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Ken Rosenthal is reporting on Twitter that the Jays have traded Mike Napoli to the Rangers for Frank Francisco. Thanks to Bauxite chocolatethunder for the heads-up.

As I posted in the other thread, "I am not a fan of this move. Although there was probably one too many defensively-limited bodies for the corners, I thought Napoli fit better than others with his ability to play catcher and the fact he could spell Lind against left-handers.

I was happy with our bullpen as it was. I don't see the need for another reliever, particularly one who isn't a significant upgrade over our current bodies. I guess this means Frasor will be let go or someone else will be traded, but it seems like a hefty price to get slightly improved production. To give up two years of Napoli's bat for the upgrade from Frasor (or whomever) to Francisco seems strange."

This solves the logjam that many of us noted on the roster, but it creates an abundance of arms in the bullpen that will have to be addressed. Jason Frasor can't be feeling too comfortable right now.

Napoli, We Hardly Knew You | 172 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Matthew E - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 03:49 PM EST (#229415) #
I'm kind of hoping it's not true. The Jays' bullpen is overstuffed as it is, and Napoli seems like a useful kind of guy to have around.
Gerry - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 03:57 PM EST (#229419) #
Very puzzling, as it's currently described.  Maybe there is more to this trade?
Jonny German - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 03:57 PM EST (#229420) #
Theories:

AA has identified middle relievers as the new market inefficiency.

AA doesn't want to get a rep of being a guy who wins every trade.

AA has a fetish about churning through catchers.
perlhack - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 03:59 PM EST (#229421) #
According to ESPN transactions, the Jays "acquired RHP Frank Francisco and cash considerations from Texas for C Mike Napoli". No mention of how much cash was included.
eldarion - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 04:00 PM EST (#229422) #
Another theory: Napoli indicated to AA that he had no desire to report or play in Canada.
TamRa - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 04:00 PM EST (#229423) #
I like it.

Of course, I'll like it better when Dotel and possibly another RHRP hit the road.


Gerry - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 04:02 PM EST (#229424) #

Napoli is a 2.7 win player (Fangraphs WAR).

Francisco is a 1.1 win player.

They are both arbitration eligible, I think Napoli has an extra year of control.

Francsico was paid $3.3m last season so the salary gap is not huge, unless you are trying to pinch pennies.

So there has to be more coming back, right?

danjulien - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 04:03 PM EST (#229425) #
Something else to think about is that Francisco is very good vsLHB which is something this bullpen lacks right now as it stands.  Last thing would be that Francisco was a Type A and would probably be either Type A or B next year depending on his productivity this season.  Along with this, he's the type of arm contenders would look for at the deadline.
uglyone - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 04:03 PM EST (#229426) #
this is a bad deal as reported.

a very bad deal.

Matthew E - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 04:03 PM EST (#229427) #
One theory: when do Napoli and Francisco reach free agency next? If it's after 2011 for Francisco but not Napoli, maybe Anthopoulos is just piling up draft picks.

Another theory: Anthopoulos is about to pull the trigger on another trade that will send at least one reliever out of town, and is replenishing his shelves in advance.

#2JBrumfield - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 04:03 PM EST (#229428) #

Maybe Josh Hamilton is coming here! ;D

Francisco can throw strikes with things other than baseballs.  Remember this?

TamRa - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 04:03 PM EST (#229429) #
I'm not sure why it's assumed Frasor is the obvious exit. The guy who doesn't fit her IMO is Dotel with his bad splits and advancing age. also, Villianueva is superfolous now, IMO. both can depart without much impact. although the latter has probably minimal value.


Mike Green - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 04:10 PM EST (#229430) #
AA doesn't want to get a rep of being a guy who wins every trade.

Now there's an interesting theory, taken from the world of poker.  Alternatively, he has a personal grudge against Arte Moreno and Mike Scioscia, taking from the Angels and giving to the Rangers.  Nah.

With this move, the Wells trade becomes a pure salary dump as opposed to being a useful re-configuration of talent, in addition.  It's still a helluva good salary dump.
DJR - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 04:12 PM EST (#229431) #
What a strange way to say "Thank you" to the Angels.
ComebyDeanChance - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 04:12 PM EST (#229432) #
Perhaps among the considerations were:

1. Francisco was the only Type A free agent other than Frasor to accept arbitration, a choice that Anthopoulos thinks less likely in the much weaker 2012 free agent class. Assuming the report on mlbtr is true, If he could maintain that status or even Type B, the Wells deal means the Jays dump the Wells contract and get in return Rivera and Franciso for a year, draft picks, and (absurdly considering the Wells contract), cash. Napoli resembled Encarnacion except one's a marginal catcher and the other a marginal third baseman.

2. The Jays pen is now perhaps stronger this year than last, with Francisco, Rauch, Frasor, Dotel, Camp, Purcey, and Zep.

3. Absolutely nothing to do with any of this at all, and Anthopoulos has something else in mind that will come out of left field. Once again, not a breath of a rumor about this until it occurred.

drjohnnyfever - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 04:13 PM EST (#229433) #
It's completely illogical, but now I feel worse about the Wells trade! I shouldn't because Wells for nobody would have been a good trade. Wells for Franciso would have been awesome, so having Napoli in the middle shouldn't change the feeling of awesome.

Maybe too many trades in a short span makes people need therapy?

Matthew E - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 04:14 PM EST (#229435) #
Another thing about this is that the guy I'd actually like to see become the closer is David Purcey, if he can to it, but now with Francisco and Rauch and everyone around, he might not even make the team.

(Although he probably will because of the lefthandedness.)

ComebyDeanChance - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 04:16 PM EST (#229436) #
They are both arbitration eligible, I think Napoli has an extra year of control.

I believe Napoli is not eligible for free agency until after 2012. Francisco on the other hand was a Type A this year but accepted arbitration.
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 04:16 PM EST (#229437) #
Napoli only resembles Encarnacion superficially.  The big difference is career OBP.  There is a decent chance that Napoli could hit well enough to be an effective DH for the next 3-4 years. Encarnacion's chance of doing so is considerably less. 
Paul D - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 04:16 PM EST (#229438) #

I strongly suspect that this is part of a larger plan.   And yes, most likely that means one or more of the current relievers will be moved for something.

Newton - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 04:25 PM EST (#229440) #

This is further evidence, perhaps the most compelling to date, in support of the proposition that the chief object of the Jays recent roster moves has been to dump salary. 

AA has been doing a tremendous job of building future roster flexibility but as Jays fans and Rogers' content consumers we need to hold parentco. to account  with regard to the sums allocated to the player payroll.

2011 will be a fine season for the Jays' balance sheet but won't be as interesting or entertaining for Jays fans as 2010 I suspect.

Thomas - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 04:26 PM EST (#229441) #
Right now it's just being reported as Napoli and cash. Considering the cash the Jays shed in the Wells trade, cash doesn't seem like it would be their highest priority.

I assumed it was Frasor, as there are restrictions on trading newly-signed free agents, meaning that Dotel and Rauch are likely to stick around for a while. There could be another move coming, but I don't foresee the Jays dealing a reliever for a bat as potent as Napoli's. The problem with the draft pick theory is that a) Napoli is better than a compensatory B pick and b) there is a significant risk of Francisco accepting if he is an A again.
Original Ryan - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 04:27 PM EST (#229442) #
Napoli and Francisco still lack contracts for 2011.  Here are the numbers that were submitted for the arbitration hearing:

Napoli: $6,100,000  Team: $5,300,000
Francisco: $4,875,000  Team: $3,500,000

The savings for the Blue Jays could be as much as $2,600,000 or as little as $425,000.  I'm also wondering how much cash the Blue Jays are getting from the Rangers on this.

uglyone - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 04:30 PM EST (#229443) #
interesting tweet about Francisco's xFIP numbers. Looking at them, AA might think this is a legit closer here.

Last 3 years xFIP:

Francisco: 3.31, 3.53, 3.34
Papelbon: 3.72, 3.98, 2.38
Soriano: 3.81, 2.99, 4.84


maybe I should just learn to trust AA.

TamRa - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 04:30 PM EST (#229444) #
I don't get the Napoli love. I mean yeah, he's a nice little hitter but but not worth this kind of dispondancy. On the other hand, I seem to like Francisco more than anyone else - if he hadn't been a type A i'd have been real happy to sign him as the presumptive closer.

(not to say Napoli won't do well in the Ranger's park - he'll likely make my lack of enthusiasum look bad)

To me, it was revealing when Alex all but said thatthey had no idea what they were going to do with the two players they got - because getting them wasn't about how they fit on our team but about getting an asset with value. the Rangers were probably on the phone within an hour of the deal being made.

Alex apparently never had any particular ambition to acquire Napoli (or any idea where he'd fit on the roster - because he was pretty redundant) and, one might speculate, he had a high regard for Francisco.

i doubt SERIOUSLY that Alex things he lost value on this deal.

Someone, even as we type, is on the phone calling Alex right now asking what it would cost to pick off one of the excess relievers (and no, it's not Frasor by default - it's whichever guy can return the best value)

also, Juan Rivera ought to hold off on Apartment hunting for a bit yet.


SJE - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 04:32 PM EST (#229445) #
I wonder does the current CBA expire before next years off season? There seems to be a problem cited by many experts in the baseball community concerning how relievers were being classified. Example being having to give a draft pick for a type A free agent such as Jason Frasor. Maybe AA is anticapating a softening of the rules concerning the compensation picks awarded.
TamRa - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 04:34 PM EST (#229446) #
I assumed it was Frasor, as there are restrictions on trading newly-signed free agents, meaning that Dotel and Rauch are likely to stick around for a while.

then why were so many major outlets speculating on Type A free agents (noteably Pavano and Balfour) being signed in a sign and trade arrangement?


Mike D - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 04:34 PM EST (#229447) #
I think the next shoe to drop will be the acquisition of another position player.  For example, AA might have concluded (reasonably) that Francisco + Vlad Guerrero is a more efficient use of $5-6 million than Napoli.  Or he can rely on Encarnacion and/or Rivera to provide part-time righthanded power and add Podsednik for a different dimension.  Or there might be another trade in the works with a position player coming over.

Personally, I'd rather a credible 3B be brought aboard to keep Bautista in RF.

Alex Obal - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 04:34 PM EST (#229448) #
My knee-jerk reaction is actually positive. Closers don't grow on trees. Frank Francisco, if healthy, looks to me like the best relief pitcher on the team, by far. Of course, health is an issue, and how the Jays would have actually used Napoli is another issue.

I'll think about it...

Brent S - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 04:35 PM EST (#229449) #
This deal strikes me as one where AA "trusts the scouts". After completing some deals, he's mentioned that although the numbers don't really shake out, he's listened to a number of scouts who have made a very convincing argument to acquire a player.

