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Jeff Blair writes that the Jays and Vernon Wells agreed to a contract on Friday night. Peter Gammons notes that the deal is pending the approval of the Player's Union.

Details of the contract:
  • 7 years, $126 million, beginning in 2008. Includes a $25.5 million signing bonus, to be paid in $8.5 million installments in each of the first three years of the contract
    • 2008 - $0.5 million + $8.5 million bonus
    • 2009 - $1.5 million + $8.5 million bonus
    • 2010 - $12.5 million + $8.5 million bonus
    • 2011 - $23.0 million
    • 2012 - $21.0 million
    • 2013 - $21.0 million
    • 2014 - $21.0 million.
  • Potential Bonuses:
    • $250,000 for MVP
    • $200,000 for World Series MVP
    • $150,000 for League Championship Series MVP
    • $100,000 for receiving the most votes in his league in all-star balloting.
  • Includes an opt-out clause after the fourth year (the 2011 season)
  • The Sun notes that there's a full no-trade clause

The deal is significantly back loaded providing significant savings in 2008 & 2009 before jumping up to at least $21 million the remaining 5 years.

If Wells were to opt out of the contract it would be following the 2011 season (which coincides with the expiration of the current CBA). That means that the Jays have him locked up for the next 5 seasons. If Wells were to opt out he'd be giving up 3 years and $63 million. I think the chance of  that happening is slim. He'd have to be playing as well as he did this year for it to even be a possibility. In the event that Wells did opt out and left the Jays the team would have paid him $63 million over the first four years of the new contract which would certainly be well below what he would sign next offseason.

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andrewkw - Saturday, December 16 2006 @ 11:07 AM EST (#161071) #
Can I have my 2007 tickets reprinted with Wells on them?  :)

Jim - Saturday, December 16 2006 @ 11:10 AM EST (#161072) #
I take back my bashing of the opt-out clause.  There is almost no risk in this clause.  If he's been that good for the first 4 years then this was one hell of a deal. 
Mike Green - Saturday, December 16 2006 @ 12:58 PM EST (#161081) #
Interesting structuring of the contract.  It's really a 4 year deal plus a 3 year player option.  The 4 year deal is very reasonable for the club in light of the market conditions- 9, 10, 21, 23.  The 3 year player option at 21 million/year may or may not be advantageous to the player.

This deal seems reasonable for the club, regardless whether other free agents were signed or other trades were made.  All the bluster about 2 separate budgets seems to me to be puffery.

rotorose - Saturday, December 16 2006 @ 02:36 PM EST (#161089) #

Question: Do bonuses count in the Jays 'payroll' for example is BJ Ryan counted as a $5 million dollar man or a $9 million dollar man. (because he has a $4 million bonus)

I understand that in the CBA, a player’s annual salary for the purposes of calculating team payroll includes any pro-rated signing bonus amount.

The economics of MLB are so arcane that there must be other financial/tax reasons for teams to split out signing bonuses from salary. For example, according to the excellent book “May the Best Team Win, Baseball Economics and Public Policy”, written by Andrew Zimbalist of the Brookings Institute in 2003, IRS rules for MLB teams allow the value of players’ contracts to be counted as a company asset like furniture and depreciated over a five year term, as well as to be deducted annually as a business expense (a lovely system for team ownership who can therefore deduct twice for a single actual expenditure). I don’t know if the same advantage applies in Canada’s tax system, although an earlier post about Rogers’ financial statements suggests that it might. 

melondough - Saturday, December 16 2006 @ 04:33 PM EST (#161092) #

It seems a lot of you have Gillickitis or Cliff Fletcheritis.  To make trade for a SP right now is absolutely necessary but to move Rios, a player with already solid major league numbers and HUGE upside in my eyes seems like a move we could regret for years to come.  That being said, it would make sense if we were to receive a SP back that has the same value (i.e proven, young, cheap, with lots of upside).  

From the numbers below, you will see that Rios had terrrific numbers before he fouled a ball off of his shin in a game against Washington on June 27th.  Up to that point he had a .330 avg with 15HR, 53 RBI's, and 9SB's in just 270AB's.  I projected that had he not got injured he would have continued to start  approx. 90% of the games (as he did the two previous months) and therefore complile approx. 597AB's by year end including games that he was projected not to start.  Projecting those numbers out he would finish at .329/33/117/20.  Yes I know that this is a BIG assumption.  Realistically he would NOT have continued to hit for average at the same pace as April and May but probably would have kept his power numbers similar as he had done even in June when his average dropped.  If he did not get injured and you assume that he would have hit .300 after June 27th then his final numbers would look like this: 313/33/117/20.  If his power and speed dropped off by 25% and he hit just .280 the rest of the way then he would have compiled a still terrific .301/29/101/17.


APRIL (1-30)  .362 15/23   69   25    6    19   1   2   12

MAY (1-31)    .360  26/29  114  41    4   19   6   11  19

JUNE (1-27)   .274 21/24    87  23    5   15   2    11 16

TOTAL:          .330   62/76  270 89   15  53   9   24 47

PROJECTED   .329 138/162          33 117 20  53 104 (597AB/197H)

ACTUAL         .302 104/162 450 136 17  82   15  35   89

Even if Rios did not continue to hit at the same pace he did before the injury he still likely would have finished as shown above (.300/30/100/17).  Who would this best compare too?  Anyone have an idea?  Once you put a name to the question, ask yourself this: "If this player was like Rios a plus defender, cheap and still improving what would you want back?" 

