Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
As reported in earlier threads, it's been a busy day for the Jays organization. General manager Alex Anthopoulos has signed five players today: catcher John Buck (Kansas City), outfielder Joey Gathright (Boston/Chicago NL), as well as three players that suited up for the Jays in '09 in catcher Raul Chavez, IF/OF Jose Bautista and the injured right-hander Dustin McGowan.

McGowan is a great low-risk, high-ish reward signing. Unlike former GM J.P. Ricciardi's decision with Chris Carpenter, the Jays will spend some money ($500,000, plus medical bills) in the hopes that the former supplemental-first-round pick can contribute at some point in 2010.

Bautista proved himself to be a capable utility player in '09 and he received a modest raise to $2.4 million for 2010. Bautista does not hit for a high average (.235, in part due to chronically-low BABIPs) but he gets on base (14.3 BB%) and he has some pop (.173 ISO). He will provide solid back-up in the outfield (8.4 UZR/150), as well as at third base (6.6 UZR/150). According to WAR, Bautista provided $8.4 million in value in '09, so his contract looks reasonable.

Gathright is another low-risk signing, as he inked a minor-league deal. He spent the majority of last season in three organizations. The 28-year-old outfielder appeared in 37 big-league games in '09 and had just 32 plate appearances. As a left-handed hitter, he's actually done equally as "well" against both right-handers (.631 OPS) and left-handers (.626). He's of value simply for his speed (He has a career ground-ball rate of a crazy 68.4%), and his defense (career UZR/150s of 17.8 in LF, 8.5 in CF, and 13.6 in RF).

Now on to the catching situation. Chavez was a godsend last year, after Michael Barrett was lost to injury. The 36-year-old Chavez appeared in 51 games (the second most of his big-league career) and hit .258/.285/.346. He's another solid defensive player, who calls a good game and provides solid leadership.

Buck, 29, was a smart signing on a one-year deal. He doesn't hit for average (.235 career) or walk (6.5 BB%) but he has some pop (.237 ISO). Contact is also an issue for Buck, who had a contact rate of 69% in '09 (80.5% is league-average). If you toss in his defensive contributions, though, he provided $4.2 million in value last year, according to WAR, so his $2.0 million contract should be reasonable (and he was one of the best catching options on the free market). Most importantly, Buck provides another year for top catching prospect J.P. Arencibia to develop (and could actually represent a worst-case scenario for Arencibia's future MLB ceiling).

Another Buck in Toronto | 64 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mylegacy - Sunday, December 13 2009 @ 06:28 PM EST (#209456) #
Buck-ing the trend, I'd rather we paid for Barajas and Chavez. 2010 is mostly about getting at least two of Rzepski, Romero and Cecil to the next level - these two catchers know them and IM(H)O are our best bet to see these three pitchers progress.
Forkball - Sunday, December 13 2009 @ 06:53 PM EST (#209458) #
Well, I assume the biggest reason Barajas isn't around is because he brought a draft pick in return if he ends up somewhere else.  I don't know Barajas to have the Brad Ausmus aura of pitching calling and leadership so I don't think there's a big difference between keeping him and signing another reasonable catching option (although was Buck considered to be poor blocking balls, etc, in KC?).

The biggest thing to like here is that it's a one year deal for relatively minimal money, unlike other bad teams who have signed old, below average catchers to two year deals for a little more than this per year (something I could picture JP doing).  And Chavez is still an option as well, but on a minor league deal.  If the opportunity to get a viable starter comes along in a trade then it's not a big deal to have Buck as the backup.

The player is underwhelming, but a sign that the team is sticking to AA's plan of focusing down the road and not the short term which I take as a positive.

christaylor - Sunday, December 13 2009 @ 07:08 PM EST (#209459) #
Buck has a nice upside, Barajas doesn't really as he is what he is (which fine). I've gone from unimpressed with AA on waking up today being quite impressed...his hot-stove season will succeed or fail on his handling of the Halladay situation but it is hard to say anything else he's done has been handled incorrectly. Sure McDonald got a "home town-premium" but he's in a long tradition of "good soldiers" in baseball.

Alex Obal - Sunday, December 13 2009 @ 07:40 PM EST (#209460) #
Does anyone have a sense of what Royals fans thought of Buck's defense?

Here's one statistical look at the catcher position in 2009.

