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Tanaka is off the market, as is Matt Garza. That leaves two valuable starting pitchers who are still without a home for 2014. How long will it take for Ubaldo and Ervin to sign? Spring training starts in three weeks, unless you play for the Dodgers or Diamondbacks who start 2014 in Australia and as a result they start spring training a week early.

When will they sign? earlier this week AA suggested the signing could even go into March, mainly because of the draft pick compensation that is attached to both starters. I tend to think the players would get anxious to know where they are going but if their agents can make a strong case to wait they might do that. Do the Jays have the budget to sign one of these starters? Unless they sign one we may never know.

Fangraphs released their ZiPS projections last week and now ex-Baseball Prospectus writer Clay Davenport has released his projections for 2014 standings. He has the Jays at 78-84 with a 13% chance of making the playoffs. If the Jays were to sign Jimenez or Santana their projection would rise to 80-82 or 81-81 and their playoff chances might hit 20%.

Per Davenport the AL division winners are projected to be Tampa, Detroit and Oakland with Texas narrowly edging Boston for the wild card. In the NL Washington, St Louis and the Dodgers will win the division with San Francisco and the Braves tying for the wild card.

Elsewhere we are still waiting to see if AA eases his bullpen jogjam and if Goins is the starting 2B. The Jays will host their annual state of the franchise event for season ticket holders this week. This has been one of the quietest winters for the Blue Jays in years, will AA have any news this week?

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Thomas - Sunday, January 26 2014 @ 07:49 PM EST (#282167) #
Those projections strike me as quite reasonable.

If they have the budget space, I'm a little surprised that Cleveland isn't making a bigger push to resign Ubaldo. He'd probably raise their projection from 85 to about 88 wins and give them a significantly increased likelihood of making the Wild Card playoff game or possibly sneaking past Detroit for the division title.
Jdog - Sunday, January 26 2014 @ 07:55 PM EST (#282168) #
Umm did we forget there are 2 wild card's per league?
Gerry - Sunday, January 26 2014 @ 08:08 PM EST (#282169) #
We did forget, time for another drink.
greenfrog - Sunday, January 26 2014 @ 08:41 PM EST (#282170) #
o see if AA eases his bullpen jogjam

A few stationary cycles would likely solve the problem...
greenfrog - Sunday, January 26 2014 @ 08:47 PM EST (#282171) #
The annual State of the Franchise will be streamed live online on Wednesday:
Chuck - Sunday, January 26 2014 @ 09:05 PM EST (#282172) #
Those projections strike me as quite reasonable.

I agree. They all feel about right. Of course, some will end up being wildly off the mark, but that's just the way things go.

Richard S.S. - Sunday, January 26 2014 @ 09:21 PM EST (#282173) #
The problem seems to be value and how it is perceived. I think of the Pitchers the Team has, Happ and a reliever or Santos and Rogers might land Franklin solving two problems. But is that the right value?

Presently Santana's looking for 4 years, $15.0 MM per, while Jimenez wants 4 years and $14.0 MM per. In this time and place, that's fair value. Does A.A. see it that way?

The State of the Franchise meeting might shake things up if dissatisfaction is shown.
greenfrog - Sunday, January 26 2014 @ 10:22 PM EST (#282174) #
The interesting thing is that Toronto's offense is projected to be very competitive -- among the AL's best. The team's run prevention is the problem. By way of comparison, TB is projected to allow 618 runs; Toronto is projected to allow 749 runs. That's am enormous difference of 131 runs -- almost a run per game over the course of the season. Only two teams (Houston and Minnesota) are projected to allow more runs than the Jays in 2014.

An off-season that involved the relatively cheap acquisitions of Kazmir, Hanigan, Ellis, and a good two-way fourth outfielder (like DeJesus), plus maybe a good backup shortstop like Ryan, and the Jays would be in a much better position. Add in an additional starting pitcher like Samardzija or Santana, and the Jays still wouldn't be postseason favourites, but they would be solidly in the conversation for the playoffs.

Yes, the team could use another starting pitcher or two, but they also need some more defense and positional player depth. I don't know if the front office and ownership are facing up to the fact that the team has multiple pressing needs, not simply a starting pitching deficit.
John Northey - Sunday, January 26 2014 @ 10:31 PM EST (#282175) #
Geez, if that is right that is weird.  I'd take Jimenez over Santana at the same dollar level, but Jimenez looking for a bit less?  4 years is more than I'd want to go, I'd push hard for 3 plus a vesting option (so it stays a 3 year deal if he is healthy year one for example, have 4th year vest if he is healthy [200 IP] in any of the 3 seasons). 

Clearly from those projections the Jays issue is starting pitching (duh).  720 runs scored would barely be 2nd in the division (Boston with 723 leads) while the others in the AL ahead on offense are Oakland (723) and Texas (731).  Meanwhile on defense they are listed as allowing 749 runs which would be dead last in the AL East (16 behind Baltimore) and 3rd worst in the AL (Minnesota 3 more allowed, Houston 32 more).  No NL club is projected to allow more than the Jays or to score as many (remember, pitchers hitting). 

Interesting items from Davenport's stuff...
2B: Chris Getz is his expectation as the regular (226 AB) followed by Izturis (273 PA across many positions) with Kawasaki and Goins getting sub 150 AB's each.
CA: Navarro getting 405 AB, Kratz 115, Thole just 57

Buehrle (31 starts), Dickey (31), Morrow (24), Happ (22), Redmond (19), Rogers (17), Drabek (13), McGuire (5) as the rotation choices.  ERA's range from 4.13 (Morrow) to 4.87 (Rogers) with Drabek and McGuire in the low 5's.  Casey Janssen as the only one having WAR of 2 or better.

Yeah, that's ugly. ERA's in the 4s is solid for your 4th/5th slot (very good for 5th actually) but not so good for your 1/2 slots.  Santana is projected to have a 4.06 ERA while Jimenez is at 3.47 ERA.  So lets get Jimenez and call it a winter I say.

greenfrog - Sunday, January 26 2014 @ 11:24 PM EST (#282176) #
Run prevention has two components: pitching and defense. I disagree that adding Santana or Jimenez is the only thing the Jays need to build the foundation of solid run prevention they need to be an elite AL team.
soupman - Sunday, January 26 2014 @ 11:55 PM EST (#282177) #
if this is the year that dustin mcgowan can stay healthy and keep it together...

well... that would be timely and swell.
92-93 - Monday, January 27 2014 @ 12:26 AM EST (#282178) #
I'm very curious to see where Vegas hangs the Jays' O/U win total at. If they're under .500 that's pretty good value, and an over correction of 2013.
85bluejay - Monday, January 27 2014 @ 08:25 AM EST (#282179) #
The Jays are very PR conscious, so I would not be surprised if the team does something or strongly hint about doing something through their media properties to co-inside with the state of the franchise meeting - thereby, taking the sting out of potential criticism from season ticket holders.
John Northey - Monday, January 27 2014 @ 08:58 AM EST (#282181) #
For defense there are some significant changes....
2B: Izturis/Bonifacio were a disaster in every respect. Now we are likely to see Goins and Getz mainly.  By UZR/150... Izturis...Bonifacio = -26.7...0.6 (400+ innings each last year); Goins...Getz 33.1...7.5 (262 and 541 innings).  Getz is just 2.1 lifetime but that would be a drastic improvement from Izturis. Goins will drop, but if he stays positive he too would be a big improvement.  In Lawrie's adventure at 2B he had a -54.6 (glurg) while DeRosa and Kawasaki were both over 0 but below 10 in about 270 innings combined.

3B: Lawrie was hurt and had a -0.1 UZR/150 which was shocking. Izturis played 291 innings there and had a -23.1 while DeRosa also sucked hard with a -31.6 rating in 154 innings. EE was good there (surprising) with a 18.3 in 87 2/3 innings but I sure wouldn't put him there more than that. Bautista forgot how to catch the ball (-47.3 in 21 innings) while LaRoche had just 9 innings.  This should jump with Lawrie healthy (one  hopes). Also hope that Izturis doesn't get that many innings and that someone, anyone would be better than DeRosa was there.

SS: Reyes had a very bad year defensively, -8.0 UZR and Izturis was sucking there too for 174 innings (-22). Kawasaki was solid (1.1) but nothing 'wow' - IE: perfect injury replacement guy. Goins and Bonifacio used up 14 innings.  Reyes lifetime is a 0.5 guy, never having a year as bad as last year for defense although he has been negative for 5 straight years so one has to worry a bit. Ideally the bench would have someone who could come in defensively now and then (Goins or Kawasaki).

LF: Cabrera was hurt in a way that would've killed his range and it showed (-14.8) while Davis wasn't special out there (-4.4). Pillar was great in 243 innings (18.9) while the rest were 'meh' in limited play (-5.7 to +3.2).  Cabrera is obviously the #1 guys again and should be better after a lot of rest and surgery. Sierra is likely the backup and should be around a 0 which would be better than last year.

Those are the big changes other than catcher which is always hard to measure. In RF Davis and Sierra did very poorly (-24/-12 in 200+ innings each) but Davis is gone and Sierra should be better than that (he had a good rep at one time for defense).  Guess we'll see.

I feel a lot better about the defense this year than last. Assuming Izturis is firmly planted on the bench or is released that is.

