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... the season Alex Rios is having in Chicago? Hitting third for the White Sox, he's batting .317 and currently on pace to finish with 36 home runs and 52 steals. The OPS is .951 while the K/BB ratio is a respectable 1.37. Them's MVP-caliber numbers, folks!

The only downside is the lack of RBI production -- his pace is for "just" 85, which is currently third on team, but he is leading the squad in runs scored.

I had no idea. Anyone out there, you know, care?

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westcoast dude - Monday, June 14 2010 @ 01:48 AM EDT (#216942) #

Some would say you can thank the boos of Blue Jays fans for waking Alex up from the Big Sleep, but I believe he just needed a change of scenery, a new batting coach, and the centre field stage.  Cano probably gets the nod for MVP this year, but Rios may give him a run for it. 

What goes around, comes around.  Brandon Morrow had issues with the Mariners, but he's becoming something special with the Blue Jays given Jose Molina's A.J. Burnett treatment--with Cito's blessing--and Bruce Walton's coaching.  There are other successful reclamations this season, but these two may be preeminent in the majors.  Give credit to the new GM and his crew, otherwise losing Rios might have left a bad taste.

92-93 - Monday, June 14 2010 @ 01:56 AM EDT (#216943) #

Let's not forget his absolutely incredible CF defense - any time I watch parts of a Sox game the guy is flying all over the gaps catching balls, and he's made more than one over the wall catch already this year.

When the Rios extension was signed I was left scratching my head, as I didn't understand guaranteeing him 4/50 3 years from when it was signed when your two best offensive prospects were Adam Lind & Travis Snider and you were locked into Vernon Wells for such a long time, which inherently decreased Rios' value because you couldn't capitalize on his CF abilities.

While Da Box was discussing a long-term Rios extension in the winter of 2008, I had this to say -

If you watch a 2010 Rios at bat, you'll notice he keeps his hands ridiculously low (even below the belt) and starts to raise them as he gets into his load position. There was quite a bit of talk here when he was struggling about how low his stance is and Clarence talked often about his poor hitting mechanics, and of course how he's not getting started early enough (is there anything else to being a hitting coach?). I'm happy for Rios that he's found an environment where he can be himself, and whatever he did this winter to rid of himself of that miserable 2009 is clearly working so far.

katman - Monday, June 14 2010 @ 02:39 AM EDT (#216946) #
Yes, I've noticed. No, I don't really care. Rios' performance risk was too great to carry his contract, and Vernon's, on the Blue Jays' payroll. That's just all there was to it, and whether or not he catches fire later doesn't really matter. Since Vernon can never be moved, Rios had to be.

Glad he's doing well elsewhere.
Mike Green - Monday, June 14 2010 @ 09:25 AM EDT (#216947) #
Rios was my wild AL MVP choice at the start of the year, and so, yes, I am noticing.  By the time 2009 rolled around, the Rios/Wells situation was unmanageable.  Wiser management would have given Rios the CF job a year or three earlier, and moved Wells to a corner.
Mark - Monday, June 14 2010 @ 09:29 AM EDT (#216948) #
I don't think his value could have been any lower when they got rid of him, so yes I care. It was a wasted asset. Especially when you consider the Lincecum rumors a year and a half before they let Rios go.
Chuck - Monday, June 14 2010 @ 09:48 AM EDT (#216950) #

Especially when you consider the Lincecum rumors a year and a half before they let Rios go.

Ricciardi asked for Lincecum. Sabean said no. Not really much of a story.

katman - Monday, June 14 2010 @ 10:06 AM EDT (#216951) #
_"I don't think his value could have been any lower when they got rid of him..."_

Of course it could. He could have had another sub-par season in 2010, at sharply escalating salary rates. If his stats are even slightly under league average in 2010, his value would becomes negative - and getting rid of him would have become impossible.
S P - Monday, June 14 2010 @ 10:09 AM EDT (#216953) #
He needed a change of scenery but I still hated seeing him go, especially for nothing in return. There were those of us who thought he still had value and other teams thought so too because there were execs who said they were shocked Rogers gave him up for nothing when they would've taken his whole contract and given up a return. Just a pure salary dump by Rogers.
Chuck - Monday, June 14 2010 @ 11:48 AM EDT (#216955) #

there were execs who said they were shocked Rogers gave him up for nothing when they would've taken his whole contract and given up a return

Do you have a source for this?

