebacks. Also I don't know if McGowan's projection for 37IP would be the same for 150IP. The projection for McGowan's FIP is more in the range of Hutchison and Happ..

whiterasta80 - Thursday, January 23 2014 @ 01:30 PM EST (#282121) #
Brewers sign Garza. 4/52 is the rumour. Jays should have paid that.
SK in NJ - Thursday, January 23 2014 @ 01:33 PM EST (#282122) #
Garza signs for 4/52 and the Jays are no where in sight. It's possible he took less because of injury concerns, but that's a pretty reasonable deal in this market. I can't see Ubaldo or Santana signing for that low, but who knows.
whiterasta80 - Thursday, January 23 2014 @ 01:34 PM EST (#282123) #
Not re-start an old argument, but how exactly are they getting that Jenkins prediction? Certainly not on his MLB performance to date.

I'm not saying that he should be at the top of the list of candidates, but control and economical pitching are assets that shouldn't be discarded so quickly.
Ryan Day - Thursday, January 23 2014 @ 01:52 PM EST (#282124) #
That's a good deal for Garza if he's healthy, but a number of teams were reported to be skeptical of his elbow. The Jays could have matched that deal, but so could a lot of other teams - I don't think Milwaukee wins a lot of bidding wars.

I like Garza a lot. We'll see who turns out to have the most accurate assessment of his health.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 23 2014 @ 01:58 PM EST (#282125) #
I am pretty sure that you cannot take a 37 IP ZIPS projection and just make it into a 150 IP ZIPS projection.  In the case of McGowan, ZIPS will treat him as a reliever given his recent history and it is well known that there is a significant decrease in performance on average when a reliever moves into a starting role. 
85bluejay - Thursday, January 23 2014 @ 02:02 PM EST (#282126) #
I liked Garza best amongst F.A starters left especially because of his AL East pedigree, but a number of teams including the Jays were reported to be turned off by his medicals - with Morrow and other health challenged pitchers, I didn't expect the Jays to take that risky gamble ( except in the unlikely case of a 1 yr. deal)- so, I'm okay with the pass.
Chuck - Thursday, January 23 2014 @ 02:23 PM EST (#282127) #
but control and economical pitching are assets that shouldn't be discarded so quickly.

I think you are imbuing a dispassionate forecasting model with personal peccadilloes.

85bluejay - Thursday, January 23 2014 @ 02:29 PM EST (#282128) #
BTW, really liked the Rays-Padres trade - leaning on your scouts and development people - it's the kind of challenge trade I will follow in the coming seasons to see the results.
jerjapan - Thursday, January 23 2014 @ 02:49 PM EST (#282129) #
Not to get pedantic, but it is not an ad hominem fallacy every time you say something negative about someone. Disagree with it or not, that claim actually has a logical structure that holds together.

Not pedantic at all Beyonder, fair call.  I still think it's ad hominem to attack the man like that, but as other, smarter people have pointed out, questions of character (the Jays brass' willingness to lie to a gullible audience, in this case) are legit at times when questioning the validity of the claims of the speaker.  I still don't think we have anywhere near enough evidence to suggest this though - hence, ad hominem. 
China fan - Thursday, January 23 2014 @ 02:56 PM EST (#282130) #
"'s specifically cited as the reason the Jays dropped out of the bidding..."

It's been reported by some media as "the reason" for not signing Tanaka. That doesn't mean that I believe it. And I'm rather surprised that anyone would believe that an inflexible policy on "years" was the sole reason for not acquiring Tanaka. "Years" are just a different way of saying "more money." If the Jays could have obtained 7 years of Tanaka for the same money that they would have offered for 5 years, or a small amount more, of course they would have done it.

To put it differently: it's not implausible that the Jays might have been able to afford $100-million for 5 years of Tanaka, and they might even have bid that much. It's not implausible that they balked at a $175-million net cost, regardless of the number of years.
China fan - Thursday, January 23 2014 @ 03:01 PM EST (#282131) #
"...The Jays brass will spin those B.S explanations because unfortunately they work on a portion of the fanbase, just read some of the post on this site..."

