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Once again, here's Rob.

Alyssa Milano, I mean, Dodger Stadium welcomes the Blue Jays this weekend for the first time since June 2002, when shortstop (!) Dave Berg hit second, Justin Miller couldn't get through the first, and Roy Halladay got a complete game win. Jays fans are thankful that only one of those events is possible five years later.

Alex's week might be brutal, but so is having to put up with interleague play. Jeff Kent agrees with me, which is slightly disconcerting. Aside from that, this Scout features the likely reality of two top-priced tickets for a Twins game; Jim and Pam's new six-player chain to Tinker, Evers, and Chance; an impatient power-less lineup; and Jamie Campbell saying "East York" a lot.

Take the Maddencruiser: The Dodgers' flight from Pittsburgh to San Diego landed under emergency procedures. Why, Grady Little? "There was stuff in front of the plane that started in the back of the plane." Rumours are rampant that Little will join the NTSB after his baseball career, which may or may not be reborn.

Oscar, we'll use your talents come baseball season: Two hours before Saturday's 7:10 PT start, fans will be able to "watch from Dodger Stadium's outfield grass and warning track to see their favorite Hollywood celebrities play" in the 49th annual Hollywood Stars Game. Presumably there's an audience for a Luc Robitaille-Carlos Mencia-Oscar Nuñez heart of the order with Steve Lyons as the manager.

Brad Penny: Power pitcher with a straight four-seamer around 93-96, what looks like an 87ish two-seamer, and a solid curve near 78, but his bread-and-butter pitch is the cheese. To say the least, it might be tough to hit. He'll come in tight against righties and almost always pitches lefthanded hitters away; there are no meaningful platoon splits to speak of. Started throwing a split lately, but I haven't seen much of it. As for his performance this year, you can see his chart line and it's all good. I was originally curious when looking at his game log (never longer than 7 innings) but then again, he's made it to the sixth in each and every start. Before May 18, held batters to a .226/.298/.285 line with a 1.39 ERA. Since then, he's had two good starts, a bad one, and a really bad one. Has never faced Frank Thomas, so Penny may still think he's the Thomas of old.

Derek Lowe: Pure groundballer: second in GB% to Brandon Webb in 2006, second to Brandon Webb in 2005, second to Brandon Webb in 2004. This year: see for yourself. If you missed the memo, his sinker weighs about ten pounds. This is his third straight year with an ERA under 3.7 (or an ERA+ over 110), yet he has the lowest run support on the team and has been handed two complete game losses in which his team scored 1 total run in 18 innings.

Jason Schmidt: Is back from the DL, replacing old friend Mark Hendrickson in the rotation. I dare you to say "Jason Schmidt" seven times fast. While you're doing that, I'll tell you that he used to hit 89 with his heater and, as Joe Morgan would say, showed a good slide piece every now and again. However, he started off the year losing about 10 mph off his fastball before some shoulder bursitis which disabled him on April 18. He didn't throw off a mound until May 10 and threw a semi-simulated game on May 20. His first start after being activated was Tuesday night in San Diego. The Dodgers were hoping for about 90 pitches going into that game; they got 86 (55 strikes) as he held the Padres to one hit and three walks over six innings. His velocity was back up, hitting 92 at points. Despite that start, $47M over three years is looking about as good as $55M over 5 was around this time last year, but there's always money in the banana stand.

Juan Pierre: Great leadoff hitter or greatest leadoff hitter? I'm putting him down for neither. "He wasn't seeing many pitches the other day when he had four extra-base hits. The angle of his bat isn't right." Grady Little decided to move Juan D'Vaughn Pierre up to the leadoff spot against RHP despite his 2-hole line of .277/.305/.314. He was traded from Florida to the Cubs in December 2005 for the powerful trio of Sergio Mitre, Ricky Nolasco, and Renyel Pinto. Pierre wears his hat under his batting helmet, for some bizarre reason and is like a lefthanded, more fidgety Alfonso Soriano...without the power. Doesn't seem like a basestealer to me, nor a very "range-y" outfielder.

