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It's been a couple of years since I examined how the rotation was managed...


This is one of the most important things a manager does - I would suggest that it's far more important than 90% of what the conversation about managers generally covers. As you will recall, the team came out of spring training with Marcum, Romero, Morrow, Tallet, and Eveland in the rotation. Gaston went with Marcum on Opening Day and just turned the five of them over for the first few weeks... (if the starter's name is in CAPS, the Jays won the game)

Marcum, TALLET, ROMERO, MORROW, EVELAND (off-day after Marcum)
MARCUM, Tallet, ROMERO, Morrow, EVELAND
Marcum, Tallet, Romero, MORROW, EVELAND

Brian Tallet went on the DL and was replaced by Brett Cecil. Gaston simply inserted Cecil in Tallet's spot and kept turning the five starters over...

Marcum, CECIL, Romero, Morrow, Eveland (off-day after Marcum)
Marcum, Cecil, ROMERO, MORROW, Eveland
MARCUM, CECIL, ROMERO, MORROW, EVELAND
MARCUM, Cecil, ROMERO, Morrow, Eveland
MARCUM, CECIL, ROMERO, MORROW, Eveland (off-day after Marcum)
MARCUM, CECIL, Romero, Morrow, Eveland

That was all for Dana Eveland, and a conveniently located off-day allowed Gaston to get by with just four starters for one turn through the rotation

MARCUM, CECIL, Romero, Morrow (off-day after Morrow)

Brian Tallet came off the DL and made his brief return to the rotation.

MARCUM, CECIL, ROMERO, MORROW, Tallet (off-day after Marcum)
Marcum, CECIL, ROMERO, Morrow, Tallet

Until Jesse Litsch was ready to go, sending Tallet (permanently) to the bullpen

Marcum, CECIL, Romero, Morrow, Litsch
MARCUM, Cecil, ROMERO, MORROW, LITSCH (off-day after Romero)
Marcum, Cecil, Romero, MORROW, Litsch (off-day after Marcum)
MARCUM, Cecil, Romero, Morrow, Litsch
Marcum, CECIL, Romero, Morrow, Litsch (off-day after Morrow)

With just one turn through the order left before the Break, Shaun Marcum was shut down and Mark Rzepczynski filled in

RZEPCZYNSKI, CECIL, Romero, MORROW, Litsch

The Jays got 4 off-days at the Break, and Gaston: a) adjusted the sequence of starters, and b) ran through six different starters before turning the rotation over. For one thing, there was a double-header to cope with:

ROMERO, MORROW, MARCUM, Cecil/LITSCH, Rzepczynski (Cecil/Litsch was the July 25 DH)

Another off-day allowed him to give Morrow some extra rest

Romero, MARCUM, CECIL, Litsch, MORROW (off-day after Romero)

And Brad Mills came up to help out as well. Gaston ran through another six man sequence.

ROMERO, MILLS, MARCUM, Cecil, Litsch, MORROW

That would be the end of Jesse Litsch in 2010. Brad Mills was already in place to take his spot. After the next off-day, Gaston bumped Mills back a day or so to keep Cecil on regular rest but again gave Morrow additional rest

ROMERO, Marcum, CECIL, MILLS, MORROW (off-day after Marcum; off-day after Morrow)

He used the second off-day to give Cecil some additional rest, and skips Morrow entirely (that last start was his 17K one-hitter) the next time through. Rzepczynski comes up to take Morrow's start.

Romero, Marcum, MILLS, RZEPCZYNSKI, Cecil

Rzepczynski stays in the rotation as Mills returns to AAA.

ROMERO, MARCUM, Morrow, Rzepczynski, CECIL (off-day after Rzepczynski)
Romero, Marcum, MORROW, Rzepczynski, CECIL
Romero, MARCUM, MORROW, Rzepczynski, Cecil
ROMERO, Marcum, Morrow, Rzepczynski, CECIL (off-day after Marcum)

At this point, Morrow is shut down for the year. Shawn Hill takes his place - Gaston uses that and the off-day to get Brett Cecil some extra rest.

ROMERO, MARCUM, Rzepczynski, Hill, Cecil

Kyle Drabek comes up and the team goes to a six man rotation. Gaston again gets extra rest for Cecil by inserting Drabek before him.

Romero, MARCUM, Rzepczynski, Hill, Drabek, Cecil

He flips Drabek and Hill, presumably to keep the younger pitcher as close as possible to his normal rest

ROMERO, Marcum, RZEPCZYNSKI, Drabek, HILL, CECIL

He flips Cecil and Hill, giving Cecil the start against the Yankees (Cecil is 3-0, 2.22 against the Yankees this season.)

ROMERO, MARCUM, RZEPCZYNSKI, Drabek ......... yet to be played - we'll see [Cecil, Hill
Romero, Marcum, Rzepczynski,]

While in the past Gaston (and Gibbons before him) would take advantage of off-days to bump the rest of the starters back a day or two in order to keep Roy Halladay humming along on his regular rest (which over the course of a season would also ensure two or three extra starts for Halladay) Gaston did none of that this season - he seemed more interested in finding ways to get additional time off for Morrow and, later on, Cecil.


 3 days 4 days 5 days 6 days 7+ days Off Rotation
Romero 0 16 8 6 0 1
Marcum 0 15 9 4 0 2
Cecil 0 12 9 3 2 1
Morrow 0 11 10 2 2 1
Rzepczynski 1 3 3 0 1 3
Eveland 0 6 2 0 0 1
Litsch 0 3 3 1 1 1
Tallet 0 2 0 1 0 2
Mills 0 1 0 0 1 1
Drabek 0 0 1 1 0 1
Hill 0 1 0 0 1 1

Off Rotation includes first start of the year, coming up from the minors, coming out of the bullpen, coming off the DL...

And if you look very closely, you'll notice that the team got at least one victory on every trip through the rotation. I didn't know that. But that's how the longest losing streak this year was five games.
Managing the Rotation | 85 comments | Create New Account
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Mike Green - Wednesday, September 29 2010 @ 04:48 PM EDT (#223269) #
Nice, Magpie.  I was wondering how Morrow and Cecil did with the extra day of rest.  The answer:

Morrow (on 4 days)- .276/.355/.449
Morrow (on 5 days)- .244/.312/.306 (he didn't allow a homer all season on 5 days rest and had better W/K nos. too)

Cecil (on 4 days)- .238/.292/.356
Cecil (on 5 days)- .246/.316/.382

Overall, you'd have to say that the approach worked from a performance perspective and both were healthy (he says while knocking on wood). 

It seems to me that the change in pitching coaches probably played a significant role, but Gaston also deserves his share of the credit for a well-managed pitching staff in 2010.

John Northey - Wednesday, September 29 2010 @ 05:03 PM EDT (#223271) #
The lack of long losing streaks really shows the value of a deep rotation. What is funny is if you look at ERA+ you would never think the rotation is a strength.

ERA+ range, who, and what level of starter they are

120+: Hill (151) - ace level
110-120: Romero, Marcum - solid #3, decent #2
100-109: none - decent #3, solid #4
90-99: Cecil, Morrow - decent #5, weak #4
80-89: Drabek - livable at #5
70-79: Rzep, Litsch, Mills - dumping level
60-69: Eveland, Tallet - should've been let go earlier
0-59: none, but Tallet still has a few games to drop down to here.

So based only on this years results we have an ace (over 3 starts), 2 guys for #2/3, a pair of weak #4/decent #5's, and a lot of filler.

Based on potential though Romero, Cecil, Morrow, Drabek have all been listed as potential aces at some point. Marcum, Rzep, Hill and Litsch (almost-118) have shown they can pull in a 120 ERA+ (2008, 2009 [61 1/3 IP], 2007 [97 IP] and 07/08 respectively).

Yeah, that is a lot of talent there. Should be fun seeing what happens next.
Mike Green - Wednesday, September 29 2010 @ 05:06 PM EDT (#223272) #
John,

Most Hall of Fame starting pitchers have career ERA+s in the 110-120 range.  The average starting pitcher has an ERA+ of about 95, because it's a lot easier to be a reliever. You need to move the goalposts some.