Mike Green - Monday, January 27 2014 @ 09:19 AM EST (#282182) #
720 runs scored playing in the RC would not be a great figure and could easily be improved. The club scored 712 runs last year and 716 the year before.  I think that it is a modest underestimate of what this club is likely to do. 

I am also more optimistic than Davenport about the runs allowed figure.  I don't see the starters the way he does at all (I see Dickey as having an ERA under 4 and Stroman and Nolin getting starts ahead of Drabek and McGuire and being better) and I like that someone other than JP will be catching them.  I'd have the over/under at about 81.5. 

Gerry - Monday, January 27 2014 @ 09:27 AM EST (#282183) #

The opportunity the Jays have this year is that they have many candidates for starters and in theory they could swap in and out quickly if guys struggle.  Of course that only works easily for pitchers with options, such as Hutchison or Stroman.  Redmond or Rogers could be lost on waivers or go to the bullpen, but there is already a logjam there.

Hutchison might be a key to the season, AA was talking him up after the AFL as were some other sites such as Baseball America.  Most projection systems don't have great numbers for Drew due to his TJ recovery and his lack of much of a major league track record.  If Hutchison pitches well for the major league Jays he could help their win total by a couple.

Mike Green - Monday, January 27 2014 @ 10:03 AM EST (#282184) #
I like Hutchison as well.  I don't know why you would have McGuire and Drabek getting starts ahead of Hutchison. 

Chuck - Monday, January 27 2014 @ 10:28 AM EST (#282185) #
I don't know why you would have McGuire and Drabek getting starts ahead of Hutchison.

For his first cut at a projection, I can imagine that Davenport didn't override his model with any subjective opinions when it came to playing time, and rather let the model simply figure out for itself who would likely play. As such, I could see a model opting to give starts to McGuire (who was healthy) and Drabek (who did make it back to the majors, if even just for a sip of coffee) over Hutchison (who struggled in his brief return to AAA).

Same with Getz getting playing time over Goins. It doesn't appear likely for now, that this is the organization's stance, but you can see why a model would decide this.

Mike Green - Monday, January 27 2014 @ 11:07 AM EST (#282186) #
Hutchison actually didn't get roughed up in Buffalo. The ERA was bad, but it was all BABIP.  And if you look at the career minor league records of Hutchison, Drabek and McGuire, there is no comparison.  I was thinking of a pure objective judgment.  The only question in mind is the subjective judgment about recovery from TJ, but there is enough data on that from pitchers similar to Hutchison...And incidentally, if that is the concern, you can multiply it by three or four for Drabek.
Chuck - Monday, January 27 2014 @ 11:43 AM EST (#282187) #
I was thinking of a pure objective judgment

I hear you. The component of his model to prioritize starting pitchers at the tail end of the rotation may simply not be terribly sophisticated. I, personally, am comfortable giving him a pass given how many IQ points are required to address the numerous other complexities within the model.

John Northey - Monday, January 27 2014 @ 12:13 PM EST (#282188) #
When it comes to the tail end it is pure guesswork anyways I'd figure.  For example, pre-2013 who would've said after the big 6 (Dickey, Buehrle, Morrow, Johnson, Romero, Happ) that we'd see Rogers get 20 starts, Redmond 14, and Wang 6?  Wang wasn't even on the staff when the season started, Redmond was a waiver claim in late March, and Rogers was viewed as a decent reliever who seemed to come into his own in Cleveland in 2012.  I doubt anyone had any of those 3 listed as likely to get any starts as a Jay in 2013 yet they had 40 starts vs 9 for all other non-big 6 guys (Ortiz, Jenkins, Laffey, Nolin).  Heck, none of us saw Romero getting just 7 1/3 IP last year in the majors (and feeling that was too many) or 26 total starts for Johnson & Morrow combined.

Stuff happens.  The rotation is always a lot of guesswork unless you are Tampa Bay (never seem to get hit like the Jays do every year).  I see Hutchison as a potential 'woohoo' or at least 'phew' as we need a decent guy to come out of the minors.  Drabek I have no confidence in.  McGuire is a curious one as he did end strong and pitchers often can shift from no one to someone in a flash (and go back down as quick ... see Romero for examples of both ends).
eudaimon - Monday, January 27 2014 @ 02:24 PM EST (#282190) #
Minor point but I expect Reyes' defence to be a bit better next year having totally recovered from his ankle injury. I don't think he ever completely healed, which didn't seem to affect his hitting much but did seem to effect his speed as he also had one of his lowest SB rates of his career.

Really there's just so many question marks about this team. Cabrera is another one as he had a tumor from his spine removed and looked like an old man all year, not to mention that he's now in a contract year. He could really overperform his expectations. It's enough to make me think I should just quit reading da box until spring training, it's not worth it for all the negativity, earned or not it's just a bit of a downer.

John Northey - Monday, January 27 2014 @ 04:16 PM EST (#282193) #
This will be an interesting year.  The Jays have disappointed a lot lately but there are a lot of good players coming off down years.  Checking WAR 2013 vs average of 3 years before (2010/11/12)...
CA: JPA 0.1 (yes, positive) vs 1.5 avg 2 years previous
1B: Encarnacion 4.0 vs 2.5 but 4.9 the year before
2B: Bonifacio 0.1 (as a Jay) vs 1.4
3B: Lawrie 2.3 vs 4.3 the year before (and 3.6 in 43 games before that)
SS: Reyes 2.5 vs 3.3 (not as far off as I expected)
LF: Cabrera -0.1 vs 3.0 (injuries vs PED's)
CF: Rasmus 4.8 vs 2.0
RF: Bautista 4.1 vs 6.2
DH: Lind 1.9 vs -0.1
UT: Izturis -1.0 vs 1.1
OF: Davis 1.8 vs 0.5

So doing better than expected: Davis, Lind, Rasmus, Encarnacion.  Worse is the other 7 with 100+ games played.  Net of 20.5 WAR 2013 vs 3 year average (or 1 or 2 for Lawrie & JPA) of 25.7.  The only guys 32+ were Bautista, Izturis and Davis (all 32).  25 and less was just Lawrie (23). The rest in their core prime years (25-31 although some list it as 25-32).  So really a drop of 20% from their norm should not have been expected, instead it should've been an evening out overall. 

As to pitching...well...less said the better.  Lets just say for ERA+ 2013 vs 3 previous years Dickey, Buehrle, Johnson, Morrow and Romero were all having worse years than any of those previous 3 years.  Happ was better than 2 of his last 3 (ie: what one should expect) while Rogers & Redmond were wild cards who did better than expected as starters.  I doubt anyone expected the big 5 to all have worse ERA+ seasons than any of their past 3 years.  This year has to be better one hopes.
Mylegacy - Monday, January 27 2014 @ 06:55 PM EST (#282194) #
Earlier in the thread comments were made that the offense looks at least OKish - I agree.

However, everyone and their third cousin has serious concerns with the startin' pitchin' - me - not so much.

Our top three, health notwithstanding, look to be MLB solid guys (even on a contender)....

1) Dickey is one year removed from a Cy Young award. Excellent pitchers who switch teams - and leagues - almost always do better in their 2nd season in the new environment. Dickey was not heathy most of the year - (I assume) Dickey has been throwing a ball in a sock and not letting go - I'm sure the velocity on his "fast" knuckler will be ever so much faster.  Looks like an Ace to me.

2) Morrow is an Ace in some universe somewhere - hopefully this year on Earth in the Milky Way. If healthy - I think he's at least an excellent number 3 and an OK number 2.

3) Buehrle is an innings eater - true - but he's actually a bit more than that - he's a serious, intelligent pitcher who eats innings. An excellent 4th or 5th starter on any team. An asset to any team.

4) Here it begins to get 4) I've got FOUR guys, two of whom I expect to win the last two spots - to START the season at least. In the order I like them coming into the spring: A) Rogers who was very interesting last year and now - apparently - has mastered a new pitch in winter ball. B) Happ who is at least OK. C) Nolan who is like Happ only spells his name differently and D) Redmond who not surprising also spells his name differently than Happ and Nolan but is - in many regards one of their peers.

5) Obviously, the number two and three guys from 4) above has the best shot - however - here I've another set of THREE guys, and another set of TWO guys...The first set of THREE guys first: The Young(ish) Guns. First of these is Hutchison who has demonstrated a high level of results, stuff, control and maturity in the minors. Drabek who has demonstrated neither results, control nor maturity in the minors BUT has very interesting stuff. Stroman who is slightly behind the first two in senority and behind in height - BUT - most likely may end up being better than either of them - maybe even better than anyone else on the staff. The second set of Two guys is, The Not So Young(ish) Guns: First (in our heart) of these has to be Romero - the one who fell to earth. I have no idea what he'll do...but...I expect not too much...and pray I'm wrong. Second (in our heart) of these is McGowan to whom we all send best wishes, best regards and with whom we've a lingering hope he'll become he who we thought he could become. Spring. Hope. Eternal. Lazarus. You get the idea.

The bottom line. I'm actually not too, too, concerned about the starters - in fact - I'm looking forward to seeing what they all do in the spring (or in the cases of Stroman and Hutchison) what they do spring and then again in May or June when they get called up if all other boats has sunk on rocky shoals by then.

Richard S.S. - Monday, January 27 2014 @ 08:00 PM EST (#282195) #
Not having more than two Starters that can pitch 200+ innings is the issue. Not having more than two, maybe three Starters who can pitch into and past the 7th Innings is the issue. Having two or more Starters reaching innings limits in July is the issue. Needing eight or nine man Bullpens due to overwork is the issue.

