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The first installment of this three part series focuses on pitching.

Jordan: The rotation is very interesting. Right now, the Jays have #3 and #4 starters coming out their ears -- Lilly, Chacin, Bush and Towers are all pretty much in the same range of production, middle- to back-of-the-rotation. I don't see any of them making the leap to #2 status. Marcum and Banks profile this way too. Jackson is a year away, and Purcey probably two. At this point, League looks like a reliever to me, and should be given a specific role (long man, setup guy, closer, whatever) and allowed to perform it. There are no Halladays in the system -- not even Ricky Romero.

Magpie: Josh Towers, from mid-July forward, was not 4th starter material - he was ace material (7-4, 2.41). No one - not even me - really thinks he's that good, but you can add an entire run to his second half ERA and still have a legitimate number two guy.

Gerry: I think the Jays will keep Ted Lilly for several reasons: (1) he is entering his free agent year which usually means a pick-up in performance; (2) the Jays have several pitchers a year away who could replace Ted in 2007; and (3) I am not sure how much you could get for him in a trade.

I also think Josh Towers has moved up a level to "keeper" which makes Halladay, Lilly and Towers the first three pitchers in your rotation. That leaves Chacin, Bush, Downs and McGowan as candidates for next year. Downs is headed back to the pen, and McGowan will go to AAA or to the bullpen, so if the season were to start tomorrow both Bush and Chacin would be in the rotation. If you are building a team around pitching and defense, as I believe JP is, then you could upgrade one of these two spots with a less risky starter. Bush is like Towers was last year, some days he has it, others he does not, that wears on a manager and GM. I would try and upgrade Bush, and leave Chacin in the rotation.

I did not consider Marcum. His September numbers were good but his AAA numbers were not as good, I think he needs more time in AAA before being recalled.

Mike Green: Marcum and McGowan are ready to make a contribution. Towers, Chacin and Bush should be about the same in 2006, with Bush's improvement offsetting modest declines from Towers and Chacin. They don't need another starter.

Paradoxically, Lilly's poor season makes it more likely that he will return. He has a career ERA of 4.67 and a career dERA of 4.47, and it is reasonable to expect that he will return to his career norms in 2006. That doesn't make him a better pitcher than Towers, Bush or Chacin, but still a potentially valuable player.

The issue with Lilly is contract. An agreed contract at significantly less than what Lilly would get in arbitration would be viable for the club. Lilly's poor 2005 season makes it more likely that he might agree to this.

Pistol: I don't think Lilly's arbitration value will be all that high. He was 10-11 with a 5.56 ERA this year. That can't give him too much more than the $3.1 million he made this year - maybe $5 million.

The Jays won't be able to sign a pitcher of Lilly's caliber for less than that this off season. Certainly they won't be able to get a better pitcher at a similar price for just one year. Lilly could be as good, or better, than Burnett, Washburn, Millwood or any other FA pitcher. He likely WON'T be, but most pitchers are so unpredictable that he COULD be (he was the better than each of those 3 in 2004), and the risk will be considerably lower than each of those other pitchers who will get at least 3, and probably 4, year contracts.

Right now Lilly is an asset to the Jays, and potentially a very valuable asset. If he doesn't work out with Lilly in 2006 you can let him go and use that money somewhere else. If he does work out and there's a logjam of starters at the end of 2006 you can collect picks if he signs elsewhere or trade another player. However, given Lilly’s injury history I’d be hesitant to sign him long term.

Mike Green: It does not make sense for the Jays to spend $5 million per year for Ted Lilly. $2 million, maybe $2.5 million, would be tops, and even that is pushing it. The Jays have other better cheaper options, and better ways to spend the money. Now if Chacin is traded for a bat, then one might reconsider, but you have to bear in mind that at this point Chacin is a significantly better pitcher, FIP be damned.

Magpie: Lilly drives me nuts, and several times this past season I threw up my hands shrieking "Enough! I don't ever want to see this guy again."

But the fit passes, and of course they should try to bring him back.

For what it's worth, I got the impression that Lilly actually learned something from 2005, and that it may have humbled him a little. It's like he went into the season thinking "Hey, I'm an All-Star and if I had a half-assed team I would have won way more than 12 games."

By the end of 2005, he seemed to be singing a somewhat different tune - more like "Wow, did I ever suck, and I can't believe this team bailed out my sorry ass and let me win 10 games." That's really how he sounded by the end of September. It actually encourages me, and fills me with hope for 2006. Will I ever learn?


Player       K/9     BB/9    HR/9      ERA     FIP    xFIP
Towers       4.9     1.3     1.05     3.71    3.99    4.45
Chacin       5.3     3.1     0.88     3.72    4.30    4.89
Bush         5.0     1.9     1.33     4.49    4.79    4.71

(FIP factors in K, BB and HRs while xFIP accounts those factors plus FB/GB, both from Hardball Times)

So what should be expected of any or all of these pitchers next year?

Am I the only one that looks at Chacin's numbers and think that they're probably a fluke?

Thomas: I've supported trading Chacin since mid-season, including in the rumoured AJ Burnett deal. I will continue to back that motion until Chacin shows me something that indicates he is close to a 3.50 ERA starter than a 4.70 ERA starter. So far, I've not seen anything that's made my change my mind on him.

Now, 200 innings from a #4 starter for the league minimum is valuable, in the sense that Chacin will provide you with average performance out of that spot for a discounted price. Thus, the Jays can save money there to spend elsewhere. I certainly don't support giving Chacin away. However, with the fact that Marcum and Banks will be here relatively soon (as well as the insurance policy of Scott Downs), I'm more than comfortable trading Chacin away to a team that believes he is a 3.50 ERA starter, or even a 4.00 ERA starter, and is willing to pay accordingly. With the price pitching fetches a good young pitcher should do quite well on the trade front, and if the Jays can turn Chacin (alone, or as part of a package) into a somewhat talented offensive player, I think it's an offer they can't turn down.

Mike Green: Chacin has outperformed his FIP significantly for 2 years running (double A last year and the majors this year). How does he do it? He completely squelches the running game (8 SB, 10 CS this year). He gives up a little fewer than his share of homers, he gets more than his share of DPs, and leaves more than his share of runners on base. He's the archetypal crafty lefty.

It is certainly conceivable that he could increase his K rate up to 6 per 9IP; he would be very effective at that rate. His ERA and IP in my view give a fairly good estimation of his value, i.e. one of the top 20 starters in the league.

In a league with an average ERA of 4.35, as the AL was this past year, a starter who will give you 200 innings with an ERA between 3.75 and 4.00 is a fair 2nd starter or a good 3rd. Jeff Ballard had K rates under 4 per game his entire career; it's well nigh impossible to sustain success at that rate, but 5-6 is a whole other story (see Key,J).

Gerry: As I stated above, Bush and Chacin give you two similar pitchers and you should keep one. If I was choosing I would keep Chacin as he appears to be able to get out of trouble easier than Bush, and I think his pitches are better. But you could argue I would be selling Bush at the low point of his value and keeping Chacin at his high point.

If other teams will give you more for Chacin than for Bush then make that deal; if the deal is equal then trade Bush.

