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According to reports first broken on The Score and ESPN, now confirmed by The FAN 590, the Jays got their man. Miguel Batista becomes the nominal #2 starter in a vastly improved Toronto rotation.

The former Diamondback righty, a capable replacement for the departed Kelvim Escobar, brings a very different presence to the clubhouse. Financial details haven't been announced yet, but it's supposedly a three year deal, and you can be sure that it's for a few million less than Escobar received from the Angels.

In a series of clever moves that began last summer, J.P. and company have also bolstered the bullpen, brought a popular former Cy Young winner home, added a promising lefthanded starter and scored a couple of high draft picks. The net cost? Shannon Stewart, who wasn't going to return anyway, considering the wealth of outfield talent in the system. Just two more minor moves are expected; another reliever and a backup infielder will be signed with the remaining $2-3 million in the budget.

Despite a payroll that may be less than 25% of what the Yankees will spend, the 2004 Jays could make their AL East rivals very nervous. I can't wait for spring training.
Miguel Batista, Blue Jay | 197 comments | Create New Account
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Craig B - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 09:43 AM EST (#66576) #
I'll start with a couple of guys who had blow-away material...

Nolan Ryan, obviously, could bring it like nobody's business. Everything he threw was hard to hit, and he was intimidatingly wild too. He had a presence about him that was unmatchable when I first saw him pitch in the early and mid 80s.

Doc Gooden, in his early twenties when he was still whippet-thin, had the best fastball I have ever seen, the way it exploded into the mitt. He could have pitched with just the damn fastball, but he also had that incredible curveball that tumbled as well as any curve I can remember. Doc didn't get the big hooking action of a Blyleven curveball, or the hard break of Dave Stieb's curve, but he got amazing lateral break of the curveball, it would sweep across the hitter's body into the strike zone.

I still think Gooden would have been one of the all-time greats if he'd just been left to pitch, but Mel Stottlemyre couldn't resist messing with his approach. Gooden has more brains than both Stottlemyres put together and squared, too, which is the most frustrating thing for posterity. He might never have made it because all those smarts came with half a thimbleful of self-control, but man... that was one heck of a pitcher.
_MatO - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 09:45 AM EST (#66577) #
On the Blue Jays Kelvim Escobar would occasionally make my jaw drop. Occasionally! Also, Dave Stieb circa 84-85 early in the season while his arm was still fresh. His fastball would ride about a foot and the slider would break three feet.
_Jordan - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 09:49 AM EST (#66578) #
In terms of raw stuff, the first and really only two Blue Jays who spring to mind are Dave Stieb and Duane Ward. Everyone else is in a second tier behind them (led by Escobar).

Stieb's slider was the only truly beautiful pitch I've ever seen (except maybe for Bert Blyleven's curve), and Ward's pitches should have had fire arcs trailing behind them. When they were off, it was because they were overthinking or trying to be cute (Stieb), or overthrowing and trying to do too much (Ward). When they were on: untouchable.
Mike Green - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 09:54 AM EST (#66579) #
I didn't actually see Koufax pitch live, but in the late 60s, I did see old tape of him. His fastball looked to be utterly unhittable, and in his biography, it was written that when he shut out the Twins in Game 7 of the World Series (on 2 days rest), he could not throw a curve because of his elbow, and so threw nothing but fastballs.
Gerry - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 09:56 AM EST (#66580) #
Steib

Pedro of a few years ago was worth the price of admission

Mariano Rivera is a maybe. It depends on your definition of stuff. Those pitches that appear not be that hard are indeed amazing.

Clemens ranks up there with Ryan when his splitter is on. Every pitch is a 50/50 guess, fastball or splitty.
_Rich - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 09:58 AM EST (#66581) #
Kevin Brown, Prior, Gagne, and the Big Unit all have to be mentioned.
_Matthew E - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 10:05 AM EST (#66582) #
And then of course there's Billy Koch. Three-digit fastball and a curveball that would break at about a ninety-degree angle.
Pepper Moffatt - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 10:07 AM EST (#66583) #
http://economics.about.com
I'd have to say Pedro when he was with the Expos. Here's this kid that looked like he weighed 140lbs dripping wet, yet he was just blowing the ball past people. The most amazing thing I've ever seen.

As far as pitches I've seen close up, my buddy Greg throws the most incredible pitch. It's a left-handed screwball that looks *exactly* like a sweeping curveball that was thrown by a righty. Although he can only throw it in the high 50's/low 60's with any accuracy, I just can't hit the thing. Too strange looking.

If he tries to blow one of his crap fastballs past me, that's a different story. :)

Mike
_Ryan Day - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 10:08 AM EST (#66584) #
Juan Guzman's slider was a work of art when he first came up. I can't remember watching another pitcher who got such ugly, awful, "oh crap, it's a foot off the plate!" swings out of batters.
Leigh - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 10:12 AM EST (#66585) #
Candiotti, Hough, Wakefield

Very few knuckleballers ever make the bigs, much less have the success of these three. Not strength, not height, not mass, not a product of any physical conditioning in the traditional sense: the knuckleball is pure stuff.
_coliver - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 10:15 AM EST (#66586) #
Dave Stieb's slider--the best ones were never in the strikezone, but they would break and break and batters would hopelessly swing at it! Later in his career, when Stieb got by the first inning and its demons--look out! I agree with Jordan's conjecture that Stieb tried to get "too cute" at times--it happened a lot during the first inning of ballgames from 1986 until his first retirement.

Pascal Perez did not have the best pure stuff, by any means, but he fun to watch pitch, what a nut!
_Smirnoff - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 10:27 AM EST (#66587) #
Pedro of a few years ago was electrifying. Mark Prior is a pleasure to watch right now.
_Blue in SK - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 10:29 AM EST (#66588) #
Pedro - watching him carry that perfect game into extra innings had me a nervous wreck. My father, who is NOT a baseball fan, even watched the game with me.

Guzman / Escobar - they're the same person right? When on they made hitters look silly.

Steib - with all those 1-hitters, you half expected him to throw a no hitter every time he made a start.

Clemems - for sheer determination, as well as some talent.
_Mick - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 10:32 AM EST (#66589) #
The two guys who leap to mind for me never really made it ... the young Frank Pastore with the Reds and the even younger John Henry Johnson with the Texas Rangers.

I saw both of these guys for the first time in my teens and thought I was seeing future Hall of Famers.
_Matthew E - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 10:37 AM EST (#66590) #
And then of course there was the young Mark Eichhorn. Can you really call that 'stuff', though? Whatever, he was tons of fun to watch. He was throwing the ball maybe a foot or two outside and guys were swinging at it. Beautiful.
_Kristian - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 10:46 AM EST (#66591) #
Here are a few not so obvious choices. Steve Karsay once struck out Arod with a 98 mph fastball and 2 awesome curveballs. Mike Macdougal vs Albert Pujols, 1 100 MPH fastballs followed by a hook that froze Albert and inspired Rob Neyer to write an article on that one at bat.
Mike D - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 10:55 AM EST (#66592) #
Greg Maddux's two-seam fastball has the most absurd back-door movement I've ever seen when he's on his game.

Dennis Eckersley was incredibly hard to hit -- although he had such great location that it might not qualify as "pure stuff."

The Big Unit when he's on his game.

K-Rod threw some utterly sickening pitches in the '02 postseason.
_Nigel - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 11:02 AM EST (#66593) #
The person that really blew my mind a few times was the pre-injury Frank Tanana. It's hard to believe now given his late career Jamie Moyer approach but in the early seventies you could have a serious debate about who threw harder, Ryan or Tanana (there's no question that Ryan threw consistantly harder but at there top end they were pretty even). On top of that, there just weren't many really hard throwing lefties in the 70's. He was pretty wild occasionally as well, so both lefties and righties took some very ugly hacks against him.

I have to agree with Craig on Doc Gooden. His fastball for his first year or two was the most dominant pitch I've ever seen.

As for the Jays, Stieb's slider was a work of art. It just moved so much. But for sheer unhittability I have to go with Guzman's slider in his first 2-3 years. On some nights that thing seemed to go straight down. There were some really ugly at bats against him in his first few years.
Craig B - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 11:13 AM EST (#66594) #
K-Rod threw some utterly sickening pitches in the '02 postseason

Yeah, that K-Rod slider is a cut above even the very good sliders in baseball.

Kristian mentioned Steve Karsay, that guy had got STUFF squared. Karsay's fastball is like Billy Koch's... an absolute pea when he's got the tiger in his tank.

Another guy who just blows people away is Arthur Rhodes, I don't know how he ever gets hit.
Coach - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 11:21 AM EST (#66595) #
Tops for me is Koufax, no question. Some pretty good hitters looked relieved when they struck out. Randy Johnson not only has awesome stuff, he's releasing it two or three feet closer than most.

I concede Leigh's point about the knuckleball, which I admire as an art form, but for me, "stuff" implies that it's overpowering. The young Gooden, for sure. Bob Gibson, Nolan Ryan, anyone whose heater, regardless of the radar gun reading, appears to defy gravity.

Good call on Frankie Rodriguez; first time I saw him, he punched out the heart of the order in a late-September game and they appeared to have no chance of even fouling one off. I was reminded of Pedro and Rivera, whose pitches have seemingly impossible movement along with sneaky speed. Rafael Soriano is another relative newcomer with that type of filthy stuff.
_Rich - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 11:32 AM EST (#66596) #
Duane Ward also has to be named among the Jays with the best stuff. In '93 he was dominant. I think Timlin had the arm back then too, but never had his head screwed on straight.
_benum - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 11:57 AM EST (#66597) #
Koch in his first season. He had a two-seam fastball that was ~97. I don't know if it hurt his arm or what but it seems to me that he stopped throwing it sometime that first season. I remember Buck and Dan interviewing Darren Fletcher after a game and he was still shocked. "97 with movement!"

Of course for two-seam fastballs, Mariano "the bat breaker" Rivera at his best was always automatic.

I'm really looking forward to that Neyer/James book on pitchers and pitches.
_csimon - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 12:00 PM EST (#66598) #
I have been watching bsaeball both live and on TV for about 50 years and I have never seen anything like Koufax in the 1965 World Series against the Twins. Walter johnson was even before my time but he must have been something to win all those games with only a fastball
robertdudek - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 12:06 PM EST (#66599) #
I think Gooden threw too many pitches at a tender age. That was the main reason for him not becoming an all-time great.
robertdudek - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 12:07 PM EST (#66600) #
In my lifetime as a fan - Ryan, Gagne, Pedro, Prior.
Craig B - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 12:58 PM EST (#66601) #
Walter Johnson was even before my time but he must have been something to win all those games with only a fastball

I think the same goes for Satchel Paige. Satch probably had a little more control than Walter did (though Walter had superb control for a power pitcher), and he had the hesitation pitch which would have worked like a changeup. Walter was probably faster, but he didn't throw changes... as Cobb said, Walter's idea of a changeup was to just throw it harder.

What's even more amazing about Johnson was that despite his intimidation potential, he refused to throw at batters' heads.
_S.K. - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 01:01 PM EST (#66602) #
As a complete pitcher, watching Clemens throw in 97-98 was amazing. Watching that splitter buzz in there... the first time I've ever thought a pitcher looked unhittable.

Lately, Byung-Hyun Kim's rising fastball is mind-boggling to watch when it's on. I have no idea how someone can get so much velocity from a submarine delivery.

