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Today was the first day of camp for pitchers and catchers. Sunday was physicals day and the pitchers will start their throwing programs tomorrow. The pitchers are alone for a few days until Thursday when position players are due to report. The first spring training game is a week from Wednesday, on the 26th.

Off the field there is nothing new to report. Depending on which report you believe any of the following could be true:

- the remaining free agents might not sign until mid-March

- some of the free agents might not sign until June, with Morales being the prime candidate for this theory

- the news last week that the price for the free agents was reasonable caused several teams to re-engage with the agents

- the cost of the first round pick has scared off so many teams that the Jays are the only bidders at this point

- the Orioles, Mariners, Jays, Yankees, are all interested in the free agent pitchers

- the price for a starter is down to 3 years, and $27M

- the price for a starter hasn't budged much, it's still in the 4 year, $60M range

- the Blue Jays are ready to jump on one of the remaining pitchers

- the Blue Jays only have $9M per year to offer a free agent

Who knows what to believe? I don't.

In other news the Red Sox saved $13M on Sunday when Ryan Dempster decided not to pitch in 2014. He was likely the sixth starter for the Red Sox and sitting in the bullpen until an injury happened.

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The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
katman - Sunday, February 16 2014 @ 11:25 PM EST (#282562) #
Classy of Dempster to turn down $13 million guaranteed dollars because he didn't believe he could perform to his own standards. Boston already has 5/6 starter depth locked in, so we'll see if this makes them do anything at all.
Chuck - Monday, February 17 2014 @ 06:57 AM EST (#282563) #
Dempster has a very sick daughter and I wonder if that didn't figure into his decision.
Richard S.S. - Monday, February 17 2014 @ 09:39 AM EST (#282564) #
Right now, a game of chicken is ongoing, who ever blinks first.

Stephen Drew is a Boras client so he isn't going to sign any time soon. Boras will shop around any good offer Drew gets hoping for more, but delaying the process more and more. I'd like to see A.A. acquire him as our 2B. Having a quality SS available to take over at SS if needed is a huge gain.

Nelson Cruz doesn't realize his market is almost nonexistent. His demands don't seem to have changed. Only Seattle seems to be interested.

Kendrys Morales has no market, absolutely none. That's mainly because his defensive issues. He'd be a nice pick-up after the June Draft.

I'm willing to go four years on either Ervin Santana or Ubaldo Jimenez or both. I'd also be willing to go $15.0 MM per year. They are at least half as good (or better) than Kershaw and at least two-thirds as good as (or better) than Tanaka.

I just don't know what's taking A.A. so long to do anything.
Mike Green - Monday, February 17 2014 @ 09:41 AM EST (#282565) #
Just so that no one needs to sift through way too many sources, the following are in the best shape of their lives:

Alex Anthopoulos- hit the weight room hard during the off-season with 200 lb. dumbbells to prepare for free agent negotiations
John Gibbons- the intense interval walk/stop 5K training has him ready for any rough pitching games he faces this season
Brett Lawrie- gave the Canadian beer fridge in Sochi a pounding but should be ready by Opening Day
Knuckles Dickey- floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee
Mark Buehrle- the yoga didn't seem like a natural for him, but he is even calmer than last year
Edwin Encarnacion- the bilateral upright arm planking has him ready for many home run trots this season
Colby Rasmus- the extreme line dancing training was tougher than you might think

You're welcome.

greenfrog - Monday, February 17 2014 @ 09:52 AM EST (#282566) #
Waiting doesn't seem like an unreasonable strategy for Jimenez and Santana. Starting pitchers are going to go down with injuries (this has already started happening; examples include Iwakuma, Walker and Mulder).

Teams might not end up caving to their demands, but then again, someone might. It wouldn't surprise me to see the Mariners or Yankees step up.
92-93 - Monday, February 17 2014 @ 10:49 AM EST (#282567) #
What would surprise me is these guys being so desperate they come hat in hand to AA and accept his terms.
85bluejay - Monday, February 17 2014 @ 11:35 AM EST (#282568) #
I agree that injuries and poor springs will help Santana/Jimenez get better offers - Given the red flags that come with both starters especially the inconsistency, I won't be that disappointed if the Jays miss out. I'd be much happier if the money goes toward signing Aledmys Diaz and moving him to 2nd - he could start at Buffalo and be ready if/when Goins falters.

Last spring training was a disaster, the organisation spent the entire spring selling the sizzle and not concentrating on the steak (much like the Red Sox 2011 spring training)-
I'm hoping for a more business-like approach to this spring - John "golly gee" Gibbons needs to take charge.

Kevin Seitzer, I believe colud be the most important offseason move the Jays made (I'm a fan of his approach) and I'm interested to how that develops.

I'm probably more excited about the Jays internal pitching options than most - it will be interesting to follow & see who gets the "A" games and who pitches in the minor league games.
bpoz - Monday, February 17 2014 @ 12:54 PM EST (#282569) #
Thanks Mike Green.
ST means nothing....ask Jack Morris.
If I remember correctly, he throws what ever he wants, when & where he wants. "A" game or minor league game, did not matter.

He still got to be the Opening day starter. Not sure how he did however.
Mylegacy - Monday, February 17 2014 @ 12:55 PM EST (#282570) #
Single malt always tastes better once pitchers and catchers report...just sayin'...
jerjapan - Monday, February 17 2014 @ 01:43 PM EST (#282571) #
Ha, Mylegacy, you of all people know single malt tastes good year round!

Predictions for the AL east?  I'm thinking:

Boston - could run away with things if the young trio of Bradley Jr., Bogaerts and Middlebrooks can take a step forward.  Could be vulnerable if they don't.  I have a sneaking feeling they will feel the loss of the depth provided by Dempster.

Tampa Bay  - love the defense and pitching, but too many questions about the offense.  I could see Loney reverting to a pumpkin.  If Myers emerges as a star this year - and I think there's a 50-50 chance he will - they could run away with the division.

Toronto - hope springs eternal.  I'm counting on at least one significant addition before the season starts to warrant this prediction.

New York - this is a weird, lopsided roster.  The infield could be an utter disaster.  Then again, I've been expecting them to fall apart for a few years now.

Baltimore - man, it sucks to play in the AL east. 

Parker - Monday, February 17 2014 @ 03:45 PM EST (#282572) #
I get the feeling the Jays are going to finish this season with a worse record than 2013's. Counting on a return to Cy Young performance from Dickey, a return to health and pre-suspension form from Cabrera, and no significant injuries to all the guys who got hurt last year (except for Happ, I suppose) as well as significant steps forward for Gose and Goins seems irrational. This is an injury-prone team with lousy starting pitching that is now a year older than the one that produced last year's disastrous results, and I don't think the improved defence will be enough to offset the age-related regression. Adding a Santana or a Jimenez would probably add a couple wins, but not enough to make the Jays competitive. Not that I think either one will end up signing with the Jays. Stephen Drew would be a bigger upgrade, but I can't see the Jays being contenders for a Boras client like him, especially now that Boston has additional payroll flexibility coming from not having to pay Ryan Dempster.

God, I hope I'm wrong, but this doesn't look like even a .500 team to me.
jerjapan - Monday, February 17 2014 @ 04:35 PM EST (#282573) #
worse than 74-88?  ouch.  one doesn't have to expect peak performances from Dickey, Melkey and the overall health of the team to expect them to beat that. 

Optimistically, one can hope for improvements from nearly everywhere on the diamond - the roation minus JJ, plus even an adequate Morrow, should be better, especially if the 'Dickey figured out the Dome in the 2nd half' meme turns out to be true.  Even without Jimenez or Santana, our depth starters are much, much better this year.

The pen, with Santos and McGowan healthy, should be lights out.  I could see regression in some, but Delabar could be even more impressive this year. 

Cabrera can't be worse than he was in left.  The infield should be improved with Reyes and Lawrie healthy and the disaster that was 2B replaced by Goins - he doesn't have to hit any better than he did last year to be an improvement.   catcher's better ... honestly, only DH seems likely to be worse without Davis, although I'll admit we might get bad Colby again next year and Jose's not getting any younger. 

A LOT would have to go right for us to contend, but worse than last year?  I'd bet money against that one. 

Parker - Monday, February 17 2014 @ 04:58 PM EST (#282574) #
If the guys replacing JJ are locks to be better than him, that's true. Morrow can be dominant when healthy, but he gets hurt an awful lot. Dickey, yeah, he was better in the second half, but he's now a year older as well. I hope he puts together a 3.50-ish ERA, but I think it's a mistake to count on it. Santos and McGowan are awesome when healthy, but will they stay healthy? Both have lengthy injury histories. I'll give you Delabar, but relief performance is so volatile it's a crapshoot to predict without several seasons of dominance.

I disagree that Cabrera can't be worse, and if he is, who replaces him? I have no doubt Lawrie and Reyes are a solid left side infield when healthy. The question is whether they can stay healthy. Reyes has missed time in four of the last five seasons. Lawrie, with his all-out style of play is almost a lock to get hurt in weird ways. Goins is miles ahead on defence but might not be any better than Izturis/Bonifacio over a full season. Navarro/Whoever should be an improvement on both offence and defence over Arencibia/Whoever but I don't think it'll be significant enough to offset the aging of all the above-average players from 2013.

I never bet against teams I'm emotionally invested in, but if I were an objective observer, I'd take that bet. Again though, I hope I'm wrong because I really want to see this team succeed.
92-93 - Monday, February 17 2014 @ 05:19 PM EST (#282575) #
"the roation minus JJ, plus even an adequate Morrow, should be better...our depth starters are much, much better this year."

I don't understand this common idea that the rotation should automatically be better. The Jays spent a lot to acquire Josh Johnson and he was supposed to front the rotation with Dickey. He's gone. Dickey & Buehrle are a year older and closer to falling off a cliff (though I do think both should be solid), and Morrow has another year under his belt of an incomplete grade at best, and a failure at worst. As for the depth, it's a lot to count on. Yes, Wang was terrible, but Redmond & Rogers led the Jays in backup starts last year by a comfortable margin, and both were fine. Ortiz & Jenkins were a wash. In other words, the Jays depth wasn't the issue last year - it was their 2 best starters burying them early and the unreliability of Morrow.

"and the disaster that was 2B replaced by Goins - he doesn't have to hit any better than he did last year to be an improvement."

There are legitimate reasons to wonder whether Goins can even duplicate a .252/.264/.345 line. 2B is a massive hole right now.

Most of the points Parker makes are bang on, but I would be surprised by everything going so poorly again and this squad only winning 74 games.
Beyonder - Monday, February 17 2014 @ 06:25 PM EST (#282576) #
Buster Olney is passing along reports saying Jiminez is close to signing with the Orioles, four years, 48 million.
jerjapan - Monday, February 17 2014 @ 06:31 PM EST (#282577) #

greenfrog - Monday, February 17 2014 @ 06:51 PM EST (#282578) #
Ouch. Too rich for the Jays' blood, no doubt. I wonder if Jimenez's agent "circled back" to Anthopoulos before closing the deal, as the Jays' GM confidently predicted Jimenez and Santana's agents would.

Part of me is happy to see the O's make this move. They won't be the favourites in the AL East, but they should have a scrappy team that does a number of things right. I like what they've done under Showalter and Duquette on a limited budget. They have a window of contention and they're doing their best to stay reasonably competitive.
Gerry - Monday, February 17 2014 @ 07:01 PM EST (#282579) #
The division continues to improve.

The Jays sign Dioner Navarro.
Richard S.S. - Monday, February 17 2014 @ 07:04 PM EST (#282580) #
Ubaldo Jimenez should be at least as good as Mark Buehrle if not much better. Mark Buehrle makes $37.0 MM over then next two years, and he's five years older.

And $12.0 MM per year over four years is too rich. That's just too funny to believe.
Mike D - Monday, February 17 2014 @ 07:15 PM EST (#282581) #
There is no logical case to be made that the Jays will finish anything other than in last place. It's a certainty.

And it'll be an expensive last place team. And one with a denuded farm system.
Parker - Monday, February 17 2014 @ 07:17 PM EST (#282582) #
I honestly didn't expect the Jays to follow through on any of Anothopoulos' claims that he'd be spending to upgrade the rotation. I believe he was directed to give that impression to the fanbase in order to sell tickets, but the required money wasn't actually available to him. Blue Jays brass unwisely opened up the pocketbook last offseason for the Mets and Marlins trades (as well as allowing Anthopoulos to throw away yea dollars on Izturis and Cabrera) and the results were an almost unmitigated disaster. Anthopoulos was allowed to bring in Navarro using the money saved from releasing Arencibia (because SOMEONE had to replace him and Anthopoulos already traded away all possible in-system replacements) but was likely told there wouldn't be any more money until after his team showed some kind of positive outcome on the field.
greenfrog - Monday, February 17 2014 @ 07:21 PM EST (#282583) #
I recall a rumour from a month or two ago that the Jays' FO actually preferred Santana to Jimenez. I guess now we'll find out just how badly the Jays want him.

The nice thing about the O's preemptive strike (from their perspective) is that it leaves the rest of the field (Yankees, Mariners, Jays, maybe another team or two) to fight over the remaining quality free agent starter. As a result, the O's stay out of a potential free agent bidding war.

Kazmir's contract is looking better than ever.
greenfrog - Monday, February 17 2014 @ 07:28 PM EST (#282584) #
Per MLBTR: "Promising a fourth year was necessary, tweets Kubatko, due to interest from multiple other AL East clubs, including the Blue Jays."

Being unwilling to offer a fourth move? Short-sighted? Time will tell.
greenfrog - Monday, February 17 2014 @ 07:57 PM EST (#282585) #
Buster Olney ‏@Buster_ESPN 12m
O's went to 4th year in their talks w/Jimenez out of concern BOS and/or TOR would go for three-year deal. But TOR/BOS didn't make offers.
JB21 - Monday, February 17 2014 @ 08:40 PM EST (#282586) #
I'm sure ya'll saw last year's Jays Nintendo video. Well, here's the bonus pack. Funny stuff...
BlueJayWay - Monday, February 17 2014 @ 08:59 PM EST (#282587) #
Also hearing that there's been no offer for Santana either.

The money just isn't there.

greenfrog - Monday, February 17 2014 @ 09:18 PM EST (#282588) #
Remember that the Jays may have a lower payroll in 2015-17 than originally anticipated, as a result of new leadership at Rogers and the significantly lower dollar. The game plan may have changed, with a renewed focus on youth and building from within. It has been a long time since free agency played a significant role in the composition of the team. Darvish, Tanaka, Cespedes, Soler, Puig, Chapman, Sanchez, Kuroda, Kazmir, and many others have sailed by in recent years. Hard to see the Jays suddenly giving an arguably lesser player like Santana $45-50m or more at this stage.
Oceanbound - Monday, February 17 2014 @ 09:29 PM EST (#282589) #
Maybe they haven't offered anything to Santana because they don't like him. That would be reasonable.
Mike Green - Monday, February 17 2014 @ 09:31 PM EST (#282590) #
Kazmir's contract is looking better than ever.

Concur.  I don't think that it is the end of the world if the Blue Jays don't sign a starting pitcher.  It sure would be nice to have a second baseman though. Maybe they are able to parlay a high leverage reliever and an A ball starting pitching prospect for Nick Franklin in the next couple of days.  And maybe not. 
greenfrog - Monday, February 17 2014 @ 09:40 PM EST (#282591) #
Mike, would you do Hutch or Stroman for Franklin, straight up? The Jays have pitching depth, but lack positional player depth (and youth).

Of course, the M's are probably hoping for a bigger (or more established) arm or a quality bat.
SK in NJ - Monday, February 17 2014 @ 10:45 PM EST (#282592) #
And not offering the qualifying offer to Josh Johnson looks even dumber in hindsight than it did at the time.
katman - Monday, February 17 2014 @ 11:15 PM EST (#282593) #
"And not offering the qualifying offer to Josh Johnson looks even dumber in hindsight than it did at the time."
No, that still looks good.

But failing to do anything to upgrade the team, other than replacing JPA with Navarro, doesn't look good either. It amounts to giving up, without any of the benefits from selling talent. We were told last year that the deals etc. were part of a concerted effort over 3 years, not a 1-shot attempt. This offseason makes a lie of that.
greenfrog - Monday, February 17 2014 @ 11:55 PM EST (#282594) #
I would have liked to see the Jays acquire players like Kazmir, Hanigan, Ellis, Walker, Hudson this off-season. However, these types of moves never materialized, for whatever reason.

I wonder whether the Jays are looking ahead to the July deadline, when they could have more trade chips to work with. Right now they have a lot of prospects (Hutch, Drabek, Tirado, Sanchez, Nolin, to name a few, plus all the low-minors prospects) whose stock could well be higher than it is now. No sense in overpaying for a free agent, or selling low on prospects - this might be the front office's thinking.

However, July always seems to be a sellers' market, in my experience (although sometimes you can get a CC for a Laporta, or a Lee for a Smoak).

I don't see the Jays giving Santana four years. It's likely that some team will, though.
Mylegacy - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 12:26 AM EST (#282595) #
I love the smell of panic in the Dunedin air.

Listen up guys...

