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Are we sure he has signed? The Jays have signed Rod Barajas to share the catching duties with Gregg Zaun. Barajas signed with the Jays last off-season before changing his mind the next day. This signing is a lot cheaper, $1.2 million for one year versus $6 million for two years in the previous attempt at a contract.



Barajas had a poor year in Philadelphia in 2007 but he was hampered by injuries and he spent part of the season on the DL. Barajas is 32 and looking for that big payday, not that $1.2 million is chump change, but presumably he will be motivated to get back to the $6 million club and he does provide a better option than Sal Fasano.

Rey Olmedo has been deignated for assignment, one of the many middle infielders on the Jays roster.

Jays sign Rod Barajas (again) | 91 comments | Create New Account
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China fan - Thursday, January 24 2008 @ 08:59 PM EST (#179302) #
   As I said on the other thread, it shows that Barajas can swallow his pride -- or get a new agent.
    But I like the move.  Despite the injuries last season, Barajas posted an OPS+ of 89, which was actually better than the 80 that he recorded in 2006.   I'm hoping he can push Zaun a little, keep Zaun refreshed and motivated, and provide the Jays with a stronger total output from the catcher position this year -- maybe even back to where they were in 2006.  His defensive skills will be useful too. 

ANationalAcrobat - Thursday, January 24 2008 @ 09:07 PM EST (#179303) #
The interesting part for me is the option year. Is it gonna be another player/vesting option or is JP gonna get his first club option? (If anyone can confirm that it will indeed by his first, I'd appreciate it.)

I'm also curious as how playing time will be shared between Thigpen and Diaz. I suppose they will see time at other positions or simply at DH.
melondough - Thursday, January 24 2008 @ 09:08 PM EST (#179304) #

Can someone please tell me where he ranks in terms of throwing out runners.  If he is a lot better than Zaun in this respect then would it not make sense to have him catch the guys that are easier to steal against (i.e. McGowan and Halladay)?

R Billie - Thursday, January 24 2008 @ 09:12 PM EST (#179305) #

Not sure what got into Barajas in Philly this year but he posted his highest walk rate and an almost even BB/K ratio in about 122 at bats.  Maybe playing injured agrees with him.  Still this is a guy with a .288 career onbase so though he's certainly a step above Fasano, his only real value is likely to be his glove and modest power potential.

Though he's hit lefties tangibly better, he doesn't have a very significant split.  It's not like he's a passable offensive player versus LHP for his career.  I guess a one year deal for low dollars is about right for a guy like him.  Not sure what the Jays were thinking signing him to a 2 year, $6M deal last year.  Clearly no-one else was giving him near that much.

China fan - Thursday, January 24 2008 @ 09:14 PM EST (#179306) #
   Molina's contract in 2006 included a club option.  The Jays, of course, did not exercise it.   If that was the precedent for catchers, maybe the Barajas contract also has a club option.
    As for Thigpen and Diaz:   it's likely that Diaz is still a year away, and could benefit from a full season at Syracuse.  If he forces the team's hand, so much the better.   If he puts up great numbers at Syracuse, the Barajas contract is not so expensive that it precludes the team from making room for Diaz in the latter half of the season.
    Similarly, if Thigpen has a break-out season, Barajas could be edged to the end of the bench to make room for him.  But the team doesn't seem high on Thigpen as a catcher anyway.  Maybe this pushes him more towards the 2B option, or the utility man.  Or maybe Thigpen and Diaz will compete for starting catcher in 2009 when Zaun and Barajas are both likely to be gone.
   

R Billie - Thursday, January 24 2008 @ 09:17 PM EST (#179307) #

 If he is a lot better than Zaun in this respect then would it not make sense to have him catch the guys that are easier to steal against (i.e. McGowan and Halladay)?

I think this pretty much represents the Jays entire rotation and much of the bullpen, except Marcum, Janssen, and maybe Litsch.  I.E. you're going to make a career .239/.288/.408 hitter your starting catcher.  I think you maybe use him as late inning defence and occasional starter.  The running game will be an issue even if Barajas starts regularly.

scottt - Thursday, January 24 2008 @ 09:19 PM EST (#179308) #
I don't know about the option, but 1.2 M is peanuts.

I'm surprised that J.P. went and got him. Quite the deal.

Sucks for Thigpen though.

Maybe J.P. can get Meche to change his mind too.



Hal - Thursday, January 24 2008 @ 09:24 PM EST (#179309) #

Here is what was being said about Rod the first time around.

What a difference a year can make...

http://www.battersbox.ca/article.php?story=20061126221251272

HollywoodHartman - Thursday, January 24 2008 @ 09:28 PM EST (#179310) #
Rotoworld claims the option is of the club variety. I give this signing my personal thumbs up.
ANationalAcrobat - Thursday, January 24 2008 @ 09:28 PM EST (#179311) #
What a difference a year can make...

Thanks for the link, Hal. I feel compelled to point out that Barajas was being signed as a #1 catcher last year - not a backup. The situation is quite different.

vw_fan17 - Thursday, January 24 2008 @ 09:54 PM EST (#179312) #
I think this pretty much represents the Jays entire rotation and much of the bullpen, except Marcum, Janssen, and maybe Litsch.  I.E. you're going to make a career .239/.288/.408 hitter your starting catcher.  I think you maybe use him as late inning defence and occasional starter.  The running game will be an issue even if Barajas starts regularly.

I know the stats say he's a career .239/.288/.408 hitter. BUT, if you look at just his last 4 years (i.e. after he learned to play in the bigs, IMHO), doing some rough calcs and eyeballing the SLG, I see: .250/.294/.425-.430. Around 720-725 OPS. Not really that horrible.

VW
China fan - Thursday, January 24 2008 @ 09:55 PM EST (#179313) #
     Reviewing the debate over Zaun and Barajas from a year ago, it's interesting to see how many of us believed that the best option would be Zaun and Barajas splitting time on the same team, especially if it could be done at a reasonable price.  Well, a year later, that's exactly what we've got.  Let's see if they complement each other as nicely as we expected.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 24 2008 @ 10:03 PM EST (#179314) #
Marcel has Barajas at .250/.310/.410 in 310 PAs. With his average defence, that's a fine back-up/right-handed platoon half.  I believe that Thigpen could have done as well as that, but either is a huge leap over Jason Phillips.
John Northey - Thursday, January 24 2008 @ 10:07 PM EST (#179315) #
As a backup catcher I like this deal. One year with an option (as long as it is a team option or mutual one) is almost always a good deal for the team and $1.2 million is peanuts these days.

Now, Barajas isn't much. 230/352/393 last season with pre-07 lifetime peaks of 256/306/453 (not at once, in different seasons of at least 100 AB's). If he keeps being patient at the plate he could be a steal, but odds are strongly against it I'd say. He also has never, not even in a 13 AB season, had an OPS+ of 100 or better.

Checking most similar (not exact science but interesting) by age none of the top 10 had a OPS+ of 100 or better from age 32 on, while just 3 reached 90 and 3 were sub-60. Only 2 had over 400 AB's from 32 on. What this says is Barajas is a backup now and odds are for the rest of his (probably short) career. Over 2 years he made (or will make) $4.2 million instead of $5.25 but it could've been a lot worse for him. Good deal in the end for the Jays as Barajas obviously wouldn't have pushed them into the playoffs last year and now they have Zaun and Barajas, their #1 and #2 choices last winter, at a very affordable price while keeping two prospects in AAA along with a vet emergency backup.

