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In honor of Shea Hillenbrand, 29 random observations from watching last night's ballgame...

1. Gustavo Chacin was not all that impressive despite a good statistical performance. He only got 10 of 19 first-pitch strikes (not a good ratio) and was generally bailed out by some woeful Tampa hitting. Chacin will need to control the strike zone better against better-hitting teams.

2. Despite my saying that, Chacin started the game with awesome movement on his cutter. He collected eight swinging strikes from just the first four hitters. Getting major league hitters to clean whiff is hard to do.

3. Tampa adjusted after Chacin embarrassed Phelps leading off the second. They started taking everything they possibly could, realizing they weren't all that likely to hit the cutter when it was dancing. In the last 15 hitters Chacin faced, he recorded no swinging strikes.

4. The Blue Jays' defensive positioning was excellent all night. There were 4-5 hard hit balls that went right at outfielders - an absolutely superb job by the coaching staff. I assume that credit should go to Mickey Brantley - if anyone knows who's positioning the outfielders, I'd appreciate hearing from them.

5. Eric Hinske made a fantastic play in the fifth when he went 3-4 steps to his right to snag a bullet liner by Travis Lee. Hinske was already moving on contact (he had to be to be where he was); it was the kind of play that few first basemen would ever make. Carlos Delgado never made that play.

6. Speaking of Delgado, he went 4 for 5 and the Marlins bombed John Smoltz and won 9-0. Delgado drove in three runs; I still think that when the Marlins surprise this year, Delgado will be a natural choice for NL MVP.

7. If anyone's looking for a reason why Tampa can't draw any fans, look no further than that awful heckler. That nonstop yelling is incredibly annoying - I can't imagine wanting to sit anywhere near the guy, and he sits in the good seats! Way to anti-market, guys.

8. The Jays have taken care of business so far. Two games up on the Red Sox already.

9. I was surprised at the lineup, with Adams sitting and Hudson as well. I liked the fact that Hudson came in as soon as the lefty was gone. Gibbons has been quiet but very effective so far.

10. Isn't it great to see relievers throwing two innings, instead of being automatically hooked after they get three outs? It didn't turn out so great for League, but it's good to see the confidence.

11. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Billy Koch - self-parody. It was hilarious watching him in his cheap Aubrey Huff T-shirt jersey, his mouth running nonstop talking to the Jays in the pen. He gave every impression of being stoned - right down to the glassy eyes.

12. Scott Kazmir was extremely impressive. The Jays hitters were very, very tough against him; they worked hard in every at-bat, fouled off a lot of good pitches, and generally put a lot of pressure on him. He handled it very well and threw strikes all night. Not an efficient performance, but definitely a good one.

13. Odds of Sweet Lou launching a 10-minute, 100-expletive rage-fest against some random umpire tomorrow : 6-to-1 against and falling rapidly. If the Jays jump out to an early lead, Phil Cuzzi better break out the asbestos-lined chest protector.

14. That sequence against Seth McClung was superb. Once McClung had opened with balls against Hudson and Wells, and went 2-0 on Koskie, CK5 knew that he could wait for his pitch, and managed to work a walk. Right then, McClung fell apart. Except for Rios, now everyone was spotted a 2-0 count, and they all waited for their pitch. A beautiful sequence of situational hitting.

15. Brandon League was firing aspirins in the sixth inning. Are you *kidding* me with that fastball? He wasn't wild at all in the sixth; he was right around the strike zone all the time, just not getting calls. And the ball was moving really well, though not at all like Chacin or Batista's cutter. League's cutter moves almost straight sideways most of the time. In the seventh, he did get wild.

16. Speaking of guys not getting calls, it seemed to me that C.B. Bucknor was very inconsistent on the outside edge of the plate when the righthanded hitters were up. There weren't any egregious strike calls off the plate, but he was squeezing some of the rookie pitchers pretty bad over on that side.

