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Nowhere to go but up, right?

Many of you probably weren't even born the last time the Jays went 0-6 on a road trip, so let's wallow in the bad times...

It was the 3rd of September, 1979. The Jays had just finished splitting a 10 game homestand with an 8-5 victory over Seattle. Rookie right-hander Dave Stieb, making his 13th major league start, took an 8-2 lead into the eighth inning before running out of gas and allowing five straight hits. But with the bases loaded and the tying run at the plate, Jesse Jefferson coaxed a double play ball to end the threat. And so the young Jays hit the road...

There was a time, young Bauxites, when the Orioles were a Great and Mighty Power in the land. This was one of them. As the Jays arrived in Baltimore, Earl Weaver's Orioles held a comfortable 8 game lead over Milwaukee in the AL East. The Orioles normally went with a four man rotation, but just two weeks earlier had begun using five starters. Jim Palmer had returned after being out for six weeks, with Scott McGregor taking his place in the rotation while he was out. With a comfortable lead in the division, Weaver decided to go with five starters the rest of the way and left McGregor in the rotation along with Dennis Martinez, Mike Flanagan, Steve Stone, and Palmer. The five starters were supported by a four man bullpen - Don Stanhouse (who led the team with 52 appearances), Sammy Stewart, Tippy Martinez, and Tim Stoddard.

Ah, those were the days.

The two teams played on a double-header on Monday the 3rd of September. Jays LH Tom Underwood hooked up with Steve Stone in the opener. The Jays struck first when catcher Rick Cerone led off the 3rd with a home run. Singles by Rookie of the Year Alfredo Griffin and Roy Howell put runners on the corners, but Stone struck out Tony Solaita to end the threat. The Orioles tied it up in the bottom half of the inning; with two out, Rich Dauer doubled and scored when Ken Singleton, of all people, hit a triple. Then the two pitchers took over. Both teams threatened to score in the sixth - Dave Stieb, pinch-running, was stranded on third when Al Woods flied out to end the inning. Singleton led off the bottom half with a double, but was erased when Alfredo Griffin turned Eddie Murray's liner into an unassisted double play. The two teams went into extra innings, and Underwood and Stone stayed out there. Finally,. in the 11th, both teams went to the pen. Tippy Martinez retired the Jays in order. In the bottom half, Tom Buskey came in for Toronto. Pat Kelly pinch hit for Mark Belanger and singled to right. Dauer tried to bunt him over but Buskey threw the ball away, putting runners on second and third with no one out. They walked Singleton to set up the force at every base, but Eddie Murray's single cashed in the winning run.

In the night-cap, Mike Flanagan, in quest for his 20th win was opposed by Toronto's all-star, Dave Lemanczyk. This was settled quickly. The Orioles scored four times in the second inning, driving Lemanczyk from the game - Pat Kelly's leadoff homer was followed by three doubles and a single. Balor Moore pitched 6.2 innings of one-run ball the rest of the way, but it didn't matter as Flanagan scattered seven hits for the complete game victory.

The teams didn't play on Tuesday or Wednesday - they wrapped up the series on Thursday as 23 year old Butch Edge made the fifth of his 9 major league starts for Toronto. Pitching for the Orioles was the young right-hander from Nicaragua, Dennis Martinez. Edge gave up a run on a walk and two hits in the first inning. DeCinces led off the second with a homer, and Edge was yanked after three more hits, trailing 2-0. Martinez didn't need anything else, as he pitched a five hit shutout. The Orioles took the 5-0 win, and the Jays moved on to Cleveland.

On Friday night, rookie RH Phil Huffman matched up with Cleveland lefty Rick Waits, and after four scoreless innings, they Jays exploded for six runs in the top of the sixth. The Beeg Blow was a grand slam by the Beeg Mon, Rico Carty, immediately after Otto Velez had walked with the bases loaded. The Jays tacked on two more in the sixth, to strecth the lead to 8-0. Huffman allowed a single run in the sixth, and two in the seventh, one unearned, but still took an 8-3 lead to the bottom of the ninth. Alas - Toby Harrah led off with a homer to make it 8-4. Andre Thornton walked. Cliff Johnson reached second on an error by Howell. Ron Hassey singled to score Thornton and make it an 8-5 game. Tom Buskey came in to relieve Huffman. He struck out the first pinch-hitter, Gary Alexander; but the second pinch-hitter, Wayne Cage, singled to score Johnson and make it an 8-6 game. Next up was first baseman Mike Hargrove - his single scored Dell Alston, running for Hassey, and now it was 8-7. Rick Manning's ground ball was misplayed by Mayberry for the Jays' second error of the inning and fourth of the game, and Cage scored to tie the game at 8-8. There was still only one out, and runners on first and second. The third pinch-hitter of the inning, Ron Pruitt, singled to left field and Hargrove came charging around third with the winning run... except the Blue Jays actually made a play. Joe Cannon, inserted as a defensive replacement for Velez, gunned down Hargrove at the plate, and now there were two out and the game was still tied. Or it was until Toby Harrah, who had started all this trouble with his home run, ended it all with a single to score the winning run.

