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Despite the fact that Reed has had a better spring than Shannon Stewart, Stewart has won the job.

A platoon situation could work out well for the Jays. Stewart actually hits both types of pitchers equally well, with a 795 OPS, but Stairs is much better against righties with an 867 OPS. Obviously these guys are both over the hill, so we won't be getting that kind of production, but it could still be quite decent.

Personally, this news saddens me, and I'm sure the same sentiment is felt by many a Bauxite. Reed was a fun player to watch, despite the atrocious goatee, and I'll miss his hustle, even if "hustle" is one of those things that stat-heads like myself try to ignore.
Jays cut ties with Reed Johnson | 85 comments | Create New Account
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China fan - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 10:34 AM EDT (#181289) #

  You forgot about Frank Thomas.    He's the 13th man, so there's no room for anyone else.

 

Dave Rutt - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 10:36 AM EDT (#181290) #
Huh, that's weird, he was actually the first guy I thought of, but decided to type his name at the end so it would make sense positionally. Guess I forgot. Thanks China fan.
Donkit R.K. - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 10:55 AM EDT (#181291) #
Sparky will be missed... best case scenario - he gets a decent number of ABs with a contender in the National League... Here's to hoping that he finds some measure of post Blue Jays success!
ds - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 11:00 AM EDT (#181292) #

Too bad they couldn't get anything for him, but there is obviously not a huge market for a 4th outfielder making 3 plus million dollars a year.  I could see him being a huge asset in the NL given his defensive prowess and the need for late inning subs and pinch-hitters.  Regardless, this seems to open the door for Lind and potentially even Snider by the end of this year.

Good luck Reed.  You were a great Blue Jay while you were here.

fozzy - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 11:02 AM EDT (#181293) #
I'll miss old Tripod; here's to a long and productive career in the NL, where his talents are better suited.

He's a guy noone gave a second thought to his whole time in the system, but he's managed to carve out a nice little professional career, make a bunch of money and play the way he wants to - definitely a feel-good story for someone drafted in the 17th round.

AWeb - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 11:02 AM EDT (#181294) #
This move smacks of cost-cutting, since Johnson would also make part of a good platoon (.833 vs. Lefties), and is far superior defensively, especially his arm. Johnson has been part of a great platoon in Toronto, just two year ago. This move also pushes Rios into backup CF role. The 2008 Jays just got even more vulnerable to injury too. With Stairs, Wells, Rios, and Stewart on the roster, one would expect Lind to get a lot of playing time again this year after the inevitable injuries.

I guess Johnson isn't worth anything to another team at his current price tag? Not even a PTBNL, or a draft pick? I wish him well, and hope he catches on somewhere in the majors soon. At least they cut him early enough that another team might be able to work him into their roster.
ayjackson - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 11:10 AM EDT (#181295) #

Well, I'm a bit saddened by this move.  He's a perfect starter versus LHP and a great defensive replacement for Stairs.  I wonder if this means that Stewart will be more of an everyday player.  Maybe Stairs sees more time at DH.  Maybe Hurt struggles to get his 376 PA.  Otherwise, Reed is a perfect fourth outifielder.  Except for the $3.5m.  I think the Brass was impressed with Buck Coats, too.  We have a lot of potential fourth outfielders in Coats, Matthews, Smith, Patterson, Lind and eventually Snider that this might have made too much sense economically.

No, I'm still confused.

 

China fan - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 11:12 AM EDT (#181296) #
    I'll miss Sparky too.   He was even having a good spring -- good enough to make me think that he might have bounced back from last season.   But this is why it's so hard to analyze these decisions statistically sometimes.   The coaches and managers have obviously seen something in him -- something in his hitting or running or fielding -- that convinces them that he's not the same Sparky as he was before the injury.   They're the experts, they're the ones who are studying him daily, so I'm going to have to accept their judgment on this.
Timbuck2 - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 11:13 AM EDT (#181297) #
Good Luck Reed!

I am my wife are both sad that we won't see you up there getting HBP's anymore...  You are a true gamer and I hope that the Jays don't regret this move this season.

CaramonLS - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 11:32 AM EDT (#181299) #
I'm with Aweb on this.  This move stinks.

Johnson is superior in every possible was to SS, with the exception of hitting RHP - which isn't a huge requirement as a platoon OF.  He is a far superior defender and can double as a quality CF, which is a valuable commodity in this day in age.  He would have been a better "fit" for this team IMHO.

Magpie - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 11:36 AM EDT (#181300) #
I guess Johnson isn't worth anything to another team at his current price tag?

Of course every other GM knew the Jays had to cut one of them loose. Why not wait and see, and scoop up whoever then?

As Stewart clearly didn't win the job this spring, this decision was made when he signed the contract. All he had to do was show up and demonstrate that he was healthy and ready to go.

I won't miss the goatee one little bit, but Sparky was fun to watch. By making the move now, the Jays gave him almost a full week to find gainful employment, and it won't take that long. Lots of teams can use him.
Dave Till - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 11:43 AM EDT (#181302) #
Back when teams carried only 10 pitchers, there would have been room for both Johnson and Stewart on the roster. Now that teams carry 12 pitchers, they should increase the roster size to 27. But the owners would never go for that - pay two more major-league salaries? I don't think so!

Johnson's game is based on speed and hustle, so my guess is that the back surgery has cost him enough to make him no longer useful. And I wonder whether the Jays thought that he would be too unhappy if left on the bench - he's used to being the starting left fielder.

It's sad, as a cut like this always is - Sparky was fun to watch when on his game. I'll miss him.

Magpie - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 11:58 AM EDT (#181303) #
For some happy memories of Sparky, let me draw your attention to this game. Johnson didn't even get off the bench until the sixth inning, but he made the most of his opportunities.

And those of us on the Chat had a great deal of fun watching it all unfold.