17. Jorge Cantu has a heck of a bat. His swing is a touch violent, but a nice short stroke.

18. Sorry to bring everyone down, but Rod Black is just terrible. Terrible. I certainly don't mind the occasional screwup from a broadcaster - they're human, and if you make three or four mistakes in three hours I actually think you've done a good job (so long as you correct them). But I can't forgive the constant stream of errors that Black makes. He had the number of outs wrong more than once. He mangles names. He invents bizarre histories for players that bear no relationship to reality. At one point, he was describing Sparky's first-inning triple and said that he'd been "awarded third base". By who, the Baseball Gods?

19. That's not even docking him points for being a smarmy git who loves himself. Aaaaaaarrrrggggghhhhhh I hate Rod Black. I'm sorry. I'm sure he's a nice man, he does wonderful charity work, and I'm sure he's a better man than I am, all things considered. I've no doubt he's great doing figure skating or whatever, but he's in over his head in a baseball broadcast. Or anything that I'm actually watching. I promise that I won't mention him again except to praise him, until after the All-Star Break.

20. One word on Chacin's wraparound mirror shades - ROBO-FREAKIN'-TASTIC!

21. Wells did a great job of not breaking stride on his "triple". (Why not call a spade a spade, or in this case a single and a two-base error?) But looking at him run always gives me doom-laden thoughts of the not-too-distant future. He is a BIG man, Vernon; he's got the upper body of an NFL running back. That cannot be good for his speed as he ages. For now, though, he looks great - like a locomotive.

22. Miguel Batista got the job done again, but I have to say he inspires no confidence in me at all. Maybe that says more about me than about Batista, but it seems that he spots every hitter a 2-0 count!

23. More with Batista - what I don't understand, is why he doesn't (as a reliever) just throw the darn fastball. The Rays proved again tonight that they could NOT hit that fastball. Especially with a three-run lead, just throwing that great 94mph fastball with the good movement, should be enough all on its own.

24. Case in point - Batista starts Alex Gonzalez with a little lollipop curve, and it bounces three feet in front of the plate. Why!? He then throws four fastballs... called strike, called strike, foul, and finally a little dribbler to first. That fastball is a great, great pitch out of the pen.

25. That really was a nice catch by Vernon on Singleton's flyball. But it hammered home Robert Dudek's lesson on flyballs - if a ball is in the air long enough, it's going to be caught almost anywhere on the diamond. The hangtime on Singleton's ball had to be near five seconds, which was why Vernon could start back, reverse course, and still catch it in no-man's land.

26. In the ninth inning, they had a commercial for the Jimmy Fallon/Drew Barrymore "Fever Pitch". Now that is going to be one seriously crap moviegoing experience. At least it has nothing whatsoever to do with the book, which may be able to retain its dignity despite the association.

27. McDonald - off to a real good start. If I'm going to begrudge a guy's presence, I at least should have the decency to remark when he was a nice game, and McDonald had a terrific one.

28. The AP game notes had an interesting stat - the Devil Rays have never been 0-2 before, in the history of the franchise. I find that surprising.

29. Let's enjoy this start. This team has looked a class ahead of the Rays so far. Good news.

Jays 6, Rays 3: Two Down, 160 To Go | 52 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mick Doherty - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 12:12 AM EDT (#109533) #
I was gonna post this in the game thread, but seeing as this story is already up ...

NY Yankees	2	0	1.000	-	
Toronto         2       0	1.000	-	
Baltimore	1	0	1.000	.5	
Tampa Bay	0	2	.000	2	
Boston          0       2	.000	2	
King Ryan - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 12:56 AM EDT (#109534) #
Those have to be the optimal standings for a Yankees fan that frequents a Blue Jays site. ;-)

Nice game report, Craig. About Rod Black though, as Docter_Payne noted in the game thread, he is 10 times worse when Derek Jeter is present. I cringe when I see a BJ/NYY game on TSN.

Also, there were a lot of comments on the Jays "wasting" Kazmir's pitches, but I thought a lot of those pitches were out of the zone. I thought the Jays made Kazmir look a little better by fouling off a lot of pitches that would have been called balls if they were let go. Reed Johnson especially.