Alex Obal - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 04:37 PM EST (#229450) #
Of course, if this trade just portends more cost-cutting measures, then... well... that sucks.
sweat - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 04:40 PM EST (#229451) #
My bet is AA took note of the relief pitcher situation from this offseason, and figures both Francisco and Frasor regret agreeing to arbitration.  Next year they could both end up as A ranked free agents, and still want to test the market.
Mike D - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 04:41 PM EST (#229452) #
This is further evidence, perhaps the most compelling to date, in support of the proposition that the chief object of the Jays recent roster moves has been to dump salary

Not a totally irrational fear, but I don't see that in this case.  I know there is some cash coming back, but Napoli's contract and perceived value around the league are such that I can't imagine that you'd have to take back a Frank Francisco in order to unload him.  In other words, if the "chief object" was dumping salary, I have no doubt that the Jays could move Napoli for a prospect, future considerations, etc.
85bluejay - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 04:42 PM EST (#229453) #
I think because Francisco lost his closer job to Feliz , he is undervalued and Napoli loses value if he's not a catcher 
uglyone - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 04:42 PM EST (#229454) #
supporting the xFIP numbers is that he's posted a 4.97era at home in Texas the past 2 years, and a 2.45era on the road, despite posting a similar xFIP in both splits.
ComebyDeanChance - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 04:44 PM EST (#229455) #
Napoli only resembles Encarnacion superficially. The big difference is career OBP. There is a decent chance that Napoli could hit well enough to be an effective DH for the next 3-4 years. Encarnacion's chance of doing so is considerably less

I'm not sure how great a chance has to be to be 'decent', but I'd be reluctant to focus on a .346 vs. .346 career obp, when last year was the first time Napoli had enough plate appearances to qualify for a full season and with that number of pa's his obp decline precipitously to .316. Overall, I think Francisco at 3 million with a pick (perhaps 2) is better value to Toronto than Napoli at 5-6 for two years with likely no pick. And part of that is that Napoli, if better than Encarnacion, is only marginally so. Considering Encarnacion's re-up price, the difference in salary between the two makes Encarnacion better value even if you're right and he's a bit inferior. But then I have the underlying feeling that all of this statistical analysis of the move is likely moot when the other shoes drop on the offseason.
Flex - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 04:44 PM EST (#229456) #
What Napoli was going to give the team low avg, lowish OBP and high HR was already well in hand. One of Lind or Arencibia or Encarnacion was always going to have to sit in order for him to play, and he wasn't going to give them anything offensively that the ones he was replacing couldn't provide. Plus, he was going to be more expensive than two of the three. The only thing he provided was defensive insurance at first and catcher, but not great insurance. Just passable.

In his place, we have a better closer option than we had previously, have saved some money, and have potentially created other trade possibilities. I think a 3B is in Anthopoulos's sights.
Dave Till - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 04:49 PM EST (#229457) #
Unless Napoli told the Jays that he didn't want to play in Canada, I can only see this as the first of another series of moves. The Jays have one too many relievers: they don't need Francisco and Rauch and Dotel. Or maybe they're planning on punting Frasor now.

I'm going to wait until the wheel stops spinning before I form an opinion on all of this.
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 04:57 PM EST (#229458) #
It's true.  Maybe the Jays will be able to convert one or two of the relief arms into a useful position player before the season starts.  My bet is that it will difficult to do so, but I have been wrong before and I will be wrong again.

The idea that you have to have four arms with high leverage relief experience ready in case one or two of them start the season on the DL is something that I fundamentally disagree with.  It is certainly not unique to AA this off-season. 

ComebyDeanChance - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 04:58 PM EST (#229459) #
To me, it was revealing when Alex all but said thatthey had no idea what they were going to do with the two players they got - because getting them wasn't about how they fit on our team but about getting an asset with value. the Rangers were probably on the phone within an hour of the deal being made

Anthopoulos was interviewed on the late afternoon show yesterday on XM mlb. He said the Wells deal was basically complete last Tuesday night. He also was asked how the players he's obtained fit in to the lineup and what he omitted saying was highly interesting to me. He said the outfield at this time shapes up as Davis in cf, Snider in left and Rivera in right, and the infield shapes up as Lind, Hill and Escobar. He wasn't asked anything about Jose Bautista and he said nothing about him at all.

I don't think Anthopoulos is one to give anything away to the media, but I found his failure to mention third base or Bautista interesting, and later began wondering about a trade. I think one makes a lot of sense. Bautista is likely reluctant to sign long term for anything less than superstar money, and Anthopoulos is likely reluctant to sign a player-friendly, multi-year deal where the team assumes all the risk. In that event, it could well work out that the Jays deal Bautista, particularly if they win his arbitration case and he's only 7.4 this year, rather than let him go for picks, looking for the type of haul SD or the Rays got.
Alex Obal - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 04:58 PM EST (#229460) #
Frank Francisco has had a positive WPA every single year of his career, pitching in Texas.
Dave Till - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 05:00 PM EST (#229461) #
Another thought: can the Jays even trade Rauch or Dotel now? They just signed them both.

And I'll bet neither of them is happy. Will free agents be more reluctant to sign here, knowing that somebody else might be signed two weeks from now? Perhaps I'm worrying too much about this - they still get paid, after all.

The editors of Baseball Prospectus must be a bit frustrated - their book is scheduled to hit the stands next month, and here is AA forcing a whole bunch of last minute editing.

Thomas - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 05:02 PM EST (#229462) #
then why were so many major outlets speculating on Type A free agents (noteably Pavano and Balfour) being signed in a sign and trade arrangement?

I never read any major media outlet speculate that either one of those two players would be traded. When have you ever heard of a sign and trade in baseball? They happen in basketball because of the incomprehensible salary cap rules.

To answer the question, there are restirctions, IIRC. Newly signed free agents cannot be traded until June 15, unless they consent.

dan gordon - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 05:02 PM EST (#229463) #

Disappointing - Francisco is a really good addition to the pen, but I was looking forward to having Napoli on the team.  Seems likely that the Jays really didn't want Napoli, and just moved him to Texas to save the salary and get what they could in the way of a good asset in return.  I certainly think Napoli has more value as a player than Francisco.  I would imagine the cash coming probably has something to do with the arb hearing, e.g. if Francisco wins, the Rangers will pick up half of the amount over the team's offer or some such thing.

I just looked at the video of AA discussing the Wells trade, and yes, you can see he didn't even want to talk about Napoli or Rivera, dodging the question the first time it was asked, and then saying they didn't know yet where the new players fit in when the question was repeated. 

Rotoworld says that Francisco should be the closer over Dotel or Rauch, and I would probably agree with that, but the Jays have to be careful how they use Francisco.  He has not been very good at all with no days off between appearances.  On 0 days of rest, his career WHIP is about 1.50 and his career ERA is over 6.00.   With Rauch and Dotel, they have options and could use one of the other guys when Francisco has just pitched the previous day.  I thought maybe Francisco's spliys might show he has been hurt by pitching in Texas, but there really isn't a lot of difference in his career home/road numbers.

Not too miffed at losing Napoli if this is something they felt they had to do as part of the Wells deal.  Heck, they could have given Napoli away and I still would have been elated about the Wells deal.

The bullpen logjam needs to be addressed - what have they got now, Francisco, Dotel, Rauch, Frasor, Camp, Janssen, Villanueva, Purcey, Carlson and maybe a starting candidate like Zep or Stewart.  That's 9 or 10, plus Cordero if he recovers, plus Ledezma, Roenicke, Farina etc. for AAA depth. They should be able to turn somebody into an asset.

Chuck - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 05:05 PM EST (#229464) #
If the Rogers Center staff needs help putting away chairs after the game, Mr. Francisco can pick 'em up and heave 'em with the best of them.
Powder Blues - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 05:12 PM EST (#229465) #
Love this move. Napoli was a redundant, no defense masher who was going to earn an absurd 6M for maybe 400 plate appearances.

Francisco is an excellent pitcher with above average rate stats across the board. He just happened to get outplayed by one of the most dominant young relievers in recent memory (Feliz).

Put this way - if Francisco had kept the nominal "closer" job all year, his value would be double what it is today, and he's the same pitcher. Put in the closers job (sorry Dotel), he'll easily be a Type A next offseason. 

So... Redundant no defense masher @ 6M or, a type A closer and cash @ 3-4m?  Plus whatever value you get for Frasor, Camp, Villanueva etc.

85bluejay - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 05:24 PM EST (#229466) #
Moving Bautista is something I hope and expect - maybe use the prospects acquired to take a run at Justin Uption.
sam - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 05:27 PM EST (#229467) #
I like this move as well. I think Napoli was redundant and possibly detrimental to a team that wants to see what they have in JP Arencibia and Lind at first base. Francisco is a legitimate closer who will be Type A status next year. Draft picks are good for this franchise. Furthermore, I'd take bullpen depth over positional depth at 1B/C any day. I think AA might also be thinking along the lines of: we have a young rotation, I want to give them as much help as possible. If they're going to be consistently asked to pitch the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings than having Camp, Frasor, Dotel, Rauch, Villanueva, Purcey, and Francisco is probably a good thing. If the Jays went into spring training with the team they currently have I wouldn't be upset or surprised.
Newton - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 05:27 PM EST (#229468) #

Mike D: 

Agreed, my choice of words may not have been optimal but one must agree that payroll savings has certainly been a constant in each deal and is a clear priority. 

It is also becoming clear that 2011 competitiveness is not an organizational priority. 

I don't have an issue with that in the least so long as we continue to acquire assets which will benefit our future and that we build up our payroll when the appropriate opportunities arise. 

In terms of public relations AA has been careful not to sell out the clubs chances in 2011 and the real point of my earlier post is essentially that fans should not put much stock into such representations from the club. 

2011 wins and losses likely aren't even on AA's performance evaluation - perhaps rightfully so. 

Geoff - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 05:27 PM EST (#229469) #
AA plans for the Jays to win so many games this year, they will need four closers.
John Northey - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 05:30 PM EST (#229470) #
As I said before, you just can't predict AA.

So a guy who K's 10 per 9 IP, and has walked 4 per 9 but 2.7 and 3.1 the past 2 years, while giving up 0.9 HR/9 IP.

Quite the offseason. I recall JP doing something similar early on, stocking up on relievers in his early years. Dotel is also a 10K/9 4BB/9 guy. Villanueva is at 8.1 K's but hit 11 last year. Cordero is over 8 as well. Rauch is just at 7.3 K/9 but is under 3 for BB/9 lifetime. Lots of closer types out there now.

Got to figure AA is hunting for a guy who can do what Bautista does (play 3B/outfield) who is younger and cheaper. Of course, that could be Lawrie with the need for a temporary sub just in case - of course that could be McDonald.

One thing we can be sure of, AA will never ever hesitate to trade to improve even if he just got a guy or signed someone else for the same role.
Shaker - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 05:45 PM EST (#229471) #
Any chance the Mets have interest in Bautista?

I have long fantasized that we send Jose to the Mets for some of their awful contracts and (somehow) get David Wright in return.

I know the Mets would never want to dump their best player, but what if Sandy Alderson et al really wanted to start over...and what if Jays said they would take the Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo contracts (~$18M) off their hands? 

I'm pretty sure Minaya would've gone for it...but am less certain about the new trifecta in Flushing...

Any chance?

