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The Jays send Josh Towers to the hill as they try to avoid the sweep in Houston

Roy Oswalt throws a two hit complete game shutout as the Jays leave Houston with a whimper not a bang.

with Houston, we have a problem | 23 comments | Create New Account
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CaramonLS - Sunday, June 12 2005 @ 04:16 PM EDT (#119441) #
I can understand losing 2 to Clemens/Oswalt. But Wandy and Miltre... Ug.

Whole road trip was a really big disaster.
Cristian - Sunday, June 12 2005 @ 05:10 PM EDT (#119443) #
I wouldn't say it was a disaster. The Jays learned something. The team can't hit.
CeeBee - Sunday, June 12 2005 @ 06:38 PM EDT (#119444) #
I just noticed that the Reds optioned Austin Kearns to AAA. I wonder what it would take to pick him up. Considering he just turned 25 I'd have to think he'd still have a bit of upside and if the price was right might be worth a gamble.
Mike Green - Sunday, June 12 2005 @ 08:09 PM EDT (#119445) #
Russ Adams had another day off, this time against a righty, so that Hill and Hillenbrand could play. I hate to sound like a broken record, but I'd much prefer to see the kids playing.
Dave Till - Sunday, June 12 2005 @ 08:22 PM EDT (#119446) #
Russ Adams had another day off, this time against a righty, so that Hill and Hillenbrand could play. I hate to sound like a broken record, but I'd much prefer to see the kids playing.

My guess is that the Jays have pretty much figured out what Adams can do, and want to see whether Hill can play shortstop at the major league level. If he can, Adams will likely be packaged in a trade.

I like Hill better at short than third, as I assume that the Jays have committed to Koskie at third.

Mike Green - Sunday, June 12 2005 @ 08:31 PM EDT (#119447) #
If the idea was to try Hill out at short, why not do that with a lefty pitching rather than running McDonald out there? I don't have a difficulty with exploring the possibilities for Hill, but it seems to me that Adams has been losing work to McDonald and Hillenbrand. This is not in the long-term best interest of the club.

JayFan0912 - Sunday, June 12 2005 @ 09:17 PM EDT (#119448) #
I know it's been said before, but some trade has got to happen, that will bring in a legitimate slugger. I don't think the jays are a bad hitting team, but when you go through slumps, and you don't have players that can hit homeruns, you just don't score runs.

My thinking is that if you have a singles hitting club, and some players are struggling, then this weakness is more easily exploited as these players come up with people on base and do nothing. A home run tends to hide this weakness ... I mean who cares if adams strikes out if the batter before him cashed 2-3 runs.

Looking at the astros makes you wonder, if they got beltran for nothing of huge significant value, why can't we obtain some power bats in the lineup ?
Dave Till - Sunday, June 12 2005 @ 09:45 PM EDT (#119449) #
If the idea was to try Hill out at short, why not do that with a lefty pitching rather than running McDonald out there? I don't have a difficulty with exploring the possibilities for Hill, but it seems to me that Adams has been losing work to McDonald and Hillenbrand. This is not in the long-term best interest of the club.

I guess this is a subset of a bigger question: should the Jays treat this year as a rebuilding year, and not worry about how many games they win this year? If this is a rebuilding year, the Jays shouldn't even bother with Hillenbrand, except possibly as a stopgap while Koskie is out. And they should play Adams every day until they decide whether Adams or Hill deserves the job.

But I'm not sure that a pure rebuilding approach (if that's what you're advocating) is the best right now. There are three problems:

  • A team that wins more games draws more fans, thus bringing in more revenue.
  • If the Jays lose a lot of games, they won't be able to fill any holes with free agents, as no one will want to play here. This happened to Baltimore during this off-season.
  • It's not like anyone else is stepping up to take control of the AL East. Baltimore is faltering, and the Jays are still ahead of the Yankees, even now.

(If you aren't calling this a rebuilding year, apologies for attacking a straw man. :-))

Elijah - Sunday, June 12 2005 @ 09:48 PM EDT (#119451) #
The Astros were able to obtain Beltran for John Buck and Octavio Dotel. That would be akin to the Blue Jays trading their best reliever (Batista who isn't nearly as good as Dotel so let's just use David Bush instead) and another top prospect (let's say Quiroz since he's also a catcher) for a guy that will be here for two months. I don't think that's worth it.