This is good.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 24 2008 @ 10:07 PM EST (#179316) #
I hope Rey Olmedo ends up on his feet.  It wouldn't shock me if the Rays pick him up to back up Bartlett.
tstaddon - Thursday, January 24 2008 @ 10:16 PM EST (#179317) #
Chances of Barajas posting that kind of OBP again this year are terrible. How many of those walks were the result of the unintentional intentional pass offered to so many 8th-hitting NLers with pop?
China fan - Thursday, January 24 2008 @ 10:24 PM EST (#179318) #
     Does this complete the Jays off-season shopping list?  Or is there still a chance that JP could acquire a starting pitcher (maybe a reclamation project) for the depth that the team still needs?   I notice that Matt Clement has signed with the Cardinals.  Is there anyone else available who has a chance of helping the Jays?
Mike Green - Thursday, January 24 2008 @ 10:35 PM EST (#179319) #
Barajas, who did bat eighth all season,  had 3 IBB.  3 of the "unintentional walks" were with runner(s) on and 1st base open. I'd call them intentional.  Most of the others were with the bases empty, including one leading off the 10th inning.  If you want to make him a fair 13-24 W/K, you can.  It's still a lot better than usual for him.  The .310 OBP that Marcel projects for him might be a smidge high, but not much.
timpinder - Thursday, January 24 2008 @ 11:54 PM EST (#179321) #
It's definitely an upgrade over Fasano, but I'm not sure Barajas is much better than Thigpen (.796 OPS in minors).  I'm convinced that the Jays have soured on Thigpen and are looking to Diaz as their starting catcher of the future.  I wonder if Thigpen has become trade bait or if the Jays are planning on using him as a super utiility player who could probably play a decent C, 1B, 3B, LF, and RF.
timpinder - Thursday, January 24 2008 @ 11:57 PM EST (#179322) #
And of course 2B.  Actually, converting Thigpen to be a utility player might not be a bad idea.  He's athletic enough that he could probably play passable defense with a decent bat at every position except CF and SS.
Wildrose - Friday, January 25 2008 @ 01:36 AM EST (#179323) #
Can someone please tell me where he ranks in terms of throwing out runners.

Barajas  has thrown out 34% of would be base stealers over his career.  A.L. average in 2007 was 27% ( Zaun threw out 14% and Phillips 4% last year). 

Analyzing catcher defence is poorly understood by the sabermetric community. It's a very difficult position to quantify. If the baseball people don't feel Thigpen can catch, I tend  to believe them. It's to bad he's a pretty good little hitter, I suspect he doesn't have the full confidence of that very difficult breed, called pitchers.

Bauxites should bear in mind the yardstick for measuring catcher  offensive output is considerably lower  than that of  the average hitter.  In fact catchers on whole are much poorer hitters than even shortstops, the average A.L. catcher in 2007 had  a  .318 OBP  and a .395 slg avg  for a  .714 OPS. He does not have a huge L/R hitting  split.  Basically he projects as an average to slightly below average hitting catcher. I have now idea how he handles a pitching staff or blocks the plate.

Give both sides some credit for swallowing their pride and getting a deal done. Blair says the Barajas camp made the first move.
Axil - Friday, January 25 2008 @ 02:20 AM EST (#179324) #
I like the offseason so far. It has looked as such:

a) We brought back an injured yet solid lineup resigning much of what contributed in 2007.
b) Added minor league pitching depth in the way of Shawn Camp, John Parrish, Lance Carter, Mike Gosling, resigning Jamie Vermilyea and possibly Randy Wells.
b) Solved the problem of a leadoff hitter with the signing of David Eckstein.
c) Added minor league hitting depth by bringing back Sal Fasano and picking up Buck Coats and Pedro Lopez.
d) Solved (potentially) the Troy Glaus problem and improved infield defense by swapping him for Scott Rolen.
e) Strengthened the bench in areas of weakness by resigning Matt Stairs and adding Marco Scutaro and Rod Barajas (and picking up Eckstein moving John McDonald to the bench).

JP said he wanted to do some tinkering and this looks like tinkering at its finest plugging almost all holes that were glaring. The only thing I am still advocating for is one more pitcher. Kris Benson or Bartolo Colon are the two on my list. If that gets done I will be extraordinarily happy with the "tinkering" done to significantly improve the Jays lineup this year. And with that tinkering and little bit of health it could be what the Jays need to push themselves into the playoffs.

China fan - Friday, January 25 2008 @ 04:40 AM EST (#179325) #
    Jeff Blair says there's an option for 2009 in the Barajas contract, but it's based on the number of games that he starts.  If so, that's basically the same as a club option, since the Jays totally control how many games he starts.  I suppose if Zaun is injured or plays poorly, Barajas might come close to the minimum number of games required for his option, but in that case the team might want him back for 2009 anyway.  If all goes well, Barajas might be a good veteran presence to help Diaz in 2009.


Chuck - Friday, January 25 2008 @ 06:23 AM EST (#179326) #

Barajas had a poor year in Philadelphia in 2007

Don't know that I agree.

* average ML catcher, 2007: 256/318/394
* Barajas, 2007: 230/352/393 (albeit in just 150 PAs)
* Barajas, career: 239/288/408

Barajas outhit the average ML catcher in 2007, even if you take away a bunch of his uncharacteristic walks.

For his career, he's not too terribly far behind the 2007 ML average catcher. Compared to ML average hitters, he doesn't look great, but then neither do many catchers. But in the context of the catching world, he looks like a highly qualified backup.

He'll turn 33 towards the end of the season, so he's definitely at an age where many catchers just fall off a cliff. If he can keep from falling, he should provide the team ample payback for his modest price tag. But like many others in these parts, I thought the same of Thigpen.

peiscooter - Friday, January 25 2008 @ 07:17 AM EST (#179327) #

At the major league level, I like this signing because Barajas is a definite upgrade over Fasano, and it provides a decent defensive backup to Zaun.  Barajas has thrown out  34% of baserunners over his career compared to Zaun's 24%.  (Barajas has a 34 - 20 edge over the last 3 seasons).

My main concern is playing time at Syracuse between Thigpen and Diaz (and Fasano if he's kept around).   I was hopeful of Thigpen staying at the major league level to give Diaz the regular Syracuse job towards making the majors in 2009. 

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I think 2008 may be Diaz's last option year and we might soon be faced with a keep him or lose him situation.

AWeb - Friday, January 25 2008 @ 07:51 AM EST (#179328) #
This move is certainly consistent with the offseason so far, which has taken the gaping offensive holes (SS, backup catcher) and filled them with reasonably average hitters. Not giving away the 250 ABs that Phillips, Thigpen, and Fasano took last year at something like .210/.270/.290 is a big improvement. The hardball times had Fasano and Phillips as 4 win shares below bench last year combined, whereas Barajas was at least at bench level. Simply taking those plate appearances and defensive struggles from the previous backup crew is worth a win or two to the 2008 team, which is a pretty good bargain at 1.2 million for a team which is already good (wins get harder to buy the better the team is).  With Zaun aging at a tough position, Barajas is an even larger hypothetical upgrade on the situation in case of injury.

And since I looked for Phillips and Fasano, the other Jays who were the most Win Shares below bench last year: Johnson, Overbay. If good health (and proper platooning for Johnson) can bring them back to at least average players, that's another few wins right there. The more I pay attention, the more there actually seems to be a conherent plan for making the playoffs this year. I would sum it up as: No massive holes in the lineup dragging us down, great defense, pitching repeats 2007 performance, no major injuries, and the potential stars (Wells, Rios, Thomas, Rolen) have good years. That last point is where the team can go from 80 to 90+ wins.
Pistol - Friday, January 25 2008 @ 09:07 AM EST (#179329) #
I'm not certain that Barajas is a significant upgrade on defense, or at least throwing out runners.  I think that's more on the Jays pitchers than anything else.

Look at Benji Molina:  31.3% with the Angels in 2005; 18.1% with the Jays in 2006; 30.3% with the Giants in 2007.

Pistol - Friday, January 25 2008 @ 09:12 AM EST (#179330) #
Also, kudos to Ricciardi for not holding a grudge.

I do find it odd that Olmedo would be the one to be taken off the 40 man roster.  He can at least play SS whereas Adams and Inglett can't.  I guess them being left handed helps them out.  I also would have taken Thorpe or Machi off the 40 man first (protecting AA relievers??).

jmoney - Friday, January 25 2008 @ 09:22 AM EST (#179331) #
Well I think the GM had a strong offseason.

He took a team strength (defense) and made it better. (Rolen)

He took some team weaknesses (SS offense, Backup catcher, Hitting Right handers) and tightened those up.

