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The Blue Jays signed catcher Jason Phillips to a 1 year, $500,000 contract.

Phillips will serve as the backup catcher to Gregg Zaun. He'll get most of his action against LH pitchers where he's a career .271/.347/.418 hitter.

Today is the deadline to offer players arbitration. The Jays have two decisions to make - Ted Lilly and Bengie Molina.  Lilly will certainly be offered arbitration while Molina will almost definitely not be offered arbitration (given that the Jays have two catchers right now and a signing team will have to give up a draft pick to sign Molina).  The Giants have some interest in Molina.

In the article linked above there were also a couple of developments:
  • Rob Godfrey announced that he was resigning as the club's senior vice-president of business operations
  • Royce Clayton isn't assured of being the starting shortstop.
Ricciardi said Thursday that Clayton's signing by no means guarantees him carte blanche status at short. "Nothing is defined right now," Ricciardi said. "[Clayton] is going to get a chance to play a lot."

Blue Jays Sign Jason Phillips | 142 comments | Create New Account
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Mark - Friday, December 01 2006 @ 09:39 AM EST (#159582) #
I am curious to see what the Jays do with Molina.

Last year, the Red Sox were in a similar situation with Graffanino. They took a gamble and offered him arb, he accepted, then they traded him before the season started.

If Molina has a deal with the Giants in place, it would be worth the gamble. The Giants first round pick is protected plus they are going to have a surplus of high picks (as many as 7 extra) with the departure of Alou and the expected departures of Durham, Hillenbrand, and Schmidt. They may not mind losing a 2nd round pick.

The worst case scenario is Molina accepts the Jays offer. At this point the Jays could trade him to SF for a C level prospect or PTBNL. (i.e. bag of balls)

Boston took the gamble last year and at least gave themselves a chance at getting something from nothing, I would like to see the Jays take the same gamble.
Mike Green - Friday, December 01 2006 @ 10:15 AM EST (#159584) #
Jeff Sackmann, creator of the fabulous website, has published in Baseball Analyst the minor league leaders/trailers in defensive runs saved above league average (using game logs).  His figures are understandably a first pass at a difficult topic, and have to be taken with much caution. 

Anyways, Dustin Majewski made the leaders column, while Sergio Santos, Brian Pettway and Ryan Patterson received mention as trailers.  The surprise is Patterson.  He was a centerfielder in college, and it was thought that he would be a solid defensive leftfielder.  Any observations from our Fisher Cat faithful here on Patterson's defence would be welcome.

Pistol - Friday, December 01 2006 @ 10:32 AM EST (#159586) #
The worst case scenario is Molina accepts the Jays offer. At this point the Jays could trade him to SF for a C level prospect or PTBNL. (i.e. bag of balls)

The risk in this case is that Molina's arbitration award could be higher than his market value.  He certainly wouldn't get a pay decrease - his counting stats were a little better than they were the year before.  Is there any trade interest in him if he's going to make $6 million?  I'm not sure there is.  In that case the Jays would might have to eat a million or two to trade him.  If you're willing to do that you might as well draft players late that drop from signability and pay them big bonuses.

At worst the Jays will have an extra 3 picks in the top 75.  I'm not sure it's worth it to try and squeeze out another two picks.  The other thing to consider is how much the Jays allocate to the draft.  We don't know that the Jays would be willing to pay slot money for all of their draft picks.  The bonuses for the two first round picks, two sandwich picks and 2 second round picks (assuming they don't lose their first with a signing) will run at least $6.5 million and probably another $1-1.5 million for the rest of the draft.  I don't think the Jays have ever been about $5 million for a draft before.  Two Molina picks would be at least another $1.5 million.

I think the Phillips signing might be an indication that the Jays aren't offering Molina arbitration.  If the Jays were going to consider it there was no reason to sign Phillips  prior to the arbitration offering deadline.  They could have waited until they got a decision from Molina (Dec 7th I believe).
Chuck - Friday, December 01 2006 @ 11:03 AM EST (#159588) #

Boston took the gamble last year and at least gave themselves a chance at getting something from nothing, I would like to see the Jays take the same gamble.

