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Thanks for the heads-up to DS, and the Transaction Oracle report -- Dan beat the wire services on this one year deal, at a million bucks.

Sturtze (32, 6' 5", 190) is durable, but hittable, as Jordan pointed out the other day. He's better than his 2002 W-L record of 4-18 in front of the woeful D-Rays, but I don't think anyone expects him to be a Cy Young candidate. What he does offer the Blue Jays is another alternative to Pete Walker and Justin Miller for the rotation, and at this price, if he doesn't get the job done as a starter, he won't be overpaid as a long man in the bullpen. Strictly a depth move, with no risk and a possible reward.
New Jay: Tanyon Sturtze | 22 comments | Create New Account
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_DS - Saturday, December 21 2002 @ 05:10 PM EST (#100569) #
I just put this in the Gammons thread before Kent posted this one, so I'll just reiterate my comments here.

For the most part, I've been happy with JP's moves, and this one should be OK, but I'm getting a little disturbed about the fact he's only signed players who were with the A's or that he's scouted himself. That just screams of someone who doesn't trust the opinion of his scouting staff. A little worrisome, to say the least.
_Kent - Saturday, December 21 2002 @ 05:32 PM EST (#100570) #
Yeah, you can argue that he overvalues Sturtze because he's a fellow Massachusetts boy, or was blinded by nostalgia with Bordick, who he signed a long time ago, and he does seem to have a soft spot for former A's. But that hasn't led him to signing anyone to a contract that's obviously too rich, or too long, or in any way hurts the team. I'm inclined to cut him some slack; he's getting people he knows, and/or people he knows a lot about, and I remain convinced that Ricciardi has a clear vision of where he wants this team to be.

This is just another temporary, one-year stopgap measure, and does nothing to compromise the Jays' flexibility for next winter, when there will be some affordable and talented free agents in a market that will probably still be sluggish. So the scorecard on the Cruz "trade for nothing" is now Bordick, Sturtze, Myers and at least $2 million in cash, which at today's prices, will rent a pretty good RF -- that's actually about what Cruz can expect to settle for. Not bad, under circumstances that are forcing other teams to make crazy trades like 18-game winners for a bag of practice balls and a fungo bat.
_Sean - Saturday, December 21 2002 @ 06:30 PM EST (#100571) #
This will be my last post for a week, and I hope some enterprising soul will leave an answer to my question for me to consider when I get back.

What 2M options do JP et al. have as a replacement for Cruz? (FWIW, Kent, I disagree that Cruz's salary for the upcoming season will be so low; if I'm wrong the irony that the Jays could conceivably "trade" Cruz for Cruz plus the other players they've signed is delicious.
Craig B - Saturday, December 21 2002 @ 07:08 PM EST (#100572) #
Some players who are free agents, can conceivably play right field, can hit a little, and might cost in the neighbourhood of $2 million or less... (in order of best to worst as I see it)

Alex Ochoa
Robert Fick
Todd Hollandsworth
John Vander Wal
Shane Spencer

Ray Lankford, like Cruz, will probably command more than $2 million. If you can get Lankford at that price, he becomes an excellent guy to plug in for one year. I just don't think it's going to happen. Same for Reggie Sanders... but Sanders might just be available at that price. In fact, Sanders might be an even better pickup than Lankford.

David Justice... same deal. Justice probably will command more than either Lankford or Sanders, though.

The five guys mentioned as realistic guys at Cruz's price, are not really very good options. Ochoa is the exception; he got $2.75 million last year and might be expensive, but he's likely to be cheaper.

Rob Fick is an interesting possibility... but as a 2002 All-Star his price might be steeper than he's worth. He's a lousy fielder from what I've seen, but since everyone tried to run on his erratic but powerful arm, he gunned down a pile of baserunners last year. He would fit in nicely with the Jays' Machiavellian plan to stockpile every available catcher in baseball.