My answer is trade Rios straight up for only 2 starting pitchers (of those that may be available) - Willis or Peavy (the latter owed $18.75 million over the next three years) both of whom become a free agent in 2010, one year before Rios does.


ayjackson - Saturday, December 16 2006 @ 04:52 PM EST (#161093) #

Melondough, I agree with your assessment of Rios' season.  I think he would have finished with an OPS north of .950.  For this reason, I think we won't be able to trade Rios.  I don't think any team will have the faith in him to offer what he is likely worth.  I think (hope?) JP won't sell him short.  I agree that Rios is worth Willis straight up and then some.  I think he's almost worth Peavy.  But even if SD appreciated Rios' worth, how would they explain that to their fans?  Nobody in SD has heard of Alexis Rios.

In the end, I think it'll be Reed that's traded.  He had an OBP of 0.425 when leading off innings.  He is exactly what the White Sox are looking for.  I think we'll end up with Vasquez (expiring contract, I believe) straight up - maybe a toss in of Banks or similar.

I would explore the market for Overbay as well.  If you're going to have Lind in the lineup next year, might as well be at 1B.  He would produce very similar numbers over the first three quarters of the season, at least.  I like Overbay, but I also like Rios and Johnson.  Whatever happens will be bittersweet. 

Chuck - Saturday, December 16 2006 @ 05:54 PM EST (#161097) #

Up to that point he had a .330 avg with 15HR, 53 RBI's, and 9SB's in just 270AB's

I am optimistic that Rios has truly turned a corner, but I'd be reluctant to presume that is surely the case based on his strong 270 AB to start the 2006 season. Remember that it wasn't that long ago that Josh Phelps set many a heart fluttering with a strong 265 AB season.

When it comes to Rios and Johnson, I'm from Missouri. I'm not saying they're not for real, only that I'd be happier with some evidence.

Glevin - Saturday, December 16 2006 @ 06:31 PM EST (#161099) #

"When it comes to Rios and Johnson, I'm from Missouri. I'm not saying they're not for real, only that I'd be happier with some evidence."

Of the two, I would say Rios is more likely to be "for real".  A vast improvement from a very talented youngster in his age 24 season is something that happens with some regularity.  A vast improvement from a 29-year old with a signifcant amount of previous playing time seems a little more flukey. It's not impossible Johnson learned to hit righties last year,  but for someone with yearly OPS against righties of .731, .656, and .737 a jump to .869 seems  more like an anomoly than a sudden improvement.

Mylegacy - Saturday, December 16 2006 @ 08:36 PM EST (#161105) #

Off topic...but interesting...

The Boston Herald and Rotoworld are reporting that JD's physical, "...may have raised a red flag..." and they suggest the delay in announcing his signing is that the team is trying to get "language" that could protect them if the "red flag" problem happens.

Now, JD getting happen...not a stud like him.

Mylegacy - Saturday, December 16 2006 @ 09:49 PM EST (#161107) #

Further to my JD report just above...

Will Carroll is reporting that Drew showed problems in his shoulder that "could shut down his power."

AND, Nate Silver is reporting that, "We just got word that J.D. Drew might have failed his physical, so the Red Sox may have bigger problems to worry about."

Ah shucks...hehe.

zaptom - Sunday, December 17 2006 @ 12:26 AM EST (#161112) #
Very interesting article from the business section of The Star today about the rising cost of disability insurance for baseball players. Apparently they are not insuring Wells's contract because "policy costs have become unwieldy" and the cost can be prohibitive. As Godfrey says, "We've run the numbers and it just doesn't make sense to buy insurance", "We think now that we should just use the money we would have used for insurance and put that into player salaries."

I certainly hope that Wells, or anybody, doesn't get injured badly (crosses fingers, knocks on wood, etc.) leaving Rogers on the hook for the remainder of the contract.
actionjackson - Sunday, December 17 2006 @ 01:57 AM EST (#161113) #
Mike Green, you made a post in another thread regarding comparable OF to Vernon Wells and how they did from age 30-35. You mentioned you wanted a similar aversion to walks, similar power and a similar contact rate. I'm going to suggest Dave Parker because his ISOP through age 27 was .201, while Vernon's is .204. His ISOD (isolated discipline) was .050 through age 27, while Vernon's is .048. He struck out once every 6.47 PA, while Vernon has struck out once every 7.71 PA, and he walked once every 14.87 PA, while Vernon has walked once every 15.33 PA. He was also very strong defensively in right field with an absolute cannon for an arm, and in these parts we have witnessed Vernon's defensive strengths even if the metrics don't show it (lousy %#$&* metrics). John Dewan calls Wells a superb defensive CF and also says He is very smooth in the field, has good instincts and is particularly adept at going back on the ball and ranks him #5 amongst the CF, based on data from 2003-2005 in his 2006 publication The Fielding Bible, which is a fabulous resource for a very hard to measure aspect of baseball, and well worth picking up for that baseball fan on your list, if they haven't already got it.

One big problem with the Parker comp is that his batting average was .318 to Vernon's .288 through their age 27 years, and this plus the era he played in helps to ratchet his OPS+ all the way up to 143 through age 27. He also only had 2900 PA, which is pretty close, but you did want 3000-4000. Not quite what we were looking for, but in terms of types of hitters aside from batting average, I think they're damn close. Parker was the NL batting champ in '77 and '78 and an All-Star in 1977. He injured himself on June 30th, 1978 (his age 27 year) or he would've been in his 2nd straight All-Star game. Parker's rise was meteoric, but then injuries, weight problems, and cocaine problems began to take their toll. Vernon's rise has been much more slow and steady with seasons that have shown us what could be, when he is surrounded with talent and seasons that show us how much pressure he puts on himself to "be the man", when he's not in a strong lineup and other seasons where he, like all other ballplayers, has had to deal with the injury bug. Provided the Jays continue to surround him with talent, he could continue to gradually improve.

