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Pitching, as we all know, is not 75 percent of the game. (It's more like 35 or 40.)

But, man, when you're not getting any pitching, it feels like it's at least 90 percent... When you fall behind by four or five runs, invariably you lose the damn ball game. Roy Halladay and Ted Lilly each have 12 Quality Starts. All the other Toronto starters have combined for just 13 more.

It is every fan's privilege, and probably every fan's obligation, to complain about the manager. There are a hundred different ways to push those buttons every night. While I am fond of saying that actual in-game strategy is likely the least important part of the manager's job, it is always going to be the one that we notice. John Gibbons has the power to make me complain about: a) his insistence on playing his favourites, for no logical reason, and b) his bullpen management. In this, of course, Gibbons closely resembles pretty well every other manager who ever lived.

I have no idea why anyone would let John McDonald bat against a right-handed pitcher, late in a ball game, trailing by three runs with two men on base. It seems... nuts? Who does? Sure, on the one hand, McDonald is obviously one of the manager's favourites... he hit a grand slam and drove in five runs the night before... he had two hits already this evening. On the other hand... he's John Freakin' McDonald, and the fact that he has two hits tonight and drove in five runs the night before strongly suggests to me that he's probably used up his quota of offensive goodness for the next few weeks.... What the hell. He got away with it, of course. Johnny Mac drew a walk to load the bases, and set the stage for Reed Johnson's Rally Killer, the good old GIDP.

Adding to my bewilderment... after McDonald walked, Russ Adams came off the bench to run for Molina. At third base. If Adams isn't going to be hitting for McDonald in a situation like that, what the hell is he even doing on the ball club? You might as well have Luis Figueroa up here, and let Adams work on his game in AAA rather than completely waste him like this. He may or may not amount to something useful - he certainly took a major step backward this year. But he's never going to amount to anything this way.

Oh well. Let's have a little Data Table to wrap this up. Here is the Toronto bullpen:

NAME                 G   W   L  Sv  Hld    IP     H   ER   R  HR  BB  SO   K/9    WHIP    ERA
Casey Janssen 1 0 0 0 0 0.2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 3.00 0.00
B.J. Ryan 44 1 0 24 1 49.0 27 6 6 1 12 62 11.39 0.80 1.10
Justin Speier 46 1 0 0 20 39.0 34 14 15 4 17 42 9.69 1.31 3.23
Scott Downs 36 4 1 0 1 39.0 29 15 17 3 21 30 6.92 1.28 3.46
Ty Taubenheim 5 1 0 0 0 4.1 6 2 2 1 3 4 8.31 2.08 4.15
Brian Tallet 24 3 0 0 2 31.1 25 17 17 4 20 23 6.61 1.44 4.88
Francisco Rosario 15 1 1 0 1 19.2 16 11 11 3 14 18 8.24 1.53 5.03
Brandon League 6 0 0 0 3 5.1 6 3 3 2 0 3 5.06 1.13 5.06
Jason Frasor 33 2 1 0 9 33.0 35 19 19 6 14 34 9.27 1.48 5.18
Vinnie Chulk 20 1 0 0 1 24.0 29 14 16 4 5 18 6.75 1.42 5.25
Pete Walker 23 1 1 1 3 30.0 37 18 24 5 13 27 8.10 1.67 5.40
Scott Schoeneweis 48 2 1 1 17 33.0 34 21 21 3 11 16 4.36 1.36 5.73
Shaun Marcum 7 0 0 0 0 9.2 14 8 8 1 10 11 10.24 2.48 7.45
Jeremy Accardo 2 0 0 0 0 2.1 4 2 2 0 0 1 3.86 1.71 7.71
Dustin McGowan 5 1 0 0 1 5.2 9 5 6 1 6 7 11.12 2.65 7.94
Blue Jays 96 18 5 26 59 326.0 307 155 167 38 146 296 8.17 1.39 4.28

The main thing about this that interests me? Scott Downs. He has quite obviously been one of the team's three best relief pitchers this season. Tthere's really very little to choose from between Downs and Speier - if you're wondering, Downs has stranded 15 of 23 (65%) inherited runners, Speier has stranded 17 of 30 (57%) - and it really wouldn't be totally out of line if someone actually noticed...