Magpie - Wednesday, September 29 2010 @ 05:10 PM EDT (#223273) #
It seems to me that the change in pitching coaches probably played a significant role

No doubt Walton had a lot of influence on Gaston's decision making. That would be because Gaston let him, of course, because Gaston and Walton see eye to eye on running a pitching staff. Pretty clearly, Gaston and Arnsberg didn't.

Gaston has a rather good record for keeping his starting pitchers healthy and functioning. Whereas Brad Arnsberg...
Kasi - Wednesday, September 29 2010 @ 05:26 PM EDT (#223274) #
ERA+ is a pretty weak stat. It is limited because it assumes a lot of things that aren't true. The main issue I have is that it is so simplistic. All it takes into account really is ballpark factor and league ERA. It doesn't differentiate between a team in the AL west compared to the AL East for example. Cecil's 4.2 ERA might not seem that good, but then again considering his competition I'm fairly pleased with it.

If you look at stats like FIP and xFIP the Jays are quite strong. Throughout the season Hardball Times had reports on strength of rotations in different divisions. Their Rankometer that is. And it showed the Jays as doing very well between 1-4. Even Eveland at the time they ranked him wasn't that bad, given how bad most team's 5th starters are. If you compare all the numbers of Toronto versus Tampa, they come off pretty well. (slightly better in fact) Boston though is still really good and probably has the best rotation in the division.

Magpie - Wednesday, September 29 2010 @ 05:36 PM EDT (#223275) #
The lack of long losing streaks really shows the value of a deep rotation.

Yup. These last few years, it always felt like Roy Halladay was the only thing standing in the way of a nine game losing streak. Every time he lost a game...

Hey, speaking of Doc... imagine that on the 4th of April commissioner Bud had  suddenly decided to void the Halladay for Drabek et al trade, on the grounds that the city that made Dave Schultz  famous needs to suffer a little longer. Much, much longer. The Phillies protested, of course, but Bud stood firm, and after a few days they bowed to his will. Halladay returned to Toronto just in time to kick Dana Eveland to the curb...

That spot in the rotation Eveland-Tallet (second time)-Litsch-Rzepczynski - and we'd obviously have to add Drabek - made 36 starts. They went 7-17, 5.73.

Think Doc might have done better?

Dammit, Bud. Where were you when we needed you?

ayjackson - Wednesday, September 29 2010 @ 06:23 PM EDT (#223277) #
I think AA and Lacava also deserve credit for rotation decisions.  I think on a few occasions Cito mentioned that roster/rotation construction decisions were made in a meeting of the minds between Cito, Tony and Alex (and Walton for pitching decisions).  Cito generally gets credit for yanking pitchers out of games and I can't say I remember an occasion where I thought he made a poor decision.
smcs - Wednesday, September 29 2010 @ 07:51 PM EDT (#223280) #
Part of me wishes that Mike Mussina would have pitched for the Yanks tonight.
budgell - Wednesday, September 29 2010 @ 09:20 PM EDT (#223281) #
I'm enjoying listening to Pat Hentgen tonight, great insight on the Jays rotation and minor league arms. 
Gerry - Wednesday, September 29 2010 @ 09:51 PM EDT (#223282) #
Where was Pat Gillick and no Jumbotron message from Pat?
John Northey - Wednesday, September 29 2010 @ 10:05 PM EDT (#223283) #
ERA+ is reasonable imo - clearing out park factors and putting it onto an easy to understand scale vs FIP and ERA which require you to know what the league average is and the like. I do like how xFIP tries to remove fielding and fly ball luck from the equation though.

Doing a quick xFIP check...
Drabek: 3.61
Morrow: 3.64
Hill: 3.75
Romero: 3.81
Marcum: 3.90
---gap---
Cecil: 4.30
Rzep: 4.41
---big gap---
Mills: 5.32
Litsch: 5.46
Tallet: 5.54
Eveland: 5.69

Interesting. Drabek & Morrow look a lot better with this. Also, the more stats I look at the more Hill looks like he deserves a real shot in 2011. Imagine a rotation with no one over 4 for ERA. Of course, unless injured Cecil will be in the rotation. I suspect Rzep will be the #7 guy with Hill or Drabek getting the #5 slot and the other being #6. Mills/Litsch/Tallet are all in the 'prove yourself quickly or get a real job' area.

FYI: Halladay is at 2.94 this year, 3.05 last, 3.14 the year before when it comes to xFIP.
Smithers - Wednesday, September 29 2010 @ 11:17 PM EDT (#223285) #
I just want to say that tonight's win was a mighty fine one to take in.  I'm eternally grateful to the Rogers pinheads for not royally screwing their faithful and putting it on Sportsnet One.  Tonight's broadcast was likely my favourite one of the year - I laughed, I cried, I cheered, and in the end the home nine took the season series against the Yankee$ and guaranteed a winning record on the year.  And who'da thunk 15 wins for Brett Cecil to go with 20 HR for John Buck?

Cito leaving out the front door has a very nice touch of class to it, helping to heal the franchise and launching it on the path to a brave new future.  Optimism abounds in Jays land for the first time in nearly a generation.

Oh, and Travis Snider rocks the 'stache pretty nicely too.
Kasi - Wednesday, September 29 2010 @ 11:27 PM EDT (#223286) #
It's like OPS+, well they really are done the same way. The thing I don't like is that it treats the the AL as one big entity, when anyone knows that playing and pitching in the AL East is far tougher than playing in the Central or West. xFip is good, and yes it treats Morrow quite well. He was really unlucky with some stats this year. Cecil needs to cut down the cheap hits and walks though if he wants to measure up to the other guys.
earlweaverfan - Thursday, September 30 2010 @ 12:07 AM EDT (#223289) #
As the farthest thing from a sabremetrician, I need some help. I do gather that xFIP gives a strong indication of the future ERA+ performance a pitcher should achieve, am I right? But if pitchers mature in their late 20s, then wouldn't these xFIP numbers understate the future projection of not yet matured pitchers, while over-stating the future projection of past-their-prime pitchers?

For example, if over the next few years, each of these pitchers could improve one more notch in their control, or add one more plus pitch, or learn to control their emotions on the mound so that they permit fewer big innings for their opposition (what the better young pitchers tend to pick up as they get more experience), won't their xFIP keep on improving until their peak in their thirties?
Kasi - Thursday, September 30 2010 @ 12:46 AM EDT (#223290) #
I think most projection metrics are inherently conservative. One would like to think that pitchers do improve as they enter their prime age, but that doesn't happen as much as people think. You see this with ZIPs projections for example.

But FIP isn't really a projection system. Just look at this. http://saberlibrary.com/pitching/fip/

The point isn't that xFIP magically projects the future. It doesn't. FIP and XFIP (which differs mainly from FIP in how they deal with HRs) are still all based off regular stats. FIP for example is:
 FIP = ((13*HR)+(3*(BB+HBP-IBB))-(2*K))/IP+constant

What is true though is that future performance is the most correlated with xFIP. You see this with lucky pitchers, for example those with abnormally high strand rates, or lucky numbers on balls in play. Ubaldo Jiminez was a great example of this early this year. Here he was at 15-1 with a miniscule ERA, and the people in the know were saying Haladay was better despite his more pedestrian numbers. The reason? They were looking at FIP. They knew those numbers were not sustainable, and now as another half the season went and he only got 4 more wins, we can see why.
Alex Obal - Thursday, September 30 2010 @ 12:47 AM EDT (#223291) #
Yeah, you have it. ERA > FIP suggests better luck on the way. Cause for optimism (age under 29? new pitch? conversion to Buddhism?) suggests better pitcher on the way.

The acronyms are scary, but the concept is pretty easy. Suppose there are only four kinds of outcomes: K, BB, HR and Other. K is good, BB and HR are bad, Other is a mixed bag and prone to wild variation caused largely by dumb luck.

FIP is just K, BB, HR and constants. The idea is to say what a pitcher's ERA ought to be with neutral 'luck,' by giving all pitchers the same 'luck' stranding runners and the outcomes for their Other. xFIP adjusts HR rate so that the percentage of flyballs that turn into HR is average. FIP and xFIP are better predictors of future ERA than current ERA itself, but neither stat really tells you anything you don't already know.

