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Much of the talk this year has focused on Jose Bautista, and for good reason - he recently broke the Jays' franchise record for home runs in a season and will likely soon become the first Blue Jay to ever hit 50. In the Year of the Pitcher, he leads the majors in home runs by a whopping ten over Albert Pujols, and his .998 OPS ranks 4th in the bigs. This incredible power surge seemingly came out of nowhere, and has prompted numerous discussions about What To Do With Jose Bautista.

Obviously any team would love to keep a player like Bautista, but it's not that simple. Jose will be a free agent after 2011, and since he's reaching free agency later than many players (he'll be 31) he only has this one chance to cash in with a big contract. So extending him might be a little expensive. AA has said some things along the lines of "the money's there if we need it" though, and any Bautista extension will certainly be much, much more reasonable than the Vernon Wells mulligan.

Secondly, there's his age, as previously mentioned. Bautista's case is weird since he didn't have his first good (great!) season until the age of 29, so it feels like, now that he's "figured it out", he'll have a good 4-5 year peak. But that'll take him into his mid-30s, and many players start to decline before then, so maybe that's an incorrect assumption to make.

Third among possible extension roadblocks is the team's timetable for winning. Bautista's window as a potentially great player is short even if he does maintain his current performance for a few years, so management should think about whether that window lines up with their target dates for competing. However, I think most around here would agree that that timetable has moved up given the team's performance this year, and I don't see this being an issue.

Of course, the biggest issue with extending Bautista is trying to project his performance going forward. He isn't a young hotshot who improved incrementally and is now blossoming into stardom. He bounced around throughout his 20s, gaining (fairly or not) the label of "utility player", then flipped a switch and is suddenly the best power hitter in the game. There isn't much precedent for this kind of career path, so any projection of Jose's future performance is inherently extremely risky.

So hopefully the Jays are doing all they can to make a best guess at that future performance before deciding how to proceed with Bautista. We could talk about whether Bautista's plate discipline (95 walks, 106 strikeouts) portends well, hypothesize on whatever swing adjustment was made prior to Sept. 09 and decide if that means Bautista's success is sustainable, etc. However, that's not the point that I want to make.

Look, the AL East is always going to be a difficult division to win, what with the Yankees and Red Sox buying any player they want and the Rays continually churning out great young teams. Not to mention the improving Orioles. So it's impossible to win the division with a "pretty good" team, as it may be in other divisions:

Last year, the Minnesota Twins won the AL Central with 87 wins.
In 2008, the Los Angeles Dodgers won the NL West with 84 wins.
In 2007, the Chicago Cubs won the NL Central with 85 wins.
In 2006, the St. Louis Cardinals won the NL Central with 83 wins.
In 2005, the San Diego Padres won the NL West with 82 wins.

It happens every year, somewhere. But never in the AL East. It's taken at least 95 wins for the last five years to win the East, and that doesn't look like it's gonna change any time soon. And if you want to be better than "pretty good", you need star players.

I'm not saying Bautista is a star. Once again, projecting his future performance is a different discussion. But he's played like a star this year. His WAR (6.4) dwarfs any other position player (Wells is next at 3.5) or pitcher (Romero leads at 3.8). Hill and Lind, who "carried" the team in 2009, put up WARs of 3.9 and 3.5, respectively. In fact, Bautista has compiled the most Wins Above Replacement of any Jays' position player in the Fangraphs Era (since 2002). More than Wells in any of his great years, more than Delgado in his final season.

That type of player is extremely hard to find. The hope is to develop them, like Tampa Bay has been able to do with players like Longoria and Price. Unfortunately, it happens so rarely - even very top prospects like Snider usually don't become true stars - that, in a division like the AL East, in which a Pretty Good team doesn't cut it, a team like the Jays needs to grab hold of them and never let go whenever possible, even if it takes a bit of cash. Bautista might not be that type of player. He might be in the middle of one of the flukiest years in history. But it's at least somewhat telling that nobody else on the team has ever had a year like this before.

