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Things are quiet in Blue Jay land.  Alex Anthopoulos continues to work on his plans for league domination.  There have been a few news items recently with AA saying the Jays would like to bring back Marco Scutaro and Rod Barajas and last week AA was on the road inspiring the troops.

Bob Elliott has todays story where AA says:

"We like both players," said Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos. "We'd like to bring them both back."

Can the Jays afford to bring them both back?

Antopoulous won't know his team budget until later this month.

"Like I said, we like both players and they are both important positions, but we can't make a bad deal," the rookie GM said from Toronto.

Baseball signings come down to value.  If Scutaro would take a one year deal then a contract should be easy.  If he wants three it could be tougher.  It may be hard for Scutaro to get significant offers from other teams due to his type A status. 

Elliott also discloses that AA is contacting all the players and coaches as part of his fact finding post-season session with the team.

Anthopoulos has been busy calling each Jays player and all of the coaching staff for a fact-fining conversation as he promised the day J.P. Ricciardi was fired in Baltimore.

"I've spoken to Scutaro, probably about 18 out of 25 players and have another three calls scheduled for (today)," he said. "I started with the players with the most service time and worked my way down the list."

Last week Elliott had another article on AA's trip to Florida to address the minor league staff.  It was inspiring stuff.

"I've heard all our GMs speak, I go back to Peter Bavasi. Alex said he wants to get back to the point where everyone in baseball wanted to work for this organization.

"Alex said how the Angels and the Twins minor-leagues have an identity -- fundamental baseball. He asked what do people say if you mention our system, he didn't think we had an identity," Holmberg said. "There was a time when everyone wanted to be like the Blue Jays."

Bob Elliott picked up that the minor league crew were impressed:

Ten men totaling 323 years in baseball, 130 years with the Jays. That's an average of 32 years in the game, 13 with the Jays.

You have to get up pretty early in the morning to fool people with this much experience.

They believed.

And if you know Bob Elliott here is the key paragraph:

"It's clear this is going to be an employee-driven club," LaCava said. "He wants to expand scouting and for this to be a great place to work.

"The details will follow, but he's going to make it easier for people to do their jobs, be treated fairly and consideration for employees personal lives and families."

He was preaching to the choir, but they believe.

 

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Mylegacy - Monday, October 19 2009 @ 12:37 PM EDT (#207554) #
I've been warming on AA since my first reaction - which was that I was underwhelmed. Personally, he's OBVIOUSLY the Anti- JP - he's clearly left his "ego" at the door. All the best managers do that - I was concerned that he left his ego at the door because he didn't know enough. I'm getting past that. I like him now - BUT I'm still not sold on his knowledge of what makes a player.

Scutaro scares me. Firstly, I can't see us even having a chance without a healthy Scoots - or equivalent. However - I'm FREAKED about his heel injury. I suspect he may be done. The guy has GOT TO play some winter ball so we - and others can scout him. IF he's iffy we could offer him arbitration and when no one offers him a longer term contract we could get him for one year on an arbitration settlement. At worse we would pay for a year of him hobbling around.  I really don't see a replacement out there. I'm seriously pissed we didn't bring up Angel Sanchez from AAA in September for a look - he hit 313/370/426 and was named the best defensive SS in the World Cup. When the guy is the ONLY near ready fill in you've got surely you HAVE to give him a look. I'm really pissed.

I'd rather not spend a ton on a DH - I want Ruiz to get a full shot - at least till June. IF it don't work - BLAME ME.

Unless we get two contender quality position players or pitchers or one of those and a STAR prospect - I say we KEEP Halladay. - to the bitter end if necessary.

Mick Doherty - Monday, October 19 2009 @ 01:00 PM EDT (#207555) #

Anthopoulos has been busy calling each Jays player and all of the coaching staff for a fact-fining conversation as he promised the day J.P. Ricciardi was fired in Baltimore.

One of the truly great typos of all time -- not sure if that was in the paper or not, but the idea of a team fining its players for sticking to facts ... that's funny!

Mike Green - Monday, October 19 2009 @ 01:16 PM EDT (#207556) #
Sure, Roy Halladay was fined 10K for reporting that ownership intended to reduce payroll by 10% whereas Aaron Hill received a 10K bonus for reporting that ownership intended to increase payroll by 50%. 

"Facts are simple and facts are straight
Facts are lazy and facts are late
Facts all come with points of view
Facts don't do what I want them to"
Matthew E - Monday, October 19 2009 @ 02:00 PM EDT (#207557) #

Pff. Facts.

You can use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true.

John Northey - Monday, October 19 2009 @ 02:09 PM EDT (#207558) #
Good sounding stuff.  The idea of interviewing every last guy on the active roster and asking their opinions on things is a great one, especially going by seniority.  Helps deal with that mess at the end of the season and starts things on a good footing for AA.

I suspect that he is checking right now for how strongly the team supports Scutaro & Barajas and what they feel those two should make (via indirect questions).  How close the players and coaches feel the team is to contending and who they see (and why) as being strong assets going forward.  If all the players and coaches feel Ruiz was just lucky then be ready for a lot of pushback if you keep him as the everyday DH.  If they feel he is for real then be ready for negative feedback if he is replaced.  Stuff like that is good to know before you make a move.

As to myself, I'd want to find a solid OF/DH on the market (ideally a CF but odds are against that, or a strong defensive guy who can hit at least for a 750 OPS) and shift Ruiz into a backup role - one of the 4 bench guys, him (RH 1B/DH/LF mixed with Overbay, Snider, Lind as needed), a backup catcher, and two backup infielders.  The infielder positions would be filled by Inglett and Bautista right now but I'd look to dump Bautista and get a guy who can play SS who is cheaper than the $1.9 paid to McDonald (if McDonald comes in at $750k or less I'd say fine as ML minimum is $500k now I think, as long as the coaches and scouts feel he can still be a great defensive player). 

Pitching wise AA has some hard choices in the pen with a lot of guys who are hitting expensive periods ($1+ million) who should be replaceable.  Should be interesting.
TamRa - Monday, October 19 2009 @ 03:25 PM EDT (#207559) #
Anyone else catch Uncle Dicks broad implication that, if Cito is pushed out, that AA has more than a passing interest in Buck Shwoalter?

I don't think I'm against Buck (albeit all I really remember about his previous gigs was that he was said to be a control freak) but MLBTR keeps reporting really good things about some of the guys interviewing in Houston. I tend to think Acta gets the job (given that he spent a lot of years coaching in their system) but the reports were that both he and Melvin blew them away....

Dunno. but I get the sense that the further we get from the season, the more the consensus is growing that Cito could and should be given an opportunity for a graceful exit.

One can only hope.


Forkball - Monday, October 19 2009 @ 03:58 PM EDT (#207560) #
AA certainly seems to be doing everything right so far, which is good.  I'm certainly more in favor of him being the GM now than I was initially.  But really, every GM that is hired talks about how drafting and developing is their biggest focus.  We'll see, but early indications are positive.
Forkball - Monday, October 19 2009 @ 04:00 PM EDT (#207561) #

Los Angeles Angels first base coach Alfredo Griffin wanted all the details on the "mutiny inside the Jays clubhouse" the final weekend in Baltimore.  "I was sad to read players say that stuff about Cito," Griffin, a former Jay said. "I talk to Vernon Wells and he said he loves Cito like a father. Roy Halladay told me how much he respected Cito. I have trouble believing any of the stuff I read."

Am I the only one skeptical of Wells here?
John Northey - Monday, October 19 2009 @ 04:17 PM EDT (#207562) #
Well, one can love someone like a father but also not want to work for them.  Same for respect - you can respect them, believe they are great people but feel they are not right for the job they are doing.

I suspect the whole AA interviewing the entire team was to get a solid idea of just what the players want/need in a field manager.  Now, even if all the guys said they feel Cito isn't up to the job it doesn't mean he is not right for the job, however it should be a big factor in the decision.

No idea on who would be best to run the team.  Cito might be right, someone else might be.  In the end the first decision has to be 'how close to the playoffs are we'.  Then you need the budget to see if, close or not, you can afford any needed improvements.  Then you decide on who the best manager is, who the best players are (namely do you trade Halladay or not), etc.
Mike Green - Monday, October 19 2009 @ 04:38 PM EDT (#207563) #
The AFL is up and running.  Adam Loewen is off to a nice start in the "getting on base" department.
92-93 - Monday, October 19 2009 @ 04:39 PM EDT (#207564) #
"No idea on who would be best to run the team."

Refer to him as ABC - Anyone But Cito.
GrrBear - Monday, October 19 2009 @ 04:44 PM EDT (#207565) #
I think AA will prefer to have the picks for Scutaro, and if it turns out that it's the beginning of March and Marco's still on the market (at a reduced price), then AA will sign him back for no more than two seasons. Maybe one year with an option for a second if Scutaro reaches 500 plate appearances. (Or don't we like playing-time based contracts since Frank Thomas?)  There's not a lot of value out there in shortstops, which is why it's unlikely Scutaro would remain unsigned until March, but either outcome - picks or a two year contract - would probably be a net positive.

