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Off day yesterday. The Jays face off against the A's and Chad Gaudin tonight. Burnett takes the hill for the good guys.

Word is that BJ Ryan and Scott Rolen are right on track for their returns.

TDIB 8 April 2008: Back in Action | 28 comments | Create New Account
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chris_jays - Tuesday, April 08 2008 @ 09:08 AM EDT (#182347) #

Should be an interesting series as we will see Gaudin, DiNardo, and Eveland. pretty lucky not to have face blanton, harden, or justin D.


Ryeguy - Tuesday, April 08 2008 @ 09:11 AM EDT (#182348) #
Why isn't Harden pitching?
FranklyScarlet - Tuesday, April 08 2008 @ 09:47 AM EDT (#182350) #
Harden has tendonitis.

Make sure you read the STAR article about Gibbons today:

Comments from staff and Halladay.

PeteMoss - Tuesday, April 08 2008 @ 09:48 AM EDT (#182351) #

No details, but apparently he's been scratched. 

Ryeguy - Tuesday, April 08 2008 @ 09:53 AM EDT (#182352) #
Im reading that it's his lat that's sore... not sure if i believe that his lat is the main problem, might just be a bit of a smokescreen.
edtjeerd - Tuesday, April 08 2008 @ 09:57 AM EDT (#182353) #
Harden has a strained Lat muscle.  Isn't thought to be serious; he's still pencilled in on his next scheduled start (Saturday).  With his injury history though, who really knows.
HollywoodHartman - Tuesday, April 08 2008 @ 12:09 PM EDT (#182358) #
Rotoworld says LHP Greg Smith will start Wendesday's game, not DiNardo. Regardless, I'm excited to see what this lineup can do to a lefty.
John Northey - Tuesday, April 08 2008 @ 12:12 PM EDT (#182359) #
Interesting article. It suggests Gibbons is doing what one wants from a manager - namely to keep players happy and productive while not doing anything too dumb when it comes to lineup/pitching choices.

All the evidence points to managers greatest influence being in three areas...
1) Who gets put into the lineup - not where, but who
2) Making sure no pitchers get pushed too hard or too little
3) Keeping players in a 'happy place' where they will run through a wall for the team

From the sounds of it (and the fact we rarely hear of complaints outside of Lilly & Hilly with Lilly saying it wasn't that big) #3 is covered by Gibbons. #1 and #2 are strongly controlled by the GM from all the evidence thus making those parts minimal for the manager.

Short of going for a guy who has shown an ability to win the World Series (Gaston) or an ability to tug every last bit out of a team (Davy Johnson) I don't see any reason to replace Gibbons. Johnson would be a short term solution (he tends to be the 3 year contract, 2 year act type) and Cito would be too strong a personality for JP I suspect (ie: would demand to control a lot of stuff). Plus, of course, any big name manager would be too expensive for Rogers.
Greg - Tuesday, April 08 2008 @ 01:03 PM EDT (#182361) #

Is bullpen management important for managers?
Or does that fit under #1 and #2?

It seems to be the one issue complaining fans always point to (I'm thinking here of the Mets and Brewers last season)

John Northey - Tuesday, April 08 2008 @ 01:13 PM EDT (#182362) #
Just for fun I checked recent starts for the Jays.

After 6 games via ESPN for the JP era...
2007: 4-2 1st place by a game, 42-28 runs for/against
2006: 3-3 2nd place, 34-37 runs for/against
2005: 4-2 1st place by a game, 37-27 runs for/against
2004: 1-5 Last place, 21-35 runs for/against
2003: 3-3 3rd place, 31-33 runs for/against
2002: 2-4 4th place, 36-50 runs for/against

This year...
2008: 4-2 2nd place, 32-17 runs for/against

So, for the 3rd time in 7 years the Jays start 4-2. However, the 17 runs allowed is the lowest by a mile. 10 runs less than the #2 start in 2005. Runs for are 4th.

Right now in the AL only the ChiSox and Angles have scored more total runs - 45 and 35 respectively - putting the Jays in a 3 way tie for 3rd with Baltimore and Tampa. KC has actually allowed one less run than the Jays while Oakland is at 20 for 3rd place.