TimberLee - Sunday, December 13 2009 @ 08:46 PM EST (#209463) #
Not only is there another Buck in town, I'm pretty sure that the former catcher and new play-by-play man is John (Buck) Martinez.  Coincidence?
Denoit - Sunday, December 13 2009 @ 09:22 PM EST (#209464) #

16% Caught stealing percent scares me a little. I'm not sure how good the Kansas City pitching staff was at holding runners but you would like to see it a little higher than that.

brent - Sunday, December 13 2009 @ 09:39 PM EST (#209466) #

Fangraphs now has wRC+

It's like wOBA but park and league adjusted. I suggest getting used to it quickly.

TamRa - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 12:31 AM EST (#209470) #
I don't give a rip about caught-stealing precentages. It's a marginal skill.

Over the course of a year, the number of games decided by runs scored by runners not caught stealing are very few. if you are on the fringes of contention maybe you worry - a little - about those marginal 2 or 3 wins but there's no reason we should.
What he does in other defensive aspects of the game - particularly as they relate to bringing along young pitchers - is much more important to me

(not that I wanted RB back at all)

Jdog - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 01:46 AM EST (#209471) #
Just and FYI from baseball america's transaction page

Russ Adams signs with the Mets
Angel Sanchez with Boston
Gustavo Chacin with Astros

All minor league deals of course.

brent - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 02:46 AM EST (#209472) #

Today, I wanted to look at who was caught with their pants down to the greatest degree when the economy took a hit. I would have to think that JP was the one that was most hurt. I have to say that Kenny Williams sure helped out the Jays with that waiver claim.

Let's go back to Opening Day 2009 for the Jays. The Jays had 80+ million committed for 2009-10. They still had 37+ committed through 2014. That would be second in all of MLB only to the Yankees (A-Rod, Texeira, CC).  The Yankees were hurt because of their quick signings of Tex and CC early in the offseason. At least they were a team moving into a new stadium and were playing to go for it. They have a payroll 2.5 times larger, and they want to win with their current core of Rivera, Jeter and Posada.

Thankfully, JP swallowed his pride and let KW take Rios and saved some money dealing high on Rolen making the team's 2010 outlook like this. They only really have Wells' contract to suffer through as everyone knows.

The Jays have come down now to another team suffering a bad contract or two (Bradley and Soriano)- the Cubs.  The Tigers also look similar, but perhaps have a better player in Cabrera eating up salary in the future. The White Sox are included because they are on the hook for 60 million dollars to Rios. Last, everyone knows about the Zito contract in SF, but who knows how well he will age.

I would rank the teams in order of most damage:

1. Blue Jays

2. Cubs

3. Giants

4. White Sox

5. Tigers

6. Yankees

At least I think a lot of the GMs now understand the benefit of having some payroll flexibility.


scottt - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 07:10 AM EST (#209473) #
I don't give a rip about caught-stealing precentages. It's a marginal skill.

It's an intimidation skill. If you're percentage is low, runners will go more often.

It can be tough on young pitchers  if every mistake puts a guy in running position.
We'll see.

I can't wait to see who's going to be a the top of the Jay's order. Wells?

rtcaino - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 08:22 AM EST (#209474) #
Well I think the problem is two fold.

Firstly, it is often used as a defensive catch-all stat for catchers, when it really only measures a narrow aspect of the position.

Also, it is significantly influenced by the pitching staff.