If it's one of the other three guys, you might as well re-sign Chad Mottola and give him the RF job.
Coach - Sunday, December 22 2002 @ 09:14 AM EST (#100573) #
Sean, Cruz-for-Cruz-plus is exactly what I meant to suggest, but it was purely to illustrate my point. I doubt that Jose would accept such a deal (he'd be so insulted that, like Bordick, who the O's tried to "cut" from $5 MM to about $1.2 M, he'd take even less from someone else) but I think the chances of him getting over $3 MM are slim. In the new economy, he should be thrilled with two years for $5 MM total.

Craig, last year's salaries are irrelevant in predicting what this glut of free agents will be forced to accept this year. Ochoa will be affordable, as will Frank Catalanotto, and Eric Owens. And you don't have to pick and choose just from the FA list; there are still plenty of teams "stuck" with contracts they don't want, or players they've reluctantly offered arbitration to, who will have no choice but to throw in some cash and accept next to nothing in return if they want to complete trades. One such situation involves the Marlins and Kevin Millar, who would be absolutely ideal in Toronto; a righty platoon mate for Werth, and an OBP freak with power. But there are so many others, it's impossible to guess what J.P. & Co. have in mind. Rest assured, they are in the driver's seat, and pushing Cruz out the passenger-side door made perfect sense under the circumstances.

I've heard Fick on one TV interview and got the impression that he's kind of a dumb redneck; not that there's anything wrong with that. But I'm not a fan of John Rocker or Jeff Weaver, either -- guess I'm prejudiced. Prior to my rush to judgement (but I didn't learn about it until later, when the case was heard in court) he was, along with Bobby Higginson, one of the ringleaders of "boys will be boys" misbehaviour on a team flight that included sexual harrassment and other illegal activity. (The judge gave the players a severe wrist slap.) I don't care if his bat is above average, like Little G, Fick's a "character" risk who doesn't fit in with what the Jays are building. Sanders, with his delicate constitution, might be a better fit for a non-turf team, but he's another good example of an available one-year rental who's marked down in the bargain bin.
Pistol - Sunday, December 22 2002 @ 10:16 AM EST (#100574) #
This isn't exactly an exciting signing, but if Sturtze can make 30 or so starts at a 4.75ish ERA it'll be worth the money (his ERA the past 2 years has been around 4.80-4.85). It's certainly a better deal than what the Cubs gave Shawn Estes who seems to be pretty comparable. This is also an upgrade over the Loiaza/Parris combo for the Jays last year. It just seems feel right to be signing someone the Devil Rays didn't want.

I just hope Sturtze is filling the #4 or #5 starter and not the #3 starter. If it's the former I like the move, if it's the latter I'm not crazy about it.
Pistol - Sunday, December 22 2002 @ 10:34 AM EST (#100575) #
While some may not like Tanyon's 5.18 ERA last year, it won't be that bad because he won't be facing the Jays anymore. If you subtract out the innings pitched against the Jays his ERA drops all the way to 5.02. Plus, now he'll be facing the Devil Rays instead of the Jays so it should go even lower.

ERA by month:
April - 4.45
May - 5.97
June - 4.34
July - 4.89
August - 5.57
September - 5.86

Pre All Star Game - 4.53
Post All Star Game - 5.96

It looks like he tired in the second half of the season.
Dave Till - Sunday, December 22 2002 @ 10:43 AM EST (#100576) #
Tanyon Sturtze looks the second coming of Steve Parris:

Parris, Cin '00: 192.2 IP, 227 H, 30 HR, 71 BB, 127 K, 4.81 ERA
Sturtze, TB '02: 224.0 IP, 271 H, 33 HR, 89 BB, 137 K, 5.18 ERA

And J.P.'s comment that Sturtze is a proven 200-inning pitcher doesn't hold water, either: Sturtze has reached that level exactly once. Often, the effects of a heavy workload don't show up until the next year (hello there, Chris Carpenter). And the SkyDome is a homer-friendly environment.

Having said all that, I don't think the signing is a bad one. Sturtze is a lot cheaper than Parris was. J.P.'s strategy is clear: find players who are worth about $700,000, and land them by offering them about $1 million. At the very worst, it adds depth to the roster - which will be very useful if somebody gets hurt. I'd rather see Sturtze start than, say, Mike Smith.

