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It's a battle of lefties: Gustavo Chacin vs Dave Williams. Or, if you prefer, the ace of the 2004 New Hampshire Fisher Cats vs the ace of the 2000 Hickory Crawdads.

No radio over the air and no radio at either team's official site. Looks like some Yahoo! boxscore following for us today.
Spring Training: Jays at Pirates | 144 comments | Create New Account
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kpataky - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 01:16 PM EST (#107884) #
I saw Williams pitch 4 innings against the Yanks at Legends Field on 3/19. He gave up 7 hits and 2 runs and got a "no decision". He didn't look too bad.
kpataky - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 01:19 PM EST (#107885) #
Ex Blue Jays farm hand is starting the vs. the Red Sox today at Legends Field, replacing Randy Johnson. Johnson will get his work in at the AAA game as the Yanks don't want the Sox to get an early preview of what's coming on 4/3.
kpataky - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 01:20 PM EST (#107887) #
Ex Blue Jays Farm hand Aaron Small that is.
jsut - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 01:40 PM EST (#107889) #
The previously referred to box score

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/boxscore?gid=250329123

jays currently up 2-0 in the second
Nolan - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 01:46 PM EST (#107890) #
Man, even MLB Gameday Audio isn't carrying the game...too bad.
Named For Hank - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 01:59 PM EST (#107891) #
Looks like the Jays were on the wrong end of a Craig Wilson homer -- bad men lead 4-2 with Pittsburgh still batting.
kpataky - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 02:09 PM EST (#107892) #
5-2 end of 3. Chacin has given up 7 hits, 5 Rs in 3 IP.
jsut - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 02:17 PM EST (#107893) #
got a couple back, 5-4 bad guys.
Gerry - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 02:19 PM EST (#107894) #
What are the chances now for Chacin to AAA and Walker to start, Ligtenberg or Miller to the pen.
kpataky - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 02:22 PM EST (#107895) #
2 days in a row the starter gives up 7 runs - thats not a good thing heading into the season opener...
Nigel - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 02:27 PM EST (#107897) #
Gerry - you asked the same question I was about to post. Assuming the following 9 - Halladay, Bush, Towers, Batista, Fraser, SS, Lightenberg, League, Speier are on the 11-man staff; then the following are on the bubble - Chacin, Walker, Miller and Chulk - and only 2 can make it.

Given the way he's pitched (plus he's got options), I would send Chacin down and keep Walker in the rotation. Then pick one of Chulk or Miller and send them to the pen (my vote would be for Chulk and see if you can slip Miller through waivers).
DaveInNYC - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 02:35 PM EST (#107898) #
Nigel, I don't think we should assume that Kerry is going to make the team. This is the perfect time for the team to cut him because they are in the financial situation to do so (they have money now with the $210 mil plan)

Kerry's performance was awful last season, and that coupled with a shaky spring and his hip status means that he could be on the outside looking in.

If, and it's a big IF, Kerry is cut I wouldn't be surprised to see Justin Miller make the team.
kpataky - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 02:35 PM EST (#107899) #
Jays got 3 more and are back on top 7-5 in the bottom of the 5th.
Mike Green - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 02:36 PM EST (#107900) #
The Gabe just went yard- 7-5 good guys.
DaveInNYC - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 02:36 PM EST (#107901) #
Kevin, don't you mean it's consecutive days where the starter has allowed 5 runs? I just checked the scoreboard over at MLB.com and it says that it's 5-4 Bucs after 4.
uglyone - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 02:36 PM EST (#107902) #
Although I'm a big fan of Chacin's, I'd rather start the season with 6 starters, not just 5, so I wouldn't want to lose Towers unless he stinks it to start the year.

I have to agree that Walker should be in the rotation - he was fine there last time with us, and he looks even better now.

I'd probably start the year with this staff:

Halladay
Lilly
Bush
Walker
Towers

Batista
Speier
Schoeneweis
Frasor
Ligtenberg
Miller
League/Chulk

with Chulk being the one more likely to be sent down.

Of course, Miller and Towers would be on very short leashes, with Chacin and Chulk ready to step in ASAP if needed.
Four Seamer - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 02:37 PM EST (#107903) #
I agree with Nigel and Gerry. Chacin has been mostly horrible this spring, and while I was assured a few ugly starts ago that it was because he was working on a new pitch, it's clear that progress has been minimal. Whatever the reason for his lack of success, he's not been getting big league hitters out and the rotation is unsettled enough as it is with Lilly out of action and Batista in the pen.

I like the way Nigel has constructed the pen; my only concern is that the Jays might go with a twelve-man pen, especially if they fear losing Miller on waivers.
Mick Doherty - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 02:40 PM EST (#107904) #
go with a twelve-man pen

I know, I know, it's a typo, but really, how far away are we from some team taking 10 position players, a five-man rotation and 10 relievers north?

It sounds ludicrous, but pitching specialization makes me wonder sometimes.

Terran - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 02:50 PM EST (#107907) #
<i>Although I'm a big fan of Chacin's, I'd rather start the season with 6 starters, not just 5, so I wouldn't want to lose Towers unless he stinks it to start the year.</i>

6 starters is too many to start with. One of them is going to end up not pitching until May and that might set him off for the entire year.

I wouldn't mind losing Towers, he's 28 with a career 4.96 ERA. I think it's time the Blue Jays gave up on him and tried out Walker or a prospect for the #5 spot instead...

Maybe it's a stretch, but what about Brandon League? He's started some games in the minors before and I personally think he has more value to us as a starter then a closer anyways. If nothing else it may be worth a shot...
Pistol - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 02:53 PM EST (#107908) #
This is the perfect time for the team to cut (Ligtenberg) because they are in the financial situation to do so (they have money now with the $210 mil plan)

The difference in the team's payroll with Ligtenberg on the team and with Ligtenberg not on the team is $300,000 (or whatever the salary of the player is who replaces Ligtenberg).

Why do I seem to be the only one, including the GM, to see this? I don't see what a higher budget has to do with this move. Or am I totally missing something?

kpataky - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 02:57 PM EST (#107909) #
In the next few days, there will be several cuts so teams can reach the 25 man limit. Other teams in the same position (ie losing a guy cause he is out of options) might be willing to trade rather than lose a guy. I know the Yanks have a similar situation with their left hander Alex Graman.
kpataky - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 02:58 PM EST (#107910) #
Gabe Gross has hit his 8th HR of the Spring, tying Delgado's team record for Spring Training Dingers.
King Ryan - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 03:00 PM EST (#107911) #
Hell, let's just cut Halladay while we're at it. He makes the most money on the team and had a bad year last year as well!

Seriously, I would be disappointed if the team released Kerry; he's shown in the past the ability to be a good reliever, and the team just wouldn't be saving enough money on the deal to make it worthwhile.
Terran - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 03:00 PM EST (#107912) #
The difference in the team's payroll with Ligtenberg on the team and with Ligtenberg not on the team is $300,000 (or whatever the salary of the player is who replaces Ligtenberg).

Why do I seem to be the only one, including the GM, to see this? I don't see what a higher budget has to do with this move. Or am I totally missing something?


I agree. That money isn't there so we can just treat it wrecklessly, releasing players and losing hundreds of thousands to millions for absolutely nothing. It's so that maybe we can sign some good free agents next year, or make some good trades to mix in with our budding young prospects.

More money is only good is if we still employ some fiscal responsibility with it...
Terran - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 03:03 PM EST (#107913) #
Seriously, I would be disappointed if the team released Kerry; he's shown in the past the ability to be a good reliever, and the team just wouldn't be saving enough money on the deal to make it worthwhile.

It's certainly hard to remember after last year but he has a career 3.57 ERA and that was his first year of ever pitching over 4...
A - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 03:05 PM EST (#107914) #
When I was down in Florida for Spring Training last week, I went to Bradenton to watch a couple Pirates games on Toronto off days. It was a circus....

The first game was Pirates vs Tigers (I had a laugh reflex that took over as soon as I got the ticket in my hand). There was an extraordinarily bright sun that day and not a cloud in the sky. For some reason the Pirates' eyewear wasn't what it should have been in they lost 4 or 5 balls in the sun (to the Tigers' 0). Tigers won the game 15-2.

The second game was even better...It was a cloudy day and we'd had a 1hr rain delay, and the winds were going at about 50MPH to left field. So the Indians would get up to the plate and hit an infield fly that would come inches away from hitting their team bus. Indians won 6-8, no thanks to Carlos Lee's dreadfully inconsistent pitching (perfect game through 3, gives up 5 runs in the next 2 innings...So I guess it could have been that he hit the wall).

Anyways, the long-winded point is the Pirates are a joke and I'm a little disappointed the Jays aren't dismanteling them right now (it was close when they played in Dunedin last week but that was because Halladay only pitched one inning due to the rain delay and the rest was done by a less than deep bullpen).

