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So are the White Sox the team to imitate now?

Note: The following took place prior to the World Series.

Pistol: The final four teams left in the playoffs this year ranked 1-2 in the NL and 1-3 in the AL in ERA. Only the Cardinals were an above average scoring team. Is a low scoring environment a new trend or an aberration?

If it is a new trend are the Jays positioned well for this and/or should it significantly alter their offseason plans? Said another way, most Jays fans, and the GM himself, have said they want 'two scary bats', but is it more important to secure the best pitching you can in light of the playoffs this year?

Magpie: I was thinking this very thing after the first round, when the Angels and White Sox dispatched the Yankees and the Red Sox. If it were true, it would certainly be good news for Toronto. But I doubt it means anything. The Yankees and Red Sox were among the four AL teams left standing, after all.

Further complicating the issue is the probability that while good pitching of any kind is good pitching during the season, that's not so true in the post-season. A staff like Houston, with five extremely good pitchers, is probably better equipped to cope with the post-season schedule than a team with a deep and solid staff but no real out and out stars. (Also see the 1987 Twins and the 2004 Cardinals.)

Jordan: I think the Jays should continue to stock up on offence. Their crying need at the moment is power: they finished 10th in the AL in SLG and 11th in the AL in homers (league-leading Texas had almost exactly twice as many round-trippers as the Jays did). They also had a mediocre running game (8th in steals, 10th in SB%) that's unlikely to get better in 2006. The only reason they finished 5th in runs scored was a 5th-place OBP and a series of blowouts -- as we've discussed elsewhere, the Jays' runs-scored total is disproportionate to their actual performance. If they were to return the same offence in 2006, their RS totals would sink to a much more realistic level.

The Blue Jays need a major offensive infusion just to reach league-average levels. They could add a Burnett, Washburn and Ryan to the staff and hope that, like the Angels, White Sox and Astros, they could scratch out enough 3-2 wins to make the playoffs with an unexciting offence. But even those teams had a Guerrero, a Konerko and a Berkman -- the Jays have no hitter like that on their roster, and they need one.

Put it this way -- if Corey Koskie and Shea Hillenbrand return next year and bat anywhere higher than 6th, the Jays won't even sniff the playoffs. End of story.

Pistol: I think that's a little strong. Just look at the lineups of the Astros, White Sox or Angels. Their lineups aren't that impressive and they were three of the last four teams in the playoffs.

It'd be nice to have a strong force in the middle of the lineup, but the most important thing to do is to improve the production the Jays got out of RF this season, and to a lesser extent the backup C. Just getting up to average production from those positions should make a big difference.

Gerry: I do think the Jays are working on this model. I would add to the description by saying the model is good pitching and defense, with no holes in the lineup. Since his arrival JP has focused on pitching, first through the draft, and secondly through free agency. Last year the Jays tried hard to get Clement, this year its Burnett, Washburn or Morris.

Pitching and defence can get you so far, the rest is having a better than average offense. JP has spoken several times about upgrading the offense at whatever position he can. He has also downplayed the probability of a really big bat coming to town. So I would look for the Jays to shore up some of their weaker areas, second catcher, first base and corner outfielder.

Think also of JP's time in Oakland, excellent pitching and OK hitting, other than Giambi.

Mike Green: You can win with a good offence and good pitching/defence, or with outstanding pitching/defence and average offence. The trends of the time matter only insofar as the price of purchasing talent varies. It is usually better to be a contrarian, and purchase the talent that is less appreciated and therefore somewhat less expensive.

Last off-season, average starters and average relievers were outrageously expensive in the free agent market. The names Tom Martin and Eric Milton come to mind immediately. What will it be this year? My guess is that the performance of the White Sox and Astros this year may make it more likely that hitting will be reasonably available on the trade market and that pitching/defence will not. In other words, more of the same.

Oakland for most of the Beane/DePodesta/Ricciardi years in fact featured a very strong offence, and average pitching/defence. The team scored 800-900 runs per season in a tough park. Jason Giambi was not the only bomber; Tejada, Stairs, Grieve and many others hit very, very well. It was only at the end of Ricciardi's stay in Oakland that Beane focused on improving the team defence, at the expense of offence; the reason was was easier to afford defensive improvements than offensive ones. I suspect that the reverse is true now.

My guess is that the performance of the White Sox and Astros this year may make it more likely that hitting will be reasonably available on the trade market and that pitching/defence will not.

Dave Till: I worry sometimes that J.P. is going to get spooked by the high cost of free agents, as he watches competing (and somewhat silly) owners bid players into the stratosphere. The impulse to not waste money - and thus go home with nothing - may be a strong one.

The Jays have an obvious problem: they need about two big bats. The rest of the roster is in great shape. In particular, they have championship-quality defense, which was a joy to watch, and a deep bullpen.

Gerry: Going back to Lee Sinin's RCAA, the Jays best hitter, Frank Catalanotto, had the lowest RCAA of an leading hitter in the AL. The Jays had no big boppers thanks to sub-par years from Wells and Koskie. After Rios, the Jays next worst hitters were Huckaby, Johnson, Hudson, Adams, Zaun and Koskie. We should look to see how we could upgrade all of these negative RCAA's.

Catcher is a big issue for the Jays. Zaun's numbers were off this year and he might not be able to handle catching 130 games any more. But Quiroz has not shown that he is a reliable platoon partner yet, and he is out of options. The Jays could decide to leave this as a hole to be managed around, or they could look to sign a better option than Quiroz. I believe Koskie will be better in 2006, as I said above, and I also think that Adams/Hill will better with another year under their belts. Hudson is below average offensively, but makes up for it with his glove. Reed Johnson should have fewer at-bats with better options for left field.

I would sign or trade for a leftfielder and a first baseman, giving you this lineup:

C:  Zaun and a FA - better in '06 with the FA
1B: FA - beter than Hinske
2B: Hudson - same
SS: Hill - better than Adams
3B: Koskie (Hillenbrand) - better in '06
LF: FA - better
CF: Wells - got to be better, right?
RF: Rios - better in '06
DH: Hilly and Cat - same
??: Hinske, Adams, Quiroz

That makes for better offense from seven spots, a combination of new players, more experience with the rookies, and improvements from some veterans.

Jordan: All the talk of a Burnett or a Washburn underscores the belief that Toronto needs a solid second-in-command starter to Halladay. It's worth debating whether that's actually true -- can a team prosper with an ace and four mid-rotation guys? Give that club a very solid bullpen and a lights-out closer, and I think it can -- if the $10M you'd have spent on a Burnett goes toward acquiring and paying for a major bat instead. It might be a different story come the playoffs -- two or three aces are usually necessary there -- but the Jays need to get there first.

The wild card is McGowan -- he could come into his own next year and give you Burnett-like production at one-thirtieth the cost, or he he could see his straight fastball knocked out of the park and suffer a Halladay v. 1.0 meltdown. The Jays should hope for the former but should expect the latter, which is why my money would go to pumping up the offence and reinforcing the already-solid defence. The pitching needs a little tinkering, not major surgery.

Gitz: I don't like the idea of the Jays going after Burnett. There is the injury risk, first and foremost, and while if he stays healthy he could dominate, there is always the chance he takes the unfortunate Javier Vazquez path: getting drubbed by changing leagues. Burnett is not like, say, Jaret Wright, who was an obvious product of Leo Mazzone and some good luck, but there are similarities health-wise, and for $30 or $40 dollars, the Jays ought to get a proven commodity in return. The second reason I am opposed to getting Burnett or another high-caliber free agent is because the Jays don't seem to need pitching as much as they need hitting.

As ever, hitters are more reliable and more durable, and in somewhat greater supply than pitchers, making them, for the most part, cheaper, except for the obvious high-ticket items like Vladimir Guerrero. (Again, at least you know what you're getting.) Craig B.'s comment that good, cheap hitters are harder than ever to find is true. On the other hand, the Jays don't need to forage for the next Geronimo Berroa. They have the cash to pursue someone like, say, Jim Thome, provided the Phillies would take on a huge chunk of salary. Since it's doubtful the Phillies are dumb enough to trade Ryan Howard (but you never know), Thome makes some sense, despite the injury risk, which is not that dissimilar to Burnett. And at any rate, I am not even necessarily talking about Thome but rather the idea of Thome.

What killed the A's this year was that their pitching was very solid all season but their offense only showed up for a two-month stretch from about mid-June to mid-August. The rest of the time it was agony watching the club lose 3-0, 2-1, and 4-2. This could very well be the same script for Toronto in 2006 if they don't improve the offense.

Dave Till: The Jays don't need Burnett, or any pitching for that matter, if Doc returns and is 100%. The Jays had the best pitching in the division in 2005... by 84 runs... in a hitter's park. Given the high cost of free-agent pitching, and the possible arrival of McGowan and/or Marcum, I think the Jays are in reasonable shape there. Unless they decide to trade a pitcher as part of a package for a big bat, and need to sign someone to fill the hole.

Pistol: I don't think the Jays need to focus on pitching this offseason. As discussed earlier starters are always risky for various reason and the Jays have several in house options in both the rotation and the pen.

However, if a closer is available at a reasonable price I'd pursue it as Batista isn't the answer (and perhaps just the 3rd or 4th best option on the team to be closer). Ryan and Wagner (not to be confused with Ryan Wagner) are probably going to cost more than they're worth, but it's possible that Tom Gordon would come to Toronto to close. He's been excellent the last three years, with a heavy workload (244 innings). Of course, I'm not sure if the workload means he's durable or set to crash from overuse.

The team has positioned itself well over the last few years and is now in the position to make a move in the standings. They’re probably an 85 win team as is for 2006 and it will probably take 95 wins to make the playoffs. A great offseason could get the team there.

Jays Roundtable, Part III: The Offseason | 172 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
PeterG - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 08:48 AM EST (#131222) #
Everyone agrees on the need for hitting. Some suggest there is no need for FA pitching. The way I see it, there are more FA pitchers available than hitters. Thus, it is easier to sign a pitcher. Doing so, allows the team to trade one of the present starting pitchers for hitting.
Mike Green - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 09:40 AM EST (#131223) #
Beane was asked a number of months ago in the Athletics Nation blog about the decision to trade Hudson and Mulder and to keep Zito. One important factor in the decision, he said, was that Zito was the only one without arm health concerns.
Flex - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 10:02 AM EST (#131225) #
Semi-on-topic, I wanted to share this absurdity with everyone. Here's what the great mind of George King at the New York Post has to say about the possibilities of a Blue Jays-Yankees trade this off-season:

"The Blue Jays would like to move Wells' contract ($9.9 million over the next two years) and shift Alex Rios to center, but don't have a match with the Yankees if Cano is untouchable."

Now, I'd like to know how somebody can come up with that bit of idiocy, wrong on so many levels, and still get paid to write about baseball.
MatO - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 10:16 AM EST (#131227) #
Why the concern for Burnett's health? Is there any data to suggest that a pitcher coming off of successful TJ surgery is at a greater risk to injury? I look at the potential signing of AJ as bigger than just his on-field performance. It would give players around the league at least the perception they're trying to win now.

I would like to see the Jays make an effort to get Morneau from the Twins while he's lost some favour. Some combo of infielders and maybe Quiroz for Morneau would allow them to move Mauer to 1st and help shore up the Twins abysmal infield.
Mike Green - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 10:17 AM EST (#131228) #
Moving Wells' contract? Weird.
Mike Green - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 10:24 AM EST (#131230) #
There have been any number of relievers who have had significant success after TJ surgery with Mariano Rivera and Eric Gagne at the top of the list. With the starters, the examples are not so impressive, Tommy John (who was acceptable, but not the same pitcher after his surgery), David Wells, Matt Morris, Kerry Wood, John Smoltz (for one year).

The surgery is remarkable in that it has saved careers, but overall it is pretty clear that for starters, at least, the odds of a noticeable decline after surgery is high. In Burnett's case, that would make him a 4.25-4.5 ERA pitcher in Toronto.
Cristian - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 10:35 AM EST (#131232) #
"The Blue Jays would like to move Wells' contract ($9.9 million over the next two years) and shift Alex Rios to center, but don't have a match with the Yankees if Cano is untouchable."

Thanks for bringing this to my attention Flex. Now I'm furious and my brain hurts.

Flex - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 10:50 AM EST (#131234) #
"my brain hurts"

From experience, I understand completely. It's a direct result of having your mind boggled.
jabonoso - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 10:53 AM EST (#131235) #
Just to comment about a chat that El Artista had in espndeportes.
He said that the BJ's need, in order to win a postseason spot, two frontline pitchers (right now they have the best number 1, and close to that in spots 4 and 5, in Chacin and Josh).
A good first bat with the ability to steal 40 plus bases and two solid power bats (3rd and 4th in the lineup).
Defence and pen are fine as they are.

