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The Jays win another close one with Cleveland

Another nip and tuck affair with the Indians. The offense wasn't able to do a great deal against Westbrook and the pesky Fernando Cabrera (6 1/3 scoreless Innings against the Jays over the last couple of weeks), although there seemed to be a lot of baserunners all night. The three runs they did scratch out though were enough for Lilly and the bullpen, Ted was very solid again, while not having his best stuff, and worked hard. With the W he seems assured of setting a career high for wins this year, his 12th last night equalled his best so far. After six he turned it over to the bullpen and Frasor, League and Sir Robert Victor had a scoreless Inning each to finish things off. I was glad to see Gibby go to Frasor in a high leverage situation, maybe Jason is working his way back onto the managers christmas card list.

Star of the Game: Aaron Hill had three hits and even a stolen base, I know it was only against Victor Martinez but it still counts.

Unsung Hero: Adam Lind had a couple of hits and added a nifty bit of base-running in the second to score on Russ Adams blooper. J.P was very impressed about the latter on the radio with Wilner last night.

Elsewhere in the East: The Angels warmed up for the jays visit with a convincing win over Baltimore, roughing up Daniel Cabrera for four runs and the O's bullpen for another four. Baltimore's familiar September collapse seems to be kicking, they're 1-5 so far this month and face the Yankees, Red Sox and Tigers in the next ten days. Randy Johnson had his best start of the year with seven shutout Innings against the Royals for a comfortable Yankee win. Carlos Silva was dominating the Devil Rays through six Innings when he had to leave the game sick, and Tampa took full full advantage getting to the normally stellar Twins' pen for four runs and earning them the win. In Boston Kyle Snyder came down to earth after his great start last time out and was chased after just 2 1/3 with five runs on the board as the White Sox eased past the Red Sox.

Today: Off day for the Jays, I'll be tuning in to watch Verlander against the Twins I think, unless I get suckered in the openeing night of the NFL.
TDIB: Jays 3 - Cleveland 2 | 67 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
China fan - Thursday, September 07 2006 @ 10:02 AM EDT (#154877) #
   I know it's very early, but Lind looks like he might be the real deal.    If he's ready for the majors next year, this creates a bit of a dilemma for the Jays (although a pleasant dilemma to have).    Where do you play Lind, or who do you trade to make room for him?   JP wants to sign Cat for 2007, and the Cat seems willing to come back.  Cat is a consistently reliable .300 hitter, so you'd hate to bench him to make room for Lind at DH or the outfield.  Elsewhere in the outfield, Reed and Rios are too good to be platooned next year.  And with the extra payroll, the club has a good chance to sign Vernon Wells.   So where is the spot for Lind?   Does this open up the possibility to trade one of the outfielders as part of a package for a starting pitcher?  Does it create an argument for trading Wells for pitching?   I know it's perhaps too early to be certain of Lind's development, but there's at least a possibility that his play in September and in spring training next year will be good enough to justify a spot in the lineup for him.
js_magloire - Thursday, September 07 2006 @ 11:06 AM EDT (#154882) #
  If he's ready for the majors next year, this creates a bit of a dilemma for the Jays (although a pleasant dilemma to have).

I think what adds to this dilemna is that, if you read the latest Jays notes on, Frank Catalantto said he would like to return, but is interested in a multi year deal and more playing time in the field, ie: no platoon or DH. So JP has to make a decision, will he bring back Cat as his OF for the next few years? That means Reed and RIos play the other positions, and Wells is the one whos traded. With Lind coming up, he could be a DH/4th OF, but I hope JP doesn't cause another messy logjam like with the IF corners this year and end up with too little depth when all is said and done. Make up your mind for the long-term NOW. It's either sign Wells, or trade him and bring back Cat. (Unless Rios or Reed are traded).
Gwyn - Thursday, September 07 2006 @ 11:19 AM EDT (#154883) #
Not quite how I read it.   Cat doesn't mind platooning, but doesn't like to DH.

"I like the way they use me here -- platooning is fine for me," Catalanotto said. "I'm not a big fan of [designated hitting]. It's easier to be in the flow of the game and easier with my at-bats when I'm in the field."
js_magloire - Thursday, September 07 2006 @ 11:25 AM EDT (#154884) #
Did anyone notice Brandon League throwing his 97  mph fastballs last night, and then he struck a guy out on an 88 mph split fingered fastball? This was really cool....has he always done this, because that split fingered could act like a hard change up and throw batters offspeed. It's especially nice when hitters face a guy like Lilly with a 90 mph fastball and looping curves, then are whizzed by. Is this his closest thing to offspeed?
Ducey - Thursday, September 07 2006 @ 11:32 AM EDT (#154885) #

I don't see a dilemma myself.  Reed is coming back down to earth and unfortuantely for him, solidifying the notion he is not a full time player.  I don't think Reed or Cat have to pop to be a full time LF.  However, a platoon has worked quite well.