I don't expect much from a Starter, 200+ innings, approximately 7 innings per start, 12-20 wins. If you Starters can 't do that, they're not good enough.

Actually they should be better than that.
John Northey - Monday, January 27 2014 @ 09:29 PM EST (#282196) #
Interesting requirement Richard. Lets check the other AL East teams in 2013 vs that standard.
200 IP with 12+ wins
Boston: 1 pitcher, Jon Lester, had 200+ IP.  2 pitchers, Lester & Clay Buchholz had 12+ wins.
Tampa: 0 pitchers had 190 IP, just two with 162+. Just 2 had 12+ wins (Matt Moore and Jeremy Hellickson).
Baltimore: Chris Tillman had 200+ IP and 16 wins. Next best had 171 (Miguel Gonzalez with 11 wins) and that is it for 140+ IP and 8+ wins.
NYY: 2 pitchers with 200 IP but only CC Sabathia had 12+ wins while Hiroki Kuroda was just short (11).  Andy Pettitte was the only other guy to crack 162 innings.
Toronto: 2 pitchers with 200 IP, both with 12+ wins.  Just one other pitcher had 100 IP (Esmil Rogers) and no one else had 6 or more wins other than Dickey and Buehrle.

Huh.  Only the Jays had 2 guys make the 200 IP and 12+ win mark.  Go figure. The Yankees (who came in 4th) were closest with Kuroda one win short.  Go figure.

The other two divisions were won by...
Detroit: 3 guys with 12+ wins and 200+ IP plus 2 more with 175+ IP and 12+ wins. Just 6 starting pitchers used, with #6 getting 6 starts.
Oakland: Just 1 with 12+ wins and 200+ IP but a second was just 3 IP shy and a 3rd 10 IP short.  2 more guys in the 150's for IP.  Just 7 starters used all season (wasn't that an average week for the Jays, 7 starters?)
Cleveland: also in playoffs, no one had 200 IP, 2 guys with 180+ IP had 12+ wins though. Top 5 pitchers had 24+ starts each.

Hmm.... Not sure what to conclude from all of that.  Clearly having 2 guys with 200+ IP and 12+ wins isn't easy though.  In the AL East it certainly wasn't required, although it sure seems that having health is critical.  Dickey and Shields were the only guys over 220 innings.  The old workhorse ala Halladay seems to be missing in the AL right now (230+ IP reached 6 times, twice 250+).  4 NL'ers cracked 220 peaking at 241 2/3 IP for Wainwright in St Louis.

So while a 3rd 200 IP horse would be nice it certainly isn't required.  What is required is getting the rest of the rotation to stay healthy and to be 1/2 decent.
Dave Till - Monday, January 27 2014 @ 09:39 PM EST (#282197) #
I've been thinking a lot about the Jays' budget, and whether Rogers is allowing them to spend any more money. I've long wondered: is there a conflict between trying as hard as possible to win, and trying as hard as possible to maximize profits?

If you're trying as hard as possible to win, you probably have to expect a fair bit of spoilage: if you invest in the free agent market and sign a player for five years or seven years, you have to accept that the last three or four will be a writeoff. But if the first couple of years push you towards a post-season berth... well, flags fly forever.

Thinking more about it, I suspect that there's a sweet spot somewhere in the middle. A team that wastes too much money and loses too much money stops being viable. A team that doesn't spend enough money winds up with disillusioned fans who eventually walk away from the game. It's a bit tougher for the Jays: the fan base has waited a long time, and is starting to become disgruntled.

As for the Jays and the current market: perhaps AA is willing to go to spring training with a rotation of Dickey/Buehrle/Morrow/Happ/Hutchison, with McGowan and maybe some of the 2013 suspects in reserve. And there's always Marcus Stroman, who isn't far away. I still wonder whether the Jays can make an offer to Seattle for Nick Franklin: he's young, cost-controllable, and the Mariners no longer need him, given that they have Cano.

Parker - Monday, January 27 2014 @ 09:53 PM EST (#282198) #
For the record, here's a list of pitchers who match Richard's criteria of 200IP, a minimum of 12 wins, and an average of 7 innings per start:

Cliff Lee
Clayton Kershaw
Chris Sale
Adam Wainwright

If we relax the IP/GS requirement to "approximately" 7 innings per start (cutting off at an average of 6.5 IP/GS) we also have:

James Shields
Max Scherzer
Jordan Zimmerman
Hisashi Iwakuma
R.A. Dickey
C.C. Sabathia
Felix Hernandez
Mat Latos
Yu Darvish
Patrick Corbin

Everyone else is not good enough.
Parker - Monday, January 27 2014 @ 10:00 PM EST (#282199) #
A rotation of David Price, Matt Harvey, Stephen Strasburg, Madison Bumgarner, and Anibal Sanchez would not be good enough, for example.
John Northey - Tuesday, January 28 2014 @ 06:31 AM EST (#282200) #
Good point Dave, about how tough maximizing profits is.  Plus we now have an 89 cent dollar when they probably budgeted for a 95 cent one (as a 'lower to be safer' rule).  The local TV rights and gate are all Canadian dollars while shared revenues that all clubs get are in US funds.  Given shared revenue means a Tampa Bay budget (as they get little else from what I understand)  then the Canadian dollar helps determine how far from the Tampa's of MLB that the Jays can go.  If local revenue is $50 mil for TV rights (same as Giants, more than Seattle, less than Boston, San Diego, Houston, Mets, Yankees, Angels, Dodgers) and for attendance $32.98 (avg price last year) x 2,536,562 = $83,655,815 = $133,655,815 in Canadian revenue (Jays claim $36 mil in TV revenue but that seems like bs given that ties them with the old Phillies deal that is viewed as way below market value now).  So on $134 mil (lets round it off) what effect does the dollar have?
$1.10: $147.4 (peak)
$1.05: $140.7
$1.00: $134.0
$0.95: $127.3
$0.90: $120.6 (today)

So the dollar going from par to 90 cents costs the Jays (very roughly) $13.4 mil a year or the cost of adding another starting pitcher.  Compared to the peak we saw a couple years ago the spread is $26.8 mil or more than Tanaka will cost the Yankees.  So yeah, the collapsing dollar does have a significant effect and could be forcing AA to stand pat or do just break even deals at this stage.  Of course, if we adjust the figure for TV revenue to the Jays figure we'd see those figures adjust by roughly $14 mil downwards to start and $700k per nickle change. 

I suspect local revenue determines payroll for the most part while the shared revenue is used for other costs (minor leagues, draft, front office, etc.) and profits.  If the Jays got another 500k fans in the door at $32.98 a ticket then that would work out to another $16.5 mil in revenue (another $800k per 5 cent shift in currency) which would be enough to justify adding another starting pitcher if they feel that would make the difference in contending vs not contending.

Hopefully AA has a trick up his sleeve.  Taking one of the extra 2B guys from Seattle (ideally for a reliever or two thus saving a few mil in payroll) and signing Jimenez would put them in very good shape imo.
BlueJayWay - Tuesday, January 28 2014 @ 08:05 AM EST (#282201) #
"I've long wondered: is there a conflict between trying as hard as possible to win, and trying as hard as possible to maximize profits?"

This should be easy. I have to assume Rogers is trying to maximize profits.
sweat - Tuesday, January 28 2014 @ 09:35 AM EST (#282202) #
I think the issue is more about lowering our risk by adding one more consistent starter.  Morrow is a health risk, and we don't want a competition for the last 3 spots if he gets hurt.  I think the addition of Ubaldo (or Santana) would mean that Happ (or any one of our older 5th starters, depending on value) could be moved, and the Jays have an open competition for the 5th spot between the guys who don't have any options. 
They do have more relief pitchers (and 5th starters) than they have room for so I wouldn't be surprised to see that AA already has some sort of trade lined up dependent on signing a starter with a team like Anaheim or Cinci for a 2B. 

Beyonder - Tuesday, January 28 2014 @ 11:42 AM EST (#282204) #
Keith Law has put out his rankings of MLB farm systems, and ranked the Jays 24th. He gives 3 reasons for the low ranking: 1) The Jays dealt away three top 100 picks last year, 2) they failed to sign their #1 pick 2 out fo the last 3 years, and 3) when they do sign their picks, they often fail to convert.
JB21 - Tuesday, January 28 2014 @ 11:55 AM EST (#282205) #
What do those things have to do with the ranking of the talent in the minors currently? That sounds like reasoning for ranking a front office low but you'd think concentrating on what they do have vs other teams would be a more sound system for ranking.
CeeBee - Tuesday, January 28 2014 @ 12:01 PM EST (#282206) #
Out of all the guys ranking anything Jays I trust his opinion the least. I just don't think he is objective about the Jays and if those are his reasons as opposed to lack of talent, most good talent at A ball or lower or some other reason that actually made sense he would be more believable.
Beyonder - Tuesday, January 28 2014 @ 12:23 PM EST (#282208) #
The entire ranking system is based on talent level. The reasons given (which I have boiled down) are his reasons for the lack of talent. There are many things I don't like about Law (mainly his intolerance and incessant moralizing), but I respect his judgment on baseball matters and have never felt like he had any axe to grind with the Jays. While his view is different from Baseball America's, if your focus is on present-day elite talent (as opposed to high ceiling guys much farther down the pipeline), his ranking of the system is more than defensible.
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 28 2014 @ 12:27 PM EST (#282209) #
What difference does it make if an analyst considers the Blue Jay system the 16th best or the 20th best or the 24th best in the major leagues? 