I don't see this as an "ad hominem" attack. I see it as a sweeping generalization that wrongly substitutes for reasoned debate. The implication is that the Jays are blatantly lying, and that those who agree with the Jays arguments must be gullible. There might be a kernel of truth in the notion that the Jays issue public-relations statements that portray themselves in a sympathetic light -- as any organization does. But I think it's unfair to imply that a fan must be "gullible" if he happens to genuinely agree with an argument advanced by the Jays.
Richard S.S. - Friday, January 24 2014 @ 01:31 AM EST (#282132) #
A.A. has Mark Buehrle (almost 35) for two years at $18.0 MM and $19.0 MM. He has trouble signing 31 year old Ervin Santana for $15.0 MM for 4 years, or Ubaldo Jimenez (30) 4-5 years at $14.0 MM or $15.0 MM per year? A.A. must really be afraid of "not making the best move".
Oceanbound - Friday, January 24 2014 @ 03:35 AM EST (#282133) #
It's been reported by some media as "the reason" for not signing Tanaka. That doesn't mean that I believe it.

Well the Jays sure want you to believe it, since they're the ones pushing this out as the reason - where do you think the media are getting this from? And yes, the 5 year policy is totally irrelevant when you even think about it a little bit. I'd rather they just shut up and say nothing than pretend that we were totally in on Tanaka!! but lost out because of a rather implausible reason. It's a bit wearisome.
85bluejay - Friday, January 24 2014 @ 07:39 AM EST (#282134) #
Well, Dirk Hayhurst will not be back on Sportsnet - that's too bad - he was the best baseball guy on the network by a country mile - best of luck, hope he does some podcast.
John Northey - Friday, January 24 2014 @ 08:05 AM EST (#282135) #
It is certainly possible the Jays left at the point they pushed hard for 7 instead of 5 years, especially with the opt-out after 4. That type of contract is crazy for a ML team to go for as the risk is sky high but the possible pluses are minimal.  In the first 4 years the Yankees will pay him $88 million plus $20 mil to the old club = $108 mil for 4 years = $27 mil a year.  The final 3 years are $67 mil or $22.3 a year and if Tanaka is a #1 or #2 quality then he'll opt out for sure and get a new 5-7 year deal at $25-30 mil a year and if he isn't then the Yankees are spending ace money for a #3 or worse starter (100 ERA+ type or lower).  That is high risk with little chance of reward.  The reward for the 7 year deal is getting those final 3 years at below ace money for an ace. 

Now, with near unlimited cash (as the Yankees and Dodgers have) it won't matter too much but for almost any other club it could be a major problem.  Still, not as bad as what Delgado's did at $19 mil to the Jays budget of the day (around 1/4 to 1/3 of the payroll vs a $25 mil today on a $150 payroll which the Jays would have with Tanaka which is 1/6th).
Richard S.S. - Friday, January 24 2014 @ 09:25 AM EST (#282136) #
Starting shortly, this Team will have two Starters being 200 IP plus capable. Then a bunch of pitchers of varying capabilities with not much hope of even reaching 150 IP. To fill one spot, he's likely to strip one Starter from AAA, which weakens that Team. He has so many Relievers/Spot Starters that even after sending down three really good Relievers, he'll need a ten-man or bigger bullpen to carry them all.

His statement that the value of relievers will go up as the season passes was markedly wrong. So his problems are huge now.
Mike Green - Friday, January 24 2014 @ 10:20 AM EST (#282137) #
I've been wondering about Josh Donaldson.  Not about how he got there- John Sickels wrote well about that.  Rather, has there been any precedent?  Donaldson came out nowhere to be a legitimate MVP candidate at age 27.  Gary Ward came out of nowhere to be a good player at age 28, but that isn't the same thing. 
Lylemcr - Friday, January 24 2014 @ 10:51 AM EST (#282138) #

That is crazy money for Tanaka!  For a guy who has never pitched in MLB!  Only the Yankees and Dodgers can afford to do that contract.  (I thought the Dodgers would get him).