Jays vs Mariners | 102 comments | Create New Account
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rtcaino - Thursday, July 27 2006 @ 06:26 AM EDT (#151581) #
League was phenomenal last night. This is the first time Iíve seen him go three innings and he maintained his effectiveness well. Plus itís always nice to see three Hawaiian punch-outs.

This game was a very frustrating loss. Most of the frustration stems from this teamís need to go on a streak to stay in the play off hunt.

Also because in the 8th inning the game was so within reach. Overbay, Molina, Glaus, and the recently departed Hillenbrand: These are the guys who kill rallyís with GIDPÖ Not the dirt bag.

Once again, the Jays had more base runners than their opponent in a loosing cause. However, they gave up 4 doubles and 2 jacks, while boasting a double as their only extra base hit.

greenfrog - Thursday, July 27 2006 @ 08:36 AM EDT (#151582) #
Oh, this loss hurt. Especially the way the division and wildcard are shaping up. Somehow we can't snap out of this two-steps-forward, one-step-back habit. (Of course, if we literally did that, we'd be playing .667 ball.)


I would have preferred to see Cat start over Mottola. Mottola just doesn't impress me, and especially not against a crafty LHP veteran.

We could really use Lugo, who could be a genuine difference-maker, but should we give up League or McGowan or Marcum? The problem is, we have to field a team in 2007 and beyond, and a lot of our budget is tied up in a few players (Glaus, Burnett, Ryan, Halladay). We're going to lose Lilly and Speier, and pitching will no doubt again be at a premium. We're going to need that good (and cheap) young pitching--as this year shows, you can never have enough.

You wish the team would play well enough to make the decision easier.

League's stuff and command of the low zone could make him an effective setup man. Was it Al Leiter who thought that League's motion would lead to elbow trouble? I'm no expert, but it does look like he puts a lot of strain on it.

Pistol - Thursday, July 27 2006 @ 08:46 AM EDT (#151583) #

I'm with you on the 8th inning last night Magpie.  In addition to what you wrote I thought it was odd that after Molina's leadoff single he was left to run for himself, especially in light of what happened later in the inning.

Blair mentions that the Jays are looking to trade for Cory Lidle.  I remember his first Toronto stint not ending well, but I forget why.

laketrout - Thursday, July 27 2006 @ 08:52 AM EDT (#151584) #
You would expect him to not be major league calibre at bat but you'd at least hope that he wouldn't be a liability in the field.  So far he's had communication problems with his fellow outfielders and last night allowed a double to Ichiro that he misread and had ricochet off his glove.

Heís 34 years old and Iím sure the Jays brought him up because heís experienced yet heís playing like a nervous rookie.  Iím trying not to be cruel but I guess thatís why heís a 14-year minor league veteran.

Craig B - Thursday, July 27 2006 @ 09:25 AM EDT (#151587) #
TA, you're including the numbers from Downs's 3 starts.  Magpie's numbers are his figures as a reliever.
Craig B - Thursday, July 27 2006 @ 09:28 AM EDT (#151588) #

It really wouldn't be totally out of line if someone actually noticed

Gibbons has, I think.  I've noted Downs being used in higher-leverage situations over the past month.  Don't know if the numbers bear me out.

Chuck - Thursday, July 27 2006 @ 09:40 AM EDT (#151593) #
Downs' relief numbers are certainly quite good, but are they predictive? His H/9 and HR/9 rates are unusually low. I wouldn't expect his next 39 innings to yield the same results.
Halladayfan32 - Thursday, July 27 2006 @ 09:46 AM EDT (#151595) #

It looks like Dustin McGowan will be called up and is scheduled to start on Saturday against Oakland.  Janssen will be sent down.