Once upon a time, the Jays so gambled with David Segui when they were sure he was going to sign with another team. Segui ended up accepting arbitration. The potential cost of being forced to carry Molina at a salary totally disproportionate to his true worth is a little too risky for my tastes, especially without the full confidence that they could easily shed that salary.

Dave501 - Friday, December 01 2006 @ 11:20 AM EST (#159589) #
Worst comes to worst, They offer Molina arbitration and he accepts, they keep him on another year at $6m.  He hit .284 with 19 home runs last year - that's not so bad.  His defense is debatable, and Zaun is a fan favorite, but that is not so bad.  I'd much rather see that happen then see Redman at $6M and one of either McGowan or Rosario lost on waivers because there's no room left on the 12 man pitching staff.
Chuck - Friday, December 01 2006 @ 11:25 AM EST (#159591) #
Molina, as anything other than a platoon catcher, is miscast. $6M for 200 AB seems a little excessive. That money could certainly be put to far more productive use.
Mark - Friday, December 01 2006 @ 11:39 AM EST (#159594) #
I was throwing out offering arbitration to Molina as a suggestion and not something I think they should do for certain so I want to be careful in defending my arguments. I think the decision to offer Molina arbitration is something that should be thought through before being dismissed.

I think Pistol makes a good argument. The picks might not even be worth the risk. If that is the case then no, don't do it. If the Jays see value in the picks then they should at least think about it.

The Segui argument lost me because if I remember correctly Segui was traded for Brad Fullmer, who put up a few productive years for us, which is exactly the "something for nothing" approach I was hoping for.

Back to Molina. This off season is definitely a buyers market. Molina is easily the best remaining catcher so in that aspect he should be in demand.
If the two options are A:) 2 year/8-9 million dollar contract and a starting job or B:) around 5 million dollars, a back-up job, a filthy arbitration case, and the knowledge that he may be traded and not knowing where, plus going back into free agency next year. I think Molina would choose option A.

However, if the Jays were to do something like this the bigger concern would be teams interest. Would a team, or the Giants in this case, back away from Molina because it costs a second rounder. My earlier point about the Giants having many early picks, plus their history of disregarding 1st round picks, plus there interest in lesser type A free agents like Rich Aurillia and Dave Roberts, would leave me to believe the Giants may not be to concerned over losing the pick.

Having said all this, I would be shocked if the Jays offered Molina arb. However, I do beleive some thought process should be put into the decision.
Chuck - Friday, December 01 2006 @ 12:06 PM EST (#159598) #

The Segui argument lost me because if I remember correctly Segui was traded for Brad Fullmer, who put up a few productive years for us, which is exactly the "something for nothing" approach I was hoping for.

Except that it wasn't by design. The Jays were so sure Segui was leaving as a free agent that they were confident in offering arbitration and collecting their "free" prize. That backfired, though the team was able to move Segui.

The risk of being saddled with Molina is too great. Could he be traded for a bag of balls if he were to accept arbitration? Maybe. Would the organization bank on that and ignore his $6M salary (presuming that it would soon be unloaded) when deciding on how much they still had to spend on other FA's? I don't know. If they had to continue their pursuit of other FA's with that $6M no longer available (for fear that they might have to eat it), then that would severely hamper matters.

I'd advocate letting Molina walk and not risking anything. If the Giants are actually dead set on signing him for 2/10, so be it. I wouldn't want to bank on that.

Elijah - Friday, December 01 2006 @ 12:30 PM EST (#159602) #
I don't believe the Jays should offer Molina arbitration because I'd be shocked if he could get more money compared to any arbitration award he would get by accepting from the Blue Jays.  The Giants may be the only team that (a) has a need for a starting catcher and (b) has the money and the desire to spent it on a starting catcher.

Don't you think teams would rather have Zaun and he wasn't obviously getting the 2/12 offers from starting teams.  Look at the possible targets.  In the AL, only the Angels and Rays arguably need a catcher and I don't see Molina returning to Anaheim when the Angels have Mathis and Napoli.  The Rays won't spend money and roll the dice with Dioner Navarro.