It seems to me that teams are now aware that trades to acquire players in their contract year don't yield as much as they used to. Steve Karsay was a nice acquisition for the A's in 1993. Jeff Bagwell was, of course, a winner for the Astros in 1990 from the Sox.

GMs now realize that a two or three month rental is generally not worth surrendering your best prospect. The Astros got about 2.5 months of Beltran. But that's it. After 2004, there was no guarantee that they were going to retain him.

So comparing the Beltran deal to the Jays trying to acquire a bona fide big league slugger just is not apt. If a team wants to get an expensive superstar for beyond just the current season, that's when the price goes up.

So while I would love to see the Jays acquire a big-time slugger, I don't see many available and I don't see the point in doing it this year. Should J.P. be looking at getting a big-time slugger? Sure. But at what expense? Teams willing to unload big sluggers want good players - they're just not going to come for free. To get a big slugger who may be a year from free agency, would you be willing to trade a Dave Bush and maybe a couple other guys like Rosario, Jackson, Purceey, Hill or Adams? Probably not at this point.
JayFan0912 - Sunday, June 12 2005 @ 10:18 PM EDT (#119452) #
First of all, the astros got a head start at signing beltran, they chose to wait until the season was over, and that proved to be a big mistake. A resigned Beltran ( Rogers supposedly made money available), would be worth the price.

To get a big slugger who may be a year from free agency, would you be willing to trade a Dave Bush and maybe a couple other guys like Rosario, Jackson, Purceey, Hill or Adams? Probably not at this point.

Lets take adam dunn for example. I would be willing to include bush, batista, chacin, and say gross to get it done, assuming he is willing to resign here. We have 5 lhp good prospects in the minors (3 can be front line starters), and 5 top rhp prospects not counting bush. And there are some pretty good starting pitchers in free agency this year, and no really good sluggers. I think the holes left by trading bush/batista/chacin can thus be filled up, and worth dunn IMO.

To me, I just can see the alternative... either pay now, or pay later. What would be your solution ?
greenfrog - Sunday, June 12 2005 @ 10:41 PM EDT (#119453) #
The Jays are kind of in between at the moment. Before the season started, everyone chalked 2005 up as a rebuilding year. Now they're contending, sort of--if a sub-.500 team can be described as contending. I just don't think a big trade (ie, jettisoning prospects for a big bat or a frontline starter) is worth it at this point.

If the Jays had gone 9-4 instead of 4-9 on the road trip, things would be getting more interesting. But either way, it's still early. Part of the problem is that the Jays are trying to build a long-term foundation and don't have much use for players in their walk year. They need a number two starter (for starters) and a big bat that are under contract for a couple of years, or who have yet to become free agents. They aren't going to come cheap.

Scary to think where the Jays would be had they managed to sign Clement and trade for Lee in the off-season.

Things might change over the next month and a half. But at the moment the Jays are looking like sellers at the deadline (Hillenbrand, Lilly, maybe Cat or Hudson). If they can find a buyer. Unfortunately their tradable parts haven't exactly been tearing it up lately.
Ron - Sunday, June 12 2005 @ 11:42 PM EDT (#119454) #
I wonder if JP has any interest in Kearns. The Reds site on the has an article on his demotion and Kearns already said maybe he needs a fresh start.

I know the Reds need young quality pitchers. Maybe I'm dreaming, but I wonder if a Bush for Kearns swap is possible.

The trade deadline should be real interesting.
Named For Hank - Monday, June 13 2005 @ 04:06 AM EDT (#119456) #
I would be willing to include bush, batista, chacin, and say gross to get it done,

Who plays right now at the major league level in your scenario? It sounds to me like a recipe for unmitigated disaster. Unless you're writing off this season just to get Dunn.

bird droppings - Monday, June 13 2005 @ 07:33 AM EDT (#119457) #
The reality is that the Blue Jays have a few prospects who will sooner or later be proven unneeded and tradable. Prospects are going to be given up to acquire other, better and 'proven' veteran players. The sooner the more of you realize this and come to terms, the happier the times when JP starts to make moves will be...

