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1 July 2008: Sleeping While Jays Are In Seattle | 37 comments | Create New Account
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Chuck - Tuesday, July 01 2008 @ 11:47 AM EDT (#188205) #

At the season's mid-point, Marco Scutaro is third on the team in AB. Were this known at the start of the year, this would surely have not bode well for the team's fortunes. I don't write this with the intent to disparage Scutaro. It's not his fault that he's had to fill in so much for injured starters at three different positions.

But what's with the Scutaro lovefest that is every broadcast (to say nothing of Gaston's seeming fondness for the man)? Scutaro is basically performing at his career level, plugging away as a competent backup infielder, nothing more, exactly fulfilling the role he was signed for. Once again, it's not his fault that he has supplanted John McDonald as lovefest icon. I just find it curious (and, once again, have nothing against Scutaro himself).

Right about now, we'd all be attaching comments to David Till's always enjoyable mid-season report card. My comments on the team's reliance on Scutaro would have found a home there.

For the Jays to win 90 games, they have to finish 49-29. While I see a 39-39 finish, what has to happen for them to win 49 games? If the pitchers continue at their pace but the hitters return to career norms, will that be enough? Or must two of Rios, Wells and Rolen need to slug .500 over the latter half for the team to even have a fighting chance? Is Aaron Hill's return to the lineup, at his 2007 level of performance, a mandatory requirement as well? For the team to go +20 in the next three months, there is very little margin for error. We'll have to do much more than celebrate Marco Scutaro's pluckiness. 

jerjapan - Tuesday, July 01 2008 @ 11:54 AM EDT (#188206) #
While I think there's basically no chance of it happening, I still think that if the Jays signed B ... er, sorry about that, wrong comment...

I think if Hill is able to recover (and this is getting fairly worrisome, isn't it?) it would make sense to have him play short and see if Inglett can continue his hot hitting.  With an offense as feeble as ours, Inglett has been a real catalyst.  He's playing over his head, but his minor league numbers show a guy who can get on base with some gap power - which is what he's shown us.  I can't see this happening, but would it help?  I haven't seen him play enough to get a sense of his defense, but he appears to be solid - no Hill, but who is?  Anyone have a better sense of this? 

Magpie - Tuesday, July 01 2008 @ 12:28 PM EDT (#188209) #
Or must two of Rios, Wells and Rolen need to slug .500 over the latter half for the team to even have a fighting chance?


Is Aaron Hill's return to the lineup, at his 2007 level of performance, a mandatory requirement as well?


Hey, it's a holiday!

IceCreamJonsey - Tuesday, July 01 2008 @ 12:30 PM EDT (#188210) #

(In the interest of not taking Halladay for granted, I gotta say - that was amazing. He is the best player I have ever seen in a Blue Jays uniform and I hope he never leaves.)

I hope Hill gets all the time he needs. Inglett is probably in his absolute prime as an athlete, why not ride it out and give Hill every possible day of recovery time. You can't tough out post-concussion stuff, and Aaron Hill is a critical component of the Jays for the next several years.

ayjackson - Tuesday, July 01 2008 @ 12:43 PM EDT (#188211) #
The bold move would be to trade Halladay at the deadline for David Price, Wade Davis, Reid Brignac and Desmond Jennings.  Maybe we could throw in a ML reliever.  Well that would be ballsy.
greenfrog - Tuesday, July 01 2008 @ 02:23 PM EDT (#188215) #
Watching Halladay pitch is definitely my favourite part of being a Jays fan. Last night he was dialled in: power fastball, cutter, sinker, hard-breaking curve, excellent control. He even did a nice job of holding on Ichiro at first base.

The Jays' run prevention this year has been marvelous. They've allowed the 3rd-fewest runs in baseball (and are 1 run behind the White Sox, the team ahead of them in that category). Amazing that we're still below .500.
Barry Bonnell - Tuesday, July 01 2008 @ 03:49 PM EDT (#188217) #
Check out for a very nice appreciation of Halladay.
Elijah - Tuesday, July 01 2008 @ 04:50 PM EDT (#188218) #
In response to Chuck's comment, I have a friend that is an intelligent A's fan and we have come up with the totally irrational Curse of the Super Marco. To wit:

In 2004, the A's claim Scutaro off waivers from the Mets. In spring training, Mark Ellis blows out his shoulder in a collision with Bobby Crosby. Ellis misses the entire season and Scutaro becomes the primary second baseman.