Garza is interesting.  I didn't think the Jays could sign him, but I didn't think Milwaukee was the other option. He is from California!  It kind of makes me wonder if players even consider the Jays when they become free agents.  The Jays would have to be like Seattle and put monster money down to get them to come there (like Cano). 

Who was the last big free agent to come here?  Frank Thomas?  I am not disappointed by that.  What I am disappointed is how we have not been able to create good players in our farm system

Mike Green - Friday, January 24 2014 @ 11:06 AM EST (#282139) #
Nope.  That is not crazy money.  Tanaka was a free agent.  His performance markers in the JPPL suggest that he is between Kuroda and Darvish in quality.  He just finished his age 25 season. 

Despite all the murmurings about the translation of JPPL performance into MLB, there has not yet been a pitcher, who performed in the JPPL the way Tanaka did, and who did not succeed at some level in the major leagues.  Dice-K obviously underperformed his contract due to injury, but clearly established in 2007-08 that he was a very good MLB pitcher. 

The risk with Tanaka is pretty clear.  Will he blow out his arm after a year or two?  If he stays healthy, the chance that he will be able to earn (or more than earn) his contract is very high. 

Chuck - Friday, January 24 2014 @ 11:08 AM EST (#282140) #
I've been wondering about Josh Donaldson.

Boy did this guy figure things out. He hit .238 in the PCL at age 24 and was an 8-win player at age 27. Indeed, where is the precedent?

Beyonder - Friday, January 24 2014 @ 12:14 PM EST (#282141) #
"who performed in the JPPL the way Tanaka did, and who did not succeed at some level in the major leagues."

Sounds impressive, until you realize the sample size underlying that statement is perhaps 1, maybe 2 players depending on where you put the cut-off.

I'm with Lymcr. That is crazy money. As I said earlier, he is getting paid as though he is a top five pitcher in baseball without ever having thrown a pitch. Tanaka had 2 big things going for him, the new posting system, and the fact that he has come onto the scene immediately following an unusually high number of successful signings from Japan and the rest of the IFA market (not just Kuroda and Darvish, but I would also include Puig, Cespedes, and Soler).
Ryan Day - Friday, January 24 2014 @ 12:27 PM EST (#282142) #
It appears Jack Morris is also leaving the Toronto airwaves, for a gig in Minnesota.

Never mind attracting free agents - Toronto seems to have a heck of a time keeping quality broadcasters.
jerjapan - Friday, January 24 2014 @ 01:01 PM EST (#282143) #
Tanaka I can swallow, since I doubted he'd sign here, but Morris and Hayhurst sting a little.  I can only handle so much Pat Tabler in my life ...
John Northey - Friday, January 24 2014 @ 02:26 PM EST (#282144) #
Can't find anything online about Hayhurst leaving - was he let go or did he get a job elsewhere or is he now just an author?  Always enjoyed him and wanted him to be a permanent part of the Jays broadcast team.
James W - Friday, January 24 2014 @ 02:53 PM EST (#282145) #
eudaimon - Friday, January 24 2014 @ 03:02 PM EST (#282146) #
Any chance the Jays sign Arroyo? Depending on the price he could be good. He'd at least be durable, and performed decently with the Red Sox back before he became a "grizzled veteran." He's kind of a Mark Buehrle-lite. We could definitely do worse, it really depends on the contract. Haven't heard much discussion of him here. We're not rumoured to be in, but we all know how AA works.
whiterasta80 - Friday, January 24 2014 @ 03:08 PM EST (#282147) #
I wouldn't hate Arroyo as depth. But you'd like to see Drew coming to play 2nd under those circumstances.
Ryan Day - Friday, January 24 2014 @ 03:37 PM EST (#282148) #
Perhaps not coincidental: Hayhurst's new book comes out next month, and it deals with his time in Toronto. The description includes "branded a traitor by his teammates for writing inside the locker room..."

Maybe it was decided this would not be a great year for Hayhurst to be hanging around players. Not that his books have been particularly tell-all, but there may still be some resentment for breaking the locker room code of silence.
Lylemcr - Friday, January 24 2014 @ 04:35 PM EST (#282149) #

HEre is the free-agent I think the Jays should gamble on (assuming someone doesn't offer him 25 million a year).

