Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
Another one of those days.

The Jays are shutout by the Devil Rays and slip to two games below .500.

On the bright side David Bush was excellent, going 7 innings, scattering just six hits and striking out 5. Downs, Towers and Bush have all been very good recently, but there is still the likelihood that J.P will be looking at a free agent starter this winter.

There has been a lot of talk about Jarrod Washburn being a Jays target and rumour has it the SS Loogy (a hated figure with some Angels fans I was surprised to learn) has been actively recruiting his former teammate.

Washburn is certainly available. The Angels have shown no interest in talking to his agent (Scott Boras) about a new contract, although Washburn has expressed an interest in staying with the team. With Ervin Santana, Chris Bootcheck and Joe Saunders all looking to be ready to step in to the rotation, Washburn might be surplus to requirements in Anaheim.

He's having a great year this year, although his teammates are doing a bit of a Clemens on him in terms of run support. BPro has him with a VORP of 47.9 - good for 4th in the AL. DIPS proponents would caution that he is over-achieving, as the table below shows his FIP is considerably higher than his ERA, although Washburn seems to be one of those pitchers able consistently out perform what DIPS expects for him.

 Year Ag Tm  W   L   G   GS    IP     H    R   ER   HR   BB   SO    ERA    dERA	G/F	
 2002 27 ANA 18   6  32  32   206.0  183   75   72  19   59  139    3.15   4.10	0.60
 2003 28 ANA 10  15  32  32   207.3  205  106  102  34   54  118    4.43   5.24	0.68
 2004 29 ANA 11   8  25  25   149.3  159   81   77  20   40   86    4.64   4.70	0.96
 2005 30 ANA  7   8  26  26   164.1  172   59   58  17   49   89    3.18   4.36*0.98
* This is the FIP number from THT, not dERA.

Washburn's had injury issues in the recent past, but has still been able to consistently rack up a lot of innings. He missed six weeks in 2004 with strained cartilege in his rib-cage and missed the start of the 2003 season with a shoulder sprain. In his earlier years Washburn threw his heater 95% of the time, over the past couple of years he has started mixing in his slower stuff a lot more. The result is noticeable in the statistics above, his strikeout percentage has dropped, but his groundball to flyball ratio has improved. Where once he was a flyball pitcher now he gets a lot more groundouts. Washburn's makeup is like a number of pitchers currently on the Jays, good control, but in now way over powering. He also tends to give away more home runs than you'd perhaps like for a pitcher coming into the RC. He does seem to have the tendency, as Wilner has noted of Josh Towers, of being able to be very effective against poor offences but of coming apart against the best hitting teams. Character-wise Washburn's reputation is as a very competitive guy of the stoic, gritty, dirtbag type that JP seems to like. You can see him fitting in with Doc, Sparky and Hillenbrand and co.

What he would command on the open market this winter? I'm going to guess that it would need 6-8 million a year and at least a three year deal to bring him on board.

My impression of Washburn has been of a solid starter, but, not one I'm ever going to get particularly excited about. This is not A.J Burnett, let's be honest. He has decent stuff, not anything remarkable for a starter, he takes a good approach to hitters and seems to use all his pitches well. He can still get his heater in there at over 90mph so, although he features his breaking stuff more, we're hardly looking at a soft-tossing lefty here. A more consistent Ted Lilly perhaps ?

Of the available free agents he might well be the best fit for the Jays. If, as expected Burnett gets huge contract offers from the usual suspects then beyond Washburn, the Jay's front office will be looking at a market in which the leading lights are Jeff Weaver, Kevin Millwood, Tony Armas and (shudder) Esteban Loiaza. Washburn wouldn't be such a bad pickup, but I'd like to see the Jays giving Kevin Millwood serious consideration too.

Another pitcher available this winter who we have not discussed much on the Box is Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Matsuzaka is one of, possibly the, best starting pitcher in Japan. He apparently throws a fastball that reaches 96mph and the intriguing gyroball, a new kind of breaking ball that uses 'double spin mechanics' and in Will Carrol's words "...comes at the hitter looking like a hanging curve and then takes a hard, flat turn away from a right-handed batter." He is just 24, and has an incredible amount of experience, and success, for a pitcher his age, he has been pitching in the Japanese Major Leagues since 1999, has a 2:1 K/BB ratio and a career ERA of 3.24. He has also already appeared on 2 Japanese Olympic teams, in the last games he shut out the Cubans for 8 1/3 innings, and in 2004 he pitched a complete game 5 hitter against the touring MLB all-stars.