The minor league crew here has well analyzed the system in the year-end review.  There is a fair bit of pitching at all levels of the system, but no obvious clear great pitcher in the making.  That is far from unusual, but it does look like Syndergaard may be that in a couple of months and that fact may provoke a few pangs of regret.  There are several good young shortstops, low in the minors, most of whom will migrate to other positions.  There are a couple of centerfield prospects, who (if things break right) will be useful players rather than stars.  There is no visible major power threat, save for Rowdy Tellez. 

It seems clear to me that the organization is slanted towards pitching (as it has been for a number of years).  I know the philosophy, but frankly, it hasn't worked particularly well. 

CeeBee - Tuesday, January 28 2014 @ 12:51 PM EST (#282210) #
Guess I didn't quite understand your first post Beyonder..... With so much negativity going on it would be nice to see something positive if it was only an illusion.
Gerry - Tuesday, January 28 2014 @ 12:53 PM EST (#282211) #
The Jays have a lot of talent at the lower levels of the system.  Some of the sites that rate players give the Jays credit for that but Law perhaps does not.  The lower the level for a player the higher the risk.  I do think Law has more focus on the higher levels in a system as those players are closer to the major leagues.  ESPN is more of a major league site whereas Sickels or Baseball America have a  more minor league focus.
greenfrog - Tuesday, January 28 2014 @ 12:58 PM EST (#282212) #
I don't mind a slight preference for pitching, but the organization had better be good at developing it. Last year the team traded for a slew of starting pitchers (Dickey, JJ, Buehrle, Happ, Rogers, Redmond), but they still have a potentially weak rotation and are considering trading yet more prospects for a SP upgrade. It's not surprising the farm system is depleted.
John Northey - Tuesday, January 28 2014 @ 01:35 PM EST (#282213) #
If you are just ranking ML ready or nearly ready talent then the Jays would have to get a poor rating.  Who is ready or almost?
OF: Pillar (Sierra & Gose no longer rookies)
IF: [sound of crickets]...Goins I bat, but he is a kid
CA: Jimenez is nearly there
SP: McGuire, Stroman, Nolin are close, Sanchez could make a major run quickly.  Hutchison & Drabek are well past rookie status
RP: Stilson and who knows

Not a lot that is really close to ML ready.  None of those hitters jump out as potential 'wow' players, Sanchez could be a wow but is just escaping A+ this year.  We'll see but that certainly sounds like a bottom feeding farm system.  I might have missed a few prospects though who are in arms reach of the majors.
Beyonder - Tuesday, January 28 2014 @ 01:41 PM EST (#282214) #
CeeBee. I hear you, but I think I've described it fairly. There is nothing positive in Klaw's assessment to report.
Ryan Day - Tuesday, January 28 2014 @ 02:53 PM EST (#282215) #
A lot of the Jays' talent is still young, raw, and volatile, so it may take another year or two to confirm what kind of talent the team really has. You could see some combination of Davis, Barreto, Nay, or others - even Alford, if he ever decides to play baseball - busting out and establishing themselves as elite prospects. Or not, obviously. Even without adding or subtracting any players, the farm system could look radically different, for better or worse, in a year or two.
85bluejay - Tuesday, January 28 2014 @ 03:04 PM EST (#282216) #
The Jays traded away a lot of prospect talent in the last 2 yrs. including 4 players in MLB top 100 (Marisnick/Nicolino/Syndergaard/D'Arnaud), lost points for failure to sign 1st rd. picks - even if it doesn't matter in the long run(eg. Breede out, Stroman in) - the Jays system has few positional prospects in the upper minors & last yr. was a down yr. for the farm - so, I'm not surprised at the rating, but I think the Jays have as much upside prospects in the lower minors as any team and can be a top 10 system next yr. especially since they are not likely to graduate many talented prospects.
I think Keith Law is generally fair to the jays - I certainly haven't noticed any bias.
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 28 2014 @ 03:46 PM EST (#282217) #
You could see some combination of Davis, Barreto, Nay, or others - even Alford, if he ever decides to play baseball - busting out and establishing themselves as elite prospects

Barreto definitely.  Nay maybe.  Davis or Alford not so much.  It is unlikely (in my view) that more than one of them will be an elite prospect at the end of 2014.  
finch - Tuesday, January 28 2014 @ 04:10 PM EST (#282218) #
A blog from the Vancouver Sun recently spoke with AA about some of the Prospects like the Latin kids, Nay, and Alford...
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, January 28 2014 @ 05:04 PM EST (#282219) #
I think Keith Law considers teams this way:
1) From Draft to Majors, in under two years.
2) After two years, where are they and how fast to the Majors.
3) Everyone else.
Toronto does poorly in 1) and 2), so I'm not surprised with their poor rating.
raptorsaddict - Tuesday, January 28 2014 @ 05:41 PM EST (#282220) #
This seems pertinent to the conversation - AJ Burnett is now on the market.

He's signed here before, so at least with him there is none of the "he would never sign in Canada" problems.

sweat - Tuesday, January 28 2014 @ 05:50 PM EST (#282221) #
Near ready?  Does that mean prospects only?  Because we have a few more guys who aren't prospects, who have yet to contribute to the major league team but might start this season.  Sierra, Hutchison, Gose, and Drabek are all right there, and I think Sierra and Hutchison could provide some value to the team.
greenfrog - Tuesday, January 28 2014 @ 07:53 PM EST (#282222) #
The Jays should be all over Burnett if he's available. He's a great choice for a short term (one- or two-year deal) with a high AAV (I'm assuming he expects to retire after 2014 or 2015).

It would be better to give Burnett 2/28 than to give Jimenez or Santana 4/64 or 5/75. No loss of a draft pick, either.

He'll have no shortage of suitors, so I do not expect him to end up in Toronto. There will be interested teams with a better chance of winning a WS.
Gerry - Tuesday, January 28 2014 @ 08:57 PM EST (#282223) #
We can all relax, Yuniesky Betancourt has signed with a Japanese team.
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 28 2014 @ 09:16 PM EST (#282224) #
Jon Heyman is talking about Jimenez going for 3/39.  This would be a reasonable value and contract length for him.  I am not crazy about Ubaldo, but even if he performs at his 3 season average- 180 innings and an ERA of 4- that would be a help.  It allows you to start the season with at least two of Hutchison/Stroman/Nolin in Buffalo or in the bullpen. 
eudaimon - Tuesday, January 28 2014 @ 09:25 PM EST (#282225) #
I'd support a Jiminez signing at that price. I wouldn't touch Burnett, he'd probably be overpriced and I think his game is better suited in the NL. He wasn't that good in the East.
greenfrog - Tuesday, January 28 2014 @ 10:02 PM EST (#282226) #
Ubaldo has pitched 77.2 IP against Boston, NYY, Baltimore and TB, allowing a total of 49 ER. He'll have to step up his game considerably to be a worthwhile multiyear addition. Santana has been similarly beat up by those clubs.

Burnett's career stats against those four teams are significantly better than those of Jimenez and Santana. In any case, I think Burnett may have become a better pitcher over the last two years. Across a range of stats, he was very good in 2012 and excellent in 2013. If he's available on a short-term deal, the Jays would significantly limit their risk. I think Burnett is the better choice, if the price and years are right.
John Northey - Tuesday, January 28 2014 @ 10:24 PM EST (#282227) #
Geez, if Jimenez is only after 3/$39 why haven't the Jays signed him already?  Does his wildness scare teams that much (4.0 lifetime BB/9)?  Guys who have 6 straight years of 31+ starts and lifetime 8.3 K/9 are not easy to find and at $13 mil a year for 3 years why not?  You'd get his age 30/31/32 seasons which is still in the prime range.  C'mon AA lets do it.  Unless, of course, there are issues we aren't aware of (injury that has been hidden, something else). 

FYI: last year in September he had 6 starts, his team won all 6 and his ERA was 1.09.  Include August and you get a 7-4 team record with a 1.92 ERA (3.10 in August).  So he certainly wasn't slowing down.

Richard S.S. - Tuesday, January 28 2014 @ 10:45 PM EST (#282228) #
If R.A. Dickey pitches the game before any New Acquisition, the Dickey effect will surface if same team is faced. You could make any pitcher much better that way. If he's a good pitcher to start with?

At some point in time A.A. must make a move or someone will decide the "price is right" and freeze A.A. out.
greenfrog - Tuesday, January 28 2014 @ 10:50 PM EST (#282229) #
There were 72 pitchers in the AL last year who threw 100+ innings. Only five had a BB/9 IP rate worse than Jimenez's (3.94). Career, he's at 4.04 BB/9 IP.

He had a great second half, though. That's his upside. The downside is that we see more of the first half of his 2013 season (and his entire 2012 season). I'm not saying I would be opposed to the Jays' signing him, but given his high walk rate and his track record against the AL East, it's logical to assume that the disciplined lineups in the division could give Jimenez a hard time.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, January 28 2014 @ 11:07 PM EST (#282230) #
Count me in for preferring Burnett over Santana and Ubaldo. Burnett will get worse in the AL East, but he is looking for a short-term contract and his performance probably won't be drastically different than the other guys in the AL East.