DaveB - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 05:46 PM EST (#229472) #
BP and other publications might as well commit themselves now to a "Subject to Likely Roster Revision" notice on their Blue Jays' page. I wonder if there has been enough action lately to placate the nervous Nellies who thought AA was too idle this off-season. The trade market never dies and AA has said all along that it was going to be the most fruitful avenue to roster and system improvement. His manipulation of FA compensation has also been amazing and I think that's the "market inefficiency" he has identified.. He's going to be sitting on a ton of prospects if (when) FA compensation is eventually changed and it becomes harder to stockpile extra draft picks.

Francisco and Rivera for Wells (and cash!!) is still a good deal. Overall I would have preferred Napoli to Francisco but the bullpen has been addressed and there are probably other irons in the fire. Excess relievers and the  team could still use a 3B glove, a LH bat and a better fourth OF, perhaps still a veteran catcher. I'm unconvinced both Rivera and EE will be on the roster on Opening Day, let alone the starting lineup. AA is not done.


Ryan Day - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 05:51 PM EST (#229473) #
"2011 wins and losses likely aren't even on AA's performance evaluation - perhaps rightfully so."

That would be foolish. Attendance was bad enough in 2010 for a pretty decent team - I don't want to know what the crowds will look like in August if the team is on its way to a 100-loss season.

I don't expect the Jays to be that bad, but an awful season could have a serious impact on long-term attendance, which in turn will affect the team's ability to spend money down the road.

Anthopoulos obviously isn't going to sell out the future for a few wins in 2011, but he can't afford to neglect the 2011 product, either.
TamRa - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 06:03 PM EST (#229474) #
To answer the question, there are restirctions, IIRC. Newly signed free agents cannot be traded until June 15, unless they consent.

And therein you answer the question. That was exactly what I thought the situation to be. Obviously a team  which had intended to do a sign & trade for a Balfour would have gotten consent from Balfour in advance.

Likewise, if you are Dotel and you sign with the Jays thinking you are the front-runner to be the closer than suddenly find yourself in third place, are you going to stubbornly cling to this team you've never actually suited up for? Why?

Shaker - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 06:10 PM EST (#229475) #

Russell Branyan pick up the phone!  You just won a million (Canadian) dollars!


Now we can add the LEFT handed slugging bat we need.

Thomas - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 06:18 PM EST (#229476) #
Why would a team trade for Balfour and not just sign him directly? Can you name the last direct sign-and-trade that happened in baseball? I can't.

Consent costs money. If I'm Dotel, I tell the Blue Jays that you don't want me around clearly, so you're going to have to pay me to leave. (Maybe I'd consent if i was going to be the closer somewhere, but i don't see any team that would hand Dotel the closer spot and a setup man is a setup man.)
Thomas - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 06:26 PM EST (#229477) #
Maybe Dotel would attempt to demand those concessions from the team that acquired him, but that would likely affect the Jays return on the trade. Dotel holds all the power in this situation and could block trades to any team where he isn't the closer or could demand compensation for being trade, such as a renogotiation of his contract.

I think you downplay the importance of his consent being required, as you seem to dismiss it entirely.
The_Game - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 06:29 PM EST (#229479) #
Yeah, this move doesn't make sense from a value standpoint. A clear loss.

Not at all what I've come to expect from AA.
TamRa - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 06:34 PM EST (#229480) #
Why would a team trade for Balfour and not just sign him directly? Can you name the last direct sign-and-trade that happened in baseball? I can't.

To pay a lesser compensation than their first round draft pick.

Obviously.

Let's say, for ease of reference, it was the Jays.-

You can sign Balfour and lose your first round pick - or you can make arrangements with the Rays to sign him for a price you are comfortable with , with Balfour to approve a trade, and agree to give the Rays a player you value less than the pick for him - Say Ryan Goins just to pull out a name.

Now, of course the Rays wouldn't want to do this in division but i used the Jays just to name a prospect we'd all be familiar with.

It's a perfectly logical solution IF the player lingers unsigned long enough that the old team fears they won't get anything at all for him. It doesn't happen much (at all so far) simply because other than relievers, not many type A free agents linger on the market unsigned like that. And most of them figure out, like Frasor and Fransisco did, not to paint themselves into that corner.

Just because it so happens that no team has gotten that desperate yet doesn't make it an unwise move. No team had essentially bought a draft pick like the Red Sox* and Jays did this year before either - but that didn't stop it from happening.

*Assuming Lopez ever signs.
TamRa - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 06:40 PM EST (#229481) #
I think you downplay the importance of his consent being required, as you seem to dismiss it entirely.

the Wells deal needed his consent, and no price was paid to obtain it. Just because a  player has that power doesn't mean he's oblidged to use it. And even if so, how much financial leverage is there on a deal that's under $4 million. It doesn't make sense to ask for a 25% premium. and even that is less than  million dollars which is hardly going to stop AA from acquiring value.

I mean, sure it's certainly possible Dotel would but his foot down and say "Hell no" but there's no reason to assume that over other possibilities.

All this aside, that still doesn't necessarily make Frasor the obvious suspect - could just as easily be Villianueva, or Janssen, or Camp, or any two of those - I'm not saying it WON'T be Frasor but it's far from a given.

The player traded will be the one he gets the best offer for (in terms of what is coming back suiting the teams' needs better than that which departs) from among all 7 or 8 RHP, IMO.
Lylemcr - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 06:41 PM EST (#229482) #

1. As a catcher, Napoli is decent offensively.  (but not so good defensively) , but as a first baseman, his numbers are not that good.  And I imagine he is not that good at first base either. 

2. You can never have enough good arms in the pen.  Fransisco, Dotel and Rauch are all better than Gregg.  They just need a LHP to replace Downs...  That might be difficult.  The good news is that all three are servicable parts that could be moved during the year to get more prospects.

3. The Jays need to see what JPA can do.  They have a couple other catchers waiting in the wings.  JPA needs a chance to show what he can do.

4. 1BDH are not hard to pick someone up for cheap with simular stats as Napoli.  I still think(or hope) the Jays are going to sign Vlady as the DHbench bat. 

 

Forkball - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 06:43 PM EST (#229483) #
When have you ever heard of a sign and trade in baseball?

Soriano last year.
Alex Obal - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 06:49 PM EST (#229484) #
Also, in case anyone is seriously using WAR to measure the value changing hands here, an average season from Mariano Rivera in his prime was worth about 2.7 WAR. Over his five full seasons, Jonathan Papelbon has averaged 2.32 WAR. It doesn't apply to relief pitchers.
Ryan Day - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 06:49 PM EST (#229485) #
Soriano wasn't really the same thing - he accepted arbitration, which Atlanta wasn't expecting. Even if it was a sign-and-trade, it's hardly an endorsement of the process, given all they got back was Jesse Chavez.
ZekeBella - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 06:51 PM EST (#229486) #

I too saw usefulness in a year or 2 of Napoli, but please some of you need to get a grip!  AA was being canonized by one and all (well 99% anyway) on the weekend and now he is taking flak for a Napoli-Francisco trade? I thought we all trusted the man by now.  I know I do and i expect St. Alex to make a few more moves yet.  If you don't think a Bautista long term contract is wise, when would you get the most assets back for him, now or at the trade deadline? The answer is NOW so let's hold our breath and see what happens. The puzzle pieces are still falling. Perhaps he can finish up in time to help the Leafs at the trade deadline. On 2nd thought with their managerial mess, you need God, not a mere saint!  

Does anybody else find it ironic that the Leafs and Jays have reverse philosophies which seem to go against the grain? I.e you have one team guaranteed sellouts and another with definite attendance problems. Which one would you think would look to the future and which one would you expect to trade the future away eg. 2 first round draft choices??  Strange days indeed Mr. Morrison.  

 

earlweaverfan - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 06:54 PM EST (#229487) #
That would be foolish. Attendance was bad enough in 2010 for a pretty decent team - I don't want to know what the crowds will look like in August if the team is on its way to a 100-loss season.

I don't expect the Jays to be that bad, but an awful season could have a serious impact on long-term attendance, which in turn will affect the team's ability to spend money down the road.


So, let's look back at what off-season goals AA and Farrell talked about publicly, when the latter had just arrived.  IIRC, they focused on:
  • A much stronger bullpen - can there be any doubt that AA has achieved that by now?  [I cannot imagine that he will not start the season with at least Francisco, Rauch, Camp, Purcey, Villanueva, and his pick of the rest, say Rzepczynski and Janssen).  Yet he achieved this without paying the exorbitant FA salaries that so many other teams were forced to pay!  And while picking up the draft picks that Downs and Gregg provided to the team?  And with more relief pitcher trading chips in his basket than he will possibly need in April, likely resulting in some additional gains when he finds a new home for the least essential of  the following:  Dotel, Frasor, Carlson, Roenicke, Cordero. 
  • More small ball capacity, including speed and aggressiveness on the basepaths, leading to a greater potential to score runs, once someone gets on.  Davis brings that possibility for sure and with Wells gone, there is more playing time in which Davis can shine.  He will likely be supported by either Patterson or Mastroianni, either of whom also have great wheels.  That upgrade cost us two relievers
  • Increased OBP - here he has not yet advanced meaningfully, so we will have to wait and see on that.  I have some confidence that more focus on this by the Jays' coaches could close that gap
  • Retaining the opportunity  to test the potential in JPA and in Lind, at catcher and 1B respectively.  While these required no genius to fulfill, he was not forced to sacrifice these goals to meet other off-season objectives
On top of those achievements, he met several others that he did not even predict:
  • The acquisition of Lawrie gave him a future star for his infield, after dealing from his greatest strength - strong starting pitching.  Is that starting pitching much worse off, given that Marcum has been replaced by Drabek, and that last year's fifth starter committee will be filled by one of Stewart, Litsch and Rzep?  At most, this yields a limited decline, if the other three continue to develop
  • The switcheroo with Edwin E, who left town a 3B-man and returned a DH, for a much smaller annual salary
  • The acquisiiton of a mitful of high draft picks for 2011 through the contract renewals he did not sign, the short-term snagging of Olivo etc.
  • And, of course, the dramatic freeing up of resources due to the Wells trade, where his above average batting will not be fully replaced by Rivera, or whomever we trade Rivera for
To my mind, this team is organizationally far stronger, and on the field, just as likely to be stonger vs. last year, than it is to be weaker.  A younger team, it has more potential to get better as players mature, than to get worse.  As Snider, Encarnacion, Escobar Lind and Hill all step up from last year, that could make up for Bautista, Arencibia and Rivera all being worse than last year's players at their positions.

And as we all keep saying, he may not be done.  Note, too, that any GM wanting to make a deal happen will look to AA as someone who is always willing to pull the trigger, if the deal makes sense!
sam - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 07:10 PM EST (#229488) #
A good summation earlweaverfan
Ryan C - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 07:14 PM EST (#229489) #

If Francisco is as good as some here are saying, and be a great closer for such a cheap price, then I can see the logic in the deal.  If he's just another bullpen arm, then I don't like it.  Decent (and I mean decent, not great) bullpen arms are relatively easy to come by and I would rather have a solid bat like Napoli's.

Mick Doherty - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 07:18 PM EST (#229490) #

FWIW, North Texas media LOVE this deal for the Rangers.

On the other hand, when I read Jamey's announcement of the deal, my immediate thoughtt was, "Makes sense, but the Rangers gave up too much."