OntarioMediator - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 10:55 AM EST (#131236) #
After reading the comments posted about Burnett, I'm a bit concerned myself, and would be a bit wary paying him more than Doc. With that being said, I wouldn't pay him more than 9.5 million a season. I think the Jays would benefit making a play for BJ Ryan. Add him to an already impressive arsenault of young arms in the bullpen should give the team a bit more stability and wouldn't need the arms of the starters to be taxed as much. A Chulk-Frasor-Speir-Ryan 6th-7th-8th-9th should unleash fear in the bats of the opposition.

As for a slugger for the team, the team should really look into a deal for Dunn.

Might sound silly, but what about a Rios for Nick Johnson deal? It was much ballyhooed last off-season. Johnson is JP's type of player - OB freak. He also provides very good defense and has a bit of pop in the bat. Splits were pretty much even home and away.

timpinder - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 11:08 AM EST (#131239) #
Despite a lot of posts to the contrary, I think the Jays do need a starting pitcher and should pursue Burnett. Bush is inconsistant and Lilly was awful last year and has always been inconsistant. If anyone expects Towers, or especially Chacin, to be anywhere close to the their 2005 numbers they're nuts.

McGowan could be a surprise and is the closest thing the Jays have to an "ace" prospect. But just because Marcum was OK in a couple of relief appearances at the end of last year doesn't mean he's even in the same league as McGowan.

I like the idea of trading for Dunn, or perhaps one of the other extra Reds outfielders. It looks like it'll be easier to trade for a bat than sign a FA, then the Jays can focus their FA efforts into pursuing Burnett, WHO IS NEEDED.
Flex - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 11:10 AM EST (#131240) #
Hmmm, so Miguel is not a fan of Lilly or Bush.

As for his prescription -- more power, distruptive speed, knockout pitching -- sounds like he's convinced the White Sox are the way to go.
Mike D - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 11:15 AM EST (#131243) #
Flex, King's source might have been Tom Verducci, who identified V-Dub in a column a few weeks ago as the guy the Yankees should target to play centre this season.

It's absurd, of course, and you would think Verducci would know better after spending a week getting acquainted with the Jays organization in April.
Smaj - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 11:16 AM EST (#131244) #
What is the basis for the claim that the Jays do not require more pitching? One successful season.

Is anyone prepared to assume Josh Towers will post similar numbers to this season?
What will Lilly offer in '06?
It has been scribed religiously by many that Chacin's successful season was a statistical anomaly that should not occur again!
Doc has been injured in successive years!
Bush has been inconsistent, what will he bring in '06?

The bullpen has question marks.
Is Batista a closer?
K/9 for Chulk & Fraser?

Certainly a bevy of questions concerning this pitching staff. Being an optimist I believe many positives will emerge from 2006 on the pitching front. However, I am also in favour of acquiring another top pitcher (potential top 2 starter) in free agency when finances are at your disposal.

By signing FA pitching the Jays are adding to supposed strength. Thus in attempts to acquire a weakness (BIG Bat) they will be dealing from a position of strength, particularily if MLB is trending toward pitching & defence.

If they can "ink" AJ Burnett & BJ Ryan its great. Adds more assets to the cupboard in trade exploration for a bat or two which are not present in this year's free agent crop.

By signing top free agents the Jays are also sending a message to players that Toronto is not an outpost for prospective free agents & can only enhance the Jays profile in the Players Association.

jabonoso - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 11:18 AM EST (#131245) #
In fact Miguel is a big fan of Ozzie.
I guess he is pushing himself back to the third starter spot.
He is a bit bitter about the lack of communication with the Jays brass. Players does not seem to be informed about roles, strategies and other sensible topics.
Wildrose - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 11:22 AM EST (#131246) #
The team is obviously infatuated with Burnett. He's willing to sign here and obviously Arnsberger ( who's outstanding job this year, he's the team M.V.P. in my opinion) has sold Ricciardi on the notion that he can take A.J. to the next level. Given what he's done with Towers, Downs, Chulk and Chacin this is not an unreasonable expectation.

Still spending $24-25 million on 2 pitchers is quite a gamble.

I'd spend my money on the hitting side of the ledger,

-trade for a young slugger( Morneau would be perfect)

- take on partial large contract (Helton,Thome,Mike Sweeney) although you'd have to do a lot of due diligence with injury, steroid usuage etc..

-Overpay for Giles if required

-Take a flyer on guys with injury issues (Durazo-not back until June), Dotel not back until 2007 with TJ surgery, Frank Thomas, Lawton ,value decreased with steroid indictment. In short I'd be looking for value on the dollar .

-Pursue the Japanese market.

- Talk with Rafeal Furcal's agent. Yes we have 2 potential shortstops, but Furcal is a talent. Good hitter for his position, great fielder. Only 28, so he's not on his downside quite yet, the large market teams (eg. Yanks, Boston, Angels have incumbents , so the market is smaller.) I'd overpay if required for him as well.

This team needs to hit better. I'd pursue a variety of strategies to obtain this goal.
Mike Green - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 11:37 AM EST (#131247) #
Thanks, Jabonoso. It's great to hear from you again. I would like Batista to return to the rotation as well.
Ducey - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 11:50 AM EST (#131250) #
I would like the Jays to try to sign Durazo. He is out with TJ surgery until at least the All Star break but might sign an incentive laden two year deal. He would be a massive boost to the teams OBP and SLG. It would take patience, something sports writers in TO don't have, but it it has a good chance to turn out to be Carpenter v. 2.

Other than that I would focus on a FA like Giles for the almost obligatory free agent splash. Adam Dunn would be swell but if you can fill your offensive hole with a Giles and not trade prospects it makes more sense to do that. Money is not the problem. In fact, for JP, too much money left in the bank might be the problem.

For all this talk of AJ, why not take a shot at Millwood? He also has some injury issues but might come cheaper, for less years, and has a proven record. He has already proved what he could do in the AL.

Other than that, hang onto all the young guys: Rios, Hudson, Hill, Adams, Gross, GQ. They are damn cheap. In the next season you will find out what you have with these guys. Maybe the Jays might even have a bench this year.
Flex - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 11:54 AM EST (#131251) #
Wildrose mentions Sweeney, which reminds me. Has anyone ever seen this site, dedicated to "An Homage to the most tragically overlooked sports Icon of our time."

It's pretty funny, in a geeky baseball sort of way.
Jonny German - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 12:05 PM EST (#131252) #
With the starters, the [TJ] examples are not so impressive

The thing for me with Burnett is that he's already come back from the surgery and pitched better than he did before it. I'd like to see a comprehensive list of pitchers who have had TJ surgery, and see if it's normal for a pitcher to initially come back well and then decline faster than normal, or to be re-injured.

BCMike - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 12:07 PM EST (#131254) #
I've seen Piazza mentioned a few times and I think he would be an interesting option. You'd get some much needed power out of the DH spot and you would also have some insurance in case Quiroz(who can't be sent down) doesn't cut it or a catcher gets injured. Of course, Piazza and Hillenbrand might be one RH bat too many.
Flex - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 12:23 PM EST (#131257) #
I've read that Piazza doeesn't want to DH. Is that not true?
Gitz - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 12:41 PM EST (#131259) #
Durazo was decidely mediocre for 2/3 of his stay in Oakland. His one truly good year, 2004, was indeed good, but it was streaky, a trait he showed in his Arizona days. In general he is as maddening a hitter as Ted Lilly is a pitcher. You sign him, fine. But be prepared for a month of 0-4s, punctuated by a three-or-four game stretch when he'll hit .500/.600/1.300 with five home runs and 15 RBI. His counting numbers tend to be inflated by these binges, and it seems that he's patient when he doesn't need to be -- when the A's were ahead 10-2, for instance -- and over-agressive when they most needed him to pick a pitch and drive it or work out a walk to prolong the inning -- when they were down 3-2 in the eighth or ninth inning, for instance. It's one thing to never give away at-bats, and in that case, being patient all the time is the way to go. But if you're going to do that, do it all the time. Don't change your philosophy at the moment when your philosophy can help your team the most. Eric Chavez is even more guilty than Durazo at this, as he tends to press and hack when the pressure is on.

All-in-all Durazo, while there is potential there, is not worth the trouble.

The Jays absolutely need to get quality for their money. The Yankees, as BP documented last year, were successful not only because they had all sorts of money to spend but also because they spent that money wisely. That broke down when they signed Wright and Pavano, two fairly obvious candidates to disappoint. And it's no coincidence that those two players are pitchers. There is simply too much risk with Burnett, but it seems I'm shouting at the wind. The Jays are intent with signing him, and I'm baffled why.
VBF - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 12:43 PM EST (#131260) #
Thanks for that link, Flex. It was...well interesting. I sorta wanna go buy a Royals jersey after reading that.
MatO - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 01:17 PM EST (#131264) #
Burnett's velocity is all back and he's pitched over 200 innings in a season since his injury. I see no reason to consider him a greater injury risk than any other pitcher. I believe that the Jays think that Arnsberg can take him to the next level and Burnett has said this himself. JP has said numerous times recently that most teams are in reasonably good financial position and teams are not trading high quality players strictly for salary dump purposes. The cost to obtain quality through trading is high. Waiting to spend the money next year is not much of an option. If they can land Burnett and Giles for $20/yr I say go for it. I don't see it happening though. I predict that the Phillies will now be a big player for Burnett.
Mike Green - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 01:33 PM EST (#131265) #
A comprehensive list of starters who have underwent TJ surgery is difficult, because so many have had it over the last 5 years particularly. Here is what I could find:

Kerry Wood, John Smoltz, Matt Morris, Jon Lieber, John Patterson, Paul Byrd, Adam Eaton, Joe Mays, Grant Balfour, Brandon Claussen, Pat Hentgen, Matt Riley, Rafael Soriano, Brian Anderson, Odalis Perez, Derek Thompson, David Wells and Tommy John.

I'm sure that this list is woefully incomplete, but Wood and Morris are the poster boys for the surgery among starters. I have yet to find a starter who had the surgery and took a significant step forward after that, although as you can see there have been several who have had a good year or two. Like I've said elsewhere, David Wells is probably the best advertisement for the surgery among starters.

The problem does not seem to be regaining velocity on the fastball (both Rosario and McGowan have apparently done that), but it's maintaining the fine control of the breaking ball upon repetitive use. It seems easier to do this in the usage pattern that a reliever has.
jgadfly - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 02:11 PM EST (#131267) #
RE: BJ Ryan...several plus's (spelling really is one of the first things to go) in Ryan's favour...keeping him away from the NYY where he would be part of a fairly awesome LR one-two with Riviera which the Jays would be facing in every close game with NY from the 7th inning on...freeing up Batista for long relief/ reg. starter/ tradeable the BJ's a legitimate experienced closer with 100k/80inn... Ryan is probably going to make an amazing amount of money since he made almost $6mil. last year
Nigel - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 02:45 PM EST (#131268) #
Unless my memory fails me, I think Billy Koch is the poster boy for TJ surgery improving performance. I believe Koch had the surgery in the minors and came back throwing 2-3 mph faster after the surgery. Of course he had an injury plagued/shortened career which suggests risk, but I don't think any of the subsequent arm problems were elbow related.
Jonny German - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 03:00 PM EST (#131269) #
What I don't get is the concern about a guy who has come back from TJ and established that he still has his velocity and still has his control. Because that's what Burnett has done:
    	IP	ERA	WHIP	K/9	BB/9	HR/9	K/BB
Pre TJ	525	3.86	1.32	7.58	4.46	0.77	1.70
Post TJ	329	3.53	1.22	8.51	3.20	0.57	2.66
Want to throw out Burnett's partial seasons of 1999 and 2000 when he was still green, as his 23 sub-par innings in 2003 when he may have been pitching with the injury? He still looks like he's fully back:
    	IP	ERA	WHIP	K/9	BB/9	HR/9	K/BB
01-02	378	3.65	1.25	7.89	4.12	0.76	1.91
Post TJ	329	3.53	1.22	8.51	3.20	0.57	2.66
I checked all the pitchers Mike listed at BB-ref and none of them make me wary about Burnett:

Wood: Regained full effectiveness before being re-injured. To my knowledge the subsequent injury problems were not related to the surgery, and at any rate they were 4 years after the fact.

Smoltz: Became a closer, didn't miss a beat, switched back to being a starter, didn't miss a beat.

Morris: Very good when he went down, very good for a season & a half after coming back, then merely good for 2 seasons and run-of-the-mill for the next 2 seasons. Perhaps this is the scenario some fear with Burnett, but this could just be an early age-related decline or other health issues.

Lieber: Has been back for 2 years and been just as good as when he went down.

Patterson: I'm not sure if he had his surgery pre-2002 or in 2002, but at any rate he just had his first good season this year.

Byrd: Has been back for 2 years showing no ill effects.