Mark - Monday, June 14 2010 @ 11:58 AM EDT (#216956) #
Actually Sabean said I'll think about it, San Fran fans said no, and AA later said it could have been done if it was kept quiet.
The point remains they had an asset, a All Star CF, who they gave away for nothing.

Deciding to move him when he had zero value is a story of bad management.

Mark - Monday, June 14 2010 @ 12:12 PM EDT (#216958) #
Please read:
John Northey - Monday, June 14 2010 @ 12:17 PM EDT (#216959) #
Timing is always an issue for GM's in general and JP in particular. Has anyone he let go collapsed afterwards (more so than when let go)? An honest question, as I can't think of any offhand. Rolen is hitting better than ever so far in 2010, we all remember his early trades which various media loved to keep in the papers (Lopez, Izturis, Quantrill, etc.).

Rios looked to be an example of dumping and getting lucky to have someone eat the contract but now has turned it around. I'm a bit stuck on thinking of a case where a player was traded just before the collapse instead of just before the boom.
Gerry - Monday, June 14 2010 @ 12:23 PM EDT (#216960) #

I expected Rios to have a good season in 2010.  He had been essentially released by the Jays in 2009 and that is a blow to any players pride. 

However my prediction is that I expect Alex to slip backwards in 2011.  I think Rios is a very talented player who doesn't push himself and he was stagnating with the Jays.  After 2009's "insult" he worked hard in the off-season to prove people wrong but after a good 2010 he will coast again in the offseason and regress in 2011.

Paul D - Monday, June 14 2010 @ 12:50 PM EDT (#216962) #
Mark, your link doesn't appear to confirm that the Jays could have traded for Lincecum.  I've never seen anything, other than message board speculation, suggesting that a deal for Lincecum was on the table.

In terms of trading Rios for something else, I'm not sure what those quotes from anonymous GMs prove.  They offered somethign and Toronto let him get away for nothing... that doesnt' mean that letting him go for nothing wasn't a better deal.  If the 'offer' was the equivalent of Terry Adams for 4 years at 5 million a year (insert your own terrible contract here), that's not much of an offer.

stevieboy22 - Monday, June 14 2010 @ 01:03 PM EDT (#216963) #
I was happy when they signed Rios to that contract and I was thrilled when they let him go..

- As Gerry has sort of eluded to, it's not clear cut if he would have put up these numbers if he remained a Jay..
- The Rios for Lincecum thing was a mes:  It started with reports that Giants we're considering the offer. And then Riccardi said at a season ticket holders meeting, "they made the offer, we rejected." And then a year later Riccardi defended himself on jaystalk by saying, "anyone remember when I tried to trade Rios for Lincecum?"

TamRa - Monday, June 14 2010 @ 01:33 PM EDT (#216965) #
IIRC, the reporting last August implied, without outright stating it, that JP had no intention of letting Rios go but he was overruled by someone above him (Beeston probably)

My reactions, in no particular order:

1. I always thought he COULD do this, can't say I was ever sure when or if

2. Despite the brain fog, he was one of my favorite Jays and i hated to see him go

3. the tragic mistake, IMO, was NOT the choice to let him go (though knowing what i know now i disagree with it) but the stubborn refusal to flip he and Wells defensively.

4. the Suits insist, now, that they have no reservations about well-spent money. If that's true, there's no way you should dump Rios JUST to move his contract. The 2010 Jays could easily afford to have Rios on this team financially and most of the financial situation this year including the major factor of Doc's being dealt was well understood last August.

5. I'm not averse to the idea that he wouldn't be hitting this well in Toronto which mitigates my unhappiness a great deal

6. I assume this is a career year but just because he likely regresses from this level doesn't mean he'll go back to being a frustrating mess, my guess is he remains among the most productive CF in baseball for another 3-4 years (long enough to get another 8-figure annual contract)

7. Ultimately, though I can't definitively prove it, i put this one on Beeston. I think he simply concluded he'd seen enough and perhaps thought Ros seeming lack of passion would adversely affect other players.

Ultimately, I'd rather have kept him and gambled but that's my personal bias - from a baseball point of view if I expected, as the Jays front office obviously did, to be rebuilding for the next 2-4 years, then it did make sense to move him. BUT that doesn't justify giving him away. If it's true that they had offers in July, that's evidence enough for waiting until the winter to make a trade.

By the way, in that alternate universe in which Rios stays a Jay through the end of 2009....does Jose Bautista ever get the chance to change his approach and become a dangerous player? and if Rios stays into 2010, do the Jays ever acquire Fred Lewis?

Player movement like this is an ever shifting stream and hindsight is always more powerful than any other force.