Anders - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 12:09 PM EDT (#181304) #
Colour me puzzled. As was mentioned earlier, the obvious implication here is that Reed has lost a step after the injury, and maybe that's true. Shannon Stewart however, much as I like the guy, never had that step to begin with. Clearly Stairs is getting the bulk of the AB's against righties (Free Adam Lind!), but Reed's 3 year split against  lefties is a more than respectable .305/.380/.451, whereas Stewart is a pretty woeful .263/.331/.351. Throw in the fact that Reed can capably back up the other two outfield positions while Stewart is considered a weak defender in left and the three year age difference and I am even more confused.

For what its worth, even Zips sees Johnson having a better year than Stewart.
Mostly I will just miss Reed, who easily endeared himself to most Jays fans out there with his scrappy play and continuous hustle.
VBF - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 12:11 PM EDT (#181305) #
I think there are probably more positive memories involving Reed Johnson than pretty much anyone on the Jays. He is just a very memorable player to watch.

Victor Zambrano didn't pitch from April 9th until May 8th. Towers didn't pitch from September 3rd until the 22nd. Frasor pitched 1.1 innings from July 21 until August 7th. The Jays didn't use the 12th pitcher for just under three months--half the season.

The Jays could easily have Stewart and Reed, and carry 11 pitchers. If one week, the bullpen is tired, you can send down someone, bring Randy Wells or Shawn Camp up, and use them for that time. But Reed Johnson off the bench is going to do a hell of a lot more than the 12th pitcher if Gibbons plans on ignoring pitchers as he did last year.

And if the reason is money, that's just insane. Having a guy who plays solid defence and hits lefties well is worth the 3.5 million on a team whose payroll is about 100.

greenfrog - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 12:12 PM EDT (#181306) #
I think the Jays benefit financially by cutting Johnson now, because of a buyout provision...anyone know how much the team is on the hook for?

I wouldn't be surprised to see Reed and SS have comparable stats this year. I think it was just a judgement call in the end; probably some combination of Stewart's health this spring, cheaper contract and offensive track record. I think Stewart will do well in a part-time role--the extra rest should keep him healthy and performing at a decent level. He'll also make a good pinch-hitter in key late-inning situations. And he adds a bit more offense versus RHP (he may get some non-platoon ABs--I'm not convinced that Stairs is going to play full-time against righties all year).

I will miss Reed (especially his defense and hustle). Defense is one of this team's strategic advantages, and the Jays are taking a modest hit by cutting him.
Magpie - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 12:20 PM EDT (#181307) #
I think the Jays benefit financially by cutting Johnson now, because of a buyout provision...anyone know how much the team is on the hook for?

The Jays have to pay $546 K (one-sixth of Johnson $3.275 million deal)
Pistol - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 12:23 PM EDT (#181308) #
Was it worth the $700k or so the Jays have to pay Johnson now to see what he and Stewart looked like in spring training? 
Shane - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 12:24 PM EDT (#181309) #
So there goes $3.275 million of payroll up in smoke. If RIcciardi was this apprehensive about Johnson's health/performance in the first place, why did he bother tendering Johnson a contract? He just re-upped Johnson in January and all ready he's a sunk cost? I really question Ricciardi on this on several levels.
Shane - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 12:26 PM EDT (#181310) #
Ok. Didn't see anything about the buyout option until just now.
jgadfly - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 01:05 PM EDT (#181312) #
RE: Reed... How can a team that professes a need for more "dirtbags" cut a guy who goes out 3 months after back surgery and in his first game back makes a phenomenal game saving diving catch on artificial turf and is widely known as "Sparky" ?..  So much for team loyalty ?.. and then to replace him with the weak armed Shannon Stewart of the sore hamstrings and plantar fasciitis whom everyone else had passed on ?..  Something is not quite what it appears to be ?.. Maybe J.P. just didn't like the Shelby sportscar ?.. My fondest memory of Johnston is the time that he threw to firstbase on a single to leftfield by the Orioles' thirdbaseman ??? and managed to pick him off as he rounded the bag ... a play that Stewart  will never make. Anyway, best of luck to R J and as Bob Hope used to say "thanks for the ..." ???  ... and speaking of hope reminds me of  Mylegacy... "where have you gone ?" ... I  miss ya !.. I hope all is well !..
Mike Green - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 01:21 PM EDT (#181313) #
It seems that Johnson is healthy.  I would have preferred him to Stewart, and even more so would have preferred both of them to a 12th pitcher.

I must admit that I cannot make heads or tails of the Jays' current financial situation.  The Jays were offering $10+ million per year to Lilly and Meche last off-season.  Where has that money gone?  The Canadian dollar is up since then, and attendance was solid in 2007, so if anything, there should be more money in the kitty.

Shane - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 01:29 PM EDT (#181314) #

(As an aside) Man I wish they'd drafted Tulowitzki. Shortstop looks like it's going to be a real sinkhole for upcoming years, at a time when it really can't be.

Geoff - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 01:29 PM EDT (#181315) #
The Jays are really going to feel this one come July, when many other players are going to be hit by the pitches Reed always took for the team. The man was an astounding magnet for errant pitches and now those are likely to hit other players, who perhaps are not as well equipped to take them.

So long Reed, you were special. Prove em wrong with OAK, SD, WAS, BAL, TEX, or maybe even FLA if you don't mind playing for peanuts.

Mike Forbes - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 01:35 PM EDT (#181316) #

How gross will the outfield look defensively if either Wells or Rios is lost to injury? Stewart-Wells/Rios-Stairs. Ugh. If one of those two go down, I'd strongly consider bringing the much more useful defensive outfielder Buck Coats up so he can atleast play left or right in the late innings. Should Stairs or Stewart be injured, than Adam Lind should be the one to get the call.