What happens with Halladay will indicate what direction this franchise is heading in - if he's traded for prospects and/or a Kershaw type of player, then they're rebuilding. If he's not traded before the season starts, and the Jays don't sign any declining veteran free-agents, then they may be looking to make a big splash in 2011 - hopefully with Halladay signed to a shiny new contract.  If he's not traded before the season starts and the Jays sign guys like Gabe Kapler and Russell Branyan (not necessarily those guys, but guys like that), then I will throw up in my mouth and become even more masochistic by following the Cubs full-time.

VBF - Monday, October 19 2009 @ 04:45 PM EDT (#207566) #

Interesting to note that things aren't moving because of the payroll announcement which means any prior rumours about payroll may not really hold much water. If they knew already I'm sure AA would get a green light to get his plans into gear.

I don't suspect it, but I hope AA isn't married to Scutaro and Barajas, at least in terms of contract length. Nothing past one year, nothing over 7 million for Scutaro and nothing over 3 million for Barajas. Ironically the free agent catching pool doesn't offer you much in terms of catchers who get on base. Other than Martinez and Molina nobody else is a guaranteed to be all that much better over Barajas.

92-93 - Monday, October 19 2009 @ 04:53 PM EDT (#207567) #
What does the team need more picks for? They already have 3 extra ones in the first 3 rounds, and it would represent a serious organizational shift if they had the draft budget to sign 9 guys in the first 3 rounds.

Scutaro + Barajas isn't worth anywhere near 10m. Give me Adam Everett + JP Arencibia and spend that $ on something useful, like, um, improving a terrible farm system? Stop spending money to be mediocre.
TamRa - Monday, October 19 2009 @ 05:18 PM EDT (#207568) #
Don't put too much stock in Elliot's speculation.

AA is doing what everyone hated JP for not doing - saying the polite thing.

Scutaro may well be back - if he finds the market isn't there and decides to accept Arb.

Barajas may well be back - if no one else is crazy enough to throw a multi-year deal at him...but he surely won't get a raise and won't be signed until AA knows what's shaking on the trade market from the GM meetings.

I doubt VERY seriously we're gonna see the sort of luxurious spending on role-players that JP was known for.


Denoit - Monday, October 19 2009 @ 05:33 PM EDT (#207569) #

I'm torn, one side of me says the Yanks, Sox and Rays are all going to be pretty hard to beat next year and the best thing to do is trade Halladay while he still has more value, let your free agents go aquire the picks and start a rebuild. But then there is another side that says, man the rotation would look pretty sweet with everyone healthy and assuming the young pitchers progress. (big ifs but it could happen). And what if Hill and Lind have good years again, and Vernon gets back to being a .300 hitter with 30HR power. What if Travis Snider figures it out and has a good year (again big ifs but all possible). If they added another big bat to go with those guys, this team could be really good. I guess whatever direction they decide to go ill end up supporting, but it should turn out to be an interesting offseason.

VBF - Monday, October 19 2009 @ 08:46 PM EDT (#207571) #
I don't think there's any reason to believe that management will get full authority to take payroll money and spend it on the draft, nor do I think that unused payroll will be able to roll over until the team is more competitive. If this is true, 10 million dollars on Scutaro and Barajas doesn't look as bad.
christaylor - Monday, October 19 2009 @ 09:52 PM EDT (#207572) #
Oh, that guy again. Wasn't he hired in the late 90s? No need for another "flashback" hire.
Mylegacy - Monday, October 19 2009 @ 11:27 PM EDT (#207573) #
Time for a BOMB...

Before 09 I said that IF we were to be competitive Rolen was going to a MAJOR contributor.

Time for my 2010 BOMBSHELL!

We WILL compete in 10. Roy WILL STAY - and when we compete he'll sign up to finish his career with us. The rest of our pitching is better than fine - 'specially with at least one of Marcum and McGowan.

Earlier in this thread Mike Green hinted at it...

We WILL compete in 10. Our offense will include - among others - Hill, Lind, Wells, Scutaro, Ruiz and Overbay in a platoon, Barajas, Snider, EE and wait for it ...Adam Loewen. By Mid to late June, Adam Loewen will be UP and will be hitting like the phenom hitter he was as a Canadian Junior.

I GUARANTEE IT!

VBF - Tuesday, October 20 2009 @ 10:24 AM EDT (#207574) #

'specially with at least one of Marcum and McGowan.

I don't think anyone should pin any playoff hopes on Marcum being a 100+ ERA, his arm basically exploded. And I think we'd be lucky of McGowan ever pitches for this team again.

Mike Green - Tuesday, October 20 2009 @ 11:45 AM EDT (#207575) #
Did I miss something about Marcum's injury?  Wasn't it the usual UCL tear followed by TJ surgery?

Obviously, it's not reasonable to count him to be great or to throw 200 innings, but I don't know why his chance of being a valuable contributor would be less than that of any other post TJ.  My own inclination is that a pitcher who is capable of good control and fields his position well would have a leg up on the adaptation. 

TamRa - Tuesday, October 20 2009 @ 12:31 PM EDT (#207576) #
I don't have "playoff hopes" unless we ramp up the payroll BUT

I have a good deal of confidence that Marcum will be an above average pitcher this year. His control might not be QUITE as fine as before...MAYBE...but given he was originally coming back in August before his back acted up, he's going to be WELL out from surgery (18 months) and it won't be a physical thing.

I see no reason to assume he won't get his groove back in Spring Training.

Now McGowan is a wild card, of course. If he started 30 games next year you'd have to worry what he'd be able to do the next year just because of his history. In a sense, he's sort of our very own Rich Harden.

But I don't think you just assume he's done either. You just plan and project without him and if he does hold up then you are that much deeper.



John Northey - Tuesday, October 20 2009 @ 01:17 PM EDT (#207577) #
For 2010 I have hope.  Of course, I also said 93 wins this season (if all went right, which it didn't).

The Jays did outscore their opponents last year and had a Pythag W-L of 84-78.  If you take that as their core, add Marcum over Richmond in the rotation (Richmond flopped in the end to a 79 ERA+ thanks to a 9.46 ERA in 7 September starts and over 6 for his 4 starts in July/August), reduced starts for Tallet (82 ERA+) and an improvement (overall) between Cecil & Rzepczynski (82 & 119 respectively, suspect combined they'll move from a combined 97 [weighted by innings] to a 105 over more than their combined 28 starts last year).  Mix in a slight decrease for Halladay and increase for Romero (102 last year) and you could have a killer staff before mixing in anyone else from AAA or Richmond.

The pen should be better without a drag from Ryan and Carlson/League should have better results. 

Offensively expect drops at SS (Scutaro or his replacement) and from Lind (a 142 OPS+ is probably his peak, expect a 120 range next year).  However CA can't be much worse (71/66/41 for our 3 main catchers plus an 87 from Phillips).  1B should be better as Overbay will probably drop a bit from 120 but Millar will be gone and replaced with a real hitter hopefully.  Rolen and his 122/great D is replaced by Encarnacion and his 95/mediocre D but that is a 1/2 season lost, not a full one.  Hill will drop from 122 to a 110 range I suspect.  Snider should jump to 110+ from 96.  Wells to 110+ from 87, Rios/misc sub 100's replaced by someone who can hit I hope.  Utility guys Bautista (100) Millar (78) McDonald (71) and Inglett (85) should be replaced by similar production for backup IF/OF and possibly upgraded via Ruiz (163, which we all know he won't hit in 2010) and others.

Defense?  OK, this is the big question.  SS will be down as Scutaro isn't going to stay at peak for long and McDonald is either gone or declining (he is entering his age 35 season).  3B is a big drop.  1B/2B are rock solid.  The OF - ugh.  Lind/Wells/Snider will put fear into many of the Jays starters, which should help keep the ball down more often (see, bright side!).  Of course, no more sleepy Rios in RF which might relieve some stress.  CA is always tough to judge for defense outside of arm strength but with a 34% caught stealing rate it won't be too hard to maintain or improve one hopes.

So, if the outfield hits like it can and slight improvements at DH/1B from Ruiz (or someone) over Millar and we'll easily cover the drop from 3B/SS.  CA should be an 80+ with any luck too.  Thus a better offense in 2010, better rotation, and stronger pen should all occur even if all AA does is keep who we have and add a SS/CA from the assortment available (none are great, but there has to be an 80 OPS+ guy for each with league average defense available).  An improvement of 50 in the runs for/against, mix in a small amount of luck and we have a 90+ win team.  An improvement of 100 and we have a mid-90's potential. 

Yes they can!  And yes I dream in full colour!
Mick Doherty - Tuesday, October 20 2009 @ 03:24 PM EDT (#207578) #

Yes they can!  And yes I dream in full colour!

Nah. Seems to me to be purely blue and white. Needs a serious splash of green to turn, you know, gold ...

VBF - Tuesday, October 20 2009 @ 03:27 PM EDT (#207579) #

Obviously, it's not reasonable to count him to be great or to throw 200 innings, but I don't know why his chance of being a valuable contributor would be less than that of any other post TJ. 

No, you're right, I got a little carried away. My general feeling has just been that many people assume he can be slotted as a number two and pick up where he left off, which I don't think is the most likely scenario. I don't expect his career to be over but I do think management needs to build the pitching staff without attaching specific expectations for him.

Mike Green - Tuesday, October 20 2009 @ 03:29 PM EDT (#207580) #
Yes they can!  And yes I dream in full colour!