Matsuzaka will not be a free agent this winter, he needs ten years playing time in Japan for that. He will however be 'posted'. This is the process that Ichiro, for instance, went through. Teams will have to bid, sealed bids I believe, for the negotiating rights with Matsuzaka. This is like a transfer fee that you see in Soccer, and makes Matsuzaka an expensive proposition. In Ichiro's case the Mariners had to pony up $11 million just to get to talk, the $15 million salary Ichiro ended up accepting was on top of that.

Talent-wise you would have to figure that Matsuzaka would easily be one of the premier free agent starters in this class, probably just behind Burnett. There are some health concerns however, rumours from Japan suggest he has shoulder problems, and he has thrown a lot for a young guy - nearly a third of his starts have been complete games. Throw in what can be expected to be a large financial commitment, add the health concerns and I can't see the Jays having much interest in Matsuzaka - I can't wait to see that gyroball though.

Jays 0 - Devil Rays 1 | 16 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Paul D - Monday, September 05 2005 @ 08:23 AM EDT (#127397) #
Last week there was a discussion of Wells to Texas for Texeira.

Here's a Rosenthal column which discusses that rumour, and mentions that the Jays will consider trading anyone not named Halladay this off season.
Pistol - Monday, September 05 2005 @ 10:33 AM EDT (#127402) #
"Armed with financial flexibility, look for the Blue Jays to turn creative this off-season. They offered center fielder Vernon Wells for Rangers first baseman Mark Teixeira in July"

I can see how this went...

Texas: What would it take to get Vernon Wells?
Toronto: Mark Teixeira.
Texas: Have a nice day.


Now that the Jays are out of the playoff hunt I can't say I'm too bothered if they lose as it would help them a bit in the long run.

It should be a lock that any pitchers the Jays are interested in signing (be it Burnett, Washburn, Millwood, etc..) will be offered arbitration.

The worst 15 teams can't lose their 1st round pick if they sign a free agent offered arbitration (it'd shift to a 2nd rounder). Right now the Jays are just on the 'right' side of the fence as they have the 16th best winning percentage in baseball at the moment.
smcs - Monday, September 05 2005 @ 10:53 AM EDT (#127403) #
That is avery interesting article about the gyroball...even if I have no idea how these 'Double Mechanics' work. It would be intersting to see it come to America. Whoever throws this pitch first will have to face a lot of questions about scuffing the ball.
ScottTS - Monday, September 05 2005 @ 10:55 AM EDT (#127404) #
Last week there was a discussion of Wells to Texas for Texeira.

I don't know about anyone else, but that's a trade that doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I think he could be traded for the right player(s), and I know Vernon has had his struggles this year, but he's still one of the better centerfielders in the AL, he's young, and he's cheap. Plus, who is going to replace him?

As much as I'd love to see Texeira in Toronto, it makes much more sense to me for the Jays to deal from their strengths, (middle infield and pitching) rather than deal away Wells. Surely Texas could use some pitching help?

The last few weeks have glaringly illustrated the power shortage on the Jays. I really think that this offseason the Jays need to try to put together a deal for someone like Adam Dunn - even if it means slightly overpaying with prospects. As of now, the Jays have a pitching staff (when everyone's healthy) of Halladay, Lilly, Chacin, Bush and Towers. The minor league system includes promising young arms like Purcey, Jackson, McGowan, League, and Marcum. If, as speculated, the Jays will go after a top-of-the-rotation starter this offseason (like Burnett) then one of the above starters plus one or more of the prospects should be available to trade.

Marc Hulet - Monday, September 05 2005 @ 11:04 AM EDT (#127405) #
I worry about Washburn because he had a small tear in his labrum a couple of years ago and decided to rehab it instead of having season-ending surgery. It was also around the time he stopped throwing mainly fastballs, in part because he has lost some speed. I am wary of both Burnett and Washburn because of injury concerns, but Burnett moreso because of the large number of innings and pitch counts he racked up before his 26th birthday. Giving either of them a two-year deal plus an option based on health/innings pitched would be the ideal situation but they probably wouldn't take it because someone will be stupid enough to give them four or five year deals.