I agree about the umpire squeezing on the outside corner. It looked to me like Chacin was "nibbling" a lot and trying to catch that outside corner to start off the at-bat, but he just wasn't getting the call. This is a big reason why he threw so little first-pitch strikes in my opinion.


Odds of Sweet Lou launching a 10-minute, 100-expletive rage-fest against some random umpire tomorrow : 6-to-1 against and falling rapidly.

Let's all hope it's Phil Cuzzi.

danjulien - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 01:10 AM EDT (#109535) #
Great game today compared to yesterday's that was mired with first pitch swings and bad d in the one innning. Yesterday, Brazelton managed to face 27 batters through 81 pitches...3 per batter, much smarter game today with Kazmir facing 19 batters with 88 pithces...over 4.6 per batter. The team faced 163 total pitches with 40 PAs...4.075 per batter

A few random stat notes you won't see in the box score...
-Although Koskie struggled for the second game in a row, he hit 6 foul balls with a 2 strike count today inclduing three when he drew his first walk and two when he drew his second walk. He also faced a total of 26 pitches, or 5.2 per plate appearance, which is as stated over a pitch per PA more than the team average

-Johnson did a beauty job at seeing a lot of pitches with 4.8 per at bat, followed by Wells...4.6 per at bat and Hinske at 4.25 per at bat
-The worse job was by McDonald who faced less then 3 pitches per at bat

McClung only retired one batter, gave up 5 ERs and threw 32 pitches...
Terran - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 01:21 AM EDT (#109536) #
"-The worse job was by McDonald who faced less then 3 pitches per at bat"

It goes without saying (so I'm probably just being a jerk :/) but when you hit 3-4 in a game and therefore force the pitcher to face atleast one more batter then he otherwise would have then it's still helpful to the team even if he only averages 1 pitch per at bat.

It's great that Toronto's won their first two games. With the Leafs not playing and the Raptors out of the playoff hunt, Toronto's attention is the Jays for the taking. If they have a hot April then they can hopefully generate much better then normal TV viewing and attendence sales which will of course help them pay to contiune to build their budding dynasty.
robertdudek - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 01:27 AM EDT (#109538) #
I propose having a Box vote after each game for the Jays MVP of the game. It would be nice to look back on as the season progresses.

I'll start it off with my picks:

Game 1: Without a doubt it was Hinsle. Great defence and a huge 2-run blast that game Batista a cushion to work with.

Game 2: Difficult to choose. I'm going to go with McDonald, who had a very good game offensively and deserves some praise for his wonderful defensive effort.

Anders - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 01:29 AM EDT (#109539) #
My favourite Rob Black bit was when he started talking about the history of the Devil Rays franchise, and about how they brought Wade Boggs in. He then talked about how Wade Boggs was going to go into the hall as a Devil Ray. Now there was a big deal about how they paid him to do it, but it's fairly common knowledge that the player doesnt choose. In addition, the BBHOF has (I believe) said that they would specifically not let that happen, or something to that effect. Upon further research, he's going into the hall as a Red Sock.

Now maybe Rob was just making a joke about it that went over my head, but to me it seemed like he was just being misleading, which was unfortunate. Especially given that he didnt set the record straight.

Maybe Im just nitpicking. Rod Black is obviously not a huge baseball guy, and his job is a tough one.
robertdudek - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 01:30 AM EDT (#109540) #
Let's not go overboard with this pitches per PA thing.

For one thing, it's only one game. For another, there are different approaches to offensive production and the bottom line is, it's the value of the production that counts.
danjulien - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 01:56 AM EDT (#109543) #
to the comment about mcdonald
I agree, without his three hits, the others don't come up as often and unfortunately he didn't score a run but his total impact on the game can not be surmised. The worse job was definitely just to his pitches per at bat..
and to those who don't see the importance of pitches per at bat, although small samples it shows something about this team and their patience. When Wells who's been known as a free swinger takes over 4 pitches per at bat in a game including two two strike foul balls, it says somethign about him choosing his pitches. And I think for Koskie to be looking for the right pitch and drawing two walks because of his patience, even tho he doesn't have a hit yet, says a lot about what he'll attempt to do this year.