FREE OPENING DAY!!
A - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 03:07 PM EST (#107915) #
When the Jays played Atlanta I was sitting next to this girl who really liked Ligtenberg from when he was with the Braves. I offered him and a bag of balls for a "thank you" and she was all too happy to take me up on the offer.

I didn't get her name but I think we should start campaigning to have her take over as Braves GM :-)
uglyone - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 03:09 PM EST (#107916) #
<quote]6 starters is too many to start with. One of them is going to end up not pitching until May and that might set him off for the entire year.<quote>

I think it's always better to have a capable 6th starter at least in AAA going into the season, then to have just 5, and noone with any real ability to step in if needed.
DaveInNYC - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 03:10 PM EST (#107917) #
Pistol, the point is that when you have a small budget like the Jays have had in the past, you are reluctant to cut a guy that makes 2.5 million because you would be getting NOTHING in return for the investment. It's basically 2.5 million dollars down the drain.

With a bigger budget, 2.5 isn't so much of a loss. You can handle that kind of loss with a bigger budget.

Besides, Kerry was brutal last season and with the hip condition I don't see why we should believe he will be any better.
uglyone - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 03:11 PM EST (#107918) #
As far as J.P.'s comments about Ligtenberg, I take that as nothing more than J.P. telling everyone this:

"We will no longer be letting minor financial considerations get in the way of making the best decisions for our team now and in the future."
kpataky - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 03:14 PM EST (#107919) #
3 more runs for the Jays and its 10-5 in the 7th...
Mike Green - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 03:16 PM EST (#107920) #
Pistol's point isn't that Ligtenberg should be cut. It's that his salary should have nothing to do with the decision. Of course, his performance last year and in previous years and the way he's throwing this spring are relevant considerations.

The question to be answered really amounts to this: "Is Ligtenberg likely to pitch better than the alternatives- Chulk, Miller, Arnold, or somebody else?". Ligtenberg really did not pitch as badly as his ERA would suggest last year, so what it comes down to really is a subjective impression on the way he looks in spring and the health reports.
DaveInNYC - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 03:22 PM EST (#107921) #
Isn't Miller out of options though? If that's the case, I'd much rather keep Miller on board seeing as how his upside is much higher than Kerry's. Miller is a valuable swingman to the bullpen and if he could ever get his location figured out, his stuff would be filthy.
kpataky - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 03:23 PM EST (#107922) #
Anyways, the long-winded point is the Pirates are a joke and I'm a little disappointed the Jays aren't dismanteling them right now

Its 10-5 Jays right now, so how many runs do they need before its considered a dismantling? Also, I saw the Pirates beat the Yankees at Legends Field on 3/19. They looked pretty good that day.

Terran - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 03:24 PM EST (#107923) #
Pistol, the point is that when you have a small budget like the Jays have had in the past, you are reluctant to cut a guy that makes 2.5 million because you would be getting NOTHING in return for the investment. It's basically 2.5 million dollars down the drain.

That comment wasn't addressed to me of course, but just to respond to it: I still don't see what changes. Is it that much better to get nothing for a player just because we have a bigger budget? It's still something that should be avoided like the plague, and, btw, we don't have that big a budget, just one significantly bigger then in years past. Didn't we get about this much money to play with over the late 90s and that didn't result in ever getting to the playoffs...

I was just reading An Interview with JP Ricciardi and he specifies that one of the problems people don't always understand is a combination of a lack of willingness for other teams to accept trades for players and the higher then necessarily expected costs they usually want.

So maybe the Jays simply can't trade Lightenberg (though the Mets and Cubs seem interested in relievers, maybe Lightenberg is simply not an acceptable one) but it still doesn't feel right to just outright release him before the start of the season, even with his hip...
DaveInNYC - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 03:25 PM EST (#107924) #
Anyone know how the Jays scored their 3 in the top of the 7th to make it 10-5?

Congrats to Gross with the 8 homers, awesome!

And by the way, is anyone else worried with the way the Jays (namely JP) might handle Rios with Gross tearing it up? I recently read an article which was posted here in a thread about how Rios and Gross would platoon until Lilly gets back and then one of them might get sent down. Sorry, but that sounds awful IMO.

I hope J.P. uses his head and sends Gabe to AAA and then deals Shea near the deadline and then calls Gabe up. I just hope that Rios' development isn't stunted by all this. He deserves to play every day IMO and he could use all the at-bats.
Braby21 - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 03:25 PM EST (#107925) #
Miller is a valuable swingman to the bullpen and if he could ever get his location figured out, his stuff would be filthy.

Isn't that the same IF that we have been saying for a couple years now. Ligtenburg has had good years in the past, there's no reason why he can't get back to his old self. He hasn't pitched that bad in Spring either. Personally, I'd rather keep Kerry, and send Miller down and hope he clears waivers.

H Winfield Teut - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 03:26 PM EST (#107926) #
OK, I am all for looking at stats as a whole, but everyone talks about how BAD Ligtenberg was all year, as if all he ever did was get shellacked. So, taking out 6 games (I realize you can't in analyzing a pitcher, but allow me this), 5/14 vs Boston (5 earned no IP) 5/21 vs Boston (2 earned no IP) 7/10 vs LA (5 earned 0 ip) 7/27 NY (3 earned 0 ip) 8/12 cleve (3 earned 0 IP) and 8/28 NY (5 earned 2 thirds pitched) You now drop his stats to 51 games pitched, 54.3 innings pitched, and an era of 2.65. Ligtenberg was not awful all year, but in the 6 or 7 he was bad, it killed his stats.
DaveInNYC - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 03:27 PM EST (#107927) #
But Braby, Miller has lost a lot of time due to injuries and he's finally healthy. The Jays should see what they have in Miller.
Braby21 - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 03:29 PM EST (#107928) #
Wasn't Miller healthy in the 2nd half of last year? And didn't he pitch horribly? I'm just not sold on this guy, and I don't feel that his potential is worth the risk of keeping him on the 25 man roster...just so we don't lose him.
kpataky - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 03:38 PM EST (#107930) #
And by the way, is anyone else worried with the way the Jays (namely JP) might handle Rios with Gross tearing it up? I recently read an article which was posted here in a thread about how Rios and Gross would platoon until Lilly gets back and then one of them might get sent down.

The games I saw in Spring Training over the last week saw Rios and Gross Platooning in right field. I thought they were just being rested...and I wasn't happy I couldn't take more pictures of them.

That would be uncool if they started messing w/ Rios now - before he had the chance to produce this year.

Terran - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 03:38 PM EST (#107931) #
<i>And by the way, is anyone else worried with the way the Jays (namely JP) might handle Rios with Gross tearing it up? </i><br>
<br>
There's no easy way to handle it. Rios deserves to play of course and he's a big part of the future of the Jays and should really start the season. At the same time Gross's spring can't be ignored. Ultimately I think Gross is suppose to replace Catalanotto anyways (though not until mid-season originally), so maybe Catalanotto should be traded if anyone is?<br>
<br>
Perhaps I'm in the minority here but I'd rather have Shea as our everyday DH then Cat.
Terran - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 03:40 PM EST (#107932) #
I forgot to change it to HTML format it and I couldn't edit/delete my post :/

And by the way, is anyone else worried with the way the Jays (namely JP) might handle Rios with Gross tearing it up?

There's no easy way to handle it. Rios deserves to play of course and he's a big part of the future of the Jays and should really start the season. At the same time Gross's spring can't be ignored. Ultimately I think Gross is suppose to replace Catalanotto anyways (though not until mid-season originally), so maybe Catalanotto should be traded if anyone is?

Perhaps I'm in the minority here but I'd rather have Shea as our everyday DH then Cat.
kpataky - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 03:40 PM EST (#107933) #
11-5 Jays bottom of the 9th...
kpataky - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 03:44 PM EST (#107935) #
Jays 11, Pirates 5 (final score)
uglyone - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 03:45 PM EST (#107936) #
Remember, the only reason Rios got the callup last year was because Gross was injured.

In many respects, Gross deserves the spot ahead of Rios.

Rios hit for a decent average last year, but he didn't exactly impress otherwise.

I don't think it's a bad idea at all to platoon them until one or both prove they deserve to play....and either one gets sent down, or some room is made for both of them with a trade or two.

A temporary platoon to start out one's career never hurt any good prospect.
kpataky - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 03:50 PM EST (#107937) #
Gross had always been ahead of Rios. In 2003, Gross was reapeating Double-A and got called up to Syracuse half way through. Rios completed a full year and they both started out in 2004 in Syracuse. But Rios was the first to go up (5/27/04) and succeed while Gross was back in Syracuse behing used strictly as a DH because he was hurt.
Ducey - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 03:52 PM EST (#107938) #
Okay, I'm calling it. 17 hits and 11 runs - that's an official dismantling.

