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Well, at least the Jays banged out 10 hits last night - only the third time since April 20th.

The team's previously much lauded OBP has fallen from a season high of .370 on April 15 to .332, and they haven't scored more than 5 runs since that 11-3 shellacking of the Orioles on that day 3 weeks ago.

I wasn't watching the game last night, but apparently McDonald and Eckstein both got hurt. Scutaro will be the starting shortstop for now, and Jorge Velandia, who's having a career year at AAA could get the call.

Manny and Ortiz went back to back last night, as they so often have over the years, and Manny is now only 2 HRs away from the fabled 500 mark. The Jays and Sox don't meet for a while, so no. 500 likely won't come at the Rogers Center.

Gavin Floyd almost threw a no-hitter last night against the Twins. Joe Mauer broke it up with a double in the 9th. It's the second time this year that Floyd has come close, and John Danks has also had one going late into the game this year. If those 2 guys continue to pitch well, watch out for the south-siders (I'm skeptical though, Floyd has a 19:18 K:BB through 39 innings).

Albert Pujols struck out twice last night, the first time he's done that all year. He now sports a still ridiculous 34:12 BB:K.

Despite winning several close games of late, the Jays are still only 6-13 in close games this season, and their pythagorean record is 19-12, tied with LA for 3rd best in the AL behind #2 Boston and the Best Team in the American League, the Oakland A's. Here's hoping Matt Garza inspires the bats to wake up tonight at 7:07.
TDIB 07 May 2008 | 87 comments | Create New Account
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Mike Green - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 10:04 AM EDT (#184537) #
The Mets ran a double steal last night, with the end result that the boxscore of the Mets-Dodger game indicates that Moises Alou stole home.
Maldoff - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 10:11 AM EDT (#184538) #
I know it's tough to blame a game on one play/person, but I think last night's game was lost due to Marco Scutaro. I know everyone will say the Jays had lots of chances, but with runners on 1st and 3rd with 1 out, all Scutaro needed to do was hit a fly ball to tie the game. Instead, he hits into the inning ending double play. The Jays seemed to lose all confidence in their offense after that.
John Northey - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 10:20 AM EDT (#184539) #
Scutaro as starting shortstop - ugh.  I'd rather see what the guy called up from AAA has than to continue seeing Scutaro starting.  He is a mid-80's OPS+ hitter with mediocre (at best) defense.  By definition a utility player who should start as little as possible, his main value being the guy you put in when someone gets hurt or if you need someone to cover an infield position for a few innings or if someone needs a day off.
Mike Green - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 10:44 AM EDT (#184540) #
According to Rally's metrics, Scutaro was actually better at short defensively than Eckstein last year, although Eckstein has been better over the longer haul. For a third shortstop in the depth chart, Scutaro is fine. Hopefully, one of the injured shortstops will be back within 3 weeks or so.
Sherrystar - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 11:37 AM EDT (#184542) #

Glad to see I'm not the only one frustrated with Scutaro.

The other time I remember him letting the Jays down was that bases loaded situation against Oakland (I think it was extra innings too).

This road trip could get ugly.

Ryeguy - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 11:44 AM EDT (#184543) #
While I'm not a big fan of Scutaro or anything, but i don't see how he's much worse than Eckstein.

This weekend alone Eckstein had 3 opportunities to score a runner from third base with less than 2 outs and failed all three times (twice Saturday, once Sunday).

For me, Scutaro and Eckstein are almost interchangible at this point

Barry Bonnell - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 11:48 AM EDT (#184544) #
Folks, it could be much worse. It could be Halladay, Wells, Rios, Stairs, McGowan, etc etc that had been injured. I would say that if we had to have an injury SS is the position I would want to have it.
John Northey - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 12:26 PM EDT (#184545) #
Great point Barry.

Brings up the question of what happens if...

A starter gets hurt - replacements in order = Purcey (1.88 ERA), John Parrish (3.18 ERA), Bill Murphy (2.83 ERA), Davis Romero (1.47 ERA but just 3 IP/start) - all lefties.  Kane Davis is the best available right hander at 3.92 ERA in AAA.  Cecil won't see ML action until September at the earliest.

A reliever gets hurt - Wolfe (on DL right now still), League, hrm... gets dicey after that as everyone doing well is already here (Carlson, Camp).  Tracey Thorpe and Seth Overey are possibilities.

Catcher - Robinzon Diaz (267/297/383 - really slumped after going back), Thigpen (187/216/253 - ugh), Erik Kratz (293/326/537 between AA/AAA age 28)
First Base - Chip Cannon (254/376/380 in AAA) - ugh, might just call up an outfielder and move Stairs or Lind.
Second Base - Inglett (368/434/506 mixed AAA/ML)
Third Base - Hector Luna (250/297/433 in AAA) with Scutaro or Inglett taking the playing time
Shortstop - Jorge Velania (287/385/426 in AAA, lifetime 45 OPS+ in majors over 262 PA's - age 33) with Scutaro taking playing time, Inglett likely backup before Velania
Outfield - Lind gets first crack, Russ Adams (248/367/406), Buck Coats (247/330/370), then AA guys
DH - see outfield/first base

Ugh.  Backups for hitters really, really suck right now.  Short does appear to be the best spot for an injury, with Lind covering 1B/DH/OF injuries.  Catcher would be the worst by far given how Diaz has not responded to being sent back down.
Newton - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 12:48 PM EDT (#184546) #

Short is the best spot for an injury because the "starters" tread water to stay at replacement level as it is.