We've Dickey, Morrow (now weighing in at 219 pounds of new found muscle - more than he's ever weighed) and The Big B...behind these three, by June(ish) we've Hutchison and Stroman. Do you really want to spend (waste) 40 big ones over four years on a mediocre pitcher? And just in case - we've Happ, Nolan, Drabek, McGowan and Redmond.

Do you remember Hutichson before he got hurt? He was, over his complete minor league career, smokin' hot. Stroman looks to be the Russell Wilson of pitchers - give this stud the ball and the chance. I'd much rather spend 80% of 2014 watching these five pitch than the first three and then a couple of overpaid, uneven, unwanted, unloved losers.

soupman - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 12:35 AM EST (#282596) #
i still don't get them letting johnson walk. at the time i assumed he was injured...but, if that isn't the case, then i think letting him walk has the potential to look much worse than anything aa has done so far. of course this is easy to say given how the offseason has transpired, but i felt it at the time, too.

i like how aa "games" the system most times, and it works when you're trying to pay a guy (rule4/ifa, etc) MORE than what others can pay them, but it's obviously a very very poor strategy when you're trying to pay someone below the (relatively) established market value.

i'm sure the loonie's nosedive didn't help anything, either...but, hey...that's life. who knows, though? could be nice to have some of the young(ish) arms really dazzle for a month or two.

John Northey - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 06:50 AM EST (#282597) #
Morrow added 30 lbs of muscle according to which seems...odd. Before the mid-90's it would've been a pure 'wow' but since then questions arise when a guy adds that much in one off-season.  Still, lets hope it works well for him.

Any list of who did that weighted ball stuff this past winter? Kind of curious to see how the guys doing it do this year. Hutchison is one to watch as is Drabek as both would be prime candidates for it coming off of injuries.
Mike D - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 08:10 AM EST (#282598) #
I really don't think it's a budget issue. I can't imagine Anthopoulos has been begging unsuccessfully for Jimenez and Santana money.

But $132 million is a lot to pay to shrug your shoulders and accept last place. I recognize that dumping salary isn't that likely to yield much when so many high-priced Jays had performance and/or injury problems. Still, that only makes the failure to be aggressive more puzzling.

The willingness to overpay in prospects to improve the team, rather than pay above internal valuation for free agents, seems to have it exactly backwards in an age of new national TV money and amateur/international salary caps.
Mike D - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 08:12 AM EST (#282599) #
The Josh Johnson talk, on the other hand, is pretty crazy. Look at what he got in the open market -- a qualifying offer would have been irrational.
Mike Green - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 08:42 AM EST (#282600) #
Mike, would you do Hutch or Stroman for Franklin, straight up? The Jays have pitching depth, but lack positional player depth (and youth).

Probably.  The problem, of course, is that I think Hutchison and Stroman will both be in the starting rotation by mid-season and that both will be good.  Ideally, if this is what you wish to do consider, you sign someone like Kazmir or Jimenez.  I would probably still make the deal because it looks to me like Franklin might end up being very, very good. 
soupman - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 09:10 AM EST (#282601) #
Burnett and Jimenez just got pretty close to $14million per, and in the latter case, he's signed for 4 years. The scenario they have now appears far more "crazy" and "irrational", if you ask me: They're spending north of 100 million this year and on paper the team has only gotten older, while subtracting a guy that was supposed to be your #1a last year... with no replacement. I think not signing a 4 year deal was the correct move, but I also think that they should have known that Santana and Jimenez were looking to get at least 60 million dollar deals, and that if they weren't planning to spend that much, then they should have probably just spent 15 million on Johnson and hoped that someone in the org took a leap forward, or that johnson had a season that looked more like his career line.

85bluejay - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 09:11 AM EST (#282602) #
with young ML ready pitching talent like Walker/Paxton/Hultzen/Maurer, I think Seattle is more likely looking for a more established veteran MLB pitcher - like maybe J.A.Happ and a reliever for Franklin - which I would do.

Good for Baltimore signing Jimenez - don't have to rush Gausman - Good for the Jays saying no, 3/39 was my max comfort level for Jimenez.
85bluejay - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 09:21 AM EST (#282603) #
Since the Jays had a first hand look at Johnson's medical, I have no problem with their decision to not offer Johnson a QO - The Padres have some protection if Johnson is slow to regain his form this year with a team friendly option, something the Jays won't have with a QO.
I really liked Garza, but again, several teams including the Jays were reportedly put off by the medicals - I'm not going to criticize any team backing off because of medical concerns especially for a pitcher.

92-93 - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 11:32 AM EST (#282604) #
I have a massive problem with not qualifying Johnson. The team spent valuable prospect capital to acquire him, and while I understand not wanting to give him those dollars, I don't understand pocketing them because you've decided nobody deserves them. That's a decision that strongly shades the Marlins trade in a negative light.
whiterasta80 - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 11:40 AM EST (#282605) #
I didn't have a problem with not qualifying JJ at the start of the offseason but I do now. I was expecting an offseason along the lines of the red sox last season (middle of the road FA to compliment internal improvement). Failure to do anything substantial is just ridiculous and is likely to undo all of the good will earned with the fan base last offseason. In fact its likely to leave things worse than they were.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 11:41 AM EST (#282606) #
Johnson's 2013 salary was $13.75M. If the Jays felt strongly enough about him at that price that they were willing to trade assets and take back long backloaded contracts to acquire him, then why is $14M the following season a bad investment? I mean, if his medical information was bad or he was expected to miss most of 2014 due to injury, then I'd understand, but as is he got $8M guaranteed from San Diego with incentives and they feel he can rebound over a full season. He didn't sign a minor league deal in February hoping to make it on a roster somewhere.

If one bad year makes Johnson a bad investment in 2014, then they should have never acquired him in the first place.
Beyonder - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 11:43 AM EST (#282607) #
92-93. If you understand "not wanting to give him those dollars" then what is your "massive problem with not qualifying" him?

What does pocketing the cash have to do with whether Johnson should be re-signed at 14 million? The cost (in prospects) of acquiring Johnson has nothing to do with whether he should have been qualified. No need to throw good money after bad.
Beyonder - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 11:54 AM EST (#282608) #
So you think it would be a good idea to spend 14 million on an asset that the remainder of the league has valued at 8? To justify the cost of acquiring him? That is a blueprint for the way bad organizations make decisions. No doubt, the Johnson part of the Marlins deal worked out terribly, but that's no reason to overpay him.

I think the lukewarm market for starting pitching has caught AA by surprise. He advertised his interest in two starting pitchers at the beginning of the offseason as being the number one priority. Loooking back on the offseason, I assume he believed that Ubaldo, Santana, and Garza would fetch huge sums, giving him a built in excuse for not acquiring them. I'm beginning to think he had no intention of acquiring anyone, and that the promise of an infusion of starting pitching was really a ploy to augment season ticket sales.

Having said this, I like the idea of having two spots up for grabs this spring. We have a lot of dilligence to do on a number of potential candidates, and that dilligence is easier to perform with two open slots.
92-93 - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 12:05 PM EST (#282609) #
Because I only understand not wanting to give Johnson those dollars in the context of wanting to spend it on someone else, NOT saving Rogers money.
JB21 - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 12:07 PM EST (#282610) #
Morrow putting on 50 lbs of muscle is a joke. He may have put on 50 lbs, and he may have added some more muscle, but there's a 100% chance that the 50 lbs is not all good weight. It's VERY tough to put on 50 lbs of muscle on steriods in that time period.
92-93 - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 12:09 PM EST (#282611) #
"No doubt, the Johnson part of the Marlins deal worked out terribly, but that's no reason to overpay him."

You overpay him because a year ago you had tremendous confidence in his abilities, and because you won't be able to find starting pitching that can help you on a one year deal on the open market.

Also, I'm not convinced he accepts. 8-9.25m from San Diego may have been a lot more valuable to him than 14m from Toronto, considering the impact on future earnings. If the open market determined that he was worth 9m in the most favourable park for pitchers, 14m in the SkyDome was probably pretty damn close to his "market" value.
JB21 - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 12:10 PM EST (#282612) #
I agree with 92-93. Why do we care of Rogers saves an additional 14 million? It comes down to this, would you rather have JJ on your team or not? It's not your money, and if the money isn't being spend on anybody, I can't see how you're happy that JJ isn't given a shot at redemption in the rotation.
greenfrog - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 12:10 PM EST (#282613) #
Beyonder, you're assuming no one gets hurt or bombs out. Those two open spots could easily turn into three or four.

I've never understood why people only look at a team's top five starters when assessing the state of its rotation, when you typically need about eight (or more) to get through a season. Also, the Jays have a number of pitchers on innings limits, so extra arms will be needed in any case.

Incidentally, I believe this problem extends to the positional players. The Jays are lacking in offensive and defensive depth.
greenfrog - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 12:18 PM EST (#282614) #
Also, is it just me, or is the Toronto media terribly tame when it comes to critiquing the Jays/Rogers and AA's moves (or lack of moves)? I guess no one wants to offend for fear of losing access.
Beyonder - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 12:20 PM EST (#282615) #
JB21. We don't care about Rogers bottom line. But to the extent we know that there are limited funds that Rogers will pour into the team, it is in all of our interest for those funds to be spent wisely. Hence, about 1/3rd of the discussion on this board.
92-93 - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 12:21 PM EST (#282616) #
It isn't just you, and it has extended to this website for years.
92-93 - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 12:22 PM EST (#282617) #
"it is in all of our interest for those funds to be spent wisely."

That's precisely my point, Beyonder. I could accept not qualifying Johnson when I thought AA was going to spend those dollars more wisely. Now, I can't.
Beyonder - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 12:26 PM EST (#282618) #
"You overpay him because a year ago you had tremendous confidence in his abilities". Are there any other transactions you think the team should enter into on the basis of stale-dated knowledge for which they now have countervailing experience? Aren't there some Bayesians on this site who can explain how we update hypotheses on the basis of new data?

And didn't Johnson's agent basically say that his client would have accepted a qualifying offer?
greenfrog - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 12:31 PM EST (#282619) #
I would not have QO'd Johnson. I watched him pitch a number of times last year, and he looked semi-washed up. If I'm AA, I'm not betting $14m that all of JJ's problems in the AL East magically vanished with his bone spur removal surgery.
92-93 - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 12:37 PM EST (#282620) #
But you would've spent that money elsewhere, greenfrog. You've made that clear many times. And that's the key point.
92-93 - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 12:47 PM EST (#282621) #
"Are there any other transactions you think the team should enter into on the basis of stale-dated knowledge for which they now have countervailing experience?"

Wait, do you mean like slotting Brandon Morrow as your 3rd starter? Or giving Adam Lind PAs vs. LHP?
greenfrog - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 12:49 PM EST (#282622) #
Yup - sign Kazmir, sign Ellis, trade for Hanigan, trade for Walker, and voila! A wild card contender, with a relatively small cash outlay ($20M or so net after Arencibia DFAed), no draft picks relinquished, and only a modest depletion of the farm system. Even if you can't swing the Walker trade, it's still a respectable off-season (maybe add Ryan instead of Walker to complement Ellis in the middle infield on the depth chart). Better pitching, better offense, better defense.
Mike Green - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 01:08 PM EST (#282623) #
Kazmir, Ellis and Navarro/Kratz would have earned a solid B or maybe even B+ from me. Non-tendering Lind and signing Loney, in addition, would have made it an A from me.
92-93 - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 01:09 PM EST (#282624) #
I think what we can all agree on is that standing pat on this rotation and lack of positional depth is not the makings of a good offseason. It's very confusing.
ComebyDeanChance - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 02:07 PM EST (#282625) #
Are there any other transactions you think the team should enter into on the basis of stale-dated knowledge for which they now have countervailing experience?

The proposition that one should give no weight to 2013 when deciding contract offers is particularly intriguing coming in the context of failing to sign Ubaldo Jimenez.
ComebyDeanChance - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 02:16 PM EST (#282626) #
Kazmir, Ellis and Navarro/Kratz would have earned a solid B or maybe even B+ from me.

I don't know what you offer Scott Kazmir to play in Canada over California. I do know it's not basically the same contract with an extra million or two.

Ditto for Mark Ellis with the Cards. I can't see him choosing Toronto over the Cardinals in any reasonable circumstance.
Mike Green - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 02:32 PM EST (#282627) #
Are you sure you know this?  I didn't say that I knew that Kazmir or Ellis would come here for the same price or something like it.  I do know that neither is walking into an ideal situation- Ellis might very well get more playing time here than he will in St. Louis.  Oakland plays in a good pitcher's park with a good defence, but it's not exactly a mecca of baseball.

Personally, I have a lot of doubt that Ellis would prefer playing in St. Louis and getting 300-400 PAs and earning $5.25 million to playing in Toronto and getting 500-600 PAs and earning $6.25 million.  I'd bet that no such offer was made to him.

92-93 - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 02:38 PM EST (#282628) #
If you think my point was that 2013 should be ignored and therefore Josh Johnson should have been brought back you've missed it entirely.
John Northey - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 02:52 PM EST (#282629) #
My gut says Kazmir would've demanded an extra year to play up here (or equivalent in cash) and that would've made me nervous, just like 4 year deals for Jimenez or Santana.

At this point, with what is left, I'd say AA is best served by putting low ball offers on the table for the remaining free agents as a 'what the heck' and focusing on in-house options.  I don't like going with Goins at 2B, or having just 2 starters we feel we can count on (Dickey/Buehrle) to start 30+ games but with Morrow, Happ, Rogers, Redmond, Drabek, Hutchison, McGowan, Romero, and a few kids (Nolin, Sanchez, McGuire among others) there should be enough talent to fill in the last 3 slots.

Sigh. Not ideal, but I do want to see how the kids do given a shot (especially Hutchison) and cannot help but cheer on McGowan.  Romero I hope spends at least April & May in AAA as he needs to show some lights out stuff first before getting yet another shot.  McGuire I keep having a funny feeling about - either he has a breakout or drops to nothingness this year I suspect and my gut is on breakout.
ComebyDeanChance - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 03:05 PM EST (#282630) #
I think what we can all agree on is that standing pat on this rotation and lack of positional depth is not the makings of a good offseason. It's very confusing.

I'm not sure how confusing it really is, but I think we should all agree that the team needs at least one new reliable starter, a major league second baseman, and a major league left fielder. We currently have utility-calibre players in those positions. Absent a real move on all three fronts I don't think there is much chance of a move up from last place to a playoff spot.

On the first of these, I did a quick three year split comparison (2011-2013) between Santana and Jimenez against current AL East rosters. Here's what it looks like:

Red Sox - 1.075 OPS 53 PA .356/.453/.622
Yankees - .775 OPS 70 PA .277/.329/.446
Orioles - .812 OPS 49 PA .311/,367/.444 Rays - .723 OPS 55 PA .229./.327/.396
Blue Jays - 830 OPS 87 PA .276/.356/.474

Red Sox - .923 OPS 106 PA .287/.368/.564
Yankees - .642 OPS 144 PA .250/.322/.320
Orioles - .555 OPS 95 PA .193/,237/.318 Rays - .758 OPS 75 PA .301./.320/.438
Blue Jays - 692 OPS 128 PA .211/.297/.395

I don't know if there are enough Jimenez PA's in the comparison to make it significant, but off the raw numbers you'd rather face Jimenez and pitch Santana. Here is what strikes me as a reasonably possible scenario. Toronto would have to go to 5 years on either Jimenez or Santana. Jimenez because the O's went to 4 and Santana because someone will go to 4 or else the Yankees are in. And it could well be that they just saw Jimenez as being too risky to guarantee five years. That would be a reasonable assessment. Or it could be that they don't see either as being worth a 5 year offer and they are hoping the market for Santana caps at 3 years so they can get him at 4.
Lylemcr - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 03:33 PM EST (#282631) #

Jimenez is off the Market.  4 years for 50 million. To the Orioles (who loses thier 1st round draft pick and now,will probably pick up other players who have picks attached to them ).

This is probably a move for the Orioles to keep him from the Red Sox\Jays.

This means we either try to get Santana or stick with what we got.  I would rather see Hutchinson than Santana...

92-93 - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 03:36 PM EST (#282632) #
It's confusing because the front office says one thing and then does another. Just give it to us straight. Fans were very willing to go along with years of building up the system because it was presented to them clearly and openly, and even if people didn't agree with that as the course of action we saw that it was an understandable one and was being done with good intentions. This offseason, however, we were told the club would continue doing everything they can to win, and they've done the exact opposite of that. Stop lying to your season ticket holders.
92-93 - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 03:38 PM EST (#282633) #
And let's not get caught up in the silliness of the term mattering for Jimenez. He got 48m. If the term mattered, they could have given him that over 3 years, and it still wouldn't have been an outrageous contract.
Eephus - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 03:48 PM EST (#282634) #
Are we a better team with Ervin Santana? Probably, but I just hope that $$$ is actually available to be allocated elsewhere if we don't get him (say, a Rasmus extension for instance)

AA has always seemed to favor the "bold" move, yet in this case the bold move seems to be doing nothing. That's banking a LOT on good health/effectiveness from Morrow/Happ and that someone like Redmond, Hutchison or Stroman emerges. Fortune does not always favor the bold.

greenfrog - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 04:20 PM EST (#282635) #
There has been a lot of talk about the Jays' five-year limit regarding free agent contracts. I think the real issue is that the Jays invariably "value" every major FA at some amount less than what that player will realistically command on the open market. (The Jays seem to like to price FAs at what an equivalent player might have cost a few years earlier.) Ever notice that the Jays "like" a lot of players (Anibal Sanchez, for example), but somehow fall just a bit short of landing them?