Just a thought.

Players who I'd be comfortable trading now...

1. David Bush. He's just not that good. He is basically Towers 3.0, Towers 1.0 being the old Towers, Towers 2.0 being the start of this season Towers.

2. Russ Adams. It's either Adam's or O Dog and, unfortunately, trading O Dog would render my O Dog Jays jersey useless. Therefore, he is untradable...

Besides... it's the O Dog! The kid's smile says it all. Plus he's one of our only remaining black players. We don't want to give Griffin any more White Jays evidence. AND he made last season much more enjoyable. Honestly, take last season and think about how forgettable it was... now remove O Dog from that team. All you are left with is Mighty Mouse. And he got to pitch.

3. Hillenbrand. Loved to have him, don't need him.

4. Halladay. Just kidding. Although, I do admit that while drinking some beer on one occasion, just after Doc was hurt, that I said he was done and that the Jays should trade him. Leigh... I was wrong. Thank God.

5. Jason Frasor. Someone remind me why we need this kid anymore? He's cheap and...

GeoffAtMac - Monday, June 13 2005 @ 08:12 AM EDT (#119460) #

It looks like everybody is in agreement that we could use something to help us get a little better, but what that something may be is still up for debate.

A couple of posts above, somebody mentioned trading Bush straight up for Kearns. An interesting deal, not even necessarily a bad deal -- we do have lots of arms coming up, and I am pretty sure Kearns was on the radar of JP in the pre-season. However, I think it would be foolish to trade Bush at this point -- he has some serious veteran poise, and once he gets his stuff back, he should be a very solid rotation member. Although, it does seem it is currently in vogue to drop problematic personality pitchers lately (Ugueth Urbina, Tomo Ohka).

I think that Kearns' trade value has been lowered by his performance this season and Cinci might be reluctant to trade him if they feel they are not getting enough for his services. If Josh Towers was playing a bit better, I might envision trading him and bringing someone else up...but I think our choices for bringing people up at this point are limited to Justin Miller, and that isn't necessarily so great.

I think we should wait to get pitching until after the season though. My target? Either Josh Beckett or AJ Burnett -- either one or both of them is coming up to free agency. Since Florida looks to be in the race still, they won't be available right now. But come off-season, these are the guys I think Toronto should fish for.

Big bats? Sure, we could use one or two, but I don't know who / how we could make cuts to our current team to make useful upgrades without hurting the team defensively. To me, we would have to get a nice power outfield bat, and that means cutting Reed Johnson, or The Cat (too soon to give up on Rios, and obviously we will not be dumping Vernon any time soon) -- and I am not sure they are the hottest items on the trading block. Plus, Reed was getting hot there for a while, and The Cat is a pretty solid hitter. Infielders would be hard to come by and fit in as well, we have a logjam at 1B / 3B, we have 3 shortstops, and a very solid 2B that would harm us defensively if we dropped him. That only leaves an offensive upgrade at catcher, and that's not a very abundant offensive category.

Not sure if my comments were all that productive, but that's what I am thinking.

Joe - Monday, June 13 2005 @ 08:47 AM EDT (#119461) #
Why, if the Jays are sellers, would they trade Hudson? Isn't the idea to get rid of the higher-paid, unlikely to be back next season players?

I just don't see why everyone thinks trading Hudson is even a possibility. Who plays second? Adams? Hill? Menechino? None of them hold a candle to the O-Dog.
Mike Green - Monday, June 13 2005 @ 09:12 AM EDT (#119463) #
Getting back to Adams/Hill/McDonald, I honestly don't believe that playing Adams makes the team any less likely to win. He's playing good defence. His career MLB marks of .255/.312/.440, while not outstanding, will play. So far, he's struck out in less than 10% of his plate appearances, and he's got good speed. The alternative, John McDonald, is not Honus Wagner.