TamRa - Monday, June 14 2010 @ 01:36 PM EDT (#216966) #
Rios looked to be an example of dumping and getting lucky to have someone eat the contract but now has turned it around. I'm a bit stuck on thinking of a case where a player was traded just before the collapse instead of just before the boom.

The most recent example for the Jays is Shea Hillenbrand.

AWeb - Monday, June 14 2010 @ 01:42 PM EDT (#216967) #
Rios first half 2006 : 330/383/585. Second half: 261/297/411
Rios first half 2007: 294/350/520. Second half: 300/360/471

In 2006, Rios was awesome for the first half - stunk the second. 2007, very good first half, good second half. 2008, terrible first half (737 OPS), very good second half (879). In 2009 he was just terrible, of course, but much much worse in the second half.

So as far as Rios goes - if he does this for the whole year, make something of it then. What he's done so far is nothing he didn't do for the Jays several times over. Maybe he has "put it all together", but I somehow think he'll end up near his career best lines from 2006 and 2007 by the end. Which is to say - he'll be earning his money, but not winning the MVP. Remarkably for a long-time Jay, I barely care about him at all, which I find strange. But years of watching a sometimes there, sometimes not talent hasn't made me dislike him, just ignore him.
John Northey - Monday, June 14 2010 @ 01:47 PM EDT (#216968) #
Ah yes, I knew there was someone who was dumped just in time.

In 2006 pre-trade he was a 110 OPS+ guy after a 108 year the season before. Post-trade he hit for a 74 followed by a 56 season (split between 2 teams) before being sent away from baseball. In 2008 he did hit 340/374/438 but that was for York in the Atlantic League (an indy league).

Meanwhile the Jays got Accardo who was poor in 2006, 30 saves and a 210 ERA+ in 2007, and just 43 2/3 innings since with a 96 ERA+ 0-4 record and 5 saves. Phew, if only someone would've gave the Jays a shiny object post-2007 for him eh? Fully understand why he was kept (to be Ward to Ryan's Henke) but boy did that not work out.

Vinnie Chulk was the other part of the trade, a little over 100 league average innings in relief and now in Pittsburgh's minor league system (AAA with a 6.56 ERA)
Mike Green - Monday, June 14 2010 @ 02:01 PM EDT (#216970) #
I missed the item that Rios missed a couple of days in early May for the birth of his child.  Performance often suffers when a ballplayer has a newborn, but it hasn't happened in Rios' case.  It may be that there is stability in his life, and that this has had a beneficial effect on his performance.  My own view is that he is immensely talented, but had some personal developmental issues.  If he has conquered them, I expect him to be better in his 30s than in his 20s (and he has amassed 20 WAR in his twenties according to fangraphs). 
Dewey - Monday, June 14 2010 @ 03:00 PM EDT (#216972) #
note from nowhere

A Distress Call:  has anyone, anywhere, had, or even heard of,  a Travis Snider sighting?  His “sprain” seems to have disappeared him completely.  The quality of my life has suffered proportionately.  Can anyone help?
Moe - Monday, June 14 2010 @ 03:01 PM EDT (#216973) #
"Has anyone he let go collapsed afterwards (more so than when let go)?"

Here is a link to JP's trade history before Aug 31, 2008:

I think it is fair to say that he didn't have a grand slam in there. But also no real disasters. Sure, Lopez, Quantrill, Izuris wasn't great. But nothing like giving up Nathan and Liriano. And he got Lilly, Scuatro, Bautista, Tallet for much less than he gave up.

I would say his problem was not to do high risk trades (e.g. Rios for Lincecum -- which ever way that fell apart). And his high end FA signings were also not that great.

Gerry - Monday, June 14 2010 @ 03:25 PM EDT (#216974) #
I asked about Snider over the weekend.  There wasn't much of an update, I think the draft took everyone's attention away from him.  He might be hitting off a tee or maybe not.  But I don't think he is taking live BP yet.
John Northey - Monday, June 14 2010 @ 03:31 PM EDT (#216975) #
Yeah, JP never did seem to have that 'wow' trade (or 'ugh' trade). Accardo/Hillendbrand appeared to be for a year, but now it looks like it was just one good year. No Fred McGriff's in the batch, but also nothing that was as ugly as David Wells for Mike Sirotka one.

Funny how the best 'if only' trades involved pitchers though. Ron Guidry pre-1977 for a used up vet (which was confirmed by Gillick years ago), and the Rios/Lincecum one. One wonders how different Blue Jays history could've been.
jmoney - Monday, June 14 2010 @ 03:54 PM EDT (#216976) #
For whatever reason the Rios thing bothers me. Perhaps it was the years of looking like one of the best players in the game for a few months followed up with looking like the dumbest.