As for a Gross/ Rios platoon - no way. Send one of them down - even if it is Rios - so they can get plenty of AB's.
kpataky - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 03:52 PM EST (#107939) #
Chacin is 4-1 this Spring despite an ERA over 7 !
King Ryan - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 03:53 PM EST (#107940) #
I would have no problem with Gross starting and Rios getting sent to AAA. In many ways, Gross deserves the spot more.
Terran - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 03:56 PM EST (#107941) #
As for a Gross/ Rios platoon - no way. Send one of them down - even if it is Rios - so they can get plenty of AB's.

Isn't there a point where you've learnt all you can from facing AAA pitchers though?

Plus wouldn't it be discouraging for Rios, to say the least, if after being pretty much garanteed a roster spot he's sent back down to AAA? He didn't just hit for average by the way, he also led to team in steals (albeit that sounds better then it is, he got 15 steals though).
Thaskins - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 04:05 PM EST (#107942) #
How does Gross deserve to be in RF more than Rios? Gross had a pretty good year in AAA going .294/.381/.454 as a 24 year-old in the 2nd tour (though his first tour was just a 1/2 season) at AAA. Then, in his minor league callup he really struggled.

On the other hand Rios was only 23 last year and handled himself pretty well when he got rushed to the big show going .286/.338/.383. Very little power yes, but hitting .286 isn't too bad for a kid who was rushed to the bigs.

Gross' hot spring is great and all but I'd much rather have him prove himself at AAA for a 1/2 season before we put another rookie onto the roster. Cat and Reed should do just fine until it's time to give Gross the full time job.
Moogy - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 04:06 PM EST (#107943) #
"A temporary platoon to start out one's career never hurt any good prospect."

---------

I can recall a number of introductory platoon situations for a left-handed hitting prospect so as to protect that hitter from the traditionally tough lefty-lefty matchup, while still getting him 2/3 of a full season's ABs, but I have trouble recalling any situation where a quality prospect was put into the facing-lefties side of that platoon, as Rios would be in this hypothetical situation.
Chuck - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 04:07 PM EST (#107944) #
mistermike - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 04:08 PM EST (#107945) #
Interesting game thread today. Some excellent discussion!

Anyone still looking for a Yahoo fantasy league to join? I've got a NL-Only league that needs a few more players. If you're interested, the league is #244186. Password is "nationalleague".
jsut - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 04:08 PM EST (#107946) #

Isn't there a point where you've learnt all you can from facing AAA pitchers though?

I think the question you should really be asking is "do you learn more getting partial playing time at the MLB level than playing fulltime at AAA?"

If it were up to me Gross would be in left, Rios in right Cat would be DHing, and Johnson on the bench. I could care less which of Hillenbrand or Hinske was riding the pine, non-tendered or traded.

dp - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 04:16 PM EST (#107947) #
I,m not convinced Rios couldn't benefit from some time in AAA- I know I'm sounding like a broken record, but he's had only one good year in his minor league career. Last year, he didn't draw walks or hit for power. He hit, basically, like Cesear Izturis, but playing great defense in right field instead of at SS. People are getting hung up on the batting average and ignoring just how bad his offensive game was last year.

Gross deserves to start. This team has a huge lack of power, and Rios hasn't shown he can be the answer to that. Gross has a track record of hitting for good power. Rios doesn't.

Ideally, you'd just push Hinske to the bench, but they're playing him because of his contract.
King Ryan - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 04:19 PM EST (#107948) #
"<i>
Gross' hot spring is great and all but I'd much rather have him prove himself at AAA for a 1/2 season before we put another rookie onto the roster.</i>"

Gross HAS proven himself at AAA. Rios, on the other hand, has not. Gross should have been called up first last year, and has hit better this spring. I see no reason to give special treatment to Rios. Gross would only be the second rookie anyways.
dp - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 04:20 PM EST (#107949) #
That #27 rating at BPro is really weird- the Jays have 2 of the best players in the league with Wells and Halladay, no spots that will be offensive suckholes (1B if Hinkske hits like he did last year, but I don't think he holds the job down beyond May if he isn't hitting. The rotation is really a huge question mark, but the bullpen has a lot of talent. I can't see them being worse than the Reds, for example...
Ron - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 04:21 PM EST (#107950) #
I don't see Chacin being moved out of the rotation because JP and Gibbons have already said he's made the club. He's the main reason Batista is the teams closer.

Although I've learned JP's word isn't always good because he also said Speier was the teams closer this season.

Either way it's just spring training and I'm not worried about Chacin to start the season. With a lot pitching prospects coming up through the minors let's find out if Chacin is a keeper or not at the big league level. Nobody expects the Jays to contend anyways.
Skills - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 04:21 PM EST (#107951) #
In reference to the baseball prospectus ranking, I'm really getting frustrated with people being overly down on the Blue Jays. Everyone overemphasizes the Yankee/Red Sox problem. True, they are significant obstacles in terms of making the playoffs, but in terms of win/loss, they only affect the Jays in the games they go head to head. While the Jays got slaughtered by these teams last year, this was not so in 2003, and has not been historically. The Jays, may not be very good this year, but worse than the Rockies and Nationals? I mean come on. People get stuck on last year's disaster in their analysis of the Jays way too much.
uglyone - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 04:23 PM EST (#107952) #
<quote>I can recall a number of introductory platoon situations for a left-handed hitting prospect so as to protect that hitter from the traditionally tough lefty-lefty matchup, while still getting him 2/3 of a full season's ABs, but I have trouble recalling any situation where a quality prospect was put into the facing-lefties side of that platoon, as Rios would be in this hypothetical situation.<quote>

True, but considering that there would be lefties in LF, RF, at 3B, and 1B....and that there's a good deal of interchangeability between the starters' positions (Cat, Shea, Hinske, Koskie)....not to mention some injury prone players in there....it's hard to see how Rios wouldn't get plenty of at bats regardless.
Mike D - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 04:26 PM EST (#107953) #
Skills and dp, I understand the arguments both of you are making. But the comments alongside each of the teams in that ranking set are really, really smug. So therefore, the ratings must be really, really accurate.

I guess we can only dream of having a Rockies-type club.
Terran - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 04:29 PM EST (#107954) #
Also in reference to the baseball prospectus ranking why did they pick the Phillies to have a better record then the Braves but then say that after 13 years of winning their division there's no point in picking against the Braves?

Perhaps I'm misreading it, or perhaps they misworded there thoughts but are they picking the Braves for the NL East with the Phillies somehow getting a better record O.o
MatO - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 04:29 PM EST (#107955) #
Jesse Barfield spent his first few years batting mostly against lefties in platoon first with Hoskin Powell and then with Dave Collins before taking over the job full-time in 1985.
Thaskins - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 04:31 PM EST (#107957) #
Well, at least I can buy the angle that he's proven himself at AAA more than I can buy the angle that he's having a great Spring and should be on the team. I hate making decisions on Spring stats. See Chacin. Regardless of how good or bad he pitches in Spring I think he should be in AAA. It took the guy like 4 years to master AA.

I agree Rios didn't hit for much power or have a high OBP but knowing his age and his skill set I just think he has a higher ceiling than Gross. That's why I don't think any discussion revolving around Gross should involve Rios. They are both fine players, likely to improve. The guys we should be looking at getting rid of are Cat, Hinske and Shea. Those are the guys Gross should take plate appearances from when it's time. Not Rios.
Mike D - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 04:33 PM EST (#107958) #
Terran, in fairness, I think that the rankings and specific records are the ones projected by PECOTA, and BP is offering editorial comments as to why they believe the projection to be accurate (or, in the Braves' case, likely inaccurate).
uglyone - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 04:34 PM EST (#107959) #
But I'd also disagree with relying on both Gross and Rios as every day starters.

If they earn their way there by midseason, great.....but going into the year, I think it would be foolish to rely on both of them as starters, with no backup plan.

I'm glad we have Hillenbrand, who is a dependably average to above average bat, on a manageable one year deal, to rely on, with Rios and Gross in a position where they're fighting for time, not being relied on as fulltime players.
Mike D - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 04:38 PM EST (#107960) #
And in further fairness, I should point out that Joe Sheehan's AL East preview for BP (with projected records very different than these) was, in my opinion, thoughtful and well-written. A bit pessimistic toward the Yankees and Devil Rays, but a really good read.
Thaskins - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 04:41 PM EST (#107961) #
uglyone- I completly agree. Well said. We've already got Rios in RF, Adams at SS, Bush and Chacin in the rotation and 2-3 more rookies in the BP. That's a lot of youth on a ball club trying to compete this year. Regardless of who should have been called up we've got Rios on the club now. So let's go with Cat and Reed in LF for now until Gross forces our hand by tearing AAA pitching to pieces. By then hopefully Hinske's gotten off to a great start and we can move him for someone and allow Gross to come up and play LF with Reed.
Moogy - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 04:41 PM EST (#107962) #
"True, but considering that there would be lefties in LF, RF, at 3B, and 1B....and that there's a good deal of interchangeability between the starters' positions (Cat, Shea, Hinske, Koskie)....not to mention some injury prone players in there....it's hard to see how Rios wouldn't get plenty of at bats regardless."