Frankie is a closer who lost his job, deservedly, to High-heat Feliz.. If he closes for the Jays in 2011, mark down 35 saves, easy.

ComebyDeanChance - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 07:19 PM EST (#229491) #
There is a reason that the Angels looked at Napoli and Rivera as 11 million in salary to offset Wells. It seems some people had visions of Mike Napoli as an impact DH, a vision which just isn't supported by the numbers.

For the first time in 2010, Napoli had enough pa's to qualify for an official batting average. His 2010 obp vs. right-handed pitching was .277. That's not mediocre, it's flat out bad.The year before, in fewer plate appearances it was a mediocre .325. Yet somehow, the failure of the Jays to hang onto a guy who would cost 5-6 million for two years running and who qualifies best as a righthanded bat off the bench to pinch hit against lefthanders, is cast as a disappointment.

Trading Napoli for Francisco, a guy who was a closer in 2009 and a type A free agent this year on a one year deal, and getting cash in the mix, is a great deal. It may be that some fashioned Napoli a mini-Albert Pujols at the dish, but his numbers vs. righthanded pitching don't substantiate that vision.

It may well be that Anthopoulos had this deal in place before the Wells deal was announced on Friday, and held off to avoid the obvious buzz that would occur should the Jays deal Wells and actually get cash back in the deal, in order to avoid reflecting poorly on Tony Reagins. This is a smart deal for Toronto.
CSHunt68 - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 07:22 PM EST (#229492) #
Yep, ComebyDeanChance has it right. This is a GREAT value deal for the Jays, perfectly in-line with all of AA's moves to date.
Chuck - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 07:40 PM EST (#229493) #

As a catcher, Napoli is decent offensively.

Napoli's career OPS+ is 118. Last year, it was 113. The average MLB catcher's was 93. Decent doesn't seem an adequate enough word to reflect this gap. Would that the whole Blue Jay lineup be filled with such decent hitters.

Nick Holmes - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 07:52 PM EST (#229494) #
I think we've found our motto for the (early) AA years:
Fans plan, Alex Laughs.

Oh yeah, earlweaverfan, your analysis looks good to me.
ComebyDeanChance - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 08:02 PM EST (#229495) #
Napoli's career OPS+ is 118. Last year, it was 113. The average MLB catcher's was 93. Decent doesn't seem an adequate enough word to reflect this gap. Would that the whole Blue Jay lineup be filled with such decent hitters.

While everything you say is accurate, career OPS+ provides a disproportionately favourable presentation of Mike Napoli. Among catchers who had an official batting average last year, Mike Napoli had the lowest obp in the American League. He's the kind of guy who makes sense for a playoff competitive team to have on their bench to pinch hit against lefthanded pitching. At his salary, and given that it highly unlikely he would provide a comp pick after paying him $11 - 12 million through 2012, he's a player who makes far less sense for Toronto than does Francisco.
Mylegacy - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 08:06 PM EST (#229496) #
Is anyone seriously saying Napoli should be given bats that we need to give to JPA to see IF he's the "guy"?

Remember, we've D'Arnaud and Perez breathing down JPA's back and two others breathing down their backs. 2011 is the year we find out if Lind can play 1st and JPA can catch - elementary my dear Watson.

The only use for Napoli's that I would have thought OK would have been for him to spot Lind against LHPer - and even there I'd really rather take a few lumps giving Lind every chance we can to see if he could be a core - full time - guy going forward.

Me - (assuming we don't trade Bautista - which I think is a lot less likely that either signing him to an extension or just keeping him for the "picks" in 2012) -

I would give E5 another shot at 3rd, Snider in LF, Davis in CF, Bautista in RF, Escobar at SS, Hill at 2nd, Lind at 1st, JPA at C and Vlad at DH. But that's me.

As to Frank - he gives us FOUR semi-proven closers when considered with Dotel, Frasor and Rauch. With our young starters - they'll need back-up at times and they'll grow better IF we can SAVE their leads and turn them into wins.

As for AA (as I read on another blog earlier today) he is - without question - without doubt - The Greek God of Talks!

Thomas - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 08:28 PM EST (#229497) #
As a side note, Heyman reports on Twitter the Jays did, in fact, send $5 million to the Angels in the Wells deal. Not that this changes the analysis of the deal in any meaningful way at all.

Also, I meant side-and-trade as a flat sign and trade. Accepting arbitration was not what I had in mind, as that is applicable to neither Balfour nor Pavano.
grjas - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 08:36 PM EST (#229498) #
Funny, when I first heard of the Napoli deal, I had a hunch AA would flip him. Now bundling him with say Aaron Hill for a good 3rd baseman would have made me salivate; not sure I follow the logic of this trade given the depth in the pen, but it's not inconceivable there is another trade coming.

Regardless, this has been a fascinating offseason, and you gotta love a GM that brings a vision, keeps his mouth shut, takes some risks and let's results do the talking. And I have another hunch there's more action coming.
ComebyDeanChance - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 08:54 PM EST (#229499) #
Among catchers who had an official batting average last year, Mike Napoli had the lowest obp in the American League.

I meant to say, and omitted, against right handed pitching.
Forkball - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 09:03 PM EST (#229500) #
As a side note, Heyman reports on Twitter the Jays did, in fact, send $5 million to the Angels in the Wells deal.

Both teams said there was no cash involved. And we know that cash was definitely involved in the Ranger trade so why would it not be announced in the Angel trade? My guess is that the $5 million thrown into the deal is Juan Rivera.

electric carrot - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 09:03 PM EST (#229501) #
Put me in the camp that believes the Jays trade Bautista.  Here's some evidence from the Boston Globe
electric carrot - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 09:05 PM EST (#229502) #
http://www.boston.com/sports/blogs/thebuzz/2011/01/report_red_sox_2.html?p1=Upbox_links
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 09:14 PM EST (#229503) #
That link aint evidence of much, electric carrot.  One team was interested in Bautista (what a shock), and the Jays were reluctant to trade him (also no big surprise). 

With Wells gone, it makes very little sense to trade Bautista unless his demands are huge or unless you believe he is headed into the tank.  He does fit a medium term need of the organization- a right-handed middle of the order bat who can play right-field decently. 

Forkball - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 09:14 PM EST (#229504) #
I thought Napoli was a potential nice fit in that he could fill in at C, 1B or DH if necessary.  But my guess is that the Jays viewed his defense negatively enough that the WAR value we see was higher than the Jays' perceived value of him.  As a strict DH/1B his value isn't that great, and maybe not even what he'll get paid.

The other thing, is that 2011 is essentially a development year.  And the Jays should want to find out exactly what they have in Lind and Arencibia.  So while it sounds good to platoon Lind with a RH batter, isn't this the year you want him to face as many LHPs as possible?  If he rarely faces them you're never going to find out what you have and/or he'll never learn to hit them.  If you let him sink or swim you'll have a better feel for what you have in future years.  Same thing with JPA - find out what you really have before other prospects start knocking at the door.

The accumulation of veteran relievers does seem a little redundant, but we also don't know that the team is set now either.  Both trades in the last few days seemingly came out of nowhere.

Craig B - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 09:16 PM EST (#229505) #
Theory: the Rangers are sending cash with Frankie, so this is a salary dump.
rfan8 - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 09:27 PM EST (#229507) #

There's a link up on mlbtr stating AA said today he wants EE to play everyday and that the amount of cash trading hands is less than a mil. It's under the section talking about the Jays wanting to bolster the bench.

Like a lot of others here I think there's more to come anyway.

christaylor - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 09:31 PM EST (#229508) #
The way I read it, the article seems to point away from the Jays trading Bautista. They were "no enthusiastic". If Bautista was seen by the Sox as an alternative to Crawford, I'm assuming the offer was not a low-ball.

If AA can pull of a trade that gets back the value of Bautista as a 30-40HR slugger with good OBP and average but flexible defense -- I'm all for it.

Two thoughts:

1. On the topic of the Sox -- he seems to be an odd man out, I'd really like to see the Jays try and make a play for Josh Reddick.

2. I really hope AA does not think he's going to put Rivera in RF everyday. Unless of course he wants to be 100% certain he'll be able to say "Lawrie played his way onto the team" in early May.
Glevin - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 10:19 PM EST (#229510) #
"The other thing, is that 2011 is essentially a development year.  And the Jays should want to find out exactly what they have in Lind and Arencibia. "

I think this is the key with any movement the Jays make.It doesn't really matter whether the Jays win an extra game or two in the long-run, they are not making the playoffs this year.The deals that AA is making are with the eye to 2-3 years down the road when they should be able to start to compete. With this in mind, I expect the Jays to try to trade Bautista at some point although they may be smart to wait. Even one great month would allay a lot of fear other teams might have about regression. The Jays are stockpiling great prospects and that's the way to go forward. 
Forkball - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 10:24 PM EST (#229511) #
Theory: the Rangers are sending cash with Frankie, so this is a salary dump.

The Jays could have released Napoli in spring training and only owed him a million or so.  That would have been a much bigger savings.

I'd guess the cash was just away around equalizing the trade without throwing a prospect into the deal.
Gerry - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 10:28 PM EST (#229512) #

AA was on the Fan this evening.  He said that he was finished dealing for now other than adding minor league free agents or a bench player.  The Jays did re-sign Jason Lane today.  AA also said that teams were getting ready to head to spring training and see what they had, and at this stage were reluctant to deal.

With regard to Francisco he said relievers and starters are very hard to trade for in-season so the pitching depth was important to him.

TamRa - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 10:49 PM EST (#229516) #
I think Hyman MUST be just being tongue in cheek or something. He can't mean that post seriously.


rtcaino - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 11:04 PM EST (#229517) #
you gotta love a GM that brings a vision, keeps his mouth shut, takes some risks and let's results do the talking.

You lost me at mouth shut and not doing the talking.
cybercavalier - Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ 11:23 PM EST (#229518) #
Wow. For the last few days, the deals triggered many inspiring, brillant and educational discussions on BbBox. I Applaud. I have pretty much remain silence after reading all the above posts. Here is a few cents of mine:

1) Good summation from earlweaverfan; to echo that, the New York Sun's Will Carroll had a nice article a few years back. The take home message is: There's certainly more than one way to fill a roster. [...]  the best way to win is to have a plan. Exactly AA had a plan.

2) How did the Jays fill out the minor league AAA or AA roster? Given the prospects going to their respective level of minor league teams after spring training, Budde, Patterson and Lane are at AAA. Ricardo Nanita is at AA. Maybe they could resign the former Jays Gabe Gross to AAA? Or Kyle Phillips?
Magpie - Wednesday, January 26 2011 @ 12:02 AM EST (#229520) #
Increased OBP - here he has not yet advanced meaningfully

No kidding. It might be more forthright to come out and say they've taken a few large steps backward this winter. You'll recall that last year's team had exactly one guy who was actually good at getting on base - Jose Bautista, and the ability to get on base has always been part of his skill set.

But otherwise the team had just four guys who were roughly around the league average at getting on base, and a whole bunch of guys who were... not so good.