Luis Gonzalez: Appears in no less than 40 tables in The SABR Baseball List & Record Book: owns the first career HR in Tropicana Field history (1998 was his one AL year, with Detroit), on the list of most HR in a season without leading the league (2001, obviously), and lost a batting championship by a wide margin (1999; Larry Walker led him by 43 points). But Alyssa Milano thinks he throws like a girl.

Russell Nathan Coltrane Jeanson Martin, Jr.: Yeah, yeah, born in East York. We get it. But he lived in Paris for two years as a child and actually attended the same Montréal high school as Éric Gagné. None of his five names are accented. Martin has big-time opposite-field power and surprising catcher speed. He chose L.A. over Team Canada last March and has probably felt the benefits of that move: the Dodgers are quite high on him. His signing scout, Clarence Johns, thought he had more than just the Good Face: "If I had a daughter, I'd want this guy to marry her." Also, Jon Weisman at Dodger Thoughts says he's "the guy whose name may become symbolic with heroism in Dodger annals." Personally, I'd just like to see a successful Martin Junior for a change.

Nomar Garciaparra: Still has the same pre-pitch routine he had in 1997. In fact, it probably took him the past ten years just to finish it all. Has faced Jeremy Accardo once, and it didn't go so well for the young righty. His striding-to-the-plate music is "Low Rider" and I hope that doesn't imply he actually liked Gone in 60 Seconds. I mean, really.

Yes, he was an All-Star last year, but his overall career post-Boston hasn't been as kind as his early days in Fenway. Put another way, .272 is more likely than .372. A final bit of trivia for you: on May 11, Garciaparra did not record a putout in nine innings of play at first base, making him just the 16th first baseman in ML history to play a full game and not touch the ball (he didn't have any assists either).

Andre Ethier: Will sing the Canadian national anthem before Saturday's game, after Michael Clarke Duncan turns two with James Van Der Beek.

The other Andre Ethier: Will not sing. Oakland's 2005 Minor League Player of the Year came over for Milton Bradley two Decembers ago. He tore up Arizona State for a couple of years: about a 1.000 OPS with 84 walks and 50 strikeouts in two years -- and that's why he was an Oakland draftee in '03 (his first pro team was Vancouver, but he quickly showed himself to be too good for the league).

Olmedo Saenz, Saenz, everywhere a Saenz: Vin Scully said, "There isn't a pitcher in the league who can throw a fastball past Saenz." To compare, Magpie said, "The pitcher who can throw a fastball by Manny Ramirez... well, it's merely a theoretical possibility. It's not like one actually exists."

David Cone: Jeff Kent, that is. Just seeing who was paying attention. Kent is one of three players still active from those 1992 Jays (two retired members can be found in the Sportsnet booth), and his OPS+ was only below 100 in the partial seasons after his Jays-to-Mets and Mets-to-Indians trades. He's the rare second baseman who hits cleanup, maybe because his slugging average is second only to Martin. It must make him feel good, knowing that between him and six-years-younger Nomar, he's not the old guy who has to move to first. Kent is also a proud member of the All-Pretty-Common-Two-First-Names Team.

Takashi Saito: Will make you look stupid with his slider (or his curve, but especially the slider). 30 strikeouts and 2 walks in 24 innings! The 36-year-old rookie finished 8th in Cy Young voting last year with a 2.07 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, and (probably most importantly to whatever LA voter put him third on his ballot) 24 saves. What was he like in Japan? Glad you asked. He's one of many Saitos here and my favourite tidbit is "Hideki Matsui went 7-25 against him in 1996, all of those hits homers." He also threw 11 complete games in 1996, his second of four All-Star years. He will play this weekend.

Chad Billingsley: Fastball-slider pitcher who also has a great curve, but relies heavily on the heat. He was a starter throughout the minors with great numbers but a few too many walks, but he's working in long relief now. Has been teammates with Martin at seemingly every level. The Dodgers have tried not to send him out on 0 days of rest; when they do, he typically gets two or three more before his next start.