Geoff - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 02:02 PM EDT (#181317) #
Is there any impending news of Shea Hillenbrand's retirement? Did it happen and I missed it?

He's not even being mentioned as a solution at 3B for his most recent team, the Dodgers, who have the searchlights on. Nary a mention of interest from the Giants.

Has the 32-year-old's ship sunk?



timpinder - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 02:27 PM EDT (#181319) #

Blair mentioned in his latest blogs that it won't be a strict platoon in LF.  If that's the case then it makes a little more sense to go with Stewart who hits righties equally well, and certainly hits them a lot better than Johnson.  There have been rumblings that if Thomas continues to struggle, especially against right-handed pitching, that he might be spelled off.  I wonder if the Jays are preparing themselves for the possibility that Stairs will see time at DH.

Also of interest in Blair's blog was the suggestion that Ricciardi might select his bullpen so that the Jays can "keep everybody".  I can't believe that they'd keep Wells instead of Wolfe just so they don't lose Wells.  They should go with the seven best arms, regardless.  Wolfe is the perfect guy to bring in against tough right-handed hitters (they had a ridiculous .356 OPS against him last year).

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/blogs/baseball

 

greenfrog - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 02:42 PM EDT (#181321) #
TimP, I agree in principle (about going with your best pitchers) but with the injury to Janssen--and uncertainty around BJ and League--you can't blame JP for wanting to maintain as much depth as possible. The pitching staff is a few months is almost certainly going to be different from the one that goes north in April.
Bones - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 02:57 PM EDT (#181322) #
The Jays have to pay $546 K (one-sixth of Johnson $3.275 million deal).

Good thing the Jays offered him arbitration instead of just non-tendering him.  That $546 K wouldn't have come in handy on draft day.

This offseason just continues to prove the J.P. is a man without any semblance of a plan.  Offering Johnson arbitration only to cut him in the spring?  Trading for Scutaro, then signing Eckstein only weeks later?  Trading our expensive, oft-injured third baseman for another older, more expensive, equally injury prone third baseman?  In what universe do these moves make sense?

J.P. has no plan, and is desperately scrambling to save his job.  I'd almost feel sorry for him if he didn't seem so pleased with himself all the time.
sduguid - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 03:06 PM EDT (#181323) #
If the 546K was a huge issue, I think the club would have bigger problems anyway.
scottt - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 03:10 PM EDT (#181325) #
Maybe it's not Reed's fault at all. Maybe seeing that Wells, Rios, Eckstein and Thomas were starting slowing in March, management went for the better bat.

Doesn't Left Field belong to Lind anyway?

Stewart might not be a good defensive substitute, but he's a better pinch runner. Scutaro can also play left field if needed.
seeyou - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 03:14 PM EDT (#181326) #
Personally, I probably would have given the edge to Johnson over Stewart, since he can give you above average defense at any OF position.

But I don't think this move makes J.P. as unfocused as people are making him out to be.  Judged by J.P.'s comments in the offseason, I didn't think he was going to even offer arbitration to Johnson.  And with the contract negotiation problems that have come out re: Stewart, I  think the original plan was to sign Stewart to a one year deal in the 2.5-3 million range and non-tender Johnson.  So, if that was the original plan, now you've got Stewart for 1.5 million + 500 K for the Johnson buy-out = 2 million, which is still cheaper than just signing Stewart when his value seemed higher. 

In any matter, I think it's clear that this is just a one year move.  From 2009 on, LF should be the dominion of Lind/Snider.

fozzy - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 03:18 PM EDT (#181327) #
Good thing the Jays offered him arbitration instead of just non-tendering him.  That $546 K wouldn't have come in handy on draft day.

Stewart didn't sign until well after the arbitration deadline; if Johnson was non-tendered there would have likely been neither of them on the team.

Though I can't remember where I read it, there had been mention that if Stewart had accepted the proposal in December, before the whole issue and confusion with his agent, then they would have non-tendered Johnson and this whole issue would have happened months ago; because it didn't happen, they needed to have a back-up option and tendered Tripod.

It's definitely  time for baseball to begin when the community gets uppity over its fourth (and fifth) outfielders. At the end of the day, the team has traded some defence for some offence in its fourth outfielder, which has been lacking. While I am afraid what will happen if Wells or Rios goes down for an extended time, there is still time for another signing - Kenny Lofton is still available.
fozzy - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 03:20 PM EDT (#181328) #
Well said seeyou - and faster on the reply too :)
paulf - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 03:23 PM EDT (#181330) #
So who's the backup RF now? It seems Stairs would get the nod over Stewart when Rios or Wells take a day off, but if one goes down for a while does Coats come up ahead of Lind?
williams_5 - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 03:26 PM EDT (#181331) #
I just don't understand why J.P. goes on and on about the team needing more "dirtbags" and glows about it when they acquire Eckstein and Rolen, but then he goes and cuts the biggest "dirtbag" on the team. I like Stewart, but he doesn't exactly exemplify that same philosophy. I'll miss Reed, goatee and all.
melondough - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 05:41 PM EDT (#181333) #

ahhhhhhhh!!!! Scott Rolen fractures finger today.....

Ricciardi: ďEarly prognosis is itís not going to be six weeks or something like that, so I donít even want to throw a schedule out there. I can say this: he wonít be lost for the year.Ē

I am confused by this quote.  By saying it is not going to be six weeks does this mean it will be less or more?  I presume less but how long is fair to assume?

http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/postedsports/archive/2008/03/23/jays-notebook-rolen-fractures-finger-in-infield-drill.aspx

Welcome to another injury prone year for the Jays.  This sucks and it makes opening night a little less interesting.  Does Lind now get called up? 