Barack Obama. Harvey Milk.  Martin Luther King.  That is some heady company you're keeping. 
FisherCat - Tuesday, October 20 2009 @ 04:06 PM EDT (#207581) #

No, you're right, I got a little carried away. My general feeling has just been that many people assume he can be slotted as a number two and pick up where he left off, which I don't think is the most likely scenario. I don't expect his career to be over but I do think management needs to build the pitching staff without attaching specific expectations for him.

100% agreement!!  Even though many posters here haven't said it word for word, they've basically marked it down as Marcum being the Jays' 2"B" to Romero being our 2"A" behind Halladay (if he stays).  I agree with VBF that the Jays need to go into the off-season with the thought the Marcum is AT BEST the #4 starter and if he then goes out and performs like he did in 2007-2008 or at 80% of that.  Then chalk it up to beating expectations!

To plan on anything better than 165-180 innings, 12 wins & an ERA in the range of 3.90 to 4.60 out of him would be foolish!

Richard S.S. - Tuesday, October 20 2009 @ 04:15 PM EDT (#207582) #

I'm seriously pissed we didn't bring up Angel Sanchez from AAA in September for a look

Any other manager, but Cito,  would have had Sanchez up in September because Scutaro was a Free Agent.  You need to see the future.  Cito is only concerned with making sure his Veterans have a chance of a good next contract.  He didn't like to play his rookies if it took time away from his veterans.  Any other manager.....

Mike Green - Tuesday, October 20 2009 @ 05:27 PM EDT (#207583) #
To plan on anything better than 165-180 innings, 12 wins & an ERA in the range of 3.90 to 4.60 out of him would be foolish!

170 innings and a 4.25 ERA is valuable.  That is probably a better expectation than you would have for any pitcher on the staff but Roy Halladay.  A.J. Burnett's expectation for 2009 might be 180 innings and a 4.25 ERA.
92-93 - Tuesday, October 20 2009 @ 05:33 PM EDT (#207584) #
"To plan on anything better than 165-180 innings, 12 wins & an ERA in the range of 3.90 to 4.60 out of him would be foolish!"

Sounds like a #2-3 starter to me in the AL, especially the AL East! Instead of falling into the trap of the names, have a look at what guys like Lackey, Beckett, Burnett, Garza, and Shields actually did this year.
92-93 - Tuesday, October 20 2009 @ 05:35 PM EDT (#207585) #
Whoops, I apparently owe Mike a coke, from what I've gleaned from past threads. Anyone care to explain that one?
Thomas - Tuesday, October 20 2009 @ 05:58 PM EDT (#207586) #
Any other manager, but Cito, would have had Sanchez up in September because Scutaro was a Free Agent.

Please prove this was Cito's and not JP's decision if you're going to make this claim.

TamRa - Tuesday, October 20 2009 @ 06:26 PM EDT (#207587) #
Even though many posters here haven't said it word for word, they've basically marked it down as Marcum being the Jays' 2"B" to Romero being our 2"A" behind Halladay (if he stays).  I agree with VBF that the Jays need to go into the off-season with the thought the Marcum is AT BEST the #4 starter...

To plan on anything better than 165-180 innings, 12 wins & an ERA in the range of 3.90 to 4.60 out of him would be foolish!

I would contend you just contridicted yourself.

Only 4 AL teams had two starters with an ERA better than 3.90

Romero himself was at 4.30

The Angels third best starter by ERA was at 4.60 and they are in the ALCS

AJ is the Yankees #2 and he was at 4.04

Everyone (apparently) loves the Rays' staff and their three best ERA's were all between 3.90 and 4.20

In 2007, Marcum threw 159 innings with a 4.13 ERA and that created a 108 OPS+ . . . which was slightly better than the ERA+ Burnett gave us as a #2 last year (when he had an ERA of 4.07). With more innings it would have been higher.

Speaking of ERA+, that 2007 season of Marcum's that got him a 108? The Yankees #2 starter was at 110 this year, their #3 was at 107.

A few teams had a good enough rotation that marcum year would make him their #3, a couple even a #4...but not many.


You might be right about the innings to the extent that Marcum's career high seems to be 165 (which means by the Verducci Rule he shouldn't break 200) but other than that, there's no reason to assume that coming off surgery he'll be limited in the number of innings he can throw.


Predicting, or worring about wins is a silly game considering the real measure is whether you got quality innings but, as a matter of record, the #2 starter for the best team in baseball in 2009 won....13 games.

So, basiclly, if both Marcum and Romero were in the range of 3.90 to 4.30...that's pretty much your standard issue #2/#3 guy if he can hold up over 180 innings or so.

And yeah, I'm generally a positive guy admittedly but i see no reason Marcum can't do at least that well next year.


brent - Tuesday, October 20 2009 @ 07:00 PM EDT (#207588) #
I think the best solution would be to stack the starters. We have a bunch of good to great starters that are perhaps "injury prone". The team doesn't use the reliever at the end of the bench enough anyway.
TamRa - Tuesday, October 20 2009 @ 08:19 PM EDT (#207589) #
IMO, this is going to be where AA has his metal tested.

Halladay
Marcum
Romero
McGowan*
Listch*
Rzepzynski
Cecil
Purcey
Richmond
Ray
Mills
Stewart


That's got to be handled correctly. He has to balance what he knows of the player's health (and, by the way, with that kind of depth there's an argument for gambling on McGowan recovering) and what he knows of Doc's intention and what he knows of the budget in order to get the best possible outcome.

If the ownership blesses him with a $120 million payroll then that excess is pure luxury and he can get the best value for whoever he deals.

If, on the other hand, he's given something at $90 million or less - and he's trying to hang on to Doc, then that's crunch time

(It goes without saying that if he's cut to an even lower point and doc is dealt that is also a high pressure situation of it's own)

So assuming that the big payday isn't in fact coming, then to improve the team in the places of need is going to demand dealing some talented pitching.

Perhaps my first target would be to try to pry Carlos Gonzalez out of Colorado before they let Hawpe go. Maybe we could get him for Cecil? Frankly the Rockies don't have a crying need unless it's a 2B (where we can't help)

That's assuming, of course, that AA is of a mind to get Vernon out of CF.

But - while I'm unimpressed with the list of potentially available talent (for some reason there seems to be more flawed options lately than in years past) - there's no reason why we can't turn some of that excess pitching into JJ Hardy, for instance, or Stephen Drew, or whatever.

If we sit on all those starters and bring back a starting nine little different from what we had six months ago, I'd call that a sizeable mistake.


lexomatic - Tuesday, October 20 2009 @ 09:07 PM EDT (#207590) #
I highly doubt that CarGo could be had for Cecil. He had what I've seen referred to as a breakout year. I think it takes pieces. I think the Rockies rty to move out their older more expensive players like Hawpe.
i'm not going to argue with you about the need to make some changes though.
I still think the one to target is ARZ catcher Snyder. He's not cheap, but I think he'll cost what Barajas did this year, with ok defense, patience & power. I see Whitt as a great analog for him (at least until he really cut down on the strikeouts near the end.) I want JPA in AAA until he learns better plate discipline or a few years when he's a backup to a better option.
I'm not sure this team is going to get a good young OF unless it's part of a Halladay package, or unless they're really far away. I don't see their pieces being valued around the league (even though i think it's not an entirely correct view.) I also think that unless AA is really certain about the health of all these pieces and their performance on coming back that we'll see a trade of too much pitching depth.

I'm just going to wait and see how it all plays out.
TamRa - Tuesday, October 20 2009 @ 09:52 PM EDT (#207591) #
I was looking at Snyder too.

Turns out he makes $10.5 million over the next 2 years which is way more than RB would make but - if his back is healthy, he IS better than RB

Still, the money worried me until I considered - 'Zona has no proven guy at 1B

So howsabout Overbay for Snyder?

'Zona trades from depth and fills a position of need while saving a net $3.5 million

Jays Trade from a position of semi-depth, open up possibilities for adding an outfielder, fill a position of need, and save a couple million on 2010.



brent - Tuesday, October 20 2009 @ 11:14 PM EDT (#207592) #

http://www.fangraphs.com/teams.aspx?pos=c&stats=bat&lg=all&type=1&season=2009&month=0

Jays were last in WOBA at the catcher position for all of MLB. That should be one of AA's priorities unless he's trading The Franchise.

John Northey - Tuesday, October 20 2009 @ 11:18 PM EDT (#207593) #
I've felt for awhile (at least since a thread a few weeks ago) that 'stacked starters' is an opportunity for the Jays that few teams have had.

Halladay on his own, keep close eye on him
Marcum/Romero - best combo
Rzepzynski/Richmond - probably our next best
Cecil or Purcey/McGowan or Listch - health/skill to decide

4 day rotation, Halladay is one of the few who would be up for it (he is on record as saying he'd love to do it, at least a few years ago he was) while the tandem starters would go 4 innings each with hard pitch limits of around 80 which would allow the hurt guys to stay healthy with any luck.

Backing them up we have (in house) Ray, Mills, Stewart, Tallet, and who knows who else in the minors who might impress next year. That uses up 7 slots with 5 left for the regular pen to cover 9th inning and inbetween innings whenever a guy falters early. IE: if Marcum gets knocked out in the 2nd you call in, say, League to finish the inning and maybe do the 3rd then call in Romero to go as far as he can before the closer (say, Frasor) comes in. Odds are the pen would not get overworked this way, the guys in the tandem alternate who starts and who relieves. Other teams managers go nuts knowing that they have to lose their bench if they plan around a left or right handed starter as we'd be switching it up mid-stream.

