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Greg Myers has signed a one-year deal with the Jays. Details from the team's official website are here.

A superb and astute signing from the Jays. Myers is a pretty good catch-and-throw guy, but he can also handle himself at the plate, where he supplements low averages by drawing walks and showing occasional power. As a lefthander, he can be counted on to form half of a proper platoon with either Tom Wilson or Ken Huckaby, already a step up from the offense/defense jobshare that the righthanded Wilson and Huckaby had in 2002. Kevin Cash can take over as part of that platoon arrangement when he's ready.

If Wilson can really hit lefties nearly as well as he did last year, a Wilson/Myers platoon will add another good bat to the Jays offense. Huckaby, for all that I make a big deal about his popgun contribution to the offense, is a good guy behind the plate but can't bring enough with the bat to outdo Wilson, especially if Myers is handling the lefty side of a platoon. And if the Jays could possibly avoid carrying three catchers, I'd be much happier. So Huck may find himself back at AAA, or in another organization.

Myers will be 37 in mid-April, but he has been quite consistent at the dish for the last eight years, indicating that he isn't slowing down very much with age. Perhaps more catchers would age this well if they were career backups or job-sharers like Myers? At any rate, the real genius here is the length of the deal... one year only. Myers will earn a good rate this year, but if he is hurt or begins to feel the ravages of age, the Jays are not committed to paying another 2004 salary.

If you count Jayson Werth, the Jays now have seven players on the 40-man roster who have signifcant recent catching experience.

Greg Myers, it's great to have you back.
Greg Myers returns | 16 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
_Shrike - Wednesday, December 11 2002 @ 08:24 PM EST (#101416) #
I couldn't agree more, Craig. Myers is a good, affordable pickup.

Between Greg Myers and Doug Linton, this edition of the Jays will engender some nostalgia to Jays' squads of more than a decade ago.

The official report lists Myers' age as 35, however. I will go check at to verify this, but does anyone have authoritative evidence of his true age?

Regardless, one position that the Jays indisputably have considerable depth at is catcher.
_Kent - Wednesday, December 11 2002 @ 08:37 PM EST (#101417) #
Myers is a great pickup, and if it's a strict platoon will get far more AB than the other catcher. Last year in Oakland, they gave Ramon Hernandez the vast majority of innings, despite his anemic .607 OPS against righties, compared to Greg's respectable .768, with 6 HR in just 119 AB. I assume the Jays plan to start him more often than the A's did, as it's not like there's an incumbent #1 in Toronto. And in wear-and-tear, he's a "young" 36, a capable receiver who shows no signs of imminent decline.

His platoon mate might be Kevin Cash before the end of the year, but for the short term it's a close call. Huckaby is the best "defensive replacement" option, while Wilson's more of a threat as a pinch-hitter. Huck surprised me by hitting as well as he did. He swings late, with very little power, but consistently flares singles over 2B and in front of the right fielder. Wilson, despite the ugly stance, is a more legitimate power guy, especially against lefties.

I agree with Craig, there's no need for three catchers, especially with Phelps and Werth around, so either Wilson or Huckaby should be headed to Syracuse. The only reason I lean toward keeping the glove man is that the Jays' lineup is full of above-average hitters at so many other positions, it can tolerate an offensive black hole at catcher part of the time. On the other hand, having Cash learn defence from Huck in AAA might be the best idea for the kid's development. It's hard to go wrong now that the missing piece has been added, a C who can hit RH pitching.

Again, the Jays improve without risking an expensive, long deal. The catching got deeper and more productive, but the budget remains flexible. Nice move.
_jason - Thursday, December 12 2002 @ 03:10 AM EST (#101418) #
Since Myers is a left handed bat and Cash, Wilson, and Huckaby are all righties this allows the Jays to have a better platooning situation. Obviously, Myers will hit against righties and that leaves 2 odd men out hitting against lefties.