They can't tell you what's going to happen to anyone's K/BB/HR in the future - they just spit out a number based on the current figures. Generally, if a pitcher improves, those stats go in the right direction, and if he gets worse, they don't. This is where your intuition and lying eyes come into play. If you added an age factor to FIP, I bet it would predict future FIP better than FIP itself, like FIP does ERA. (Why you would want to predict FIP instead of ERA, or K%/BB%/HR%, I have no idea...)

Alex Obal - Thursday, September 30 2010 @ 12:49 AM EDT (#223292) #
Yeah, what Kasi said.
Alex Obal - Thursday, September 30 2010 @ 12:54 AM EDT (#223293) #
Cito leaving out the front door has a very nice touch of class to it

For sure. We were talking about this at the game. How often does any manager get to leave through the front door quite like this?

Forkball - Thursday, September 30 2010 @ 10:19 AM EDT (#223297) #
Gaston has a rather good record for keeping his starting pitchers healthy and functioning. Whereas Brad Arnsberg..

But can anyone point to why that happens?  Is it useage / pitch counts?  Types of pitches thrown?  Between start work?

Looking at the Astros I can't really tell if they had injuries this year or they just didn't have good pitchers who can start a full season of games (but did Myers ever turn around this year).


bpoz - Thursday, September 30 2010 @ 10:42 AM EDT (#223298) #
Thanks Magpie and John Northey for very well presented data.

Also all the comments and analysis of this information is interesting. I don't want to say good (yet) because I don't understand a lot of terminology. The comments too are made by people who understand some or all of the aspects of this complicated (to me) stuff.

But I was hoping to contribute something. I hope I am not talking nonsense nor Insulting anyone. That ERA tool gave some pitchers a bad mark, which is fine because it is the truth the way it was calculated.

Concerning EVERYTHING in the whole analysis I do not have the computer skills to do what I want to do such as.
1) Some guys got lucky which may or may not have balanced out over the season. Eg S Camp came on with 1 out and 2 or 3 on and got a quick double play OR ? came on in the same situation and let both inherited runners score.
2)Did anyone get lucky or unlucky with umpire calls on outs and also balls /strikes. Well of course some guys got unlucky because the umpire crew rotates the Homeplate assignment so game 1,2,3 of each series would have different umpires for our SPs. Now we have to judge the umpires, its fair to the 2 opposing pitchers because the umpire is the same and should be consistent for both pitchers but could blow calls unevenly.
BUT the UMPIRES favor both BOS & NYY over the Jays. Someone with a good memory and other resources please prove or disprove this to me if you can OR do the best you can. Please note the UMPIRE is innocent sort of, its the hitters that CAN/MAY be guilty. The umpire consistently/fairly? calls some pitch a ball but its in the strike zone but the patient hitters in both lineups make the adjustment and the impatient ones get burned. And the other thing also happens something outside the strike zone is called a strike and some hitters get burned. Patient BOS & NYY hitters. And does anyone think reputation of each hitter & pitcher influences the umpire?

There was something I did have the skills to check. I looked at the BOS & NYY (AL East) starters who had Eras over 5 and there were some surprising names, like J Beckett.
jw - Thursday, September 30 2010 @ 11:10 AM EDT (#223299) #
Gaston has a rather good record for keeping his starting pitchers healthy and functioning. Whereas Brad Arnsberg..

But can anyone point to why that happens?  Is it useage / pitch counts?  Types of pitches thrown?  Between start work?

Hey Forkball.  My answer to that is sort of all of the above.  It seemed to me that the pitch that Arny always taught his pitchers the cutter, whereas Papi is more inclined to stress the use of a changeup.  The numbers sort of play this out (8.8% cutters this year, compared to 9.9% last year; 15.6% changes this year, up from 13.3% last; all numbers from Fangraphs) though that's not really conclusive due to personnel change, notably the cutter-happy change-adverse Halladay going to Philly.

I do recall back in Spring Training hearing something about how Walton was advising to take it easier during side-sessions, so that's also a good possibility.

I will also warn that one year's worth of health is not much of a sample size to say Walton's plan is better at preventing injury than Arnsberg's.  One year could just be - though I hope it isn't - just plain luck.
rtcaino - Thursday, September 30 2010 @ 11:10 AM EDT (#223300) #

Types of pitches thrown? 

The cutter had been previously implicated as an Arnsberg favourite, that may have been leading to arm problems.

However, Hentgan last night characterized the pitch as being easy on your arm.

 

Anders - Thursday, September 30 2010 @ 11:25 AM EDT (#223301) #

Interesting. Drabek & Morrow look a lot better with this. Also, the more stats I look at the more Hill looks like he deserves a real shot in 2011. Imagine a rotation with no one over 4 for ERA. Of course, unless injured Cecil will be in the rotation. I suspect Rzep will be the #7 guy with Hill or Drabek getting the #5 slot and the other being #6. Mills/Litsch/Tallet are all in the 'prove yourself quickly or get a real job' area.

Well Drabek has pitched 3 games so that doesn't mean a ton. As for Morrow, when you strike out a ton of guys and don't give up home runs your numbers are generally going to be pretty good. The .348 BABIP against didn't help things.

Lastly, I would be surprised if Shawn Hill was in the rotation in 2011. 16 innings is better than 0-15 innings for judging performance, but it doesn't mean a whole lot. The fact that 5 of them were against the Mariners makes them even more irrelevant. The last time Hill was good was 2007, and he turns 30 next year. I don't see it, any more than I see Scott Richmond starting another game for the Jays. The Jays pretty clearly have a front 4 in their rotation, all of whom are better than Hill, and they have a bunch of guys knocking at the door who don't have much left to prove in the minors - Drabek, Zach Stewart, Scrabble. To me the interesting questions is do you make a trade, and if so then who (and for what).

joeblow - Thursday, September 30 2010 @ 12:44 PM EDT (#223304) #
Pat Hentgen provided great analysis. He would be an excellent color guy on tv. He would probably be a great full-time coach as well.
Chris DH - Thursday, September 30 2010 @ 12:46 PM EDT (#223305) #

Magpie (or anybody else for that matter) - I was wondering aloud yesterday what if Halladay hadnt been traded. You made reference to the Jays being 7-17 in 36 starts by the 5th starter. But what of the 12 no decisions? How did the Jays fare in those games? Where can i find that information?

And, I guess I should be surprised that with a record of 21-10, Halladay only has 2 no-decisions (33 starts). Guess thats what happens when you pitch deep into games.

Matthew E - Thursday, September 30 2010 @ 01:33 PM EDT (#223306) #
Of course, there could have been ripple effects. If Halladay was in the rotation, how long would it have taken Cecil to get a chance? Would the Jays have stuck with Morrow through thick and thin? Et cetera.
Bid - Thursday, September 30 2010 @ 01:37 PM EDT (#223307) #
Deep into games for sure. We were at Nationals Park on Monday...the game was out-of-reach, the division title was clinched, it was raining from the third inning, but no way he doesn't finish. Must have been 5-6000 Phillies fans...in our section Halladay jerseys were only outnumberd by Utleys. A nice sprinkle of Victorinos.
John Northey - Thursday, September 30 2010 @ 01:43 PM EDT (#223308) #
There is the big variable none of us can anticipate. What will happen when it comes to trades this winter.

Right now there are clearly a batch of ML ready starters on this team. From the big 4 of Marcum/Romero/Morrow/Cecil to the 'future 2' of Drabek/Rzep to the 'past 2' of Hill/Litsch to the 'why not' of Mills/Richmond plus other talented guys in the minors who could sneak in next year (Zach Stewart/Jo-Jo Reyes/Joel Carreno). There are 13 guys who most of us could've thought of quickly (12 who were AA or higher). That is just getting a bit nutty for depth.

So, given the weakness at third base (I'm assuming Bautista is in RF next year) and with Overbay likely gone a potential need at 1B/DH what should we expect? I'd expect a starter or two (or three) being sent somewhere for a masher at third who is 1/2 decent defensively.