Nice start with all 6 games coming against the big 2. KC played a slumping Detroit and Minnesota, ChiSox slaughtered Detroit (a trend!) and played Minnesota and Cleveland. The Angles faced Texas, Minnesota and Cleveland. Hmmm... a definate trend appearing as to how to do well - play Detroit, Minnesota and Cleveland - who'd have guessed?
John Northey - Tuesday, April 08 2008 @ 01:15 PM EDT (#182363) #
I see bullpen management as being a mix of #1/2 - who plays and not pushing pitchers too hard or too light (League does seem to be a blind spot for Gibbons - he just forgets League is there it seems, guess League has to learn to talk more).
Radster - Tuesday, April 08 2008 @ 01:19 PM EDT (#182364) #

Jeter's hurt and will miss today's game at least.  Jeff Passan at Yahoo! raises the question of whether A-Rod should be shifted to the SS position in Jeter's absence.  Speaking of a manager's role in keeping everyone happy - I think it makes sense defensively, but would you do it if you were the manager knowing that it might set off sparks?

Mick Doherty - Tuesday, April 08 2008 @ 01:27 PM EDT (#182365) #

Well, Wilson Betemit is listed as the top reserve at both Ss and 3B, so it might not make much difference, unless you were looking to get Morgan Ensberg in the lineup at 3B.

Overall, I think the best thing to do, both defensively and politically, is to play Betemit at short. A-Rod was never a great defensive SS -- overrated, definitely -- and hasn't played the position in a while, so why mess with your MVP at 3B?

uglyone - Tuesday, April 08 2008 @ 01:27 PM EDT (#182366) #

So, for the 3rd time in 7 years the Jays start 4-2. However, the 17 runs allowed is the lowest by a mile. 10 runs less than the #2 start in 2005. Runs for are 4th.

How many of those starts came against just the Yanks & Red Sox?

Craig B - Tuesday, April 08 2008 @ 01:43 PM EDT (#182367) #

Mick, if Jeter were out for a while, you can't play Betemit at short. Alex may not have been great, but Betemit is terrible. He's got slow feet and his arm isn't shortstop quality because of a slow release. You'd be loads better off playing A-Rod at short and letting Ensberg and Betemit platoon at third base, where between then they would probably give production not too far off Derek Jeter's. Betemit/Ensberg is a hell of a platoon offensively and Alberto Gonzalez probably isn't major-league ready yet (if he will ever be). I agree that it's politically a difficult move, politically implausible if Jeter is only out for a couple of days. If he's out for weeks, I think that equation changes.


Magpie - Tuesday, April 08 2008 @ 01:45 PM EDT (#182369) #
Bullpen management is the one issue every fan of every team complains about. Without rest or pause. It's part of being a baseball fan, hard-wired in the DNA.

It's certainly true that some managers are better at it than others. It's never been one of Bobby Cox's strengths, and it was the one specific thing that Cito Gaston did better than anyone who's ever managed here. In my judgement, Gibbons does at least an above average job here. I'm actually looking into the subject of how AL managers use their bullpens (but I keep getting waylaid by other bright and shiny things...)
ChicagoJaysFan - Tuesday, April 08 2008 @ 01:57 PM EDT (#182370) #
A-Rod was never a great defensive SS -- overrated, definitely

I agree with the idea of keeping ARod at third, but am curious why you say he was overrated at SS.  Is it a natural reaction to gold glove winners?  He always scored extremely high in UZR and that's one of the better metrics that are out there IMO.

The only link I could find from his SS era is this discussion on UZR.  Read Mitchel Licthman's comment (MGL) midway through for his discussion on how A-Rod did historically.

I admit I'm biased - I've always been an A-Rod fan and one of the reasons I don't like Jeter is that he's denied baseball fans the opportunity to truly experience one of the best baseball players of all time.  His 2005 or 2007 would have gone down as one of the best baseball years of all-time if it was combined with top-notch defensive SS performance.
John Northey - Tuesday, April 08 2008 @ 02:24 PM EDT (#182372) #
Bullpen management and lineups are the big two issues to many fans as they are very visible and often done in mysterious ways.