 

HippyGilmore - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 06:10 PM EDT (#181334) #
Sounds to me like longer than 6 weeks, because JP felt the need to say he won't be out for the season. How brutal is this? Hello, Marco Scutaro as a starter.
jeff mcl - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 06:20 PM EDT (#181335) #
Calmness, people.  It looks like Alfonso Soriano only missed a week this spring with a similar injury (a cracked bone in the tip of his right middle finger--no damage to the nail, though).

No finger nail means he won't be throwing any curveballs to Lyle Overbay, though, right?

But why does JP say things like that?
seeyou - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 06:53 PM EDT (#181336) #

So with Rolen's new injury and Burnett's problems earlier in camp, it's clear that the main off-season need that the Jays failed to address is a good team manicurist.
melondough - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 07:44 PM EDT (#181337) #

ďI donít think itís going to be a month. I think itís less than that,Ē Ricciardi speculated. ďIt could be a week, two weeks, three weeks. I really donít want to speculate . . . Weíll know more after (the medical consultation).Ē

http://www.thestar.com/Sports/Baseball/article/349970

According to Ricciardi, Rolen lost most of the nail in the bloody mishap. What little remains was stitched back onto Rolenís finger by the Jays training staff.

The skin and bone underneath are painfully exposed. Toronto hopes that the specialist will be able to suggest a way to protect the finger and speed the healing.

 

melondough - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 07:50 PM EDT (#181338) #

Rolen also broke the top knuckle on his right middle finger.

http://www.sportingnews.com/yourturn/viewtopic.php?t=390497

 My instinct is I am preparing for the worst-case scenario but I can say this, he won't be lost for the year," Ricciardi said.

Zao - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 09:31 PM EDT (#181339) #

First round of World Baseball Classic to be held in Toronto in 2009.

 http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080323&content_id=2452760&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb

Oxygen8 - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 09:45 PM EDT (#181340) #
looks like barry bloom is off the bonds beat. i think his book will be the most authoritative when it's all said and done.
jasona - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 11:27 PM EDT (#181343) #
maybe I'm out of line here, but just a couple of thoughts....

  • I would assume that there were signs of weakness in Reeder's back.  Gritty players are only gritty because they're durable and can get HBP, dive for balls, and do the things Reed did before he got injured.  Gritty players are only needed when they're durable.
  • First Burnett, now Rolen...hopefully this isn't the beginning of another stretch of another snake-bit blue jays team.

Barry Bonnell - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 11:39 PM EDT (#181344) #

Check out this interview with Keith Law; especially the last question.

http://www.richarddansky.com/index_2.htm#FFWKL

greenfrog - Sunday, March 23 2008 @ 11:46 PM EDT (#181345) #
The Jays can weather a short-term loss of Rolen (especially now that Scutaro, not JMac, is the backup 3B), but a serious injury would be pretty hard to overcome. Let's see:

Eckstein
Rios
Wells
Thomas
Stairs
Overbay
Zaun
Hill
Scutaro

Hmm...not great, but passable for two or three weeks.
HollywoodHartman - Monday, March 24 2008 @ 12:28 AM EDT (#181346) #
*Sigh* What could have been... (re: Law)
scottt - Monday, March 24 2008 @ 07:09 AM EDT (#181348) #
Eckstein
Rios
Wells
Thomas
Stairs
Overbay
Zaun
Hill
Scutaro

I hope they quickly realize the folly of having the two lefties back to back.
They should throw one of them in the second slot and shift everybody else.
Or even better, switch one of them with Wells until he shows something.

So, who gets the call? Adams? He's off to a bad spring. Bringing up another outfielder after cutting Sparky would add insult to injury.

Thomas - Monday, March 24 2008 @ 08:59 AM EDT (#181350) #

I don't get this move because, as Mike said, I'd rather have both than the 7th reliever and I'd rather have Johnson than Stewart. If Reed's back was still an issue I'd understand it, but it doesn't seem like that's the case. Reed seems to fit with Stairs better as he can handle lefties and is a better defensive player than Stewart. The writing's been on the wall for Reed since the team signed Stewart, but I'm no closer to understanding what they prefer in Stewart to Reed than his ability to hit righties a bit better, which I still think is outweighed by Reed's versatility and defensive value.

As a huge Reed fanboy I'm disappointed by the move. I've got a ton of great memories of Reed's time here from his leadoff and walkoff homers in the same game to his diving catch in his first game back from his severe back injury. I just wish I had another season to accumulate those memories. 

Chuck - Monday, March 24 2008 @ 11:11 AM EDT (#181354) #
Were Johnson owed $1M rather than $3M, would this move have been made? I can't help but think that finances played a big role in this decision. Maybe the idea of $3M for 200 at-bats from a RHB-platooner/caddy coming off of back surgery seemed too high a price.

Mike Green - Monday, March 24 2008 @ 11:36 AM EDT (#181356) #
Even as a platoon player/injury replacement for Wells and Rios, Johnson would probably have got 300-350 PAs. 

I read an interview with Paul Godfrey in a weekend supplement to the Globe and Mail.  Godfrey suggested that the key to the Jays' season was avoidance of injuries, and commented that it was easier for the Yankees and Red Sox to overcome injuries due to their budgets.  As I said above, I don't understand why the 2008 Jay budget could not account for a player of Johnson's abilities and salary. 

katman - Monday, March 24 2008 @ 12:15 PM EDT (#181359) #
Calling Johnson a 4th outfielder here is a misnomer. It's more accurate to think of a single player JohnsonStairs, and ask yourself if their projected combined stats justify the projected combined salary. They do; in fact, it's a bargain.

I'm a bit puzzled by people who say this is an offense-related move, however - including JP. Stewart is getting older, and his stats are in decline. I'm not entirely convinced that projecting him higher than Johnson is justified based on past performance. When it comes to present performance, they both had a Spring Training to show what they could do - and Stewart's performance was significantly below Johnson's.