In 2005, on the heels of his Rookie of the Year campaign, Crosby collides with Bobby Kielty in a spring training game and cracks a couple ribs. Crosby misses two months as Scutaro takes over.  Later on that season, Crosby breaks his ankle on a slide and again, Scutaro is there.

In 2006, things start innocently enough but it is only a matter of time before the Curse of the Super Marco strikes. Ellis breaks his thumb in early June and just as Ellis returns, Crosby start having lower back problems that affected him the entire second half of 2006. Again, Scutaro is there.

In 2007, the A's have high hopes. They finally got past the first round in 2006 and Super Marco hits a walkoff homer against Mariano Rivera during the first homestand of the season. Ah, but it was only a matter of time. By the second half, Eric Chavez and Crosby go down again. Scutaro becomes the primary third baseman and then shifts to shortstop when the A's call up Jack Hannahan.

Finally, in 2008, the Blue Jays sign Scutaro as a free agent. And wouldn't you know it? In spring training, Scott Rolen breaks his finger - not in a game and not getting hit by a pitch but during a fielding exercise. Of course, Rolen soon returns and Scutaro is pushed to the bench. But you can't keep him down long. This time, the Curse worked its mystical powers as David Eckstein and John McDonald are injured in the exact same game. Both shortstops soon returned but not long after, the Curse worked its wrath upon Aaron Hill in an ugly outfield collision on a popup. And guess who started playing second base?

The conclusion is obvious. It may seem like sensible team construction to have a quality fifth infielder that can play anywhere like a Marco Scutaro. But infield teammates must beware of the Curse of the Super Marco. You may scoff and think that Crosby and Chavez are just brittle. But is it really just them?? Inquiring minds need to know.

Mike Green - Tuesday, July 01 2008 @ 05:38 PM EDT (#188219) #
What it would take for this team to go 49-29 the rest of the way?  The pitchers staying healthy, the hitters performing at reasonable expectations from their career norms, and beating Pythagoras by 4 instead of losing to the old geezer again.  I am not worried at all about the offence; it is the other two items that are less likely.

Dave Till - Tuesday, July 01 2008 @ 07:37 PM EDT (#188221) #
Thanks, Chuck - it's nice to be remembered.

While I don't do report cards any more, here's some midseason thoughts.
  • I think we can stop dissing J.P. for punting Frank Thomas. The man hasn't played an inning of baseball since mid-May after injuring his leg running the bases (while trying to reach second on a ball that would have been a double for any other, non-Molina, hitter).
  • I'm not worrying about whether Aaron Hill gets to play this season. I just hope he gets to play again ever.
  • What is it with Joe Inglett? He's hitting .315 (with walks), and he can really pivot at second. Why didn't anybody promote this guy earlier?
  • The lesson of the 2008 season: consistency and command trump stuff. Marcum and Litsch are doing better than McGowan and Burnett.
  • Of course, having both consistency and stuff is best. I love it that Roy Halladay has as many complete games as any other team in baseball. At this point, he's either the best Jays pitcher ever or the second-best; only Stieb can be compared to him. (Henke ranks third. Some gentleman, whose name escapes me at the moment and who was here for only two years, doesn't register on the radar. Even if he allegedly didn't allegedly ingest alleged performance-enhancing alleged drugs.)
  • Being a relief pitcher in the modern era is a tough life: Ryan had TJ surgery, Janssen is gone, Accardo is hurt, and League hasn't done anything since 2006. (And did anybody sign Vinnie Chulk after SF punted him?) Messrs. Carlson and Camp are advised to savour every moment, as the good times ain't gonna last.
  • Whatever else Cito does, you have to give him credit for bringing Rios back to life. Alex pretty much started hitting from the moment John Gibbons and Gary Denbo left the premises.
  • As many people have mentioned, Vernon Wells has roughly the same offensive skills as Joe Carter. They're actually fairly similar body types - both are/were wide-bodied men who bat right, can run fast, hit for power, and are vulnerable to low and outside breaking pitches. (Low and outside breaking pitches are tough for certain kinds of right-handed power hitters to handle. They're what drove Jesse Barfield out of baseball at a relatively young age.) And it isn't Vernon's fault that he's overpaid: he's trying his hardest, and that's all you can ask.
  • And I have to say it: I am not optimistic about the future of this team. The hitters are almost all past their age-27 peak, and therefore are doing what aging hitters inevitably do: hit a little bit worse than expected. You can see it up and down the lineup. And it's not going to get better from here.
  • I'd punt J.P. at this point. He hasn't been that bad of a GM; the 2008 Jays could easily have been better than they are, given any kind of luck. I've said, semi-jokingly, that J.P.'s greatest weakness as a GM is that he hasn't been lucky enough. That, and the farm system hasn't produced much - which may be plain old luck too. But the Jays have gone through one complete development cycle under Ricciardi - it's time to bring a fresh set of brains in. Maybe the new guy will be luckier than the old guy.
  • And whoever the new guy is: no more opt-out contracts, please. If A.J. Burnett is awful the rest of the way, the Jays will be stuck with him for two more years. If he isn't awful, he'll land a five-year deal somewhere else. He gets to play with the house's money this year.