Some numbers from the two players in question, first through age 27:

Parker:  .318/.368/.519  OPS+ 143   1973-1978 OPS+:  112, 108, 149, 132, 144, 166

Wells:   .288/.336/.492   OPS+ 112   1999-2006 OPS+:   64, -100, 98, 100, 131, 103, 104, 126

Clearly Dave Parker is the better of the two at this point in their careers, but one of the parts of the challenge was looking at a similar type of hitter and I think Vernon and Dave are quite similar in their impatience, their ability to make contact and their ability to hit for power. Dave Parker played through the age of 40, retiring after an extremely brief stop in Toronto of all places. He enjoyed a big year in his age 34 season with Cincinnati and from age 30-35 here's how he did:

Parker (30-35):  .284/.330/.462   OPS+ approx  116   1981-1986 OPS+:  106, 113, 97, 103, 148, 117

Yeah kids, that's what drugs will do to you (cue the egg in the frying pan demo), still good, but not really what he once was. Now the final tally through age 40:

Parker (19 seasons):  .290/.339/.471  OPS+ 121  ISOP: .181  ISOD: .049  2,712 H  339 HR  154SB  113CS

We can't project what injuries will befall Wells, but unless he comes completely unhinged and goes against his character he shouldn't have a problem with weight and drug problems. Peter Gammons called him: "The most prepared athlete I have ever worked with" referring to Vernon's work with ESPN during last year's playoffs. While that says nothing about his onfield results, I think it says a lot about what he's prepared to do to get the best out of himself. The mental part of his game is one of his biggest strengths so if as Yogi says: "90 percent of this game is half mental", whatever that means, I think he's in good shape. He seems to be very level headed and even keeled and that could help him have a long, consistent career, though which level of consistency we'll see I'm not sure. I think where Parker was brilliant early on and then flagged in the end, Vernon will steadily overtake him in the raw numbers, but probably not OPS+ and if he does that I'd have to say he'll have had a very good career. It'll resemble the race between the tortoise and the hare and we all know who won that one don't we? I think he'll be able to maintain his "man strength" better than Parker, but he will never lead the league in walks. My projection for Vernon when he's ready to hang 'em up after the 2019 season and head directly onto the level of excellence:

Wells (21 seasons):  .295/.345/.495

Then why is he getting all this money? Because some bozos figured Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Lee were worth just about as much. Don't worry, he won't even be in the top 10 all time contracts after next years free agent circus is done. Heck, he might not even be in the top 20.
China fan - Sunday, December 17 2006 @ 11:37 AM EST (#161118) #

   Just a footnote on the Wells signing:  what does this say about Keith Law and various other commentators (including several Toronto baseball writers and even a few Bauxites) who assumed or flatly stated that Wells would not sign?  I'd like to see a few mea-culpas.  A lot of the "experts" were totally confident that this would not happen.   I was always puzzled by the pessimism about Wells.  Everything in the team's behaviour over the past two years has indicated that the owners and managers have enough money and goodwill and intelligence to do the right thing with Wells.  And Vernon himself has seemed like the kind of honest guy who would accept a generous deal, rather than try to squeeze out a bit more money from free agency.  So why the false predictions from the insiders?  What kinds of games were going on, or was it just incompetence?

     One possible explanation, from the Toronto Star this weekend, suggests that Ricciardi was lukewarm on Wells and it was a sentimental Paul Godfrey who insisted on a deal.  It's somewhat plausible.  Some insiders might have been getting signals from Ricciardi that he didn't want to sign Wells, and this led to the false reports.  (Keith Law perhaps?)  But this is pure speculation.  Any thoughts from the Box about the false reports?

    On the rumored future trade of Rios or Johnson:  I'm a little surprised that Jeff Blair and others are referring to the "surplus outfielders" that the Jays supposedly have.  Where is this surplus?  Last year the team had four proven major-league outfielders; today (with Cat gone) they have exactly three.  Lind is so unproven that Ricciardi wants to put him in AAA to start the season.  How can the team depend on him for 140 or 150 games in left field?   Of course he could be great, but he could also be a Phelps-like bust, or he could be one or two seasons away. 

    Personally I'd like to see the Jays wait a month or two into the season before making a trade.  After a month or two, they should know whether Lind is ready for the majors, and they should know whether they can get a decent season from Towers and/or Marcum and/or McGowan.  Why take the risk of creating a big hole in the outfield if there's a chance that Towers or McGowan might be ready?


John Northey - Sunday, December 17 2006 @ 11:52 AM EST (#161119) #
Just thought, why not look at Vernon's most similar players to guess at what we'll see for the next few years at $18 mill per.

Most similar at the same age is Shawn Green, 10th is Raul Mondesi.  Between them are guys like HOF'er Billy Williams, Andre Dawson, Bobby Murcer, Reggie Smith, Carlos Beltran, Bobby Thompson, Jim Ray Hart, and Garry Sheffield.  Pretty nice group overall I'd say.

Only 3 of those 10 did not play at least 7 more seasons.  2 of those are active (Green & Beltran) while the third lasted 5 seasons (Jim Ray Hart).  So odds are very good that Vern will at least not be paid to sit around at home ala what Baltimore did with Albert Belle.  The overall figures for the 6 retired players was 279/351/470 OPS+122  Before 28 their average was 284/350/482 OPS+129 - well above Vernon's 288/336/492 OPS+112.  Largely due to similarity scores having no major penalty for OBP (just a shot down for walks and batting average).

Eyeballing the group the guys who match with Vernon best when factoring in OBP would appear to be Andre Dawson (285/330/479), Bobby Thompson (279/341/491) and Mondesi (295/334/508).  For OPS+ only Beltran was lower at the same age (111 vs 112) while Shawn Green was close (115) and Bobby Thompson was also sub-120 (119).

So, how did that group do for the rest of their careers?
Dawson - 277/320/484 117 OPS+
Thompson - 263/325/439 104 OPS+
Mondesi - 252/327/462 102 OPS+ (listed as active although didn't play last year)
Green - 282/361/499 125 OPS+ (6 seasons)
Beltran - 270/358/498 123 OPS+ (2 seasons)

Not a bad bunch, all above 100 OPS+, but clearly two levels.  Thompson/Mondesi or Dawson/Beltran/Green.  If he produces at the first level he will be at his 04/05 level and the Jays will be overpaying by about $8 million a year based on what we've seen this winter, the second level would make him worth his contract.