Huckaby seemed to handle the pitching staff pretty well and I imagine that the Jays will want to keep him on in the future as an instructor/manager type. I dont know if that means he will be best used with the Jays or down in AAA with Cash. If Cash is in AAA come April.
Pistol - Thursday, December 12 2002 @ 09:11 AM EST (#101419) #
I must be in the minority on this signing. Iím not crazy about it. The past 3 years Myers has hit .225/.319/.402 against RHPs. I donít think thatís worth $800,000 for someone who will be 37 at the beginning of the season. I would think thereís a better alternative at a cheaper price out there (although admittedly I havenít looked for one). Sure heíll be an improvement over what Huckaby would put up, but I think the Jays could have allocated their money better in this case.
Dave Till - Thursday, December 12 2002 @ 09:46 AM EST (#101420) #
Remember when everybody was saying that Myers would be the Jays' catcher of the future? They just weren't saying how far into the future. :-)

Here's what I posted on the Baseball Primer thread about Myers (in response to someone wondering why the Jays would sign Myers when they already had Wilson):

Wilson isn't very good defensively, and I seem to recall that his offensive stats declined as the season went on. Myers isn't much of a hitter these days, but he's a better hitter than Huckaby and a better fielder than Wilson, and he's only signed for one year. Wilson could still make the team as an extra bat off the bench, as he can play first base as well as catch, thus giving the Jays more in-game options.

As I see it, the Myers signing means that the Jays think that Kevin Cash won't be ready to start the season with the Jays in 2003. They've already decided that Phelps is a 1B/DH and that Werth is an outfielder, so they needed somebody to fill the gap for one year.
_Kent - Thursday, December 12 2002 @ 11:35 AM EST (#101421) #
"Catcher of the future" -- good one, Dave.

I wonder what our friend at the Star will say about this. Just yesterday I agreed with Griffin -- a rarity -- but I expect him to get back to trashing J.P. and the Jays almost immediately. Of course, he can emphasize Pistol's points about Myers' age and average, and using his selective-amnesia technique, blame Ricciardi (again) for not doing "enough."

As Craig said, the best part of this deal is filling a need while avoiding a foolish, long commitment to a replaceable player. Myers is very reasonably priced for the power and walks he figures to provide. Whether his return to T.O. is for one season only, or gets extended for another year or two, will be determined (just like Lidle) by performance. If the Jays are right and there's plenty left in Greg's tank, it's a great signing. If things don't work out, no problem -- someone else will certainly be available to caddy for Cash in 2004.
_dp - Thursday, December 12 2002 @ 12:42 PM EST (#101422) #
I dunno- this seems kind of pointless to me. the last things the organization needs is another catcher. the jays have enough offense to punt a lineup spot to defense. If they wind up carrying 3 C again this year, it'll really look dumb, b/c as you guys pointed out, they have 2 emergency C is Werth and Phelps.

I guess I fail to see how Myers improves the team. Combined with the Creek signing, this is 1.6 million questionably spent, moreso with Myers b/c he's a proven mediocre commodity.

OT: The longer Alfonzo's out there, the more I think the Jays should ship Cruz Jr out for prospects and use his salary to sign the Fonz. They can find somewhere to play him, even if it would mean shifting Lopez to RF and dealing Hudson with Cruz- I'd think a package of Cruz, Hudson and Escobar could nab a whole bunch of pitching talent.
_Ryan Adams - Thursday, December 12 2002 @ 03:45 PM EST (#101423) #
I doubt the team will carry three catchers again. I don't think Wilson or Huckaby are signed yet for 2003, meaning one of them could be non-tendered in a week.
_R Billie - Thursday, December 12 2002 @ 04:44 PM EST (#101424) #
There's likely more at work than numbers here. Don't forget Myers has extensive experience catching both Lidle and Tam, as well as the likes of Hudson, Mulder, Zito, and other very talent pitchers. He's been around the block which is something that neither Huckaby or Wilson have going for them at the major league level.

I used to wonder why Kansas City bothered carrying guys like Luis Alicea around...but he was credited a great deal with the development of Carlos Beltran. Tony Fernandez supposedly had a great influence on Cruz during his best season in 2001.