It's clearly a big risk to hand Bautista a large chunk of change, but it's the type of risk the team needs to be taking. This is a player that we know, based on prior performance, is capable of playing at a superstar level in the major leagues. There are no other players currently on the team about whom we can say that (with the possible exception of Wells, who had a 5.7 WAR season in 2006 - his next best in nine full seasons was 3.7 in 2005 which is very good but nowhere near superstar level). The Jays need to build around this type of player, filling in the gaps with above-average, 2-4 WAR type players, like Wells, Hill, Lind, Buck etc. But it starts with the superstars, and Jose Bautista is currently the only one the team (might) have.
The Case For Extending Bautista | 58 comments | Create New Account
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Mike Green - Tuesday, September 21 2010 @ 04:14 PM EDT (#222825) #
My case for Bautista would be a little different.  Let's suppose that you believe that over the next 4 years, he can play third base and provide just below league average defence and hit .250 with an average of 32 homers and 81 walks (each figure exact and approximate).  I don't know if that is a "superstar", but it is a very good player and one that will do a lot to help you win even in the AL East.  Fortuitously, it is also a player that the organization is not likely to be able to develop either within that time frame.  So, the question to my mind is the money and what the alternatives are.  If the money's right, I wouldn't hesitate to sign.
R Romero Vaughan - Tuesday, September 21 2010 @ 04:16 PM EDT (#222826) #

Nicely put.

I think the only question is whether you want to cash in the older and perhaps somewhat risky superstar chip for someone you also think will be a true star level performer (we're talking names like Montero) but is also young and controllable.

However, I'd try and extend him for 1 or 2 years - to 3 years from now, as the fianancial risk will not cripple the Jays in any way. The issue is that  who knows what JoBau would actually be looking for. There are no precedents.

Incidentally. your logic is also the reason I liked the Escobar trade - as to my mind he was the only one of the 3 players involved who can be a 4-5 WAR player going forward.

It's also why JP's draft and acquisition tactics were soemwhat doomed in this division. Ironically, I'd say the late 90s teams had a lot of stars and few Buck/ Hill style effective fillers.

Mike Green - Tuesday, September 21 2010 @ 04:32 PM EDT (#222827) #
The overall value of Aaron Hill depends on your perspective of his defence.  At his best in 2007 and 2009, Dewan and Total Zone both had him as the best (or very close to it) defensive second baseman in baseball, whereas UZR had him his average.  Fangraphs uses UZR exclusively.  If you split the difference, Hill was a 4.5-5 WAR player in those years.  The club would have won if they had had a few more like him. 
johnny was - Tuesday, September 21 2010 @ 04:36 PM EDT (#222828) #
It would probably be fair to offer Bautista something like Carlos Pena's expiring deal of 3 yrs/$24 mil.  Pena signed that at age 29, coming off a 46 HR, 1.037 OPS season.
Pistol - Tuesday, September 21 2010 @ 04:54 PM EDT (#222829) #

What’s the risk in taking him to arbitration this offseason and bringing him back on a one year deal?  I think it's a lot lower risk than thinking that this is his established level of performance (or close to it) and paying him based on that for the next 3-4 years.

There's no need to jump the gun on a multi-year deal if you're not sure what you're getting with a player and you have the time to wait.  Signing a multi-year deal after a career year often leads to trouble.

Having said that, we don't know what kind of contract parameters might get a contract done.  So what should the team consider?  I have a hard time coming up with any scenario where 4 years is a good idea now.  So looking at 2 year and 3 year contracts, what's the line you'd cross?  For me, kind of off the top of my head, it'd be:
  • 2 years, $18 million ($8.0 million, $10.0 million)
  • 3 years, $25 million ($8.0, $8.5, $8.5)

It's not like Bautista has made lots of money in his career, so a contract offer in the $20 million range could be enticing to him (although I'd probably say either of those offers is probably less than 50/50 he'd accept).  But right now I wouldn't be willing to go beyond that in either years or dollars.
ayjackson - Tuesday, September 21 2010 @ 04:59 PM EDT (#222830) #

Pena's deal looks very digestible - did he have one arb year left?

I wouldn't want to go more than three years though.

ayjackson - Tuesday, September 21 2010 @ 05:00 PM EDT (#222832) #

A two or three year deal sets up Bautista for life and also gives him another shot at a big FA payday in his early thirties.

christaylor - Tuesday, September 21 2010 @ 05:00 PM EDT (#222833) #
Over the past 3 years A-Rod has averaged 30-ish HR, 80-odd HR, his batting average is better than Bautista's but their defense is probably comparable. I guess what I'm saying is yes, if he's the player that MG evaluate him as, he definitely can help them win in the AL East and going 3/30 wouldn't be unreasonable.

The Bautista decision will be a tough one -- the safe route is to see if he can repeat this performance next year and if he does, try to deal him at the dead-line. However, I don't think whatever the Jays decide whether Bautista is with the team in 2012 will be less of an issue than either (a) whether the pitching staff improves (b) Hill/Lind rebounding (c) if Snider and JPA can develop into above average players.