If I had to pick a guy who Wells is most like I'd go for Dawson who played in a lower offensive era but hit at a similar level, was a center fielder who had to move to RF as his legs weakened (thanks in large part to the horrid turf in Montreal).

In the end I feel 100 times better about the odds of Wells producing at the level hoped for over his contract than I do about Zaun (for example) but of course the financial risk the Jays took is many times as high too.  Still, I now feel this contract is much like Delgado's, it could make it hard on the Jays should salaries drop (which I doubt will happen this time) but odds are Wells will produce regardless and keep CF from being a hole.

Chuck - Sunday, December 17 2006 @ 12:15 PM EST (#161121) #

John, while I don't dispute your argument, I'd just like to add one more piece to the puzzle that I don't think is in Wells' favour: his body type.

Dawson, while strong, was relatively thin. Conversely, Wells is thick and appears to carry quite a bit more weight. I don't pretend to know enough to state categorically that this will mean that Wells won't age as well as Dawson, but, to my mind, it at least presents a red flag. Unlike with Dawson, however, Wells' knees, while charged with carrying more weight, will be the benefactors of a much more favourable playing surface.

Wildrose - Sunday, December 17 2006 @ 12:33 PM EST (#161122) #
Dawson, while strong, was relatively thin. Conversely, Wells is thick and appears to carry quite a bit more weight.

I'm not a big "body type" guy, plenty of NFL line backers whose body Wells has similarities too, maintain their speed well into their thirties providing they don't hurt their wheels. This for me is the salient issue, has he had a history of  leg problems?

CaramonLS - Sunday, December 17 2006 @ 12:55 PM EST (#161124) #
I'm not a big "body type" guy, plenty of NFL line backers whose body Wells has similarities too, maintain their speed well into their thirties providing they don't hurt their wheels. This for me is the salient issue, has he had a history of  leg problems?

No, not really.  NFL players are some of the worst for expecting them to play past the age of 30, especially at the speed positions such as Corner, WR and RB.

The WRs that play past 30 generally are the exception, and are reduced to possession receivers rather than the flat out burners they once were.  Guys like Owens are the big big exception, that guy is an absolute freak of nature - a guy like Keyshawn Johnson is a good example of what happens to WRs, he clearly has lost a step, and his big body is what really makes him still desirable in the NFL. 

Corners don't play a long time either, unless they have exceptional instincts to help compensate of their declining speed.
Wildrose - Sunday, December 17 2006 @ 01:04 PM EST (#161125) #
No, not really.  NFL players are some of the worst for expecting them to play past the age of 30, especially at the speed positions such as Corner, WR and RB.

I hesitated to use football as an example, it's a totally different sport due to the massive difference in body contact and subsequent injury potential, this is what causes NFL players to "slow down". Baseball obviously is quite different,  injury  slows players down, more so than the effects of aging.
Mike Green - Sunday, December 17 2006 @ 09:43 PM EST (#161145) #
Parker and Dawson were both considerably better players than Wells as of age 27.  Parker was arguably the best player in the league at that point in his career, and had a career OPS+ of 143 (Wells' career OPS+ is 112).  Dawson is closer, but in his age 25, 26 and 27 seasons, he had posted  OPS+ marks of 136, 157 and 132.  He was probably the 2nd best player in the league behind Schmidt at that point. 
actionjackson - Monday, December 18 2006 @ 01:19 AM EST (#161156) #
The trade bait for pitching is going to come down to Johnson, Lind, Overbay, or Rios. Anyone who says the Jays don't need another starting pitcher is basically saying they don't need to finish above 3rd place. Of course they're going to make a trade for another starting pitcher. If you want to use the space junk that's left on the free agent market to supplement the pitcher acquired by trade that's OK, but you don't go out and sign Vernon Wells for that kind of money and then decide you don't need to win this year. We will be upset regardless of who gets jettisoned because we're fans of the team. Let's look at each of the possibilities, if you can stomach it.

If it's Adam Lind, it causes the least disruption to the regulars on the roster. The solid defensive outfield remains intact and Overbay can continue to anchor 1B. If you're shooting for all the marbles, this is the best option from the Jays standpoint in 2007. What kind of return does he bring in a package though? Do you really want to give up potentially the best hitting prospect this system has developed in quite a while? Does JP have trouble trading him because he's one of "his boys"? Is he only able to get a decent deal in the AL because of Lind's fielding issues?

Supposedly if it's Reed Johnson, Adam Lind takes over in LF. I'm not sure that's realistic yet. He has about 100 PA at AAA. The defence suffers in LF, but RF and CF remain intact with the two players that have played the most there over the last 3 years. Do you need to bring in another OF until Lind is ready? Obviously Stairs is not close to being an answer as an everyday LF, so the answer is you promote Lind immediately or you bring in a cheap temporary solution that can be bumped off when necessary.

Trading Overbay creates a need to bring in a 1B or put Adam Lind there to start his big league career. Again I think Lind needs more time in AAA a) in order to work on his defence out of the glare of the major leagues and b) to freeze his service time clock so that down the road, you have him under control for an extra year. So, now you're bringing in a temporary 1B until Lind is ready to play 1B, but everything I've heard seems to indicate that the team seems to want him in LF. You do keep your stellar OF intact though and maybe you get back a 1B that you can plug in right away that allows you to leave Lind in the minors until he absolutely forces the issue. Then at least when it comes time to trade an OF, you're trading from a position of greater strength than if you're not sure that Lind can hack LF. Overbay also represents one of the few and the best LHB that we have, therefore lineup balance becomes an issue again.