-------------

Rios could receive more than his fair share of ABs if injuries hit, I agree with that. I don't know if I'd want to put my eggs in that basket, however. As to the other comment, regardless of the number of lefties in the lineup, Rios can only play one position at a time. If he's getting his full 1/3 of a season's worth of ABs against lefties platooning with Gross, he won't get any more of those lefty ABs subbing for anyone else, save for the occassional late-inning pinch-hitting situation where Gross is not due up.
Mick Doherty - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 04:43 PM EST (#107965) #
I can't see them being worse than the Reds, for example...

I'd think Blue Jay nation would be quite pleased with THAT, given that the Reds are going to represent the NL in the World Series and all ...

robertdudek - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 04:53 PM EST (#107966) #
News out of KC has it that Dennis Tankersley will be put on waivers. I'd like to see JP take a shot at him and put him in the starting rotation, sending Chacin to AAA.

Skinner - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 04:58 PM EST (#107969) #
The Reds are going no where close to the world series, especially in the NL Central where the best they'll finish is 4th

The Jays could finish 4th in the NL Central too, easily ahead of the Pirates and Brewers. They are gonna be better than the 73 wins that link said.
Skinner - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 05:02 PM EST (#107971) #
Dennis Tankersley???

Just what the Jays need a guy with a 7.61 career ERA and career record of 1-10. Chacin is a way better choice than Tankersley
Ron - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 05:02 PM EST (#107972) #
My own off the wall prediction is that the Astros will finish dead last in the NL Central.

I figure at least one good team from last season is going to take a nosedive, and my pick is the Astros.

They're batting lineup looks awful and I don't trust Clemens and Petite to stay healthy all season.
robertdudek - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 05:08 PM EST (#107975) #
Who cares what his record is.

He'spitched well in AAA and had some very good starts in limited action in the majors last season. This club should be looking for undervalued inexperienced pitchers who might develop into a quality starting pitcher one day. Tankerley fits that description.

By contrast, Chacin's had only a couple of good starts above AA.

Ryan C - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 05:16 PM EST (#107977) #
Gross should have been called up first last year, and has hit better this spring.

Gross was injured last year when the call went out. The Jays needed an outfielder and Gross, while still healthy enough to take at bats, was unable to play the outfield at that time which is why Rios made the team and he didnt.

I dont think sending Rios to AAA is a good idea at all. Something in me just says it's not right. For whatever reason (in this case injuries) he made the big league team before Gross did and performed well. While some people might think Gross is more deserving, to me Rios is on the team and it's his spot until he plays himself out of it or until someone takes it from him (or until JP trades him). Gross had a solid year last year and has had a tremendous spring, so let him continue to prove he's deserving in AAA. If he is still tearing it up come May then Ill join the others in screaming for him to be called up to the majors but I just think putting him on the team in place of Rios now would be wrong.

R Billie - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 05:19 PM EST (#107978) #
The platoon between Rios and Gross might last one or two weeks until Lilly is healthy again. At that point they will have to make a decision on someone and I think you have to keep the better offensive player up given the team's current needs.

It's nice that Alexis is fast and has a tremendous arm. But the Jays don't need a right fielder who hits .280 and produces mostly groundballs. Gross drives the ball and hits for extra bases. He takes walks. He's more advanced in the game right now and more able to help the Jays.

Being sent down would be hard for Alex to take but it would only last until Catalanatto or Johnson or Hinske were traded. Vernon also shuffled between AAA and the majors a couple of times before sticking for good. The fact of the matter is Rios is not a finished product at the plate. He hasn't produced anything in 2004 or this spring training which brings to mind the big year he had in 2003.

If we're talking about what's fair and putting the best performing outfield together, that's going to mean Cat/Johnson, Wells, and Gross at the moment. Whoever out of Gross or Rios goes down though will be back soon enough so I don't think a big issue should be made of it one way or the other.
uglyone - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 05:20 PM EST (#107979) #
<quote>Rios could receive more than his fair share of ABs if injuries hit, I agree with that. I don't know if I'd want to put my eggs in that basket, however. As to the other comment, regardless of the number of lefties in the lineup, Rios can only play one position at a time. If he's getting his full 1/3 of a season's worth of ABs against lefties platooning with Gross, he won't get any more of those lefty ABs subbing for anyone else, save for the occassional late-inning pinch-hitting situation where Gross is not due up.<quote>

true enough.

at the same time, though, this would almost certainly be a temporary move.....with an everyday job for the taking for both of them if they perform as well as the Hinskes or Hillenbrands....players which J.P. will certainly be looking to trade...and, of course, if either of them struggles, they coudl be sent back down.

If they start with a half season platoon, and graduate to everyday roles the 2nd half, I won't have any problem with that at all.
Ryan C - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 05:41 PM EST (#107981) #
If we're talking about what's fair and putting the best performing outfield together, that's going to mean Cat/Johnson, Wells, and Gross at the moment.

Ok but at the moment we're also only talking about spring training. Gross did not perform well in his brief stint in the majors last year. Id have nothing against a platooning him until Lilly comes back, but I dont see how you can say he's so clearly a better hitter than Rios right now after their respective MLB performances last season.

Ron - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 05:56 PM EST (#107983) #
Slash and the Trailer Park Boys will be at the Jays home opener

http://tsn.ca/mlb/news_story.asp?id=119856

This begs the question, who are the trailer park boys?
greenfrog - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 05:58 PM EST (#107985) #
I think Gross and Rios are being incorrectly typecast. Rios was a .280 hitter with only singles and doubles power last year, but that was only half a season of playing time. He's still very young, showed excellent power a couple of years ago, has gotten stronger over the off-season. He's hitting for average this spring and has already hit a few homers (I think- correct me if I'm wrong). He held his own last year when a lot of other players were tanking.

Gross, on the other hand, is having a terrific spring, but so did Simon Pond in 2004. While his walk rates have been better than Rios's, Gross hasn't shown a great deal of power thus far in his career, and his major-league debut in 2004 was uninspiring. Many BB fans wanted him traded only a couple of months ago.

My vote would be to send Gross to AAA to see how he does for a couple of months. Put Rios in right, Wells in centre, Cat/Johnson platoon in left, Koskie/Hillenbrand/Hinske at 3B/DH/1B.

I think everything will sort itself out by midseason. Ideally, by then, we'll have a productive full-time OF of Gross/Wells/Rios, and the pleasant dilemma of deciding what to do with Cat/Johnson/Hinske/Hillenbrand.
robertdudek - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 06:02 PM EST (#107986) #
I've been of the opinion for some time now that making Cat the regular platoon leftfielder is a huge mistake. If that scenario had been avoided no one would be worried about what to do with Gross and Rios.
VBF - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 06:07 PM EST (#107988) #
This begs the question, who are the trailer park boys?

Blasphemy!

Actually the Trailer Park Boys are in a show named after just that. The main characters are Bubbles, Ricky, Julien. They basically come up with quick money making schemes while trying to avoid the police or trailer park supervisor, Jim Layhey (Lay-hee). This is a crude explaination of them though, and I am doing them no justice.

Bubbles has made several appearances outside of the show:

-Canadian Tsunami relief show. I believe he played with Rush.

-A 'Snow' music video. He was a temporarily successful Canadian reggae/rap singer.

-He also appeared with Don Cherry in a Tragically Hip video whose name I can't remember.

The show is on at 9:00-10:00 on Showcase with a new season coming out after Opening Day (Time revolves around Opening day form some reason).

Chuck - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 06:22 PM EST (#107990) #
I may be one of the few on this site who agree with Robert on his Catalanotto position. The Jays should have the uninspiring three-headed beast of Catalanotto/Hillenbrand/Hinske sort out 1B and DH amongst themselves. No need to introduce Catalanotto into the OF stew.

I know Moffat has questioned the Catalanotto signing altogether (apologies Mike if I am misprenresenting your position) and I feel the same way. It was an entirely unnecessary multi-year contract.
* Catalanotto is an injury risk.
* He did not hit like a DH or corner OF in 2004.
* He ain't getting any younger.

A one-year contract to DH would have been fine. At this point in his career, Catalanotto should only be expecting one-year contracts.

By all accounts he's a great guy and hard worker, etc. But I think all that is serving only to cloud people's objectivity.