Ricciardi often tries to solve positional shortcomings with the team by stockpiling quantity over quality (remember the great glut of mediocrity  we had at 3rd base/DH a couple years back and the April auditions of a handful of veteran SP's last season).  

Shortstop has been a  glaring weakness for several seasons now. 

On the bright side we're really not much worse off today than we were heading into last night's play.

The real question is when are we going to get a real shortstop? 

Mike Green - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 01:04 PM EDT (#184547) #
When are we going to get a real shortstop?

Justin Jackson in 2011, perhaps. Until then, Eckstein/McDonald or some facsimile will at least deliver above-replacement level performance; it's a step up from Royce Clayton.
ayjackson - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 01:16 PM EDT (#184548) #
I wonder what the chances of seeing some Aaron Hill at SS and Inglett at 2B.  That would seem to be a decent option offensively and as good an option defensively as any other.
Leigh - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 01:20 PM EDT (#184549) #
We can use some numbers from BP's PECOTA system to sort this out.

MLVr is defined as: MLVr is a rate-based version of Marginal Lineup Value (MLV), a measure of offensive production created by David Tate and further developed by Keith Woolner. MLV is an estimate of the additional number of runs a given player will contribute to a lineup that otherwise consists of average offensive performers. MLVr is approximately equal to MLV per game. The league average MLVr is zero (0.000). Additional information on MLV and MLVr can be found here.

Defensive Ratings in PECOTA defined: Defense, as listed in a player's PECOTA card, provides the player's number of defensive games played, primary position, and fielding runs above average (FRAA) with a given team in a given season.

So, MLVr + Defense (per game) should give us a ballpark estimate of the aggregate value, relative to average, of each player on a per game basis.

For example, Scutaro's MLVr is -0.070, and his defense is -5 runs in 87 games, (or -0.057 runs per game).  So, for Scutaro, it is (-0.070)+(-0.057).

Let's compare the Jays' shortstops:

Eckstein: -.112 MLVr, -.028 Defense = -.140
McDonald: -.224 MLVr, +.063 Defense = -.161
Scutaro: -.070 MLVr, -.057 Defense = -.127
Velandia: -.137 MLVr, +.051 Defense = -.086

So, the PECOTA ranking of Jays shortstops:

1. Velandia
2. Scutaro
3. Eckstein
4. McDonald

ayjackson - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 01:32 PM EDT (#184551) #
Leigh, is there any data for Hill at SS?  Can you figure out whether Hill/Inglett as SS/2B would be the most effective combo?
zeppelinkm - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 01:34 PM EDT (#184552) #

Realistically, do you guys see the Jays aggressively pursuing Furcal in the off season?

He seems to be, basically, exactly what the Jays need. He doesn't even need to post 110 OPS+ style numbers. Just come in around 100 OPS+ and provide solid defence, and continue to steal bases. If he can post a .350 OBP consistantly, the Jays finally have their lead off hitter.

His body type to me suggests he should age OK, as the Jays would be getting him entering his age 31 season.

The only real problem is that this will probably be Furcal's last opportunity to sign a big free agent contract (and he's so far, putting together your typical last year before free agency year when it comes to production.. *sigh*) and it could handcuff the Jays in 2012 / 2013 when/if Justin Jackson is ready.

What do y'all think?

rtcaino - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 01:35 PM EDT (#184553) #
I think as a third string SS, that Scutaro is just fine. How good can you expect a 3rd stringer at any position to be?

And while Eckstein has been struggling, I thought he was a good pick up. If he can perform even close to his offensive standards from his career, or the last three years, then I think he will be valuable. But I agree that if he continues to get on base at %31.5, then McDonald is probably the better option.
Mike Green - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 01:39 PM EDT (#184554) #
The error bars on PECOTA's estimates for Velandia are large.  As you can see, he's 33 and has been pretty mediocre in triple A during 06-08.  He looks like he's not much different from Ray Olmedo offensively.  In the field, defensive metrics for the minor leagues are much more unreliable than for the major leagues, and it is doubtful that he is as good as Olmedo.
China fan - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 01:44 PM EDT (#184555) #
    To quote the well-known baseball analyst Oscar Wilde:   losing one shortstop may be regarded as a misfortune, but to lose both looks like carelessness.
     The obvious solution is Joe Inglett.  I don't even see why the Jays are hesitating here.  The team loses two infielders, so it obviously needs to call up an infielder from Syracuse, and they happen to have a guy in Syracuse with a line of  .407/.484/.574 and an OPS of 1.058.    This guy has even managed to play 39 games at shortstop over the past two seasons in the minors.  Free Joe Inglett!

Leigh - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 01:55 PM EDT (#184556) #
The error bars on PECOTA's estimates for Velandia are large.  As you can see, he's 33 and has been pretty mediocre in triple A during 06-08.  He looks like he's not much different from Ray Olmedo offensively.  In the field, defensive metrics for the minor leagues are much more unreliable than for the major leagues, and it is doubtful that he is as good as Olmedo.