The big ifs are whether the pitching can repeat its performances. Whether guys like Wells, Overbay, and Johnson can revert to career norms. Whether Rolen can stay healthy. I guess thats why they play the games. Ready for spring now. :)

ANationalAcrobat - Friday, January 25 2008 @ 10:18 AM EST (#179332) #
Jeff Blair says there's an option for 2009 in the Barajas contract, but it's based on the number of games that he starts. If so, that's basically the same as a club option, since the Jays totally control how many games he starts.

That's a damn vesting option. Zaun and Thomas also have one. In the case of this particular contract I can't say I mind the vesting option so much since the money is insignificant, but I really wish JP would negotiatiate club options like other clubs do. They are immensely valuable. The James Shields contract, for example, is a tremendous deal for that reason.

b) Solved the problem of a leadoff hitter with the signing of David Eckstein.

If David Eckstein is indeed our leadoff hitter, I'd say we created a problem rather than solving one. I don't want our worst hitter getting the most hitting opportunities - that would be absurd.

MatO - Friday, January 25 2008 @ 10:34 AM EST (#179335) #

I really wish JP would negotiatiate club options like other clubs do.

Depends on the deal.  Molina had a team option

MatO - Friday, January 25 2008 @ 10:41 AM EST (#179336) #

On paper, this is the finest Blue Jay team since 1993.  On paper.

Looking back at that 1993 team it had 4 players who had ridiculous years (Molitor, Alomar, Olerud and Ward), a nice year out of Cox, good part years out of Eichorn and Fernandez after they were acquired in trades and then a whole pile of mediocrity.  I guess that's why 1994 was bad since all 4 couldn't repeat their 1993 year.

John Northey - Friday, January 25 2008 @ 10:58 AM EST (#179337) #
So, what has changed from last season? Listing guys with 10+ innings played in 2007

CA:
2007: Zaun/Phillips/Thigpen/Fasano
2008: Zaun/Barajas/Thigpen/Fasano
Net improvement with Barajas replacing Phillips (45 OPS+)

1B:
2007: Overbay/Stairs/Thigpen/Phillips/Clark/Luna
2008: Overbay/Stairs/Thigpen/whatever
Same as last year but no temptation to mix in Phillips. If healthy a major improvement

2B:
2007: Hill/Clark/Adams
2008: Hill/Scutaro/McDonald/Adams
Upgrade for backups, but will Hill play 160 games again?

3B:
2007: Glaus/Adams/Smith/Luna/McDonald/Clark/Roberts (phew)
2008: Rolen/Scutaro/McDonald
Wow, lots of backups with little success in '07. Scutaro has to be an upgrade on that. Big question is will Rolen play more than Glaus' 114 games at third?

SS:
2007: McDonald/Clayton/Olmedo/Smith
2008: Eckstein/McDonald/Scutaro/???
Offensive and I suspect a defensive upgrade with Eck over Clayton (geez he stunk). Hopefully Olmedo is resigned for AAA duty.

LF:
2007: Lind/Johnson/Stairs
2008: Stairs/Johnson/Lind
Now there is a steady position which could end up exactly the same as last year for playing time, with Lind & Johnson improving and Stairs dropping in production.

CF:
2007: Wells/Rios/Johnson (8 innings for Johnson)
2008: Wells/Rios/Johnson
Wells should do better, same backup situation

RF:
2007: Rios/Stairs/Johnson/Griffen
2008: Rios/Johnson/Stairs
I figure Johnson will get more time in RF than Stairs but could be wrong. Will Rios improve/stay the same/drop? Hard to say but he is entering his prime. First two seasons was an 80 OPS+, next two a 120 OPS+, could we see a 160 OPS+? :) Reminds me of Lloyd Moseby - 9 HR each of his first 3 seasons, then 18 each of the next 3.

DH:
2007: Thomas/Stairs
2008: Thomas/Stairs
Same guys, lower production almost assured.

Not bad. Only Glaus is gone of the guys who actually added anything of value to the team last year. I much prefer Eckstein to Clayton and Barajas to Phillips. Scutaro is a far better backup option than the parade of non-stars we saw last year. Resign Olmedo to a minor league deal and I'd say that was a winter well spent. I'd like a better backup for Rolen but need it to come from within as you won't find a good hitter for that slot for a bench position.
Mike Green - Friday, January 25 2008 @ 11:08 AM EST (#179338) #
On paper, the 2000 club was probably a little better but all the young pitchers (Carpenter, Escobar, Halladay) struggled.  With David Wells and Frank Castillo having good seasons and other pitchers who at times had been good enough (Joey Hamilton, Steve Trachsel, he who shall not be named), the club could had a solid rotation on paper to go with a powerhouse offence (on paper, at least).

This club is more settled defensively than the 2000 club was, and that is probably good news for the young pitching.  Now, if they can stay away from the sick bay...

SK in NJ - Friday, January 25 2008 @ 11:23 AM EST (#179339) #

If David Eckstein is indeed our leadoff hitter, I'd say we created a problem rather than solving one. I don't want our worst hitter getting the most hitting opportunities - that would be absurd.

That's odd. Two different teams won the World Series with Eckstein as their lead-off hitter (4 playoff appearances in 6 years), and he's produced .350-.360 OBP's in 4 of the last 6 years.

I know people here roll their eyes when others bring up the "wins" argument when it comes to Eckstein, and you're certaintly entitled to that, but if other teams have won with Eckstein leading off and playing SS everyday, and he's putting up solid to very good OBP numbers more times than not, then how in the world would it be "absurd" to lead him off in Toronto? He'll probably be one of the top 4 in OBP on the team. Heck, he's been better against RHP than Vernon Wells in two of the last three years, and Wells hits in the middle of the order. That should be a bigger concern.

I'm not a huge Eckstein fan, but the disrespect he gets on this board is astonishing to me.

Mark - Friday, January 25 2008 @ 11:29 AM EST (#179340) #
Now, if they can stay away from the sick bay...

And there is absolutely no reason to think they can. Scott Rolen, Vernon Wells, and Reed Johnson all have chronic problems. Frank Thomas is on a surgically repaired ankle that can snap under his 260 pounds at any time. Roy Halladay hasnít had an injury free season since winning the Cy Young. AJ Burnett? Please. BJ Ryanís violent delivery finally caught up with him and is coming off TJ surgery. Brandon League has a small tear in his rotator cuff. And all their young starters are going to be asked to throw career high innings. 

I want it to happen as much as anyone, but injury free just doesn't stack up.
I think in the end, we will be hearing the same tune we have heard the past years. "If the team had stayed healthy we could have competed..."
The problem is, every year I check Will Carrol's health reports, they are loaded with Reds and Yellows. At some point when do you start questioning the injury history of the players brought in instead of claiming to be unlucky or unfortunate?
CaramonLS - Friday, January 25 2008 @ 11:32 AM EST (#179341) #

As Pistol said - the throwing out of runners has very little to do with our catchers.  Even Pudge would have a throwing % around 15-20% if he played a full season with the Jays.

Get a stopwatch and time AJ's delivery and watch how often he looks back the runner.  You'll quickly learn where the problem is.

Mike Green - Friday, January 25 2008 @ 11:59 AM EST (#179343) #
I was speaking mainly about the pitching, Mark.  An injury to Frank Thomas would just mean that Stairs moves to DH and Lind comes up to play the outfield. If Wells is injured, Rios slides over to center and perhaps Snider comes up to play right-field. 

Can they get 180 innings or more from 4 out of 5 of Halladay, Burnett, McGowan, Marcum and Janssen?  The odds are that they will not, but it's not ridiculously unlikely.



ANationalAcrobat - Friday, January 25 2008 @ 12:01 PM EST (#179344) #
That's odd. Two different teams won the World Series with Eckstein as their lead-off hitter (4 playoff appearances in 6 years), and he's produced .350-.360 OBP's in 4 of the last 6 years.

