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According to Ken Rosenthal the Blue Jays have signed Tomo Ohka to a 1 year contract. Jeff Blair writes that the deal is for $1.5 million with incentives that could push the deal to $3.0 million. reports that the deal is pending a physical set to take place later this week. Ohka is currently in Japan.

Thanks to Bauxite Jevant for pointing out the link.

Ohka was injured for part of 2006, making only 18 starts and had his worst season of his career. However, prior to last year Ohka was at least an average pitcher when he took the mound and was pretty good from 02-04.

2002 32 31 192.7 118 45 19 3.18 131 1.24
2003 34 34 199.0 118 45 24 4.16 119 1.40
2004 15 15 84.7 38 20 11 3.40 122 1.39
2005 32 29 180.3 98 55 22 4.04 103 1.35
2006 18 18 97.0 50 35 12 4.82 93 1.37

Obviously, Ohka will now be pitching in the AL which makes things more difficult for his ERA. In a chat last week Nate Silver said that the average pitcher should expect a 0.25 rise in his ERA moving from the NL to AL, excluding the DH. This article has the DH adjustment at a half run a game.

If you think Ohka's 2006 performance is indicative of what he will do going forward then the move doesn't help the Jays out too much. However, if you think he's better than he was last year it's a solid move, given the remaining options.

Last year the Jays lost Halladay, Burnett, and Chacin for various stretches of time. Thomson and Ohka at this point will likely round out the rotation and both also have injury histories. So the Jays are going to need plenty of starters this year, just like they did last year. At some point there's going to be plenty of oppurtunities for Towers, Marcum, McGowan, Janssen, etc. to make their mark on the team. If they end up being the best options starting they'll find their way into the rotation.

So to sum up, I think the Jays are better today with Ohka than without him, and the commitment is only for one year. Can't go wrong there.
Jays Sign Tomo Ohka | 107 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
huckamaniac - Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 02:20 PM EST (#162442) #
It sounds like another low-risk move. I'm pretty happy with the salary and the fact that it's only a 1 year deal. From a business perspective it also may imporve attendence on the days Ohka pitches.
Ron - Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 02:23 PM EST (#162443) #
Well going into the off-season, we all wondered how the Jays rotation would shape up. Now it's crystal clear.

The rotation entering the season is Doc/AJ/Chacin/Thomson/Ohka. Is this rotation good enough to help the Jays win the World Series/make the playoffs? Assuming the Yanks sign the Rocket, do the Jays have a better rotation (1-5) than the Yanks and Red Sox? Is there a starting pitching staff out there that has a higher health risk?

Sister - Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 02:47 PM EST (#162445) #
I don't post often but I like to pat myself on the back for suggesting the Jays target Ohka back on Dec 6th

In the Winter Meetings thread I noted:

"If the Jays do strike out on both Lilly and Meche, I'd like to see JP aim to sign a lower tiered free agent pitcher. Someone like: Tomo Okha (adjusted ERA+ over the last 4 years of 119, 122, 103, 93), who is 30 years old. Perhaps last year is evidence of a declining trend or maybe just an off year. I guess the question is whether Ohka represents much of an upgrade over other potential number four starters in the Jays system already (Towers/Marcum/McGowan)"
Marc Hulet - Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 02:52 PM EST (#162446) #
For what it's worth, according to the 2007 Pecota projections, only McGowan is projected to lower than VORP than Ohka from the group of Shaun Marcum, Dustin McGowan, Casey Janssen and Josh Towers. Janssen's is almost double that of Ohka's.
paulf - Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 03:01 PM EST (#162447) #
This Simpsons quote was mentioned in a prior thread, but here's the video.
actionjackson - Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 03:48 PM EST (#162451) #
I think this signing should please the two camps that have formed as to which direction the Jays should go with the starting rotation. There's the camp that says you've got to give the kids a chance and the camp that says if you're going to go for it, get some veterans. As Ron says this rotation could be one of the most injury riddled rotations in history and therefore the kids will get their chance throughout the course of the 2007 season. They will be able to do so without being exposed right out of the gate, unless as one other poster said in another thread, at least one starter goes down in spring training, and I would'nt bet against that, given the DL veterans in the rotation.

All 5 of the projected starters had significant injuries last year. Halladay still had 32 starts, but imagine what would've happened had he suffered his injury in June, instead of close to the end of the season. It's a good cheap depth signing and when you consider they could've been stuck with Lilly and Meche for the next 4 or 5 years, you've got to be happy. Does it put the Jays ahead of the Yankees and Red Sox on paper? No, but it does give added depth to the rotation, something that we can all painfully agree was missing last year. Although, I suppose they started out with 5 quality starters last year didn't they?

If they can keep them all gainfully employed, while at the same time keeping enough spaces for the development of those they want to develop at Syracuse, Janssen, Marcum, Towers, hopefully McGowan, and maybe even Rosario should be able to provide depth and that's what JP's been talking about since this offseason began. Hopefully, he can add some more depth or at least some spring training competition to the corner infield and outfield spots and  maybe a cheap veteran relief pitcher because you can never have enough pitching. They will go into the season as the #3 team in the East (probably would have due to the payroll disparity anyway), but at least they'll be in a position to take advantage should the 1 and 1A incumbents slip up. It's up to the fans now to drive that attendance up and drive those ratings up so that Uncle Ted will be more inclined to reach into his wallet to sign quality amateur talent as well as the big ticket free agents in the future.
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 04:08 PM EST (#162456) #
Nate Silver's comment in the BP chat suggested that when performing the NL to AL adjustment, one should add 25 points of ERA plus make an adjustment for the DH.  Which is why Ohka's projection is significantly poorer than Marcum's or Janssen's and poorer than Towers'. 

Having the 8th best starting pitching option in the rotation to start the season is not good; one of the unfortunate consequences of being in the AL East is that there is little leeway for error. Fpr what it's worth, Shaun Marcum and David Bush have quite similar minor league records...

actionjackson - Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 04:10 PM EST (#162457) #
It might also mean Rios and Johnson are off the table, unless the pitcher coming back is an absolute stud, which doesn't seem likely in this inflationary market. This also bodes well for your 2007 Toronto Blue Jays.
Jonny German - Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 04:12 PM EST (#162458) #

For what it's worth, according to the 2007 Pecota projections, only McGowan is projected to lower than VORP than Ohka from the group of Shaun Marcum, Dustin McGowan, Casey Janssen and Josh Towers.

It's worth nothing as you've given it. What's the context? If PECOTA is calling for Ohka to be great in limited innings, that potentially has much more valuable to the Jays than another pitcher being mediocre over a lot of innings.