And: you can never, never, never have too much pitching.
_Ryan Adams - Sunday, December 22 2002 @ 11:11 AM EST (#100577) #
As it stands now, I think the pitching staff could at least be league-average. With the number of major league and minor league signings in the pitchng department, the Jays have a lot of options going into 2003 (many more than they did in 2002). If someone is terrible, the team won't continue to run them out to the mound simply because there isn't anyone better available. Even the major league guys (Sturtze, Tam and Creek) are cheap enough to be pushed aside without being much of a deadweight on the team.
Pistol - Sunday, December 22 2002 @ 11:16 AM EST (#100578) #
"And J.P.'s comment that Sturtze is a proven 200-inning pitcher doesn't hold water, either: Sturtze has reached that level exactly once"

Well, he did have 195 in 2000. Apparently, JP rounds up to the nearest 10 innings.
_Richard - Sunday, December 22 2002 @ 12:27 PM EST (#100579) #
Sat at the computer yesterday for awhile trying to do my best Keith Law impression.My goal to find a platoon partner for young Mr.Werth.

My criteria:
-needs to be inexpensive
-available(hmm......this is sounding like some of the girls I've dated)
-preferabbly a
left handed batter
-have enough arm to play R.F.
-have enough foot speed to play O.F.on turf
-be an OBP "freak"

Guys I drew a lot of blanks.

Too slow for turf but have good sticks

Millar(sorry coach)

Too old and perhaps too expensive[although beggars can't be choosers]


Not many options,this seemed to be the best I could do;

Ochoa:Pretty good OPS/speed/arm but is a R.handed hitter
Cattlano:Does he have enough arm/speed for R.F.? (otherwise perfect)
Did not play a inning in R.F. for Texas
Aaron Guiel:I'm not sure about his footspeed/availability but he's l handed ,has good minor league stats/good arm and a Canuck to boot.

In summation I'll leave the heavy work to Law and Riccardi as no "perfect" canditate jumps out.This slot is going to take a bit of creativity and balance.

On a related note Jay Witasick has some pretty good numbers[K/W ratio) and is an ex Oakland A farmhand.He may be a good fit.
Pistol - Sunday, December 22 2002 @ 12:59 PM EST (#100580) #
So what's left for the Jays to do this offseason?

Looking over the roster, and assuming 11 pitchers and 13 position players, plus 1 of either, I come up with 3 holes to be filled; a starting pitcher (which may be filled with someone on the roster already), an OF, and one other position (5th OF, 3rd C, or 12th P)

Right now I believe the rotation would be:
Roy Halladay
Cory Lidle
Tanyon Sturtze
Pete Walker
Mark Hendrickson

I'd feel more comfortable with another starter (Valdes, Daal?) and let Walker and Hendrickson battle for the 5 spot, with the other in the bullpen. Looking over the FAs it doesn't look like there's much out there though.

I think the Jays feel they're set in the pen now:
Kelvim Escobar
Cliff Politte
Jeff Tam
Doug Creek

With 2 to choose from between:
Brian Bowles
Bob File
Jason Kershner
Aquilino Lopez
Gary Majewski
Justin Miller
Corey Thurman

Greg Myers
Tom Wilson


Dave Berg
Mike Bordick
Carlos Delgado
Eric Hinske
Orlando Hudson
Chris Woodward

Shannon Stewart
Vernon Wells
Jayson Werth

I think VanderWal could be another $1 million/1 year player that could fit in with the Jays. He could be the LH bat to split time with Werth in RF, and if necessary could probably play 120 games. Plus, he'd be a good PH off the bench.
Coach - Sunday, December 22 2002 @ 01:08 PM EST (#100581) #
Richard, I think Ochoa (like Millar) is one of those RH batters who hits righty pitchers as well as he does lefties, but I agree he's a lot better defensively. But you mentioned Burnitz -- now that the Mets have signed Floyd, they might be desperate enough to unload Jeromy to pay a big chunk of his salary ($11 MM for 2003; holy Mondesi, Batman!) He's the kind of non-FA lefty slugger who might become available in a trade (for next to nothing) as the over-committed teams try to cut costs any way they can.