Courtesy of Bob Elliot of the Sun:


"A new arm is on the way in former No. 1 pick Dustin McGowan, who starts Saturday in Oakland against the A's. McGowan is 4-5 with a 4.73 earned-run average in 13 starts at triple-A Syracuse. He has drawn interest from other clubs. "

Chuck - Thursday, July 27 2006 @ 09:52 AM EDT (#151596) #
...his defence has not been good to him. I didnít see last nightís game, but Iím pretty sure that starting an outfield of Mottola-Johnson-Hinske behind him is not doing him any favours.

Not only his defense, but the umps. The very first batter of the game, Suzuki, was called safe at first when he was out by a quarter to a half a step (how do umps blow those sound-based calls? -- just awful, give me machines any day). Instead of a 1-2-3 inning, it was a 3-run Mariner first. I'm not saying the game would have played out differently, given Burnett's poor pitching, but youneverknow.

Interesting that on the heels of yesterday's Ichiro! lovefest, that we'd see how his mystique is not lost on the umpires. So captivated but his magistry are they that the simple task of making a correct call at first base becomes an act of subjectivity. He's Ichiro!, he must have been safe.
MatO - Thursday, July 27 2006 @ 09:55 AM EDT (#151597) #

Those who questioned Gibbons letting Burnett throw 120 pitches in his last game certainly looked like they had a point last night.  Then again, if the ump calls Ichiro out at 1st base (as he was) in the 1st inning then Burnett gives up no runs and maybe it's a different ballgame.

Mike Green - Thursday, July 27 2006 @ 09:57 AM EDT (#151598) #
Here's the Elliott link.

Chuck's right.  Downs is a notch behind Speier and League.  The bullpen has a natural shape to it now- Tallet mopping up, Accardo, Downs and Schoeneweis in middle relief, Speier and League setting up and Ryan as your ace.  League can go 2 innings, as long as he gets the next day off.  Speier is probably a better entering the eighth inning, and can go several days in a row. 

Mike Green - Thursday, July 27 2006 @ 10:07 AM EDT (#151600) #
Jordan said:

Here are AJ Burnett's starts since returning from the DL:

6/22 @ ATL 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1BB, 7K
6/27 vs WSH 9 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K
7/02 vs PHI 4 IP, 10 H, 7 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 6 K
7/07 @ KC 6 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
7/16 vs SEA 7 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K
7/21 vs NYY 7 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K
7/26 @ SEA 4 IP, 10 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 3 K

They can be roughly broken down like so: Great 1 Good 3 Poor 3.

Burnett has yielded unearned runs in 4 of his 7 starts Ė his defence has not been good to him. I didnít see last nightís game, but Iím pretty sure that starting an outfield of Mottola-Johnson-Hinske behind him is not doing him any favours. Interestingly, Burnett is heading for a career-best BB/K rate. If his current 50 IP were spread over 200 innings, heíd finish with a 36/200 BB/K ratio Roy Halladay has posted that sort of rate once (32/204) Ė in his Cy Young year. Unfortunately, Burnett is also on pace to yield 36 home runs Ė his previous season high was 20. What heís gaining in strike-zone command, heís giving up in pitches that catch too much of the plate. What we have here is a pitcher who can put some of it together all of the time, and all of it together very occasionally, but overall canít yet provide his team consistent opportunities to win the game. When Doc takes the mound, his teammates know what to expect; when Ted Lilly starts, they donít. Burnett is much more Lilly than Halladay right now. The Blue Jays simply wonít contend over the next three years unless Burnett can sharpen his game. They chose him as their rotation investment, and they donít have the money to go out and try again. Thereís just no margin for error -- Burnett is being paid like an ace, and pretty soon, heís going to have to pitch like one.

Chuck - Thursday, July 27 2006 @ 10:08 AM EDT (#151602) #
Bob Elliott's article is saved only by the link to the sunshine girl. Actually, I'd be more interested in hearing her take on the Jays than Elliott's.

Praising Chacin's record with no regard to run support masking his poor pitching. Ranking offenses purely on team batting average. Suggesting that the likes of Lidle and Lopez are locks to outpitch Janssen.