Mark Hendrickson: Stepped into rotation after Schmidt went down. His first three starts had people wondering who was wearing his jersey, but then successive Game Scores of 36, 35, and 35 brought him closer to the Lurch we know and love. He's been working with Ken Ravizza, a sports psychologist on the suggestion of his former pitching coach, Mike Butcher. Hendrickson, of course, was traded in part for Dioner Navarro, who in turn was involved in one of the most lopsided bets ever made.

Mike Lieberthal: Full name is Michael Scott Lieberthal and he was teammates with David Brent Bell on the Phillies. That may or may not be Bell's middle name.

The Credit Section: Batted-ball data and Leverage Index are available at Fangraphs. K/G, BB/G, and HR/G are from The Hardball Times and are "per games pitched." K% and BB% are strikeouts and walks as a percentage of plate appearances; GB%/LD%/FB% are expressed as percentages of balls in play. The AL average stats, used because I don't want the NL pitchers in there, are the same as they were three days ago. Because I'm lazy. Everything else is available at The Hardball Times or Mark Hendrickson's Leverage Index is based on four relief appearances.

Those homerun totals are not misprints.
Advance Scout: Dodgers, June 8-10 | 44 comments | Create New Account
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Mike Green - Friday, June 08 2007 @ 05:39 PM EDT (#169578) #
"Low Rider" was also used in "Dazed and Confused", which even has a baseball scene (rapidly followed by a hazing scene to "No More Nice Guy"). 

Russ Martin, a Canadian catcher with Coltrane as one of his middle names?  Just one more reason to like him, in my book. 

Nicely done, Rob. 

scottt - Friday, June 08 2007 @ 06:31 PM EDT (#169580) #
Nothing to say about Tony Abreu? Did he just take over at 3B?

This could be another painful trip. Hopefully not. The Dodgers are on a losing streak. Time to play quietly.

Rob - Friday, June 08 2007 @ 06:46 PM EDT (#169582) #
Late addition:

Matt Kemp:
The Bison was just called up. Ramon Martinez, referred to above as Lucille II for good reason, is gone. Kemp's 22 and has hit well since being drafted. His mom thinks he's cool.
dalimon5 - Friday, June 08 2007 @ 08:08 PM EDT (#169585) #
Roy Halladay (1998 2005)
Pitches: 1. Cutter (93) 2. Sinker (93) 3. Curve 4. Splitter
Source: Blue Jays catcher Tom Wilson in The Toronto Sun (6/12/2003, Bob Elliott)

Note: Many would argue that Halladay's curveball, of the 12-to-6 variety, is actually his best pitch. And at least one source suggests he sometimes gets his fastball into the 97-m.p.h. neighborhood.

This was posted on a scouting report by Rob Neyer. I know Halladay's stuff is electric, and that his curveball is one of the best, but a 97 mph fastball?
Noah - Saturday, June 09 2007 @ 01:27 AM EDT (#169592) #
so is there some concern now about Jeremy Accardo?  Two straight games he's now cost us, what options do we go with now. 

Im starting to wonder how far along Brandon Leauge is in his rehab because he'd look pretty damn good in the closer role right now.  Otherwise Im about ready to give Casey Janssen a go because Accardo needs to take some time to kiss up to sweet old lady bench.

Gerry - Saturday, June 09 2007 @ 08:58 AM EDT (#169601) #

It is hard to second guess pitch calling as we don't know what the Jays game plan is for each hitter, but....  Rance Mulliniks was critical of the fastball call to Luis Gonzalez before he hit the home run.  Mulliniks was saying that McGowan should throw a hard breaking ball but then Gonzalez hit the fastball out.  Credit to Mullininks there.  In the tenth inning why throw a fastball to Saenz, a fastball hitter? 