He just was cleared to play.  Some don't like him because he is 28.  I think catchers mature late, so if he calls a good game, I would get him.

#2JBrumfield - Friday, January 24 2014 @ 04:49 PM EST (#282150) #
The Vancouver Canadians held its 4th annual luncheon today with two players involved in the biggest trade in Jays history - Robbie Alomar and Fred McGriff. Those two and president Paul Beeston were on the local airwaves on The Team 1040. Some quick notes in passing...
  • Alomar jokingly thanked McGriff for the trade that resulted in two World Series rings.
  • McGriff said he was not that surprised he was traded because of John Olerud's arrival and the fact then GM Pat Gillick and Olerud's dad were close. Said he did not hold any grudges as the Jays gave him his big league opportunity.
  • McGriff was asked about the Hall of Fame and said he hopes to get in before he dies. He doesn't think finishing 7 homers shy of 500 should not keep him out.
  • McGriff said he was cut from his high school team at the age of 15. Still gives the coach of that team a hard time today.
  • McGriff feels his <a href="">upper deck homer</a> at Yankee Stadium in 1987 during ABC's Monday Night Baseball helped put him on the baseball map.
  • McGriff worked as a consultant for the Jays last season, making visits to Vancouver, Buffalo and Lansing.
  • Beeston thinks Montreal will get a major league franchise back in his lifetime (right up there with those Jays 2 or 3 postseason appearances in the next 5 years).
  • Beeston feels having Montreal back would be good for baseball in Canada.
  • Beeston thinks there will be real grass at the Dome by 2018.
  • When asked if he could influence the schedule maker to schedule weekend series in Seattle for the Jays (maybe even on Canada Day weekend). Beeston says he will make that request. He noted the Pan Am Games in 2015 will be an obstacle for schedule making that season.
  • Beeston said he was hopeful the Jays could schedule pre-season games in Vancouver in the future.
  • Alex Anthopoulos was supposed to make an appearance but was under the weather.
Mike Green - Friday, January 24 2014 @ 04:51 PM EST (#282151) #
I have no idea whether Bello is a good player or not, but the club has acquired Navarro and Kratz to go with Thole.  You can always use another catcher, but it seems to me that if this club is going to compete in 2014, that will not be the key.
John Northey - Friday, January 24 2014 @ 05:36 PM EST (#282152) #
Bello wouldn't hurt, especially if he can catch a knuckleball.  Navarro is signed for 2 years but at a rate that a backup role is acceptable ($4 mil a year).  His great year last year (132 OPS+) was far beyond his norm (lifetime 82) so more depth is good.  Kratz also showed hope at 32 but lifetime 86 OPS+ and entering his age 34 season I wouldn't count on him as more than depth.  Thole had a horrid year in the majors so I wouldn't count on him either.  Jimenez has 85 games in AA/AAA so he has another season before being ready most likely. 

Bottom line? Depending on scouting reports a 2 or 3 year deal for Bello isn't a bad idea. Back in November he played for MLB scouts ( and showed a strong arm and power but not a lot else. I suspect a JPA type with a much better arm would be his likely result and that is OK for a backup so max of $4 mil a year over 3 years is my guess, more likely $2 mil a year for 2 years.

smcs - Friday, January 24 2014 @ 08:18 PM EST (#282153) #
Beeston says he will make that request. He noted the Pan Am Games in 2015 will be an obstacle for schedule making that season.

That makes no sense. The Rogers Centre is being used for just the Opening (July 10) and Closing ceremonies (July 26), and Rogers would have had to sign off on that 4 years ago. A generous view would say that the Pan Ams need 5 days (ceremony plus 2 on either side) for each. It's not like the Canucks having to vacate GM Place for a 6 weeks for the 2010 Olympics.
perlhack - Friday, January 24 2014 @ 08:33 PM EST (#282154) #
Beeston says he will make that request. He noted the Pan Am Games in 2015 will be an obstacle for schedule making that season.