Jonny German - Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 04:14 PM EST (#162459) #
I like the move, not least because Ohka is my favourite player that is exactly the same age as me. Granted, the options are limited.
Ryan Day - Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 04:18 PM EST (#162460) #

Decent pitcher for a good price. I'd have been comfortable with Marcum as the fifth starter, but I'm also happier with a starting rotation of Halladay-Burnett-Chacin-Thomson-Ohka and a bunch of good backups than Halladay-Burnett-Chacin-Marcum-Towers and having to fall back on the not-quite-ready Janssen and McGowan if things go wrong.

 With the money Ohka and Thomson are making, I don't think there are any guarantees: If Thomson gets shelled in spring training, the Jays aren't going to stick Marcum at AAA just for the heck of it.

Pistol - Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 04:19 PM EST (#162461) #
plus make an adjustment for the DH

Oops.... I should probably read the fine print!
Lee - Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 04:19 PM EST (#162462) #

The rotation entering the season is Doc/AJ/Chacin/Thomson/Ohka. Is this rotation good enough to help the Jays win the World Series/make the playoffs? Assuming the Yanks sign the Rocket, do the Jays have a better rotation (1-5) than the Yanks and Red Sox? Is there a starting pitching staff out there that has a higher health risk?

Off hand, I would say yes (Doc, AJ, and the best of the rest would be pretty good in the playoffs IMO), maybe (I personally don't think much of the Red Sox rotation), and no.

Pistol - Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 04:24 PM EST (#162464) #
I think Mike Green might be getting me to reconsider.

Year   K/9 BB/9 HR/9 K/BB
2002 5.51 2.10 0.89 2.62
2003 5.34 2.04 1.09 2.62
2004 4.04 2.13 1.17 1.90
2005 4.89 2.75 1.10 1.78
2006 4.64 3.25 1.11 1.43

I wasn't so worried about the K rate since he's had success without strong numbers there, but the walk rate has been creeping up at the same time which really shows up when you look at K/BB.

Leigh - Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 04:27 PM EST (#162465) #
There are eleven conceivable options for the Jays starting rotation.  Here they are ranked by PECOTA "equivalent ERA", which, to my knowledge, adjusts for context:

1. Halladay
2. Burnett
3. Marcum
4. Janssen
5. Towers
6. Ohka
7. Taubenheim
8. Chacin
9. McGowan
10. Banks
11. Thomson

My first inclination is to generally agree with PECOTA's ranking, though I would likely move Thomson up to sixth or seventh and Taubenheim down to tenth or eleventh.

Jordan - Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 04:28 PM EST (#162466) #
Obviously, this is a good low-risk move that has a decent chance of paying off. Now the Jays have seven pitchers -- Gustavo Chacin, John Thomson, Tomo Ohka, Josh Towers, Shaun Marcum, Casey Janssen  and Scott Downs -- from whom they need to get 550-600 competitive innings in the rotation. This is going to be a real challenge for Gibbons and Arnsberg -- to put the right guy into the rotation at the right time and maximize their collective impact -- but  if they can pull it off, they should be able to assemble a pretty good staff. With a solid bullpen and a dangerous lineup, that's a good way to go into the season.
Jevant - Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 04:28 PM EST (#162467) #

I like the signing, if purely for depth reasons.  I remember saying at the beginning of the offseason I'd prefer not to have Marcum in the starting 5 on Opening Day.  Not exactly the 2 guys I would have expected JP to grab to bump Marcum out (Thomson, Ohka), but you can't have everything (especially with now having Vernon for life).

Perhaps the reason I like these moves the most is because it means that JP (presumably) hasn't broken the bank on a mid-tier starter for the next 5 years (see Meche, Gil).  I also wonder - if by going cheap now and seeing how things go through the first half - does this give more flexibility to add a quality arm mid-season if things are going well?  With Thomson and Ohka in #'s 4 and 5 (presuming they win those jobs), that could mean that at least one of McGowan, Marcum, Janssen, etc. are expendable as trade bait.  That might help in attracting a team with a rental SP to offer (if we should be in that position).

I guess the big question is - did the Jays get unlucky with injuries to their SP's all in the same year...or are their starters injury-prone and we can expect this?  My feeling is that if we can get 60+ starts from Halladay-Burnett we probably are in the playoff mix until the end.  If not, we're probably looking at 3rd place.

Furthermore, as was already mentioned, this news presumably takes Rios off the trade market.  Which is fantastic news.

ayjackson - Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 04:37 PM EST (#162469) #

I like the move, not least because Ohka is my favourite player that is exactly the same age as me

Well I'm holding out for Mark Grudzielanek, then. 

Mike Green - Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 04:42 PM EST (#162470) #
Ohka apparently had a rotator cuff injury last year, which might explain the decline. 

It is an excellent idea to sign a couple of inexpensive rehabbing pitchers, like Thomson and Ohka.  However, if one is trying to compete that year, the key is to sift through them in triple A, rather to find out what they've got and where they're going at the major league level.

ayjackson - Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 04:46 PM EST (#162472) #

There are eleven conceivable options for the Jays starting rotation.

Personally, I believe that if one of our starting five were to struggle or get injured early in the year, the long man in the pen would be at least even odds to step in first for a start.  Yet you don't think Frank Rosario is even a "conceivable" option for the Jays rotation?  Or is this an oversight?  Or is this only opening day possibilities?

Mark - Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 04:48 PM EST (#162473) #
In General, I find PECOTA way more efficient in predicting batters over pitchers. And not just PECOTA, in general predicting pitching is very difficult unless the pitcher is a superstar.

The reason I like this move is because it gives the Jays 6-8 options for the 3-5 spots in the rotation. It's a classic see who sticks scenario.

I also like the fact that Ohka is signing a one year contract to try to prove his worth and have a bigger payout next year. There is nothing like a contract year to get the most out of a player. Although the idea of players actually being able to raise their game when there is incentive to do so is very bothersome.
ayjackson - Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 04:49 PM EST (#162474) #
The Jays have numerous options for the 3,4 and 5 spots now.  All project at high 4 to low 5 ERAs.  But they wont all regress to the mean.  One or two will abolutely blow.  One or two will excel.  If that is the case, we'll be in great shape.
ayjackson - Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 04:53 PM EST (#162477) #

Nobody can be happier about vanilla veteran signings like Thomson and Okha than the fan(s) of the Chiefs.

Add to that the minor league relievers signed, and dare I say they may actually be good this year?