All that said, Gross is just an injury (to Catalanotto or Kosie) or benching (to Hinske) away from getting full-time AB versus RHP. And that could come as early as May.
Nolan - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 06:34 PM EST (#107992) #
robertdudek:

Although you probably have no idea who I am as I am not the most proficient poster here, I'd like to say thanks for stopping by- I've always enjoyed hearing what you have to say.
Rob - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 06:51 PM EST (#107993) #
The real question -- Why Slash?

The CP story describes him as "a longtime member of rebel heavy metal band Guns N' Roses before joining rock supergroup Velvet Revolver."

Okay, now I'm not the biggest music fan in the world. I don't know much, in fact. But there is no way -- no way -- you can call Velvet Revolver a "rock supergroup." It seems to me that I would have heard of them before, if they were indeed "super."
R Billie - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 07:00 PM EST (#107994) #
The issue isn't whether Rios held his own. He held his own but he did not perform well enough to win the outfield spot outright forever whether or not a better option comes along. The issue is who deserves the spot. Whoever doesn't get the spot has to be sent down eventually to get regular playing time.

Rios is right now hitting .255/.300/.382 with 1 double and 2 homers in 55 at bats. His bb/k is 3/8.

Coming into today Gross was .359/.458/.949 with 2 doubles and 7 homers in 39 at bats. His bb/k is 7/8.

It's not really a contest who is performing better and by a longshot right now. It's also not Gabe's fault that his elbow did not allow him to play the outfield last year. On the merit of performance the spot should have been Gabe's to begin with. The only reason Rios was up is because the Jays were getting ready to fit Chris Gomez with an outfield glove with Dave Berg already taking turns in left field.

Pond was picked up for free. Gabe was a first round pick whose overall ability is far greater. Mechanically you can't compare the two. Pond had a very awkward swing despite his success in spring training. As for Gross not showing power this was his 2004 AAA/majors combined:

506ab 34 doubles 2 triples 12hr 70rbi 72bb 112k

And this was before Barnett made a major adjustment to Gross in the off-season to correct a mechanical flaw which was short circuiting his power.

In terms of major league potential I would say Gross and Rios are about even in terms of power. Although I think Gabe could go out there and hit 18-20 homeruns in the big leagues this year while Rios probably would not. The big difference is Gross walks about twice as often and he walked a great deal in the majors last year.

You can't take a guy who is 25.5 years old and was a first round pick who puts up a 1.400+ ops in spring training and send him down just because chance dictated someone else came up ahead of him the prior year. If there was a mistake it was pencilling in Rios as the everyday rightfielder before spring began.
rtcaino - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 07:09 PM EST (#107996) #
""Ok but at the moment we're also only talking about spring training. Gross did not perform well in his brief stint in the majors last year. Id have nothing against a platooning him until Lilly comes back, but I dont see how you can say he's so clearly a better hitter than Rios right now after their respective MLB performances last season. ""

Rios did not hit well last year. He hit well for average, granted. But his on base percentage was .338, and his slugging was .383. Now Iím not a very statistically inclined guy, but even i can recognize that an OPS of .721 is awful. In fact, it is below league average. And further more, is especially poor, coming from a so called power position.

I'm not saying that Rios necessarily should be sent to AAA. But I do take exception to the assumption that hitting .286, leading the team in steals and lead all rookies in outfield assists is in some sense intrinsically valuable.

I mean those are good stats. But these stats by themselves, absent of power and walks, do not necessitate a roster spot.


DaveInNYC - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 07:12 PM EST (#107998) #
I've been thinking of different scenarios and here's one that came to mind.

The Jays start Gross in left and Cat at DH against righties. Also against Righties, they platoon Hillenbrand and Hinske at first base. Against lefties, they start Reed in left and Shea at DH, with Hinske starting at 1st base.

Throughout all this, Rios' great defense and fine arm keep him in right.

Could this work, thoughts?
Rob - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 07:13 PM EST (#108000) #
If there was a mistake it was pencilling in Rios as the everyday rightfielder before spring began.

While I don't disagree, the bigger mistake is either (a) re-signing Cat or (b) trading for Hillenbrand. Wilner said it best on Sunday, if your outfield is eventually going to be Gross-Wells-Rios, make your outfield Gross-Wells-Rios!

But please, there's really no point debating all this. Soon, this will all be forgotten -- if not by the trading deadline, then by next season, when Gross is playing everyday. Of course, then we'll all be complaining about Aaron Hill having to go back to Syracuse since Koskie and Hinske are blocking his way.

If only the Jays could have four outfielders for a change. There are five now. Last year at this time, three. Opening Day 2003, there were also three. Things were much easier when Raul Mondesi was here. ;)

King Ryan - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 07:28 PM EST (#108002) #
This begs the question, who are the trailer park boys?

Trailor Park Boys is the best Canadian show on TV! They show re-runs on Showcase at 9:00 and 9:30 on Thursdays. (PST)

Ryan C - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 07:32 PM EST (#108004) #
I mean those are good stats. But these stats by themselves, absent of power and walks, do not necessitate a roster spot.

Im not necessarily arguing that they do, but Gross in his limited time was still much worse. Id just like to see him continue his great spring when the games start counting if we're going to actually demote a player to make room for him.

VBF - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 07:39 PM EST (#108005) #
While I don't disagree, the bigger mistake is either (a) re-signing Cat or (b) trading for Hillenbrand. Wilner said it best on Sunday, if your outfield is eventually going to be Gross-Wells-Rios, make your outfield Gross-Wells-Rios!

While I too don't disagree, especially with Wilner's comments, the whole scenario was based on timing. If Gross didn't put up the numbers he is putting up, he would be starting AAA and we'd have nothing to talk about. He would eventually come back to the majors in 2005, but to fill the void would have been Hillenbrand.

Hillenbrand was also more of an insurance signing as well in case someone was injured or struggled. Now the lineup is healthy, and Gross is doing exceptional, two things Riccardi didn't exactly plan on.

CaramonLS - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 08:33 PM EST (#108010) #
I'm pretty sure that Hillenbrand was brought into play daily. Not as an "insurance policy". Thats one damned expensive insurance policy.
Cristian - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 08:36 PM EST (#108011) #
I find it funny that people bring up Simon Pond's good spring in 2004 as a reason to keep Gross in Syracuse. Sure, Pond stunk it up during the regular season but shouldn't Gross be given the same opportunity?
VBF - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 08:46 PM EST (#108012) #
I meant that Hillenbrand was not a long term solution and many believe he won't finish the season as a Jay. During his tenure here he will be an everyday starter, however he may find himself an odd man out. The only way he can be an everyday man is via injury to someone else or a trade which isn't the case right now.
VBF - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 08:51 PM EST (#108014) #
Simon Pond and Gabe Gross were not the same kind of players.

However they are and were in very, very similiar situations. The mistake with Pond was that he came up with no room to play. He could have done well, but didn't get enough playing time.

To say that Gross and Pond are different players only strengthens the argument that Gross should start in AAA. Gross is a valuable (to the Jays anyway) young player who should not be rushed. His value is greater than Pond's was, therefore they shouldn't make any mistakes with him such as bringing him up with little playing time.
VBF - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 08:54 PM EST (#108015) #
As of this post, I'll be done but I didn't even see Christian's.

To give Gross equal opportunity as Pond, would be to give him no opportunity. Pond didn't get much of an opportunity, so to put Gross in Pond's shoes wouldn't be fair to Gabe.

Letting Gabe get more at bats in AAA, although he may already be proven is more of an opportunity than to give him what Pond got.
dp - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 08:58 PM EST (#108016) #
And with Hillenbrand, I have serious concerns about his ability to hit outside of Arizona- he was horrid on the road last year. It isn't like you can pencil him in for a .350/.450 season. Last year, he was .381/.450 at home, .318/.397 on the road, basically Vinny Castilla. In 2003, 11 of his 20 home runs came in only 157 AB at the BOB.

In 2002, he was actually much better on the road than he was at Fenway, .358/.548 vs. .301/.367.
dp - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 09:04 PM EST (#108018) #
With the type of rotation the Jays could have, it shouldn't be hard to start Gross in 5/6 of the games- rest Koskie, Hillenbrand, Rios, Johnson, Cat, Hinske. Basically, everyone loses a start a week, even Koskie could use the rest early on as he's still not 100%. You play the hot hand without trying to bury anybody. Pretty simple solution to me, but it means carrying one less pitcher. If Batista can be a multi-inning closer, this shouldn't be a problem once the starters stretch out their arms and start pitching deeper into games.
robertdudek - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 09:06 PM EST (#108019) #
It would be a mistake to send Gross to AAA. Quite simply it would be time wasted because he's already proven he can hit AAA pitching (something Rios hasn't proven yet, by the way). Gross needs to play in the big leagues now so that he can make the adjustments needed to be a big league ballplayer.