It has been shown that guys do best when called on to do as few innings as possible, thus the modern pen where guys rarely go more than one inning. This just makes so much sense and the Jays are in such an amazing position to do an experiment like this that one can't help but hope.

The alternative is to trade a few of the kids to gain strength in a weak area (such as SS) and hope you kept the right ones. I prefer making it a unique staff where the team has a flexibility no one else has ever had.
TamRa - Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 01:16 AM EDT (#207595) #
IF I were going to do the stacking thing, I'd stick with five days and I'd do a 5/4 split with my best 4 non-Docs leading and the next four following

Doc
Marcum/Cecil
Romero/Richmond
McGowan/Tallet
Zep/Ray

With Listch supplanting Richmond or Ray depending on who's lagging.

The problem with this is there would only be room for three relievers, and if you ever had a series of games when you had to turn to the pen you'd be in trouble so that probably forces you into a 4-day rotation.

Which worries me a bit.


brent - Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 01:29 AM EDT (#207596) #
I would only be stacking one set of starters and see how it does. I wouldn't start out with 4 pairs of them.
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 06:18 AM EDT (#207597) #
Thomas - Tuesday, October 20 2009 @ 05:58 PM EDT (#207586) # Any other manager, but Cito, would have had Sanchez up in September because Scutaro was a Free Agent.

Please prove this was Cito's and not JP's decision if you're going to make this claim

If you're going to be satisfied, you should do this first:  1) Prove that Managers have no influence with General Managers - or - Prove that Cito had no influence at all on JP ( I don't think you can do that).   2) Prove that JP still had the authority to say "No", over matters like this.  (I don't think you can do this either).

If it exists in the world of the web, anything can be found.  THIS I KNOW TO BE TRUE.  I'm just not good enough to find it all, yet. 

From 1985 through 1994, I had the opportunity to watch every single game - preseason, regular, playoff - that was televised.  I watched TSN almost religiously, especially the baseball spots.  I saw Cito from the beginnings as a hitting Coach through to his dismissal two years too late.  He played his favorites regularly - batters or pitchers.  He would not give a rookie playing time over his regulars / veterans, unless he was "hot stuff".  September call-ups were seldom played, unless injuries surfaced.  Basically, what Cito wants, Cito gets.

Brian Dopirak (1B), ( 25), 6-4-230, .330 .366 .509 in 219 AB;  Angel Sanchez (SS), (26), .305 .347 .428 in 449 AB;  Kyle Phillips (C), (25) called up; balance of pitchers on 40-man roster; these should be no-brainers to bring up.  Scutaro (SS), Barajas (C) are free agents.  Overbay (1B) will be platooned if he stays.  Pitchers may be traded or waived.  You need to be sure of what you have before you sign anyone. 

J.P. did not care, only Cito could care who came up.  Tell me how this is supposed to go now, would you?

Thomas - Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 08:27 AM EDT (#207599) #
If you're going to be satisfied, you should do this first: 1) Prove that Managers have no influence with General Managers - or - Prove that Cito had no influence at all on JP ( I don't think you can do that). 2) Prove that JP still had the authority to say "No", over matters like this. (I don't think you can do this either).

You're the one who is making the claim, so you should have evidence to back it up. You don't have any and instead fall back on a bland "well, it probably exists out there somewhere" defence. I didn't make the claim that this was JP's decision; you made the claim it was entirely Cito's.

A general manager's job description includes all player transactions, from trades to promotions to the signing of free agent. A manager's job description includes managing the team during the day and the selection of the lineup for each day's game. I'm not going to deny that most GMs probably consult with their managers on many moves, but that's a far cry from giving them final authority over decisions, which is something GMs generally don't do. Even great managers like Tony LaRussa (and let's not this into a debate of his strengths and weaknesses) don't have final authority over transactions even with a very new GM in charge of St. Louis (or else Chris Duncan would still be in the organization).

You're the one who is claiming that JP exercised no control over promotions and demotions. You're the one claiming that Cito refused to promote Sanchez, preferring instead to play Scutaro and McDonald all September. You're the one arguing that when Scutaro got injured Cito again refused to promote Sanchez, preferring instead to play John McDonald for two weeks, despite the fact he had glued McDonald to the bench for the first four months of the year. You've not proven any of these facts.

Nobody is arguing that Cito doesn't like veterans. However, liking veterans is a far call from being granted the final authority on player transaction and then refusing to promote Sanchez. If you're making an affirmative claim that runs counter to the known job descriptions of each man you should at least provide some evidence that isn't "I watched the team in 1991 and Cito liked veterans.". And if you can't, don't make such statements or preface them with "In my opinion."

Mike Green - Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 09:36 AM EDT (#207600) #
Well said, Thomas. 

As for tandem starters, I would be even more radical with the current crop than others (provided Doc was staying and agreed).  I would run out a 3 day rotation of:

Halladay/Cecil
Romero/Marcum
Zep/Richmond or Litsch

Halladay would be on a pitch count of 70, and would normally go 5 innings.  Cecil would go 2 or 3 and would be on a pitch count of 50.  The others would be pitch counts of 60 and would normally go 2-4 innings depending on effectiveness, previous use and platoon issues.  Your bullpen would consist of a long man (the other of Richmond or LItsch), a low leverage lefty (Tallet), a low leverage righty (League or Accardo), a high leverage righty (Frasor) and a high leverage lefty (Downs). 

It would be important for the organization to publicly go with the plan and indicate that it viewed "pitcher wins" and as a meaningless statistic.  "Giving the starter a chance to win the game" would have no place.


christaylor - Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 09:54 AM EDT (#207602) #
Also it wouldn't hurt at all if Marcum's surgery was one of those that gives him a touch more velocity on his FB, it'd make his change even better even though it has been amazing thus far in his career.
christaylor - Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 09:59 AM EDT (#207603) #
I've lost so much hope for McGowan and have little confidence in Frasor (even with the new pitch) and Downs, I'd like to see McGowan tried in the pen (again). I wouldn't do it to start the season (he may not even be healthy) but tell him the closers job is his when he is effective.

McGowan just might be too fragile (and too frankenstein-ian with all the surgery) to handle anything other than bullpen workload. I can see him as an effective closer though.
christaylor - Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 10:14 AM EDT (#207604) #
I'd love to see a tandem rotation happen (but not a 4 man tandem, an injured Doc is worthless in a deadline trade and a risky re-sign)... but to get that, AA has got to fire Cito. I just can't see Cito going along with a tandem rotation or having the 'pen management chops to handle it properly.

Get the right manager in (preferably one with a good prior relationship w/Arnsberg because with this idea the pitching coach almost becomes a "pitching & bench coach".

That's a lot to happen. As there's been no team that has used tandem starters for 4 spots for an entire season and sports seem to be all about copying success, thinking this far outside the box seems a stretch. The idea is definitely sound, but I think taking it to extremes would be a bad idea.

Whatever the rotation, unless Richmond/Tallet are long-men in the pen (kind of like tandem starters with out the tandem) and bounce back from 2009, not much should be expected from the 2010 pitching staff.
christaylor - Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 10:26 AM EDT (#207605) #
Take it for what it is worth but I certainly recall Cito saying (either on TV or more likely on the morning show on the FAN) in late August that weren't any options in AAA that would make good additions to the team as September call-ups. This isn't blaming Cito for not calling players up (he could have been parroting JP) but put together with Cito wanting (and getting) Lind called up from AAA early in his tenure, it is at least a reasonable opinion to believe Cito played a role in not calling up players in September. I'm not sure that Cito didn't beg and plead for Sanchez, but none of us except those in the front office of the Jays can be sure of how this decision worked.

I believe it is an unwritten rule that all posts on web comment board are implicitly prefaced with "in my opinion", unless one is only stating stats/facts. So it is a bit harsh to take the original poster to task for not including the phrase. Asking for evidence in a situation gets one no where, really the facts of the situation aren't known to fans and very little is revealed in even the most candid of interviews.
nanook - Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 11:11 AM EDT (#207606) #
Well said christaylor.
Most of what we post on this board is opinion. And frankly, bumpf. Entertaining bumpf, but bumpf.
What you can say with reasonable certainty is that JP has hardly ever used September to see what the future holds. Septembers have been about earning meaningless wins to pad the totals so the fans can be conned into believing nexy year will be the year.

John Northey - Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 11:17 AM EDT (#207607) #
Given the low number of callups, and no extras who could play short, it seems a lot like the upper reaches said not to blow any more money on 2009 than necessary. So save a few grand ($50-100) by not calling up Sanchez and a couple of others. Call up the minimum - guys who were on ML contracts plus a third catcher. Cito probably wasn't happy about that, or wasn't told and figured it out, thus blew the cash by keeping Millar in the lineup.

That is a possible way things went. Of course, it could just be that Cito heard Sanchez was not a good fielder thus said 'why bother'.
Mike Green - Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 11:22 AM EDT (#207608) #
Take it for what it is worth but I certainly recall Cito saying (either on TV or more likely on the morning show on the FAN) in late August that weren't any options in AAA that would make good additions to the team as September call-ups.