I admit I'm a numbers guy as well, but sometimes it's easy to get blinded by the numbers and forget that this is a game being played by people. Experience and leadership are not a replacement for talent but they DO count for something...even if it is hard to quantify.
_Kent - Thursday, December 12 2002 @ 08:23 PM EST (#101425) #
Ryan, I think you're right. Perhaps they'll offer one a minor-league deal, as other clubs aren't going to be falling over these guys. Aren't Dave Berg and Pete Walker in the same boat, where we assume they remain in the team's plans though they still are unsigned?
_Jordan - Thursday, December 12 2002 @ 10:41 PM EST (#101426) #
I'm not opposed to this signing, but I'll admit I'm underwhelmed by it. Nothing against Greg Myers -- he hit the first Blue Jays home run I ever saw, in a 1991 home loss to Milwaukee. But he was never much of a hitter, even in his "prime" -- his career year in 1996 with the Twins produced a .746 OPS. More importantly, '96 was the last time he had more than 200 ABs in a season. I don't see him being capable of holding down the Darrin Fletcher side of a platoon situation, which will require a minimum of 350 ABs, if not 400. I don't remember him being a defensive whiz in his first go-round with Toronto, but give him his props: he threw out 41% of baserunners last year, fourth in the AL among semi-regulars, and had a Catcher's ERA of 4.09 (take that for what it's worth). I'll take Ricciardi at his word that Myers is a good clubhouse guy.

This signing seems to indicate that Kevin Cash won't be ready before August, and that the front office is not prepared to sit through another Huckaby-Wilson show at the plate most of next year. I don't really have any better suggestions for a left-handed hitting catcher, however, so I suppose Myers is as good as you can get right now. His OPS against RHers the last three seasons is .721 -- hardly stellar, but better than the .628 (Wilson) and .568 (Huckaby) Toronto's current backstops posted against righties last year. It's an improvement, but not a huge one: $800,000 is about as much as I would have paid for it. I would agree that Huckaby is the likeliest to head down to Syracuse and be Cash's tutor, since Wilson just smokes righties (.910 OPS last year) and his bat is valuable all over the diamond.

Fun fact: Myers' Most Similar Batter through age 36 is Pat Borders.
Coach - Friday, December 13 2002 @ 09:20 AM EST (#101427) #
Toronto wouldn't have Myers if Billy Beane hadn't decided he was expendable. Oakland now goes with slightly cheaper, 10 years younger Mark Johnson (acquired as a "throw-in" in the Koch-Foulke deal) as their lefty-hitting catcher.

Johnson walks a lot, and I haven't seen him behind the plate enough to comment on his receiving, but when he does make contact (rarely) it's not with as much power as Myers. There should be a cute phrase like "Mendoza line" to describe an OPS under .600 -- "hitting" in a lineup that includes Magglio and Konerko, Mark achieved a woeful .590 in 263 AB. I don't think either guy is a long-term solution, but the Jays got the better of the two for the immediate future, for not quite half a million more.

Jordan meant to say "Wilson smokes lefties" but that .910 OPS speaks for itself. Tom was terrible in June and July, and not very good in August, so I thought his brief ML career was over, but he may have been overworked or hurting, as he bounced back in September.
Craig B - Friday, December 13 2002 @ 09:35 AM EST (#101428) #
Tom Wilson hurt his elbow near the end of May, and I assumed it was bothering him for a while although he only sat out two games with it.
_Jordan - Friday, December 13 2002 @ 09:59 AM EST (#101429) #
Jordan meant to say "Wilson smokes lefties."

Whoops -- right you are, Kent. Evidently I was smoking something myself when I wrote that.

There should be a cute phrase like "Mendoza line" to describe an OPS under .600

Gentlemen, I give you ... "The Ordonez Line".
_Kent - Friday, December 13 2002 @ 12:15 PM EST (#101430) #
Rey is every bit as good a person as he is a hitter, for only $6,000,000 a year. I hated the '02 Mets, and scoff at the idea that Glavine will fix what's broken. It was sad to see Alomar having such a rotten time, and now they let Fonzie go -- the only other one I'd want on my team. Art Howe will need to be a miracle worker.
Craig B - Friday, December 13 2002 @ 02:56 PM EST (#101431) #
It was sad to see Alomar having such a rotten time

Oh, man, but it was all worth it to see Mo Vaughn go through his own personal Gehenna. Seeing Troy Percival close out the World Series just made that all the sweeter... like a perfect, happy ending to the movie where evil is punished, good triumphs and the hero gets the girl. I'd never wish harm on a ballplayer (maybe on Ben Christensen) but I wish nothing but abject failure on Mo Vaughn and success on all his personal enemies.

And as someone who has despised the Mets since the Gregg Jeffries days, it was glorious to watch that team crash and burn.
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