Just what exactly are the job requirements to write for the Sun?

zeppelinkm - Thursday, July 27 2006 @ 10:10 AM EDT (#151604) #

I was only able to watch the first couple innings before I had to retire for bed, but the big thing I noticed yestarday was Burnetts curveball. It just wasn't dancing the way he normally has it, and as a result batters were just waiting on his fastball. A 97mph fastball is great when hitters are off balance not knowing when you're going to drop in one of those knee bucklin cruves, but it becomes ordinary very quickly when thats all the batters have to look for. 

Mike Green - Thursday, July 27 2006 @ 10:49 AM EDT (#151605) #
Just what exactly are the job requirements to write for the Sun?

Making the Sunshine Boy or Sunshine Girl, as the case may be, look good.  I posted the Elliott link purely as a source for the McGowan/Janssen move.  All other contents must be taken on an "as is" basis.
js_magloire - Thursday, July 27 2006 @ 10:52 AM EDT (#151606) #
Burnett is being paid like an ace, and pretty soon, heís going to have to pitch like one.

Burnett's new k/bb rate is good. Beckett is making the exact same jump to the AL East, and he's let up a staggering 28 home runs already. Burnett has got to realize that this is a fastball hitting division, with the DH and all. So maybe, its just an adjustment phase? The homeruns will go down a bit?

- I notice that its the popular guys, like Ichiro, and Jeter, that always get the calls. And with a vet on the mound in his hometown, they were giving Moyer all the calls all over the strikezone. I hate that

- THe Jays are interested in Corey Lidle, Tony Armas, and Rodrigo Lopez, all whose contracts expire very soon, if not this year. Considering the Jays will only have 2 starters next year (as of now, if Chacin gets TJ), then it might be wise for the Jays to look to aquiring Jon Lieber or even a Livan Hernandez, both these guys would be considered a salary dump because they have 1 more year left on their contract worth about $7 million bucks. It might cost less prospect wise, and it might give a pitcher at a ?reasonable? cost next year. If not, the Jays are going to sign a Lidle or Armas type for $3 million, which is quite a bargain if you ask me considering it seems like pitchers now are getting $7 million on average.
Craig B - Thursday, July 27 2006 @ 11:06 AM EDT (#151607) #

Based on watching the games, rather than statistics, I would have said that Downs has been one of the Jays' poorer bullpen performers all year.

Based on watching the same games, I would disagree, and so apparently would John Gibbons, because John Gibbons is using him in more important situations as the year has gone on.

If you are interpreting Downs as "pitching scared" I'm thinking you probably don't understand his repetoire... Downs is a breaking-ball-first guy.  He is going to walk a lot of guys.  He is going to fall behind hitters.  He is going to throw slop, and pitch backwards sometimes, and nibble (if that) with his fastball.  He does this to do what curveball pitchers do... try to get lots of strikeouts and few hits, at the expense of walking guys and sometimes giving up homers when the curve hangs up.  Downs's whole approach is dependent on NOT going after hitters and being aggressive, but by trying to entice hitters into swinging at his pitches, and not theirs.  It's far more subtle than your typical reliever (or for that matter, than your typical Jays' pitcher).  And yeah, he can be frustrating to watch because it's a passive style, not aggressive like we as fans usually prefer and like the Jays normally emphasize.  But he has been effective, for all that.

I can't figure out exactly what Downs performance against Boston you're talking about... I'm assuming it was one of the games he pitched against Boston at the end of May, probably the second one where he was brought with the bases loaded to face Manny and Papi with a four-run lead, and he ended up walking them both.  It was not a good performance, though we don't know if he was ordered to pitch around them.

China fan - Thursday, July 27 2006 @ 11:12 AM EDT (#151609) #
Why does everyone assume that the Jays will make zero effort to sign Ted Lilly to a new contract?  He's been clearly the second-best starting pitcher on the team this year.  Do we actually want him to walk away without any effort to sign him?   Do we assume that an equally-good pitcher can be easily found in the farm system or among the free agents in the off-season? Remember how much money and effort it took to lure Burnett to Toronto? Are we willing to do that again, rather than try to sign a guy who is already here? I would really hope that JP will make a serious effort to sign Lilly. With all the problems in the rotation now, we don't want to create another hole for the team. Can anyone make a statistical case for dumping Lilly?
Marc Hulet - Thursday, July 27 2006 @ 11:55 AM EDT (#151614) #
As for signing Ted Lilly, sure he's been good this year but is it only because it's his free agent year? I have never advocated signing a played based on one good year (especially if it's in the contract year).  Lilly makes me nervous...