A starter (Burnett) plus Drew would be ideal, but I'm not expecting anything (I doubt Drew is even in the mix).
greenfrog - Tuesday, January 28 2014 @ 11:32 PM EST (#282231) #
My ideal (if unlikely) unfolding of events in the coming weeks:

1. Trade for Samardzija
2. Sign Burnett to a 1/15 or 2/28 contract
3. Trade for Walker (or sign Drew to something like a 2/25 contract)

Voila. Good to go for 2014.
Ryan Day - Wednesday, January 29 2014 @ 09:54 AM EST (#282233) #
This fangraphs article from September on Jimenez is interesting. It basically argues that Jimenez lost velocity in 2011 and suffered, but finally figured out a new way to pitch in 2013 - notably in the 2nd half, when he put up a 1.83 ERA with 10.7 K/9.

I've also got to admire that Jimenez was able to pitch effectively in Colorado. The Skydome shouldn't be as intimidating to him as other pitchers.
stevieboy22 - Wednesday, January 29 2014 @ 12:09 PM EST (#282234) #
Heres my take on the offseason thus far:

- My issue with trading for Samardzija is why give up prospects when you don't have to? The jays are in a great position to land Santana or Jiminez (because of the compensation). The Cubs are rumored to have asked for Stroman and Sanchez, so I think its fair to assume they don't deal him without one of those guys. And I'm doubtful AA will give up either.

- I only think you need one starting pitcher, because there is so much fringey starting depth. The jays have like 8 guys fighting for a starting spot that wouldn't have the chance otherwise. With Jiminez/Santana, Buerhle and Dickey, you are almost guaranteed 500 innings. Those guys are durable. I'm happy to roll the dice with Morrow plus "the internal whatevers," for the other two spots.

- A scenario that I could see playing out that wouldn't shock me: Adding Nelson Cruz (or another RF) + Bautista at third and Lawrie at second. I know it's not ideal, but desperate times call for desperate measures. I think this is why they got Lawrie's feet wet at second last year, in case of desperate times.

- Really disappointed the Jays didn't make a move for Cano. With the way contracts get moved these days, I am sure they could have dumped him after their 3 year window was up.

- Its been really boring, but I think AA is playing a smart strategy by waiting it out. Who knows who falls into his lap. Its not fun for jays fans, because it feels like AA is sitting at home eating bonbons while the AL East keeps getting stronger.

- Lastly, I'm thrilled to have MLB Network in Canada.
Ryan Day - Wednesday, January 29 2014 @ 12:36 PM EST (#282235) #
Jon Heyman reports that the Jays have been talking to Stephen Drew about playing 2nd.
finch - Wednesday, January 29 2014 @ 02:35 PM EST (#282236) #
The Jays being linked to Stephen Drew is hogwash in my opinion. It's Scott Boras using the Jays to get interested in Drew. The longer he sits unsigned, the lower the years and money get, especially since he's linked to compensation, pick wise. I don't doubt AA inquired about Drew but he's always, apparently, wanting to be on errrrbody, gauging what's happening with other teams. Would love to see Drew here for 1 year plus an option but doubt that's happening with a Boras client.
#2JBrumfield - Wednesday, January 29 2014 @ 02:39 PM EST (#282237) #
Keith Law released his 2014 Top 100 prospects today. Just two Jays made the list - Aaron Sanchez was ranked 30th (down from #19 in 2013) and Marcus Stroman was rated 58th (not rated in 2013).

As for former Jays prospects, Noah Syndergaard was 24th(up from 97 in '13), Travis d'Arnaud was 36 (down from 14), Jake Marisnick was 84th (dropping from 44) and Justin Nicolino was 93rd (down from 62).
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, January 29 2014 @ 02:43 PM EST (#282238) #
Ubaldo Jimenez was better last year than his numbers indicate. He sucked in April and was much improved the remainder of the season.

I don't know what happened in 2012, decent first half and a disastrous second half. He was traded in 2011, but from 2006 - early 2011 he pitched very well in Colorado.

I think he's figured out how to pitch away from Colorado and how to pitch in the A.L.
85bluejay - Wednesday, January 29 2014 @ 05:55 PM EST (#282239) #
Was looking forward to the state of the Franchise questions - then discovered that season ticket holders had to submit questions 1 week in advance - talk about control!
greenfrog - Wednesday, January 29 2014 @ 06:04 PM EST (#282240) #
I'm not sure how relevant Jimenez's pre-2011 stats are. Before 2011, his FB typically averaged about 95-96 MPH. In 2012 it was 92.5 MPH and last year it was 91.7. He's clearly a different pitcher now. Some pitchers can be successful with lower velocity; others can't. And for some, a big drop in velocity is a sign that things are about to go south (this is what happened to Doc in 2012 and 2013).

For me to be convinced that Ubaldo has turned a corner, I need to see more sustained performance from the "new Jimenez." I imagine that GMs across baseball feel the same way, which is one reason why he remains unsigned.
Mike Green - Wednesday, January 29 2014 @ 08:14 PM EST (#282241) #
Burnett is not exactly a sure thing to post an ERA better than 4 in the AL East.  The first thing you have to do with him is throw out the FIP and xFIP.  He has always had trouble pitching from the stretch, and the result has been a very noticeable difference last year, the year before and over his career between the three metrics. He posted a good ERA in Pittsburgh over the last 2 years (after mediocre years in New York).  He did throw more strikes, and whether that was due to a late maturity, I have no idea.  I do think that if you are going to make a projection for him, it has to be for an ERA of at least 3.75 in the RC and possibly higher than 4.  He doesn't have Russ Martin.  He doesn't get to face pitchers.  He does get to face the Yankees, Red Sox and Orioles a lot. 

If you can get Burnett for 2/25 and Jimenez for 3/39, it may be better to go for Burnett.  I don't see them as vastly different in quality.

Beyonder - Wednesday, January 29 2014 @ 08:36 PM EST (#282242) #
Agreed 85bluejay. They took something that was a cool event and pretty much ruined it. When all was said and done, the couldn't have answered more than 8 questions. 1 was about grass. 1 was about replay. The other 6 were lobs. The only prospect I heard get a mention was Stroman. It's a real shame because Alex is actually great on his feet and doesn't mind being asked hard questions. Instead we got to listen to Beeston warble about expectations, and how he'd rather have tried and failed than never tried at all. I guess they were concerned about it turning into a roast.
SK in NJ - Wednesday, January 29 2014 @ 10:10 PM EST (#282243) #
With the way the Jays are positioned in terms of age, I think Burnett makes far more sense than the other guys. The last thing the Jays need to do is get tied up with big contracts to pitchers who may regress in the AL East. With Burnett, he's probably looking at a one year deal, maybe two years tops, and that fits perfectly with the contracts on the roster. Plus Burnett with his GB tendencies might be the better fit compared to the human launching pad that is Santana and a guy with 100 walk potential in Ubaldo. Don't get me wrong, Burnett is going to regress in the AL East and Rogers Centre (at least from his Pittsburgh numbers) but I think he is the safer pick-up.

One guy the Jays might be able to stumble on is Bronson Arroyo, who if nothing else will stay healthy enough to pitch 200 innings like he has in 8 of the last 9 years (and one of those years was 199 IP), but him at Rogers Centre might be a disaster waiting to happen.

At this rate, I'd rather they sign someone than trade for Samardzija, so I wouldn't be upset with just about anyone they can realistically sign in free agency. Keep your assets + add to the MLB roster.
greenfrog - Wednesday, January 29 2014 @ 11:45 PM EST (#282244) #
I do think there is a risk of waiting too long to make a move. At some point teams are going to jump in and start signing players. The Jays should be aiming to get the player(s) they like the best, lest they end up choosing whoever is left over, as they did with Coco Cordero. Part of making a "value" signing is the actual value; it isn't just about signing a warm body on the cheap.
greenfrog - Wednesday, January 29 2014 @ 11:47 PM EST (#282245) #
I do think there is a risk of waiting too long to make a move. At some point teams are going to jump in and start signing players. The Jays should be aiming to get the player(s) they like the best, lest they end up choosing whoever is left over, as they did with Coco Cordero. Part of making a "value" signing is the actual value; it isn't just about signing a warm body on the cheap.
dan gordon - Thursday, January 30 2014 @ 04:38 AM EST (#282246) #
Saw on CBSSports today that Sportsnet reported the Jays had a deal in place to acquire Kinsler for Santos before Kinsler was traded earlier this offseason, but Kinsler invoked his right to refuse and nixed the deal.
John Northey - Thursday, January 30 2014 @ 07:04 AM EST (#282247) #
And there is one of the big problems with free agents. Many will choose the US over Canada unless the money spread (or years) is significant.  I suspect the Jays were aggressive (as AA tends to be) but hit a wall as the players are waiting to see if someone else will give 3 years or $x or whatever.  There is a reason the 80's/early 90's worked - the Jays became a contender using home grown & rule 5 & guys released thus didn't need people who wanted to come so much as guys who needed to come here.  Then at the end they were able to add Winfield, Morris, Molitor due to being a World Series contender (winning trumps nearly all when a player is near the end and Winfield and Molitor wanted that ring...Morris was about the money as was Clemens a few years later).