For pure dollar value (via FanGraphs) you get...
$25 mil plus: Ryan Zimmerman, Adrian Beltre, Jose Bautista, Evan Longoria
None between $19 and $25 million
$15-19 mil: Scott Rolen, David Wright, Chase Headley, A-Rod, Martin Prado
$10-14.9 mil: Placido Polanco, Casey McGehee, Danny Valencia, Chipper Jones, Casey Blake

This basically gives you the A list, B list, and C list for guys who can play third base.

Obviously we'd like to get someone from that A list who we can leave at third base. Beltre is a free agent, Longoria is not available unless the Rays have gone totally insane, and Zimmerman is signed through 2013 to a very nice deal for his skill set ($9-14 mil a year). Outside of chasing down Beltre I'd say that is a list we cannot take from.

B list? Rolen was here and asked to leave. Wright is signed to a deal like Zimmerman's ($14/15/16 over the next 3 years) and is with the Mets. Headley is just reaching arbitration (might even be pre-still) so San Diego won't give him up. A-Rod...yeah right. Prado is entering his first year of arbitration with Atlanta, again don't see him going anywhere.

C list? Polanco is with the Phillies and is signed for under $7 mil a year for the next 2 years. McGehee is with the Brewers and is pre-arb (ie: forget about it). Valencia just broke into the majors with the Twins and has done that in just 81 games. Jones is retiring. Blake is signed for under $6 mil per year for 2 years with the Dodgers, but they are cutting back drastically and rebuilding while Blake is entering his age 37 season.

So looking through all of that I'd say the Jays have just 2 realistic targets out there. Beltre as a free agent (open up those pocketbooks) or Casey Blake. Washington is desperate for pitching (just 2 starting pitchers with ERA+'s over 100 with more than 1 start - Strasburg & Livan Hernandez) but trading Zimmerman would be a mistake for them and I don't see it happening. Wright is a small chance if the Mets decide to cash in the chips and start from scratch (not gonna happen).
Magpie - Thursday, September 30 2010 @ 01:47 PM EDT (#223309) #
You made reference to the Jays being 7-17 in 36 starts by the 5th starter. But what of the 12 no decisions?

It was actually 7-18 in 34 starts, and the team went 10-24.
ramone - Thursday, September 30 2010 @ 01:58 PM EDT (#223310) #

``So looking through all of that I'd say the Jays have just 2 realistic targets out there. Beltre as a free agent (open up those pocketbooks) or Casey Blake. Washington is desperate for pitching (just 2 starting pitchers with ERA+'s over 100 with more than 1 start - Strasburg & Livan Hernandez) but trading Zimmerman would be a mistake for them and I don't see it happening. Wright is a small chance if the Mets decide to cash in the chips and start from scratch (not gonna happen).``

After reading your post John, it seems to me it would be easier to put Bautista at 3rd and find an upgrade in RF via trade.

One guy I thought about for third or the outfield is Gordon, does anyone think he still has a chance to fill some of that amazing potential he was labled with?  think AA could steal him away from KC, and hey maybe he could even get Collins back while he`s trading with them :)

ayjackson - Thursday, September 30 2010 @ 02:16 PM EDT (#223311) #

I thought I read that the Mets might look to move David Wright this offseason.

I think  AA will look to under 25 guys to acquire in trade and sign stopgaps to fill holes.

#2JBrumfield - Thursday, September 30 2010 @ 02:23 PM EDT (#223312) #

Where was Pat Gillick and no Jumbotron message from Pat?

I've read before that Gillick had wanted to fire Cito but was vetoed (see, that rhymes!) by Beeston.  Anyways, why was Nadir Mohammed there for the ceremony?  There was no point to him being there.  Having Beeston there was good enough to represent Rogers upper management.  I'm not surprised Mohammed was booed and the way Rogers runs their operation, it was warranted.  That was the only negative to the pre-game ceremony, which was very well done.  Actually, it's too bad Cito paid tribute to the Yankees near the end of his speech.  They should just shut-up and take it!!!  ;D.  At least Vazquez hasn't blamed the long ceremony for his rough start, unlike another idiot whose name rhymes with Ike Pussina.

TamRa - Thursday, September 30 2010 @ 02:52 PM EDT (#223317) #
If Wright is available you'd think he'd be all over that, but i bet you won't know that until they settle the GM job.


TamRa - Thursday, September 30 2010 @ 02:56 PM EDT (#223318) #
One guy I thought about for third or the outfield is Gordon, does anyone think he still has a chance to fill some of that amazing potential he was labled with?  think AA could steal him away from KC, and hey maybe he could even get Collins back while he`s trading with them :)

I was thinking about this the other night. Assuming there's no better option out there (Wright) and you are going to gamble, a change of scenery situation for Gordon would be ideal. Expanding the deal to try to get Collins would be, IMO, the obvious play.

If there's any team that should be hungry for some of our young SP it's the Royals, and a team that hires Kendell probably thinks highly of Jeroloman.

It might be presuming too much on the royals, but i wonder how much value Shawn Hill would have to them? Before the injuries he was considered to be a high ceiling guy...


John Northey - Thursday, September 30 2010 @ 04:57 PM EDT (#223324) #
Well, Alex Gordon would be a 'buy low' strategy. 218/323/354 slash line this year, lifetime 95 OPS+ but just entering his age 27 season. In AAA he hit 315/442/577 which would be nice even in Vegas. Fangraphs is interesting in assessing his fielding though. In 2007 (rookie year) he was 8.2 UZR/150, but since has been horrid -5.4 in '08, -7.8 in '09 and -62.1 in very limited time this year at third. In the outfield he was negative except in LF.

I'd trade for him, but sure wouldn't count on him at third. Of course, if Butterfield is still here maybe he could get Gordon back to his rookie form.
lexomatic - Thursday, September 30 2010 @ 05:10 PM EDT (#223325) #
I'd totally buy low on Gordon, but the Royals don't need mediocre stop gap pitchers. we might not have anything they want. They arguably have the best minor league system, and have a bunch of high upside arms on the way. Their depth is AA and lower buttheir window for competition is further away.
go read ranyontheroyals.com to get some idea.
one option is perhaps their current 3b wilson betemit as a stop gap. rany thinks he might be a contract tweener - price himself out of staying but have teams not confident in his ability to offer him years/$$$$.
i'd rather look for an outfielder and put Bautista at 3b.

whiterasta80 - Thursday, September 30 2010 @ 06:13 PM EDT (#223327) #

John I didn't see Mark Reynolds on your list... any reason?

I've heard on more than one occasion that the DBacks will consider moving him.  Sure we should be getting guys who strike out less, but that's a tonne of power.  Plus his flexibility could be useful for certain lineups (i.e. Bautista at 3rd, Reynolds at 1st).

 

 

ramone - Thursday, September 30 2010 @ 06:36 PM EDT (#223330) #

"John I didn't see Mark Reynolds on your list... any reason?"

I don't know, his BABIP took the dip that it was predicted to by the experts at BP and he is now batting .198/.321/.437 add in a whopping 206 k's to date as well.  Also he's a below average defender at third, I think letting EE have another crack at it would be a better option than trading away prospects for Reynolds IMO.

Mike Green - Thursday, September 30 2010 @ 08:47 PM EDT (#223331) #
With Bautista at first and Hill at second tonight, the Jays might have set some kind of standard for throwing arms on the right side of the infield.  It's always something.
subculture - Thursday, September 30 2010 @ 09:09 PM EDT (#223332) #
That's scary - so even in an alternate reality where Halladay won 21 games for the Jays, while Marcum - Romero - Cecil - Morrow pitched as well as they did this year, and the Jays challenged the all-time home-run record, they are STILL battling for a wild-card spot!!!

That my friends should tell you just how tough it is to reach the playoffs in the AL East.



Gerry - Thursday, September 30 2010 @ 09:44 PM EDT (#223333) #

From the Keith Law chat today:

Heard a very interesting take on Wallace from a scout yesterday: His hips are wide enough that it's too hard for him to get them rotated on a pitch coming in on the inner half - and the reason he has always done well against LHP is because their stuff typically moves away from him, which is his strength. First time I've heard that on any player, but it does make some intuitive sense. Hips are a big part of hitting.

 

scottt - Thursday, September 30 2010 @ 10:12 PM EDT (#223334) #
Lastly, I would be surprised if Shawn Hill was in the rotation in 2011. 16 innings is better than 0-15 innings for judging performance, but it doesn't mean a whole lot. The fact that 5 of them were against the Mariners makes them even more irrelevant. The last time Hill was good was 2007, and he turns 30 next year.