Eaton: Nothing but an innings-eater before, nothing but an innings-eater after. Given that he was a first-round pick, I suppose some would blame the surgery for his not developing.

Mays: Has been back for one year and remains a lousy pitcher with a fluke season on his resume.

Balfour: Only 68 career innings. Inconclusive.

Claussen: Not sure when exactly he had his surgery. Had a decent year in 2005, including an average walk rate and good K/BB rate.

Hentgen: One decent comeback season before flaming out. Age may have been a factor.

Riley: Don't know when he had his surgery and hasn't pitched enough at any rate.

Soriano: Too recent to tell.

Anderson: (The KC one?) If it was in 1996, no ill effects. If it was in 2004, too early to say.

Perez: Thoroughly inconsistent before, thoroughly inconsistent after

Thompson: Insufficient data

Wells: Not sure when he had it, but it must have been when he was still in the minors. 3-time All-Star, 9 time 15+ game winner, 8 times over 200 IP.

John: No ill effects.

If anybody knows of a full list of TJ patients or of a comprehensive of the success rate, I'd love to see it.

Mike Green - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 03:23 PM EST (#131271) #
I was not suggesting that Burnett is likely to fall apart. His ERA translated to the Toronto context is 4.00-4.25. The hope that he will improve from that is not a realistic one in light of the experience of other starters. David Bush is more likely to turn into Doug Drabek v.2 than AJ Burnett is to turn into Curt Schilling v.2.

The situation is very different for post-TJ relievers. Mariano Rivera and Eric Gagne are exhibits for that.
DepecheJay - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 03:37 PM EST (#131274) #
A few things on Burnett...

1) When are the Jays eligible to sign him? Is it a given that the Marlins won't offer arb? If so, should the Jays wait it out until the arb deadline or should the go for the glory and give up the pick in the process?

2) I think this potential move has to be looked at under the surface really. We've been talking a lot recently about the difference between a pitcher who is consistently going to give you a 5/6 ip 4/5 er outing and a guy that will occasionally get shelled but can also pitch some gems. I think this MIGHT be the case with AJ. Of course, for the price the Jays would pay, I'd want more, but still... I'm a big AJ fan so I'm biased.

3) Another part of looking at it under the surface is what it would show other FA's. It shows that this team is willing to spend money and that they want to contend. I think the Jays would be foolish to, at this point, swallow the money and just hold on to it for next year. I don't think they'll do that however.
MatO - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 03:47 PM EST (#131275) #
I acknowledge that Burnett's potential effectiveness is an issue. I just don't understand why he's more of an injury risk than any other pitcher as has been mentioned in the roundtable and at other times as a sort of point-of-fact.

I believe that Wells had his surgery in 1984. I remember seeing him in one of those Pearson Cup games against the Expos (1985?). They always brought up minor leaguers to pitch in those games.
westcoast dude - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 03:52 PM EST (#131277) #
Giles plus one other big bat is all the Blue Jays really need to get to the post-season. If they have to bid high for those two items, who cares? It's all we really need.
Going for a FA pitcher sends the wrong message to the farm.
Right now, the top one in the class gets a shots at the Show but that incentive disappears when the 8 figure salary pitcher appears, unless injuries mount up, in which case it's game over anyway.
Four Seamer - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 03:55 PM EST (#131278) #
I've gone back and forth on this several times, but I'm in favour of signing Burnett.

It's worth pointing out, however, that not signing him doesn't just mean saving another $12 million for the 2007 payroll. It effectively means giving JP an additional $24 million to spend next offseason.

Last year, Rogers announced a cumulative $210 million budget for 2005-2007. Assuming the Jays spent roughly $50 million last year, that leaves $160 million for 2006-2007. The assumption seems to be that the Jays will try and spend $80 and $80, but they could just as easily spend $70 and $90, or $60 and $100 (leaving aside any effect that would have on the next rolling budget). Since Burnett would be signed to a multiyear deal, whatever dollars you pay him come out of the 2006-2007 payroll (and beyond). Assuming he signs for an average $12 million over the next two years, he will account for $24 million of the $160 million available to JP over the next two seasons. If JP doesn't use all of the money available to him this year, he effectively doubles it up for 2007.
Dr. Zarco - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 04:03 PM EST (#131279) #
Some Chicago-area news that I haven't seen anywhere on the Box yet:

Frank Thomas had his contract bought out for 3.5M, leaving him a free agent (reported on

Chris Widger signed a 1-year deal, eliminating him from Jays second-string potential duty (Reported on ESPNRadio).

The Cubs have interest interest in a number or marquee free agents, including Furcal, Pierre, and namely are "strongly pursuing" AJ Burnett. They're a team I hadn't seen linked to him yet. So as we assumed, his list of potential mates is growing.
Mike Green - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 04:06 PM EST (#131280) #
Thanks, Dr. Zarco. The Thomas news was anticipated, but it's interesting to see it confirmed. Thomas would be a nice fit for the Jays.
VBF - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 04:09 PM EST (#131281) #
What's his injury status like? Is he going to be 100% for Opening Day next year with whom ever team he's with?
Jonny German - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 04:21 PM EST (#131282) #
His ERA translated to the Toronto context is 4.00-4.25.

Strictly speaking, a 117 ERA+ as Burnett had in 2005 would have been a 3.80 ERA for a pitcher playing half his games at the RC. There are of course a number of factors which mean he can't be expected to translate verbatim:

- Who will have the upper hand given his unfamiliarity with AL hitters?
- Is his pitching style well suited to the RC park effects?
- To what extent is his ERA defence-dependent?
- Will Brad Arnsberg have a positive effect?
- Will he feel pressure to justify a big contract?
- At 29 years old how much age-related decline should be expected?

Evaluation of these is of course largely subjective and the reason why reasonable minds can differ. Whether or not Burnett should be pursued and at what cost is also very dependent on what one thinks of the other Blue Jay pitchers. While I'm also high on Dave Bush, I don't think it's safe to expect a lot from Ted Lilly and I think Chacin's value has no where to go but down, so he should be traded. I prefer a 2006 rotation of Halladay-Burnett-Lilly-Towers-Bush over a 2006 rotation of Halladay-Lilly-Towers-Bush-(Downs/McGowan/Marcum) and an additional bat upgrade above and beyond my scenario.

Nigel - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 04:28 PM EST (#131284) #
I think the thing that's been lost in this debate about Burnett is that they Jays' pursuit may well be the result of an educated assessment of who the Jays may actually be able to sign. Sure power bats like Giles may be better choices based upon current needs but I suspect (based upon public statements previously) that Jays have next to no chance of actually signing him (notwithstanding his recent comment). As the Jays have no impact players ready to contribute next year (other than McGowan possibly) coming from their minor league system and they have money to spend, targeting someone who will make your club better (or at the very least will make another player tradeable (Bush; Lilly; Chacin; Towers) and who may acutally sign here makes some sense to me. In a perfect world in which you have an equal chance at landing most players (other than unusual circumstances where players want to play in one specific place see Washburn, Jarred) this strategy of focusing on signeability isn't as good as going after the most needed asset, but I think this may well be a strategy that JP has to go with right now and then figure out how to trade for other assets.
rtcaino - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 04:42 PM EST (#131285) #
""- Who will have the upper hand given his unfamiliarity with AL hitters?
- Is his pitching style well suited to the RC park effects?
- To what extent is his ERA defence-dependent?
- Will Brad Arnsberg have a positive effect?
- Will he feel pressure to justify a big contract?
- At 29 years old how much age-related decline should be expected?""

The man who may know that better than anybody is Mr. Brad Arnsberg himself. JP has made a habit of using "insider information" when considering who he drafts. I'm sure he will make an effort use Arnberg as a resource for any decision he makes regarding AJ.
Mike Green - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 04:43 PM EST (#131286) #
I used dERA for Burnett's projection in Toronto. It's actually closer to 4.25 than to 4.00. Chacin is very close to the same, and the concerns about him revolve primarily around the difference between his ERA and dERA. Not all defensive independent pitching stats are similar for Burnett; the Hardball Times' FIP was 3.08 in 2005 and 3.21 in 2004. Jonny's 3.80 number is probably better than mine as a reflection of Burnett's 2005 performance adjusted to Toronto, but 3-5 years at $12 million is over-the-top for that, bearing in mind the pitching talent in the organization.
slitheringslider - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 05:16 PM EST (#131288) #
I am in the Pro-AJ Burnett camp and I feel like that he has the potential to become the next Jason Schmidt. I don't feel like AJ is anymore of an injury risk than Halladay. Halladay has missed more time in the past two seasons than AJ (given that this year's was a freak accident). In comparison to the other big name free agent pitchers that signed in the AL last year (Clement, Pavano, Wright), AJ has better stuff than all of them. While a case could be made that the RC is a much more hitter friendly ball-park, Toronto overall had a better defence than Florida (although infield defence is debatable). AJ is also a strikeout/groundball pitcher, his GO/AO ratio for last year is 2.11, while the 03 + 04 season it was 1.4. Therefore, being in a hitter-friendly park may not affect him as much. Pitchers with 100mph fastballs and hammer-curves don't grow on trees, whenever there is an opportunity to sign one, we should. Besides, taking him away from the poisonous Marlins clubhouse would only help his psyche. Predicting him to be the next Jason Schmidt may be a little too much, but I think he could definitely emerge as as a #1A to Hallday.
greenfrog - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 05:33 PM EST (#131289) #
Maybe JP should skip the overpriced FAS, stick to a $50M payroll in 2006 and roll out a Yankees/Sox-busting $110M one in 2007. We could be team briefcase all over again. :)
Ron - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 07:07 PM EST (#131297) #
I might be alone here, but I'm actually really concerned about the Catcher position.

Zaun faded badly the final 2 months of the season at the plate. In September he only had one double. His Avg, OBP, SLG, and OPS has dropped 2 years in a row. He's going to be 35 years old next season and it would be foolish to even expect him to maintain last seasons performance. I'm not sold on GQ as the backup. If I'm the GM, there's no way I would hand over the backup job to somebody that hasn't even proved he belongs in AAA yet.

I would love to see the Jays go after Bengie Molina. Jeff Mathis looks ready to take over the job. Molina has really improved as a hitter and was even hitting 5th and 6th in the line-up for most of the season. And of course he's perhaps the best defensive catcher in the Majors. I would love to see him work with the young Jays pitching staff.
Flex - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 08:03 PM EST (#131298) #
You're right, Ron. Catcher isn't a position of strength, and I agree Benji would look great in Toronto. But Ricciardi has to count Zaun as one of his successes. And because he loves his intensity and work ethic, I think he'd be loathe to insult him by bringing in another number one. My prediction: any moves like that will come in 2007, depending on how Q does.

And if Q does okay, maybe he'll play a bit more and spell Zaun a bit so he doesn't fade so badly down the stretch.
Rob - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 08:44 PM EST (#131300) #
I'm not too concerned about Zaun's late-season fade.

He did have a heavy workload. Zaun was significantly behind only A.J. Pierzynski, Victor Martinez, Mike Matheny and Jason Kendall in terms of innings caught. Being sixth (1088 innings, just behind Varitek's 1089) in the major leagues in "squatting time" is nothing to sneeze at.

Yes, his second-half OPS was about 140 points lower than his first half, but the net result was still .251/.355/.373 with 11 homeruns and personal highs in most counting stats. This is the first time Zaun has cracked 110 games played or 350 AB, and he's only been above 85/200 once since 1998 -- last year. He's 35 years old, but his catching body is younger than that.

The best way to improve Zaun's 2006 production is to improve his 2006 backup. Can anyone be better than Huckaby?
King Ryan - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 08:54 PM EST (#131301) #
Can anyone be better than Huckaby?, me! Pick me!

Jokes aside, I think Ron makes a lot of points, and the Blue Jays should be careful with what they expect from Zaun. That said, I think it would be a slap in the face to Zaun to bring in a new number one when GGZ has been such a warrior for this team over the past two years.

NDG - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 09:16 PM EST (#131302) #
One thing to remember (as NFH somewhat pointed out earlier), free agent players are almost always óverpriced". This is because they aren't being paid market value, they are being paid the maximum value in the market (since the highest bidder wins). In fact, baseball is kind of odd in that no-one except marginal free agents get paid "what they're worth" in terms of production. 0-3 year players are vastly underpaid, 4-6 year players are paid slightly below they're worth, FA eligibles are óverpaid'. That's just the way the market goes, so expect any Blue Jay FA to be överpaid.
Ron - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 09:37 PM EST (#131303) #
It would be a bigger slap to the face of the paying customers/corporate sponsors/general fans if the Jays had a chance to upgrade the catcher position and didn't because of blind loyalty.

Zaun is a professional and he's a vet so he understands the business. There's always someone potentially lurking around waiting to take over your job. Heck Zaun did it to Greg Myers once he broke his ankle running the bases vs. the Twins. I think if given the choice, Zaun would welcome Molina in a Jays uni for the simple fact it gives the club a better chance to win the World Series.
DepecheJay - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 09:56 PM EST (#131304) #
Well said Ron.