So what do the Jays do? The path they started on under AA, build internally then trade to get over the top, was the right idea. But it seems to have been ended a year or two early for some reason (pressure from up top, opportunity with the Sox and Yankees looking like they were rebuilding and Miami dumping players, who knows).  Darvish we all know would've been a good idea but higher risk however under the old posting system he was the easiest high value player to get (not a real free agent but ready for ML).  Now that path is gone, so what next?

The Jays recently signed 7 'older' players from the Dominican (Jays sign a bunch of international free agents) ages 18 to 21 so there is a potential area others aren't exploring fully as most are addicted to 16 year olds forgetting that kids can develop at an older age. The challenge is finding areas other clubs aren't exploiting right now and those are few and far between.  15 years ago OBP was an oddity, then the draft (AA took advantage of that one), Japanese players, and defense.  However each time a potential advantage is found either other clubs jump in (OBP, defense) or rules are changed making it harder to exploit (draft & Japanese).  So it is a tough time to be a GM. You have to watch your back as most other GM's are very smart also. You need to be creative to take advantage of any loophole you find and know that it could be closed at any moment.  The Yankees are poised to take full advantage of the massive hole in signing international free agents (spend as much as you wish and then take the next year off outside of low end ones while paying a big fine) that I hoped AA would exploit before anyone else did (the Rays did to some degree last year) but soon that will close with an international draft coming. Anyone able to think of other loopholes in the rules?
JB21 - Thursday, January 30 2014 @ 07:48 AM EST (#282248) #
Are we sure it was Kinsler for Santos? I know it was Brett Anderson for Santos but I had assumed it was Kinsler for another package.

I guess this helps answer the question about our payroll limitations as the Jays were prepared to take on Kinslers contract.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 30 2014 @ 09:15 AM EST (#282249) #
The Kinsler rumour does not offer clues about payroll parameters unless you know what the Jays were sending back in salary commitment in the trade that Kinsler purportedly nixed. 

Blair is talking about a possible 1 year contract for Burnett.  That would make sense.   You can certainly make a case for a higher annual salary and fewer years than Jimenez or Santana as being a good fit for the Jays needs. 

JB21 - Thursday, January 30 2014 @ 10:45 AM EST (#282250) #
Kinsler for Santos and Romero as per Ken Rosenthal.
whiterasta80 - Thursday, January 30 2014 @ 10:57 AM EST (#282251) #
Wow, Kinsler for Santos and Romero would have been an epic heist.
ayjackson - Thursday, January 30 2014 @ 10:58 AM EST (#282252) #
Keith Law walking to the beat of a different drummer again. Has Adonis Cardona as our 5th best prospect. Has our system 24th in the league.

I think BP, BA and Sickels definitely put us in the top half of the league, if not the top 10.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 30 2014 @ 11:06 AM EST (#282253) #
Kinsler for Santos and Romero as per Ken Rosenthal.

That's not how I read what Rosenthal said. KR said that Santos and Romero would not have been enough for Kinsler.
It sounds as though there is a difference in the reporting about whether the Jays and Rangers actually arrived at a deal which Kinsler nixed, or whether the Jays merely expressed interest in Kinsler and made a lowball offer.  Which is why rumours aren't worth paying that much attention to.
Gerry - Thursday, January 30 2014 @ 11:42 AM EST (#282254) #
I have seen Cordona pitch.  He has a live arm but he doesn't really know where its going and he is injured a lot.  Last season he did record a K per inning but he allowed 35 hits in 25 innings and walked 4.5 per 9.  He has the potential to be a #5 prospect but Law is really dreaming on him to place him that high.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 30 2014 @ 12:16 PM EST (#282255) #
Here is Sickels' description of the system.  I generally agree with him, except about Sanchez and D.J. Davis.  In both cases, I think the grade is significantly high.  In the case of Sanchez, Sickels notes Sanchez' control issue but not the durability issue.  Sanchez has not yet shown that he can throw 5 innings every 5 days, let alone 6 or 7 innings. In the case of Davis, the number of strikeouts given his age and developmental level is more worrisome to me than it is to Sickels.

I don't see an overall ranking of the system, but if my memory of typical Sickels' system rankings is accurate, this would probably fall somewhere in the middle of the pack and maybe somewhat above.  If you have Sanchez as a B prospect (as I would), it would be in the lower side of the middle.  I must admit that the idea that a player who has a 10-30% of being a #2 starter is an A- prospect is something that I have difficulty with. 
soupman - Thursday, January 30 2014 @ 12:22 PM EST (#282256) #
keith law has also compiled top 100s for hip hop, english literature, and board games.

i take what he says about all those things with a grain of salt, too.
Richard S.S. - Thursday, January 30 2014 @ 01:12 PM EST (#282257) #
Unless Texas discusses the proposed Kinsler deal with Toronto, we will never know who A.A. offered. The Santos to Detroit wasn't to acquire Anderson. The Trade fell through because someone, not Santos, failed their physical. It wasn't Anderson, as he was traded to NL West Team a little later. Anderson doesn't go unless he's healthy enough. Chances are we'll never know who was involved.

I don't know why A.A.'s so slow in reducing the Reliever/Spot Starter glut we have. He may end up losing good pitchers for nothing (waivers) because he has no room for them. Would Rogers and Santos gets us Franklin?
Beyonder - Thursday, January 30 2014 @ 02:18 PM EST (#282258) #
His board game rankings are spot on.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 30 2014 @ 02:52 PM EST (#282259) #
No way.  When Law gave Yahtzee a C- ranking, he totally missed its upside of efficient, quality pitching, outing after outing.  It definitely could be the Roy Halladay of board games. 
Beyonder - Thursday, January 30 2014 @ 02:58 PM EST (#282260) #
Ha! But seriously, you are really missing out if you haven't played any board games since Yahtzee. European board games are an underappreciated branch of nerdery.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 30 2014 @ 03:14 PM EST (#282261) #
You've laid down the gauntlet, Beyonder.  Nerd competitions are a Box tradition and Craig Burley is the all-time champ (in my humble opinion).

Best board game of the last 20 years, Bauxites?  As someone who has not yet visited Snakes and Lattes or played any recent board game more than once or twice, I feel unqualified to offer my two cents.
finch - Thursday, January 30 2014 @ 03:26 PM EST (#282262) #
Apples to apples...barnone!
Beyonder - Thursday, January 30 2014 @ 04:11 PM EST (#282263) #
Some of my personal favourites are:

1) For two Players: Reiner Kneiza's Samurai, Ticket to Ride
2) For Larger Groups: Lost Cities
3) More Social, Party-type games (but still for nerds): Pandemic (also fun with just 2 players), Power Grid (especially for econ buffs)
4) For Families: Dixit, Camelot Junior

Apples to Apples is fun also.
JB21 - Thursday, January 30 2014 @ 04:22 PM EST (#282264) #
Sorry Mike, I was sourcing a jays sportsnet beat writer that stated MR reported it was Kinsler for Santos and Romero. I guess we will never know, not that it matters.

PS I'm on the Apples to Apples train...
Paul D - Thursday, January 30 2014 @ 04:44 PM EST (#282265) #
One American game that I like is Battlestar Galactica, and one Japanese one is Shadow Hunters. Both of them rely on a Werewolf/Mafia style component where you don't know who's really on your team and who's out to get you.

Ticket to Ride is probably my favourite Euro, and good for someone who doesn't want to get bogged down in rules or setting.

There's also Cards Against Humanity for those of us who are despicable people.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 30 2014 @ 05:15 PM EST (#282266) #
where you don't know who's really on your team and who's out to get you

That's a clever way to bring us back to baseball.  Harkening back to my comment of a while ago about precedents for Josh Donaldson's season, Walt Dropo did emerge from nowhere at age 27 to have an MVP quality campaign with the bat.  Dropo was, on the other hand, a poor fielding first baseman. 

Looking at Dropo's career also brought me face-to-face with Dusty Rhodes BBRef page for the first time.  How did I not know about Rhodes' 1954 World Series performance, after an awesome season in a part-time role? 
perlhack - Thursday, January 30 2014 @ 05:24 PM EST (#282267) #
There are many very good board and card games. I enjoy Agricola (warning: there's a bit of a learning curve, and can take 3-4 hours per game). Others include Stone Age, Dominion (card game), Pandemic, Ticket to Ride, and Power Grid.

If you really want to geek out, here's a list of highly rated games at BoardGameGeek.
ayjackson - Thursday, January 30 2014 @ 05:24 PM EST (#282268) #
Drunk Jays Fans has a pretty interesting Pitch F/X analysis of Aaron Sanchez, based on three appearances (147 pitches) in the AFL last fall.  Recommend you all have a read.
perlhack - Thursday, January 30 2014 @ 05:28 PM EST (#282269) #
By the way, why do so many people seem to put any value on rumours of alleged trades and aquisitions. I'm sure there's some kernel of truth behind them, but on the whole they seem to lack any veracity, and exists solely to fill the news cycle void du jour.

I gleefully ignore them.
sam - Thursday, January 30 2014 @ 06:16 PM EST (#282270) #
A quick comment on the IFA's that were signed. When the bonus system was announced the real impact was always going to be on those late-bloomers. Guys such as Jairo Labourt who signed when he was 17 for several hundred thousand are not going to get as much money under the new rules. Teams have spent their allotment early in the process on a few guys, such that they have few funds available for late-bloomers or the second/third tier of prospects. Because the system is cyclical, kids and their handlers will jump at the money for fear of being swamped out by the next year's crop.