Dennis Eckersley in the early 90s was pretty sick. My all-time Jays highlight is Alomar's game-tying shot in the '92 playoffs, simply because we all felt that Eckersley was superhuman.
_Caralito - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 01:05 PM EST (#66603) #
Am I missing something? If we're talking stuff and not including factors such as longevity and durability, I don't think this discussion can conclude without mentioning the this past year's top punch out artist (notice I didn't say pitcher) - Kerry Wood. To paraphrase Crash Davis, "he's got a million dollar arm, but a five cent head." Blazing fastball, quality deuce. If Wood learned to be more efficient with his pitch selection, he may lose some of the K totals, but he would probaly win some more games. Who knows, perhaps if he would have adopted that philosophy eariler, the Cubbies may have won Game # 7 of the NLCS and maybe gotten the goat off their backs.

I also must submit a vote for Mario Rivera - the younger version, to be specific. He was, and still is for the most part, so fluent that hitters don't even realize that the ball's coming in so quickly until it's already past them.
_Marco - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 01:27 PM EST (#66604) #
Hi folks. I'm a long time lurker who finally got up enough courage to post. I'm not the most clueful of baseball fans, particularly because I don't watch too many games (living in Europe really sucks as far as watching baseball goes). Luckily I have you fine people to keep me up-to-date. :-)

Anyway, since the topic is pitchers with "super stuff", I'm wondering where Fergie Jenkins ranks with the best. I ask only becuase a) I did not have the pleasure of seeing him pitch and b) he is from my hometown of Chatham.
_S.K. - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 01:36 PM EST (#66605) #
Marco - welcome. Don't be afraid to post, just be aware that if you attack someone else's opinion you will be attacked =)

I haven't seen Jenkins pitch either, but I saw something on TV where he said that his stuff was like the best parts of Greg Maddux and Curt Schilling. So, he must have been pretty good. ;)
Dave Till - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 01:38 PM EST (#66606) #
Gooden, when young, was untouchable. Kerry Wood in his 20-K game (which I just downloaded from MLB, but haven't watched yet). Mike Scott when he was throwing that scuffball or whatever it was - the pitch seemed to actually go around bats.

Of the Jays, Ward was the pitcher with the best pure stuff, and no righthanded hitter could hit Tom Henke in 1985.
_SportsmanTO - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 01:40 PM EST (#66607) #
Four guys jump to my mind immediately:

Roger Clemens in 97-98: He had such dominating stuff that year that it seemed like he was just on another planet! Those two years really solidified him as more of a complete pitcher rather than this guy who can blow away people all the time. That splitter was quite devastating and I always delighted in seeing hitters looking foolish. Too bad ol' Rog had to sour that 2 yr experience, but that's another story altogether.

Nolan Ryan: I only saw the tail end of his career "live" via telivision but I always marveled at his longevity and the fact that he could blow hitters away with his fastball at such an advanced age. You have to have some pretty remarkable stuff to do that. I also vividly remembering Ryan's No-No against a powerful Jays team. That really solidified my respect for his stuff. I just wish I was born 20 yrs earlier and been a baseball fan younger to see Ryan in his prime years.

Juan Guzman in his first 2 yrs: He was pretty awesome to watch back then wasn't he? As others have said he had a nasty slider that made batters look like complete idiots. I mostly marveled at the fact that he could pitch so dominantly at the big league level so fast. If i'm not mistaken he also pitched a lot faster then he did later in his career when he was slower than a turtle. I just loved seeing him pitch back then tho, he really wowed me as a 12 yr old.

finally but not least Greg Maddux: Sure he didn't throw the hardest fastball but he had/has a lot of control that is rarely seen by pitchers these days. He always amazed me with how he'd find a spot he wanted to pitch to and BAM! that's where the ball would go more often then not. Truly one of the craftiest and smartest pitchers of the last 20 yrs. He'd be a great pitching coach too.
_Grimlock - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 01:45 PM EST (#66608) #
Me Grimlock agree. Clemens 1997-98 was incredible. Remember that like 17K game against KC?

Did anyone else notice that they moved the Canada Day games in Montreal to Puerto Fricking Rico? The Dinobots and me Grimlock were gonna drive up, but me Grimlock guess that plan is out the door. Goddamn Bud Selig. He's worse than Devastator!
Gitz - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 01:55 PM EST (#66609) #
Hmmm. So many choices. Pedro, obviously. That whiff of Sammy Sosa in the all-star game was wonderful. Kerry Wood's 20-strikeout game was phenomenal. Curt Schilling, who survives on basically one pitch. The Big Unit, of course. I second the recommendation of Steve Karsay. When that guy's curve is working ... wow. Many others, but those are who come to mind. And, yeah, Doc Gooden. It wasn't just the fastball, it was that 12-6 duece.

I imagine if I had seen Koufax pitch I'd propel him to the top of the list.
_jonathan. - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 02:00 PM EST (#66610) #
although i don't think that highly of Derek Lowe in general, the pitches he threw in the 9th inning of the oakland series buckled my knees just watching at home.
Coach - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 02:09 PM EST (#66611) #
I'm wondering where Fergie Jenkins ranks with the best.

There's no doubt Fergie threw hard, but he was a complete pitcher who got better results than many guys with similar stuff. He had great control, and to me, was a master of "situational" pitching -- it seemed like he gave up more hits in meaningless situations, and struck guys out when he needed to. Definitely an intelligent master of his craft; you don't rack up 267 complete games by just letting it rip. Jenkins was a ballplayer, not just a pitcher. I remember him making some great fielding plays, and he had some pop in his bat. A classy gentleman, too; the epitome of a Hall of Famer.

In that little stroll down memory lane, I had a vision of a guy who had better stuff than Fergie (or almost anyone) and had finally figured out how to use it when his career was tragically cut short -- J.R. Richard. He was truly awesome.
_Andy Martin - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 02:19 PM EST (#66612) #
The young Vida Blue had an amazing rise to his fastball. It looked like it got to to the plate and then leapt over the bat like a salmon heading upstream. Maybe thats an optical illusion but it was one helluva good optical illusion.
_Nigel - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 02:29 PM EST (#66613) #
Coach, your comments about Jenkins are right on. He had good stuff but nothing that made you go "wow". He was just a good all round "pitcher".

I also agree with the Vida Blue comment. He could pitch up in the strike zone in a way that few pitchers can but he really didn't have the same kind of fastball that Frank Tanana had. Vida Blue actually reminds me of a young Pat Hentgen in the way their fastballs seemed to have great late movement and hence got a lot of outs "up" in the strike zone without being in the upper '90's.
robertdudek - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 02:30 PM EST (#66614) #
How could I forget Richard? Heaviest fastball I've ever seen. He has to go on my list, which should include the young Gooden as well - that's 6 so far, and it could easily be 30.
_Nigel - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 02:51 PM EST (#66615) #
Agreed on the JR Richards front. An amazing fastball. The funny thing about my memory of Richard is that at the time I rarely went "wow" with his stuff. I think it has something to do with how big a man he was. It didn't seem unusual for a guy his size to throw that hard. Compared to Billy Koch or a Billy Wagner who are pretty small guys (comparatively) it seems more improbable.
_Jordan - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 02:59 PM EST (#66616) #
One of my earlier memories is watching a man named Goose Gossage throw a baseball inhumanly fast. He was the first guy I can remember seeing who just radiated intimidation. Occasionally you'd get lucky and catch one, sending it out; more often, you were swinging for your life. He belongs in the Hall of Fame, and it's too bad he won't get there.
Coach - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 03:23 PM EST (#66617) #
Robert, I was just as surprised as you when I realized I'd forgotten perhaps the hardest thrower of them all. In addition to being intimidating because he was huge, Richard had a well-deserved reputation for wildness; early in his career, quite a few 100-mph heaters ended up in the screen. So nobody ever dug in too deep against him, but he developed much better control in his late 20's. Shutouts and 12-K games had become almost routine, and there's no telling what he might have done over the next decade if not for the stroke.
Craig B - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 03:23 PM EST (#66618) #
This is so much more fun than discussing contracts, trades, compensation picks and the Yankees.
_AGF - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 04:14 PM EST (#66619) #
although i don't think that highly of Derek Lowe in general, the pitches he threw in the 9th inning of the oakland series buckled my knees just watching at home.

Didn't he walk the bases loaded?
_Shrike - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 04:38 PM EST (#66620) #
Jeff Weaver has good stuff. Discuss.
Mike D - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 04:42 PM EST (#66621) #
I saw Vernon Wells hit the hangingest of hanging curves I may have ever seen about 415 feet last year -- courtesy of Jeff Weaver.

Josh Phelps hit an even bigger bomb off him on Labour Day -- on a flat fastball, I think.
_DS - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 04:45 PM EST (#66622) #
Speaking of Weaver, it looks like the Yankees just traded him, two prospects and 3 million to the Dodgers for Kevin Brown.

The battle continues.....
_lurker - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 04:50 PM EST (#66623) #
Adding one more vote for Pedro, considering just guys I've seen. Every once in a while even a yahoo like me sees a talent so phenomenal that it leaps off the screen; the kind where you don't have to be an insider or experienced fan to notice amazing things. That's Pedro. I remember seeing his games in Montreal and before his recent arm trouble and just saying, "Holy cow! Look at this guy!"

Of course, I always thought Ryan Rupe's fastball was like Curt Schilling's, very heavy ball, and that he would be very good.

What do I know?
_Mick - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 04:59 PM EST (#66624) #
Well, speaking of tragedy and the Astros -- they had the "cursed team" reputation in the 1970's that the Angels did in the next two decades -- then J.R. Richard's name surely brings to mind Don Wilson. He and Richard even are on each other's similarity scores lists at baseball-reference.com, though Wilson was smaller and smoother than THe Big Man.

And on a tangent, speaking of pitchers named Don who had their career cut short -- though in this case, not by tragedy but by injury -- the hardest thrower (and he was a thrower) by far I ever saw in person was the little lefty Don Gullett.

If Don Gullett the pitcher had worked with Don Gullett the pitching coach, he would be -- as Ted Williams once famously said of him -- "a Hall of Famer for sure."
_Matt - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 05:02 PM EST (#66625) #
Let me add Trevor Hoffman to the list...

His 1998 was absolutely disgusting, and that change-up is nutty.

PS - Guzman is getting so much love!! Good times...
_Matt - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 05:45 PM EST (#66626) #
Kerry Wood's fastball in his 20 K game had more "hop" on it than any fastball I've seen before or since.
_Jabonoso - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 06:47 PM EST (#66627) #
the three best stuff-related pitchers i've ever seen: Juan Marichal, Sandy Koufax and Bob Gibson.
The best in BJ uniform: Dave Stieb ( Ward, Guzman and Kelvim following..)
Contemporaries: Marianito, Pedro and the Unit.
_steve - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 09:27 PM EST (#66628) #
maddux two-seam fastball that was thrown at hitters. it was fun to see how those lefties jump out of the way, look at the 3rd base coach and then find out that it was a strike
Dave Till - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 09:34 PM EST (#14721) #
Woo hoo! Can we time travel forward to March now, please? I can't wait for spring!
_Robbie - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 09:36 PM EST (#14722) #
I'm really excited. I don't think the Jays will realistically win the wild card, but I think they've put themselves in a position where if "everything goes right," they stand a shot. My ultimate feelings about the Batista deal will depend on the amount though.
_Andrew Edwards - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 09:38 PM EST (#14723) #
Awesome. I'm very happy.

Just two more minor moves are expected; another reliever and a backup infielder will be signed with the remaining $2-3 million in the budget.

They've gotta extend HLH, too. Those three (fairly straightforward) things will combine to a nearly perfect offseason for JP.

Congrats to everyone at the Jays front office. This is a superb signing.
_Andrew Edwards - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 09:43 PM EST (#14724) #
Batista past 3 years

DERA: 3.57, 4.58, 3.61
Translated K/9: 4.8, 4.7, 5.9
Translated BB/9: 3.8, 3.0, 2.4
Translated HR/9: 0.7, 0.6, 0.6
PRAR: 54, 39, 61

Pulled from BP.