The Jays are in a rare position, with the Sox/Yanks looking a bit vulnerable, to gain some ground on them. Who the heck cares about loyalty at this point?

At some point that stuff takes a backseat. If Molina wanted to come to TO at a fair price, you would have to look into it. Ron is correct, it'd be a slap in the face to the fans... which is way more important, if you didn't upgrade.
Twilight - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 11:25 PM EST (#131305) #
Consider the effect of this on the other players though. Bring in a replacement and delegate him to backup activities, and you're sending a negative message to players: work hard, do way more than what's expected of you, and you too will be replaced by another player from some other team. I would make sure that players don't see this as a disregard for their interests, because when you mess with your players they're not going to perform in the clothes they're wearing.

I agree that you can't let players decide who stays and who goes, but far too often companies go around distributing figurative slaps to the face and then wonder why their employee production (which is essentially their livelihood) dramatically declines. I've been a part of a few such companies. Work environment is often overlooked. I think they understand many times did they say publicly that Miggy's job was safe? They don't want him to feel like "blow a couple saves and you're out" and then either crack under the pressure of the brass or go out there mad and just throw the hitters some cookies.

On to AJ...they are going to have to sign players, and so far, Burnett sounds like the best choice they have so far. Any team can use a good starting pitcher, and especially with the Jays scraping around this year for anyone they could find... sure, Burnett might not be the great one everyone's hoping, he could decline BUT if this guy can pitch 200 innings and put up an ERA of 3.30 or better, then we've got a winner on our hands. There's nothing you can do with no risk. If you just pocket all the money and save it, what kind of players are you going to get on a 1 year contract? Offer them 4 years and you are expecting Rogers to continue the $80m payroll for a while--which I doubt they will if the Jays don't start contending soon.

JP wants a winning team and Rogers wants a winning team from JP. A lot of new fans have gotten into the team, and they want to see a strong team too. If we make a run for it and lose the division or wildcard by 1 game, hey, I'd say that's a pretty good team to watch.
Ron - Friday, November 04 2005 @ 11:53 PM EST (#131309) #
If you're a player and the GM brings in a better player than you, and you get upset then I question if you belong in professional sports period.

I agree with loyalty if it benefits the player and the team as a whole. I don't agree with loyalty to a specific player if it's detrimental to the club.

If the Jays sign AJ and Bush gets squeezed out of the rotation, should he be uspet at JP because he wasn't loyal to him? I would argue no because JP is trying to improve the club.
DepecheJay - Saturday, November 05 2005 @ 12:04 AM EST (#131310) #
Wanna talk about sending a bad message to the clubhouse? How bout Orlando Hudson's name CONSTANTLY coming up in trade rumors. Even Blair pinpointed a source within the Jays organization who said that whenever Hill makes a play, JP sees it as another reason to get rid of Hudson.

I think even his teammates are noticing it too, why else would Vernon constantly talk not about how great a fielder Dog is, but how great he is in the clubhouse and how the Jays can't afford to lose a leader like Hudson.

You want to talk about being loyal to players and sending the right message to players, forget Greg Zaun. The man who deserves a long term deal NOW is Orlando Hudson. This talk of trading him to get Eric Hinske, Russ Adams, Corey Koskie, AND Aaron Hill at-bats is nonsense. Where's Dog's job security?

I'm a big Zaun fan, but if the upgrade is available you go for it no matter what. Not doing so shows the fans that your not serious about winning.
R Billie - Saturday, November 05 2005 @ 12:05 AM EST (#131311) #
There is a lot of pitching talent in the organization. But very little of it is expected to be high impact talent. I think you have McGowan, Purcey, and maybe League, Rosario, and Romero. The other pitchers are projected by most to be 3rd or 4th quality starters.

But beyond the relatively few high impact prospects, there is the attrition rate where you don't know for sure who will make and how long they will take to make it. You have a good idea what Burnett might do this year and in the years following (assuming he stays healthy) as we're seeing estimates in low 3.00s to low 4.00s for ERA with about 200 innings pitched.

History shows with young pitchers that performance can be quite volatile. And many pitchers that have strong rookie seasons like Chacin (see Rodrigo Lopez) may not continue to be quite as strong. And some get injured and/or wash out altogether (see Carlos Hernandez).

If bringing in Burnett allows Bush, Chacin, Towers, or some of the many prospects to bring in hitters in trade, that's just as good as signing a hitters. We all want Giles or Konerko or Thomas. But so do a lot of other teams and the chances of getting even one of those guys is probably not great.
R Billie - Saturday, November 05 2005 @ 12:21 AM EST (#131312) #
Orlando Hudson does deserve a long term deal. But he's in his first arbitration year and circumstances on the team are such that there is a young player who could step into his role. In such an environment there is always going to be rumour surrounding the encumbent player.

Does it make more sense to move the younger, cheaper, player with upside who has less perceived market value? This happens on teams all the time. Do you think it's fair to Lyle Overbay or Jim Thome that the rumours fly non-stop?

I will say this...if the Jays are going to pay Shea Hillenbrand nearly $4 million for his 2005 performance and probably around $5 million for 2006, that's money I'd rather spend on Hudson if it means keeping one or the other. I like Shea but he's not so strong with the bat that I'd trade him for Hudson even up.

I would be surprised if Hudson was traded this off-season. I would also be surprised if he was signed to a long term deal. Does it make sense for this team with Adams and Hill floating around to lock in Hudson to Wells or Hinske type money for 4 years? I didn't think so before this year and I don't think so right now. I expect a one year deal and then wait and see.
CaramonLS - Saturday, November 05 2005 @ 01:19 AM EST (#131313) #
What does everyone think of "the other Giles" Marcus?

Rumor out of Atlanta a while back was that they wanted to deal him because they didn't want to fork out 6.5 million which he probably was going to make via arb.

His numbers have fallen the last 2 seasons, but he still hits a lot of doubles, and plays 2B.

Now, what would be the point of dealing for him?

1) Increase the likelyhood of Brian coming to Toronto
2) Provide real offense from 2B.

Not to mention we wouldn't be losing too much in the way of defense (he is a very good defender imo). What would it cost to grab him if Atlanta wants to deal?
Anders - Saturday, November 05 2005 @ 01:39 AM EST (#131314) #
"What does everyone think of "the other Giles" Marcus?"

I'd love to get Marcus Giles. That being said, we have a huge logjam of infielders, so I doubt JP would trade for another one. Especially given that he would cost a ton, given that he's still in arbitration for a while longer, and he was, according to win shares, the fourth best second bagger in the majors last year.
R Billie - Saturday, November 05 2005 @ 04:23 AM EST (#131316) #
I think Marcus can certainly be of interest to the Jays. Assuming the Braves don't have a replacement ready to step in for Giles, you can send them Orlando Hudson back as part of the package. Giles' salary will then be offset by whatever Hudson would have made in arbitration.

Then I would seriously look at trading Russ Adams or Cory Koskie (more likely Russ Adams) and inserting Hill at shortstop who I think is the better all around player, particularly on defence.

Not only that, but go after Ramon Hernandez to be your regular catcher with Zaun playing about 30 to 40 percent of the games and staying fresh.

So let's say about $12 million between Marcus Giles and Hernandez (minus O-Dog's salary). Good offence out of 2B and catcher. That leaves you around $18 million to add one more solid bat for the outfield (Brian Giles) and trade for a solid hitter for 1B/DH (Huff).

You don't get pitchers but you completely overhaul the offence and inject a lot of onbase and power at places where you didn't have much. The downside is you have to hope your pitching repeats and some young guys continue to step up.
andrewkw - Saturday, November 05 2005 @ 08:42 AM EST (#131317) #
Not that I really think anything would happen to bring him back but :

Looks like the Marlins are going to shop Delgado, I remember people saying the marlins heavily backloaded his contract so they could get him for one year cheap, and it looks like that could be true. He's owed 48 million over 3 years. If the Marlins would be willing to pick up enough so his contract averages 11-12 million instead of 16 million it would be a great idea. Not only for the jays but any team looking to sign Konerko. Consider Konerko wants a 7 year deal or whatever where as trading for Delgado even though older you only commit to 3 years + option. If you compare the 2 they really aren't that close. Konerko's career high in OPS was last year .909 to put that in perspective in Delgado's 04 injury season he was at .907

I wonder if he'd be willing to come back?
greenfrog - Saturday, November 05 2005 @ 11:08 AM EST (#131318) #
Delgado's not coming back. Although Delgado is still productive, his pricetag is too high (even if the Marlins pick up, say, a third of his contract) and JP is going in a different direction. Much as I admire Delgado's work ethic, I think his peak years are probably drawing to a close.

JP could sign Brian Giles to a three-year deal for about two-thirds the cost of Delgado's contract without giving up anyone in return (or a 1st-round draft pick).
HippyGilmore - Saturday, November 05 2005 @ 03:28 PM EST (#131324) #
Marty York may have tossed out his dumbest rumour ever in his column today in the Metro newspaper, and that's really saying something. On Paul Depodesta, Marty says his sources tell him he's looking for work in the CFL. While I was certainly interested to learn that Paul worked for Don Matthews back in the early 90's, I mean...I'd be absolutely floored, stunned, and incredulous if Paul went back to the CFL after being an MLB GM. I think Marty just wanted to throw something completely off the wall out there to see if anyone was listening...
Flex - Saturday, November 05 2005 @ 04:05 PM EST (#131326) #
2 + 2 = 683

Marty Math

skywalker95 - Saturday, November 05 2005 @ 06:10 PM EST (#131331) #
How about Mike Piazza to back up Zaun.

We can get mike for a pretty decent amount, stick him in as backup C / DH. It would make perfect sense for us if we can get him to accept something in the range of a 1 year 3-4 mill contract.
Magpie - Saturday, November 05 2005 @ 06:24 PM EST (#131332) #
I like Piazza, too, but I don't expect him to sign with anyone for a while. He (and Sammy Sosa) are in for a long winter of Reality Therapy.
Ron - Saturday, November 05 2005 @ 07:14 PM EST (#131333) #
It's been reported the Halo's have contacted Paulie's agent. If he signs with them, I wonder if they would be open to trading Kotchman. If Byrd and Washburn bolt, that leaves them with Colon, Lackey, Escobar, and Santana.

I would gladly flip Chacin and a prosepct (i.e. Banks, Marcum, Janssen, or Jackson) for Kotchman.

Overbay and Tracy are 2 other bats that might be available through trade.
Jim - Saturday, November 05 2005 @ 07:43 PM EST (#131334) #
'JP could sign Brian Giles to a three-year deal for about two-thirds the cost of Delgado's contract without giving up anyone in return (or a 1st-round draft pick).'

Anyone who wants to wager on the overall offensive production of Delgado versus Giles over the next three years, I'm ready.
Flex - Saturday, November 05 2005 @ 07:49 PM EST (#131335) #
By the way, fascinating reading in Jeff Blair's blog, which I don't think has been discussed -- essentially he doesn't think A.J. Burnett is coming to Toronto, largely because Burnett's wife is, according to one source, "a piece of work" and wants him to stay close to Baltimore, near her home base.

Blair includes this insight: "The untold fear on Blue Jays Way is this: what if we can't get anybody to take our money?"

I haven't seen him this negative before. If he's right ... hard winter ahead.
Jordan - Saturday, November 05 2005 @ 08:29 PM EST (#131336) #
Burnett wants a five-year contract?

Good night, Gracie. I hope the Orioles get him.

iains - Saturday, November 05 2005 @ 09:02 PM EST (#131337) #
Silly question time. Where's Jeff Blair's blog?
VBF - Saturday, November 05 2005 @ 09:26 PM EST (#131338) #
By the way, fascinating reading in Jeff Blair's blog, which I don't think has been discussed -- essentially he doesn't think A.J. Burnett is coming to Toronto, largely because Burnett's wife is, according to one source, "a piece of work" and wants him to stay close to Baltimore, near her home base.

I hope that Burnett realizes that moving to Baltimore means frequent visits from the in-laws. And if she's a nutbar, only more reason.

perlhack - Saturday, November 05 2005 @ 09:48 PM EST (#131339) #
Did anybody catch this, about the Real 2005 World Series? :-)
VBF - Saturday, November 05 2005 @ 10:36 PM EST (#131341) #
Not just that Jordan, but JP is apparantly willing to give it to him .

You may need to cover your eyes.

Dinner was nice, the basketball game was predictable (the Raptors lost) and both Burnett and his agent Darek Braunecker now know that the Toronto Blue Jays will not be out-bid. He can't say so publicly, but it's apparent that general manager J.P. Ricciardi will offer Burnett more money than any other team out there - although he'll have to sell president and chief executive officer Paul Godfrey on the five-year contract Burnett is seeking.