If not here, then he should get an opportunity to play elsewhere. I suppose you could make a case that it isn't in the Jays' interest right now to play him everyday in the bigs - I don't think you'd be right, but I suppose you could make a plausible argument. But there is no way it's in Gross interest to go back to the minors - it's sink or swim time for him now.

Mike Green - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 09:06 PM EST (#108020) #
Rios went 2-5 with a triple today. Gross singled, doubled and homered in 5 trips.

I'd advise an outfield of Gross, Wells and Rios with Johnson getting some at-bats against lefties. Cat gets most of the DH time. Hillenbrand gets 450 at-bats, DHing or playing first base against lefties and subbing from time to time for Koskie and especially Hinske. Cat is your fifth outfielder. It's actually a workable arrangement, and if Hillenbrand is used in a variety of roles early on in the season, he'll be ready in the event of injury to take on whatever role is required.
DaveInNYC - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 09:13 PM EST (#108021) #
Mike, that's the exact scenario I posted about up above. I feel that the situation you speak about is the best for EVERYONE involved. Everyone gets involved and everyone gets the at-bats they want. Besides, Gross is a HUGE upgrade defensively over Cat in left.
Braby21 - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 09:14 PM EST (#108022) #
Isn't that basically what DaveInNYC said?

The Jays start Gross in left and Cat at DH against righties. Also against Righties, they platoon Hillenbrand and Hinske at first base. Against lefties, they start Reed in left and Shea at DH, with Hinske starting at 1st base.

Throughout all this, Rios' great defense and fine arm keep him in right.

This is what I do in my MVP Baseball 2005 league, haha. Works fine with me.

dp - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 09:27 PM EST (#108024) #
OT: How's MVP 2005?
Rich - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 09:32 PM EST (#108025) #
Everyone in the Gross Must Come North camp shouldn't get their shorts in too big of a knot. From today's Sun:

"It's pretty hard for us not to take him," general manager J.P. Riccardi said. "He has done a nice job, and seeing him evolve as a ballplayer has been the fun part."

Personally, I'm somewhat skeptical that Gross will outperform Cat from a offensive perspective immediately (I don't put much, if any, stock in spring performances), but it's fair enough to argue that he deserves the chance to try.
robertdudek - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 09:34 PM EST (#108026) #
I agree with nyc and Green that their scheme is the most sensible. The problem will be to keep Hillenbrand/Hinske/Cat's egos in check, because they are probably not going to like the reduced playing time. Let's take a look at what the scheme might look like over a 9 game cycle (3 vs LHP, 6 vs RHP):

Versus RHP

Vernon 6
Hudson 6
Zaun 4
Myers 2
Adams 6
Koskie 5
Cat 5
Hinske 5
Gross 6
Rios 5
Hillenbrand 4

versus LHP:

Vernon 3
Rios 3
Menechino 3
Hudson 2
McDonald 2
Hillenbrand 3
Hinske 2
Koskie 2
Adams 1
R Johnson 3
Zaun 2
Myers 1

Total starts: Wells 9, Hudson 8, Rios 8, Adams 7, Hillenbrand 7, Hinske 7, Koskie 7, Zaun 6, Gross 6, Cat 5, Myers 3, Reed 3, Menechino 3, McDonald 2

Lefty - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 09:40 PM EST (#108027) #
Why does Reed Johnson have to make his team?

If he's traded, cut or demoted then there are more at bats to go around.
6-4-3 - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 09:49 PM EST (#108028) #
You actually use Gross in MVP 2005? When my copy of the game wasn't scratched and unusable, I thought that his ratings made him good AAA fodder. Then again, I was also using a Menechino / Koskie platoon at third, had Koch as the closer, played the Cat at first, and considered trading for Gomez and starting him at short, so maybe it's not the best tool for determining optimal lineup construction.
robertdudek - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 09:50 PM EST (#108029) #
Reed hits lefthanders well, he's the best choice to play centre if V-dub needs a day off or gets hurt, and he has near zero trade value.

Rich - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 09:51 PM EST (#108030) #
A fair question. My answer would be that of the 7 players who may split time (Johnson, Cat, Gross, Rios, Koskie, Hinske, and Hillenbrand), Johnson is simply the best hitter versus lefties: .357 / .478 / .835 over the past 3 seasons. He is also a terrific defensive outfielder who can play centerfield if needed.

If you cut Johnson, then either Gross or Cat plays leftfield against lefties, and neither one is likely to be as productive as Johnson. If there is a redundant player here, it would be Cat, who is more expensive, a worse defender, and has less upside than Gross (but is a more likely bet to product right away, in my view).
VBF - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 09:51 PM EST (#108031) #
Sparky's place on the team was discussed here a few days ago.

I personally believe that his position on the team is unique--he brings alot to the team that not alot of players can do. His ability to bunt, steal, and hit lefties are all assets that this team needs right now. He's not an everyday player, but he's one of the best 4th outfielders.

Lefty - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 09:53 PM EST (#108032) #
Much earlier in the thread there was lots of discussion on the last two parts of the pitching staff.

Put me in the camp of keeping Ligtenburg and Miller on the roster. Kerry has been jumping during the drills so I think he's pretty sound. Miller, I still like his stuff too. It should be remembered that he was injured last season and when he came back he was immediately thrown back to the wolves without the benefit of a proper re-had assignment.
dp - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 09:55 PM EST (#108034) #
I'm not a guy who drools over Reed Johnson the way others on this site do, but I think he's absolutely a valuable player to have on the bench- really the perfect 4th/5th OF in that he plays good defense at all three OF positions, can help you as a pinch-runner, hit lefties, and seems like a good situational hitter.

Cat, although a better player, isn't as valuable on the bench as Johnson is. With Rios, having a backup CF isn't as important as it was coming out of spring training last year, but having Cat/Rios/Gross as your best outfield alignment if Vern goes down seems problematic.
Braby21 - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 10:14 PM EST (#108035) #
re: MVP

I love it, I'm addicted to the new Owner Mode. I built a stadium that looks a lot like the Jay's spring park and named it Rogers Centre. I try to keep the lineups as close as I can to the real thing, so when Gross started to get hot in real life, I brought him up. He's actually tearing it up in my game as well. Bush is my ace, Doc isn't pitching like his old self just yet. I'm already in Sept (I Sim Away games) and crunch time is on. I'm currently in 1st place, 2.5 games back of the Sox, and 3 back of the Yanks. As you know the Jays play both of them enough times in Sept. I should be making big money w/ the big series' at home, ticket prices are going to be JACKED up, haha. Yes, very very addicting.
uglyone - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 11:33 PM EST (#108044) #
In all the excitement, I think people are forgetting something.....both Gross and Rios could easily flop this year in the bigs. It wouldn't be astonishing to see that happen.

The outfield for much of the season might be Cat-Wells-Reed.

And I think some here are underrating Cat quite a bit....IMO, he'll clearly be our 3rd best hitter this year, behind only Verno and Koskie. It'll get to the point where we won't even want him to be platooning anymore.

And I don't get why people complain about Shea - the guy is consistently average to above average, and he's very tradeable, and only committed to for one year.

J.P. would like nothing more than for Rios and Gross to push Shea out of the lineup.

That doesn't mean it wasn't a good idea to get a dependable guy to play, instead of just hoping that two kids step up this year.
dp - Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 11:54 PM EST (#108045) #
Looking at those splits, I don't think you can call Shea dependable, any more than you could call Burnitz, Catilla, Bitchette or any of the others Coors illusions dependable. The fact is, since going to the NL, he's been a great hitter in Arizona and a pretty bad one otherwise. I'm pulling for him because he's a Jay, but there's a lot to be skeptical of. Again, I'll bet Gross outhits him this year.
greenfrog - Wednesday, March 30 2005 @ 12:14 AM EST (#108049) #
Actually, Hillenbrand's three-year splits are almost identical:

Home 295/331/457
Road 294/331/470

and incidentally:

vs left 299/342/475
vs right 293/327/460
uglyone - Wednesday, March 30 2005 @ 12:24 AM EST (#108050) #
That's the first time Shea has ever posted splits like that. In '02, he hit .906ops on the road, .668 at home. In '03, the difference was more negligible - .797 and .768. His 3-year splits give him .788 at home, .801 on the road.

Last year's splits are probably more of a fluke than anything else.

Hell, in his 71 road abs against his division rivals in Colorado, he only posted a .746ops, and that's the easiest park to hit in in baseball. I wouldn't blame that on park factors, that's for sure.

