Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine is reporting that Randy Johnson has, indeed, been traded from the Yankees to the Arizona Diamondbacks, for Luis Vizcaino and two minor leaguers. The story is here.

Pineiro to BoSox; Ponson to Twins
Neither has ever made an All-Star team, but as recently as 2003, they combined for 33 wins and were each seen as young front-of-the-rotation building blocks. Now Sir Sidney Ponson has signed on with the Minnesota Twins while Joel Pineiro is going cross-country from Seattle to Boston.

Will this do anything to the AL pennant race(s)? Got any other news or commentary to provide?

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AWeb - Thursday, January 04 2007 @ 11:09 AM EST (#161524) #

Well, Ponson has a minor league deal with the Twins, so they have no reason to let him pitch unless he proves he can do a decent job of it. It's been a few years now for Ponson of injury and terrible results. Good move by the Twins, assuming they evaluate him properly. I'd be surprised if he wins a job, but sometimes guys turn it around in their 30's. But will it affect the race. Most likely, no.

Pineiro for 4 million in the Boston pen? He might be one of those guys who has the arm for throwing out of the pen, and is able to turn it around, but he's been awful for two years as well. I've heard Pineiro has lost the "zip" on his pitches over the last two years, which makes sense, given how good he was earlier in his career. 4 million baffles me, and the player option for 2008 that is being reported does as well. I'd be surprised is he turned into anything other than a servicable reliever. If they're talking him up as a closer possibility, I would assume longman spot starter is out for him, which is where I can see him maybe provding some value.

Chuck - Thursday, January 04 2007 @ 11:27 AM EST (#161525) #

If they're talking him up as a closer possibility, I would assume longman spot starter is out for him, which is where I can see him maybe provding some value.

His contract is structured in such a way that the team is looking at him to close ($2M more if he finishes x number of games). Even though people are flogging numbers about how he's wildly more successful in his first 30 pitches than beyond, I have a hard time imagining that he'll pan out as a closer. His declining K rates and unappealing HR rates, especially in Seattle, suggest that there is something profoundly physically different about the current version of Pineiro and the version who inspired optimism at ages 23 and 24.

From what I've read so far, and that does not include hanging out at SOSH, only Nate Silver at BP seems to be suggesting that Papelbon remaining as closer is the preferred solution. I wonder if the Red Sox themselves may ultimately decide that that's the way to go.

huckamaniac - Thursday, January 04 2007 @ 11:29 AM EST (#161526) #
ESPN reports Mark Loretta to the Red Sox.
huckamaniac - Thursday, January 04 2007 @ 11:31 AM EST (#161527) #
Sorry I meant ASTROS!
Chuck - Thursday, January 04 2007 @ 11:45 AM EST (#161528) #

I'm not sure I see where Loretta is going to get playing time in Houston. Their infield of Berkman, Biggio, Everett and Ensberg seems to be a lock... or am I missing something? And when was the last time he played on the left side of the infield? I can recall him doing so during his Milwaukee days, when he was breaking in, but not since. If so, that's a lot to ask of somebody with a second baseman's arm.

And on the subject of the glut of free agent second basemen, what of Ron Belliard? Is he still unsigned? (I can't recall hearing him having signed anywhere.) He's a serviceable player for a team with a short term need. Shouldn't he be attractive to a team like Atlanta?


Pistol - Thursday, January 04 2007 @ 11:55 AM EST (#161529) #
2B aren't doing well this offseason.

A Hill/Loretta combo would have seemed better than a Clayton/Hill combo for just $1 million more.

Pistol - Thursday, January 04 2007 @ 06:57 PM EST (#161541) #
The Johnson trade is interesting.  It seems like a straight dump.  The Yankees are getting a reliever a 2-3 C+ prospects (at least according to Sickels' D-Back grades).

One interesting part is that while the Yanks are saving most of Johnson's salary, they're also saving on their luxury tax, or at least they will until they sign Clemens.

Glevin - Thursday, January 04 2007 @ 08:11 PM EST (#161544) #

"Their infield of Berkman, Biggio, Everett and Ensberg seems to be a lock."

The Astros don't like Ensberg and really never have. (he only broke out because he got playing time due to injuries). He's one of those guys that is very streaky and is underrated because he walks so much and doesn't hit for a high average. I heard so many times last year about how the Astros needed Aubrey Huff because Ensberg wasn't hitting. Ensberg still had a .859 OPS (better than Huff) and would make a great pickup for a team needing a 3Bman.