Jordan: Crafty lefties -- the question always is, which ones turn into Jamie Moyer and which turn into Jeff Ballard? Chacin is one of those guys who looks better on the mound than he actually is. That's not an entirely bad thing -- confidence is a major element in any pitcher's arsenal -- but I doubt he's going to get much better. Nor, on the other hand, will he get much worse.

I wouldn't trade him just for the sake of selling high, but he's pretty much the only pitcher on that staff likely to attract serious interest from clubs with major talent to deal. So, like Gerry, I say trade him if you can get a big piece of the puzzle in return, but if you can't, he'll be at worst a steady lefthanded #4 at $300K a season, and that's all right.

Magpie: I don't particularly want to trade Chacin - there's pitching on the way, but it's not here yet. A Blue Jay in the hand beats the birds in the bushes. (Groan!)

I still believe in Dave Bush, and I still like his upside. Despite spending almost two months in Syracuse, Bush had more Really Good starts (Game Score above 60) than anybody not named Halladay. I don't know that this means anything going forward - I just suspect that it does. So I suspect that when Bush puts it all together, he will be better than Chacin, or Towers, or Lilly. And I do think Bush is smart enough and talented enough and competitive enough to put it all together.

Mike Green: The bullpen performed a little better than I expected. Jason Frasor's improvement was the surprise. Gibbons handled the pen well, although I wish he moved a little further from the modern usage patterns for closers. I would suggest that Batista be used as a 5th starter/longman in 2006, with the idea that he throws 90 innings as a starter in the 1st half, and then be moved to the pen for the second half, as young talent is ready.

Magpie: I agree that Batista is best suited for the role of swing man, but I think it's going to be very difficult, as a practical matter, to get a veteran going into his FA year to be happy with a role where he can neither win 15 games or save 30.

So I expect him to be back in the same role when next year opens. But whether he stays with the team past the trading deadline... not nearly as certain. And with his history of pitching well in the first half, and not-so-well in the second half - that could work out very nicely, no?

Gerry: The bullpen ranks as one of the lowest items on JP's to-do list. I would leave Batista as the closer, unless someone knocks your socks off with an offer. The only question for me is Pete Walker. Do you replace him with a Bush or a McGowan? I would send McGowan to AAA for regular work as a starter, and have him as your #1 guy to recall in the event of an injury.

Jordan: For my money:

- Frasor as the new closer. He has the mentality and he has the repertoire. He'll have his bad games, and he won't ever be confused with Mariano Rivera, but if they give him the job and stick with him, he'll be in the top half of the league's closers by season's end.

- Speier, League and Schoeneweis in the 7th and 8th, Marcum in the 6th. I'd be content to make League a ROOGY at this point, until he becomes more consistent. Gibbons has shown he can rotate his righties to play the hot hand and hide the cold one.

- Batista as the new Pete Walker -- long relief, spot starts, swing man. Actually, the new Ramiro Mendoza might be a better comp. Scott Downs as the lefty equivalent.

That's a seven-man bullpen, a 12-man pitching staff, which is more than enough to start the season, what with off-days, rainouts and all. By May or June, with the innings piling up, someone like Rosario could be ready. With Doc in the rotation, most of the pen gets a breather every five days anyway. And if Towers can go 7 innings or more 13 times again, all the better.

Mike Green: I agree with all of Jordan's recommendations with respect to the pen. I'd probably see how League and McGowan look in the spring before deciding who gets the bullpen job and who works out the kinks in Syracuse.


Part II of the Roundtable on Wednesday will take a look at the position players.

Jays Roundtable, Part I: Pitching | 85 comments | Create New Account
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Lugnut Fan - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 08:27 AM EST (#130793) #
I know that you guys were talking about Frasor as a possible closer and of course Batista needs to have his role redefined to a middle relief guy in my opinion, but BJ Ryan is available from the Orioles and I think he may be worth a look as well.
sweat - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 09:33 AM EST (#130795) #
The problem with Ryan is the boatloads of money he is gonna get. I dont think there is anyone out there that thinks 6M is even close to what he will get.
danjulien - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 09:47 AM EST (#130797) #
Yeh, I was gonna say Ryan is worth a look till the Yankees make their offer, then J.P. has to walk away...
and on JP...the rumours in Ottawa, which I find are probably crap, is that he is being considered for other jobs and would like to interview for some of them. I know the Jays are usually good at keeping things under wraps...but there's no fn way that JP wants to leave in the pivotal year of his tenure and that the Jays would want to let him leave, right???
Smaj - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 10:29 AM EST (#130801) #
If JP's model is to build on pitching & defence, we should assume an addition to the starting staff. Washburn & Burnett seem like prime targets for the Jays in free agency. The FA Market will be pricey given the relatively weak crop & many teams seeking pitching.

Assuming The Jays sign a starter they now create a surplus situation in the starting staff & now can try to trade for a needed bat.

In terms of the bullpen Tom Gordon wants to be a closer again....a bullpen acquisition probably cannot occur without the deletion of Batista's contract via trade (is there a market for Batista's contract???).

Lilly will be an interesting decision for The Jays. My hope is on a 1 year deal for him. With impending free agency I would like to see him pitch for a big contract next season. Injuries are a pattern for Lilly thus it could be money poorly spent. I hope the one year gamble on Lilly is taken by JP as opposed to non-tendering Lilly and obtaining nothing in return.

Bush or Chacin??? Chacin has some "Smoke & Mirrors" but does it consistently & he is lefthanded. In terms of upside, if Chacin can lower his BB/9 & increase K/9 by +1 I think he will improve upon his FIP. Certainly this is an area Arnsberg is focusing on for his Spectacled Lefty. Bush shows signs of excellence & then falters (hopefully a result of inexperience). In order to obtain a hitter I think one of the two will be dealt. My bet is on Bush being traded as the Jays have similar yougsters in the minors & that Gibbons has such a short leash with him this year (appears to be a lack of confidence in Bush).

In terms of JP wanting to pull the shoot from Toronto, why now? He has an increased budget, young nucleus & pitching depth in the minors. Many GM's would be envious of his plight.

Maldoff - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 11:12 AM EST (#130804) #
From reading this, it seems that sentiment on McGowan has really dropped off this year. He previously had been touted as the next potential ace of the team. He looked great to me out of the bullpen at the end of the year.

Flex - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 11:39 AM EST (#130807) #
I was going to say the same thing about McGowan. Too early to write this kid off in my view. Thanks to the lost time to surgery and recovery he's like a 22-year old pitcher. He may not be Halladay, but he showed enough out of the pen to suggest he's at least No. 2 material. And he's got size and power from the right side, which makes him unique in this organization.
Flex - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 11:40 AM EST (#130808) #
Unique, you understand, among the non-Halladays.
Jordan - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 11:50 AM EST (#130811) #
Speaking only for myself, I see McGowan as starting off at AAA next season, and accordingly, I didn't work him into the pitching picture for this discussion. I think the Blue Jays would be wisest to (1) continue to let McGowan break into the majors out of the bullpen, allowing him to graduate to the rotation in due course, and (2) not count on him for any kind of major contribution. Whatever McGowan gives Toronto in 2006 should be considered a bonus, not expected as part of the overall plan. Roy Halladay v. 1.0 should be all the cause for caution required.
Joel - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 11:59 AM EST (#130812) #
I guess I'm just a regular fan missing something here. I'm a bit surprised at the idea that Chacin is expendable. His overall 2004 numbers must have been more than just luck, and his 2005 performance was certainly acceptable for this stage of his career.