I don't really like any of the pitchers on the free agent market this season. I still think the best bet to improve the team is via trades.
Flex - Monday, September 05 2005 @ 11:49 AM EDT (#127409) #
Doesn't make a lot of sense to me to acquire another .500 pitcher; the Jays have plenty of those. Like they have a bunch of .270/10 HR hitters. What this team needs is a couple of stars, people able to consistently reach higher than an average performance. If they're going to add a starting pitcher, it has to be a 15-19 win guy like Burnett. If it's a hitter, it has to be a 25-35 HR guy. Nothing less is going to push this team higher. And I see no point in trading Wells for another power hitter. We need multiples of those, because we need more than a one-threat lineup. One for one gets us no further ahead.

And while I'm all for hearing Ricciardi suddenly proclaim the need for more pitching, more pitching, like a new apostle of Gillick, it's not pitching that's holding this team under .500.
Jordan - Monday, September 05 2005 @ 12:01 PM EDT (#127410) #
Something to keep in mind about Mark Teixeira:
2005 Home .323/.402/.673 
2005 Road .259/.338/.434 

2004 Home .298/.397/.570 
2004 Road .264/.343/.550 

2003 Home .298/.358/.607 
2003 Road .217/.303/.343 
Teixeira's 2002-04 splits are .298/.377/.589 at home (perennial All-Star) and .242/.324/.451 on the road (Craig Monroe). I'm not saying he isn't useful, but you don't trade a 25-home-run Gold Glove centerfielder with a great contract to get him, especially when you have nobody waiting around to replace that centerfielder's production.

The Jays do need offence, but subtracting a #3 hitter to add another #3 hitter, while taking a major defensive downgrade in the process, is not the way to do that. There'll be other bats available in the off-season.

Cristian - Monday, September 05 2005 @ 12:06 PM EDT (#127412) #
One power source never discussed around here that would interest me is Frank Thomas. He wouldn't be an expensive gamble. He might flame out but the upside is tremendous.
greenfrog - Monday, September 05 2005 @ 12:55 PM EDT (#127413) #
I agree. Keep Wells and deal lesser players and prospects. There are huge advantages to keeping Wells:

1. He's one of the game's best centerfielders
2. He's posting good numbers in a mediocre lineup
3. He anchors the Jays' defense (and offense, at least this year)
4. We don't have a replacement CF who comes close, and there's no one on the horizon
5. He's a proven performer who still has a high ceiling
6. He has (as Jordan notes) a great contract
7. His highlight-reel catches and decent power are probably a good marketing point

If we're going to trade pitching prospects, I hope JP keeps Purcey, McGowan, Romero, Janssen, League. These are high-ceiling guys who could turn into front-line pitchers (although I have serious doubts about League). I would rather seem him deal second-tier players like Marcum, Jackson, Vermilyea, Banks, Rosario, or Gaudin. Unfortunately, I imagine teams are going to want players from the first list.

slitheringslider - Monday, September 05 2005 @ 01:54 PM EDT (#127418) #
although I have serious doubts about League

I can't agree anymore. I really hope that he turns out well, but he reminds me more and more of Billy Koch everyday. (Which isn't necessarily a horrible thing but I would hope that a guy with stuff like League does could make more out of it than Koch)
Nick - Monday, September 05 2005 @ 08:28 PM EDT (#127445) #
There are several holes on this team that need to be filled. Trading Vernon Wells patches one hole to create another. I don't call that progress. I will repeat this every time this subject comes up. (Unfortunately, this won't be the last time.)
Pistol - Monday, September 05 2005 @ 09:22 PM EDT (#127447) #
"One power source never discussed around here that would interest me is Frank Thomas"

It's not the worst idea, but Thomas hasn't been healthy much the past two years and all he does is DH.

I wouldn't mind seeing the Jays sign Mike Piazza to DH. I think limiting him to DHing would pull his hitting up to levels of his previous years.
rtcaino - Tuesday, September 06 2005 @ 01:26 AM EDT (#127462) #
""I can't agree anymore. I really hope that he turns out well, but he reminds me more and more of Billy Koch everyday. (Which isn't necessarily a horrible thing but I would hope that a guy with stuff like League does could make more out of it than Koch)""

I thought League's stuff is way better than Kotch's was. League has great movement as well as a good slider. Kotch's fastball was straight as an arrow.
Paul D - Tuesday, September 06 2005 @ 10:18 AM EDT (#127466) #
What about Nomar as a potential DH?
Pistol - Tuesday, September 06 2005 @ 10:31 AM EDT (#127467) #

What about Nomar as a potential DH?

Perhaps we should dust this off?
williams_5 - Monday, March 13 2006 @ 09:53 PM EST (#142480) #
An interesting article about Matsuzaka and the gyroball...
Jays 0 - Devil Rays 1 | 16 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.