Tom Servo - Thursday, January 04 2007 @ 09:09 PM EST (#161546) #
Shea Hillenbrand is running his mouth again, saying the Jays took issue with him adopting a kid. Funny, I thought he came back from that of his own volition and then got blasted for saying the Jays were a sinking ship.

Anyway, here's the article. I can't seem to get the link function to work properly... I paste the URL into the little box, push the button to make it do its thing, and I get nothing.

VBF - Thursday, January 04 2007 @ 09:55 PM EST (#161547) #

To come down to the bottom of things, it was a conflict in personality with the manager and myself. That happens all the time.

Oh, Shea, this is the problem. You can have an issue with the manager, but you can't let your personal goals in baseball gain priority over your goals as a team. And worst of all, if there's a problem, be a man and don't cry to the media. Of course this was your plan. I'm sure Griffin and Elliot were on your speed dial just in case.

Now that we're on the Shea topic, I wonder which ex-Jay is most hated by bauxites. The obvious ones pop up, David Wells, maybe Roger Clemens. But I can't recall a player connected with reports of being as malicious as Shea has been.

Mick Doherty - Thursday, January 04 2007 @ 10:27 PM EST (#161550) #
I wonder which ex-Jay is most hated by bauxites.

Good idea for a poll question. Who gets on the list? Clemens, Wells, Hillenbrand, Derek Bell, who are other unpopular ex-Jays?
CeeBee - Thursday, January 04 2007 @ 10:43 PM EST (#161552) #

"Good idea for a poll question. Who gets on the list? Clemens, Wells, Hillenbrand, Derek Bell, who are other unpopular ex-Jays?"

I really can't think of any other's and that is rather amazing considering the number of years the Jays have been around. I suppose Roberto Alomar might be considered by some but I wouldn't put him on the list myself. I guess for the most part the Jays were not only good at judging talent but also character. :)

Joanna - Thursday, January 04 2007 @ 10:51 PM EST (#161553) #

Roger Clemens pitched his ass off for this organization and they didn't build a team around him.  So no grudge, at least from me.  Even if he acts like his time in T.O. never happened.

Boomer had a 20 year career, two WS and a perfect game.  And he has a huge mouth.  Like the biggest mouth ever.  But at least he acknowledges he was here.

Now Shea.  Silly, silly Shea.  Maybe the Jays weren't objecting to your family time, maybe they were objecting to the fact that you're a DICK!!!  But I'm not going to boo you, feeding your whole "I'm a misunderstood genius.  Everyone hates me.  I must battle alone" ego identity thing you have going on. As far as I'm concerned, he was never here.  Total silence and complete indifference should greet his every appearance at the Rog Mahal.

Ron - Thursday, January 04 2007 @ 11:13 PM EST (#161554) #
While not hated by the folks in da box, judging by the fans reaction, Shannon Stewart isn't well liked by a lot of Jays fans.

Joanna - Thursday, January 04 2007 @ 11:49 PM EST (#161555) #

I, for one, have never understood the Shannon Stewart hostility.  Wasn't he traded?  Did he bitch about Toronto ever?  Are the fans just drunk and stupid (which is my guess)? 

Some guys just know how to be difficult in  a fun way.  You can hate your manager.  You can karate kick a member of the Red Sox.  You can even tell the fans to kiss your purple butt.  And they'll put you on the Level of Excellence.  Take a note, Shea.

Ryan C - Friday, January 05 2007 @ 12:14 AM EST (#161557) #
I hear karate kicking a member of the Red Sox is actually worth extra fan points.

Parker - Friday, January 05 2007 @ 12:52 AM EST (#161559) #
So Shea, buddy, you gonna hit 30 HR and 100 RBI next year?

No wait, that was this year's prediction.  Never mind.

As for hated ex-Jays, I can't believe nobody has mentioned He Who Must Not Be Named.  There's also Canseco; even though he wasn't in Toronto long he sure made an impression on some of us.

VBF - Friday, January 05 2007 @ 12:57 AM EST (#161560) #

While not hated by the folks in da box, judging by the fans reaction, Shannon Stewart isn't well liked by a lot of Jays fans.

I cringe when I read this because it simply isn't true. Shannon Stewart, upon his name being announced on Opening Day 2006 received a warm ovation, as well as a warm ovation when his name was announced for his first few at-bats. There was a small group of fans in the next two days which (as this occurs every game) heckle WHOMEVER is playing left field for the greys. They don't represent the feelings of the population and their actions shouldn't be taken with any amount of sincerity. Sometimes the feelings of one group of fans carry over to others, and yea, Shannon was booed later on throughout the series, as something that gathered a little bit of steam. Nothing was hatred though, from what I perceived. Jays fans don't have a problem with Shannon Stewart. And if they do, it stands hundreds and hundreds of miles away from Roger Clemens, David Wells, and Shea Hillenbrand.