John Northey - Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 05:08 PM EST (#162478) #
Worth noting - when the Jays had a lower budget they cut loose Billy Koch costing nearly a million for nothing.  So I suspect if Ohka or Thomson stink it up in spring they'll be gone quickly.

As to the projections, I'd be careful about too much weight on them.  I've played with them but there are major issues with any projection system.  I keep meaning to write it all out and do the stats to show the major issues, which include changing levels of competition, changing conditions of play, changing number of ML jobs, etc.  One of these days I'll get around to it.  Of note: PECOTA factors in size to a large degree from what I can tell, but given guys today are far larger than yesteryear one would think it would affect their results significantly.  Does anyone know who they use to compare Towers to?

Something I think is worth looking at is what the potential peaks are for the guys we now have and the ones we lost out on.

Using 100 IP as the minimum (just because it is simple)...

Lilly - Peak ERA+ = 120 (twice), seasons above/below 100 ERA+ = 3/6 - all seasons = 3/8
Meche - Peak ERA+ = 97 (twice), seasons above/below 100 ERA+ = 0/4 - all seasons = 2/6
Note: Meche also had a 121 season over 85 2/3 IP in 2000 and a 106 in 1999 over the same # of innings.

Thomson - Peak ERA+=116, seasons above/below 100 ERA+ = 4/5 - all seasons = 5/9
Note: Thomson also has 3 seasons of 80+ IP with ERA+ of 129/98/91, the last 2 being the past 2 seasons
Ohka - Peak ERA+=131, seasons above/below 100 ERA+ = 3/4 - all seasons = 5/8
Note: Ohka was 93 last year over 97 IP and 160 in 2000 over 69 1/3 IP for Boston

Y'know, the more I look at it the more I'm thankful Meche & Lilly went elsewhere.  For track record each of Ohka and Thomson have as many or more 100+ ERA seasons as Lilly and Meche combined no matter how you cut it.

So the Jays have 2 guys who, if healthy, should be able to outperform the two they missed out on (based on track record), for far less next season and with no money locked in beyond 2007.  Seems good.  As to ages, Thomson is 33 next year, Ohka 31, Lilly 31, Meche 28 so the Jays do lose out on age with Meche vs Thomson.

Count me as one who is happy about how the pitching worked out this winter.  Feel free to hit me over the head with this should Meche become the ace Kansas City thinks he can be and Lilly actually has 2 good years in a row while Thomson and Ohka suck or are DL'ed all season.
williams_5 - Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 06:41 PM EST (#162479) #
Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like the general consensus is that the signings of Ohka and Thomson are fine in and of themselves so long as they don't get in the way of a better pitcher getting the opportunity to pitch at the Major League level. Conceivably they could end up being less productive than what the Jays already have, or they could end up being more productive. As extra options in that case, the signings are good (assuming the money could not have been put to better use). On the other hand, if they are sent out to pitch when Marcum or Towers would have done a better job, it will then (and only then) be a hindrance to the team. Obviously its impossible to know with absolute certainty who would outperform who in any future circumstance, so I think the bottom line is, as fans, we will just have to hope (trust?) that management makes the right decisions when the time comes.
VBF - Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 06:52 PM EST (#162480) #

Now that I think about it, if Ohka secures a starting job, would he be the first Asian to start for the Blue Jays?

This should generate some sort of buzz in the Asian population of Toronto, even if the Japanese population is relatively small. Some niche market PR certainly doesn't hurt.

China fan - Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 07:05 PM EST (#162482) #

   I'd like to point out that Toronto's large Chinese and Korean communities will not automatically cheer a Japanese pitcher....    You can't lump all the Asians into one "community".


huckamaniac - Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 07:51 PM EST (#162483) #
The Jays first Japanese player was Michael Nakamura.  He was raised in Australia.
GrrBear - Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 07:58 PM EST (#162484) #
Is it typical for non-ace starters to average less than six innings pitched per start?  Chacin, Thomson, Ohka, heck, even Ted the Tease all average between 5.5 and 5.8 IP per start.  A.J. averages about 6.5, which seems more reasonable.  Over Doc's last five seasons (did you know he's pitched exactly 1000 innings in that time?  Weird...), he's averaged 7.04 IP per start.  Would it be fair to say that there is an expectation not just that your number one or two starters should hold the opposition to three or less runs, but also that they should be pitching into the seventh inning and beyond?  It seems obvious that few teams rely on their 3-4-5 starters to give them much more than five or six innings.

This makes it vitally important that a modern bullpen carries at least two pitchers who can toss two to five innings virtually on demand, because those 3-4-5 starters will have a lot of games where they're yanked in the second, third, or fourth inning.  Unfortunately, not every game is going to be Halladay to League to Ryan. :)

Therefore it makes a great deal of sense to carry at least seven possible starters, even if your regular rotation boys are healthy.  If the rotation does work out to be Halladay-Burnett-Chacin-Thomson-Ohka, you can have Downs and Marcum and Janssen in the bullpen as insurance for those days when you need the bullpen to carry six or seven innings.

VBF - Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 07:59 PM EST (#162485) #

Yes, and I'm sure he won't be forgotten. But it does appear that Ohka is the first Japanese starter in Blue Jays history. And yes, I am well aware that Chinese and Koreans won't all of a sudden hop onto a bandwagon for a fringe Major Leaguer who is arguably a shadow of his once B+ self.

But as mentioned, it doesn't hurt to have *somebody* from that side of the planet. If I were living in Japan and the local professional soccer team brought in their first American forward in franchise history, I'd go for a sniff at the very least. Ichiro and Matsui don't attract exclusively Japanese Canadians among Asians when they pay a visit to the Dome. Koreans (and to a much lesser extent Chinese) visit as well to see those players.

Mylegacy - Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 08:01 PM EST (#162487) #

The state of pitching, and the COST of pitching being what it is...this and the Thomson signing must be seen as "good move(s)."

Halladay, AJ, Chacin, Thomson, Ohka, Towers... SIX veteran pitchers! Marcum, Janssen and McGowan, three young, at least OK pitchers. Given the grind of the AL East I feel confident that AT LEAST three of Chacin, Thomson, Ohka, Towers, Marcum, Janssen and McGowan will step forward to at least "competence." JP has Thomson and Ohka at a "throw-away" price; they don't cut it, throw-em away, no serious financial damage done.

With Thomas hitting 40+ homers, could be 50+ if he gets over 500 at bats, and with Rios and Johnson safely tucked into bed for the year and Lind a heart beat away in AAA we're gonna give teams nightmares.

JP, good work.

