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Anticipation has a habit to set you up for disappointment in evening entertainment. But who isn't feeling all giddy after the last two series? Like Dave, I'm hopeful that good crowds will show up, and that the Jays will jump on an injury-ravaged opponent coming off a frustrating weekend in the Bronx. Optimism wins!

The Red Sox are coming off a disappointing four-game series split at Yankee Stadium. There's no shame in winning two games there. But when you're 6 games out of first place and have three favorable pitching matchups in the series, that's going to feel like a missed opportunity.

Boston won the finale yesterday 2-1 behind Jon Lester, who the Jays are lucky to dodge, but it wasn't easy. Terry Francona managed his bullpen in must-win-game mode, sending Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon out for 1.1 demanding innings each to nail down the victory. This helps the Jays, as Francona won't be able to push them so hard today. And with Hideki Okajima injured, the Boston bullpen doesn't look nearly as imposing as usual. On the bright side, Papelbon is still Papelbon, and Bard, with his ungodly 98-mph running fastball, 90-mph changeup and big 80-mph curveball, with good command, might be as untouchable as Mariano Rivera right now. (Then again, Mark Teixeira ran into a homer off Bard yesterday. Teixeira looked surprised.) But beyond Bard and Papelbon, there isn't much. Manny Delcarmen gets high-leverage situations in the middle innings, and Tim Wakefield is the long man. Righty Hanshin Tigers alum Scott Atchison has been serviceable in low-leverage situations. Tall lefty hoopster Dustin Richardson earned a callup by striking out 31.8% of AAA hitters (and walking 18.4%, but don't mention that.)

Bard keeps a diary for ESPN. Here's his take on New York and the rivalry.

The Red Sox have been done in by injuries. Kevin Youkilis is gone for the year with a jammed thumb. Dustin Pedroia and Jason Varitek have been sidelined by broken feet. The Hero in the Dark, Hideki Okajima, has been struck down by suckage and a hamstring strain. Mike Cameron is on the DL with abdominal pain. Junichi Tazawa sprained an elbow UCL, and his season is over. Jacoby Ellsbury has missed time with fractured ribs. And on and on and on. Yet they're still hanging around the race, thanks largely to a resurgent David Ortiz and a legitimate MVP candidate in Adrian Beltre, who's having a vintage Beltre season and positioning himself for a huge contract. There are reinforements on the way - they'll get Pedroia back next week. They still have Mike Lowell, who they've dragged out of the crypt to play first base and punish pitchers who don't treat him like an old guy.

Ellsbury has been ineffective this year, but he stole four bases yesterday, and you'd think that might get him started in the right direction. He may actually start over Darnell McDonald tonight to keep the momentum going, even against a lefty, despite what the chart tells you.

Starting pitchers! Tonight, it's one of the most talented dirtballers around: Daisuke Matsuzaka. Matsuzaka has a reputation for pitching around everyone. This doesn't mean you can just go up there and wait for him to walk you - in fact, he doesn't actually throw noticeably fewer pitches in the strike zone than average, or even more first-pitch balls. He just never gives in to anyone when he gets behind, resulting in a low slugging percentage against and a crapload of walks. I'm curious to see how the Jays' lineup will react to him. My guess is well, provided they don't get jumpy when they get ahead in the count. As y'all know, Matsuzaka basically throws everything: four-seamer around 92, cutter, assortment of breaking balls, changeup. According to Fangraphs, he only throws changeups (or splitters) about 7% of the time, which came as a surprise to me, since the change was advertised as his deadly out pitch when he first came over in 2007. Nope - it's mostly fastballs, cutters and sliders. Even more strangely, in 2010, he has backwards splits for the first time in his career. Many current Jays have been terrible against Matsuzaka - worst offenders are Lind (1-20 against a huge flyball pitcher with a rising fastball? Say it ain't so) and Wells (5-26), though Escobar is 2-3 and Buck is 4-7.

Tomorrow, it's all-star righty Clay Buchholz. Looks like Baseball Prospectus 2008 was right and he is better than Joba after all. Fastball around 93, big 12-6 curveball, killer changeup around 81, plus a new secret weapon this year: a hard slider. Unsurprisingly, adding the hard slider has resulted in bigger platoon splits in 2010 for Buchholz. His peripheral stats and BABIP are in the same ballpark as Matsuzaka's, except he's a groundball pitcher. I haven't seen Buchholz pitch but that might speak to a similar strategy in hitters' counts. Against Buchholz, Lind is 6-18 with a couple homers. Snider is 1-9 with 5 strikeouts. Jose Molina is 3-5, and with a DGANG Thursday, he might start this game.