And who were the four guys who were at least around the league average? Yunel Escobar, Vernon Wells, Fred Lewis, and Lyle Overbay. That's not addition by subtraction - that's subtraction by subtraction...
DiscoDave - Wednesday, January 26 2011 @ 01:57 AM EST (#229522) #
No kidding. It might be more forthright to come out and say they've taken a few large steps backward this winter. You'll recall that last year's team had exactly one guy who was actually good at getting on base - Jose Bautista, and the ability to get on base has always been part of his skill set.

But otherwise the team had just four guys who were roughly around the league average at getting on base, and a whole bunch of guys who were... not so good.

And who were the four guys who were at least around the league average? Yunel Escobar, Vernon Wells, Fred Lewis, and Lyle Overbay. That's not addition by subtraction - that's
subtraction by subtraction...

Might the well known fact that AA covets adding players with the skill of getting on base be pusing the price up from other GMs?  AA is certainly not in a position of strength in this regard.
brent - Wednesday, January 26 2011 @ 04:05 AM EST (#229523) #
Looking at Fangraphs, the Jays bullpen (relative to the rest of the AL) was the worst it's been since 2005. It was better than the early JP years, though. There could be around close to 20 million in payroll this year going to the pen. I guess the front office decided to put a premium on it (as GM AA said they were with a young staff).
Mike Green - Wednesday, January 26 2011 @ 09:07 AM EST (#229524) #
One ought not to rely solely on 2010 performance to see where the club is now as compared with before the moves.  Fred Lewis and Vernon Wells might have been among the club leaders in OBP in 2010, but were likely to be less impressive in this regard in 2011 than Rajai Davis, Adam Lind,  and Travis Snider.

The club has taken a step backward though.  The 1B/DH combination in 2010 was Overbay/Lind.  In 2011,  it is Lind/Encarnacion.  They don't have a third baseman.  These are serious issues.
John Northey - Wednesday, January 26 2011 @ 09:15 AM EST (#229525) #
An interesting interview on the radio this morning (JP has been doing the rounds, on my drive home yesterday I heard him on 640, then I switched to 590 and they said 'we will be back with Alex Anthopolus'). He mentioned that the Jays team (scouts, etc.) have determined there are only 3-4 true closers out there - ie: guys who you can count on to go 1-2-3 when needed - while the others are basically of the Kevin Gregg style (nervous ninths).

So he and his team see, probably, dozens of guys who are interchangeable and you just try to catch lightning in a bottle with them - thus the Jays signed 3 to see if they get lucky. In truth, it is probably better to have 3 potential closers than to have, say, Rivera and no one else. This way you have someone solid for the 7th/8th when needed as well as the traditional closer for the 9th. Mix in Camp who is very solid for 2 innings and you have a very good top 4. Add in Frasor who many like, and a cast of thousands for the last 2 slots (OK, Janssen, Purcey, Roenicke, Carlson, Cordero, Stokes, Abreu, among others plus the losers in the 5th starter race) and it should be a solid pen in the majors plus a fair number of decent guys in AAA waiting a turn as injuries and ineffectiveness hit.
uglyone - Wednesday, January 26 2011 @ 10:21 AM EST (#229528) #
The 1B/DH combination in 2010 was Overbay/Lind.  In 2011,  it is Lind/Encarnacion.

Sorry, Mike, but where exactly do you see the downgrade there?
uglyone - Wednesday, January 26 2011 @ 10:22 AM EST (#229529) #

Our current 7 man pen did this last year: 431.2ip, 8.8k/9, 2.8k/bb, 1.32whip, 3.67era

Mike Green - Wednesday, January 26 2011 @ 11:17 AM EST (#229530) #
Uglyone, Overbay is a modestly better hitter than Encarnacion but it is accentuated by the RH tilt of the lineup both last year and even more this year.  This resulted in the club seeing fewer lefthanded pitchers than typical (last year the club had 1200 PAs against LH pitchers vs. 4200 against RH whereas the league split is 22K PAs against LH pitchers and 56K PAs against RH pitchers), and it is likely that this trend will be accentuated this year with only Snider and Lind hitting from the left and no LH bats on the bench.  And then, there's the large defensive difference between Overbay and Lind at first. 

It is possible given the ages of Encarnacion and Overbay that Edwin takes an offensive step forward while Overbay takes a step backward in 2011.  Encarnacion obviously has the physical ability to be a very good hitter, and maybe with a move off third base and maturity, he will harness that ability.

Thomas - Wednesday, January 26 2011 @ 11:50 AM EST (#229531) #
I think Hyman MUST be just being tongue in cheek or something. He can't mean that post seriously.

Why would you assume that?

Mike Green - Wednesday, January 26 2011 @ 11:58 AM EST (#229532) #
Who knows?  Apparently after Heyman's tweet, the Angels and Jays denied that any cash was changing hands. And I guess that is the last word until the inevitable tax audit. :)
uglyone - Wednesday, January 26 2011 @ 12:31 PM EST (#229534) #
Uglyone, Overbay is a modestly better hitter than Encarnacion but it is accentuated by the RH tilt of the lineup both last year and even more this year.

Well, Overbay might have slightly better career numbers (.349woba to .344woba), but EE was a better hitter than Overbay last year (.339woba to .332woba), and EE likely projects to better than Overbay's .332woba last year.

Don't see a downgrade at all there, to be honest.


Mick Doherty - Wednesday, January 26 2011 @ 12:57 PM EST (#229535) #
With the glove?
Thomas - Wednesday, January 26 2011 @ 01:19 PM EST (#229538) #
And I guess that is the last word until the inevitable tax audit. :)

He could be saying no money changed hands in the trade and still be accurate, having sent the $5 million to the Angels outside of the trade. However, Seeing as he's denied it again, I'll take Anthopolous at his word in that no money changed hands in the trade, however you want to characterize the time when the money was supposedly sent to Los Angeles.

It still doesn't follow that Heyman was not being serious or being tongue-in-cheek when he made his tweet.

jgadfly - Wednesday, January 26 2011 @ 01:19 PM EST (#229539) #
I think I read somewhere that Vernon was still owed $5M which was part of his signing bonus payment as separate from his contracted salarie and that this was the money that the Jays picked up.
earlweaverfan - Wednesday, January 26 2011 @ 04:04 PM EST (#229551) #
Increased OBP - here he has not yet advanced meaningfully

No kidding. It might be more forthright to come out and say they've taken a few large steps backward this winter. You'll recall that last year's team had exactly one guy who was actually good at getting on base - Jose Bautista, and the ability to get on base has always been part of his skill set.

One of the issues that intrigues me the most is buried in this little exchange.  On this site, there are two assumptions that lie behind, oh, probably 95% of predictions and evaluations we make about players, teams, and how they will perform in the coming year.  The first assumption is this:  Players will do about as well as they have shown themselves to be capable of in past, on all statistical dimensions of performance (after adjusting for injuries, park effects and other underlying conditions that might be different this year vs. last).  The second assumption is an elaboration of the first.  Players can outperform what they did last year if they are young, still learning the ropes, and they have not hit the downward slope that comes as early as 30 years or so.  The corollary to this is that they are likely to underperform last year if they have reached that not so magic age.

Of course, these assumptions are why we all got hornswoggled by Bautista's year - he way outperformed any previous year, and he waited until his 30th year of life  to do that.

What is missing from almost all of these assessments is the impact of good, mediocre or bad coaching, both on an individual player and on a team's likely performance.  How much does it matter?  How much could it matter, under the best scenario?

Relevant Jays example:  If Farrell and his coaches preach patient batting and high OBP systematically, and teach it well, is there a meaningful prospect of turning impatient batters into much more patient ones?  Could a team focus on this issue be enough to move the typical batter up another 20 basis points?  Because, as you point out, there has, if anything, been a setback on this score, if all we can hope for is what this group of players delivered last year.

A few straws in the wind:
  • The Yankees keep being described by broadcasters as being a super patient team, taking a lot of pitches per at bat, a major reason for their games to go on as long as they do.  Question - is this at all due to team philosophy and coaching, or were these guys all chosen for their historical ability to walk a lot and are just fulfilling what was already known about them?
  • Last year, the Jays hitters were said to be heavily under the influence of their hitting coach, leading to a major reliance on slugging, even at the expense of OBP.  Questions - is that true, or would this collection of batters have swung for the fences anyway?  If coaching did have an impact, is slugging easier to teach than walking?  Seems like it might be the other way around!  If the Jays change the coaching emphasis this year, will that make an important difference?  Does the history of this particular collection of players = destiny?
  • Michael McDade goes to the Arizona Fall League and tries to show that he can lower his strikeouts and up his BB.  His ability to make this adjustment is seen as pivotal to his future prospects as a Jay.  Presumably this is a realistic possibility for someone of his age (21).   Questions:  How likely is it for someone who is 25, 30 or even older to make a big leap forward in OBP, due to greater focus and skilled coaching?
I will be very interested to see whether, if a bunch of guys who have never taken OBP seriously now get religion, will we see very different results?

If we do not believe coaching can turn a key statistic like this around, how valuable is it to recruit the best coaches?  Are the WAR for batting coaches closely clustered around zero?
Matthew E - Wednesday, January 26 2011 @ 04:19 PM EST (#229553) #
Trying to learn OBP late in a career hasn't worked well in the past. I remember when Mondesi tried it; he walked a lot for about a month and then it was back to the same old thing.
92-93 - Wednesday, January 26 2011 @ 04:31 PM EST (#229554) #

Yeah, this move doesn't make sense from a value standpoint. A clear loss...Not at all what I've come to expect from AA.

A clear loss? Would you care to justify? Because I see the Blue Jays acquiring a valuable reliever for a guy who couldn't have possibly had any trade value if the baseball world's interpretation of Vernon Wells' value was accurate. Let's remember Napoli was moved for a player who cleared waivers last August and Francisco pitched like a Type A RP.

This trade reminds me of the Gose for Wallace swap with all the initial whining. I trust AA that Francisco has more value to this team than Napoli because he is the only one with a clear insight into what the market is. I'm happy that AA has his players he wants and targets them regardless of the perceived cost to fans, be it a Marcum, Wallace, or Napoli. 

Alex Obal - Wednesday, January 26 2011 @ 04:32 PM EST (#229555) #
Typically people assume that you increase OBP by walking more. There's an easy way and a hard way to walk more. The hard way, which is good, is improve your eye. The easy way, which may or may not be good, is take more pitches. But the more pitches you take, the more you strike out. The more you strike out, the fewer balls you put in play. The fewer balls you put in play, the fewer hits you get. (More accurately I think, deeper counts means more two-strike counts means your OBP goes down.)
Alex Obal - Wednesday, January 26 2011 @ 04:33 PM EST (#229556) #
(I mean your average goes down.)
Mike Green - Wednesday, January 26 2011 @ 05:16 PM EST (#229561) #
Sometimes players peak later than 27.  Joe Morgan, Paul O'Neill and Jose Cruz Sr. did that. Jose Bautista probably will do that.  In Morgan's case, the severe leg injury and the Astrodome probably held him back some.  In Bautista's case, it might be poor handling and role issues; it was probably the same for Cruz Sr..  In all of these cases, the driver seems to have been a later increase in IsoP unaccompanied by an increase in K rate.  The result is actually a higher batting average without any significant change in W rate. 