Perhaps someone could explain in lay language just why the Blue Jays would want to stick with less proven guys and get rid of someone who has been delivering.
greenfrog - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 12:06 PM EST (#130813) #
McGowan, if he can pull it all together, seems like the closest thing the Jays have to a Halladay-like starter. McGowan is young and has a strong lower half and power arm. Now he needs to work on location, secondary stuff and makeup.

In theory, I'd like to see McGowan in AAA, but I wonder whether he might not get better coaching in Toronto. I don't know why, but Syracuse doesn't seem to be doing much for Toronto's pitching prospects (eg, Bush, Gaudin, League).

sweat - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 12:22 PM EST (#130817) #
I think most people percieve Chacin as having reached his ceiling. This is why a lot of people want to trade him, as he isn't going to become an ace, and his trade value is as high as it will ever get.
Joel - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 12:25 PM EST (#130818) #
<i>I think most people percieve Chacin as having reached his ceiling.</i>

I guess this is why I am not a GM. I would hold onto him. You can only have so many aces on a team before going bankrupt. Is there room for holding onto a guy because he is a solid #3?
Mylegacy - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 12:44 PM EST (#130819) #
Compared to most teams our pitching is fairly strong. Lucky us.

I would be happy even if we way overpaid for AJ. AJ is the only free agent pitcher with absolutely filthy stuff, truly filthy stuff who MIGHT become a Roy type ace. If his beloved pitching coach can help him find consistency our pitching moves up into the top two to four in the league.

If JP adds a bat, maybe two...we contend.
Pepper Moffatt - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 01:00 PM EST (#130820) #
Pitcher A
2004:  7- 6, 120 IP, 112 ERA+
2005: 12-12, 209 IP, 117 ERA+

Pitcher B
2004:  9- 9, 117 IP,  95 ERA+
2005: 13-12, 209 IP, 120 ERA+
These guys are the exact same age. How much more would you be willing to pay for Pitcher A over Pitcher B?
Pistol - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 01:02 PM EST (#130821) #
Perhaps someone could explain in lay language just why the Blue Jays would want to stick with less proven guys and get rid of someone who has been delivering.

I don't think anyone wants to get rid of him, just that his performance this year was above what the underlying numbers would suggest and he might bring more in a trade than someone similar. Based on his K, BB, HR and GB/FB (see above in the thread) numbers Chacin's ERA should have been higher than it actually was. Part of that is the Jays defense, and part of that was likely luck.

If I remember correctly DIPS ERA is a better predictor of next year's ERA than last year's ERA so Chacin is likely to look worse, even if he pitches the same.

But like someone mentioned, even if Chacin does have his ERA rise next year having a league average ERA for 200+ innings at a minimum salary is pretty valuable too.

Pistol - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 01:06 PM EST (#130822) #
These guys are the exact same age. How much more would you be willing to pay for Pitcher A over Pitcher B?

$10 million!

Well, maybe not, but that's what it'll end up being. Of course one's a FA and the other is early arbitration.

Pepper Moffatt - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 01:11 PM EST (#130823) #
True. For the, umm, none of you out there who haven't figured it out,A is AJ Burnett and B is Josh Towers.

AJ is the better pitcher and has more upside. You'll get no argument from me. But if he's such a great pitcher, how is it that he can't get better results than Josh Towers?

AJ would be a good sign if you've got a stupid amount of money (like the Yankees or Red Sox) and you can pay a ton of money to put a #2/3 guy in a 4/5 slot. I've got the feeling whoever "wins" the Burnett sweepstakes is going to really regret it a year or two from now.
Mike Green - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 01:14 PM EST (#130824) #
For what it's worth, under BP's dERA formulation, Chacin's career dERA is under 4, and about the same as Burnett's. The fact that he's younger and has no history of elbow surgery might count for something too. But, brown-eyed meat-eating men love the strikeout...
Mike Green - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 01:16 PM EST (#130825) #
So, Pepper, you are obviously blue-eyed or vegetarian...
Gitz - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 01:35 PM EST (#130826) #
If Towers can maintain the three-four MPH boost he got from his fastball last year, he'll be a solid #3 guy. If he loses even half that extra juice, he'll be too hittable to be a low-leverage ace. He's got a great mentality for a pitcher -- he clearly believed in his stuff even when we was throwing in the high 80s -- so I hope he makes it.

I commented somewhere else that Burnett is likely to be the next Kevin Brown: sign for way too much for two or three years too many, earn some of it one or two years, then be a an utter drag on the payroll for the remainder.
Craig B - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 01:38 PM EST (#130828) #
brown-eyed meat-eating men love the strikeout

It's true. We do. It must be all that protein.

Jonny German - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 01:42 PM EST (#130829) #
AJ would be a good sign if you've got a stupid amount of money (like the Yankees or Red Sox) and you can pay a ton of money to put a #2/3 guy in a 4/5 slot.

Or maybe he's next in the Wells/Clement/Pavano/Wright line, who signed up for a total of 11 years and $91M guaranteed last offseason and none of whom were unable to match Josh's 209 IP, 120 ERA+. For that matter, the only Yankee or Sox starter to come close was the Unit at 226 P, 117 ERA+.

Mylegacy - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 02:02 PM EST (#130833) #
AJ is different than Wright, Pavano, etc. etc. AJ has FILTHY STUFF, maybe only one or two other pitchers have his kind of stuff. The reason his results arn't spectacular is because his stuff moves SO much that it is hard to control. That's why (Arnsberg) our pitching coach, and AJ's mentor is such an ace in the hole for us.

I only hope AJ agrees.

sweat - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 02:11 PM EST (#130834) #
If we are gonna sign AJ, we need to do it quick, and let all those free agents out there that T.O. is the place to be.
R Billie - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 03:09 PM EST (#130836) #
Toronto will have the first shot at making an impression on Burnett. This won't necessarily mean anything. And I would be very wary of exceeding $10 million and 3 years. But in my mind he is undeniably the best option out there among starting pitchers.

He's relatively young for an experienced starter and his stuff is insane. The Jays had a similar case with Escobar whom the Angels were able to get for just $6 million a year.

My two priorities to open the off-season would be to make initial offers of 3 years, $28 million to each of Burnett and Giles. Possibly with an innings pitched based option for a 4th year for Burnett.

Depending on how the market goes, I would be willing to push those contract totals up to the $32 million range. I would be very mindful of keeping their salaries below Roy Halladay's though. You don't want Roy demanding $18 million a year on his next contract. As the market is going now you might have have to raise him $2 to $4 million on his $12 million 2007 contract.
R Billie - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 03:11 PM EST (#130837) #
As far as not needing anymore starters...I agree if everyone repeats what they did last year then we won't need anyone more. But as the FIP numbers someone posted above show, do we really know what these younger guys are going to do? Do we really know what Ted Lilly will do?

If you insert a Burnett, even if he doesn't take the leap to the next level then you've still got more starting depth to work with and more leverage to bring in young and affordable hitting.
MatO - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 03:14 PM EST (#130838) #
AJ truly has great stuff and I would have no trouble with him at $10M per year. It might perk up the interest of other FA's.

Washburn, please no. He's Chacin at 20X the price.

Towers increased his velocity for a game or two (or was it a faulty gun). He was his usual upper 80's self most of the time.