It would be ideal, I think, to have Reed, Cat and Lind revolving thru DH and LF, with all three possibly playing at the same time when Wells or Rios are injured or needing a day off.  If you look at as 5 players for 4 positions - it really is the bare minimum.

ds - Thursday, September 07 2006 @ 11:49 AM EDT (#154886) #

And having the five players for 4 positions allows each of them ample playing time, while slowing bringing Lind up to speed.  Of course if Cat is signed multi-year, one of them will have to go the following year, as I don't think it will take too long for Lind to adjust.  I think calling Lind "Cat with more power" seems pretty realistic.

The team needs to focus on resigning (or trading) Wells, getting a quality SS, and shoring up the rotation.

Geoff - Thursday, September 07 2006 @ 11:55 AM EDT (#154887) #
Those five revolving through those four positions is fine, but which of Cat or Lind would face the lefty starter?

Do you sit both and start Phillips, presuming he's kept as a third catcher / 1B option?

Mike Green - Thursday, September 07 2006 @ 12:00 PM EDT (#154889) #
That's probably right.  The most difficult part would be managing the LF/DH split among Lind and Catalanotto against right-handed pitchers.  Catalanotto prefers to play the outfield, but is getting older. Lind's strength is not in the outfield, but as a young player it would ordinarily be considered preferable for him to be out there too. 

Incidentally, the view that Johnson is better with 500 instead of 650 PAs in a season is controversial. Even with his recent slump, he has shown increased power this year as well as a lower strikeout rate.  Whether this improvement can be sustained for the next few years is not obvious.
China fan - Thursday, September 07 2006 @ 12:14 PM EDT (#154892) #

    Johnson is still in the top-10 in league batting, he's hit 12 home runs, and he's a defensive wizard too.   Surely he deserves a full-time slot in the lineup next year.

   I'd be concerned about platooning Lind and Cat, if both are available.  Cat is close to the top 10 in batting average (he only needs a few more ABs to qualify) and is a lock to hit .300 every year.  He deserves a lot of playing time.  But Lind's development could be blocked if he is playing only part-time.  He might be much better than a 4th outfielder and back-up DH, if given the chance.


Pistol - Thursday, September 07 2006 @ 12:32 PM EDT (#154893) #
Lind's batting stance reminds me of Hideki Matsui.  Is it just me?
Pepper Moffatt - Thursday, September 07 2006 @ 12:40 PM EDT (#154894) #
Keep in mind that there's always injuries.  I'd much rather have too many outfielders and a strong bench than too few.  Last thing the Jays need is the 2007 equivalents of Dave Berg, Howie Clark, and Tom Wilson getting time in OF, like the Jays had in 2003.
John Northey - Thursday, September 07 2006 @ 01:13 PM EDT (#154896) #
Something to keep in mind also is how many of these guys are having career years this season?
Player - Lifetime - this year  Avg/OBP/Slg
Cat - 299/364/457 - 313/392/462
Johnson - 286/347/424 - 318/390/493
Wells - 289/337/495 - 313/367/568
Rios - 279/328/423 - 291/343/497

All 3 are well above their career norms.  Cat has almost 30 points on his OBP, Johnson 40, Wells 30, Rios 15.  For Slg Cat is up 5, Johnson,  Wells, and Rios at about 70 up.  To me that screams 'career years' and that the Jays should be very careful about who they keep.  Rios is 25, Wells 27, Johnson 29, Cat 32.  As much as I hate to say it I'd be looking at trading Johnson & Wells and letting Cat go while seeing if the Jays can find a couple of top quality outfielders who might be 'down on his luck' this season (ie: cheap and likely to improve). 

Rios collapsing doesn't scare me as much as the risk of overpaying for Cat/Johnson/Wells.
JayFan0912 - Thursday, September 07 2006 @ 01:14 PM EDT (#154897) #
You mean 2004, right ?

I would prefer to trade rios this year, depending on what you get back ( whether a team believes his first half performance is indicative of his future performance), sign sheffield to an incentive rich contract... and play cat, shef, johnson, and lind around the 2 corner OF spots and DH.

A good pitcher, with a few years under the jays control would be a pretty good return, as would a shortstop or catcher (  the angels, a's are a pretty good fit ).

Named For Hank - Thursday, September 07 2006 @ 01:18 PM EDT (#154898) #
That plan seems really short-sighted, unless you believe Rios is going to absolutely implode and not be worth a penny.
Ron - Thursday, September 07 2006 @ 02:34 PM EDT (#154912) #
Rios's first half screams fluke to me. He was crushing fastballs left and right in the 1st half. Ever since he came back from his injury, he's rarely challenged with fastballs right down the pipe and the results have been poor. Another strike against Rios is that he doesn't draw walks. He's also vastly over-rated on the field. There have been multiple times this season where it appeared his head wasn't in the game. He takes weird routes to fly balls and sometimes lets balls get pass him that he should have been able to track/block in the first place.  When he got off to his blazing start, I said I would glady include him in a package for Dontrelle Willis. If I were the GM, I would be very open to dealing Rios for a starting pitcher.