I don't believe anyone would say that holding runners is completely unimportant. Only that the stat is often used as if it was a more complete measure of a catchers defensive ability than it is.
Mike Green - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 08:56 AM EST (#209478) #
A number of analysts have persuasively argued that the two key elements of catcher defence are opposition stole base efficiency (adjusted for pitching staff) and WP+PB/9 innings.   Tango has done deltas for catchers (rates for a particular catcher compared with other catchers catching the same pitchers); it seems to me to be an excellent tool. 
Mike Green - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 09:08 AM EST (#209479) #
Rally has now updated his WAR calculations for 2009.  Here's John Buck's card.
Mike Green - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 10:16 AM EST (#209481) #
Rally uses Total Zone to measure defence. John McDonald came up above average in 2009 by this measure making him an above replacement-level player.  Vernon Wells, who did very well according to Total Zone in 2006 and 2007, was below average in 2008 and terrible in 2009.  I believe that there is a statistical consensus regarding Wells' defence in centerfield, as it now is. 
jgadfly - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 11:31 AM EST (#209482) #
Wouldn't Wells' area of coverage be influenced by Rios' presence in right field ?  Wells could have caught up to balls hit into right -centre, perhaps with a stretch, but Rios was already there. With Snider in right I suspect Wells' will be making more plays and his defensive numbers should improve.
Mike Green - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 11:53 AM EST (#209483) #
Rios was, according to TZ, -25 in 2009.  UZR had him at -6.  I certainly don't agree that the -25 represents what Rios actually did, but Wells' poor evaluations by all measures does not seem likely to result from Rios' stealing balls from him.  Subjectively, Wells' major problems were going backwards and forwards rather than side-to-side.  Also, Jay leftfielders weren't exactly ball hogs out there.
Mike Green - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 01:33 PM EST (#209489) #
Aaron Gleeman brings to my attention that Gabe Gross, as well as Langerhans, was non-tendered.  If Snider is going to start the season in triple A, Gross would make a nice platoon partner for Bautista.
Richard S.S. - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 01:51 PM EST (#209490) #
I only have one (1) question with the John Buck signing.   Is he our Starting Catcher, our Backup Catcher or our 50-50 Catcher?   Even his price, as a backup, is reasonable, because he's an decent upgrade at that position.
Mick Doherty - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 02:02 PM EST (#209492) #
Well, he could stay in the Tampa area ... the Buccaneers apparently are desperate for help at QB, so the old Auburn (?) signal-caller could switch sports ... 
rpriske - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 02:03 PM EST (#209493) #
It looks like the Jays could get screwed again. Rosenthal is saying that the Red Sox are close to signing Lackey, which will knock the compensation pick for Scutaro down a round.
Denoit - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 02:05 PM EST (#209494) #
I would presume, and this is just my opinion that Buck will be the starting catcher unless AA can pull of a trade he has been working on. I would think he is still looking for an upgrade if one is available, this move just assures that they have a guy who can handle the job if nothing can be worked out.
greenfrog - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 02:06 PM EST (#209495) #
Boston may be close to signing Lackey for AJ Burnett-type money, according to Ken Rosenthal. This looks like a good move for the Red Sox. They're already losing a first-round pick in exchange for acquiring Scutaro, so they can add Lackey without losing another first-rounder (and without giving up any prized prospects). Plus, Lackey is a very good starter and will fit in nicely alongside Beckett, Lester and Buchholz.;-deal-close?

The question for Jays fans is, how will this affect the Halladay market? Will the Angels become more desperate for an ace (and offer more for Doc), or will they take a step back and try to rebuild from within? Will the Yankees feel the need to try to match Boston stud-for-stud by adding Halladay, even at the cost of Montero? The plot thickens...
greenfrog - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 02:15 PM EST (#209496) #
* it's kind of fun to imagine Boston's rotation if they also decided to deal, say, Kelly + a few prospects for Doc:

Buchholz (or Dice-K)

That would be a fabulously good rotation.
Mick Doherty - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 02:19 PM EST (#209497) #
Sir, and I speak on behalf of Yankee fans everywhere, you have a bizarre, maybe even criminal sense of "fun." Hrmf.
greenfrog - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 02:47 PM EST (#209498) #
Ha. Well, in my mind, the Jays are basically out of contention for at least three years. At this point, I just want the Jays to rebuild the organization properly. So, in the meantime, I figure I can appreciate excellence pretty much wherever it is found (except in the Bronx--I just can't get excited about a team with that much of a financial advantage. Not to mention the whole A-Rod "I got it" popup thing, the Posada elbowing thing, the excessive beanball thing, etc).
Mike Green - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 02:54 PM EST (#209499) #
Signing Lackey to an AJ-type contract would be an uncharacteristically dumb move by the Sox.  It's one thing for the Yankees to blow money, but the Sox cannot afford to run a $150 million payroll, let alone a $200 million one. Lackey is a good starter, but not a great one.  He would post an ERA of around 4.25-4.5 over 5 years in Boston, and throw maybe 170 innings per year. Spending $80 million for that is how you get into trouble.

Mike Forbes - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 03:05 PM EST (#209501) #
Seems as though Halladay is talking extension with the Phillies...

There's also mention of a Toronto/Philly/Seattle threeway deal with Lee heading to Seattle.
Brent S - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 03:06 PM EST (#209502) #

Another quick link for everyone: there is speculation that the Phillies are now directly negotiating with Halladay over a possible contract extension. The article also states that Cliff Lee might be traded for prospects in order to meet Toronto's demands.

Could a trade be closer than we think?

greenfrog - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 03:14 PM EST (#209503) #
I think it comes down to health. Until 2008, Lackey had reeled off five straight 198+ inning seasons. If he's healthy, he helps Boston. But I agree that he's an injury risk.