You shouldn't ignore the fact that he projects to be our worst hitting regular. There is more to a hitter than OBP and it's wrong it ignore that. He's certainly useful - probably an average hitting shortstop - and I'm glad to have him signed to a good contract, but he's not someone I would want to give extra at bats to. In the context of the '08 Jays, he's an 8th or a 9th hitter and to use him otherwise would be a mistake, especially when you have 8 superior hitters in your lineup.

You are right though about VW against righties being another problem that could hurt our chances in '08. I expect they'll just put him in the 3 spot and hope for the best, unfortunately.

Mylegacy - Friday, January 25 2008 @ 12:48 PM EST (#179345) #

"Mark" and "Mike Green" are getting to the heart of our prospects for 2008.

HEALTH - Firstly, it's HIGHLY unlikely we'll have another 13 surgeries this year. Could happen - but even the devil gives holy people an even break sometimes. I agree with Mike's analysis. This year we're better "back-up(ed)"  to withstand injuries. Lind is now more likely to be at or near a major league level. The Scooter and JMac off the bench are an infield "back-up" upgrade. Rod is an upgrade. Stairs can back up Overbay and Thomas. Offense and defense can withstand NORMAL injuries.

Pitching wise, even if Roy and AJ have a brief(ish) medical hiccup, like last year - we'll be more than fine - like last year.  BJ is NOT needed - his return will be a welcome addition to a near league best bullpen. We're gonna' rock and roll! Is it April yet?

MatO - Friday, January 25 2008 @ 01:32 PM EST (#179346) #
The pitching staff coming into 2000 was nowhere near as good as 2008.  None of Halladay, Carpenter or Escobar was as good in 1999 as McGowan or Marcum last year.  Boomer Wells was pretty mediocre in 1999.  Castillo was an invite to spring training.  The bullpen had Koch and Quantrill and not much else.  The offense had career years out of Delgado, Batista, Fullmer, Stewart, Fletcher and Mondesi before he got hurt which I'm not sure you could have predicted entering the year.
John Northey - Friday, January 25 2008 @ 02:14 PM EST (#179348) #
Worth noting is AAA depth this year. Checking the 'Minor Leagues' link at the top I see 9 guys listed in the pen in the majors, another 9 at AAA and 8 at AA. At least 5 of those guys are gone when the season begins, probably more. Janssen is listed as a starter so that could shift things too.

A 5 man bench is listed at the majors, no Barajas yet, and 7 in AAA (including Olmedo) and 4 in AA. Given each level will probably have no more than 4-5 guys on the bench that means 2 at least will be cut, maybe more.

The regulars are key though. Will Chip Cannon finally get a shot at AAA and do something? Diaz is on the cusp as is Thigpen. Adams is no more than injury insurance now. Santos is probably a third baseman and might get a shot this year when/if Rolen goes down. At SS we just have to hope (Lopez is not much). Lind in the OF will be first up and between him and Stairs we shouldn't see anyone else from AAA/AA unless another year from hell comes about for more than 4th/5th outfielder duty.

I'd say the big key is getting Hill & Rolen to stay healthy as I don't like the backups for those slots. I keep dreaming that Chip Cannon will do well if needed (or at least I would love to see him here as that is just too much fun for a name). Pitching I'm not too worried about.
Mike Green - Friday, January 25 2008 @ 02:23 PM EST (#179349) #
C'mon, MatO.  You wouldn't use 1 year statistics to project a pitcher.  Carpenter was 25, and had thrown 175 and 150 innings of major league ball in 1998 and 1999 with an ERA+ of over 100 each year and ratios to match.  Escobar had been not quite as good with a career ERA+ of 99 at that point, but all the stuff in the world.  Halladay had an ERA+ of 126 in 1999, was an early 1st round pick and had even better stuff than Escobar, although his ratios were not yet very good.  David Wells had thrown 200 innings with ERA+ of 106, 127 and 102 in 1997, 1998 and 1999 (his outlook in 2000 was probably better than Burnett's is today because of superior health).

By the numbers, Carpenter '00 would project better than McGowan '08, and Escobar '00 might very well project better than Marcum '08.  Halladay '00 would probably project about the same as Janssen '08 and better than Litsch '08.  This does not mean that the 2008 young pitching is about to go down the tubes.  All of the Jays young pitchers in 2000 just had exceptionally poor years and would be much better later in their careers.  Youneverknow.

The overall offensive performance was pretty predictable.  The club had a bunch of hitters in the age 26-29 range, and scored 883 runs in 1999, after 816 runs in 1998.  They lost Shawn Green and scored 861 in 2000. Individually, Cruz Jr., Alex Gonzalez, and Homer Bush did significantly worse than reasonable expectations from past performance.



Wildrose - Friday, January 25 2008 @ 03:31 PM EST (#179352) #
You shouldn't ignore the fact that he projects to be our worst hitting regular. There is more to a hitter than OBP and it's wrong it ignore that

Absolutely. What many fans forget is that a batting order is a continuous loop, the leverage of using Eckstein's high OBP  in the leadoff position  is only  utilized in the first inning.  While Eckstein is above average in getting on base, the other half of the equation is that he's mainly a singles hitter, with a career .362 slugging %. In 2007 he had only 26 extra base hits, not exactly the numbers you want later in the game with him batting and runners potentially on base.

Here's what the latest research into batting order states from the Book by Tango and MGL,

" Your 3 best hitters should bat somewhere in the #1, #2 and #4 slots. Your fourth and fifth best hitters should occupy the #3 and #5 slots. From slots # 6-9, put the batters in descending order of quality."

Basically you gain better run value by giving your better overall hitters 75-100 more plate appearances over the course of the year , than to giving it to a guy like Eckstein , who is arguably your ninth best overall hitter.  Now the difference is marginal, 10-20 runs in a year, but good teams look for any edge they can (the  #3 slot has an inordinate amount of 2 out hitting situations thus the rationale of using a lower level hitter).
MatO - Friday, January 25 2008 @ 03:46 PM EST (#179353) #

Halladay's and Escobar's ratios were awful and they were called up so young that they're minor league ratios weren't very good either so you didn't know what to expect from them.  Escobar had about 250IP and Halladay 150IP in the majors so they'r easily comparable to Marcum and McGowan.  Carpenter had more IP and had pitched OK but had spent time on the DL in 1999 with elbow inflammation.  Wells was turning 37, hadn't pitched particularly well in 1999 and was fat.  You could easily argue he was near the end of the line.  As for the bullpens, there's no comparison.

Alex Gonzalez had a perfectly average year coming off an injury in 1999.  His career was remarkably consistent.  There's no way in January 2000 that I would have expected six guys to have career years.

ChicagoJaysFan - Friday, January 25 2008 @ 03:48 PM EST (#179354) #
Basically you gain better run value by giving your better overall hitters 75-100 more plate appearances over the course of the year , than to giving it to a guy like Eckstein , who is arguably your ninth best overall hitter.  Now the difference is marginal, 10-20 runs in a year, but good teams look for any edge they can (the  #3 slot has an inordinate amount of 2 out hitting situations thus the rationale of using a lower level hitter).

I don't disagree with any of what you said, and I almost hate to respond with something like this, but line-up creation has to be balanced with the psychological aspect as well.  I haven't seen statistics that look at this, so unfortunately I have nothing to back it up, so feel free to ignore, but some players seem to be uncomfortable batting at different parts of the order and / or will change their approach depending on where they are in the line-up. 

With only 10-20 runs a year to be gained by mathematically optimizing the line-up, I'd prefer my manager focus on what will motivate people the most.  The motivational aspect of management, which cannot easily be captured in statistics, is what I actually perceive to be the manager's most important job.  If it were just filling out line-ups, there are millions of people out there that can do that.  The 10-20 runs / year is in-line with everything that I've heard though, which essentially means, the main game is getting your manager to put the best 9 on the field - after that, there is limited difference in line-ups if he were to just pick names out of a hat (2% or so).
Wildrose - Friday, January 25 2008 @ 04:15 PM EST (#179355) #
Chicago, generally I agree with your observation, a manager must also balance whats best for the team over individual bias as well. It's a tough job, having the " best" players out there in a given game probably trumps batting order strategy.  Generally Gibby does a good balancing act considering most salient  factors, he did have Stairs lead-off at times which is a good strategy and put Rios #1 to help him be more selective, I can't really disagree with these moves he tries.
Mike Green - Friday, January 25 2008 @ 04:20 PM EST (#179356) #
Escobar's ratios were not awful.  Through 1999 (age 23), he had thrown 284 innings and given up 25 homers and 135 walks, while striking out 237.  That is perfectly consistent with an ERA+ of 99, and a young pitcher with very good stuff and moderate control problems. 