Glevin - Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 08:13 PM EST (#162488) #

"Obviously, Ohka will now be pitching in the AL which makes things more difficult for his ERA. In a chat last week Nate Silver said that the average pitcher should expect a 0.25 rise in his ERA moving from the NL to AL, excluding the DH."

That seems low to me.  I went back and looked at all the starters (with a decent number of innings in both leagues who moved in the off-season) who have moved into the A.L. in the past few years and their differences in ERAs between their last year in the N.L. and first in the A.L. I am sure I missed a few players, but this is who I have.

Pavano+1.77, Burnett+0.54, Clement +2.04, Wright+2.80, Johnson+2.60, Beckett-+2.63, Schilling+0.31, Benson+0.69, Vazquez-+0.42, Redman+0.81, Elerton+0.73, Loaiza+1.12, Weaver+2.07, Millwood (-1.99), Padilla( -0.21), Eaton+ 0.85,  Wells+0.72, M. Batista+1.54, Lima +2.92, Byrd (-.20), Lieber+0.63, Brian Anderson (-1.01)

21 players, 4 of whom improved, 5 of who were worse 2 runs+ a game, 9 of whom were over a run a game worse, 16 of whom saw their ERAs rise higher than half a run a game. Maybe relievers have a lot more success, but I don't see how the 0.25 number could be reached.


timpinder - Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 08:33 PM EST (#162490) #

I'm certainly not opposed to the signing since you can't have too much depth, but I'm with Mike Green in hoping that Thomson and Ohka aren't just handed the 4th and 5th rotation spots if they're outperformed in spring training by someone like Marcum.  I would hate to see a pitcher like Ohka keep getting regular starts if he's getting hit hard.  If Thomson, Ohka and/or Chacin are struggling and Marcum, Janssen, McGowan, Ramirez, or even R. Romero are in AAA or AA throwing smoke, you have to pull the trigger and go with the hot hand.  In my opinion, for the Jays to make the playoffs this year, one of the young guns has to come up early in the summer and pitch like a true #3 starter.  I'm banking on McGowan having his year, as I've said before, and I like what I've seen with Marcum as a #5 starter.  Ohka and Thomson are capable stop-gap measures and offer good depth, but I just hope they don't block the young guns unnecessarily.

Pistol - Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 08:38 PM EST (#162491) #
That seems low to me.

It is.  The key phrase is 'excluding the DH'.  This article had research on the topic of switching leagues.  The difference was 0.70 going to the AL.  Apparently that 0.70 consists of two parts.  The first is that there's a DH in the AL which accounts for 0.45 on the ERA.  The remaining 0.25 of ERA is due to the AL having better hitters than the NL.
Magpie - Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 09:15 PM EST (#162492) #
Is there a starting pitching staff out there that has a higher health risk?

Than the Red Sox? No one. Schilling, Wakefield, Clement, Papelbon, Lester - there are all kinds of reasons for Sox fans to be nervous. The safest bet is the guy who's never pitched an inning in the majors?

I'm sure Cubs fans (and Braves fans) are waving their hands in the air as well... maybe even Yankees fans. Right now, Carl Pavano is supposed to be in the rotation.
Matthew E - Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 10:49 PM EST (#162499) #
Just wanted to note that there's a name everyone seems to leave off their list when they're talking about potential starting pitchers for the Jays: Taubenheim.

I'm not saying he's a candidate for the rotation, but, as my sister would say, he's not not a candidate.

actionjackson - Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 11:48 PM EST (#162501) #
GrrBear, I took a look at starting pitchers who had a total of at least 50 starts over the last 3 seasons when I was surveying the free agent field, and part of what I was looking at was IP/S. Of the 129 pitchers who were good enough or healthy enough to start 50 games over the last 3 years, only 76 (or 58.9%) managed to average 6 innings per start and 0 managed to average 7 innings per start. The closest to 7 innings was our old friend Chris Carpenter at 6.94 IP/S. 76 pitchers in the major leagues of baseball, which has 30 teams. That's an average of 2.53 "innings eaters" per team. We're doing well to have Halladay (6.87 IP/S) and Burnett (6.43 IP/S). Their health is absolutely critical to this season. It would be really nice to have another 6 inning starter, but the fact is there's not many out there and they're real expensive to acquire in terms of either talent or money. The average AL starter had 5.83 IP/S in 2006, while the average NL starter had 5.82 IP/S. The last time both leagues had an IP/S of over 6, Big Mac and Sammy were making people fall in love with baseball again in 1998.

Maybe the new level for "innings eaters" is 5 2/3 innings per start. If that's the case the Jays are in pretty good shape with Towers (5.75 IP/S), Chacin (5.74 IP/S), Thomson (5.73 IP/S), and Ohka (5.72 IP/S). Incidentally, Lilly (5.68 IP/S) and Meche (5.60 IP/S) provided marginally less IP/S and will be paid $13-18 million more than Ohka and Thomson next year alone, not to mention the approximately $74 million due to them over the 3-4 years after that. Whew! I don't care what Buddy Bell says, we dodged a bullet there! Amongst the starters who haven't had as many starts since 2004, Casey Janssen, despite his hardships last year managed to gut out 5.37 IP/S, which is not great, but acceptable as a stop-gap measure. Scott Downs in 2004 and 2005 managed 5.28 IP/S, but last year in the emergency starter role just 3.07. Shaun Marcum (4.90 IP/S), Ty Taubenheim (4.38 IP/S), and Dustin McGowan (4.33 IP/S) round out the rest of the possibilities. Personally, I find anything less than 5 innings per start to be unacceptable, but I wonder how much John (Captain Hook, particularly with the young guys) Gibbons has to do with that and how much of it is high pitch counts early in their starts. Scott Downs' durability numbers show that if you're going to make him a starter, make him a starter from the beginning, don't keep jerking him back and forth. His IP/S don't really justify a place in the rotation when the team breaks camp unless there's an injury or someone lays a real egg in spring training and has to be let go.

Obviously, IP/S is not the only important metric when looking at starting pitchers, but it would be nice to be able to save the bullpen from utter immolation and I think this year's staff has a better chance of doing that, especially given the fact that Gibby might start trusting them to go further, seeing as they're veterans. When the young pitchers break into the rotation this year and that will happen, I would really like to see him trust them to go somewhat beyond his comfort level. Not a Dusty Baker-type 120-130 pitch effort, but let them work out of some jams. It will serve them and the team better in the long run.