Thursday, it's John Lackey, in the first year of a five-year, $85-million contract. In contrast to the first two pitchers, Lackey has been hit this year, and hit hard. His 4.60 ERA is his highest since 2004. However, he actually has a positive WPA, and that's despite WPA not knowing that Fenway is a hitters' park. He has evidently been very clutch this year. His stats are just plain weird - his K/BB has taken a nosedive, his BABIP is very high, his HR/F is way down despite the move to Fenway. Lackey throws a heavy fastball around 91, big sweeping slider, big curveball and token changeup. His percentage of pitches out of the strike zone that get swung at (whoa, there's a mouthful - OSwing%, in other words) is always well above league average. His percentage of (pitches swung at outside the strike zone) that [get hit] (yikes - OContact%) has usually been average, but this year it's way up, which I guess explains the lower strikeout rate. But you'd think that works in the opposite direction of the BABIP. I'm confused. Fred Lewis is 5-10 with two walks against Lackey. Aaron Hill is 2-18 with two walks. Adam Lind is 6-12. Also, I'm sure Yunel Escobar is aware that Lackey is vulnerable to bunts - 38.2% of bunts have turned into base hits against him over his career.

The Credit Section: Most stats and leverage indices are from Fangraphs. Minor-league stats are from Minor League Splits and Baseball Reference. AL average stats are from Baseball Reference. K% and BB% are strikeouts and walks as a percentage of plate appearances - this is different from Fangraphs, which calculates K% as a percentage of at-bats. UZR is UZR for each player's listed position - e.g., Bill Hall's is his left field UZR, not his total UZR for the many positions he plays.

The stats in this chart don't include Monday's game. Ellsbury's stolen base total is actually 6, not 2. Beyond that, not much changed. However, the relief pitcher rest is up to date.

Advance Scout: Red Sox, August 10-12 | 67 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Moe - Tuesday, August 10 2010 @ 05:03 PM EDT (#220368) #
From Bastian:
1. Cecil is injured (needed stitches after a fall) and will be replaced by Mills.
2. Scrabble will start on Friday
3. Cecil will then go on Sat
4. Morrow will go Tuesday next week vs A's
Mike Green - Tuesday, August 10 2010 @ 05:06 PM EDT (#220370) #
Thanks, Alex.  I'd like to see Snider play thrice this series.  If Wells needs an extra day to recuperate from his injury, tonight would be an ideal occasion for it. 
Alex Obal - Tuesday, August 10 2010 @ 05:14 PM EDT (#220375) #

I hope Snider homers three times tonight, creating an excuse for Gaston to play him everyday, as he should.
TamRa - Tuesday, August 10 2010 @ 05:16 PM EDT (#220377) #
I have a hunch Wells' first game back might be at DH, which should work to Snider's advantage.
92-93 - Tuesday, August 10 2010 @ 05:22 PM EDT (#220379) #
I didn't see the HR but I'd be surprised if Tex was surprised about taking Bard deep - he was 3/10 with 2 HRs heading into the AB.

Sounds like Yunel is scratched from tonight's lineup with a tweaked knee. I hope that means Snider bats 2 and not JMac.
dan gordon - Tuesday, August 10 2010 @ 05:23 PM EDT (#220381) #
I hope people are aware that Sportsnet is launching a new channel on Saturday.  A lot of the Blue
Jays games will be on the new channel, roughly 25 of the remaining games.  I just contacted Rogers and they weren't even aware of the new channel, so they couldn't tell me if it will be included in existing packages.  If you watch the Jays on Sportsnet, you may be losing a big chunk of those games.  I was told Rogers should have an answer by Friday.  No idea about Bell or other providers.  May be another charge to get the new channel.  Now wouldn't that be a poke in the eye.
Kasi - Tuesday, August 10 2010 @ 05:23 PM EDT (#220382) #
So Morrow is getting a long time between starts here. Makes me happy to see that. Not too excited to see Mills against the Sox. Our pitchers other then Marcum always seem to struggle against them, and even with their injuries it is a patient lineup that will drag you out. I'm concerned they'll get to Mills pretty early, or at the least make him hit 90 pitches by the 4th/5th. Will be a good test for Mills to see how he does against a tough team.
Alex Obal - Tuesday, August 10 2010 @ 05:28 PM EDT (#220385) #
I'd be surprised if Tex was surprised about taking Bard deep

Yeah, it was weird. Maybe I just can't read faces and awkward gestures, 'cause I'm pretty sure it was a 2-0 or 3-1 count, too, and Tex is supposed to be a ridiculous fastball hitter, and he hit it about 600 feet...
Chuck - Tuesday, August 10 2010 @ 05:41 PM EDT (#220387) #
Scutaro has regressed to his old self. HIs BB rate is way down from 2009.