That makes no sense. The Rogers Centre is being used for just the Opening (July 10) and Closing ceremonies (July 26), and Rogers would have had to sign off on that 4 years ago.

I was going to post the same message. Additionally, it's not as if residents of the city of Toronto, or the GTA or Golden Horseshoe for that matter, cannot support all the Pan Am events and the Blue Jays. The population base is large enough for both to occur simultaneously. (And so should the supposed influx of tourists.)
92-93 - Saturday, January 25 2014 @ 03:10 AM EST (#282155) #
I thought Hayhurst & Wilner worked well together but that Dirk was a mess with Howarth. I really enjoyed Jack Morris, though, so it sucks to see him go.
John Northey - Saturday, January 25 2014 @ 11:47 AM EST (#282158) #
McGriff will probably get in someday to the HOF. Hovering in the low 20's right now, although that 11% in the super-crowded ballot hurts.  He will probably get up to the 30's once the ballot crunch years are done and with luck will get to the 50% mark before he is off it which will help a lot with the vet committee.  As voters look for 'clean' players McGriff will stand out as he was better than McGwire to age 30 (285/389/541 153 OPS+ vs 250/362/507 143 OPS+) then a magic potion was found so age 31-end was different (McGriff 284/367/482 119 OPS+ vs 278/430/683 183 OPS+).  McGriff a far more normal aging curve, McGwire the opposite of normal (big slow sluggers normally drop fast after age 32, not reach new peaks).  It all depends on how voters act towards PED's and if they say 'all are guilty' or pick and choose who wasn't.  If they pick and choose then McGriff should be in, if not he won't.

Montreal should get a team whenever MLB expands again I suspect, assuming our dollar recovers.  The rapid drop in our dollar from well above parity to 90 cents or less hurts it a lot, and hurts the Jays a lot. 

The headache with the Pan-Am is probably the Jays trying to avoid being in town as much as possible during it due to a variety of factors. Traffic will be a mess (more so than usual), the dome is bound to be used for some events I'd think (could be wrong) and could be a backup for some track events in the event of bad weather (can't do all in there, but high jump, long jump, and quite a few others should work fine there).  Publicity will be focused on the Pan-Am's unless the Jays are doing something incredible (20 game winning streak for example...we can dream...or flip side a 20 game losing streak) thus would cost fans in the stands.  To maximize profit you want as much publicity and focus to be on your club and during the games the Jays won't have that.
greenfrog - Saturday, January 25 2014 @ 03:11 PM EST (#282159) #
Fangraphs chat comments, fwiw (somewhat pessimistic but I believe Collette is pretty high on the Jays' minor-league system):

odds jays make the playoffs

Jason Collette: slim to none and slim has a foot out the door

Are the Jays in on Ubaldo ? Cubs?

Jason Collette: Haven’t heard much, but it would be a waste for the Cubs to do that. Jimenez has the type of mechanics that could go away as quickly as they came together last year. The Jays lack flexibility because they had so many players returning. Health is always their biggest issue as they have trouble keeping people off the disabled list.

Are the Jay’s really going in with Goins as their starter?

Jason Collette: It appears so, yes. FA market is dried up
Dewey - Saturday, January 25 2014 @ 04:03 PM EST (#282161) #
First Ashby, and then Morris, simply got weary of serving as Howarth’s
sidekick, I’d guess.  And Jerry didn’t seem very anxious to let either
man be anything more than that.  He hated always being in Tom Cheek’s
shadow; so he makes very clear what the pecking order is to any
newbies.  I don’t think Morris could stand him.  Not surprised, but
sorry anyway.  Maybe we’ll get Warren Sawkiw or Rob Faulds back.  
Optimism abounds this off-season.
mathesond - Saturday, January 25 2014 @ 06:25 PM EST (#282162) #
Jeebus, Dewey, that's depressing. Depressing enough to make a man seek solace in Mylegacy's restorative of choice. And so, in honour of being depressed and drinking scotch here's a poem by the day's namesake:

O were my love yon Lilac fair,
Wi' purple blossoms to the Spring,
And I, a bird to shelter there,
When wearied on my little wing!
How I wad mourn when it was torn
By Autumn wild, and Winter rude!
But I wad sing on wanton wing,
When youthfu' May its bloom renew'd.