It wouldn't surprise me at all if Bautista hits 35 homers and .275 in 2011. 

All that said, has it happened that a bunch of 30+ year olds on a team have all made noticeable leaps in OBP over their career marks? I cannot think of that happening off hand.  Usually when a team makes a leap forward in OBP, it is due to personnel changes (like the Yankees of 93) or young players developing (like the Pirates of 90).

The_Game - Wednesday, January 26 2011 @ 06:06 PM EST (#229565) #
A clear loss? Would you care to justify? Because I see the Blue Jays acquiring a valuable reliever for a guy who couldn't have possibly had any trade value if the baseball world's interpretation of Vernon Wells' value was accurate.

If Napoli didn't have any trade value as you suggest, then the easiest thing would have been to give him ABs at 1B/DH/C in order to build up that value. After a successful 30+ HR, 3 WAR season in Toronto (which he likely would have had if given full ABs), it shouldn't be too hard to see that they could have traded him (and his potential for 2 compensation picks) for more than a single reliever.

Really, I can't see any point in selling low as they did for Frank Francisco.

I trust AA that Francisco has more value to this team than Napoli because he is the only one with a clear insight into what the market is. I'm happy that AA has his players he wants and targets them regardless of the perceived cost to fans, be it a Marcum, Wallace, or Napoli.

Believing blindly that this is a good move because AA made it makes little sense. He, like any other GM, is capable of making mistakes or under/overvaluing players. Tony Reagins, for example, should have had a clearer insight into the market than most, but he made an egregious mistake that will cost the Angels franchise for years. Should Angels fans trust him simply because he got the guy he wanted regardless of the perceived cost to fans?

If you go trusting a GM too much on player evaluation, it's quite a slippery slope. Eventually, you'll lose your ability to remain objective on each and every move that he makes.
AWeb - Wednesday, January 26 2011 @ 06:49 PM EST (#229566) #
The Yankees keep being described by broadcasters as being a super patient team, taking a lot of pitches per at bat, a major reason for their games to go on as long as they do.  Question - is this at all due to team philosophy and coaching, or were these guys all chosen for their historical ability to walk a lot and are just fulfilling what was already known about them?

This is mostly a case of being able to afford players who have that characteristic, along with power. The Yankees have (current or ex)all-stars at virtually every position most years. Let's see who they have now:
1B - Tex - talks walks, hits for power Yankees can afford him
2B - Cano - took a lot for him last year (57), hits for power (especially for position). Hope the extra BBs were a one-year abberation...
SS - Jeter - takes his fair share of walks, typically hit for power (maybe fading on that front though)
3B - Rodriguez - takes walks, hits for power
LF - Gardner - taking walks and playing defense is why he has value
CF - Granderson takes walks, hits for power (for position)
RF - Swisher - walks a lot, except for last year (hit for average instead), has power...sigh.
C - Posada was a wlks/power guy, Cervelli took walks without power - hardest position to find power and walks.

For comparison, the Jays had Bautista (100 BB) ad Overbay (67 BB) walk more than Granderson (53) last year, and Granderson was the worst positional player at walking on the team. Of all of these guys, only Gardner and maybe Cano (if they bought out arbitration years like a lot of other teams) are on the roster right now if they can't afford them. 

The Yankees don't have an organizational philosophy of  "be good at hitting from both a patience and power" more than anyone else, it's just that that combination of skills costs a lot of money, so they can trade for/sign/keep players like that. If every Jays player suddenly gets good at taking walks this year and keeps hitting for power, most will be gone in a year or two (but the team would likely win the division in the meantime, so that's good).
brent - Wednesday, January 26 2011 @ 07:19 PM EST (#229568) #

Please don't forget about salary and cash involved in the trade. It's Napoli + cash (+ higher arb salary) for Francisco (+ lower arb salary)

Looking at Napoli vs. Fracisco there is a loss in value, but you have to add money (that the Jays will be using come June) and opportunity cost as GM AA said you can't acquire pitchers easily during the season.

TamRa - Wednesday, January 26 2011 @ 08:31 PM EST (#229572) #
I think Hyman MUST be just being tongue in cheek or something. He can't mean that post seriously.

Why would you assume that?

1. There's no realistic way it's true and both GM's deny it. Particularly Alex "I'll never lie to you" Anthopoulos

2. There's no way that much money changed hands and no one but Hyman knows it since that much has to be approved by the commissioner's office and that requires too big a conspiracy  of silence

3. No reporter is going to cling seriously to a report that is demonsterably untrue. Those guys strongly value their reputation for trustworthiness

4. the phrase "it wasn't reported because they didn't want to" is a dead giveaway, IMO, that it's not a serious post. Clearly the MLB office doesn't give teams the option of reporting that money changed hands "when they want to"


CSHunt68 - Wednesday, January 26 2011 @ 08:40 PM EST (#229573) #
Every AB you would have given to Napoli would have been one taken away from Arencibia or Lind. That is - horribly, horribly misguided if you're rebuilding this team to compete. If you want to assume that Napoli is just going to DH, he's not a particularly good one.

The philosophy continues to be that the Jays can only compete with ELITE players and athletes, not just decent value guys eg Napoli. They need to be stock the system with hard throwers and players with big upsides. Napoli's a poor fit, so if you can flip him for one of those things, great.

Building up the pen is AA's way of making sure the young starters develop properly.

Regarding "trusting a GM too much on player evaluation"? Empty words trashing AA via this move. Fact is, he's a better judge than you, and a better judge than all of the posters in here. FWIW. It's a guessing game for him, like everyone else.

Mike Green - Wednesday, January 26 2011 @ 09:08 PM EST (#229574) #
They need to be stock the system with hard throwers and players with big upsides

...
but no wimpy on-base machines like Pedroia and Youkilis.  Seriously, good GMs (and I suspect AA might be one) will try to have a variety of talents on hand- hard throwers, soft tossers, power threats, speed merchants and (hopefully a few) players with a well-rounded balance of tools and skills. 

The scouting industry, as a whole, has some hoary old myths, which hopefully are starting to fade a bit.  The best clubs now see the importance of scouting, but recognize some of the preconceptions prevalent in the industry and adjust for them. 


Thomas - Wednesday, January 26 2011 @ 09:30 PM EST (#229575) #
3. No reporter is going to cling seriously to a report that is demonsterably untrue. Those guys strongly value their reputation for trustworthiness 4. the phrase "it wasn't reported because they didn't want to" is a dead giveaway, IMO, that it's not a serious post. Clearly the MLB office doesn't give teams the option of reporting that money changed hands "when they want to"

Point 3 speaks to why the tweet would be true, as well. Why would he tweet something that wasn't serious and which has been picked up by many media outlets? Most reporters are pretty clear when they are joking and when they are not for this very reason. Why would he make an ambiguous tweet that people could interpret at being accurate and sully his reputation?

It's far more likely that the Jays paid Vernon $5 million owing on his signing bonus, as was suggested up thread, and that they don't interpret that as sending any money to Anaheim and Heyman chooses to characterize it that way.

CSHunt68 - Wednesday, January 26 2011 @ 11:30 PM EST (#229587) #
"...but no wimpy on-base machines like Pedroia and Youkilis.  Seriously, good GMs"

Seriously, what good GM would think Youkilis and Pedrios didn't have a high upside?
Give your head a shake.

And AA has said that soft tossers don't succeed well in the AL East - you need power pitchers. Go back and listen to him. I agree.
Matthew E - Wednesday, January 26 2011 @ 11:36 PM EST (#229588) #
I know that when Gary Matthews took over as the Jays' hitting coach, their BB and OBP numbers rose sharply. I think those were the only years they were top 5 in the league.
92-93 - Thursday, January 27 2011 @ 03:29 AM EST (#229589) #

they could have traded him (and his potential for 2 compensation picks) for more than a single reliever.

Really, I can't see any point in selling low as they did for Frank Francisco.

The single reliever you speak of is 11th on the RP xFIP leaderboard from 2008-2010. He's a very good reliever who provides a skill desperately needed in the Jays bullpen, the ability to get LHB out. And he's already a Type A FA so he brings more potential for 2 compensation picks, considering he will make at most 4.85m in 2011.

AA told EE & Lind they are going to get regular AB, so there really was no room for Napoli unless the team intended on trading Arencibia before seeing what he's capable of or were willing to move E5 back to 3B. I'm not even a JPA fan but I can understand the problem with having a Napoli around - you just repeat the mistakes of last year and stunt the development of Arencibia, who needs to get comfortable at the MLB level. The Jays have the luxury of at least a year to see what they have in JPA and shouldn't waste that away unless an opportunity presents itself in trade to capitalize on his 2010 PCL season. Even if D'Arnaud, Jimenez, or Perez one day pass JPA on the depth chart there's value in having homegrown bench options at controllable, affordable salaries.

Liking this move has nothing to do with worshiping at the altar of AA and everything to do with the Jays picking up a cheaper player who fills a need without blocking younger talent. If we had loads of left-handed relief options it might be a different story. If this kind of move gives the Jays more money to play around with in a talent-rich draft, all the better.

TamRa - Thursday, January 27 2011 @ 04:04 AM EST (#229591) #
It's far more likely that the Jays paid Vernon $5 million owing on his signing bonus, as was suggested up thread, and that they don't interpret that as sending any money to Anaheim and Heyman chooses to characterize it that way.

Not if Cott's is to be believed:

$25.5M signing bonus ($8.5M payment each March 1, 2008-10}

There's no room there for another $5 million payment directly to Wells. All the signing bonus was paid out as of last March.

That said, JP Morosi is reporting it now too. Still, very peculier. There has to be some aspect to this that's not come out yet.

(not that I'm sweating such a small amount relative to the contract - just a stickler about the weirdness of the reporting)




Mike Green - Thursday, January 27 2011 @ 09:16 AM EST (#229595) #
When Pedroia and Youkilis were prospects, the scouting community was very down on them.  Pedroia's "upside" was described as Jody Reed, and that was the one of the kinder comments.  Youkilis was the "Greek God of Walks" and treated as being a pet favourite of the SABR crowd, and again with low upside.

As for the Jays' improvement in OBP from 1997 to 1998 (when Gary Matthews arrived as hitting coach), the keys to the improvement were Shannon Stewart (who had only 44 games with the Jays in 1997 and played full time in 1998), and Carlos Delgado and Jose Cruz Jr. who were both young.  The other key was the departure of Joe Carter as DH and his replacement with Jose Canseco.  Canseco wasn't great in the OBP department, but he was a big step up from the 1997 version of Joe Carter. The improvement was a combination of development of younger players and arrival of new talent. 

Thomas - Thursday, January 27 2011 @ 09:31 AM EST (#229597) #
Not if Cott's is to be believed:

If Cot's is to be believed (and Cot's usually is very accurate), the Jays are paying $5 million this year for Wells, regardless of whether that money is a signing bonus payment or part of his 2011 salary.

As I said, Heyman's reputation speaks to the likelihood that the tweet is true. There was no sign in the tweet that it was a joke and it's been picked up by several places, which indicates they also did not see it as a joke. I don't even know what the joke would be in that tweet. Anyhow, like you, it doesn't change my evaluation of the trade; I'm just curious as to what the accurate report is.

