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The Jays take their two-game win streak to the China Basin Retirement Castle. They'll see two soft tossers and then Tim Lincecum. They also get to deal with the Barry Bonds circus, stuck on 746 homers for two weeks and eager to break out against any righty foolish enough to stake a claim to the outside corner. And Bengie Molina.

First person to crack a joke about how Bengie is a giant gets blackballed from all Advance Scout afterparties until Bengie's next triple.

?!!!??!: The Giants have 19 triples, tied for the NL lead.

Matt Morris:
A bona fide contender for whatever trophy honors the best performance with the worst peripheral stats. Morris actually seems to have reinvented himself as a finesse righty this year. His fastball velocity is gone - he only throws in the high 80s - but he's leaning much more heavily on his slow curveball (which gets lots of waves) and tight slider, with great results. His ERA is 2.51. Despite Michalaktacular K and BB numbers, Morris has arguably been the Giants' ace this year, no small feat on a staff that also includes names like Zito, Cain and Lincecum. He took a complete-game 1-0 loss against Brandon Webb in his last start.

Noah Lowry: Dan Haren's roommate at Pepperdine. He's a finesse lefty who benefits a lot from his surroundings - San Francisco is a good place to be lefthanded. He's kept his homer rates and BABIPs consistently below average. Lowry throws a mid-high-80s fastball, sweeping curves and sliders, and a whole ton of changeups. Lowry's change breaks more than most changes and sits at around 80 mph. Every single hitter in the lineup is liable to see a change on the first pitch. Last time out, against the D-backs, Conor Jackson cranked Lowry's first change of the game for a solo homer. That prompted Lowry to mothball his best pitch for a few hitters. Lowry is most effective when he gets the inside corner and runs his fastball in on righties.

Tim Lincecum: For the benefit of those who live under rocks, Lincecum was taken 10th overall by the Giants last year. That's 12 months ago, in the 2006 draft. He won the Golden Spikes Award at Washington with a 1.94 ERA over 125.1 innings. It took him all of 62.2 professional innings and one Russ Ortiz injury to convince the Giants to call him up. It wasn't a tough decision or anything - he struck out 41% of AAA hitters in 44.1 innings. He also allowed a grand total of 1 run in those 44.1 innings and a batting average of .121. I'm not exactly sure which of those stats is most impressive.

The undefeated Lincecum is mostly a two-pitch pitcher. He throws a two-seam fastball, which hovers around 95 and can reach 98 sometimes, and a viciously hard curveball in the mid-80s that can show up in any count. But, as Bruce Jenkins of the SF Gate reports, Lincecum also has a secret weapon: "Tim Lincecum's pitch selection leaves a very subtle warning to the National League. It's not the fastball or the curve, although he certainly could thrive on those two alone. It's the next step in his evolution. Catcher Bengie Molina and the Giants' brain trust seem to be creating an air of mystery over Lincecum's changeup, allowing him to unveil it only as an occasional tease. It's brilliant strategy, because if Lincecum perfects that pitch -- a darting, down-and-away nightmare to left-handed hitters, reminiscent of the cartoonish stuff thrown by Daisuke Matsuzaka and the vintage Eric Gagne -- then it's all over."

The really scary part? Lincecum turns 23 on Friday.

Barry Bonds: His mom helped him regain his focus, and he's on a modest hot streak. "With my dad [Bobby] gone, she's about the only one who can kick me in the butt. And she did. And she's right." He's still the undisputed Zen master of the base on balls, though he's lost a little bit of his absurd power - you can get him out by pounding him inside. A.J. Burnett and Dustin McGowan are both reasonably well qualified to actually go after Bonds. Just... don't miss over the plate, and don't expect him to chase slow breaking balls. Josh Towers might want to scribble that wiseass quote about discretion and valor on his glove tonight. Bonds' eye is in great shape. However, he hasn't homered since May 27...

Closer situation: Armando Benitez was this team's closer, but the Giants weren't crazy about his 4.67 ERA in 17.1 innings, so they traded him to the Marlins for big Randy Messenger. In the meantime, converted starter Brad Hennessey is the nominal closer, and the Giants have tried their hardest to make him pitch in save situations. The problem is that since he was officially named as the closer on June 1, they've trailed heading into every ninth inning except for an 8-1 win on Monday. So Hennessey, though he has two saves, hasn't earned one as the official closer yet.

Vinnie Chulk: Still thinks righties taste like strawberries but lefties taste like snozzberries.

The Credit Section: All offensive stats, pitches per PA for pitchers and league average stats are from the Hardball Times. Pitchers' stats and leverage indices are from Fangraphs. K% and BB% are strikeouts and walks as a percentage of plate appearances; GB% + LD% + FB% = 100.