O gin my love were yon red rose,
That grows upon the castle wa';
And I myself a drap o' dew,
Into her bonie breast to fa'!
O there, beyond expression blest,
I'd feast on beauty a' the night;
Seal'd on her silk-saft faulds to rest,
Till fley'd awa by Phoebus' light!

Mike Green - Saturday, January 25 2014 @ 06:54 PM EST (#282163) #
Till fley'd awa by Phoebus' light!

Fixed :)
Dewey - Saturday, January 25 2014 @ 07:34 PM EST (#282164) #
Och, yer right, mathesond:  it is depressing.  Thanks for citing sweet Rabbie on his natal day.  Lang may yer lum reek, and so on.  A wee dram of Glenmorangie will soon fix everything.  Happy Burns Night.
Mylegacy - Sunday, January 26 2014 @ 12:09 PM EST (#282165) #
Never stop at a wee dram lads...
greenfrog - Sunday, January 26 2014 @ 12:22 PM EST (#282166) #
Some tactful yet pointed comments about Rogers' commitment to winning, from a recent interview with Tony Rasmus on

5. Your son, Colby, has enjoyed success since being acquired by the Blue Jays. What has been different for Colby north of the border? What differences do you see between the Jays and Cardinals organizations?

I believe Colby has finally tried to stick to his strengths as a hitter and has learned his swing so he doesn’t need to rely on other people to try and correct him when he goes through a slump. I believe he tried to lean on anyone who had a thought when he was struggling and no one person told him the same things. This lead to constant changes in his swing and a loss of confidence.

Well the biggest difference I see in the two organizations is one is run by a corporation and one is run by a family. Obviously the Dewitt family cares about winning and the Cardinals have to be included in any discussion of the top run organizations in the game. I obviously have zero knowledge of the ins and outs of either organization but on the surface one could assume that a corporation may not have the same desire to see a championship as a family owned organization. Both organizations have been super in terms of how Colby has been treated in my opinion and both have been super nice to our family.
John Northey - Monday, January 27 2014 @ 08:40 AM EST (#282180) #
Reads to me much like how a fan would post. Basically has no idea how committed each team is to anything, just goes on about how a family probably cares more than a corporation.  Interesting that he says both have been super-nice to their family though.  Glad to read that Colby has finally decided to stick to one approach as repeatability is vital in baseball and if you are tinkering with your swing non-stop you won't ever get there.
greenfrog - Monday, January 27 2014 @ 12:56 PM EST (#282189) #
I thought Tony R.'s comments about corporate ownership were at least worth considering. Could it be that his (an outside observer's) casual observation might have some truth to it? Isn't it at least possible that having a corporate owner can make making the postseason (something the Jays haven't done in two decades) more difficult in some respects?

Tony Rasmus and his family have been around the game a long time and have no doubt seen a lot. I guess I'm not as inclined to dismiss his comments so summarily.
Ryan Day - Monday, January 27 2014 @ 02:55 PM EST (#282191) #
It makes sense, and plenty of people have suggested it before. No one has ever suggested that anyone at Rogers particularly cares about baseball, beyond the ultimate entries on a balance sheet.

But beyond that.. what does it mean? There are some well-run organizations owned by families, but also some terrible ones. Exhibit A is obviously Jeff Loria, but you could look at Minnesota, which was owned by a billionaire who rarely spent much money on the team.

It's one thing to say an owner is more passionate about the team, but another to translate that into something meaningful.
Mike Green - Monday, January 27 2014 @ 03:34 PM EST (#282192) #
It looks like there are only two truly corporate owners in baseball, the Jays and Mariners.  The Braves and Nationals do have corporate owners, but they have a single majority individual shareholder.  

I had no idea that Rogers paid $140 million for the Blue Jays in 2000 while Sternberg paid $130 million for the Rays in 1995.  It certainly is true that Rogers can get a good return on its investment without the club winning anything, while the same is not true of Sternberg.
Tanaka Week, Finally | 122 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.