Now that was a ninth inning meltdown!

On Saturday afternoon, Dave Stieb and Rick Wise hooked up in a see-saw affair. Again, the game was scoreless through the first four innings. The Jays broke on top in the fifth, but this time with just a single run, Al Woods' leadoff homer. The Indians scored two in the bottom half on a two run single by Hargrove to take the lead, but the Jays tied it in the sixth when Bailor singled, stole second, and scored on Solaita's double. The Indians went ahead again in the bottom half when Bobby Bonds homered off Stieb; the Jays came back again in the seventh, as Tim Johnson tripled to plate Woods' leadoff single, and scored the go-ahead run on Griffin's sac fly. Again Stieb couldn't hold the lead - Veryzer bunted for a hit, took third on Hargrove's single, and scored on Manning's sac fly. They went again to the bottom of the ninth, this time tied up at 4-4. Hargrove led off with a walk, and Rick Manning singled to right. And that was it - Hargrove scored on an error by Griffin. Presumably, he was heading for third, Griffin thought he had a play on him, and threw the ball away. Final, 5-4.

The finale pitted Balor Moore, coming off his outstanding long relief performance, against Cleveland's young Len Barker. The Jays got to Barker early, knocking him out of the game in the third and taking a 6-1 lead. But Cleveland struck back with five runs in the fourth to tied the game at 6-6, getting rid of Moore in the process. They added two more against Jesse Jefferson and one against Jackson Todd to lead 9-6 after six innings. The Jays rallied for four runs in the top of the eighth to go on top again, and Tom Buskey took a 10-9 lead to the bottom of the ninth. Another disaster was in store. Pinch-hitter Ron Hassey led off with a single. A sac bunt moved the pinch-runner Alston to second base. The next pinch-hitter was Cliff Johnson, who drew a walk, and MIke Hargrove then tied the game with a single. Hargrove took second on the throw to the plate, so with first base open, the Jays gave Rick Manning an intentional walk to load the bases. That brought up Bobby Bonds, and Barry's dad whacked a grand slam, for the Jays third walk-off loss in as many days.

Bad times....

7 May 2007: Last Place | 60 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
mathesond - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 08:03 AM EDT (#167365) #
Hey, remember when Toronto was an absolute train wreck?  
GrrBear - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 09:28 AM EDT (#167367) #

I keep telling myself that it's early, they've got lots of time to turn things around and get on a hot streak.

Then the Yankees sign Clemens.


Hey, maybe the Rocket feels like he owes something to Boston and Toronto, so his secret plan is to sign with the Yankees and then proceed to suck, especially in games against his former clubs.

Doesn't really help the Jays much, though.  Can Stieb still pitch?

Four Seamer - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 09:34 AM EDT (#167368) #

Hey, remember when Toronto was an absolute train wreck?  

Like it was yesterday...

Ryan Day - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 09:43 AM EDT (#167369) #

Halladay pitches... the Jays lose. Burnett throws a good game... the Jays lose. There is a serious problem with mojo alignment here.

Completely idle speculation: After a pretty horrible stretch, the team has an off day today. Some GMs would take that opportunity to "shake things up." Will Ricciardi? I don't think we'll see anything as radical as a firing, but a demotion or two, perhaps?

ChicagoJaysFan - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 09:47 AM EDT (#167370) #
For a reference as to how far behind a playoff spot the Jays are.  If you think that 95 wins are required to make the playoffs, that indicates a .585 team.  The Jays need to go 13-0 in order to get back to playing at .585.
Maldoff - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 09:51 AM EDT (#167371) #
Yesterday's outing seemed like a microcosm of Burnett. Pitch well. Strikeout guys. Use the nasty stuff you have. Do just enough to lose.
Mike Green - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 09:51 AM EDT (#167372) #
Rico Carty's "bib blow" must, in fact, have been a Beeg Blow.  What is a bib blow, anyway?  Something that your 8 month old does when he/she doesn't like what you're feeding him/her?

The radio guys were carrying on yesterday about Gibbons' decision to pull Burnett for Downs in the eighth.  The Jays were down 3-2, there was a runner on first and a lefty due up.  Burnett had pitched well. Jerry and Alan were suggesting that it might be better in the long term if Burnett were left in to give him a chance at the win.  Which frustrates me no end.  Starting pitchers do not win games.  It is a statistical fiction.  Teams win games.  Starting pitchers pitch well or they do not, and whether the club wins is a function of many things, the starting pitcher, the defence, the offence. 

The imputation is that Burnett would pout if taken out. I hope he did not.  The man is 30, and the time for juvenile behaviour has past.

Squiggy - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 10:11 AM EDT (#167374) #
I am an optimist with this team, and always have been.