That's some pretty heavy stuff there. Either one of two things: JP is possessed by something and money has turned him mad, or he's *so* confident about Burnett and maybe knows something we don't. That last part seems stupid, but nothing's adding up here. At this moment I can't justify that amount of money or years. If anything, I would've expected it being the other way around, and Godfrey having to convince JP.

VBF - Saturday, November 05 2005 @ 10:45 PM EST (#131342) #
From the same article:

In the meantime, Ricciardi confirmed that the next big-name free-agent to visit Toronto will be Orioles closer B.J. Ryan, who will be in town sometime in the week following the G.M.'s meetings.

Landing Ryan might force Miguel Batista back into the starting rotation, which would be a backward but not entirely ineffective way of addressing the lack od depth in the starting rotation.

Mike Green - Saturday, November 05 2005 @ 10:45 PM EST (#131343) #
Blair includes this insight: "The untold fear on Blue Jays Way is this: what if we can't get anybody to take our money?"

I haven't seen him this negative before. If he's right ... hard winter ahead.

There's always somebody who'll take your money, one way or the other. The Marlins will happily offload Carlos Delgado's contract. The Twins will do the same for Torii Hunter's. The trick is to assemble packages that help you. It's not easy, but there usually is a way to spend money constructively. The Giles brothers is an interesting thought...Atlanta will need help at shortstop with Furcal's departure. I wonder if Hudson and Adams for Marcus Giles would fly.
King Ryan - Saturday, November 05 2005 @ 10:49 PM EST (#131344) #
I'm sure the Braves would rather use Wilson Betemit than trade for Adams.
Named For Hank - Sunday, November 06 2005 @ 12:03 AM EST (#131346) #
Anyone who wants to wager on the overall offensive production of Delgado versus Giles over the next three years, I'm ready.

We should create a Delgado-Giles Relative Production Index or something. Should it be weighted with their salary differential?
Rickster - Sunday, November 06 2005 @ 12:06 AM EST (#131347) #
Burnett for 5 years! That is insane. Let the O's have him and spend the money on bats for the next two years. Get Thome and Giles, cut Hinske and Koskie. Lineup:


That would be a major improvement for a couple of years, and would give the team a shot. AJ Burnett=Albatross waiting to happen.
greenfrog - Sunday, November 06 2005 @ 12:16 AM EST (#131348) #
'...a Delgado-Giles Relative Production Index'

Not a bad idea. I would argue that any comparison should include defense as well as offense. I'm not so sure that Delgado would be more valuable to the Jays than Giles--straight up.

Although Delgado clearly supplies more HR power, Giles walks more, strikes out far less, and plays better defense (at a position, RF, where replacement players are harder to find than 1B/DH). Giles can also steal a base on occasion (13 in 2005).
danjulien - Sunday, November 06 2005 @ 10:19 AM EST (#131350) #
Gammons in his latest articles has the top 6 minor league systems...and the Jays are number FIVE!

1. Los Angeles Dodgers
2. Los Angeles Angels
3. Arizona Diamondbacks
4. Tampa Bay Devil Rays
5. Toronto Blue Jays
6. Boston Red Sox
Andrew K - Sunday, November 06 2005 @ 10:58 AM EST (#131353) #
It's nice that Gammons rates the Jays' minor league system highly. I'd feel better if it were rated highly by someone with a bit more credibility in minor league talent evaluation, e.g. John Sickels.
Rookie Scribe - Sunday, November 06 2005 @ 01:38 PM EST (#131363) #
What about Cliff Floyd in LF? I think the Mets would deal him for one or two minor-league arms.
Ron - Sunday, November 06 2005 @ 02:43 PM EST (#131368) #
From rotoworld:

Angels GM Bill Stoneman suggested yesterday that it is unlikely Bengie Molina or Jarrod Washburn will return in 2006.
Washburn's departure has been expected, and the Angels haven't even talked to his agent yet. That the team seemingly won't make a strong bid to keep Molina is a surprise, but if Molina gets the $6 million per year he's looking for, the Angels would be smart to move on. They'll likely look to sign a veteran to a one-year deal. If that doesn't work out, Jeff Mathis could be given the job.

If Molina is asking for 6 mil a year, I would be dialing his agent. I'll glady fork over a 3yr/18 mil contract to the best defensive catcher in the Majors, a good hitter, and a player in his prime.
Jim - Sunday, November 06 2005 @ 03:43 PM EST (#131371) #
'He can't say so publicly, but it's apparent that general manager J.P. Ricciardi will offer Burnett more money than any other team out there -'

Well, there is really no way he could know that at this point. What if the Yankees offered 18 million for 5 year? Then could he outbid them?

This Burnett thing is crazy. His best season was a 121 ERA+ and he's 4 years removed from that. I've got no problem bringing him to Toronto, but being willing to do it at any cost is nuts.

Jabes - Sunday, November 06 2005 @ 04:26 PM EST (#131372) #
I totally agree with Wildrose. I think the Jays should let other teams overspend on Burnett's potential. It's not like he's Pedro Martinez, but it sounds like some teams are going to offer him that sort of money.

I'd rather focus in on Giles, overpay for him if you have to, we know what he can do, taking him out of Petco and putting him in the RC he's going to SLG at least .500. He instantly becomes the best hitter on the team and you replace much of the production you lost with Delgado.

I think it would be much more interesting to platoon Rios and Gross in RF, they're both fine definsively, then you'd be able to see which one if either of them was going to break out.
RhyZa - Sunday, November 06 2005 @ 04:47 PM EST (#131373) #
Somewhat surprisingly, Giles will be 35 at the beginning of next season, but it doesn't seem to be mentioned as much of a concern by anyone around here. Thoughts?
Jabes - Sunday, November 06 2005 @ 05:02 PM EST (#131375) #
I think Giles will still be a productive hitter for the next three years, at the very least he'll still have his amazing eye. The shift of ballpark to the RC would certainly soften his decline.

I don't know what the market is for Giles but it seems like you will be paying him 11 million or less which actually isn't bad for his level of production; it's less than Delgado will be making.

With Giles, unlike Burnett, you know what you are getting.

AWeb - Sunday, November 06 2005 @ 05:08 PM EST (#131376) #
Giles' age is definitely a concern. I think people are positive for a few reasons. He's been healthy. He's not shown a big dropoff yet (but he has dropped off some). At his current level, he's an elite hitter and a good defender. He's maintained his "speed", as evidenced by his SB totals. He walks a ton.

All of these things could be affected by his age soon. And probably will be. Rare is the 35-37 year old who produces like a 32-34 year old in baseball. But with a small decline each year, Giles is still a better hitter than anyone on the Jays as of now. As long as he doesn't drop off a cliff, he'll be a very good player next year.

Which is the main reason people want Giles and don't worry about his age too much; they want to win next year. Long-term free agent deals frequently look terrible by the final year of the contract, but with the budget increase, you have to take that chance, more than once hopefully. We (the fans) are in "Win now!" mode, it remains to be seen if the organization is too.
HollywoodHartman - Sunday, November 06 2005 @ 05:55 PM EST (#131377) #
If we lose out on Giles how about possibly persuing Nomar? He seems to be willing to play all across the field (SS, 3B, LF) and would be an interesting pick up for the right price.
King Ryan - Sunday, November 06 2005 @ 06:48 PM EST (#131378) #
Sorry to go a little OT, but we don't have hijack centrals or anything anymore so..

I'm just wondering when they announce the postseason awards...IE the Cy Young, MVP etc. Anyone know?
Cristian - Sunday, November 06 2005 @ 06:52 PM EST (#131379) #
Somewhat surprisingly, Giles will be 35 at the beginning of next season, but it doesn't seem to be mentioned as much of a concern by anyone around here. Thoughts?

What I find funny is that some of the people advocating picking up Giles are the same ones who don't want to take back Delgado because Delgado is apparently too old.

HollywoodHartman - Sunday, November 06 2005 @ 06:53 PM EST (#131380) #
AL ROY: Tomorrow
NL ROY: Tomorrow
AL CY : Nov. 8
AL MGR: Nov. 9
NL MGR: Nov. 9
NL CY : Nov. 10
AL MVP: Nov. 14
NL MVP: Nov. 15
greenfrog - Sunday, November 06 2005 @ 08:29 PM EST (#131381) #
I think Giles is fairly high-risk because of his age. Spending $10M/year (or more) for 3 years on him would be painful. But, as, Blair notes, it may be hard to get any premier players to come to Toronto. If we're going to overspend, Giles looks like a lower risk than Burnett at $10M per year for 4 or 5 years.

Delgado is also risky, because of his age and enormous contract. He plays a pretty clunky first base. And you have to give up talent to acquire him.

I'll be surprised if Burnett or Giles signs in Toronto. Especially Giles, who must be getting pretty used to west coast weather (and NL pitchers) after three years in San Diego.

For some reason, when I think of Burnett visiting Toronto, I think of the career advice that when you have several interviews, you should schedule the one you're least interested in first--that way you practice for the jobs that you want more badly.
R Billie - Sunday, November 06 2005 @ 09:19 PM EST (#131382) #
There may be something to that. But I don't think it applies in this case. Burnett is not trying to convince other people to hire him. People are pursuing him. These aren't interviews so much as schmooze fests.
R Billie - Sunday, November 06 2005 @ 09:26 PM EST (#131383) #
I'm also concerned with the seeming sign-Burnett-at-all-costs message that Blair seems to be gleaning from the front office. Even $10 million seems extremely extravagant as does 4 years. Anything more than that and you're pretty much in the territory of pitchers that actually ARE elite or at least have proven so recently. Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Tim Hudson, etc.

The Jays have to recognize their rotten luck in being in a poor free agent pool and adjust their sights accordingly. As much as I hate to skim from our prospect depth, if the plan is to spend money to compete in the next two years then I'm guessing you're going to get more value for the payroll dollar by trading for contracts.

Signing Burnett no matter how ridiculous his agent's demands are simply plays right into the problem of player salaries spiraling out of control in the first place. And I like Burnett. I just think his actual value should be around what Escobar and Clement got. A three year deal well under $10 million a season.
Mike Green - Sunday, November 06 2005 @ 09:43 PM EST (#131385) #
Happy birthday, Justin Speier. It's a lucky day for pitchers; Justin shares his b'day with Walter Johnson and John Candelaria.
John Northey - Sunday, November 06 2005 @ 10:20 PM EST (#131387) #
I'm beginning to wonder if there isn't other stuff going on with the Burnett talks. It is a widely stated item that his wife wants to go to Baltimore or near it plus Baltimore wants him and has tons of cash. Thus, the Jays odds of signing him seem remote. Perhaps a lot of what is going on is to help sign other free agents by showing the Jays are in the game and willing to do what it takes (5 years at $10 per). Eh, might just be reading too much into it. In the end it does seem JP has learned he will not get premium free agents without paying a big premium (ala Clemens back in the late 90's when Beeston paid more than any other pitcher had ever been paid to date to get him) and is acting accordingly.
Fawaz - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 01:23 AM EST (#131394) #
I am a believer in the Arnsberg Effect, just based on the progress made with the Jays' staff this year. Halladay was even better than he was in 2003, a number of relievers posted better numbers in 2005 than in 2004 (though one might have expected Frasor and Chulk to develop naturally) and Josh Towers was a stud. The notable exception was Lilly, but we heard plenty about how he was unwilling to listen to Arnsberg - this should not be an issue with Burnett.

Another point to consider is Arnsberg's success with walk rates, since that seems to be Burnett's Achilles heel. In 2004, Halladay, Speier, Frasor, Chulk, Towers, Lilly, Batista, Downs, Bush and Schoeneweis had a cumulative BB/9 of 3.51 (3.63 if we exclude Halladay, understanding his circumstances were unusual). In 2005, it was 2.46 (2.67 without Halladay).

To me, the players of interest are Batista (a player with great stuff and control issues) and Towers (a player who made huge strides at an age close to Burnett's). Batista's BB/9 went from 4.33 to 3.21, aided by the move to the pen, I suspect. Towers went from 2.01 to 1.24.

All of which is to say I still don't know if Burnett would make a good signing. The NL to AL move is one that frightens me. I would much rather see J.P. spend and spend extravagantly on hitting (see: Giles, Brian).
R Billie - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 03:34 AM EST (#131396) #
Well the interesting thing is that walks and runs scored in general were down across the major leagues. That's not to take anything away from Arnsberg because I really believe he made a significant positive impact. But there may be more at work than just mojo from Brad.

And I would like to see the Jays get Burnett. But these rumours of giving in to a demand of 5 years at more than $10 million a year has me worried. If this is what it's going to cost to get less than elite players here then the advantage of all this extra money isn't nearly as much as I hoped.
Anders - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 04:20 AM EST (#131397) #
Gammons in his latest articles has the top 6 minor league systems...and the Jays are number FIVE!