Personally, I'd really like to see the Jays sign Bautista to a Pena-like contract, but I'm not overly concerned if it doesn't happen and if it doesn't, I will be pleased if AA can turn Bautista into a player like Escobar or a prospect.

Bautista presents a tough decision, but I'm not convinced it is a terribly cruical one for the Jays, because nobody expected this performance and few expect him to repeat it.
Chuck - Tuesday, September 21 2010 @ 05:00 PM EDT (#222834) #
You wonder how confident Bautista is that this is his new level, or close to it. He might decide that 3/24 doesn't cut it, and that he'll take his $6-8M in arbitration and shoot for $15M per year thereafter, coinciding his free agency with J.D. Drew's retirement.
ayjackson - Tuesday, September 21 2010 @ 05:02 PM EDT (#222835) #
Is he really going to get less than $10m in arb?  What are the comps?
China fan - Tuesday, September 21 2010 @ 05:04 PM EDT (#222836) #
Brilliant analysis by Dave, and I totally agree with his conclusion.  (And even if we look at it from Mike's perspective, it's the same conclusion.)
China fan - Tuesday, September 21 2010 @ 05:35 PM EDT (#222837) #
There was a report recently that the Yankees tried to obtain Bautista at the trading deadline this year.  According to this report, Anthopolous asked for Joba Chamberlain and Brett Gardner, and the Yankees treated it as an absurd suggestion.   I have no idea if the report was true, but it's interesting to compare their numbers this year.  Based on WAR alone, Bautista (6.4 WAR) is better value than Gardner and Chamberlain (6.1 WAR combined).  Of course the advantage of Chamberlain and Gardner is that they're young and controllable, and they could improve, while Bautista will presumably decline.  But based on this year alone, Bautista has more value than those two Yankees combined.
Magpie - Tuesday, September 21 2010 @ 05:49 PM EDT (#222840) #
You wonder how confident Bautista is that this is his new level, or close to it.

I'll bet he's extremely confident that this is who he is (or has become.)
Mick Doherty - Tuesday, September 21 2010 @ 05:56 PM EDT (#222841) #

over Albert Pujols

Most freakish, science-fictiony line of the entire baseball season.

Nice piece, young sir.

Chuck - Tuesday, September 21 2010 @ 06:02 PM EDT (#222842) #

I'll bet he's extremely confident that this is who he is (or has become.)

I agree. I would think that it's the rare athlete indeed who thinks that he is having a flukish season that he is not likely to repeat. The same probably goes for the weekend warriors among us who have an out-of-character day on the links or the basketball court. Just human nature, I guess.

rtcaino - Tuesday, September 21 2010 @ 06:23 PM EDT (#222843) #
Dave: article got linked on MLBTR.

Pretty darn cool!

TamRa - Tuesday, September 21 2010 @ 06:56 PM EDT (#222844) #
it depends, of course, on the money - but if we set a ceiling of say $30-32 million on a three year deal, just for the sake of argument...

My take is that the ownership and Beeston have said "if you can justify how you will spend it, the money is there" - then i don't think we need to worry about getting "burned" on overpaying Bautista.

If he drops off to the level of hitting 25-30 homers and 80ish RBI (and it's hard to imagine he gets a lot worse than that if healthy) then he is objectively worth around $6-8 million per year. So if we end up paying him $30 mil over the next three years and he's only worth $18 million over those three years, then we "lose" about $3 mil a year which is not enough money to hurt us if Beeston is to be believed.

In short, you can't look at the WHOLE cost of the contract as a loss, but how much is the contract more than what the player is worth, if at all?

Dave Till - Tuesday, September 21 2010 @ 08:13 PM EDT (#222846) #
The only real question is this: does spending money on Bautista limit the amount of money that is available for other useful things? I gather that the answer is no. In which case, I think the Jays have to go for it.

Bautista has three plus tools (power, walks, throwing arm), is ideally suited to the ballpark, is popular with the fans, is coachable, and isn't having a fluke season (recall that he did this last September too). Re-signing him to a three-year deal would benefit both player and club: Bautista becomes financially secure, the team gets to keep him until 2013, and - if he is for real - he will probably get one more crack at a free agent contract.