However, the chances of the Jays making the run to contender status are very slim at best. The hitting will likely be fine, but too many pitching related "if's" for my liking" (AJ consistency finally manifesting itself, a competent starter emerging from the current group of retreads or the minors, Halladay being awesome and healthy all year, BJ returning and dominating).

Of these, B.J. Ryan's return seems the least likely - does anyone else have a sneaking suspicion that he may be done for the year? The way the season is unfolding it almost seems inevitable.
chips - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 10:28 AM EDT (#167377) #
In regards of the Jays hitting these days, nobody is "dialed in". Aaron Hill was in April, but he has cooled off. It seems that right now the fattest pitch they see is the one they pass up on or foul it off. It is said that you get one good pitch to hit  in each at bat and sometimes it is the first pitch. The player with the least amount of focus right now defensively is Alex Rios who appears to have other things on his mind. He was horrible in Cleveland and misplayed another ball yesterday.  
Maldoff - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 10:36 AM EDT (#167378) #

Chips, I'd probably say Troy Glaus is pretty dialed in right now.  Since returning from injury 9 games ago, he's hitting .366 with 3 HRs and 9 RBI, with 7 BBs and 7 Ks.

Also, just to compare Dustin McGowan's start last week, take a look at Tim Linnecum's line from last night: 4.2 IP, 5H, 4ER, 5BB, 5K. Even the best prospects can struggle in their first few games in the majors.

Mike Green - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 10:39 AM EDT (#167379) #
Intelligent design is pseudoscience?  Pshaw.  Jack Cust returns to the majors in 2007 as a leftfielder for the Oakland A's yesterday and in his debut, walks, strikes out and hits a homer.  He does not make an error however, proving that the designer works in mysterious ways.  Funny though how Billy Beane doesn't look much like an angel.
greenfrog - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 11:46 AM EDT (#167381) #
The problem isn't so much that we're 5 games under .500 (although that isn't good). The problem is (1) the state of the team and (2) the competition. The Red Sox are much better than us right now (and they're playing like it). The Yankees are better. Both teams have more resources than the Jays to acquire players. The AL Central wildcard competition is looking tough as well.

It's early, of course, and strange things happen. But strange things seem less likely when a third of your roster consists of Ohka, Zambrano, Towers, Clayton, McDonald, Smith, Phillips and Fasano.
Mick Doherty - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 12:52 PM EDT (#167385) #

Wow, that '79 Orioles pen was something! I just looked at their BBRef

 team page and see that Stanhouse, Martinez, Stoddard and Stewart were a combined 28-12 with 28 saves (Stanhouse had 21 of them) in about 325 innings. Their ERAs were 2.85, 2.88, 1.71 and (oh no!) 3.52. The five starters combined for more than 1,070 innings pitched, so you didn't really need to reach for Dave Ford, John Flinn and Jeff Rineer, the other three guys who pitched for that team, a total of 14 games and about 34 innings, and Ford started two games, so you had that four-man bullpen manage all but 20-some innings of the team's entire relief output that year.

Again ... wow. I guess when you have a five-man rotation that will win 925 career big league games and half a dozen Cy Young Awards, you don't need a great bullpen -- but this was one!

Chuck - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 12:53 PM EDT (#167386) #

Intelligent design is pseudoscience?  Pshaw. 

What do you reckon the Darwinian argument is for Jack Cust and his TTO brethren? While natural selection might have once predisposed the poor contact hitters from perpetuating their DNA, perhaps changing environmental factors (increased appreciation for OBP and homeruns, less bias against strikeouts) have presented a climate in which such beasts can thrive. We all know where the Rob Deer Fan Club believes a Jack Cust to exist on the evolutionary continuum.

Maybe one day LaTroy Hawkins can write the Cust Delusion and we can all be enlightened.

Seamus - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 01:00 PM EDT (#167387) #
Just a question I was thinking to myself: Why does this team look so much worse than it did last year?  At least so far.  Does it all come down to the Ryan injury? 

Up to now, I think the Jays have had about 5 or 6 late inning, heartbreaking losses, games they really should have won.  It's arguable, but if the Jays had a 2006 Ryan on the staff, you'd have to think they probably would have won all or most of those.  League or Speier would have helped too.

I remember it was about August last year when I thought to myself "Well, they're done".  I really hope the 2007 Jays haven't taken themselves out of the running after only one month!  What a letdown that would be.

Chuck - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 01:08 PM EDT (#167388) #

It's arguable, but if the Jays had a 2006 Ryan on the staff, you'd have to think they probably would have won all or most of those. 

Without checking, I seem to recall that some of those were blown 8th inning leads where a healthy Ryan wouldn't have been involved anyway.

Still, focusing on the 8th and 9th innings unnecesssarily forgives the likes of Overbay, Thomas, and Zaun. Had they provided more offense in innings 1-7, perhaps the bullpen would have been armed with greater margins of error. While it's tempting to isolate focus on the end of the game alone, there is plenty of blame to go around. It need not all land in the bullpen's lap.