I'm more concerned with whatever disease it was Rios and Wells had last year and how they passed it on to Hill and Lind.

ayjackson - Monday, June 14 2010 @ 04:02 PM EDT (#216977) #
Lott reported that Snider hit off a tee on Saturday.  No news since though.
Dewey - Monday, June 14 2010 @ 04:45 PM EDT (#216978) #
Thanks, Gerry and ayj.  It's beginning to look as if he'll be out until after the AS game.  Bummer.
Mike Green - Monday, June 14 2010 @ 05:38 PM EDT (#216979) #
I was curious if anything else had been published about Snider's injury.  So, I googled it, and the results told me something else. If you are looking for the answer to that kind of question on the internet, this is the place to start.
brent - Monday, June 14 2010 @ 06:05 PM EDT (#216980) #
The thing with Rios is that he wasn't going to be that player in Toronto that we see now. Just because he put it together again doesn't mean it wasn't the right choice for the Jays to let him go. I would rather have Adeiny right now and some hope for the future.
Gerry - Tuesday, June 15 2010 @ 08:39 AM EDT (#216985) #
Travis Snider's wrist is still sore, according to Jordan Bastian.
Paul D - Tuesday, June 15 2010 @ 09:19 AM EDT (#216986) #

Bad news from last night's game report:


Gaston said Blue Jays RHP Dustin McGowan, who has been sidelined since July 2008 because of shoulder surgery and a subsequent knee injury, heard a pop in his shoulder during a rehab outing on Sunday and was shut down after eight pitches. He had an MRI exam on Monday and the team should know the results on Tuesday.

AWeb - Tuesday, June 15 2010 @ 09:38 AM EDT (#216988) #
I was just going through some numbers on the year so far, and I didn't realize that the Jays defense had been so bad - by UZR/150, it's third worst in the league. And according to the leaderboards, it's been a team effort.
The numbers:

Every single regular has been below average this year according to those numbers, with many approaching disaster territory. Below -10 UZR will land you near or at the bottom of the leaderboard at the end of the year for most positions.  Now, I haven't seen enough of the team to know if this is just an early season fielding stat anomaly, but who on the Jays should be rating out positively? No one strikes me as horrible to the naked eye, but a general lack of range from everyone seems to be the problem (it's also the hardest thing to pick up on quickly watching the games on TV), and it's not really a fixable thing given the available resources. But are any of the up-and-coming prospects a plus glove as well?

Mike Green - Tuesday, June 15 2010 @ 09:55 AM EDT (#216989) #
Are any of the up-and-coming prospects a plus glove?  By all accounts, the boys in Dunedin (d'Arnaud, Hechevarria, Pastornicky and even McDade) all flash leather.  Kenny Wilson can go get it in centerfield.  Brad Emaus might be a decent third baseman. 

Dewan's system has Wells and Gonzalez as noticeably positive defenders so far this year. 

HR/FB rates are way down throughout the league.  PED testing, snail (or whatever the opposite of rabbit is) balls, a cool spring, Bud Selig clones in the centerfield bleachers and blowing hard...damned if I know. 

92-93 - Tuesday, June 15 2010 @ 10:12 AM EDT (#216990) #
JoBau has looked great to me in RF but I accept the notion of every other Jay defender this year grading as average or below.
jmoney - Tuesday, June 15 2010 @ 11:39 AM EDT (#216992) #
I suspect some of the defensive issues may be in regards to learning the nuances of the new carpet at Rogers Center.
uglyone - Tuesday, June 15 2010 @ 11:57 AM EDT (#216993) #

Gonzalez has been tremendous in the field this year. UZR tells me he's been horrific.

I suspect that UZR is bunk.

uglyone - Tuesday, June 15 2010 @ 12:00 PM EDT (#216994) #

Dewan's system has Wells and Gonzalez as noticeably positive defenders so far this year. 