The next time you hear some moronic announcer prattling on about how " and so is a 200 inning pitcher, a good innings eater", just remember that they're almost extinct. They are certainly an exclusive club these days: only 44 reached the pinnacle last year, 6 fewer than the outlier year of 2005. In order to pitch 200 innings in the current 5 man rotation, a pitcher has to have 6.06 IP/S if they're lucky enough to make 33 starts and 6.25 IP/S, if they make 32 and that's assuming they don't miss a start. Some pitchers do get more than 33 starts and I'd like to see that trend continue, especially with the Jays, where the gulf between #1-2 and the rest is such a chasm. I'm not advocating 3 days rest, but maybe give Halladay and Burnett only 4 days off between starts and use the offdays to your advantage. You could get them a maximum of 36 starts that way. They're both kind of fragile though. While we're at it let's call a spade a spade and redefine an "innings eater" as someone who pitches 180 IP and up, because that's the reality of the game today.
Ron - Wednesday, January 24 2007 @ 01:02 AM EST (#162502) #
Than the Red Sox? No one. Schilling, Wakefield, Clement, Papelbon, Lester - there are all kinds of reasons for Sox fans to be nervous. The safest bet is the guy who's never pitched an inning in the majors?

I expect the Red Sox to start the season with Schilling, Beckett, Matsuzaka, Wakefield, and Papelbon. I believe only 2 of these pitchers spend time on the DL last season. All 5 of the Jays projected starters spent time on the DL last season.

This might be a fun little poll question. Which group of projected starters do you think will make more starts this season?
Jimbag - Wednesday, January 24 2007 @ 03:50 AM EST (#162504) #
You know it's the end of January when signing Tomo Ohka gets 30+ replies.

Without knowing the specifics of the contract, I think it's safe to say this is a depth signing. If he can legitimately earn a spot in the rotation, great. If not, no big deal. With the reports that the contract is based on incentives, and if the Jays can send him to Syracuse (or waive him all together) without footing the bill for a large portion of his salary - I view this as a low-risk, low-reward type of move.

Unless Ohka has suddenly developed a big-league sinker or slider, he's really not that different from Towers. He needs to hit his spots or he'll get lit up. The AL is unkind to pitchers with medium-to-good velocity who only have two pitches...especially when the "other" pitch isn't all that great of a surprise.

I don't want to sound pessimistic about this signing, if all the Jays want is someone to eat up some innings, Ohka probably can do the job - but I'm not sure that he's got better stuff than McGowan. If Taubenheim gets a little tougher mentally, he's just as good. Towers can be just as effective if he's in 2005 form.

But the good news is: If the offense stays healthy and can produce rums the way theycan on paper, they'll make the whole pitching staff look good. But if they hit strange dead spots like they've been prone to do, it could get rough for whomever occupies the 3-4-5 spots in the Jays rotation. By which I mean, Lilly and Chacin have each had stellar performances in the past two years, but the Jays lost both games. Lilly vs. Detroit last July (August?) and Chacin vs. NY the previous Sept.- both pitchers shut down their opponents, pitched deep into the game, but still came away with the loss. I only mention those two specific starts to illustrate that no matter who's in the rotation next year, it's going to be the offense that's at the wheel.

Basically all I'm saying is that the starters don't have to be dominant to get wins. This isn't a team that's built to scratch out runs. If they can just avoid getting lit up early and let the Jays' offense do what it's designed to do, that's enough.

On the face of this deal, it's got great potential bang for the buck. But so does every other used car sitting on a lot in town. And if he turns in even modest numbers he'll be a hero simply because noone expects him to be one.

Magpie - Wednesday, January 24 2007 @ 04:19 AM EST (#162506) #
I believe only 2 of these [Boston] pitchers spend time on the DL last season.

Yes indeed, but Schilling's age and his injury woes in 2005 and Beckett's entire past history aren't all that reassuring. There's a very good chance the Red Sox are  going to need Clement or Lester at some point.
Pistol - Wednesday, January 24 2007 @ 08:54 AM EST (#162508) #
An interesting Blair column on the Ohka negiotiations.
Marc Hulet - Wednesday, January 24 2007 @ 09:55 AM EST (#162510) #
Taubenheim isn't much of an option for the starting rotation at this point because he is pretty much a two-pitch pitcher. Maybe his brief promotion to the majors will help convince him he needs to rely on his change-up more... But his fastball/slider combination is not enough to get it done in the rotation.
Ryan Day - Wednesday, January 24 2007 @ 10:03 AM EST (#162512) #
Taubenheim looked like a reliever to me. Probably along the lines of Scott Downs - you can live with him in the rotation if absolutely necessary, but I'd much rather have him in the pen.
TimberLee - Wednesday, January 24 2007 @ 10:50 AM EST (#162516) #

Good for our side! Ohka seems just what we should have been looking for - a definite maybe. Experience shows that the Jays will need several options to keep an eye on over the season to join the rotation, and this guy looks like an affordable starter with reason for optimism. He seems to have started to recover from the shoulder trouble last year and then hurt himself running out a base hit of all things.

 A while ago we were hunkering down for a long inactive winter, figuring JP wouldn't have much for us until March, but hey!- Thomson, Olmeda, Ohka - something to talk about, and that's part of the off-season challenge right there.

MondesiRules - Wednesday, January 24 2007 @ 11:22 AM EST (#162520) #

Thanks Marty:

Gibbons severely underpaid:


AWeb - Wednesday, January 24 2007 @ 11:52 AM EST (#162521) #
From the article, which is really just a short review of someone else's article in NY (so these aren't Marty's words, he's just quoting them): (about the 500,000 salary) That’s barely $100,000 above the minimum players’ salary. Should anyone have been surprised at all the respect problems Gibbons had last season?”

Many obvious problems with this line of reasoning, but even assuming it follows: Do players had any clue how much Gibbons is making? Is that sort of thing common knowledge in MLB clubhouses at this point? And how much would Gibbons need to make to get the respect of the players? Give him 5 million a season and he's still behind Thomas, Wells, Glaus, Ryan, Burnett, Halladay and Overbay. I guess Torre must be getting 7.5 million/year because Jeter went to Cashman and told him he wouldn't respect a manager making less than 1/3 his salary.

My best guess as to why Gibbons makes a low salary: he signed a contract as a rookie manager that pays him a low salary. If/when the Jays resign him, he'll get more. If he moves on to another manager job, he'll likely get more elsewhere as well.  Pretty basic, so I assume Marty York couldn't think of it. Or even understand it if it was explained to him.