In the NL, the D-Backs and Giants could use help but the Giants were happy with Eliezer Alfonzo last year and the D-Backs can look to Chris Snyder.  There are teams like the Pirates that could use an upgrade that would be willing to spend.

So while there aren't that many catchers out there (Piazza, Lieberthal are probably the best), there also aren't that many dance partners that would need one in a trade.  If the Blue Jays offered arbitration and Molina accepted (which I personally think he would since he left all that money on the table last year), the Jays would be dealing from a position of weakness.  I thought getting Fullmer for Segui was a decent return given the Jays' barganing position.  I'd doubt they'd get even a bag of balls for Molina - they'd probably have to kick in a few dollars - look at the Reds dealing Jason LaRue to the Royals and eating salary.  J.P. had already said that Zaun is "our catcher" so he obviously doesn't want Molina back, especially at the dollars and other teams will know the Jays will already have Zaun and Phillips on major league contracts.

Offering arbitration would be not only a risky move, I believe it would be a foolish move given the potential consequences and current circumstances.
Rob - Friday, December 01 2006 @ 03:20 PM EST (#159627) #
The surprise is Patterson.  He was a centerfielder in college, and it was thought that he would be a solid defensive leftfielder.

I read Sackmann's comments to mean that Patterson was not very good in CF, as opposed to a corner spot. That jives with what I remember from his Auburn days; I don't think he finished more than a handful of games in CF. I don't think the article said anything about Patterson's LF performance.

However, has everyone's stats and Patterson was -34 in LF according to Sackmann's measure (combined A+ and AA). The "bottom 10" corner outfielders range from -55 to -44, so he's bad, but not terrible.

Other prospects I can find numbers for:
Adam Lind, LF: 28 (-2 in NH and 102 in Syracuse)
Ryan Klosterman has a 0 at both 2B and SS.
Anthony Hatch was well below average across the board in Lansing (2B, SS, less so at third).

Mike Green - Friday, December 01 2006 @ 03:54 PM EST (#159631) #
Russ Adams was +35/150 as a second baseman in Syracuse. 
Marc Hulet - Friday, December 01 2006 @ 07:00 PM EST (#159642) #
But what happens if one of those three goes down with an injury for an extended period. Depth has value.
Pistol - Friday, December 01 2006 @ 07:50 PM EST (#159643) #
Lilly was offered arbitration as expected, no word on Molina.
CaramonLS - Friday, December 01 2006 @ 09:32 PM EST (#159649) #
What about Andy Pettite?  Might come cheaper than some of the other names being tossed about, could be an amazing pickup.

Haven't heard much about him this off season, coincidently the Astros also declined to offer him Arb.
Marc Hulet - Friday, December 01 2006 @ 09:53 PM EST (#159650) #
Marquis and Thomson are other fall back options. If healthy, Thomson has a nice arm and survived pitching in Texas. Marquis is better than he showed this year.
melondough - Saturday, December 02 2006 @ 12:24 AM EST (#159655) #

Jeff Blair is up

He says that privately the Blue Jays think they will only get one of Meche or Lilly.  He also quotes JP as saying about Wells:  "I'm sure people will come up to us to talk about Vernon, but I don't think anybody will have the guts to blow us away,"

Blair also seems pretty confident that the payroll is somewhere between $90-$95 million (don't know how they could get two starters if this is the case) and states that a rumour circulating is that the reason that no specific buget has been announced is because there are two: one with Vernon being extended and one without.  Though he later goes on to state that this is not accurate.

Also take a look at Blair's and Rober Macleod's "Top 10 Winter Must see's".  I think this was quite well done as well as humourous.