Two years ago, I doubted Adams ability to play adequate D and to generate enough power to hit in the big leagues. These doubts have been erased by his improvements in both areas. He's 24 and he needs to play.
Jordan - Monday, June 13 2005 @ 09:42 AM EDT (#119465) #
This is neither a rebuilding year nor a contending year for Toronto; this is a gearing-up year for contention in '06 and '07. Despite the bad road trip (and I predicted beforehand that the Astros would be tougher than expected), this is still a team on the way up, not down.

The Jays do need a big bat. Where will it come from? The team has no use for three-month rentals -- Toronto simply won't be able to match another team's post-season free-agent offer. Either they sign a major FA of their own this winter (a huge challenge for a second-division Canadian team, as last winter proved) or pick up a player in mid-contract during or after the season (quite possible, if some payroll-heavy teams need to jettison salary and start over). The cost, in money and/or prospects, would be considerable -- the kind of price you pay when you're sure of your target and you think you're poised to really make a run.

Today, the Jays aren't close to that position, so they need to wait it out. But they also need to maximize their understanding of the young players they have. For instance, I don't get the club's recent approach to Adams either. I hope his recent playing time restrictions are just a blip caused by the absence of the DH while visiting NL parks. But I can't quite lose that nagging feeling that it's not.

If Russ Adams and Eric Hinske sit regularly against even the most mediocre lefties, something's wrong. If Dave Bush is still in Syracuse past Canada Day, something's wrong. If the team can't make room for Gabe Gross in the big leagues well before the trading deadline, something's wrong. I can accept the fact that the Jays had a pretty lousy offence even before Koskie was injured, and that this is (as I predicted before the season) an 80-82 club at best. What I can't accept is a failure to give these young players full major-league exposure to maximize their value. If this 4-9 road trip accomplishes nothing else, it should establish very firmly in the club's mind that they are not contenders and they need to play all of their youngsters almost every day.

Austin Kearns is an exciting name and he's still pretty young, but his OPS totals since arriving in the majors have been 907, 819, 740 and 700, with declining power and plate discipline every year. That sound a lot like Josh Phelps to me.

Pepper Moffatt - Monday, June 13 2005 @ 10:09 AM EDT (#119468) #
The Jays *had* a big time slugger, yet a significant number of Jays fans couldn't wait to get rid of him.

The Jays have a lot more depth now, but if you had the chance would you trade Cat, Schoenweis, Koskie, Hillenbrand and Koch straight up for Delgado? I would. In a heartbeat.
GeoffAtMac - Monday, June 13 2005 @ 11:23 AM EDT (#119486) #

Just to clarify Joe, I am not in the camp of people who want to trade Hudson. I love the O-Dog! I just hear his name mentioned every now and then...the last time being that pre-season proposed trade between Los Angeles, Oakland and the Jays that saw us giving up Hudson, Lilly and Rios, and in return we got Hee-Sop Choi, Edwin Jackson and somebody else (I think it was Tim Hudson or Barry Zito)...but that never came to fruition. I am glad we are hanging onto Hudson -- I think he is a significant factor in our pitching staff's performance every game.

On the subject of sitting Hinske, Hudson and Adams, I think it is ridiculous to do so! I saw Hinske quoted somewhere today saying that he is a guy who needs to play every day to keep his timing up. I would agree, and I think it is stupid to be routinely sitting Hudson and Hinske for lefthanders in exchange for Menechino and whoever else is available. While there might be a statistical advantage to doing so, these hitters who are being benched will never get any better sitting than they will playing. And Russ Adams needs to play more then he is playing right now, that is for sure. If he is our SS of the future, then he needs to play everyday.

I am actually getting a little worried that they might demote Adams when Koskie comes back, and stick with Hill instead. While Hill is playing well, it would be a complete waste to send Adams back to the minors -- we need him to develop at this level, not at AAA. Plus, despite Hill's recent performance, we cannot forget the fall-off performances of Josh Phelps (although I am still a Phelps fan), Howie Clark, or Gabe Gross after their initial, and however brief debuts.

I see the point raised about power hitters as well -- the fans didn't exactly start petitions when Delgado left town. Yet it can't be disputed, that having a behemoth power hitter can help you out a few jams from time-to-time.