Pistol - Thursday, July 27 2006 @ 11:55 AM EDT (#151615) #

Going into this year it made sense that the Jays would let Lilly go after this season.  For one, the Jays already had four starters set, plus had McGowan and Purcey set up to be ready to start in 2008.  Also, Lilly has been erratic, had a few injuries and has butted heads with Arnsburg and/or Gibbons at times.

Since then Towers imploded, Purcey won't be ready and McGowan is a bit iffy himself.  Chacin, at the moment, is also a question mark.  So I'm sure that the Jays will make an effort to re-sign Lilly.  Offering arbitration will be a no-brainer.  It'll just be a matter of how interested other teams are.  I could see the Jays making a 3 year, $21 million offer, but some team might want to go up to at least 4 for $32 million given how he's pitched this year.

Pistol - Thursday, July 27 2006 @ 11:59 AM EDT (#151617) #

I have never advocated signing a played based on one good year

Lilly was quite good in 2004 and 2002 with an ERA+ of 120 in both years.

Jefftown - Thursday, July 27 2006 @ 12:02 PM EDT (#151619) #

This loss was the very definition of the word "frustrating."

- Blown call in first inning on Ichiro

- 14 hits, 3 BB, only 4 runs, 11 LOB

- How many fly balls did the Jays hit to the warning track or near it?

- Wells missed a HR by about 5 ft. foul

As for Burnett, Arnsberg needs to work with him to develop his changeup so he can use it more often.  I remember in his first game one of the Bauxites charted his pitches, and he only threw 2 changeups.  A two-pitch repetoire might work in the NL East, but not in the AL East.

Ryan C - Thursday, July 27 2006 @ 12:05 PM EDT (#151620) #
Why does everyone assume that the Jays will make zero effort to sign Ted Lilly to a new contract?

Well for me I think it comes down to one question: dollars.  How much is Lilly worth and how much is he likely to be offered by other teams.  The dollar value of pitching on the free agent market these days seems to be ridiculously high.  So that has me very worried for the off-season.  Especially considering that Lilly is a veteran, and has been pretty good the last few years, how much is he likely to get?  6-7 million? 8?   I dont think the Jays can afford that with what they've got wrapped up in Roy and AJ.

Although it's still a looooong ways off to be speculating about, next year's pitching staff currently looks to have Roy and AJ at the top of the rotation with Chacin, Marcum, Towers, Janssen, and McGowan in contention for the other three or four spots.  Not including any other young pitchers who step it up before then, or veteran's they reclaim off the scrapheap, or other pitchers they might sign in free-agency, or trades they might make in the next 8 months.  There's alot that can happen in between now and then.
Mark - Thursday, July 27 2006 @ 12:22 PM EDT (#151621) #
Getting back to the Johny Mac AB. If you are pinch running Adams for Molina then Zaun (or Phillips) automatically is coming into the game. Why not pinch hit Zaun for Mac and have Adams stay in the game. Sort of like a double switch, but not really. Anyway, it was really unbelievable and a suspect call by Gibby.
dan gordon - Thursday, July 27 2006 @ 02:21 PM EDT (#151633) #

Yes, Mottola has looked very uncomfortable in the outfield.  I think Lydon would have been a better callup.  Much better defensively, and he hits LHP very well, which is what they needed with Rios out.  Also agree that some game strategy/personnel decisions seem highly questionable.