Kyle Phillips arrived anyway, didn't he?  Presumptively, 40 man call-ups are a GM's decision, perhaps with significant input from the Manager or ownership.  It may be that Ricciardi was more constrained than usual in making an independent decision due to his obviously then-tenuous employment status. 

If one is going to find fault with Cito's performance this season, it is easy to do so without straying from decisions within his control.  Ricciardi wasn't filling out lineup cards with Millar's name in the cleanup slot. 
Timbuck2 - Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 11:40 AM EDT (#207609) #
The only tandem starters that I ever remember seeing was Guzman/Escobar and I seem to recall that going very well for the limited time they tried it...

Does anyone remember any others from the Blue Jays or other teams?

FisherCat - Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 12:01 PM EDT (#207610) #

...I would contend you just contridicted yourself...

OK, I agree that the numbers I posted would be a decent #2/#3 starter.  But maybe the point I was trying to convey was that my definition of a #2 starter is someone that at least 50% time can be as dominant as a #1.  Or in other words has a higher "ceiling" than those numbers project.

When AJ was here he was clearly a #2!  I mean his overall #'s for the season don't paint the picture of a #2, but he definitely had the stuff to be a #1 almost 50% of the time.

So I guess in conclusion I just think that although Marcum had the makings of a possible #2 before his injury, he can't be expected to project much more than a #3/#4 in 2010.

Mike Green - Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 02:01 PM EDT (#207611) #
"Ceiling" is an important concept for a prospect, but for late 20s/early 30s pitcher it really is a strange idea.  There is a lot of variability in pitchers. After his TJ, David Wells went 16-8 with an ERA+ of 140 in 200 innings in 1995 at age 32.  Could Marcum do as well or better than that?  Sure.  Would I bet on it?  No.  Could Burnett do as well or better than that in 2010? Sure.  Would I bet on it?  No.  Is Burnett's reasonable projection for 2010 better than Marcum's?  Of course.  But it has only a little to do with having better stuff; Burnett had a better performance record prior to his surgery and he has shown that he can make an adjustment to his injury and Marcum has not done so yet. 

Returning to the tandem starter question, on sober second thought, I'd move Purcey into the slot behind Halladay and use Cecil in the long-man role.  Purcey has over his career both in the minors and in the majors done well his first time through the order, but needs a regular slot.
TamRa - Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 02:17 PM EDT (#207612) #
I can't believe this kind of discussion was sparked by Sanchez of all players.

The guy is NOT the sort of player who needs to be investigated. The waiver wire is littered with marginal shortstops who can't hit in the majors (Angel Berroa for instance)

If we strip down so hard next year that Sanchez is a legitimate option at SS, then we might as well keep Johnny Mac. Or sign Alex Cora or any of a dozen others. Hell, you could probably take a flyer on Khalil Greene or Bobby Crosby miraculously pulling it together before you stoop to Sanchez.

can we at least argue about marginally important stuff?

:D


vw_fan17 - Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 02:46 PM EDT (#207615) #
IMO, this is going to be where AA has his metal tested.

Rush or Helix?
christaylor - Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 03:51 PM EDT (#207617) #
"can we at least argue about marginally important stuff?"

Such is the state of Blue Jay land that such minutiae are fodder for discussion. Until we get a plan from management about where the payroll is going, this team could be anything from a team with expectations of last place or one that could have a shot at the playoffs. Although even with a large budget, looking at the FA options, isn't inspiring.

This has been discussed to death but I've just decided how I feel so... the conclusion I've come to is that Cito and his people have to get out of the club house -- he probably lost the team sometime around the 9 game losing streak and the players played like it. His 'pen management was often lousy and baffling. Millar's usage (as mentioned above) seemed almost spiteful. At times last season, I almost pined for Gibbons. I hope Cito gets a classy exit (a consultant role or roving instructor/scout - as he can obvious help some as was the case with Adam Lind) but an exit none the less.

All this without considering the supposed mutiny that happened at the end of the season. I hope Cito's not kept around because of Beeston but I fear that may be the case. I also fear options like Showalter. No fossils - it'd be nice to see a search for someone with a creative, fresh approach to managing (especially pen usage). Ditto for a hitting/bench coach.
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 04:33 PM EDT (#207620) #

Toronto has to upgrade its Catching positions, Shortstop position, Right Field and Closer, but that just may not be possible.   The thing to remember is, Teams will try to reduce salary (trade, waive, non-tender) by any means possible.  A smart GM can obtain some quality assets for a decent price.   This is a Baseball Team, not a rest home - young is better.

Catching:

Rod Barajas is: repeating 2009.   Michael Barret may never stay healthy enough for long enough.   JP Arrencibia (off-season kidney procedure), Brian Jeroloman (off-season hip operation), AJ Jimenez (Arizona Fall League - Phoenix), are the future.  Sean Ochinko and Yan Gomes are the next wave.   2010: not ready; 2011: may be ready; 2012: could be ready.   Toronto needs a Starting Catcher for 2-3 years.

Kyle Phillips and Raul Chavez are acceptable if going cheap as possible.   Victor Martinez is the A-List with corresponding costs.   Trading for Russell Martin or Brian McCann will cost top value.   There will be quality available for a decent price or decent value if you go somewhere between "cheap" and "pricey". 

Shortstop:

Marco Scutaro is getting to be too old, too injured, and much too costly to keep.   John McDonald is definitely too old and too limited to be of value. Jonathan Diaz .150 .299 .150 80 AB in AAA; Luis Sanchez .191 .268 .256 262 AB in AA; Tyler Pastornicky .270 .303 .317 63 AB in A+; Justin Jackson .213 .321 .269 249 AB in A+ are the future.   Ryan Goins and Gustavo Pierre are the next wave.   2010: not ready; 2011: not ready; 2012: might be ready.   Toronto needs a Starting Shortstop for 3-4 years.

Angel Sanchez is very acceptable if going cheap as possible.   There is not an A-List Shortstop available.  Trading for ????? with a team that has options could gain real value.   This is the toughest challenge AA will face.

Right Field:

Toronto traded..oops.. waived their right fielder.   Travis Snider or Adam Lind ARE NOT RIGHT FIELDERS.    Vernon Wells might be able to play Right if needed.   In the minors?????.   2010: not ready; 2011: may not be ready; 2012: might be ready.   Toronto needs a Starting Right Fielder for 2-3 years.  

Travis Snider is very, very scary and barely acceptable if going cheap as possible.   There is not an A-List Right Fielder available.    Any Free Agent signing must be judiciously made, waiting as long as possible if necessary.   There will be some quality available in trades.

Closer:

Scott Downs is losing his warranty on closing.   Jason Frasor may not be kept; is adequate when closing.   Brandon League may not have the mentallity for it.   Jeremy Accardo is not totally trusted.   In the minors, who closes , who starts.    2010, 2011, 2012: ?????.     Toronto should have a Top Closer.

Going Cheap: try anyone with the "stuff".   Otherwise, you guess is as good as mine.

Options:

1) Trade Halladay.     2) Trade Cecil and Romero or Rzepczinski and Richmond and Mills and Accardo (as needed).     3) Spend copious amounts of money.

 

 

Paul D - Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 05:53 PM EDT (#207621) #

 

I really don't think there's any reason a team like the Jays should spend money or talent on a closer.  Let Accardo and/or Frasor do it and don't worry about it unless it's mid July and you're within 3 games of a playoff spot.  Then debate whether or not trying to trade for Wagner is an upgrade over Accardo.

brent - Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 07:25 PM EDT (#207623) #

Interesting post at lookout landing about player turnover here.

Rios

Stairs

Rolen

Wilkerson

Eckstein

Zaun

Stewart

Mench

Thigpen

Diaz

Dellucci

Adams

 

 

Burnett

Ryan

Parrish

Benitez

Randy Wells

These are all the players since 2008 who are no longer with the organization. I'm not going to count the call ups and demoted players that are still in house. It should be interesting to look at this list again by opening day.

 

VBF - Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 07:47 PM EDT (#207624) #
This is from a Keith Law chat back in September. I think it might shed a little light on why some players get called up and others don't. Courtesy of DJF:

John (NY)

I may be missing some finer point of roster rules, but why not call up Ike Davis for a little? It seems logical to try to call up a guy on a hot streak, especially if you've been playing meaningless games for a long time already.

Keith Law

They'd have to clear a 40-man spot, carry Davis on the 40-man all winter (and next winter, if he hasn't earned the spot), pay him at least $50K next year even if he doesn't see a day in the majors, plus pay him $30-40K this year ... plus he's scheduled to go to the AFL, so they might want to give him the few weeks off. The only argument I could see for recalling him would be if they thought he might be their 1b next spring.


So in the case of Angel Sanchez, I'm not so sure if this really applies. Scutaro is a free agent (as is McDonald) so obviously there exists an outside possibility of him actually playing in the majors this year, but I thought this might shed a little light on the idea of calling up a player just to see what's there.

Gerry - Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 08:17 PM EDT (#207625) #

Jordan Bastian talked with Alex Anthopoulos today.  The story has a lot of suggestion but little detail.  For example:

I had my own thoughts and opinions beforehand, but having made these phone calls, and having talked to every single coach and every single player, my perspective for certain things has changed. For other things, it just reinforced what I thought.

And

Some of the things I found out that I didn't know have been eye-opening in a lot of ways. That can only help me do my job better, knowing the information that I've gotten.