Of course, the Jays don't need to do anything right away; the Werth/Wise combo isn't that bad. Jayson might be equivalent to the 2002-model Cruz already, and Dewayne's hand (or wrist, I forget) was too sore to grip the bat in a few games I saw, so I don't think his anemic numbers are a fair representation of his ability. It's just that Toronto could use more pop off the bench, and if whoever they get can play a little RF, so much the better.

Guiel has his supporters, and everyone seems to be forgetting another feisty little guy already in the Jays' organization, Bruce Aven. I'm not concerned.
Coach - Sunday, December 22 2002 @ 01:39 PM EST (#100582) #
Pistol, a good summary, and you're right about JVW as another solid interim solution. There will have to be a second lefty in the 'pen, presumably Kershner unless Scott Wiggins continues to overachieve or Hendrickson doesn't succeed in the rotation. I'm starting to wonder what role, if any, they have in mind for Pete Walker. He was certainly a great pickup, but is no better than Doug Linton, and Justin Miller has a brighter future than either of them.

One of the commodities other teams are still overpaying for is relievers; $4 MM for Alfonseca? So an Escobar trade remains a possibility. Kelvim's one of the last four Jays (along with Delgado, Stewart and Halladay) who were regulars when J.P. took over. Quite a thorough housecleaning.
_Richard - Sunday, December 22 2002 @ 01:42 PM EST (#100583) #
A few comments;

-Thanks for the Guiel websight!(If we can't get Aaron how about his brother?)
-Pistol I generally agree with your roster breakdown,although I think the Jays will give the inconsistent Justin Miller a long look at starter.(atleast we have some alternatives should he fail)
- I'm beginning to think the 4th outfielder dilema is best solved within.Aven,Wise,Rob Ryan ,even Howie Clark who's played some outfield may fit the bill.
-The Jays are at about I reckon 48$ for this year.What do we do with the remaining 7$.(55 million budget)Contreras sweepstakes?Mid-season salary dump pickup's?
-Given the Mets signing Cliff Floyd as a template should we lock up Shannon Stewart to a similar deal?
_Ryan Adams - Sunday, December 22 2002 @ 04:40 PM EST (#100584) #
Prior to the winter meetings, I thought it was all but assured that Escobar would be gone. I still think there's a chance he'll be dealt, but I'm starting to think he'll be with the Jays in 2003, at least to start the season.

I hope Stewart isn't signed to an extension and I doubt he will be. With Gross, Wise, and Griffin (if he's ever formally acquired) coming up in another 1-2 years, I'm not crazy about blocking them with an outfielder who is probably only good for an OPS in the low-.800's. There will probably be cheaper options available this time next year. (Of course, my opinion may change depending on how the young guys develop in 2003.)
Craig B - Sunday, December 22 2002 @ 09:16 PM EST (#100585) #
Richard, the $55 million budget is the high side of the budget. I think JPR would be better off putting *some* of that toward the bottom line, in order to build up sufficient goodwill in the organization for the serious push that we all hope will come in 2004. If this team surprises and contends, then some of that can be spent in midseason to try to fix a hole for the second half.
Pistol - Sunday, December 22 2002 @ 10:11 PM EST (#100586) #
Given the market pulling back I'd be surprised if the Jays gave out any contract extensions now. Stewart is probably not going to get a large deal next offseason if this season is any indication. If Floyd is worth $6-6.5MM, Stewart is probably worth about $4MM. He likely would be looking for more.

Now if Stewart came to the Jays now looking to extend his contract for 3 years and $12MM I'd do it, I just don't see that happening.

If the current $48MM payroll and $55MM budget is correct I'd love to see the Jays jump into the Contreras mix (assuming that they like him for that much). I read somewhere that the offers that would be made to him would be in that range, but with the Red Sox and Yankees both bidding it wouldn't be surprising to go higher. (The bidding is 2 hours away!)