MatO - Thursday, January 27 2011 @ 09:32 AM EST (#229598) #

Seriously, what good GM would think Youkilis and Pedrios didn't have a high upside?
Give your head a shake
.

Sounds like you've been shaking your head a bit too much.  Youkilis was drafted in the 8th round as a college senior.  You don't get much lower upside than that.  Pedroia put up college numbers that you would think would have made him a high 1st round pick but he fell to the second because he was considered more of a scrappy/dirt bag kind of player with limited upside.

Matthew E - Thursday, January 27 2011 @ 10:14 AM EST (#229601) #
As for the Jays' improvement in OBP from 1997 to 1998 (when Gary Matthews arrived as hitting coach), the keys to the improvement were Shannon Stewart (who had only 44 games with the Jays in 1997 and played full time in 1998), and Carlos Delgado and Jose Cruz Jr. who were both young.  The other key was the departure of Joe Carter as DH and his replacement with Jose Canseco.  Canseco wasn't great in the OBP department, but he was a big step up from the 1997 version of Joe Carter. The improvement was a combination of development of younger players and arrival of new talent.

Well, that's as may be. But I can't help but be struck by the fact that the only time in Jays history that they had good walk and OBP numbers, Cito Gaston wasn't around but Gary Matthews was.

(Actually I just went and rechecked the numbers. The improvement from '97 to '98 was impressive, but I was wrong that they were in the top 5 in '98; they weren't. It's still one of the best historic years for the Jays for BB/OBP, because normally they were around the bottom of the league, but '93 was actually very good in that sense, and Gaston was there for that. Also, 2003, 2005 and 2006 have been good BB/OBP years for the Jays since then, none of which Gaston was present for.)
Mike Green - Thursday, January 27 2011 @ 10:21 AM EST (#229602) #
That's true, MatthewE.  I was addressing earlweaverfan's comment up-thread about the possibility of a new hitting coach arriving and producing significant OBP improvements for a number of players over 30.  My point was that I cannot recall that ever happening.  This does not mean that a good hitting coach cannot help two or three young players make significant improvements (as Matthews might indeed have done in 1998). 



Magpie - Thursday, January 27 2011 @ 10:39 AM EST (#229604) #
as Matthews might indeed have done in 1998

I don't know how much difference a hitting coach makes when it comes to strike zone judgement. Certainly in this particular case, we're speaking of three young players - Delgado, Cruz, and Stewart - who had clearly demonstrated at the minor league level that they already had a pretty good idea of the strike zone. Delgado walked 102 times at Knoxville in 1993, Stewart drew 89 walks in the same place two years later. They were both 21 years old at the time, and Cruz was also 21 when he made his pro debut in 1995, drawing 27 walks in 38 games. In his first full pro season, split over three minor league levels, Cruz walked 84 times in 122 games.
Magpie - Thursday, January 27 2011 @ 11:22 AM EST (#229608) #
This is simply a franchise that has never placed all that much emphasis on drawing walks. They have never, in 34 years, led the AL in walks drawn. They've never been second in the league. Or third. Or fourth. They've been fifth twice. In 27 of those 34 seasons, they've drawn fewer walks than the league average. Their first decent position player, the leadoff man when they first became a good team, was Damaso Garcia. Damo drew more than 20 walks in a season exactly twice - his career best was 24. And Garcia, believe it or not, was an upgrade on the guy who preceded him as the team's leadoff hitter (Alfredo!)

It just hasn't been their thing.

There were seven Jays teams that managed to draw more than the league average. What the hell happened in those years, you wonder?

1983 - Cliff Johnson (67 BB) joined the lineup; Upshaw (61), Mulliniks (57), Moseby (51), Whitt (50) established new career highs.

1988 - Fred McGriff (79) becomes an everyday player, supported by Moseby (70), Whitt (61), Mulliniks (56).

1989 - McGriff (119) becomes the first Jay to draw 100 walks in a season. Moseby (56) and Whitt (52) chip in.

1992 - Dave Winfield (82 BB) joins the team; Alomar (87) and Olerud (70) set new career highs.

1993 - Olerud (114) challenges McGriff's team record, supported by Alomar (80) and Molitor (77).

1998 - Delgado (73) establishes new career high, supported by new guys Stewart (67), Canseco (65), Cruz (57), Stanley (56).

2003 - Mostly Delgado (109) with a little help from Hinske (59).

Delgado set the team record of 123 BB in 2000 - Cruz had 71 BB that same year. Remarkably, the team was still 13th in the league in walks drawn that year. Batista, Fullmer, Fletcher, and Bush were the major culprits...
Mike Green - Thursday, January 27 2011 @ 11:39 AM EST (#229609) #
That is true.  I wouldn't conflate OBP with walks drawn, though.  As I said earlier, it is possible to increase OBP without increasing the number of walks drawn, as a happy by-product of increasing IsoP without a corresponding increase in K rate.  This profile leads pretty predictably to a higher batting average.  It's obviously not that easy to do, but that was basically the way that the 1993 Jay offence improved over the 1992 one. 
Magpie - Thursday, January 27 2011 @ 11:50 AM EST (#229611) #
the way that the 1993 Jay offence improved over the 1992 one.

I suppose. The difference between those two offenses is base hits - the 1993 team had 98 more hits, and roughly half the extra hits were doubles. Everything else is pretty much the same as the year before. John Olerud, all by himself, accounts for most of the improvement - he had 70 more hits in 1993, 36 more extra base hits. The rest is mostly the difference between Dave Winfield (who was very good) and Paul Molitor (who was Simply Wonderful.)
Mike Green - Thursday, January 27 2011 @ 12:04 PM EST (#229612) #
Exactly.  The Jays' team BABIP in 2010 was .269 which was the lowest in the majors by a mile (12 points).  The next four poorest teams were at .281, .282, .285 and .287.  The Jays' team BABIP in 2009 was .290. 

I would put the over/under on the team BABIP in 2011 at .290, which might mean an increase in team batting average of 5-10 points.

Magpie - Thursday, January 27 2011 @ 12:32 PM EST (#229614) #
Two words - Aaron Hill. He'll probably account for that all by himself.

His 2010 season was so utterly bizarre, it surely can't happen again.
James W - Thursday, January 27 2011 @ 12:53 PM EST (#229616) #
This is not an example of a pitching coach, but in 2009 the Angels added Bobby Abreu, and supposedly everybody learned to take more pitches. Their OBP jumped from .330 to .350, but on further inspection, going from Garret Anderson's .325 to Bobby Abreu's .390 will do good things.
Magpie - Thursday, January 27 2011 @ 02:53 PM EST (#229623) #
Also - on-base percentage goes up when you have men on base (as opposed to having the bases empty.) So, if you get more men on base... you'll get more men on base! (Y'all know what I mean!)

Which only stands to reason. Pitchers have to be a little more careful than they are with the bases empty. Holes appear in the infield defense...
Mike Green - Thursday, January 27 2011 @ 03:10 PM EST (#229624) #
True, and for an idea of the magnitude...the AL hit .255/.319/.401 with nobody on in 2010 and .266/.338/.414 with runners on in 2010.  Some of that is the intentional walk with first base open and some of that is the effect of sacrifice fly scoring rules. 
TamRa - Thursday, January 27 2011 @ 03:34 PM EST (#229626) #
it's been picked up by several places, which indicates they also did not see it as a joke. I don't even know what the joke would be in that tweet. Anyhow, like you, it doesn't change my evaluation of the trade; I'm just curious as to what the accurate report is.

It has NOW - but it hadn't been when I was expressing strong skepticism.


johnny was - Thursday, January 27 2011 @ 04:23 PM EST (#229628) #
Re: the Jays and OBP, everyone seems to have forgotten Gary Denbo's ill-fated attempt to remake Jays hitters into patient, Yankees clones back in 2008...
Mike Green - Thursday, January 27 2011 @ 04:32 PM EST (#229629) #
Yeah.  Rance Mulliniks would rail about the club taking first pitch fastballs down broadway in the Denbo era.  That approach generally won't work unless you have a hitter who is capable of fouling off pitches pretty much at will, and there aren't too many of those.  There's that happy medium between taking first pitch fastballs down broadway and routinely swinging at pitches outside the zone and popping them up. 
Mike Green - Thursday, January 27 2011 @ 04:36 PM EST (#229630) #
And as for the comment that soft tossers don't succeed in the AL East, I guess that Shaun Marcum's fastball fooled me...I could have sworn it was about 86, but if you're telling me it was 94, I don't have much choice but to go with that. :)
Alex Obal - Thursday, January 27 2011 @ 04:43 PM EST (#229631) #
Yup. If you never swing at the first pitch, it will always be a fastball. If you always swing at the first pitch, it will never be a fastball...
uglyone - Thursday, January 27 2011 @ 10:34 PM EST (#229649) #
"And as for the comment that soft tossers don't succeed in the AL East, I guess that Shaun Marcum's fastball fooled me...I could have sworn it was about 86, but if you're telling me it was 94, I don't have much choice but to go with that. :)"

Marcum vs. TBL/NYY/BOS last year: 10gms, 1-6, 5.64era
Magpie - Thursday, January 27 2011 @ 11:59 PM EST (#229653) #
Marcum vs. TBL/NYY/BOS last year: 10gms, 1-6, 5.64era

Probably Just One of Those Things. Those three teams hadn't given him any particular trouble before last season (he'd gone 7-5, 3.99 in 25 games, 17 starts).
brent - Friday, January 28 2011 @ 07:23 AM EST (#229660) #

Those teams know to lay off the change up and just sit fastball against Marcum. The book is out on him now. Going to the NL is very advantageous for him as those hitters haven't really seen him.

I wouldn't want to bet that Marcum would be more like the first 17 starts than the last ten.

Magpie - Friday, January 28 2011 @ 10:07 AM EST (#229667) #
Those teams know to lay off the change up and just sit fastball against Marcum. The book is out on him now.

Doesn't matter. A good change-up is eternal (or at least as long as you've got enough fastball to complement it.) It wasn't like the hitters didn't know what Jimmy Key and Tom Glavine were planning to do - the word was out on them pretty early as well. Hitting is timing, and pitching is destroying timing. Always has been, always will be.
Mike Green - Friday, January 28 2011 @ 10:19 AM EST (#229671) #
Hitting is timing, and pitching is destroying timing. Always has been, always will be.

Amen.  Incidentally, the club has made a special effort to improve the change-ups of young pitchers.  I suspect that Anthopoulos' line about needing hard throwers in the AL East was by way of justification for the Francisco acquisition.  It is true that there is a time and a place for a fresh arm coming into the game and blazing away, but that applies equally well in the NL West.
ayjackson - Friday, January 28 2011 @ 10:53 AM EST (#229683) #

Those teams know to lay off the change up and just sit fastball against Marcum.

At their peril.  Marcum can throw a change up for a strike seemingly at will.