And for the record, I don't hate Roger Clemens for what he did in Toronto, he's simply  a self-righteous a**hole.

Mylegacy - Friday, January 05 2007 @ 01:15 AM EST (#161561) #

The Rocket was, and is, a rare force. A prodigious talent.

I hate his guts, BUT love his work. I could never boo the great ones. When I was 43 I could hardly chew bubble gum and tie my own shoelaces at the same time and this guy goes on the mound and makes magic. I watch with awe as he casts his spells and pray we beat the s*o*b, but I don't boo. I save that for my ex-wife.

BallGuy - Friday, January 05 2007 @ 09:55 AM EST (#161564) #

People were pretty mad at Al Leiter when he left.  Rod Barajas may also get a few votes.

I think we've got enough for a poll question!


Ryan Day - Friday, January 05 2007 @ 10:19 AM EST (#161565) #

  You can generally separate "hated Jays" into two categories: Guys who left (Stewart, Clemens, Leiter), and guys who were perceived to be jerks (Hillenbrand, Mondesi, Wells). I really can't blame any of the former category, though it's one of those irrational fan things - if you're a loyal player, you'll stay as long as the team wants you, then quietly disappear or accept a trade as soon as the honeymoon's over. And while Clemens may be a bit of an ass, I've never heard a player or manager who played with him say a bad word about him - by all accounts he's a fiercely dedicated and competitive guy.

  There's also the injured/bad category - Sirotka, Prokopec, Hinske - but again, I can't actually blame them for bad luck.

John Northey - Friday, January 05 2007 @ 10:21 AM EST (#161566) #
Most have forgotten by now, but Doyle Alexander left ugly as well.  He complained a fair amount about Toronto in '86 after being traded to Atlanta iirc.  Can anyone else here remember that, as I could be wrong.  His coming back and doing a job for Detroit in '87 (the Tigers were a perfect 11-0 when Alexander pitched for them during the regular season, including 2 one run wins for the Tigers in that #&!&# final week) didn't help either.  All of it is weakened though by the image of him on the mound as the final out occurred in the great 1985 division run.
Mick Doherty - Friday, January 05 2007 @ 10:35 AM EST (#161567) #
This poll is now live.
Parker - Friday, January 05 2007 @ 10:36 AM EST (#161568) #
I've never personally encountered any anti-Shannon Stewart hostility but I have heard those clowns booing him in left field.  If anything, the hostility should've been reserved for Jays management who traded a great leadoff hitter and and at least average fielder (great range but lousy arm) for a red-headed stepchild fourth outfielder whose only useful tools are talking a walk and platooning as a lefty-hitting specialist.  Although on the bright side, Bobby Kielty turned into Ted the Tease so that actually worked out well for the Jays.

I admit to wanting some players who are traded away to do badly with their new teams, especially if I don't like the new team they play for.  In this case though, the Twins are probably my second-favorite MLB team and if the Jays had to trade players I liked, that would be an acceptable destination to me.  I feel bad about Stewart's injuries and decline in power rather than feeling vindicated that the Jays unloaded a guy who was about to fall apart.
Malcolm Little - Friday, January 05 2007 @ 11:01 AM EST (#161573) #

There's no room on the active roster for a Belliard, is there?

SheldonL - Friday, January 05 2007 @ 01:00 PM EST (#161585) #

This trade might just be what the doctor ordered! One less potent pitcher on a faltering Yankees rotation. Arizona adds an aging but quality number 2 starter behind Cy Young winner Webb. Livan Hernandez seemed to return to form in his 10 starts; hopefully Doug Davis can battle the walks and provide what should be above average numbers for a number 4 guy. Lastly, another stellar performance from Juan Cruz(best number 5 starter if(when) given the opportunity) and you've got a contender in the D-Backs!

Round that out with young hitting prospects like Young, Quentin, Drew, Jackson, and a 2005 Chad Tracy and we're cookin'!

dan gordon - Friday, January 05 2007 @ 01:32 PM EST (#161589) #

Well, he wasn't with the Blue Jays very long, but if this poll is simply who is your least favourite guy who formerly played for them, my vote goes to Ricky 'I Am The Greatest' Henderson.  Great player, mind you.  Honourable mentions to Clemens, Alomar, Hillenbrand

Chuck - Friday, January 05 2007 @ 01:39 PM EST (#161591) #

Guys who left (Stewart, Clemens, Leiter),

And here is where I have my problems with fan reactions. Too many players who left are treated the same, regardless of their circumstances.