I'm not starting a rumour, just wondering. Would you trade Towers and Chacin for Greinke?
Ducey - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 03:15 PM EST (#130839) #
If you are dropping $10-$13 million a year on a pitcher he out to BE an ace, not just have the "potential" to be an ace. The performance has to be there regardless of "stuff".

It would be nice for the Jays to win a free agent derby for AJ for the sake of winning it, but I don't think AJ is worth the money he is likely to get.
GeoffAtMac - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 03:31 PM EST (#130840) #

If we are gonna sign AJ, we need to do it quick, and let all those free agents out there that T.O. is the place to be.

Agreed, it would be really nice to get Toronto on the map as a serious contender to be next year, and to convince athletes that we are legit.

My two priorities to open the off-season would be to make initial offers of 3 years, $28 million to each of Burnett and Giles. Possibly with an innings pitched based option for a 4th year for Burnett.

That sounds quite "reasonable" to me, but I imagine the market will dictate otherwise. Here's hoping though.

Skills - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 03:35 PM EST (#130841) #
A 3 year offer to Giles would be a mistake. As much as I'd love to have him for 2006, and 2007 if need be, the guy is already 35. I'd hate to be paying an injured 38 year old player 9 million.
Jordan - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 03:52 PM EST (#130843) #
Would you trade Towers and Chacin for Greinke?

Nope. I don't want to deal two pitchers who've shown they can pitch effectively for one pitcher who hasn't. Greinke's value is very low, and I would offer KC only assets that are equally poorly valued.

A 3 year offer to Giles would be a mistake. As much as I'd love to have him for 2006, and 2007 if need be, the guy is already 35. I'd hate to be paying an injured 38 year old player 9 million.

Normally, I'd agree, but the next three years are the Blue Jays' window of opportunity, and virtually every team making a run for it has a couple of players whose contract has outlived their productivity. Giles would probably not be a $9M player in 2008. But he would very certainly be a $9M player in '06 and '07, and I think the Jays would (and should) be able to live with that.

Of course, if JP can acquire himself a young stud hitter in his late 20s this off-season, then that's the preferable route. But with such deals very unlikely and a thin free-agent crop to choose from, well ... you play the hand you're dealt.

Rob - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 03:55 PM EST (#130844) #
If you are dropping $10-$13 million a year on a pitcher he [has] to BE an ace, not just have the "potential" to be an ace. The performance has to be there regardless of "stuff".

Agreed. I don't think Burnett is worth as much as Halladay (who got a 4/42 deal after his Cy Young season and is worth every cent) and the Jays should not pay AJ as such. 4/40 is too high. Anything more than three years is too high, really. I don't even think they should go after A.J. Burnett -- there are more pressing needs on the Blue Jays than another pitcher -- but that's another story.

Mike Green - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 04:08 PM EST (#130846) #
BBRef's comparables for Burnett are not the most accurate, but the pitchers who are similar did not do so well. The closest would probably be Erik Hanson. Yikes. The love for Burnett this year is but a pale echo of the love for Clement last year.
Pistol - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 04:17 PM EST (#130848) #
Halladay will get $12.7 this year and $12.8 next year. But if he were a free agent this year he'd almost certainly get more than that. I don't think his contract two years ago is comparable to today (and the first two years were the final arbitration years so that wasn't market value).

And I don't think the Jays can say 'we won't pay anyone more than Doc' or they could be stuck signing a Jeromy Burnitz type for way too much to be marginally better than Rios. If you want the cream of the crop you have to pay that kind of money.
Chuck - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 04:20 PM EST (#130849) #
If we are gonna sign AJ, we need to do it quick, and let all those free agents out there that T.O. is the place to be.

I can't see why Burnett would want to sign early. I'm sure he'd be glad to get an offer from Toronto early on, if only to clearly establish the starting point for his discussions with Boston and New York.

As for the argument that he may only be worth $9-10M per year and not the $12-13M some are anticipating that he's going to get, that's all relative, isn't it?

To a team that might, maybe, perhaps make the playoffs (and hence very well may not recoup their costs), he's got to be worth less than to a team that's much more likely to make the playoffs. While Boston and New York may well win bidding wars because they have the coffers, there is also a business rationale to their overpaying: the much greater likelihood that their incremental spending will be offset by post-season revenues. (That said, I don't defend the way the Yankees spent $200M last season.)

Others much wiser than I may argue that the Blue Jays may well have other economic reasons to offer Burnett a contract in the $12M per year stratus, other than just looking to improve their playoff hopes. (Though I would think that paying a pitcher more than your ace may not be something you'd want to do.)

R Billie - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 04:52 PM EST (#130850) #
I guess the question once again boils down you want to overpay by 20% for a player/pitcher who is a star or has the potential to be a star? Or do you want to overpay by 20% or more for a group of lesser players?

I mean as much as I'm for depth and fiscal responsibility, a team full of average ceiling players can only produce average ceiling results. Doesn't that follow? Do you not have to roll the dice at times if you want to compete with the big teams?

Burnett making $10 million is probably too much based on his accomplishments to date. But if you don't get him for $10-$12 million you might be paying Washburn $8-$9 million. Is that much better of a situation? You've saved up to $4 million but that $4 million is only worth something if there are other players to go after.

The Jays need two hitters for sure (probably an outfielder and a 1B/DH type). Maybe three depending on what shakes down. The remainder of the money the Jays need to spend on pitching one way or the other. And JP has shown right now he prefers to steer big dollars at the starting rotation rather than established relievers which sounds reasonable to me (though I'd LOVE to have BJ Ryan).

So I think what matters now as the Jays plan to spend up to $85 million in 2006 is getting the very best players they can for that money. And putting what nets out to the best team they can field for that money. If that means they pay $3 million too much for Burnett for one year too many or $2 million too much for Giles for a year too many, then maybe that's the price you pay for taking a short term run while the money is available.

The money is going to be spent one way or the other. What is the best way of spending it? $10 million on Giles? Or do you break that up spending it on lesser players who collectively might not have as much impact as one Giles?

Also, comparing what Burnett is getting as a true free agent to what Roy got with two years of arbitration remaining is not fair. If Roy was a free agent after his Cy Young season in THIS market, he would have gotten at least what Pedro got from the Mets.

Look at it this way. After two more years the Jays might no longer have Roy Halladay. There's no guarantee he will resign if the Jays aren't truly competitive. I don't think this is the time to be timid. If you're going to go for it in the next two years then you get the best players you can. You put your team on the map.
Jim - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 05:16 PM EST (#130851) #
This is where having quality scouts make a difference. Which pitchers to keep and which to trade in the organization is going to have a huge impact on the record over the next 5 years.

Between the reasonable folks here there are almost as many opinions as there are posters.

To me,

Towers will never repeat that second half.
Chacin probably (~75% chance) had his career year.
McGowan and League are both relievers
Lilly will bounce back some in 2006
Burnett is a 40MM trainwreck waiting to happen - I'd stay away at all costs.

I don't think they can compete with the contract the Yankees or Sox will pay on Burnett so that is probably avoidable at least.
Ducey - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 05:21 PM EST (#130852) #

No one here is arguing the Jays should not spend some money this year. The problem is that AJ has not established himself as a star. Just because he has good stuff, has a high ceiling and will be paid a lot does not make him one. He will be a star when he can prove he can outperform Washburn, Towers or Chacin on a consistent basis.