Mylegacy - Saturday, December 02 2006 @ 01:01 AM EST (#159657) # is reporting that Lilly's first offer from the Cubs is for $30- $32 Million over 4 years. It reports that JP seriously intends to get both Meche and Lilly and will be in it till the end. The report says the payroll number JP has is 10 to 14 million but that more might be available AND apparently JP has some "creative" ideas to get the deals done. It expects JP to make an offer to the two pitchers agents Monday evening.
Mylegacy - Saturday, December 02 2006 @ 01:17 AM EST (#159658) #
Rotoworld says....Arbitration offered to Lilly, not to Bengie.
King Ryan - Saturday, December 02 2006 @ 02:56 AM EST (#159659) #
I'm hoping the Jays sign Lily and then "lose" on Meche.  I'd feel more comfortable giving Josh Towers another chance than giving a huge contract to Gil F. Meche.

Then the Jays can bring in a SS to replace Clayton and all will be well.

Mark - Saturday, December 02 2006 @ 05:51 AM EST (#159663) #
Type A's offered arbitration (who are still free agents)
Todd Walker
Rich Aurillia
Tony Graffanino
Julio Lugo
Barry Zito
Jason Schmidt
Roberto Hernandez

All of them have a higher Elias ranking than Cat. As long as none of them sign in Texas, the 16th pick in the draft goes to the Jays.
perlhack - Saturday, December 02 2006 @ 12:20 PM EST (#159664) #
In news not related to free agency or the winter meetings, Slate has a short piece about ex-ballplayer Don Carman: The Autograph Man
braden - Saturday, December 02 2006 @ 01:17 PM EST (#159667) #

Roberto Hernandez signed with Cleveland today.  So there's one more Type A gone.

And Rich Aurillia appears to have signed with the Giants.  So that leaves only five Type A's that could cause the Jays to lose the Rangers first rounder.

Mick Doherty - Saturday, December 02 2006 @ 01:21 PM EST (#159668) #
In news not related to free agency or the winter meetings, Slate has a short piece about ex-ballplayer Don Carman: The Autograph Man

 perlhack, that's a great story. Thanks for the link. Well worth a read, everyone!
Jacko - Saturday, December 02 2006 @ 01:30 PM EST (#159669) #
Was Hill really that bad at shortstop last year? Well, he did have 12 errors in 63 games, but it's not like he wasn't doing it at 2nd base either (7). I don't get it; he was near flawless the year before at short and second after covering third most of the year, but then seemed to have all kinds of trouble with the ball last year wherever he was. I'm happy they're sticking him at one position (though I loathe the idea of ClayDonald being an everyday player while Adams rots in Syracuse), but it seems kind of weird to see all of your defensive numbers go down so much after such a successful first season.

Adams wrote his own ticket to Syracuse last year.  His defense was expected to be shaky, but when his hitting went south, he became completely useless.

And it can hardly be characterized as "rotting in Syracuse".  He needs to go down there and work on his fielding and hitting in a low pressure environment.  I still think the kid has talent, but it's increasingly looking like he was rushed. The only way to truly help him out is to hit the reset button and start again.  Hey, it worked wonders for Halladay.

One other thing: does anyone else think Adams could benefit from a serious weight training program?   Adding a little power would do wonders for his hitting game.  The only way he hits HR right now is if he goes straight down the line.   It would be nice if he developed the "man strength" to hit balls out in the power alleys (or at least hit some gappers).

actionjackson - Saturday, December 02 2006 @ 03:20 PM EST (#159671) #
Was Hill really that bad at shortstop last year?

In a word yes. According to Probabilistic Model of Range (PMR) by David Pinto, Hill was the 3rd best 2B in the major leagues. However, he did not play everyday at 2B because of the inadequacies of the SS crew. Pinto actually has 2 charts for 2B and Hill places 6th best on the other one, but I went with the one that gave him 3rd because Pinto prefers it's results. Hill placed dead last among major league SS according to this metric. It is only one person's point of view, but it does demonstrate the gap between his abilities at 2B and SS. Some would say his numbers at SS will improve if given the chance to play it exclusively over a full season. To that I would answer look at the gap between his abilities at 2B and SS and ask yourself if you really want to have defensive question marks in the middle infield again, when you could give yourself a solid choice at 2B and ClayDonald which comes out to average defensively at SS. Think about what that does for a staff with Halladay, Burnett, League, and Downs on it. If we had a Yankee size budget of course we could get in on Lugo, but I'm not sure we can do that and get 2 starters, which I feel is the greater need. JP was bitten badly by a staff of Halladay, Burnett, Lilly, Towers, and Chacin, when Burnett and Chacin went down with injury and everyone wished Towers had. If some of the young kid starters push through in the event of injury or self-immolation that's great, but you don't want to count on it when you're going for it. There will be starts for the kiddie corps and maybe Towers eventually, but it's nice to have 5 vets that you feel you can count on going into the season. The charts for PMR can be found here:

There are charts for all the positions, just scroll down until you reach 2B and SS and check out the other ones as well. IIRC, Chris Dial's system also rated Aaron Hill very highly at 2B, and he did not qualify at SS.

Pistol - Saturday, December 02 2006 @ 06:29 PM EST (#159677) #
If you want John Sickels to discuss the Jays soon, rock the vote!

Here's a list of all players who were and weren't offered arbitration.

Mike Green - Saturday, December 02 2006 @ 09:31 PM EST (#159682) #
The Bill James Handbook 2007 arrived yesterday at my door.  There is an interesting compilation of baserunning stats- extra base advancement rate, bases taken (on wild pitches, passed balls and so on), baserunning outs, and ratio of runs scored to times on base- for each player who had significant time in the major leagues in 2006.  Chone Figgins led the majors with +28.  Can you guess which two players led the Jays with +12? 

Gabe Gross was a very impressive +14 in part-time play. 

js_magloire - Saturday, December 02 2006 @ 09:58 PM EST (#159683) #
Hill and Rios.

OR Wells and Johnson.

Mike Green - Saturday, December 02 2006 @ 10:01 PM EST (#159684) #
Aaron Hill is 1/2 the answer.  Reed Johnson was close.  Alex Rios was above average.  Vernon Wells was below average.

One down, one to go.

budgell - Saturday, December 02 2006 @ 10:08 PM EST (#159685) #
Hill & Zaun
Dr. Zarco - Saturday, December 02 2006 @ 10:10 PM EST (#159686) #
I'll go with Glaus. I can't remember him getting thrown out on the bases more than once despite all the hobbling, he's sneaky fast.
Mike Green - Saturday, December 02 2006 @ 10:11 PM EST (#159687) #
Nope, Zaun was unsurprisingly much better than Molina, but still a little on the negative side of the ledger.
zeppelinkm - Saturday, December 02 2006 @ 10:11 PM EST (#159688) #
For fun I'm going to guess Zaun. Although my gut says perhaps it's the Cat, due to the guys that were often hitting behind Cat versus Zaun.

Mike Green - Saturday, December 02 2006 @ 10:16 PM EST (#159689) #
No to Glaus, Zaun and the Cat, all of whom were on the negative side of the ledger.  We've got Russ Adams, Lyle Overbay and John McDonald left, and two of them also had ratings that began with a "minus".
Thomas - Saturday, December 02 2006 @ 10:16 PM EST (#159690) #
I'm gonna go with Hinske. I've always been impressed by his baserunning skills.
Mike Green - Saturday, December 02 2006 @ 10:19 PM EST (#159691) #
So have I, Thomas, but Eric Hinske was negative as well.  Shea Hillenbrand was marginally positive. 
Mike Green - Saturday, December 02 2006 @ 10:23 PM EST (#159692) #
I've got to go.  The answer is the Minister of Defence.  The Jays were definitely overall below average on the basepaths, and that contributed undoubtedly to their inefficiency in run-scoring.
actionjackson - Sunday, December 03 2006 @ 04:06 PM EST (#159702) #
China fan, I'm not talking about base stealing. I'm talking about baserunning ability. As John McDonald demonstrates, there's a difference between the two. Watch him make a delayed steal some time, he's using his brain not his "blazing speed". The Bill James Handbook seems to be tracking baserunning and expressing it as a + or a -. This is very useful information because without it we can only subjectively guess who the best baserunners are and we will errantly look to stolen bases to help make this determination. Great base stealers are not necessarily great baserunners. Sometimes the two go hand in hand. Paul Molitor is a good example. Sometimes however speed can be a curse causing the runner to be too aggressive and run his team into outs.