Stewart left because he was traded. He didn't ask to leave. The team knew it had no intentions of signing his as a free agent so decided to get what they could for him (Stewart yielded Kielty who yielded Lilly). I don't recall Stewart ever griping about Toronto, either while a Jay or as a Twin.

Clemens complained loudly and tactlessly about wanting out, mid-contract. Though he was obviously excellent while in Toronto and a joy to watch work, it was still nice to see him pitch nowhere nearly as well during his five years in NY (despite the 20-3 record in 2001). As a 41-year old Astro, he reverted to his Toronto levels and has been there ever since, albeit shouldering a lesser workload. It's funny how the media has no misgivings about attacking McGwire and Bonds for their late career surges, yet tiptoes ever so gracefully around a pitcher returning to Cy Young caliber at age 41, after five years. Why does Clemens get the inuendo pass?

Al Leiter is slagged mercilessly by fans and media alike and I find that I am one of his few defenders. The Jays stuck with him for business reasons: they felt he could shake his blister problems and become effective because it was in their best interest, not because they were magnanimous. Had they released Leiter, someone else would have given him the very same opportunity to turn his career around. That he elected, as a free agent, to not re-sign with Toronto, was entirely his prerogative and he shouldn't burn for the decision. I've ranted many times about how free agents are just that, free, and should be allowed to do what they want. [soapbox] Their prior contractual agreement has expired. They owe their former team nothing. Their former team owes them the same. Baseball is a business (as it has been for, what, about 125 years now?), so get over hurt feelings about misguided notions of loyalties betrayed. [/soapbox]

Delgado, who wasn't mentioned above, left because he was offered a FA contract way below market value. I'm sure his preference was to stay. He was criticized for his contract representing such a high percentage of the team's salary, which is ludicrous because he performed at a high level and it wasn't his fault the team didn't ante up more salary dollars for other players, thereby lowering the percentage he was responsible for. And he was criticized for not giving up his no-trade clause. He has a privilege written into his contract and he should willingly give it up, so that the team that no longer wants him can benefit? How asinine was that?

Mondesi left, because, he was an ass. An ass with a lot of physical talent but a dubious work ethic and an ego to match Jorge (remember when he was Jorge?) Bell's. I was glad to see him leave, though I know many remember him much more fondly than I do.

It's probably pointless, and superfluous, to jump on Hillenbrand. He was pretty clearly a known ass before he was brought in, though he did have more than a few defenders. Given the circumstances under which he was ridden out of town, and the manner in which he has carried himself this off-season, his ass status remains firmly intact, presumably never to be questioned again.

David Wells is an ass clown. Sometimes humerous. Sometimes insighftful. Sometimes just a petulant pain, whose candor, while refreshing, often reveals a tiresome fundamental boorishness. Kinda like Jeremy Roenick.

As for Loaiza, our very own Voldemort, I guess the source of the animus aimed at him is that he had the audacity to have been invaded by an alien the very year after he left town (the alien grew tired of him and departed the following off-season, no speculation on orifice used). Had Loaiza not ever had that ridiculously acharacteristic 2003 season, I doubt Google would yield any hits linking his name to J.K. Rowling's.

Mick Doherty - Friday, January 05 2007 @ 01:49 PM EST (#161593) #

I doubt Google would yield any hits linking his name to J.K. Rowling's.

Actually, there are 66 such returns!

MatO - Friday, January 05 2007 @ 02:11 PM EST (#161598) #

Most have forgotten by now, but Doyle Alexander left ugly as well.  He complained a fair amount about Toronto in '86 after being traded to Atlanta iirc.  Can anyone else here remember that, as I could be wrong.

You are indeed correct John.  Doyle was a legendary whiner and complainer.  His main complaint while with the Jays was about having to go through customs all the time.  I think his reputation eventually killed his career.  Even though his stats were slipping he managed to pitch 200+ innings his last 2 seasons but did not pitch again after 1989.  I remember Bill James mentioning in an Abstract that he could still help some team, at least as an innings eater, but his reputation of being an ass plus being 39 years old was stopping teams from signing him.