I can agree with that, Mike.  The interesting thing about the PECOTA numbers is that Scutaro>Eckstein.
ramone - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 01:57 PM EDT (#184557) #

zeppelinkm: I've read on MLB Trade Rumors that the Dodgers want to resign Frucal and use Chin-Lung Hu as trade bait.  I think perhaps if things look dim by the deadline for the Jay and  the Dodgers are in it; send Burnett for Hu.  Baseball Prospectus says Hu is "Already considered the best defensive shortstop in the minors" and "Hu has great bat speed and hand-eye coordination to sustain a .300 average with lots of doubles and few walks or strikeouts". 

 

Blue in SK - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 02:04 PM EDT (#184558) #

Off topic to be sure, and probably a very "fantasy trade" type scenario but I would love to see Carl Crawford in Jays uni. He is signed through 2010 via club options but perhaps JP could convince the spend thrift Rays to part ways with him. Crawford would add a left handed bat to our RH heavy lineup, bring steals and speed to the table, adds a little pop, very good BA but not great OBP (surprising to me). Offer up Lind (redundant) and Purcey (closest pitching prospect to contributing at the ML level) and maybe one of excess bull pen arms (Frasor, Tallet?).

If AJ opts the Jays should have the budget room.

The Rays get 3 ML ready prospects (seems like the going price) under their control for many years.

That would be an amazing OF - Crawford, Wells and Rios.

timpinder - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 02:06 PM EDT (#184559) #

Zepp,

I've thought about Furcal too.  My guess is that if the Jays are in the race at the end of the year they keep the team together and go after Furcal in the off-season as their big acquisition, since all other positions are filled (if you believe Lind can play LF and Stairs can DH effectively in 2009).  If the Jays are out of it, they trade Burnett and perhaps someone else for a ready SS prospect, such as the guy Furcal's is blocking, Hu.  That's my prediction.  I believe Renteria and Cabrera are free agents next year too, and could be a fall back plan to fill in until Jackson is ready.

92-93 - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 02:09 PM EDT (#184560) #
"I think perhaps if things look dim by the deadline for the Jay and the Dodgers are in it; send Burnett for Hu."

I'm an NL-Dodger fan, and I have no idea why you think they would trade for Burnett. A rotation of Penny Lowe Billingsley Kuroda with Kuo/Loaiza and Schmidt/Kershaw to round it out is pretty damn strong.

The Jays should have some $ to spend this offseason so thinking they could be a major player in the Furcal negotiations isn't a stretch.

"Offer up Lind (redundant) and Purcey (closest pitching prospect to contributing at the ML level) and maybe one of excess bull pen arms (Frasor, Tallet?)."

Seriously? Come on, posts like this really frustrate me. You can't go acquire the best all-around LF in baseball for a decent pitching prospect the Rays absolutely do not need. Get real.
ramone - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 02:18 PM EDT (#184561) #
Sorry 92-93, I suggested Burnett to LA because I read that Schmidt had a setback in his simualted game and thought if they were in it a rental of a dominating pitcher might help them along the way.  You are right they have a great rotation, and no need though.
Mike Green - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 02:30 PM EDT (#184562) #
BP has Scutaro a little ahead of Eckstein on both offence and defence.  Looking at 05-07, it sure appears to me that Eckstein is a smidge ahead of Scutaro on offence, rather than the other way round.  It may be that BP does a league adjustment for batters, but there are different views on that.  In any event, the dropoff from Eckstein to Scutaro (if there is one) should be small.

As for a possible Hill-Inglett arrangement, Rally has Hill projected at -8 as a shortstop (he's +13 as a second baseman).  That's halfway between average and the Hanley/Jeter/Adams nadir for the position.  That means large losses at both positions. 

ChicagoJaysFan - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 02:42 PM EDT (#184563) #

I know you shouldn't jinx pitchers, but not sure about hitters.  Either way, I won't mention anything specific, but the Cincy batters are on pace to do something pretty big this afternoon (Sept. 14, 1987 big).
Frank Markotich - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 03:05 PM EDT (#184564) #

On the other hand, Dewan's + / - system hates Scutaro defensively at short.

For 2005-07 we have:

McDonald +33 in 1836.1 innings; Eckstein -14 in 3313.1 innings; Scutaro -33 in 1583.2 innings.

Per 1440 innings (roughly a full season) that's +25.9 (McDonald); -6.1 (Eckstein) and -30.0 (ouch, Scutaro).

 

Magpie - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 03:51 PM EDT (#184565) #
Mike Wilner may have just jumped the shark, here's hoping he makes it back to dry land. Here he is on on McDonald's injury:

Itís a blow to the Jays, for sure, they lose a massive weapon they were only beginning to figure out how to use properly.

If Johnny Mac is a massive weapon, what does that make Alex Rodriguez (currently out of the Yankees lineup)? A thermonuclear device?

Mike Green - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 04:04 PM EDT (#184566) #
Dial has never given Scutaro a mention among the league's worst fielders.  UZR had him at -8/150 games at shortstop through May/07, while Eckstein was +10 for 2003-07.  Personally, I'd buy a consensus of all the data that at this point neither Eckstein nor Scutaro is an average defender at short and that Eckstein is a little better.
ChicagoJaysFan - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 04:11 PM EDT (#184567) #
I know you shouldn't jinx pitchers, but not sure about hitters.  Either way, I won't mention anything specific, but the Cincy batters are on pace to do something pretty big this afternoon (Sept. 14, 1987 big).