TamRa - Wednesday, October 21 2009 @ 09:27 PM EDT (#207627) #
oooooo....fascinating.

And, reading into it what I want to see - promising.

Having listened to the Viner interview, again I'll read into it what I want to hear-

The claim is, if AA comes to them with a plan (he spoke of looking at things in three year cycles) in which he needs to spend "x" in order to put a winning product on the field to an extent that it will drive enough revenues for the team to be profitable that they would sign the checks.

the question in my mind then becomes, does AA think the available talent is out there to do that

(the key of course being to do well enough to convince Doc to stay)

I would say the answer to that is yes. Even though it's not the deepest FA/trade market, there are enough options to fill out this team and put it in a position to contend. Obviously you can never be sure because, for instance, who could have predicted what happened with Wells and Rios this year?
But laying aside freakish events like that,  would argue you can make this a team capeable of winning 90+ games on a payroll of around $110 million. without much problem.
 

Mylegacy - Thursday, October 22 2009 @ 01:57 AM EDT (#207628) #
Our OF defense will be reduced IF we keep the bats on the field. Lind (LF), Wells (CF) and Snider (RF) are just barely adequate at best. That will have to do. We NEED those bats. To replace any of those with Batista - or any other poor bat good fielder - is a mistake. Our ONLY chance is pitching and hitting - and hope the defense holds.

I can still NOT SEE any alternative to Scoots. I'm not sure that Scoots and his heel are a replacement for the 09 Scoots with a working heel. SS - may well be a black hole in 2010 - unless we get LUCKY there. Or give up some serious talent for a real, ready for prime time SS.

Overbay MUST be platooned with Ruiz or Dopriak - end of discussion. This again will weaken our defense - BUT we must have EVERY ounce of offense we can steal or find.

I see no catcher - who might be available - who would be a serious improvement on Barajas. Do you? Could we trade for one? Could we trade for a catcher and a SS?

Will Adam Loewen be the surprise I think he just might be?

IT MATTERS - because if we keep Roy - we HAVE the pitching to contend - I am POSITIVE of that. One of Marcum or McGowan will be in the mix with the young Romero's, Cecil's, Mill's and Reflexski's - not to mention Tallet and Richmond available for long relief in the pen with a dozen or so other little beasties.

I think AA can reload for 2010 by doing - NEXT TO NOTHING - other than resigning SS & C. Unless the word on Scoots' foot is terminal.  I see Lind and Hill at 2009 levels, Snider and Ruiz as being BIG IMPROVEMENTS and Wells as being at least a bit better. That is five of nine positions being competitive with any team in our division. Add the best group of 20 odd pitchers in the league and - contender.

Are you sure it's not April yet?

China fan - Thursday, October 22 2009 @ 04:08 AM EDT (#207629) #
Some people seem to be expecting a "payroll announcement" from AA and the Jays in the near future.   I'm not sure why they are expecting this.  Have the Jays, in recent years, ever given a clear announcement of their payroll?  Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe these numbers are very fluid, subject to a lot of change, and never really announced publicly (except post-facto at the end of the season when the salary numbers can be added up).  The payroll budget, I presume, has lots of flexibility in it, so that the Jays can spend more money in some scenarios and less money in others. If Halladay signals that he is willing to stay with the Jays, the owners might be able to find the money.  If he leaves, the payroll figure is very different.   If a specific free agent is available, and AA can convince the owners that the player would make a big difference to the team's chances, the owners might bump the payroll.  If Scutaro decides that he would accept a one-year deal, the payroll could be adjusted.  If Wells can be dumped or his salary renegotiated in some way (faint hope), the payroll gets a big adjustment.  Etc, etc.   Moreover, management doesn't want the media criticism and public second-guessing that will occur if a payroll figure is announced before the season begins.  They have no obligation to reveal those numbers, except in a very vague and ambiguous way.  So I think we shouldn't be sitting around waiting for clarity on the payroll. 
China fan - Thursday, October 22 2009 @ 04:11 AM EDT (#207630) #
Also not sure why people are worried that Scutaro's injury could be "terminal."   Wasn't it described as "day-to-day" in September?  I believe Cito made it pretty clear that Scutaro could have played in September if the games had been meaningful.   Now, if someone wants to argue that the injury might reduce his speed or agility in the future, that's a different argument. 
brent - Thursday, October 22 2009 @ 06:23 AM EDT (#207631) #

From mlbtraderumors free agent catchers

Catchers
Eliezer Alfonzo (31)
Brad Ausmus (41)
Paul Bako (38)
Rod Barajas (34) - Type B
Josh Bard (32)
Michael Barrett (33) - club option
Henry Blanco (38)
Ramon Castro (34)
Sal Fasano (38)
Toby Hall (34)
Michel Hernandez (31)
Ramon Hernandez (34) - $8.5MM club option with a $1MM buyout - Type B
Jason Kendall (36) - Type B
Jason LaRue (36)
Victor Martinez (31) - $7.7MM club option with a $250K buyout - Type A
Bengie Molina (35) - Type A
Jose Molina (35)
Miguel Olivo (31) - $3.25MM mutual option - Type B
Mike Redmond (39)
Ivan Rodriguez (38) - Type B
Brian Schneider (33)
Yorvit Torrealba (31) - $4MM mutual option with a $500K buyout - Type B
Javier Valentin (34)
Jason Varitek (38) - $5MM club/$3MM player option plus incentives - Type B
Vance Wilson (37)
Gregg Zaun (39) - $2MM club option with a $500K buyout; Zaun can void option

That is a lot of old catcher there on the market. Does anyone know Chavez' status definitely? I think they should exercise Barrett's option and see who will fall into their laps. Schneider might need a change of scenery to resurrect his career.

Richard S.S. - Thursday, October 22 2009 @ 07:56 AM EDT (#207632) #

If you need to listen: http://www.fan590.com/media.jsp?content=20091021_173033_5392

Tony Viner, President and Ceo of Rogers, speaking on Primetime Sports, had several interesting points.   This seemed the most significant one.   "If you can come up with a plan (paraphrasing, If Beeston and AA can come up with a plan) that will make this team as good as it possibly can be next year, we will support you.    (Anthopoulos and Beeston have been told).

This does not sound like there are any limits to future payroll, if Anthopoulos and Beeston can come with a plan that makes sense.   And that shouldn't be to hard to do well.   However this team goes, it won't go Cheap.

christaylor - Thursday, October 22 2009 @ 10:07 AM EDT (#207633) #
I think part of people waiting for an announcement is that AA has himself discussed how he will be go about running things will be very different depending on the resources available.

Even without an announcement, Jays fans will have a very good idea of what to expect on payroll by the winter meetings / beginning of the year. In extreme case, if V-Mart and Bay are signed, that's a big signal, if Halladay is traded and cheap SS / C options are signed, that's another big indication.

Payroll may be fluid, but fans will have a good idea of the numbers (as they did last year when nothing was done) well before pitchers and catchers report.
Mike Green - Thursday, October 22 2009 @ 10:41 AM EDT (#207634) #
We're coming off a season when ownership cut payroll prior to the year, the team started off 27-14, and yet ownership refused to signal any partial reinstatement of payroll.  If payroll is fluid, the evidence suggests that the fluidity is associated with ongoing bums in seats rather than performance on the field. 
Mike Green - Thursday, October 22 2009 @ 10:56 AM EDT (#207635) #
Incidentally, voting for Tango's 2009 Scouting Report remains open until the end of the World Series.  Teaser: fans see a lot of similarity between Vernon Wells' current defensive abilities and Travis Snider's. 
christaylor - Thursday, October 22 2009 @ 02:50 PM EDT (#207636) #
As Mccown has noted (I'm not sure if he's a trusted source, but he does seem plugged into the business of sport) that prior to the 9-game losing streak that seemed to deflate the team, the TV numbers were climbing to a point where they hadn't been seen in years. One would think Rogers would care about this at least as much as where attendance was at (April/May attendance for the Jays always seems spotty).

Not sure where I'm going with this comment, but I think Rogers just blindly stuck to the plan that 2009 would not be a competitive year, even though the signs were pointing to a good season on the field. In a way, I'm not surprised with that as large corporate ownership isn't exactly nimble in its decisions.
christaylor - Thursday, October 22 2009 @ 02:55 PM EDT (#207637) #
That must be a case of hitting performance (or prospect status) influencing fielding performance. If I recall the 2008 scouting report Wells didn't fare too poorly, not much changed between 08 and 09.

Even with his poor performance at the plate I'm convinced Snider will hit, but I'm sure he'll have to move down the defensive spectrum to LF or 1B. Personally, I think Lind might be a better fielder in left.