In other words, the Jays are willing to sign significant free agents, but only at a price less than the market will bear. Ergo, no significant free agent signings.

We'll see if the Jays change tacks and aggressively go after Santana or Drew. The odds would seem to be against it, although I think the Jays are probably still in on Santana to some extent.
greenfrog - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 04:26 PM EST (#282636) #
The other strategy the FO likes to employ is to hint at or leak stories to the media about deals that were "almost" consummated (Sanchez, Kinsler, Latos/Gio, Peavy), as if this were a substitute for actually improving the team.
soupman - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 05:04 PM EST (#282637) #
i like to call that aa's "i was gonna..." strategy.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 05:29 PM EST (#282638) #
Yeah, the "Alex was in on (insert player) but because (insert excuse) happened it never materialized" nonsense needs to stop. I don't care who he almost got.

It's pretty clear what's going to happen here. The organization will keep the same roster together because in the event that it fails they can say they tried with this core group but it didn't work out, despite the fact that they didn't try at all. If it succeeds, then they make out like bandits by not spending any money that wasn't already factored into the 2014 season and getting some extra revenue from it.

In the mean time, they will treat their fans like idiots and talk about adding grass to the stadium in 2018 as if that means anything to fans in 2014.
mathesond - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 05:39 PM EST (#282639) #
Is what the jays are doing this winter very much different than what the Red Sox did last winter? Granted, the Sox did change managers, and add Victorino and I believe 1 other regular, but for the most part they kept the roster the same and just had players get healthy, no?
Parker - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 05:48 PM EST (#282640) #
Going by the lineup of who played the most at each position in 2013, the Red Sox added FOUR regulars: Napoli, Drew, Gomes, and Victorino. They also added Carp and Ross to the bench.

The fact that they all worked out is probably as much good luck as the injury woes and/or terrible performance of the Blue Jays' acquisitions is bad luck.
JB21 - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 06:04 PM EST (#282641) #
And Dempster. And got Lackey back from TJ.
greenfrog - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 07:31 PM EST (#282642) #
The Red Sox also added Uehara, who singlehandedly contributed 3.3 fWAR to the team. (For an idea of just how good Uehara was in 2013, Janssen, Cecil and Delabar *combined* were 3.7 fWAR last year.)

They had a brilliant off-season.

Gerry - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 07:54 PM EST (#282643) #
A couple of people have used the word confused and I have to agree. Before 2013 the Jays were focused on building the farm system and I think many fans bought into that as a methodology. Some fans didn't buy in but at least they knew what the club was doing.

Then for the 2013 season the Jays turned into a win now team and traded a lot of assets off the farm. Beeston was all-in on his playoffs push and again, while some fans disagreed, people understood that the front office saw a window of opportunity and went for it.

The problem now is no-one knows what the plan is. The Jays have not doubled down on their win now push from 2013. And if they are re-committing to the farm no one has said that and the Jays have not acted like that.

So what is the plan now? It could be still win know with a stubborn streak as in we thought this team was good enough to win last year, a lot of things went wrong last year, but we still think this team is good enough to win now.

Or the plan could be, we thought we were all in to win now but maybe we overestimated. The fans will revolt if we dump salary so maybe we need to ride out the first half of 2014 and then trade pieces if we are not in the race.

Or it could be that the Jays have realised this team is a 76-80 win team and that a starting pitcher will only pump that up to 79-83.

But someone should ask AA what is the plan now?

On another note, in regard to the off-season, even if we leave the big dollar starting pitcher aside, this team had a number of weaknesses headed into the off-season. They needed a right hand DH/1B, they needed a second baseman and they needed a catcher. Plus the Jays had an excess of bullpen arms that needed to be traded before players were lost on waivers. I score that as 1/4, or 25% exluding the starters issue.
ISLAND BOY - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 08:40 PM EST (#282644) #
I think you meant that the Jays realized this team is a 76-86 win team, etc. just to make the math add up. Speaking of adding, add me to the group that had no problem with not qualifying Josh Johnson with the idea that the money would be better spent on superior pitcher or even second baseman. It's hard to imagine that just replacing J P Arencibia will result in much of an improvement over last year.
greenfrog - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 08:42 PM EST (#282645) #
I believe AA thought he could have it both ways, by trading mainly non-elite prospects for some elite (or solid) ML talent that teams like the Marlins were willing to move. In AA's mind, in the worst case, if it didn't work out, he could always flip the acquired players for more young talent, given that players like Reyes, JJ, Buehrle and Bonifacio would likely be in demand by some teams. And JJ would likely produce a draft pick, at least.

Of course, we all know what happened last year. Not only did the team not do well, but most of the acquired players had poor years or were injured.

I think what's happening is this:

- There is financial uncertainty going forward. The 2014 payroll is only part of the picture. What matters more is the long-term plan. If payroll is likely going to get trimmed, then it might not make sense to add a player like Santana or Jimenez

- We don't really know how good the current roster is (we know it has deficiencies, but it also has a fair bit of talent). It might be good enough to hang in the race, which would allow AA to justify a deadline acquisition or two

- Anthopoulos may have a stronger farm system to deal from in July

- Even if AA is going to sell some ML assets, it doesn't make sense to sell low. Therefore, he probably wants to wait until July at least. For example, if Buehrle is having a good season, he would presumably be more attractive in July than he is now (less salary remaining on the books)

In short, AA is probably operating under financial constraints, and as a result is biding his time, looking for the right deal (trade or bargain free agent) and waiting to see what happens with his ML roster and farm system. No doubt he wants to make a move, but it takes two to tango, and right now he's lacking in dance partners.
Chuck - Tuesday, February 18 2014 @ 09:45 PM EST (#282646) #
This is probably a move for the Orioles to keep him from the Red Sox\Jays.

And, much more importantly, place him on the Orioles.

85bluejay - Wednesday, February 19 2014 @ 12:28 AM EST (#282647) #
Listened to TSN Jays camp reporter - was asked about Romero - He tried to be respectful but the brutality of his analysis of Romero's first throwing session should be enough to extinguish any illusion of a comeback with the Jays - maybe another organisation can fix him - sad.

Santana should at least match Jimenez contract, so I hope the Jays pass.

I read many post hoping for a Drew signing - Jays signing a Boras client seems more fantasy than reality.

My money is still on a Diaz signing.

If AA cannot turn the BP excess into useful ML assets, then I'm hoping he can acquire some outfield prospects who are about a yr. away as both Cabrera & Rasmus are potential FA and Bautista is no spring chicken.
Mike Green - Wednesday, February 19 2014 @ 09:27 AM EST (#282650) #
Nick Petriello reviews the second base options for the Blue Jays for fangraphs.
Maldoff - Wednesday, February 19 2014 @ 10:17 AM EST (#282652) #
I really liked one potential solution posted by Fangraphs - trade Adam Lind for a second baseman and sign Kendrys Morales. Essentially you would be using a first round draft choice on a player who could start for you now. Would Daniel Murphy (Mets) or Jordy Mercer (Pirates) work for this type of move?
whiterasta80 - Wednesday, February 19 2014 @ 12:18 PM EST (#282656) #
I also like the Lind for a 2B solution, Morales solution. I actually think that Morales could be great on the Jays. That said, the Mets are trying to get rid of a mediocre 1B option (Ike Davis), not add one. Mercer might work, but I don't have alot of confidence in him as a long term solution. I think its more likely to require a 3 team deal to work something involving Lind for a 2B.
soupman - Wednesday, February 19 2014 @ 04:35 PM EST (#282661) #
the bailey signing makes the ubaldo deal look like just that...or did homer bailey become awesome when i wasn't looking?
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, February 19 2014 @ 06:39 PM EST (#282662) #
So best guess is A.A. does nothing more this offseason. Whomever is in-house is it, inning-limited or not. Chances are this is the last year for Anthopoulos, Beeston and anyone making more than minimum if they fail to make the playoffs. That's fine with me.
John Northey - Wednesday, February 19 2014 @ 08:34 PM EST (#282663) #
I don't think the playoffs is the decider for AA & Beeston's job.  Items like attendance, TV ratings, and general 'buzz' (which can help other Rogers products) are what count.  Winning obviously helps those a lot, but last year was probably their best in all areas since Rogers took over the club.

Rogers took over in 2000.  Last year was the highest attendance (2.5 mil, no other year in the 2000's over 2.4).  1997 was the last year this high but that was part of the decline phase after the WS wins & the strike.  An article from early September last year said the TV audience growth was up 21% on Sportsnet vs the year before.  A Globe article from January 2013 says viewership in 2012 was up 7% vs the previous year, and that it was up 25% in total for 2012 vs 2010 (the writer was a bit weird in talking about how much Sportsnet pays for it as that is irrelevant in the scheme of things since it is just one arm of Rogers transferring cash to another).

Basically, if I'm running Rogers I'd be looking positively at the Jays as 2010 vs 2013 seeing that much of a ratings jump is fantastic for the bottom line and probably helped 'Sportsnet One' get picked up by more cable companies (outside of Rogers of course) which started up in late 2010.  The extra $60 mil in payroll is probably less than they pull in from extra subscriber fees let alone advertising and attendance income.

Now, the challenge is to push the team to the next level.  We know for a fact the Jays can get over a million viewers a game as they did that back in the early 90's iirc. Doing that would result in hockey night in Canada level revenue streams for Rogers (ie: massive).  For that to happen you need this team to get over the 90 win level and be serious contenders all year. However, the current management team has shown an ability to build buzz and keep the team in the headlines. I think unless ratings go down drastically and attendance drops significantly we'll see AA and Beeston here through at least 2015.  Much like how Gillick wasn't in danger despite the 80's Jays disappointing in '86/87/88 with sky-high hopes (and a new park to open) - I never once heard rumours of Gillick being let go - as having previous success (either winning or selling tickets) means a lot to ownership (Labatt back then, also a corporate situation).
Eephus - Wednesday, February 19 2014 @ 09:00 PM EST (#282664) #
or did homer bailey become awesome when i wasn't looking?

(2012): 13-10, 3.68, 208 IP, 1.24 WHIP
(2013): 11-12, 3.49, 209 IP, 1.12 WHIP

Maybe not awesome, but certainly he's been very, very good the past two seasons. Not 110 million bucks good, but the Reds are gambling that Bailey continues to improve each season (not unreasonable, he's only 27 after all.)

Lets face it, any long term deal for a pitcher has the potential to be completely awful. The Blue Jays will be paying 7.5 million the next couple years to Ricky Romero and there's a real good chance he never throws a major league pitch for the team again.
greenfrog - Wednesday, February 19 2014 @ 09:10 PM EST (#282665) #
Jayson Stark is reporting that the Jays are highly unlikely to sign a free agent starting pitcher.

I'm glad the Jays are "comfortable" with their in-house options at 2B and SP. I'm equally comfortable holding off on buying any tickets until I see whether they're in contention at the trade deadline in July.
John Northey - Wednesday, February 19 2014 @ 09:52 PM EST (#282666) #
One more note on attendance.  2013 saw the Jays #6 in the AL for attendance. Last time they did that was 2008 (86 wins, Cito's return).  The last time they did better vs the league was 1997 (5th - the end of 14 straight years in the top 5).

Now, vs the majors the Jays were  just 14th out of 30.  In 2010 the Jays were below the Marlins (!) and ahead of just Oakland and Cleveland.  Yes, even the Rays had more fans than the Jays that year.  The last time the Jays made the top 15 was 1997 (9th in MLB) which was Cito's final year of his first term as Jays manager.
whiterasta80 - Wednesday, February 19 2014 @ 10:55 PM EST (#282667) #
Agreed. I've defended this regime for a long time with "buying will occur when the time is right". I was buoyed last offseason but there's been more "we were this close to signing such and such" than actual action. Its growing awfully tired... Money talks and I will be speaking with my wallet on what I think of it.
John Northey - Wednesday, February 19 2014 @ 11:26 PM EST (#282668) #
Given who is still out there I'd stay away from the free agents too, outside of minor league deals for guys with high potential/high risk (Johan Santana for example).  At 3-4 years and $10-14 mil a year I'd stay away from Ervin Santana (fear he'll become a pumpkin here).

At 2B going with Goins is not the ideal option at all (no bat, great D, ideal as backup at 2B/SS) especially when the immediate replacement is Izturis who I do not want to see get even 100 PA here.  Kawasaki is nice to have, but again should be limited to backup/short term injury fill in.  Steve Tolleson has hit well in the minors and deserves a shot but no idea on defense.  Basically 2B is very, very weak right now as everyone there is a backup quality guy or someone who just has never had a full shot and often that is for a reason.  I still hope Seattle's surplus at 2B could be freed up via relievers and/or outfielders (Sierra & a couple of relievers for either of their 2B surplus is fine by me).
92-93 - Thursday, February 20 2014 @ 12:13 AM EST (#282669) #
It would serve the Pirates well to be interested in Adam Lind; he'd combine for a killer platoon with Gaby Sanchez.

I'm not "strong" enough to boycott the Jays at the box office. I enjoy heading to baseball games too much.
AWeb - Thursday, February 20 2014 @ 08:02 AM EST (#282670) #

I saw this tidbit and I thought I would share: In 2013, Toronto had the first team in its history with 4 players (Jose BautistaEdwin EncarnacionAdam LindColby Rasmus) having 125 OPS+ in 450 PA. The Blue Jays also had their first team with 7 pitchers (Mark BuehrleR.A. DickeyJ.A. HappJosh JohnsonBrandon MorrowTodd RedmondEsmil Rogers) having 10 or more starts, and all with an ERA+ under 100. (

That's an amazing top-end offense, with absolutely nothing in support (i.e., C, 2B, LF, SS, 3B) to allow it to be an actual good offense. And the pitching...oh the pitching. Yeesh. At least Romero didn't get 10 starts...I know it's often been a multi-year process to change, and there might not be an obvious replacement on the pitching side, but is Romero sticking around in the header bar? I've seen "pull a Romero" thrown around in non-Jays contexts this offseason as a "unrealistic that things (typically a contract) could turn out this bad, but it has happened" shorthand.

2014 Jays goal - be less depressing to follow.

greenfrog - Thursday, February 20 2014 @ 08:22 AM EST (#282671) #
I usually only make it to the RC two or three times a year. Normally I would have bought those (premium) tickets by now, but this time around I'm holding off.

The reason I'm annoyed is that a couple of off-seasons ago (the off-season of "parameters" and Darvish), AA hinted that attendance needed to go up before significant moves could be made. Well, attendance has gone up a lot, and the Jays are sitting on their hands, despite their self-proclaimed window of opportunity and obvious needs on the team.

I might feel differently if I felt that the front office was being straight with the fans about what's going on. For now I think I'll wait and see where the team is at in July or August.
John Northey - Thursday, February 20 2014 @ 08:50 AM EST (#282672) #
That tidbit about 4 guys with a 125 OPS+ didn't sound right, but it just might be.
1993 (WAMCO year): 3 over 140, then Fernandez at 115 (390 PA), Carter at 112 and Devo at 108, the rest sub 100 (with 20+ PA).
2003 (highest run scored): Just 2 over 130, then 125 in 369 PA for Myers, Phelps & Catalanotto in the 110's
1987 (the painful year): 4 over 120 but 2 in the 300's PA and Cecil Fielder with 197 PA (Jimy WIlliams = village idiot for playing Upshaw 577 PA with an 87 OPS+ over McGriff 356 PA & Fielder 197 PA = 553 PA)  9 guys with a 100+ OPS+ over 190+ PA yet 342 given to Garth Iorg's 44 OPS+. Gillick deserved a slap to the head over that one too as other options at 2B sucked also.

Hmm... checked a couple other years and similar results. Boy 2B has been an issue in Jays history outside of Alomar, Damaso Garcia (86 OPS+ in Toronto but twice an all-star and 194 SB here) and Aaron Hill.  Top PA for primary 2B guys (700+ PA)...
Damaso Garcia: 3756 PA 86 OPS+
Hill: 3642 PA 92 OPS+
Alomar: 3105 PA 123 OPS+
Homer Bush: 1222 PA 75 OPS+
Nelson Liriano: 1138 PA 84 OPS+
Dave McKay: 999 PA 56 OPS+
Dave Berg: 750 PA 76 OPS+
Craig Grebeck: 749 PA 92 OPS+
Danny Ainge: 721 PA 47 OPS+
Kelly Johnson: 713 PA 90 OPS+

A few who weren't too bad (OPS+ in the 90's for Johnson, Grebeck, Hill) one HOF'er (Alomar) a couple in the 80's (Garcia, Liriano) and the rest...hrm.  Other guys had a full season or two there (Manny Lee, Tony Fernandez) but they were mainly SS not 2B.
Thomas - Thursday, February 20 2014 @ 09:12 AM EST (#282673) #

The rumours are that the Jays are out on Santana. I'm not surprised, and not necessarily disappointed by that particular move, but this offseason has left a lot to be desired.