Mike Green - Friday, January 05 2007 @ 02:20 PM EST (#161599) #
Late career surges do not engender as much suspicion for pitchers as they do for hitters for good reason.  Extreme power pitchers can become more effective in their late 30s and even 40s (if they are healthy) by honing their control and sacrificing a little bit in the power department.  Randy Johnson and Nolan Ryan would be examples.  Clemens' increased effectiveness with the Jays in 97-98, as compared with his Boston heyday, resulted from his improved ability to keep the ball in the park rather than from overpowering more hitters with faster fastballs.
#2JBrumfield - Friday, January 05 2007 @ 06:07 PM EST (#161612) #

The Toronto Blue Jays are going to Cooperstown this year!

It might be worth a visit to see the game as I believe May 21st is Victoria Day Monday even if it turns out to be a match-up of Syracuse and Norfolk.  Doubleday Field is pretty neat as I had a chance to see it during my first trip to the Hall of Fame last October.  I'd like to see a game there as they also have the NY Penn League annual game during Hall of Fame week-end but it'll be a zoo as Cooperstown is not the biggest of places in the world. 

rotorose - Friday, January 05 2007 @ 06:14 PM EST (#161613) #
Back to the original thread - once again Cashman makes another good move - the Unit's skills are almost certain to decline this year and now there is a spot and the cash for Clemens to join his pal Andy Pettite.

Also, if you missed Blair's blog today, here is his latest quote from J.P.:

Ricciardi said he "didn't really have much going on."

How many avenues had been exhausted in the search for starting pitching?

"In my mind?" Ricciardi asked. "All of them."

Ron - Friday, January 05 2007 @ 08:23 PM EST (#161616) #
I feel like Blair is the best Jays reporter but I could do without his political observations.

As for pitching, the Jays should give a call to John Thompson. I thought the M's were on the verge of signing him to a 1yr/4 mil contract but nothing has happened. The Jays have no chance of making the playoffs if the rotation is going to be Doc, AJ, Chacin, Towers, and Marcum. At the beginning of the off-season, I said the Jays needed to add an upper rotation and league average starter to the mix. The ideal move was to trade Vernon Wells but we all know that's not going to happen. I don't envy JP's current position.

Pistol - Friday, January 05 2007 @ 08:54 PM EST (#161617) #
Here's the Blair blog link.  Sounds like Blair wasn't crazy about Hillenbrand.
Mylegacy - Friday, January 05 2007 @ 09:02 PM EST (#161618) #

Ron you MAY be right.

Towers 05 or Towering Inferno 06? Towers 05 we could live with, if we had to.

However, NO QUESTION, we do NOT make the playoffs unless TWO of Marcum, Janssen, Towers, McGowan or Rosario come through. That's the bad news. The good news is that it is at least 60/40 that two will reach that next level. I predict McGowan and Janssen will be the two.

REMEMBER, a HEALTHY Roy and AJ can EASILY give us Lilly's 15 wins. AND, Marcum (even if none of the other guys did much) in the 19 starts in which Towers and Taubenheim ONLY won 3!!! could easily win 10. That would give us 97 wins (all else being equal).... ya I know all else is never equal.

Thomas will give us FOUR SUPER BATS... Rios, Wells, Thomas, Glaus... guys that will all hit AT LEAST 30 homers, back to back to back to back! The power concentrated in the middle of this line-up WILL SURPRISE us all!

Keep the faith.

Ryan Day - Saturday, January 06 2007 @ 12:16 AM EST (#161619) #
I don't think we'll see the excellence of Towers '05 or the extreme suckitude of Towers '06. I'd be happy, and I don't think it's a terribly unrealistic expectation, to see Towers Career: The guy with the 4.89 ERA and just-below-average ERA+ of 93. If Towers can keep his ERA under 5 and pitch around 180 innings, the team will be in good shape. He bounced back pretty decently after his horrific '02 season, so perhaps he can do it again.
greenfrog - Saturday, January 06 2007 @ 01:04 AM EST (#161620) #
If we'd signed Meche for $55 million, he might well have ended up on a list like this in the future.

I picked Hillenbrand. Maybe it was his constant sense of grievance over a lack of playing time (even as he played terribly in the field, which, along with a deep lineup, limited Gibbons's options). Besides, I thought Gibbons worked him into the lineup quite a bit. His petulance and lack of professionalism during a damn pennant race. His predictable second-half collapses. Or his repeated blabbing to the media about l'affaire Gibby.

E____ L____ is also on my list. I agree that if anyone is to blame, it's Ash: L____ was mediocre, and that's that. But the fact that (1) we traded Young for him, (2) L____ was so blase about being so mediocre, and (3) that L____ went on to become a valuable starter after leaving town is just all incredibly irksome.