As far as strategy goes I don't like the stolen base much, except to keep the defense on its toes. As with the sacrifice bunt, proponents of the strategy assume it will work 100% of the time, but of course it doesn't. You know the old single/walk/hit by pitch/reach on an error etc, then steal 2nd, sacrifice or groundout to the right to get to 3rd, and score on a sac fly or a groundout spiel that gets dragged out by broadcasters all the time. How many things have to go right there? A helluva lot, yet people just assume it's all going to happen because they refuse to consider the fact that it might not.

One of the big reasons all these one run strategies have hung around this long is the mortal fear of the double play groundball. Does that really make much sense though? The highest league DP% (GDP/GDP opportunities), I could find over the last 30 years was 14.4%. Let's say a rough estimate for OBA during that time is .333 or 33.3%. Does it really make sense to go through all these strategies and offer up a guaranteed out, when your chances of reaching base are more than twice that of your chances of hitting into a double play ball? Only under the right circumstances I would say. When 1 run is needed late in the game to tie or win the game. Other than that only to keep the defense honest, in other words occasionally.

Back to the original point, whether Royce Clayton can steal or not doesn't make much of a difference seeing as he's not great at getting on except against LH. I don't think the Jays need to get involved in the speed game as much as they need to improve their baserunning smarts. Remember who won the race between the tortoise and the hare. I would like to see smarter decisions on the basepaths and by Brian Butterfield. Oh, and no more hit and runs with a strikeout machine at the plate and a slow foot on the bases would be nice too. ;)
Mark - Monday, December 04 2006 @ 06:28 AM EST (#159721) #
A few things occurred to me as I read this article.

First, before the free agency period began the Jays figured that their 2007 payroll would be about 68.5 Million after bringing back all their arbitration eligible players combined with the already signed players for next year. Are the "outrageous" contracts handed out this winter going to cost the Jays in arbitration. Will Rios, Johnson and Overbay now demand and get more money than the Jays originally figured. I hope that JP and friends accounted for this while estimating the cost. But the price of Lee, Soriano, Mathews and Pierre could mean serious pay hikes for Rios and Johnson, considering both are coming off better years than Pierre and Mathews.

The second thing, and believe me it pains me to say it, is that our favorite Toronto Star writer has a valid point when he writes this.

The Jays may be better off avoiding both Meche and Lilly.

I always agreed with JP's philosophy of paying big time money for big time talent but avoid paying middle-big money for middle talent. The Jays roster is an example of this as Halladay, Burnett, Ryan, Thomas and Glaus are paid like the stars they are while the rest of the roster is made up with value guys. The Jays are one of a few teams that this year and last did not have a killer contract on their hands. And to be successful I believe they can not afford to carry a Erstad/Ponson/Pavano/Foulke/Kendal/Milton/Green/Abreu/Washburn/Alfonso/etc. When JP has made a mistake of adding middle talent for middle money (Koskie/Towers) he has been lucky enough that the contracts have not been so large that they hand cuffed him. Hopefully he has learned from this.

However, his interest in the two pitchers tells me that maybe he hasn't. Adding Meche and Lilly could hurt the Jays in the long run.

It is probably a better idea to wait a year (next year there are twice as many quality pitchers available). Of course the dilemma is the Jays want to win now, but as a fan I also want to see them when in 2008 and beyond.

I have always had a little philosophy on signing players. If there is any doubt that in one year you wont be able to trade the player because of his contract, then don't offer the contract.(not including injury risk, which there is always potential of) If Meche and Lilly do not improve on their numbers from previous years, any trades involving them will most likely involve the Koskie/Hinske principle of taking back salary. To add to the point Lilly is using Washburn as a comp. Right now, would you trade for Washburn(8W, 1.35WHIP,4.67ERA in a pitchers park) and the 3 years/30 million left on his contract?

Chuck - Monday, December 04 2006 @ 08:21 AM EST (#159723) #

New topic: How about Kenny Lofton as a 4th outfielder?