Actually, the last time Hill was good was 2010. He has an ERA of 1.61 in 11 minor games including 5 in Las Vegas were in was 2-2 with an ERA of 3.00.  I'll point out that he has pitched in the minors every year and his minors stats have always been similar to his majors stats for any given year. For example, in 3 minor games in his good 2007 year, he had an ERA of 1.50.

He's an obvious injury risk, but I don't see any problem with giving him a starting job.

Buck has 20 homers. The Jays are over .500. Arencibia is still on the bench.
John Northey - Thursday, September 30 2010 @ 10:37 PM EDT (#223335) #
Well, I just limited the list to guys who had a season worth $10 million or more based on Fangraphs' stats. Reynolds comes in at $8.5 million, just below the threshold. Main reason for the $10 limit was I only have so much time while at work to type out stuff :)

Checking Reynolds I see a guy who has always been a negative at third for defense, although this year is his best at -1.2 runs per 150 games (UZR based). Reynolds is signed through 2013 (option in 2013) at a reasonable price (under $10 mil per year on average) and becomes a free agent after 2013. His OPS+ is still at 100 even with that ugly batting average and sky high strikeouts. Unless Adam Dunn K's 5 times this weekend Reynolds will stay the only ML hitter to K over 200 times - he has done it each of the last 3 seasons including 223 last year.

Reynolds would be an interesting guy to have. Don't know if he'd be a good one, but interesting at least as a pure 3 true outcome guy (320 K/BB/HR vs 268 times making contact). Before he arrived in '08 no one had ever been over 500 for TTO but here he is at 544. Phew.
earlweaverfan - Friday, October 01 2010 @ 12:01 AM EDT (#223338) #
So, compared to the unhappy list of non-available or non-attractive 3B candidates, what about EE?  Suppose he had been healthy all year long, and we pro rate his home run production across, say, 550 at bats, he could have had over 30 HRs this year.  Given his streakiness, it won't surprise me if he becomes the Jays' 7th 20 HR guy this year, with three games to go and what he has achieved in the last week.  I know we would prefer to have more guys next year with both high OBP and SLG, but is there any 3B candidate out there with whom we could do much better, without paying the price of Beltre in cash and in a 1st round pick?

I also wonder, given his huge capacity to drive the ball long distances when he does connect, is EE someone who is just too old or set in his ways to have a major breakout year from here (WYSISYG?) or could he be coached (at the plate and in the field) to take another big step up?

I know, I know, Bautista, Buck and Gonzalez were three versions of lightning striking all in one place all in one year.  We can't count on any more such bolt from the blue success stories.  I know.

But still, for which 3B pick-up would the odds of success be much better?

lexomatic - Friday, October 01 2010 @ 12:06 AM EDT (#223339) #
if i'd been paying attention to EE's full(er) season #s I'd bring him back unless you can get someone like Gordon.
You let him leave as a FA after 2 straight 20 HR seasons and maybe he gets a B rating while filling the position for a season while prospects develop and give you options.

TamRa - Friday, October 01 2010 @ 12:18 AM EDT (#223340) #
Buck has 20 homers. The Jays are over .500. Arencibia is still on the bench.

Called that on Twitter last now.

Lott says the new rationalization is (a) the Twins are contenders for home field; and (b) he owes it to Marcum and Romero to have the A lineup out there (which is, of course, BS since Lind and Overbay sit tonight while McCoy plays. Or does he not owe the same respect to Hill as he does to other pitchers?


consider eyes rolled.

Don't matter none. the last 3-4 games (one is a DGANG) are not going to make a difference and then cito's gone.

Too late to sweat it now.

but, as I've said before, I'd have been a lot more content this month if Cito had come out on September 1 and said "JP has a lot to learn about the hitters and pitchers up here and honestly, you shouldn't expect to see him in the game much" rather than coming up with the ever-changing DD&B.

TamRa - Friday, October 01 2010 @ 12:31 AM EDT (#223341) #
but the Royals don't need mediocre stop gap pitchers. we might not have anything they want.

What the Royals need and what the Royals acquire ain't often exactly similar.

Beyond that, I think it's a cinch we have something they want because they don't have five solid young controlable pitchers for their rotation. If they had rather not buy late on Hill, then would they want Zep? My guess is yes they would. Bet your butt they would want Cecil but that is proably overpaying given Gordon's recent history.

But if it were me, I'd start the negotiations low and let them drag me up to a point they were happy and i bet it would still be less than a revived Gordon would be worth.

Start off offering them Mills and Jeroloman and, say, Carreno for Gordon and when they want to upgrade to Cecil, counter with Zep if Collins is n the deal too...something like that.

just spitballin' of course, but one shouldn't over-estimate the skills of Royals' management.


China fan - Friday, October 01 2010 @ 01:25 AM EDT (#223343) #

Of course if JPA had played tonight, the critics would have complained that Gaston is persecuting him by playing him against the tough pitchers like Liriano.  We would have heard, once again, the conspiracy theory that Gaston is only playing JPA against the best pitchers as a "message" to the poor kid.   So tonight JPA didn't play against the tough pitcher -- and of course we still hear the boo birds.  Gaston can't win on this issue -- he's criticized whether he plays JPA or not.

As I said from the beginning, John Buck's 20 HRs was obviously never the main reason why JPA wasn't playing.  It was very clear, from reading Gaston's statements, that Buck was not the primary reason, and the critics were unnecessarily getting riled about a red herring.  Now we see the proof -- Buck has his 20 homers and JPA is still not playing.  Obviously there are other stronger reasons, and Gaston made them clear today:  1) the playoff contenders are still fighting for home field advantage and it's unfair to give a benefit to one contender by playing his rookie at catcher;  2) his pitchers are benefiting from the veteran catchers.  Gaston's words: "I don't think it's fair for them (the pitchers) to go out there and not have the guys that got them to that point. I just think it's the thing to do."   So, you can agree or disagree with Gaston's decision, but can't you at least respect that he has thought about it carefully and made a decision for reasons that he believes in?  Gaston says the pitchers are benefiting from the veteran catchers, and I think he knows more about the subject than the casual fan does.

By the way, I notice that Travis Snider is thriving in the top spot in the lineup over the past few days.  Whatever happened to the refrain that Gaston had "ruined his development" by putting him in the leadoff spot and by sitting him for a few games in August?  Snider seems to be developing very nicely in the leadoff spot.   Anyone still want to complain that Gaston has "ruined his development"?

China fan - Friday, October 01 2010 @ 01:32 AM EDT (#223345) #

Incidentally, Gaston's reasons for sitting JPA against Minnesota are exactly the same reasons that he gave a few weeks ago when JPA was first called up.  His reasons are not "ever-changing."   At one point he mentioned John Buck as a third reason, but the two primary reasons are the same ones that he has always mentioned, from the very beginning.   Agree or disagree with him, you can't accuse him of "ever-changing" reasons.