I agree with Joanna about Clemens. His haughtiness is annoying, but he at least he delivered the goods when he played here.

timpinder - Saturday, January 06 2007 @ 11:29 AM EST (#161623) #

Even if Riccardi's statement is true and a trade for a #3 starter is now very unlikely, it's not the end of the world.  In fact, if it means trading Rios, then I hope it doesn't happen.  Rios is going to be huge, and he's controlled for 4 more years.  Marcum and Chacin can have ERAs of 5.00+ and still win 10-12 games with the run support they're going to get with Rios, Wells, Thomas, Glaus and Overbay going back-back-back-back-back.  We just have to hope that McGowan or someone else can step up and become that #3 starter.  I think that McGowan's going to break through this year because he has a new pitching approach that gives him better control, he should be fully recovered from TJ, and because he's controlling his diabetes.  Janssen's a possibility I suppose, though I see him more as a #4 or #5 starter.  Ismael Ramirez may be a great sleeper and based on scouting reports I've read and looking at his stats, in my opinion he's the best bet after McGowan to break out and pitch like a #3  or #4 starter. 

I'll concede that if everyone not named Halladay or Burnett pitches like they did in 2006, the Jays will have a very tough time making the playoffs.  But like MyLegacy said, it's reasonable to predict that one or more of McGowan, Janssen, Ramirez, Marcum or even Towers will be considerably better than last year, and McGowan has the ability, should he put it all together, to pitch like a #2 starter and take the Jays over the top.  Laugh now, but I remember saying similar things about Rios breaking out before the 2006 season.

On a side note, and I don't know if it has been touched on, I read on that J.P. was trying to sign Overbay to a multi-year contract.  Great move!  I hope J.P. extends him past 2009 and into his free agent years.

Jonny German - Saturday, January 06 2007 @ 12:04 PM EST (#161624) #
I don't think this has been mentioned yet, but the Season Pass is back for 2007. Terms and conditions per the link:

  • Good for all 2007 regular season home games
  • Redeemable for one ticket - 500 Level Seating
  • Only redeemable on game day at the Gate 9 Box Office
  • Seats subject to availability
  • To be guaranteed a ticket, you must present your pass no later than 45 minutes before game time
  • Applicable service charges will apply

According to, "There is a $20 convenience charge if ordering online as well as a $4 shipping charge.  However, if you place your order by phone and pick up the pass, it will only cost the $95. "

Pistol - Saturday, January 06 2007 @ 12:09 PM EST (#161625) #
I don't think I'd get too aggressive with an Overbay extension - no more than 3 years.  He came to the majors late so he's 30 this season and his comparables don't look that hot (check out Hal Morris).  Plus, Glaus might need to move over to 1B and if Lind can't play in the OF first base would be his next spot.

Rios is the player JP should be locking up now as I've mentioned before.

JayFan0912 - Saturday, January 06 2007 @ 12:24 PM EST (#161626) #
I thought rios would be under control only for 3 more years -- the fact he is under control for 4 makes him a lot more valuable.

I'd try to add some depth to the pitching staff if possible -- just to have a plan B in case some of the prospects don't work out and josh towers v. 2006 shows up in spring training.  I think that adding zambrano/armas/redman on one year deals would be a nice insurance policy for next year. And the jays seem to have a lot of money to left over as they didn't sign lilly or meche.
danjulien - Saturday, January 06 2007 @ 12:49 PM EST (#161627) #
I can't even really comment on this...from this article

"Of course, it's possible the Yankees' sudden accumulation of leading to a mega-swap with the Twins, who've undoubtedly calculated (and fainted at) the cost of keeping Johan Santana after he becomes a free agent in two years. Cashman's army of youngsters might be the escape the Twins would need, given that Barry Zito is now earning $18 million per year."

The Yanks have two things going for and Cashman.  What a job he's done this off-season...
Magpie - Saturday, January 06 2007 @ 04:59 PM EST (#161629) #
Al Leiter is slagged mercilessly by fans and media alike and I find that I am one of his few defenders.

No, Chuck! You're not alone on this one! I've written my own In Defense of Al Leiter rant so often that nowadays I just like to provide a link to the Definitive Version...
Frank Markotich - Saturday, January 06 2007 @ 07:02 PM EST (#161631) #
That Santana comment looks like nothing but speculation pulled out of thin air by the writer. It doesn't make a lot of sense. The Twins are contenders now, have a new stadium coming, and have Santana under contract for two more years. Why would they decide to pack it in for the next few years in order to to become the new Expos?
CaramonLS - Saturday, January 06 2007 @ 07:40 PM EST (#161632) #
So the speculated Yankees rotation is now:

Santana, Clemens, Pettitte, Mussina, Wang.