Check out the trend on BB/9. And the consistently low HR/9, plus the stable or rising K/9.

Nice.
_Andrew Edwards - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 09:47 PM EST (#14725) #
Oh, and welcome, Miguel. Nos casa, su casa. [Did I get that right?]

We'll have to come up with an affectionate nickname for you.
_Robbie - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 09:53 PM EST (#14726) #
The deal is 3 years / 15 million. WAY too much. I don't think he's worth that AT ALL.
_Steve Z - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 09:56 PM EST (#14727) #
Marty York reports the deal is worth 15 million over 3 years.

I can go to bed now!
_Geoff - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 09:58 PM EST (#14728) #
I disagree Robbie - if that's the deal I'm ecstatic

Though it leaves but 1 million of the original 8 million for reliever + SS

Tho I think the non-tendering of Politte would add anohter 1 million to that figure
_Jabonoso - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 10:00 PM EST (#14729) #
Andrew: "Nuestra casa es tu casa, Miguel"
Affectionate nickname? "El artista"
_steve - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 10:03 PM EST (#14731) #
it looks like our ss will come from our AAA system
_Jabonoso - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 10:03 PM EST (#14732) #
Is there time yet to drop off Politle, or other from the 40 men roster for the rule 5 day?
_A - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 10:04 PM EST (#14733) #
When was the last time the Jays had an offseason that compares to the level of success we've seen this winter? It's a question posed to be subjective because I'm not necessarily referring to getting big FA names but getting what the team needed while spending a reasonable amount of money.

I can't wait for spring training.
It's times like these when I start to kick around the idea of going down to Dunedin. It's a really nice place, reasonably affordable if you can get away from school/work and if you've never been, getting to watch oodles of baseball from a fraction of the distance (compared to the way Skydome lays out for a ball game) makes the game that much better.
_Smirnoff - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 10:05 PM EST (#14734) #
Someone humor me and tell me why this is such a better signing than Escobar... For the record, I was happy to see Kelvim go.
_Robbie - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 10:06 PM EST (#14735) #
Smirnoff:

Someone humor me and tell me why this is such a better signing than Escobar... For the record, I was happy to see Kelvim go.

IT ISN'T.
_the shadow - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 10:06 PM EST (#14736) #
Great deal, adds talent and stability to the rotation,maybe the "Jolly" Roger cable people will up the budget somewhat
_sweat - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 10:08 PM EST (#14737) #
I would imagine that if the deal is for 3 years/15 mill, it would probably 4 or 4.5 for the first year, leaving a bit more room.
_StephenT - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 10:13 PM EST (#14738) #
Erik Hanson had nice numbers in his 3 years before 1996.
_Andrew Edwards - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 10:15 PM EST (#14739) #
Someone humor me and tell me why this is such a better signing than Escobar

1) $4 million dollars

2) Batista is a poet. Escobar is... innocent until proven guilty, of course. And not a poet.

3) Batista / Escobar

DERA last year: 3.61 / 4.12
BB/9 last year: 2.4 / 3.5
HR/9 last year: 0.6 / 0.6
K/9 last year: 5.9 / 8.3
PRAR last year: 61 / 54

Batista's basically as good a pitcher, maybe better. He's more consistent. And see #1.

4) In case you're Richard Griffin, Batista's a Proven Veteran With The Rings To Prove It.
Coach - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 10:15 PM EST (#14740) #
They've gotta extend HLH, too.

That would be the icing on the cake, but it's not absolutely necessary. They could agree on a one year deal to avoid arbitration, or they could go to a hearing, which I strongly doubt will be necessary. Doc's got to be happy about the Batista signing too, so it can only help negotiations.

I agree, Andrew, getting the extension done would be as close to perfect an offseason as anyone could have hoped for. Ricciardi and his staff have been decisive and proactive on all these moves, not waiting for the market to come to them or to pick through leftovers. J.P. is persuasive, too -- Worrell was the only guy he wanted who didn't buy into the Fighting Jays sales pitch.

Mike Wilner was emphatic about Politte being non-tendered; I don't know if he has inside information or if he's making the same logical inference that Richard Griffin and I did. So that would open up a spot on the 40-man for a Rule 5 pick. Assuming that Ligtenberg replaces Cliff and Batista gets $5 million in 2004, there's only about $2 million left to spend on the final two items on the shopping list. But if Batista's deal is structured $4-5-6, as I speculated earlier, that leaves a bit more for this year.

The most obvious reason this is better than signing Kelvim is that it allowed them to upgrade the 'pen with Ligtenberg. Many of us admire Batista's personality more than Escobar's, but I don't presume to speak for the Jays on that issue. It's another of my little quirks -- I'd rather root for the poet/philanthropist than the party animal/defendant.
_David Goodwin - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 10:16 PM EST (#14741) #
Robbie, I respect your opinion, but am curious, why so negative about Batista? Escobar aside, I think Batista is consistent, and has flashes of brilliance, and will fit in well on our Fighting Jays. There's a reason Batista has been the talk of Bauxites since this offseason began. A) He likely wouldn't require draft pick compensation (check) and B) He would likely be a bit more affordable than Kelvim while offering a similar quality of play. If anything Batista has less upside, but much less downside risk than Kelvim. Cogent rebuttal?
Dave Till - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 10:16 PM EST (#14742) #
Great deal, adds talent and stability to the rotation,maybe the "Jolly" Roger cable people will up the budget somewhat

The recent rise in the Canadian dollar may have provided the Jays with a bit more budget flexibility.

As for whether Batista is better than Escobar - don't forget how Escobar was pitching last April. Besides, all Batista has to do to improve the club is pitch better than Mark Hendrickson.

All pitchers are a crapshoot, but Batista seems to be as good a risk as any.
_Officer Andrew - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 10:17 PM EST (#14743) #
$4 million dollars

Oops.
Coach - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 10:17 PM EST (#14744) #
I'll stop posting now; Andrew's reading my mind anyway. Good night, all.
Pepper Moffatt - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 10:18 PM EST (#14745) #
http://economics.about.com

Erik Hanson - Before Joining the Jays

215IP 126ERA+
122IP 101ERA+
186IP 114ERA+

Miguel Batista - Before Joining the Jays

139IP 136ERA+
184IP 103ERA+
193IP 132ERA+

I'm not going to form an opinion of the deal until I see the details. I think I'm too clouded by his Expos performance to be objective anyway.

Mike
Mike Green - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 10:20 PM EST (#14746) #
I'm happy with this 25 man roster:

Pitching staff: Halladay, Batista, Lilly, Hentgen, Towers, Hendrickson, Lopez, Ligtenberg, Kershner, Politte, Walker or Chulk, T. Miller

Bats: Cash, Myers, Delgado, Hudson, Woodward, Hinske, Berg, Sequea, Catalanotto, Wells, R. Johnson, Gabe Gross, Phelps

Or you could drop the 12th pitcher and add Werth or Pond. Either way,
I'd just as soon if the JP put his wallet in his pocket, so that he has some flexibility in July just in case the Fighting Jays are in contention.

While I didn't agree with all of the moves, the overall result of the off-season is positive. Well done, JP.
_JayFan0912 - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 10:28 PM EST (#14747) #
Lets see what griffin writes tomorrow.

Somehow it makes sense, batista is a groundball pitcher, had low hr rates, more focused, and was successful on artif. turf. He is also more proven than escobar in the role.

But, escobar has the better stuff, is younger, a lower injury risk, and lastly showed major improvement last year. As such, he has the potential to be a #1, not just a #2.

The logical choice would be batista ... if you wanted to make sure you compete. With escobar, we had a (lower) chace to contend.
_Andrew Edwards - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 10:31 PM EST (#14748) #
Mike:

Not that hard to custom-fit matches to prove whatever point you want.

E.g.:

ERA+ at age 32:
Batista = 132
Randy Johnson = 135

Past 3 years.

Batista:

139IP 136ERA+
184IP 103ERA+
193IP 132ERA+

Pettite:

200IP 112ERA+
134IP 134ERA+
208IP 109ERA+

Would you have a problem with Pettite for $5 million a year?

Not that Batista is Pettite, just sayin'.
Pepper Moffatt - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 10:34 PM EST (#14749) #
http://economics.about.com
Not that hard to custom-fit matches to prove whatever point you want.

It wasn't my point, it was Stephen's in message #18. I was just providing the data. :)

Mike
_S.K. - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 10:34 PM EST (#14750) #
This is similar to the Ligtenberg deal, in that he's the right pitcher at perhaps a bit more than we'd (optimistically) hoped. I think it's still a good deal, though - no draft picks, and really, the only downside is if JP is constrained in his spending elsewhere. Obviously, he wouldn't have done it in that case. And, our payroll is not a hard cap like the Expos have, I'm sure he could squeeze an extra $500,000 out of Rogers if it came down to that.
Yet another terrific 'character' signing.
Leigh - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 10:43 PM EST (#14751) #
IT ISN'T.

Please explain, Robbie, why you think this signing is not a good one.

I like it, the bauxite consensus is clearly that this is a good move. $5M/year is good, especially if you look at some of this year's other signings:

Andy Pettitte
Houston
$10.5M average annual salary
3 year average ERA+: 118

Kelvim Escobar
Anaheim
$6M average annual salary
3 year average ERA+: 117

Bartolo Colon
Anaheim
$12.75M average annual salary
3 year average ERA+: 125

Miguel Batista
Toronto
$5M average annual salary
3 year average ERA+: 124

The 3 year average ERA+ (ERA+'s for 2001, 2002, and 2003, averaged) has Batista fitting in with this group, and he was the cheapest. Colon has a 1 point advantage in ERA+, but of course he will pitch more innings than Batista, so the gap is larger (but not nearly $8M larger). The numbers are better than Pettitte's or Kelvim's, and he will cost less.

This is a good signing.
Leigh - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 10:51 PM EST (#14752) #
Baseball-Reference has the pitching ballpark factor at the Bank One Ballpark (2003) at 109, Skydome at 104 (higher numbers favouring hitters).
_Andrew Edwards - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 10:55 PM EST (#14753) #
Primer's Transaction Oracle has a comment, and the advantage of not being hyper-attentive to every twitch of the Jays front office, granting objectivity.

ZiPS (which is basically as good as anything else) has an ERA of 4.14 for Batista next year.
Pepper Moffatt - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 10:58 PM EST (#14754) #
http://economics.about.com
Last 3 Years - WARP3
BATI (4.9, 3.6, 5.2) TOTAL(13.7)
COLO (7.4, 9.3, 7.3) TOTAL(24.0)
ESCO (4.7, 4.3, 5.4) TOTAL(14.4)
PETT (6.0, 5.5, 5.7) TOTAL(17.2)

Let's not get too carried away now.

Mike
_steve - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 10:58 PM EST (#14755) #
the thing about miguel batista's era is that he pitched in the nl. that means that there was a pitcher hitting, double switching happening that causes some of the better hitters to sit, etc.
_Jonny German - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 11:02 PM EST (#14756) #
Is ZiPS meant to be park neutral, or would that projection be assuming Bank One as home park? Anybody know where I can read up on the methodology behind ZiPS?
_Brad - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 11:05 PM EST (#66629) #
Angels with stuff:

ancient: Bo Belinsky was unhittable when and if it was in the strike zone

recent past: Nolan Ryan learned the strike zone as an Angel and scared hitters hitless

current: K-Rod's slider, Percival's new curveball (after a heater set-up)

maybe soon: Bobby Jenks 100+
Leigh - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 11:06 PM EST (#14757) #
The numbers are better than Pettitte's or Kelvim's, and he will cost less.