I don't get it - why is he worth $13 million but these guys are not? Just because he throws harder? In the absence of evidence that he will be the next Rocket Rodger (and in fact the historical evidence is that he won't), why concentrate on (and pay for) the fact he COULD be?

I see AJ as a lot like Batista. Real good stuff but never seems to really dominate. I have no problem paying $4-7 for a Batista in the gamble he puts it together. I do have a problem paying $13 million and hoping a guy justifies it.
SK in NJ - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 05:26 PM EST (#130853) #
I find it amusing and contradictory for fans to say "we have to get top quality players", but then in the same breath say "I wouldn't go higher than $10 million for Burnett" or "three years is too much for Giles". Either you overpay or you settle. That's what it comes down to. Overpay for Burnett, or settle for Washburn. Overpay for Giles, or settle for lesser free agents or go the trade route.

Now, I like depth. I think the White Sox are a good example of finding value at every position instead of throwing all your resources into one specific area/player. The Jays had the latter with Delgado, and went no where. With that said, I believe there's a need to add at least one high upside player to the roster to avoid having to cling to the hope of overachieving from the likes of Towers, Chacin, Rios, etc. If I'm going to spend $10 million on a player, I'd prefer it be for pitching. That's at a premium, and team's can generally find average to above average offense on the fly in some cases (like Hillenbrand, for example). Starting pitching is a much riskier area.

I'm not worried about signing a player for $10-11 million or the ramifications it may have with Halladay in two years. Roy is going to get paid after 2007 whether we overpay for Burnett or not. That's just the way it is. A better way of ensuring that Halladay stays, or at least contemplates a "hometown discount" would be to provide a winning atmosphere. We can't do that with more Hillenbrand's. Well, we could, but it would be a lot harder.

The window is 2007. Everyone expires after that year, including the GM. We've been trained to think small over the last four years, out of necessity, but now we need to think big. Adding one high upside player (like Burnett or Giles) will go a long way in possibly putting a decent team over the top.
Pepper Moffatt - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 06:00 PM EST (#130855) #
I don't think anyone is saying that the Jays shouldn't spend money, or even that they shouldn't spend a ton of money on star players. It's more asking if Burnett is really that good of a player.

I don't think he is. Last year was one of his better seasons, yet he only finished 127th overall in VORP. Why would you pay that much for a guy who might not even be one of the best 100 players in the game, who plays a position that is far from your team's biggest weakness?

I know there aren't a whole lot of alternatives out there on the free agent market, which is why the Jays will likely have to go the trade route to get a top tier talent.
R Billie - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 06:12 PM EST (#130857) #
I'm a little confused. Outside of his poor September stretch run (5.93 era in the final month of the year), is there an impression that Burnett did not pitch very well in 2005 (his first full year off of TJ surgery).

I'm going to give you his 2005 monthly ERA, record, innings, hits, homeruns, walks, and strikeouts. Then I'm going to show his performance before he required Tommy John Surgery (probably from overuse) and 2004 after the surgery.

2005 by month first:

05/04: 2.43, 3-1, 37.0ip, 28h, 2hr, 11bb, 35k
05/05: 3.48, 0-3, 31.0ip, 30h, 3hr, 12bb, 29k
05/06: 3.57, 2-1, 35.1ip, 32h, 1hr, 10bb, 29k
05/07: 3.79, 3-1, 35.2ip, 32h, 3hr, 16bb, 39k
05/08: 2.32, 4-2, 42.2ip, 36h, 1hr, 16bb, 32k
05/09: 5.93, 0-4, 27.1ip, 26h, 2hr, 14bb, 34k

Pre-Allstar: 3.33, 5-5, 113.2ip, 99h, 6hr, 40bb, 111k
Post-Allstar: 3.59, 7-7, 95.1ip, 85h, 6hr, 39bb, 87k

Call me crazy, but outside of September, he pitched very well this year. Well enough to be considered one of the better starters in baseball. He completed 4 games and pitched 2 shutouts.

Now you do have to give him a significant knock because of his homepark. Maybe the Marlins were on the road a lot in September. Checking his last 4 starts in a row they were on the road. Although he pitched a gem at the Mets on Sep 20th (8ip 2h 2r 0hr 1bb 9k).

2005 home: 2.95, 5-4, 88.1ip, 72h, 3hr, 34bb, 102k
2005 away: 3.80, 7-8, 120.2ip, 112h, 9hr, 45bb, 96k

That's a pretty significant drop. But even if Burnett can give you 200 innings of 3.80 era, that's nothing to sneeze at. And the majority of the drop seems to be higher homeruns and poorer control. Extra defensive territory in Florida shortening the opposition at bats perhaps?

But was 2005 a break from what he did in the past? Let's check 2004 after his return from TJ surgery. He return in June and posted these monthly numbers:

04/06: 5.04, 0-3, 30.1ip, 29h, 2hr, 12bb, 20k
04/07: 3.99, 2-2, 38.1ip, 42h, 5hr, 7bb, 34k
04/08: 2.83, 3-1, 35.0ip, 22h, 2hr, 13bb, 43k
04/09: 2.51, 2-0, 14.1ip, 8h, 0hr, 6bb, 12k
04/10: 0.00, 0-0, 2.0ip, 1h, 0hr, 0bb, 4k

Again he had a significant Home/Away split (2.80/5.09) but he did happen to have a lot more innings at home (74) than away (46) that year so sample might play a part. He completed one game here.

We'll skip 2003 when he had surgery after 23 poor April innings. 2002 was his breakout year (3.30, 12-12, 204.1ip, 153h, 12hr, 90bb, 203k, 7 cg, 5 sho). He was also heavily overused that year. He also still had the home/away split (2.55/4.06) this time in an even number of innings.

So in my mind, you take out the first two months back from his surgery (where he was mediocore but not disastrous) and September of this year (where he was disastrous), he has not pitched a SINGLE bad month. Even his September ratios this year don't seem disastrous outside of the walks.

Is this a star pitcher by his overall numbers? No. Is this maybe a star pitcher in disguise with the potential to still improve? I personally really think so. His health is my only concern.
R Billie - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 06:29 PM EST (#130860) #
In terms of VORP, I'm not going to argue that Burnett does not come with warts in the form of his control and road numbers. But was VORP very kind to Kelvim Escobar before he became a pretty good starter for the Angels? Was it very kind to Kevin Millwood in 2003 and 2004? Sometimes you have to evaluate the pitcher/player and not the numbers.

$10 million on Burnett is pretty extravagant. And maybe the Jays should leave more money for the 2006 crop which looks a lot better NOW but might not be by the time we get there. But am I worried or distressed by the Jays giving Burnett serious consideration? Not at all. Just as I wasn't concerned about them pursuing Matt Clement. It's a worthy though costly gamble.

Really, once you get past Giles, Konerko, Burnett, and maybe Millwood, there isn't a whole lot of big talent out there this year depending on what you think of Tony Clark's 1.000+ ops. Do you hold back for the 2006 off-season? Sign some older veterans to short term deals? The Jays might be forced to do that anyway. Burnett may be the only "big" player they will end up having a chance at.