So I guess you can jinx hitters as the Reds never went deep after I commented.  7 HR is still pretty big though - 9 is the NL record for HR in a game by a single team.
Chuck - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 04:24 PM EDT (#184568) #
Itís a blow to the Jays, for sure, they lose a massive weapon they were only beginning to figure out how to use properly.

When it comes to evaluating John McDonald and Reed Johnson, objectivity often takes a back seat. I wonder if Eckstein engendered such subjective evaluation in his last two ports of call.
Mike Green - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 04:35 PM EDT (#184569) #
massive weapon

I guess the "no glove, no love" maxim has a corollary.
cascando - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 05:18 PM EDT (#184571) #

Wilner has been referring to McDonald as a massive/tremendous/enormous "weapon" for most of the year.  It's a bit counter-intuitive, but I guess he could be a Patriot Missile. 

Wilner also refers to McDonald as "the best defensive shortstop in baseball" with such ease that I have to suspect he's never actually seen Adam Everett play baseball.  McDonald is tremendous with the glove, of course, but he undoubtedly has peers.

Thomas - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 06:22 PM EDT (#184572) #
Wilner also refers to McDonald as "the best defensive shortstop in baseball" with such ease that I have to suspect he's never actually seen Adam Everett play baseball. McDonald is tremendous with the glove, of course, but he undoubtedly has peers.

It's entirely possible Everett will never be the same defensive shortstop he once was due to his injury last year (and aging may also play a role). He reportedly didn't look great for the Twins before his injury, in admittedly a small sample size. I don't think anyone can say anything definitive either way about the future of Everett's defence, but it's not a foregone conclusion that Everett is still better than McDonald, as it would have been in 2006. However, that isn't to say there aren't several other shortstops that belong aside McDonald and a healthy Everett in the discussion.

Ron - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 06:25 PM EDT (#184574) #
What the hell happened to Shea Hillenbrand? It's pretty strange to see a decent hitter (although he wasn't one last season) out of the Bigs at age 32. And heck he's even a 2 time all-star!!!

I guess it's just strange to see guys like Bonds, Sosa, Hillenbrand, Piazza, Loften, etc.... not in the Majors.

williams_5 - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 06:31 PM EDT (#184575) #
I personally liken John MacDonald to a fully-operational Death Star.
Chuck - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 06:35 PM EDT (#184576) #
What the hell happened to Shea Hillenbrand?

You'd think a guy with his charm would be given a few second chances.
Chuck - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 06:37 PM EDT (#184577) #

It's entirely possible Everett will never be the same defensive shortstop he once was due to his injury last year

Given how McDonald left the game last night, one wonders if there won't be lasting effects on his defense.

ChicagoJaysFan - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 06:38 PM EDT (#184578) #
Blair highlights a lot of organizational news:
  • Eckstein's MRI came back negative (perhaps good news?)
  • No decision on whether or not Eckstein / MacDonald will go on DL
  • Diaz is also injured (3+ weeks with a high ankle sprain)
  • Velandia up
  • Lind down
  • Jays looking to trade for a righty bat
Blair implies that neither SS may need a DL trip, but I think we'll need the roster space regardless so will almost surely put at least one of them on the DL in order to have room for an extra player.
scottt - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 06:45 PM EDT (#184579) #
Apparently Eckstein's problem is with his hip flexor.

McDonald's is probably a strain. A major strain can be worse than a broken ankle--I'm still nursing one--but a minor strain can heal completely in a couple of weeks.

Velandia is just a glove.

I'm surprised that they'll shake the 40 roster for him when Inglett would have added a bat. I guess the Jays have already written this series off.



Jake W - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 06:57 PM EDT (#184580) #
Geepers!  Lind down again.  I wonder how the handling of Lind has affected his trade value relative to how his performance has affected his trade value.  I guess B.J. Upton was up and down several times before sticking.  Perhaps the Jays are treating Lind old-school; either that or they are panicking and don't know what to do with him.  Let's hope he rakes again in AAA and dodges a Quad A label.
Gerry - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 07:14 PM EDT (#184581) #

Jays looking to trade for a righty bat

If this was a few weeks ago the Jays could have picked up Reed Johnson or Frank Thomas without having to trade anything.

Who leaves the roster for this right handed hitter?  When and where will they play?

ChicagoJaysFan - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 07:18 PM EDT (#184582) #
If this was a few weeks ago the Jays could have picked up Reed Johnson or Frank Thomas without having to trade anything.

Not to rehash old conversations, but Reed Johnson doesn't look like "bat" is a word that can describe him - more like "glove."  And Frank didn't want to be a right-handed bat (i.e. go against lefties only).
robertdudek - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 07:26 PM EDT (#184583) #
If the Jays are looking for a cheap righty bat, Mike Sweeney could be useful. With Big Frank getting most of the DH time, M Sweeney is being squeezed out of playing time. Barton looks like the real deal and I expect him to get 95% of the starts at 1B for the Athletics the rest of the way.
jmoney - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 08:55 PM EDT (#184585) #
Jay's can't even bunt a guy over. This offense is a sorry lot.
jmoney - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 09:02 PM EDT (#184586) #
Of course, as soon as I say that. The Jays managed to get Aaron Hill (He who failed to sacrifice) to plate.
Chuck - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 09:03 PM EDT (#184587) #
I guess B.J. Upton was up and down several times before sticking.