Wow, did I really write that? What I meant to write was that Batista's ERA+ is better, not his "numbers". I didn't mean that Batista was better than Pettitte, but I doubt that Pettitte is worth 2 Batistas ($10M for Pettitte, $5M for Batista).
_Spicol - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 11:17 PM EST (#14758) #
the thing about miguel batista's era is that he pitched in the nl. that means that there was a pitcher hitting, double switching happening that causes some of the better hitters to sit, etc.

Right, which is why you look at a number like ERA+. It provides a number that allows you to see how the pitcher fared compared to the entire NL and further adjusts it so that the player's ballpark isn't a factor.
_Wildrose - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 11:29 PM EST (#14759) #
Personally I would have liked Escobar to have been resigned, I've always loved the guys upside. That being said, Escobar followed the superior offer on the table. I think the Jays realized they were being used as dupes by Escobar and his agent and that they could never win a bidding war with the new Angels owner, so they went to plan B.

I always thought the Jays had a real shot at Batista all along because of his Latin heritage( no Pettite like desire to return home)and because of Tosca and Patterson both being former Arizona coaches. In this game personal ties still matter.

Damn! I wish this team was in its correct geographical division.
_Robbie - Thursday, December 11 2003 @ 11:46 PM EST (#14760) #
#129521 Posted 12/11/2003 10:16 PM by David Goodwin:

Robbie, I respect your opinion, but am curious, why so negative about Batista? Escobar aside, I think Batista is consistent, and has flashes of brilliance, and will fit in well on our Fighting Jays. There's a reason Batista has been the talk of Bauxites since this offseason began. A) He likely wouldn't require draft pick compensation (check) and B) He would likely be a bit more affordable than Kelvim while offering a similar quality of play. If anything Batista has less upside, but much less downside risk than Kelvim. Cogent rebuttal?

#129531 Posted 12/11/2003 10:43 PM by Leigh:

IT ISN'T.

Please explain, Robbie, why you think this signing is not a good one.

I like it, the bauxite consensus is clearly that this is a good move. $5M/year is good, especially if you look at some of this year's other signings:

--------

Let me just expand my explanation as to why I don't like Batista all that much:
a) He's 32 (which in Dominican Years is about 35) --- so he's already past his prime, and we have him for the next THREE years...
b) VERY limited upside. If everything goes well with Batista --- namely he doesn't get injured and his performance is similar to how it was in the NL --- then Batista is probably a 3rd starter type. He really doesn't have incredible "stuff," and is on the downside of his career --- so are the Jays in a financial position to spend 5 million on a mediocre starter on the down side of his career? Probably not...
c) The splits on turf are rather meaningless considering the small sample size.
d) The guy has a career record of 42-50. He won 11 games his best season. A number 2 starter?!?!?
e) His ERA will go up coming to the American League / Skydome

Then when you look at the signing in the context of the others, well, I just don't see how it can be considered a good price. Escobar is 6 years younger and has soooo much more upside --- and really got only marginally more than Batista. You do get the compensatory draft picks whereas you gice up nothing for Batista, but nonetheless, I don't think you can use questionable draft picks as the basis for a transaction like this. I don't think Batista is terrible like my above comments may suggest, I just don't think he's worth 10% of the jays payroll as a guy that basically amounts to a third starter. Think about it, Lightenberg and Batista are getting more than 7 million combined, while Miguel Tejada may very well sign with Seattle for about 8 million. My main problem is not with the Batista as a player, its with the value and the financial limitations it ultimately imposes on teh Blue Jays.
_Shane - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 12:05 AM EST (#14761) #
Kick my arse if I miss something, but when this team fully competes in Ricciardi's mind (05-06-07) Miquel Batista will be finacially a mainstay in those particular rotations, yes? If the McGowans, Bush's, Arnold's, Rosario's don't soon make Batista a #3/#4 quality tiered pitcher, the future contending teams are in trouble, yes? I don't want to be negative and I do trust the org. but a three year deal pretty much makes the guy a pillar of the club. Hey, it's going to be fun, and it's no Estaban Loaiza toilet contract with no hope of reward.
_steve - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 12:06 AM EST (#14762) #
batista is 32 yes, but he is a young 32 considering innings so i highly doubt he is past his prime. in fact, i think he is going to peak in these 3 years, upside is limited but if he keeps his numbers, then i don't give a damn about upside because those numbers are very good, turf splits i agree with, is he a number 2 starter? he agruably was last year (schilling, johnson injured most of year, webb as ace), i think his ERA will go up coming to the AL but i think that if his ERA goes up by .5 of a run which is a significant increase, the blue jays offence will reward him with 13-16 wins and a .500 record or better
Leigh - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 12:16 AM EST (#14763) #
Escobar is 6 years younger and has soooo much more upside

I've said it before: I hate the 12 year old girl spelling of the word "so".

His ERA will go up coming to the American League / Skydome

Skydome will help, not hurt. Bank One is more of a hitters park than Skydome.

He's 32 (which in Dominican Years is about 35)

Unfair negative stereotype.

down side of his career

He has been getting better, Robbie, not worse.
_S.K. - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 12:20 AM EST (#14764) #
Robbie:
First of all, using a player's win total in an analysis of his worth is meaningless.
Second, Skydome is less of a pitcher's park than the BOB, so that cancels out the NL-AL adjustment.
Third, Batista has been an above-average pitcher for the past three years. And in two of those three, he was solidly above average (ERA+ of 136, 103, 132 - courtesy of Andrew Edwards). If that's your definition of mediocre, then I hope he continues to be just as 'mediocre'.
The Jays have given themselves a rotation where their top four starters will probably be not only above replacement level but above average. Halladay will be excellent, and at least one of the other three should have a #2-like season. That kind of thing is worth more than a backup SS, which is what the extra $1 million a season will cost the Jays, if it costs them anything.
_S.K. - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 12:21 AM EST (#14765) #
Leigh, I hate you.

And, obviously I meant that Skydome was MORE of a pitcher's park than BOB.
robertdudek - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 12:25 AM EST (#14766) #
I'm waiting for the Toronto Star to put forward the "White Jays" hypothesis in response to this signing.

Batista is a good pitcher, and by all accounts a fabulous human being. The contract is in line with the market value of an above average starter.
_Spicol - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 12:31 AM EST (#14767) #
c) The splits on turf are rather meaningless considering the small sample size.

I'm not saying there aren't down sides to this deal but if you're going to knock it, knock it legitimately.

Career ERA on Grass: 4.63 in 677 IP
Career ERA on Turf: 3.68 in 225 IP

That ain't no small sample size, Pedro.

d) The guy has a career record of 42-50. He won 11 games his best season. A number 2 starter?!?!?

With apologies to Mrs. Ike Turner, what do wins have to do with it? If he pitches well but his team doesn't score runs behind him, why should your impression of Batista suffer? The teams Batista played on lost those games collectively, not because of the man on the mound.
Craig B - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 12:35 AM EST (#14768) #
A couple of questions dealt with...

ZiPS is very carefully park-adjusted; Dan has projected Batista to the new park (SkyDome) and league (AL) at a 4.14 ERA.

Would you have a problem with Pettite for $5 million a year?

Batista is as good as Pettitte is, yes. Both have pitched in front of some shaky defenses.

I hate signing pitchers, it makes me bilious. So much can go wrong with a pitcher (viz. MM's Erik Hanson comp). But the thing is, you *need* pitchers, and Batista is a good one.

Dealing with Robbie's points (quite valid to disagree with the signing, by the way, even though I like it)

a) He's 32 (which in Dominican Years is about 35) --- so he's already past his prime, and we have him for the next THREE years...

We have him for 33-35, often prime years for a starting pitchers. Pitchers, you all should know by now, do not have the same aging curve as hitters, the curve most people are more familiar with.

b) VERY limited upside. If everything goes well with Batista --- namely he doesn't get injured and his performance is similar to how it was in the NL --- then Batista is probably a 3rd starter type. He really doesn't have incredible "stuff," and is on the downside of his career --- so are the Jays in a financial position to spend 5 million on a mediocre starter on the down side of his career? Probably not...

Look, either we go by the numbers or we don't. Batista was 29th in baseball last year in VORP for pitchers. So unless there are suddenly only 10 teams in all of MLB, he's no third starter. So he's not mediocre, I don't care how you cut it. There is no way you can analyze what Batista has done since 2001 and say he is in any way medicore.

Incidentally, don't believe what Mike says... Batista was quite effective in Montreal, but Felipe Alou felt for some reason it was his god-given duty to jerk Batista around.

As for "stuff", I don't know what the matter is with a guy who throws 93, plus three other pitches that he throws consistently for strikes.

c) The splits on turf are rather meaningless considering the small sample size.

Agreed.

d) The guy has a career record of 42-50. He won 11 games his best season. A number 2 starter?!?!?

Won-loss records are meaningless, but yes he's a number 2 starter. See above.

e) His ERA will go up coming to the American League / Skydome

Yes, it probably will. ZiPS projects him to a 4.14 ERA, which I think is about right.

If the Jays had had a 4.14 team ERA last year, they would have finished 96-66 and won the wild card. A pitcher with a 4.14 ERA with the Blue Jays, last year, would have gone about 18-9 given Cory Lidle's run support, or about 16-11 if given average run support.

I think it's a good idea to be sceptical of Batista. I got too carried away with Lidle last year... this looks a lot like Cory Lidle Part Two. But I love Batista, think he's a great addition to the club, and is a guy I can cheer for without reserve. I'm happy.
Mike D - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 01:13 AM EST (#14769) #
I second that emotion, Craig, and I think Jabonoso has added another to the Pantheon of Official Batter's Box Nicknames.

Lurch, Sparky...and now, El Artista.
_Brent - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 01:38 AM EST (#14770) #
I second that: El Artista forever!
_Wildrose - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 01:49 AM EST (#14771) #
Nice synopsis Craig. Your baby must be a fussy sleeper as you're always posting late into the night.

I have the Jays with $4 million left to spend(if Halliday resigns/arbitrates for $8 million and Politte is non tendered),I wonder who's next on the shopping list? I do think with Myers,Delgado and likely Cattlatano coming off next years books J.P. hopefully has some flexability to exceed this years budget by borrowing from next years.

I'd like to see a solid reliever(I hate the term closer) who doesn't have much in the way of platoon splits aquired. Armando Benitez jumps to mind, although he sure has burned a lot of bridges and seems destined to become a Marlin. Urbina ,Rhodes,or Looper,perhaps?

Does a left hand hitting,good glove shortstop seem available? I guess we'll find out.

I just love this time of year!
_S.K. - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 01:59 AM EST (#14772) #
I love this time of year as well, I just wish it was a bit more compressed - an entire winter's worth of moves compressed into about a month would be perfect.
_Cristian - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 02:22 AM EST (#14773) #
I'm going to have to agree with my Latin counterpart Jabonoso on 'El Artista' as a nickname. I was toying with 'El Poeta' myself but 'El Artista' has a nicer ring to it. It is more accurate to describe good pitching as art rather than poetry--unless you use the tired 'poetry in motion' cliche.

Ironic that he signs for about 5M/year when Arizona failed to pick up his 5M option. If he needs another nickname, the signing makes me recall the Seinfeld episode where Kramer dubs Jerry 'Even Steven.'

Arizona hoped to be able to resign him for cheaper than the option. I'm sure other teams expected him to go for less than 5M. That is why so many teams expressed interest in him. It's hard to get the stathead bargain on a pitcher who puts up a great ERA though.