Mylegacy - Tuesday, July 01 2008 @ 07:50 PM EDT (#188222) #
As far as the offense is concerned: by mid 2010 (at the latest) we'll have Lind and Patterson as a lefty/righty DH, Snider in LF, Arencibia at C and Cooper at 1st. Add those five to Rios, Wells, Rolen and Hill and you have the business end of JP's new team for the ages. Not so worse, eh?
The_Game - Wednesday, July 02 2008 @ 04:11 AM EDT (#188231) #

My only mid-season thought:

Why hasn't Barry Bonds been signed anywhere in baseball at this point? Now I'm not going to say he would have made this specific Jays team a contender because they would have probably found a way to lose as they usually do, but they would have been far better overall. I think it's something that the Red Sox should seriously consider if Ortiz looks to be out for a long time.

Anders - Wednesday, July 02 2008 @ 09:20 AM EDT (#188233) #
Just on a general note, losses like that are what make the 2008 Blue Jays hard to root for. Every time they suck you in, bam. I think the MLB team motto for this team should change from 'Its always game time' to 'plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose'.
electric carrot - Wednesday, July 02 2008 @ 10:32 AM EDT (#188235) #
Au Contraire Anders, I find this Jays squad the easiest to root for in years. I always felt a little conflicted rooting for Shea Hillenbrand, Ted Lilly, Troy Glaus and even Josh Towers who all seemed to have some kind of unappealing personality traits. This group IMO is the most charismatic set of Jays I can remember in some time. I just wish they would win more games. I think they will.

groove - Wednesday, July 02 2008 @ 10:54 AM EDT (#188236) #
Most efficient pitcher alert!

Aaron Cook pitches complete game shutout in under 2 hours. Only uses 79 pitches! And he does it in Colorado of all places.  He's catching up to Doc for the MLB lead in total innings pitched

John Northey - Wednesday, July 02 2008 @ 11:06 AM EDT (#188237) #
So, for 2010 and beyond checking where they are today and stats...
CA: Arencibia/Diaz - A+/AA and R/AAA/ML - 312/337/551 and 296/316/408
1B: Cooper - As - 333/412/567
2B: Hill - DL ML
3B: Rolen for 2010, can Scott Campbell play 3B? (AA-342/438/460)
SS: umm.... Bryan Kervin in As is hitting 314/455/400 over 12 games...
LF: Snider As/AA 275/353/475
CF: Wells ML
RF: Rios ML

Counting on a lot of guys to keep progressing there, and have a heck of a hole at SS but otherwise not bad. 

Halladay, McGowan, Marcum, Litsch, Cecil (A+/AA 2.74 ERA over 17 starts) with Purcey, two Romero's and various others nipping at their heels.

Impossible to say - relievers are just too hard to predict.  However, Wolfe, Accardo, League, Carlson should all still be around along with Ryan in 2010 and who knows who else.

For 2010 and beyond this could be a very good team.  But there are sooooo many variables that it is impossible to say for certain one way or the other.  However, one thing is for certain - SS is a big potential hole and solutions from within aren't moving well right now.

The_Game - Wednesday, July 02 2008 @ 11:35 AM EDT (#188239) #

Cook pitches in the NL West, has faced opponents with a combined .715 OPS (compared to .751 with Halladay), has one more start than Doc, and is still 5 innings behind him anyway.



Mike Green - Wednesday, July 02 2008 @ 11:50 AM EDT (#188240) #
John Northey,

The shortstops in the plan are Jackson and Pastornicky.  Neither is likely to be ready in 2010, but Jackson conceivably could be in 2011. 

Vernon Wells would ideally be a corner outfielder in 2010.  The Jays cannot afford the luxury of Bernie Williams redux, and while Vernon is a good player, he hasn't been a cornerstone of a championship team as Williams was.  Hopefully, this means that he will be moved soon. 

ayjackson - Wednesday, July 02 2008 @ 12:00 PM EDT (#188241) #

Kevin Ahrens should be near ready for third base in 2011, after Rolen is finished.  That would give him two more full years in the minors after this one.  3.5 years in the minors is about right for a 14th overall draft pick (HS hitter). 