Career: 266/337/383, OPS+ 91
2010: 273/336/376, OPS+ 89

Magpie - Tuesday, August 10 2010 @ 05:43 PM EDT (#220389) #
I just contacted Rogers and they weren't even aware of the new channel

There are no words.
Kasi - Tuesday, August 10 2010 @ 05:52 PM EDT (#220392) #
Escobar out tonight. MacDonald in at 9th, Snider up to 2nd. Curious in how short a time period has the record been made for hitting at different spots in the lineup. Snider looks to make a run on it for sure.
Alex Obal - Tuesday, August 10 2010 @ 05:54 PM EDT (#220393) #
Awesome. I don't think anyone would benefit more from batting right in front of Bautista than Snider.
Kasi - Tuesday, August 10 2010 @ 05:56 PM EDT (#220395) #
I have no problem with Snider being our number 2 hitter. I think he is really made to hit 4, but at 2 he can do it with his high OBP and strong doubles/homer power.

What's up with the knees though. Cecil cuts his, and now Escobar is out with a sore knee. Hope he gets well soon.

Magpie - Tuesday, August 10 2010 @ 06:00 PM EDT (#220396) #
Scutaro has regressed to his old self.

He'll be 35 in a few months - it's hard to tell if he's returning to his old level, or declining (as older players will) to his old level. Furthermore, Gaston and Tenace talked Scutaro into changing his stance after they came aboard in 2008 - they wanted him to spread his feet more. He gave it a try, and worked on it some more over the winter, and had the year of his life in 2009. So maybe he's just lost touch with the adjustment, and needs to give Furious Gene a phone call.
Magpie - Tuesday, August 10 2010 @ 06:04 PM EDT (#220397) #
Curious in how short a time period has the record been made for hitting at different spots in the lineup.

Hardly. Jose Bautista has started at seven different spots in the order this season - everywhere except 8th and 9th, which (by wonderful coincidence) were the two spots he made the most starts at in 2009.
Parker - Tuesday, August 10 2010 @ 06:12 PM EDT (#220398) #
I just contacted Rogers and they weren't even aware of the new channel

There are no words.

That's nothing.  Here's a paraphrased transcript of my last conversation with a Rogers CSR:

Me: I want to cancel my cellular plan because you guys don't offer service where I work, but both of your competitors do.

CSR: Where do you work?

Me: Right now I'm just outside Grand Cache, Alberta.

CSR: We offer cellular service in Alberta?

Me: Thanks for reminding me of the real reason for cancelling my plan...

Yeah, this really happened.

More on topic, thank you for bringing back the Advance Scout, Alex.  I've missed them.
Magpie - Tuesday, August 10 2010 @ 06:19 PM EDT (#220399) #
Gosh. And just think - that's the same company that owns the baseball team.

I feel... fear. Mind-numbing, paralyzing fear. Dread. Foreboding....

On the other hand, there's actually an element of competition in baseball. As opposed to cable television, for example.
85bluejay - Tuesday, August 10 2010 @ 06:23 PM EDT (#220400) #

Is Cecil accident prone -  the finger in spring, now the knee - the jays may need to keep him in bubble wrap.

Also, I hope this is not the symptom of a more serious problem? 

cybercavalier - Tuesday, August 10 2010 @ 06:25 PM EDT (#220401) #
If Escobar and Wells are given today off for rest, I would have put Bautista at SS for just today as a trial. Wise at CF is flanked by Lewis in RF and Snider in LF. IMO, JohnnyMac's defense is not that great to compensate for the defense and bat of Wise and the loss of range in Bautista playing SS.
Moe - Tuesday, August 10 2010 @ 06:28 PM EDT (#220403) #
But you have to give McDonald a chance to play as well. Today is as good as any. Especially if the alternative is Bautista at SS.
cybercavalier - Tuesday, August 10 2010 @ 06:28 PM EDT (#220404) #
Or a Wise RF, Lewis CF and Snider LF shall be fine also.
Moe - Tuesday, August 10 2010 @ 06:38 PM EDT (#220406) #
Bautista has played 2 games at SS and that was at single-A. I'm fine with the line-up as is. Maybe swap Wise and Lewis for defense and hope Romero pitches very well but that's about it.

cybercavalier - Tuesday, August 10 2010 @ 06:50 PM EDT (#220409) #
I agree with you and am fine with the current lineup. Well I am not pushy in putting Bautista at SS, but it is also good to try new stuff. If Bautista's arm and leg enable him to play 3B, he might as well play SS. And of course, there was no stats to back my claims up.
johnny was - Tuesday, August 10 2010 @ 07:09 PM EDT (#220412) #
I hope people are aware that Sportsnet is launching a new channel on Saturday.

