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Josh Towers and Russ Adams have been sent to AAA. The Jays must have a special deal on the AAA shuttle or they want the frequent flyer miles but the shuttle has been busy this year. Jason Frasor, Vinnie Chulk, Shaun Marcum, Dustin McGowan and now Towers and Adams have all been sent down to AAA.

UPDATE: Sportsnet is reporting Adams will play second base in Syracuse.

Josh Towers has been unable to find his control this season. Tonight his pitches were in the middle of the plate and very hittable, as he has pitched all season. Towers cannot survive in the middle of the plate. Like Frasor and Chulk before him Towers needs to find his control in AAA. Jason Frasor is under a AAA watch as well and survived tonight because Towers was worse.

Adams is going down to work on his fielding and I would guess Adams will be back before Towers. Adams needs a couple of weeks to practice his throwing and get comfortable again making the plays in the field.

The Jays have not announced their replacements, Vinnie Chulk and Sergio Santos are the most obvious choices. With Ty Taubenheim pitching Sunday the Jays don't need an extra starter for a couple of week. If Taubenheim pitches well this week then he can fill Towers spot, if not then the Jays can get by with four starters for a couple of weeks with an off day next week. Sergio Santos could come up to back up John McDonald and make a few starts, otherwise he sits at Syracuse to let Russ Adams play.

Another quick hook from JP.

Towers and Adams head south | 138 comments | Create New Account
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DepecheJay - Wednesday, May 24 2006 @ 10:56 PM EDT (#147498) #
Quick hook?  Huh?

Towers stayed around with the Jays MUCH LONGER than he would have on any other team in serious contention and Adams really wasn't doing much with the Jays so why not give someone else a try.

I love both of these moves.

The_Game - Wednesday, May 24 2006 @ 11:01 PM EDT (#147500) #

This team isn't going to leave John McDonald and Sergio Santos to start for this team. Something is most definitely up. I wouldn't be surprised if a trade for a middle infielder (Kennedy?) is announced in the next 24 hours.

And great news with Josh Towers. He's finally finished, hopefully he doesn't show up in a starter's role again with this team. If he does than that will mean we are no longer in contention.

And with both of these moves, they were most certainly not quick hooks.. 

CaramonLS - Wednesday, May 24 2006 @ 11:04 PM EDT (#147501) #
You gotta believe there is a move coming and a player coming in from the outside, maybe the Hillenbrand/Kennedy rumor has some teeth to it, but I can't see Santos/MacDonald up in the bigs.  Santos is hitting .214/.226/.282 in 131 ABs in AAA this season, it just isn't going it in the bigs, not even close.  I mean you can get by on that tandem for say a week or so, but you can't go much more than that with those 2.

I know you have to get defense from your SS, but you at least have to hit a little bit.

Russ Adams clearly has some issues he needs to work out, and I think he is going to need more than just a quick stay in the minors which leads me to beleive that something bigger than Santos would be on the books.
jjdynomite - Wednesday, May 24 2006 @ 11:08 PM EDT (#147502) #
Santos, he of the .500 OPS and 25 SOs to 2 BBs?  Yikes.  Can Hinske play Short?

But seriously, I am sure we are going to be waking up either tomorrow or Friday (since tomorrow's an off-day) with a new 2B or SS.  Beyond the Kennedy/Angels connection, would it be too incestuous to trade Shea and cash for O-Dog?
King Ryan - Wednesday, May 24 2006 @ 11:24 PM EDT (#147503) #
I feel bad for Towers.   He really had a great season last year and never gets props for it.  Everybody I talk to and read on the Internet seems to think that he's this horrible pitcher when he really isn't.  That said, something is wrong this year and enough was definitely enough.  I wish him the best at finding his groove at AAA.

As for Adams, well, I hope JP has some tricks up his sleeve because I am not ecstatic about watching John A McDonald for the next few weeks. 

Not that I'd be able to watch anyways...

CaramonLS - Wednesday, May 24 2006 @ 11:26 PM EDT (#147504) #
Correct you are Ryan, Friday's game is also on Rogers Preview.  Ug.
Named For Hank - Wednesday, May 24 2006 @ 11:27 PM EDT (#147505) #
And great news with Josh Towers. He's finally finished, hopefully he doesn't show up in a starter's role again with this team. If he does than that will mean we are no longer in contention.