And of course there's another possible reason for JPA's lack of playing time that Gaston cannot mention:  John Buck might be the primary catcher in 2011.  Gaston cannot say it now because those negotiations haven't happened yet.  But if John Buck is the primary catcher in 2011, it makes sense for him to keep working with the young pitchers in September.  We'll know within two or three months.  But as long as this reason is a possible factor, it needs to be respected too.

katman - Friday, October 01 2010 @ 01:40 AM EDT (#223346) #
**Thought #1** The cards need a 3B to add offense and play decent defense, and good #4/5 pitchers. We need a real center fielder with speed and OBP. EE + Zep + Catching prospect (not D'arnaud or Perez) to Cards for Colby Rasmus, who's having issues there. Bautista moves to 3rd, where he's less absolutely valuable than RF, but it's such a hard position to fill that value above average is greater. Outfield becomes VW in LF, Rasmus in CF, Snider in RF - a very good OF both offensively and defensively. **Thought #2** After watching JB play a very good 1st today, what if we decided to try... 1B: Bautista (defense & power like Pujols), JPA sometimes in a Buster Posey kind of situatiuon 2B: Hill SS: Escobar 3B: EE, some Bautista (EE's defense has improved, and power remains tantalizing) C: JPA + Buck or free agent RF: Snider LF/CF: Vernon plus free agent or trade with great OBP and good speed/def. Who plays where depends on which additional player. DH: Lind OF4: Free agent. Might bring DWW back for 1 year if nothing better. Adding that one athletic OF with speed, and a full season of Escobar, with all those mashers behind them - to me, that solves the logjam, addresses defense/athleticism, and could be a really scary offense. If Snider finally takes off as he appears to be primed for, wow. If EE also begins mashing like he can, super wow even with a JB regression. **Thought #3** For pitching staff next year, big question for me is how much we choose to roll the dice and burn down the 2010 bullpen. I'm inclined to start Drabek in AAA until Super 2 is avoided, but see the possibility of: SP: Romero*, Marcum, Cecil*, Morrow. Litsch, followed by Drabek is 5th. RP: Free agent closer, Purcey*, Camp, Zep*, Hill. If the closer pitches well, the rest will start out unsettled by may settle down into a very interesting mix that not only works, but opens windows for potential future starters. 6th starters: Litsch, Hill, Stewart. Maybe Zep, but his pattern is consistently short games where he fades late. Love his stuff and its movement, but maybe starting isn't his best gig? Outside shot relivers: Carlson, Janssen, Stewart*, Roenicke. Not convinced Janssen and Carlson are good enough to be relievers on a competitor. Roenicke keeps getting lit up which is really a shame. Stewart hasn't shown his stuff yet. Out there stuff: McGowan begins his rehab journey as a reliever in the minors. That should make for lots to discuss...
katman - Friday, October 01 2010 @ 01:51 AM EDT (#223347) #

Yuck, that didn't format at all.

Thought #1

The cards need a 3B to add offense and play decent defense, and good #4/5 pitchers. We need a real center fielder with speed and OBP.

EE + Zep + Catching prospect (not D'arnaud or Perez) to Cards for Colby Rasmus, who's having issues there.

Bautista moves to 3rd, where he's less absolutely valuable than RF, but it's such a hard position to fill that value above average is greater. Outfield becomes VW in LF, Rasmus in CF, Snider in RF - a very good OF both offensively and defensively.

Thought #2

After watching JB play a very good 1st today, what if we decided to try...

1B: Bautista (defense & power like Pujols), JPA sometimes in a Buster Posey kind of situatiuon
2B: Hill
SS: Escobar
3B: EE, some Bautista (EE's defense has improved, and power remains tantalizing)
C: JPA + Buck or free agent
RF: Snider
LF/CF: Vernon plus free agent or trade with great OBP and good speed/def. Who plays where depends on which additional player.
DH: Lind
OF4: Free agent. Might bring DWW back for 1 year if nothing better.

Adding that one athletic OF with speed, and a full season of Escobar, with all those mashers behind them - to me, this setp solves the logjam, addresses defense/athleticism, creates no additional liabilities, and could be a really scary offense. If Snider finally takes off as he appears to be primed for, wow. If EE also begins mashing like he can, super wow even with a JB regression.

Thought #3...

For pitching staff next year, big question for me is how much we choose to roll the dice and burn down the 2010 bullpen core. I'm inclined to start Drabek in AAA to avoid Super 2, but am flexible on that one. I see the possibility of:

SP: Romero*, Marcum, Cecil*, Morrow. Litsch, followed by Drabek is 5th.

RP: Free agent closer, Purcey*, Camp, Zep*, Hill, +1.

If the closer pitches well, the rest will start out unsettled by may settle down into a very interesting mix that not only works, but opens windows for potential future starters.

6th starters: Litsch, Hill, Stewart. Maybe Zep, but his pattern is consistently short games where he fades late. Love his stuff and its movement, but maybe starting isn't his best gig?

Outside shot relievers: Carlson, Janssen, Stewart*, Roenicke. Not convinced Janssen or Carlson are good enough to be relievers on a competitor. Roenicke keeps getting lit up which is really a shame. Stewart hasn't shown his stuff yet.

Out there stuff: McGowan begins his rehab journey as a reliever in the minors. Maybe he's the closer we'rre supposed t

Those 3 should make for lots to discuss...

TamRa - Friday, October 01 2010 @ 01:52 AM EDT (#223348) #
It was very clear, from reading Gaston's statements, that Buck was not the primary reason, and the critics were unnecessarily getting riled about a red herring. Now we see the proof -- Buck has his 20 homers and JPA is still not playing.


which is why I've said from the begining as I said tonight, tell it straight up front instead of DD&B.

1) the playoff contenders are still fighting for home field advantage and it's unfair to give a benefit to one contender by playing his rookie at catcher; 

Which didn't get JPA work v. Baltimore and Seattle.

2) his pitchers are benefiting from the veteran catchers.

Saying "it's not fair to them to not have the best team behind them" is not saying it's a matter of how well the reciever does.

what you quote is exactly what pisses me off - there ARE good reasons for playing buck over JPA (and the contender thing is one of them) but al this dancing about with nonsense stuff - "secondary reasons" and the like - is unnecessary and fuels the criticism.

By the way, "benefiting from the veteran catchers" is, ya know, EXACTLY what his critics have been saying - Cito is biased towards playing vets over kids when he has the choice. so what we have been criticizing him for is what you just said he was doing.

Thank you.

By the way, I notice that Travis Snider is thriving in the top spot in the lineup over the past few days.  Whatever happened to the refrain that Gaston had "ruined his development" by putting him in the leadoff spot...

Eh? who said that?

As for the bit about sitting some in August, I think you won that point a couple of discussions back. Show some grace and don't keep crowing.

But while we are asking questions - care to retract the "clearly he hasn't improved over last year" comment yet?

:)

smcs - Friday, October 01 2010 @ 02:21 AM EDT (#223349) #
Cecil + Stewart for Prince Fielder.  Book it.
Alex Obal - Friday, October 01 2010 @ 02:38 AM EDT (#223350) #
Opening day lineup: Escobar, Snider, Bautista, Fielder, Wells, Buck, Lind, Hill, Figgins. Start planning the parade?
92-93 - Friday, October 01 2010 @ 03:18 AM EDT (#223351) #
"Anyone still want to complain that Gaston has "ruined his development"?"

I'd like to complain that he hindered it, and if anything his recent hot play and hitting streak should prove it. If Snider was handed an everyday LF job like Lind was when Clarence arrived I think it's likely he puts up better #s than he has this year. Instead he was bounced around the lineup and came to the ballpark everyday having no idea whether or not he was going to be playing.

Cecil + Stewart is way too much to give up for Fielder when you can sign essentially the same player in Adam Dunn as a free agent (even if he doesn't like baseball). If you're going to trade for a thumping 1B it makes more sense to target Gonzalez than Fielder because Adrian at least has value at his 2011 salary before you have to hand out the big extension.
James W - Friday, October 01 2010 @ 09:25 AM EDT (#223354) #
It's BS to sit Lind and Overbay (who are both, frankly, terrible against left-handed pitching) against Liriano? Obviously I'm not going to say last night's lineup generates 13 runs every time, but sitting Lind and Overbay isn't the end of the world, especially in 40-man roster time.
Jonny German - Friday, October 01 2010 @ 09:36 AM EDT (#223355) #
EE + Zep + Catching prospect (not D'arnaud or Perez) to Cards for Colby Rasmus
 
Sounds very good to me, which makes me think the Cards wouldn't go for it. Maybe if it was Cecil instead of Zep - then there'd be some pain on both sides. What are Rasmus' issues anyway?
Magpie - Friday, October 01 2010 @ 09:50 AM EDT (#223356) #
If Snider was handed an everyday LF job like Lind

He was. He kept the job despite going 8-64 to start the year (and there are a lot of teams and managers that would have had him back in AAA after that.) And then he got hurt.

As it was, he's been in uniform for 94 games and he's started 74 of them, which I really don't think is completely unreasonable for a 22 year old.
Thomas - Friday, October 01 2010 @ 09:53 AM EDT (#223357) #
Sounds very good to me, which makes me think the Cards wouldn't go for it. Maybe if it was Cecil instead of Zep - then there'd be some pain on both sides. What are Rasmus' issues anyway?