They've been running that godawful "I, am, number 1..." ad for Sportsnet One every commercial break for over a week now.  Mad Men, they are not. 
TamRa - Tuesday, August 10 2010 @ 07:18 PM EDT (#220413) #
Wise at CF is flanked by Lewis in RF and Snider in LF.

Please tell me it was an ACCIDENT you mixed those two.
cybercavalier - Tuesday, August 10 2010 @ 07:52 PM EDT (#220414) #
Excuse me if I have a loose memory (Maybe it have been discussed on this site before), I think there is a reason of starting Lewis primarily at LF and Snider started in RF )
TamRa - Tuesday, August 10 2010 @ 08:25 PM EDT (#220415) #

The lineup:

Lewis - LF / Snider - RF

is standard and virtually insane to reverse. I thus assumed when you had them the other way round it was an accident.

cybercavalier - Tuesday, August 10 2010 @ 08:49 PM EDT (#220416) #
Thank you, but my point was why is the reverse insane? Just like starting Bautista at SS is not standard when Bautista shows ONLY 2 game experience at SS in minor leagues.
TamRa - Tuesday, August 10 2010 @ 08:56 PM EDT (#220417) #
Because Lewis isn't a very good LEFT fielder, add to that his lack of arm strength for right, the fact that snider is already short changed on appearances in right (where he is by all accounts just fine - at least as good as in left, but doesn't have Bautista's arm)

Simply put - the idea is to put the best talent on the field to be in a position to win - JB at short for Mcdonald adds a huge amount of offense to offset the defensive loss. flipping Snider and lewis sacrifices defense and andds NOTHING offensively.

If you want something more "unexpected" that actually makes sense, leave McDonald alone and put Bautista in CF instead of Wise.

He's actually played that position before - better than he plays short - and you still get the big offensive upgrade.

Kasi - Tuesday, August 10 2010 @ 10:23 PM EDT (#220424) #
I hope this is the last we see of the Aaron Hill cleanup hitter experiment.
Moe - Tuesday, August 10 2010 @ 10:27 PM EDT (#220425) #
I haven't had a chance to watch the game. Obviously, the result is disappointing but I'm more curious about JPA's ABs. I saw he had 2 SO, which is not good. But how did he look. I hope better than Hinkse. Any comments?
China fan - Tuesday, August 10 2010 @ 10:32 PM EDT (#220427) #
That was an uncharacteristically poor outing by Romero today.   Does anyone have thoughts about JPA's pitch-calling abilities?  It's early days, of course, but I wonder if pitch-calling is the last of a catcher's skills to reach major-league standards.
Jonny German - Tuesday, August 10 2010 @ 10:44 PM EDT (#220429) #
Howarth & Ashby were all over the fact that the Red Sox have always owned Romero. 8.76 ERA and 2.39 WHIP in 6 games, 24.7 innings _before_ today.
China fan - Tuesday, August 10 2010 @ 11:33 PM EDT (#220431) #
I can accept the likelihood that Romero (and most other pitchers) will have a tough time with the good-hitting Red Sox lineup.  But I'm still curious about how Arencibia works with young pitchers, especially after everything we heard about Buck and Molina and how those two were highly praised for their work with the young Jays pitchers.  Can JPA match their veteran savvy in handling young pitchers?  I suppose it won't be easy for us to find out, since the Jays pitchers and coaches are not going to be saying anything negative in public, if there is anything negative.
Alex Obal - Wednesday, August 11 2010 @ 12:10 AM EDT (#220435) #
I noticed two things about the pitch selection. One, Romero's changeup was flat-out not working. He was missing halfway into the LH batter's box almost every time. Yet they kept going back to it all game, giving away pitches in 2-strike counts counts and almost beaning Ortiz once, even though Romero's curveball was money. I was hoping they'd mothball the changeup - Marcum and Cecil probably can't do that, but I thought Romero would've been fine with only fastballs, cutters and 12-6s. No idea whether Buck or Molina would've done that, of course. Two, the meatball to Lowrie that he hit for a double off the wall in a pitcher's count in the second inning... that was a head scratcher, though I guess Romero meant to go at the knees or way up high, and just missed.

I didn't pay any attention to whether Romero was shaking Arencibia off.

Is pitch calling a skill? I think that's an interesting question - I've always seen it as more familiarity with major-league hitters. But the ability to sense how they're thinking would be a skill, if it can be done.
Magpie - Wednesday, August 11 2010 @ 12:31 AM EDT (#220443) #
Does anyone have thoughts about JPA's pitch-calling abilities?