So there are two ways of looking at these signings. One, the Jays have done well to put aside some money (and acquire some) to sign kids who have bloomed late and add depth to the system. Most of the latin stars in the big leagues were not the 16 year old bonus babies we get excited about every July, so the Jays have done well to follow and sign these guys. Second, and perhaps more sinister, the Jays have signed some of these kids as back-room type deals to gain an advantage with handlers. What I mean, a handler will have a number of players under his tutelage. A handler will say to a team; if you sign X player who is not a prospect for $50,000, I might agree to sell you Y player who is a legit prospect next year. Given that there is a cap on what teams can sign kids for now, these back-room deals could be the difference maker. I believe Ben Badler at BA has alluded to these types of deals being more common under the new system. While I have no clue who the handlers are for the kids who were recently signed, by looking at the ages of some of the kids who signed--20-21, which is a bit old to be signing latin prospects--it does seem possible that their signing could be groundwork for other, more high-profile signings.

Come June/July, keep an eye out for who the top IFA prospects are and who their respective handlers are. Then, check back to see who the handlers are for these guys who just signed.
soupman - Thursday, January 30 2014 @ 07:13 PM EST (#282271) #
good insight, sam. i'm hesitant to call that sinister, since it seems like the smart thing to do.

if you ask me, the entire international system itself is sinister until the time that a worldwide draft is instituted, and draft spending caps are done away with.

but that's a whole different kettle of fish.

pandemic and battlestar are games i think i'd like. carcassonne and settlers of catan were the gateway drugs for me, though.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 30 2014 @ 07:43 PM EST (#282272) #
I learned relatively little from the AFL pitchfx on Sanchez.  I know that he has stuff that could make him a good starter.  If he develops the change and improves his control considerably, maybe a great starter.  The major league stuff comparisons aren't really helpful.  Sanchez was throwing 50 pitches per outing.  The major leaguers throw 90-110 and the second 50 pitches in an outing are usually not the same as the first 50.  The issues with Sanchez are control and durability.   It's not that these things cannot be overcome- you could have said the same thing about Sandy Koufax at Sanchez' age.  The odds are against him though. 

Mike Green - Thursday, January 30 2014 @ 08:04 PM EST (#282273) #
Speaking of pitchfx, here's a great article at THT.  I love the bit at the end on Doug Fister and Jered Weaver.  Really insightful. 
Jonny German - Friday, January 31 2014 @ 08:24 AM EST (#282274) #
Board games on the Box!!! Whaaatt?!?!

Nerd competitions are a Box tradition

No no no, you're thinking RPGs, Mike. Board games are cool.

Best board game of the last 20 years, Bauxites?

It is in fact not a board game at all, but a card game: Dominion.

Other suggestions suitable for the uninitiated: Carcassonne, Settlers of Catan, 7 Wonders, Alhambra, TransAmerica, King of Tokyo, Bohnanza.
Jonny German - Friday, January 31 2014 @ 08:26 AM EST (#282275) #
And I should mention: Carcassonne has an outstanding iPad app, if you'd like to check it out that way.
Mike Green - Friday, January 31 2014 @ 09:14 AM EST (#282276) #
OK, I've played Ticket to Ride and enjoyed it.  I'll have to try Dominion, Carcassonne (and visit the actual fortifications which have been recommended to me many times) and Apples to Apples.  Probably Cards Against Humanity too because I think I can do despicable with comfort.

I am glad to hear that Board games are cool.  I trust that this does not mean that I have to grow some kind of unusual facial hair for the first time in almost 30 years in order to play them publicly!
Ryan Day - Friday, January 31 2014 @ 09:38 AM EST (#282277) #
I am psychologically preparing myself for a round of Cards Against Humanity tonight. Great fun, if you have the right group of people. Apples to Apples can be a fun, family-friendly version, but you still need a certain type of person - people who play the game literally are no fun.

On the subject, I highly recommend watching Parks & Rec's Cones of Dunshire sequence. One of the most nerd-specific scenes I've ever seen on tv.
bpoz - Friday, January 31 2014 @ 11:15 AM EST (#282278) #
Please enlighten me on the Int'l budget rules.

For example in the June draft any player signed for under $100,000 does not count against your budget. I believe it is $100,000.
So is there a $ number that if under it does not count. eg $500, remember the kid gets room & board and an opportunity to succeed. That sounds fairly good to me anyway.
Chuck - Friday, January 31 2014 @ 11:26 AM EST (#282279) #
I am psychologically preparing myself for a round of Cards Against Humanity tonight

I was recently introduced to CAH and have only every played it in a 3-generation family setting. As the game does not easily lend itself to genteel PG play, the gloves were taken off and nasty was the motif. No mercy was shown for anyone from the Pat Boone generation, though they were not as capable of discerning when despicable was actually clever. I do confess to having sometimes needed to consult urban dictionary, and then chiding my son for his generation having invented such nasty words.

Mike Green - Friday, January 31 2014 @ 12:12 PM EST (#282280) #
I do confess to having sometimes needed to consult urban dictionary, and then chiding my son for his generation having invented such nasty words.

My children sometimes have to warn their peers that I am often inappropriate.  I guess that makes me a natural for CAH.  And as for the Pat Boone generation, I prefer to call them the Allen Ginsberg/Lenny Bruce generation.  And as for their predecessors, I prefer to call them the Sophie Tucker generation. It might be a cultural thing...
ogator - Friday, January 31 2014 @ 12:19 PM EST (#282281) #
OK, board games aside, Santana or Jiminez or neither? If I were in the chair, I think I'd go Jiminez although the article in Fangraphs today, scared me half to death. Another thought that scares me half to death is an injury to Buerhle or Dickey. I don't know how many innings one can rationally expect from Morrow but if one of the two workhorses go down, there has to be someone who can take the ball and what they have right now is not enough.
Paul D - Friday, January 31 2014 @ 12:31 PM EST (#282282) #
ogator, I'd vote for Burnett, primarily because I don't really see the point of signing anyone beyond 2015 if it can be avoided.
SK in NJ - Friday, January 31 2014 @ 04:18 PM EST (#282283) #
Sign Burnett and Arroyo. They will want 1 or 2 years tops.

Trade Happ (and Janssen if they want to save more money to accommodate the two new starters)

That means four guys with a reasonable chance at 200 IP, plus a wild card in Morrow. I could live with that, even though Arroyo in the AL East is a tad scary.
christaylor - Friday, January 31 2014 @ 07:22 PM EST (#282284) #
Playing Carcassonne with a farmer-heavy strategy is basically the Tampa Bay Rays of the last decade.

The only way I can think of simulating the Yanks/Sox in Carcassonne is if that player gets to select what tiles they get on each and every turn.
christaylor - Friday, January 31 2014 @ 07:37 PM EST (#282285) #
Is AJ now coachable enough to take the order "never pitch out of the stretch"?

The more I stare off into the rain and fog of my new home Southern England this winter, I shudder at the thought of not being able to see AJ suit up in Blue this year. I could stay up way past my bedtime but I've got cricket to learn now.

In my now somewhat advanced age (I'm roughly approaching the same age as AJ) I realize I wasn't exactly that coachable or given to obeying orders in my late 20s or early 30s either... perhaps I'm a "head case" too.

I also kind of wilted on a big stage (Boston, not New York) but academia ain't baseball, but then again... psychology matters regardless of your profession. It just happens to be mine, so I'll cop to a slight bias.

Step 1. Sign AJ for 2 years and whatever he wants to induce him to play, but give him one of those nice injury clauses in his contract that have been developed recently (dunno nuthin' about how those work). Bring Roy in to kick his ass (quietly in the clubhouse) when necessary.

Step 2. Plan the parade up Blue Jay Way, turn left at King, go on down to Liberty Village -- do that Rogers and I'll even fly Air Canada home.
christaylor - Friday, January 31 2014 @ 08:28 PM EST (#282286) #
"...growing from 436 square inches in 2008 to 459 square inches this past year."

This. The author calling this a 5% increase underplays what a massive increase this is to the human visual system when making judgments about area.

This is relevant:

(GScholar has a version not behind a paywall, but it is a specialist journal)... the ability to judge area decreases with size (Weber's law) but... not a ton.

Chiefly, learning about these data changes my opinion on Joey Bats losing his cool... any player his age and a good ability to judge the strike zone should be yelling at the ump, if perhaps less ostentatiously than JB.
Gerry - Saturday, February 01 2014 @ 09:02 AM EST (#282287) #
BA has previewed the Caribbean world series and highlights Esmil Rogers:

Toronto righty Esmil Rogers has led the pitching staff with 22 innings of shutout ball and three playoffs wins.
Mike Green - Saturday, February 01 2014 @ 10:17 AM EST (#282288) #
I guess the new change has been working for Rogers.  It's also normally easier on the arm than the off-speed stuff he usually throws, which might help with his durability.
jgadfly - Saturday, February 01 2014 @ 10:47 AM EST (#282289) #
On BA's Caribbean Series article ... Does Cuba's Jose Fernandez, "a second baseman and shortstop, used a smooth, flat lefthanded swing to hit .393/.495/.593 with 27 walks against five strikeouts in 185 plate appearances on the year in Serie Nacional", pique one's interest.
Surely, with some string unraveling, this may be one area where Toronto, with direct flights to Havana, may have an advantage over American teams as a preferred point of destination.
Perhaps, John in Thunder Bay could put in a good word with a Deputy Leader of a particularly coloured political party to help expedite the process ?
Thomas - Saturday, February 01 2014 @ 12:34 PM EST (#282290) #
The Royals have designated Emilio Bonifacio for assignment.