Advance Scout: Giants, June 11-13 | 71 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
CaramonLS - Monday, June 11 2007 @ 06:14 PM EDT (#169684) #
35.6 - what is the significance of this number?

It is the average age of the Giants starting 8 who take the field every day.

Mike Green - Monday, June 11 2007 @ 06:46 PM EDT (#169686) #
You want to make the most use of your lefties, facing this lineup in this park.  The ideal thing is to bring them in to face Vizquel, and go 7 batters.  Downs, Tallet and Downs on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday respectively on an as needed basis.  There are your 6th/7th inning men as needed.  LOOGYism is pointless, except on Wednesday with the day off on Thursday.
scottt - Monday, June 11 2007 @ 07:21 PM EDT (#169687) #
They've been relying a lot on Eliezer Alfonzo, their backup catcher. He's probably out for the season.

His replacement,
Guillermo Rodriguez, is yet to make his MLB debut.

I'd like to see Accardo face his old team.

Rob - Monday, June 11 2007 @ 08:13 PM EDT (#169689) #
Just because I'd rather see Tim Lincecum's minor league numbers:
Tim Lincecum (AAA) 40.7 9.7 52.6 17.5 21.1 0.0 .218 .119 .211 .149 0.29
VBF - Monday, June 11 2007 @ 09:10 PM EDT (#169690) #
Finally! The day when the television thrashing slowness of Bengie Molina becomes an advantage for Jays fans!
greenfrog - Monday, June 11 2007 @ 09:26 PM EDT (#169691) #
Molina is off to a nice start offensively (I wonder how SF pitchers feel about his defense). I like Bengie, but I'll suspend my cheerleading for ex-Jays until the series is over... 
Mike Green - Monday, June 11 2007 @ 09:34 PM EDT (#169692) #
Tim Lincecum is a good example of the exception to the 30 starts in double A/triple A rule.  When a pitcher dominates and has fine control, there is really no point to the exercise.  He is going to have do his learning at the big league level.  The only real issue with Lincecum is health and it's a biggie. 
katman - Tuesday, June 12 2007 @ 02:58 AM EDT (#169693) #

Frustrated by Game 1. Yes, by the lack of offense after the first inning. Yes, by our 100+ million man sitting here with Russ Adams grade offensive production in mid-June. But that's not the most frustrating, or the most puzzling, to me.

Recap: We knew Towers was home-run prone going in, and going to face Bonds. Sure enough, Bonds hits a 2-run homer. Towers is a bit rattled the rest of the inning, and allows another run. So he's taken out after 65 pitches.

Now, Towers is, at best, a #5 starter. But given the utter predictability of the 4th inning's events, it seems the height of foolishnesses to yank the guy early and tax the bullpen because exactly what you expected might happen, happened.

The Jays have put the guy in as their #5 starter. #5 starters have limitations. And if a team was actively trying to destroy a starting pitcher, they'd use him pretty much the way the Jays have used Towers. If you're going to pull the guy as quickly as the Jays pull Towers, don't make him a starter. Period. It isn't fair to the player, the bullpen, or the team - and it's just a terrible way to deal with people, as a manager.

Now, because of where I'm located, I couldn't watch the game. So maybe there was something in Towers' performance that Gibbons and y'all could see and I couldn't. If so, tell me - but this is a pattern, and this team is 10.5 games out. Newsflash: we aren't going to the playoffs. Which means how we go about our business, develop people, and treat people has more strategic importance to this team than giving up another run or two in game whatever of 2007.

I'm pleasantly surprised by the performances we've received from McDonald and Stairs. Marcum, Janssen and Accardo are way beyond what I ever expected from any of them, and Dustin looks like he may be launching his major league career for real. That's a lot of successes in one year, so I'm not saying Riccardi is a complete moron or this team can't develop people. But the way they treat Towers in particular puzzles me, even given last season. And I think it's becoming a black mark on the manager and the team.

Dez - Tuesday, June 12 2007 @ 04:03 AM EDT (#169694) #
Towers is not a pitcher that the Jays are trying to develop. He will not be with the team in 2008. That being said, Towers was lifted only because he was due up in the top of the 5th, with a 1 run deficit. You might as well use your expanded bench to try to get that one run. He also hadn't started in a while so might not have been able to go much longer than 5 innings.

Why Zaun wasn't used and Howie Clark was is a good question. Why Jason Phillips was allowed to hit the entire game is another.
greenfrog - Tuesday, June 12 2007 @ 07:10 AM EDT (#169695) #

Gibbons said before the game that Towers's pitch limit was 65-70 pitches. He threw 65 pitches last night.

What's frustrating is that San Francisco isn't hitting. So what do we do? Rally for a 3-0 lead against a hot starter, then give it back to lose 4-3. Playing just well enough to lose.