Mike Green - Tuesday, September 21 2010 @ 10:04 PM EDT (#222852) #
AYJ asked about comps for Bautista.  The best I could do among recent signings was Jorge Cantu last year for $6 million, and Jayson Werth the year before on a 2 year contract for $3 million in 2009 and $7 million in 2010.  Werth is incidentally a nice example of a player who broke out at age 29 and has sustained it; the Phillies did very well on the contract. Both Cantu and Werth had over 5 years of service.  Bautista's season has, of course, outstripped anything Cantu or Werth has ever done, but it's an interesting question how an arbitrator might look at 1 year performance that is inconsistent with the rest of a player's career.
smcs - Tuesday, September 21 2010 @ 11:03 PM EDT (#222854) #
What about Ryan Ludwick?  Played parts of 4 seasons (02-05), none in '06.  In 2007, his age 28 season, hit .267/.339/.479 in 120 games (339 PAs) with 14 HRs and 22 doubles.  Broke out in his age 29 season, hitting .299/.375/.591 with 37 HRs and 40 doubles in 152 games (617 PAs).  After his '08 season, he hit arbitration for the first time.  He put in a number of $4.25M, the Cards countered with $2.8M and they settled at $3.7M.  Bautista's age 28 season (2009) is similar to Ludwick's, but Bautista had performed at the same level for three years previous whereas Ludwick sort of came out of nowhere.  The jump for Bautista has been much larger that Ludwick, and Bautista will be in his final year of arbitration instead of his first.  If we assume that a player in their 1st year of arbitration will get 40% of what they would on the open market, 60% in their 2nd year and 80% in their final year, Ludwick's $3.7M in his 1st year would be worth $7.14M in his final year.  Based on this, I would put Bautista submitting $10.5M, the Jays submitting around $8M and then meeting in the middle with incentives attached.
brent - Wednesday, September 22 2010 @ 12:24 AM EDT (#222856) #

Trading for Bautista was a huge win. I think it best to just let it play out. If a great deal comes along in the offseason or next trade deadline, I think the Jays should take it. If he walks away as a Type A free agent, that's fine too.

Signing a player after a career year is always a mistake. The Jays are looking for real at 2015, and Jose is not going to be a useful piece by then. If Bautista will sign a bargain deal, then go ahead and do it, but I think he is going to want to get paid.

Jdog - Wednesday, September 22 2010 @ 12:39 AM EDT (#222857) #
My guess is AA signs him to a 3 year deal this offseason for around 30 million which I think would be good for both parties.
John Northey - Wednesday, September 22 2010 @ 09:17 AM EDT (#222858) #
Signing a guy after a career year in his late 20's is the way you end up with a contract you regret later.

Basically, this is going to be the big test for AA along with Aaron Hill's deal. Two cases, opposite ends of the spectrum.

Last winter he signed Lind to a multi-year deal after his best season, but Lind was about to enter his age 26 season thus had his entire peak in the contract window. Bautista is entering his age 30 season, thus you will have, at most, 3 peak years but most likely only decline years.

Best case = a third baseman who has a 150+ OPS+ = MVP candidate
Worst case = a medicore defensive RF who has a high 90's OPS+

Before this season Bautista hit 238/329/400 for a 91 OPS+ over 2038 PA. This year 264/382/618 for a 166 OPS+ over 633 PA.

His batting average is his best ever by 10 points
His OBP is his best ever by 33 points
His Slg% is his best ever by 198 points

The power is the elephant in the room. Is it for real or not. The OBP and Avg land within normal range of error stuff - guys do that often. That power though...oh that power. His doubles and triples are in eyeshot of what you'd expect otherwise, it is his changing about 30 singles into home runs that is the big deal.

If I ran the Jays I'd be doing everything I could to determine why that power has happened - who has he hit home runs off of, was it he got lucky off a lot of bad pitchers or did he get them across the board? Has his bat speed increased? His batting eye improved (check what pitches he has swung at via pitch f/x and compare to past years)? Are these things you can count on?

My quick memory check, then stat check came up with just one good comparison. Sammy Sosa. Jumping from a 100 OPS+ player to a 150+ but he had 3 seasons of 120+ OPS+ before. Still, his big year (66 HR) was after a 99 OPS+ and he had a career 106 OPS+ before it.

That year his average was 8 points higher than ever.
His OBP was his best by 37 points
His Slg% was his best ever by 83 points

Sosa dropped in doubles and triples (15 total), shifting them to home runs along with 15 more on top of that. Bautista, on the other hand, didn't lose his doubles or triples.

Sosa, after that, had 4 more years comparable (150+) or even better (his 328/437/737 for a 203 OPS+ in 2001 with 64 home runs was forgotten against Bonds 73 HR). His 5th year dropped to a 133, then 113, then 78, then 101 before being unable to get a contract.