As for Wells being fat and 35, I am sure that you will find that IP and ERA+ over the previous 3 years is a much better indicator of likely success than body mass index. Fat can be beautiful!

ChicagoJaysFan - Friday, January 25 2008 @ 04:21 PM EST (#179357) #
Wildrose - looks like we're on the same wavelength.  The other thing to consider, is the impact on the rest of the team if they feel the manager is not doing everything he can to help the team win?  Hypothetically, keeping Wells in the 3rd spot if he's clearly not performing this year (I'm not saying Gibby didn't move him around last year) may start to make other players question the team's commitment to winning.  This lends more weight to your initial line-up stylings.

As you said, it's a tough job and I too think Gibby does a pretty good job at it.

MatO - Friday, January 25 2008 @ 04:52 PM EST (#179358) #
Au contraire.  Escobar's 1999 as mostly a starter was awful.  WHIP of 1.63, 203H in 174IP, 10 HB, K/W of 1.59, K/9IP of 6.67, W/9IP of 4.19.  All his numbers had deteriorated in 1999 so I don't know how anyone would have had high hopes in 2000 as a starter.  Chances are a fat 37 year old Wells would be worse than the fat 35 year old version (that probably goes for all pitchers no matter what shape they're in).
Mike Green - Friday, January 25 2008 @ 05:14 PM EST (#179360) #
A walk rate of 4.19 for a young starter with electric stuff and reasonably good health is not the end of the world.  Neither is a poor hit rate in a single season.  He might just as easily have put up what he did in 2001 or 2003 in 2000, but did not.  You never know when/if the adjustment is going to be made. 

scottt - Friday, January 25 2008 @ 06:21 PM EST (#179363) #
Your 3 best hitters should bat somewhere in the #1, #2 and #4 slots. Your fourth and fifth best hitters should occupy the #3 and #5 slots. From slots # 6-9, put the batters in descending order of quality."

Unless you specify how you rank your hitters, this doesn't mean anything. Properly ranking the players is the biggest problem no matter what method you use because that amount to predicting their 2008 numbers.

This lineup strategy is a massive simplification that assume you don't make any substitutions. It also assumes that batters hits the same in all situations throughout the entire year.

Boston won it all last year by starting Lugo in the leadoff position. He hit .224  yet the team played around .700. Eventually, they dropped him to the bottom of the lineup where he hit .305 while they played .500 baseball. If you look at hit, Boston had hardly any players that didn't  perform either  bellow or above their expectation. Their lineup was consequently not optimized at all.

There's no way Eckstein should get all those extra PA because he's got a defensive upgrade on the bench. If Gibbons doesn't pinch hit for him in RBI situation, it won't be because the lineup is poorly constructed.

Also, Eckstein is possibly the most stable guy at the plate on the team. He's the least likely to have a bad year.

Ortiz got 254 RBI from the 3rd slot in the last two years. What's wrong with hitting 3rd again?



melondough - Friday, January 25 2008 @ 06:29 PM EST (#179364) #

Just curious....are most of you feeling more excited about this year versus say the past five or is it that you always feel this way this time of year?  I feel pretty reved up but I honestly can't remember what I was thinking this time last year.  I can imagine I was probably more excited 2 years ago at this time only becaue of the plethora of signings that off-season.

Also, is it fact that Janssen will start once Ryan is healthy or just this writers viewpoint?  Does anyone recall management saying this?

Closer B.J. Ryan, who sustained a season-ending elbow injury last April, is set to resume throwing from a mound within days. If Ryan is ready by opening day, Jeremy Accardo is expected to move back into the setup role while right-hander Casey Janssen would return to the starting rotation.

"Obviously we're not going to really know about B.J. until we see him in March when he's 10, closer to 11 months post-op and have a better idea of where he stands," Ricciardi said.

http://www.sportingnews.com/yourturn/viewtopic.php?t=342659

Ryan Day - Friday, January 25 2008 @ 06:44 PM EST (#179365) #
Roy Halladay hasnít had an injury free season since winning the Cy Young.

It's pretty unlikely he's going to have his appendix taken out again, though.
greenfrog - Friday, January 25 2008 @ 06:50 PM EST (#179366) #

I like the Barajas signing. Low-risk, and gives the Jays solid depth at catcher.

I think JP has done a good job this off-season. After last year, I thought the Jays needed a more coherent plan--either to rebuild, or make the necessary moves to contend. All in all, I think Ricciardi has addressed the team's weaknesses. The Red Sox and Yankees are probably still better, especially when you take into account their trade-deadline resources. But the GM has given his team a fighting chance.

Wildrose - Friday, January 25 2008 @ 07:24 PM EST (#179368) #
Unless you specify how you rank your hitters, this doesn't mean anything. Properly ranking the players is the biggest problem no matter what method you use because that amount to predicting their 2008 numbers.

The authors use WOBA . If you could tell the future you'd be a very rich man. All projection systems have limitations.

This lineup strategy is a massive simplification that assume you don't make any substitutions. It also assumes that batters hits the same in all situations throughout the entire year.

Good point, guys get hurt, go through slumps the batting order should be adjusted accordingly.

Boston won it all last year by starting Lugo in the leadoff position. He hit .224  yet the team played around .700. Eventually, they dropped him to the bottom of the lineup where he hit .305 while they played .500 baseball. If you look at hit, Boston had hardly any players that didn't  perform either  bellow or above their expectation. Their lineup was consequently not optimized at all.

I think this speaks to the overall strength  of their team lineup, I bet if they lost to the Yankees by one game the boys at  Son's of Sam Horn would point out how hitting Lugo #1 cost the team.

There's no way Eckstein should get all those extra PA because he's got a defensive upgrade on the bench. If Gibbons doesn't pinch hit for him in RBI situation, it won't be because the lineup is poorly constructed.

This is true, lets hope they have adequate pinch hitting.

Also, Eckstein is possibly the most stable guy at the plate on the team. He's the least likely to have a bad year.

You'll  have to elaborate.

Ortiz got 254 RBI from the 3rd slot in the last two years. What's wrong with hitting 3rd again?

Again this is a function of the overall team strength.

Basically Scott read the book ( and then I guess write your own if you don't like it's conclusions).  As I said before, optimum batting order is less important than getting the right players on the field. 



 


ANationalAcrobat - Friday, January 25 2008 @ 08:11 PM EST (#179369) #
It has been established that Glaus will not be suspended, but is the same true for Zaun?
TamRa - Friday, January 25 2008 @ 11:10 PM EST (#179375) #
And there is absolutely no reason to think they can. Scott Rolen, Vernon Wells, and Reed Johnson all have chronic problems. Frank Thomas is on a surgically repaired ankle that can snap under his 260 pounds at any time. Roy Halladay hasnít had an injury free season since winning the Cy Young. AJ Burnett? Please. BJ Ryanís violent delivery finally caught up with him and is coming off TJ surgery. Brandon League has a small tear in his rotator cuff. And all their young starters are going to be asked to throw career high innings.

OK, complain about Rolen. He's not "chronic" but he's lost enough time the last two years to justify suspicion. Burnett obviously is a chronic risk.

But Wells? The guy who's never had a major injury issue in his career until last year?
Johnson? Again, not a problem until last year.
Thomas? Were just gonna speculate he'll fall apart in the absence of any health issues in the last couple of years.
Halladay? I thought only non-Jays fans were ill-informed enough to bring him up in the discussion of "injury pron"
Ryan? Again guy's a horse his whole career and now he's a suspect?