Ryan Day - Tuesday, June 12 2007 @ 09:27 AM EDT (#169697) #

The Jays have put the guy in as their #5 starter. #5 starters have limitations. And if a team was actively trying to destroy a starting pitcher, they'd use him pretty much the way the Jays have used Towers.

 That's a bit extreme, isn't it? I like Towers, and sure, he probably deserved to stay in the rotation at least as much as Ohka or Chacin; he's light years ahead of Zambrano. But let's not overstate things and pretend he was actually pitching well.

After last night, he's got a 5.31 ERA. Batters are hitting 280/313/500 against him. He has an extremely nice K/BB rate, but he's giving up a home run almost every four innings. He made six appearances out of the pen, and only escaped without giving up a run in two of them.

Have the Jays managed Towers ideally? Probably not. But Towers hasn't pitched anywhere close to ideally, either.

Mike Green - Tuesday, June 12 2007 @ 09:39 AM EDT (#169698) #
Gregg Zaun's return to catching will come none too soon.  Would-be thieves are 43-4 off Jason Phillips in the last 2 years.
G Baier - Tuesday, June 12 2007 @ 09:49 AM EDT (#169700) #
Does it not make sense to tell Phillips not to throw? Every time that a runner goes I just cringe at the thought that not only are they going to take second, they've got a good chance at third too as the poor infielders try to grab one of those awful throws. If he doesn't throw at least they only get one. If one was a real Towers defender you could blame the one run difference last night on that throw from Phillips in the first.
PaulE-O - Tuesday, June 12 2007 @ 09:57 AM EDT (#169701) #
I still think towers is an alright number 5
Wildrose - Tuesday, June 12 2007 @ 10:22 AM EDT (#169702) #
Towers's presence on the roster continues to be a mystery, since he serves no useful purpose

Blair is certainly no fan of Mr. Towers. While I like this hurlers  attitude , I tend to agree with Blair, he's not going to be a Jay next year , so why all the angst. Best case scenario: he pitches well and the team trades him at the deadline.
tstaddon - Tuesday, June 12 2007 @ 10:44 AM EDT (#169703) #
Add me to the chorus of folks who thinks that Thigpen and Fasano should stay up when Zaun can catch/Johnson comes back. Jason Phillips, the writing's on the wall, I'm afraid.
Mike Green - Tuesday, June 12 2007 @ 10:54 AM EDT (#169704) #
Jeff Blair is caustic in his criticism of Towers.

Towers is actually a fascinating pitcher from a sabermetric perspective. In 2004-05, everything was in balance.  He threw over 300 innings in total, with ERA, FIP and xFIP in the 4.4-4.7 range.  His HR/fly rate was typical at around 11%, and his groundball rate was in the mid 40s. His K rate was worrisome, at about 4.5/9, and his control was excellent.  In 06-07, everything has been out of balance in the 100 innings he has thrown.  His ERA is grossly higher than FIP and xFIP.  His GB rate is down to 39%, his HR/fly and K rates are way up, his pop-up rate is down, and he has been much less successful with runners on.  His DP rate and CS rate are both off. 

Towers has a career ERA+ of 92.  His career K, W, and HR rates are 4.8, 1.4 and 1.5.  His BB-Ref comparables have not done particularly well in their 30s, with Willie Banks being a notable exception.  My own opinion is that Towers is qualified to be a long-man/6th starter, for the next few years.  It does seem to me that the "Towers camps", both in favour and opposed, are a little extreme.

John Northey - Tuesday, June 12 2007 @ 10:54 AM EDT (#169705) #
It is clear that pitching is not the problem, offense is. Namely the offense (if you can call it that) from SS and CA.

In the AL there are 13 regular SS's (the Jays don't have a qualifier). Of those 13 just one is sub-600 for OPS, 3 below 660. The Jays are at 606, with Royce Clayton the only one over 550 at 637 (Howie Clark is at 1000 but that is due to one walk while listed as the SS). In other words the Jays best at SS is worse than all but 3 other options. What is weird is the worst regular at SS is Julio Lugo, the guy most of us wanted to see signed in the winter at 592. In the NL there are two other regulars worse than Clayton - Adam Everett (594) and Omar Vizquel (583) out of the 14 regulars there.

At CA our 'best' is Phillips at 578 (Zaun is at 531, Fasano 552). Out of the 17 regular catchers in the majors only Jason Kendall is worse (why he is still playing is beyond me with his 440 OPS). Florida also has a sub-600 regular in Oliva at 595. Philly's Barajas is hitting 221/375/403 over 98 PA's which looks like Barry Bonds numbers vs our crew.