Very hard to say without knowing Romero's standard operating procedure - does he just throw whatever Buck or Molina call for, or does he call his own game. They looked somewhat out of sync, but for all I know it may have simply been Romero was out of sync. One of those nights. Nobody has their good stuff every game.

I'll tell ya - after watching Fred Lewis play CF, I may not grumble about Wells for a long time. Not that I do grumble much about Wells playing CF anyway ....
ayjackson - Wednesday, August 11 2010 @ 12:45 AM EDT (#220446) #

Tony LaCava has a thought about it.....

"His defense is improving all the time. It's something he's been working hard on. He's out there every day working on his exchanges. He's calling a good game, The pitchers at Vegas love to throw to him."

Alex Obal - Wednesday, August 11 2010 @ 01:08 AM EDT (#220447) #
Two, the meatball to Lowrie that he hit for a double off the wall in a pitcher's count in the second inning... that was a head scratcher, though I guess Romero meant to go at the knees or way up high, and just missed..

... was, upon deeper contemplation, a curveball. Well, that's interesting. If he was trying to buckle Lowrie, I'd think bad idea; if he was trying to get him to chase, good one, but that undermines my point about the curve working well. Wild.
Kelekin - Wednesday, August 11 2010 @ 01:12 AM EDT (#220448) #
Well, thanks to my browser freezing, I have to write this out again.  Latest Elias updates:

  • John Buck passes Jason Kendall and Gerald Laird, moving up quite a bit in Type B.  Even Jose Molina now only has Kendall and Laird in his way for Type B status.
  • Against other First Basemen, Lyle Overbay is four spots out of Type B status.  He has Cantu, Branyan, Morales, and Nick Johnson ahead of him.  With Johnson and Morales likely to fall out due to injuries, he would need to pass both Cantu and Branyan, which seems highly unlikely.
  • Scott Downs is firmly planted as Type A still, and with Frasor dropping a couple spots back, he's now more comfortably in Type B position with Gregg just a couple slots behind him.  Both will likely finish as Type Bs.

Here is the number of Free Agents for AL East teams that qualify for Type A/B status:
  • Toronto - Four (4). Buck, Frasor, Downs, and Gregg.
  • Tampa Bay - Seven (7). Pena, Crawford, Soriano, Balfour, Choate, Wheeler, Benoit.
  • Baltimore - One (1). Uehara.
  • Boston - Five (5). Martinez, Varitek, Ortiz, Beltre, Lowell.
  • New York - Four (4). Berkman, Pettite, Vazquez, Rivera.
Number of players likely to get arbitration offers (if options are not exercised, etc):
  • Toronto: Four (4).  Buck, Frasor, and Downs are guarantees to get arbitration offers.  Gregg's options may or may not be declined at this point, but the majority is leaning towards declined.
  • Tampa Bay: Four (4).  While Tampa is looking to shed payroll, most of that will come from Pena.  He would likely accept arb, and with his performance, chances are he won't get offered it.  Wheeler's option will likely be exercised at 4M.  With Balfour's success in TB, he is likely to decline but would definitely be offered.  Benoit might be offered arb, but he might also sign a contract in advance of that.  Choate's performance has been poor and he will likely not be back. 
  • Baltimore: Zero (0).  It is highly unlikely that Uehara will receive arbitration with his salary already at 5 Million, especially with his injury issues and the fact he did not become the ideal starter they were looking for.
  • Boston: Two (2).  If an extension can't be reached, V-Mart will certainly look for a long-term contract elsewhere.  It's hard to imagine they would give a raise to Varitek and his 5M salary, which is already way too high for a back-up catcher.  Ortiz' option could be declined, and they may try and bring him back for cheaper.  Beltre will decline his 5M player option, and there is a good chance the Red Sox give him a multi-year deal.  Lowell's time in the Red Sox, and maybe even in the majors, is done.
  • New York: Zero (0).  If Berkman's option is declined, I can't imagine they would offer him the chance at a raise.  With his unusual peformance this year, he will either be a Yankee next year or on the FA Market.  Pettite and RIvera will surely re-sign if they wish to continue playing.  Arbitration isn't even a question.  Vazquez might be brought back, but he has fallen out of favor this year and I can't imagine they'd want to commit over 12M to him.
Just food for thought.

TamRa - Wednesday, August 11 2010 @ 03:32 AM EDT (#220450) #
I hope Soriano doesn't get an offer - he's a guy I wouldn't mind us seeing if we could get a decent price on.