The Jays showed up the prom, got turned down during the first slow dance, and appear to have retreated to the punch bowl rather than giving it another shot.

Mike Green - Thursday, February 20 2014 @ 09:34 AM EST (#282674) #
If one treats the Jimenez deal as 3/39 plus another 9 for the fourth year, it seems to me to be solidly middle of the road vis a vis expectations.  Anthopoulos' declaration that he was going after 2 starting pitchers seems, in hindsight, to have been bluster.

Marc Hulet has an item today in fangraphs on the Texas Ranger farm system. The club has strength in the middle infield and weakness on the mound.  There is a match with the Blue Jays.  Roughned Odor would be a logical trade target.
China fan - Thursday, February 20 2014 @ 10:15 AM EST (#282675) #
Anthopoulos to the media at spring training today: "As we sit here today, with what the current cost (of free agents) would be, we feel better with the guys we have internally."

I disagree with him, and I honestly expected him to spend more money and be more active in the off-season. But at the same time, I'm not prepared (as some are) to declare that the Jays are now a "certain" last-place team. Anthopoulos says his in-house options are better. Maybe he's right. Let's judge him at the end of the season. He gets 2014 to prove the wisdom of his strategy. I don't think any of us can yet be certain that Anthopoulos is definitely wrong in his claim that Stroman/Hutchison/Rogers/Happ/Redmond will provide good options for the 4th and 5th slots in the rotation. If events prove that AA was wrong about it, however, he won't have much sympathy left from anyone.

I think it's fair to see how 2014 plays out, with Anthopoulos gambling on the players that he acquired a year ago, plus his internal options. There are scenarios in which the current Jays team can be a lot better than conventional wisdom. But if the Jays finish 4th or 5th again, I don't think anyone will have much patience to see AA back for another year at the helm.

For a more optimistic take, see this Jayson Stark report:

An excerpt from his report:
"If their health luck is better and they actually get their real lineup on the field, with better defense at second base (in slick rookie Ryan Goins) and better offense at catcher (largely from Dioner Navarro), this team has a chance to lead the league in runs scored and be way better defensively."
whiterasta80 - Thursday, February 20 2014 @ 10:37 AM EST (#282676) #
I don't think that the Jays are a last place team at all. In fact, if things broke right they might be an 80-85 win team. But that's the rub: The Jays are always a potential 80-85 win team. Add some guys that give us a little margin for error here!

I'm not opposed to staying away from Ervin Santana (he'd be a consolation prize really). But I need to see action of some sort to acknowledge what we all know to be true: this team has glaring holes with very little hope of filling them.

2B: I think signing Drew would be enough to satisfy me 100% (he'd add both depth at SS and a starter at 2B). But this Diaz guy would at least be acknowledgement that this is an organizational black hole right now.

SP: Kazmir and Jiminez were the misses here IMO, but I would have settled for Arroyo or Maholm to at least give us some certainty in innings. Heck, even a dice roll of Johan Santana would at least be a gesture.

Lind's platoon: Ideally we deal him, sign Morales and not have the platoon (thereby opening up the bench), but failing that I'd like to have seen a Mark Reynolds or some sort of RH power bat.
Ryan C - Thursday, February 20 2014 @ 11:08 AM EST (#282677) #
Top PA for primary 2B guys (700+ PA)...

I'm confused, shouldn't Orlando Hudson be on that list somewhere?
92-93 - Thursday, February 20 2014 @ 11:21 AM EST (#282678) #
"Anthopoulos says his in-house options are better. Maybe he's right."

Unfortunately, I do not think Alex Anthopoulos actually believes that to be true. He certainly wasn't indicating as such in the beginning of the winter. The handcuffs are on.
ComebyDeanChance - Thursday, February 20 2014 @ 11:31 AM EST (#282679) #
I'm sure Bean Stringfellow appreciated the press conference.
Mike Green - Thursday, February 20 2014 @ 11:46 AM EST (#282680) #
The handcuffs are on

If the handcuffs are a payroll of $135 million, those aren't exactly tight.  Anthopoulos ought to have known what he was dealing with long ago, and made appropriate changes to deal with the limitations.  What makes it very difficult for a GM is if the goalposts move at inopportune times.  This may be what happened with Rogers during the last year (and it apparently has happened before), but outsiders generally don't know.  It is also not clear yet that this is the limitation; Anthopoulos may yet surprise us and sign Drew.

Beyonder - Thursday, February 20 2014 @ 11:47 AM EST (#282681) #
This is what I don't get: At the beginning of the offseason, AA singled out starting pitching as the team's most pressing need, going so far as to say the team needed two additional starters. Whether you agree or disagree, AA intentionally set up the expectation that he would acquire pitching, either through the free agent market or through a trade.

Yet almost all of the starting pitchers who have signed free agent deals this offseason have signed what I consider to be "at market" or below market prices (Tanaka the exception). Keith Law did a piece earlier this offseason where he ranked top free agents and predicted what they would sign for, and most of the deals signed were either at or below Law's estimate. Jiminez, for example, was ranked as the fourth best free agent overall, and Law predicted he would sign for 4 years or more at 14 to 15 million per year -- he went for 4 at 12.5. This is pretty much the pattern throughout the free agent market. It's hard to imagine the team was getting consistently outbid for these guys.

So who was AA's target? If it was any free agent, then he seems to have dramatically miscalculated the cost of acquiring a free agent. If he planned to acquire someone in a trade, he seems to have also miscalulated the propect cost of acquiring starting pitching in that market also.

Combine this with the team's inability to properly guage what its draft picks will sign for, and I am starting to have some real concerns.
92-93 - Thursday, February 20 2014 @ 11:57 AM EST (#282682) #
"If the handcuffs are a payroll of $135 million, those aren't exactly tight."

They are if he made moves last year thinking he'd have more room to operate this winter. I pointed out numerous times last winter that I was nervous about the projected payroll for 2014 and that it was going to be around 135m without Johnson, Oliver, and Rajai. Those concerns repeatedly fell on deaf ears. Well, here we are. It's really hard to endorse last year's deals in this light. AA either had the rug pulled out from underneath him or made incredibly stupid trades that the organization wasn't ready for.
Mike Green - Thursday, February 20 2014 @ 12:11 PM EST (#282683) #
AA either had the rug pulled out from underneath him or made incredibly stupid trades that the organization wasn't ready for.

That is not exactly how I would put it, but I do agree with the basic sentiment.  The ownership/management team is not distinguishing itself.  We do not how to apportion responsibility for this as between ownership and management, so the default is to assign some responsibility to both. 
dalimon5 - Thursday, February 20 2014 @ 12:23 PM EST (#282684) #
Basically Anthopoulos doesn't think signing a FA SP is worth it unless that pitcher is markedly better than what the Blue Jays already have (in a best case scenario). And at the same time we're told that the Blue Jays won't sign a player (likely better than what the Jays have) to a 5 year contract. Does anybody else see the contradiction in this?

Just come out and say you won't sign significant free agents. Why give excuses about internal options being better when earlier in the off season and in previous seasons you could have signed elite level players such as Darvish and Tanaka? I agree that Santana isn't a big upgrade to what we have but I'm calling BULL on AA who conveniently waits for the best options like Tanaka to come off the board before he says FA cost "too much" or "not enough improvement" over what he has.

This management has shown that they have no foresight into the market or understanding of how to maximize value down the road. Instead they're looking to acquire talent cheaply and take little risk with their money. "Risk" in their minds is trading for a high potential CF like Rasmus. That's not real risk because it costs you nothing when you're trading for him at his lowest perceive value, which the Jays did. Real risk would be signing Jose Reyes and Mark Buerhle to contracts when they were free agents a few years ago, hedging your bets that the market would go up. These are hard contracts to carry but that's the risk. Instead, the Jays traded prospects for these players and others like Dickey. That is just bad management of talent. How does KC get a James Shield level pitcher with their top prospect while the Jays get an inferior Dickey with two of their top 3 prospects?
bpoz - Thursday, February 20 2014 @ 12:28 PM EST (#282685) #
I guess 85 wins would be good, based on many people's projections. Mine too as I am pessimistic.
The next step would be 93+ wins for 2015. I am even more pessimistic for getting that.
Therefore I would take a decent 2014 with 85 wins and look to rebuild.
John Northey - Thursday, February 20 2014 @ 12:32 PM EST (#282686) #
Good catch Ryan. Was doing it from a list that I was eyeballing for guys with a 4 as their first position as a Jay and just missed him somehow.  Hudson was 1780 PA with a 93 OPS+.

In truth, the Jays have had better luck at 2B over the decades than I thought....
Early Days...
Dave McKay: 999 PA 56 OPS+ 1977-1979
Danny Ainge: 721 PA 47 OPS+ 1979-1981

Damaso Garcia: 3756 PA 86 OPS+ 1980-1986
Nelson Liriano: 1138 PA 84 OPS+ 1987-1990
Alomar: 3105 PA 123 OPS+ 1991-1995

Gord Ash era...
Homer Bush: 1222 PA 75 OPS+ 1999-2002
Craig Grebeck: 749 PA 92 OPS+  1998-2000

JPR era...
Orlando Hudson 1780 PA 93 OPS+ 2002-2005
Dave Berg: 750 PA 76 OPS+ 2002-2004
Hill: 3642 PA 92 OPS+ 2005-2011

AA era...
Kelly Johnson: 713 PA 90 OPS+ 2011-2012

Each group has someone of value outside of the early days group although the Ash era was a disaster once Alomar left (Grebeck was used a lot at SS and 3B as well).  Lots of turnover is what I see though as we don't have a 10 year man. Hill could've been but the Jays gave up on him (understandably so at the time) and Alomar was just a mess that should've warned us about how the Gord Ash era was going to go.
Thomas - Thursday, February 20 2014 @ 12:55 PM EST (#282687) #

92-93, I don't know if your concerns fell on deaf ears. I recall several other commentors prefacing their evaluation of the trades with the assumption that there would remain room to manouvre within the payroll parameters, particularly in light of the fact it was assumed that the club would want to resign Johnson and it was assumed that these other moves would not ensure that Johnson was a one-year rental and that the team would be competitive when attempting to sign him to an externsion.

In any case, I'm in complete agreement with the assessment made by you and Mike Green about the performance of front office and management this offseason, as well as the larger questions of which free agents did this club ever expect to be competitive on? Santana and Jiminez are not getting as much as you might have thought when the offseason opened, but the Jays still aren't willing to match their price, they were never really in on Tanaka, and yet they also never seemed to be interested in short-term, riskier signings like Kazmir, Haren or Colon.

John Northey - Thursday, February 20 2014 @ 12:58 PM EST (#282688) #
For this year the Jays, to keep any momentum, should be shooting for 90+ wins (ie: serious playoff contender).  Sadly, that will be extremely hard given the hole they were in last year (74 wins).  16 more wins are needed.  Where can those come from?
  1. No player had 5+ WAR last year and the top 2 were Rasmus and Bautista with 118 games played each followed by EE at 142 games (all 4 WAR guys).  Reyes was at 2.5 in just 93 games, Lawrie 2.3 in 107.  So 5 core hitters who missed between 20 and 69 games last year with all but one missing 40+ games.  That is a big, big factor.  Put all of them up to 140 games other than EE of course and you add 3.6 wins (no factor for what better health might mean beyond playing time)
  2. Goins vs Izturis/Bonifacio - Lets put Goins at 0 WAR (even though he had 1.4 in 34 games but that was driven by insane defensive figures that won't happen again).  I/B last year combined for -0.9 WAR so there is another +0.9 (praying Izturis is released or at least replacement level)
  3. Cabrera was -0.1 WAR last year...lets pencil him in at 0.5 this year (0.6 gained) assuming his back is better but not PED better.
  4. JPA was 0.1 WAR last year, replaced by Navarro who had 2 WAR last year. Lets cut that from nearly 2 WAR to just 1 WAR to be safe.

So on offense/defense we can easily see 6 more wins without asking for anything crazy to happen (just one DL stint each for Lawrie & Bautista might be stretching it though).

For pitchers the best we saw was a 2.1 WAR from Buehrle and 2.0 from Dickey.  We also saw Rogers & Redmond combine for 1.0 WAR.

  1. Josh Johnson is gone and so is his -1.5 WAR. Lets assume the Jays can find replacement level to replace him
  2. Morrow was at -0.6 which is crazy low for his talent level.  Lets pencil him in for 1.0 (not a big leap)
  3. Other disasters were Wang (-0.6), Ortiz (-0.2), Romero (-0.3), Laffey (-0.1) and Nolin (-0.3) lets assume 0 WAR replacements (1.5 WAR improvement)
  4. Give Dickey/Buehrle 5 WAR instead of 4.1 this year - a 0.9 improvement
  5. Assume Happ/Rogers/Redmond combined do as well this year (1.1 WAR total) which isn't expecting much from them.

That gives an improvement of 4.0 WAR from the starters.  Lets just assume the pen works out the same in the end.

That means a total, with no 'wow' improvements of 10 wins.  That just requires a small amount of health and for the new starters to be replacement level and a slight improvement for Dickey/Buehrle that is still less than they have done previously.  That gets the Jays up to 84 wins.

Now, add in luck based improvements (3 wins below pythagorean win total last year) and you get 87 wins.  So, what happens if anyone steps up - be it Goins being above replacement level, Lawrie playing better, Cabrera being a solid LFer, or a kid coming on in the rotation?  Then you get 90+ wins.  Get some of the luck based wins that we've seen other clubs get, even just a couple more wins instead and you get 90+ as well.

These Jays are a lot better than we think right now, just like last years was worse than we thought.  Lets hope they have a small amount of luck in the health department and a bit more in the W-L vs runs for / against area and then playoffs are easily possible.

John Northey - Thursday, February 20 2014 @ 01:03 PM EST (#282689) #
Oops, 5.5 for starting pitching there so instead of 10 wins it is 11.5 wins with little or no change plus assume runs for/against match up this year giving 3 more wins and you have 14.5 more wins or a 88.5 win 'betting line' team without being silly on the assumptions.  You can nitpick on it, but boy I was surprised when I reached that total without doing crazy stuff like 150+ games for Lawrie or 4 WAR from a starting pitcher.
ComebyDeanChance - Thursday, February 20 2014 @ 01:09 PM EST (#282690) #
... they also never seemed to be interested in short-term, riskier signings like Kazmir, Haren or Colon.

Nor Kuroda. He seems like the least risky of the crew to me, and with that lure of the unwisely withheld extra million, would be no less likely to cross the border to Canada.
China fan - Thursday, February 20 2014 @ 01:27 PM EST (#282691) #
"....AA either had the rug pulled out from underneath him or made incredibly stupid trades that the organization wasn't ready for..."

You're being too extreme. The term "incredibly stupid" sounds like emotion, rather than reason. Those trades were only "incredibly stupid" if the Jays would be transformed into a playoff team in 2015 or 2016 with the addition of Syndergaard, d'Arnaud, Alvarez and Marisnick (and the subtraction of Dickey/Buehrle/Reyes), which is arguable and far from certain. Prospects tend to be worshipped on this site, but the risks are often underestimated. There's no assurance at all that those prospects will develop into stars, or that their performance will be enough to spell the difference between 4th place and the playoffs. In any event, the Jays still have plenty of good prospects who could develop at the same pace as some of the ones they traded away.

Did AA have the rug pulled out from under him by the owners? That's certainly possible. Certainly I think the Jays could have afforded to acquire a free-agent pitcher, and should have done so. But it's also possible that Anthopoulos might have genuinely concluded, from watching Morrow and Hutchison and Stroman over the past few months, that the Jays have enough pitching depth that they don't need to spend $50-million on veterans. That's actually what AA is saying to the media today, and who knows, he might not actually be lying. We do know that the Jays were impressed by how those pitchers performed in the AFL and the off-season workouts.

Clearly there's a lot of anger by Jays fans today. But ultimately what matters is the results of the games, not the pre-season predictions. I don't think it's unreasonable to wait another year to see the longer-term outcome of the big trades of last year. It's too early to conclude that they were stupid.
China fan - Thursday, February 20 2014 @ 01:32 PM EST (#282692) #
"....Get some of the luck-based wins that we've seen other clubs get, even just a couple more wins instead and you get 90+ as well. These Jays are a lot better than we think right now, just like last years was worse than we thought...."

Thanks for adding these points to the debate, John. Much appreciated. This is why I'll still be watching the Jays season very closely this year. There are still a lot of good things that could happen.
Thomas - Thursday, February 20 2014 @ 01:34 PM EST (#282693) #
I left Kuroda off the list intentionally, as from what I understand he was basically only interested in New York (although one could see the right West Coast situaiton perhaps appealing to him).
Mylegacy - Thursday, February 20 2014 @ 01:41 PM EST (#282694) #
John, I agree with all you're saying...bravo.

However, I'm even more optimistic than you stated (I realize you were trying to show a lot of improvement with out being too pollyanna - for me - pollyanna comes second nature).