Two positions where a major upgrade should be possible. Just take anyone (other than Oakland's) catcher or a SS from virtually anyone and you'll be better off offensively.

LF has also been a sinkhole but Stairs has hit and Johnson will be back soon so I'm not too worried there (Lind is still sub-700 and should be in AAA when Reed comes back - just 740 OPS vs righties so a platoon isn't enough). However Zaun doesn't fill me with confidence and there is no sign of help at SS short of moving Hill back there.

Lets all hope JP is chasing down a SS and a CA right now because until at least one of those horrid holes are covered this team will continue to lose games like last night.
westcoast dude - Tuesday, June 12 2007 @ 11:17 AM EDT (#169706) #
When Phillips throws to second, I can feel his pain, but he's game. Thigpen could play catcher, mind you, but he doesn't want to play there. When narcissism and lack of courage meet weak management, let's see what happens. Win or lose, the play's the thing. If it becomes a Greek Tragedy, there is value in edification.
Ryan Day - Tuesday, June 12 2007 @ 11:17 AM EDT (#169707) #

I'd be inclined to leave Lind in left for the time being. He had a good start in April (288/367/519), slumped horribly in May, and is so far playing decently in June (314/314/486; obviously the 8 Ks and no BB is problematic). On the whole he's not very good, but he does seem to be learning - I wonder if he'll have to develop his plate discipline quite the same way in AAA. At any rate, this season is wishy-washy enough that I'd rather he get his growing pains out of the way now, as long as he does continue to grow.

On top of that, who knows what we're going to get from Sparky when he comes back? Will he be able to play every day, will he be any good... I'd at least keep Lind around until Overbay comes back and Stairs can spend more time in the outfield. (Ah, things I never thought I'd say a couple months ago...)

China fan - Tuesday, June 12 2007 @ 01:19 PM EDT (#169708) #
    A small correction to the post by westcoast dude:  Thigpen has actually said, very clearly, that he wants to play catcher.   That's his preference.  It wasn't his idea to play 1B or 2B.   The Jays feel that he is athletic enough to play the infield, so they've been trying him at various positions at Syracuse and at Toronto.  You can't blame Thigpen for that.  He's doing everything they tell him to do.  But if it was up to him, he'd be a catcher.
FranklyScarlet - Tuesday, June 12 2007 @ 02:06 PM EDT (#169711) #

Thigpen could play catcher, mind you, but he doesn't want to play there. When narcissism and lack of courage meet weak management,

Yes, please expound on this comment, westcoast dude. 

I personally, don't like the idea of moving Aaron off of 2nd.....and I hope that, in the end, that is not the case.

Joanna - Tuesday, June 12 2007 @ 05:24 PM EDT (#169715) #

Count me in the camp that thinks the offense is the root of the problem.  Towers gave up three earned runs last night, two of them coming off a homerun to Barry freakin' Bonds.  Burnett has had three quality starts in a row (with 33 Ks) and no wins to show for it.  The offense needs to bail their guys out. If a pitcher is constantly trying to protect 1 or 2 run leads, with the background fear that that is all the support he'll get, he is going to pitch tight and scared. 

I think they should try having Rios protect Wells in the lineup.  Wells said in Blair's column that he is open to it, so if it's not going to bruise any egos, I say try it, if only to shake things up.  Stop hedging, Gibby.

How long until Brantley gets called out? 


chips - Tuesday, June 12 2007 @ 06:49 PM EDT (#169719) #
Here, here. It's about time Vernon took a little responsibility for his plate appearences. Pop up or ground out to 3rd/short seems to be the norm. He also appears to be behind in the count in every at bat. We're still waiting for the "break out " party to begin.
Joanna - Tuesday, June 12 2007 @ 07:20 PM EDT (#169720) #

Sigh.  For about the 10 000th time, Wells is chill, not lackidasical.  If anything, he is pressing too much at the plate.  Groundouts and popouts from high pitches are indicative of impatience not laziness.  Rios would probably be the way he is, whether or not Wells was the way he is.  Insanely talented individuals sometimes seem lazy because it comes easily to them.  The only reason I brought up the fact Wells said he wouldn't mind it is to eliminate that from possible reasons Gibbons would have to not do it.  I don't think he has a huge head (nose, yes) but they all have egos.  Every single one of them.  One of Gibby's jobs is to navigate around those egos, do a little "man" management.  The last thing he needs is ego smarting, which got him into trouble last year.

Also, "we" are not paying him anything.  I don't remember writing him a cheque.  Vernon Wells will sort himself out.  He knows he isn't doing well at the plate, he has said so publicly.

Squiggy - Tuesday, June 12 2007 @ 08:24 PM EDT (#169722) #

Sigh.  For about the 10 000th time, Wells is chill, not lackidasical. 