Magpie - Friday, January 28 2011 @ 11:18 AM EST (#229689) #
It's hard to lay off a change-up, because if you throw it right it's very hard for the batter to recognize it as the change-up. The slider, especially, and to some extent the curveball as well, are quickly recognized as such by a major league hitter. But the change-up, if you throw it right, looks just like a fastball coming out of the hand. Until you swing at it and it just isn't there....
uglyone - Friday, January 28 2011 @ 11:22 AM EST (#229690) #
the thing is, good hitters don't let their timing be disrupted too much when a guy's fastball is only 86.

They can just sit and sit and sit on that fastball, and not even worry about looking bad when they guess wrong on a change.  they know that 86er's coming eventually.



Magpie - Friday, January 28 2011 @ 11:49 AM EST (#229692) #
good hitters don't let their timing be disrupted too much when a guy's fastball is only 86.

Yes, they do. All the time. And a guy who's really good at it - Tom Glavine did win 300 games in the majors - is just a sight to see. It's like there's an invisible string running from the mound to the hitter's front leg, and he just yanks on that string whenever he feels like. It's a basic fundamental, a basic truth of the game. It's something you can count on, something as reliable as anything there is in the game. It's a lot more reliable than the idea that you can throw your 95 mph heater past a major league hitter.

And of course it's simply beautiful to watch.
Mike Green - Friday, January 28 2011 @ 11:52 AM EST (#229693) #
Well, you can check Play Index to see how the various Yankees, Red Sox and Rays have done against Marcum.  The players who have absolutely killed him have been Jorge Posada, Sean Rodriguez and Bill Hall.  The players who have absolutely struggled have been Nick Swisher, Carl Crawford, Jason Bartlett, and Dustin Pedroia.  Youkilis, Ortiz and A-Rod have not done particularly well either. 

He has been an effective pitcher, and there is no evidence that good hitters do any better against him than they might against a pitcher who throws harder but has the same overall effectiveness.  If you can post an ERA of 4.5 against the Yankees and Red Sox over your career, you are going to have a good career.  It aint that easy.  So far, Ricky Romero has an ERA of about 6 and 1/2 against those clubs. 

uglyone - Friday, January 28 2011 @ 11:59 AM EST (#229695) #
we've got a very small sample when it comes to Marcum against these top hitting teams, and that sample certainly shows the trend that we'd expect from an 86mph pitcher facing top hitting teams. and last year was pretty much those hitter's 2nd year look at Marcum as a starter, which is when you'd expect them to start making adjustments. he fooled them once, but fooling them twice was a bit harder.

but of course it's a very small sample, so it could easily be, as you say, just "one of those things".

but maybe not.....and probably not in the mind of AA.

it'll be interesting to watch going forward.





Magpie - Friday, January 28 2011 @ 12:01 PM EST (#229697) #
I would say there's no real comparison between a guy like Marcum, who has an outstanding change-up, and a guy like Glavine who was a master of changing speeds. Those are two somewhat different things. In the case of Glavine, there wasn't even a clear distinction between his fastball and the change-up. Glavine just threw this pitch, which could come in anywhere between 77 and 84 mph. Anywhere - sometimes 79, sometimes 81, sometimes 83. Never the same thing twice, and always wherever he wanted it. And the hitters would be frustrated, and messed up, and off-balance all night long.
AWeb - Friday, January 28 2011 @ 12:23 PM EST (#229700) #

All things being equal, the best pitches are those coming in the fastest - best chaneup since 2005, by value per 100 pitches (fangraphs)

http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=pit&lg=all&qual=500&type=7&season=2010&month=0&season1=2005

Marcum stands out as as soft thrower at the top of the list (500 IP threshold), which only makes it more impressive. I think some are confusing "Marcum doesn't have the stuff to handle the best hitters" with "the best hitters will get you a lot more often, no matter who you are or what you throw".

ogator - Friday, January 28 2011 @ 02:14 PM EST (#229744) #
There is a rumour going around on the Blue Jays website and on mlbrumors.com, that the Blue Jays will be part of a three way trade that would send Chone Figgins to Oakland, Jason Frasor to Seattle and Kevin Kouzmanoff to Toronto,   The trade makes sense on several levels but it is just a rumour at this point.
Magpie - Friday, January 28 2011 @ 02:24 PM EST (#229748) #
The trade makes sense on several levels

Unfortunately, improving the Blue Jays may not be one of those levels...
China fan - Friday, January 28 2011 @ 02:27 PM EST (#229749) #
I agree with Magpie.   It doesn't seem likely that Anthopolous would willingly pay $4.75-million in 2011 for a 3B who posted an OPS of .679 last season (and not much better in the previous two seasons either). 
Geoff - Friday, January 28 2011 @ 02:31 PM EST (#229750) #
Would be more interesting to get Figgins on the team.

Don't think there is any basis to the Jays being involved other than the idea that somebody must want to take Kouzmanoff and who else but the Jays would consider it?

Default position must be that if there is a trade scrum going on, that Anthopolous character must be in there somewhere.
Magpie - Friday, January 28 2011 @ 02:42 PM EST (#229755) #
who posted an OPS of .679 last season (and not much better in the previous two seasons either).

It's true that the previous two seasons he was playing in Petco, which is an awful place to hit. So's Oakland, of course.

Plus he was playing hurt part of last season with back problems.

Hmm. I don't know if that's encouraging or not.
Mike Green - Friday, January 28 2011 @ 02:50 PM EST (#229756) #
He's .272/.315/.461 for his career on the road.  It's not that he cannot hit a little, but rather that his talents are a mirror of the club's.  If he was left-handed, you could at least platoon him with Encarnacion (with Rivera DHing against LHPs and acting as your 5th OF).
China fan - Friday, January 28 2011 @ 03:03 PM EST (#229760) #
Surely it would be a lot easier to acquire a corner outfielder and shift Bautista to 3B.  (Rivera, presumably, is not that corner outfielder, unless Anthopolous truly believes that he has no way of getting rid of Rivera's salary and might be able to convert Rivera into a Type B pick at the end of the season.)
Hodgie - Friday, January 28 2011 @ 05:31 PM EST (#229777) #
"Surely it would be a lot easier to acquire a corner outfielder and shift Bautista to 3B."

Who and for what cost? The team is not going to get a reliable 2.5-3 WAR player for $4.75M on the free agent market. Consider for a moment that Johhny Damon just signed for $5.25M after posting a robust 1.9 WAR last season. I would also be surprised if many teams would be willing to part with something more valuable in a trade for the 32 year old Frasor than the 28 year old Kouzmanoff, a player that has posted an average 2.7 WAR over the last 4 seasons with good defense. He is obviously not going to solve the team's OBP woes but if healthy upgrades the infield defense and seems to represent a reasonable stop gap measure to me. The only other consideration I see in making the trade is whether a year or two of Kouzmanoff now is more valuable than the potential draft picks, if there are any, that Frasor might return next off-season.

The more I consider the 3-way trade, I am surprised that Oakland would consider it as it is questionable whether they improve their team replacing Kouzmanoff with Figgins whose is 4 years older with a salary that is almost twice as much. Oakland must believe that Figgins is the 6.1 WAR player from 2008 and not the roughly 3 WAR player the rest of his career suggests.

bpoz - Friday, January 28 2011 @ 06:59 PM EST (#229778) #
Regarding OBP : Nice to hear your stuff Magpie.
Since the Jays have had success, & it is unfortunate for them that the NYY, BOS effect hurt them the most, I will accept that they had success with only average OBP.

Walks, OBP & Gary Denbo (probably knew his stuff) is valuable but I want to see those runs scored. Don't just get a hit or walk with RISP, but get him in. A Gon2 in 2010 had a low OBP but 88 Rbi, I liked that about him as well as his role in us getting Y Escobar.
NYY & BOS with their expensive offenses should score many runs, however they do it. But what about the other factors in scoring runs. Also does Pythagoras or someone have an opinion on this?
My questions are probably unfair but I asked anyway. Thanks.
brent - Friday, January 28 2011 @ 07:18 PM EST (#229779) #
Key and Glavine were left handers who have a lot more leeway for reduced fastball speeds. Apples and oranges, Magpie.
TamRa - Friday, January 28 2011 @ 07:48 PM EST (#229780) #
Re: the Jays and OBP, everyone seems to have forgotten Gary Denbo's ill-fated attempt to remake Jays hitters into patient, Yankees clones back in 2008...

I still don't think Denbo was wrong or that teir failings then were his fault. The sample was too small and too severly affected by one or two guys starting very poorly (IIRC the most noteable being Rios)
danjulien - Friday, January 28 2011 @ 09:24 PM EST (#229781) #
As per rotoworld , the Jays and Jason Frason have avoided arbitration, 3.5 million for one year.
Let's see if he sticks around now
Mike Green - Friday, January 28 2011 @ 09:58 PM EST (#229782) #
Brent,

Jack Keefe says that lefties aren't any kind of fruit at all, they're nuts.  He still cannot figure out why Gleason keeps sending them out to the mound. 

Smithers - Friday, January 28 2011 @ 10:01 PM EST (#229783) #
The Blue Jays team site has the Jason Frasor signing up now too, saying that it is at $3.5 million for 2011 and a club option of $3.75 million for 2012.  I was worried for a second there that AA was breaking his rule of no negotiations on one year deals past his self-imposed deadline.  They splitting the difference between the arbitration numbers this year and gave in to Frasor's 2011 demand for next year's option.  Seems fair enough to me. 

He should pass Duane Ward for most career games pitched for the Jays this year - who would have ever guessed that when they made the Jayson-Jason trade way back when?

bpoz - Saturday, January 29 2011 @ 10:26 AM EST (#229788) #
So it seems J Fraser will not be released in ST to cut costs.

I am very impressed with AA's philosophy of bullpen construction. He has said the following about it.

1) A lot of seasons have spiraled out of control because of a weak pen.
2) He has seen many times when there is only 1 or 2 reliable relievers in the pen, so the manager over taxes them. So he has built the pen to 7 reliable relievers, in his opinion.
3) With quality comes competition. So that means you have to compete for the high leverage roles.

This philosophy makes a lot of sense to me, especially since I remember the pre-Henke bullpen. In 1983 & 84 the team won 89 games and the pen blew some big leads often. Those teams could have won maybe 5-6 more games IMO.

AA also said you will always have injuries & poor performance from individuals in the pen.

This 2011 pen as it stands now costs $20mil.

IMO the Henke,Ward,Acker,Eichorn,Wells & Timlin bullpen helped the manager become an expert bullpen strategist. IMO J Farrell will become a very good bullpen manager.
jgadfly - Saturday, January 29 2011 @ 01:29 PM EST (#229790) #

RE: Geoff ...   "Would be more interesting to get Figgins on the team."

      I agree with Geoff.   Figgins would bring three attributes that seem to fit with the new Jay mantra ... speed, OB% and versatility .

      What would it take ?  What do the Jays have as 'surplus to requirements' or players who no longer fit the new prototype .   I would venture that  Rivera, Frasor and now , possibly Hill fall under that criteria . Hill to hometown Oakland , Kouzmanof and one of Frasor/Rivera to Seattle ?  Could Hechevarria handle 2nd and Mastroianni 4th OF ?   I suppose if AA can trade VW's contract , anything is possible ?

  

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