Wells is a tough player to judge. In his last 4 seasons, he has had 2 great one's, and 2 average one's. I feel like his D has declined this season. At this point I feel comfortable saying Johnson is a better defender than Wells. Giving Wells a 5yr/70 million type of contract scares the hell out of me. I wouldn't do it. The current core of the Jays isn't good enough to make the playoffs/win the World Series. I would do my best to trade Wells this off-season. He's the one player on the Jays roster that can truly bring back some good young players in return.

CaramonLS - Thursday, September 07 2006 @ 02:34 PM EDT (#154913) #
As for Glaus' desire to play 3b... perhaps he sees the team as better off with himself at 3b rather than John Hattig or Johnny Mac? In which case, he's supposed to suck it up and take the field if at all possible?

Errr... No. 

The whole reason he came here was that the Jays promised him he wouldn't be DHing, but rather be playing 3B full time.
js_magloire - Thursday, September 07 2006 @ 02:54 PM EDT (#154915) #
I agree with everything Ron said. Tentatively.
SK in NJ - Thursday, September 07 2006 @ 03:22 PM EDT (#154922) #

Rios is hard to gauge because he missed time and lost weight during his DL stint. He was walking a lot more before the injury, in addition to the significant power surge. I wouldn't mind trading Rios, but he's not someone I can conclude is over or underachieving. Frankly, I have no idea which is the real Rios.

With Johnson, it's a bit easier to judge. He doesn't have untapped power potential, and he's not much of a walk player, so his worth will be dicated primarily by batting average. The question becomes, is Johnson a .320 hitter? Can he maintain his current .180 ISO? I'd have to say no on both counts. Especially now that he's about to turn 30 and is getting more expensive, he's a perfect candidate to trade at his highest value (Ricciardi never sells high, so this might be a moot point anyway).

Rios will definitely get more in a trade, but I wouldn't trade him over Johnson unless the player(s) the Jays are getting for Rios would be a significant upgrade at a needed position (SP, SS). Right now, Johnson is much more expendable.

jjdynomite - Thursday, September 07 2006 @ 03:44 PM EDT (#154925) #

Just an FYI, I had a staph infection (shoulder) in 1993 and needed a full 3 months of physio to get back my full range of motion.  And even then, my dreams of a professional waterpolo career ended in high school.

Obviously, Rios' ankle is a less crucial part of his body as a hitter, and he is a pro athlete and therefore may recover more quickly than most human beings (like myself).  But given my personal experience, it is, even now, way too early to subscribe to Ron's theory that Rios will not get back to where he was.

Also note that the ankle injury may well have impacted Rios' defence; I'm curious if his Canseco move around Pesky's Pole would have occurred before June 27.  But we'll never know.

JayFan0912 - Thursday, September 07 2006 @ 04:43 PM EDT (#154926) #
"That plan seems really short-sighted, unless you believe Rios is going to absolutely implode and not be worth a penny."

I would trade him for someone like santana and one of aybar or izturis(angels), or haren (a's), or zumaya, or miner.

Signing shef isn't short sighted. Patterson and snider are in the minors, and shef/johnson in rf is ok until they fully develop.

These moves put the jays in a better position for the next few years, and it guards against rios flopping next year - in which case we have no adequate RF, and are forced to fill holes at SS/2B and pitching through free agency.
Hodgie - Thursday, September 07 2006 @ 04:49 PM EDT (#154927) #

"Obviously, Rios' ankle is a less crucial part of his body as a hitter"

I would probably argue the exact opposite. The legs are the very foundation upon which a swing is built. Even more so than pitchers, a hitter's power is generated by the legs and without a stable/strong base, it is hardly  surprising that said hitter would struggle. No legs, no bat speed, no power. 

Craig B - Thursday, September 07 2006 @ 06:05 PM EDT (#154928) #

Hodgie is absolutely correct.  Any loss of motion (or especially feedback) in Rios's lower leg will have terrible results for his balance and weight transfer, and therefore sap him of power and making it hard for him to hit the ball hard.  A hitter's balance is most crucial; all the power in a swing comes, essentially, out of the ground and through the legs.

StephenT - Thursday, September 07 2006 @ 10:30 PM EDT (#154934) #
fyi: in-context Jays stats since the All-Star Break (also former Jays and league leaders). The Jays have had the 2nd-best record in the A.L. East since the All-Star Break (but that's not saying much). Rios has had just a .201 EqA since the All-Star Break, 2nd-lowest of the Jays' regulars.
VBF - Thursday, September 07 2006 @ 11:04 PM EDT (#154936) #

Quote from Vernon Wells:

"I have money in the bank and I have money that my kids are going to be able to use, hopefully I can get some more that their kids will be able to use."