But I'll say this...Jared Washburn at $8 million+ and Matt Morris at $5 million+ aren't exactly looking like bargains either. And that's what I'm guessing they might command. The solution might be a trade but I think the Jays will use a combination if they can.
Wildrose - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 06:41 PM EST (#130864) #
I think the general feeling with Burnett, is that the sum does not equal the parts. His stuff is absolutely electric, yet his results are not all that overwhelming.

A line of thinking exists as follows, imagine what Arnsberger can do with Burnett, given what he's done with Josh Towers and his rather pedestrian pitches.

Sometimes, albeit rarely, hard throwing chuckers in the mold of A.J. Burnett take a little longer to find their stride. I give you exhibit "A".

Signing an A. J. Burnett encompases massive risk, but potentially huge payoff. Honestly, I can see the arguements on both sides of the equation, I'm really torn on this one.

Mylegacy - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 06:43 PM EST (#130865) #
OFF TOPIC - Theo just resigned!!!!!
R Billie - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 06:44 PM EST (#130866) #
I was thinking more along the lines of Exhibit "B". Both being righties with great stuff but mediocore results into their late 20s.
Ducey - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 06:56 PM EST (#130867) #
JB21 - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 06:58 PM EST (#130868) #
I think this is why...

The 31-year-old Epstein was reportedly offered about $4.5 million for a three-year extension -- quadruple his previous salary. But it was still short of the $2.5 million a year the Red Sox offered Oakland's Billy Beane in 2002 before making Epstein the youngest GM in baseball history.
Dave Till - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 07:27 PM EST (#130874) #
Theo just resigned? Whoa. I wonder whether the Sox will offer J.P. the job.

I am in favour of busting open Ted's piggy bank in the off-season, but I don't see the point in overpaying for pitchers. The Jays have lots of good pitchers; what they don't have is hitters.

The Jays should only sign Lilly if they can get him cheap. He may have learned something this year, but he hasn't put it into practice yet - his September ERA was 5.73. He was usually awful, and he didn't even stay healthy. I don't particularly want to see that again.

My $.02 on the pitchers:

Chacin has two things going for him: he's confident, and he can jam right-handed hitters. His K/IP isn't great, so he might be a fluke. But he's done it once; many pitchers only dream of reaching his level.

I'd be willing to use Bush as a bargaining chip - he's basically got Josh Towers' stuff, but without his consistency.

McGowan has tremendous upside, but he belongs in AAA next year. But he could move up quickly - of all the Jays' pitching farmhands, he's the one with the most star potential.

I don't think Towers will pitch at his 2005 level ever again, but he can drop a ways off that and still be good. He's earned the right to be called a quality starting pitcher.

I don't want to move Batista out of the closer's spot until it's clear that he has lost it for good. He was pitching well for most of the year, and his durability gave the bullpen some definition. If he crashes and burns, Frasor is the next choice.

Dave Till - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 07:28 PM EST (#130875) #
Death to bold things!
binnister - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 07:29 PM EST (#130876) #
ooooooh! I get to do this finally! Bold... begone!
VBF - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 07:44 PM EST (#130878) #
Is anyone the slightest bit afraid that Gillick could sign with the Sox and create an absolute monster of a team?
Chuck - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 07:49 PM EST (#130879) #
What's so special about Gillick that he could outperform Epstein as a GM?
John Northey - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 08:26 PM EST (#130880) #
Gillick doesn't scare me more than Epstein at the moment, although I'd much prefer to see Boston go get the Rays old GM :)

So, Gillick, Epstein, DePosada are all on the market. Funny that top GM's make so little relative to the players ($2.5 million being too much for Boston). If JP does leave for Boston or elsewhere at least there are 3 very good (imo) GM possibilities out there that we know of.
Original Ryan - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 08:30 PM EST (#130881) #
And let's not forget that Godfrey offered DePodesta the G.M. job back in 2001, but was turned down.
Chuck - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 08:43 PM EST (#130882) #
And let's not forget that Godfrey offered DePodesta the G.M. job back in 2001, but was turned down.

I believe what actually happened was that DePodesta told the Jays not to bother offering him an interview. I don't think he was ever offered the job.

Pepper Moffatt - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 08:45 PM EST (#130883) #
<I>That's a pretty significant drop. But even if Burnett can give you 200 innings of 3.80 era, that's nothing to sneeze at.</I>

Keep in mind those numbers were put up in the pitchers go to bat league, so you need to nudge the ERA up about 40-50 points.

A 4.25 ERA and 200 IP is what I'd expect from Burnett in the AL. That's not as bad as it sounds - it's top 25 territory in the AL, which would make Burnett a below average #2 or an above average #3. A valuable asset to be sure, but is it really worth the price, even taking into account the dry free agent market?
greenfrog - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 08:51 PM EST (#130884) #
One difference between this off-season and last is that Ricciardi has been pretty quiet about who he intends to go after. Last year it was an open secret that he wanted Koskie and Clement (both of whom, incidentally, were duds in 2005).

This year, he's said a lot more about players he doesn't expect to go after: Dunn (too many strikeouts), Giles (probably be too pricey), Konerko (ditto).

He did express interest in Burnett during the season, but whether he's willing to break the bank on him remains to be seen. I think the Burnett sweepstakes are going to go into orbit for precisely the reason that a lot of us want him: tremendous upside (ie, potential ace). My prediction is that one of the big spenders will offer him at least 36M for 3 years, or 40M for 4 years.
Named For Hank - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 08:58 PM EST (#130885) #
Either you overpay or you settle.

I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again -- when everyone is "overpaying", that just means you've done a lousy job of determining what "normal" pay is.
greenfrog - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 09:28 PM EST (#130887) #
I'm not sure there is a "normal" salary level. It seems to me there are different economies within baseball. A-Rod's salary might be normal for the Yankees, but his production is overpriced for almost every other team (ie, the costs of having a $25M player, even a superb one, exceed the benefits if your payroll is, say, $50-100M).

Burnett at $13M/year might be normal, even a bargain, for some teams. But he's overpriced for a team like Oakland or Minnesota (and possibly Toronto) for the same reason.

"Normal" really just means an appropriate valuation for a particular team--with a bit of margin, plus or minus, depending on that team's priorities.
Chuck - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 10:44 PM EST (#130895) #
A-Rod's salary might be normal for the Yankees

This is off-topic from the rest of this thread, but given Texas's annual subsidy, aren't the Yankees "only" on the hook for about $16M a year for A-Rod, less than they are paying for Jeter?

John Northey - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 11:15 PM EST (#130896) #
I think A-Rod is at about $16-17 million, at which price I'd tell the Jays to jump on him if the Yankees decide that A-Rod just 'isn't a Yankee' or 'isn't a winner'. Put him back at short and then decide what to do with whoever is left between Adams and Hill, if either are. Sadly, I doubt even the Yankees are crazy enough to dump A-Rod for prospects.
Ron - Monday, October 31 2005 @ 11:37 PM EST (#130897) #
Through-out this thread there has been a lot of discussion on AJ, Chacin, Lilly, Bush, Towers, and McGowan.

One pitcher that hasn't been discussed is Brandon League. I remember after last season there was a lot of people in Da Box (including myself) thinking League was the closer of the future. Heck how could you not be excitied when you saw him induce the clutch DP at Yankee stadium once he got called up.