Not a greap comp. Upton was up and down from ages 19 to 21, sticking for good at 22. Lind will turn 25 in July, quite possibly not wearing a major league uniform. His trade value would likely be limited at this point.

If the Jays are looking for a cheap righty bat, Mike Sweeney could be useful.

While it would only be fitting for Sweeney to land in Toronto, happily assuming the platoon DH role that Thomas wanted no part of, is yet another righty bat what this team really needs? I would think that a lefty bat for LF is what's needed to help spice up an overly right handed lineup. If only the saviour hadn't gone 1 for 19 and fallen out of favour so quickly.
Ryan Day - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 09:12 PM EDT (#184588) #
So far the Jays are hitting 261/341/375 against right handers, but just 218/300/336 against lefties. Adding a strong right bat would be a good complement to Stairs, and ideally to Lind (whenever he comes back).
scottt - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 09:13 PM EDT (#184589) #
They're not in a rush to release Stewart. A left handed power bat in left field is relatively pricey. A right handed DH type should be a lot cheaper. Would be used only against lefties and for pinch hit spots, but might actually help win a lot of close games the Jays are now losing.

Btw, with the current setup of 2 injured SS, a backup catcher and a backup SS, the Jays have effectively no bench.

robertdudek - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 09:14 PM EDT (#184590) #
Another potentially useful 4th outfielder would be Joey Gathright. I doubt it would take a huge amount to get him from KC.

Why Gathright? With the Jays strong pitching, there is extra value to playing for one-run - and Gathright would give them the ability to steal a key base as well as provide decent defense in any the outfield spot.
scottt - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 09:23 PM EDT (#184591) #
Speaking of good righty bat, I'm liking Rolen more and more.
westcoast dude - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 09:29 PM EDT (#184592) #

Scutaro as starting shortstop--ugh

Marco broke it open in the clutch. All he needed was a chance.

Chuck - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 09:33 PM EDT (#184593) #
Over in Gotham, Cliff Lee is continuing his insane season, having now lowered his ERA below 1.00 with 7 shutout innings against the Yankees.
Chuck - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 09:36 PM EDT (#184594) #
Oops, my mistake. Lee's ERA was below 1.00 to begin the night. Having now pitched 6 more innings than teammate Carmona, Lee has issued 29 fewer walks.
ayjackson - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 09:39 PM EDT (#184595) #

Over in Gotham, Cliff Lee is continuing his insane season, having now lowered his ERA below 1.00 with 7 shutout innings against the Yankees.

Looks like Marcum v. Lee on Monday evening.  Should be a peach.

electric carrot - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 09:49 PM EDT (#184596) #
before anything bad happens I just want to officially say I'm against bringing Marcum back in the 9th with a 6-0 advantage and Marcum at 98 pitches. I say get Frasor a few innings or at least so he can remember what a ball feels like in his hand. And more importantly -- after 5 runs in the bottom of the eighth Marcum will have cooled down a bunch -- give him a pat on the back and send him to the showers.
scottt - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 09:51 PM EDT (#184597) #
The kid deserve a shot at his first shoutout.
John Northey - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 10:01 PM EDT (#184598) #
Well, the Reed Johnson vs Shannon Stewart battle as of now has shifted...

Johnson: 257-336-297, 1 stolen base, 2 caught stealing
Stewart: 247-322-312, 1 stolen base, 0 caught stealing

Getting very, very close if not tied for offense.  After Johnson's hot start and Stewart's slow one I didn't expect it to be this close this quick.  Looking like the Jays were right to save the cash and keep Stewart.

King Ryan - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 10:07 PM EDT (#184599) #
Argh! So nice to see the offense explode, and always feel good to get the win, but watching a pitcher who just can't get that last out is so frustrating, and it happens so often to the Jays...

Over the last three seasons (2006-2008) here is the amount of times each team has had a starting pitcher throw exactly 8 and 2/3 innings:

TOR: 7

DET: 3

FLA: 2
MIN: 2
PHI: 2
SEA: 2
SDP: 2
SFG: 2

ATL: 1
BOS: 1
HOU: 1
KCR: 1
LAD: 1
MIL: 1
NYY: 1
OAK: 1
TBD: 1
TEX: 1
WAS: 1

Everyone else: 0
ChicagoJaysFan - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 10:19 PM EDT (#184600) #
Well, the Reed Johnson vs Shannon Stewart battle as of now has shifted...

Johnson: 257-336-297, 1 stolen base, 2 caught stealing
Stewart: 247-322-312, 1 stolen base, 0 caught stealing


If you look at OPS+, it isn't that close right now.

OPS+ coming into today's games:
Johnson: OPS+ 74 (.271/.351/.313)
Stewart: OPS+ 84 (.257/.333/.324)

Today's games didn't change Stewart's OPS that much, but did drop Reed's a bit (0-5 with no BBs will do that) - not sure what those will do to the OPS+ though as that depends on how the rest of the league does.