The issue of depth, which should have been front and center after last year's experience, is also being neglected in this move. Essentially, this is now a team with 3 DHs, 2 of which have some additional versatility. Of the 2 complaints, the depth issue is by far the most serious. Which is why Shannon as a plan B in case Reed isn't healthy is one thing, and Shannon as Plan A is another thing entirely.

Unless the coaches have seen something that says Reed will never be the player he was - and his spring stats make that an implausible argument - this isn't good management. It may still turn out OK, if guys like Lind, Coats, et. al. step up during the season when injuries strike, and perform at a comparable level. But unlike injuries, which must be expected, you can't expect that.
ChicagoJaysFan - Monday, March 24 2008 @ 12:49 PM EDT (#181362) #
I actually think that keeping Stewart over Reed gives us better depth, not worse.

Just so we're on the same wavelength for what to expect this year from Reed and Stewart - Reed has had one year in his career that was better than Stewart's 101 OPS+ last year (I'm calling 2003 a tie) - and that's with Reed having favorable platoon playing throughout most of his career.  I think it should be fairly easily agreed upon that Stewart is a better overall offensive player.

With that said, there are 4 players other than Reed / Stewart that can be covered by Reed / Stewart: Stairs, Thomas, Wells, and Rios.  If there is an injury to Stairs and Thomas, I think Stewart is a clear-cut better player to have picking up the extra at-bats (based on above paragraph).  If the injury is to Wells and Rios, I think Stewart's improved offense as an every day player that will face righties and lefties offsets the decline in defense that you get - and if it is a lengthy injury to Wells or Rios, that defensive drop is mitigated by the call-up & late-inning replacement of Coats.

So with a Wells or Rios injury -> Shannon Stewart = Reed Johnson as the 4th OF.  With a Stairs or Thomas injury, then Stewart > Johnson.

What gets overlooked in Johnson's defensive flexibility, is that he's only useful if he's going in as a late-inning replacement at those positions (not happening with Wells and Rios) or if he's going against a lefty starter (~ 1/3 of the games).  If he's starting in RF or CF against a righty, he's not helping you.
HollywoodHartman - Monday, March 24 2008 @ 01:03 PM EDT (#181363) #

And now the other half of Freed Johnsolanatto exits. Always remember them. The platoon used to perfection.

Any update on Rolen?

zeppelinkm - Monday, March 24 2008 @ 01:15 PM EDT (#181364) #

And what if Lind breaks through?

He was above average as a fielder last year (if that Dial guy's work is to mean anything!), and if he becomes above average as a hitter then the situation is easier to manage if you don't have all of Stewart, Johnson, and Stairs around to deal with. Then Stairs can turn into a bonafide "give Thomas and Overbay" rest, PH specialist, and Stewart can be the 4th outfielder, PH, and a good pinch running candidate.

I know Lind struggled last year, which attributes to a flaw in his swing, which he apparently corrected this off season through a visit to an old coach. Do you believe it? Is it relevant? I'm betting that Lind turns a corner this year towards becoming a reliable, everyday, starting LF'er.

That's what I'm betting. What i'm hoping is that Lind is our everyday LF by June putting up a line around 290/355/475

As long as it's still Spring Training, let's stay optimistic!

 

 

Timbuck2 - Monday, March 24 2008 @ 01:28 PM EDT (#181365) #
Well said ChicagoJaysFan!   I agree with statement completely.

I'd also like to remind everyone that Stairs is 40 years old.  He may have had a great year last year but can he really do it again even as apart time player?  And if he falters then a full-time LF of Shannon Stewart is offensively better than a full time LF of Sparky (AKA Tripod or 'The Hobbit').  Seems to me that guys who get HBP more would tend to get themselves on the disabled list more often too.

CaramonLS - Monday, March 24 2008 @ 03:54 PM EDT (#181371) #
With a Stairs or Thomas injury, then Stewart > Johnson.

Really?  Because that isn't what would happen.  Adam Lind would be the first to be called up and likely asked to fill in.  IMHO Lind/Johnson Platoon is probably going to be better than SS.
ChicagoJaysFan - Monday, March 24 2008 @ 04:16 PM EDT (#181373) #
Really?  Because that isn't what would happen.  Adam Lind would be the first to be called up and likely asked to fill in.  IMHO Lind/Johnson Platoon is probably going to be better than SS.

I don't think that's necessarily true.

First, someone is only getting recalled if the injury causes Stairs or Thomas to go on the DL - in the cases of shorter injuries where the depth has to play all games (i.e. no recall), I still say Stewart > Reed.

Second, if Thomas goes on the DL, there is no guarantee the spot is filled with an OF.  With Stewart on the roster, we already have 4 OFers and don't necessarily need the extra bat for the OF.  We could use it on an IF (Thigpen) or perhaps even another reliever / starter (teams have been known to use DL replacements for position players as a chance to skip one turn in the rotation for a starter with a tired arm).  If Reed is the 4th OF, our call-up has to be able to play either DH or LF against RHP - with Stewart, we don't have that restriction and gain that flexibility.  So if Thomas is on the DL, Stewart > Reed.

Third, if Stairs goes down and we replace him with Lind, we're looking at the same situation we started from.  We haven't changed the role played by Reed or Stewart, so all of the above named scenarios are essentially the same (short-term injury to Lind or long/short-term injury to Thomas being favorable to Stewart; and Wells / Rios short-term and long-term injuries being a wash).  So if Stairs on the DL, I still say Stewart > Johnson.
Chuck - Monday, March 24 2008 @ 05:15 PM EDT (#181379) #
Rosenthal suggests that Johnson may soon have a new home, to play CF no less.
timpinder - Monday, March 24 2008 @ 05:53 PM EDT (#181380) #

Rolen had surgery on his hand today:

http://www.globesports.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080324.wpst-rolen-update24/GSStory/GlobeSportsBaseball/home

Gibbons says he'll be out "at least" two weeks.  I also heard Wilner on The Fan 590 at 17:00 Hrs., say that Rolen would likely be out two weeks, missing just the first week of the season.