Kelekin - Wednesday, August 11 2010 @ 04:56 AM EDT (#220451) #
I love Rafael Soriano, but you know he's going to want a minimum 3-4 year contract.  He is very injury prone, so as much as I love him and think he is dominant, I just don't believe in signing FA relievers with injury histories.
Spicol - Wednesday, August 11 2010 @ 08:22 AM EDT (#220453) #

re: JPA's pitch calling abilities, it's very possible the game was being called from the dugout. It's not uncommon for young catchers.

That said, not sure it made a difference. Romero's pitches didn't finish well and it didn't look like he was hitting his spots.

China fan - Wednesday, August 11 2010 @ 08:42 AM EDT (#220454) #
Kelekin, thanks for the interesting update.   But why are you convinced that Frasor and Buck are "guarantees" to get arbitration offers from the Jays?  If the Jays offer arbitration to those two, they are very likely to accept.  An arbitration offer might be better than anything they could get on the open market.  This could mean $5 million or $6 million in salaries (combined) for Buck and Frasor next year, when the Jays have much cheaper options available -- including Arencibia and the younger pitchers at Las Vegas.  If the Jays keep Buck, he could be blocking JPA's development.  I don't know, I see it as possible that the Jays will offer arbitration to Frasor and Buck, but not guaranteed by any means.  Keep in mind that the Jays were unable to trade Frasor and Buck at the trading deadline, which suggests that there wasn't a huge demand for them on the open market.  Any team signing them would have to give up a draft pick or two.  Frasor and Buck know this, and they might prefer the security of an arbitration offer from the Jays, rather than the uncertainty of the open market.  And the Jays know this, meaning that they won't offer arbitration unless they are truly convinced that they are worth $6-million in 2011 -- which they might not be.
Thomas - Wednesday, August 11 2010 @ 08:43 AM EDT (#220455) #
re: JPA's pitch calling abilities, it's very possible the game was being called from the dugout. It's not uncommon for young catchers.

It isn't, but I saw no evidence (such as JP looking over to the dugout) that this was the case yesterday. Romero clearly didn't have his best stuff and it may have not made a difference to the outcome, but I do think there were several questionable pitch selections during the game.

rfan8 - Wednesday, August 11 2010 @ 08:51 AM EDT (#220456) #
Not to pile on Magpie's comment, but I thought the real back breaker was the play in Lewis in CF for the second insurance run.  It may have scored anyway but he looked lost out there. 
John Northey - Wednesday, August 11 2010 @ 09:08 AM EDT (#220457) #
If they are type B free agents then there is no cost (outside of dollars) for the team signing them. The Jays get a 'sandwich pick' between rounds 1 and 2. If they are type A then the team loses either their 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th round pick depending on how many type A free agents they sign and if they placed in the top or bottom 1/2 of MLB the season before. You cannot lose your first round pick if you finished 16th or worse in MLB.

Buck and Frasor weren't traded as the Jays figured what they were offered was worth less than that sandwich pick. If they accept arbitration and the Jays don't want to keep them then the asking price in a trade goes down drastically and someone will probably take them at that point.
Thomas - Wednesday, August 11 2010 @ 09:36 AM EDT (#220458) #
Not surprisingly, Lewis did not look like a CF out there. It's a bit of pick your poison, but I'd rather have Bautista out there than Lewis. Not that he will necessarily look much (if any) better. Hopefully Vernon's back today, but if not I'd rather see Wise or Bautista out there.

It's been announced Morrow will get extra rest before his next start. Cecil was also pushed back to Saturday from Thursday afternoon's game. Mills will start Thursday and then head to Las Vegas so Rzepczynski can arrive and start on Friday.
Thomas - Wednesday, August 11 2010 @ 09:38 AM EDT (#220459) #
I clearly should have read the first post of this thread.
Forkball - Wednesday, August 11 2010 @ 09:56 AM EDT (#220462) #
If they are type B free agents then there is no cost (outside of dollars) for the team signing them.

If I were the Jays I would want Frasor, Gregg, and Buck to be 'B' players.  I can't see teams giving up a pick for them if they were 'A' players.  And bringing back any of them on a one year contract (assuming they accept arbitration) is no big deal.
Mike Green - Wednesday, August 11 2010 @ 10:04 AM EDT (#220464) #
If Wells had to go on the DL, I'd like to see Mastroianni up here. 