Also from the original article, to give you idea as to why I stopped reading the newspaper sports sections a while ago, in defense of giving Pinella 3.5 million a year to manage the Cubs:
But before he's even managed a game for them, Piniella's hiring has created a frenzy of fan excitement in Chicago that has been reflected in the Cubs' winter marketing and ticket sales.

Really? It was Pinella's signing? So Cubs fans are excited by the signing of a manager who has been on one of the worst teams in the majors for 5 years, not Aramis Ramirez, Kerry Wood, Mark DeRosa, Henry Blanco, Alfonso Soriano, Ted Lilly, or even Jason Marquis. Huh. Those wacky Cubs fans.

KevinJaysFan - Wednesday, January 24 2007 @ 12:00 PM EST (#162522) #
Didn't see this posted yet - Jays add a sixth minor league affiliate.  It will be in the Gulf Coast League.

Ryan Day - Wednesday, January 24 2007 @ 12:12 PM EST (#162524) #

 I hadn't heard about this (from the BA article about the GCL team):

the team decided to add a Rookie-level team after a busy offseason of signings under new director of Latin American operations Marco Paddy.

"When we hired Marco Paddy it seemed like he was going to take the (Latin American) program to another level. We thought that going to the (short-season) New York-Penn League was going to be a big jump (for young players)."

That's encouraging - an aspect of development that hasn't been emphasized lately in the organization.

ayjackson - Wednesday, January 24 2007 @ 12:21 PM EST (#162525) #

Based on Marcels projections, Janssen, Marcum, Thomson, Chacin, Ohka and Towers would combine for the following line:

653 IP / 4.69 ERA / 1.42 WHIP / 1.96 K:BB

ZiPS projects, for the same six:

920 IP / 4.69 ERA / 1.39 WHIP / 2.22 K:BB

While individual performances may vary, there is an increased likelihood that the cumulative line for these six players will resemble these predictions.

(Okha and perhaps Thomson still have to be adjusted for their new home, I believe)

AWeb - Wednesday, January 24 2007 @ 12:49 PM EST (#162526) #
I think it's fair to say that Lou Piniella is more exciting than Henry Blanco.

That's certainly fair, I was just listing them all out.  Blanco did get 5.25 million over 2 years...that's manager-disrespecting money anywhere else.
Dave Rutt - Wednesday, January 24 2007 @ 01:37 PM EST (#162527) #
Jerry Howarth, Aaron Hill, and Paul Godfrey will be on the Fan at 3 today.
Rickster - Wednesday, January 24 2007 @ 02:56 PM EST (#162532) #

Alan Ashby will replace Warren Sawkiw on the radio for the next three years. Ashby, an original Blue Jay, worked as the colour man for the Astros for the past eight years. He was known " for his low-key style, acumen and objective analysis", according to the article.

I look forward to listening.

Dave Rutt - Wednesday, January 24 2007 @ 03:00 PM EST (#162534) #
In my opinion, this is the best Jays news of the off-season (though I've never heard Ashby do colour, anyone has gotta be better than Warren)
Dave Rutt - Wednesday, January 24 2007 @ 03:06 PM EST (#162535) #
Rickster, that article is very encouraging. It sounds like he'll get along great with Jerry.
Ron - Wednesday, January 24 2007 @ 03:22 PM EST (#162536) #
I don't listen to the radio much, but this is great news. Everytime I turned on the radio, it seemed like Sawkiw would bring up the "Back when I played" card. And of course the fact is Sawkiw didn't play one single game in the majors. It seemed like he would also through out a bunch of cliches with no substance behind it. Perhaps Warren is better suited to game host on the tv broadcasts.

I'm surprised the job wasn't given to Wilner or somebody on the Sportsnet broadcast like Rance.

Magpie - Wednesday, January 24 2007 @ 04:46 PM EST (#162544) #
Some more background from the Houston Chronicle on Ashby's dismissal, which happened the week before Christmas.

Ashby's role had been to provide analysis alongside play-by-play man Milo Hamilton. Hamilton is 78 years old, and beginning next year he will only work home games. Ashby wants to start doing play-by-play and wanted to take over that role for the road games. The Astros decided to bring in two new guys for the road games and... well, click the link if you're really interested.

The response from Houston fans does seem to reflect an opinion that Ashby was jettisoned because he was too low-key, too objective and not enough of a cheerleader.

Also, Ashby's desire to do play-by-play strongly suggests (to me anyway) that Jays radio broadcasts will soon return to the old formula of two two broadcasters alternating play-by-play, with the other man available to provide support and  commentary.

I'm not even sure where to find the Jays on the dial anymore, which isn't the best review I can give to Warren Sawkiw. Let us not speak ill of the departed. He was dropped into the job ill-trained and ill-prepared, with an impossible act to follow.

Chuck - Wednesday, January 24 2007 @ 05:45 PM EST (#162550) #

The response from Houston fans does seem to reflect an opinion that Ashby was jettisoned because he was too low-key, too objective and not enough of a cheerleader.

That sounds like the perfect complement to Jerry Howarth (a gentleman, to be sure, but quite an unabashed homer). I'm looking forward to hearing him.

Ashby, of course, has one huge thing going for him. He is not Warren Sawkiw. While Sawkiw may well have been dropped into a role for which he was ill suited, that won't bring back the brain cells of mine that died in his wake.

Nolan - Wednesday, January 24 2007 @ 05:46 PM EST (#162551) #

Jamie Campbell is HORRIBLE

he can't make a comment without turning it into a question i.e. "how well is this guy hitting the ball?" ... I actually prefer Rod freaking Black to that guy...

I listened to many games this past year, both of the Jays and many of other teams' announcers, and I must say that I enjoy Jamie's work with the Jays more than the average announcer.  There are certain things he can work on [like descriptions of hit balls], but there are many things he does very well, such as his enthusiam [I love that he gets excited for the Jays but is always, IMO, very fair and objective towards the opposition], the questions he asks his colour guys and the stories he relates at slow moments of the game.

MattAtBat - Wednesday, January 24 2007 @ 05:47 PM EST (#162552) #
Jeff Blair says that the Jays have some interest in Ron Villone. Ewwww. He provides nothing but inconsistency and high whips, except for a great year and a half in Seattle at age 34 and 35 (aberration?). He is pretty decent against lefties, so as a specialist might be nice. but it sounds like he wants to start from Blair's article. Also he's represented by Scott Boras. We know how well the last starter/reliever-loogy-Boras-client turned out...