I will be looking to see if there is a difference in play calling once Zaun gets back behind the plate.

timpinder - Saturday, June 09 2007 @ 09:03 AM EDT (#169602) #

McGowan said it was a changeup that he left up in the zone, not a fastball.

timpinder - Saturday, June 09 2007 @ 09:09 AM EDT (#169603) #

Of course McGowan's changeup is as hard as many pitcher's fastball, so I can see how the mistake could be made.

Speaking of McGowan, am I ever happy to see him roll off four straight quality starts.  He looked good to me even in his first few starts when he was getting demolished, so it's nice to see him battle through it.  He looks like he's becoming the 1A starter that scouts thought he could be.

westcoast dude - Saturday, June 09 2007 @ 10:02 AM EDT (#169606) #
Lively stones last night. Unbelievable pressure on Frasor in the ninth, but he stayed with the Plan. He's a ground-ball machine, and with Hill's brilliant defense and Mighty Troy's steadying influence on the hot corner quarterbacking  the force at third and the third out at first., the ninth was a small victory that began with Matt's homer. McGowan went toe to toe with the Dodgers Ace and was rewarded with no decision, but the spirit of Dodgers past approved, no doubt.. Johnnie Mack manufactured an unlikely double and Greg Zaun bats him home in the top of the tenth. Welcome back, Zaunie.  The Jays had six heros in the ninth and tenth. That's not enough for you? Frank Thomas had a pinch-hit single in the eighth. I'm seeing signs.
Chuck - Saturday, June 09 2007 @ 11:16 AM EDT (#169611) #

I'm seeing signs.

As per your handle, you are one up on many of the rest of us who were seeing sheep, not signs, when all the drama was unfolding. And that's the metaphoric sheep jumping over fences, not a Gene Wilder reference.

Chuck - Saturday, June 09 2007 @ 11:26 AM EDT (#169612) #

Two straight games he's now cost us, what options do we go with now. 

Noah, I guess it's natural for someone with your name to fixate on the number two.

I think it's premature to get overly panicky about Accardo. While he had certainly been doing a great BJ Ryan impersonation, he's not BJ Ryan, and we should remind ourselves of that. Hell, he barely made the team out of spring training.

He's a young pitcher with lots of natural ability, who's still learning to pitch. I'm interested to see what he does next in a save situation. There's lots of opportunity for growth here. He's suffered a setback. How does he react? I say stick with him. Let's see what he's made of.

Squiggy - Saturday, June 09 2007 @ 11:48 AM EDT (#169613) #
Two straight games he's now cost us, what options do we go with now.

Chuck beat me to it, couldn't agree more. Frasor had the shot and was found wanting, and would be the next candidate. I don't think you can keep rotating bodies in there everytime a guy blows a couple in a row, especially since many of the other bullpen arms have settled into various roles nicely. This has quietly become one of the best bullpens in the league and should not be tinkered with at this point. Now, if Wells and Thomas ever start hitting, there is real potential for this team to run off a bunch of wins.

Lefty - Saturday, June 09 2007 @ 01:38 PM EDT (#169614) #

Just a few random thoughts after a great game last night.

Just as I like to stand up for my assertions that prove correct I'll admit when someone makes me wrong.

I've never been a big Jason Frasor fan, but last night his performance convinced me that he has turned a corner. When the Jays sent him down last season I was very much in favor of the move, even though one could make a statiscal arguement againt his demotion. Likewise when he was shuffled off to the back of the pen last month.

To the point, I doubted he had the stomach in crucial situations. Last night he stuck out his chin and got himself out of self induced trouble. He did it on a big stage and for his team. He pitched for his team without fear. I'm sure Troy Glaus was happier than he was when he stretched for the force at third.

Speaking of Glaus. Why don't we stop with the questions of his defensive abilities. Thats like feeding the troll. He might not be the strongest defender going to his left, largely due to his size, but he gets to more than just routine plays and once he gets rid of the ball its gets there post haste. This guy is a competitor.