He'd only have to play against RHP and given the three guys in front of him, he'd only ever have to play LF no matter who he was spelling (they would shift accordingly). This would mask his weaknesses (inability to hit LHP, weak arm). He'd serve as a LHB off the bench and a late game pinch-runner.

I don't know if he's going to get a chance to be anyone's starting CF (there is talk about the Cubs having interest), but if not, he could probably be had for a reasonable one-year deal.

Craig B - Monday, December 04 2006 @ 08:40 AM EST (#159726) #
Chuck, I think Lofton would be a great fit.  Money and opportunity are the questions, as you point out, but if he's willing to come and accept a share of a job, I think he'd be a real asset.
Mark - Monday, December 04 2006 @ 09:31 AM EST (#159729) #
According to the MLBCBA awarded arbitration is decided on the following Criteria:
1. the contribution of the player to his team
2. the length and consistency of his career contribution
3. the player’s past compensation
4. comparable baseball salaries
5. the existence of any physical or mental defects on the part of the player
6. the recent performance of the club (including but not limited to league
standings of the team and attendance)

As well "an arbitrator (or a panel of arbitrators) may only examine the salaries of those players who have no more than one additional year of experience (as defined by the MLBCBA) than the player in question if that player has less than 5 years of major league service."

So while Reed Johnson (4 years) is not affected this year, next year he will be able to use Pierre and Mathews as comps.

However, I was not thinking that the contracts given out would have a direct affect on the Jays arbitration players in terms of usable comps. I was think more along the lines of an indirect trickle down affect. Like the 5 year players using the Lee, Soriano, Mathews, Pierre contracts as comps. Then Reed using those 5 year players (Wilkerson/Rowand/Byrnes) as comps, then Rios using Reed as a comp, etc.

While it may not be a huge difference, there will be a bump in salary. Instead of asking between 1.8-2 million, Reed Johnson can ask for 2.4-2.8 Million and so on. It could lead to a few extra million dollars over the estimated 68.5M figure.
Chuck - Monday, December 04 2006 @ 11:24 AM EST (#159733) #

Like the 5 year players using the Lee, Soriano, Mathews, Pierre contracts as comps.

While I accept the general thesis of your argument (escalating salaries will ultimately mean escalating arb figures), I think that the line cited above is where your argument loses a little steam. There is a world of difference between a 5-year player and a 6-year player. One is still subject  to the constraints of the arbitration framework. The other is a free man in a free world. This distinction, while meaningless in gauging on-field value, is an enormous one for the purposes of determining arb figures.

Certainly the latest round of FA contracts will have a direct bearing on the arb figures for the FA's who have been offered arbitration, but not on those who are not yet FA's.

Mike Green - Monday, December 04 2006 @ 12:01 PM EST (#159734) #
I did notice an increase in the pre-arb figures in the previous peak of the salary cycle in 99-00.  The way it seems to work, as far as I can tell, is that some GMs get caught up in the frenzy and offer contracts to their pre-arb players which partly reflect the free agent market.  These contracts then serve as reference points for the arbitration process.  The whole thing is not entirely rational; part of what is happening is pure herd mentality and that goes for both the up and down parts of the cycle. 
Mike Green - Monday, December 04 2006 @ 12:03 PM EST (#159735) #
Whoops.  That should read that "some GMs offer contracts to their arb-eligible (or pre-FA) players", which reflect in part the free agent market. 
ayjackson - Monday, December 04 2006 @ 02:26 PM EST (#159747) #

If the Jays signed a FA pitcher and traded Wells for another, what would bauxites think about trading two prospect pitchers (say Taubenheim and Janssen) for Adam Dunn?  That would be some murderers row.  Rios, Overbay, Thomas, Dunn, Glaus two-through-six?

If we do lock up the first four rotation spots this week (through 2009), then we'll have all these "not-quite-there-yet" pitching prospects in our system.  Chacin, Marcum, McGowan, Rosario, R.Romero, Banks, Purcey, Taubenheim, Janssen and Ramirez all vying fro the fifth spot over the next several seasons (not to mention the best of the bunch - one Brandon League)?  Trading some of them would seem a no-brainer.