1. Los Angeles Dodgers
2. Los Angeles Angels
3. Arizona Diamondbacks
4. Tampa Bay Devil Rays
5. Toronto Blue Jays
6. Boston Red Sox

as Gammons mentioned in the article, this is only one teams list of systems - the Jays are probably not that good, and this list leaves out a team or two that should be there. The jays are probably in the 10-15ish range

Pistol - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 09:06 AM EST (#131402) #
I'm not all that concerned about the 5 year talk with Burnett, and as far as I've seen it's just from his side. I suspect it's just a starting point in negiotiations. If you're in his shoes why not ask for it? The worst that happens is that everyone says no.

He was quoted as saying he wanted to be 'happy for the next 4-5 years' so I think he even realizes that 5 years isn't likely.

Last offseason most pitchers were getting, at most, three year deals (four got 4 years - Pedro, Lowe, Pavano and Ortiz). The problem with the contracts of the late nineties and early aughts was more the contract lengths than the amounts. A lot of talk in baseball these days seems to be about 'financial flexibility' so I'd be surprised if any teams jump up to 5 years on a pitcher when it was rare to get 4 last year.

Of course, it only takes one team out of 30 to do it.
Pistol - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 09:10 AM EST (#131403) #
If you have money, they will be interested:

"A.J. Burnett has visited, B.J. Ryan will do so next week and now the agent for Mike Piazza has called J.P. Ricciardi to gauge the Toronto Blue Jays' interest in his client"

"I told [Lozano] it's too early for us to rule anybody out as a free agent," said Ricciardi, indicating he expects follow-up discussions. "I don't know what he [Piazza] has left in him . . . but it's not like we'd be paying him $10-million, anyhow."
Mike Green - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 09:26 AM EST (#131404) #
Here are the top 5 AL team defences, taking into account park adjustments, courtesy of BP. The White Sox were in their own stratosphere, with the Jays next. The simple changes of Hill for Adams at short, and Hillenbrand for Hinske at first, would result in a significantly better defence.
Jordan - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 09:26 AM EST (#131405) #
I like the Jays' farm system, but no way is it 5th in the majors. Upper half certainly, and if you like pitching depth, it might well be Top Ten, but that's all.

One thing to keep in mind, as the GM meetings open, is that 90%+ of what you hear and read this time of year is hot air. There are many people with a lot of interest in generating noise and heat regarding player transactions -- agents, primarily, with sportswriters a close second. I wouldn't read too too much into the speculation at this stage.

What does seem clear is that the Blue Jays are going out of their way to appear like major players this off-season. They're off to a good start in that regard with the Burnett, Ryan and Piazza courtings, and there are probably a few more to come. It's possible the Jays may be willing to strike early with a free agent simply to demonstrate to the market, "Hey, we're here, we're serious, come check us out." It's an approach that worked, to varying degrees, for the Angels and Orioles in recent off-seasons -- early moves generated a buzz about these teams and made them more attractive locales for players to consider.

I'd prefer if the player the Jays chose to make that kind of splash was a Ryan or a Millwood rather than a Burnett. But I've also been saying for months that the Jays need to roll the dice this off-season. Burnett wouldn't be the gamble I'd choose, but he would at least establish that the Blue Jays are players. High-risk moves are exactly that, and while Burnett's not the guy I'd start with, I'd give JP full marks for cojones if he pulled it off.
Gerry - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 09:33 AM EST (#131408) #
I think the Jays farm system is middle of the pack at best, and I am sure Baseball America will have the Jays in the #20 range. The reasons are that (1) the Jays promoted a lot of players to the majors in 2005, and (2) there are questions over most of the top ten, and few of them have the superstar potential that BA values.
Mike Green - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 10:11 AM EST (#131410) #
Evaluating pitching is the hardest, and most unpredictable, thing of all. The Jays' last 3 1st round picks, Ricky Romero, David Purcey and Zach Jackson, might contain the next Randy Johnson and the next Tom Glavine or might not. Arm health is probably the most important factor, and I have yet to read scouting reports that give much assistance in this.

Anyways, I'd consider the Jays farm system to be the top in terms of pitching, and probably near or at the bottom in terms of position players. Overall, it's a little below middle now.
MatO - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 10:34 AM EST (#131413) #
While I admire the work Sickels et al do compiling these lists you have to take them all with a grain of salt. The Dodgers have been at the top of these lists for years now yet I can't think of a player that has made a positive contribution to the ML team yet. They've had to fill voids through trades or FA signings. They had a troika of uberprospects a couple of years ago. Edwin Jackson has been so bad that he was sent down to AA to get his act together. Greg Miller didn't pitch for a 18 months. James Loney was nothing special in AA. They're all young and can still turn things around but nobody looks at them as top prospects anymore. Now the Dodgers have a new set of prospects who certainly are impressive, don't get me wrong, but as Mike Green implies all you need is one player to "get it" and you can turn these lists upside-down especially among pitchers.
Pistol - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 10:44 AM EST (#131414) #
I read this over at Baseball Analysts and don't know if any of us brought this up in regards to AJ:

"He finished the season ranked sixth in MLB in G/F ratio (2.42), eighth in K/9 (8.53), and fourth in HR/9 (0.52). His ability to induce groundballs and whiff batters is a rare combination."

Last year there were 19 (qualifying) pitchers with a GB/FB ratio of 1.65:1 or greater. Burnett was 6th, and there's quite a drop to #7.

Rk	Last	        Tm	G/F	K/G	BB/G	HR/G
1	Webb	        ARI	3.99	7.0	2.4	0.9
2	Westbrook	CLE	3.38	5.1	2.4	0.8
3	Lowe	        LAN	3.03	6.0	2.3	1.2
4	Mulder	        STL	2.88	4.9	3.1	0.8
5	Hudson	        ATL	2.83	5.4	3.1	0.9
6	Burnett	        FLA	2.63	8.7	3.5	0.5
7	Carpenter	STL	2.09	8.6	2.1	0.7
8	Lidle	        PHI	1.95	5.9	1.9	0.9
9	Wright	        COL	1.95	5.0	4.0	1.1
10	Maddux	        CHN	1.94	5.6	1.5	1.2
11	Pettitte	HOU	1.87	7.5	1.8	0.8
12	Zambrano	NYN	1.71	5.7	3.9	0.6
13	Zambrano	CHN	1.69	8.5	3.6	0.9
14	Marquis	        STL	1.69	4.4	3.0	1.3
15	Oswalt	        HOU	1.68	7.0	1.8	0.7
16	Johnson	        DET	1.68	4.0	2.1	1.0
17	Ramirez	        ATL	1.67	3.6	3.0	1.4
18	Clemens	        HOU	1.66	8.5	2.8	0.5
19	Morris	        STL	1.66	5.5	1.7	1.0

Taking the top 11 GB/FB pitchers (there's a dropoff after Pettitte) and sorting it by K/9, (plus Halladay who wasn't qualified) you get:

Rk	Last	        Tm	G/F	K/G	BB/G	HR/G
1	Burnett	        FLA	2.63	8.7	3.5	0.5
2	Carpenter	STL	2.09	8.6	2.1	0.7
x       Halladay        TOR     2.82    7.5     1.2     0.8
3	Pettitte	HOU	1.87	7.5	1.8	0.8
4	Webb	        ARI	3.99	7.0	2.4	0.9
5	Lowe	        LAN	3.03	6.0	2.3	1.2
6	Lidle	        PHI	1.95	5.9	1.9	0.9
7	Maddux	        CHN	1.94	5.6	1.5	1.2
8	Hudson	        ATL	2.83	5.4	3.1	0.9
9	Westbrook	CLE	3.38	5.1	2.4	0.8
10	Wright	        COL	1.95	5.0	4.0	1.1
11	Mulder	        STL	2.88	4.9	3.1	0.8
Of the extreme groundball pitchers Burnett has the best K rate. If you were only looking at GB/FB and K/9 Burnett arguably had the best combination this season. I suspect this is where the Jays see the most value in him (as opposed to Millwood, Washburn or Weaver). If Burnett could lower his walk rate he could be dominant (he'd look a lot like Carpenter and Halladay this year). Arnsberg did a nice job improving the staff's walk rate this season and perhaps he could also do the same thing with AJ.

Another interesting thing that I noticed was that the Marlins had an awful defense this year. According to James Click's PADE numbers at BP the Marlins were 28th in baseball (the Jays were #2). So perhaps a Florida to Toronto move wouldn't increase Burnett's ERA as much as one would think from moving to a NL pitcher's park to an AL hitter's park as Burnett is a GB pitcher and would have a better defense behind him.

And if you have two extreme groundball pitchers I suspect it would mean the Jays would be keeping Hudson around for at least several more years.

Cristian - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 10:49 AM EST (#131415) #
I also read the Baseball Analysts' views on Burnett. I must say, it made me feel much better about the Jays pursuit of Burnett.
Ron - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 10:59 AM EST (#131417) #
Once FA heats up I'll be interested in seeing the reaction from Jay fans (not just here)about the dollars/years given out. When the Jays had a payroll hovering around 50 mil a lot of people complained about the big spenders driving up prices. Now the Jays have moved to the other side in terms of payroll, I wonder if these same fans will complain about the salaries. After all if the Jays overpay, it will hurt teams like the Pirates, D-Rays, Royals, Brewers, A's, etc....

But something tells me these complaints will mostly vanish once it's "your" team that's signing the players.
Mike Green - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 10:59 AM EST (#131418) #
You wouldn't think that the Marlins' defence was that bad. Delgado, Castillo, the other Alex Gonzalez and Gold-Glove winner Mike Lowell (!) doesn't sound horrible. Juan Pierre, Miguel Cabrera and Juan Encarnacion should be at least average, you'd think. Win Shares show the infield as being average, but the outfield as being very poor. Hmm. Maybe Burnett wasn't hurt by the Marlins' defence as much as, say, Josh Beckett, who had a G/F of 1.2.
Cristian - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 11:50 AM EST (#131423) #
The issue isn't how much Burnett was hurt by his infield defence. Rather, it is how much of a benefit he obtained from playing in a pitcher's park. With his high gb/fb ratio, it would appear not to have been much. A solid Jays infield just adds to the hope that his numbers wouldn't inflate very much at Skydome.
Mike Green - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 12:04 PM EST (#131425) #
Burnett has had an ERA a run lower at home than on the road over the last 4 years. The park was helping.
Mike Green - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 12:27 PM EST (#131427) #
And the reason, it seems, is that the park seems to lead to an increase in strikeouts. Perhaps, there is poor visibility. Here are the numbers:

      Home                 Away
Year Team K AB Team K AB

2005 Marlins 479 2602 Marlins 439 2840 Opps. 624 2776 Opps. 501 2716

2004 Marlins 468 2629 Marlins 500 2857 Opps. 603 2761 Opps. 513 2693

2003 Marlins 478 2676 Marlins 500 2814 Opps. 627 2786 Opps 505 2695
Jim - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 12:59 PM EST (#131431) #
Tampa and Toronto could both do each other some good. Something like Jackson and a secondary arm for Bankston. Would give Tampa a solid back end of the rotation starter and a little more pitching depth while getting the Jays a first baseman with a live bat.

Craig B - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 02:17 PM EST (#131432) #
The simple changes of Hill for Adams at short, and Hillenbrand for Hinske at first, would result in a significantly better defence.

What!? Mike, don't you think that both of those changes would make the team defence worse? Hill's range isn't what Adams's is and Hillenbrand doesn't have Hinske's range either.

R Billie - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 02:17 PM EST (#131433) #
Bankston is an intriguing player but I think the Jays are looking for people that can help starting this year. Bankston is 21 and has just half a season at AA which was pretty good. But I think he's probably two years away from really being ready for the majors. Maybe another full year of AA and AAA.

If the Jays trade Jackson and more then I hope it's in a package to land them a quality major league player while they have the payroll to support him in 2006 and 2007.

Those defensive numbers are really interesting and I suspect they suggest how valuable Wells and Hudson have been to this team. And as Mike mentioned they further support my suspicion that Hill is the better choice to be the shortstop for the next two years. Which would leave Adams as trade bait for a team needing a young middle infielder. Royals?
Cristian - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 02:23 PM EST (#131435) #
How about the Braves who will probably lose Furcal, could use a leadoff hitting shortstop, and aren't sold on Betemit? Throw in Gross (who the Braves were interested in last year) and the Jays can grab Estrada (switch-hitting backup to Zaun, arb-eligible, and now behind Brian McCann in Atlanta) and Andy Marte.

That's a trade I'd like to see. Is this too one-sided? I guess it all depends on how highly one views Marte.
R Billie - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 02:31 PM EST (#131436) #
What!? Mike, don't you think that both of those changes would make the team defence worse? Hill's range isn't what Adams's is and Hillenbrand doesn't have Hinske's range either.