I'll grant you that everyone will rightfully hold their breath on Rolen and Burnett. But there's no reason not to assume a normal recovery curve on Wells. there's no reason to assume the worst about Thomas  or especially Doc. And frankly, we made out pretty well without Ryan so if he's a couple of months getting up to speed we can handle it.

I'm not sure where the temptation to find a "reason" for coincidence comes from. Going into last season, we had  no more than three guys on the team whom any reasonable person could have called "injury prone" - and one of them stayed healthy, but dispite that we ended up with eight important players miss significant time. That's not roster construction, that's bad luck.


greenfrog - Saturday, January 26 2008 @ 12:36 AM EST (#179376) #
I like the offseason so far. It has looked as such:

a) We brought back an injured yet solid lineup resigning much of what contributed in 2007.
b) Added minor league pitching depth in the way of Shawn Camp, John Parrish, Lance Carter, Mike Gosling, resigning Jamie Vermilyea and possibly Randy Wells.
b) Solved the problem of a leadoff hitter with the signing of David Eckstein.
c) Added minor league hitting depth by bringing back Sal Fasano and picking up Buck Coats and Pedro Lopez.
d) Solved (potentially) the Troy Glaus problem and improved infield defense by swapping him for Scott Rolen.
e) Strengthened the bench in areas of weakness by resigning Matt Stairs and adding Marco Scutaro and Rod Barajas (and picking up Eckstein moving John McDonald to the bench).


Don't forget about (f) Added (the Jeter- and Posada-approved) hitting coach Gary Denbo.
Alex Obal - Saturday, January 26 2008 @ 03:22 AM EST (#179378) #
Minor hijack. Another sign that spring is coming: the Jays' roster page shows that a bunch of players with linebackers' jersey numbers have claimed some lower ones that were vacated this offseason. Here are the exciting new changes:

#25 David Purcey, replacing Glaus
#7 Curtis Thigpen, replacing Towers
#14 Robinzon Diaz, replacing Brantley
#1 Joe Inglett and #4 Ray Olmedo (they switched)
#33 Scott Rolen
#11 David Eckstein, curse of Hinske?
#19 Marco Scutaro
#20 Sergio Santos
#21 Buck Coats
#41 Tracy Thorpe
#30 Jean Machi

For those who care about this kind of stuff. Like me. Barajas doesn't have one listed yet, but Cat's 27 is vacant.
Hal - Saturday, January 26 2008 @ 08:51 AM EST (#179379) #

I don't see how its valid to say that some of the guys who missed time last year have "chronic injuries".

Chronic (from dictionary.com)

1. constant; habitual; inveterate: a chronic liar.
2. continuing a long time or recurring frequently: a chronic state of civil war.
3. having long had a disease, habit, weakness, or the like: a chronic invalid.
4. (of a disease) having long duration (opposed to acute).

Vernon's shoulder is not a chronic injury. It has the potential to be, but until we see how he fares this season and perhaps even beyond - it simply isn't accurate to label it as chronic. Same can be said for Reed's back. Potentially chronic, but as of right now - it is premature to throw that word around. Rolen is a bit more troubling simply because there has been a history, but it has been well documented that the reasons behind his last 2 surgeries aren't really as worrisome as one may think.

Shoulders and backs are always concerning, for certain - but, lets give the three of them the benefit of doubt until we see how their seasons progress. It certainly isn't impossible to rehab from these sorts of injuries, so why label them prematurely? (Vernon and Reed, especially)

Overbay and Zaun - broken bones are not chronic injuries.

Doc - has been on the DL semi-frequently, but always for different reasons. The comebacker was a fluke, and his illness last year is obviously no longer of any concern. I guess it could be argued that he gets injured chronically, but he does not have one chronic injury. This leads me to believe that it is entirely plausible for him to enjoy an injury free season, with 30+ starts.

Thomas - He is a big man. He always has been. I'm pretty sure by now, he's pretty well adjusted to lugging all that weight around. As he ages, his size places additional strain on his deteriorating joints and there has been a history of injury - still, he has managed to make it through the last two seasons without any serious issues. He's not playing in the field, so I don't consider it a longshot to think he's good for another full season. Having Stairs around to give him a day off every so often is a nice luxury too.

Burnett - AJ is the worst of the bunch and definitely the strongest candidate to be labelled as "chronically injured". I can't argue that. Sure would love to see him shake the label this year though. I'd love to see him put together at least one full, solid year over the course of his contract. This season would be just as good a time as any!

scottt - Saturday, January 26 2008 @ 02:46 PM EST (#179386) #
Should the best hitter go first to make sure nobody else gets more ABs?

There seems to be a point there. Until you look at the situational value of those extra ABs.

Let's assume that it's the last inning to bat in and the 9th, 1st and 2nd batters are up.

1) The team is winning.
a) by a large margin, so these 2 extra PAs are just  extra chances to score meaningless runs.
2) by a small margin and you're looking for insurance runs, but in most cases the other team won't score or maybe just tie it.

2)The team is losing
a) by a large score, so it doesn't matter who gets the extra 2 PAs.
b) by a small score, so the closer will be up there and even the "best hitter" is only .220 against him.

3)The game is tied so anything can happen, including an extra 3 PAs for everyone.

Incidentally, Rios and Hill had the most PAs last year, but that had more to do with health than batting order.



brent - Sunday, January 27 2008 @ 01:48 AM EST (#179393) #
I have been very pleased with this offseason by JP. I am glad that he still signed Barajas when he showed interest in the Jays. It wouldn't have taken much for JP to have rejected him. Barring any terrible trades (no need to bring up examples to make one cringe) or Season From Hell III,  I think he may easily avoid the ejection seat this year. I have to agree that this is the best Jays team on paper since the glory years. JP, your mission is now to get the Jays out of the AL East. Perhaps the revenue sharing money collected from teams should stay in the division. Every year, there is only the same one or two teams paying the tax. Why should the other teams in the AL East suffer and watch other divisions' teams benefit from it? Successful New York and Boston = $ for MLB.  Successful young and exciting teams (small markets) = unhappy Bud.
ANationalAcrobat - Sunday, January 27 2008 @ 02:45 AM EST (#179395) #
Successful young and exciting teams (small markets) = unhappy Bud.

Comon, Bud Selig is not the devil. Just think of him as an old, ugly, rich guy who behaves too much like a politician.

Wildrose - Sunday, January 27 2008 @ 11:33 AM EST (#179396) #
Blair's latest, including a mention of Brad Wilkerson.
China fan - Sunday, January 27 2008 @ 12:08 PM EST (#179397) #
   Blair's reference to Wilkerson was a little cryptic and puzzling.   I find it rather unclear (maybe Blair wrote it too fast).  He seems to be suggesting that the Jays don't have quite enough money to afford Wilkerson's salary.  This seems patently untrue -- the Jays have been handing out contracts with gleeful abandon during this off-season and could easily afford Wilkerson if they wanted him.  The bigger issue, I would have to say, is where do you put Wilkerson on the roster?  With Stairs and Johnson and Overbay and Thomas and potentially Lind available too, where is the room for Wilkerson in the outfield or at first base or even at DH?  I don't really get it.  If the Jays are going to do any further business in acquisitions before the season starts, a bit of pitching depth might make sense, but not another outfielder or first-baseman.
Mick Doherty - Sunday, January 27 2008 @ 04:01 PM EST (#179402) #
Today in the Texas Rangers Minor League e-mail report he does for Jamey Newberg's crew, Box veteran Scott Lucas reports:

Texas signed 19-year-old catcher Jose Felix, who spent Ď06 with the Gulf Coast Yankees (.173/.286/.269 in 61 plate appearances) and í07 with Quintana Roo in Mexico (.247/.284/.302 in 58 games).

Jose Felix? Everyone remember Felix Jose, the old outfielder? Has there ever been a pair of major leaguers -- the kid backstop not there yet, obciously -- who had the same name,except in reverse? You know, something like Tom Lewis and Lew Thomas? I don't know ... anyone?