Seamus - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 01:16 PM EDT (#167389) #
I actually do think Ryan would have been involved..

Ryan did pitch in the 8th quite a lot last season. 

As well, even if you only have Ryan pitching the 9th, he would still indirectly affect these games lost in the 8th.

For example, if Ryan is closing, Frasor is pitching the 8th (assuming he's still considered your #2), and some combination of Janssen, Downs and Accardo pitching the 6th and 7th.  Without Ryan, Frasor pitches the 9th, and the middle relief all gets pushed back an inning. 

Losing Ryan means the lesser guys in the bullpen are forced to pitch more important innings.  Look at Marcum, for example.
TimberLee - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 01:28 PM EDT (#167390) #

Thanks for this. I was around at the time and certainly remember all that the early Jays went through to get to respectability.

 I think we all knew that the 2007 team had a chance to be pretty good as long as no one got hurt. Now several key players are out and the lack of depth showed up fast, so there is no surprise - just disappointment - and I suspect we all realize there is no solution forthcoming, considering the usual two big division rivals. Add the fact that both TampaBay and the Os may be improved, and the rest of this season should be a struggle.

 Man, I remember Balor Moore. He looked so promising at times, but I guess any time now I should give up on waiting for him to become a big winner, eh?

Mick Doherty - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 01:43 PM EDT (#167391) #

 I guess any time now I should give up on waiting

Why? He's only 56. If Clemens can do it ...

John Northey - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 02:51 PM EDT (#167395) #
The pen situation is one where you have to wonder if the Jays should've just called up a AAA closer to take over Ryan's role and left everyone else as is.

Checking (new feature at B-R showing minor league stats) you see Jordan DeJong has 23 K in 19 IP (1.42 ERA), Lee Gronkiewicz has 6 saves in AA with a 2.25 ERA and a W-K ratio of 3-19 over 16 IP. Ryan Houston appears to be the closer at AAA but has just 2 saves and an ERA of 5.54 but 0 HR and 17 K in 13 IP.

Going with one of those guys in the closers role would light a fire in some guys in the majors (namely Accardo and Frasor) while keeping everyone in the roles they can do rather than putting pressure on them in new roles.

The traditional closer role, pitching the 9th with a 1-3 run lead, should not be as big a problem as the Jays have made it (Cleveland has a guy with a 57 ERA+ in the role and he has 11 saves, Pittsburgh has 9 saves from a guy with a 65) Put a guy there who is used to closing, keep the others comfortable where they work and things go smooth. Jump guys around so they have no idea what to expect and the results are, well, what one should expect - namely very ugly.
Joanna - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 04:29 PM EDT (#167399) #

Rios is a frustrating fellow.  I have a sneaking suspicion that he benefited greatly from platooning with Hinske.  Not because he gets tired or isn't good enough to be an everyday player, but because it lit a fire under his ass. 

These guys are playing like they are in a funk.  I remember issues last year (the sweep by the Rockies) and JP calling out his 3-4-5 (Wells, Glaus, Shea) in the press.  AJ and Gus on the DL. But for some reason, this feels worse.  Maybe the extra bits (an extra starting-quality catcher, a genuine number 3 pitcher, scarier (for the opposition, that is) bullpen) are the difference.

HollywoodHartman - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 05:03 PM EDT (#167402) #
 The Blue Jays are making me sad.
jeff mcl - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 05:58 PM EDT (#167407) #
After reading this on the Jays' site on, I will bodly predict that Shaun Marcum serves up homer no. 755 to Barry Bonds:

Bonds has one career blast against Toronto. On June 12, 2002, Bonds belted a solo shot off Blue Jays pitcher Cliff Politte in the ninth inning at SkyDome (now Rogers Centre). This season, Toronto plays San Francisco on the road on June 11-13 and Bonds, who currently stands at 744 career homers, could be nearing Hank Aaron's all-time home run record of 755 blasts when the Jays come to town.

jeff mcl - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 05:59 PM EDT (#167408) #
756, woops, typo.
ChicagoJaysFan - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 06:50 PM EDT (#167412) #
Why does this team look so much worse than it did last year?

I think it's primarily because year-over-year, the Jays are a worse team than last year.  On a roughly comparable look at opening day depth charts, the Jays have gotten worse at a lot more positions than they improved.  Looking at expectations of performance at the start of each year (i.e. comparing what we expected from last year's Cat to what we expect from this year's Stairs).

DH (Hillenbrand to Thomas)

RP (Chulk to Accardo), SS (Adams to Clayton)

Set-up (Speir to League), Starter (Lilly to Ohka), utility bench (Hinske to Smith), backup OF (Cat to Stairs), backup C (Molina to Phillips)

I know this is very rudimentary and there aren't any stats as to how much better or worse they are at each position, but Thomas had to be a lot better than Hillenbrand to make up for the expected drop-off at all the other positions.