I'd be shocked if the Cards went for that. I'd be very surprised if the Cards went for the edited version with Cecil in, although it is a better offer. I think the negotiations would start with Snider, personally. I think the Jays would try to move away from that, but that is the ballpark that the team is looking at, IMO. If you wouldn't strongly consider trading Snider for the package, you can't expect the Cards to deal Rasmus.

Apparently, the biggest issue is that Rasmus isn't very coachable. He got in a slump during the middle of the season and went to his father (who has heavy involvement in his baseball career) for a private hitting session and not the Cardinals coaches. I believe the Cardinals and TLR have asked him to work on a few parts of his game, such as patience, and haven't been happy with the time or effort he put into that.

When you get Pujols suggest you should leave town if you really aren't happy, I take that as a sign you've warn out your welcome in the clubhouse and I suspect Pujols was voicing some displeasure with the way Rasmus carries himself. Much of this is speculation and based on vague media reports, but this reputation has surrounded Rasmus for a while. That isn't to say that things won't improve, of course, as Escobar had a similar reputation coming here and hasn't been a problem since (aside from a lax approach on a couple of defensive players perhaps).

Magpie - Friday, October 01 2010 @ 09:59 AM EDT (#223358) #
[Rasmus] got in a slump during the middle of the season and went to his father

Oh dear. It's the Cory Snyder story all over again. That didn't work out very well the first time.
Mike Green - Friday, October 01 2010 @ 10:04 AM EDT (#223359) #
For those who weren't around for the ninth inning last night, Bautista hit his first homer of the year to right field.  2010 will probably be remembered with one word here: Jose!
Magpie - Friday, October 01 2010 @ 10:05 AM EDT (#223360) #
I think it's pretty simple myself. Gaston has issues with Arencibia's defense. Gaston won't play a catcher whose defense he doesn't like, he's been that way for twenty years, and he isn't going to change now. It's just that he'd rather not come out and say it, not that baldly and directly. So he tries on different rationalizations every time the question get asked. They don't always make sense, but he doesn't give a damn how it looks.
Kasi - Friday, October 01 2010 @ 10:34 AM EDT (#223362) #
I think the simplest reason for JPA vs Buck is what Law said in the interview the other day. Cito favors veterans and thus will play Buck. We have no evidence that JPA's defense is bad from scouting reports or game observations so I don't think we can simply say it is that.

As for Snider, he when put in the same spot in the lineup and given an every day job produced the numbers we think he's capable of. Shocking, but annoying that it had to be a Lewis injury that got him that protection. I still don't think he's an ideal leadoff hitter, but in lieu of being put 5th or 6th where he should be, this is a decent choice.

Magpie - Friday, October 01 2010 @ 11:42 AM EDT (#223371) #
what Law said in the interview the other day. Cito favors veterans and thus will play Buck.

Law says a lot of dumb stuff about this team. Behind the plate Gaston prefers the best defender he's got. He always has. It's why he played a kid out of Double A ahead of Lance Parrish, the very definition of a proven veteran. (Explain that one, Keith.) It's why he had no use for Randy Knorr. It's why he liked Charlie O'Brien better than Benito Santiago. It's not a new thing.
Magpie - Friday, October 01 2010 @ 11:52 AM EDT (#223372) #
Although in the particular case of Arencibia, I think it's the fact that he's been in a different league all season that's the bigger factor. He's not in sync with this group of pitchers yet - how could he be? - and he's not familiar with the American League. Again, how could he be? I expect he'll be fine with a full training camp working with this group.

A surprising number of pitchers actually don't want to be thinking on the mound. They want the catcher to take care of that for them. They don't want to be shaking him off. They don't want to call their own games, they want to focus on delivering this particular pitch.
Mike Green - Friday, October 01 2010 @ 11:55 AM EDT (#223373) #
I did not agree with the decision to play Lewis over Snider most of the time for about a month after Snider's return to the big club, but I do not believe that this has had any significant medium-term or long-term effect on his development. 

The cumulative decisions to call up Arencibia and then to play him so little are suggestive of some differing views within management of the organization.  It appears that the club decided that it was not important to resolve any difference of opinion, bearing in mind that Gaston was leaving.  This patient quality may serve the organization well, as other issues arise.

All this calls to mind Leo Durocher's statement that "there is a W column and a L column., and the manager's job is to put as many games as possible into the W column".  By this view of the manager's job, Gaston has succeeded in 2010, with his role in the development of the young pitchers and the overall offensive production that was somewhat better than any reasonable expectation overshadowing particular player concerns about Arencibia or, to a much lesser degree, Snider.

Kasi - Friday, October 01 2010 @ 11:56 AM EDT (#223374) #
Well its part that he is a veteran, but also part that he is the best C on the team now. JPA might be better in the future, but right now Buck is surely the best Catcher on the team. Still not seen any sign or indication that inferior defense is the reason though.
Magpie - Friday, October 01 2010 @ 12:12 PM EDT (#223377) #
Even if you're not planning to use him much, if there are no service time or 40 man roster issues (and in this case, I don't think anyone's worried about that) why not call him up? It's not good for him to work with the coaching staff? As opposed to going home? They actually spend long days at the ball park, even if we only pay attention to a couple of hours of it.
Mike Green - Friday, October 01 2010 @ 12:27 PM EDT (#223378) #
There are service time issues.  I think that you'll find that when a top catching prospect is called up, he might get full-time work (like Mauer) or 1/2 time work (like Posada), but that it is very unusual for the prospect to be up for two months beginning in August and get 10 appearances. This would be doubly true for a prospect on a club that is out of pennant contention.

I don't want to overstate this.  Arencibia will succeed or not in 2011 and following years almost exclusively due to his skills and other qualities rather than his usage in August and September, 2010. 

Kasi - Friday, October 01 2010 @ 12:44 PM EDT (#223383) #
I do agree that there is a lot JPA can learn about major league hitters from being in the clubhouse and being under the tutelage of our current catchers, pitchers and coaching staff. But in the end there is no real substitute for in game experience, and getting it at the end of a season where you're not in contention makes more sense then at the start of a season where you still are.
MatO - Friday, October 01 2010 @ 01:20 PM EDT (#223385) #

Behind the plate Gaston prefers the best defender he's got.

Really?  Then how does Molina end up behind the plate last night?  He's horrible.

 

Magpie - Friday, October 01 2010 @ 03:44 PM EDT (#223393) #
[Molina's] horrible.

While Molina is actually pretty good at sending opposing baserunners back to the dugout, the good of which more than outweighs the damage done by a few extra balls rolling to the backstop - the biggest part of a catcher's defense, by a comfortable mile, is working with the pitching staff. As was noted around here the other day, his team's pitchers have had a better ERA working with Molina than with the other catchers on the team in his 5 of his last 6 seasons. On three different clubs. That ain't proof he's better, but it certainly isn't proof he's worse.
MatO - Friday, October 01 2010 @ 04:22 PM EDT (#223394) #
OK.  If the definition for best defender includes getting the most out of the pitchers then why did Buck start so many games instead of Molina?
Mike Green - Friday, October 01 2010 @ 04:45 PM EDT (#223395) #
It is generally desirable to reduce the workload on a veteran catcher.

I thought that I would check Molina's actual starts to see if his ERA advantage has to do with who he caught:

  • Morrow 19 times- Morrow had made 2 starts in April with Buck and had given up 5 ER in 5 innings and 7 ER in 4 innings before his 7 inning, 2 W, 3H, 8K gem in his first time with Molina
  • Cecil 9 times
  • Romero 8 times including 2 duds
  • Marcum 7 times
  • 5th starters 10 times (Eveland- shutout and 6.2 IP, 4 ER; Tallet (4ER in 5), Hill last night,  Mills 4ER in 4.1 innings and Zep 5 times- 1 shutout, 3 fair appearances and 1 5ER in 4.2 IP game)
I'd say that he did very well with Morrow and the 5th starters, and that his ERA advantage was not due to catching better pitchers.