Ozzieball - Sunday, January 27 2008 @ 04:13 PM EST (#179403) #
According to ESPN battersbox heartthrob Mike Lieberthal has retired. I guess he really didn't want to come to Toronto.
Thomas - Sunday, January 27 2008 @ 04:13 PM EST (#179404) #
I know we've moved past commenting on the Barajas move, but I was busy the last few days and recently read Wilner's take on the signing, which I largely agree with. Basically, Wilner asks if Barajas is really any upgrade over Fasano, when you consider they both have strong defense, weak offense and one has a good clubhouse reputation and the other backed out of a contract with this very team last year.
John Northey - Sunday, January 27 2008 @ 05:21 PM EST (#179408) #
Barajas vs Fasano...

Barajas - 32 - lifetime is a 239/288/408 hitter (75 OPS+, but 80 or better the last 4 seasons)
Fasano - 36 - lifetime is a 219/293/394 hitter (75 OPS+, but 57 in '06 over 206 PA and 41 in very limited time last season)

Take note of two things.  Barajas is 4 years younger than Fasano, and in catcher years that is a very, very big thing.  Also, Barajas has been an endurable hitter the past 4 seasons while Fasano fell off a cliff in '06.

Given Fasano has missed a lot of major league playing time since he lives in AAA mainly lets see those numbers...
Fasano - 245/309/459, 61 games at AAA past 3 seasons, 47 last year as a AAA backup
Barajas - 262/291/446, just 9 games at AAA since 2001

Also, games caught...
Fasano - 400 in majors, 488 minors, total 888
Barajas - 564 in majors, 233 in minors, total 797

I was surprised to see just one season's spread in games caught between them (minors plus majors).  Fasano comes out much better than I expected after digging through all of it but that pesky age and recent history thing really hurts him imo.  Having Barajas as backup #1 and Fasano as backup #2 seems a very good idea, especially for about $2 million total.  Neither are exciting but both are solid backups and having two good catching backups is a very, very good idea as catchers do get hurt, and get hurt often.  Plus with any luck Diaz will blow both out of the water before 2008 is done.

Thomas - Sunday, January 27 2008 @ 08:37 PM EST (#179417) #
I understand that Barajas is better. I should have made that clearer in my original post. And there is a greater risk of him falling off a cliff (having fallen off a cliff already) than Barajas. However, I was impressed with Fasano's defense/coaching ability (or what we heard about his ability to work with the young pitchers) and given that Barajas has never had that sort of reputation I do think that should be given consideration, especially given the time that a backup catcher spends working with pitchers.

But, it's not my money and if there's nowhere else to spend it getting some sort of upgrade at backup catcher probably isn't a bad thing.
HollywoodHartman - Sunday, January 27 2008 @ 08:45 PM EST (#179418) #
Adam Jones is flying to Baltimore for a physical. This indicates he has been traded for Erik Bedard. The rest of the trade is not yet known.

-Rotoworld and MLBTR

Mike Green - Sunday, January 27 2008 @ 08:59 PM EST (#179420) #
Mick, there was a player John Tilman Thomas who went 7-20 for the Brownies in September, 1951 and naturally never came to the plate again.  Why he was nicknamed Bud, I'll never know. Alas, there has been no Otis Amos in the bigs.
ayjackson - Monday, January 28 2008 @ 09:40 AM EST (#179428) #
Here's the Adam Jones story.  He's quoted as saying that he's going to Baltimore (today) for a physical and that he is the centrepiece of the Erik Bedard deal.
SheldonL - Monday, January 28 2008 @ 03:10 PM EST (#179434) #

scottt, Hill got alot of plate appearances because of health, granted. But for most of the season, Rios batted leadoff - hence the large number of plate appearances. I wouldn't change a thing. He's our best hitter and we should want him to be hitting as often as possible.

As for Wilkerson, he's certainly got pop but I'd take Stairs over him. Yes, he's got a .351 OBP against righties but in the last two years(658 AB and 80 BB, his OBP has been around .312 because he's batted poorly), he's been terrible. Even if you discount Stairs' magical year last year, his OBP against righties the 5 years prior has been .337, .369, .352, .401, .355.

Wildrose - Tuesday, January 29 2008 @ 11:01 AM EST (#179453) #
Blair tosses out some Canadian content.
HollywoodHartman - Tuesday, January 29 2008 @ 11:33 AM EST (#179455) #
That's not really a rumor as much as it is pure speculation though. But that'd make quite the OF.
John Northey - Tuesday, January 29 2008 @ 11:34 AM EST (#179456) #
Commented on the Globe site about this but it is weird how two columns in a row Blair mentions money as a reason for the Jays to not do something. If money is the deciding factor then there is a major problem as the Jays should be swimming in cash this year with the dollar being 10-15 cents higher than last year and at least 10 cents higher than ever before in the history of the Blue Jays. Not to mention the record revenues MLB is talking about overall, much of it shared revenue.

Still, in the end the Jays might be tossing out that money issue to push off the media as there really isn't a spot to put Jason Bay, Brad Wilkerson, or any other outfielder that they could aquire. Johnson/Stairs in LF is a temporary setup until Lind and Snider are ready. Wells and Rios don't look to be going anywhere else anytime soon. Thomas and Overbay cover DH/1B for 08/09. Thus what to do with Bay/Wilkerson? They could be an upgrade over Johnson/Stairs but not that much of one, nor enough to justify leaving Lind/Snider in the minors unless Bay returns to his 04-06 form after an injured '07.

Bay would be nice to get, don't get me wrong, but only if someone else goes away such as Thomas or Rios (Wells is about as untradable as it gets right now, don't want to see Lind/Snider go away either). Also, would you rather have Rios or Bay out there? Bay has hit better (outside of last year) but Rios has amazing defense.

From a logic standpoint Bay should be looked at mid-season and only if two of Stairs/Johnson flopping, Thomas injured (opening DH up), and neither Lind or Snider look ready occurs. Otherwise it makes more sense to use what they got already. Wilkerson at this point is no more than a 5th outfielder here. I figure money was just the easy excuse to give to a sportswriter.
hugo - Tuesday, January 29 2008 @ 11:43 AM EST (#179457) #
what's interesting is that if I were Angelos, I'd have a preference for trading Bedard within the AL East. When you consider the fact that the O's are rebuilding and that they would realistically hope to compete in 2011 or thereabouts, what better way to gain a competitive advantage than to get a division rival's best prospects who then will be providing excellent and cheap production for you, not them, in 2011, in exchange for a pitcher who will likely no longer be in his prime, or with that team (but even if he is will be extremely expensive) by then?
ayjackson - Tuesday, January 29 2008 @ 12:03 PM EST (#179459) #

If money is the deciding factor then there is a major problem as the Jays should be swimming in cash this year with the dollar being 10-15 cents higher than last year and at least 10 cents higher than ever before in the history of the Blue Jays. Not to mention the record revenues MLB is talking about overall, much of it shared revenue.

John, I understand you're concerns about the Jays spending.  As a shareholder of Rogers Communications, I would be very disappointed if the budget for the Jays weren't set at a level that maximizes profit from both the Jays and Sportsnet.  I'm quite sure that this is a driving factor in setting the salary level.  Just because the Jays are more profitable under the current dollar, doesn't mean from a shareholder's perspective that those extra profits should be reinvested.  They should only be reinvested if they can provide extra returns.  It's possible they can provide extra returns, but not as much as if they were invested elsewhere in the company's business lines.

I am quite ecstatic that a public company can own the team and run it profitably at the healthy salary level of $90-100m.   It's not common in sports. 

John Northey - Tuesday, January 29 2008 @ 12:46 PM EST (#179462) #
When it comes to the salary the team pays out they should, as a rational company, base it on maximizing profit. This is one of the big legacies of Bud - shifting revenue from team based to league based. Team based revenue is driven by team success/failure and causes teams to spend a large portion on player salaries. League based revenue removes that incentive as improving the team will not increase league revenues (for example, A-Rod can only play for one team at a time and will not play elsewhere regardless if he is paid $30 million or $40 million a season).

Thus the Jays will make a very nice profit for Rogers (hidden in the Rogers Centre and Sportsnet areas I'm sure with some shifted even to Rogers Video via ticket sales at those locations) without Rogers needing to spend 55% of revenue on payroll (ala the pre-Bud days in baseball).