Fast foward one year, and the League closer talk has all but vanished. I know he's only 22 years old but does anybody else think he won't pan out and flame out like Rios (yes I've already written him off, I don't believe he will ever develop into a power bat)?

No matter how you try to spin it, League was awful from ST until his last appearance of the season. He stunk up the joint in Syracuse and Toronto. I was worried during ST when the Jays brass said League had nothing to prove at AAA. That's a pretty strong statement considering he had never even thrown one pitch at that level at the time. The Jays simply handed him a big league gig without having him earn it. Arnsberg tried to help out League by lowering his arm slot and this made matters worse. Towards the end of the season, they let League go back to his normal arm slot and he still stumbled.

JP has always talked about the "kids" having to force his hand. This even made it more puzzling as to how they handled League.

But for the Jays and League's sake, I hope he bounces back next season because he seems like a great person.
Ron - Tuesday, November 01 2005 @ 12:43 AM EST (#130898) #
And I forgot to add on my last post a Gus Chacin for Chad Tracy deal would be nice:)
jvictor - Tuesday, November 01 2005 @ 01:59 AM EST (#130899) #
Just wanted to add my two sheckles to the pile. I think the problem with Bush is his curve. When it's on he is one of the better pitchers out there. When it's not there, he has a desperate time trying to get it back, and most times can't. Some pitchers can do this; David Bush, at this point in his career can't. This I contend is the reason for the short leash. It's not personal. It's the fact that Bush is an average at best, pitcher when the curve aint working.

rtcaino - Tuesday, November 01 2005 @ 02:26 AM EST (#130900) #
Allow me to say that this level of analysis is fantastic. I frequent a variety team sites for a variety of sports and this stuff is the best I have seen.

My two (Insert clever name for cents):

I am very bullish on McGowan. I don't know how you can take anything from this past season apart from that he reestablished himself as our best prospect.

In terms of off season additions, I think JP should err on the side of marginal value. When adding a good hitter to this line up, you are adding more value than you are than in adding pitching. This is because the next best option is that much better for pitching. IE, Bush being replaced as a fifth starter as opposed to Hinske being replaced as a first baseman, or Cat being replaced as a LF.

That said, looking at our rotation as it currently stands, after Halladay, you need to have serious concerns going into any play off round. Or do you? How do you guys feel about having Halladay/ Lilly/Chacin/Towers/Bush?
rtcaino - Tuesday, November 01 2005 @ 03:16 AM EST (#130901) #
New York Post (registration required): "Items on the table include where to find a center fielder (Torii Hunter, Milton Bradley) and bullpen help (B.J. Ryan, Julian Tavarez). For the first time in eons, the Yankees aren't expected to chase starting pitching in the free-agent pool."
MD2B - Tuesday, November 01 2005 @ 03:47 AM EST (#130902) #
I agree, I love reading the user comments at this site almost as much (if not more) than I like reading the articles themselves - great depth of knowledge here (just spend a few minutes reading the Jay's MLB fan forum if you want proof).

It was said earlier that the bullpen will be low on our list of priorities...while this is true, I can't help but notice that the one part of the free agent market that will be deep this offseason is the crop of closers. Obviously Ryan, Wagner, etc. will be out of our price range. What about someone like Kyle Farnsworth or Tom Gordon? Batista, at this point at least, can still be an inning eater in the rotation, which would free us up further to deal some pitching for a bat.

Also, I have not given up on League yet - I think the best thing for him will be if people kinda' forget about him and he has a chance to get more innings under his belt. A relatively youg guy who can throw that kind of gas - he's still a very good closer prospect.
Pistol - Tuesday, November 01 2005 @ 08:37 AM EST (#130904) #
League was awful from ST until his last appearance of the season.

League had a fine September (11 innings, 3 runs), although his ratios weren't nearly that good.

For what it's worth, League's GB/FB ratio was the best on the team (2.85:1).

Original Ryan - Tuesday, November 01 2005 @ 09:38 AM EST (#130907) #
I believe what actually happened was that DePodesta told the Jays not to bother offering him an interview. I don't think he was ever offered the job.

DePodesta was interviewed by the Jays and apparently impressed Paul Godfrey, but DePodesta took a pass since he was about to get married and didn't want to leave Oakland.

ESPN (via

R Billie - Tuesday, November 01 2005 @ 12:18 PM EST (#130928) #
I think the real reason he took a pass was the Jays declining payroll and the Yankees and Red Sox skyrocketing payroll. He ended up placing himself in an organization with a lot of existing talent and a very good payroll situation, especially in relation to the rest of the division.
R Billie - Tuesday, November 01 2005 @ 12:30 PM EST (#130930) #
I think the Jays are going to have two main competitors for Burnett. The Mariners and the Orioles.

The more I think about it, the more I think it's crazy for him to earn eight figures. But with those two teams involved and maybe the Red Sox as well (though their front office is in limbo), if he says he wants $10 million and 4 years then that's what he'll get.

But what else can be done? Concentrating on bats maybe. Overpaying for one of Konerko or Giles. Adding depth with Durazo or trading for a Huff or Glaus or Dunn type. And then really finishing off the bullpen with a BJ Ryan or maybe a Farnsworth or Gordon.

There are a lot of possibilities. It's difficult to know with this much room to work with where you draw the limit to get the guy you want. How much flexibility do you leave for the next off-season where the quantity and quality of the supply may be better?

I don't envy JP here. If he lets Burnett go to Baltimore and he flourishes there, there will be criticism over letting him go when the Jays had a lot of money. If he brings Burnett in for eight figures and he's mediocore then it looks like a big mistake. If the Jays use up all their flexibility for the next two or three years (which isn't hard to do) and then are stuck without much to spend next year then that also would be bad.
greenfrog - Tuesday, November 01 2005 @ 01:02 PM EST (#130936) #
Every indication from JP in September was that he has no intention of going for broke in the free agent market. I'd be surprised if we landed any of the marquee FAs--unless the Burnett-Arnsberg connection is more than just hype. Which may not be such a bad thing. Many, many of these players don't work out. The Jays' recent big-name signings, Batista and Koskie, have been mediocre.

Also, JP's track record doesn't suggest much hope of acquiring star-calibre players through trades. I think the major stumbling block is that there is a pretty short list of talent in the Jays organization that other teams really want--guys like Hill, Adams, Hudson, McGowan, Romero, Purcey, maybe Lind. And I think JP is reluctant to give up these guys.

I just don't think other teams get particularly excited about our long list of B-level prospects like Jackson, Marcum, Banks, etc.
Chuck - Tuesday, November 01 2005 @ 01:15 PM EST (#130939) #
DePodesta was interviewed by the Jays and apparently impressed Paul Godfrey, but DePodesta took a pass since he was about to get married and didn't want to leave Oakland.

Thanks for the correction. Obviously my memory is shot.

R Billie - Tuesday, November 01 2005 @ 01:24 PM EST (#130942) #
I wouldn't call Batista or Koskie big name pickups. I mean Koskie is very well known as a solid all around player and leader by example. If he stays healthy he will help the team a lot. But there aren't many that are going to call Koskie a star. He's basically the player that Hinske was in his rookie season, only with good defence. Batista was regarded by most as a mid-level starter at best though even for a mid-level starter the Jays got him at a decent price.