MatO - Friday, October 01 2010 @ 05:01 PM EDT (#223397) #
I'll go with what Alan Ashby said about the work of the two veterans because it's so rare for someone working as team's colour man to make such scathing remarks about its players (though they have improved per Ashby).  I scarcely think that JPA could be worse.  Hell didn't he catch a shutout the other day.  Anyways, Mike's right.  it really doesn't matter.
92-93 - Friday, October 01 2010 @ 05:25 PM EDT (#223399) #
I really appreciate how candid Ashby is, always telling it exactly how he sees it. I assume it's why he didn't last long in Houston.
Magpie - Friday, October 01 2010 @ 05:28 PM EDT (#223400) #
Ashby himself was very good at that part of the game - he was about as successful at preventing the PB and WP as John Buck, and Ashby had to cope with Joe Niekro for years and years - and like many former players, he may believe that what he happened to do well was extremely important.
bpoz - Saturday, October 02 2010 @ 10:13 AM EDT (#223413) #
I know this thread is about the rotation but Cito just expressed some of his views on the make up of the 2011 pen.
He thinks veterans are the way to go.

IMO this was a generalization for key relief spots like closer and setup men. He was saying that these pressure spots need guys that have had experience there. My understanding is that he fears that any lack of success ie blown leads and holding ties & close games will have a negative effect on the starters.

He spoke of Gregg or someone like him as being crucial to 2011 for the Closer.
I have reservations about Gregg as Closer because:-
1) After Gregg's great 2010 (IMO) season he would balk at any other role.
2) If he cannot hold the closer role like Fraser he may cause waves when the new manager uses other options.

IMO a relatively untested pen depends on AA's conclusions on the 2011 teams chances of seriously contending.
Parker - Saturday, October 02 2010 @ 11:00 AM EDT (#223416) #
Gaston has always thought veterans were the way to go, whether it's in the bullpen, the rotation, or the lineup.  Why would he change his tune now?
Magpie - Saturday, October 02 2010 @ 11:15 AM EDT (#223417) #
Gaston has always thought veterans were the way to go, whether it's in the bullpen, the rotation, or the lineup.

It's going to be an enormous relief to me when Gaston is finally gone and there's no longer any need to correct these egregious misunderstandings, these myths that have developed around him with absolutely no basis in reality. If people think Gaston was reluctant to play youngsters, they should have seen Tim Johnson. Or Jimy Williams. Or Bobby Cox.
ayjackson - Saturday, October 02 2010 @ 11:41 AM EDT (#223419) #

enormous relief to me when Gaston is finally gone and there's no longer any need to correct these egregious misunderstandings, these myths that have developed around him with absolutely no basis in reality.
 
Gaston has always thought veterans were the way to go

I imagine the truth of the situation lies somewhere between these extreme goalposts.

Parker - Saturday, October 02 2010 @ 12:13 PM EDT (#223425) #
It's going to be an enormous relief to me when Gaston is finally gone and there's no longer any need to correct these egregious misunderstandings, these myths that have developed around him with absolutely no basis in reality. If people think Gaston was reluctant to play youngsters, they should have seen Tim Johnson. Or Jimy Williams. Or Bobby Cox.

It's no secret that Gaston likes to reward established guys with playing time.  I never said he outright refuses to play prospects.  With all due respect, pointing out that other managers have been more guilty of this doesn't make it any less true about Gaston himself.
Magpie - Saturday, October 02 2010 @ 12:21 PM EDT (#223426) #
Well then, what is the standard? What do words mean? In a very real sense, every manager who ever lived likes to play proven, veteran talent.

It would be accurate, however, to say that Gaston is more willing than other managers to play young and/or unproven talent, to make regulars out of players who have never been regulars before. He's not wild about having them on his bench. But he's never been reluctant about putting them into the lineup. Especially on the pitcher's mound. Even in the midst of a pennant race.
earlweaverfan - Saturday, October 02 2010 @ 06:25 PM EDT (#223441) #
bpoz said:  "IMO this was a generalization for key relief spots like closer and setup men. He was saying that these pressure spots need guys that have had experience there. My understanding is that he fears that any lack of success ie blown leads and holding ties & close games will have a negative effect on the starters.

He spoke of Gregg or someone like him as being crucial to 2011 for the Closer.
I have reservations about Gregg as Closer because:-
1) After Gregg's great 2010 (IMO) season he would balk at any other role.
2) If he cannot hold the closer role like Fraser he may cause waves when the new manager uses other options.

IMO a relatively untested pen depends on AA's conclusions on the 2011 teams chances of seriously contending."

Having just seen Gregg make a save situation interesting (or horrifying?) again, I am reminded that Gregg is not the solution.  If he is not the solution now, there is little point in having him stick around for another year or two or three of 9th inning pain.  I think Cito's perspective about the negative impact on the young starters of a weak pen is right, but it also applies to Gregg.

Cito was also quoted by Bastian as saying that he doesn't see anybody on the club that looks like the next closer.  With the possible exception of Zach Stewart three years from now, I tend to agree.  I would bring Stewart up to the pen in 2011, but becoming a top flight closer calls for experience, not just great stuff.

Even if AA thinks that the Jays are two more years away from being a true contender, with the young starting rotation rounding into shape, why shouldn't they be able to count on a bullpen of similar calibre now?

If it were my decision (which it is not, I know) I would go out and sign Rafael Soriano this winter to a 3-year contract for (would $36 million do it?) and make a bet that he will become the Jays' Rivera.  Even if we can't contend until 2012 or 2013, our rotation would have every chance to shine until we do.

Tampa can't afford to keep him and if we don't sign him, one of the top contending major league teams will do this.  With Tampa's money woes, and with the Yankees and the Red Sox having ace closers they are not ready to dump, this is the perfect time to strike.

I can think of no better way to add 4 wins to this year's total (fewer blown saves plus fewer losses when in a non-save situation).  We would lose a first-round pick to Tampa, I know, but giving up Gregg (alongside Downs and Buck) would presumably bring more than comparable value back.  Meanwhile, replacing Tallet with Rzepczynski or another similarly competent long-inning reliever would surely move another 3 games (net) out of the loss column.

If, on top of this, you asked me, could AA make enough other off-season moves to add 3 more (net) wins to the Jay's total, on current form, I would have to say, yes.

Now this would bring the Jays very close to the Yankees and Rays, and if some of those increased wins came at their expense, there would be no need to put off contending to future years.




TamRa - Saturday, October 02 2010 @ 06:47 PM EDT (#223442) #
It would be accurate, however, to say that Gaston is more willing than other managers to play young and/or unproven talent, to make regulars out of players who have never been regulars before. He's not wild about having them on his bench. But he's never been reluctant about putting them into the lineup. Especially on the pitcher's mound. Even in the midst of a pennant race.

When we are speaking of starting pitchers, I agree. Relievers to a somewhat lesser extent (I consider his latest "WTF moment" to be another example of saying something that is at odds with what he does)

BUT

When speaking of hitters, we went through this the other day. If you review the years Cito has been in charge and look for notable examples of his playing young hitters out of the gate, they are almost always - with exceptions you could count on the fingers of one hand - situations where their there IS NO VETERAN alternative at the position on the roster, or where some injury or trade has forced his hand.

The cases where he had the chance to play a mediocre veteran (such as a Jacob Brumfield type) or an unproven youngster and he went with the kid are all but non-existant?

does that make him better or worse than, for instance, Bobby Cox? dunno, don't care enough to review Cox's history.

It's irrelevant, as far as I'm concerned.

I do understand and give Cito credit for having a feel for keeping a roster happy and understanding the sensitivities of personality (as when he allowed Overbay to play full time as he worked out of his early season slump this year when almost all of us were calling for at least a platoon - I'm not entirely convinced that it wouldn't have still been better to platoon him anyway, but I'm willing to concede Cito is in a better position to know how that would play out) and to an extent, that is a good quality if tempered probably.

But, to use a current example, if you slight JPA in order to keep Molina happy, that's taking it beyond a reasonable point. Molina is a role-player and surely he knows what happens when top-prospects arrive. It is the way of the game.

so in a sense, Cito has a good instinct which is just...over-employed.

That said, while I have pretty much zero complaint about his use of the pitching staff this year except his man-love for Tallet, what he SAID about the relief pitching for 2011 is bats**t crazy, but i won't detail it here since I vented that rant on the blog last night.

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