Wells has a better arm and takes better routes to the ball, he just plays CF like a player who has lost the speed he once had because of hamstring injuries.
Mike Green - Thursday, October 22 2009 @ 03:01 PM EDT (#207638) #
I don't agree that Wells has a better arm than Snider, but I do agree with the rest.  Wells would be a perfectly adequate corner OF for a few years.  Snider would be best moved to DH. 
Richard S.S. - Thursday, October 22 2009 @ 03:37 PM EDT (#207639) #
Victor Martinez (complements of Cot's Baseball Contracts):
  • 05:$0.5M, 06:$0.8M, 07:$3M, 08:$4.25M, 09:$5.7M, 10:$7M club option ($0.25M buyout)
  • if traded, 2009 salary increases to $6.2M and 2010 club option increases to $7.5M
  • 2010 option may increase up to $1M ($0.1M each for Gold Glove or All Star selection, $0.5M for MVP ($0.25M for 2nd place in vote, $0.1M for 3rd-5th)
  • award bonuses: $50,000 each for Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, LCS MVP; $0.1M for All Star start ($50,000 for All Star selection); $0.1M for WS MVP; $0.2M for MVP ($0.15M for 2nd or 3rd in vote, $75,000 for 4th or 5th).       This seems like a good deal for Boston for an A-List Catcher.

     

    Jason Bay is a Left Fielder, as is Adam Lind and Travis Snider, and a defensive liability, as is Lind and Snider.  So please tell who's Right Field, who's Left Field and who's D.H.?   Of course, who's the best available (defensive and offensive) Right Fielder (free agent or not) on the market?   The sad thing is we might have to trade Roy just to get the best back.
    jerjapan - Thursday, October 22 2009 @ 04:15 PM EDT (#207640) #

    for instance, who could have predicted what happened with Wells and Rios this year?

    Well, you certainly couldn't predict that it would happen to BOTH of them, but given that Wells was actually worse in 2007 than in 2009, predicting a down year for him doesn't seem too far-fetched.  With two of his last three years in the 'abysmal' category, and with him on the wrong side of 30,  I'm not as optimistic he'll bounce back as some are.   

    I could still imagine this team, with a payroll increase, being competetive though, but it would need creativity.  Signing Jason Bay, for example, would be exactly the wrong move in my mind, (unless the team can move it's pleothora of LF / 1B / DH types for something, which is unlikely unless you are swapping Lind at peak).  Overbay for Snyder, as you suggested earlier Will, would be a good move in that direction.  Can't imagine a scenario in which V-Mart or Figgins would ever consider this team - what's the draw for the player - a fragmented clubhouse, a manager who seems past his time, a rookie GM and a history of mediocrity?  Wildly overpaying as with Thomas and Ryan isn't the way to go.   If there's extra money, I'd sooner it go to Doc.

    Creative trades / under the radar signings /  international free agents and luck seem to be the best route towards contending next year.  If AA can implement a plan for contention without compromising his long-term vision, fantastic.  Hearing the Jays GM talk about building a model organization and spending on scouting is the best development I've heard from the team since the early hot streak. 

     

    Alex Obal - Thursday, October 22 2009 @ 04:18 PM EDT (#207641) #
    That must be a case of hitting performance (or prospect status) influencing fielding performance. If I recall the 2008 scouting report Wells didn't fare too poorly, not much changed between 08 and 09.


    Mike Green - Thursday, October 22 2009 @ 04:41 PM EDT (#207642) #
    Nice, Alex.  But there were a lot of good choices.
    Matthew E - Thursday, October 22 2009 @ 04:45 PM EDT (#207643) #

    If the Jays want to be competitive in '10, by which I mean "bend heaven and earth to win a World Series in the one year left before Halladay leaves," then they're going to have to sublimate all other priorities to this one goal. By which I mean empty out the farm system and double the payroll. So:

    - keep Halladay

    - sign every worthwhile free agent there is. Scutaro, Figgins, anybody who can get on base, some kind of useful catcher, some kind of veteran starter, some kind of lights-out closer. If they aren't available on the free-agent market, trade prospects for them.

    - stick Wells in right field and hope his bat comes back at least a little

    - trade for Kemp from LA to be the new centerfielder. Yes, I know he wouldn't come cheap; he's the player we need. Give up just about anyone to get him. Snider and Stewart? Done.

    - if it's possible in any way to upgrade Overbay, do it.

    Of course, it might not work. You could end up with a team that wins 98 games but gets bounced out of the playoffs in the first round. Happens. After all, it's a lot easier for an AL team to make the playoffs than it is for a playoff team to win the World Series (odds of 4/14 as opposed to 1/8). And then the organization will probably be in sorry shape for years to come after that. But if next year is to be the year, that's the way it's going to have to be.

    Mike Green - Thursday, October 22 2009 @ 04:54 PM EDT (#207644) #
    It would have been a lot cheaper to go for it in May, 2009.  Switch Rios and Wells.  Spend money/trade prospect for a LF/DH, an innings-eating starter, a backup infielder and perhaps a reliever.  Plus you had a 27-14 head-start.
    Mylegacy - Thursday, October 22 2009 @ 05:44 PM EDT (#207645) #
    You know things are getting bad if I'm going to be the voice of reason.

    Just for a second REMEMBER there are 29 other teams out there going after these free agents - then REMEMBER that this is a LOUSY year for free agents - then ----

    Lackey, is he worth 13 or 15 million? Is he THAT much better than Romero, Marcum, Rez*&^%ski, Mills, McGowan and Cecil? Really?

    Chone Fignut is he worth what he'll get? A corner guy that has 2nd baseman skills - BUT not 2nd baseman skills like OUR 2nd baseman has!

    Who the HECK is worth doublin' the payroll for? Who is worth tying our hands money wise for the next 3 to 5 years?

    Surely one 6' 1" 235 pound CF Albatross is ENOUGH - eh?

    Loewen will be the NEW Overbay after 2010 - possibly before 2011. Ruiz and or Dopriak have useful bats. At least one of Chavez, Sierra or Thames will blossom in 10 - COUNT ON IT!

    AA will NOT be sucessful by spending money for watered down drinks in a house of ill repute - AA may be best served by TINKERING for 2010. There is no "Massive Makeover" option out there - there are not the players out there to do it!

    WE NEED a QUALITY SS - a healthy Scutaro fits the bill - is he healthy? AA HAS TO KNOW before he throws money there. The alternative is a trade.

    The REAL alternative is either the above or trade Roy and blow it up. I say - give it one more frikin' year. We are closer than most of you think! Suck 'em up guys - suck 'em up!

    Ron - Thursday, October 22 2009 @ 06:51 PM EDT (#207646) #
    With the Dodgers eliminated from the playoffs, their fans are already calling for Ned Colletti to get Roy Halladay.

    The Dodgers are stacked with young established players on the current roster and in the minors. I have varying levels of interest in Russell Martin, Dee Gordon, Ethan Martin, Kyle Russell, James McDonald, Scott Elbert, Josh Lindblom, and Ivan DeJesus.

    Itís unlikely Halladay will use his no trade clause to block a trade to the Dodgers and the Jays would be trading him away to NL. A trade between the Jays and Dodgers makes too much sense so it probably wonít happen.

    Olerud363 - Thursday, October 22 2009 @ 07:03 PM EDT (#207647) #

    I think the hate on Travis Snider's defense is a little much.  Admittedly with a declining Wells in center the overall outfield defense is weak. 

    But no need to take it out on Travis.   Oakland won a division title with Matt Stairs in right one year.   Scored 950 runs gave up 800.   The goal is to maximize the difference between runs scored and runs allowed.  Frank Cat played some right field in 2003.   Teams need flexibity and when there is a culture of focusing on what Players CANT do it takes away flexibility.

     I think this was a major problem with Gaston and at the root of the constant negativity.  We did not see a Lind, Wells, Snider outfield with Ruiz at DH.   Even though it might of been better then Snider, Wells, Bautista, Lind at DH.   Gaston was focusing on his preconceptions of what a right fielder should be, rather then just putting the best team on the field.  

    christaylor - Thursday, October 22 2009 @ 07:08 PM EDT (#207648) #
    I didn't say I wanted those players signed and was just using them as examples of big signings that could be available. Insert Bedard/Harden if necessary.
    christaylor - Thursday, October 22 2009 @ 07:14 PM EDT (#207649) #
    Heh. That cat isn't quite out of the bag... has a couple of legs to go.
    TamRa - Thursday, October 22 2009 @ 08:28 PM EDT (#207650) #
    IF we deal Doc, the dodgers are my first choice - especially assuming he won't go to Texas.

    As for as the free agent/trade market and us spending a lot of money...we don't HAVE to spend insane amounts to contend.

    Consider - the pitching is not only fine, it's OVER deep (i.e. it's deep enough we can deal from depth to address other areas. If we want to, spend a little mad money on a buy-low guy (say Escobar, for instance) in the way that Boston did with Penny and Smoltz last year,  that only increases the depth but it's not a priority and shouldn't absorb much cash.

    Wells Hill, Snider, and Lind WILL be in the lineup. we need to add a SS and a C that we can't do internally (unless Scutaro accepts arb - which I think is likely - or signs a team-friendly deal)

    That means we have to decide what we are going to do with EE and Overbay and figure out how the DH position is filled.

    Here's an example of one way to do the thing:

    1. Scuatro accepts arb - put him down for about $5 mil at most
    1.a. Go hard after Hardy if Scutaro does go elsewhere. Cost is similar
    2. Trade Overbay to Mets for minor prospect (they are said to understand they need a good glove over there and he's cheaper and more healthy than Johnson) - save $7 mil
    3. Trade for Shoppach, or sign him if they mess up and non-tender him (as Wilner thinks they will). If he's at all a non-tender candidate, you can probably get him for Purcey (for instance)
    3.a Swing a deal for Snyder if you don't get Shoppach - recognizing they should let him go cheap because he's over-market in terms of pay. Maybe you flip the guy you got for Overbay, myabe Purcey gets it done here too, something like that.