On the hitters: I EXPECT Rasmus to make a huge breakthrough - he was starting to show it in the second half. I EXPECT Cabrera to make a (near) full recovery physically and stats wise. I EXPECT Lawrie to grow up - at least enough to make another real step forward in his career results. I EXPECT a catcher with an OBP above the Mendoza line (a big improvement). I EXPECT Reyes to be much better both offensively and defensively - with two legs instead of one and a half. I EXPECT Bautista and EE to both maintain their skill and be just a bit healthier. I EXPECT Lind to continue to RAKE against righties and Sierra to be at least passable as the guy against lefties.

On the pitching side: The Jays home page `Depth Chart`has the starters listed as being Dickey, Morrow, Buehrie, Happ, Hutchison, Rogers, Redmond. The first three of those are correct and ALL of them are healthy and will have better years this year. Going north I would not be surprised to see Rogers beat out Hutchison and or Happ. Apparently, his new `weapon`is going to surprise. BY JUNE: I see Hutchison and or Stroman making a move to challenge whomever under performs. I am VERY HIGH (and not just from single malt) on Hutch and Stroman (for this year - and others going forward from 2015 - 16...). I`m actually EXCITED about our starting pitching this year - they will surprise most everyone. I`m VERY optimistic about them.

In the Pen the `Depth Chart`lists: Janssen, Santos, Delebar, Cecil, McGowan, Loup, Wagner, Jenkins, Drabek, Perez and Jeffress....WOW - SERIOUSLY WOW - that is an excellent group, really strong and I expect John Stilson to be making a strong push for a spot as well.

Some years we`re surprisingly high up in the standings going into June - when reality strikes - and we fall back. This year I expect to be competitive til June and then to actually take a step forward and seriously surprise to the upside. Have I ever been wrong before...(no fair asking my wife - she lies...lies I tell you...)

Gerry - Thursday, February 20 2014 @ 02:32 PM EST (#282695) #

Gregor Chisholm has a full transcript up on his site of AA's comments today.  I am having problems cutting and pasting but some key take-aways:

He claims to have payroll flexibility, he implies Jimenez and Santana aren't worth the price.

Young pitchers can be optioned up and down, gives you more flexibility, whereas guys like JJ cannot.

He claims that his thinking changed because Morrow, Hutchison and Stroman all looked good in the fall

Izturis has lost weight.

Goins defense is so good that he can help the team with a low OPs as long as he does everything else well.



Mike Green - Thursday, February 20 2014 @ 02:33 PM EST (#282696) #
Fangraphs has the 2014 Blue Jays at 82 wins,  the Red Sox at 87 wins, the Yankees and Rays at 83 wins, and the Orioles (pre-Jimenez) at 76 wins. The run differential projections for the Rays, Yankees and Blue Jays are +16, +15 and +14.  In other words, no discernible difference.

There is always a wide error bar about win projection (the Os might indeed win the AL East in 2014).  Which is what makes the club's inability to make significant improvements in the off-season frustrating. 
John Northey - Thursday, February 20 2014 @ 02:38 PM EST (#282697) #
All the negativity was annoying. Last year everyone was 'woohoo this is it' and this year is 'oh crap'.  The reality is always somewhere in the middle.

Now, what should be worse is what I didn't address...
  • Lind: some regression, from a 1.9 WAR to what though? Yeah, that is all his great year was worth. 
  • Rajai Davis had 1.8 WAR as a super-sub - don't see Sierra doing that but for some reason I keep thinking Pillar might...
  • Goins 1.4 WAR I should've removed from the above as I don't expect that again, but if he is playing everyday then maybe the defense over a full season will still add up to that much
  • Kawasaki 1.3 WAR is more than anyone had a right to expect. But if given a shot as the backup (and Izturis is gone) then that could happen again
  • Sierra is the only other guy with more than 0.1 WAR and at 0.7 that should be reachable
  • Rasmus getting 4.8 last year was a bit high and if he pro-rates it over 140 games (as I projected above) he is a MVP candidate...of course it is a contract year for him too.
  • The pen was outstanding, with 1-1.5 WAR for Loup, Janssen, Cecil, and Santos.  Delabar at 0.6, Jenkins & Jeffress at 0.5, Wagner/McGowan 0.3 each, Oliver 0.2 totaling 7.8 WAR which is a lot from a pen.  But the others (not counting starters like Rogers) totaled -0.4 pushing it down to 7.4 WAR.  Is that likely, to average a win per reliever? 

Parker - Thursday, February 20 2014 @ 02:45 PM EST (#282698) #
While I may have been a little pessimistic that the Jays are going to finish with less wins than last year (though that would not surprise me) I still maintain they're a last-place team. I just can't see any of the other AL East teams finishing lower than the Jays. If Toronto isn't going to finish in last, who IS? An improved Baltimore? Perennial contender Tampa? Are the Yankees finally going to fall off a cliff as we've been predicting for five years? Are the Red Sox going to have the worst World Series hangover in recent history?

These are all much stronger franchises than Toronto. It's definitely not a good time in the AL East for a team to have to rely on luck to improve on last year's 74 wins.
ComebyDeanChance - Thursday, February 20 2014 @ 02:56 PM EST (#282699) #
It will be interesting to me to see what happens to Santana now. As I see it, there were two potential purposes to an unusual press conference called to announce nothing. One would be the obvious public relations purpose of managing fan expectations. But more significantly, the Jays just cratered Santana's market. Whoever is left has now had it announced that Toronto is not a competitor.

I remember they did this a couple of years ago, and announced they weren't in on someone so that they wouldn't be used to drive up price. But I suspect this is a bit different. My guess is the Santana told Toronto they are not in it, that he's not interested, and they're making sure that Santana doesn't gain from other teams thinking that they are still in it.

I'll be interested to see what happens now with Santana.
Chuck - Thursday, February 20 2014 @ 03:11 PM EST (#282700) #
An improved Baltimore?

I don't agree that they have improved. Jimenez is a nice addition but I think he'll merely offset Davis's inevitable regression. And we'll see just how healthy Machado really is.

92-93 - Thursday, February 20 2014 @ 04:15 PM EST (#282701) #
The Yankees should get involved with Drew and Santana. Their rotation, though it has potential to be very good, is one huge question mark from top to bottom, and the infield is their obvious weakness.
smcs - Thursday, February 20 2014 @ 04:58 PM EST (#282702) #
How does KC get a James Shield level pitcher with their top prospect while the Jays get an inferior Dickey with two of their top 3 prospects?

Wil Myers, Mike Montgomery and Jake Odorizzi is a better package than Noah Syndergaard, Travis d'Arnaud and Wuilmer Becerra.
Parker - Thursday, February 20 2014 @ 05:51 PM EST (#282703) #
I don't agree that they have improved. Jimenez is a nice addition but I think he'll merely offset Davis's inevitable regression. And we'll see just how healthy Machado really is.

Wieters should bounce back from a terrible season. So should Markakis. Jimenez is a huge upgrade over Jason Hammel. Even without a full season from Machado (who was actually only a plus on defence last season) and regression from Davis (unless he falls apart completely) I don't see the O's dropping enough games in the standings to race Toronto to the cellar.
BlueJayWay - Thursday, February 20 2014 @ 06:02 PM EST (#282704) #
"Get some of the luck based wins that we've seen other clubs get, even just a couple more wins instead and you get 90+ as well."

Yeah well let's hope. I guess they're 'due' (to speak irrationally) for some good luck. Still though, as your analysis indicates, pretty much everything has to go right and then some for this team to be in wildcard contention.
China fan - Thursday, February 20 2014 @ 06:09 PM EST (#282705) #
Actually a number of John's assumptions were rather conservative. He wasn't outlining a scenario in which "everything goes right." He was outlining a scenario in which we see reasonable and modest improvements from several positions and rotation slots where the 2013 performance was below a normal expectation.

I don't think anyone is confidently predicting that those improvements are definitely going to happen. John is just outlining what might happen in a plausible scenario, even if there's only a 20 or 30 per cent chance that all of those improvements will take place.
smcs - Thursday, February 20 2014 @ 06:20 PM EST (#282706) #
He was outlining a scenario in which we see reasonable and modest improvements from several positions and rotation slots where the 2013 performance was below a normal expectation.

The only way the Jays offseason makes sense from an on-the-field perspective is that the Jays think these improvements will all happen, and that everything that went right (mostly the bullpen), will go right again. It's a terrible way to build a team.
Richard S.S. - Thursday, February 20 2014 @ 06:28 PM EST (#282707) #
Jose Bautista's stats over the last two years prorate out over full seasons as big years. We just have to appreciate him over how long he's healthy.

Colby Rasmus has improved and it looks to continue due to the new maturity he showed last season. Chances are good he'll a have a very good year.

Melky Cabrera actually hit fairly well considering how "handicapped" he was last year. I believe his year in KC was his breakout year, so I expect him to have a good to great year.

Moises Sierra is out of options and will be the 4th Outfielder. We don't have any choice in that. Although .290, .369, .458 was a small sample (35 games, 107 AB) I'd like to think it's the start of something to come.

This part of the team has never been a issue with me.
Chuck - Thursday, February 20 2014 @ 06:46 PM EST (#282708) #
Even without a full season from Machado...I don't see the O's dropping enough games in the standings to race Toronto to the cellar.

I simply offered the position that I disagreed that the Orioles had improved themselves.

China fan - Thursday, February 20 2014 @ 06:49 PM EST (#282709) #
"...The only way the Jays offseason makes sense from an on-the-field perspective is that the Jays think these improvements will all happen, and that everything that went right (mostly the bullpen), will go right again..."

So you're expecting a significant regression by the bullpen this season? If so, I don't agree. The bullpen still looks very strong to me, with plenty of depth options if one or two relievers are injured or fall into a slump.

If we were to identify the biggest risk factors on the 2014 team, I wouldn't target the bullpen. Bigger risks, I think, are that Brandon Morrow will get injured again, or that the Jays won't find a strong 4th and 5th starter from their current options, or that a top hitter like Bautista or Encarnacion might suffer a slump or injury. There's not a lot of depth if those scenarios happen.
smcs - Thursday, February 20 2014 @ 07:21 PM EST (#282710) #
So you're expecting a significant regression by the bullpen this season? If so, I don't agree. The bullpen still looks very strong to me, with plenty of depth options if one or two relievers are injured or fall into a slump.

They are relievers, who are probably the least stable year-to-year, so yes. I wouldn't bet large on any single reliever repeating their good years, but, because of the depth and the relative ease of finding effective relievers, I think it will be a strength of the team. I specifically mentioned the bullpen because I couldn't think of anything else that went overwhelmingly 'right' last year.
Richard S.S. - Friday, February 21 2014 @ 12:39 AM EST (#282711) #
The one thing Relievers will always do is make people who talk about Relievers look foolish. I'm never surprised by how many fools there are.
Richard S.S. - Friday, February 21 2014 @ 01:21 AM EST (#282712) #
It remains to be seen if A.A. will ever do a deal at fair market value. He tries so very hard to save every dollar he can, that he loses out on too many good deals.
Richard S.S. - Friday, February 21 2014 @ 05:37 AM EST (#282713) #
In case you didn't catch the Anthopoulos media scrum, Jays Journal artical has a YouTube of the scrum at the bottom of the artical.
Dave Till - Friday, February 21 2014 @ 06:41 AM EST (#282714) #
There are two possible reasons why the Jays have made no moves this offseason, either of which seem perfectly plausible to me:
  • Rogers has told AA not to spend any more money, and has also told him that, if he wants to keep his job, he can't tell anybody that he is not allowed to spend any more money.
  • AA has decided that not bringing in new players is the best course of action for the team.
The one thing about AA that I know for sure is that he is not afraid to ignore the consensus opinion and go with his own instincts. (This is why, for example, John Gibbons is his manager.) It's worked out well in the past: recall, for instance, that the Jays' fan base thought that Travis Snider was a star in the making, and that Eric Thames was a useful alternative. They condemned AA harshly for dispatching both of them without even having a real alternative in left.

This time around, AA's gut or instincts or whatever have told him that the Jays' best chance of winning is to go with what they have: that the club's internal starting pitching options - Stroman, Nolin, Hutchison, maybe McGowan - are better than attempting to parachute Jiminez or Sanchez into the rotation, or giving up more prospects to land a starter in trade. If he's right, the club saves money, has a base for the future, and contends. If he's wrong, the team spirals into last place, the fan base wanders away depressed, AA risks losing his job, and the Jays wind up having to start over in 2015 with possibly a new GM and a new plan.

I'm not optimistic about 2014, but AA has proved us wrong before. And this is pretty much the same team that everybody predicted would waltz through the league in 2013. 9Waltzing through the league involves sweeping a lot of series: 1-2-3. 1-2-3, 1-2.3.  Worst metaphor ever.) So you never know.

John Northey - Friday, February 21 2014 @ 08:53 AM EST (#282715) #
Just thinking to put the earlier not unreasonable assumptions on the good side and not unreasonable bad side together.
Good side results in 88.5 wins.  Bad side...
  • Drop Lind by 1 WAR from 1.9 to 0.9
  • Sierra vs Davis, 1.8 WAR vs 0.7, lets remove all of Davis and say Sierra and others only reach 0.7 (leaving Gose,Pillar at their respective 0.1 & -0.2 levels)
  • Goins at replacement so remove 1.4 more WAR
  • Kawasaki at 0, so 1.3 more gone
  • Cut 2 WAR from Rasmus (regression)
  • Cut 2 WAR from pen (regression)

That removes 9.5 WAR leaving the Jays at 79 wins overall.  An improvement but not enough to get back to 500 let alone contend. If Rasmus or the pen perform like last year (except with Rasmus in 140 games) then the Jays are a 500 team.

Both sets of assumptions are reasonable for the most part and don't ask anything from a player that is at the peak of their previous performance.  So the Jays, to seriously contend, really need about 10 more wins from somewhere.  The back end of the rotation and something more than replacement level at 2B would do wonders, as would Sierra being a solid partner with Lind or a solid 4th outfielder. 

Right now my bet for the Jays would be a 500 team, which with some luck could be a 90+ win team (10 more wins could occur due to better health than should be expected, some kids stepping up at 2B or #4/5 starter, Lawrie moving from nice to 'woohoo', Cabrera being closer to PED form than pre-PED form, Lind holding onto some of his improvement from last year, our new hitting coach pulling off some magic, etc.).  There is a lot of hope here still, it just isn't a lock for contention (unlike how we felt last year at this time).

Chuck - Friday, February 21 2014 @ 09:02 AM EST (#282716) #
Cut 2 WAR from Rasmus (regression)

If anyone is wondering how a 27-year old can regress, it's just a matter of his 2014 BABIP being closer to .298 (career) than .356 (2013).

Mike Green - Friday, February 21 2014 @ 09:54 AM EST (#282717) #
Right.  Although a 2 WAR regression from Rasmus (4.8 fWAR last year) would reflect a significant deterioration in performance rather than luck.  Last year, he hit more line drives than ever and more of his balls went out of the yard than were caught on the infield. He was in fact hitting the ball harder and more squarely.  This is not a total shock for a 26 year old and is the kind of thing that can be sustained.

According to DRS, he has been a +5 defensive centerfielder over the last 3 years.  That matches my subjective view of him.  You add that with somewhat regressed offence and you have a reasonable expectation for more than 2.8 fWAR.  Rasmus only played 118 games last year, and if you project him for 140, you will get him somewhere between 3 and 4 fWAR. 

Rasmus' BBRef age comps are cool.  There are some unrealistically good ones (like Jimmy Wynn and Dwight Evans) and some unrealistically poor ones (like Corey Patterson and Cory Snyder).  The closest one might be George Hendrick, who had a big year at age 27 mostly by refining his ability to control the strike zone without losing power.  I have only the vaguest memory of Hendrick in centerfield.  Hendrick was in the American League and played centerfield through 1976, at a time when I was mostly following the Expos.  He was traded to the Padres in the 76-77 off-season (for Johnny Grubb and others), played centerfield for a couple of years before moving over to the Cardinals where he spent a number of years mostly in rightfield. I remember him well from those years.  You can easily imagine Rasmus following that path, although Rasmus is a better defensive player so he is more likely to stick in centerfield for a few years more.
Chuck - Friday, February 21 2014 @ 10:06 AM EST (#282718) #
you will get him somewhere between 3 and 4 fWAR.

I concur. I think that a repeat of his near-5 WAR, or even growth beyond that, is not terribly likely. Not impossible, of course, but not something I'd count on. I think there are enough holes in his game to preclude him from becoming a star caliber player, but there's no reason he shouldn't be a solid contributor for the immediate future.

92-93 - Friday, February 21 2014 @ 01:54 PM EST (#282719) #
"And this is pretty much the same team that everybody predicted would waltz through the league in 2013."

No, it really is not, despite this line of thinking being paraded around the media. The 2013 team was expected to get ace-like contributions from Josh Johnson and was supposed to have at worst a valuable utility player in Emilio Bonifacio, if not a good starting 2B. Those pieces are gone and have not been replaced other than by wishful thinking.
92-93 - Friday, February 21 2014 @ 01:57 PM EST (#282720) #
"It's worked out well in the past: recall, for instance, that the Jays' fan base thought that Travis Snider was a star in the making"

How has AA's thinking worked out in that scenario? Most fans were upset because they felt Snider was never given a proper opportunity to succeed in Toronto. AA's line of thinking was apparently that it's better to take a chance on a relief arm like Lincoln than on Snider, and nothing that has happened since has suggested that was a smart strategy. This team still needs outfields and doesn't need relievers.
Mike Green - Friday, February 21 2014 @ 02:24 PM EST (#282721) #
Incidentally, when evaluating relievers individually and bullpens as a whole, WPA is quite useful.  The Blue Jays pen was 3.5 wins to the good, which is above average but not great.  Here is the individual breakdown. The three names at the top are the ones you want in the game in high leverage situations. 
Gerry - Friday, February 21 2014 @ 02:38 PM EST (#282722) #

The Jays claim RHP Liam Hendricks off waivers and DFA Brett Morel.