For some reference on how bad a 74 OPS+ is ... these Jays have an OPS+ > 74 this year:
  • Zaun
  • Overbay
  • Hill
  • Scutaro
  • Eckstein
  • Stewart
  • Wells
  • Rios
  • Thomas
  • Stairs
  • Rolen
  • Inglett
In other words, the only people with more than 5 ABs that have an OPS+ worse than Reed's are Rod Barajas, John MacDonald, and Adam Lind.
Nolan - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 10:29 PM EDT (#184601) #
Has anyone else noted the shift in philosophy for Rios when at the plate?  Last year, when given a fastball on the first or second pitch, he seemed to frequently swing and make good contact; this year, it seems as if his plan is to take the first couple pitches every time, ending up in lots of 0-2 counts.  Is it just me seeing this or am I way off base?

Anyone else see the highlights of last nights ball games and see the two throws that Rick Ankiel made from deep centre to third base.  That man has a cannon for an arm.

Mike D - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 11:04 PM EDT (#184603) #
Papelbon blows the save (thanks largely to a Lugo error), and the Jays gain a full game on the entire AL East.
HippyGilmore - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 11:42 PM EDT (#184605) #

Anyone else see the highlights of last nights ball games and see the two throws that Rick Ankiel made from deep centre to third base.  That man has a cannon for an arm.

I guess he still has the 95 MPH heat!

And thank goodness for the reunion of Lyle Overbay and the XBH. Two in two nights, hopefully get his slugging percentage into the .400s soon.

John Northey - Wednesday, May 07 2008 @ 11:51 PM EDT (#184606) #
Huh.  Jays are now in a tie for 3rd with the Yankees, 1 game back of the 2nd place Rays and 4 1/2 behind the red hot Red Sox and the Wild Card leading A's/Angels (tied for west title). 

For pure ugly check out the poor Padres.  1 game out of the wild card last year, now dead last in the NL at 12-22.

For SS who can hit, Tejada still looks like the best available as the other shortstops who are better look unavailable.  However, since JP hates anyone involved in the steroid mess from the way he talks I doubt he would trade for Tejada even if it cost just Eckstein.  Rafael Furcal will probably (hopefully) be signed by LA long term as I see him as a contract that could blow up (career year, high 90's OPS+ otherwise, turns 31 next season).  That might make them act dumb and go for a 'proven talent' like AJ or Accardo and give up on Ivan DeJesus.  OK, not really a chance there but who knows - with the right mix of the Dodgers having an injury or slump on the starting staff suddenly an AJ looks very tempting with their potential giant budget (more cash available than anyone outside of NY I suspect) and if they get Furcal signed then DeJesus becomes expendable.

Ah, the dreams of summer where anything can happen but almost certainly will not :)

VBF - Thursday, May 08 2008 @ 12:16 AM EDT (#184608) #
It seems that the Jays would rather have  Shannon Stewart .257/.333/.324 his way in left field than have Lind take his cuts and figure things out on his own there. So this gives the Jays the option of improving at DH and putting Stairs in left field, or going out to get a left fielder. With his value perception way down in New York, him being in a contract year and could be had for cheap, why not send PR off the radar and make a trade for Carlos Delgado. If you put Stairs in left field, you really only have to expect Delgado to OPS over .657 for it to be an offensive improvement. He's not the player he once was (I can't believe I'm saying that!), he would be an improvement over Stewart. While I'd rather not have Stairs in left field, it certainly seems that the Jays historically don't mind doing it.

Though I'd much rather take Window #1 and trot Lind out there everyday.
robertdudek - Thursday, May 08 2008 @ 12:25 AM EDT (#184609) #
Another intriguing righty bat is Jonny Gomes. Maddon hates him and he is completely buried in Tampa right now.
ChicagoJaysFan - Thursday, May 08 2008 @ 12:27 AM EDT (#184610) #
VBF - why degrade Stewart's .257/.333/.324 (OPS+ 84) and then recommend Delgado, who is at .216/.308/.362 (OPS+ 78) as the answer.  Their performances last year were pretty similar (OPS+ 101 for Stewart and 103 for Delgado), but:
  • Delgado's older (36 in 6 weeks v. just turned 34)
  • Delgado looks like his career is in free-fall (OPS+ from 2005 through 2008: 161, 131, 103, 78 - that's almost a linear decline)
  • Stewart can play the OF, a position in more need than 1B (Overbay / Stairs v. just Stairs if Stewart cut)
  • Stewart can run
  • Stewart makes about 5% of Delgado's salary (I think)
From my viewpoint, Delgado carries all the same risks, and then some, as Stewart, but he comes with less likelihood of upside.

ayjackson - Thursday, May 08 2008 @ 12:37 AM EDT (#184611) #

Another intriguing righty bat is Jonny Gomes.

That's funny because when he was rookie of the year, I was thinking he reminded me of Hinske.  I warned my friends off him in fantasy leagues.  Wouldn't it be ironic if he had a Hinskesque rebound here.

ayjackson - Thursday, May 08 2008 @ 12:56 AM EDT (#184612) #
Pittsburg has to be the place to look for a RH power bat to spell Stairs, pinch hit and play a little LF (at a minimum).  They have Nady, Bay, Pearce and a 28 year-old at AAA called Kevin Thompson who would certainly come very cheap.
China fan - Thursday, May 08 2008 @ 01:23 AM EDT (#184613) #
   The latest Jeff Blair article says the Jays have had discussions on whether to sign Jason Michaels, who was recently DFA'd by the Tribe.     I don't see how Michaels would be much better than any of the many other names suggested in this thread by various Bauxites.  Michaels has been in steady decline and hasn't had a decent season since 2005.  His OPS+ in the past two seasons was 85 and 87.   And it fell to 47 this season with a Frank-Thomas-like line of .207/.258/.276.    He does have better numbers against LHP but even there he doesn't seem very useful.
    The Jays will probably have to trade for batting help, but I'd be reluctant to trade most of the pitchers, unless Jason Frasor could attract something on the trading block.
Alex Obal - Thursday, May 08 2008 @ 01:50 AM EDT (#184614) #
To cite the cumulative stats of any platoon player as evidence for or against signing them is quite counterproductive.