Well, I'm certainly not an expert but reading "surgery", and "pin was inserted", in the same sentence scares me a little.  I'm going to expect to see Scutaro playing 3B for the first three weeks of the season.

Buck Coats will replace Rolen on the roster. 

China fan - Monday, March 24 2008 @ 06:31 PM EDT (#181382) #
   Rosenthal says the Red Sox are also pursuing Sparky.  Now there's a nightmare scenario:  Sparky comes back to haunt the Jays in a pennant race......     Still, I think it's more likely that he becomes the next Hinske if he signs with the Sox....
    As for the Rolen injury:  the only good news is that it frees a spot for Buck Coates.  This guy seems very promising, and it will be good to see what he can do in the regular season.  If this helps to accelerate his development, it might pay long-term rewards for the team.

melondough - Monday, March 24 2008 @ 07:27 PM EDT (#181384) #

Just watching Jays and Cincy on MLB.com and the Red commentators are speculating that something may be going down trade wise with the Jays.  They point to the last minute change to have Carlson (who is lights out this spring) start instead of Marcum.  They go on to say that Marcum will pitch from inning 2 on tonight.  Apparantly there are about 8 front office guys at the game tonight which has fuelled their comments.  It may be nothing but I thought I would pass it along.  Keep your ears open.

Carlson has really impressed  I can see he is a lefty tossing sidewinder aged 27 but does anyone know anything about this guy?

HollywoodHartman - Monday, March 24 2008 @ 09:44 PM EDT (#181388) #

BJ is officially going to start the season on the DL, hopes to be ready my mid-April.

Dave Till - Monday, March 24 2008 @ 09:48 PM EDT (#181389) #
Check out this interview with Keith Law; especially the last question.

In 2005, Russ Adams still looked like he might be the long-term solution at short, and Orlando Hudson was at second. Plus, the Jays had Aaron Hill coming up behind them; at the time, he was still playing short. You can't really blame J.P. for taking a pitcher over a middle infielder in that draft. Besides, hindsight is 20-20.

After thinking more about the Johnson/Stewart situation, I'm wondering whether Adam Lind is being sent a message. Snider is apparently about to start the year in AA - and, even if he isn't, he's moving up fast. Lind's window of opportunity is approximately now.
ComebyDeanChance - Monday, March 24 2008 @ 10:29 PM EDT (#181390) #
I'm not sure I understand the 'hindsight' argument being made. Law is saying that he and a majority of people hired to evaluate talent, told Ricciardi in 2005 not to draft Romero over Tulo, and Ricciardi did so anyway and the Blue Jays are the poorer for it.

I find it hard to see how Law gets accused of '20-20 hindsight' rather than Ricciardi getting accused of poor drafting. Second, if Ricciardi had not figured out by June 2005, that neither Adams (2002) nor HIll (2003) would be playing short at the major league level, that's not really an argument that goes to his favour.
Thomas - Monday, March 24 2008 @ 10:35 PM EDT (#181392) #

I don't think that's necessarily true.
First, someone is only getting recalled if the injury causes Stairs or Thomas to go on the DL - in the cases of shorter injuries where the depth has to play all games (i.e. no recall), I still say Stewart > Reed.

Second, if Thomas goes on the DL, there is no guarantee the spot is filled with an OF.  With Stewart on the roster, we already have 4 OFers and don't necessarily need the extra bat for the OF.  We could use it on an IF (Thigpen) or perhaps even another reliever / starter (teams have been known to use DL replacements for position players as a chance to skip one turn in the rotation for a starter with a tired arm).  If Reed is the 4th OF, our call-up has to be able to play either DH or LF against RHP - with Stewart, we don't have that restriction and gain that flexibility.  So if Thomas is on the DL, Stewart > Reed.

I strongly disagree. I think any injury to an outfielder or DH would result in Lind being recalled. There's no service time issues with Lind, nor are there any option years issues. He was the first recalled last year when an injury occurred and he's being pushed from behind by Snider at a corner outfield where the Jays other player is basically set in Rios, given the team couldn't trade him this offseason for a good young starter. Snider could end up at 1B or DH, but there's also a strong possibility he'll end up in LF. There's no viable alternative that is likely to provide the production Lind would at Syracuse. Thigpen won't outproduce Lind and a 13th pitcher would be unwise, unless it was a temporary short-term fix because of particular circumstances. Fifteen or more days of a 13th pitcher would be foolish. Given all that, there's no reason not to call up Lind if an outfielder or the DH goes down.

Maybe Stewart is better for the team during an injury of a couple of days that doesn't cause a DL stint, but I'm not convinced of that either and I'm more concerned with who is the better fit over the course of the season, which I still think is Johnson.

Third, if Stairs goes down and we replace him with Lind, we're looking at the same situation we started from.  We haven't changed the role played by Reed or Stewart, so all of the above named scenarios are essentially the same (short-term injury to Lind or long/short-term injury to Thomas being favorable to Stewart; and Wells / Rios short-term and long-term injuries being a wash).  So if Stairs on the DL, I still say Stewart > Johnson.

You referenced that Johnson's only had one year that was clearly better than Stewart's 2007. Well, Stewart's OPS+ in 2005 and 2006 were 87 and 88, respectively. Meanwhile, Johnson's 66 last year occured during a year where he suffered a severe back injury and was working his way back to full health. Granted, he wasn't doing well before he went on the DL, but I don't think last year was a true reflection of his offensive capabilities. Meanwhile, in 2005 and 2006 his OPS+ were 96 and 124, respectively. Granted Stewart was better in 2004, but I think a more relevant way of looking at their offensive capabilities right now might be to look over the past 3 years, rather than at Stewart's 2007 compared to Johnson's career, and in 2 of the past 3 years Johnson has been better. So, I don't think it's as clear cut as you do that Stewart is the superior offensive player. Maybe he is, but Johnson's done better in 2 of the past 3 seasons.