So in your opinion there is no way he'll ever return to his form prior to this year?  What is it, a permanent, debilitating injury?  Let us all know what makes you so certain.

Personally, I don't find the failure of a likeable guy to ever be "great news".  I'm pulling for him to turn it around.
dan gordon - Wednesday, May 24 2006 @ 11:30 PM EDT (#147506) #

It's about time they jettisoned Towers.  The Jays like to think of themselves as contenders to beat out the Yankees and/or Red Sox.  Can you imagine either of those teams giving 10 starts to their number 4 or 5 starter if he was pitrching as poorly as Towers?  I sure can't.

Neither can I imagine the Sox or Yanks sticking with a shortstop whose throwing had become as bad as Adams'.  Ten errors already, despite not playing in every game, plus who knows how many errors saved by Overbay at first.

The play of these two guys was getting so bad it was embarrassing.  Good to see they didn't wait half a season to correct the situation like they did with Joe Lawrence a few years back when they had Hudson sitting at AAA. 




Named For Hank - Wednesday, May 24 2006 @ 11:34 PM EDT (#147507) #
I'll be glad when the Memorial Cup is over and we get a proper slate of baseball television coverage again.
The_Game - Wednesday, May 24 2006 @ 11:34 PM EDT (#147508) #

King Ryan, I don't think many people forget about Towers' great season last year. He basically kept this team above .500 at the end of the year with his string of wins. He even ended with the best ERA in the AL East. But it isn't last season anymore. A change had to be made.

King Ryan - Wednesday, May 24 2006 @ 11:36 PM EDT (#147509) #
The Yankees gave 13 starts to Jaret Wright last year, and the Red Sox gave 283 at-bats to a struggling Mark Bellhorn.  So, yes, I can see it happening.
Gerry - Wednesday, May 24 2006 @ 11:50 PM EDT (#147519) #
Sportsnet is reporting that Adams will play second base in AAA.  Will Aaron Hill get some starts at shortstop for the Jays?
Magpie - Wednesday, May 24 2006 @ 11:56 PM EDT (#147522) #
Don't any of you remember what he said the last time he was sent to AAA by Toronto?

He said he was pitching for the other 29 teams now. Which is usually a pretty safe assumption to make when you've just been designated for assignment. I don't understand how anyone could be bothered by it.
Named For Hank - Wednesday, May 24 2006 @ 11:58 PM EDT (#147526) #

NFH, this guy was 1-8 with a 9.00 ERA in 10 starts for this team. He flat-out sucked for this team.

I don't disagree that he's been terrible this year.  Absolutely terrible.

And please tell me where I said Towers would never return to his prior form? I just don't expect it to happen, as he was never really that good to begin with. It's my belief that he won't be back in a starting role with this team unless we fall out of contention. Is there something wrong with that assumption?

Saying "I don't think he'll be back" is completely different from "If he does than that will mean we are no longer in contention."  You can see the difference, right?  One is obviously an opinion; the other you're stating as if it's a fact.

I just can't see Gibbons or JP trusting this guy again this season unless he makes some sort of a crazy turnaround in AAA, and then probably the bullpen (which would be the next step for him in all likelyhood).

See, if you had said that in the first place, no one would jump on you.  Instead, you said:

And great news with Josh Towers. He's finally finished


Towers is finished!!! Amazing news.

...which looks like you're gleefully celebrating the abject failure of a guy a lot of us like.

Magpie - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 12:17 AM EDT (#147541) #
he had a very easy schedule last year

He wasn't in the AL East last year?

In 2005, Towers was notably unlucky to win only 13 games - the bullpen blew five saves behind him. He pitched fine against Boston and New York in his 4 starts against them, but went 0-3, 3.86. The no-decision was the famous Felix Escalona game. Towers did make six starts against Tampa (3-1, 2.87), but  the Devil Rays offense was about league average last year.

The real soft touches last year lived in the AL Central - Detroit, Minnesota, Kansas City. Towers didn't face Detroit, and went 2-1, 2.89 in four starts against Minnesota and Kansas City.

he just has borderline major league skills to begin with

That's very debateable. His stuff isn't nearly as impressive as Chad Gaudin's, but the same can also be said of Greg Maddux. Towers does in fact have a very important and impressive major league skill - he can throw the ball where he wants it.