I was puzzled by the decision to bat Hill in the cleanup role with Wells out.  I would have thought that Gaston naturally would have veered to the warmer veteran left-handed hitting Overbay to hit behind Bautista. 

jmoney - Wednesday, August 11 2010 @ 10:08 AM EDT (#220465) #
Don't want to be negative but I think the Jays might kill their "Ray Buzz" with the completion of this series. I think Mills is going to get clobbered (or walk guys all day and then get clobbered). Rzep is the wild card but it wouldn't surprise me to see the Jays get swept.
Mike Green - Wednesday, August 11 2010 @ 10:23 AM EDT (#220468) #
Rzepczynski is pitching Friday in Anaheim. Personally, I like Mills' chances; the Red Sox' lineup doesn't look quite so imposing against a left-hander with Pedroia and Youkilis out, last night's outing from Romero notwithstanding.

I wonder if the fact that Zep is in Las Vegas and won't have a time zone adjustment issue played a role in the decision to start him on Friday.  There have to be some pluses to having a triple A club in Las Vegas, and perhaps this is one.

Jonny German - Wednesday, August 11 2010 @ 10:25 AM EDT (#220469) #

I would not hesitate to offer John Buck arbitration. This may well be his career year, but it's not a huge leap from what he did last year and catchers often follow a later growth curve than other hitters. I think having Buck & Arencibia split the catching duties in 2011 would be ideal, with Arencibia also putting in significant time at DH. This scenario would introduce the very real possibility of Johnny Mack coming into a game as catcher, which I have no problem with.

Frasor on the other hand I would not offer arbitration to. I'm guessing he'll make over $3M if he accepts arbitration and that sounds like an awful lot for a guy that you can't count on to be more than an average middle reliever.

R Romero Vaughan - Wednesday, August 11 2010 @ 11:29 AM EDT (#220477) #

In the same way that the new plan is to take risks on high upside premium talent in the draft and with trades, we surely have to take risks and play the arbitration game - especially in a 'deep draft year'

Worst case scenario is that the player accepts and you have a serviceable big league arm on a low risk (1 year) contract  that you can either:

- trade for salary relief (all our relief pitchers records are such that we can do this)

- keep them until the deadline and see what is around and where we are

I also think they can be cut for 1/6 of the players salary (although I can't seem to find out if this is just for pre-FA arb eligibles a la Reed Johnson). Decisions like not offering Carlos Delgado arbitration (financially-ULTRA risk averse driven) are hopefully distant memories in the past. Was he ever going to not take a 4 year+ deal?

When you see the useful AL EAST arb-possible list above you have to see it as a competitive opportunity for the Jays. The possibility of harvesting 4 or 5 more picks then our closest rivals is one we should grab with both hands. 

Use the money coming off the books this year on this draft.

If performances remain as they have been you need to offer Buck/ Gregg/ Downs/ Frasor arbitration. The risk-reward makes these pretty clear cut cases to me. Even if Frasor was an 'A' I would offer him arbitration (although it's clearly more finely balanced) - remember if the Sox or the Yanks or a team signing 3 other FAs sign him then it ends up only being a 3rd or 4th pick.

Interesting article from last year




Gerry - Wednesday, August 11 2010 @ 05:12 PM EDT (#220508) #
According to John Dewan at baseball information systems, Yunel Escobar is the best defensive shortstop in MLB so far in 2010.
Kelekin - Wednesday, August 11 2010 @ 05:13 PM EDT (#220509) #
China fan,

The consensus is that the Jays have the money and are willing to offer arbitration to these players in hopes they do not sign, and while I can not find the quote, this has been repeated on MLBTR many times over the past two months.  And if they sign, they sign, they have no problem paying them and maybe trying to trade them again.  There is no evidence that supports the claim that there was little interest in Frasor and Buck; what we do know is executives said that AA's asking prices were significantly higher than what teams considered the player's worth. 

China fan - Wednesday, August 11 2010 @ 09:41 PM EDT (#220522) #

First, about Jason Frasor:  is there really a trade market for a mediocre 33-year-old reliever who would be under contract for more than $3-million next season?  If the Jays sign him to a contract of $3-million or $3.5-million (the likely arbitration price), they can't assume that they can easily trade him.  Most teams, maybe all teams, would rather acquire a cheaper and younger reliever (of whom there are plenty).   To sign Frasor to a hefty contract, on the assumption that he can be easily traded, would be a very risky assumption for the Jays to make, in my view. 

Second, about John Buck:  the Jays might decide that Molina is a cheaper veteran to pair with Arencibia next season.  They won't keep both Molina and Buck next season. Why do we assume that the Jays will offer a contract to Buck and not to Molina?  Molina might be a more natural fit for the Jays if JPA is going to play 4 or 5 games a week.  I like John Buck, but I don't think the Jays have definitely decided to offer him a contract.  And again, the Jays can't assume that they can easily trade a veteran catcher who is under contract for $3.5 or $4 million next season (his likely arbitration price).  Veteran catchers are always available in the off-season, every year.  Other teams might prefer to acquire a cheaper free-agent catcher.