The Jays have a stacked bullpen with roster problems so they add another pitcher.

The Jays are looking for a right handed hitting 2B who can platoon with Goins, so they DFA Morel.

Got it?

John Northey - Friday, February 21 2014 @ 02:44 PM EST (#282723) #
This man-love for Snider is a bit silly at this point.  Pittsburgh had him for all of last season and what did we see? 215/281/333 2 SB 3 CS while playing RF/LF plus striking out his only playoff PA.  Signed for $1.2 mil for this year, but might be released before the season begins.  Right now if he was here where would he be in the pecking order? It would be a battle between him and Sierra for the 4th outfield slot along with Gose & Pillar with Sierra likely to win due to being a right handed.hitter who can platoon with Lind. Gose would probably be next in line due to speed and defense (although FanGraphs doesn't like Gose's defense).  Pillar might even be ahead of Snider now depending on how the two did against each other in spring.

Clearly Snider had potential but just hasn't figured anything out yet. 2009/2010 he looked to be on the edge of being something but now I'd be surprised if he makes it this year as a 4th outfielder. He is now entering his age 26 season and few players suddenly figure it out at this point.
Brent S - Friday, February 21 2014 @ 02:49 PM EST (#282724) #
It's possible that the Jays are trying to sneak Morel through waivers to get him off the 40 man.

With the possibility that one of Hutchison/Drabek/Stroman start in Toronto, Hendricks might be kept around as depth for Buffalo. Morel was probably a long shot to make the team anyway, and potentially redundant with Getz and Tolleson in camp.
85bluejay - Friday, February 21 2014 @ 02:54 PM EST (#282725) #
Actually, I like the Liam Hendricks pickup because he's got 1 option remaining - so he can be a yo-yo this year - I think the jays are going to move some of their BP arms before the spring is over (likely the OOO guys)& I still thing they will acquire an upgrade at 2nd - interested to see if Morel gets claimed or the Jays get to keep him - sucks, that he may miss 10 days of spring because of this.
92-93 - Friday, February 21 2014 @ 03:02 PM EST (#282726) #
It has nothing to do with what Snider produced in Pittsburgh. If the Jays today traded Gose for a reliever, I'd be similarly upset. We have no idea what we have in Gose and we don't need RPs.
China fan - Friday, February 21 2014 @ 03:03 PM EST (#282727) #
"....Those pieces are gone and have not been replaced other than by wishful thinking...."

Not really true. Bonifacio was never expected to be a valuable member of the 2013 team, and it's not very difficult to replace a utility player. (Even Kawasaki's numbers last season weren't much different from what Bonifacio did in 2012-13.) As for replacing Josh Johnson: I suppose he's hard to replace if you perceive him as an ace, but he isn't an ace and hasn't been an ace since 2010. It's not "wishful thinking" to suggest that Johnson's expected performance in 2013 could plausibly be replaced by a reasonable step forward from Hutchison or Stroman or Drabek or someone like that. It's far from guaranteed, but it's incorrect to imply that the Jays have zero chance of replacing his likely performance. When the Jays acquired Johnson, everyone knew his injury history and we knew that he wasn't guaranteed to be a 3.3-win player in 2013. Sure, there are plenty of question marks around the 4th and 5th men in the Jays rotation, but you can't dismiss the entire depth chart as "wishful thinking." Every year, players in this category do step forward and make the breakthrough, and it's not implausible that this could happen with at least one of Hutchison/Stroman/Drabek etc. in 2014.
China fan - Friday, February 21 2014 @ 03:15 PM EST (#282728) #
"....If the Jays today traded Gose for a reliever, I'd be similarly upset...."

The analogy isn't really accurate at all. Gose wouldn't be traded for a reliever because he still has options. He has more value because the Jays can continue to develop him in 2014 without having to trade him. Snider was out of options, so the Jays had to trade him or lose him. (They weren't going to keep him on the 25-man roster for the whole of 2013.)
85bluejay - Friday, February 21 2014 @ 03:23 PM EST (#282729) #
By the time the Jays traded Snider to Pittsburgh, he had over 800 ABs in Toronto, I think most fans had a good idea of what he was and still is - baseball is littered with "can't miss" prospects who missed - Jays should have moved him even earlier.
Jdog - Friday, February 21 2014 @ 03:36 PM EST (#282730) #
Darin Ruff for a RP seems like a trade that could help both teams. PHL bullpen is still weak and with them signing Marlon Byrd its clear they don't value Ruff as an everyday guy. He would be a good platoon bat for Lind/Melky insurance.
Mike Green - Friday, February 21 2014 @ 03:50 PM EST (#282731) #
He is now entering his age 26 season and few players suddenly figure it out at this point.

This comment got me wondering about Snider's BBRef age comparables.  Three of the ten did very well, and Candy Maldonado had some good years also.  McReynolds went .234/.290/.371 in his age 25 season and then proceeded to reel off 7 good years. Hisle had hit so poorly in his age 23 year that he didn't get a significant chance again until age 26 when he was traded to Minnesota.  Foster had started to conquer the strike zone in his age 25 year, but the explosive power did not arrive until later. 

I still think Snider has an outside chance to be a very good player.  He's going to have hit 30-35 home runs a year to do it though.
92-93 - Friday, February 21 2014 @ 04:09 PM EST (#282732) #

Bonifacio was never expected to be a valuable member of the 2013 team

This is some serious revisionist history. He absolutely was. He was a target in the trade.

As for replacing Josh Johnson: I suppose he's hard to replace if you perceive him as an ace

He was perceived to have ace potential heading into 2013. He was projected to have a 4 win season.

It's not "wishful thinking" to suggest that Johnson's expected performance in 2013 could plausibly be replaced by a reasonable step forward from Hutchison or Stroman or Drabek or someone like that. It's far from guaranteed, but it's incorrect to imply that the Jays have zero chance of replacing his likely performance.

That's a VERY different statement than saying this is the same team that was expected to compete last year. One of those guys may be able to post a 6-7 WAR season, but none of them will have projections anywhere near Josh Johnson's 2013 projection.

but you can't dismiss the entire depth chart as "wishful thinking." Every year, players in this category do step forward and make the breakthrough, and it's not implausible that this could happen with at least one of Hutchison/Stroman/Drabek etc. in 2014.

Like Redmond & Rogers did? Depth wasn't the problem in 2013, the rotation was.

92-93 - Friday, February 21 2014 @ 04:11 PM EST (#282733) #
I don't think the Phillies are inclined to trade Ruf. I'm guessing Amaro is already thinking about a mid-season fire sale if things are going poorly, and Howard will be right in the centre of that.
China fan - Friday, February 21 2014 @ 04:52 PM EST (#282734) #
"....He was a target in the trade....."

Bonifacio certainly wasn't a key target. More of an afterthought. When he was acquired, most of us thought he'd be a bench player, although we thought he had the potential to grab a starting job if he improved. But he was certainly not projected to be the starting 2B, and he certainly did not improve. (Perhaps it was the notion of Bonifacio as a starting 2B that was the "wishful thinking" on our part.) Izturis was projected as the starting 2B, and Bonifacio was given a chance to compete for the job. People were excited about Bonifacio's speed, but nobody was certain that he would be anything more than a utility player who could play some 2B and some OF. To be more specific: ZiPS projected Bonifacio to have a slash line of .254/.312/.327 last season, which is not exactly difficult to replace.

"...He was perceived to have ace potential heading into 2013. He was projected to have a 4 win season..."

I suppose a lot of pitchers can be deemed to have "ace potential" since "potential" is such a fuzzy word. ZiPS projected that Johnson would have 3.4 WAR in 2013, somewhere between Morrow's projected 3 wins and Dickey's projected 4 wins. In fact, ZiPS projected 15.5 wins for the entire 5-man rotation -- which might have allowed the Jays to win the division if it had happened. If you subtract Johnson's projected 3.4 wins and replace it with 2 wins for Hutchison or Stroman (admittedly optimistic but not impossible), it's still a strong projected rotation. The real problems were the collapse of Romero and the injury to Morrow, along with of course Johnson's poor season. The Jays believe Morrow is back in healthy form, they believe Romero is replaceable by Happ, and they think they can get decent production from one of Hutchison or Stroman or Drabek or Nolin or Rogers or Redmond. This rotation is not going to "waltz through" the league, but neither was the 2013 team, especially after the injuries. (Let's not confuse the pre-season media hype with the hard reality of a tough division. The World Series projections by the Las Vegas oddsmakers were never a serious projection, they were merely designed to capitalize on all the hype about the Jays.)
Mike Green - Friday, February 21 2014 @ 05:00 PM EST (#282735) #
Gentlemen, does it really matter now what the projections for Josh Johnson were before 2013?  Surely we can agree that the Blue Jay ball club of 2013 was projected to win 83-90 games by just about everyone, and that the Blue Jay club of 2014 is projected to win 78-85 games by just about everyone.  Can we not also agree that the Blue Jay young pitchers (Stroman, Hutchison, Nolin) have the possibility to be very good in 2014, but equally the possibility of struggling?
China fan - Friday, February 21 2014 @ 05:16 PM EST (#282736) #
The problem with those projections, Mike, is that some teams ALWAYS do significantly better or worse than projected -- even if you try to make the projection a somewhat broad range. I don't bother making annual predictions for that exact reason. And when you cite a "projection" by "just about everyone," you are really just giving the conventional wisdom, which is heavily affected by media hype, fan expectations, Las Vegas oddsmakers, the popular reputations of players, etc.

I'd prefer to put it this way: if you judge the mood of the fans and the conventional wisdom, there was a giddy exuberance about the Jays a year ago, and there is a definite gloominess about the Jays today. But I'm not really sure that the mood of the fans is a meaningful metric as to how the season will unfold in reality.
greenfrog - Friday, February 21 2014 @ 06:50 PM EST (#282737) #
I would like to see the O's sign both Santana and Morales. As a point of comparison, it would be fascinating to see whether their strategy works out, as this was something the Jays had been contemplating (landing two or three FAs that had become cheap because of the QO system).

They aren't the best players in the majors, but they could help the O's be somewhat competitive for the next couple of years. On the other hand, they could be busts, as a significant percentage of FAs are.

They already have a good defense, so adding some pitching and offense should help them be a more complete team, assuming Santana and Jimenez don't get hurt or start posting ERA's in the high-4s or low-5s (always a possibility).
John Northey - Friday, February 21 2014 @ 08:22 PM EST (#282738) #
Baltimore still could sign those guys - their current projected payroll is just $93 million.  The Jays are at $134 million which puts them 8th in MLB (Dodgers, Yanks, Phillies, Tigers, Giants, Red Sox, Angels at $148+, Texas and Washington at $130, then drops to St Louis at $109).

Payrolls are interesting this year.  The spreads are getting more 'in stone' now as the year reaches and we still have clear groupings...
1) Rich: Dodgers, Yankees ($190+)
2) Near Rich: Phillies, Tigers ($160-175)
3) Very Well Off: Giants, Red Sox, Angels ($148-155)
4) Upper-Class but think of themselves as poor: Jays, Texas, Washington ($130-134)
5) Middle Class: St Louis, Arizona, Cincinnati ($105-108)
6) Cheap skate middle: Milwaukee, Baltimore, Atlanta, Colorado, KC, White Sox, Padres, Mets, Cubs, Twins, Mariners (just at $81 mil), Cleveland and Oakland ($79-$98...hard to split apart as no $5+ mil gap exists)
7) Lower-Middle: Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh ($70 & $72 mil)
8) Begging for pennies: Houston, Miami (Sub $50 mil)

Don't see many of those teams jumping from group to group outside of whoever signs the last of the big free agents.  Many in 6 could move to 5 with one more signing but that is the only area I see it happening.  Pretty crazy to see the Mets & Cubs in the same group as KC, Cleveland and Oakland though and to have Cincinnati in a group higher.
92-93 - Friday, February 21 2014 @ 08:33 PM EST (#282739) #
If the Jays need some money to spend on Drew or a hitter to platoon with Lind (which is still a really big hole), they should get it by trading Happ. Might as well go all out if you're going to rely on the youth behind Dickey-Buehrle-Morrow and a strong bullpen. ZIPS has both Stroman & Nolin ahead of Happ in WAR projection despite fewer innings, and Hutchison is also projected to be a more effective pitcher.
Mike Green - Friday, February 21 2014 @ 09:09 PM EST (#282740) #
CF, most of the projection systems that I refer to use past performance of players and aging patterns to model future performance; I am not worried that they are influenced by hype.  Obviously, there is a wide error bar and predicting injuries is pretty much impossible.  Take the 2014  fangraphs projections.  The teams range from 72 wins (the Astros) to 90 wins (the Dodgers).  It is pretty much a certainty that some team will win significantly more than 90 games and some team will win significantly less than 72 games. Usually the projections are over a wider range than that, which tells me something interesting about this year. 

ayjackson - Saturday, February 22 2014 @ 12:23 AM EST (#282741) #
Maybe it's the weather getting to me, but I'm pretty excited about this season for the Jays. I'm not overly upset they didn't add a starter. I hope they find a 2bman before the season starts, but not the end of the world - the offense should be strong.

There'll be a lot of opportunity for young pitchers to emerge, and in the minors, a lot of key prospects are shifting to full-season ball from short season. Play ball!!
John Northey - Saturday, February 22 2014 @ 12:58 AM EST (#282742) #
Spring is always a hopeful time (even though I'm buried in another foot of snow up here in Thunder Bay).  What is the future for the Jays in 3 years (once most contracts end)?

Not really that strong on who is top in the farm...maybe someone else wants to dig into the offense a bit?  The Jays really need some of the A and lower kids to start showing stuff off I'd say in 2014 to have a few be regulars by 2016/2017 once guys fall off the payroll.  Only Reyes is locked in for 2016 and 2017.

When do we lose guys?

  • After 2014: Cabrera, Rasmus, Janssen options for Lind, Morrow, Happ, McGowan and Santos (options for 15/16/17)
  • After 2015: Buehrle, Navarro options for Bautista, Dickey, Encarnacion, Izturis, Romero
  • After 2016: Cecil, Rogers & Thole
  • After 2017: Reyes, Lawrie, Luis Perez, Drabek, Delabar
  • After 2018: Kratz, Jeffress, Loup, Hutchison

So we can see when the current core is likely to vanish or get very expensive (if worth keeping of course at that point).  Need some prospects to step up this year so they are ready post 2015 when things could really open up and by 2017 for sure.

scottt - Saturday, February 22 2014 @ 06:42 AM EST (#282743) #
The exuberance of the fans? Nah. I'll stick to objective evaluation.
scottt - Saturday, February 22 2014 @ 07:39 AM EST (#282744) #
Many of the guys who will walk will be worth a qualifying offer and there will be money to spend on free agents.

The Jays do not want to offer long contracts to free agents. That, more than money, is the problem.
If that's your philosophy, then all your trades must be for young guys who are under control for several years.
An extra year on a free agent contract is completely meaningless if you trade that player away after a year or two.
Also, a protected first round pick is highly valuable, not taking advantage of that is like losing a good prospect on the round 5 draft.

timpinder - Saturday, February 22 2014 @ 08:01 AM EST (#282745) #
I agree with ayjackson. I'm not the least bit upset that the Jays didn't sign a starter. Tanaka was the only available pitcher available that I believe would have been a legitimate improvement over what one of Hutchison, Stroman, et al, would bring. I don't think it's lip service from AA when he says he likes his young internal options versus what the market was offering at an inflated price.

The offence looks great, as does the bullpen. With a healthy Morrow and the emergence of say, Hutchison, they should be playing meaningful ball in September.

I'd like to see an improvement at 2B and I'd love to see the Jays trade Lind and sign Morales to improve at DH while freeing up a spot on the bench as well, but even without those minor upgrades I see this team as legitimate wild card contenders.

You can always add that big piece at the deadline when you have a better idea of exactly what you have and where you are in the standings.
ComebyDeanChance - Saturday, February 22 2014 @ 08:27 AM EST (#282746) #
I don't agree with the optimism about the offence. The Blue Jays had the second-lowest team OPS in its division last year, and have done nothing to remedy the absence of major league players in left field or at second base. There will perhaps be a small offensive bump at catcher, but that's not going to do much to make this team competitive offensively with its AL East rivals.

It may well be that the reason no money was spent on free agents of any note was that the Blue Jays are just too far back for it to have made a difference.
greenfrog - Saturday, February 22 2014 @ 08:54 AM EST (#282747) #
Also, there is little offensive and defensive depth. As soon as one or two important players gets injured (a probability), we'll be back to the usual cast of characters (Sierra, Pillar, Kawasaki, Gose) as fill-ins, creating yet another top-heavy lineup.