Trading Rios causes almost as much disruption to the makeup of the roster as trading Wells would have. Johnson moves to RF, where he has played a little bit, but it will take some getting used to the angle differences and now the LF question rears its ugly head again. Rios also definitely has the most upside of the 4 possibilities, so you're hurting the 2007 aspirations the most with this move. However, in the right package he also probably brings back the young, quality type of pitcher that is needed for the #3 spot. I'm not sure, but I think that the order of desirability from the standpoint of the trading partners would go something like: 1) Rios 2) Overbay 3) Lind and 4) Johnson, but this would depend on the needs and payroll of the trading partner.

I'm glad I don't have to make this decision because whatever way JP goes, certain pockets of fans will be upset. All of the above of course assumes that we can't get say Jake Peavy for Josh Towers and a bag of baseballs or whatever some of the posters on other forums are suggesting. Puh-lease. Of course the Padres GM's name is Towers, so you never know.  ;)

greenfrog - Monday, December 18 2006 @ 07:56 AM EST (#161161) #
Are we better off with Rios + temporary mediocre starter (along the lines of Redman), or with Penny (or equivalent) + prospect/young outfielder and no Rios?

I think it's close to a tossup. If you think that Rios has turned a corner (I do), then you're giving up an awful lot of offense, defense and depth (to say nothing of his high ceiling). Compare these two lineups (in terms of production, defense, and depth if someone gets injured):

Clayton (ugh--I hate writing that name in)


I'm not saying we don't need pitching. But those are two very different lineups.

Craig B - Monday, December 18 2006 @ 09:59 AM EST (#161165) #

Mark Redman would get pulverized in the AL East. I get worried when I hear JP talk about him.

Redman's career against the AL East clubs: 39 starts, 245.1 innings, 14-17, 4.73 ERA

Projected to 30 starts that's 189 innings, 11-13, 4.73.  I'll take that from my #4.

Mike Green - Monday, December 18 2006 @ 10:25 AM EST (#161166) #
The lively question with Redman is the apparent decline in 2005-06.  Baseball Reference has a cool neutral stats conversion.  Here it is for Redman. He's been 8-11 with an ERA of about 4.90 each year.  His K rate has been right near the danger zone of less than 1 every 2 innings. 

I'd rather have Marcum throwing than Redman, but as a veteran arm to fill a spot in the rotation while one is sifting through the other young pitchers, one could do worse.

Craig B - Monday, December 18 2006 @ 10:49 AM EST (#161169) #

I agree with what Mike says.  Anyway, I'd rather roll the dice on a guy who might have a health issue, but could provide a solid option if he proves healthy.  Tomo Ohka looks like a guy who might fit on that score; I guess the issue is whether he's slid too close to the fungible line, like Redman has.  (In Redman's defense I'd point out that the strikeout numbers matter a little less to a lefty).

China fan - Monday, December 18 2006 @ 10:50 AM EST (#161170) #
    From best information, it appears that Ricciardi still has $10 to $20 million available in his 2007 budget, plus a raft of young prospects.  With that in hand, it should be possible for him to acquire a decent #4 pitcher without trading Rios or Johnson.  As mentioned above, Redman is one option, but there are others too.  I would be loathe to give up Rios -- a potential superstar.  As for Johnson, he was the Jays best hitter in 2006 (by batting average) and a great defensive player, plus a hard worker and hustler.  Why give him up, unless the Jays are certain that Lind is for real?
Mike Green - Monday, December 18 2006 @ 11:02 AM EST (#161171) #
I agree that the strikeout numbers mean less to a lefty, especially one like Redman who controls the running game and gets the DP. His LOB% the last 2 years has been quite low, but pitching for Pittsburgh and Kansas City can do that to a pitcher.  A Rueter-like end of career is not beyond the realm of possibility.

Mark - Monday, December 18 2006 @ 11:03 AM EST (#161172) #
I agree with giving Marcum a shot. He is 24 years old and has had pretty good numbers in the minors. I know scouts project him to be a #4 or 5 starter but if he can be that it is perfectly okay. I thought the whole point of drafting college pitchers like Jackson, Purcey, Marcum, Bush, Banks, McGee, Janssen was that although there upside was #3 starter, they are a safe bet to be major league arms that can contribute at the back of the rotation. I think it is time to see that theory put to the test.

With the signing of Wells the Jays will have no major Free Agents after the 2007 season. The urgency to compete and try to win next year has been relieved a great deal. It may serve well to hang on to Rios and Johnson and Lind and see what Marcum, McGowan, Banks, Jannsen and friends can do in the big leagues. If one of these guys can solidify themselves in the rotation then the Jays will be in a great position to make a real run at a top end starter and SS next off season and really go for it in '08. At the very least, with the offense we have and Halladay and Burnett the Jays should still be very competitive next year and if some of their young guys pan out could still be in the thick of a play off race come September.
Rickster - Monday, December 18 2006 @ 11:04 AM EST (#161173) #

I still say Rios will be the best position player on the team for the next three years. He is heading into his prime age-26 season. Rios should only be moved for an outstanding, under-control starter like Ben Sheets or Jake Peavy. If that isn't happening, go to war with the team you have and hope one or two of these young starters shows up.

Mortgaging the future is what teams on the cusp of winning do. The Jays are not on the cusp of anything. They are in the hunt for a playoff spot. Let's not give up on one of the game's rising stars for an over-rated stop-gap.

greenfrog - Monday, December 18 2006 @ 11:49 AM EST (#161177) #
Let's see: the Jays need a solid starter. They're trying to win now. Understandably, they don't want to give up any of their prized young talent (of which they don't have a lot). And they have cash to burn.