I'm not saying this is how it's gonna be all year, but I will try to do these fro every game to see patterns and all...just like I'm not buying a lottery ticket on Chacin winning the Cy Young after his brilliant performance.

But a team preaching patience at bat and high OBP has to be happier with this game then the first game when looking at that side of things...just like they're happier about the way the team played today instead of being saved by three long bombs. That being stated a lot can be said about the Jays not playing well on Opening Day but still scratching out a win.

As for MVPs..
I don't agree on Hinske...he made those two great plays going to his right, but did not come off the bag enough to help his teammates out on bad throws I found. I think O-Dog had a better defensive game(although credited with an error) and his home run was bigger than Hinkse's...and Hallday has to have some kind of vote, for how sick he was on the mound, most of the hits were ugly ones

Today...Chacin would probably get my vote, or every batter in the sixth ;). Hitting wise, no one really stood out except for McDonald, but he was never cashed in so it's hard ...
Wildrose - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 02:08 AM EDT (#109544) #
I couldn't understand why Morpheus, (love that nickname) wears those shades, until a pre-game interview showed him wearing glasses which had a pretty thick lens, must be prescription.

Hinske's another guy who could play in the NFL, light on his feet, fast for a big man, from Wisconsin, has the attitude, really its amazing he's a ball player.

It must be very frustrating to catch Miguel Batista.
Jdog - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 02:16 AM EDT (#109546) #
I like the MVP of each game idea.

Game 1. Hinske ...O-Dog a close second
Game 2. McDonald...No one really stood out , Chacin had a good game, if they would have let him go 2 more innings and he gives up 1 run or less , then he gets my vote.

Great game Jays.
A - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 03:04 AM EDT (#109548) #
If we're going to add the MVP of the Game feature to Da Box, is it possible to put just the declaration of the MVP and what accomplishment/attribute in that game warranted the selection into a closed thread so we can see how it evolves on a game-by-game basis over the course of the season?
Nolan - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 04:41 AM EDT (#109551) #
My MVP picks of the first two games:

1. Hinske. Vernon comes in second- his homerun was absolutely crushed and I thought was a bigger blow to the Rays than Orlando's...

2. Chacin. Nobody else really stood out; it was really encouraging to see Chacin pitch effectively after his sub-par spring.

And my prediction for tomorrow's MVP is Koskie- 3/5, 2hr and 4 rbi.
Chuck - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 07:50 AM EDT (#109553) #
For another, there are different approaches to offensive production and the bottom line is, it's the value of the production that counts.

I'm with Robert on this one. The primary motive for working the count should be to see more favourable pitches. A nice by-product of this is that it serves to help tire the opposing pitching out, but absent production in these multi-pitch PA's, who cares?

Alan Schwarz wrote a piece about pitches per plate appearance (PPA) and I wrote to him explaining that from where I sit, it's not always a sign of patience or the result of a strategic approach.

Players who swing and miss a lot, like Josh Phelps, can easily have a 4- or 5-pitch at-bat, even though they have swung 3 times and tried to end the at-bat perhaps as early as the first pitch. By striking out on pitch 5, Phelps has hardly been patient. Players who do make contact frequently may try to end their at-bat (and succeed) on, say, the 3rd pitch by swinging then for the first time. In such cases, they have not been impatient, quite the contrary. They have worked the count in their favour and then swung at a more hittable ball in a favourable count.

A interesting stat would be average pitch number on which a batter first swung. That would speak to his intent.

Another pair of stats, much more difficult to track, would be percentage of balls in strike zone swung at and percentage of balls outside strike zone swung at. While it's not always the case that balls in the strike zone are hittable, and should thus be swung at, by and large I imagine that if a player swung at nothing but balls in the strike zone over the course of an entire season, this would result in terrific production.

daryn - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 08:39 AM EDT (#109555) #
I'm in agreement on the pitch count issue..

if you are a first ball fastball hitter, and you get good cuts at good pitches, then that doesn't get held against you... what matters though is how long you drag it out AFTER that firt pitch so that you can get back on top...