This Albertan is going to bed; hopefully I'll be able to read the BC Bauxite take on the signing tomorrow morning.
_King Rat - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 04:33 AM EST (#14774) #
The initial Nova Scotian Bauxite take on the signing is one of frabjous joy. What I'm most excited about is that J.P. seems to be able to get guys to pick Toronto over other teams, a skill I think is vitally important. I don't expect Batista to shock the world, but all in all, this is a good signing at a fair price.
_benum - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 04:50 AM EST (#14775) #
Last Years Rotation (start of year):
1)Halladay
2)Lidle
3)Hendrickson
4)Sturtze
5)Walker

Next Years Rotation:
1)Halladay
2)Batista
3)Lilly
4)Hentgen
5)Towers/Walker/Hendrickson

hmmmm...I'll take next years.
_benum - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 04:54 AM EST (#14776) #
I think the big improvement is the 3 + 4 spots in the rotation.

I expected Lidle to do last year what I expect Batista to do next year in the #2 hole (unfortunately Lidle didn't follow the plan).
_Jeff Geauvreau - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 05:45 AM EST (#14777) #
I am very happy with this signing!

To: Coach, Jordan, Craig B and all the Gang

This is your mission if you choose to accept it , please get a interview with 'El Artista' at your earliest convenience.

I am looking forward to next year with our much improved pitching staff along with our fighting Jays offence.

Look Out Boston and NY!

Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesssssssss
Pepper Moffatt - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 07:33 AM EST (#14778) #
http://economics.about.com
(viz. MM's Erik Hanson comp)

Jeez, that was StephenT, not me. Last time I try and be helpful! :)

Incidentally, don't believe what Mike says... Batista was quite effective in Montreal, but Felipe Alou felt for some reason it was his god-given duty to jerk Batista around.

I remember it well. He still didn't strike me as being anything more than Pete Walker. If you look at the stats, it's a perfectly cromulent comparison.

Did anyone see this AP story?

---
An unnamed senior executive with the team told the Fan 590, an all-sports radio station in Toronto, Batista had agreed to a contract with the club.
---

Jeez, Coach, is there something you want to tell us? :)

Cheers,

Mike
_coliver - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 07:45 AM EST (#14779) #
Well, J.P. is leaving no stone unturned, he his doing the best he can with the resources he has...good show!

Now, time to find a shortstop...
_Robbie - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 08:01 AM EST (#14780) #
Question for everyone:
It's now being reported that JP offered Worrell 2 years at 8 million, therefore averaging 4 million per year. At the same time, JP was hoping to sign all three of Batista, Worrell and Lightenberg according tot he Fan 590 interview. Does that mean there's still 4+ million left in the budget? That would be enough for two very good middle relievers or even a closer....
Pistol - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 08:02 AM EST (#14781) #
I think I'd be comfortable at 3 years if the total deal was under $15 million.

Well, I liked the deal yesterday, and I still like it today. A nice thing to find out early in the morning.

The price ended up a little higher than expected, but that seems to be the trend with pitching this offseason, and I don't think there's any other starters that are near as good as Bautista remaining.

So who was the first Bauxite to suggest that Bautista would make a good Jay? Jordan?
_Ryan01 - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 08:53 AM EST (#14782) #
http://www.battersbox.ca/archives/00001056.shtml
Jeff Blair's now reporting that it's a "a three-year contract worth at least $14 million (U.S.) Multiple sources reported the signing and it was confirmed by a Blue Jays official."

So it's possible that it even a little bit less than $15 million.

It seems like no matter where you go Blue Jay fans have been interested in Batista since the dawn of time. Or maybe it's just since the season ended, either way, after a quick google search, the first interest in Batista from the Box looks like it came from Craig and Spicol in the Oct. 2 "Who's coming back" thread.

#105624 Posted 10/03/2003 09:11 AM by Craig B:
D'Amico would be great.

Also, Arizona exercised their $300,000 buyout on Miguel Batista, so he's a free agent.

#105625 Posted 10/03/2003 09:55 AM by Spicol:
Also, Arizona exercised their $300,000 buyout on Miguel Batista, so he's a free agent.

Ooooo...

Who would cost more? Escobar or Batista?
_Jordan - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 09:58 AM EST (#14783) #
Re: the Oracle link referenced above: Dan does great work, but I don't know where he pulled out a guess of $2.5M - $4M for Batista's contract. Batista made $3.75M last year and was, as Craig, said, 29th in MLB VORP; he's supposed to take a pay cut? With several teams bidding for his services?

I like this signing, very much. I've done a little scouting on El Artista: he throws his fastball consistently in the low 90s, with a cutter that can drop into the 89 range; he complements that with a very good sinker and occasionally breaks out a curve and splitter. From what I can tell, his career is far from being in decline; if anything, he appears to be getting better in many areas:

* His IP totals (139, 184, 193) are increasing. He averaged about 6 1/3 innings per start last season, and has averaged just under 6 innings over the last three years. Six strong innings with this offence and an improved pen gets you a lot of wins.

* His K/BB has improved each of the last three seasons (1.50, 1.60, 2.37) -- he's refining his control as he gets more work.

* His three-year OPS splits are solid (650 vs. RH, 727 vs LH), though lefties hit him at a slightly higher (763) clip in 03; that looks like a blip more than anything else.

* Traditionally, he struggles in September and can start slowly in April, but otherwise hes very, very solid throughout the year.

* Very encouragingly, Batista is an extreme groundballer, a lifetime 1.64 GB/FB guy who posted ratios of 1.74 and 2.04 the last two years: expect to see a lot of glove-slapping between Batista and the O-Dog after the side is retired this year.

In other words, for a 32-year-old, hes a good investment who appears to be improving with age; he's been used as a reliever for over half his major-league appearances, so his arm is still relatively young. I should add that until there's an iota of proof that he's not his listed age, he should be considered 32. He is not Orlando Hernandez. As for whether he's a #2 starter, I suggest we look at it this way: Toronto has the Cy Young Award winner and three solidly decent pitchers behind him of relatively equal value; the order in which they appear is meaningless after the first week of the season.

Five million a year for three years is just fine. Would it have been nice to get him for $4M and two years, with a club option for a third? Sure, but frankly, had that been the Jays' final offer, Batista would be a Met this morning and JP, if reports are to be believed, would be flying to New Orleans preparing an Orlando Hudson-Ben Sheets offer, which even had it gone through would have been a worse situation for the Jays. Folks, keep this in mind: there are no bargains in December. If you want a sought-after commodity now, you're going to pay at least market value, probably more. We've seen what happens when the Jays are forced to stick $1M pitchers and NRIs in the rotation; I trust nobody here wants to see that again.

Finally, let's not dwell on Kelvim Escobar. If you go back and read the posts from last May here at the Box, people were willing to release Kelvim outright in frustration; he does that to people. The Blue Jays are not an organization that can afford to gamble, and Escobar is three years' and 18 million dollars' worth of high risk. I'm not sure he would even have come back had the Jays matched Anaheim's offer; like Chris Carpenter, I think there was simply too much water under the bridge for Kelvim here. The Jays have themselves a fine replacement with much less risk, much more stability, and $1M less per year.

I still say there's one more reliever coming, and when he does -- perhaps by trade this weekend, perhaps in January -- this will be a team that other clubs will not want to play.
_Franz Lieblande - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 10:02 AM EST (#14784) #
What is happening to my White Jays!
_salamander - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 10:04 AM EST (#14785) #
Baseball Prospectus on Batista. Remember, these comments were made before the 2003 season, in which Batista's numbers were quite strong. The trend on Batista's numbers (K rate, K/BB ratio, HR rate, batters avg against, era) is impressive.

JP's moves this offseason have been pretty fun to watch.

Anyway, here are BP's comments from a year ago:

"I'm always astonished when guys that can throw really hard, and have pretty good pitches to work off of other than their fastball, end up with generic or mediocre K rates, with concomitant middling performance. How is it that guys like Jamie Moyer, Bob Tewksbury, and Doug Jones pitch so well when EVERY BATTER knows that they're going to throw junk, down and away, and if they throw something that looks meaty, it's going to vanish? Meanwhile, someone like Batista has the stuff to just blow people away from time to time, and he can't consistently get people out. It's a mystery, and on some level, it's sort of a Zen thing."
Mike Green - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 10:04 AM EST (#14786) #
Baseball Prospectus has Batista's PECOTA card on their site today. The card has some favorable comments on his stuff (prior to the 2003 season),and questions why his performance hasn't quite lived up to his stuff. It finally did in 2003.

Batista's age, 32, is really no big deal. Although he's been hurling in pro ball since he was 19, he has less than 1800 innings on his arm. He was not overworked at all when he was young. Even though he's never pitched 200 innings in a season as a pro, he's gone 184 and 193 in his last 2 seasons in only 29 starts. I think that there is a good chance that he will give the Jays 200 innings per year.
_Matthew E - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 10:13 AM EST (#14787) #
Remember, Batista isn't just moving from Arizona to Toronto. He's also moving to a team that won't be spending any significant amount of time in Colorado.
_Wildrose - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 10:24 AM EST (#14788) #
Things are falling nicely into place. The best Jay reporter not named Wilner ,gives his take on how much it will cost to resign Halladay.
Mike Green - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 10:26 AM EST (#14789) #
Matthew, Coors Field wasn't what it used to be last year. Kaufman Stadium was more of a hitter's park. And, in the last 3 years, Batista has thrown 54 innings in Dodger Stadium, and only 17 in Coors. That'll help the ERA.
Pistol - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 10:29 AM EST (#14790) #
So Halladay is slotted for $7 million next year. How does that look in the spreadsheet with the recent signing?
_Robbie - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 10:38 AM EST (#14791) #
If the Jays could keep Halladay for four more years at about 41 million like Blair suggests, that would be quite good I think. Halladay has two more years before he's eligible for free agency (?) and I ensuring that's he's here beyond that would put the Blue Jays in a great position for future success. The most fundamental aspect to a legitimate playoff threat is also the hardest to get: an ace pitcher. And the Jays have one of the best. Hopefully we can keep him here for many mroe years.
Coach - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 10:42 AM EST (#14792) #
Blue Jay fans have been interested in Batista since the dawn of time.

That's the best part of this signing. The guy was at the top of the wish list for a lot of knowledgeable fans. Some of us didn't think it was realistic for the financially-hamstrung Jays to land Batista, who figured to appeal to a lot of clubs with more payroll room. By all accounts, he was their first choice, and they pulled it off. Bravo.

The "worst" part is, pitchers will break your heart. There wasn't a Batter's Box a couple of years ago, so only my friends witnessed my enthusiasm for a certain trade. Every single time you send off a shortstop you have absolutely no use for and a middle reliever you can't afford, to get back a 22-year-old starting pitcher who went 7-1 in the NL for the first half of his rookie year (plus a reliever eight years younger at a tenth the cost) that is a terrific deal. In the case of Luke Prokopec, it didn't work out. There is no warranty on shoulders, but does that mean trading Jimmy Alvarez and Kerry Ligtenberg for a promising young starter would be a mistake?

It's possible that Batista will contract malaria. It's possible that Escobar will bump his head, wake up thinking he's Greg Maddux, and win a Cy Young. You don't build a pitching staff around certainties, even in fantasy ball. I was pretty happy going into the BBFL season with Matt Morris as my ace and Tony Armas as my #2. Lidle is another example. If you knew he'd pull a groin and hide the injury, if you knew SARS would make his wife phobic about Toronto, you should have said something. No way J.P. makes the trade if he has that kind of vital information, and you would have landed a nifty job as "seer" in the front office.

So feel free to trot out Joey Hamilton comparisons, but that doesn't change the fact that this is a very happy day for Jays fans. Another great way to diss this move, if you're so inclined, is to compare Miguel to other #2 starters. Gosh, he isn't Curt Schilling or Javier Vazquez, so we wuz robbed.