Additionally, I admit, there are some younger players that we expect more from this year than we did at this time last year (Hill, Rios being two examples), and some older players that we expected more from at the start of last year than this year (Glaus, Towers), but I'm not currently intending to do some in-depth study, so as an overview, I think this is fair.

So, if you thought last year's team that broke training camp could be expected to win about 85-90 games, an objective view would probably have you thinking that this year's team would be expected to win fewer games.  However, I do think this year's team would have a greater range of expected performance (if everything broke right, this team would probably do better than last year's and if injuries hit at some key spots, this team could do much worse), but the expected wins are still less.
Dave Till - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 07:04 PM EDT (#167414) #
No team is ever as bad as they appear to be when they're slumping: the Jays are better than this. Whether they'll pull out of their tailspin in time to be any kind of threat in the AL East is debatable, though.

I'm wondering whether illness is a factor. We know that Vernon Wells missed several games with a nasty virus that caused him to lose several pounds; he still isn't quite back up to speed yet. If that bug is contagious, several of his teammates might have it. This might explain Rios's recent performance, among others.

Lefty - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 07:32 PM EDT (#167416) #

Well this off day is just about over and still no transactions.

My guess is Ricciardi and Godfrey were'nt taking calls today.

Squiggy - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 08:14 PM EDT (#167417) #

Speaking of transactions - I wonder if Ricciardi would like a do-over on the O-Dog trade? He looks like a stud these days, and with the $/years remaining on the Glaus deal, coupled with his creakiness... just thinking out loud.

JayFan0912 - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 08:19 PM EDT (#167419) #
I think this team simply quit on the season ... and the problem is mainly with the lineup. When the jays win they grind out at bats, and this usually produces runs. Right now, some players seem not to care (wells, rios), others are slumping (overbay and lind), and some  should not be in the lineup (phillips, mcdonald, clayton).

Wells should take a lot of the blame -- especially after proving he can be a lot better than this last year. Rios is a major disappointment, and I agree with the comment above ... maybe he is just too lazy and needs competition to stay motivated. Beyond that, overbay and his .236 average has been a huge disappointment .   With the dropoff in performance from people who should be leading the club in various offensive categories, a lousy bench pushed into the starting lineup (and aaron hill coming back to earth), the results are predictable.

The jays are in the position they are because of the starting lineup primarily and injuries to their two best relievers, and in retrospect the hinske trade was a really bad idea. If reed was available, I'd platoon him with lind ... but without him what can you really do ?

Leigh - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 08:19 PM EDT (#167420) #
RP (Chulk to Accardo)

I don't want to get into a thing here, CGF, but you don't really believe this, do you?

Accardo 112.3 IP, 83 K, 34 BB, 9 HR
Chulk 193.3 IP, 137 K, 80 BB, 23 HR

I agree with your larger point though:  this year's team is worse than last.

I only stopped watching games and went on strike last week, but I was pretty upset in the off-season when the plan for shortstop became apparent.  It is unfortunate to have to rely on guys like Phillips and Fasano as starters for a few weeks, but they planned on having Clayton in the everyday lineup.  This indicated to me that they weren't even trying... or that they thought it was okay; either way, it was incredibly frustrating.  I wrote this in the preseaon roundtable:

I expect that if Clayton is in the lineup for any longer than Edgardo Alfonzo was in 2006, the Jays will be closer to the Orioles and Devil Rays than to the Red Sox and Yankees. One hitter can hurt a lineup that much - the difference between Royce Clayton and the average shortstop is larger than the difference between Vernon Wells and the average centre fielder.

I stand by that (and Clayton has already played in more games than Alfonzo did...).
GregJP - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 08:42 PM EDT (#167421) #
Anyone who thinks Wells doesn't care is sadly mistaken.  The guy has had a terrible case of the flu for the past week.

Rios, well I never believed he was as good as he was playing before going on the DL last year.  I don't think in reality he's much better than Cruz Jr.  Well, maybe a bit better , but I don't think he'll ever be an elite player for a sustained period of time.

Lind is a rookie, so he'll have his ups and downs.

I agree that Phillips, McDonald, and Clayton should not have significant roles on a major league team.
ChicagoJaysFan - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 08:44 PM EDT (#167422) #

I look at Accardo and Chulk as two pitchers that haven't yet proven they are capable of completing a season in the majors.  Until any player proves capable of completing a single major league season, I disregard most of their numbers as the differences can be attributed to a lot of things (i.e. relative patience among the organizations as to how long to wait before demoting a player when they're overmatched).

Leigh - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 08:51 PM EDT (#167423) #
Right, kind of like how neither Tim Lincecum nor Ty Taubenheim has pitched a full and effective season in the Majors, so they must be of equal talent value.  Got it.
ChicagoJaysFan - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 09:00 PM EDT (#167424) #
Actually Leigh, yes, for what I expect for this season, I would say that I'd have roughly the same expectations for Lincecum as I would for Taubenheim.