Jordan - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 09:50 AM EDT (#109563) #
Just to pile on Rod Black a little more ... the most telling difference between Black and Jamie Campbell is that Pat Tabler sounded like two different analysts in the first two games. With Campbell, Tabler is engaged and it feels like they're watching a ballgame. With Black, it feels like they're watching a state funeral.
Kyle - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 09:54 AM EDT (#109565) #
Looks like the Braves have some interest in Gabe Gross.

Named For Hank - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 10:04 AM EDT (#109567) #
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Billy Koch - self-parody.

From Jeff Blair in this morning's Globe and Mail:

Scott Schoeneweis was serenaded with catcalls from a familiar voice as he warmed up in the bullpen. ... "I heard 'You're a bum, Schoeneweis,' and I thought, 'Whoa, I'm a bum here in Tampa Bay, too?'"

(The heckler was Billy.)

I watched about half of last night's game on TV, and I was looking forward to hearing Jamie Campbell until I realized the game was on TSN. Oh well. And I'm going to Opening Day and Saturday's game for sure, so who knows when I'll actually get to hear the guy...

uglyone - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 10:05 AM EDT (#109568) #
I think some people are a little overcritical of Chacin.

"Not all that impressive" ???

This rookie, with precious little AA+ experience, in his first ever start as an official major leaguer (not a call up), let the Rays take maybe 5 or 6 good cuts at his pitches in his 5 innings. He made a good number of them look silly, not to mention that he got squeezed a number of times trying to to get his slider/cutter to come back over the bottom left corner (both to lefties and righties) - a pitch the ump was giving to Kazmir all night.

What, exactly, does Chacin have to do to be impressive as a rookie in the #4 slot?
Craig B - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 10:09 AM EDT (#109570) #
I thought Chacin did pitch fine considering the circumstances, obviously. But he didn't have outstanding control and after the first inning he needed the full and active cooperation of the Rays' hitters in getting themselves out.

The pitching performance was not nearly as good as the results. :) Is that picky? Sure, it's picky. But that's what I'm here for, to do analysis.

I'll stand by "not all that impressive". Impressive results, sure. His two September starts were terrific by comparison, though.
Chuck - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 10:14 AM EDT (#109571) #
Looks like the Braves have some interest in Gabe Gross.

The Braves are starting Jordan and Mondesi in the outfield corners. They've got to be interested in any living, breathing outfielders. LH bats would be a bonus. Maybe Catalanotto would look really good to them right around the all-star break.

uglyone - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 10:17 AM EDT (#109572) #
Fair enough, but I still think that for his first game as a real major leaguer, that was pretty good.
perlhack - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 11:11 AM EDT (#109577) #
I have two issues with Rod Black:

1. As others have mentioned, he tends to get facts wrong, and he doesn't correct himself.

2. More irritating yet, he'll ask a question to the analyst, and give him little time to answer. For example, yesterday he asked Tabler if he knew that John A. Macdonald was the first Canadian PM. Tabler had enough time to respond with "oooohh", at which point he was interrupted by Black.

He seems to want to talk about everything at once; instead, he should slow down to the pace of a baseball game.
Joseph Krengel - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 11:28 AM EDT (#109579) #
Vernon comes in second- his homerun was absolutely crushed and I thought was a bigger blow to the Rays than Orlando's... I read somewhere yesterday that the Rays staff under-represents home runs hit by opposing players to keep the fans from leaving every time somehits a Wellsian blast like on monday. Even though they only called 396 feet you KNOW the Rays in the dugout were crushed when they say that thing.
Marc Hulet - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 11:31 AM EDT (#109580) #
Chacin's controlled looked worse than it was because of the inconsistent strike zone. I though he actually had OK command, especially when you consider how much movement his cutter had.