To me, it's not that the offense doesn't have potential. The problem is that the Jays are limiting its potential by not building a more complete roster/bench. With a couple of more role players (like DeJesus, Hanigan, Ryan or Ellis), the offense and defense could be much more versatile. But that would require a modest increase in payroll - something the Jays are evidently disinclined to do.

It's fine to dream on Hutchison, Stroman, Drabek and Nolin, but even if they perform well, they're going to be on innings limits. That's why I favoured adding at least one more arm - maybe someone like Kazmir.

Also, given that every ML pitcher has something like a 39% chance of getting injured in any given year, it's unrealistic to assume that the Jays are going to be running out a rotation of Dickey / Buehrle / Morrow / Hutchison / Stroman all year long.

To my mind, it would have been better to sign a short-term FA like Kazmir to avoid rushing the young arms (which has been a problem for the Jays in the past).
timpinder - Saturday, February 22 2014 @ 09:12 AM EST (#282748) #
I simply don't understand the pessimism about the offence. The Jays lost Reyes for half the season. They lost their two biggest sluggers, Bautista and EE, for significant periods. Lawrie missed considerable time. Rasmus missed about a month. Production from C and LF was abysmal (and should be improved in 2014).
Despite all of this the Jays still scored the 9th most runs in MLB in 2013.

I'm nervous about the rotation, but the offence will score plenty of runs.
greenfrog - Saturday, February 22 2014 @ 10:44 AM EST (#282749) #
My point is, why not upgrade the offense from potentially respectable to potentially great? Some teams (like Seattle) have trouble upgrading, because they need major upgrades at one or more positions. But the Jays only needed relatively minor additions in a few areas. By standing pat, they're probably giving away a handful of wins, which is fine if they don't expect to contend. But why do it if you plan on competing?
timpinder - Saturday, February 22 2014 @ 11:06 AM EST (#282750) #
With Cruz signing for $8 million I think Morales could be a steal.
The Pirates need a left handed hitting 1B but don't want to lose their 1st round pick.
I'd love to see the Jays sign Morales and flip Lind to Pittsburgh.
I wonder what else it would take in addition to Lind to pry Polanco away from the Pirates to fill one of the two vacant OF positions in Toronto next year.
greenfrog - Saturday, February 22 2014 @ 11:24 AM EST (#282751) #
$8m plus $750K in incentives. Interesting move for the O's. He might give the O's a couple of WAR next year. I like that they're aggressively going for it in 2014-15.

I wonder whether they'll fly under the radar and land Santana on the cheap, too.

Duquette has done a nice, pragmatic job with the Orioles without a ton of resources or original base of talent to work with. It will be interesting to see how he tackles the reconstruction of the team after 2015.
greenfrog - Saturday, February 22 2014 @ 11:29 AM EST (#282752) #
With the Canadian dollar now below 90 cents, I don't expect the Jays to spend any significant money this off-season. Beeston has already acknowledged that the club is paying attention to the falling dollar.
John Northey - Saturday, February 22 2014 @ 11:46 AM EST (#282753) #
That has been the rumour most of the winter....Jays send Lind to Pittsburgh for something worth less than a 1st round pick (#24 overall) would be to them and more than a 2nd round pick (#50 now, might be #53 by the time of the draft) and then sign Morales. 

Is Morales worth more than Lind is the question....
Morales: age 31 seasons, 120 lifetime OPS+, 123 last year and 119 the year before, missed 2011 season and most of 2010.  WAR of 2.7 last year, 2.2 the year before, peak of 4.4 in 2009. Swtich hitter
Lind: Age 30 season, 109 lifetime OPS+, 132 last year and 97 the year before.  WAR of 1.9 last year, 0.2 the year before, peak of 4.0 in 2009. LH hitter

Morales platoon: lifetime 839 OPS vs RHP, 736 vs LHP
Lind platoon: 850 OPS vs RHP, 603 vs LHP

If you could keep Lind away from all LHP then he might be the better guy, but then you need a 1/2 decent RH hitter to fill that role (a shame the Jays didn't make more use of Davis like that as he had a 779 OPS vs LHP but just 650 vs RHP).  Sierra might fill that role plus 4th OF but will Gibbons do that (mix Sierra in the OF to give Bautista/Cabrera a break at DH whenever a LHP is on the mound) and stick with it even if Lind is pounding RHP?

Morales has shown more value in his career, and since he isn't helpless vs LHP he wouldn't need a platoon partner as much. But how much more is that worth? Lind gets $7 mil in 2014 with a $1 mil buyout for 2015 or use of a $7.5 mil option, then a $500k option for 2016 or $8 mil.  Morales will probably cost more than that.  So what to do?

I think in the end AA's decision rests on a couple of factors...
1) What will Pittsburgh give up for Lind? The more it is the more logical this would be
2) What is Morales demanding? If it is $14 mil then forget it, if it is under $10 mil then this could work
3) What do the Jays think of Sierra and other 4th OF options? Will they be good mixes for Lind and produce more in a platoon than Morales would on his own?
4) Is there bonus value in having Bautista and Cabrera get DH days when a LHP is on the mound and Sierra can go into the field?

There are a lot of factors there. The more I look at it the more I feel keeping Lind makes more sense depending on if you expect the guy with a 101's OPS+ or worse (5 of his full-time 300+ PA seasons) or a guy with a 130+ OPS+ (2 of his full-time 300+ PA seasons).  Hrm... that would be a heck of a risk though given his history.  Either you get a really good hitter or you get a really bad one.  But is he that bad those other years?

Vs RHP only by year from 2012 to 2010:  795 OPS,  771, 829

Hrm.  So he wasn't bad vs RHP by any stretch, and in eyeshot of what Morales has done lifetime despite the poor OPS+ which came about due to being helpless vs LHP.  So with Lind the entire trick is to keep him glued to the bench whenever a LHP is on the mound and to have a guy with a 700+ OPS up to bat instead.  Do that and you will have more production than Morales plus more flexibility assuming the platoon partner can play in the field thus allowing others to DH those days (thus helping keep Bautista healthier and in the lineup).  Of course, that assumes that Gibbons can do that and avoid giving 100+ PA to Lind vs LHP (as he did last year) and 16 starts vs LHP (which is about as dumb a thing as you can do unless there is no one on the bench who knows what to do with a bat which did happen in September at times with all the injuries).
bpoz - Saturday, February 22 2014 @ 11:57 AM EST (#282754) #
Thanks everyone for all of the intelligent comments. I sincerely mean that. Work & thought were put into these opinions.

Has anyone given thought about the unknown? Each year I see good and bad surprises. It is unlikely in my opinion that our new pickup Liam Hendriks will be reasonably valuable or Ryan Tepera to name another from a long list of unproven pitchers, but you never know. T Henke, T Filer to name 2, T Castillo at 3. Also would T Gose out perform A Gose? Again you never know.

Also Juniors usually impress me.

Any unknowns woohooed you in the past?
timpinder - Saturday, February 22 2014 @ 12:09 PM EST (#282756) #
In any statistical comparison between Lind and Morales you must all take into account the fact that Morales has played half of his games at Angel Stadium or Safeco Field, but Lind has played half of his games at Rogers Centre. Two "pitcher's parks" vs a "hitters park". I'd expect an uptick in Morales' numbers at Rogers Centre due to the park factor, but also because he'd be hitting behind EE and Bautista.

In my opinion Morales would be a clear improvement over Lind.
John Northey - Saturday, February 22 2014 @ 01:06 PM EST (#282757) #
Good point timpinder. Park factors are there and I do suspect Morales would be an improvement.  The question is what is that improvement worth? If Lind is traded for nearly nothing and Morales costs a 2nd round pick plus an extra $3-5 mil a year is that a fair trade for the Jays?  Because that is what it basically would be.

The last Jays 2nd round pick to reach the majors was Curtis Thigpen (class of 2004). Others to make it include Josh Banks, Dave Bush, and Brandon League, and that covers 1997 to present.  David Wells, by a landslide, is the best 2nd rounder the Jays ever drafted (over 50 WAR) followed by Derek Bell  as 12.9.  No other 2nd rounder has ever had 5+ WAR for the Jays with 38% reaching the majors so far.  Only Bell, Craig Wilson, and Wells got into 500+ games.  League, Tim Crabtree, Brent Abernathy, Bush, Tim Hyers, and Ron Shepherd  are the only others to crack 100 games in the majors.

So basically the 2nd round hasn't been kind.  But sometimes picks in the 50's are in the first round so what about those for the Jays?

First rounders in the 40+ overall pick range for the Jays...
Reached majors: Trystan Magnuson, Dante Powell, and Mark Lukasiewicz (Brett Cecil, James Paxton, Jeff Ware and Noah Syndergaard are in the 35-39 range).
Still around: Tyler Gonzales, Mitch Nay, Kevin Comer, Dwight Smith, Matt Smoral, Joseph Musgrove, Justin Jackson (I think), and Asher Wojciechowski.

Some potential there but unless you view late 30's as part of the grouping no one who has shown an ability above backup player.  Wojciechowski has been interesting in Houston's minors though and should get a shot this year and Smoral will be up here soon.
greenfrog - Saturday, February 22 2014 @ 01:22 PM EST (#282758) #
The ideal would be to sign Morales and keep Lind. Players are going to get hurt. This would give the Jays some valuable redundancy at 1B/DH and, indirectly, in the OF. But that's not how the team has operated under AA. Expect to see Lind against some LHP, Goins or Kawasaki occasionally DHing, Sierra in the OF while Cabrera DHs, etc.
greenfrog - Saturday, February 22 2014 @ 01:43 PM EST (#282760) #
* Kawasaki played ten games as the Jays' DH in 2013, totalling 35 PA with a slash line of 214/313/250.
92-93 - Saturday, February 22 2014 @ 02:08 PM EST (#282761) #
Not having to carry a platoon at DH is very valuable, John, especially for a club insistent on carrying an unnecessary reliever.
greenfrog - Saturday, February 22 2014 @ 02:28 PM EST (#282762) #
The way I look at is Morales / Lind / EE rotating through 1B, DH, bench (and perhaps DL). It sounds like a potential logjam, but in actuality it probably wouldn't be too bad. It might also keep Lind and EE healthier.

On the whole, however, I would rather have someone like DeJesus who can DH or play any of the outfield positions. Versatility has value.
92-93 - Saturday, February 22 2014 @ 02:42 PM EST (#282763) #
Yeah, I too don't think adding Morales creates a logjam of any sort, but would rather provide the depth the team desperately needs. If you could add a bat like Morales you would probably want Edwin taking some grounders at 3B so that he can play there after the inevitable Lawrie injury. It's unlikely they have the sort of money required to get Morales up here, though. I can't see Boras accepting a Nelson Cruz type offer for Morales and admitting his own failure.
Thomas - Saturday, February 22 2014 @ 02:46 PM EST (#282764) #
Well, if the team carries 7 relievers (and don't forget that AA has raised the possibility of carrying 8 relievers), then the bench presumably becomes whoever isn't starting of Lind and Morales, Kratz or Thole, Izturis and Sierra.

Ignoring the likelihood of signing Morales in and of itself, it would be nice to have one real bat on the bench, but this would leave the club without a real backup SS, although presumably Goins shifts there to fill in for Reyes and Izturis comes in at second.

Thomas - Saturday, February 22 2014 @ 02:55 PM EST (#282765) #
I think Pillar may get that reserve outfield spot, particularly given that he could fill in for Colby better than Sierra, but I do feel like the club may go with Sierra.
PeterG - Saturday, February 22 2014 @ 03:10 PM EST (#282766) #
Pillar is not close to being major league ready.

I would offer Morales 2 years at 9 mil per

trade Lind for good prospect inf or of

still some money left for another opportunity

John Northey - Saturday, February 22 2014 @ 05:07 PM EST (#282767) #
92-93... a bit of a conflict there...
  • Not having to carry a platoon at DH is very valuable, John, especially for a club insistent on carrying an unnecessary reliever.
  • I too don't think adding Morales creates a logjam of any sort

Morales and Lind cannot play anywhere but DH and 1B.  If you have both then how is that different from having a RH DH?  Morales is weaker vs LHP than RHP like Lind is (not as extreme, but weaker still) so both both share the same weakness thus no real extra flexibility gained.  With a 7 man pen (sometimes 8) you have just 13 hitters - 9 regulars plus a backup catcher leaves 3 bench slots.  Those will be Izturis (sadly), Sierra (no options), and who else?  Use it on Morales (or Lind with Morales as the regular) and you have no backup SS other than Goins moving over from 2B and no one on the bench who is a good pinch runner or defender at any position.

I see it as either/or when it comes to Lind or Morales unless the Jays suddenly decide to go with a small pen. With Sierra on the bench you have both a RH DH and a 4th OF (I'd use him in the field and give Bautista or Cabrera or Rasmus a 'day off' at DH).  Ideally the final slot would be a speedy defensive whiz who has trouble hitting (speedy good defensive kids who can hit are all-stars) or a Kawasaki type who can fill in for Reyes and keep him fresh via days off here and there.

Now, if Izturis is dumped you could keep Kawasaki on the bench (or someone like him who can play SS) and you have that slot for a hitter on the bench but I still prefer either a) a third catcher or b) a speedy defensive kid.

greenfrog - Saturday, February 22 2014 @ 05:48 PM EST (#282768) #
Morales is a good hitter against LHP - at least he was last year (794 OPS). That is radically better than Lind against LHP (553 OPS last year).

Morales was also good against RHP (780 OPS).

In my view, Lind/Morales shouldn't be looked at as a mere DH platoon. It's more of a team-wide buffer against injuries and undesirable matchups. It would also give the Jays another tradeable asset on the cheap. Win-win-win.
Beyonder - Saturday, February 22 2014 @ 06:13 PM EST (#282769) #
Pillar is as close to major league ready as he will ever be. Despite his struggles during his short cup of coffee towards the end of last season, many people think that his bat will play at the major league level. That's more than can be said for Gose, Sierra, or any of the other candidates to be the back-up outfielder.

He is my candidate for a break-out season this coming year.
Mike Green - Saturday, February 22 2014 @ 06:19 PM EST (#282770) #
Personally, if I was going with a 7 man pen (which I would not), I would have Pillar as the 4th outfielder and use him in a platoon role with Melky.  Melky gets the start in LF against RHP with Lind DHing, and Pillar gets the start in LF against LHP with Melky DHing.  That is assuming that Melky is well.
ComebyDeanChance - Saturday, February 22 2014 @ 06:41 PM EST (#282771) #
I think the most interesting thing about Gose, Sierra and Pillar is figuring out which one will take over when Melky Cabrera loses his job as a starter by May or June.

greenfrog - Saturday, February 22 2014 @ 07:02 PM EST (#282772) #
Morales is a good hitter against LHP - at least he was last year (794 OPS). That is radically better than Lind against LHP (553 OPS last year).

Morales was also good against RHP (780 OPS).

In my view, Lind/Morales shouldn't be looked at as a mere DH platoon. It's more of a team-wide buffer against injuries and undesirable matchups. It would also give the Jays another tradeable asset on the cheap. Win-win-win.
John Northey - Saturday, February 22 2014 @ 07:07 PM EST (#282773) #
Morales had a good year vs LHP last year, but lifetime is a 262/311/425 hitter vs them.  Not horrid like Lind is but still not what you need from a DH/1B.  I really don't see space for both Lind and Morales unless the Jays say 'screw defense' and put one of them at 1B and Encarnacion at 3B and Lawrie at 2B plus get a platoon partner for Lind.

If Morales was killer vs LHP and decent vs RHP then a mix and match with Lind could work (Lind vs some RHP at DH, plays at 1B vs some RHP giving both EE and Morales days off here and there, pinch hits for others).  But really with only 3 non-catchers on the bench what do you do?  I just don't see space for 2 DH/1B types plus EE plus Cabrera - 4 guys who are best at DH.  If 2014 is a write off then maybe Morales is worth signing as a trade possibility mid-season but that is stretching it imo.
greenfrog - Saturday, February 22 2014 @ 07:09 PM EST (#282774) #
Sorry for the double post.
jerjapan - Saturday, February 22 2014 @ 07:17 PM EST (#282775) #
I think the most interesting thing about Gose, Sierra and Pillar is figuring out which one will take over when Melky Cabrera loses his job as a starter by May or June.

So no hope at all that the tumour actually did interfere with his performance?
ComebyDeanChance - Saturday, February 22 2014 @ 08:09 PM EST (#282776) #
Cabrera put up an OPS+ of 88 last year, which is bang-on his 2007 mark and better than his 2008 and 2010 mark. Only in his wind-assisted 2011 and 2012 years did he ever manage an OPS+ over 95.

Many who have had a CT scan can tell you that a 'benign tumor' almost always means a cyst with water in it and they are usually non-symptomatic. They're common. Melky's problem isn't his cyst, it's that he's not very good. He propelled cheating into a $16 million contract for a 4th outfielder who played for 4 teams in 4 years, and about which other players are annoyed. His signing is an embarrassment. I doubt he'll ever sign a major league deal again.
Chuck - Saturday, February 22 2014 @ 08:13 PM EST (#282777) #
He is my candidate for a break-out season this coming year.