Is it the 5 K and 5 BB or the 4+ HR/9 that has you particularly excited about how Lincecum will contribute to the Giants this season?

I was only talking about the status of the team this year, not the long-term quality.  And both Accardo and Chulk are pitchers who haven't shown they can pitch successfully for a full season in the majors so far.

Maybe I'm just more pessimistic than you about the likelihood of a minor league pitcher to have success in the majors.
GregJP - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 09:43 PM EDT (#167426) #
Verlander, Zumaya, Papelbon, Liriano, Weaver, Hamels, and Broxton sure didn't have much success last year.

I think you lost all credibility when you mentioned Lincecum and Taubenheim in the same sentence.

VBF - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 09:58 PM EDT (#167428) #
Player A:  .279/.347/.505

Player B: 236/.325/.418

Player  A doesn't care and player B is slumping. Care to explain?

It astounds me that the "Wells doesn't show emotion so he must not care" crew of people are still around. Honestly, I think it has more to do with the physical construction of his face than his actual play.

VBF - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 10:05 PM EDT (#167429) #
On a completely different note, it looks like the Jays got through today without firing anyone, despite speculation by Mike Wilner.

My question is, if the Jays were to fire Ricciardi what possible proven candidates are out there? Off the bat DePodesta screams out as a perfect candidate.

As for Gibbons (and Ricciardi) I would only feel comfortable firing one or both of them if better options were out there. I'm not sure about Gibbons--it seems like the proven veteran managers are either completely bonkers (McKeon) or hard to find. I'm not sure that an improvement could be made. Ken Macha has a proven history of being a puppet but he also seems to be a nutjob (Ask Adam Melhuse). I just hope the Jays would abandon the old approach of grooming a young manager. The idea of Ernie Whitt as a manager instills enough fear in me.

JayFan0912 - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 10:27 PM EDT (#167434) #
In the last 7 games wells is hitting .176 ... if you want to use stats. But it's not the numbers, it's a feeling I get seeing him flail through lousy pitches, without an effort to focus and fight through ABs. Overbay seems to try (and fail miserably), and if this continues for a month longer I'd start to worry (about his long term contract).

It's definately not the performance you'd expect from a guy getting 126 million over 7 years.

ChicagoJaysFan - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 10:34 PM EDT (#167435) #
GregJP - If I lose credibility with my comment, what happens to you when most of the guys you list didn't have their debut season last year.  Using your list, in their debut season, guys like Verlander, Liriano, and Broxton sure didn't contribute a whole bunch to their team.

Then we can also look at the past few Cy Young Awards - I looked at the debut season of the most recent 3 Cy's in the AL cuz I don't want to spend all day proving what should be the obvious point that major league debuts aren't easy for pitchers.

Santana - 64K: 54BB, 81 ERA+
Colon - 66K: 45 BB, 83 ERA+
Halladay - great first two seasons

Taubenheim's season last year doesn't look all that out of place with Santana's and Colon's first season.
Leigh - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 10:38 PM EDT (#167436) #
I think you lost all credibility when you mentioned Lincecum and Taubenheim in the same sentence.

I thought that it was clear that I was doing a ChicagoJaysFan parody.  I chose those two precisely because their value is so disparate.  I was trying to illustrate the folly of CJF's approach in the post immediately preceding mine.

Please read more carefully before impugning my credibility (or anybody else's).

To be fair, I could have provided a bit more context in my flippant response to CGF, and that would have avoided this misunderstanding.
GregJP - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 10:44 PM EDT (#167437) #
I wasn't referring to what you said.  I was referring to ChicagoJaysFan saying that he had similar expectations for Taubenheim and Lincecum this year.
Keith Talent - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 10:46 PM EDT (#167438) #
What about Davy Johnson for manager? Does Buck Schowalter have a job right now?

You can say Gibbons hasn't made too many in-game "mistakes" - but there's something to be said for captalizing players' potential. Having them achieve beyond what they thought possible to achieve. Always feeling they need to impress, rather than punching through a 9 to 5. It takes a master who can pull that kind of feeling out of a millionaire. There are only 30 people cut out for the job in the whole world. I don't think it's just a guy who's available, already with a team coaching first base, and doesn't have a criminal record.

It's like a sales guy who's knocked on 3,000 doorknobs before closing in on a sale. That's how these guys should feel to play for this team, a potential so rare, and they're so close with their ability - now they have to put through inhuman effort to get there. You always work hardest when you're close to something great - otherwise you're mediocre.

Why do you spend $100M on talent and think "some guy" is all you need to manage and maximize it?
greenfrog - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 10:53 PM EDT (#167439) #
A few thoughts:

- It's hard to make a case for Catalanotto over Stairs, at least right now. The Cat is hitting .140.

- I think JP would still make the Glaus trade. Glaus is the 'big scary bat' that the Jays needed (and still need). Hill is hitting almost as well as O-Dog and plays comparable defense. And all indications are that 2B is Hill's best position. And who would be playing 3B if we had kept Orlando? Koskie? Hinske? Hattig?