Not lately, of course.
Leigh - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 12:20 AM EDT (#147543) #
I have deleted a post that I made earlier in this thread, the thrust of which was that was The_Game's elation at the failure of Towers and assertion that he is "finished" were fallacious and mean-spirited.  While I have not changed my opinion, I have decided that my comments were somewhat over-the-top and needlessly personal.  For a more tactful expression of my views on this subject and The_Game's comments, please refer to NFH's comments (NFH was nicer in expressing a sentiment quite similar to mine).
Magpie - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 12:24 AM EDT (#147544) #
He acted like the Jays owed him something.

Nonsense.  He assumed that the Jays had given up on him, and he was auditioning for the other 29 teams. He wasn't optioned out, he was designated for assignment. He thought he was done here, and with good reason.

By the way, is it possible the reason Adams was at short and Hill was at second was mainly because Adams got there first?
CaramonLS - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 12:26 AM EDT (#147546) #
"second base is exactly like shortstop except easier -- you don't have be as good at throwing".  I'm not a scout and I cannot tell you anything about skill sets at different positions, but I believe that to be a pile of garbage -- there has to be more different between the skills needed for the two positions than simply arm strength.

Not too much of a difference - SS is the most similar position to 2B and vice versa.  They aren't exactly the same, obviously the double play turn would be the major difference.  I wouldn't mind if you qualified your statement a little more.
Mylegacy - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 12:33 AM EDT (#147550) #

What rankles me about Towers is that I started out hating him, grew to only dislike him, then to grudgingly admire him, then to love the guy and as this year went on to pity him.

I LOVE the way a guy who likes like he should be washing dishes at McDonalds (talk about an easy job) has the guts, determination and work ethic to make it as a professional ballplayer. Towers will be back in some rotation soon. Personally, I think he's an ideal 4th or 5th starter in the NL. Get him away from the ultra powerful AL lineups. Good luck Josh!

Adams, different kettle of Koi, he'll make an excellent 2nd baseman. Hill has shown wonderful range at 2nd and with his arm he'll make a wonderful SS. Adams will be back soon as Hill's double play partner, only they'll have switched positions.

I can't wait till they both grow into their man strength.

Magpie - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 12:44 AM EDT (#147551) #
obviously the double play turn would be the major difference.

Indeed. In fact, tt makes a very large difference. Enormous, to be precise. Second baseman tend not to develop as hitters compared to other positions, and it's largely because they get injured more often than players at any other position. Except catcher.

Promising young second basemen whose careers simply didn't happen... their number is Legion.
Mike D - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 12:47 AM EDT (#147552) #

Magpie, isn't this news melancholy enough without bringing up the Felix Escalona Game? 

I got heckled back to the Stone Age that night in the Bronx.  Felix freakin' Escalona.

MattAtBat - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 12:53 AM EDT (#147553) #
The CP article on speculates that Luis Figueroa will be called up to replace Adams's roster spot. I tend to agree, not because he's doing so well (he isn't) but because he's a veteran who has filled this role in the past (and hit well for Pawtucket last year). As well, I think back to the spring when JP was asked who was next in line should they need a middle infielder at the Major League level and he responded that it would likely be Figueroa.

It's underwhelming, I know. I think a trade is most definitely in the works.

Jobu - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 03:51 AM EDT (#147556) #
So does this mean that Towers has already cleared waivers and is on his way to AAA or that he still has to go through that? I was under the impression he was out of options and this was required (like pants in a classy restaurant).
Magpie - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 05:39 AM EDT (#147557) #
He cleared waivers last week.
TA - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 10:03 AM EDT (#147563) #
Ok - deep breath - I know I'm going to get flamed for suggesting this, but hear me out:

What about moving Cat "back" to second base for the time being and plugging Hinske into the platoon in left?

At this stage in his career Cat would probably be playing some Todd Walker-esque defence at second base, but like Walker, would the upgrade in the offence (esentially McDonald to Hinske) be worth it? Again, you could always bring in McDonald late in the game for defensive purposes. This way you don't have to move Hillenbrand for a middle infielder and you can keep the depth on offence.