On Accardo. I second the opinion that we just leave him alone. Accardo is rounding into a fine releiver, justifying San Francisco's confidence in him last season in crucial situations. Give him a day off instead of dumping on him. He is an asset to this team so they need to protect him just a bit better. Unless the Jays make a trade he could be the closer until Ryan comes back and takes the ball from him.

I've supported Dustin McGowan since 2005 and love the guy. So I'm know Jonny-come-lately jumping that bandwagon. Just sayin'.

I think my fellow westcoaster is right. This team is rounding into shape. This team will be tough during the dog daze and down the stretch.

I'll be watching to see if Ricciardi thinks so and bolsters the team sooner rather than later. After all, he does have some un-spent budget.


Mike Green - Saturday, June 09 2007 @ 02:21 PM EDT (#169615) #
I'd keep Accardo in role too.  He definitely could use the day off today, though, in light of the longer outing on Thursday, the flight, and the outing yesterday.
Chuck - Saturday, June 09 2007 @ 02:41 PM EDT (#169617) #

Justin Miller couldn't get through the first

Has anyone else noticed that Justin Miller has resurfaced as a Marlin?

westcoast dude - Saturday, June 09 2007 @ 03:12 PM EDT (#169619) #

As I see it, the truth is that Jason Frasor is now ready to be the closer, and just in time, unless you want to reward mediocrity, which I would define as a walk and a walkoff blast, back to back. I wouldn't expect Jason to close tonight, necessarily, so for Accardo it's a save or three strikes and you're out, tonight. Frasor's ninth inning last night was more than an affirmation, it looked like a life changing experience. If you can forge your sword in that kind of crucible, you've got a sceptre. Today, he's feeling comfortable about walking on water and through walls, I'll speculate.

Joanna - Saturday, June 09 2007 @ 04:28 PM EDT (#169621) #

Jerking guys around after they make one or two mistakes is a recipe for shattered confidence.  Accardo is going to have rough nights, I don't think removing him as closer is the right solution.

Dustin McGowan has so much confidence right now because he has been told he has a starter's job and has been given a leash to succeed and fail.  Fear is not the best motivator.

And Troy is one smooth dude over there at 3rd.  He plays really, really hard.

CaramonLS - Saturday, June 09 2007 @ 06:13 PM EDT (#169623) #
I really don't mean to harp on Troy Glaus's defense, however, with that said, I will mention it when he goes for a ground ball and it resembles a statue tipping over - because that is actually funny.

Otherwise, he has played great this year.

scottt - Saturday, June 09 2007 @ 06:47 PM EDT (#169624) #
Last night was just one bad pitch by Accardo. It's not like he's never walked a batter before.  He's kiling lefties, but he can  be hit from the right side. You gotta give Killer Tomato some credit on that blast.

Also don't forget that Accardo was playing for the Giants this time last year and the Dodgers knew what to expect.

Might not be a bad idea to give Frasor some extra work in interleague play, but I don't think he can ever be an effective closer against American teams at this point.

China fan - Sunday, June 10 2007 @ 01:21 AM EDT (#169629) #

     In retrospect, it is rather odd that the Jays opted for Ohka rather than Marcum in the rotation at the beginning of the season.  Of course hindsight is 20-20, but it would have been smarter and more logical to go with the up-and-coming prospect -- who did pretty well for the Jays in the second half of last season -- rather than the unimpressive veteran who has been tried and found wanting by several other teams.   Marcum certainly seems to be settling nicely into the starter's role.   Maybe the team could have won a couple more games at the start of the season if Marcum had been given the chance from the beginning.


westcoast dude - Sunday, June 10 2007 @ 01:47 AM EDT (#169631) #

There is nothing better than a 1-0 win on half the number of Dodgers hits with the pen getting the job done. Casey Janssen will be one of those rare pitchers like Derek Lowe who both wins 20 and saves 40 in a year, in a career. With four aces in the rotation and Towers the fifth starter, this could be a year for saves. Gibbons made the right moves at the right time, and Matt Stairs is providing the slugging firepower off some great pitching. Another highly entertaining, great game. I get up at 0400 Pacific Time, so these games push back my sleep time, too. Sweet dreams are made of this.