Forget the label. The important difference in the Jays' rotation for 2004 is, they can begin a series where Doc isn't starting with a reasonable chance to win. Nobody among us can predict who among Batista, Lilly and Hentgen will have the best (or worst) year. We can dissect the probabilitites, or guess, and we can support our opinions with a thousand words of prose and/or a mountain of data, but we just don't know. One thing is certain; whether it makes you happy to call them #2, #3, #4 or invent a new label, it's a lot better to have three of these guys than one.

To me, it's a wonderful bonus that El Artista deserves the name. We hope to have many more player interviews next year, and the newest Jays will be at the top of our list.
_GregO - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 10:43 AM EST (#66630) #
Gregg Olson, before he blew out his arm, had a 3-to-9 curveball that literally made hitters weak at the knees. Devastating. The TV announcers laughed at a lot of batters struggling to stand in.

Billy Wagner has the best current stuff.
_Matthew E - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 10:57 AM EST (#14793) #
Every single time you send off a shortstop you have absolutely no use for and a middle reliever you can't afford, to get back a 22-year-old starting pitcher who went 7-1 in the NL for the first half of his rookie year (plus a reliever eight years younger at a tenth the cost) that is a terrific deal.

Thanks for posting this. I thought I was the only person on the planet who still believed it. I can't tell you how many times I've been shouted down after defending this trade.
_Spicol - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 11:12 AM EST (#14794) #
I want to clear up a misconception I see brewing about Batista that he's not going to provide the innings you'd want in your "#2 guy". Batista has never pitched 200 innings and hasn't pitched much more than 6 per start not because of ability but because of usage.

Miguel Batista has the ability to pitch many, many innings. He's a member of the Esteemed Order of Economical Pitchers.

The most economical starting pitcher in MLB last season was Halladay at 13.6 P/IP. Here's the rest of the list.

2. Mark Mulder OAK 14.0
3. David Wells NYY 14.1
4. Sidney Ponson BAL/SF 14.3
5. Matt Morris STL 14.6
~
13. Miguel Batista 14.9

Most non-horrible pitchers will average between 90-100 pitches per start. Batista averaged 93.5 last season, but again, it's a number heavily affected by Bob Brenly and the NL in general. I haven't scrutinized every start, but it's likely Miguel was pulled early from a few games for a pinch hitter despite still being able to pitch further into the game. If he's healthy and even half-way effective next season, I think that it's reasonable to say that Batista, under Tosca's usage, will average at least 95 or 96 pitches per game. I'll be conservative and use 95.

95 pitches per game/14.9 pitches per inning = 6.4 IP/game

6.4 IP/game * 33 starts = 211 Innings Pitched

I'll sum up: At first glance, Batista looks like he isn't a workhorse and won't provide a lot of innings. Don't be fooled. If healthy, and we have no reason to expect him to get injured, Batista doesn't have to do any more than he has done in the past and he'll pitch well over 200 innings.
Pistol - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 11:32 AM EST (#14795) #
Thanks for posting this. I thought I was the only person on the planet who still believed it. I can't tell you how many times I've been shouted down after defending this trade.

I'm still in that group thinking it was a great trade.

There's too much emphasis on what happens after the trade and not what happened at the time of the trade (although that sounds silly on the surface).
Craig B - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 11:38 AM EST (#14796) #
From Lee Sinins' masterful Around The Majors reports, on the Batista signing...

After 3.36 ERA/20 RSAA and 4.29 ERA/4 RSAA seasons, Batista had a 3.54 ERA/27 RSAA in 36 games (29 starts). He has a 4.39 career ERA, compared to his league average of 4.34, and 15 RSAA in 254 games.

Batista was tied for 10th in the NL in RSAA over the past 3 years--

RSAA RSAA
1 Randy Johnson 127
2 Curt Schilling 117
3 Javier Vazquez 85
4 Roy Oswalt 83
5 Greg Maddux 74
6 Octavio Dotel 68
T7 Billy Wagner 54
T7 Wade Miller 54
9 Jason Schmidt 53
T10 Miguel Batista 51
T10 Mark Prior 51
Mike D - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 12:04 PM EST (#14797) #
Matthew, Coors Field wasn't what it used to be last year

Obviously, I don't disagree with Mike G's more important point, which is that Batista's Chavez Ravine innings outweighed his Coors outings.

But this kind of analysis is why I prefer Robert Dudek's use of park factors, where he uses three-year averages. (Correct me if I'm wrong, Robert.) It's just a far more reliable sample size; it's not like the City of Denver suddenly lowered its altitude last year, and then will re-elevate this year if offence goes back up. Sometimes seasons yield anomalous results.
_Caralitio - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 12:08 PM EST (#66631) #
I agree with the Olson comment. I too remember his curve ball making hitters look like fools. Baltimore's option of having him to close games scared me back in that final regular season series in 1989(as a Blue Birds' fan).

After some further thought on the subject, I believe Barry Zito's name should be included. He is a finesse guy, but he changes eye level on batters with the best of them, primarily with a sweeping deuce and high fast balls.
Mike Green - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 12:11 PM EST (#14798) #
Mike D,

Well actually, the three year averages for Coors and Kaufman are pretty close. It was off the cuff, I'll grant you.

Cheers,

one of the many other Mikes
Gitz - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 01:00 PM EST (#66632) #
Egads, I forgot about Olson. I sat behind home plate for an O's/A's game once, and Olson closed out the ninth inning. From my seat, I buckled at his curve ball.
robertdudek - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 01:07 PM EST (#14799) #
I actually use current park factors regressed towards the mean (which means they use park data from previous years as input).
_Kent Steal - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 01:22 PM EST (#14800) #
Does anyone know if Kip Wells is arb. eligable? I see he made only $370,000 last year and for the right price (1-2 mil) i think he would really solify the entire rotation.
_Steve Birnie - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 01:34 PM EST (#14801) #
http://www.cbc.ca/pcgi-bin/templates/sportsView.cgi?/news/2003/12/11/Sports/batista-signing031211
CBC's web site is reporting the deal with Batista is official, at a lower-than-previously-reported $13.1 million for three years.
_Jim Acker - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 01:37 PM EST (#14802) #
CBC's web site is reporting the deal with Batista is official, at a lower-than-previously-reported $13.1 million for three years.

And only $3.6M in the first year. That's $1.4M more than we thought to spend.
_Simon - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 01:43 PM EST (#14803) #
If only Ponson would just hop on board I'd say this team could actually get somewhere.
_Steve Birnie - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 01:52 PM EST (#14804) #
http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1071184208581&call_pageid=968867503640&col=970081593064
According to Geoff Baker (COMN for the article, and COMN in my previous post for the CBC article--forgot to mention that), the deal is $3.6 mil for 2004, then $4.75 mil in 2005 and 2006.

I think if Big Sid hopped on board a ship, it'd be sure to sink...
_Jordan - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 02:00 PM EST (#14805) #
the deal is $3.6 mil for 2004, then $4.75 mil in 2005 and 200

A good acquisition just got a lot better. This is tremendous value for the money. Serious kudos to JP and Co. for pulling this off.
_pete_the_donkey - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 02:05 PM EST (#14806) #
I just got back from the Eaton Centre from a 'quick' little Christmas shopping jaunt. The place was a zoo, people are insane, and I was in an awful mood upon return to the office.
Now that I see the Batista numbers, I can't stop smiling.
_Spicol - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 02:13 PM EST (#14807) #
So, JP is going to employ Batista, Lilly and Hentgen for about $8MM in 2004. That's pretty cheap for 600 innings of above average pitching.
Mike D - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 02:23 PM EST (#14808) #
I guess my description was pretty simplistic, eh, Robert? The bottom line is that I trust your numbers (and I swear I read your explanation for them at the time).
Mike Green - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 02:29 PM EST (#14809) #
Mike D and Robert,

Just out of curiosity, Robert, what are your regressed figures for Coors and Kaufman? Coors has gone from being a 130 park on BR a number of years ago to 120 and now to 110, while Kaufman has been in the 110-117 zone the last 3 years.
_Pfizer - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 02:38 PM EST (#14810) #
Ok, I loved the Prokopec deal. But I also thought Lidle was going to be a horse for us too.

And thanks to Wildrose for the G+M link. Every time I see mention of keeping Carlos on, I get a woody.
_Robbie - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 02:48 PM EST (#14811) #
You know what, I know I've shifted my stance on this deal alot, but 3 years at 13.1 million ain't too bad.
_Jays fan - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 03:08 PM EST (#14812) #
Are Lilly and Batista capable of 4 man rotation work? That could be another motivation if Hentgen is willing to go that route. Escobar seemed to struggle on the 3 days rest, but that was a small sample size and implemented mid-season. Cross your fingers on an injury to a major player or two for Yanks and things could get interesting.
Coach - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 03:40 PM EST (#14813) #
Are Lilly and Batista capable of 4 man rotation work?

I've mentioned this before, but the schedule-maker has been very kind to the Jays in April. They won't need a #5 for almost three weeks, with the top four working on normal rest. The #5 -- let's call him "Josh" -- figures to get no more than three starts in the first month. May has some conveniently-located off days as well. I don't think a 4-man needs to be considered; maybe they will plug Doc in once or twice on three days' rest to maximize matchups, since he handled it so well last year. Batista, who is used to being a swing man, might also be able to do it, and Lilly bounced back quickly and well in the playoffs. So it's possible, just not necessary.

$3.6 mil for 2004

The total value and especially the first year are the stuff of wildest dreams. A tremendous bargain, and a strong suggestion that Miguel gave the Jays a break because he really wants to be here. Now I'm looking forward to J.P.'s next coup. It could be an Aurilia, bumping Woody to the bench, but I'm guessing closer in the $3 MM range and an economical backup SS.
_Johnny Mack - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 03:46 PM EST (#14814) #
If it wasn't official before, it is now. Ricciardi rocks!

Charlottetown is a happy little town today!

Refresh my memory, please, someone. What kind of money does this leave the Jays to play with for tinkering with the lineup and bullpen before the season starts?
Thomas - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 03:51 PM EST (#14815) #
JP continues to improve this team with impressive signings that fall under the radar with the "Andy Pettitte-Kevin Brown" talk, but nevertheless, this is a very solid signing at good money. A lot of the numbers have been posted above to demonstrate why Batista should be able to pitch 200+ innings of reasonably good baseball, so I won't rehash any points. I was really hoping JP'd get Batista, but to be honest, I thought a team like the Mets or Angels (pre-Colon)would offer him $18-20/3, and that'd be too rich for our blood. A rotation of Doc, Batista, Lilly, Hentgen and Towers would be quite solid for next year, and unless we can get Graffanino, I'd rather we spent the rest of the money on a reliever and went with Jorge Sequa or Jimmy Alvarez as the second backup infielder.

I'd love to see an interview with Miguel, he sounds like quite a character and he's definately not your average Joe Ballplayer.
_Xander - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 03:56 PM EST (#14816) #
Greetings...

Is the Batista deal official?

Has J.P. made a statement?

Do you guys think Towers can hold it together next year?
Mike D - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 04:00 PM EST (#14817) #
It could be an Aurilia

And it could be the time to start beating the BB drums for him. How's his defence?
_Nigel - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 04:01 PM EST (#14818) #
Just a note about the remaining budget. JP himself said he had $8 million to spend before the Lightenberg signing. So, by my tally, he has $2.4 million to spend (8-(2.0 (for KL))-3.6 (for MB)).