To do so without mentioning their split stats once is utterly insane.
Helpmates - Thursday, May 08 2008 @ 02:21 AM EDT (#184615) #

Given the way the current regime jerked Dustin McGowan around  a few years ago it's no wonder why Lind gets the same kind of treatment.  I guess after twenty at-bats they expect the kid to be Ted Williams.  He has nothing left to prove in the minors; just leave him out there and let him figure it out.  Thankfully, the incessant bullpen-rotation-Syracuse shuffle that McGowan had to endure didn't shatter his confidence.

Sadly, it looks as though Lind would be better off with another organization.  Only the second legitimate bat produced under Riccardi's watch and they won't give him a shot.  Pathetic. 

 

 

China fan - Thursday, May 08 2008 @ 02:24 AM EDT (#184616) #
   Alex, that's a little harsh.  If you have better information, why not provide it?  Just denouncing a comment with a sweeping generalization isn't much help to us, is it?
    In fact, I did mention that historically Michaels has done better against LHP in his career.  I checked for his 2008 splits and couldn't find them at first -- that was the only reason I didn't mention them in my last post.
    Now I've found his 2008 numbers, but it doesn't indicate that Michaels is a platoon player.  He had 39 plate appearances against RHP this year and 28 against LHP, so I don't see how it would be accurate to describe his as a platoon player.
     In fact, his line against LHP this season is a dismal .125/.250/.167.    Last season he was better against LHP with a line of .287/.359/.441.   But again he played equally against RHP and LHP last year, so coaches have not historically regarded him as a platoon-type player.
     In 2006 his line against LHP was .291/.349/.450.  
     Theoretically, if he is strictly platooned by the Jays and he returns to his form of last year, maybe he could be useful for the Jays.  But he is 32 years old and his sharp drop-off in production this year has got to be worrisome.  

Alex Obal - Thursday, May 08 2008 @ 02:26 AM EDT (#184617) #
China, my bad, that wasn't directed at you. You did actually mention splits in your post... ignoring them is just a mistake that seems to be made around here a fair bit these days.
Alex Obal - Thursday, May 08 2008 @ 02:30 AM EDT (#184618) #
In the spirit of your post, too, here is some information I have that has not been posted on the thread yet.

Reed vs LH: 42 PA .265/.405/.294, 5 K, 5 BB, 3 HBP.

He's gonna be fine. He's very likely to finish with a better line than Stewart against LHPs assuming they both finish with 120+ PA against them.

Again, apologies, that was a general discharge of frustration directed at everyone and no one and your post just happened to be above it.

China fan - Thursday, May 08 2008 @ 02:35 AM EDT (#184619) #
    No problem, Alex.   Anyway it prompted me to look more closely at his splits, which was a worthwhile exercise.  Since Michaels did reasonably well against LHP in 2006 and 2007, that probably explains why the Jays are considering him.
     I wonder if Michaels would fit with the Jays if he was strictly platooned.  The Jays don't do that very often.  They haven't had a strict platoon system since the days of Reed Johnson and Frank Catalanotto.  They seem to prefer more flexible players such as Stairs and Stewart who have historically hit well against most types of pitching.  For that reason, I would doubt that the Jays would want to acquire someone like Michaels who might have to be strictly platooned.

brent - Thursday, May 08 2008 @ 05:19 AM EDT (#184620) #

game 35- WPA heroes Marcum (5)*2, Scutaro (2)        WPA let downs Hill (11), Stairs (9), Stewart (7)

* means over .300      Marcum is the first Jay this season to have two different games over .300 WPA.

Thomas - Thursday, May 08 2008 @ 07:15 AM EDT (#184621) #
In the spirit of your post, too, here is some information I have that has not been posted on the thread yet.

Reed vs LH: 42 PA .265/.405/.294, 5 K, 5 BB, 3 HBP.

He's gonna be fine. He's very likely to finish with a better line than Stewart against LHPs assuming they both finish with 120+ PA against them.

I agree completely. Stewart's split historically have also been worse against LHP. I'm pretty confident as well that by the end of the year Johnson will be better than Stewart versus lefties. If Johnson was here he'd presumably being making 75% of his plate appearances against righties and the Jays might also have had more motivation to stick with Adam Lind, as they've cited Stewart's need to play everyday as a reason for benching and demoting him. I also don't think you can argue that the Jays foresaw that they'd both release Thomas and refuse to play Lind, causing the right-handed LF/4th outfielder to be playing everyday by the first week of May.
cascando - Thursday, May 08 2008 @ 07:38 AM EDT (#184622) #

Marcum had 12 outs on the ground vs. 4 outs in the air last night.  His GB% on the year is 48.5% (last year it was 40.2%).  I recall Marcum was working on a sinker in Spring Training, but he wasn't very successful with it.  Nevertheless, is Marcum reinventing himself as a groundball pitcher?  Incidentally he also sits 5th in the league in K/9 at the moment (8.15)

ANationalAcrobat - Thursday, May 08 2008 @ 08:44 AM EDT (#184623) #
That's funny because when he was rookie of the year, I was thinking he reminded me of Hinske. I warned my friends off him in fantasy leagues. Wouldn't it be ironic if he had a Hinskesque rebound here.