I have some doubts whether Rolen will hold up at the hot corner until then.  Brad Emaus is a longshot get some spot duty at third too.

timpinder - Wednesday, July 02 2008 @ 12:02 PM EDT (#188242) #
I think Ahrens and Fuenmayor are in the plans at 3B for the Jays, post Rolen.  Ahrens is a first round pick and Fuenmayor signed for about $1.5 million as an international free agent when he was 16 or 17 years old.  Hopefully one of them is ready by 2011 or 2012.
John Northey - Wednesday, July 02 2008 @ 12:35 PM EDT (#188245) #
Ahrens - A- - 19 years old - 271-337-379, obviously having some issues with power but at 19 lots of hope, Dunedin in 2009, AA for 2010, AAA for 2011, ML for 2012 is the best I'd project at this point

Fuenmayor - Rk - 18 years old - 188-270-250, having more issues than Ahrens, is at least a year behind Ahrens if not more, so 2013 at the earliest

Emaus - A+ - 22 years old - 277-335-418, playing at second base mainly (67 games vs 3 at third).  AA next year, AAA for 2010, ML for 2011 is the optimistic viewpoint but he'll have to improve that bat to be a solid ML third baseman.

None of those 3 are jumping out stats wise but at this stage a scout would probably have a better idea of what to expect.  Ahrens is the most interesting, Emaus the closest.  I still hope Campbell is an option as second base (assuming Hill recovers) is set for a long time and Campbell is really impressive this year.  Campbell has 11 games at third in his career so far, but none this year.  Don't forget, Jeff Kent was at 2B in the minors then moved to third by the Jays before going off to the Mets/Cleveland/SF/LA and playing second again.
Mick Doherty - Wednesday, July 02 2008 @ 01:08 PM EDT (#188248) #

Proof that nobody reads headlines, I guess ... this story has been live for more than a full day ... and ... what year is it right now?

I forgot to set my Web browser to disable time travel! :-)

Flex - Wednesday, July 02 2008 @ 01:48 PM EDT (#188250) #
We thought you were being obscurely clever and didn't want to admit we didn't get it.
Pistol - Wednesday, July 02 2008 @ 02:13 PM EDT (#188251) #
what year is it right now?

Yeah, how about that.  We're back to the present now.
Dewey - Wednesday, July 02 2008 @ 02:53 PM EDT (#188253) #
Yeah, how about that.  We're back to the present now.

Except that we're not, in this thread at least—as in so many others.  One of the things I simply do not understand about Da Box is its itchy reaching after certitude, and after the future.  Da Box has demonstrated time and time again that it cannot predict the future.  Not two weeks ahead, let alone two years!   I do appreciate the fragile appeals of conjecture, speculation, and 'let's pretend';  but the degree to which these indulgences are taken on this board, and their frequency, continues to intrigue me.  Surely this all means something?
Chuck - Wednesday, July 02 2008 @ 03:09 PM EDT (#188254) #
With the the recent whatever happened to thread in mind, Shea Hillenbrand is a new Yorker. You say you want a Revolution?
Ron - Wednesday, July 02 2008 @ 05:52 PM EDT (#188257) #
I've reached the point where I no longer feel like the Rays will lose 90 games this season or finish last in the AL East. What's amazing about the Rays is that Kazmir has missed a whole bunch of starts and Pena, Crawford, and Gomes have been pretty brutal at the plate so far.

And here's an interesting note from Verducci "The three teams with the lowest payrolls in baseball (Marlins, Rays, Athletics) are closer to a playoff spot than the three teams with the highest payrolls (Yankees, Tigers, Mets)" Anybody still crying for MLB to have a salary cap?
ayjackson - Wednesday, July 02 2008 @ 07:09 PM EDT (#188261) #
I haven't heard anybody in baseball screaming for a salary cap.  If there were one, it would only really affect a couple of teams.  A cap in or around 55% of revenues ($6b) would be about $110 per team.  I'd guess the average payroll is less than that right now.  So maybe Donald Fehr is screaming for a cap.
CeeBee - Wednesday, July 02 2008 @ 07:53 PM EDT (#188263) #
If hockey has a 56 million dollar cap this year do you think baseball would only have a 110m cap?  Unless the union capitulated big time I'd bet the cap would be closer to 140 million if you base it on a similar % or revenue as hockey does. Bring on the cap.... maybe the Jays would actually spend to the cap like most of the NHL teams seem to do.
CeeBee - Wednesday, July 02 2008 @ 07:58 PM EDT (#188264) #

oops.... sorry ayj.... I really should read more closely. I missed the 6b in your post and now pretty much look like a blind fool.