On a different note: apparently Doc and his agent have checked into a Philadelphia-area hotel and have been "actively talking" with the Phillies about a contract extension.
Brent S - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 03:16 PM EST (#209504) #
Now that I've been beaten to the punch, I'll ask a question to Da Box:

Given the choice of Michael Taylor or Dominic Brown, who would you choose?

greenfrog - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 03:20 PM EST (#209505) #
My impression from all the rumours and commentary has been that Brown is the better prospect (higher ceiling), although perhaps not by much.
Mike Green - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 03:43 PM EST (#209506) #
Brown.  He succeeded in the FSL at age 21, and he is a centerfielder.  Taylor is a good hitting prospect, but a corner outfielder.  He turns 24 in December, so neither his skills nor his time frame really matches the Jays' needs.  Taylor's 2008 in Clearwater was not significantly better than Brown's 2009 in Clearwater. 
Mike D - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 03:55 PM EST (#209507) #
Brown plus whatever Lee nets in a trade would be a pretty good haul, I think.  And I can live with him going to the NL.
Sanjay - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 04:02 PM EST (#209508) #

According to Jon Heyman it's done.

 "3-way trade agreed to with halladay going to phils, cliff lee to mariners. phils trying to lock up roy now."

Jdog - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 04:03 PM EST (#209509) #
Pretty sure Brown is a RF, but yes his defense is supposedly better. Based off the numbers, Brown looks to have the higher upside, so i would probably prefer him.  My only hesitation with Brown comes from watching him in spring training as a raw 19 year old with a long loopy swing who struck out every time i saw him. But judging from the numbers im sure his swing has progressed. He looked even taller than his reported 6'5.
Mike Forbes - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 04:06 PM EST (#209510) #
Gonna wager a guess on the Jays return...

JA Happ (Gross), Michael Saunders, Michael Taylor and Aumont

My hopeful return!

Kyle Drabek, Dom Brown, Michael Saunders and Brendan Morrow! Yeah... Right.
greenfrog - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 04:06 PM EST (#209511) #
For me, the trade will be a success if the Jays get one top-50-calibre prospect (someone like Brown, Montero or Kelly) and a couple of solid prospects. I think the 19-22 age group is the one to focus on. That way you have players just entering their prime when the team is back on the upswing. But I think AA needs to pry away at least one *great* prospect and not settle for the next best thing, despite the pressure to get a deal done.
Jdog - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 04:10 PM EST (#209512) #

My guess on the return is

Morrow, Taylor and Truinfel with the Jays sending cash to philly.

John Northey - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 04:11 PM EST (#209513) #
Now it is getting very interesting.  If Philly trades away Lee to get Halladay it seems a bit weird, as they'd be switching aces to lose the cheaper option.  I wonder if Lee indicated he isn't interested in resigning while Halladay is thus making it a good long term move for Philly?

Mixing in a 3rd team makes things even more interesting as the prospect potential becomes much wider. 

Via Hardball Times Top 10 prospects for 2010: Seattle Mariners
Top prospect: Michael Saunders - a LF entering age 23 season - 30/30 potential
2nd: Carlos Triunfel: a shortstop viewed as having a solid bat and just 19 in AA last year

Hmm - if we could get Triunfel that could be a nice shortstop situation.  A teenager in AA is always a good thing.
Sanjay - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 04:11 PM EST (#209514) #

Heyman now backing off his original comments:

"sorry, quick trigger finger. #mariners definitely the third team. checking now with cliff lee is the pltcher they get. "

Mike Green - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 04:15 PM EST (#209515) #
JDog, Brown was a centerfielder until this past year.  And, according to Total Zone, a pretty good one.  I don't know why the Phils moved him to right.
greenfrog - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 04:24 PM EST (#209517) #
JDog: that sounds like a good guess, although I would like to see the Jays receive more than that. Truinfel still has an awful lot to prove and Morrow walks way too many batters for me to get excited about him.
Helpmates - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 04:24 PM EST (#209518) #
For what it's worth:  Baseball America was supposed to unveil its top 10 list for the Jays today, but that apparently hasn't happened yet.  I'm just wondering if they're waiting for someone to pull the trigger on this supposed Halladay deal and then modify their list afterwards.
Mike Forbes - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 04:25 PM EST (#209519) #
I really like Tyson Gillies out of the Mariners system. A centerfielder in high A. Has nice stolen base numbers and looks to have added some pop, ramping up his SLG% 60 points this year. Could be a quality leadoff hitter...

Jdog - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 04:25 PM EST (#209520) #
Well I know everything that I have read projects him as a RF with good range and above average arm in the bigs.  From the looks of him he seems more suited to RF as he is a tall drink of water.....Im sure as time moves on he will be trading some of his speed for power.   You got to think AA really wanted a SS and may have found one in Truinfel. 
Gerry - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 04:27 PM EST (#209521) #
BA said their website had technical difficulties and the top ten was postponed until tomorrow.
rtcaino - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 04:32 PM EST (#209522) #
I would like to see the top ten before the deal.