And Mike Bernardino of the Sporting News notes this:

LHP Ron Villone might be a potential bargain, but teams are wary of his recent pattern of late-season fades. "He just seems to wear down every year," a rival scout says. "No one is sure why." Villone had a 2.27 first half ERA with the Yankees last year but posted a 10.48 ERA in 26 games after August 1. Over the past three seasons, Villone's ERA is 2.58 in the first half and 6.23 in the second. Batters hit .271 against him after the break, 65 points higher than in the first half, and 19 of his 25 homers allowed since the start of 2004 have come after the break. . . .

I say "ewwwww" to this idea.

Rob - Wednesday, January 24 2007 @ 05:47 PM EST (#162553) #
Let us not speak ill of the departed.

Fair enough. But can we be late to work tomorrow due to our excessive celebrations tonight?
actionjackson - Wednesday, January 24 2007 @ 06:30 PM EST (#162555) #
Let's see, ahead of Ron Villone on the Jays LH reliever depth chart: Ryan, Downs, Tallet, Davis Romero. We need him because...
Magpie - Wednesday, January 24 2007 @ 07:26 PM EST (#162556) #
But can we be late to work tomorrow due to our excessive celebrations tonight?

Knock yourself out!

the perfect complement to Jerry Howarth

If Ashby is indeed as described, it makes sense to me. I also think the last two years must have been a bit strange for Jerry Howarth. He spent more than twenty years doing four innings of play-by-play every night; he then found himself doing all nine innings.

As for the TV side of it, I think Campbell is solid - I don't find he comes between me and the game, which is always going to be the first thing I want from a television broadcaster. I've long thought the broadcasts would improve if they settled on a single analyst for him to work with, and let the team develop its partnership. It's hard for such a thing to develop under the current arrangement.

Of course for all I know, Campbell himself might like it this way. He may see himself as a broadcasting professional but a baseball apprentice, and the opportunity to learn the game from multiple teachers could have a certain appeal.
Pistol - Wednesday, January 24 2007 @ 07:42 PM EST (#162558) #
Jeff Blair says that the Jays have some interest in Ron Villone

I don't think it's particularly necessary, but he has been really tough on lefties the past three years:
04 - .612 OPS
05 - .582 OPS
06 - .611 OPS
I think it'd be an upgrade on Tallet (except for the facial hair).
Flex - Wednesday, January 24 2007 @ 08:20 PM EST (#162561) #
It's hard to describe how much this Ashby news has lifted my spirits, and how much it's screwed with my mindset.

I had resigned myself to Rogers filling its broadcast team on the cheap, regardless of what it did to its listenership. I'd come to live with the assumption that nobody in authority really cared.

Suddenly I find that, in fact, somebody was listening, and decided that the Blue Jays and their fans deserved better treatment. Somebody actually figured out that the attitude toward the team, and the enjoyment of the baseball experience, could be improved with some intelligent analysis.

My world is turned upside down.
huckamaniac - Wednesday, January 24 2007 @ 08:58 PM EST (#162565) #
In terms of announcers, I think we got spoiled a little bit with Tom Cheek and also Dan Shulman. I think Jamie Campbell does a good job and is still improving but he gets very little help from his partners (except for Rance Mullinicks and Tom Candiotti who is no longer doing Jays broadcasts).

Campbell's biggest strengths are that he's inquisitive, genuine and avoids feeling the need to have some terrible catch phrase.  Have you ever heard John Sterling? After every Yankees win he screams "Ballgame over! Yankees Win! Theeeeeeeeeee Yankees Win!" regardless of the margin of the victory. Hawk Harrelson saying "You can put it on the boooard, YES!" or "He Gone!" after every home run. Or Michael Kay yelling "See Ya!" after every home run.
huckamaniac - Wednesday, January 24 2007 @ 11:19 PM EST (#162569) #
Flex, it looks like Ashby was out of the booth for last season but worked on a radio show and did some television during that time. It's a 3 year deal to do Jays games.
Dave Rutt - Wednesday, January 24 2007 @ 11:56 PM EST (#162574) #
I personally feel the Ashby signing is the best Jays move of the off-season, even in terms of team wins. I think the win shares of (Ashby - Sawkiw) will be greater than (Thomas - DH last year).

As far as Jamie Campbell goes, I echo the sentiments of many Bauxites who enjoy Campbell's inquisitive nature. I often find his questions are similar to questions I've asked myself, but I don't have a former major league player around to pose the question to. As far as the colour man, I also wish they'd stick to one guy - my vote would go to Fletch. Rance has great insight, and Tabler seems to be the most personable, but Fletch combines those two aspects the best, in my opinion.
Craig B - Thursday, January 25 2007 @ 12:00 AM EST (#162575) #
Astros fans are almost completely united in their praise for Ashby, who brought a cool, detached and intelligent perspective (very much a catcher's view) to the game.  I won't speak ill of the fired, and Warren was once very gentlemanly in dealing with me personally, but I know a lot of people (including yours truly) who will be turning their radios back on this year, and that's a huge plus because I love baseball on the radio as much as anything.
actionjackson - Thursday, January 25 2007 @ 02:06 AM EST (#162576) #
Fletch is a lot of fun to listen to and he is a catcher, but man is he ever a homer. It must be all those Cubs and White Sox broadcasts that he gets on the farm in Illinois. I like Rance's analysis but find him a bit serious and somewhat unable to keep up with Campbell if he starts bantering like he used to with Toth at the anchor desk. I think the best match with Jamie, sad to say, is Pat Tabler and I think they should go ahead and make them an official tandem, unless there's some other ex-Jay wanna be analysts out there.

The Ashby move is awesome, with the caveat that he remain the analyst only. The comments I read in that huge blog thread suggested that he was a very good analyst, but not so good at play-by-play. Jerry's got 25 years with the Jays, let him handle the play-by-play, while Ashby comes in with his astute, fair, objective colour commentary and let Wilner sprinkle in his statistical nuggets when the Jays are at home. The radio broadcasts will once again be a great fan experience and that's all you can ask for. Listening to his voice when he was interviewed on the FAN today reminded me of another ex-Jay colour commentator: Tommy Hutton, though from what I've read of Ashby and watching Marlins games on MLB Extra Innings, Tommy's probably more of a homer, but they've got the same laid-back Southern California style. I like my broadcasters to give it to me straight and not break out the pom-poms too much. If the team or someone on the team or the manager is doing something that deserves criticism, I want to hear it, so I look forward to his honesty.