That's great, but if "chill" includes not running out pop-ups and ground-outs etc., then we should all have a problem with it. Trying hard is the least this insanely talented individual can do. Although we do not "write the cheques" to any of these guys, I think it is reasonable to expect a level of effort that is commensurate with salary since we all go to games, buy merchandise etc. Vernon Wells is not playing like one of the (soon-to-be) highest-salaried players in MLB right now and criticism is warranted. The reason that we all love players like Halladay, Reed Johnson, and Glaus is that it's very obvious the effort is there, even when results are not.

Dave Till - Tuesday, June 12 2007 @ 08:37 PM EDT (#169723) #
Is there evidence to suggest Wells isn't trying hard enough? I haven't noticed him not running out ground balls or anything like that.

On defense, he doesn't look like he's working hard because he has the ability to calculate exactly how much energy he needs to expend to get to any particular fly ball. Therefore, he makes everything look easy in the field. (Devon White had this ability, too.)

In short: I'm disappointed in his results, but not his effort.

I seem to recall reading that Thigpen wants to catch. And, if he wants to catch, he should catch: Zaun isn't getting any younger, Phillips is a stopgap solution at best, and Fasano doesn't hit much. There's a need for a long-term solution at catcher. Besides, this moves the Jays one step closer to the ultimate roster, in which every bench player is a catcher.

Towers is what he is: a pitcher with marginal stuff, who has to hit all of his spots in order to succeed. Unfortunately, he hits his spots about 95% of the time, and the other 5% go for very long rides. In the medical literature, this is known as Jim Acker's disease, and it is invariably fatal.

VBF - Tuesday, June 12 2007 @ 08:43 PM EDT (#169724) #
That's great, but if "chill" includes not running out pop-ups and ground-outs etc., then we should all have a problem with it.

If that's a reference to last night's game, both teams felt that ball was foul. It had nothing at all to do with an "lackadaisical" mentality. The same thing could have happened to Troy Glaus and no one would care. That play is an independant event.

And let's hold off on the vehemently booing. As if Vernon's going to hear the boos and say "Hey, I am playing poorly aren't I?", turn to the enormous power switch under the stands labelled "Vernon Wells Power" and push it to "on", thus solving the problem. He knows he's doing poorly and he would like nothing better to fix it. After Jacque Jones went to the Cubs and got booed for a slight slump, he commented about the fact that while Minnesota wasn't a hotbed for baseball, the fans were patient and supportive. If Toronto isn't going to be a hotbed for baseball, we may as well support our guys through thick and thin. These same type of people by the way, saved Toronto baseball during the really ugly years.

I also laugh hilariously at the notion that Vernon's slump is somehow related to Alex Rios becoming "lazy", despite the fact that he's putting up his best year ever. Do either of you know Vernon or Alex and are actually in a position to analyze the relationship between the two players? Not to mention the fact that Alex Rios isn't five years old. He's a grown man.

I saw Troy Glaus get a haircut. Two days later Aaron Hill got one too. Glaus is definitely a fantastic role model for Hill.

jeff mcl - Tuesday, June 12 2007 @ 09:51 PM EDT (#169726) #
Elijah Dukes might be scuffling at the plate, but he appears to be leading the league in conception %.  Bun number 5 (by the fourth different woman) is in the oven:

In the offseason I wondered if Dukes, who'd then been arrested for marijuana possession, might benefit from the mentorship of an older, established African-American star like, say, Frank Thomas.  Well,  good luck Washington; I'm sure he can only become a better person under the tutelage of Dmitri Young.

John Northey - Wednesday, June 13 2007 @ 12:22 AM EDT (#169733) #
Oy, the old 'we pay his salary' bit.  Quick question, are tickets to see college sports in the USA cheaper, the same, or more expensive than they are up here?  They are _much_ more expensive.  This in spite of the players being paid exactly $0 outside of the handful who get their tuition paid (many don't or get just a portion covered). 

If Wells suddenly decided to play for free do you think Rogers would cut ticket prices by one penny?  The Leafs did a 'good will' cut after the hard cap was brought into hockey but are raising prices quickly back to where they were and beyond despite having a payroll that is much lower than before.

Basically teams will charge whatever people will pay to see games.  If they think people will pay $10 a seat that is what they will charge.  If they think 50k people would pay $200 a seat they'd charge that much.  Payroll is completely irrelevant when it comes to ticket pricing.  If the payroll needed to survive gets too high for the market to sustain it the Jays wouldn't jump ticket prices, they would just move.  If a hard cap of $10 million per team comes into play next season ticket prices might go down slightly for the purpose of optics but it darn well wouldn't stay down even if the cap moved down each season after that.