And then compare that to the top ten following the june draft. (Or after we see who signs, as it were.)
jgadfly - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 04:36 PM EST (#209523) #
Why would they trade Lee when he's so cheap ? I could see Hammels or even Happ going to Seattle with perhaps Overbey . Anywhichway it's exciting to speculate ...
Blue in SK - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 04:40 PM EST (#209524) #
If AA eats some salay to get the right prospects, I will be impressed by him as well as ownership. That takes guts.
Jdog - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 04:40 PM EST (#209525) #
That would be something if Overbay was involved as about a blockbuster.. let me know the return already, this is killing me
Thomas - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 04:45 PM EST (#209526) #
Bowden is reporting the Jays are getting Aumont and Brown.
Chuck - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 04:45 PM EST (#209527) #

Why would they trade Lee when he's so cheap ?

Lee is due just $9M in 2010 (about $7M less than Halladay) but after that, Jon Heyman suggests that "Lee is expected to seek about $23 million a year". If there is truth to that, then the Phillies would probably rather sign Halladay to an extension than Lee, figuring that Halladay is the more likely to continue pitching at an ace level.

Gerry - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 04:52 PM EST (#209528) #

Last week Rosenthal reported that the Phillies had a meeting with Lee's agent and the meeting didn't go well.  On the other hand the Phillies thought they could lock up Halladay to a long term deal because Roy lives near Dunedin/Clearwater.

The Phillies look at their roster and believe they have a 2 or 3 year window to win with their core of Utley, Rollins, Hamels and Howard.  Lee would only be around for one of these seasons while Doc should be there for three years at least.

greenfrog - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 04:54 PM EST (#209529) #
I would be fine with Brown and Aumont (although I hope the Jays are getting one or two additional prospects). Assuming, of course, that this rumour has legs.
Thomas - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 05:00 PM EST (#209530) #
Bastian reported he just spoke with Lee's agent and that he has not been made aware of any deal. However, Lee does not have a no trade clause, so if the deal's all contingent on this extension than he presumably wouldn't have had to been made aware yet.

I agree with Gerry. While I'm sure Philly would have liked to keep both, I can see the logic in going from Lee to Halladay if Doc will sign an extension and Lee won't or demands terms Amaro thinks are unreasonable.
Jdog - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 05:00 PM EST (#209531) #
Brown and Aumont is OK, AA would only make that trade if he sees Aumont as a starter. I would assume they would have to get another mariner prospect as well. There's no way mariners get Lee simply for Aumont...and if they gave a prospect to Philly then Philly did extremely well for themselves
Noah - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 05:03 PM EST (#209532) #
Seems to me that this maybe deserves its own thread...  Arguably the greatest bluejays of all time being traded shouldn't be buried in a thread about John Buck.
Brent S - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 05:03 PM EST (#209533) #
There's also a report that it is Taylor and not Brown going to Toronto.

I'm going to hold judgment until all the details come out.

John Northey - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 05:05 PM EST (#209534) #
If it is Lee and Overbay to Seattle then a single prospect back might make sense if it is viewed that Overbay is overpaid.

Fun to speculate as it seems this is for real.  Halladay to Philly (woohoo, not a Yankee or Red Sox), Lee to Seattle, prospects to Toronto.

Thomas - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 05:07 PM EST (#209535) #
New thread is up to discuss tentative trade.
Mike Green - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 05:08 PM EST (#209536) #
There's also a report that it is Taylor and not Brown going to Toronto.
I'm going to hold judgment until all the details come out.

Sounds like a good idea.

Gerry - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 06:40 PM EST (#209568) #

The Phillies 2010 prospects were published by BA last month.

Here is the "Gerry" summary:

#1 Brown - Age 22, .802 OPS in 147 AA AB's.  Plus's - toolsy, 5 tool potential, good arm.  Minus's - raw, may not develop power, can chase pitches out of the zone. 

#3 Taylor - Age 23 (24 next week), .850 OPS in 110 AAA AB's.  Plus's - Few holes in swing, good power, above average in LF, good baserunner.  Minus's - needs to be more selective.  Conditioning an issue due to juvenile diabetes

#4 D'Arnaud - Age 20, 782. OPS in full season at Low A.  Plus's - developing power, good arm.  Minus's - footwork, lunges at breaking balls

Jdog - Monday, December 14 2009 @ 06:55 PM EST (#209573) #
Roy Halladay tweeted 30 minutes ago that the no deal is done yet.

Lets hope for another decent mariner prospect in the return. D'Arnaud doesn't look like much.
Another Buck in Toronto | 64 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.