Ron - Monday, June 13 2005 @ 12:23 PM EDT (#119491) #
I would rather have Delgado than all the players Moffat mentioned but that just isn't possible. JP said if the Jays retained Delgado then they wouldn't have any financial room to improve the club. And we all know the Jays couldn't even win 70 games last season.

That's why I wish the increased budget was given earlier in the off-season and not after the FA period was basically over. If I'm not mistaken I believe the Jays offered around 12mil/2 years to Delgado and Godfrey thought that was fair market value before the FA period began.
VBF - Monday, June 13 2005 @ 03:05 PM EDT (#119510) #
That's why I wish the increased budget was given earlier in the off-season and not after the FA period was basically over.

Although that would have been nice, it just wasn't possible since the increased budget was made available pending the sale of the, then SkyDome. Increasing the budget prematurely would have been playing with fire, since nothing was finalized. (The stage the deal was at when JP made the decision to not offer Carlos arbitration, was the same stage they had reached in years past, before it collapsed).

I don't think anybody in Blue Jays management thought the alleged 12 million/2 years deal was fair to Carlos Delgado, even with the anticipated deflated market. They had to offer Delgado a deal just for the sake of offering him a deal, with the hope that the Blue Jays were more valuable to him than any fat contract. It was basically an offer so that the Jays could say "well, we tried", which makes sense, since that was all they could really afford, while still trying to improve the club.

Smaj - Monday, June 13 2005 @ 03:10 PM EDT (#119512) #
Interesting commentary across the board, with the theme being change is required. The focus of this change & the timing is the question at hand. I think we all agree the Jays are trying to build around young pitching. They have a MLB Ace in Doc until the end of 2007 minimum. Chacin appears to be a #3-#5 starter(might be premature given sample). Lilly is either traded or DFA'ed by seasons end. Towers is not a #5 starter on a contending team built around pitching. Thus the Jays will require 3 starters to the roation to make an impact.The minor leagues spits out names like Bush, League, Rosario, Marcum, Banks,Gaudin McGowan,Jackson, Purcey, Janssen & soon Romero. Who will be ready to contribute as a meaningful starter in 2006 & 2007 seasons? Bush seems a likely candidate (he will have to skip all of his starts vs. Bosox however). Rosario seems to have developed Michel Petit Syndrome "all the tools no toolbox" still hope with maturity however! League is out of sorts, but positively it seems more mechanical than anything else. Marcum may be a Bush clone. Banks?!. Gaudin-lets see what he has! McGowan is a potential Ace, but the Tommy John zipper on his right elbow certainly poses a question mark. The rest of the list is very young, thus expecting major contributions by the beginning of the 2007 season is a lot to ask/expect. Is a rotation in 2006 of Doc, Chacin, Bush, Rosario & Marcum/League enough to contend? I say no, there is a definite need for another Ace in the #2 slot & free agency seems the best avenue for the Jays to acquire such an animal...this winter his name is AJ Burnett & JP will have to pay through the nose to get him. In the interim, lets see the heralded minor leaguers keep developing & firing in the minors until they are deserving of a promotion to Toronto.

Offence is a completely different scenario. Jays are deficient in slugging. 1st Base, 3rd base, LF, RF & DH all require more production for a contending club. IF Koskie can stay healthy 3rd Base will Slug at acceptable levels. Rios has too much potential not to play him regularily right now until he proves he is unable. LF needs a big bat. DH needs a big bat & 1st base needs more than what Hinske can give. The shopping list is large with power desired at 1st base, DH & LF. The Payroll is increased. Trade is the answer here in most cases. Jays have young pitching, everybody wants young pitching. Jays have relatively inexpensive replacement players in Cat,Lilly,Towers,Speier,& the mid priced Hinske & Hillenbrand. AND an overload in the middle infield (Adams, Hudson or Hill in the right deal). Timing is everything, and right now given the Jays offensive struggles & pitching deficiencies not optimal trade time for JP. Wait the slumps out until these guys get hot again & see what happens as the deadline nears. I like the Jays position of being able to buy or sell with 2007 season in mind. Jays have the minor league depth & some MLB talent to put strong packages together in trades be it July 31st or Winter Meetings.

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