You might point out that Johnson's had a platoon advantage that Stewart hasn't in those years. But, so what? If Johnson's going to be used in a platoon role in 2008 it doesn't matter if he's had a platoon advantage in the past because he'll have the same advantage going forward. Johnson may get a few starts against righties, but the majority would go to Stairs, or in the case of injury, Lind (as explained earlier, I think Lind is the first to be called up if any of Stairs, Wells, Rios or Thomas go down). As I said, it won't be a strict platoon, but I would think their respective performance against left-handed pitching is more relevant than it is against right-handed pitching.

Someone might counter that Johnson's had a platoon advantage that Stewart hasn't, so Stewart's stats look worse than Johnson's do. But that's not true, as the last year Stewart hit lefties better than righties was in 2003. He's hit righties better every year since 2004. His highest OPS against lefties over the past 3 seasons has been .700. Meanwhile, Johnson's had a higher OPS against lefties every year of his career with a career-low of .753 in 2005. Stewart's 2003 was the last time he hit lefties better than Johnson's career low mark. Stairs has hit lefties worse every year since 2000 (and then I stopped checking, as the conclusion was clear). Stairs has actually hit lefties better than Stewart in 2 of the past 4 seasons. Also, Reed is obviously the superior defensive player. His versatility helps us out in cases of short-term injury and, more importantly, he can serve as a late-inning defensive substitute in a way that Stewart can't. I think that is worth more consideration than you give it.

To conclude, the Jays released the player who is the better defender, has been better offensively in 2 of the past 3 seasons and who has consistently hit left-handers better in favour of the player who is the worse defender, who was better offensively last season but not in the two previous season and who consistently hits left-handers worse than right-handers. And they were battling for the right-handed part of an outfield platoon.

Mike Forbes - Monday, March 24 2008 @ 11:50 PM EDT (#181394) #
Buck Coats can do Sparky's roll of being the defensive replacement in the late innings for Stewart/Stairs. Too bad Coats had to make the team at the expense of Rolen's injury though.
Alex Obal - Tuesday, March 25 2008 @ 12:39 AM EDT (#181400) #
Stewart and Johnson both add depth, in different ways which are both important to a contending team. I agree that the way to go is to keep both over the 7th reliever.

I'd be curious to hear the front office's answer to these questions, which I don't think are necessarily clearcut.

- Who's more valuable as a complement to Stairs?
- Who's more valuable as a substitute for Stairs, if he collapses and hits like '06 Stairs?
- Which is more important, and by how much?
- Given 400 PA, 90% of them against righties, what line do we expect Adam Lind to put up?
seeyou - Tuesday, March 25 2008 @ 12:50 AM EDT (#181402) #

Ken Rosenthal is reporting that Rios is close to signing a six-year $65 million deal.  The deal would start in the 2009 season, and cover Rios' last two arbitration years and first four free agency years (up to his age 32 year). 

Gut reaction, I'm a big fan of this deal.  I was one of those who was in favour of dealing Rios for Lincecum/Cain, but since that fell apart, I'm happy the Jays decided to lock him up over what should be his peak years at a reasonable rate. 

Looking to the future, the Jays will now only have one OF position to play with over the next seven years, so it will be interesting to see how the Jays proceed with developing Lind and Snider this year.



Shane - Tuesday, March 25 2008 @ 01:12 AM EDT (#181403) #

In 2005, Russ Adams still looked like he might be the long-term solution at short, and Orlando Hudson was at second. Plus, the Jays had Aaron Hill coming up behind them; at the time, he was still playing short. You can't really blame J.P. for taking a pitcher over a middle infielder in that draft.

Wow. Really Dave? This would be a 'agree to disagree' moment, I guess. I think well by that time all the cautionary expectations of Adams were being met, going back to when he was drafted both offensively and defensively. I think it looked cleary to anyone who didn't have something emotionally involved (Ricciardi), that Toronto had three second baseman realistically, and considering Hudson was always likely to be pushed out by Ricciardi, that left Hill as the best second baseman for future Jays clubs. Obviously, the majority of the Blue Jays brass had no faith in Adams as a MLB shortstop for a contending club, because they were prepared to draft a college SS with a #1 pick for the 3rd time in four years. To me this clearly reads as an instance where some one in a major position of power had lost his objectivity, and was making decisions based perhaps more on ego than pragmatism. I'm not trying to be harsh, but.

Seamus - Tuesday, March 25 2008 @ 01:57 AM EDT (#181404) #
I like that Rios signing a lot.

They'd be signing him over his prime years for a pretty reasonable salary. 

I'm kind of surprised he agreed to it to be honest.  If he kept progressing over the next couple years, I was expecting him to get a Wells type contract.

Exciting deal!

timpinder - Tuesday, March 25 2008 @ 02:37 AM EDT (#181405) #

The reliable Jeff Blair is reporting that Rolen will be out for at least the first 2 or 3 weeks of the year and B.J. Ryan will be out until at least mid-April. 

http://www.globesports.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080324.wsptblair24/GSStory/GlobeSportsBaseball/home

It was interesting to read Blair openly comment about trying to keep Thomas from reaching 376 plate appearances.  When Rolen returns, if Thomas is still struggling, I'm convinced Stewart will start a lot of games in LF with Stairs at DH against right-handers.  That could be part of the reasoning for keeping Stewart over Johnson (Stewart hits righties).