My main concern with this arrangement however is the possibilty/probability of Cat getting injured. They've really done a good job the last couple of seasons keeping his fragile body healthy (knock on wood).

CaramonLS - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 10:11 AM EDT (#147564) #
Gibby confirms that it is Luis Figueroa being called up in Adams' absense.

Chuck - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 10:51 AM EDT (#147571) #
At this stage in his career Cat would probably be playing some Todd Walker-esque defence at second base.

I'm not sure it's clear that Catalanotto's defense at 2B was even as good as Walker's back when he actually played the position, way back during the Nixon administration. I mean, one of them was moved to the outfield and one wasn't.

I don't think the middle infield positions are meant to be monkeyed with. They should be manned by players who can legitimately play the position, even if no better than league average, and pony up the appropriate offense for the positions (none of the "whatever MacDonald gives you on offense is a bonus" nonsense).

The team entered this season rolling the dice up the middle, with no real plan B in place. The time is nigh to conjure up a legitimate plan B, even if that means dealing from their strength (Hillenbrand, AAA arms). There is currently no in-house solution that I see as appropriate for a team intending to compete for a playoff spot.
TA - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 11:20 AM EDT (#147577) #
I don't think the middle infield positions are meant to be monkeyed with. They should be manned by players who can legitimately play the position, even if no better than league average, and pony up the appropriate offense for the positions (none of the "whatever MacDonald gives you on offense is a bonus" nonsense).

Chuck, indeed your point about Cat's potential less-than-Walker-esque defense is noted, and perhaps it could turn out much worse than expected. Yet the idea that middle-infield positions "are not meant to be monkeyed with" seems a little facile. While shortstop is a premium defensive position, we all remember from little league that second base was certainly a place where you could hide a kid of let's say "suspect baseball instincts".

The ability for major leagers to adjust, at least adequately, to a new defensive position is indicative of their general athletic prowess. I mean before this season I had shivers thinking about Hinske roaming right field, but now the Dude has sucessfully opened my horizons. With the depth that the team has, the strategy of substitute defensive replacements has been up to now effective in limiting the chances for defensive miscues. If not Cat, then perhaps shifting Overbay? Even the Dude?

I did not mean for this to be a permament solution, but perhaps this could be a more effective way of holding the fort until Adams could learn 2nd effectively. As you said, carrying McDonald and his 500-600 OPS is a severe hindrance.
Mike Green - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 11:23 AM EDT (#147580) #

A move obviously had to be made with Towers.  This does not make him a poor pitcher or a less than honourable person. He's just struggling, in the same way that Justin Speier was at the beginning of last year, and Jason Frasor is now.

With today being an off-day, other moves may be made in the wake of Adams' return to Syracuse. For now, my only comment is the hope that he is tried in left-field there, as well as at second base.  His defensive issues are not limited to throwing, and my concern is that in the effort to adapt to a challenging new position, his considerable offensive potential will not be realized.  I believe that he could make the adaptation to left-field very easily, as he is already very good on balls in the air. 

CaramonLS - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 11:34 AM EDT (#147584) #
Part of Adams' value would be for his defense.  I don't beleive he has ever hit well enough to be considered much more than a 4th OF, at the very most a platoon type OF.

I don't beleive that unless Russ Adams can adapt to one of the 2 major defensive infield positions (SS, 2B) I'm not sure what his long term potential in the majors could be.  I know he has some offensive talent, but I think it would be very questionable whether or not he'd be able to provide the offense long term of a league average corner OF.

Mike Green - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 11:44 AM EDT (#147586) #

That is true. However, it is much more valuable to have a platoon left-fielder who has good range and a poor arm, gets on base and runs very well, and has some pop, than a second baseman whose fielding is below average and whose hitting is average for the position.

If one thinks that Adams' offensive development will be unimpaired by becoming a second baseman and that he has the ability to become a capable one, than a conversion to second base makes sense.  Both items may possibly come true, but I just don't think that it is likely that both will.  Good teams generally do not try to stretch the defensive capabilities of their players.

Pistol - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 11:44 AM EDT (#147587) #

considerable offensive potential will not be realized.  I believe that he could make the adaptation to left-field

Mike G - let's say that Adams could adapt well to LF.  What do you think he'd hit there?  He's a career .262/.327/.398 hitter and I have a hard time seeing him hitting well enough to play in LF (where I see hitting well enough to be in the .280/.360/.450 range ....aka Cat's lifetime numbers).