Lineups I see as secondary as a guy hitting 3rd or 5th will make little difference over the course of a season unless the player goes into a funk over how he feels he is a #3 hitter and not a #5 hitter.

Bullpens though are vital. As I mentioned, they hit both who plays and how much in major fashions that lineups and starting pitchers can't. If you use a guy for 1 IP each time out or just 1 batter each time out you drastically change his value to the team and his wear and tear. Not to mention how getting a guy up and down over and over again can kill off a good arm very quickly.

A big part of pens is figuring out who can warm up quickly (like Quantrill used to) and who cannot (I remember there was a starter who was tried in the pen but was way too slow getting ready so they gave up on him in relief but cannot recall who it was). Who can pitch two days in a row (or more) and who cannot.

Gibbons hasn't been horrid here. Getting three guys over 190 in ERA+ last year was fantastic. 3 over 150 in '06 (40+ IP), 7 over 100 in '05, 4 of the 5 regulars in the pen in the year from hell '04 were over 100. That is good.

Hmm. Looking at all his full seasons (05/06/07) Gibbons has just one guy over 40 IP in the pen with an ERA+ below 100 - Frasor at 98 in '07. That is very impressive, especially given the turnover ('05 had Batista/Frasor/Chulk/Downs/Walker/Speier/Schoeneweis, '06 Downs/Ryan/Tallet/Speier/Frasor/League, '07 Janssen/Accardo/Tallet/Downs/Frasor/Wolfe). For comparison the Yankees had 2 in the 90's last year, Boston none in '07 but 2 in '06, and a batch in '05. Somehow Gibbons has juggled guys just right to get the max out of them and if they aren't doing the job the damage done is minimized (Schoeneweis in '06 used just for one leftie at a time, League hitting 40 IP only in his good year).

Gibbons may drive us nuts with pitching changes at times but the results are solid and up there (and beyond) with the teams that we have to beat.
John Northey - Tuesday, April 08 2008 @ 02:32 PM EDT (#182373) #
Just had to check the Jays past and hit a funny point - 1985 the Jays had 15 pitchers used and just 4 were below 100 in ERA+ - Luis Leal at 74 (67 IP then sent to the minors for the rest of his career), Ron Mussleman (96 over 52 1/3 IP), Cerutti (6 2/3 IP), and Stan Clarke (4 IP). Wow, that was a good team all-around. Leal fell off a cliff that year after 4 straight 100+ ERA+ seasons and was just 28 so you can see why he was given a fair amount of rope to hang himself with while only Mussleman (who was in the mop-up role) got more than 10 IP to stink it up that year and wasn't really that bad.

1992 had 3 guys in the pen under 100 ERA+ over 40+ IP mixed with 2 starters (Stieb & Stottlemyre) and 5 guys with under 32 IP each.

1993 had 3 sinkholes in the rotation (Stottlemyre again, Stewart, and Morris), plus Timlin in the pen (92) and the 3 guys between 10 and 40 IP.

Gotta say it again, Gibbons has done well in the pen.
ChicagoJaysFan - Tuesday, April 08 2008 @ 02:39 PM EDT (#182374) #
John - very strong post and great insight.

A couple of points that build on what you wrote:
  1. I believe it is Chacin that takes too long to warm up in the pen.  Can't find a link or anything, so I'm relying on memory here.
  2. You mentioned the importance of not getting a guy up and then never using him, but didn't relate that to Gibby.  Again, this is working off of memory, but I believe that's also one of Gibby's strong suits.  If you're warming up, chances are very good that you're going in - so he's not getting extra wear and tear on people with no value to the team.
Mike Green - Tuesday, April 08 2008 @ 02:57 PM EDT (#182376) #
ERA+ is not the best tool for measuring bullpen performance, due to run attribution rules.  You also have to bear in mind that bullpen performance in general is on average better than starting pitcher performance.  An ERA+ of 100 in the bullpen is actually below average.

Gibbons' bullpen management has had both positive and negative sides to it.  He has got excellent work out of Scott Downs and Jeremy Accardo, better than one could reasonably have expected.  On the other side, he did not treat Jason Frasor reasonably, and the results have been predictable. Hopefully, Brandon League will not suffer this kind of thing. His usage patterns are pretty much conventional, that is to say, not really optimal.  On the whole, I would concur with Magpie that his bullpen management has been above average; his anger management not so much...