Here's how he did in the 10 road parks he had the most at bats in last year:

LOS: 73ab, .329avg, .364obp, .438slg, .802ops
COL: 71ab, .268avg, .295obp, .451slg, .746ops
SDG: 62ab, .371avg, .418obp, .565slg, .983ops
SFO: 52ab, .365avg, .441obp, .519slg, .960ops
FLA: 28ab, .429avg, .429obp, .893slg, 1.322ops
NYM: 25ab, .360avg, .346obp, .560slg, .906ops
CIN: 25ab, .280avg, .333obp, .320slg, .653ops
HOU: 24ab, .250avg, .280obp, .542slg, .822ops
PIT: 24ab, .250avg, .308obp, .417slg, .725ops
PHI: 23ab, .391avg, .417obp, .565slg, .982ops

Not sure what exactly this tells us, but I'd hesitate in trying to blame Shea's one year of strange home/away splits on park factors, that's for sure.

Not to mention that Skydome plays directly to his strength as a doubles hitter....not to mention all the road games he gets in fenway and yankee stadium.
Ryan C - Wednesday, March 30 2005 @ 12:28 AM EST (#108052) #
Looking at those splits, I don't think you can call Shea dependable

I disagree. Check out his 3 yr splits, they're virtually identical .295/.331/.457 at home vs .294/.331/.470 on the road. Sure his stats were helped last year by hitting extremely well at the BOB. But in 2003 he went .280 at the BOB, .279 at Fenway, and .279 on the road. If that's not consistant hitting then I dont know what is.

His HR production does seem to have been helped by playing in Arizona though, as he hit 9 of his 15 there last year, and 11 of 20 there in 2003 (in just 157 AB).

dp - Wednesday, March 30 2005 @ 12:40 AM EST (#108053) #
The three-year splits are pretty worthless considering he hit poorly at Fenway. Don't look at the batting average- it doesn't tell you anything. All of Shea's power since moving to the NL was at the BOB. If your DH hits an empty .280 (no walks, no power), you're in trouble.

<quote>His HR production does seem to have been helped by playing in Arizona though, as he hit 9 of his 15 there last year, and 11 of 20 there in 2003 (in just 157 AB).</quote>

I posted this above. That's what makes him look like a good hitter- it's the Coors Effect, just in faded colors. Don't forget that part of what helps hitters at the BOB is part of what helps at Coors- dry air, high altitude. It seems like Shea adjusted very well to hitting there at the expense of being able to hit for power on the road.
dp - Wednesday, March 30 2005 @ 12:54 AM EST (#108054) #
Sorry, I thought I posted the numbers, guess not. Here they are (OB%/SLG%):

Home (2004): .381/.540
Road (2004): .318/.397

BOB (2003): .312/.567
With Arizona (2003): .302/.482
With Boston (2003): .335/.443

Since being traded, it's looked like he developed more power, but it's all come at the BOB.

rtcaino - Wednesday, March 30 2005 @ 01:09 AM EST (#108055) #
Well at least a lot of discussion is being generated.

One thing J.P. has stated, which I fundamentally disagree with, is that he wants to bring the best team north to start the season. Now, I question the logic of this. Since the team doesn't plan on competing seriously this year, wouldn't a more prudent way to go about it be to maximize the return on the organizations long assets.

Therefore, maximizing the teamís long term assets becomes the criteria of which all decisions should be made.

As a function of that;

Whatever decision is made on Gross and Rios, they should be given preferential at bats over Cat and Shea. This being because the former two will be here for 6 and 5 years respectively, where as the later two will be here for two and one years respectively.

Also, Hinske should be given at bats over Shea and Cat because he has the most money on the line.

Now I think few would disagree, that the ideal situation for all partyís involved is for Hinske to start well and be traded. Then Cat can DH, Shea can play 1b and the young guns can play in the corners. I think that would be the best team to have north, aswell as maximize the teams long term interests.



uglyone - Wednesday, March 30 2005 @ 01:23 AM EST (#108056) #
[quote]The three-year splits are pretty worthless considering he hit poorly at Fenway.[/quote]

?

Because he hit poorly at Fenway, you'll throw out the fact that he hit .901ops on the road in 2002?

why?

and why would Fenway, a hitter's park (especially a doubles park), hurt Hillenbrand? IN 2002, Fenway was the most extreme pro-hitter park in the game, BTW.

Seems to me you're looking at some very small sample sizes, throwing out the parts of the samples that don't let you criticize Shea, and sticking with the few small samples that let you criticize him.

If you look at his overall splits over his career, no matter which one, it shows remarkable consistency...which suggest that no matter what you believe about certain specific splits being more "significant", those are probably just random differences.

And hell, Skydome showed just as strong pro-hitter park factors as BOB did last year anyways.

Some more splits:

3-year splits, by stadium (in order of # of abs):

Bank1: 422ab, .322avg, .355obp, .547slg, .225iso, .902ops
Fenway: 397ab, .267avg, .306obp, .360slg, .093iso, .666ops
Dodger: 68ab, .368avg, .394obp, .544slg, .176iso, .938ops
Camden: 65ab, .323avg, .366obp, .615slg, .292iso, .981ops
Coors: 65ab, .215avg, .221obp, .415slg, .200iso, .630ops
Skydome: 54ab, .278avg, .291obp, .481slg, .203iso, .772ops
Tropicana: 53ab, .208avg, .267obp, .321slg, .113iso, .588ops
Yankee: 50ab, .380avg, .407obp, .560slg, .180iso, .967ops
Qualcomm: 43ab, .279avg, .326obp, .605slg, .326iso, .931ops
Comerica: 43ab, .302avg, .302obp, .372slg, .070iso, .674ops

why is he great at Bank1, Camden, and Dodger stadium, but stinks at Fenway and Coors?

probably has little to do with the stadia in question.


Joe - Wednesday, March 30 2005 @ 01:39 AM EST (#108058) #
Now I think few would disagree, that the ideal situation for all partyís involved is for Hinske to start well and be traded. Then Cat can DH, Shea can play 1b and the young guns can play in the corners. I think that would be the best team to have north, aswell as maximize the teams long term interests.
Well, I disagree. I don't want to see Hinske traded, I want to see him succeed. He's still signed for two years, and unless he' successful the trade will be basically a salary dump. If he does succeed, then why are we trading him?
dp - Wednesday, March 30 2005 @ 01:52 AM EST (#108059) #
Again, I think you're ignoring the impact of altitude on the movement of the ball in favor of overall park factors. I don't know about the BOB, but Coors tends to help most guys who put the ball in play, and Hillenbrand certainly does that.

Overall, since being traded, he's slugged under .400 outside of the BOB. It looks like more than random variation to me. I might be dead wrong, but there's certainly cause for concern, and certainly no reason to think that all parks impact all hitters equally. Hillenbrand, since being traded to the D-Backs, hit for great power at home, and little power, overall, on the road. I think Castilla's a good comp, except he strikes out and walks more in general. But I think you get the point- some guys adjust particularly well to their home park- and it looks to me like that's what happened with Hillenbrand. The BOB is the 2nd highest altitude park in the majors, not nearly as high as Coors, but I wouldn't be shocked if balls don't break the same way.

Quick and dirty to support this- in 2004, he struck out over twice as often on the road: 35 in 316 PA vs. 14 in 282.

As to the numbers in specfic parks- the only sample sizes that are large enough to be conclusive are Fenway and BOB. The others could swing dramatically in one hot or cold series- 15 at bats when he's on a tear, and he looks good in Tropicana, a 1-16 stretch at Camden during a cold stretch and those numbers are unremarkable. That's why I think you look at the overall numbers at BOB and compare them to his overall numbers away.
rtcaino - Wednesday, March 30 2005 @ 02:01 AM EST (#108060) #
""Well, I disagree. I don't want to see Hinske traded, I want to see him succeed. He's still signed for two years, and unless he' successful the trade will be basically a salary dump. If he does succeed, then why are we trading him?""

Because even if he performs at his rookie level, he still would be below average for a first baseman. And five mill is a lot of money to pay for below average production from first base.
With Hinske at third, that is a different question.
Named For Hank - Wednesday, March 30 2005 @ 07:26 AM EST (#108062) #
Now I think few would disagree, that the ideal situation for all partyís involved is for Hinske to start well and be traded.

I think the best thing would be for Hinske to put together a year that capitalizes on all that potential he showed before he broke his hand. Assuming that his Rookie of the Year performance was his career high is ridiculously pessimistic.

But I'll bite: what's your first base plan that costs less than five million dollars?

Named For Hank - Wednesday, March 30 2005 @ 07:29 AM EST (#108063) #
Oh, I should actually rephrase that: What's your first base plan that costs less than five million dollars and will not be a comparative defensive liability? Since the team seems to be concentrating on defense, it would obviously have to be a strong-fielding player at first, who hits better than Hinske has the potential to hit, who costs less than five million dollars, and who is available in a trade for Eric Hinske and some b-level prospects. Unless you intend to trade one of the hot kids. Do you?
kpataky - Wednesday, March 30 2005 @ 08:25 AM EST (#108065) #
Bring back Johnny O !
kpataky - Wednesday, March 30 2005 @ 08:45 AM EST (#108066) #
As for Gross, in today's Star:

BRADENTON, FLA.óBlue Jay hopeful Gabe Gross pounded his franchise record-equalling eighth spring home run in yesterday's 11-5 romp over the Pirates and manager John Gibbons said afterwards he'll probably be heading north. "I don't see how we can't take him with us. It would be a nice reward," said Gibbons.