Pistol - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 11:53 AM EDT (#147589) #

I may have overstated 'hitting well enough'.  It's not as strong as I thought it would be.  From THT:

Last  First  Tm  BA  OBP  SLG 
Ramirez Manny BOS 0.316 0.442 0.579 1.021
Swisher Nick T OAK 0.288 0.389 0.594 0.982
Wilkerson Brad TEX 0.269 0.350 0.494 0.844
Ibanez Raul SEA 0.271 0.333 0.458 0.792
Podsednik Scott CHA 0.281 0.373 0.412 0.785
Stewart Shannon MIN 0.298 0.355 0.376 0.731
Anderson Garret LAA 0.260 0.304 0.418 0.722
Crawford Carl TB 0.287 0.342 0.379 0.721
Brown Emil KC 0.243 0.317 0.400 0.717
Monroe Craig DET 0.229 0.275 0.440 0.715
Michaels Jason CLE 0.272 0.333 0.353 0.686
White Rondell MIN 0.195 0.212 0.228 0.440

Mike Green - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 12:00 PM EDT (#147591) #

In my view, his offensive development was stalled by his struggles at short, and he could reasonably hit .280/.360/.430 as a platoon leftfielder.  With his speed, that would make him a useful leadoff hitter. He does not need to become quite the hitter that Cat is to be valuable. The other possibility (assuming his bat does not come along) is that he is a utility player, and there is nothing wrong with that either. 

I guess what I am saying is that in my view, he is not likely to develop into a capable everyday offensive and defensive second baseman, given his age and his defensive struggles in the middle infield to date.  A move to second base is something that one might have tried a year or two ago, but now it's not something that I would recommend.  I have certainly been wrong before.

Mike Green - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 12:03 PM EDT (#147593) #
Scott Podsednik. Yeah, that's about what I imagine Adams being potentially able to do.
Sister - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 12:35 PM EDT (#147599) #
Rosenthal reporting that the Jays are signing Edgardo Alfonzo, recently released by the Angles, to a minor league contract.
Leigh - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 12:56 PM EDT (#147602) #
Here is a list of the eight players around MLB who, in my estimation, meet the following criteria:

- have played the middle infield in the recent past
- are not (or will not be) getting regular playing time, either as a starter or platoon half
- who should hit as well as Adams has so far this season (.247 EqA)

Presented in approximate order of offensive value, irrespective of defence (maybe somebody here can comment on the glovework of these players):

Mark Bellhorn, Wilson Betemit, Damion Easley, Omar Infante, Nick Punto, Mark DeRosa, Ryan Freel and Marco Scutaro.

These guys could be traded without any effect on thier team's current lineup.  Obviously, there are better options out there, but any of these eight players would likely out-hit McDonald to the tune of one run every seven or eight games.
jjdynomite - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 01:02 PM EDT (#147605) #
Why has Alfonzo fallen so fast from the .850+ OPS stud he was on the Mets?  Is it just the regular early-30s-drop-off for a 2B/3B/SS?  If so, why can't this happen to Jeter!?
Elijah - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 01:07 PM EDT (#147606) #
I'd have been interested to see what would have happened if the game went into extra innings last night. McDonald was already out and Catalanotto pinch hit for Hill. That would've resulted in someone playing SS or 2B. The only middle infield options would have been Glaus (who played SS in college and did a few times with the Angels), Hinske or Catalanotto. Or Hillenbrand and giving up the DH.

Maybe something was discussed in the chat or elsewhere after the game but I was wondering if anyone else thought what Gibbons' defensive alignment may have been. My gut guess is that Glaus would've moved to SS and Hinske would've played third with Adams moving over to 2B.
MK - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 01:13 PM EDT (#147607) #
In addition to the possibly-available infielders listed by Leigh, one site (rotoworld?) speculated that perhaps the Jays should (if they're not already) make a bid for Jason Bartlett, going unappreciated in Minnesota, languishing in AAA behind the illustrious likes of Juan Castro, Luis Rodriguez, and Nick Punto...
rtcaino - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 01:15 PM EDT (#147608) #
From Rosenthal:

“The team [Jays] has been pursuing a trade for Angels second baseman Adam Kennedy, but the talks have not progressed.”