Burning baserunners is happening far too often.  Seems like once or twice a game now, somebody is thrown out trying for an extra base, out at the plate, out on a botched hit and run play, caught between bases on a throw home, etc.  Last night Glaus, previous night Zaun.  A typical game sees a team get about 35-40 AB's.  If you burn one baserunner a game, it is akin to dropping the team batting average by 25-28 points.  If you burn 2, make it 50-55 points.  That is a huge drag on your offense.  The Blue Jays seem to be playing like a team that is struggling to score, and has to push the envelope to advance runners, which they clearly are not.

I see Rios is saying that his timing is all messed up and he may stay in Syracuse a bit longer.   Hopefully, he can return to his first half form soon - they need him.

The poor baserunning, the questionable game strategy and personnel deployment, and the inconsistency of AJ Burnett combined with the struggles of the 4th/5th starters are starting to make it look to me like the Blue Jays are unlikely to make the post season.  They need a starting pitcher (or 2).  McGowan?  His Syracuse numbers are unimpressive, but at this point, why not give him a shot.

Ron - Thursday, July 27 2006 @ 02:51 PM EDT (#151635) #
Burnett is being paid like an ace, and pretty soon, heís going to have to pitch like one.

While that would be ideal, I doubt the Jays brass is expecting it and neither should the fans. Burnett has never been the ace of a staff. Despite his great stuff, there's a reason his career record is below .500

When the Jays signed him, JP said AJ was going to be slotted behind Doc in the rotation. The Jays paid him 5yrs/55 million with an opt out clause for AJ to be a number 2 starter. He has been a little bit above league average this season and missed a ton of starts due to injury. This shouldn't surprise anybody.

I would like to know what was going through his head when he stood in front of Molina at a throw to the plate. Because he wasn't backing up Bengie, another baserunner advanced into scoring position, and eventually came around to score. His head clearly wasn't into the game.

While I enjoy Rance breaking down the game, he needs to lighten up. Jamie and Rance have no chemistry. Whenever Jamie says something that is suppose to be funny or "lively", Rance will either ignore Jamie or just change the topic. A perfect example was Game 2 vs. the Mariners. There were numerous O signs in the crowd and people were doing the O signs with their hands. Jamie thought it would be fun to mimic the Overbay supporters so he did the sign as well as Scott Carson. Jamie playfully asked Rance to do the sign and he just looked at Jamie and didn't do it. He needs to loosen up and have some fun in the booth.

Dave Till - Thursday, July 27 2006 @ 04:49 PM EDT (#151648) #
The idea of Burnett as the right-handed equivalent of Lilly is appealing. Like Ted, he has his good days and his bad days. Again, like Ted, his good days are so good that his bad days look worse by comparison.

I'd like to see a run of outings in which A.J. isn't being burned by bad defense and questionable umpiring calls. (There have been at least two messed up double play balls behind him, in which 2 outs were turned into 0. Virtually no pitcher can survive that.) Again, the comparison with Lilly is a valid one - Ted is capable of extreme meltdowns when things go bad.

It's important to take note of two things:
- It isn't A.J.'s fault that he's being paid all that money.
- He's doing a heck of a lot better than many other free-agent starting pitchers (e.g., Carl Pavano, Jaret Wright, E____ L___).

Gerry - Friday, July 28 2006 @ 08:36 AM EDT (#151682) #
Matt Michael at the Syracuse Post-Standard reports that Alex Rios and Dustin McGowan are flying to Oakland this morning and will be in uniform tonight.  Mottola and Janssen are most likely to be sent down.
Jordan - Friday, July 28 2006 @ 09:09 AM EDT (#151684) #

Jeff Blair confirms.

Looking on the bright side of the last few weeks, youngsters like McGowan, Janssen, League and Marcum are getting battle-tested in a playoff race. That can only do them good down the road.

Mike Green - Friday, July 28 2006 @ 09:27 AM EDT (#151685) #
I did not understand at all the decision to start Molina in last night's game.  Molina had started against Moyer on Wednesday night.  With a right-hander starting for the A's and Adams in the lineup to give Hill a rest, Zaun's bat would have been a real plus. 
Mike Green - Friday, July 28 2006 @ 10:34 AM EDT (#151693) #
David Gassko's THT Dartboard is worth checking out. He suggests that 2006 is the year for the Jays to go for it.  The article was written on Thursday, and by the time the team is ready to make a move, they may, or may not, be a long way out. Timing, both for Alex Rios and the club, is everything.
Maldoff - Friday, July 28 2006 @ 11:16 AM EDT (#151697) #

Carlos Lee has been traded, along with Nelson Cruz and PTNL, to the Texas Rangers for Francisco Cordero, Kevin Mench and Laynce Nix.