My estimates earlier had the Jays being able to afford a $125 million payroll with a good profit still being there for the taking. A $90-$100 million payroll leads to even bigger profits obviously. Those estimates put about 50% of their revenue being locally generated. Given what Blair has been saying and the way the Jays have acted lately I suspect the locally generated revenue is exactly what JP has access to for payroll and draft purposes (that is ticket sales and local tv/radio rights). The rest is used to cover front office expenses, minor leagues operating costs, and profits.

In the end, if all teams act this way (as most appear to be), it really doesn't make a difference to us as fans (total payroll for players being $1 billion or $100 billion doesn't change quality of play drastically unless Japan starts paying more). Still, I just hope the Jays don't go cap in hand for government bailouts anytime soon as that would royally annoy me as it was bad enough that Toronto/Ontario/Canada paid a big chunk (if not all) of the cost for the SkyDome when it was built.
electric carrot - Tuesday, January 29 2008 @ 01:13 PM EST (#179463) #
In broad strokes Bay/Wells/Rios kind of reminds me of the good ol days:

Bell/Moseby/Barfield

young & talented.
John Northey - Tuesday, January 29 2008 @ 01:49 PM EST (#179466) #
The cool thing with Bell/Moseby/Barfield was how close in age the 3 were born between October 21st and November 5th 1959. Sadly, all 3 were done by age 33 (only Bell played at age 33 and was benched for the playoffs vs the Jays after a 63 OPS+ season).

Bay is 29 next year (Sept 78), Wells 29 (Dec 78), and Rios is just 27. Lind is 24 and Snider just 20.

Trading/long term signing of Bay might work but only if you feel Lind won't be as good, Johnson/Stairs won't be as good, and that Snider is at least 2 years away. I figure a trade for Bay would require at least Lind going back to Pittsburgh along with some pitching. Probably trade Johnson somewhere as well.

Bay, due to his injury and poor '07 is a risk. I'd rather (if I was the Jays) mix in Lind and watch for a Bay trade mid-season if Lind flops again.
ChicagoJaysFan - Tuesday, January 29 2008 @ 02:05 PM EST (#179467) #
I like Bay, but he'll be 30 by the time the season is over.  Having him, Wells, and Rios all in the OF and signed long-term (which would be my guess) doesn't make it too easy to bring in new players/blood as the veterans age.  It could definitely work - for 2010 and beyond have Snider in LF, Wells/Rios in CF/RF (depending on athletic decline), and then Bay at DH.  I'd like that line-up a lot actually.  Plus, Bay has hit righties well over his career (he still has a split, but .874 versus righties is fine by me).

The only thing that really concerns me is that age thing combined with a down-year as he turned 29.  I agree with John's ideas though on not ruling it out and everything else.

Something that I've been wondering is with baseball's new emphasis against PED's, I wonder if aging trends are going to have to be re-examined.  If I had to make a hypothesis, I'd guess peaks coming earlier, a more gradual decline, and fewer "cliffs" that players fall off from and never return.  I think steroids likely help a player improve his fitness for a longer period of their lifetime, thus the later peaks.  Amphetamines also help older players deal with the grind.  The cliffs come when the use of either of those substances (or the myriad of other ones) starts to catch up with you.
SheldonL - Tuesday, January 29 2008 @ 02:07 PM EST (#179468) #

I find it weird that most people are very short-sighted. All of a sudden, players like Manny Ramirez, Vernon Wells, Andruw Jones, Jason Bay and Travis Hafner are deemed for a lack of a better word "sucky". Each just had an off year!

I would jump at the chance to acquire Bay while his stock is "apparently" (due to this flawed thinking) low. I would deal Lind and say Marcum or Litsch for him. I don't know attractive such a deal would be for the small-market Pirates. I might even throw in Gus Chacin.

Bay is 29 and has a very payroll-friendly contract! He's a finished product whereas Lind and Snider are still prospects. That is, they might pan out or they might not.

Even if we do have a RIos-Bay-Wells outfield and in a couple of years, Snider is ready. Well, in two years, Thomas will be off the books and Overbay will be entering his final year. Well, we can always make Overbay the DH and play Snider at first.

If they ask for Snider for Bay...it would be too intriguing to flat out reject. I'd ask for more players to be thrown in on both sides to make the deal work. JASON BAY=AWESOMENESS(ie. extra-base power, walks a ton, hits for a high average!)

Chuck - Tuesday, January 29 2008 @ 02:51 PM EST (#179476) #

All of a sudden, players like Manny Ramirez, Vernon Wells, Andruw Jones, Jason Bay and Travis Hafner are deemed for a lack of a better word "sucky".

I don't agree that these players are deemed "sucky" (and I don't agree that there's a lack of better words, either).

All showed regressions in 2007. Some may bounce back in 2008. But in all cases, their ages must be considered. The traditional aging model for non-pitchers has them peaking at around 27. Yes, there are exceptions and yes, some excellent players are still very good during their decline phase. But only someone willfully ignoring age would be optimistic that all the aforementioned are due to simply bounce back to more normal levels.

John Northey - Tuesday, January 29 2008 @ 04:16 PM EST (#179489) #
With players once they crack 32 I really worry about production dropping off a cliff. A study years ago showed that, for whatever reason, that is the age a lot of guys go from 'solid' to 'ugh', or 'HOF' to 'decent'.

For example...
Guys born in 1970 who played 500+ games who were gone before 2005

Age 29...
Brent Gates
Age 30...
Kevin Stocker
Age 31...
Rico Brogna
Damon Buford
Age 32...
Jorge Fabregas
Age 33...
Marvin Benard
Dave Berg
Doug Glanville
Age 34...
Brook Fordyce
Ricky Gutierrez

A few interesting guys there. Different reasons to end their careers but it happened none the less.

What about Blue Jays? The "Outfield Of The 80's" were finished by age 33 (Bell only one making it that far). Upshaw was done at 31. Damaso Garcia finished at 34. Garth Iorg at 32 (boy was he done). Manny Lee played just 1 game at age 30. Gruber was done at 31. Alomar fell off a cliff after age 33 (from 150 OPS+ to the 80's from then on). Ed Sprague done at 33. Derek Bell done at 32. Maldonado at 34. Alex Gonzalez at 33. Cruz Jr might be done after his age 33 season too. Did you know Shannon Stewart turns 34 this year?

Having a guy signed past age 32 carries big time risks. Many guys who are all-stars or solid regulars before that age collapse. Some keep going, but how to know who it will be?

We thought our outfield of the late 90's was amazing and young with Stewart/Cruz/Green. Now all 3 are entering their age 34/35 seasons and all are viewed as 4th/5th outfielders and have been for a couple of years (only Green cracked a 105 OPS+ since age 31). Imagine if they were still here on long term deals?
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 29 2008 @ 05:02 PM EST (#179491) #
Jason Bay's BBRef comparable list has players who thrived in their 30s like Edmonds and Justice and players who didn't or haven't so far like Jenkins, Klesko, Drew and Mitchell.  Health seems to be the biggest thing.
Alex Obal - Tuesday, January 29 2008 @ 05:22 PM EST (#179493) #
Good news, at least in the short term: Jon Heyman says the Mets win the Johan Santana sweepstakes.

In exchange for Johan the Twins apparently will get Carlos Gomez and three pitchers: Phil Humber, Kevin Mulvey and the awesomely-named Deolis Guerra, who's pretty accomplished for an 18-year-old. The Mets have to hammer out a contract extension for the deal to go through, since Johan has a no-trade clause and won't waive it without getting an extension.
greenfrog - Tuesday, January 29 2008 @ 06:20 PM EST (#179495) #
I agree that the trade (assuming Santana signs and it goes through) is good news for the Jays in 2008. But I think the Yankees were smart to hold on to their young pitchers. I'm glad the Red Sox didn't land Santana, either. I wonder whether seeing Hanley Ramirez blossom elsewhere made Epstein think twice about trading two top prospects (ie, Lester and Ellsbury), even for someone as good as Santana.
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