Ron - Wednesday, July 02 2008 @ 11:01 PM EDT (#188267) #
I haven't heard anybody in baseball screaming for a salary cap.  If there were one, it would only really affect a couple of teams.  A cap in or around 55% of revenues ($6b) would be about $110 per team.  I'd guess the average payroll is less than that right now.  So maybe Donald Fehr is screaming for a cap.

Back when the Jays were around the 50 million payroll mark there were people here that said they wouldn't mind a salary cap. I know several Pirate fans that wish there was a salary cap. MLB has proven you can have parity without a salary cap.
Twilight - Thursday, July 03 2008 @ 02:05 AM EDT (#188268) #
Don't forget about the importance of sample size. With all due respect for the accomplishments of the Rays, this is a team who has averaged 64 wins a season and has not won more than 70. Sure, they've got a great cheap ball club right now and might very well make the playoffs, and might do well next year too. Eventually, though, they're going to have to show some of these players some green. Not to mention what happens when they become arbitration eligible. And the more you win, the later you get to pick in the draft.

The Rays are good this year, and the Yankees are bad (by comparison), but I hardly think we can consider this the norm. Every club is eventually going to run into holes that can't be filled internally, which means they will need to spend some money in the free agent market. Good management can get the best available value for the dollar, but spread over several seasons, a team with a $50m payroll will have trouble competing against a team with a $200m payroll.
ayjackson - Thursday, July 03 2008 @ 10:02 AM EDT (#188280) #

Back when the Jays were around the 50 million payroll mark there were people here that said they wouldn't mind a salary cap. I know several Pirate fans that wish there was a salary cap. MLB has proven you can have parity without a salary cap.

That $50m payroll was a while ago.  The Pirates would suffer under a cap because they'd lose the luxury tax and have to spend up to a floor.  There's only a few teams spending more than the hypothetical cap would be, that's not affecting parity.  The average payroll of the six division leaders is $94.6m.

If there was a salary cap, there would also be a floor.  Let's assume the MLBPA agreed to a Active Roster Cap of 50% of league revenues (which would be the lowest of the big four team sports).  That would set the league-wide cap at roughly $3b, or $100m per team.  The per team cap would likely be around $115m and the floor set at $85m.  That would help parity, if there's much of a correlation between payroll and success.

Of course, Pittsburg would have to increase their budget by 50% just to get to the floor.  The Marlins would have to increase theirs by 400% to get to the floor.

The average payroll right now is $90m.  It seems a bit strange, but only four teams are spending within $10m of that figure. 

If cap=floor, I don't think the owner's want any part of that.

Jdog - Thursday, July 03 2008 @ 03:12 PM EDT (#188305) #
I think Salary Cap pretty much always refers to a ceiling rather than a floor. I know the NHL has a salary cap and there are a number of teams who still set their budget well below the cap.
John Northey - Thursday, July 03 2008 @ 07:04 PM EDT (#188314) #
The NHL has a cap and floor system.

Max: $56.7
Min: $40.7

The floor is now higher than the cap was when the contract was signed in 05/06.

To shift to MLB you'd basically have to (at least) double those figures.  So the range would be $81.4 to $113.4 million
If that was the MLB cap you'd have the following above...
Yankees, Mets, Tigers, Red Sox, White Sox, Angels, Dodgers, Cubs, Mariners
The following below...
Brewers (barely), Cleveland, Giants, Reds, Padres, Rockies, Rangers, Orioles, Diamondbacks, Royals, Twins, Nationals, Pirates, A's, Ray's, Marlins (by $60 million).

Just 5 teams (Atlanta, Cardinals, Phillies, Jays, Astros) would land in the range.

Phew.  That would be a mess to try to make happen eh?
Ron - Thursday, July 03 2008 @ 08:38 PM EDT (#188319) #
Ironically having a salary cap (as long as there is also a floor) would probably make the average salary go up. Having a salary cap puts pressure on most teams to spend close to the threshold. But even with that said, I don't see the Players Union ever agreeing to a salary cap.
ayjackson - Thursday, July 03 2008 @ 10:09 PM EDT (#188322) #
What would probably do more for parity, if a problem, is a cap on what teams can spend on draft and international free agents each year.  If the Yankees had to keep to an active roster cap each year, they could just spend the excess millions on player development and would probably be better off.
1 July 2008: Sleeping While Jays Are In Seattle | 37 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.