And whoever they signed over from Japan.

Good stuff.

Joanna - Saturday, January 06 2007 @ 08:37 PM EST (#161634) #

The Twins would be completely and totally insane.  Which I don't think they are.

Damn Yankees.

Mylegacy - Saturday, January 06 2007 @ 11:42 PM EST (#161635) #
Magpie, notwithstanding your elegant, erudite rant... I hates Al Leiter. Blisters...or no blisters!
James W - Sunday, January 07 2007 @ 02:41 AM EST (#161636) #

The Twins would be completely and totally insane.  Which I don't think they are.

Indeed, it would seem insane to trade Santana.  On the other hand, can they afford to sign him in 2 years? 

Michael - Sunday, January 07 2007 @ 02:11 PM EST (#161643) #
Can they afford to sign him in 2 years?

Can anyone?  He should get a very sick contract as a free agent in two years unless he implodes in the mean time.

But the current 2 years of Santana is still super valuable.

CeeBee - Sunday, January 07 2007 @ 03:52 PM EST (#161647) #
Any kid who's got a good arm better be aiming to be a pitcher.  I wonder if we will see more conversions ala Dave Steib in the future.
huckamaniac - Sunday, January 07 2007 @ 11:00 PM EST (#161653) #
Jamie Campbell also thinks the Yankees might be saving up for Santana.
Geoff - Sunday, January 07 2007 @ 11:52 PM EST (#161656) #
George Steinbrenner might be saving up? Do I imagine he's cut his budget for cigars in half (and using Ulysses's's's instead of Benjamin's to light them) then putting the extra dough in a sock labeled 'Johan'?

Will there be no acquisition of an overpriced veteran this year because they are saving for Johan?

Is Brian Cashman going to do a paper route in Manhattan to save some extra dough up for when Johan becomes available?

Is George going to stop heating his home by burning impressionist artwork this year, and next ,so that Johan will have enough dollar signs in his eyes when the Yankees come calling?

No, none of it matters because Oakland is going to offer more. Or maybe Kansas City If only they can clear Gil Meche off the books by then.

Pistol - Monday, January 08 2007 @ 08:52 AM EST (#161659) #
If anyone is interested in literature, old school rap, or cooking there's a Keith Law chat at ESPN at 1 today.  There might even be some baseball questions answered.
Ryan Day - Monday, January 08 2007 @ 10:50 AM EST (#161662) #

 Randy is getting a $26 million two-year extension from the D-backs.

 On the one hand, that's a heck of a lot of money for a guy who'll be 45 at the end of the contract  and has been slowly slipping for the past few years. On the other, he can probably be at least an average pitcher, and there's always the chance he can put up another awesome season. And barring injury or total collapse, he'll win #300 in a D-backs uniform, which is probably worth a few publicity bucks.

Mike Green - Monday, January 08 2007 @ 11:09 AM EST (#161663) #
The financial arrangements of the Unit deal are summarized here:

As part of the trade, New York would pay $2 million of Johnson's salary this year. That means Arizona would be responsible for $24 million: $5.5 million this year, $10.5 million in 2008 and $4 million each in 2009 and 2010.

Bearing in mind salary inflation, these figures do not seem so large relative to the other contracts being signed this off-season.  There is a reasonable chance that Johnson can provide 140-170 innings of good pitching a year over the next 2 years.  The more I hear, the more I like Arizona's decision.

John Northey - Monday, January 08 2007 @ 11:42 AM EST (#161664) #

This is still a risk for Arizona.  Johnson is entering his age 43 season.  All time there have been 6 pitchers who have won 20 or more games at that stage - for the rest of their career, not just one season.  3 of them are knuckleballers (Neikro, Hough, Wilhelm), one started just 26 games (was a closer in the 30's - Jack Quinn), and Nolan Ryan and Tommy John.  Neikro and Quinn are the only ones to win 14 or more in one season.

Arizona is taking a $24 million bet that Johnson is Nolan Ryan #2, as will whoever signs Roger Clemens and Philly with Jamie Moyer.  It'll be interesting to see age records being broken, but I know if I had $20 million I'd be very careful about putting it on someone in hopes of new all-time records being broken.