90ft_turnleft - Sunday, June 10 2007 @ 03:18 AM EDT (#169632) #

Sorry West coast dude but I would argue about your perception of Gibbons making all the right moves in this game in so far as him choosing to have Downs stay in to face a righty when Janssen was ready in the pen.

He got lucky on a move,or lack of one,that could have cost the Jays another tough,well pitched game.

That said,how can we not be jazzed about a rotation and bullpen such as ours these days,Yes including Accardo.

Now the offence,namely Wells,Thomas or Thomiss as my girlfriend has been calling him and Glaus need to realize that it's June,not April or early May.........NO MORE EXCUSES.

westcoast dude - Sunday, June 10 2007 @ 09:27 AM EDT (#169636) #
I would argue the tide turned with Downs' induced little dribbler that filled the bases, setting up the force that popped their bubble. These 2 inning relief blocks are paying dividends. I'd like to see Jordan of the 27 K per 9 innings out there again. 
Rob - Sunday, June 10 2007 @ 01:54 PM EDT (#169641) #
[Lowe] has the lowest run support on the team and has been handed three complete game losses in which his team scored 1 total run in 27 innings.

Twilight - Sunday, June 10 2007 @ 02:25 PM EDT (#169642) #
Jerking guys around after they make one or two mistakes is a recipe for shattered confidence.  Accardo is going to have rough nights, I don't think removing him as closer is the right solution.

Agreed. All closers are going to blow a couple here and there, and there's a reason why BJ Ryan makes the 9 million a year--he's one of the best, period. I still don't think that anyone has shown that they are going to be as good, let alone significantly better, than Accardo in the closer role.

In the tenth inning why throw a fastball to Saenz, a fastball hitter?

Because Accardo has two good pitches: a hard fastball he can cut and a splitter. It's hard for a power pitcher to go through an entire at-bat without throwing at least one fastball. After all, Saenz is a career bench player. Match those two up again and I doubt the same thing happens.
Wildrose - Sunday, June 10 2007 @ 03:19 PM EDT (#169643) #
Blair has League back by the end of the month. Mark me down as hoping Jannsen is tried as a starter  when/if League is fully back.

I must admit I've been listening to the Dodger feed of these games with Vin Scully. What a master.

Mike Green - Sunday, June 10 2007 @ 08:00 PM EDT (#169644) #
Back to normal in interleague play.  AL 27 NL 13 so far this weekend, with only the Boston-Arizona game to finish. 
CeeBee - Sunday, June 10 2007 @ 09:08 PM EDT (#169646) #

"Back to normal in interleague play.  AL 27 NL 13 so far this weekend,"

And MLB has the total interleague record at 42-28. You'd think the National League would  have a home field advantage which would even things out but apparently not.

greenfrog - Sunday, June 10 2007 @ 09:29 PM EDT (#169647) #

NIce to see J-Mac back to .300. Speaking of which, the Jays are doing OK in the McDonald-Mastny trade:

J-Mac: .300/.320/.410 in 100 AB, solid defense at 3B and SS

Mastny: 4-2, 5.13, 26.1 IP, 1.48 WHIP

Of course, that batting average is liable to drop 50-100 points in any given month. But it's enjoyable while it lasts. 

HippyGilmore - Monday, June 11 2007 @ 12:00 AM EDT (#169651) #
Baseball is crazy sometimes. The Jays follow up their best comeback in years with a pair of lackluster efforts against the D-Rays and lose the series, and then lose in the worst possible way to the Dodgers and follow it up with a pair of strong wins and take the series. Who woulda guessed that?
King Rat - Monday, June 11 2007 @ 03:33 AM EDT (#169652) #
I think that's more evidence, if more were needed, that momentum is tomorrow's starting pitcher.