Unless JP goes the trade route (which he might) he has an interesting choice. I think he can get another reliever which fairly established credentials and eat up most of what's left or he can split the baby and get the veteran SS for around $1 million and get a slightly lower quality reliever for the $1.4. I think you could get a decent reliever for the $1.4, but I'm still in the camp of get the highest quality pitching you can and fill in the SS with Sequea or Alvarez for the time being. So I say shoot the wad on the best reliever available!

My view on the Batista deal is that for this year its a great deal. Both from a needs perspective and from a budgetary perspective. The $4.75 million 2 years from now when he's 34-35 worries me a little as he will likely be taking up about 10% of the budget at that time. But I think you need to be practical. Someone of his calibre was going to demand and get a 3 year deal and so it had to be. There's a lot of water to go under the bridge before 2 years from now.
_pete_the_donkey - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 04:02 PM EST (#14819) #
Oh geez, Coach - I love the Aurilia chatter.
The tent has returned to my pants.
Dave Till - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 04:02 PM EST (#14820) #
Congratulations to J.P. on making a great signing. He's likely to be better than Escobar and easier to work with than Escobar, and he's cheaper than Escobar.

Also: this should silence the critics who were accusing the Jays of going after only white guys.

I don't expect Batista to be a #2 starter, necessarily - a staff with Doc and three #4 starters on it is good enough for me.
_pete_the_donkey - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 04:03 PM EST (#14821) #
Nigel - add $1 million to your tally.
When JP non-tenders Politte, he'll have $3.4 in his wallet.

Here's hoping Ted Rogers opens the vault - even just another $500,000 to a million, if needed to get us over the hump with Aurilia.
_Johnny Mack - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 04:11 PM EST (#14822) #
Thanks for the numbers, Nigel, et al.
_pete_the_donkey - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 04:13 PM EST (#14823) #
According to rototimes.com, Aurilia is being wooed heavily by the Rockies - has anyone else heard anything else about potential suitors?
I can see the opening day lineup now:

Johnson - LF
Frankie Cat - RF
Wells - CF
Delgado - 1B
Phelpsy - DH
Hinske - 3B
Aurilia - SS
Hudson - 2B
Myers/Cash - C

Holy crap.
_A - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 04:15 PM EST (#14824) #
this should silence the critics who were accusing the Jays of going after only white guys.
If we stop talking about it, it will go away. No one who matters thinks this is true or even a reasonable analytical tool. It unearths problems in higher education but I don't think anyone can blame the Jays *directly* for that (in directly we all have a hand in it). It's a moot point.
_A - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 04:31 PM EST (#66633) #
Just for Coach, two words:
James Tran.
_Jordan - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 04:33 PM EST (#14825) #
And it could be the time to start beating the BB drums for him. How's his defence?

Take it for what it's worth, but ESPN has him in the lower tier of NL shortstops in fielding percentage, zone ratning and range factor, while Baseball Graphs pegs him at 7th in the NL in defensive win shares. In other words, I'd call him average at best.

I'm also not sold on his bat, frankly. Aurilia's OPS totals, last five years:

1999: 780
2000: 783
2001: 941
2002: 718
2003: 735

His OPS+ is right around 100 for each of those four 700ish seasons, so it's not just the park effect. BWOC, Chris Woodward posted a 718 OPS this year and 798 in more limited time in 2002; I think his actual production level is somewhere in between. Also, Woodward was in the upper tier of AL shortstops in RF, and below-average in FP and ZR. Basically, I don't see Aurilia as a substantial upgrade on Chris Woodward, and certainly not for anything like $3M. I'd take most of that money and plow it into a reliever (by FA or trade). Say, didn't I see Kyle Farnsworth was available in Chicago...? Now that would be a fun addition to the pen.
Mike Green - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 04:37 PM EST (#14826) #
Count me out on Rich Aurilia. His defence is a little below average, about the same as Woodward's according to statistical measures (Winshares/Inning,ZR 2002-2003, for instance). His OBP over the last 2 years is .315. And he's going to be expensive (his salary last year was 6.25, and I wouldn't pay half of that for him).

I'm not really interested in any of the other pitchers out there except for Arthur Rhodes. Now if by chance he fell through the cracks and could be had for 1.5-2 million on a 2 year deal, I'd go for that. I don't think that's too likely. Otherwise, save the money for July, and if the Fighting Jays are by chance in contention, they can be buyers instead of sellers.
Mike Green - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 04:41 PM EST (#14827) #
No, Jordan, I didn't see your post before posting about Aurilia.
_Johnny Mack - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 04:43 PM EST (#14828) #
Arthur Rhodes, mmmm. Yes, please. Much more to my liking than Aurilia. But, hey, I'll defer to JP for the next little while. He seems to know what he's doing. ;)
_Johnny Mack - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 04:46 PM EST (#14829) #
In fact, Farnsworth and Rhodes create pretty much the same warm feeling in me. (I've also spent moments imagining Juan Cruz in the rotation).
_Nigel - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 04:49 PM EST (#14830) #
Pete, I might be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that JP would be taking that $1 million on Politte into account with the budget. Maybe not, they may have only made that decision with the recent signings. Theoretically, you might get the wiggle room you need from the Halladay signing (i.e. asking him to move $500k to a later year). I think that won't happen, given: a) you'd need to do the Halladay deal now (which JP has said will wait till after the free agent season ends) so that you don't go Kevin Millwood and end up with more contracts than budget room; and b) I'm not sure how much JP really wants to back end deals and tie his hands going forward. My vote would be not to back end it more than it will naturally (given increased service time). They need to keep in mind the long term plan of '05 and beyond.
Coach - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 04:51 PM EST (#14831) #
Here's hoping Ted Rogers opens the vault

Don't just hope, buy some tickets! Go to more games! Talk up this team with your non-baseball friends!

My brother-in-law is a Leafs season-ticket holder who works as a cameraman for a local TV station and has his car radio glued to 590 AM. He even covered the Jays in the late 80's and early 90's when they were the sports story in town. He hasn't been to a game since the '94 strike. Baseball turned him off, and the negativity of certain sportswriters isn't likely to bring him back. He knows, from our conversations at various family functions, that the new GM is doing a fantastic job, and the team is heading in the right direction. But until 10,000 people like him start going back to the park every night, why should Rogers open the vault?

It's fine for us to sit here and discuss the merits of this team amongst ourselves, but we don't reach the general public. I will make sure that my brother-in-law gets to a game in April to see for himself what we already know, and I'll try to bring other potential new fans every time I go to the Dome. I challenge the rest of you to do the same. Reintroduce Toronto sports fans to baseball. When they see this product on the field, they will return.

It's really pretty simple to attract big crowds. Win, and they will come. A fast start (gotta love those early Tigers games) and some positive buzz in the city will start to have an impact at the gate. Then, if they really are in contention at the trading deadline, not that brief but delightful mirage of last May and June, J.P. has a reason to ask for more dough, and Ted has no excuse to withold it.

It simply does not work the other way. You can't demand that the Rogers shareholders spend first, because there's no guaranteed connection between spending and winning. But if revenues are already exceeding the budget, and a few million would make a competitive difference in the second half, generating even more revenue, that makes economic sense. Paul Godfrey likes to win as much as any of us, and if he senses an opportunity a year ahead of schedule, I have to believe he'll convince his boss to go for it.

When there are 30,000 to see the D-Rays and the place is full for the Red Sox, if Rogers still cries poor, there won't be anyone who complains more than me. Until then, be thankful that we have a GM who is putting a competitive ballclub out there on a shoestring, and celebrate it as loud as you can. Join the Cheer Club!
_Jordan - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 05:00 PM EST (#14832) #
Going off on a tangent altogether now ... Farnsworth would not be easy to obtain. He's arb-eligible, but he still only made $600K this past season, so his salary will probably not go higher than the low- to mid-$2Ms. And it's not like the Cubs have to dump salary anyway; they would use Farnsworth to acquire serious talent for the future. Jayson Werth ain't gonna get it done.

Farnsworth throws hard -- consistently in the high 90s, sometimes at 100, with a hard splitter. He struck out 92 in 76 innings in '03, allowing just 53 hits and 36 walks. But he's been the picture of inconsistency: his last four seasons' ERAs are 6.43, 2.74, 7.33, 3.30. He had a really bad 2002 -- foot injury, disciplinary problems, and didn't he piledrive some poor sap who tried to charge the mound? He's built like a brick shirt house -- maybe he's got some 'roid rage issues. Anyway, I didn't hear of any problems like that in '03, so maybe he's coming around. I don't know enough about him to know whether he's really worth taking a run at, but on the surface, it's intriguing.
Coach - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 05:07 PM EST (#66634) #
LOL, Adam. Unique stuff, for sure.
_pete_the_donkey - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 05:57 PM EST (#14833) #
Agreed on getting more people back to the dome.
I've averaged about 20-25 games the past 3 years, plus trips to Dunedin, Cleveland and Boston (twice) to see my Fighting Jays.
I'm hoping JP is getting the team to the point where the casual fan doesn't laugh off baseball anymore.
Fickle, fickle Toronto fans. Drives me crazy.
All us hardcore fans have to do is bring one extra friend to each game. It doesn't take a lot.
_Jonny German - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 06:02 PM EST (#14834) #
Here's how I see things at this point:

Rotation		
SP1 Doc 7.000
SP2 Batista 3.600
SP3 Hentgen 2.200
SP4 Lilly 2.500
SP5 Towers .325
Bullpen
Closer FA 3.000
SetupR Lopez .315
SetupL Kersh. .310
Short Ligten. 2.000
Loogy Miller .375
RP ? .500
Lineup
C Cash .300
1B Delgado 18.500
2B O-Dog .350
SS Woody 1.000
3B Hinske .800
LF Cat 2.300
CF Wells .700
RF Johnson .310
DH Phelps .350
Bench
OF Werth .305
Utility Berg .700
C Crash .900
Glove FA 1.000
RP/UT Rule 5 .300
------- ------- -------
Total payroll 49.940


Obviously many of these numbers are projections, but I don't think any of them are wildly unrealistic. I'm keen on Graffanino as the backup SS. He can take over the lefty-killer role from Tom Wilson and spell Hinske & Hudson as well as Woodward. I don't think he'll command much more than $1M, but he's rumoured to be going to the Red Sox. I'm also a fan of another Rule 5 draftee. If he isn't contributing by the end of June, send him back and call up Pond or Gross or Chen or Arnold.

Don't just hope, buy some tickets!

Done! I bought the 7 game flex pack as soon as I got the brochure. Today they rewarded me with a curious Christmas card... On the outside, Delgado is reading "Casey at the Bat" to a group of kids. On the inside, the words "happy holijays" along with the logo. That's the whole story.

Anyway, I didn't hear of any problems like that in '03, so maybe he's coming around.

He was suspended for two games in June for tackling and punching my man Paul Wilson after the K-Town Masher voiced his disagreement about an inside pitch. Just the facts.
Pepper Moffatt - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 06:16 PM EST (#14835) #
http://economics.about.com
That bullpen looks like it could use a long reliever. Particularly one with an ERA+ of 102 and 97 in the last two seasons.

How do you get that proportional width font?

Mike
_gid - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 06:31 PM EST (#14836) #
[Farnsworth] had a really bad 2002 -- foot injury, disciplinary problems, and didn't he piledrive some poor sap who tried to charge the mound?

You might be thinking of an incident from June 2003 vs the Reds.

Coach - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 06:35 PM EST (#14837) #
Jonny, the idea of a Rule 5 shortstop is a good one, but I have no reason to believe there's one out there. A surprising amount of love for Rich Aurilia; I just threw that out, mostly as an "only other way they might go" alternative. I'm almost certain they will get a cheap glove man (Rule 5 or FA) and spend the majority of the remaining budget on a closer.