    At this point you have

    C - Snyder - $4.75M - or Shoppoach - $3M?
    1B - Lind - under $500K
    2B - Hill - $4M
    SS - Scutaro/Hardy - approx. $5M
    3B - EE - $4.75M
    OF - Snider - under $500K
    OF - Wells - $21M
    OF -
    DH -

    the Pitching staff (assuming do cost-saving deals) comes to about $29 million or a bit less.

    A good bench could easily be put to gether for $5M, even if you invest in keeping Bautista.

    that's about $75 million in all. Let's say we sign Matsui to 1 yr and an option ant $10M per.

    So, there's a team that still needs one outfielder, and potentially - depending on who's the SS - a leadoff hitter (actually, I'd prefer Scutaro hitting second even if he is the SS) - and what you spend on that largely determines your budget but being generous, you're under $100 million (plus Ryan money to make it $110)

    Unless you try to sign Damon, a solid lead-off hitting outfielder will be a problem in free agency - you have to either take a chance on a rebound from Coco Crisp or hope Randy Winn or Scott Podsenick is a sufficent band-aid.

    In any case, that job won't be easy to fill. the options are limited, and they amount to guys likes CarGo or kemp who might not even be available.

    The one solution to that is - Chone Figgins.

    Is Figgins a popular target? Oh yes. Does that mean we might have to overpay? Yeah. But he brings things we need. lead off skills, versitility (which is to say, should 3B or 2B require his services, we can adjust and likely find another Left Fielder easier than we could find another infielder if we had to do it on the fly) and average or better defense wherever he plays. If we have to pay him 10 or 12 million or, alternately, sign him for a third year others wouldn't go or...whatever.

    The point is, everythng else here is perectly reasonable, economical, and has no long range negative impact on the team (unless you trade something really good for Cecil) and all that gets you one player away - so overpay for that one player if it's the key to winning enough to keep Doc happy.

    Then line it up like this:

    1. Figgins - LF
    2. Scutaro - SS
    3. Lind - 1B
    4. Hill - 2B
    5. Snider - RF
    6. Wells - CF
    7. Matsui - DH
    8. Encarnacion - 3B
    9. Snyder/Shoppach - C

    If that team plays up to it's on-paper potential, with our pitching, that's an above average team and it can be done without throwing too much money at Jason Bay or some such.

    Just for one possible scenario.



    Alex Obal - Thursday, October 22 2009 @ 08:41 PM EDT (#207651) #
    That would be an entertaining team. I'd stick Encarnacion or Matsui in left, the other at DH, and Figgins at third. And if Shoppach is my catcher, I want a lefty contact-hitter type, kind of like Frank Catalanotto, to bat for him in high-leverage spots against power righties with hard breaking balls. (But I'll happily settle for the increased payroll...)
    VBF - Thursday, October 22 2009 @ 09:05 PM EDT (#207652) #
    I've got a question about UZR and Marco Scutaro. I'm on Fangraphs here and it shows that Scutaro's UZR/150 at shortstop in 2009 was 0.1, which as I understand it means that at 150 games at shortstop, he would save 0.1 runs.

    Then it shows that last year (2008), his UZR/150 at shortstop was 20.3, so in 150 games at shortstop, he would save 20.3 runs.

    But, isn't the general consensus from the fans that Scutaro's defense improved remarkably this year? That's the impression I've been getting. I also specifically recall being very frustrated with Scutaro's defense last year, but this indicates he was actually quite good and got worse.

    And then I read this which noted that Scutaro's UZR (I understand they were referencing plain old UZR and not UZR/150) after 115 games this year was 7.6, which is also quite good. By the end of the season, it was 0.3.

    So assuming this data is accurate, I (not a sabremetrician by any means) think it says:

    -That Scutaro was above average last year, declined a lot and was just slightly above average by the end of 2009.
    -That Scutaro 115 games into 2009 was just as good as he was last year and got really bad in the span of a month.

    His defensive decline is sort of around the same timespan as Rolen departing. Could that be related?

    I might have interpreted all that data incorrectly, and I also understand that defensive statistics are better but not foolproof. But this sort of suggests that I was completely wrong in estimating Scutaro's defense by my eye, at the very least. Any thoughts?

    Mylegacy - Thursday, October 22 2009 @ 09:14 PM EDT (#207653) #
    VBF - you and I have two feet...Scoots has had 1 and a half in the second half of the season until the half broke as well.


    Ron - Thursday, October 22 2009 @ 10:25 PM EDT (#207654) #
    From Keith Law's Chat today:

    What was Steve Phillips thinking? Almost trading a 19 year old David Wright for Jose Cruz Jr.? Ridiculous.

    I've been asked about that trade rumor for three years but never answered while Ricciardi was still GM. The offer was made, though; I was there when the call came in. It was the first time I'd heard of Wright, since I wasn't with Toronto in 2001 nor had I followed the draft when Wright was in it. JP's reaction was, "I'm not trading a major league player for some guy in the Sally League." And that was pretty much that. We had a chance to trade Cruz after that for Rafael Soriano, but JP refused to do it unless Seattle included Clint Nageotte, who, at the time, was a pretty hot prospect. It's weird; I can't remember some things that happened last week but I remember those conversations (over seven years ago now) like they just took place.?

    Ouch!

    Mylegacy - Thursday, October 22 2009 @ 11:17 PM EDT (#207655) #
    Double ouch!

    I feel like going back through all of KLaw's chats over the years and seeing what other questions he didn't answer while JP was still alive...er...the GM.

    brent - Friday, October 23 2009 @ 12:49 AM EDT (#207656) #
    VBF, you need 3 years of data for UZR to be more accurate.
    TamRa - Friday, October 23 2009 @ 02:38 AM EDT (#207657) #
    His defensive decline is sort of around the same timespan as Rolen departing. Could that be related?

    Just a guess, combination of things:

    1. Rolen departs
    2. Not used to playing every day and wore down some
    3. Heel injury (do we really know how far back that goes?)
    4. sample size

    Richard S.S. - Friday, October 23 2009 @ 02:40 AM EDT (#207658) #

    WE NEED a QUALITY SS - a healthy Scutaro fits the bill - is he healthy?

    HANLEY RAMIREZ ia a QUALITY SHORTSTOP.   Anyone else is something less.   How deep you want to crawl into the abyss is up to you, but could we go young?

    We have enough assets to trade for One Big PIece, long time need.   There should be enough money to sign Another Big Piece, long time need.  The other 23, we already have them.    AA's Plan plus two Class additions will bring fans back if this team's exciting again.

    Who wants Roy Halladay?  Dodgers, Angels, Mets, Red Sox to name a few.   This could be a block-buster off-season for us - just need to be bold and take advantage of the opportunities.

    James W - Friday, October 23 2009 @ 08:41 AM EDT (#207659) #
    Richard S.S., I think you're overstating things a bit.  If Hanley is the only quality shortstop, you're saying that Derek Jeter is not?  That either Jimmy Rollins (good history, struggled this year) or Jason Bartlett (poor history, but hit very well this year (fluke?)) are not quality shortstops?  Rafael Furcal?  Erick Aybar?  Troy Tulowitzki?  If that's the case, then the Jays only had one quality player, and he only takes the mound once every 5 days.
    Richard S.S. - Saturday, October 24 2009 @ 06:02 AM EDT (#207676) #

    HANLEY RAMIREZ ia a QUALITY SHORTSTOP.   Anyone else is something less.        James W - Friday, October 23 2009 @ 08:41 AM EDT (#207659) #

    Derek Jeter is not better than Hanley and has never been that good.     Anyone else is something less.    Rollins,Bartlett, Furcal, etc. are not as good and never will be.    Anyone else is something less.    There is QUALITY, and Quality and quality.    Anyone else is something less.  

    Matthew E - Saturday, October 24 2009 @ 12:11 PM EDT (#207677) #
    I do like the idea of getting someone who's actually really good, as opposed to someone who'll be adequate. The Jays have overcommitted to the adequate, and I hope that Anthopoulos will be more interested in pursuing the excellent.
    Richard S.S. - Saturday, October 24 2009 @ 01:15 PM EDT (#207679) #

    Time for: How About:

    Trading Roy Halladay to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Russell Martin, Andre Ethier and Chad Billingsley.

    TamRa - Saturday, October 24 2009 @ 03:54 PM EDT (#207681) #
    I don't think the Dodgers would do that but I'd take it.

    I'd take it if we needed to include Downs and a pretty good prospect in the bargain.

    But I still don't think they'd do it (I'd love to be wrong!)

    For the record - getting Kemp is a better idea than Either, although if Either can play a reasonable CF then that would mitigate it some.

    but I assume if it was Kemp the deal would be that much more unrealistic.


    James W - Saturday, October 24 2009 @ 04:19 PM EDT (#207684) #

    Yes, Hanley Ramirez is the best shortstop in baseball.  To say that nobody else is a quality shortstop is hooey and apple sauce.

    Capitalizing different letters really doesn't change the meaning of words, it's really just shouting on the internet.  Saying someone's a quality shortstop really LOUDLY doesn't mean as much.  Say he's outstanding, say he's the best, that's fine.  Don't babble, then tear apart arguments because yours is indecipherable.

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