I don't think it's even a contest that Hill right now is a MUCH better fielder than Adams, no matter what the position. The difference in range between Hill and Adams isn't nearly as important as the difference in mechanics and throwing ability. Hill has a gun for an arm and pretty good fielding mechanics. His release is very quick and accurate and he can get a good throw off from an odd angle or flat footed if required.

Adams, to put it kindly, is close to a mess in the field. The extra step that Adams has in range isn't much good if the can't make plays out of what he reaches. I can remember a lot of times that Adams ranged far to a ball only to stumble and lose his balance while fielding it and not be able to get a throw off at all. Or worse, attempt to make a throw and make a terrible one. And much of it has to do with having to rush plays to compensate for his arm and poor footwork. I'm not even sure if a move to second base would help with this as simply approaching and fielding the ball and setting for a throw seems so awkward for him.

Adams has the tools to be alright if he improves dramatically on his mechanics. But I'm personally quite puzzled why a player with three years of college experience, and three years of minor league experience, and a reputation for sound all-around play looks so unsure out there.

I didn't think either Hinske nor Hillenbrand were great playing first base. If Hillenbrand is significantly better I'd be surprised but it's logical given I'd take Hillenbrand over Hinske any day at third base. So that's probably the case at first as well.

Mike Green - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 02:37 PM EST (#131437) #
My eyes tell me that Hill is almost as quick as Adams. He gets rid of the ball much more quickly and throws with much greater accuracy and power. In the result, he's better on the balls in the hole and coming in, about even on balls up the middle and in the air, and much better on the DP, both initiating and on the pivot. The statistical markers, flawed as they are and based on limited information, do support these observations.

Hillenbrand/Hinske is a closer call. My eyes say that they are about even getting to ground balls, and that Hillenbrand gets rid of the ball quicker on the 3-6-3. I don't have a solid opinion on who receives the ball better, but my inclination was that it was Hillenbrand.

Craig, I'd love to hear how you see these things. I take it that you don't agree on both counts.
R Billie - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 02:37 PM EST (#131438) #
The Braves are not trading Andy Marte, especially in a deal for Adams and Gross. Scouting wise and stats wise, he's one of the best prospects in baseball, bar none. Maybe the best.

Estrada would certainly be of interest if the Braves are considering dealing him. I'd be surprised since I'm sure they'd want veteran insurance for McCann.

Frankly, I think the Braves value defence up the middle too much to got with Adams as a shortstop. You probably need to find a team in need of a second baseman. Cincinatti might be such a team...I'm not sure who they have at second.
Jim - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 02:38 PM EST (#131439) #
'Is this too one-sided?'

In a word. Yes. In another word, extremely.
DepecheJay - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 02:49 PM EST (#131440) #
People are, in my opinion, VASTLY overrating Russ Adams' defense. The guy is a butcher at short. I think he'd make a fine 2nd basemen but I definitely would rather sign O-Dog long term. Adams' lack of arm strength kills him at short. The extra range means jack if you can't gun guys out after ranging to make the play.

I still can't forget the play where Ortiz was batting and the shift was on in Fenway. With Adams playing at his normal shifted position, Ortiz hit a slow roller to shallow right. Hill had it lined up, routine play... until out of nowhere Adams dives in front of Hill and in typical Adams fashion, stumbles before he can get off a throw. Hill and Gibby were puzzled to say the least and I believe Manny homered right after. A truly comical play.

As far as Shea is concerned, am I the only one who thought his defense was pretty damn good at 1st AND 3rd? I'd much rather have him on the club then Eric, who I think wore out his welcome a couple of seasons ago.
DepecheJay - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 03:01 PM EST (#131442) #
Whoever it was that said that fans don't care when it's their team spending the money is 100% correct. Quick, how many Jays fans would be upset if Rogers decided to up the payroll to 200 million. WHY, THAT'S RIGHT!! NO ONE!! Again, how many fans would boycott the Jays if Rogers decided that in order to win, he must spend loads of cash. As long as the guys he brings in for the big $ produce, NO ONE would care. We'd ALL be thrilled!
DepecheJay - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 03:03 PM EST (#131443) #
And this just in! Huston Street and Ryan Howard have been named the AL and NL Rookies of the Year.
Flex - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 03:19 PM EST (#131444) #
Wow. Consider the fact that Crosby won for the A's in 2004, and Hinske spent his last developmental year in the A's system, that's quite a run.
Four Seamer - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 03:50 PM EST (#131446) #
Hill's range isn't what Adams's is

Not only that, but based on their body types, I suspect this is a disparity that will grow over time. Hill's has pretty stocky legs, and I can easily see him growing into a fairly sturdy build that will pay dividends at the plate in terms of leg drive but will likely lessen his mobility in the field. Whether he hits enough to merit the position is an open question, but as far as I'm concerned he has third baseman written all over him. I think he'd be excellent on the corner.

As for Adams, he has his limitations in the field to be sure, but to describe him as a "butcher" strikes me as pretty plainly ridiculous. The Jays' overall defensive performance would would have been pretty difficult to achieve if some of the assessments of Adams' play here are to be believed.

VBF - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 03:51 PM EST (#131447) #
What!? Mike, don't you think that both of those changes would make the team defence worse? Hill's range isn't what Adams's is and Hillenbrand doesn't have Hinske's range either.

Just for the record, I asked JP on a WWJP exactly who he and Gibby thought was the better firstbaseman and he said Hillenbrand. I personally would rather see Hinske out there for defensive purposes, but the organization's stance is that Hillenbrand is better.

Mike Green - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 04:13 PM EST (#131449) #
I wouldn't describe Adams as a butcher either. I just think Hill is significantly better. He's 23, moves very well, has fine instincts, and throws very well. Both Adams (25) and Hill will lose speed as they age (don't we all?), but I don't agree that Hill is likelier to lose his speed or quickness than Adams.
Mike Green - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 04:18 PM EST (#131450) #
Oops. What I meant was: "I don't agree that Hill is likely to lose his speed or quickness faster than Adams."
Jordan - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 04:39 PM EST (#131451) #
The other thing Hill has over Adams at shortstop, at least at this point, is confidence. You can tell just in their approach -- I'm not saying that Adams is playing scared out there, but Hill plays the position like he owns it. Hill may well end up at third base eventually, but I think he can handle shortstop for a few years yet.

Barring trades, Adams will begin the year at shortstop and lead off, and Hill may well start off at Syracuse. But Adams' bat is his ticket to the starting lineup, and he has to show that his late-season struggle was only a rookie slump, not an inability to adjust to the pitchers. With Hill in the wings, I don't think he can afford another slow start.
Pistol - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 04:46 PM EST (#131452) #
For what it's worth, BP's defensive numbers for the Jays this season as measured by 'Rate'. (Rate - A way to look at the fielder's rate of production, equal to 100 plus the number of runs above or below average this fielder is per 100 games. A player with a rate of 110 is 10 runs above average per 100 games, a player with an 87 is 13 runs below average per 100 games, etc. Also note that 10 runs is considered the equivalent of 1 win.)
Johnson   109 (LF), 104 (RF)
F-Cat     107
Rios      107
Wells     106
Gross     110 (LF), 107 (RF)

Hudson    114
Koskie    105
Hill      100 (SS), 106 (3B), 120 (2B)
Shea       99 (1B),  98 (3B)
Zaun       97
Hinske     94
Adams      82
I've never thought that Adams looks horrible in the field, but statistically it doesn't appear good. First base and catcher is fairly neutral and the other positions are a strength, so I think it's certainly possible that Jays are a great defensive team despite playing Adams at short.
Craig B - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 04:50 PM EST (#131453) #
Adams started off the year extremely well, but I do agree that "butcher" sums up his August and September pretty well. I thought he was terrible as the year went on.

I think he'll be back to show his early-season form. But what do I know.

Right now, I'm just over the moon because Mark Cuban may be interested in buying my favorite NL team, the Pittsburgh Pirates. Thanks to all of you who pushed me towards the Pirates earlier this year - year one was fun.
Rob - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 05:59 PM EST (#131457) #
F-Cat     107
Rios      107

Does that mean Cat and Rios were equivalent fielders in 2005?

HollywoodHartman - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 06:20 PM EST (#131458) #
"The agent for Mike Piazza has called the Blue Jays to gauge their interest in his client says Toronto's Globe and Mail. "

I think he'd be a pretty good pickup, with a low base salary + bonuses
Ron - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 06:31 PM EST (#131460) #
I noticed nobody asked JP about the glut of INF's at the season ending press conference.

The Jays have Hudson/Adams/Hill to fill q positions.

On WWJP he boldly mentioned Hudson wasn't going anywhere next season. He also said either Hill is going to start with the big club or start at AAA. Either way he won't be a utility player next season. It seems like Adams is the odd man out. The problem is I don't see him having much trade value. His defence is terrible and his OBP is .320. He also had his power zapped once he moved into the leadoff position. I'm not sure the Jays want to make him a utility player so early in his career.

This should get interesting............
HollywoodHartman - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 06:38 PM EST (#131461) #
Sorry to highjack the topic. But I've heard there are numerous updates coming to the RC for next season. Including making Windows accessible during the game. If anyone knows the extent of the renovations (with preferably a link ), please let me know

Thanks :)
rtcaino - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 06:39 PM EST (#131462) #
F-Cat 107
Wells 106

Does that mean F-Cat is better defenivly than Wells?
R Billie - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 06:50 PM EST (#131463) #
Guys, the numbers don't lie. Adams just isn't very good out there. I think he appeared serviceable early in the year but as the year went on his weaknesses became more and more apparent as he handled more opportunities.

Again I think a lot of the problem is mechanical but he's also not ideally suited to the position in terms of arm strength. If he's not great mechanically then he's always going to struggle to be even average. As it stands now he's among the worst regular shortstops in the majors at fielding his position and he's 25 years old. I think he has to improve to great mechanically to even be average.

As far as Aaron Hill's body type not being suited to the position...well that issue can be addressed when the time comes. If the Jays want to spend money and win as many games as possible for the next two years then all that matters is who is the best fielder today. And that's Hill by a significant margin. By the time 3 or 4 years pass and his body maybe becomes an issue, the Jays will have had time to find someone for the future.

The big question is what is to be done with Adams. I don't know. I like his potential with the bat as a middle infielder but that doesn't matter much if he costs you as much as two wins on defence alone as BP suggests.
zinger1453 - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 06:52 PM EST (#131464) #
About all this talk about V-Dub going to the Yankees...I don't think that the jays are going to move Wells, especially to the Yankees. I've heard that Torii Hunter could be on the move, and a possible trade with the Yankees doesn't seem too dumb. Robinson Cano would help Minnesota's terrible infield.
R Billie - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 06:53 PM EST (#131465) #
RE: F-Cat versus Vernon or Rios.

Remember that the stat is comparing people within their position. Vernon is being compared to everyone else who plays centerfield which has a higher standard than the corner positions. And Rios plays where outfielder generally have good arms which is a higher standard than left field.

That said, I think Cat is a fine left fielder. Not a great thrower but he reads and tracks balls reasonably well and he has some decent wheels for a guy not lauded for his speed or range.
CeeBee - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 07:09 PM EST (#131467) #
As for Hill's body type not being suited to shortstop..... wasn't a guy named Ripken a pretty decent shortstop for a lot of years? :) Seems to me he didn't have a shortstop build either ;)
JB21 - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 09:33 PM EST (#131474) #
Ripken was tall, and lanky. That wasn't the built for a SS then, but guys like A-Rod changed that. A-Hill is built like a bowling ball, which is pretty opposite to Ripken Jr.

There are some SS's out there who don't have very athletic bodies, Uribe is one that comes to mind.
Nolan - Monday, November 07 2005 @ 10:50 PM EST (#131476) #
There seems to a lot of people who are of the opinion that Adams is not the answer at shortstop for the Jays. I'm just not as convinced as most, I guess. In the games that I watched this year, I also noticed many of the negative qualities that have been pointed out. However, I saw enough from Adams that I think he'll be an above average ss, both in the field and at the bat.

He's seems to have plenty enough speed and range; with enough work with Butterfield, I see no reason he couldn't be a better fielder than Eckstein.

With the bat, there were times during the season that he really impressed me with his ability to hit the ball hard and control the strike zone [what in the world does "control the strike zone" mean? I just assume that it has something to do with being able to be selective and identify the hittable base or close?].

Maybe I'm just kidding myself, but I think h Adams is going to surprise a few people next year after learning the ropes this year.

Cristian - Tuesday, November 08 2005 @ 12:30 AM EST (#131479) #
About all this talk about V-Dub going to the Yankees...I don't think that the jays are going to move Wells, especially to the Yankees.