I'd just like to say that I love the current roster construction. I've always been a fan of the six-man bullpen, and as Gibbons has always left the seventh (and occasionally, the eighth) man in the bullpen to rot, I think that this is the team to try it. The bench is correspondingly strong; while four catchers is excessive in theory, until Zaun is actually ready to catch again he's more of a pinch-hitting option than a catcher. So Gibbons has a lot of flexibility in who plays and where, with a lot of good pinch-hitting and defensive replacement options. When Johnson comes off the DL, that will be even more true. While I've become, along with more or less everyone else, a fan of Sal Fasano, it seems to me that he would be the logical pick to go down when Johnson or League is ready to come back to the Jays. Even then, though, I'd keep three catchers up, especially as both Phillips and Thigpen can also play first base to give Stairs a break.

Maldoff - Monday, June 11 2007 @ 10:22 AM EDT (#169657) #

A few random thoughts:

  • Heard Sparky on the radio this morning. Big fan of Bonds. More importantly, says he'll be ready in 2 weeks.
  • I was out of town the past week, and noticed Zaun is now back on the roster, but not catching. Can anyone clarify this for me?
  • Richard Griffin wrote this weekend that the Jays selected so many catchers in this year's draft because the plan is to move Thigpen to 2B and Hill to SS. Does anyone else think this sounds like a poor move, as Hill is clearly a better 2B and they haven't even seen if Thigpen can catch in the majors yet?
Ryan Day - Monday, June 11 2007 @ 10:57 AM EDT (#169658) #

The whole Thigpen thing is kind of weird. I don't necessarily have a problem with the switch, but the way they're doing it doesn't seem effective.

If Hill's future is at short, then why is he playing second right now? It's not like he'd be displacing anyone significant at the position. And if Thigpen is the second baseman of the future, then why is he the backup first baseman and third-string catcher in Toronto? Send him to AAA and have him play second base every day.

Mike Green - Monday, June 11 2007 @ 11:12 AM EDT (#169660) #

Other reports have Thigpen's future position as undecided.  The catchers drafted this year probably won't be ready for 2 and 1/2 years at least. 


greenfrog - Monday, June 11 2007 @ 11:29 AM EDT (#169661) #

I think the middle IF situation will sort itself out. Shortstop will be less of a pressing issue if the Jays can get healthy (Ryan excepted, of course). Clayton and McDonald can play there for the rest of the year. In the meantime, they can use Thigpen as a super-sub (to see how close he is to big-league readiness), see how Adams plays in AAA in the second half, and monitor the trade and free agent markets.

Hill/Thigpen in the middle infield is an interesting idea, but the Jays shouldn't do unless it makes long-term sense. There may be better options. 

westcoast dude - Monday, June 11 2007 @ 11:39 AM EDT (#169662) #

Zaun will be back behind the dish in a week or so, he's building up his arm strength.

Listening to yesterday's game on my desktop, I realized the richness of the sound system at Chavez Ravine. So Alex Rios walks to the plate to the tune of "Start Me Up" and my head is bopping and I'm thinking, "This is too easy." Sure enough, Alex smokes a double and then Matt doubles him home, and we were away to the races.

China fan - Monday, June 11 2007 @ 11:46 AM EDT (#169663) #
     Russ Adams has been looking very good in Syracuse over the past few weeks.   If he can sustain this level of performance, I'd like to see him get another chance in Toronto.  I think Hill can handle SS and give the Jays a lot of punch at that position.  Thigpen is also a possibility at 2B, but let's be fair to the guy -- he's only had a couple of games at that position.
Squiggy - Monday, June 11 2007 @ 02:15 PM EDT (#169671) #
Speaking of the Jays' SS issues - has anyone else notice winter favourite Julio Lugo absolutely bombing (.213/.274/.318), while playing crappy defence in Boston? And with a 4-year contract, no less. I was among those hoping that the Jays would sign this guy, but right now it looks like they may have dodged a bullet. John McDonald never looked so good (and cheap).
Joanna - Monday, June 11 2007 @ 02:33 PM EDT (#169674) #
Could we stop hypothetically jerking Hill around?  The dude is rocking 2nd base, let him be.
PaulE-O - Monday, June 11 2007 @ 02:36 PM EDT (#169676) #