That's a great deal of enthusiasm for a 25-year old corner outfielder who doesn't walk and has only gap power. I think he'll have done very well if he can become the new Reed Johnson. It's not entirely clear, however, that the opportunity will even present itself.

Mike Green - Saturday, February 22 2014 @ 08:25 PM EST (#282778) #
I think that Pillar still has a chance to be Lou Piniella.  A little less power, and a little more D and baserunning ability.  He will have to hit .300 to succeed.
John Northey - Saturday, February 22 2014 @ 08:29 PM EST (#282779) #
Pillar will probably be around for a couple of years, waiting for a shot. Sierra's time is now as he is out of options and has to make it or be let go. Sierra showed more patience than ever before in his callup last year (14 walks in 122 PA, never before did he reach 10%) and saw good results (290/369/458). I doubt he'll do that good this year but it shows hope and if he pays attention to the new hitting coach who knows what could occur.  If he can be a 750-800 OPS guy he'll be very wealthy and the Jays very happy.

FanGraphs has the following for the 3 kid outfielders...
Pillar: 305-283 OBP, 387-371 Slg so an OPS of 692 or 654
Gose: 296-274 OBP, 346-325 Slg so an OPS of 640 or 599
Sierra: 301-309 OBP, 394-377 Slg so an OPS of 695 or 686

Basically the systems see Pillar and Sierra as comparable but Sierra a bit ahead. Gose is a disaster at this point.  None are good enough to be regulars, but as a platoon partner Sierra or Pillar might be acceptable for now.  I suspect Sierra to start then Pillar at some point if Sierra flops totally (OPS under 650 with poor defense would do it).

SK in NJ - Saturday, February 22 2014 @ 10:41 PM EST (#282781) #
If the Jays can sign Morales for the same AAV (or similar) to what Lind makes, then I'd do it and trade Lind in a heartbeat. While Morales doesn't kill LHP, he's not a black hole against them. Lind basically takes up two roster spots (his own + a platoon partner) and for a team with as many needs as the Jays, it would be beneficial to have one guy who can play everyday.
John Northey - Sunday, February 23 2014 @ 01:54 AM EST (#282782) #
For the same money? Sure, why not. The big question is what can you get for Lind and how much extra will Morales cost?  If he will sign for $8 mil on a 2 year plus option deal then Lind for nothing works (cost is minimal in dollars plus a 2nd round pick).  As I showed, the Jays haven't exactly found tons of great players with that 2nd round pick - outside of Wells and Bell nothing there was worth much (ie: could find just as good off the scrap heap most years).  The biggest value of that 2nd round pick is to sign cheap and have cash for other picks.
Richard S.S. - Sunday, February 23 2014 @ 07:59 AM EST (#282785) #
Calling a tumour a cist with water in it is the same thing as calling the Pacific Ocean a pond with fish in it. Calling Melky bad defensively ignores his above average rating a all three outfield positions. Try to not close ours minds to facts.
greenfrog - Sunday, February 23 2014 @ 10:11 AM EST (#282787) #
Ken Rosenthal questions whether the Jays are really "comfortable" (as AA claims to be) with the state of their rotation:

Always good to hear the perspective of someone who isn't emotionally invested in the team.
Parker - Sunday, February 23 2014 @ 10:33 AM EST (#282788) #
Where are you getting Cabrera's defensive ratings from, Richard? Maybe you could provide a link to your facts. According to FanGraphs, in any season he's logged more than 100 innings at any given outfield position, he hasn't been even an average fielder since 2009.
92-93 - Sunday, February 23 2014 @ 10:55 AM EST (#282789) #
"If you have both then how is that different from having a RH DH?"

Because Morales is good enough to merit an everyday job, whereas the right-handed side of a platoon is not. In my scenario you would actually have Melky, Bautista, Encarnacion, Lind, Morales, and Lawrie sharing 5 spots in the lineup. It's not like Melky brings much in the defense department anyway.
92-93 - Sunday, February 23 2014 @ 11:09 AM EST (#282791) #
That Rosenthal article has a 3 paragraph stretch that really highlights the confusion of this offseason:

"Anthopoulos did not sound comfortable last September, when he called the Jays’ rotation “the most glaring hole on this team and the most glaring area we need to address.”

He did not act comfortable when, according to major-league sources, he explored trades for David Price, Derek Holland and Brett Anderson this offseason (Anderson did not pass the Jays’ physical, and the Athletics later traded him to the Rockies.)

As recently as late January, Anthopoulos referenced four starters who were still free agents — Santana, Jimenez, Bronson Arroyo and A.J. Burnett — and said that they could “all be a significant improvement” for the Jays."
John Northey - Sunday, February 23 2014 @ 12:04 PM EST (#282792) #
Yeah, I could see why AA isn't comfortable with the in-house options. Price would've been a major upgrade, Anderson never appealed to me though nor did Santana or Arroyo (HR prone).  Burnett makes me nervous.  Holland would've been sweet but I hate to imagine what Texas wants for him (signed for the next 5 years at a very good rate, last 2 years team options, K/9 very good, BB/9 solid, HR/9 meh but not bad) and I did want Jimenez but 4 years would've made me hesitate too.

So there you have the issues.  Price and Holland's teams are probably demanding a kings ransom (for good reason), Jimenez was wanting more years than ideal (and probably wanted more cash to come up here), Burnett has history here but also had issues in the AL East last time (NL Central I'd suspect is an easier environment to pitch in) while Santana and Arroyo are a bit HR prone and not likely to be more than inning eaters with ERA+'s in the 90's.

The Jays have a stack of pitchers to throw at the wall and see what sticks. I agree it would be nicer if they were after 1 slot instead of up to 3 (depending on good ol' Morrow's health). Guess we'll see what happens...keep hoping AA pulls off a miracle but hope it doesn't cost the top pitchers in the minors.

China fan - Sunday, February 23 2014 @ 04:48 PM EST (#282794) #
Rosenthal's critique of the Jays is the best that I've seen -- because it's fact-based, it's built on actual research with specifics of what exactly Anthopoulos said in the past, what he's saying now, etc.

It's certainly possible that Anthopoulos wanted to acquire 2 pitchers, and the owners wouldn't let him. I don't rule it out, at all. It's also possible that Anthopoulos genuinely likes his in-house options and has become much more comfortable with them as the off-season went on (primarily because Morrow's health continued to improve, and there had been a danger that he would have a setback). I'm not ruling out that scenario either. I think the unfolding of the season will tell us a lot about whether Anthopoulos was sandbagged by uncooperative owners, and whether his claims about the younger pitchers are correct or not.
greenfrog - Sunday, February 23 2014 @ 05:10 PM EST (#282795) #
It's also possible that Anthopoulos genuinely likes his in-house options and has become much more comfortable with them as the off-season went on (primarily because Morrow's health continued to improve, and there had been a danger that he would have a setback)

CF, if this theory is correct, how do you explain Anthopoulos's comment in late January (i.e., well after Morrow's apparent health had been established) referencing four starters who were still FAs — Santana, Jimenez, Bronson Arroyo and A.J. Burnett — and saying that they could “all be a significant improvement” for the Jays?
greenfrog - Sunday, February 23 2014 @ 05:18 PM EST (#282796) #
Also, it seems a bit weird for AA to be suddenly so confident in Morrow's health. Sure, he felt good in the off-season, but he has a checkered health history and hasn't started a single spring training game yet, let alone establish that he can throw 150-200 quality ML innings.
Parker - Sunday, February 23 2014 @ 05:24 PM EST (#282797) #
Not to mention all of suddenly believing that Hutchison and Stroman are ready to contribute at the ML level based exclusively on their performances in a handful of AFL games.
ComebyDeanChance - Sunday, February 23 2014 @ 05:29 PM EST (#282798) #
Isn't it rather obvious? Is there really that much intrigue? If Anthopolous could have signed Burnett or Jimenez or Santana or perhaps even Arroyo, at a price he deemed within reason he would have and been happy. But he can't, for different reasons with different players. Burnett's not going to play out his career in Toronto, and Jimenez and Santana require what he considers to big a guarantee coupled with the loss of a pick in the draft. So what's he going to say "Well, we absolutely need to improve our pitching and we haven't so far, so as it stands we're really, really going to stink it up this year!"?

Or, "We are close to caving on Santana because we are desperate and if he can outlast us for just another week or so we'll give in to a contract he'll accept".?

Nothing at all surprising here. Of course he's going to say that they don't need a free agent pitcher at this point. Does anyone really expect in the circumstances, with only Santana left, who they very well may not get, that he's going to continue to proclaim the team's need for a free agent pitcher? Even Scott Boras, though just barely, gives the internet folks more credit than that.
China fan - Sunday, February 23 2014 @ 05:35 PM EST (#282799) #
"....if this theory is correct, how do you explain Anthopoulos's comment in late January...."

It's not a theory that I've claimed is correct. It's a scenario that might be possible, and I'm just not dismissing it as a blatant "lie" as some people have done.

But of course Anthopoulos acknowledges that there are pitchers who could improve the Jays. Tanaka could have improved the Jays too. He's been saying, fairly clearly, that it's a question of value versus price. He claims to have some evaluation of their value, and he assesses that value against the likely dollars that it will take to acquire them. And then there are other factors involved too, which we're not fully aware of. Burnett could have improved the Jays, but maybe he wouldn't have accepted a deal with Toronto, even if the Jays had matched the offers that he was getting elsewhere. The free-agent market isn't like grocery shopping, where you simply pay the market rate and walk away with the product. Some of the products don't want to go with you.

But yes, it seems to me that the Jays could have topped the offer for Jimenez, and should have done so. But it's not my money, it's easy for me to say that the owners should pay more. If the owners are refusing to shell out the money that Anthopoulos wants (and I've said that's certainly possible), then the quotes that Rosenthal cites would be strong evidence to support that scenario.

".....all of suddenly believing that Hutchison and Stroman are ready to contribute at the ML level based exclusively on their performances in a handful of AFL games...."

That's a gross over-simplification and exaggeration. First, nobody has identified Hutchison and Stroman as the only candidates for the 5th spot in the rotation -- there are quite a few others. Second, if the Jays like what they've seen from those two, it's certainly not based "exclusively" on a handful of AFL games, it's certainly also based on their performance (and improvement) over the course of 2013. And it's based on their pedigree and their performance before 2013 as well. But I don't think it's unreasonable to say that the Jays might have seen a steady improvement from Stroman and Hutchison in particular, and the AFL games were the icing on the cake, not the exclusive source of evidence.

Anyway, I'm not going to say that Anthopoulos is definitely telling the truth, because of course it's possible that he is dissembling and spinning. I just see it as an unproven case so far.
Richard S.S. - Sunday, February 23 2014 @ 06:57 PM EST (#282800) #
Boras is slamming Rogers for lack of payroll spending (MLB Trade Rumors). Doesn't Rogers have a brand new CEO, possibly sensitive to bad press? Interesting.
vw_fan17 - Sunday, February 23 2014 @ 09:49 PM EST (#282806) #
The free-agent market isn't like grocery shopping, where you simply pay the market rate and walk away with the product. Some of the products don't want to go with you.

A blast from the past: a quote by JP regarding the Burnett contract (from the article "Another Bite at the Apple" on, Feb 14):

"Let's face it: free agent players are not coming to Toronto. That's just the way it is," professed former Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi.  "Everything is great about Toronto, but it's still foreign to a lot of players. It's not so much the players, it's their families. When players are on the free agent market, the families have a big say in what happens, so a lot of them say they'd really rather not go to another country to play."  Ricciardi said he found he needed to do three things to bring a top free agent to Toronto: "overpay, overcommit, and be creative."   For A.J. Burnett, that meant a five-year deal when many suitors stopped at four, a strong salary of $11MM a year, and an opt-out clause.
92-93 - Monday, February 24 2014 @ 12:23 AM EST (#282808) #
"Gose: 296-274 OBP, 346-325 Slg so an OPS of 640 or 599"

I was just looking at this Gose projection. Can somebody please explain how Oliver projects Gose to be worse than he's been thus far at the MLB level? I think the Fans' projection on Fangraphs for Gose is a lot more realistic - .248/.308/.364. With elite CF defense that ain't bad.
John Northey - Monday, February 24 2014 @ 06:35 AM EST (#282810) #
I suspect it has to do with his AAA record - last year he hit 239/316/336 in AAA, which was the first minor league season that he didn't improve on his past one (OPS by year in minors 652-676-724-763-785-652) of course that isn't adjusted for the fact the 785 was in Vegas.

As to Gose's defense... BIS (via B-R) shows Gose as a negative defensively in RF and just a +4 per 1200 innings overall in the majors. In the minors his range factor per game in CF is just 2.25 which is OK but not 'wow' (same as Rasmus has in the majors overall).  Right now I have trouble getting excited about Gose.  Up until this past season I was high on him but his bat just went south badly and he hasn't shown 'wow' defense in the majors.  If I recall correctly he also showed a bad attitude in spring when he wasn't handed a ML job for 2013.
Hodgie - Monday, February 24 2014 @ 10:15 AM EST (#282816) #
"....Hutchison and Stroman are ready to contribute at the ML level based exclusively on their performances in a handful of AFL games."

That would be foolish if that was actually the case, fortunately it isn't and probably has more to do with Stroman's place as one of the top pitching prospects in the game and their minor league track records which are exceptional. There is also that little MLB stint for Hutchison in 2012 in which he did not look out of place at all. Stroman was ready to contribute at the end of last season, it is only the role in which they both contribute that is in question for me.

Parker - Monday, February 24 2014 @ 12:45 PM EST (#282831) #
Fine, but if that's the case, why was Anthopoulos on record at the beginning of the offseason saying the Jays would like to add two pitchers to the rotation, if he didn't think those pitchers would be any better than the internal options that he is suddenly so excited about?

Sure, he qualified his "internal options" comments by saying that the available free agents were not cost-effective enough to be a significant upgrade, basically saying that the presumed upgrades that guys like Santana, Garza, and Jimenez are not enough of an upgrade over the internal options to justify their respective asking costs. If this is the case, then he is responsible for a major failure in judgment regarding how much he thought those pitchers would demand to sign with Toronto, since none of the three have regressed in any way since the start of the offseason.
92-93 - Monday, February 24 2014 @ 07:04 PM EST (#282849) #
To play devil's advocate, Parker: AA didn't specify he wanted FA pitchers, so presumably the guys he had in mind were going to be better than his internal options. Once all the trades for his targets fell through (player nixed it and/or prospect price was too high) there was nothing else for him to say other than talking about how confident he is in the group of Hutchinson, Stroman, Nolin, and Drabek. It's plausible he never had any interest whatsoever in any of the FA starters other than Tanaka, and he knew he had no chance there. It was always going to be a trade or nothing this winter, because as you say the FA SP prices have not been higher than expected, and if anything they've been lower.

Of course it's equally plausible that AA wanted one of Jimenez/Garza/Santana/Burnett in the beginning of the offseason but as the Canadian dollar slid Rogers management told him there's nothing left for him to spend and that he can only have more to work with if his already upper-tiered payroll started showing some results.
greenfrog - Monday, February 24 2014 @ 07:37 PM EST (#282851) #
The upper-tier thing is interesting (I see Wendy Thurm currently has the Jays at the 8th-highest 2014 payroll in the majors). In my view, the issue isn't so much that the Jays are paying too much for star players like Reyes or solid players like Buehrle or Rasmus or Dickey; it's that they don't have enough cheap and productive prospect talent coming up (like Lawrie). If they had a couple of more solid players making the minimum, or close to it, they would have more financial flexibility.

In other words, it isn't that the team is being especially cheap when it comes to building with established veterans; it's that they aren't developing enough productive (and relatively cheap) talent themselves to make the whole thing viable.
92-93 - Monday, February 24 2014 @ 08:47 PM EST (#282852) #
You could do a lot more with 21m than Romero, Happ, and Melky. That trio is probably the most inefficient part of the roster (and a bit of Buehrle's contract, I suppose). I would've taken Gose in LF + an FA SP over Happ and Melky. Hopefully the Melkman's drug dealer delivers this year.
greenfrog - Monday, February 24 2014 @ 09:10 PM EST (#282853) #
This just reinforces my point about having a larger proportion of effective low-cost players. Happ and Melky wouldn't have been necessary had the Jays had, say, Dan Straily ($492,500 salary in 2013) and Norichika Aoki ($2M) at those positions.

Romero was just a fluke Steve Blass situation. Can't do much about that situation.
greenfrog - Monday, February 24 2014 @ 09:15 PM EST (#282854) #
The Jays could actually be pretty good in 3-5 years if they keep ploughing money into player development and they stay away from dud contracts for mediocre players and Rogers keeps payroll relatively high.

However, at some point they're going to have to start developing ML-quality positional players.
Richard S.S. - Monday, February 24 2014 @ 10:06 PM EST (#282855) #
People are blaming the Jays for Reyes' and Buehrle's salaries. Duh, hey stupid, the 2012/3 offseason!

Buehrle's contract averages out to $14.5 MM per year, not the Miami signed $18.0 MM and $19.0 MM we're stuck with. $14.5 MM is not an unreasonable value.

Reyes' contract averages out to $17.67 MM, not the Miami signed backloaded one we're stick with. $17.67 MM is not unreasonable value.
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