Re: Villone, he is slightly better than Downs against lefties and slightly worse than Downs against righties, so as long as you don't break the bank, he'd be a decent depth signing. But, somebody please grab John Gibbons by the ear, should he sign here and insist that he rarely, if ever faces righties. One big concern I have about him is his ability to beat himself. Over the last 3 years his line against LHP is .204/.311/.292 and against RHP it's .261/.373/.414. An ISOD of over .100 against both types of hitters is kind of bush league to me. Surely if the team is still looking for a lefty specialist, there are better options out there. I looked inside the numbers and he walks righties and hits lefties at an insane rate. I'm not sure I could support this one, except that it would limit Tallet or Davis Romero to the lower leverage situations, which would be a very good idea. Tallet has 12th man on the staff written all over him and Romero could probably use a little time in the Syracuse bullpen, although you could just as easily reverse those roles because Romero doesn't look like he has much left to prove in the minors.

actionjackson - Thursday, January 25 2007 @ 03:14 PM EST (#162612) #
I have a question. Now that Tomo Ohka has passed his physical and is in the fold, who does he bump from the 40-man roster? According to the Jays official website, the roster currently stands at 40 and he is not listed, so somebody's got to go, but who? The roster can be found here. Anyone got any suggestions, maybe a trade of a spare part is in the works for somebody that doesn't need to be placed on the 40, or it's waiver time... stay tuned.
John Northey - Thursday, January 25 2007 @ 04:35 PM EST (#162620) #
Uh oh, just looked at the roster and noticed something that is a bit depressing for me.  Only one player is on that roster who was born in the 60's - Frank Thomas.  If the Jays didn't sign him then I'd have been officially older than everyone on the roster.  Sigh.  Guess getting old beats the alternative.
ayjackson - Thursday, January 25 2007 @ 04:51 PM EST (#162621) #

Now that Tomo Ohka has passed his physical and is in the fold, who does he bump from the 40-man roster?

John MacDonald to Cleveland for PTBNL?

Gerry - Thursday, January 25 2007 @ 05:40 PM EST (#162625) #
Rey Olmedo DFA, per the Fan590
ayjackson - Thursday, January 25 2007 @ 06:20 PM EST (#162627) #

Rey Olmedo DFA, per the Fan590

outright to Syracuse per Rotoworld

StephenT - Thursday, January 25 2007 @ 11:08 PM EST (#162642) #
I guess I enjoyed Warren's stories more than most.  I often chose to listen to the radiocast over the TV audio.  I remember seeing Sawkiw and Spoljaric telling good stories on a panel at SABR (Aug'05).  I'm sure he's happy that he got to spend 2 years talking baseball every day.  Best of luck to him in the future.
Mike Green - Friday, January 26 2007 @ 09:28 AM EST (#162649) #
I enjoy Jamie Campbell's work.  He's young, good and getting better.  What more could you want?
Chuck - Friday, January 26 2007 @ 10:41 AM EST (#162652) #

We have this conversation about Campbell and his colour men periodically, don't we? While everyone is throwing in their two cents, I'll do the same.

I like Campbell. While I'd classify him as merely good at the moment, I believe that he has much room to improve and am optimistic that he can do so. I am less concerned about phrases that he tends to overuse or misuse than I am about his various blind spots about the sport itself. He clearly grew up a Jays fan (or Jaysfan, one word, to suggest that he was more a fan than a student of the game) and is well versed with the minutiae of team's history, but the next step for him is to unburden himself of much of the game's "common wisdom" and to think more broadly. And this segues into the colour men.

Rance Mulliniks is clearly the most erudite of the colour men. I'd love him to lighten up a bit, and perhaps he will over time, because his chemistry with Campbell currently isn't the greatest. But if I had to choose a favourite colour man, it would be Mulliniks. He clearly watches the game at a higher level of detail than do any of the others, obviously a byproduct of having carved out a living playing a difficult sport with only modest physical attributes. When the ump blows a first-pitch call in an at-bat, and the count is 0-1 rather than 1-0, who, other than Mullinks, will comment that this pitch alone will dramatically alter the likely outcome of the at-bat? Who, other than Mullinks, pays this close attention?

Darren Fletcher is my number two choice. Clearly he'd rather than joke around than engage in intelligent discourse, largely, I'd imagine, because his sense of humour aligns itself so well with Campbell's. But when he's not joking, he brings a catcher's wisdom to his commentary and has a great many intelligent things to say. I'm not asking that he turn into a robot or anything, but for my tastes he could ratchet back the jokiness a tad and be the better colour man for it.

My (n-1)th choice is Pat Tabler (my nth choice would be Warren Sawkiw). To me, he is your standard issue ex-player-turned-colour-man. It seems that upon their retirement, these guys are issued a standard manual to guide them through their broadcasting career. They stick to the scripts, spew their truisms, keep alive well-worn cliches (to better inculcate a whole new generation of fans!), and offer up their prerequesite doses of reminiscences. And are all basically interchangeable pod people with precious little of worth to say. In Tabler's specific case, all this wouldn't be so terrible if he didn't speak so damned much.

ayjackson - Friday, January 26 2007 @ 11:20 AM EST (#162653) #

Great analysis, Chuck.  I agree with pretty much everything you said.  On the balance, though, I prefer Fletch slightly over Rance.  Maybe it's because of the cohesiveness with Campbell or maybe it's because he was an Expo (allthough Rance was a favourite player as well). But if they were to share the games at Tabler's expense, I would be a happy boy.

John Northey - Friday, January 26 2007 @ 12:10 PM EST (#162655) #

I've been missing many games over the past couple of years (price of a wife who doesn't care much for baseball and a home that needs lots of work) but still have some opinions.

I've been enjoying Tabler quite a bit.  Maybe it is the relaxed aspect of him (seems very comfortable on air).  Mulliniks was always one of my favorites as a player and he still is solid on air.  Fletch I've seen the least and don't really have an opinion.

As to Campbell, started slowly but is solid.  Give him a couple of years and we'll see how he is. 

Flex - Friday, January 26 2007 @ 12:29 PM EST (#162656) #
I've been missing many games over the past couple of years (price of a wife who doesn't care much for baseball and a home that needs lots of work)

Boy, I hear you there, brother. And add a sports-hating daughter to my mix. That's why the radio has been so important to me these last few years, and why it was so painful and depressing listening to Sawkiw. I couldn't just turn him off and move to the TV. I was trapped in Sawkiw hell.

Sorry, there I go speaking ill of the departed again. I can't seem to help myself in this case.
J Ges - Friday, January 26 2007 @ 01:57 PM EST (#162657) #

Long time lurker, first time poster.

John Sickels is having a Community Projection for Alex Rios. Some pretty optimistic stats.

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