Going by my untrustworthy eyes, I agree with Dewan's system about those two in particular. Both have been very good, and I'd question any system which doesn't have them as positive fielders this year....let alone UZR which has them as horrific so far this year.


uglyone - Tuesday, June 15 2010 @ 12:18 PM EDT (#216995) #


For players with minimum 100pa:

  • C J.Buck -3.0 (tied for worst in AL)
  • 1B L.Overbay -3.9 (3rd worst)
  • 2B A.Hill -2.9 (5th worst)
  • SS A.Gonzalez -1.9 (5th worst)
  • 3B E.Encarnacion -1.9 (4th worst)
  • RF J.Bautista -5.4 (3rd worst)
  • LF T.Snider -2.8 (2nd worst) / LF F.Lewis -2.7 (3rd worst)
  • CF V.Wells -2.5 (3rd worst)


With such a team-wide horrific rating, with absolutely no measured performances even rated decent, I'd suspect that something fishy is going on with the measurements right now - and I'd guess that the fact that the underlying pitching stats want to tell us that our pitching staff is the best in baseball (when I doubt that's the case, even though it is pretty good) is directly related to that.


John Northey - Tuesday, June 15 2010 @ 01:18 PM EDT (#216996) #
Checking I see for 10+ Innings Played...

20+ runs over 150...
McCoy in 2B/LF (over 50 actually)
McDonald at SS/2B (74 IP at 2B, peak in this category)
Ruiz at 1B (23 innings)
Lewis in CF

10-19 over 150...
Reed LF
McDonald 3B
Snider LF (82 IP peak here)

0-9 over 150...
Lewis RF

-0 to -9 over 150...
Reed RF
Wells CF
Gonzo SS
Bautista RF

-10 to -19
Hill 2B
Encarnacion 3B
Overbay 1B
Bautista 3B

-20 and worse...
Lewis LF
Snider RF
Lind LF (worst at -33)

For some reason McCoy's 17 innings at SS had no score.

Very odd and makes one wonder what is going on. Overbay, Hill, and Gonzalez all have great rep's so their issues are very odd. Yet McDonald is right where one would expect for a high end defender, and McCoy isn't having issues either.
Alex Obal - Tuesday, June 15 2010 @ 02:02 PM EDT (#216997) #
Partial-season fielding stats give you an extremely small sample. Overbay, in particular, has had some truly awful games with the glove, possibly because he was taking his bat into the field with him. Treat him like Teixeira batting .150/.270/.360 on April 20. He's probably fine. Gonzalez, I don't know. He's looked pretty good to me.
MatO - Tuesday, June 15 2010 @ 02:36 PM EDT (#216999) #
Defensive Efficiency Rating has the Jays pretty much in the middle (16th out of 30 teams).
AWeb - Tuesday, June 15 2010 @ 02:54 PM EDT (#217000) #
UZR is on really small sample sizes right now; I think all the fielders have seemed reliable this year (error rates agree), I just don't recall many highlight-type plays. This might be me not seeing the games too frequently, but those are the types of plays that drive up a stat like UZR - making outs when you weren't "expected" to. It's early in the year, and some of the problem might just be balls are being hit at people (well, not a problem for the team, just for fielding stats) - I'm not totally sure, but I don't think UZR rates well if you make a series of routine plays and never get harder ones. The outfield in Toronto doesn't lend itself to spectacular plays, with symmetry, fences that are too high to scale, average foul ground....anyway, I was just curious who people thought of as being good defensively this year, since I don't have a great read on that yet.

stevieboy22 - Tuesday, June 15 2010 @ 02:57 PM EDT (#217001) #
I think it is is silly how many people have fallen in love with UZR..

It is a pretty good stat.. But it doesn't tell the whole story.. I am a little bit concerned with how many people refer to UZR as if it is this factual overall ranking of defensive performance.

I feel the same way about BABIP, so many people are using it like its this perfect  predictor for future performance..  I remember reading a post during spring training about how Marcum's success is unsustainable because his BABIP is too low, which I mean kind of seems a little ridiculous..

I am not Richard Griffin. I don't hate the new stats, I just hate the way some people refer to them.

92-93 - Tuesday, June 15 2010 @ 03:20 PM EDT (#217004) #

Gonzalez has been tremendous in the field this year.

I think his defense is vastly overrated. For every difficult play he makes there's routine ones that he doesn't look good on. I'm reminded of that grounder with a man on first in the 7th last night, which wasn't necessarily a double play ball but he looked pretty bad handling it. I was also surprised at how thick/slow he is, and it seems to show on balls hit to his left...just call him Pasta Diving Gonzo.

It's Hill that intrigues me. He was so good defensively before the injury, but he appears to have lost a bit of range since then (although I do think he's looked better recently in the field). The other thing I wonder is if he was the guy in baseball last year with the steroid exemption for post-concussion syndrome and if that is part of the problems he's having on the field now that he's lost it. Certainly looked okay last night though.

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