As far as trading Gross goes, I am not in favour of it unless the Braves get desperate and offer eith Kyle Davies or Brian McCann. But I highly doubt they'll get that desperate. They wouldn't part with Davies for Tim Hudson.
GrrBear - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 11:54 AM EDT (#109581) #
I grew up watching Cubs game on WGN in the eighties, so the gold standard of baseball broadcasting for me is Harry Caray. There are a couple of things I remember about Caray that I think are important for a good broadcaster:

- Harry had amazing focus on the game. He would anticipate plays before they were made, often telling viewers that there would be a play at the plate before the runner even got to third base. As Bill James noted in one of the Abstracts, Harry had an uncanny ability to call successful pickoffs. Harry didn't just watch the monitor - he watched the field, his eyes checking back to what was happening away from the ball. To take last night's game as an example, he would have proclaimed Vernon Wells a dead duck at second base as soon as Toby Hall released his throw, because he would have seen Wells didn't get a great jump, and the pitch was a high fastball, ideal for a catcher's toss to second.

- Harry let the game breathe. He allowed the sounds of the game to fill some of the quiet moments. I have a distinct memory of the sound of a bag of bats being gathered up in the dugout between pitches. Baseball is a contemplative pastime, where you can sit and watch and think about what you've seen and what you may see. Harry would give you those moments to soak in the atmosphere. You almost always heard the sounds of baseball: the crack of the bat, the smack of the ball hitting the catcher's mitt, the grunt of the pitcher's release or the batter's swing, or even the stadium announcer telling you who's coming up to bat.

Harry made the assumption that if you were watching the game, then you were a baseball fan, and you didn't need coddling, so he wouldn't fill the quiet moments with useless information. I know that there is an assumption made by some that Canadian viewers might not all be baseball fans, so there is an attempt to talk down to the lowest common denominator. Since it seems apparent that Rod Black is not a huge baseball fan, his broadcasts are brought down to his level because that's what he knows. We suffer because of this. I thought Jamie Campbell did a good job on the opening game, particularly by not filling every second of air time with chatter. It also seems apparent that Jamie is a baseball fan, and I hope that as the season continues, he can keep that perspective and work from it, because it will only make the broadcast stronger.
superdevin - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 12:03 PM EDT (#109582) #
my roommate and i enjoy calling out "e-10" when a sports commentater makes an error. with tabler and black it made for a busy night. we actually elevated rod black into the exclusive "e-11" class. he joins john madden and that guy from hbo's boxing coverage that i only know as "the john madden of boxing".
Ducey - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 12:06 PM EDT (#109583) #
I didn't see much of the game last night. What I did see was Chacin struggling a little in the 4th(?). Huff was on 2nd and he went 3-0 on Cantu. Then Cantu for some reason swung on 3-0 and hit one to deep centre. I don't know if he had the green light but you can't do that with a rookie pitcher struggling for command. Then Huff didn't even try to go to third even though Wells threw to second. I know Pinella is supposed to be a good manager but both of those plays were unforgivable for a team scratching to score runs.

Yeah, Black sucks. The second coming of Brian Williams. He clearly does not know baseball. Time for him to buy a subscription to the Box!

I hope the Jays don't trade Gabe right now. I expect after a few more injuries to other team's outfielders and once Mondesi's suckiness fully asserts itself, that the market for Gabe, Rios or Cat will be much stronger.
Jim - TBG - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 12:22 PM EDT (#109584) #

Game 1 - Roy Halladay
Game 2 - Eduardo Perez

dp - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 12:41 PM EDT (#109587) #
The Jays would be stupid to trade Gross now, and I think the biggest benefit of his spring was that it made JP value him more highly as a commodity, which didn't seem to be the case over the winter. Of course, the usual caveat is that if the Braves offer something mindblowing, you pull the trigger...Andy Marte would look nice at 3B in 2006...

It does suck that Gabe will get sent down, but better to have him in AAA than to have him playing for another team. The only worry I have forcing a guy like Gross into a spot where he's fighting for playing time is that he'll change his approach and become less patient at the plate, trying to make an impact.
Dave Till - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 12:41 PM EDT (#109588) #
I'm just watching a tape of Game 2, and I think Chacin did just fine. He didn't have exceptional command, but I think we're all spoiled after watching Doc pitch Game 1. :-) Against very selective hitters, he may have some trouble, as his stuff moves a lot - but he's much better than, say, Justin Miller. And, as reported, he does seem imperturbable out there, which is a good sign. Those shades are pretty cool, too.