Farnsworth is an excellent idea. LaTroy Hawkins makes him expendable, and he could benefit financially from a successful year as somebody's closer. But J.P. was just on The Score, saying that nothing at all was brewing in trades, they were looking at free agents. There's Arthur Rhodes, who Aaron Gleeman really wants to replace Guardado in Minnesota. I'm just a bit leery, because he was hurt last year (and according to Derek Zumsteg, hiding an injury, which we know is my pet peeve) but he definitely has the stuff, if he's 100% sound. Anyone who hasn't had the ninth-inning role before, but has the makeup and is willing, might prefer a one year deal; that could also be a buy low, sell high (trade or draft picks) move for the Jays. It could be someone who's non-tendered.

Getting back to Jonny's list, if they don't take someone in Rule 5, there's room for Tom Wilson, Simon Pond, Howie Clark or a surprise 25th man. I'd say the last bullpen spot is Pete Walker's, but I still don't see why Hendrickson wouldn't make the best long man, no pun intended. There's really not much up for grabs at spring training, but Werth will be under a lot of pressure in what amounts to his last chance in this organization. It's a good club, and there are some exciting kids knocking at the door. When a Dontrelle Willis and a Miguel Cabrera emerge, anything can happen.
Pepper Moffatt - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 06:45 PM EST (#14838) #
http://economics.about.com
Why wouldn't the last spot be for Pete Walker? Did Pete run over JP's dog or something?

I don't get all the love for Aurillia either. Woody is better in pretty much every aspect of the game.

Mike
_Nigel - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 06:51 PM EST (#14839) #
Living out here on the west coast I see a ton of M's games on TV and about 5 or 6 live games a year. I would say no categorically to Rhodes without a full medical exam and whatever else that could be done to look into potential injury problems. Rhodes was hit hard during the last half of last year and he was regularly in the low low 90's - high 80's with his fastball. Last year he was regularly 95-97 with his fastball. It was either an injury or father time catching up quickly to Rhodes.
_Nigel - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 06:52 PM EST (#14840) #
I should have said the previous year.
_jason - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 08:17 PM EST (#14841) #
Kudos galore to JP and associates for this wonderful offseason. So much added within the confines of a tight budget with only the loss Kielty; no minor leaguers or draft picks.
I think the big difference between Escobar and Batista 'El Artista' is that Escobar is being paid for potential and Batista is being paid for performance. Which is why JP et al were content to see Kelvim go - let someone else pay an escalated price for what might never come to pass. Lord knows we here in TO were teased enough.
Kudos to you all here at der Box, and especially you Coach; I couldn't agree more with all you have said and I am doing my part to create a buzz.
cheers
jason
_Geoff - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 08:41 PM EST (#14842) #
If our 40-man is full, can we draft a Rule 5er?

Is Werth or Reed our everyday RF?

I like Werth...let Reed platoon with F-Cat in the leadoff spot...give Jayson 300ABs in the first half to see what he can do

I agree that we should let someone like Graffanino's potential job be to platoon Hinske - let Woody play everyday...if Woody doesn't improve, then if Werth shows promise we can trade an OF for a SS

but we could add Rey Sanchez too and go with a 6 man bullpen instead of the 7 of the past few years

I think Braden Looper should be pursued if he is non-tendered, as expected (accordingto a two-week old Sun-Sentinel article)
_Eric C - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 09:02 PM EST (#14843) #
Jonny, Trevor Miller is arbitration eligible, so he'll likely make more than 375 000 dollars. It'll probably be around a million dollars, so there's an outside chance he'll be non-tendered.

Just wanted to point that out.
_Jordan - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 09:09 PM EST (#14844) #
I think the big difference between Escobar and Batista 'El Artista' is that Escobar is being paid for potential and Batista is being paid for performance.

Very nicely said, Jason!

Too much time-travelling lately ... I've lost track of Kyle Farnsworth's indiscretions. Well, I still think he's be a great guy to bring in from the bullpen in case of a brawl.

I've heard a lot of murmurs about Rhodes' health ... I'm more than a little concerned. But if the doctors were to give him a clean bill of health, he'd be an ideal long man. That strikes me as the one thing the pen doesn't have: someone to come in with the team down 7-1 in the 3rd and keep things close for three innings while the offence clambers back. Hendrickson would do in a pinch, as would Towers; but though I like what the pen has to offer from the 7th inning on, I'd still like to have someone ready to bridge the innings beforehand. What's Terry Adams doing these days?

All that said, now we're splitting hairs. It's been a great off-season already, and I look forward to anything else good New Orleans can bring.
_Dr B - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 09:27 PM EST (#14845) #
Why wouldn't the last spot be for Pete Walker? Did Pete run over JP's dog or something?

I was wondering the same about Cliff Politte. Just two years ago he was *really* good. Has his arm fallen off (which may be why he sucked last year). Or is it just that he doesn't get along with Tosca? It just seems like he has already been put on the scrap heap already by people here, and I was just wondering why. Unless he is injured I would have thought he'd still have some value.
_Benj - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 10:11 PM EST (#14846) #
The Batista sigining is smart. The guy was lights-out in the 2001 World Series, and that's the first time I saw the nasty sinker. But the Jays (at least in the pre-Ricciardi era) have a bad history with pitchers they acquire: Joey Hamilton, Bill Risley.....Erik Hanson! The last best pitcher signing was Frank Castillo, and that's not saying much.
Now the Jays really need a shortstop. I like Chris Woodward but I can't see him as an everyday shortstop. Way too many errors. The guy was drafted after the 50th round though so he's already a winner. Most guys drafted that far back are lucky to make it to Double A.
If Rey Sanchez is still available the Jays should sign him. He gives solid defense and better hitting than you might think. If Sanchez is gone, then maybe Tony Grafanino.
Pepper Moffatt - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 11:13 PM EST (#14847) #
http://economics.about.com
I was wondering the same about Cliff Politte.

From what Mike Wilner said, Politte was hiding an injury, which apparently is a big no-no with the Jays.

Mike
_StephenT - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 11:22 PM EST (#14848) #
Career ERA on Grass: 4.63 in 677 IP
Career ERA on Turf: 3.68 in 225 IP

That ain't no small sample size, Pedro.


Batista has been particularly successful at preventing home runs on turf:

Career HR/9 on Grass: 0.89 (67 HR in 677 IP)
Career HR/9 on Turf: 0.68 (17 in 225 IP) (Source: SI)

But I'm not sure any sample would be large enough to conclude that the correlation implies causation. :-)
_DS - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 11:41 PM EST (#14849) #
I'm not sure I understand the whole HR/9 on grass as compared to turf. The ball is usually hit in the air for it to be a HR, is it not?
_MR. OCTOBER - Friday, December 12 2003 @ 11:55 PM EST (#14850) #
TURF/GRASS stats mean squat in this case, considering he has pitched 3 times as much on grass.
_Jonny German - Saturday, December 13 2003 @ 12:55 AM EST (#14851) #
How do you get that proportional width font?

Ah yes, my favourite sneak, allowing me to quickly get Excel into HTML. First you need these tags: [pre][font size="+0], with angular brackets. Then you can copy and paste directly from Excel. Close it with these tags: [/pre][font size="-1"]. One important restriction: your columns will be 7 characters wide - if any of your Excel cells contain more than 7 characters you get a mess.

Jonny, the idea of a Rule 5 shortstop is a good one, but I have no reason to believe there's one out there.

Not to shy away from getting credited for a good idea, but I actually see the Rule 5 pick as another reliever (i.e. Colter Bean) or a bat (i.e. Chris Shelton). The former is much more likely, as the latter would have less chance of success in 2004 and less chance of being useful to the Jays beyond 2004. If I don't get Tony Graffanino to be my super sub infielder and lefty basher, I go with Sequea or Alvarez as defensive sub. That name again was Tony Graffanino. If I don't pick up a Rule 5 at all, Tom Wilson has the inside track for the available spot.

Why wouldn't the last spot be for Pete Walker? Did Pete run over JP's dog or something?

I was wondering the same about Cliff Politte.


My ideal scenario: Politte is 100% healthy and re-signs at $900K. Danys Baez signs after being non-tendered by the Indians.

The more realistic scenario is that Politte is non-tendered and Baez wants too much money and too many years. So I keep Walker and sign... Benitez? Not feeling great about that. Gotta see who's available after December 20.

Jonny, Trev[e]r Miller is arbitration eligible, so he'll likely make more than 375 000 dollars. It'll probably be around a million dollars, so there's an outside chance he'll be non-tendered.

You got me there, he probably is arb eligible. I think $1M is a crazy projection, but even at $500K I'd seriously consider dropping him and getting a more of a true LOOGY. Kershner has the platoon splits to be a LOOGY, but I want him pitching more than 50 innings.
_Donkit R.K. - Saturday, December 13 2003 @ 11:52 AM EST (#14852) #
I second (well, maybe I'm fifthing or so by now) that Tony Graffanino would be an excellent Fighting Jay spelling Hinske, Woodward, and Hudson. I think I'd prefer Graff and an average reliever than a 2 million + reliever and an average IF guy.
_Dr B - Saturday, December 13 2003 @ 06:28 PM EST (#14853) #
From what Mike Wilner said, Politte was hiding an injury, which apparently is a big no-no with the Jays.

Interesting. Thanks, Mike.

I heard somewhere (maybe here) that Boston were after Mr Graffanino was being pursued by the Red Sox. Hope he comes to TO though.

I think I'd prefer Graff and an average reliever than a 2 million + reliever and an average IF guy.

Yep, you're preaching to the choir there! Mind you I think it would be ok now to simply pocket the extra budget and if (and only if) the Jays are in contention half way through, you have a little more cash to throw around.
_StephenT - Saturday, December 13 2003 @ 10:07 PM EST (#14854) #
Yes, DS, the facetious reference to home run rates on turf was to illustrate that ERA is also suspect, regardless of the sample size. (144 of Batista's turf innings have been in Olympic Stadium, and probably most of those were in 1998/99.)

Which isn't to say it's worthless to look at the numbers on turf. We can be pretty sure at least that he doesn't have a complex regarding the stuff.

Small challenge (to anyone): SI says Batista has pitched 2 games at SkyDome with a 0.82 ERA in 11 innings. Can you find those games in the Retrosheet boxscores and post links to them here?
robertdudek - Saturday, December 13 2003 @ 10:20 PM EST (#14855) #
Here they are:

2 innings in relief on June 23, 1998, and ...

a shutout on June 5, 1999.
_Dunedin Dave - Wednesday, January 14 2004 @ 09:49 PM EST (#66635) #
I haven't seen any mention of some of the killer closers who were around in the early nineties. Rob Dibble was easily as overpowering and definitely more intimidating than Randy Johnson or Tom Henke. How about Bobby Thigpen with his 57 saves (and rather short career)? Bryan Harvey had better STUFF than either of those two though - at least on par with Duane Ward's.
_Smack - Tuesday, May 11 2004 @ 12:58 PM EDT (#66636) #
Just wanted to talk about knuckleballers. We know the Skydome has been great for Wakefield and the ball dances more in the dome, so why not find young discarded knuckleballers like Boston has and groom them for the near future?

Boston has Zink and left handed Joe Rogers who they picked up from St. Louis. These guys are still cheap and can be durable both as starters or in the pen. If I were JP, I would already have looked into it.
Craig B - Tuesday, May 11 2004 @ 01:32 PM EDT (#66637) #
Smack, I like the idea of grabbing knuckleballers but the problem right now is that the Jays are *too* deep in pitching talent. If the organization were thin in pitching talent I'd be enthusiastic about these guys but as it stands, I think I'd rather have the current batch of prospects than to push any aside to make room for taking a chance on junkballers/knuckleballers...
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