 I'd hate to see Hill moved to short, I think he's a great second basemen but doesn't have the feet to play SS as well as he does 2B

I think that Russ could be a great super utility guy, SS, 2B, 3B (maybe) and some outfield

I'd like JP to address the shortstop situation via trade or FA

ChicagoJaysFan - Monday, June 11 2007 @ 03:45 PM EDT (#169677) #
I wouldn't put too much stock into what Griffin writes about the Jays (although I haven't read the article to see whether or not he quoted someone from the Jays).  Griffin often writes without thinking/researching anything and for a hometown writer, has a horrible knowledge of the Jays (a couple of examples that spring to mind are recently when he said there was a 2-man limit to the 60-day DL when they Jays already had 3 there, and Griffin complaining about the Jays dropping down to 5 minor league teams a couple of months after they added the Gulf Coast team).  His mistakes are not casual asides contained within his articles, which would be at least understandable, but usually the basis for his argument du jour about why the Jays are going nowhere.  What's more disappointing is that for most of his mistakes, anyone with access to google could verify the facts in less than 2 minutes, something I'd expect a news reporter to do.  In my mind, Griffin is a little (but only a little) more respectable source than any average fan that makes their own blog.

I know the Jays have played around with Thigpen at 2nd a few games this season, but until I hear something in other newspapers (that aren't crediting a Star story) or from the team, I'm going to believe they're sticking with the plan of keeping Hill at 2nd in the majors.  Even tossing out Griffin's past of inaccuracy, the guys the Jays are drafting this year will most likely be making their appearance in the majors right around the time of Thigpen's 4th season or 5th season in the majors, which means it'd be towards the end of the period they Jays have him under control for below FA value, so it'd be about the right time to replace him anyway, so the C's we drafted are needed even if we keep Thigpen at C.
John Northey - Monday, June 11 2007 @ 04:21 PM EDT (#169679) #
Wow, Lugo really has sucked this year.
Julio Lugo - OPS+=56, lifetime=90, age=31
John McDonald - OPS+=91, lifetime=59, age=32

OK, so when did those two trade bodies during the offseason?

Royce Clayton - OPS+=67, lifetime=77, age=37
Now that is more what I expected (sadly enough).

FYI: Boston's backup SS...
Alex Cora - OPS+=103, lifetime=76, age=31, PA=98

What is scary is that Boston has done so well with a big FA like Lugo sucking so much.

FYI: Jays in 6th for WC, 6 games out, Det/Oak/Seattle class of field (within 2 of each other). Jays mixed in with Yankees and Twinkies (5 1/2 out each). Close behind are Balt/TB/ChiSox at 7 1/2 back. KC & Texas at 13 might as well start planning fall golf trips.
Ryan Day - Monday, June 11 2007 @ 04:39 PM EDT (#169681) #

Ricciardi has publicly commented on the possibility of moving Thigpen:

"He's so athletic that we may be better off putting him somewhere else to take advantage of his ability to run," Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi said on Friday. "He's got really good hands and he's a good hitter. He may be better suited to play second base, or better suited to play third base."

Granted, Ricciardi does seem to do a lot of thinking out loud, so who knows how serious this is. Nevertheless, if they're considerng moving Thigpen to second, they must also be considering moving Hill somewhere, likely short. I just find this "Maybe next year..." planning to be rather fickle.

Personally, I'd stick Thigpen at catcher for at least the next year and see if he can handle it. There aren't any other real options coming up any time soon. (I'm not particularly optimistic about Diaz)

Maldoff - Monday, June 11 2007 @ 04:48 PM EDT (#169682) #
I agree. No reason to move Thigpen just yet.  Diaz appears to be a singles hitter, who doesn't strike out or walk, which is servicable, but not great.  The catcher in the system that appears to have a future is Jonathan Jaspe, but he is only at low-A.
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