Elijah - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 01:15 PM EDT (#147609) #
I don't think the Braves would trade Betemit as he's their primary backup at third and short and is pretty productive when he plays.  Even with Kinsler coming back soon, DeRosa has hit well enough where the Rangers have to consider giving him playing time until he sufficiently cools off.  Easley is equally valuable to the Diamondbacks.  I could see Infante losing time.  Punto and Scutaro don't really hit much better than McDonald does.

As for Freel, he's so versatile that I think the Reds are reluctant to give him up.  Plus with the propensity of injuries to their players (Kearns, Griffey, Aurilia), they'll probably keep him around as insurance.

I'll throw a couple more names out there but I doubt that they would be moved: Alex Cintron, Chris Burke, Cesar Izturis, Chris Woodward, Damian Jackson.  Well, I could actually see Jackson being moved and Izturis also if he becomes a distraction to the Dodgers with his insistence on playing SS upon his imminent return.

Jordan - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 01:16 PM EDT (#147610) #

My gut guess is that Glaus would've moved to SS

Making Glaus's fantasy owners in one-game eligiblity leagues very happy.

Alfonzo hit the Carlos Baerga wall -- he simply stopped being able to hit major-league pitching. It remains to be seen whether he has a Baerga-like late-career resuscitation in him as well. In any event, he does not play shortstop, and he would not be an upgrade over Hill at 2B. My guess is that he's been signed as a flyer who might be able to provide some insurance, but in no way is he a solution to the Jays' current middle-infield situation.

daryn - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 01:20 PM EDT (#147612) #

My guess is that he's been signed as a flyer who might be able to provide some insurance,

Maybe he's beeing signed to basically replace Figueroa... i.e. vetran presence "just in case" if Figueroa ends up spending some time with the Big Club

Jordan - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 01:22 PM EDT (#147613) #
Freel also has personal issues, manifested in some DUI incidents; I don't think he'd be a good fit with this team chemistry-wise.
Geoff - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 01:36 PM EDT (#147614) #
If Alfonzo is being signed to play 2B at AAA to get ready, I don't suppose Adams will be learning 2B on the same team. Who will be going where?
Cristian - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 01:48 PM EDT (#147618) #
I've mentioned it before but I'm going to mention it again.  The Jays should see what it would take to pry Craig Counsell from the DBacks.  With Stephen Drew knocking on the DBacks door, Counsell becomes expendable.  Many thought Drew was ready for a big league job on Opening Day.  He could crack the DBacks roster by the AllStar Break.  Counsell can play 2B and SS so the Jays could keep Hill at 2B if they feel that's where he's best suited.

The only fly in the ointment is that the DBacks might want to hang on to Counsell and bench the non-hitting ODog.

Named For Hank - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 02:06 PM EDT (#147626) #
This seems like a good time to trot out my favourite Edgardo Alfonzo shot from the recent Jays - Angels series here at Rogers Centre:

"Geez, bat, what's wrong with you?"
Ducey - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 02:24 PM EDT (#147627) #

Mike Green,

Maybe I am missing something but why wouldn't Adams be a good candidate to switch to 2B?  Most of his problems defensively arise from throwing.  With  shorter throws from 2B, I would expect his lack of arm strength would be less of a liability.

I think putting Adams in LF would be a waste.  He is not going to beat out Cat in the short term and he will soon be overcome by guys like Lind, Cannon, and Patterson.

I think the Jays -aside from a trade- are going to have to put Hill at SS and Adams at 2B - something they should have done last offseason.

Mike Green - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 02:57 PM EDT (#147634) #

I really don't want to run Adams down, but I guess I'll have to be specific.  He lacks the instincts and footwork of a fine second baseman.  He should be fine making the play in the 3-4 hole, but on the ball up the middle, coming in and on the DP, he has a lot of work to do for a player who will be 26 later this summer.  I am not saying that he's going to be terrible, just that he has a lot of work to do (especially in mid-season), and that it will probably affect his bat.  Hill made what I consider to be a spectacular adjustment defensively, after a concerted off-season effort, but it seemed to me that he paid a price for it with the bat for the first five weeks of the year.  Hill has, in my view, superior defensive tools, and I expect Adams' adjustment to be more difficult.