Wow, that's a POWERFUL Rangers lineup. Go go Power Rangers.

Ron - Friday, July 28 2006 @ 02:56 PM EDT (#151709) #
The play of the game was when Molina let a ball go right by him. The A's had a man on 1st and 2nd with 1 out.  Frank Thomas was the man on 2nd and he's almost as slow as Molina. The Jays are up 2-1 in the 6th inning.  Once the ball got passed Molina it removed the double play option and 2 A's were now in scoring position. Chavez comes up to the plate and hits a single, and both men score and give the A's the lead.

When Molina signed everybody said he misjudged the market, and as a result, he had to settle for a below market 1 year deal with the Jays. The Jays and Molina have a mutual option after this season and I hope the Jays decline.

The Jays are stuck in no mans land. I don't consider them close enough to a playoff spot (I'm not just talking about games back but also taking into account how many teams are heading of them) for them to make a real push for it, but at the same time they're not far enough back to throw in the towel and have a fire sale.

The worst part of it is that I think this is probably the best year the Jays have a crack at a playoff spot.  A lot of things have gone wrong for the Red Sox and Yanks this season. I firmly believe both clubs will even be stronger next season.

We all knew the Jays had to come out strong after the ASB. So far they're 7-7. Playing .500 baseball isn't going to cut it, if the goal is to make the playoffs.

Pistol - Friday, July 28 2006 @ 03:15 PM EDT (#151711) #

A snippet from Neyer's column:

From 2002 through 2005, there were 42 deals that apparently were made with the aim of getting one of the trading partners into the postseason. Breaking them down by season Ö

ē Zero of nine worked in 2002;
ē Zero of 10 worked in 2003 (though the Yankees certainly were happy to have Aaron Boone in October);
ē 1 of 16 -- the Dodgers' acquisition of Steve Finley -- worked in 2004;
ē and 2 of 7 -- the Yankees' acquisition of Shawn Chacon and the Braves' acquisition of Kyle Farnsworth -- worked in 2005.

Friends, three out of 42 isn't a very good batting average.

Given that, and the Jays current standing, I don't think I'd give up anyone of significance in a trade.  As Ron said they're not far enough back to sell, but I don't they're close enough where anyone will push them over the top either.  It'll be tough to get any player that's worth more than 2 wins than what the Jays already have in house.


Mike Green - Friday, July 28 2006 @ 03:35 PM EDT (#151714) #
Steve Treder's longer-term study of deadline deals showed a much better rate of success than 7%. 
John Northey - Friday, July 28 2006 @ 04:37 PM EDT (#151718) #

I suspect any deals will be made with a long term view.  The question becomes what will the Jays do in '07-'10 as well as how they do in '06 given the deals everyone seems signed to.

Now, given that what should they do?  I say look at who is a free agent soon as trade bait for someone who isn't.  Look at where you have an excess and trade to improve a weakness.  Try to keep the $ even or improve the financial flexibility.

So, what do they do? 

  • The old Wells for Tejada idea is very tempting imo.  Tejada is a solid fielding strong hitting shortstop who is signed through 2009.  After next season odds are he'd cost as much as Wells would.  Now, would Baltimore go for it?  Doubtful, but very interesting. 
  • Pitching free agents such as Lilly/SS/Speier are needed now so no deal unless the Jays give up on '06.
  • Zaun/Molina are also free agents and I suspect Molina is available.  Backup catcher shouldn't be a make or break thing for 2006, thus if someone wants him he will go.
  • Catalanotto is a favorite of JP's as far as we know so I doubt he'll be traded.
  • After 2007 John McDonald, Wells, and Hinske will be free agents, but only Wells has real value at the moment I suspect.  Hisnke might to some teams.  McDonald?  If someone demands him in a trade I doubt JP would hesitate to let him go
  • Reed Johnson is the only guy listed for after 2008 and he ain't going away until then I suspect

Shortstop and pitching are what the Jays need, outfielders they have an extra.  Lets hope something good happens.