ChicagoJaysFan - Wednesday, June 13 2007 @ 01:39 AM EDT (#169736) #
honestly, if you believe that, its not worth getting into a discussion with you. thats downright idiotic.

I'm curious where you got your economics degree?  Salaries for baseball players, like all other things, are essentially a function of two things: supply (the number of talented baseball players) and demand (driven by the number of teams that want those players).  Teams will maximize their revenue and try to match their salaries to be able to pay create that revenue, but that's not going to have too much of an impact on the individual salary, but more the total salaries in general.  Given the recent populaity of baseball, Vernon Wells is going to get his 100+ regardless of whether or not Jays fans show up at the park or not - it's just a matter of which team pays that salary. 

Toronto fans don't dictate Vernon's salary.  Baseball fans in general dictate Vernon's salary and baseball fans are turning out in great number (either in people or $$) recently (whether on tv or at the stadium).  Complain about the way the Jays spend their money, but the marginal impact of the Toronto fan (or city) on Vernon's salary is negligible, so to say we pay his salary is accurate in that our dollars go towards his compensation, but inaccurate in the sense that Jays fans actually have a significant impact on the amount he earns.
Magpie - Wednesday, June 13 2007 @ 06:25 AM EDT (#169743) #
if you believe that,

Did the Leafs lower their prices when the cap cut their payroll?

Ticket prices are determined by what the market will bear. The team - any team - will charge what they think they can get.
Magpie - Wednesday, June 13 2007 @ 07:06 AM EDT (#169744) #
In this morning's star, one of the pieces is entitled "Wells Needs To Be More Like Bonds."

Along the same lines, I'm pretty sure I would have been more popular with the women if I could only have been more like Antonio Banderas...

Chuck - Wednesday, June 13 2007 @ 08:05 AM EDT (#169747) #
Thanks for the link to the, er, piece. That's 90 seconds of my life I won't be getting back.
Mike Green - Wednesday, June 13 2007 @ 11:23 AM EDT (#169767) #
Chuck, may I suggest speed-reading.  RG.  Vernon Wells must be more like Barry Bonds.  10 seconds.  All done!

Now, how about a discussion of good slow baseball reading?  I am looking for a good summer read, to complement the usual mysteries.  Suggestions, Bauxites?  There's a ton of good fiction out there of the non-baseball variety, but it's time to return to the source...

katman - Wednesday, June 13 2007 @ 12:18 PM EDT (#169774) #
Dez, thanks for that, that's the context I was missing. A run down and the pitcher coming up in the 5th, yes that makes sense.
China fan - Wednesday, June 13 2007 @ 12:30 PM EDT (#169780) #
   But, snide remarks aside, Griffin does make an interesting point.  Of the 11 position players who have contracts of $100-million or more, Vernon Wells is at the bottom or near the bottom in all of the main batting categories.   Maybe everyone knew that already, but I didn't know that.  I think it's worthwhile to compare him to the other top-paid players.   After all, Vernon's absence of power this year has got to be one of the three main reasons for the Jays being under .500 so far.  (The three main reasons:  1) injuries; 2) Frank Thomas; 3) Vernon Wells.)     When Vernon accepted the $126-million deal, he had to know that it would put a lot of pressure on him to perform.  As fans, we have a right to compare the dollars to the output and to expect more from him.   Most of the other 10 hitters with nine-digit contracts are doing better than Vernon, and that's a relevant fact.
Mike Green - Wednesday, June 13 2007 @ 12:58 PM EDT (#169782) #
Yes. Vernon Wells has been cold at the start of the season.  If one wants to take a second look at his contract, it is probably better to take a full approach to it.

Wells is a good, but not great hitter (career OPS+ of 111- I haven't calculated GPA+ but it is probably in the 106-108 range as Wells is heavy on slug and light on OBP).  He plays a key defensive position well enough still. His contract is essentially two contracts- a 4 year deal worth 9m, 10m, 21m, and 23m for 2008-11, and a 3 year deal worth 21m annually from 2012-14.  Wells has the right to opt out after 2011.  He is going to have develop substantially as a hitter to be worth 21m annually for 2012-14, but the figures for 2008-11 are, if anything, modest from the club's perspective.

Personally, I would rather had the club entered into long-term contracts with Rios and Hill prior to the season (and I said so then), but the Wells deal was a reasonable one. 

budgell - Wednesday, June 13 2007 @ 12:59 PM EDT (#169783) #

Now, how about a discussion of good slow baseball reading?  I am looking for a good summer read, to complement the usual mysteries.  Suggestions, Bauxites?  There's a ton of good fiction out there of the non-baseball variety, but it's time to return to the source...

Non-fiction but exceptional.