Can Bautista duplicate Sosa's success? I hate using Sosa due to the negative image we all have of him now, but the comparison seems apt as both had an amazing peak at 29 driven largely by home runs.
Ryeguy - Wednesday, September 22 2010 @ 09:28 AM EDT (#222859) #
I agree that signing a guy at this age after a massive 'career' type year is usually a path towards financial failure, assuming he gets somewhere in the range of 8-10 mil/year for 3 years. However, there is one large safety net with regards to Jose, and that is that he's such a valuable commodity in the field, being able to play multiple positions well.

Even if he was to degress at the plate to a level of a platoon type player, he still has some value in that he can play multiple positions for the team. Most typical sluggers are a liability in the field at the best of times and when they hit the bricks its hard to find little residual value in the lineup. Bautista at least can serve as very capable platoon type player. Still not worth 8-10 mil a year, but still a bit plus. Plus, by all accounts, he will serve as a great mentor and locker room guy for the young latin prospects the Jays seem to be retuning their focus on.  
John Northey - Wednesday, September 22 2010 @ 09:52 AM EDT (#222861) #
I'll have to do a good Lahman Database search post-season (ie: whenever I have time) and find similar jumps ala Bautista's. Namely, someone who pre-age 29 was a high 90's OPS+ guy who jumped to 150+ at age 29 then see what happened next. Can't be too many of them in baseball history one would think, so I might have to adjust the parameters (wider age range, smaller jump, etc.). Once I get the queries going I'll be fine, but it takes time to design good ones (yes, that is a big part of my living, making queries of large datasets and I love doing it).
Pistol - Wednesday, September 22 2010 @ 10:13 AM EDT (#222862) #
Is he really going to get less than $10m in arb?  What are the comps?

This has it at $5-6 million, back in July.  Maybe it's gone up a little since.
Mike Green - Wednesday, September 22 2010 @ 10:39 AM EDT (#222863) #
Pistol, the underlying article relies on one comp, Carlos Pena, who at the time of signing had a year less of service time.  The equivalent argument on the other side would be to say that if Ryan Howard can get $10 million after 2006 and 2007, Bautista ought to be paid much more than that, as service time is key.  I would make neither argument. 

I do know that Jorge Cantu in his final year of arbitration last year got $6 million, and (to put it mildly) there is a plausible argument that Bautista should get more.  There have been no breakouts leading up to the final arb year any time within the last number of years that I can find, and so all comps would be imperfect. 

Mick Doherty - Wednesday, September 22 2010 @ 11:22 AM EDT (#222867) #
You mean Jorge Cantu, who in a month in one of the best hitter's environments in baseball, is hitting .206 with no homers and NO runs batted in? Not the comp Bautista will be rooting for to come up in negotations ...
earlweaverfan - Wednesday, September 22 2010 @ 12:02 PM EDT (#222870) #
Out of curiosity, wherre do people think about where Bautista will play under a three-year contract?  My hope would be third base, with the Jays finding a strong replacement for him in RF.  Is there anyone who sees Edwin Encarnacion to be a keeper or even with us next year?  I am not convinced that he can play above his current modest performance.

I am still intrigued with the idea, suggested by more than one person around here, that Rasmus might be available from the Cards, i.e., an outfielder who could play a much stronger RF than Snider.

An outfield of Wells (or at least the 2010 version), Snider (or at least the Snider we hope he will become) and Rasmus (or at least a Rasmus who is willing to let himself be managed) could be fearsome at the plate and pretty acceptable in the field.

lexomatic - Wednesday, September 22 2010 @ 12:15 PM EDT (#222873) #
Rasmus is supposed to be a plus defender, if that happens to be the case, I'd be doing whatever I can  to get Wells into RF.
bpoz - Wednesday, September 22 2010 @ 12:21 PM EDT (#222875) #
I like JB in RF. Some people think that his defense at 3rd is not very good, if that is correct then RF gives us both good offense & defense.
TamRa - Wednesday, September 22 2010 @ 12:48 PM EDT (#222877) #
I've seen it reported that the metrics don't like him much in RF either, aside from the arm.

Rich - Wednesday, September 22 2010 @ 01:47 PM EDT (#222878) #
My guess is AA signs him to a 3 year deal this offseason for around 30 million which I think would be good for both parties.

I agree completely.
Mylegacy - Wednesday, September 22 2010 @ 01:50 PM EDT (#222879) #
Jose poses problems.

The first problem is that - aside form his actual performance - Jose is an excellent addition to the clubhouse and an excellent mentor to the Hispanic kids. The second problem is his "resurrection" in September last year - is he really on his way to heaven or is he just a snake in the grass? The third problem is his age - he's 30 - a long term contract (3 or 4 years) to a guy with one good year on the other side of 30? The fourth problem is we "own" him next year - and can have him for a one year "arbitration" price and then see what he does - and try to re-sign him mid-season to a long term (3-4 year) contract IF he proves to be for real.