Mike D - Friday, July 28 2006 @ 04:37 PM EDT (#151719) #

It is totally, totally, TOTALLY insane to think about trading Vernon Wells.  Do you realize that Vernon Wells is making $4.3 million this season and $5.6 next year? 

Bobby Abreu will make $15M.  Andruw Jones will make $13.5M.  Johnny Damon will make $13M.  Ken Griffey, Jr. will make $12.5M.  Carlos Beltran will make $12M.  Garret Freakin' Anderson will make $11M.  Geoff Jenkins will make $7M.  Eric Hinske will make $5.626M.

Vernon Wells will be one of the top values in all of baseball in 2007.  You cannot find a player of his calibre at his price, which means that you will spend far more money to replace him -- or rather, hopefully replace him -- unless you plan on punting this year and next.  Honestly, it's like the "trade Vernon now" crowd is staying at a beautiful beachfront hotel for $40/night, but nevertheless packs up and heads to the airport 10 days before their scheduled return because "we might miss our flight." 

Why the panic?  And it's awfully telling that it's not like we're even weighing trade proposals and evaluating whether moving Vernon for a particular package might make the team better.  Rather, it's a frightened-to-death impulse that compares possible returns for Wells with the "nothing" that the Jays might conceivably get in return two offseasons from now.  That, friends, is the definition of dealing from a position of weakness.  Doesn't intuitively seem like the best way to run a ballclub, does it?

The assumption that Vernon is out the door, to the extent that it's not rooted in navel-gazing pessimism, seems to be predicated that he's inevitably bound to be a Texas Ranger (Gary Matthews Jr. notwithstanding).  If that's true -- and it's certainly a widespread belief throughout baseball -- then why would you think that another club would mortgage their future to acquire somebody that's Arlington-bound, if in fact Vernon is?  And who the heck could the Jays get back from Texas that will be that good while that cheap?

Finally, it's flat-out preposterous to suggest that his trade value will decline next year, even assuming that rival clubs will view him as a rent-a-player.  Affordable, classy excellence -- Vernon will be the ultimate rental next year.  Of course, even then, if the Jays already have him for the stretch run, why don't they just keep him?

Jordan - Friday, July 28 2006 @ 04:51 PM EDT (#151721) #
My gut feeling is that the Jays won't make any substantial trade before July 31. The pickings out there are slim -- the likes of Mark Redman and Cory Lidle -- and there are enough teams higher in the standings and more desperate to win this year that will offer more than what Ricciardi will (or should) be willing to give up. When the price of renting Julio Lugo is Brandon League or Dustin McGowan, and when you're 4.5 games out with an otherwise bright future in '06 and '07, then it's time to walk away from the table.
Jordan - Friday, July 28 2006 @ 05:04 PM EDT (#151722) #
Sorry, '07 and '08.
Mike Green - Saturday, July 29 2006 @ 11:31 AM EDT (#151763) #
Last night, the Braves dealt Wilson Betemit to the Dodgers for Willy Aybar and Danys Baez. With Izturis and Furcal already on the left side of the infield, presumably this means that the Dodgers intend to deal Izturis who is much more valuable at short than at third.
Mike Green - Saturday, July 29 2006 @ 01:46 PM EDT (#151770) #
To be clear, I wasn't intending to suggest that Izturis was a sensible trade target for the Jays. 

You know that it's deadline time when you wake up thinking about blockbuster trades that simply won't happen.  Vernon Wells, Troy Glaus and A.J. Burnett for Alex Rodriguez, Melky Cabrera, Phil Hughes and Jose Tabata plus $5 million/yr. for the duration of Rodriguez' contract is what I woke up with.  Believe me, I'm not advocating for it.

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