- Rios's defense has been annoying, but his stats are still holding up. Based on his performance thus far, he's projected to finish with 47 doubles, 26 HR, 105 runs, 94 RBI, and 10 SB. Yes, his OBP (.299) should be a lot better, but he's off to a tolerable start.

- JP should be given credit for going hard after Lilly and Meche (both have ERA's under 3). Put those two in the rotation behind Halladay and Burnett and the Jays would be in much better shape.

- I think if the Jays continue to flounder, JP is going to be on the hot seat. He's been promising so much for so long, that something has to give eventually. One question, though, is whether ownership should fire him before the June draft. I would think Rogers would be wise to wait until the draft is over at least, rather than have an interim or new GM scramble to put together a draft plan in less than a month.
GregJP - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 10:57 PM EDT (#167441) #
As far as GM candidates, why not be trail blazers and give Kim Ng a shot.  She is very highly regarded, and the Dodgers minor league system is in great shape at the moment.

I think she is more involved in contract negotiations than the scouting side of things, but I'm sure she's learned a lot being in that organization for the past number of years.

Billingsley, Broxton, LaRoche, Miller, Kuo, Kemp, Loney, Kershaw, Elbert, Meloan...etc   This is a core of young major leaguers and prospects that the Jays can only dream about.  Our system is putrid and barren by comparison.

ChicagoJaysFan - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 10:57 PM EDT (#167442) #
It's hard to make a case for Catalanotto over Stairs, at least right now. The Cat is hitting .140.

Greenfrog, I was comparing last year's expectations for Cat to this year's expectations for Stairs.  I wasn't critiquing the moves made by JP, simply stating that the expectations for this year's squad should have been lower than the expectations for last year's squad.
Ron - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 11:01 PM EDT (#167444) #
I think if the Jays continue to flounder, JP is going to be on the hot seat. He's been promising so much for so long, that something has to give eventually. One question, though, is whether ownership should fire him before the June draft.

GM's are rarely fired mid-season. Rogers and Godfrey gave JP a nice long extension only a year and a half ago. I still haven't recieved any indication that they are unhappy with his performance. Whether we like it or not, I don't believe JP will be fired at the end of this season.
GregJP - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 11:04 PM EDT (#167445) #
I think Buck Showalter's act would start to get wear thin after about 2 months.  If you want to hire someone annoying why not go for the whole enchilada and hire Bobby Valentine. 

If Ernie Whitt is ever given the job I'm going to go on strike PERMANENTLY.

ChicagoJaysFan - Monday, May 07 2007 @ 11:04 PM EDT (#167446) #
I'd like to see JP have to interview for his job, but I always think it's difficult for fans to judge the best candidate for a team.  Sometimes head office types just need a few years to learn how to do things before they're really ready - I know they're not baseball examples (nor GM examples unfortunately) but the first two examples that popped into my mind are the Cleveland Belichick versus the Patriots one and Sam Mitchell (now I have a hard time getting those examples out of my head).

I'd hope that Godfrey has a sit down with JP sometime to evaluate what JP's thoughts are and what he feels he's learned since he was hired.  If we're replacing our GM, I think we're running out of time as the amateur draft is coming up.  I think a GM would be more effective if he has time to get to know his scouts, etc. in advance of the draft rather than changing GM's shortly beforehand.  If JP isn't gone soon (and I'm not saying a call for his head right now), I would think that the decision has to be put off until after the draft.
Joanna - Tuesday, May 08 2007 @ 12:31 AM EDT (#167449) #

Does Buck Schowalter have a job right now?

Vernon Wells, during his time as ESPN commentator, was asked about Showalter being fired and asked whether he heard about rumours that he was difficult to play for.  Vernon said that he had heard things to that effect and I assumed he heard them from Michael Young.

The O-Dog (love that guy)/ Glaus trade was still a good one.  Maybe something or someone in Arizona helped him blossom.  And Troy's bat was needed.  And I remember him owning in the Angels World Series.  And he is the only one hitting right now.  AL player of the week, he is.

And Vernon was (is?) sick.  The dude can't breathe.  He has chills.  Lay off.

Mylegacy - Tuesday, May 08 2007 @ 01:10 AM EDT (#167451) #

I have said it many times...I will say it again: We have lost our Closer, Lear-off man, Set-up man and Catcher...I DEFY any team to survive that!

JP...don't fire anybody now...Ted...don't fire JP.

Let's regroup, and come out fighting. Get angry, then go get even!

Keith Talent - Tuesday, May 08 2007 @ 06:25 AM EDT (#167453) #
Maybe Schowalter was difficult to play for. But the Rangers were going to the playoffs every year under him.

I don't know anything about that guy in particular, and whether he's the right choice. But the player's choice shouldn't necessarily be the best candidate.

The manager is going to be someone to take people out of their comfort zones and challenge them to do more.