SO - my two cents worth - IF we can get him for 3 years (one arb year + two free agent years) then SIGN HIM. IF it takes 4 or more - then just sign him for next year and IF he is still SPECIAL then try and re-sign him mid-season. I realize this risks us losing him after next year - it's a risk I'd take.

williams_5 - Wednesday, September 22 2010 @ 11:02 PM EDT (#222898) #
Nice Bautista piece from Joe Posnanski here.
smcs - Thursday, September 23 2010 @ 01:02 AM EDT (#222899) #
At the game tonight and haven't seen exhaustive replays, but can anyone tell my how far foul Bautista was?
CaramonLS - Thursday, September 23 2010 @ 01:04 AM EDT (#222900) #
3 years is the most I give Bautista - to be honest though, I don't know if he would take 3/30, but that is pretty damned close to the upper limit I offer the guy - MAYBE 33...

Lets say he tears up - and I mean crushes it - the league again next season and the Jays offer him a contract mid season - I doubt Jose would turn down a 2/28 offer, given his age (I assume he gets 10 mill in Arb). 

At worst it would turn out to be an 8 million dollar gamble...

It would look a lot worse than that if he reverted to a 1-2 million dollar player like he was before...

Moe - Thursday, September 23 2010 @ 03:10 AM EDT (#222901) #
Lets say he tears up - and I mean crushes it - the league again next season and the Jays offer him a contract mid season - I doubt Jose would turn down a 2/28 offer, given his age (I assume he gets 10 mill in Arb).

If he crushes the league again next year, he will get a lot more than 2/28. He would be 31 and a "proven slugger". Adam Dunn comes to mind and Jose's performance offensively and defensively would be better. I think the consensus on Dunn is something like 3/40 so Jose should get at least this much, possibly quite a bit more.

Gerry - Thursday, September 23 2010 @ 01:09 PM EDT (#222911) #
I see JPA is playing today.  His last two starts have been against John Lester and now Felix Hernandez.  Welcome to the bigs Rook and remember to thank your manager on the way out.
TamRa - Thursday, September 23 2010 @ 02:47 PM EDT (#222924) #
yeah, it's like Cito figures Buck ain't gonna get to 20 off those guys anyway so let the kid suck up the 0-4...

I'm sure there's a perfectly innocent explanation though.

the same one that kept him out of the DH role when Lind missed a game the other night probably..

got to repost this tweet from parkes:

"Wow. No runs today for the Mariners. Imagine how few they'd score if Aaron Cibia could only call a half decent game."

China fan - Thursday, September 23 2010 @ 02:57 PM EDT (#222925) #

Right.   It's all a Giant Conspiracy against poor JPA.   

When people were complaining about him not playing, I don't recall anyone saying, "Oh, by the way, we also want him to face only the bad pitchers.  No good pitchers, please."

Mike Green - Thursday, September 23 2010 @ 03:10 PM EDT (#222926) #
Keep Willie Mays and Willie McCovey out of this, CF, or you'll be really, really sorry. :)

Speaking of sorry, you've got to feel for Felix Hernandez. On merit, he has arguably been the best pitcher in the league, and if I had a Cy Young vote, he'd get it.  It has got to be demoralizing realizing that you have to throw 8 or 9 good or better innings for your club to have a decent chance of winning and even then, your club might lose unless you throw a shutout.  He's now 12-12 on the season, and if ever a .500 record was misleading, this would be the one.

Mike Green - Thursday, September 23 2010 @ 03:42 PM EDT (#222928) #
And one more thing.  Why would you send Hernandez to throw the ninth?  Or even the eighth?  The game is meaningless.  The man has thrown already 240 great innings this year.  The only reason that I can think of is to give him an opportunity to "win" the game and improve his chances of getting the CYA.  Blech.
Pistol - Thursday, September 23 2010 @ 03:57 PM EDT (#222929) #
When people were complaining about him not playing, I don't recall anyone saying, "Oh, by the way, we also want him to face only the bad pitchers.  No good pitchers, please."

Presumably, you want to put your players in the best position to succeed.  Playing irregularly, and then facing the best pitcher in the AL when you do play, isn't exactly a formula for success.
Chuck - Thursday, September 23 2010 @ 04:17 PM EDT (#222932) #

Speaking of sorry, you've got to feel for Felix Hernandez.

Clearly he doesn't have the skills required to pitch to the score. Maybe one day, when he's older...