Mike Green - Monday, January 08 2007 @ 11:56 AM EST (#161665) #
I am not fond of the "wins" measure of effectiveness for an older pitcher.  If Johnson goes 9-5 with a 3.43 ERA in 145 innings over 22 starts say, the salary that he will be paid by the Snakes will be a bargain.  He does not need to go 15-9 in 200 innings.

It would be interesting to see if the D'Backs might try a Sunday start routine for Johnson, like the White Sox used for Teddy Lyons late in his career. 

Wildrose - Monday, January 08 2007 @ 02:02 PM EST (#161668) #
Rich Lederer has quite a good article  up on how to categorize pitchers.  He examines starters today, making special note of A.J. Burnett.
Mylegacy - Monday, January 08 2007 @ 02:45 PM EST (#161670) #

Jordan Bastian is reporting on the Jays MLB site that McGowan has been granted another minor league season. Knew we were trying to do this but this is the first confirmation I've seen that says it's a done deal.

"The Jays are currently planning to send McGowan to Triple-A at the beginning of the season. Toronto secured a fourth option year for the right-hander, which means he wouldn't have to clear waivers before being sent to the Minors. "

Pistol - Monday, January 08 2007 @ 03:41 PM EST (#161671) #
ayjackson - Monday, January 08 2007 @ 04:13 PM EST (#161672) #
It is interesting to see the similarity between Tim Hudson and Doc, when plotted on the GB%-K% x-y graph.  Their dots on this graph would be almost identical.  This had me concerned for a few moments.  Fortunately if one adds, as Lederer suggest, the third axis of BB%, Doc's "dot" moves light years away from Hudson's.
Gerry - Monday, January 08 2007 @ 05:07 PM EST (#161674) #
According to the Syracuse Chiefs website the Jays have signed Mike Vento, who played with Washington last season.  Vento is another candidate for the fourth outfielder job in Toronto if the Jays want to send Adam Lind back to AAA.  Unfortunately he is a right-hander so he doesn't line up as well as say, John-Ford Griffin, as a sub against some right handed pitchers.
ayjackson - Monday, January 08 2007 @ 05:46 PM EST (#161677) #
With McGowan, Janssen and Taubenheim heading up the rotation in Syracuse, and the likes of Lind, Thigpen, Cannon and Adams heading up the offense, the pieces may be falling into place for the Cheifs this year.  Cue the endless stream of callups.
TA - Tuesday, January 09 2007 @ 02:21 PM EST (#161694) #
Looks like John Thompson will get a shot.

Like Ricciardi says: low risk - high reward.

huckamaniac - Tuesday, January 09 2007 @ 02:24 PM EST (#161695) #
Well, I definitely prefer Thomson at $500,000 than Meche at $11 million.
John Northey - Wednesday, January 10 2007 @ 12:46 PM EST (#161760) #
The guy who did the batting order ranking has done it now by position at Ranks are based on OPS for the position vs all other positions in the majors - 330 in total (pitchers, DH's, and pinch hitters are included for all 30 teams)

Jay ranks... Pos - Rank - Avg/OBP/Slg
CF - 20 - 312/364/551
1B - 26 - 320/380/524
RF - 43 - 297/354/522
LF - 57 - 309/395/455
3B - 74 - 251/349/472
DH - 85 - 292/338/473
CA - 120 - 274/333/455
SS - 211 - 267/321/395
2B - 275 - 241/307/320
PH - 279 - 242/276/341
P - 326 - 105/105/105 - the Yankees were worse at 045/120/045 while Texas & Oakland's pitchers were both 0 for the season although someone in Texas did get on base via BB or HBP.

So, the Jays had 2 in the top 30, 2 more in the next 30, and 2 more in the 3rd 30, so for the top 90 position hitters the Jays had 6 rather than the 3 that would be randomly expected.  The catchers certainly held their own but boy did SS and 2B suck big time.  The pinch hitters were horrid too which was a surprise to me, figuring Cat and Johnson would've had a lot of those along with Hinske and Rios and Zaun and Molina.  Checking ESPN the PH were killed by Russ Adams going 0 for 10 in that role.  Other 0 for's were Glaus (4), Molina (2), Phillips (2), Roberts (2), Hattig (2), Overbay (1) and Lind (1).  The only PH home run (and triple as well) were both hit by Rios.

Note: Baltimore's pinch hitters were worse than 24 teams pitchers were at hitting (!).  What is funny is their pitchers hit better than the Toronto pinch hitters did (211/250/368 for a 618 OPS vs the Jays PH's 616)

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