This is a bit of pet peeve of mine.  Playing second base is very difficult.  Inferring from the fact that a player can field a ground ball and is fast, that he will be an adequate defensive second baseman is a dangerous assumption, much as the assumption that the conversion from right-field to third base is an easy one because the player typically possesses the arm for the position.  The fine tools and skills- reflexes, instincts, athleticism including co-ordination and body awareness- are very important.

Geoff - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 03:41 PM EDT (#147637) #
I doubt Damian Jackson would be moved when he can be plugged into six positions on a team riddled with injuries. When you're having trouble fielding a team, you don't trade away half-decent utility guys. If anything, the Nationals would trade prospects for major league help, particularly needing catching help now after Lecroy allowed seven SB in six innings with two throwing errors today for them.

Although Washington does have a screwball for a GM so who knows. He could end up trading Soriano for Molina and Hinske if asked.
daryn - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 04:04 PM EDT (#147640) #

The Jays are now reporting:

The TORONTO BLUE JAYS have signed infielder EDGARDO ALFONZO to a Minor League contract. The TORONTO BLUE JAYS have signed infielder EDGARDO ALFONZO to a Minor League contract.


Jonny German - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 04:10 PM EDT (#147642) #
The press release says Alfonzo will report to New Hampshire, so the plan to have Adams play second at Syracuse is intact.
MatO - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 04:24 PM EDT (#147644) #
Adams was 1st team all-ACC as a 2nd baseman in 2001.  It's not like he's never played the position before.  I find that Adams' free-flowing type throws are fine, it was the stop-set-throw ones that he was having trouble with.  I think most of the throws from 2nd are less mechanical in nature and he should benefit from that.
Magpie - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 06:25 PM EDT (#147648) #
I think Hillenbrand for Kennedy is not great - but Hinske for Kennedy is genius.

Hinske full time DH, no thank you.

You'd probably want to get  some help against LHP... say Benjie Molina, and let Zaun catch. But  most pitchers are right-handed and Hinske is probably a better hitter than Hillenbrand against RHP. He certainly was in 2005:

vs RHP     AB     R       H      2B     3B    HR     RBI     BB    HBP   SO   SB  CS     AVG    OBP    SLG   OPS
Shea        434    60    121    25       2     11       60      20     19     61     3    1    .279    .336    .422    .758
Dude       389    66    110    29       2     11       55      42      7      89     7    4    .283    .358    .452    .810

Leaving out the fact that Hillenbrand hits into almost twice as many double plays (61 over the last three years compared to Hinske's 33).

Other factors? Well, Hinske has now added the outfield to the places where he can fill in. He's younger. He's also about $1.5 million cheaper than Hillenbrand, if you care about that stuff.
Pistol - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 06:29 PM EDT (#147650) #
Here's the Blair link.  It sounds like that the parameters are in place for a trade for Kennedy, it's just a matter of figuring out how to handle the money since Hillebrand makes a couple million more.
CaramonLS - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 06:32 PM EDT (#147651) #
I think we have just the guy to fill that role in the minors too Magpie:  Jason Phillips.
Rob - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 06:39 PM EDT (#147652) #
In a funny contrast to Jeff Blair's typically excellent work, this was said in the Star today:

Fortunately for the Jays, they are off today and have another off-day next week. Taubenheim will make his major-league debut Sunday and the Jays won't need a fifth starter again until the following Saturday.

Apparently since Taubenheim's two games weren't on TV, they didn't happen.
Magpie - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 06:54 PM EDT (#147654) #
Position shifts in mid-season are unusual, but one of the more noteworthy was Earl Weaver's infield realignment in mid-1982. He moved his rookie thirdbaseman (a big kid named Ripken) over to short. His shortstop (Len Sakata) went to second base, and his secondbaseman (Rich Dauer) switched to third base.

Everyone thought Earl was crazy at the time. Ripken had been a thirdbaseman in the minors, no one could remember seeing a 6'4 shortstop, and before the season started, the Orioles had traded their regular thirdbaseman (Doug DeCinces) to make room for Ripken.

But I guess it worked. They got hot in the second half, finished at 94-68, and took Milwaukee down to the last day of the season before settling for second.