One question, though: is that funky, wrist-wrapping delivery of his likely to put him at risk of elbow injury? His motion seems to have a fair number of moving parts.

I'm not sure why Billy Koch is so annoyed at the Jays. It's not like anybody else rushed to sign him after the Jays let him go.
Mike Green - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 12:58 PM EDT (#109589) #
Koch seems to be annoyed at the Jays because he figured that the guaranteed contract he signed meant that he would get a longer look in spring training.

Whether right or wrong, he's definitely responded immaturely.
BCMike - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 01:02 PM EDT (#109590) #
I really like the idea of MVP so here are mine...

1. Halladay
2. Nobody really stood out so I'll go with Chacin.

On last night the headline was "Mean Chacin", thought that was pretty funny.

Pepper Moffatt - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 01:08 PM EDT (#109592) #
I wouldn't read too much into the Braves rumour. There's always the possibility that this "news" is speculation on the medias part, mainly because it makes sense. (The mainstream media make up news? Never!) But I'll give Elliott the benefit of the doubt on this one.

It's likely that the Braves called up a dozen or so teams with extra outfielders to see if they could make anything work. In all probability it was more of a fishing expedition than a serious proposal. I doubt J.P. will bite.

What do the Braves have that the Jays would want? It would have to be a young player (trading for a veteran makes little sense for either team). The Jays need an infielder like I need more pictures of cuttlefish. A big 1B/DH bat or a pitcher would be nice (you can never have too much pitching!), but there's no one I can think of in the Braves organization I really like for those. Someone who knows their system better than I do might have some ideas.

Of course, there's always the possibility of a three-way deal involving the A's.... :)
Mick Doherty - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 01:14 PM EDT (#109593) #
Incidentally, just for the record, I'd like to say that, as with Gizzi's column last night, I love this "Larry King" approach to writing and it works particularly well in the online world where quick hits and short takes are the order of the day.

I was briefly writing a semi-regular column here on Da Box called "Elliptical Information" which even more blatantly ripped off King's style, but Gizzi is better at it than I am (hence, he gets the "Notes from Nowhere" column and I write "Hall of Names") and Craig nails it here, too.

Chuck - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 01:22 PM EDT (#109594) #
The Braves' outfield situation is truly pitiful, isn't it?

Most (all?) teams have a 4th outfielder who would start over Jordan or Mondesi.

The Angels have 4th and 5th outfielders, Davanon and Rivera, who would start over both Jordan and Mondesi.

That beeping you're hearing is the sound of a truck backing up to the Braves' loading dock, bringing in this year's supply of fairy dust.
dp - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 01:33 PM EDT (#109595) #
I'd take Marte in a heartbeat and worry about what to do with everyone else later. Of course, it's a pointless discussion because the Braves would be foolish to give him up. But I'd do Gross plus a pitching prospect to get him- he looks a lot like David Wright, needs at least one more year in the minors, probably 2, so won't be forcing the Jays to make any moves to accommodate him. Not gonna happen, but would be cool if it did.
Pepper Moffatt - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 01:35 PM EDT (#109596) #
It is a pretty pointless discussion. The Braves aren't giving up Marte. :)
Gitz - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 01:37 PM EDT (#109597) #
Ugh. These trade scenarios are fun but ulitmately pointless. The Braves aren't trading arguably the best hitting prospect in the majors for a Grade B- outfield prospect and a Grade A pitching prospect the Jays don't even have. And why anyone want to trade a hitting prospect for a pitching prospect? MLB teams are smarter than we think; they know the risks of pitching prospects.
Gitz - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 01:38 PM EDT (#109598) #
I'd say great minds think alike, Moffatt, but I don't really fit in that class!
Craig S. - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 01:49 PM EDT (#109600) #
Geez, that Braves outfield is really in rough shape. I don't know who they'll trade, but I can't imagine them going through the season with Jordan and Mondesi. Even if they tried to stick with those two, I'm sure one or both of them will break down physically at some point.