The other interesting possibility is a run at Vazquez. If the Sox got Contreras, and the Yanks resigned Clemens the market for Colon and Vazquez would drop a lot. However, with the Expos looking for players that'll play this year in return I'm not sure the Jays would give up any players the Expos would want (now that Lopez is gone).
_dp - Monday, December 23 2002 @ 03:56 AM EST (#100587) #
I guess I'm alone here on some of these moves- Bordick, Sturtze, Creek and Myers don't seem to make the team any better. I'm glad JP has a soft spot for old white guys he used to play cards with, but that doesn't mean I want to watch them play.

One of the things I don't like to see GMs do is grab guys with little to no upside, especially when they block guys who could contribute. Creek and Strurtze are zeros- let go by the Devil Rays- so why would you want them taking innings from guys that have shown they might not be zeros like Hendrickson, Miller, Kershner, ect? The pitching this year will be fine, and if it isn't, neither of these guys are going to make a significant impact.

Given someone other than Carlos Tosca at the helm, maybe having Bordick and Berg and Myers around wouldn't bug me, but this is a guy who played Tom Wilson and Dave Berg ahead of Felipe Lopez in meaningless September games. Tosca won't be able to resist running Myers out there as the DH once a week and overusing Berg whenever Hudson slumps. A lineup with Myers, Berg and Bordick in it would be pathetic, even if they weren't making $3 million between them.

And now, add up the salaries- $3.6 for these 4 players. The whole point of using league minimum guys where you can is so you have the $$$ for better talent. Having Bordick over Howie Clark doesn't do much, ditto Creek over Kerschner and Myers over Wilson, especially given Werth's ability to catch in a pinch and Cash's expected arrival in mid-season. But take Strutze and replace him with a $3.6 million dollar pitcher, or replace Brodick with Catlanatto, and you've got an impact move rather than a bunch of meaningless ones.

If Baird or Thrift had made these moves, I think you guys would be on them a lot more.

re: Stewart- I'd like to see him stay, if the price is right. He has been a model of consistency and a media scapegoat through the long rough patch, so I'd like to see him here when the team is good again. He's a fun hitter to watch, and I don't think we've seen his best yet. Probably has a .400/.500 career year coming, hopefully after he's resigned cheap. Without looking it up, it always seems like he kills the Yankees, which scores him bonus points in my book.
_R Billie - Thursday, December 26 2002 @ 03:00 AM EST (#100588) #
As far as the remaining $7 million in the budget, have we accounted for arbitration cases? I'm thinking of Halladay, Stewart, and Escobar in particular. A lot of it is going to be eaten up by Halladay in a hurry (his $2.5 million salary I expect will double). Escobar didn't have a great year but if we look at closers in the 38 save range, his $2.3 million could double as well. And Stewart I expect could be raised from $4 million to the $5 million range himself. Here's hoping Ricciardi can cut deals with these guys.

I'm not to thrilled myself at the spending on fringe players to fill bench positions...but the alternative could have been bigger spending on fringe players to fill regular positions as lesser teams are doing. JP is looking for one year deals for people he knows won't ruin the atmosphere for the young players (and if anything will be a plus), even if they can't provide much in the way of performance. I'd like to win more, but we saw the effect of something as subtle as calling Huckaby up to provide more competent receiving can have on a team.
Pistol - Saturday, December 28 2002 @ 10:50 AM EST (#100589) #
FWIW, Sturtze was the 2nd most 'unluckiest' pitcher last season. His SNWL was -8.6. His 'expected' record was 10-15.
_Kent - Sunday, December 29 2002 @ 04:04 PM EST (#100590) #
Nice link, Pistol. Interesting that one of the categories was "ML Starters most hurt by their relievers," and atop the 2002 list, by a wide margin, was Cory Lidle. (Steve Parris led last year's Jays in getting betrayed; I still admire him for his tenacity and pitching savvy.) The team stats and park effect numbers are also worth a look.
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