Mike Green - Thursday, September 23 2010 @ 04:20 PM EDT (#222934) #
...and wearing pinstripes.
Chuck - Thursday, September 23 2010 @ 04:24 PM EDT (#222935) #

Playing irregularly, and then facing the best pitcher in the AL when you do play, isn't exactly a formula for success.

At least his ERA has gone down. Maybe he'll snag Molina's starts over the next two weeks.

scottt - Thursday, September 23 2010 @ 04:31 PM EDT (#222936) #
Bautista doesn't seem to mind Hernandez.

Can Hill demand JPA as his personal catcher or would that get him benched?

Buck had 1 homerun in August and none in July. I don't think he hits 20 this year. If he does, he probably hits them both in the same game. It's still pretty good considering he plays around 120 games a year, but he's probably back in the 8-12 range next year.

Nobody said anything about good pitchers. Cy Young candidates or bust.

I see Hill ahead of Drabek for now.

Also with Lewis gone for the year, I expect to see Snider every single day.

Mike Green - Thursday, September 23 2010 @ 04:46 PM EDT (#222937) #
Chuck - Thursday, September 23 2010 @ 04:48 PM EDT (#222938) #

I see Hill ahead of Drabek for now.

One wonders if Vegas won't play a role in the decision-making process.

To forego piling up clock time and to give someone who'll be just 23 a little more time to gain experience, AAA would seem like a reasonable place for Drabek to start 2011. But you wonder if the organization wants to keep some of its most prized pitchers from having to endure Vegas, if at all possible. If so, then the team is faced with the option of returning Drabek to AA -- not likely given that he needs to be rewarded for 2010 -- and the majors, for which the organization may not yet feel he is entirely ready.

bpoz - Thursday, September 23 2010 @ 04:59 PM EDT (#222939) #
I work nights so I only listened to the 1st inning. I got lucky and got to hear JB's 50th HR live.

I guess its an unimportant game to both teams, but lets see any positives.

1) Does S Hill have any chance in 2011. His ERA is 2.81
2)The 2nd hit belongs to T Snider. I only heard his 1st inning strikeout but did our youngsters T Snider & JPA have quality ABs.
3) And most important the pitchers and catcher relationship must have been good. This was obviously a close game. Ichiro & Figgins got 3 hits and a walk and they have 81 stolen bases between them. JPA did his part in controlling them.
4) B Mills ML career seems to be mainly against very strong teams and he has not been able to succeed. Against Baltimore & Seattle the weak teams he has a shutout going and he is pitching with quite a few days off in between outings this Sept.

This had to have been a good game to experience. Edge of your seat type of victory.
Dewey - Thursday, September 23 2010 @ 05:56 PM EDT (#222941) #
Interesting item in today's NYT about Bing Crosby's tape (in fine shape still) of Game 7 of the 1960 World Series.  I'd love to have it on DVD.
TamRa - Thursday, September 23 2010 @ 10:29 PM EDT (#222949) #
CF i think you are failing to pick up on the tongue-in-cheekiness of my comment.

also, by the way, failing to respond to the more serious point that there didn't seem to any difficulty in the rest of his game today.

Thomas - Thursday, September 23 2010 @ 11:31 PM EDT (#222950) #
also, by the way, failing to respond to the more serious point that there didn't seem to any difficulty in the rest of his game today.

Well, he did make one ill-advised throw to second on a wild pitch, although Hill may also bear some of the blame on for not making a more concerted effort to cover the base. However, it was a ball that Arencibia should probably have never thrown. That being said, he seemed to be in tandem with the pitcher today, Hill in particular. I don't recall many, if any, incidents of Hill shaking off Arencibia.

I have been wrong on the Arencibia-Gaston front before, but I wouldn't be surprised if Cito's predominant concern was to have the veteran, Buck, working the plate for Drabek, the rookie pitcher. If Hernandez had gone on Tuesday night, I think we'd still have seen Buck and then Arencibia today. I'd rather Arencibia face King Felix than sit on the bench, but I'd rather he face King Felix and also get some starts against the Luke Frenchs and Chris Tillmans.