China fan - Wednesday, June 13 2007 @ 01:22 PM EDT (#169790) #

    Most of us welcomed the $126-million contract because we assumed and expected that Vernon would continue to produce at some reasonable facsimile of his career average, or better.   Instead, he has been significantly below his career average this year.  And if he still hopes to bounce back to some semblance of an average year, he is quickly running out of time to do that. 

   Most of us are not questioning Ricciardi's decision to give Vernon the big bucks.  From all the facts at his disposal in the off-season, it was a reasonable risk for him to take.   That's not the issue here.  The issue is just that -- for unknown reasons -- Vernon is defying the odds and performing poorly this year.  Seems fair enough for us to discuss that and even to raise a complaint or two.


Magpie - Wednesday, June 13 2007 @ 05:45 PM EDT (#169801) #
you dont pay for defence, period.

You do if you want to actually win some games. You really do need guys who can catch the ball. Otherwise it rolls and rolls and rolls...

Seriously, there's probably a larger difference between the best defensive centre fielder and the worst than there is between the best offensive centre fielder and the worst. In terms of real production.
Magpie - Wednesday, June 13 2007 @ 05:49 PM EDT (#169802) #
PLEASE. get real

Good idea. Why on earth would one of these large corporations reduce prices if they don't actually have to?

Out of the goodness of their hearts? When does that ever happen?

I have some swampland in Florida I want to tell you about. And the Brooklyn Bridge, while we're at it...
CSHunt68 - Wednesday, June 13 2007 @ 06:51 PM EDT (#169804) #

Anyone who thinks the Leafs would willingly lower ticket prices for any reason is clearly out of touch with Toronto.


scottt - Wednesday, June 13 2007 @ 09:14 PM EDT (#169809) #
Leaf games already sell out. Why would they lower the price?

Magpie - Thursday, June 14 2007 @ 08:16 AM EDT (#169831) #
The difference between the very best and the very worst - not at every position, but at shortstop, centre field, and second base - can be as much as 100 hits a year. Taken away, as a defender.

It's not without impact. 
westcoast dude - Thursday, June 14 2007 @ 08:31 AM EDT (#169835) #

I don't believe everything I write, in retrospect. Jeremy did a fine job closing the Giants with style and a little excitement.

I'm perplexed as to why Curtis Thigpen came up. He caught de Jong brilliantly, but first base...not so much. My preference at first would be either Clark (who was sensational leading off) or Stairs of the dramatic solo shots, with Overbay in the mix to come.

Chuck - Thursday, June 14 2007 @ 09:53 AM EDT (#169843) #

I'm wondering if the Jays aren't bending over backwards to transmogrify Thigpen into Tony Phillips, an imperative in these days of short benches and versatility bereft rosters.

Ryan Day - Thursday, June 14 2007 @ 10:25 AM EDT (#169845) #
I suspect that whatever Thigpen's future in the organization may be, it won't be first base. So why bother having him on the roster as a first baseman and third-string catcher? If he's not good enough to catch, send him back to Syracuse to work on his catching. If he's not going to be a catcher at all, send him back to Syracuse to learn second or third or whatever.
Pistol - Thursday, June 14 2007 @ 11:24 AM EDT (#169849) #
I'm wondering if the Jays aren't bending over backwards to transmogrify Thigpen into Tony Phillips, an imperative in these days of short benches and versatility bereft rosters.

I had the exact same thought (even the Tony Phillips part). 

Of course, I'd still rather have a solid catcher than a good super utility player.  The Jays could use both.
Ryan Day - Thursday, June 14 2007 @ 12:22 PM EDT (#169853) #
Russ Adams would be a good candidate for a super-utility guy, though playing third might be a stretch; he could at least play short from time to time, which Thigpen probably couldn't.  And Adams probably can't catch...
AWeb - Thursday, June 14 2007 @ 02:04 PM EDT (#169862) #
OK, I usually bite my tongue on this, but there seem to be quite a few people here who have an ongoing Russ Adams delusion. I once shared it, having watched his MLB debut  callup when he tore it up. But c'mon people, he's almost 27, his defense was awful at SS and he lacks arm strength, making the OF and 3B seem like poor choices for him. He hasn't notably hit above A ball except for one month with the Jays, with his .311/.374/.404 at AAA last year likely his best year to date. That's a great line for a MLB SS, but not so much a 25-26 year old in AAA who plays second base. He's not notably fast or able to steal bases. He hits for little power. Good, not great, plate discipline (about a 11% walk rate) is his best skill.

If Aaron Hill gets injured, Adams can fill in, and he wouldn't be so bad as injury replacement 2B goes, but until he shows more, he's not exactly a Tony Phillips type in waiting. Tony Phillips was very good at AAA as 22 and 23 year old, showing exceptional plate discipline (15% walk rate) at all stops in the minors.