The 2005 ROY was actually Huston Street, with Cano second and Gomes third. Iguchi, Chacin, Blanton, Swisher, Crain, and Kazmir are the others who recieved votes. I remember expecting Adams, Hill, or Chacin to get it - Adams and Hill looked pretty good until July or so.

That top 9 is nowhere near as good as the 2006 top 7: Verlander, Papelbon, Liriano, Johjima, Jered Weaver, Markakis, and Kinsler.

ChicagoJaysFan - Thursday, May 08 2008 @ 08:46 AM EDT (#184624) #

Reed vs LH: 42 PA .265/.405/.294, 5 K, 5 BB, 3 HBP.

He's gonna be fine.


A sub-.700 OPS isn't fine.  The sOPS+ for that line is 84 - again, not good at all.
Mike Green - Thursday, May 08 2008 @ 09:22 AM EDT (#184629) #
The decision to leave Marcum in for the 9th inning last night was certainly a commonplace managerial strategy, because the complete game shutout still has some cachet. But, there sure were a number of factors militating against the commonplace thinking:
  1. it was an extremely low leverage inning,
  2. the starters have been consistently throwing 7 innings plus, so shortage of work rather than too much work has been the issue for the 7 man bullpen,
  3. the bottom of the eighth had been long, and
  4. Marcum has not been used regularly to go 100+ pitches
You could justify the decision on the basis that the team was attempting to lengthen Marcum in a low leverage situation.  Personally, I wouldn't be trying to do that.  If he can regularly give you 7-8 good innings of 90-105 pitches, that is a very valuable asset. 

ayjackson - Thursday, May 08 2008 @ 09:40 AM EDT (#184634) #

The 2005 ROY was actually Huston Street, with Cano second and Gomes third.

Well this is depressing.  I can't get anything straight anymore.  Is there anything I do remember?  Next thing you're going to tell me is that Tim Raines did not bat .332 in 1989 to win the NL Batting Title.

ayjackson - Thursday, May 08 2008 @ 09:46 AM EDT (#184636) #

Next thing you're going to tell me is that Tim Raines did not bat .332 in 1989 to win the NL Batting Title.

Awww crap!

1986...  .334

ChicagoJaysFan - Thursday, May 08 2008 @ 10:33 AM EDT (#184641) #
Mike,

I'll grant you most of your points, but disagree strongly with your point #4.  Marcum has thrown 100 or more pitches in all but his first start this year.

His pitch counts are: 87, 105, 103, 103, 109, 100, 110.

Last night's pitch count was in line with what he's done this entire year.  Last year and the year before, Marcum was exceeding 110 pitches when he was on his game, so we weren't in virgin territory with Marcum.

I can see the argument for pulling and for leaving him in.  I don't think it's a clear cut decision either way.
Mike Green - Thursday, May 08 2008 @ 10:54 AM EDT (#184642) #
According to BBRef, Marcum has faced 34 batters over his career with pitch-counts over 100.   He entered the 9th with 98 pitches and his career high is 112.  There was a reasonable chance that he would end up with more than his career high.  Whether the pitch count is anything to be concerned with in the circumstances is a matter of opinion.  If the score had been 1-0 instead of 6-0, sticking with Marcum would have been simply a matter of evidence of tiredness and the game situation in the 9th inning.

The main thing is the lack of logic in having a 7 man bullpen and then keeping in a starter in a low-leverage situation in the 9th inning.

ChicagoJaysFan - Thursday, May 08 2008 @ 11:25 AM EDT (#184646) #
Marcum's major league career high for pitch count is actually 113.

I know that is nit-picking, but I'm only saying it because it might indicate that you missed some of Marcum's games when doing your analysis of batters faced.

Either way, that doesn't go too much against your point which is:

The main thing is the lack of logic in having a 7 man bullpen and then keeping in a starter in a low-leverage situation in the 9th inning

I don't think the fact that you have a 7 man bullpen should determine your strategy - your roster should be set up to support your strategy, not dictate it.  With that said, having a starting pitcher within normal range for pitch counts going into the 9th, even in a low-leverage situation ... I don't think that's a clear-cut case that he should be yanked.  As China Fan pointed out in the other thread, you have to balance the motivational aspects of the decision.  We've all seen enough cases where pitchers blow up on mounds to know that it isn't something that can be completely ignored.

Also - I'm not a believer in pitchers having to come into games to be fresh.  Relievers can, and do, throw simulated innings to keep fresh when they haven't been called on in a while.

With all the above - the 7 man bullpen isn't designed for teams with starting pitchers that go 7+ innings with regularity. If this pace continues, I think they should do away with it.  With League, Wolfe, and Romero (Davis) as bullpen arms, they could trade an arm or two off the major league team to add some platoon hitting (SS perhaps) or something else to the position players.

However, since only 1 pitcher in our starting rotation averaged 7 innings a start last year (same # as this year), I think we have to be cautious about thinking the current inning-eating performance of our rotation is going to last.
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