Craig B - Monday, December 04 2006 @ 02:39 PM EST (#159751) #

what would bauxites think about trading two prospect pitchers (say Taubenheim and Janssen) for Adam Dunn

Sure, and while I'm at it can we trade Sergio Santos and Dustin Majewski for Miguel Tejada?

The Reds will have entertained about 1,000,000 offers for Dunn over the past two seasons, and they haven't dealt him yet.  Krivsky's not completely insane.

Marc Hulet - Monday, December 04 2006 @ 02:41 PM EST (#159752) #
Taubenheim and Janssen would be enough to get Dunn's hat. That's about it. Throw in McGowan, Rosario and Rios and well, you might have a deal.
TimberLee - Monday, December 04 2006 @ 02:54 PM EST (#159754) #
Lofton would seem to have some value, but consider that he plays OF only, and someone would have to go to make roster room. I see that Robert Fick is available. He's a LH hitter who can play the corner OF spots and 1B and he used to be a C. Does anyone know if he would have anything to contribute? I mean, I know he's mediocre, but he seems to be a possible filler for a number of roles.
Mark - Monday, December 04 2006 @ 02:56 PM EST (#159755) #
I won't add a comment on the Dunn trade offer, the point has been well stated. As for acquiring Dunn in general, he is a free agent next winter so there is no point in giving up anything for one year of him. Especially when the dilemma with Wells is whether to get something for him or have him for one year.

Something to consider with Wells and his upcoming free agency. The Jays or any team that does sign him will be signing him to play center. This will probably increase his annual salary. There is a good chance that Rios or Johnson will be a better defensive centerfielder by 2008/2009. Is better to sign a guy like Dunn to say 12-14M to play left rather than Wells at 17-20 to play center?

Chuck - Monday, December 04 2006 @ 03:37 PM EST (#159759) #

Lofton would seem to have some value, but consider that he plays OF only, and someone would have to go to make roster room.

If the team can't carry a 4th outfielder who is just an outfielder, then they have some serious roster management issues.

As has been often pointed out, carrying 4 middle infielders is excessive in this world of too-large pitching staffs. With a 12-man staff you have just 4 hitters on the bench: Phillips will be the back-up catcher, McDonald and Adams will back up 3rd, SS and 2nd and the last man is, what, responsible for the outfield and 1B? That's insane.

Marc Hulet - Monday, December 04 2006 @ 04:25 PM EST (#159768) #
Current Jays' minor leaguer Manny Sena is also under investigation in the Coco affair.
Paul D - Monday, December 04 2006 @ 04:26 PM EST (#159769) #

As has been often pointed out, carrying 4 middle infielders is excessive in this world of too-large pitching staffs. With a 12-man staff you have just 4 hitters on the bench: Phillips will be the back-up catcher, McDonald and Adams will back up 3rd, SS and 2nd and the last man is, what, responsible for the outfield and 1B? That's insane.

Covering all 3 outfield positions and 1b sounds like a job for Brad Wilkerson.  He'd be perfect, and could probably paly 4 days out of 5.

Jonny German - Monday, December 04 2006 @ 04:36 PM EST (#159777) #

Covering all 3 outfield positions and 1b sounds like a job for Brad Wilkerson

I don't think 'all 3 outfield positions' is part of the requirement at all - if any one of the starters goes down, the other 2 can be arranged to cover right and centre. Given that, I'm curious if Carlos Pena can play left. He played one game there last year for the Sox, but it was the only time he's done so in his major league career. If he can do it, he'd be a nice inexpensive fit for this team.

Craig B - Monday, December 04 2006 @ 06:12 PM EST (#159797) #

what Will Carroll said was Lilly has raised his asking price from $10 mil to $11 mil per year and nobody knows why

Ted Lilly wasn't born yesterday, and he knows he's a damn sight better pitcher than Vicente Padilla.  And a lefty to boot.  How's that for a reason?  :)

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