Chuck - Thursday, June 14 2007 @ 05:54 PM EDT (#169881) #
I concur about Russ Adams. While we can wishcast him into being a passable utility player, there's little evidence that he does anything well enough to warrant this optimism. He may well surprise, who knows?, but I wouldn't want to bet on it. His first round pedigree has to be almost entirely worn off by now.
Bruce Wrigley - Thursday, June 14 2007 @ 06:05 PM EDT (#169883) #
Adams's career figures with the bat are .249/.314/.376 which is plenty good enough for an infield reserve.  I would agree, though, that there's a significant question of whether Adams got broken somewhere along the line to the point where he has already peaked.
Rob - Thursday, June 14 2007 @ 06:58 PM EDT (#169885) #
He's not notably fast or able to steal bases.

I have nothing against the other Russ Adams points you made, but he's 13-for-17 in his ML career and 45-for-55 in the minors. Saying he can't steal bases when he's been successful 80% of the time? I don't know so much.

But yeah, he's not the saviour of the bench, no matter how much Jordan likes him...
CSHunt68 - Thursday, June 14 2007 @ 09:21 PM EDT (#169895) #

"thanks everyone for replying to my comments by throwing out your own random points that have nothing do with what i said, and somehow stilll making it look like you are arguing with me.

magpie - "Seriously, there's probably a larger difference between the best defensive centre fielder and the worst than there is between the best offensive centre fielder and the worst. In terms of real production."

if you are serious, its a shame ive actually valued your opinion these past couple of months."

Sometimes, you just don't need to say anything. ;)

But, you may want to look at some defensive and offensive metrics, rather than just making the same old gut-level instinctive call that serious sabermetrics has been disproving for the better part of thirty years now ...

AWeb - Thursday, June 14 2007 @ 11:02 PM EDT (#169898) #
13-for-17 in his ML career and 45-for-55 in the minors

Ok, it might be more fair to say Adams can steal bases, but just hasn't done so very often. After almost 900 plate appearances in the majors, there's not much difference between someone who's 13 for 17 stealing and someone who's, say, 9 for 17. And as the old saying goes, you can't steal first base.

As for the 100 hit difference between CF defense (taking that as a given for now), it's important to keep the value of those hits in perspective. Very few HRs are taken away, and a lot of hits taken away would have been played into singles by a less capable OF. Some of the extra "hits" might be more properly seen as taking away an extra base as I see it; a ball cutoff before it reaches the wall saves a double or a triple quite often, and while not as important as getting an extra out, they're still vital. And a CF defender can't take away walks.

Also, the 100 run difference is a best vs worst comparison. Think Willie Mays in his last years vs Willie Mays in his prime. It's an extreme comparison. Offensively, a worst vs best CF comparison would be worth more to a team, I would think. Mickey Mantle in 1957 (.365/.512/.665) provided more than 100 hits worth of value over, say Coco Crisp in Boston last year (.264/.317/.385).
CSHunt68 - Friday, June 15 2007 @ 09:01 AM EDT (#169905) #
If RBI is your choice of how to measure the offensive contribution of a player, I'm not going to even bother - it's not worth it. I'll just say that if you think that your 140 RBI - 40 RBI calculation implies that the difference between those two players, offensively, is 100 runs ... well ... oh, never mind.
Ryan Day - Friday, June 15 2007 @ 09:24 AM EDT (#169907) #

Adams has always hit relatively well - good enough for a supersub, anyway. Whether or not he's "broken" is a fair question, of course.

But at any rate, I'd rather they experiment with Adams than Thigpen, since Thigpen is at least on something of a roll.

ayjackson - Friday, June 15 2007 @ 10:02 AM EDT (#169911) #

OK, I usually bite my tongue on this, but there seem to be quite a few people here who have an ongoing Russ Adams delusion.

Delusional?  Seems like a bit of hyperbole to me.  I think if he was cast as a second baseman at the age of 23, he would have replaced O-dog and Hill would have been groomed to play short.  Then we wouldn't be having this discussion.

He can hit and walk well enough to be a useful to some team.  I'm sure his defence will be better where the throws are shorter.

Mike Green - Friday, June 15 2007 @ 10:10 AM EDT (#169913) #
The difference between prime Darin Erstad or Andruw Jones and mid-30s Ken Griffey Jr. in centerfield would be very significant.  How much?  30 runs a season, probably.  40 runs a season, perhaps.  It could be 50, but I doubt much more than that.  You can look at UZRs to try to put a number on it.
CSHunt68 - Sunday, June 17 2007 @ 11:07 AM EDT (#169994) #
Nope. Not even close. But, again, from your commentary, it really seems like there's no point engaging in the discussion. So, enjoy your delusions.
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