Pepper Moffatt - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 01:53 PM EDT (#109601) #
I'd say great minds think alike, Moffatt, but I don't really fit in that class!

I don't know about great minds, but there has been a disturbingly high level of agreement between us lately.

If the Braves want someone as an injury backup and bat off the bench, doesn't it make more sense for them to ask about Cat or Reed Johnson? They'd be cheaper to acuqire and quite likely more useful in the short run.

dp - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 02:17 PM EDT (#109603) #
I agree there's no way they give up Marte, just wishcasting...and the Braves OTH don't have anything else I'd want for Gabe. We've got all the throw-em-against-a-wall type pitching prospects we need.

If they're asking about Gross, it seems they're looking for more than a temporary fix- as much as I like Gabe, if I'm contending, I'd rather lean on Cat than Gross for league-average OF production. I think the Braves are in a fair amount of trouble this year, especially counting on Smoltz. Being a Mets fan, I say that every year....
Mick Doherty - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 02:24 PM EDT (#109604) #
"Great minds think alike -- and so do ours." -- Neal Wozniak, author and Harvard professor
The Bone - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 02:36 PM EDT (#109605) #
While I acknowledge trade speculation is largely pointless Brian McCann might be a good return for Gabe Gross - He's going into his 21 year old season as a former 2nd rounder who could catch for us at AA - I think our catching situation is largely unsettled as we are pinning all our hopes on Quiroz unless Thigpen or Diaz pan out - Sickels rated McCann as a B+ prospect compared to Gabe at a B-, but considering that Gross had a great spring and could help the Braves now, I think its a fair trade

Now whether I'd do the trade or not is nother matter, but I do think there is some merit to trading Gross when his value is highest
Pepper Moffatt - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 02:41 PM EDT (#109606) #
Brian McCann.

Interesting idea. I'm pretty bullish that one of Quiroz or Thigpen will pan out, but it's always nice to have depth at catcher.

Donkit R.K. - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 02:49 PM EDT (#109607) #
Game MVPs:

Game 1: The O-Dog
Game 2: Chacin
Mike Green - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 03:09 PM EDT (#109608) #
It doesn't really make sense to trade Gross on an even talent for talent basis. The Jays do not have good outfield depth in their farm system. The strength of the farm system is in the pitching and in the middle infield.

Of course, if the Braves (or anyone else) really wants him and is prepared to offer talent on the basis of what he reasonably could achieve, rather than what he has achieved, then it's reasonable to look at it.

Brian McCann is OK, but I wouldn't give up much to acquire a mid-range catching prospect. A ball catchers with good but not outstanding bats just don't merit a B+ rating in my view; to give an example, Sickels recently upgraded Lastings Milledge's rating to B+, and Milledge is of way more value than McCann, in my view.
R Billie - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 03:20 PM EDT (#109609) #
I wouldn't trade Gross without seeing what his bat can do in a full couple of months of AAA or the majors. I think he may have turned a corner as a player with his mechanical reworking and you might be able to take Sickels' B- ranking and tear it up.
dp - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 03:23 PM EDT (#109610) #
and Milledge is of way more value than McCann, in my view.
So the Mets will trade him for Urbina...
Eric Purdy - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 04:10 PM EDT (#109621) #
Gross for Adam LaRoche would be a pretty awesome return. The Braves might even be interested in it if they want to move Chipper over to first to accommodate Marte at some point in the next year.
snellville jones - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 05:43 PM EDT (#109703) #
McCann put up great numbers for what is an extreme pitcher's park in Myrtle Beach. I think most people consider him to be much higher than mid-range in terms of catching prospects.
Mike Green - Wednesday, April 06 2005 @ 10:30 PM EDT (#109766) #
Snellville, do you have a link for the park factor in Myrtle Beach? It looks to me like McCann has performed at about the same level in Rome and Myrtle Beach, but maybe you're right that the park disguises a significant leap forward.
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