It's debatable whether Burnett is a big name. He's also very well known but his main advantage is that he's probably the best of what is available in this particular off-season. His value is inflated because of the scarcity of starting pitching. He would be the biggest free agent name signed under the current administration though.
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 01 2005 @ 01:38 PM EST (#130947) #

Also, JP's track record doesn't suggest much hope of acquiring star-calibre players through trades. I think the major stumbling block is that there is a pretty short list of talent in the Jays organization that other teams really want--guys like Hill, Adams, Hudson, McGowan, Romero, Purcey, maybe Lind. And I think JP is reluctant to give up these guys.

I just don't think other teams get particularly excited about our long list of B-level prospects like Jackson, Marcum, Banks, etc.

I think that some of the "short-list" talent is no better than some of the "B-level" prospects, even if the "short-list talent" is generally more highly valued. Capitalizing on the inefficiencies of the marketplace is one of the hallmarks of a skilled GM.

rtcaino - Tuesday, November 01 2005 @ 01:54 PM EST (#130950) #
I don't think that JP has demonstrated an ability to capitalize on market inefficiencies. He has stocked us with tons of young pitching. If these arms show potential as they crack the Major League roster, then they could become extremely valuable. However, it seems that this year hitting and pitching are pretty equal in value. Or I could be mistaken.

Ron - Tuesday, November 01 2005 @ 04:34 PM EST (#130968) #
If the Jays can't land Aj this off-season, it might be better to use most of the payroll flexability on next year's crop of FA's.

Unless they get extended, Zito, Garland, Maddux, Schmidt, Radke, Escobar, Contreras, Hernandez, Marquis, Eaton, Petite, Mulder, amd Davis are all FA's after next season.
R Billie - Tuesday, November 01 2005 @ 05:39 PM EST (#130974) #
Unless they get extended, Zito, Garland, Maddux, Schmidt, Radke, Escobar, Contreras, Hernandez, Marquis, Eaton, Petite, Mulder, amd Davis are all FA's after next season.

I expect about a third of those players to be extended before they hit free agency. I wouldn't be surprised if Garland is extended before the White Sox play a game this year. If Zito is traded he will almost certainly get an extension wherever he lands. The Angels like Escobar so unless he isn't healthy I expect him to stay there.

Schmidt has to prove he's healthy. Mulder might be a solid #2 though he didn't have a great year. Pettitte had a huge year and if he has another one he will probably be in too much demand. He'll also be 34. I think he's probably the most talented of the pitchers that might be available though.

There is some real talent there. If the Jays whiff on Burnett then I hope they keep a significant amount of flexibility but I expect with an $80-$85 million projected budget it's going to be hard to use it all up on one year contracts.

SK in NJ - Tuesday, November 01 2005 @ 06:22 PM EST (#130983) #
I agree that Burnett is a risk. Possibly a big risk. My point was that eventually JP is going to have to take a risk of that magnitude to move forward. If he doesn't, then it's going to be harder (but not impossible) to get to the next level. There are very few sure things when you're dealing with $10 million and beyond per year salaries. But if you don't want to play that game, it's going to be tough to attract players that can commond that type of salary, and those type of players are generally great or very good.

With that said, I don't expect a Burnett or Giles or Dunn type of transaction. Granted, Ricciardi's moves to this point have been with a strict $50 million payroll in mind, but he's been the type of GM that favors depth. Instead of Escobar, he opted for Batista and Ligtenberg (for example), with the hope that Batista provides a similar ERA for less money while giving the team an extra million or two to add a quality reliever. Same deal with not tendering a contract for Jose Cruz and instead going for Catalanotto, Bordick, and Sturtze.

Essentially, if it came down to AJ Burnett at $10 million per or Jarrod Washburn and (insert +/- .800 OPS player) for $10 million, my guess is that JP chooses the latter. That might end up being the better way to go financially and performance-wise, but it also comes with a lot less upside. The Jays had a great player at an escalated cost and went no where, so I can certainly understand JP being a bit gun shy of potentially heading down that path again.
bird droppings - Thursday, November 03 2005 @ 06:02 AM EST (#131134) #
How does NY top our division year in and year out? They take risks... big ones. Wright. Brown. Contereas. Matsui. Even Giambi was risk coming into this season. Same as allowing Bernie Williams near a uniform...

These are all huge cash, high risk players that Cashman has gambled on AND STILL won the division with.

The time is now. I'll take one AJ please.
Jonny German - Thursday, November 03 2005 @ 09:24 AM EST (#131149) #
Granted, Ricciardi's moves to this point have been with a strict $50 million payroll in mind, but he's been the type of GM that favors depth. Instead of Escobar, he opted for Batista and Ligtenberg (for example), with the hope that Batista provides a similar ERA for less money while giving the team an extra million or two to add a quality reliever. Same deal with not tendering a contract for Jose Cruz and instead going for Catalanotto, Bordick, and Sturtze.

I think this line of thought is underselling the payroll restrictions at the time - there was no end in sight to the $50M payroll, and Delgado was eating a third of it. Ricciardi didn't have the luxury of considering signing big-dollar players. What's more, I thought Batista was a better pitcher than Escobar at the time, and Cat a better hitter than Cruz. I'm sure JP did too, and the fact that he had money left over by "choosing" one over the other was a bonus. Another thing: why is it that when Ricciardi says he's looking for more Hillenbrand-type hitters everybody panics that the man is too risk-averse, but when he brings in AJ Burnett to make an early pitch for his services.... everybody still talks about the man being too risk-averse? Isn't the action more telling than the remark? And if risk is so great, why is there so much gnashing of teeth on account of Koskie? Would everybody be happier if it was Renteria who was a Jay, with his $40M contract, rather than Koskie and his $19M?

Repeating something I've posted before.. I can think of three times when Ricciardi has had an opportunity to make a play for a big-dollar player:
- He was willing to sign Halladay to a big extension not significantly below market rate when the payroll was still low
- He was not willing to offer Delgado anywhere near his market value
- He was willing to overpay Matt Clement, again despite the low payroll at the time.

That's it, that's the whole track record, and all of it occured before the payroll increase and before the Jays felt they were ready to make push for the contention. I don't think we know yet how willing JP is to take a big-dollar risk.

daryn - Thursday, November 03 2005 @ 09:25 AM EST (#131150) #
Unless someone internally (Frasor?) claims the closer job and needs the experience, I say leave Bautista there for now.

You can "buy" a closer and a set-up guy if that is all you need. And you don't want to do it now because closers have veyr short life-spans unless your name is Wagner or Hoffman (Oh wait, where are they today?)

Spend the time and money building starters... and position players and sign them to long term contracts (The 1990's Cleveland Indians Model)... that's my vote.
Ken MacDonald - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 04:57 PM EST (#131455) #
Bring in Ryan to close or failing that maybe Mesa would be a good fit. Then move Batista to rotation and keep your fingers crossed on Burnett. The new rotation would be:
Lilly or Towers
GeoffAtMac - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 09:36 PM EST (#131475) #
Not Mesa -- not ever Mesa.
Ken MacDonald - Wednesday, November 09 2005 @ 09:48 AM EST (#131564) #
Yeah,your right Mesa does suck!Just had a brain cramp on that one.I'd still like a new closer though so Batista can go back to the rotation!
Jays Roundtable, Part I: Pitching | 85 comments | Create New Account
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