Gerry - Thursday, May 25 2006 @ 09:18 PM EDT (#147662) #
Hill has the arm to play shortstop and is a good size for the position, i.e. a low centre of gravity.  The only question on him was his first step quickness and range.  Hill played several games at SS last season for the Jays and his ability to move look pretty good to me.  I say put him there for 40 games and see how he looks. 
Mike Green - Friday, May 26 2006 @ 01:14 PM EDT (#147693) #

There is a big difference between playing second base growing up and even for a time at the college level, as compared with playing it acceptably at the big league level.  The development people in a team's organization spend time with prospects over a period of years to get them to learn these fine skills. 

The team's current plan (as reported in today's Star) is to let Alfonzo have a few games at double A to regain his stroke, and then call him up to play second base on a regular basis with Hill moving over to short to give Adams time to learn his new position.  Alfonzo hasn't really had any significant time at second base since 2001, and he's now 33.

Named For Hank - Friday, May 26 2006 @ 05:52 PM EDT (#147709) #
In a kind of nutty turn of events, Blair is reporting that Glaus will play shortstop tonight.  Don't expect to see it again --

"I'm just looking at tonight's game," Gibbons said. "This guy is one of the better pitchers in the league and we need offence. These guys (the White Sox) are going to score a lot of runs and we're going to have to keep pace."
Man, I wish this game was on TV.

Rob - Friday, May 26 2006 @ 10:49 PM EDT (#147744) #
Alfonzo hasn't really had any significant time at second base since 2001, and he's now 33.

32, actually; he was born November of 1973. But isn't the "magic age" for second basemen around that number? Robbie Alomar morphed from an MVP candidate to a rich man's Rey Ordonez, Carlos Baerga was in Korea, and Bret Boone would have been done if not for his curious 2001. Hell, even Joe Morgan fell off (though he didn't exactly become useless).

Short version, I don't know if there's anything to expect out of Alfonzo here. Especially defensively -- though I would pay good money to see a Glaus-Alfonzo double play combo.
Geoff - Saturday, May 27 2006 @ 12:29 AM EDT (#147757) #
Man, I wish this game was on TV.

Anyone who could have gone that didn't should kick themselves for missing it. That was one of the most entertaining games I've been to in a long while.

The home runs, particularly Reed's shot to the fifth deck off the pole, the blasts by Rios, Vernon and Troy. The stolen bases, the strikeouts. That unbelivable diving catch by Hillenbrand. Troy's debut at SS for the Jays. The efficient bullpen. The stolen bases, particularly Overbay's clean swipe of third. I was praying you were there somewhere, Aaron, to get shots of some of that stuff.
TA - Saturday, May 27 2006 @ 11:32 AM EDT (#147774) #
So, if the choices were Catalanotto and MacDonald at 2B (I know they're not, but bear with me), if we assume MacDonald would hit .200, Catalanotto would have to hit .400-.450 to offset the extra free hit per game that he allows.

Not so.

1. Cat (although in reality we should be talking Hinske or Hillenbrand the "extra" offensive player inserted into the line-up) could hit a double, triple, or home run to make-up or exceed the difference. Or perhaps draw an extra walk.

2. Cat could have a more "timely" hit. If Cat misses a ball with two outs in the 4th inning yet that runner gets stranded, then produces a single with the bases loaded the next inning you win. In essence this would be like having a "pinch hitter" in the first two or three at bats until hopefully you can make the late-inning defensive substitution (if ahead).

It's still a gamble, but there are many more ways of making it work than you suggested. It "worked" last night for the Jays, although again I must be clear that I don't think it's something that a team should make a habit of, since lurking behind the gains made is the potential for big injury.
robertdudek - Saturday, May 27 2006 @ 10:21 PM EDT (#147799) #
These are dark times for the Jays middle infield. And things will get worse if McDonald's apparent injury in Saturday's game precludes him from playing  good defense at short. Alfonzo is done - toast - simply an emergency acquisition.

Switching Hill to short and bringing up Adams to play second (if that is the plan) can't really be any worse than having Figueroa and McDonald share the shortstop job.

As for Adams converting to left field - in that event, the best case scenario would be for him to follow Catallanotto's career path.

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