The good news is the possible Rios deal.  Wow.  I expected a deal that might eat up one or two years of free agency, but four years is fantastic.  If Snider continues to develop as expected the Jays will have an awesome outfield for at least the next 6 years.  There may be room for Adam Lind yet, if the Jays can keep Thomas from reaching 376 plate appearances he could take over at DH for the Jays in 2009.  Here's hoping.  And now I wait to hear about Hill's deal.

Geoff - Tuesday, March 25 2008 @ 04:20 AM EDT (#181407) #
Many prayers are being answered this week: Rios signing, regular season begins in a few hours, and now I bring you this (if you haven't already heard):

Major League Baseball unveiled on Monday from Tokyo its plans for the opening round of next year's Classic, to be staged beginning March 5, 2009, in Japan, Puerto Rico, Canada and Mexico. The U.S. is in Pool C and will play its opening-round games at Rogers Centre in Toronto.
That's the story from an article on the Brewers site. World Baseball Classic will be back, and the show is coming to town. Pack up the kids and plan your holidays, there will be some early season baseball next year.
HollywoodHartman - Tuesday, March 25 2008 @ 07:52 AM EDT (#181408) #
Great news Re: Rios. Reasonable deal indeed! Is there anywhere to watch the Red Sox/A's games here in Canada?
Barry Bonnell - Tuesday, March 25 2008 @ 09:04 AM EDT (#181409) #

I don't know but Street just blew the save.

An analysis of BJ Ryan's delivery. This person predicts that BJ will have to deal with arm problems for the rest of his career.

http://www.chrisoleary.com/projects/Baseball/Pitching/ProfessionalPitcherAnalyses/BJRyan.html

ANationalAcrobat - Tuesday, March 25 2008 @ 09:16 AM EDT (#181410) #
It's late, but the game has been on SN West and Pacific.
Geoff - Tuesday, March 25 2008 @ 05:33 PM EDT (#181456) #
It's official: Reed is now a Cub. They agreed on a $1.3 million, one-year contract.
GregH - Tuesday, March 25 2008 @ 10:30 PM EDT (#181484) #
And Sparky went 2 for 5 with a double, scoring twice in his Cubs debut against the Giants.
JeffOnTheGo - Wednesday, March 26 2008 @ 09:54 AM EDT (#181498) #
Interesting quote from the Cubs on Johnson:

“We’ve been working on guys for the outfield for a while, and all of a sudden, probably the best fit in a lot of ways kind of just fell into our lap,” general manager Jim Hendry said. “We’ve always liked him. We’ve tried to acquire him a few times the last four or five years from Toronto. He’s really a hard-nosed player. He’s an extremely good hitter against left-handed pitching.”

http://www.thestar.com/Sports/Baseball/article/350793

Makes one wonder again why the Jays couldn't have got something in return for Johnson, with the Cubs saying they've tried to get him a few times. Probably other teams to. Would have been worth carrying him on the roster past Opening Day to show teams that the Jays weren't going to just let him go for nothing before end of Spring Training.
Pistol - Wednesday, March 26 2008 @ 11:17 AM EDT (#181499) #
Would have been worth carrying him on the roster past Opening Day to show teams that the Jays weren't going to just let him go for nothing before end of Spring Training.

Don't forget that Johnson signed with the Cubs for $1.3 million and the Jays had him for something north of $3 million.  The Cubs liked him, but not more than $1.3 million, and pretty much seem to be describing him as a good 4th OF.

The time to trade Johnson was after the 2006 season, but JP doesn't sell high.  Between his back and struggles no one was going to trade for him last year.

Jdog - Wednesday, March 26 2008 @ 11:35 AM EDT (#181500) #
To say JP doesn't sell high, while true, is somewhat unfair. Not many managers sell high, unless they are forced to by other circumstances (like a small budget) really you have to be pretty ballsy to trade someone after a huge year. Or are there managers who have a reputation for selling high that are simply not forced into selling high as they know they wont be able to afford the player. Beane in Oakland sold fairly high on Hudson and Mulder, but thats because he knew his budget didn't allow keeping them, if he had a bigger budget there is no way he makes those trades. Is there a manager out there who has a history of selling high on players simply as a strategic move??
Pistol - Wednesday, March 26 2008 @ 02:41 PM EDT (#181507) #
To say JP doesn't sell high, while true, is somewhat unfair. Not many managers sell high, unless they are forced to by other circumstances (like a small budget) really you have to be pretty ballsy to trade someone after a huge year.

Well, I don't think it was an uncommon thought to think that Reed Johnson's 2006 was, at least partly, a fluke.  His BABIP was especially high and nothing else really changed from the previous years (or at least my copy of BP says so).

I agree that not many GMs would have traded him.  However, being an ordinary GM isn't getting the Jays any closer to the playoffs.  When you have two superpowers in your division and a few other well run and/or capitalized teams in your league you have to do a better job than they do.  Ricciardi hasn't shown anything to be considered an abover average GM (and you could argue he's below average .... I wouldn't, but you could) and being average gets you to the low to mid eighties wins.
jlowenstein - Wednesday, March 26 2008 @ 05:48 PM EDT (#181518) #
According to one of ESPN's "fantasy reporters:"

There is speculation that A.J. (fingernail) and Mr. Marcum (offseason knee surgery) may be left in Florida to get some extra innings in when the team heads north to start the season. Has anyone heard anything to this effect from the contingent of Toronto scribes/bloggers/radio personalities? What would this do to the first turn through the rotation... Halladay, McGowan, Litch... Jansen, Chacin, Zambrano, Okha??? er, wait. So much for pitching depth. Until I see it from one of the more 'traditional' sources I wont spend too much time worrying about it. Although JP's history of revealing - and by revealing i obviously mean obstructing, lying, and hiding - injuries, gives me enough reason to be just a little concerned.

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