Please note that I'm only questioning Kelekin's statement that the Jays are "guaranteed" to offer arbitration to Frasor and Buck.  Maybe they will, and maybe they won't.  I'm just saying that there is some doubt about it -- it's not "guaranteed."  (Scott Downs, on the other hand, will definitely get an arbitration offer from the Jays, in my view.)

Jonny German - Wednesday, August 11 2010 @ 11:05 PM EDT (#220525) #
Why do we assume that the Jays will offer a contract to Buck and not to Molina?

Molina is rarely able to strike a round ball with a round stick.

Defence is for wimps.
China fan - Thursday, August 12 2010 @ 12:05 AM EDT (#220526) #

Oddly enough, Molina's OBP is higher than that of Buck this season.  He might not be able to hit, but he knows how to walk.

greenfrog - Thursday, August 12 2010 @ 01:30 AM EDT (#220528) #
That's pretty cool about Escobar's defensive rating (not surprising, given some of the outstanding plays he's made since joining the Jays). Hopefully he'll be able to contribute with the bat over the next few years as well. I'm hoping the free-swinging philosophy that prevails in Toronto doesn't erode his OBP too much. I see him as a good #2 hitter with some extra-base power and an OBP in the 360-380 range.
Kelekin - Thursday, August 12 2010 @ 05:48 AM EDT (#220533) #
China Fan: You're absolutely right that I should have not said "guaranteed".  I still think Frasor and Buck will get arbitration, and I think I wasn't looking at it properly when I assumed Frasor would decline.  However, you have to consider the career length for relief pitchers.  How many actually end up sticking around seven years? Frasor's value, as stupid as it seems, is boosted simply on the fact he is a known reliever who has managed to stick with a big club for so long.  While I would personally not sign a guy like that, there are those that will, and there are those that might see his 2.50 ERA as an indicator of how well he -can- pitch, again, it's ridiculous that they do that but we have seen it time and time again.

I do think it would be a mistake to offer Frasor arbitration, but at the same time, even if you get a C level prospect, you're still getting more than you would otherwise for the guy.
China fan - Thursday, August 12 2010 @ 05:53 AM EDT (#220534) #
I agree that Frasor gets points for longevity.  But I'm not sure where you're getting the 2.50 ERA from.   That was his ERA last season, which was quite an aberration from the rest of his career.  His ERA this season is 4.19.  His career ERA is 3.82.   His WHIP this season, for those who prefer that, is 1.512.
Chuck - Thursday, August 12 2010 @ 06:50 AM EDT (#220535) #

Oddly enough, Molina's OBP is higher than that of Buck this season.  He might not be able to hit, but he knows how to walk.

Huh? Molina has 8 walks, 7 unintentional, in 124 PA. His career AB:BB ratio is 19:1. For context, the AL average this year is 10.4:1.

Molina's OBP this season has been goosed by his HBPs. He has 4 to go with his 8 walks, giving him the illusion that he has on-base skills beyond batting average. That said, with 11 HBPs in his past 500 AB, this may be a skill he has recently developed.

Spifficus - Thursday, August 12 2010 @ 09:24 AM EDT (#220540) #
Well, when you're built like a human pillow, why not use it to your advantage?
China fan - Thursday, August 12 2010 @ 08:56 PM EDT (#220595) #
Thanks for the correction, Chuck.  Not sure where I got my mistaken impression about Molina's walks, although maybe I just noticed that Molina has a better walk ratio than John Buck.   In fact, Buck's walk ratio is appallingly bad -- a mere 10 walks in 304 plate appearances.   So, in that sense, Molina is better than Buck at getting on base via the walk.
Jonny German - Thursday, August 12 2010 @ 09:26 PM EDT (#220599) #
So, in that sense, Molina is better than Buck at getting on base via the walk.

Still doesn't work for me. Molina has his .341 OBP this season in 155 PA. Guess what John Buck's OBP was this year in the months of May and July... .340 in 147 PA. How's that for a match?

More importantly, career walk rates and slash lines:.
Molina:  82/1711 = .047 BB/PA, .238/.282/.338
Buck: 161/2198 = .073 BB/PA, .241/.300/.419

Molina's OBP this year is pure statistical anomaly.
China fan - Thursday, August 12 2010 @ 10:14 PM EDT (#220605) #
Thought it was fairly clear that I was talking about this season, not career totals.  And my original comment on Molina was a glib, throwaway comment -- not designed to be a serious debating point.
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