Why not sign Clemens for a half-year? I know it's outlandish. Roger might not want to come here. But then again, maybe he could be persuaded. He's had great success here before. He gets to pitch in a full-blown AL East pennant race, alongside Halladay and Burnett, with BJ Ryan as his personal lefty flamethrowing closer, and be backed by a powerhouse lineup.

What more could a Hall of Fame starter (with a modest ego) want?

Chuck - Monday, December 18 2006 @ 01:32 PM EST (#161179) #

What more could a Hall of Fame starter (with a modest ego) want?

To pitch in a full-blown AL East pennant race for one of the two teams more likely than Toronto to be playing in October?

greenfrog - Monday, December 18 2006 @ 02:09 PM EST (#161181) #

To pitch in a full-blown AL East pennant race for one of the two teams more likely than Toronto to be playing in October?

Well, Steve Jobs probably could have landed a top job at IBM, too. But he saw a more interesting opportunity...

VBF - Monday, December 18 2006 @ 02:37 PM EST (#161183) #

one of the two teams more likely than Toronto to be playing in October?

I wouldn't be so quick to write off Boston as more likely than Toronto to be in the playoffs. This is a team that significantly overperformed higher than their Pythagorean record (81-81). Adding a man that can't pass a physical and a pitcher who hasn't pitched an inning in MLB doesn't guarantee a 13-15 win improvement pn their Pythag, which is what the Red Sox will need to make the playoffs. I would take the Jays as the likeliest of the two to approach the 94-96 win plateau.

Ryan Day - Monday, December 18 2006 @ 03:09 PM EST (#161184) #

Speaking of JD Drew, the Red Sox are looking for a second opinion on his physical, according to ESPN. It could result in a shorter deal or a more incentive-laden one, or, in theory, throw the whole thing off.

 I don't know if that's good news or bad news. On the one hand, it'd be nice if the Sox missed out entirely on having Drew. On the other, it'd kind of be nice if he spent most of the next five years on the disabled list for them, or at least had all his power sapped.

Thomas - Monday, December 18 2006 @ 03:19 PM EST (#161185) #
What more could a Hall of Fame starter (with a modest ego) want?

I sincerely hope that was said tongue-in-cheek. Regardless, Clemens has explicitly stated he will only pitch for the Yankees, Red Sox or Astros (if he pitches this year). Regardless of whether it would be worth exploring or not, it's not an option.
actionjackson - Monday, December 18 2006 @ 03:24 PM EST (#161187) #
Craig B, you say you'll take Redman as your #4. I guess that means you're sold on Chacin as a #3, which is the start of where you and I respectfully disagree. All I see out on the free agent market at the moment, aside from Zito is a bunch of #4 and 5 starters. They're OK to sign if you have a viable #3, which I remain unconvinced that we do.

In looking at Redman's career numbers, yes you increased the sample size by looking at his whole career, but you also included his 5 GS against the Jays. I decided to look at his last 3 years because while it reduces the sample size, it's probably a better picture of where Redman is now than including some stats from his 1st year (1999) would provide. Over the last 3 years, he has made 16 GS against teams in the AL East not named the Toronto Blue Jays and gone a decent 5-7 with a 5.03 ERA. The rest of the ledger:

Redman:  96.2 IP  123 H  60 R  54 ER  15 HR  35 BB  52 K

However, if you isolate the starts against the Red Sox and Yankees, an uglier picture emerges, with the usual cautions about small sample size. In 7 GS, he is 0-5, with a 6.75 ERA (7.91 RA) and here's the rest of it (To the strains of Aerosmith's "Rag Doll"):

Redman:  38.2 IP  56 H  34 R  29 ER  8 HR  18 BB  27 K     Boston BAA: .343        NYY BAA: .346

Alas, the sample size is ridiculously small, particularly given the fact that he's only made 1 GS against the Yankees and 6 against the Red Sox. However, he has taken quite the pummeling from our two main rivals.

I realize you're trying to keep the team as currently constructed together, but I think a) There are better options on the free agent market than Redman and I fear that b) In order to get the #3 starter that we desperately need we're going to have to trade and patch the hole that is left some other way on what is already a very shaky team, in terms of depth. I wish we had the depth we had last year, but we don't and that's what makes trading such a distasteful option. I don't want to break up this OF and I don't want to see Overbay go, so that would mean Lind, but damn he looks good with a bat in his hands. There's no easy answer, but a legitimate #3 must be acquired to match: Schilling, Beckett, Matsuzaka, + Mussina, Pettitte, Wang. I love our top 2, but I fear the Yankees may have a better 1-2 punch. Another option is to go after a setup man and stretch Brandon League out to become a starter again, but it doesn't sound like they want to do that.

Joanna - Monday, December 18 2006 @ 03:32 PM EST (#161188) #

Hee hee, to the idea of Clemens in T.O.  I would love it.  Love. It.  The dude pitched his ass off for this team. And there is enough offense to actually get him some wins. But not going to happen.  He acts like his time with the Jays never happened.  They are his lost years.  He'll bedazzle jean jackets for his wife for half a season and then sign with the Yankees.

And don't trade Alex Rios.  Now it's all "Trade Rios for so and so and that other guy" instead of Wells. STOP IT!

Ryan Day - Monday, December 18 2006 @ 03:46 PM EST (#161191) #

 I wouldn't be all that optimistic about the Red Sox rotation: Matsuzaka will probably be very good, if not great right away. But Schilling is going to be 40, so The End could come any time now. Beckett was abolutely hammered last year - he had a 5.32 ERA after the All-Star break, and the Jays beat him senseless. Wakefield should be reliable, even though he's nearly as old as Schilling. Papelbon's season ended with him walking off the field holding his elbow, and he hasn't even started a game in a year and a half. Even if Jon Lester is healthy again, he wasn't looking so hot towards the end of the season - he was giving up walks like a very -slightly-improved David Purcey.

 Lots of potential, yes, but plenty of risk to go around.