Sure, baseball is different from hockey and it takes more of a balanced approach. But, still, there is a mental grittiness of hanging in that takes a lot of discipline - it's the manager's role to inspire that discipline - and not start a fist fight when he doesn't see it.

You can't blame injuries because Red Sox and Yankees have all had those same problems over the recent years.
Ken Kosowan - Tuesday, May 08 2007 @ 08:13 AM EDT (#167454) #
Of course if we hire Showalter the team would improve slightly and never win the championship. The silver lining has been the trend for teams that FIRE Showalter winning the world series shortly thereafter. There is some mojo...
FranklyScarlet - Tuesday, May 08 2007 @ 08:43 AM EDT (#167455) #

Remember, Showalter was not fired by the Yankees.  He was fired by the Diamondbacks.

So,  while it's true that the year after Showalter 'left' both teams won the WS, the terms were not the same.

greenfrog - Tuesday, May 08 2007 @ 09:02 AM EDT (#167456) #
You can't blame injuries because Red Sox and Yankees have all had those same problems over the recent years.

If the Jays had a payroll in the same range as those two teams, they could have added Speier, Lilly, Meche, and Molina (in addition to signing Thomas and Wells) in the off-season, with cash to spare.
timpinder - Tuesday, May 08 2007 @ 10:42 AM EDT (#167464) #
And that's exactly why I don't blame J.P. for the weak bench and lack of a solid SS.  If he could have afforded it Ricciardi would probably have gone after Lugo hard too.  It won't get any better either, since Eckstein is the only decent free-agent shortstop scheduled to be available next year and he's probably going to be too expensive also.  Hill at SS and Adams at 2B with Olmedo on the bench is what I'm betting will be the Jays' middle infield next year.  The Jays just don't have the money to buy great depth and to plug every position by purchasing free-agents, and that's not Ricciardi's fault.
Mike Green - Tuesday, May 08 2007 @ 12:05 PM EDT (#167474) #
Ricciardi did not, according to media reports at the time, offer Lugo a comparable contract to the one he offered Meche or Lilly.  Lugo signed for comparable dollars to the contract offers that Ricciardi reportedly made to Meche and Lilly.

There have been, of course, other opportunities to shore up the middle infield.  The one positive about the situation was the acquisition of Olmedo.  Hopefully he sees significant playing time in the big leagues soon.

PaulE-O - Tuesday, May 08 2007 @ 12:23 PM EDT (#167480) #

this season is over before mid-may, I just feel awful for Halladay - poor guy pours his guts out and gets no help

Mike D - Tuesday, May 08 2007 @ 12:35 PM EDT (#167483) #

All things considered, I don't have a problem with JP's off-season efforts.  He tried hard to improve the club, and within his budget he achieved a few successes and suffered from a few entirely excusable letdowns.

I have a tremendous problem with JP's in-season efforts.  If this were a case of stars slumping or suffering minor injuries, then a no-panic status-quo approach is fine.  But when several key components suffer major, multi-month injuries, decisive action simply has to be taken to improve the club.   

Playing whomever is on hand for months at a time, massive drop-off in production be damned, is a totally unacceptable way to run a club.  Unless the goal is to save money or play the kids -- the former isn't happening, the latter isn't happening with respect to several positions right now, and neither makes sense considering how the roster and overall organization is constituted in 2007. 

Matt Stairs playing in the outfield and batting in the 2-4 spots of the batting order is an absolute joke.  And he is by no means the least useful member of the 25-man right now.

Four Seamer - Tuesday, May 08 2007 @ 01:10 PM EDT (#167488) #

I have a tremendous problem with JP's in-season efforts. 

No kidding.  I think the fact that he has been fiddling while the season burns to the ground is a fairly clear indicator that his bluster during the off-season notwithstanding, he's realized all the while that this club was never going to be a serious playoff contender.  If he thought it was, he surely would have made some moves, even if it meant giving up some young talent, to keep this team in the thick of things while awaiting the return of the regulars.  This team, as has been pointed out repeatedly, is not built for a prolonged spell of excellence - the window is small and he can't afford to write off a full third of it by trotting out the likes of Matt Stairs, Royce Clayton, John McDonald, Sal Fasano and Jason Smith on a regular basis, if indeed the possibility of a hot streak awaits upon the return of Ryan, Johnson, Zaun et al.  

Either that, or he knows full well that these players, Ryan in particular, simply aren't coming back this year.  Since nothing he says can be taken at face value, however, I guess we'll just have to wait and see how things pan out.  LIke Leigh, however, I'll be watching teams who seem to be making an honest effort of it play for the remainder of the season.

robertdudek - Wednesday, May 09 2007 @ 02:25 AM EDT (#167548) #
I think the fact that he has been fiddling while the season burns to the ground is a fairly clear indicator that his bluster during the off-season notwithstanding, [J.P.]'s realized all the while that this club was never going to be a serious playoff contender.

He should have asked me, I would have told him so in January.

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