Here is the rest of the article.

Jonny German - Wednesday, March 30 2005 @ 09:48 AM EST (#108072) #

But I think you get the point- some guys adjust particularly well to their home park

Okay, I'll take your point. But now you'll have to explain why Shea won't be able to adjust particularly well to the Rogers Centre. And why he wasn't able to adjust particularly well to Fenway. And why he was able to hit so well away from Fenway - it's not just the limited at-bats in 2003, he hit .322 / .358 / .548 in 323 AB away from Fenway in 2002.

Because even if [Hinske] performs at his rookie level, he still would be below average for a first baseman.

Incorrect.

Hinske 2002: .279 / .365 / .481
 2002 AL 1B: .279 / .362 / .472
 2003 AL 1B: .272 / .357 / .456
 2004 AL 1B: .266 / .346 / .447
Average is almost always overrated.
rtcaino - Wednesday, March 30 2005 @ 09:50 AM EST (#108073) #
""Oh, I should actually rephrase that: What's your first base plan that costs less than five million dollars and will not be a comparative defensive liability? Since the team seems to be concentrating on defense, it would obviously have to be a strong-fielding player at first, who hits better than Hinske has the potential to hit, who costs less than five million dollars, and who is available in a trade for Eric Hinske and some b-level prospects. Unless you intend to trade one of the hot kids. Do you?""

Well as it stands, we have Hillenbrand to step in for the remainder of the year. he makes less than 5 mill. Not that he's by any means a long term solution. But I don't see Hinske being any sort of solution at first base on a (hopefully soon to be) competitive team. Unless of course he performs at a level which makes his rookie year look extremely pessimistic. Though as of right now, it looks like the opposite would be the case.

To be honest, I donít know what J.P. should do about first base. I donít know what free agents will be available this off season, or who is legitimately available through trade. One guy that I would love to see, who would cost below five million for the next couple of years, has an above average glove and can hit reasonably well is Adrian Gonzalaz. That said, we would defiantly need to give up at least a b range prospect or so (Iím saying at least, not only).

One way or the other, if this team is going to be competitive in 06 and 07, we need a first baseman who can produce. Such is my opinion.
Named For Hank - Wednesday, March 30 2005 @ 10:02 AM EST (#108075) #
Right, but you're advocating trading Hinske if he starts hot. That seems really out-to-lunch to me: he'll either recover and become a useful part of the team going forwards, or he won't, right? So if he starts to recover and the jays immediately trade him away... Isn't that lose-lose?
rtcaino - Wednesday, March 30 2005 @ 10:44 AM EST (#108087) #
""Right, but you're advocating trading Hinske if he starts hot. That seems really out-to-lunch to me: he'll either recover and become a useful part of the team going forwards, or he won't, right? So if he starts to recover and the jays immediately trade him away... Isn't that lose-lose?""

I see what your saying, but I would not say it is a lose-lose at all. The thing with Hinske is that he was signed his contract to play third base. If he performs to expectations, he is an above average third baseman.

The assumption I hold is that even if Hinske performs to the best of his ability, he will still not be as valuable to us playing first base, as he would to some other team playing third base.

However, if he duplicates his performance from last year, he is hardly a productive short stop.

I guess it comes down to what level of production you expect from a first baseman, from a third baseman, and from Hinske.
Rich - Wednesday, March 30 2005 @ 11:22 AM EST (#108091) #
One thing J.P. has stated, which I fundamentally disagree with, is that he wants to bring the best team north to start the season. Now, I question the logic of this. Since the team doesn't plan on competing seriously this year, wouldn't a more prudent way to go about it be to maximize the return on the organizations long assets. I wholeheartedly disagree:
  • JP's job is to win ballgames. As a fan, I'd much rather see a decent team that plays .500 or better baseball this summer. A respectable team may help attendance, tv ratings, revenue, media coverage, and player willingness to come to Toronto.
  • There's no reason the team shouldn't play the most productive players it has now just because some of the alleged saviours of the franchise aren't quite ready for the bigs yet.
  • If the club is going to have a legit chance to contend next year, it'll be more likely to happen if they at least take steps in the right direction this year, which in my view, means winning more games in addition to cementing the status of the young players.
  • The team has had woeful April's the past few years. Last year it set the tone for a miserable season.

You are grossly exaggerating what JP is doing. It's not as though he has an Ash-like plan to trade good prospects for middling overpaid veterans and then extend their contracts just so he can win 85 games. There are plenty of youngsters on the team (and probably more will come up as the season progresses), most of the contracts are reasonable and the GM still has cash to play with. It borders on insane to criticize JP as "illogical" for wanting to put the best possible club he has right now on the field. Building for the future and trying to win games are not mutually exclusive goals.

uglyone - Wednesday, March 30 2005 @ 11:32 AM EST (#108093) #
You know, there's always the dream scenario....which actually isn't even a pipe dream....

Both Rios and Gross turn into .750-.800ops hitters for us this year.

Hinske rebounds and gets back up around .800ops.

And then all of a sudden Cat/Shea gives us an excellent DH platoon...not to mention both of them being ideal first batters off the bench and injury fill ins at a variety of positions.

Then all of a sudden the question becomes.....how much hitting do we really need?

If Hinske, Gross, and Rios all step up this year.....at that point, I might forget about looking at adding a big hitting 1B/DH, and start looking at moving one of Adams or Hill in a package for a big hitting SS....maybe someone like Nomar.
dp - Wednesday, March 30 2005 @ 11:48 AM EST (#108098) #
Right, but you're advocating trading Hinske if he starts hot. That seems really out-to-lunch to me: he'll either recover and become a useful part of the team going forwards, or he won't, right? So if he starts to recover and the jays immediately trade him away... Isn't that lose-lose? Not really, considering his contract. I don't know what this offseason will look like, but an extra $6 M allows them to go after an elite free agent rather than a mid-tier one. And a lot of Hinske's value is tied to his ability to play 3B, so he has more value to another club than he does to the Jays. I will say that Hinske's a tricky case- you just have no idea what his true level of talent is. If he hits well all of this year, he's certainly tradeable in the offseason. But with he and Hillenbrand, there's enough question marks that by midseason, I'd make it a priority to deal one of them, unless a) the Jays are in contention or B) having severe injury problems.
robertdudek - Wednesday, March 30 2005 @ 01:01 PM EST (#108109) #
To be honest, I donít know what J.P. should do about first base.

Trade for Dan Johnson. He could be our version of Travis Hafner. The A's seem to be committed to Hatteberg and Durazo so there is no room for Johnson right now (he'll start the year in AAA).
Pepper Moffatt - Wednesday, March 30 2005 @ 01:48 PM EST (#108129) #
Johnson's Pecota Top 5:

1. Sid Bream (1986)
2. Pete LaCock (1977)
3. Mo Vaughn (1993)
4. Danny Heep (1983)
5. Leon Wagner (1960)

I really like the idea of the Jays inquiring about Johnson. Given the close relationship between the Jays and the A's, I can only assume that they did before the acquired for Shea. I wonder what Billy wanted in return?
dp - Wednesday, March 30 2005 @ 02:57 PM EST (#108174) #
Where do you play Johnson? If we're overloaded with corner/Dh types already, doesn't adding Johnson just complicate that?

That was my problem with the Hillenbrand acquisition- the D-backs seemed glad to get rid of him, which makes me think there wasn't much market for him at all- so you'd have to deal one of Cat, Shea or Hisnke to make room for Johnson.

The A's though really seem to have no use for him at all. Maybe a mid-level pitching prospect. What's the most you'd give up for him? The A's could probably use an outfielder in case Swisher struggles- Kielty is insurance right now, but was horrible last year.

R Billie - Wednesday, March 30 2005 @ 05:08 PM EST (#108215) #
If Hinske rebounds this year I think the Jays can move him by eating some of the $13 million or so he has on his contract between 2005 and 2007. I think they would have to eat some or take some salary back because even at his best, Hinske playing first base isn't going to make a lot of teams jump up and down to acquire him. Although if he hits 25 homeruns with a respectable average again maybe that changes.

I don't think the Jays have any choice but to target elite players and/or pitchers in free agency or trade. They have depth coming up from the farm but they need more cornerstone pieces to compliment Halladay and Wells. Wells is a fine all around player but as an offensive player alone he isn't going to carry a team. And Halladay is good but he's just one starter.
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