Petey Baseball - Monday, December 18 2006 @ 04:04 PM EST (#161192) #
J.P. and the Jays staff is probably way ahead of me here. But Rich Harden becoming a Blue Jay in '07 is becoming all too obvious (mischievious  giggle) :)

It just makes too much sense. Billy Beane loves good prospects. The Blue Jays are hungry for a good starting pitcher. Harden has voiced his displeasure with the Oakland organization before (re: his injury problems, protecting him too much).  Harden is Canadian, which would get the Paul Godfrey PR appetite at an all time high.  Godfrey has stressed that he wants the Blue Jays to taking a lead role into elevating baseball higher  into Canadian culture, and what better way to do that than to add an impressive young Canadian hurler as the last piece of the playoff puzzle? Especially now when interest in the Jays is obviously spiked, this would be a Public Relations Coup for Rogers and the Blue Jays organization (not even mentioning the difference on the field). And we all know how Paul Godfrey loves PR.

That being said, the Blue Jays have the pieces in place to make this deal work.  It would take at two or three prospects to do it, but the Jays have just enough in my small opinion. McGowan, Lind, and Banks (or Romero, or Purcey) would defintiely satisfy the insatiable appetite of Billy Beane for cheap young prospects.  From what has been written and reported, I do not see how Harden would not want to leave Oakland especially to a city in his own country (even though he is from BC).  This situation makes the deal make even more sense.  Harden has been injury prone  as well, so that might sweeten the deal for Beane. 

This given the fact that Ricciardi and Beane have traded more together than perhaps any GM duo in the majors in the last 5 years. They are good friends, and I'm sure that no one would be more willing to see the AL East go to the Blue Jays than Billy Beane.  I would make this deal in a heartbeat, despite the fact that Harden is injury prone and we give up some of our own drafted and developed kids. I believe it would have a tremendous impact on ticket sales, grassroots programs, and overall good of the game of baseball in Canada. This is the move (if made) that will finally put baseball back where it should be in this country, where it was in the mid to late 80's and early 90's.  It just makes too much sense.

Ryan Day - Monday, December 18 2006 @ 04:59 PM EST (#161193) #

Harden's talent says "Yes!", but his elbow say "Ow!" I don't know how much talent I'd want to give up for a young pitcher who's missed substantial time with arm injuries over the last two years.

Mike Green - Monday, December 18 2006 @ 05:24 PM EST (#161196) #
The Tigers signed Bonderman to a 4 year, $38 million dollar contract, buying out 2 years of free agency. Smart.
actionjackson - Monday, December 18 2006 @ 05:46 PM EST (#161197) #
With Harden, I'm also concerned that he's got too much upper body bulk, and with more bulk he could be sacrificing flexibility, which could be contributing to injuries as well as putting a strain on important pitcher parts like ligaments and tendons. Did he learn nothing from Barry Zito? I will admit, Zito's emphasis on flexibility and yoga is unorthodox, but the dude has yet to miss a major league start. I'm sure he does some weight training, but he doesn't go for bulk to the extent that he refers to his body in a self-effacing manner as not a great body for an athlete. He's a different cat, but you would think some of the young studs would start to catch on because whatever he's doing is working. Harden is definitely top of the rotation stuff in ability, but can he stay healthy? I for one will never forget the show that he and Dave Bush put on, on July 20, 2004 in Bush's 3rd major league start (according to BBRef). It was a 1-0 loss for the Jays, but it reminded me why baseball's the best game there is. People who hate baseball point to games like this as "boring". Then please go watch wrestling, basketball, football, extreme sports, whatever. Just stop complaining to me about it, I'm too busy hanging on every pitch.
Four Seamer - Monday, December 18 2006 @ 06:57 PM EST (#161199) #

Trading Lind for anyone is probably a bad idea. It's only a matter of time before Rios demands Wells money, and then we will have to trade him. At that point I believe Lind will be ready for the majors and ready to fill those shoes.

Axil, colour me confused.  Last week you were claiming that Lind is overrated.  Rios won't be in a position to demand the sort of money that Wells is getting for another three years, and only then if he fulfills his promise.  Lind had better damn well be ready by then, but if Rios is performing at a level deserving of a 7 year, 126 million dollar deal, wouldn't you rather those peformances occur in a Blue Jays uniform?

As for Harden, the idea of acquiring him is certainly intriguing, but I wouldn't count on him sparking a Canadian baseball renaissance by virtue of pitching in Toronto.  Corey Koskie certainly didn't spark additional ticket sales while he was here, and the signing of Matt Stairs hasn't resulted in long line-ups for season tickets, at least as far as I can tell.  If the Jays win a World Series, baseball will rise in prominence, regardless of how many (or how few) Canadians are on the 25 man roster.   Now if the Jays were to acquire a legitimate Korean star, that might be a different story from a public relations perspective, since you can niche market a player like that.   But a Canadian?  There have been too many Canadians playing the game at too high a level for too long a time for the crowds to embrace that as a novelty.  Frankly, it would also be a little embarassing.

Chuck - Monday, December 18 2006 @ 08:16 PM EST (#161201) #

I'm not too sure about Haren as the solution but Hudson is intriguing

I don't see that. At this point in their careers, I'd sooner take the 26-year old Haren to the 31-year old Hudson.

Haren has two had two very good years, averaging 220 IP with an ERA+ of 114 and a K:BB rate of 3.5:1.

Hudson appears to be only a shadow of the stellar pitcher he once was. While his K/9 rate did rebound after 2 unimpressive years, his ERA+ dropped to 91 in 2006, the first time it's been below 100. After logging 700 IP from ages 26 to 28, he has only cleared 200 IP once in the past three seasons (abeit last season, so maybe he's reliable for 200 IP yet again).