All right. I'll take the bait. There is no "all this talk" about Wells going to the Yankees. There was one myopic article written by a third rate NY columnist on at a fifth rate paper who thinks that the 29 other MLB teams exist for the sole purpose of sending the Yankees any player they desire. The article mentioned Cano as the guy the Jays would be interested in. It doesn't make any sense as the Jays are set with a Glove Glove winning 2B. And as opposed to the Yankee Gold Glove winner, the Jays Gold Glove winner deserved his award.

Jim - Tuesday, November 08 2005 @ 10:25 AM EST (#131493) #
Lifted from the ATM REPORTS.

"Jim Bowden and Jim Beattie will interview for the Red Sox GM job."

As someone who lives in New England and hates the Red Sox, that would be the ultimate Christmas present.

fozzy - Tuesday, November 08 2005 @ 10:33 AM EST (#131495) #
BREAKING NEWS: Phillies pitcher Ugueth Urbina has been arrested on charges of attempted murder.
VBF - Tuesday, November 08 2005 @ 10:40 AM EST (#131496) #
On the various FAN590 shows on, the rumour is that the Dodgers are looking at former Yankee assistant General Manager, Kim Ing (sp?).

She could be the first woman GM in baseball.

Re: Ugeth Urbina: That's extremely surprising even though we all knew there were some serious familt complications going on.
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 08 2005 @ 10:49 AM EST (#131497) #
The next time a teenager starts fiddling with their I-Pod at the RC, don't assume they're bored..they might just be better informed than you.

Warning to the scoreboard manager: you have competition.
Wildrose - Tuesday, November 08 2005 @ 11:10 AM EST (#131501) #
Here's Blair's latest. Damn he's good.
Jordan - Tuesday, November 08 2005 @ 11:57 AM EST (#131506) #
I really wish the Globe would create an RSS feed for Blair's blog -- it's crazy that they don't even give him a separate page, so there's no way to know when his blog has been updated. Hopefully, they'll fix that soon.

Unsurprising that the Cards may have the early inside track on Brian Giles. He'd be a perfect fit for that ballclub, and playing in St. Louis is like catnip to veteran free agents. My guess is the Jays would have to seriously outbid the Cardinal for Giles' services, and St. Louis isn't exactly short on cash. Giles-Edmonds-Pujols-Rolen? Wow.

I'm glad to hear the Jays aren't seriously considering Piazza as anything more than a platoon player -- and I'd love to see them land Hill or Martin. Quiroz is doing okay in the AFL, but between his youth and Zaun's age, there's a lot of uncertainty at catcher.

Looking forward to reports from the GM meetings, although with free-agent season not opening till the 11th and the Jays indicating they'll sign FAs first and make trades later, we have a few more fun days of rumour ahead of us yet.
costanza - Tuesday, November 08 2005 @ 12:13 PM EST (#131508) #
From Blair:

The next individual award to be doled out by the BBWAA is today's AL Cy Young Award and I had one of the two votes out of the Toronto chapter. I voted for New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera;

From Griffin:

My vote this year was for today's AL Cy Young? I chose Bartolo Colon, Mariano Rivera and Johan Santana. I have never voted a closer at No. 1 and never will.

Damn he's.... well, I won't say "good". :)

Cristian - Tuesday, November 08 2005 @ 12:27 PM EST (#131509) #
I wonder how Griffin can justify not giving a closer a first place vote but giving a closer a second place vote. If he really doesn't think closers deserve the Cy Young, shouldn't he keep them off the ballot entirely? If Rivera wins and the margin of victory is a second place, how does Griffin live with himself?

I've said it before and I'll say it again, democracy simply does not work.
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 08 2005 @ 12:36 PM EST (#131511) #
FWIW, BP's metrics show Rivera at 39 pitching runs above average (PRAA) and 77 pitching runs above replacement (PRAR). Colon's numbers are 17 PRAA and 77 PRAR. Rivera's runs saved were presumably in higher leverage situations. Santana had significantly better numbers than Colon.

Griffin's position is a little too categorical. An excellent starter throwing 200 innings is more valuable than a superior closer throwing 75. If Halladay had not been injured, he would have been an easy winner. But this season, there were, arguably, no excellent starters throwing 200, or even 180. That is unusual.
Nick - Tuesday, November 08 2005 @ 12:38 PM EST (#131513) #
Jordan, while St. Louis may not be short on cash, it doesn't necessarily mean there is ample payroll room. It seems that there is some discontent in StL that the owner is pocketing profits and not planning on reinvesting in the team in 2006 despite a new stadium. Ownership plans to hold the line on payroll at $90 million. The Cards already have $72 million committed toward next year, $77 million if they offer Marquis arbitration. So Walt Jocketty has somewhere between $13-18 million to fill 2B, LF, RF, bullpen help, and an SP if they non-tender Marquis (unlikely). This is all correct, of course, assuming this columnist is correct:

Point being: don't buy your Brian Giles Cardinals jersey just yet!

To somewhat defend the Wells-to-Yanks speculation poster, Steve Phillips mentioned it on SportsCenter and I believe Tom Verducci has also speculated. The speculation is still ridiculous and blatantly inaccurate, but it is more widespread than just the NY Post.
Wildrose - Tuesday, November 08 2005 @ 01:25 PM EST (#131516) #
Blair keeps mentioning Rondell White's name. Not sure if the Jays are interested or that Blair is stumping for a player he admires from his days with the Expos. When healthy White seems to have some value, although the Tigers always seem to have plenty of money to spend, so he'd be a tough sign.

I'd say the Jay's off season plan revolves around signing one impact player (Burnett? ), then filling in at the margins with lower tier free agents and with trades.

Jordan - Tuesday, November 08 2005 @ 01:36 PM EST (#131518) #
Thanks for the update, Nick -- interesting stuff. I had assumed that the new stadium would have meant boatloads of cash for the Cards, but if it's going right back into the owner's pockets -- not that there's anything wrong with that -- then they're perhaps less of a threat.

Still, everything I'm reading indicates that spending will be up all over baseball. Between new cash flowing in to ballclubs from another new media deal and a number of other teams giving the go-ahead to raise payroll, it seems it's going to be a seller's market this off-season. Rogers' cash infusion is important and very welcome, but as things are shaping up now, it might be just the price of admission in the new marketplace, rather than a huge advantage over the competition.

I still think that the key to a contending Blue Jays club in 2006 will lie along the trade route, rather than through free agency. But as has been pointed out above, if FA signings free up incumbent players to be dealt away in trades, all the better.
Ron - Tuesday, November 08 2005 @ 02:02 PM EST (#131520) #

- The Yanks are gauging the trade interest for Posada
- The Yanks have no interest in trading Cano for Torii Hunter

Hey didn't we hear last year that the Yanks had no prospects in the system? And of course they produce Wang and Cano (who looks like a stud).

- Looks like the AJ bidding war will get crazy with 21 teams expressing some level of interest. Let's see which GM has the balls to offer AJ a 5yr/75 mil contract.
Jim - Tuesday, November 08 2005 @ 02:40 PM EST (#131527) #
'Cano (who looks like a stud).'

Ummmmm.... stud is a bit strong.
King Ryan - Tuesday, November 08 2005 @ 02:57 PM EST (#131528) #
Let's see which GM has the balls to offer AJ a 5yr/75 mil contract.

Um, I hope JP doesn't take this the wrong way, but I kind of hope he's fixed.

greenfrog - Tuesday, November 08 2005 @ 05:31 PM EST (#131534) #
$75M would certainly buy Burnett "four or five years of happiness" :)
Petey Baseball - Tuesday, November 08 2005 @ 07:01 PM EST (#131536) #
I think a lot of Bauxites are undervaluing Russ Adams. He's never going to be a 30 home run guy, but he'll hit his fair share and get a good amount of double's, while being a patient and difficult out. He also runs well and appears to be very durable (not getting hurt). As long as his defence improves, (much like Hudson's did) after the rookie year, this guy could be the glue to a very good Blue Jay team. You can expect his production to improve significantly this coming season. And as with good players, he will continue to get better from years 2-9.
JB21 - Tuesday, November 08 2005 @ 07:04 PM EST (#131537) #
Just read this on yahoo sports...... Is Phillies first baseman Jim Thome tradeable? Here's one executive's take: "We need a bat, but there's no way we'd take that kind of risk.''

Sounds like something JP would say.
CaramonLS - Tuesday, November 08 2005 @ 08:33 PM EST (#131539) #
More like any GM in the league.

Unless you are getting Thome for less than 7.5 million a season and not giving up anything of value, then maybe, you consider him.

However, he is a huge risk.
Nick - Tuesday, November 08 2005 @ 10:25 PM EST (#131540) #
I agree, Jordan. I think the Jays will find it very difficult in this free agent market. The market is overwhelmingly in favor of the few good players out there. I think we will see some unbelievable contracts. Despite the difficulties, I am still setting the bar high for JP. This is the most important winter for Toronto baseball in quite some time. Sure, there might be some difficult decisions, but that's his job. I guess I'm stating the obvious but we're running out of things to say. The wait to see what happens won't be much longer.
R Billie - Tuesday, November 08 2005 @ 10:44 PM EST (#131541) #
It's not an easy position. It's hard to hold off until next season too which is impossible to predict from this far away. But I'd rather hold off than sign players like Rondell White to more than one year deals.
Ron - Wednesday, November 09 2005 @ 02:22 AM EST (#131544) #
While this is a weak FA class compared to last season there are still numerous players that could help the Jays win next season.

Just off the top of my head I can think of:

Burnett, Morris, Washburn, Weaver, Ryan, Wagner, Konerko, Giles, Damon, Furcal, Matsui, Nomar, Milwood, Molina, and Piazza

Besides FA is not the only way to improve the club. JP can obtain players through trades. JP is armed with amples of payroll flexability (The Jays are probably going to have the biggest increase in salary in all of MLB next season)and prospects that can be dealt. JP has said the time to win is next season. I believe the same thing. I'm not going to buy any excuses as to why the Jays couldn't put together a team that can make the playoffs/challenge for a playoff spot next season.

Ron - Wednesday, November 09 2005 @ 03:30 AM EST (#131545) #

"Teams are lining up to speak with Daniels about outfielder Kevin Mench, whom the Rangers could deal for pitching help. In just two days in the California desert, Daniels has spoken with at least four clubs who have expressed interest in Mench. On Tuesday, the Toronto Blue Jays joined a mix that already included Kansas City, the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh.

Toronto has discussed the possibility of either 22-year-old righty Brandon League or ground-ball demon Miguel Batista and perhaps outfielder Alexis Rios."

I would flip League or Batista and Rios in a heartbeat for Mench. Everybody already knows my feeling on Rios. Dumping Batista's salary would be great and League was simply awful this season. While Mench would provide the Jays a corner OF with power. I would love to see Mench in a Jays uni.
Justin (T-Birds) - Wednesday, November 09 2005 @ 04:53 AM EST (#131546) #
You always have to be wary of Texas hitters though; that ballpark has a huge impact. From 2002-2004, Mench put up the following splits:

Home (582 AB): 289/356/514
Road (538 AB): 262/315/476

In 2005, he went:

Home (278 AB): 273/340/486
Road (279 AB): 254/317/452

Factoring in defense, I think that he'd be worse than a Catalanotto/Johnson platoon again. I'd trade Batista for him (since I don't think he's worth his salary), but there's no way I'd do League or Rios for him straight up at this point.

While he'd certainly be an upgrade on Rios' production the past two years, combining Rios' defence with my optimism that he'll improve offensively, I'd stay away.
CeeBee - Wednesday, November 09 2005 @ 07:39 AM EST (#131550) #
I'd trade Batista but most certainly not League or Rios. Maybe throw in a minor league B prospect or 2 but the home road splits are enough to convince me to be wary.
Chuck - Wednesday, November 09 2005 @ 08:21 AM EST (#131554) #
For wont of a better place to post this... Baldelli signs extension.

Maybe it's just me, but I'd rather know for sure that my center fielder can still play center field after a knee injury before considering pencilling him in long term.

zinger1453 - Wednesday, November 09 2005 @ 04:32 PM EST (#131621) #
I totally agree with you on not getting rid of Rios. I believe he has the potential to hit 20 HR, knock in 75 runs, and steal some bases next year. He has a smooth swing too, he just has to learn how to make adjustments when guys pitch him inside. In a game this season against the Mariners, his swing was shown in a split screen with Richie Sexson's...they were just about identical
Ken MacDonald - Friday, November 11 2005 @ 10:15 PM EST (#131893) #
With Quiroz looking more and more like a fading prospect in the lines on Cash,Phelps,Brown,Mosquera or S.Martinez. It may be time to start looking for Zaun's back up now! Maybe they would look into bringing in M.Piazza in a DH/1B/Back up catcher role. The biggest problem with a move like that is that they would have to have a roster spot reserved for a 3rd string catcher on the days that both Zaun and Piazza would be in the starting lineup. Anyone have any thoughts on that?
Jays Roundtable, Part III: The Offseason | 172 comments | Create New Account
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