In otherwords, with JP sending him an enormous contract to him in the mail, he'd be a fool not to seriously consider it, knowing that injury or market value could fluctuate and he may never see a deal like that again.

Wildrose - Thursday, September 07 2006 @ 11:42 PM EDT (#154939) #
Impressive work Stephen.

Burnett and Marcum's numbers jump out at me, I'm a little cautious about the relievers as individuals due to sample size issues , but as a group they've been generally good.

Still not sure if this is a "hitting team" or a good "pitching/ defensive" team, maybe a little of both. A season of contrasts. 

Jim - Friday, September 08 2006 @ 07:40 AM EDT (#154949) #

They'd get possibly a pitcher as good in return (McGowan), Vernon Wells, and a possibly breakthrough OF (thats the big risk).

If you think McGowan is going to be as good as Weaver or Saunders why trade him?  I think that is crazy talk and I don't even like Weaver, his FB rate scares me to death.  Wishcasting on Rios is great, maybe you haven't noticed that they already have a RF?  Why would they want to take the risk that Wells is going to run off to Texas to be with his man-crush?  On top of the fact that they would have a huge amount of money to pick up in this deal for 2007. 

Anaheim already knows that they will find room for those guys.  The first wave of prospects they had (McPherson, Kotchman, Mathis) is on it's way to being a washout.  They have more guys behind them besides Kendrick and Wood that are under the radar, but there is no way you are getting that much value back for McGowan and Rios in a trade. 
js_magloire - Friday, September 08 2006 @ 08:32 AM EDT (#154950) #
Well at least JP's head is in its right place. He says that next year he will be focusing on getting pitching, pitching and more pitching. (Hopefully it'll help if the gaggle of B and C pitching prospects start fulfilling some potential, I think at least a few are ripe soon). He also says Russ Adams won't be the starting 2nd basemen next year, and that they don't look to lock up their young players to long-term deals like with Hinske/Wells because its too risky. We'll see how well he executes but if I were GM I'd be thinking more or less the exact same thing.

Someone said earlier that on the radio JP said he wasn't looking to buy a mediocre starter for 7/8 million. I think Ken Rosenthal early in the year said a good point, to win in the AL East you need 7 or 8 starters. It's a simple formula. Is there anyway that the Jays somehow make a solid 5-man rotation, with a couple of their current "starters" as the bullpen guys, who could easily fill in as starters due to injury, or underperformance (I'm looking at you Gus Chacin).

TheLorax - Friday, September 08 2006 @ 11:08 AM EDT (#154960) #

I have to agree with Ron entirely:

"He takes weird routes to fly balls and sometimes lets balls get pass him that he should have been able to track/block in the first place."

I have to say (and not because of that terrible play in Boston that will forever haunt our dreams), that Rios' fielding is vastly over-rated. Sure he has the cannon, but he rarely looks comfortable on hard hit balls, under running balls, and taking terrible routes to balls in the corner.

From my vantage point, he totally butchered that first flyball hit off Accardo that started the whole meltdown the other night, running an "L" to get himself to the corner. There's no doubt he's got the potential to be one of the best players in the game, and undoubtably the tools to become a perenial all-star.

But I have to say, much of his game is still a "work in progress" - I wouldn't be the first to pen him as Vernon's cheaper, miracle replacement just yet.

Anders - Friday, September 08 2006 @ 11:49 AM EDT (#154963) #
I agree that Rios still has some kinks to work out, but as I believe was discussed before, he (and Vernon) have been among the best in the American League at fielding their positions this year.

Chris Dial has Rios as the 3rd best RF per 150 games, and Vernon is 4th (Reed is first in left)

Mike Green - Friday, September 08 2006 @ 12:30 PM EDT (#154964) #
Rios has had consistently good defensive ratings from Baseball Prospectus over the last 3 years.  He outruns most of his mistakes, and when he takes the right route, he gets to a number of balls that other rightfielders don't have a chance on. 
Pistol - Friday, September 08 2006 @ 12:58 PM EDT (#154967) #

lock up their young players to long-term deals like with Hinske/Wells because its too risky

Funny how times change.  When Hinske and Wells signed it was because it was too risky not to sign them.  Those signings gave the Jays 'cost certainty'.  And in the end the Jays came out ahead with those 2 deals combined.

Signing players early is generally a good idea if it's a top level player, but the Jays don't have anyone worth locking up long term right now.  Rios would be the only consideration in my mind.  No one else is going to perform so well that the Jays would save significant money by signing them now.

TDIB: Jays 3 - Cleveland 2 | 67 comments | Create New Account
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