Four Seamer - Tuesday, December 19 2006 @ 12:09 AM EST (#161210) #

I certainly didn't mean to instigate any animosity towards Torontonians, and I apologize for any Torontocentric attitudes inadvertently expressed in my earlier remarks.  For the record, though I'm not sure that it matters, I do live in Toronto though I'm not originally from here.

I take it as a fair point that I may have underestimated the impact of the Jays' boasting Canadian talent in centres outside of Toronto, though I stand by my contention that having a homegrown product has at best a marginal impact on selling tickets.   I don't doubt that people would talk about it, were a Canadian Blue Jay to feature prominently on a contending or championship team, but people in these parts will pay to see a winner.  If the Leafs win the Cup with 23 Swedes on the roster, it won't matter a damn because the Leafs will have won the Cup - and it's the same with the Jays.  You may be right that having a Canuck on such a team will mean more to Canadians outside of Toronto, but I'm not so sure I believe that having a Canadian on the team will lead to more Canadians playing baseball, which seemed to me to be Petey Baseball's point.  Steve Nash doesn't play for the Raptors, but he's having a pretty considerable impact on basketball in this country. Justin Morneau and Rich Harden don't need to be playing for the Jays in order to be role models for the next generation of Canadian athletes. 

But that said, I'm not certainly not embarassed to have a Canadian on the team.  What I meant to say was that if it takes having a Canadian on the Blue Jays to spark a Canadian baseball renaissance, I would find that embarassing as a Canadian and a baseball fan.  But I will revise that opinion, based on other comments on this thread, since I shouldn't speak on matters too far outside my frame of reference:  If it takes having a Canadian on the Blue Jays to spark a Toronto baseball renaissance, I would find that embarassing as a Torontonian and a baseball fan.  It's parochial thinking to suggest that the inherent interestingness of something is bound up in how strongly it boasts a Canadian element, even as if playing in Canada to an audience of Canadians is not somehow Canadian enough an activity.  On top of that, Canada has a very strong and rich baseball history, and if people around here treat a homegrown star as some sort of novelty worthy of attention, that would be deeply disappointing. 

But maybe I'm just compensating for the fact I prefer Haren to Harden!

AWeb - Tuesday, December 19 2006 @ 10:11 AM EST (#161219) #

Off the current topic, but has anyone else noticed the Yankees are loading up on left-handed starting pitching? The lineup should be pretty well set up to take on the Yanks next year, with its much-discussed right-handed bias. And nothing makes most of us happier than beating the Yankees.

JP is saying the right, and obvious thing, with respect to Rios. It would be the height of stupid to trade a possible young cheap star OF for anything short of young cheap star young pitching. Which makes me think a trade won't happen with many teams are willing to trade away good proven young pitching? Sure, getting someone like Haren would be nice, but isn't he kind of vital to the A's, with Zito leaving and Harden unable to stay healthy? Acquiring someone like Harden, with his injury problems, would be really rolling the dice, with Halladay, Burnett and Chacin already injury risks.

Chuck - Tuesday, December 19 2006 @ 11:03 AM EST (#161223) #

Has anyone else noticed that Batter's Box has been very slow the last day and a half?

Yes. I was worried that nasty viruses were making a meal of my hard drive, but I'm glad to see that there's a potentially less harmful explanation. That said, things seem to have returned to normal as I prepare this note.

Mike Green - Wednesday, December 20 2006 @ 08:53 PM EST (#161260) #
Marc Normandin at BP took a look at Vernon Wells and his new contract today.
John Northey - Thursday, December 21 2006 @ 05:13 PM EST (#161282) #

Hmm, what happens to the AB's from last year?  I'll do a very basic accounting using last years stats and a few guesses as to increase/decrease in playing time.

Listing last years AB's - Avg/OBP/Slg

Lost... (50 or more AB's - 1253 total AB's lost)
Catalanotto - 437 - 300/376/439
Molina - 433 - 284/319/467
Hillenbrand - 296 - 301/342/480
Hinske - 197 - 264/353/513
Alfonzo - 87 - 126/200/149

Gained...  (1019 AB's)
Thomas - 466 - 270/381/545
Clayton - 454 - 258/307/341
Jason Smith - 99 - 263/324/424

Increased playing time and estimate of extra AB's this year... (450 AB's)
Rios - 100 - 302/349/516
Zaun - 100 - 272/363/462
Lind - 150 - 367/415/600 (2nd half mixed into LF, used if/when injury to DH/OF occurs)
Phillips - 150 - 250/275/375 (about 200 AB's as backup I'd guess)

Reduced playing time and estimate of reduced AB's... (300 AB's)
Adams - 200 (figure he'll only get a Sept callup) - 219/282/319
McDonald - 100 - 223/271/308

So, that puts me at 231 net lost AB's.  Where will those go?  I'd suspect 100 go to Smith as the infield backup and the rest split among guys like Johnson who had reduced AB's last year due to things like the Hinske OF thing.

What does this mean?
Doing a very rough estimate of Avg/OBP/Slg adjusting for AB's but nothing else (yeah, should be better but I'm not paid for this) I get...

Lost AB's - 270/328/426
Gained AB's - 275/343/455

So a net gain of 5 in Avg, 15 in OBP and 29 in Slg.  Odds are none will be dead on last years figures, but reducing Alfonzo, Adams, and McDonald by 387 AB's and giving those to, well, anyone is an improvement, even if that anyone is Clayton who outperformed all 3 of them in all 3 categories (Avg/OBP/Slg).  Thomas almost certainly will hit better than Cat, assuming both are healthy.  Hillenbrand's could be covered by Lind/Rios getting more playing time.  Smith replacing Hinske's AB's is a net drop.  Phillips/Zaun may or may not (probably not) hit as well as Molina last year.

Overall it looks fairly good for the changes on the surface.  I'm sure if we adjusted the figures based on what they would be expected to do in 2007 it would be different, but for a thumbnail it looks decent.

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