China fan - Friday, September 24 2010 @ 08:35 AM EDT (#222956) #

WillRain, it's sometimes a little difficult to know which of your comments are tongue-in-cheek and which comments are serious, so please forgive me if I didn't catch your main point above.  Were you serious in suggesting that we should draw conclusions from one game against a Mariners lineup that was one of the weakest that the Jays have faced this season (aside from Ichiro)?  But I've read your posts for years and I know that you don't believe in drawing conclusions from small sample sizes.  Otherwise we could be merrily assessing JPA from his .167 batting average or his .594 OPS (in 30 at-bats) or even from the 6.20 catcher's ERA that he sported as he entered yesterday's game.  It wouldn't be fair to draw conclusions from any of those small samples, and I'm sure Alex Anthopolous is not doing this.  I'm sure he is assessing JPA based on the evidence of the past two years (at least).  September statistics can be rather misleading too -- remember the .803 OPS that Travis Snider racked up in September 2008 as a 20-year-old?  It wasn't exactly predictive of his numbers for 2009 and 2010.

Anthopolous is probably also drawing conclusions from the things that we, as fans, have very little access to: JPA's pre-game preparation for opposition hitters; his rapport with the other catchers and the pitchers, and what the pitchers are privately saying about him; his attitude and work ethic; and similar factors.  I'm not sure what those factors reveal about JPA.   I agree with you that some coaches and players have praised his work ethic and his defensive abilities, but -- unlike you -- I'm not sure if that's enough to settle the question, given the tendency of everyone in baseball to praise prospects in public.  I'll be very intrigued to see what Anthopolous decides on the key question of whether JPA is ready for 120 games as catcher next season.  All that I've ever said is:  it's perhaps not quite the slam-dunk that JPA's fans have asserted.   This is not a criticism of JPA, and as a fan I hope he can be better than John Buck, as soon as possible.  I'm just sounding a mild note of caution.

bpoz - Friday, September 24 2010 @ 01:06 PM EDT (#222971) #
As far as the Jays resigning JB, I was wondering what JB's feelings will be when he has to seriously consider his future this off season when all his accomplishments really sink in.

He is having a great year capped by 50 HR.

So $ wise he should do well with any team.

Does he think he will be very good for OH!! 10 more years or just 3-5 more years. Because a World Series ring will look very good sitting beside any trophy he may receive for winning the HR title. Maybe also a Gold Glove. The 50th HR baseball may also get to be his unless the HOF or someone has to take it.
If that world Series ring is important to him then he will have to eliminate a few teams.
A home ballpark should be considered by him for suiting his hitting characteristics.

I hope he does well and I am grateful for the pleasure he gave me as a Blue Jay.
vw_fan17 - Friday, September 24 2010 @ 04:18 PM EDT (#222979) #
bpoz - as I understand it, JB has one more year of arbitration left, so I would say 98% he's back as a Jay next year (unless traded). The question is, what happens AFTER 2011.

TamRa - Friday, September 24 2010 @ 04:23 PM EDT (#222980) #
WillRain, it's sometimes a little difficult to know which of your comments are tongue-in-cheek and which comments are serious, so please forgive me if I didn't catch your main point above.  Were you serious in suggesting that we should draw conclusions from one game against a Mariners lineup that was one of the weakest that the Jays have faced this season (aside from Ichiro)?

At the risk of Fisking....I am serious that IF Cito can rationally have been expected to conclude that JPA was lacking based on five starts...IF it is reasonable to conclude that any of the Jays pitchers could have found him deficent based on one or two games working with him, THEN it is JUST as rational to conclude that he no longer has problems based on one game.

in fact, the record shows that he's called a good game before. that, of course, can be rationalized as Romero being so good that it was he and not JPA who got the credit. So there's always wiggle room for someont to avoid that which undermines their position.

but the bottom line here is that IF it is true that one game proves nothing (and it is) then it is likewise true that his previous major leage starts prove nothing about whether he has work to do or whether the pitchers like throwing to him.

I'm sure Alex Anthopolous is not doing this.  I'm sure he is assessing JPA based on the evidence of the past two years (at least).

A point I have made myself a few times in the last week in an effort to refute the argument that Cito and/or the pitchers have suddenly developed grave concerns about his ability, and that Anthpoulos shares those concerns. you are making my argument for me here.

I'm just sounding a mild note of caution.

there are ALWAYS things we don't know. Very often we say of a signing or a release or a trade "How does that make sense?" and we sometimes never find out but often later find out some piece of info we were not privy to that explains it.

Heck, you need look no further than JPA's kidney issue and vision problems in 2009 that we as fans knew NOTHING about until the post-season procedures to see an example.

So, in that sense, caution is ALWAYS adviseable and we as fans cannot be certain of ANY thing about next year's team.

but, if i may say, this whole debate appears to me to derive much more from your intense desire to defend Cito from what you precive as unfair criticism than it does any strong opinion about JPA.

it reminds me very much of my often lone defense of JPR against what I viewed (and still do) as irrational criticism (especially when JPR provided so very much fertile material for criticism)
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