Timbuck2 - Tuesday, April 08 2008 @ 03:07 PM EDT (#182377) #
Since we are talking about pitching - does anyone have any info about Brad Arnsberg's effect on the pitching staff?  Is he only responsible for the arms currently on the ML roster or is he also playing a part in the development of the talent coming through the system?

I ask because it seems to me he may be the forgotten man in J.P.'s success so far at amassing so many good arms.
Jevant - Tuesday, April 08 2008 @ 03:26 PM EDT (#182378) #

What would be really interesting is if then A-Rod clearly showed his defensive superiority, and then Jeter came back after a few weeks.  I have no doubt they'd move A-Rod right back to 3B, but it is interested, because it seems clear to me that Jeter would make a far better 3B than SS, especially now.

Samir - Tuesday, April 08 2008 @ 03:36 PM EDT (#182379) #
SI's Verducci had this little note in an article today about team's locking up their young stars

"True story: While Cueto was tearing up the Midwest League in 2006, the Blue Jays offered outfielder Frank Catalanotto for the smallish righthander. Cincinnati GM Wayne Krivsky, on the job only a few months, didn't reject it out of hand simply because he was still getting acquainted with the Reds' farm system. It took only a brief check with his minor league people to come up with an answer: That would be a definite no."

Guess JP's not completely useless after all :P
Jevant - Tuesday, April 08 2008 @ 04:45 PM EDT (#182380) #
Good one for JP, at least he tried.

John Northey - Tuesday, April 08 2008 @ 09:35 PM EDT (#182389) #
Mike, while ERA+ is not the best for measuring relievers individually it can show issues with a manager using the parts he has in the pen.  IE: if you sub pitcher A for pitcher B and A gives up 2 runs on B then A's ERA isn't hurt but B's is.  To keep an all members of your pen with a 100+ ERA+ then you have to be avoiding that situation. 

Looking back you can see Schoenwies had issues his last season here but they were largely caused by the guys coming in after him I suspect as he rarely lasted long enough to allow runs of his own to score unless he gave up a home run.  A good job by the manager would enable both LOOGY's and ROOGY's and all the rest to look good regardless of individual skill level via mix and match.

It isn't the best way to measure, but it works nicely as a quick glance and guess method which is all I really have time for lately.  I'll leave the big article to Magpie as he'll beat me to it I'm sure (I don't see time for it in 2008)
John Northey - Wednesday, April 09 2008 @ 10:21 AM EDT (#182402) #
Griffen vs Canseco

It seems Canseco claims 19 of the guys on the 98 team were on steroids. Griffen claims otherwise as he knows for a fact it seems that Quantrill, Carpenter, Hentgen, Plesac, and Woody Williams were not on the juice. I do wonder about that though as Carp spent tons of time with Clemens iirc and has had lots of injury issues (normally viewed as a steroid issue).

I guess that suggests that Green, Fletcher, Delgado, Sprague, Gonzo, Stewart, Cruz and the rest could've been but Griffen isn't sure. Given how Green was mini-me to Canseco that season and pretty much everyone talked about how good an influence he was being on the team (honest, they really said that then) one has to wonder. That team had 21 hitters and 20 pitchers on it including both Canseco and Clemens so all we need is 17 of the remaining 39 to have used for Canseco to be right.

Note: current Jays on that team were Stewart and Halladay, neither of whom I've heard any rumours about...yet (and I hope never will).
Mike Green - Wednesday, April 09 2008 @ 12:46 PM EDT (#182413) #
How does anyone know that any particular player was not juicing in 1998?  Because the player told them so?  Because they followed the player around every waking moment? 

This, of course, does not mean that it should be assumed that they all were doing it,  or that most were.  If Canseco says "approximately 19" were on the 1998 Jays and says that he is not willing to name names, that is really the end of that.  It seems pretty clear that there were many users in MLB at that time, but guessing about who might or might not have been is pretty pointless.

TDIB 8 April 2008: Back in Action | 28 comments | Create New Account
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