I'd much rather the team reunite with AJ Burnett.
Mike Green - Saturday, February 01 2014 @ 12:34 PM EST (#282291) #
Bonifacio DFAed to make room for Bruce Chen.  One old friend displaces another, it seems.
Mike Green - Saturday, February 01 2014 @ 12:36 PM EST (#282292) #
I guess we can add "posting news" to the list of Winter Olympic events.  You get the gold, Thomas...
John Northey - Saturday, February 01 2014 @ 12:54 PM EST (#282293) #
Well, so much for those who said the Jays let him go too soon.  In his first 18 games with KC he hit 297/384/406 (11-0 SB-CS), then after that hit 277/330/309 in 24 games (5-2 SB-CS).  Much better than as a Jay (218/258/321 12-6 SB-CS) but a lot like Kawasaki (229/326/308 7-1 SB-CS) but unable to play SS.

Yeah, no need for Bonifacio. If he'd go for a AAA deal, why not but otherwise I see no point in revisiting him as we already have a guy who is similar but better in Kawasaki.

John Northey - Saturday, February 01 2014 @ 01:00 PM EST (#282294) #
FYI: KC owes Bonifacio $3.5 million for this season regardless.  Meanwhile Kawasaki is probably guaranteed around $1 million.  Not sure if his contract was guaranteed or not though, might only owe him a 30 day 'severance pay' which would be about $583k (arbitration has that rule, but not sure about contracts signed pre-arbitration).

Beyonder - Saturday, February 01 2014 @ 01:13 PM EST (#282295) #
I read that Bonifacio is only owed one-sixth of his salary.
Chuck - Saturday, February 01 2014 @ 01:46 PM EST (#282296) #
Bonifacio sounds like someone the Yankees might add to their collection of misfit toy infielders.
Richard S.S. - Saturday, February 01 2014 @ 03:00 PM EST (#282297) #
A.J. at age 37 is an injury waiting to happen and another non-playoff appearing year. Santana and Jimenez are risks well taken, but Burnett is a massive risk, more than this team should ever take.

Bonifacio? Why sign someone who cannot play on turf?

Most of the stuff on this site occurs because people are bored.
John Northey - Saturday, February 01 2014 @ 04:57 PM EST (#282298) #
True. Things are extremely quiet and we have a fair amount of time until pitchers and catchers report, let along games that count.

Bonifacio would be a guy for AAA or AA only, and no more. Right now I think the Jays have a fair number of guys in AAA for middle infield depth though so maybe not even then.  It'll be interesting to see if Boni ends up in Tampa and ends up having a career year.
Thomas - Saturday, February 01 2014 @ 07:12 PM EST (#282299) #
Burnett is a massive risk, more than this team should ever take

Is that because he doesn't meet your criteria of 200IP, a minimum of 12 wins, and an average of 7 innings per start?

Original Ryan - Saturday, February 01 2014 @ 08:13 PM EST (#282300) #
Speaking of bringing guys back to Rogers Centre, apparently Tracy McGrady sees himself as a pitcher.
Richard S.S. - Saturday, February 01 2014 @ 09:35 PM EST (#282301) #
Either you are one of those who will not think (aka "the brain dead -a politician) or you take great pleasure in baiting an unruly bear.

AJ is more likely to go on the DL than any other pitcher or batter on his team. Tracy McGrady might be a better pitcher this year than Burnett will be (that could get ugly quick). Any time a pitcher's best pitch loses velocity that much (including control ) you must consider is it coming back. It not a knuckleball so at his age - no.
Parker - Sunday, February 02 2014 @ 12:05 AM EST (#282302) #
Burnett hasn't been injured since he was a Blue Jay, but that's probably because he's one of those players who can't pitch on turf, right Richard?
stevieboy22 - Sunday, February 02 2014 @ 01:25 AM EST (#282303) #
"Burnett hasn't been injured since he was a Blue Jay" I don't like going on message boards and correcting people, but.... this
Parker - Sunday, February 02 2014 @ 07:50 AM EST (#282304) #
Fair enough; what I meant was that he hasn't missed a significant amount of time due to injury.
Thomas - Sunday, February 02 2014 @ 10:11 AM EST (#282305) #
Richard, what velocity drop are you talking about?

The charts I'm reading suggest Burnett's velocity in 2013 was the same as it was in 2012 and in fact, he actually was throwing his curveball on average a full mile per hour faster. In fact, if you go back to 2010 he's lost about half a mile per hour on his fastball and change-up since then, but his curveball's velocity has barely changed.
92-93 - Sunday, February 02 2014 @ 10:25 AM EST (#282306) #
I heard mention of Burnett's declining fastball multiple times on 590 this week - it appears not be correct, as per Fangraphs' velocity chart.

For me, Burnett is the no-brainer superior option to Jimenez & Santana for a club that needs to operate in a fiscally responsible manner and has been extremely hesitant to go long term on players, especially pitchers. Getting Burnett & Drew on 2 year deals would be a nice haul for a winter.
greenfrog - Sunday, February 02 2014 @ 10:49 AM EST (#282307) #
As I wrote a few days ago, the Jays should be all over Burnett if he's available. It's unsurprising to me that the Rays have reportedly checked in on him.

I think the Jays could land him if they're willing to court him aggressively and outbid the field. I would have no problem with the Jays going as high as 1/18 or 2/30. The risk associated with a contract in that range is very limited. It's somewhat akin to the deal the Yankees made with Kuroda when he was acquired as a free agent.
SK in NJ - Sunday, February 02 2014 @ 12:56 PM EST (#282308) #
I was thinking the same thing about Burnett. Either go really high on a one year deal ($17-$18M), or offer him $15-16M per on a two year deal. I think in either scenario the Jays would be the highest bidder, unless the Orioles and Pirates have more money to spend than I'm assuming.

If the Jays get Burnett and Drew (who I would sign to a 3 year deal due to how bad the middle infield depth is in this organization), then I'd be OK with going into the season and seeing what happens with that roster.
stevieboy22 - Sunday, February 02 2014 @ 01:30 PM EST (#282309) #
Im all for resigning Burnett.

But imagine the optics for the casual fan...

They seem to think Burnett averaged under 50 terrible innings per season as a bluejay and was the highest paid pitcher in baseball... When in reality he averaged over 170 innings w/ sub 4 ERA per year, and only ended up making around 7-8 million per year (the contract was backloaded and he opted out of those years).

Its what kills me about Toronto fans... After not selling out a non-home opener for years, 50,000 fans show just to boo AJ in his return....
ComebyDeanChance - Sunday, February 02 2014 @ 02:44 PM EST (#282310) #
I think it would be great if the Jays could sign Burnett. I also think there is very little realistic chance that would happen at this stage of his career. This isn't someone looking for his one chance at a mega payday a la BJ Ryan that you can double the rest of the market to get him to come to Canada. This is someone near the end of his career. And while I know that some believe that an extra one or two million dollars makes Americans want to play in Canada, I think that's pretty well limited to guys on comparatively small salaries and comparatively few options. I would be extremely surprised if AJ chose to play in Canada.
greenfrog - Sunday, February 02 2014 @ 03:03 PM EST (#282311) #
I basically agree, but if the rest of the field is offering $14m and the Jays are offering $18m, I think Burnett might consider it.
92-93 - Sunday, February 02 2014 @ 05:24 PM EST (#282312) #
You just need to be the team offering Burnett's wife the most free limo rides to AJ's home games.
soupman - Sunday, February 02 2014 @ 09:47 PM EST (#282313) #
am i the only one who increasingly wished they had just brought josh johnson back?
ayjackson - Monday, February 03 2014 @ 12:52 AM EST (#282315) #
Josh Johnson
Ubaldo Jimenez
Ervin Santana
AJ Burnett

If you asked me which one of these four is going to put up a sub-3.50 ERA this year, I'd probably say JJ. If you asked who's least likely to put up a sub-4.25 ERA, I might also say JJ.
christaylor - Monday, February 03 2014 @ 04:22 AM EST (#282317) #
Bonifacio? Why sign someone who cannot play on turf? Most of the stuff on this site occurs because people are bored. Bonifacio wasn't signed. You're thinking of Izturus. At some point in life, people realize that bit of boredom ain't an altogether bad thing -- I believe that's called marriage, but what do I know?
christaylor - Monday, February 03 2014 @ 04:25 AM EST (#282318) #
I can't believe it -- I didn't read this comment and marriage came up twice.

Perhaps Burnett's maturity might of come with kids... or a break to his orbital bone.
sweat - Monday, February 03 2014 @ 08:26 AM EST (#282320) #
I hope so.
soupman - Monday, February 03 2014 @ 09:29 AM EST (#282323) #
i agree. i think jj is the only guy that has a CHANCE to have a sub-3.00 ERA having done it before. i think the inflated era was a blip on the radar, and that this year (like most) it's more health questions than performance ones i'd be asking.

had they signed him and added a workhorse like arroyo, i think that would have been a good way to hedge. i like the idea more than burnett + arroyo.
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